Manufacturer to Create 29 Jobs in Tazewell County; After . . .


Here’s a roundup of brief news from Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to [email protected]

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Resin company to create 29 jobs in Tazewell County

A New Jersey-based company that makes custom resin and vinyl products will move to Tazewell County, creating 29 jobs, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Ronald Mark Associates, Inc. will invest $13.5 million to establish a manufacturing operation at the former Komatsu Mining Corp. plant. at 1081 Hockman Pike in Bluefield, according to the governor’s office. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina and South Carolina for the project, which will create 29 new jobs.

Based in Hillside, New Jersey, Ronald Mark Associates has been marketing, distributing and packaging PVC resin since 1971 and manufacturing vinyl film since 1979. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership has worked with Tazewell County and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority to secure the Virginia project. Governor Glenn Youngkin approved a $116,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Tazewell County with the project. Ronald Mark Associates is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

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Harvest Youth Board donates $5,000 to Piedmont Arts

The Harvest Youth Board provided a $5,000 grant to Piedmont Arts to support the “Poetry to Lift Us Up” project at high schools in Martinsville and Henry County. The program includes exciting workshops led by Roscoe Burnems, winner of the National Poetry Slam and Richmond, Virginia’s first Poet Laureate, and Angela Dribben of the Poetry Society of Virginia.

The main goal of these sessions is to make poetry accessible to students of all abilities and literacy levels. Additionally, the workshops allow students to break away from the monotony of non-fiction writing prompts and essays, while building students’ ability to write and analyze them.

Sarah Short, education coordinator for the arts in Piedmont, said in a statement that poetry readings, slams and groups are a fantastic way for students to hone their speaking skills.

For more information about Piedmont Arts, its programs, or how to donate, visit To learn more about the Harvest Youth Board, visit

The Harvest Youth Board was established in June 2015 to develop projects and initiatives important to young people in Martinsville-Henry County and to advise the Harvest Foundation Board of Directors on youth issues. The board is supported by the Harvest Foundation and the Kiwanis Club. Grants are available for Martinsville-Henry County nonprofits up to $5,000.

Disclosure: The Harvest Foundation gave us a grant to hire a reporter in Martinsville, but donors have no say in news decisions. See our policy.

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Sarah Ioannides. Courtesy of Sarah Ioannides.

An internationally renowned conductor will conduct the Roanoke Symphony concert

Sarah Ioannides will conduct the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra Virtuoso strings performance on November 12e and 13e at the Shaftman Performance Hall. The concerts will feature William P. Parrish, Jr. on oboe.

Ioannides is in her eighth season as director of the Symphony Tacoma Museum. “The RSO was fortunate to secure Sarah for this limited engagement,” David Crane, executive director of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra said in a statement. “We had to compete with many renowned orchestras for a place in his program.”

Ioannides was hailed by the New York Times as a conductor endowed with “magic” and “unquestionable strength and authority”. She was named by the Los Angeles Times as “one of six female conductors to break the glass podium”. She has worked with international orchestras such as the Tonkünstler, Orchester National de Lyon and Orchester Symphonique de Bilbao.

Saturday November 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 13 at 3:00 p.m.

Tickets are available at

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Salem woman wins national award

JDRF, the world’s leading type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and advocacy organization, has announced Sally Southard of Salem as the recipient of the Erwin Lurie Award for her outstanding contributions as a volunteer leader. Named in honor of Erwin Lurie, who helped found JDRF in 1970 with his wife Carol, the Erwin Lurie Award is presented annually to a Chapter volunteer whose commitment to volunteer/staff partnership has significantly advanced JDRF’s mission and strategic priorities over the past year.

“Sally is a versatile champion of T1D, from welcoming new members into the community to sharing her knowledge and raising funds to accelerate life-changing research,” said Jaclyn Toll, Chapter Executive Director. JDRF’s Mid Atlantic in a statement. “We thank Sally for her longstanding commitment to our mission and congratulate her on this well-deserved award.”

For more than 40 years, Southard has worn many hats as a former member of JDRF’s T1D Voice Council, President and Board Member of JDRF’s Greater Blue Ridge Chapter, Walk Chair, President gala and laureate. In 2020, she provided volunteer leadership for the regional chapters in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, combined to create the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of JDRF.

Southard has lived with T1D for over 57 years. Sally currently serves on the JDRF Mid-Atlantic Chapter Community Board of Directors, Executive Council and is Chair of the Virginia Mission Board.

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Roanoke Women’s Foundation Announces Grants

The Roanoke Women’s Foundation has announced the largest annual grant total in its 18-year history. Nine organizations received a combined total of $378,000.

2022 recipients include:

  • Apple Ridge Farm – $30,000 for its university summer camp, serving low-income youth downtown
  • Dan River Basin Association – $30,000 for its educational stewardship program for students in grades 2-5 at Snow Creek Elementary School in Franklin County
  • Floyd Community Center for the Arts – $30,000 for improving facilities and equipment to expand its programming capacity
  • HopeTree Family Services – $30,000 for increased security systems for its Salem campus
  • Roanoke Center for Higher Education Foundation – $50,000 for the creation of a vocational and labor training center to help its graduates enter or return to the job market
  • Roanoke Valley Speech and Hearing Center – $71,000 to improve the accessibility of its Roanoke building to meet customer needs
  • Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center – $50,000 to purchase equipment to provide critical care to injured native wildlife
  • Spikenard Farm Bee Sanctuary – $47,000 for housing and on-site research facilities for its beekeeping apprentices and students
  • Blue Ridge of the YMCA of Virginia – $40,000 for the expansion of its after-school pilot initiative designed to improve the learning and life skills of Roanoke City middle school students.

According to RWF President, MaryJean Levin, “After two years of COVID constraints, our membership of generous women has grown significantly, allowing us to provide increased support to more projects than ever before in a single year. It is particularly satisfying that we are able to fund such diverse needs in our local communities. These awards bring our total contributions over 18 years to $4,889,500 given to 72 non-profit organizations for the implementation of 90 projects.

The mission of the Roanoke Women’s Foundation is to connect the power of women and their pooled resources to improve the quality of life in our community. In its previous 17 years, RWF has provided more than $4.5 million to 64 nonprofit organizations throughout the region, which includes the cities of Roanoke and Salem and the counties of Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin and Roanoke. Eligible organizations serve the community in the areas of 1) arts and culture, 2) education, 3) environment, and 4) health and social services.


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