For the Record - Southwest Virginia, January 2013

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Appalachian Regional Commission and the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service signed an export promotion partnership designed to increase exports in Appalachian-based businesses. Agencies in the partnership will work to increase awareness about exporting among small and midsize businesses. Locations in 13 states are covered by this initiative. Among the participating Virginia counties are Alleghany, Bath, Botetourt, Buchanan, Carroll, Craig, Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, Rockbridge and Wythe. (The Roanoke Times)

Bike Virginia will stage a leg of its 2013 tour in Botetourt County.  The annual event, scheduled this year for June 21-26, attracts an average of about 1,600 cyclists for six days of bicycle touring. The 2013 tour will shift its headquarters June 24 from Rockbridge County to Botetourt County’s Greenfield Recreation Area.  (The Roanoke Times)

Christiansburg’s CraftMaster Manufacturing door plant was scheduled to close on Dec. 31, 2012, putting about 130 people out of work. The Chicago-based company was recently acquired by JELD-WEN, an Oregon-based windows and doors manufacturer with more than 100 locations around the world. (The Roanoke Times)

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors approved one-time bonuses for all employees of the county and the county school division. Full-time workers will receive a bonus of $680, and part-time employees will receive a bonus of $340. Workers hired since July 1 also will receive bonuses for lesser amounts. Full-time employees in this group will receive $340 and part-timers will be paid $170. (The Roanoke Times)

Intrexon Corp., a Blacksburg-based synthetic biology company, plans to buy a 48 percent interest in AquaBounty Technologies Inc., a Massachusetts biotech company focused on improving aquaculture productivity. Intrexon will buy 48.6 million AquaBounty shares from Linnaeus Capital Partners and its affiliate, Tethys Ocean, for $6 million or approximately 12.3 cents per share in cash. (

Cabinetmaker Merillat is laying off 280 employees at two manufacturing plants in Southwest Virginia. Officials for parent company Masco Cabinetry plan to close two facilities that make doors and panels for cabinets in Atkins in mid-January. The door manufacturing plant opened in 1977 and employs 16 salaried workers and 200 hourly workers. The panel factory opened in 1991 and has three salaried employees and about 60 hourly workers. They are being provided severance packages and outplacement assistance. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Radford University’s doctor of psychology program has earned accreditation from the American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation. The program joins 66 other active, APA-accredited counseling psychology programs, only three of which offer a doctor of psychology degree. (News release)

Roanoke has again been named a top digital city by the Center for Digital Government’s Digital Cities Survey. Roanoke ranked second in the nation among cities with populations between 75,000 and 124,999. This is the 12th year in a row that Roanoke has earned a top 10 distinction. The survey ranked cities based on how technology initiatives lined up with city council priorities. (The Roanoke Times)

The Roanoke Valley SPCA and the regional pound, which for years have shared the same building and management while serving different missions, are severing their ties. Under the new arrangement, the operations will continue to share the same two-part building on Baldwin Avenue. But each will have its own executive director, and the SPCA will be totally removed from day-to-day operations at the pound, which will be taken over by the four localities it serves. (The Roanoke Times)

Roanoke-based Southern Coal Corp. plans to reopen closed mines and hire hundreds of new miners as a result of a multiyear deal with American Electric Power. Southern Coal said the AEP agreement would save 500 mining jobs and create 650 more in mines in Southwest Virginia, Southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. In Virginia, the company said 320 jobs will be saved while 270 new miners will be added. (

Due to construction taking place at the Shot Tower, Shot Tower Historical State Park, located near Austinville, will be closed during the off-season.  The closure is effective from Nov. 26 through March 1, 2013. The Shot Tower will be undergoing renovations to enhance the visitor experience and to preserve the infrastructure for future generations. (


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