Bristol-based Electro-Mechanical to be Featured on Fox Business Network

BRISTOL, Va., Jan. 31, 2019 – Electro-Mechanical Corporation, a leading supplier of power distribution solutions to domestic and international mining and electrical customers, will be featured on the Fox Business Network on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.

The Bristol, Virginia-based company will be profiled on Lou Dobbs Tonight, which airs from 10 – 11 p.m. EST, during the show’s Manufacturing Marvels segment.

“It was great to welcome the Manufacturing Marvels video crew to our home in Bristol for a look at how we are meeting the power distribution needs of our national and overseas business partners,” says Russell Leonard, president and CEO of Electro-Mechanical. “We celebrated our 60th anniversary in 2018, and we’re excited to begin 2019 with this showcase of our co-workers, products and capabilities.”

Following the national air time, the segment will be available to view at the company’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

For more information on Electro-Mechanical and its divisions, which include Federal Pacific, Line Power and Electric Motor Repair & Sales, visit www.electro-mechanical.com.

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Sequoyah Council Collects More Than 4,000 Books to Benefit Hurricane Florence Victims

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — The Sequoyah Council, Boy Scouts of America collected 4,000 books for middle school students impacted by Hurricane Florence. The effort is part of the Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Project led by North Carolina Scout Councils to assist more than 58,000 students and their families whose homes and schools suffered extensive damage from historic rains and flooding this past September.

“Scouting encourages young people to recognize the needs of others and take action accordingly, and the support we received from our scouting community for this book drive was impressive,” says David Page, scout executive/CEO of the Sequoyah Council. “We are grateful for those who contributed to this wonderful cause, and hope this act of kindness and generosity makes the holiday season a little brighter for these students and their families.”

The Sequoyah Council was one of three councils in the East Tennessee region to participate in the Hurricane Florence Disaster Library Relief Project, which collected more than 15,000 books for students in eastern North Carolina cities, including Jacksonville, Trenton, New Bern, Morehead City and Kinston.

The books, collected by Scouts and their families, along with the Friends of the Washington County Public Library volunteer organization and community partners, were shipped to the East Carolina Boy Scout Council in Kinston. They will be distributed to students at 46 schools that lost inventory in their libraries as a result of water damage and mold growth following the category 4 storm.

For more information about the Sequoyah Council, visit www.scbsa.org or call 423-952-6961.

About the Sequoyah Council

One of the country’s first Boy Scouts of America programs, the Sequoyah Council has helped mold and shape the lives of more than 1 million young people since its founding in 1931. Each year, the council serves more than 5,800 youth and adults throughout a 16-county service area in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

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For more information, contact David Page,
scout executive/CEO, Sequoyah Council, Boy Scouts of America,
at david.page@scouting.org or 423-952-6961.

General Shale Acquires Watsontown Brick Company, Extending Company’s Presence into Northeastern U.S.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — General Shale, a leading U.S. manufacturer of brick, announces that it has signed an agreement to acquire 110-year-old Watsontown Brick Company, producer of some of the most traditionally crafted brick products in the U.S., at the end of this year.

The acquisition adds a unique, high-quality brick line to General Shale’s extensive masonry products, and expands the company’s presence in the Eastern United States and Canada.

Headquartered in Watsontown, Pennsylvania, Watsontown Brick Company is a third-generation manufacturer that produces a variety of face, thin and molded bricks, along with high-quality pavers, in a wide range of colors, sizes and shapes. The company initially produced street pavers, which were used on city streets throughout the Northeast, and grew its product line to include residential, commercial and architectural brick products. Today, Watsontown Brick employs approximately 50 individuals and operates three production plants that manufacture 92 million brick units annually.

