Appalachian Power Is Asking The Virginia State Corporation Commission To Consider A Rate Increase This Fall For Virginia Customers. The Utility Wants To Recoup Costs Associated With Planned Environmental Improvements At Two Coal Power Plants. If Approved An Average Bill Of One-Thousand Kilowatt Hours Usage Would Increase By $2.50.
Appalachia — Mountain Empire Community College has partnered with the Town of Appalachia and a small business owner to help renovate one of the town's main street storefronts.
The small business, located beside of the famous Peake Building on Appalachia's main street, will soon open as the new Appalachia Mercantile. Owner Tommy Adkins said the business will feature local artisan goods, coffee, and snacks.
MECC's Basic Construction class has spent the last month helping Adkins renovate the interior of the store. MECC Instructor Bryce Shular is leading the class of 15 students teaching local residents basic construction skills with a hands-on, real-world application. The class meets once a week and is based at MECC's Center for Workforce and Innovation in Appalachia.
Shular said students have completed demolition work, painted, practiced woodworking, basic HVAC/ventilation assessment, and basic electrical work. The transformation in the building site has been remarkable. Plaster walls were removed to reveal original brick. Tin tiled high ceilings and a mezzanine space are highlights of the Mercantile.
"These are basic skills. This is stuff you need to know for life, if you own a house or do any type of construction," said student Colby Dillon. "It feels good to do something to help the community."
"It's pretty nice to see something come to Appalachia" added student Aaron Duty.
Most of students are enrolled in MECC's Associate Degree in Energy Technology and are completing the course as part of their degree program.
"I'm trying to get several of our programs involved here," noted Shular. "Our welding fabrication class may work on some of the railing for the stairs. I try to put these students in real-life scenarios. I thought this project was great, and I would love to have many more of these projects."
Adkins said the partnership has helped him complete renovations in a shorter time frame, and hopefully he will be able to open in the spring. "10-15 guys are a lot better than one. They have put in a lot of hours here. They pulled 10,000 nails here in a day's time. It would have taken me forever. This has been a good partnership," Adkins said.
While the town has struggled economically in the last decade due to closer of several mines and businesses, Adkins is hoping for a resurgence in the community. He would recommend other business take advantage of the opportunity and consider investing in Appalachia.
"Our Main Street Association is working hard to get more businesses here. We have a motorcycle route that goes through the town, the Dragon Slayer, and we are getting around 75 motorcycles here on the weekend. We need businesses here to support that and we are trying," said Adkins.
For more information on MECC's Basic Construction program, contact Shular at 276-523-2400 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ballad Health reports 290 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in their facilities. Ballad reports that 59 of those patients are in intensive care and another 31 of the COVID-19 patients are on a ventilator. There are also 8 patients under investigation. There are 47 designated COVID-19 beds available in Ballad facilities. Over the past 7 days, a 25.1% positivity rate has been reported by Ballad, along with 81 total COVID-19 deaths during the same time period across all of the system's facilities. Ballad also reports that since March 1, there have been 798 total COVID-19 deaths in their service area.
The Virginia Department of Health reports 229,553 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. The VDH also reports 3,875 confirmed deaths and 15,084 confirmed hospitalizations due to COVID-19 across the state. There are 10,565 cases in Southwest Virginia:
Washington County has 2,079 cases with 137 hospitalizations and 34 deaths
Wise County has 1,383 cases with 74 hospitalizations and 50 deaths
Tazewell County has 1,278 cases with 53 hospitalizations and 8 deaths
Smyth County has 1,201 cases with 81 hospitalizations and 35 deaths
Lee County has 1,051 cases with 50 hospitalizations and 15 deaths
Russell County has 971 cases with 66 hospitalizations and 9 deaths
Scott County has 914 cases with 59 hospitalizations and 19 deaths
City of Bristol has 617 cases with 32 hospitalizations and 7 deaths
Buchanan County has 547 cases with 37 hospitalizations and 23 deaths
Dickenson County has 424 cases with 16 hospitalizations and 2 deaths
City of Norton has 100 cases with 5 hospitalizations
A man has been arrested in Johnson City after striking a police cruiser during a pursuit. The Johnson City Police Department reports that at around 12:30 p.m. Monday they were notified of a Blue Nissan Quest, matching the description of a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run last week, was in the Walmart parking lot on Browns Mill Road. Upon arrival, officers tried to get the driver, 46-year-old Nathan Hicks, to get out of the car, but he refused and sped away north on Browns Mill Road. Hicks then went down Chickasaw Street where he got to a dead end. He then turned the vehicle around and sped away again, intentionally striking a police cruiser. Hicks then ran a red light on North State of Franklin Road before trying to drive through a fence, where he was taken into custody. He has been charged with two counts of felony evading, one count of felony reckless endangerment, driving on a revoked license, aggravated assault, and red-light violation. Hicks is being held in the Washington County Detention Center on a $12,500 bond.
A crash on U.S. 23 in Pike County on Monday morning leaves one person dead. The Pikeville Police Department reports a white 2004 Toyota was driving in the southbound lane on U.S. 23 when he drove into the left shoulder and ran into the guard rail, before entering the northbound lane. A Wayne Supply Service truck then struck the Toyota on the passenger's side. 27-year-old Brandon Hamilton died at the scene. Wet conditions are believed to have contributed to the crash.
A multi-vehicle crash involving a stolen tractor-trailer in Washington County, Tennessee leaves one man dead. Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that dispatchers were called Monday Night about a stolen tractor-trailer in the Highway 36/Kingsport Highway area. Troopers found the stolen truck and attempted a traffic stop, but the driver, 28-year-old Joshua Hammonds, of Blountville, was driving erratically and headed south with no headlights on. Hammonds then ran a red light at the intersection of Highway 36 and Highway 75, before crossing the center line and hitting a Saturn SL1 head-on on Ed Martin Road at 9:44 p.m. The driver of the Saturn, 60-year-old Timmy Hensley, of Johnson City, was killed in the crash. Hammonds was injured in the crash. Charges are pending.
A Bulls Gap, Tennessee man has been arrested in Kingsport after a shooting and series of crimes. The Kingsport Police Department reports that they were called at around 9:30 a.m. Monday to the Lynn Garden community. 41-year-old Michael J. Shelton is accused of fatally shooting 60-year-old Gary McMeans and committing a home invasion in the 100 block of Clark Avenue. Shelton is facing several charges, including aggravated robbery, especially aggravated kidnapping, possession of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in connection with the home invasion. Additional charges are pending for the fatal shooting and other crimes, he is accused of committing. He is being held in the Kingsport City Jail on a $1 million bond.
A shooting suspect in Tazewell was found dead Monday morning, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot. The Tazewell Police Department reports that officers were called to the 200 block of Muncy Lane at 11:31 p.m. Sunday. There was evidence of forced entry at the home and a 48-year-old woman was found inside with a gunshot wound. 48-year-old John D. Lester II developed as the suspect and was charged with malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Officers then found Lester at around 6 a.m. Monday dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The shooting appears to be domestic in nature and is still under investigation. The woman remains hospitalized in serious condition.