Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news coming right up. And if you’re a fan, please forward to three friends who need to know what’s going on in the Commonwealth and tell them to subscribe here.
But first …
86 years after it was stolen by Nazis, a painting by famed local artist Gari Melchers is being returned to its rightful owners.
Five things you need to know today …
- Bankrupt Blackjewel says it will issue paychecks — Former employees who are still owed back wages for their time with the company should receive paychecks, according to court documents. Miners who worked for the company haven’t received pay for their final weeks of work after their paychecks bounced. Blackjewel and the federal government have reached an agreement so that the $2.72 million in outstanding payments will begin going out later this week. Blackjewel, which was once the country’s sixth-largest coal mining company, employed 480 employees in Virginia. – Bristol Herald-Courier
- Ballad Health to reopen hospital in Lee County— Ballad Health has submitted paperwork to reopen a hospital in Lee County. The company said the hospital will have eight doctors, nurses, and radiology technologists who will work there, and it will have X-ray and lab capabilities, but it will not offer a 24-hour emergency room or inpatient care. Lee County’s hospital, like more than 100 rural hospitals, closed in 2013, and the county has been pushing to get it reopened ever since. Ballad was created last year after regulators in Virginia and Tennessee approved the merger of two competing health systems; part of the approval hinged on Ballad Health providing health services in Lee County. – The Roanoke Times
- Several counties declare drought disasters — Roanoke, Botetourt, and Pittsylvania counties have all officially declared drought disasters. The move could make the farmers in the county eligible for federal aid if both the state and federal governments agree with the assessment. Many cattle farmers have already started selling off their livestock because they anticipate not having enough hay to feed them due to the dry conditions. – WSLS
- Improvement projects planned on Interstate 81 — Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board approved 31 improvement projects along Interstate 81. The projects include truck climbing lanes, widening the roads, and adding on to the existing acceleration and deceleration lanes. According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, the improvements will help with safety and reduce the hours of delay by 6 million hours each year. – Transport Topics
- Virginia Beach to hold open house at center for those affected by mass shooting — The VB Strong Center plans to hold a series of open houses next week to welcome the general public. The opening ceremony is next week, and the public can visit on Oct. 30 through Nov. 1. The center will provide free counseling and therapy for survivors, first responders, and family members of the victims of the May 31 mass shooting. It is set to officially open the first week of November. –The Virginian-Pilot