“We are excited to bring this outstanding company into the General Shale group as this acquisition will only strengthen our position as a leader in the U.S. brick industry,” says Charles Smith, president and CEO of General Shale. “Watsontown Brick will expand General Shale’s presence throughout the Northeast and fortify our strong commercial and architectural platform, providing the opportunity for potential growth in new markets and for future consolidation. Both of our companies are dedicated to maintaining our solid customer and distributor relationships as this will only improve our ability to better serve our customers. We are pleased to welcome Watsontown Brick into the General Shale family.”

Going forward, Watsontown Brick Company will retain its name as a subsidiary of General Shale. Mike Fisher, former owner of Watsontown Brick, will serve the company in an advisory capacity.

ABOUT GENERAL SHALE

Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2018, General Shale is one of North America’s largest brick, stone and concrete block manufacturers. The company offers an endless array of sizes, colors and textures in a wide variety of masonry materials to complete any residential, commercial or specialty architectural project. These materials include brick, thin masonry, stone, outdoor living products, concrete block and various building materials, which include Arriscraft® Stone and Pipelife Jet Stream products.

Throughout the U.S. and Canada, General Shale operates 37 sales and manufacturing facilities, in addition to a network of more than 300 affiliated distributors across North America. The company grew even stronger in 1999 when it joined Wienerberger AG of Vienna, Austria, the world’s largest brick manufacturer. With a life cycle of more than 100 years, the sustainability of brick is General Shale’s commitment to responsible stewardship.

General Shale is headquartered in Johnson City, Tennessee. For more information, visit www.generalshale.com.

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WCSA Receives $18.5 Million in USDA Rural Development Funding for Sewer Expansion Project

ABINGDON, Va. ― The Washington County Service Authority (WCSA) recently received $18.5 million in financial assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

The funding package includes an RUS grant in the amount of $9,165,000 and an RUS loan in the amount of $9,355,000. The funding will be used to extend sanitary sewer to residents and businesses along Lee Highway and Jonesboro Road between Exit 13 and the city of Bristol, Virginia.

“We are delighted to receive RUS funding to help us provide crucial sewer services to more of our community members,” says Robbie Cornett, general manager of WCSA. “This is one of the largest grants in WCSA’s history. When constructed, this project will provide the backbone for a sewer conveyance system along the Lee Highway corridor area, and will also enable WCSA to extend public sewer service from the conveyance system into neighborhoods along these two corridors.”

When the overall sewer expansion project is complete, approximately 842 existing residents and businesses will have access to public sewer service.

“We are very excited about the prospect of obtaining sewer service for this area,” says Dwayne Ball, member of the Washington County Board of Supervisors, who represents the Wilson election district. “I believe that it will be a great asset to the area and will promote business growth in the county. Many neighborhoods in the area will benefit from the line extension as well. I greatly appreciate the work that Robbie Cornett and the Washington County Service Authority did in procuring the grant. I would also like to thank Rep. Morgan Griffith and his staff for their efforts in the process. Our board looks forward to working with them on future endeavors.”

The RUS administers programs that provide much-needed infrastructure or infrastructure improvements to rural communities. These include water and waste treatment, electric power and telecommunications services. All of these services play a critical role in helping to expand economic opportunities and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Utilities programs connect rural residents to the global economy by developing reliable and affordable rural water and wastewater systems, among other services, systems and technologies.

“Several years ago, the board of supervisors and WCSA’s board of commissioners commissioned a study on the provision of sewer service in the Exit 13 area,” Cornett says. “Since that time, we have been fortunate to achieve several projects that have benefited a number of residents and businesses in the Exit 13 area. This newest project is the next step in a long line of forward-thinking objectives that will help bring public sewer service to this portion of Washington County.”

The RUS-funded project will involve the construction of nearly 67,000 feet of force main line, more than 42,000 feet of gravity sewer line and four pumping stations. The project is currently in the planning stages and will be completed in a series of phases.

