REGIONAL VIEW southern virginia

VIR is optimistic about solution for faulty water system by Michael O’Connor


roblems with VIRginia International Race- way’s water system

have local leaders pressing for a long-term solution for the motorsports complex, which has a major impact on the local economy.

The Halifax County

Service Authority owns and operates VIR’s troubled water system. The system once used five wells, but three have been disconnected and taken out of service because of unsafe levels of chemicals. That has left VIR with a well that runs consistently and another one — called well No. 5 — that does so off and on along with a 250,000-gallon storage tank. “Well No. 5 has elevated

levels of fluoride and appears to be seasonal, perhaps due to fluctuating aquifer water levels,” says Mark Estes of the H alifax County Service Authority. “We only run well No. 5 when fluoride levels are low or non-detectable.”


The parent company of Danville- based American National Bank and Trust Co. has struck a deal to buy Roanoke-based HomeTown Bank and its parent company. American National, with 24 bank offices, will acquire HomeTown, which has six offices in the Roanoke and New River valleys, in a $95.6 million deal scheduled to close early next year. (Danville Register & Bee)

The Henrietta Lacks Commis- sion visited South Boston as it continues planning for a cancer research and treatment center in Halifax County. Lacks was a one- time Clover resident whose death from cervical cancer in 1951 unex- pectedly opened multiple paths of medical research. The commis- sion was created by the General

water line just east of Dan- ville at a cost of $3.8 million. Estes says officials in Dan- ville, Pittsylvania and Halifax are working to get federal, state and local money to pay for the connection. The less expensive alter-

A recent report found that the motorsports complex contributes $237 million annually to the state’s economy.

The situation is cause for

anxiety for Connie Nyholm, the CEO of VIR. She says the motorsports complex, an economic player in Southern Virginia, can do only so much as a customer of the water supplier, but she is hopeful a solution is on the way. In May, a report commissioned by VIR found that the motorsports complex contrib- utes $237 million annually to

Assembly to oversee development of the Henrietta Lacks Life Sci- ence Center, envisioned as a $50 million, 200,000-square-foot medi- cal research and treatment facility. (News & Record)

Two years after it announced plans for a $9.5 million investment and 35 new jobs, the Japanese company Kyocera SGS opened its facility in the Cyber Park in Dan- ville. The Kyocera SGS Tech Hub LLC includes a 30,000-square-foot facility across the street from the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. The company, which produces solid carbide rotary tools, had been operating in the nearby Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining. (Danville Register & Bee)

The Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors agreed to send

12 NOVEMBER 2018

the state economy and $197 million locally. “We’re still in the opti-

mism phase, not the do-or- die phase,” Nyholm says. Local leaders are explor-

ing two paths to solve VIR’s water troubles, and the stick- ing point is money. The preferred, but more

expensive, option is to con- nect VIR to the Pittsylvania County Service Authority

a letter of support for the VCU- Community Memorial Hospital’s request for $50,000 in Tobacco Commission grant funding to study the feasibility of turning the former hospital site in South Hill into an emergency preparedness training facility. (

It seems the revitalization efforts in the River District, as well as Danville’s support for the historic tax credits, has caught the atten- tion of a group that knows history. Richmond-based Preservation Virginia, a group established in 1889 that owns Historic Jamestowne in a public-private partnership, chose the city as the spot for its annual, two-day confer- ence in October. “We thought about having it in Danville for the last couple of years because of the revitalization that’s happened

native is to dig more wells, possibly with a treatment system, for around $750,000. Estes estimates this option would buy VIR 10 years for its water system. Nyholm

says that, because of the water issues,

VIR has focused on sustain- ing itself rather than expand- ing. A new water line would help the business focus on growth. If a new line doesn’t come together, Nyholm says, she’s hopeful the less expen- sive option will. “The shorter-term solu-

tion of wells and a filtration system could be an interim solution,” she says. “That’s why I still sleep at night.”

in town in the River District,” said Sonja Ingram, preservation field services manager for the group. The group is a nonprofit that saves historic sites throughout the state. (Danville Register & Bee)

A total of 2,500 temporary jobs will become available at the Radial call centers in Martinsville in coming months. The company announced plans to add positions as it prepares for the Christmas season. Typically the company adds about 2,000 temporary positions. However, with the num- ber of packages expected to rise this season, as well as residents wanting their purchases delivered quicker, Radial officials said it was time to increase the number of workers at the facility. (Martinsville Bulletin)


Loretta H. Harris has been appointed by Clarksville Town Council to take over the seat vacated by Kristy Somerville- Midgette, who departed after being named Brunswick County’s school superintendent. Harris has owned and operated several busi- nesses. (

Matt Leonard, executive director of the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority, plans to leave his position Nov. 1 in a decision that the IDA described as “mutually agreed” upon. Leonard took over the reins at the IDA in 2012. (News & Record)

Danville Community College Presi- dent Bruce R. Scism will retire at the end of the year. Scism became the fifth president of DCC in 2013. (Danville Register & Bee)

Photo courtesy VIR

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