Southwest Virginia

Linda Edmonds Turner / Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech

In 1936, Virginia became the first state to open a park system, notable for being "not more than an hour’s" drive from anywhere in the Commonwealth. But for Black Virginians, no amount of drive time would have gotten them past the entrance.


Virginia’s statewide COVID-19 numbers have been trending down over the past few weeks.  That’s encouraged state officials to ease restrictions on businesses and gatherings.

But the numbers in much of the southwest part of the state have been heading in the other direction, which has health professionals worried.


Health experts in the Roanoke region and other parts of southwest Virginia are watching a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Kurt Holtz

 Large, industrial meat processing plants are now ‘hot spots’ for spreading Coronavirus.  Some have closed while the industry grapples with how to provide safety for workers, causing shortages at supermarkets. But sales at some small, local farms in southwestern Virginia are booming like never before.


For the first time in history, the U.S. is on track to produce more electricity from renewable energy than from coal, according to a new government report. States around the country have been passing clean energy laws  and Virginia did so earlier this year.  But  in southwestern Virginia coal country, there are caps on the amount of solar power that can be produced.