More About WCSA

The WCSA serves approximately 22,000 water connections and approximately 2,300 wastewater connections in Washington County, Virginia, and surrounding areas. The water system consists of approximately 900 miles of water line, a 12-million-gallon-per-day surface water treatment plant, a 2.5-million-gallon-per-day membrane filtration plant, two springs, one well, 29 pump stations and 22 water storage tanks. The wastewater system consists of approximately 70 miles of wastewater collection lines, 29 lift stations and two wastewater treatment plants. For more information about WCSA, visit www.wcsawater.com.

 

###

For additional information, contact Robbie Cornett,
general manager, at 276-628-7151, ext. 224.

WCSA Earns Top Ranking in Operations, Performance for Eighth Consecutive Year

ABINGDON, Va. – For the eighth consecutive year, the Washington County Service Authority (WCSA) has been awarded the highest possible ranking in operations and performance excellence for water utilities by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

WCSA received a 2017 Excellence in Waterworks/Operations Performance Award for the Middle Fork Drinking Water Plant following a 12-month analysis of data by the VDH Office of Drinking Water.

Each year, through Virginia’s Optimization Program, the VDH recognizes drinking water plants that perform above and beyond minimum standards by optimizing and running their treatment process efficiently and effectively. The primary purpose of the program is to reduce risks to public health associated with drinking water.

Of the 131 conventional surface water treatment plants evaluated by the VDH during 2017, WCSA was among 35 that received a gold award, while 50 received either silver or bronze awards.

“WCSA has the largest permitted capacity and serves the largest number of service connections in the Mount Rogers Planning District, and has consistently been a top performer in the Virginia Optimization Program,” says Eric R. Herold, PE, VDH district engineer for the Mount Rogers Planning District. “Of the 11 conventional surface water plants in our district, WCSA’s Middle Fork Drinking Water Plant was one of eight plants to receive a gold award.”

The mission of Virginia’s Optimization Program is “to encourage waterworks to provide water with a quality that exceeds minimum regulatory standards (i.e., as perfect as possible) and to operate water systems in an exemplary manner (i.e., as effective and functional as possible).”

“We are truly honored to have received this top-level performance score for eight years in a row,” says Robbie Cornett, general manager of WCSA. “This award demonstrates WCSA’s long-standing commitment to providing a safe, dependable supply of drinking water at a reasonable cost for our customers that meets or exceeds the standards set forth by the VDH.”

Over a period of time, through research and plant performance studies conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Water Works Association and the waterworks industry, the VDH has developed performance goals for clarification and filtration processes in surface water treatment plants. For Virginia’s Optimization Program, drinking water programs throughout the commonwealth submit monthly operation reports containing operational data.

More About WCSA

The WCSA serves approximately 22,000 water connections and approximately 2,300 wastewater connections in Washington County, Virginia, and surrounding areas. The water system consists of approximately 900 miles of water line, a 12-million-gallon-per-day surface water treatment plant, a 2.5-million-gallon-per-day membrane filtration plant, two springs, one well, 29 pump stations and 22 water storage tanks. The wastewater system consists of approximately 70 miles of wastewater collection lines, 29 lift stations and two wastewater treatment plants. For more information about WCSA, visit www.wcsawater.com.

###

For additional information, contact Robbie Cornett,
general manager, at 276-628-7151, ext. 224.

Farris Funeral Service to Host Second Annual Holiday Food Drive

ABINGDON, Va. — Farris Funeral Service & Crematory is again taking action against hunger in the Washington County community by hosting its second annual holiday food drive.

“Ecumenical Faith in Action relies on the generosity of Washington County residents to help make a difference in the lives of our neighbors,” says Kim Farris-Luke, president and owner of Abingdon-based Farris Funeral Service & Crematory. “The holidays can be especially tough for those who are less fortunate or may be suffering in our community. This event provides us with the opportunity to volunteer our time and resources, and lend support to those who need an extra hand this holiday season.”

Residents of Washington County and surrounding areas who want to participate are asked to donate a non-perishable canned food item or jar of peanut butter during the food drive. Donations will be accepted Saturday, Nov. 24 through Thursday, Dec. 20, and may be placed under the Christmas tree in the lobby of the Main Street Chapel, located at 427 East Main St. in Abingdon, Virginia, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

All collected donations will be distributed by Ecumenical Faith in Action, a nonprofit organization located in Abingdon that provides food, medical and financial assistance, and counseling to more than 1,350 individuals each month.

For more information, call (276) 623-2700 or email farrisdirector@gmail.com.

About Farris Funeral Service & Crematory

Founded in 1952, Farris Funeral Service & Crematory is the only Washington County, Virginia, funeral home that has been owned and managed by the same family throughout its history. This continuity provides the organization unparalleled perspective on the services, administrative assistance and emotional support needed during the bereavement process. Farris’ spacious facilities offer a number of conveniences, including a full-service reception center available for gatherings and meals, comfortable meeting areas and ample parking. Administrative offerings include assistance with the filing of essential documents, as well as a number of grief education and counseling programs. For more information, call (276) 623-2700 or visit www.farrisfuneralservice.com.

 

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For more information, contact Kim Farris-Luke,
president/owner of Farris Funeral Service & Crematory,
at 276-623-2700.

Benjamin Walls to Make Fifth Smithsonian Museum Appearance – Celebration Planned in Bristol

Bristol, Va.— A new image by Benjamin Walls will be featured in the Windland Smith Rice International Awards exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. This is Walls’ fifth image to be featured at the Smithsonian. He will be recognized during the opening reception at the Smithsonian on Thursday, Nov. 15.

Named after Windland Smith Rice, a photographer and conservationist, the 23rd annual Nature’s Best Photography Awards exhibition presents breathtaking fine art prints and short videos that highlight the best of nature photography. Walls’ image, titled “Zebra Hide,” was acclaimed as Highly Honored in the African Wildlife category. The image was one of 60 images selected to be displayed out of more than 26,000 entries from 59 countries.

“Zebra Hide” depicts the thin stripes of an endangered Grevy’s Zebra from the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. The image is one of five works in Walls’ new Hide series, currently on display at the Benjamin Walls Fine Art Gallery, located at 701 State Street in downtown Bristol, Virginia. Additionally, the work will be published in the 2018 Fall/Winter Special Collector’s Edition of Nature’s Best Photography Magazine.

“Human cultures around the world have traditionally used animal hides in their homes for both form and function, and we have a natural affinity for wild and exotic animal hides,” Walls says. “With this new series, I’m bringing a wild element into my collectors’ personal spaces — pieces that portray an animal’s essence, without any distractions.

“We all know zebras have stripes, but I want this piece to speak to the mesmerizing power and complexity of those stripes. We tend to forget that African animals are threatened, but I want folks to remember that this majestic animal, which is the largest and most threatened of the three species of zebra, remains endangered. There are only 2,000 of these majestic Grevy’s zebras left in the wild. We all have a role to play in conservation, and it starts with awareness.”

The Benjamin Walls Gallery will host a reception from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, at the State Street location to celebrate Walls’ most recent accolade. Members of the public are invited to attend and hear the story behind Walls’ new Hide series at 7 p.m., followed by the unveiling of his new work from Grandfather Mountain. A book signing will take place at 8 p.m. Admission to the event is $10 and free-of-charge for collectors of the Benjamin Walls Gallery. Special pricing on Walls’ work will take place in conjunction with the celebration.

Walls is the winner of seven international awards, and his work has been displayed in more than four dozen museums in 12 countries. The Benjamin Walls Gallery earned top honors in the Best Art Gallery category of Virginia Living Magazine’s 2018 Best of Virginia Awards. Additionally, Walls is a recipient of the 2017 Arts Achievement Award presented by the Arts Alliance Mountain Empire (AAME) and A! Magazine for the Arts for his contributions to the arts in the Tri-Cities region, and for serving as a mentor and source of inspiration for others.

About Benjamin Walls

Benjamin Walls is a results-oriented environmentalist and community advocate whose work benefits local community and environmental charities. An internationally recognized artist, Walls has traveled more than 1 million miles over the past 12 years, photographing on every continent save Antarctica, and has established himself as the artist to watch in the fastest-growing segment of the visual arts — fine art photography. In 2015, Walls leveraged his extensive travel expertise in Africa to establish WALLS about Travel which offers exceptionally crafted, personalized journeys for small or private groups to his most intriguing African destinations. He currently serves on the Roots& Shoots and Development Committee for the Jane Goodall Institute, a global community conservation organization that promotes the understanding and protection of chimpanzees and their habitat. Walls currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina, where he is pursuing the establishment of a second gallery. For more information about Benjamin Walls or the Benjamin Walls Fine Art Gallery, visit www.benjaminwalls.com.

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For more information, contact Anita Melchor Slavkoff, special projects director,
Benjamin Walls Gallery, by phone 877-989-2557, ext. 8,
email anita@benjaminwalls.com,
or visit the company at www.benjaminwalls.com.

Five-Time Smithsonian Exhibitor Seeks to Open Second Gallery in Downtown Asheville

Asheville, N.C.— A new image by Asheville resident Benjamin Walls will be featured in the Windland Smith Rice International Awards exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Walls will be recognized during the opening cocktail reception at the Smithsonian on Thursday, Nov. 15. This is his fifth image to be featured at the Smithsonian.

The 23rd annual awards exhibition presents breathtaking fine art photographs that highlight the best of nature photography. Walls’ image, titled “Zebra Hide,” was acclaimed as Highly Honored in the African Wildlife category. The image was one of 60 images selected to be displayed out of more than 26,000 entries from 59 countries.

“Zebra Hide” depicts the thin stripes of an endangered Grevy’s Zebra from the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. The image is one of five works in Walls’ new Hide series, currently on display at the original Benjamin Walls Fine Art Gallery, located at 701 State Street in downtown Bristol, Virginia. Additionally, the work will be published in the 2018 Fall/Winter Special Collector’s Edition of Nature’s Best Photography Magazine.

“We all know zebras have stripes, but I want this piece to speak to the mesmerizing power and complexity of those stripes,” Walls says. “We tend to forget that African animals are threatened, but I want folks to remember that this majestic animal, which is the largest and most threatened of the three species of zebra, remains endangered. There are only 2,000 of these majestic Grevy’s zebras left in the wild. We all have a role to play in conservation, and it starts with awareness.”

Walls is the winner of seven international awards, and his work has been displayed in more than four dozen museums in 12 countries. He is a results-oriented environmentalist and community advocate whose work often benefits local environmental charities including Friends of the Smokies and the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. Walls has long-standing ties to Western North Carolina and moved to Asheville in the spring in search of a retail location for his second signature gallery in the city’s downtown district.

“My two great passions in life are art and conservation, and I’ve long admired how those cultures thrive in Asheville. I’ve always wanted to open a gallery here, and I’m excited to finally give it a go.”

Walls has yet to secure a new space, but remains undeterred.

“Asheville is thriving, and I’m searching for a 3,000 square-foot space where I can welcome guests and display my work. This will be a long-term home for my second gallery, and I am confident my patience in finding the perfect spot will pay off.”

About Benjamin Walls

An internationally recognized artist, Walls has traveled more than 1 million miles over the past 12 years, photographing on every continent save Antarctica, and has established himself as the artist to watch in the fastest-growing segment of the visual arts — fine art photography. In 2015, Walls leveraged his extensive travel expertise in Africa to establish WALLSabout Travel which offers exceptionally crafted, personalized journeys for small or private groups to his most intriguing African destinations. He currently serves on the Roots & Shoots and Development Committee for the Jane Goodall Institute, a global community conservation organization that promotes the understanding and protection of chimpanzees and their habitat. For more information about Benjamin Walls or the Benjamin Walls Fine Art Gallery, visit www.benjaminwalls.com.

– end –

For more information, contact Anita Melchor Slavkoff, special projects director,
Benjamin Walls Gallery, by phone at 877-989-2557, ext. 8,
email anita@benjaminwalls.com,
or visit the company at www.benjaminwalls.com.

Farris Funeral Service November Learning Series Offers Advice on Coping with Grief During the Holidays

ABINGDON, Va. — Farris Funeral Service & Crematory will host the fourth installment of its 2018 Learning Series at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 19, at the Forest Hills Chapel, located at 19415 Lee Highway in Abingdon, Virginia.

Kim Farris-Luke, president and owner of Abingdon-based Farris Funeral Service & Crematory, will present “Hope for the Holidays: A Conversation About Grief.”

“Memories of good times and togetherness during the holiday season often serve to remind us of our loss,” Farris-Luke says. “Particularly in the first year, many bereaved are left with having to develop new holiday rituals and traditions. While there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holiday season after the death of a loved one, this event will provide attendees with insight into the grief process and tips for understanding and coping with these challenges.”

Admission is free-of-charge and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided, and each attendee will receive a keepsake and resource guide on dealing with grief during the holidays.

For more information or to RSVP, call (276) 623-2700 or email farrisdirector@gmail.com.

About Farris Funeral Service & Crematory

Founded in 1952, Farris Funeral Service & Crematory is the only Washington County, Virginia, funeral home that has been owned and managed by the same family throughout its history. This continuity provides the organization unparalleled perspective on the services, administrative assistance and emotional support needed during the bereavement process. Farris’ spacious facilities offer a number of conveniences, including a full-service reception center available for gatherings and meals, comfortable meeting areas and ample parking. Administrative offerings include assistance with the filing of essential documents, as well as a number of grief education and counseling programs. For more information, call (276) 623-2700 or visit www.farrisfuneralservice.com.

 

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For more information, contact Kim Farris-Luke,
president/owner of Farris Funeral Service & Crematory,
at 276-623-2700.

Farris Funeral Service October Learning Series Provides a Modern-Day Outlook on Cremation

ABINGDON, Va. — Farris Funeral Service & Crematory will host the second installment of its 2018 Learning Series at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, at the Forest Hills Chapel, located at 19415 Lee Highway in Abingdon, Virginia.

Mike Farris, manager of Abingdon-based Farris Funeral Service & Crematory, will present “A Contemporary Approach to Cremation” in an informal, question-and-answer/discussion setting.

“Cremation is a topic in which Washington County residents are beginning to express an interest, especially as the public’s preference for cremation continues to rise,” Farris says. “We often receive questions about the various options for a cremation service, if there are any rules or regulations for dispersing ashes in Northeast Tennessee or Southwest Virginia, and if you can have a private or public viewing prior to a cremation ceremony. We look forward to providing participants with the opportunity to learn more about cremation and answering their questions.”

The event is free-of-charge and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.

For more information or to register, call (276) 623-2700 or email farrisdirector@gmail.com.

About Farris Funeral Service & Crematory

Farris Funeral Service & Crematory celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2017, and is the only Washington County, Virginia, funeral home that has been owned and managed by the same family throughout its history. This continuity provides the organization unparalleled perspective on the services, administrative assistance and emotional support needed during the bereavement process. Farris’ spacious facilities offer a number of conveniences, including a full-service reception center available for gatherings and meals, comfortable meeting areas and ample parking. Administrative offerings include assistance with the filing of essential documents, as well as a number of grief education and counseling programs. For more information, call (276) 623-2700 or visit www.farrisfuneralservice.com.

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For more information, contact Kim Farris-Luke,
president/owner of Farris Funeral Service & Crematory,
at 276-623-2700.