Monelison Middle School's archery team does a cheer while competing at a March 9 state tournament in Doswell. Submitted

Monelison archery team excels at state tournament

Monelison Middle’s School archery team had another stellar year at the Virginia State archery tournament March 9 in Doswell.  After finishing first in the regional tournament in January, Monelison came in fourth at states in the Bullseye tournament. Qualifying as individuals were Colin Meeks, Jesse Smith, Adrianna Smith, Maggie Campbell and Katie Bloom.

Monelison also had a team entered in the 3D division that finished with a third place win. Timothy Casey, Smith and Bloom also qualified as individuals in this event.

Students will compete at the National Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky in May.

Community gathering planned on US 29 beautification efforts

The Route 29 Business Beautification Corridor Committee invites residents to a community meeting Thursday, April 4 on beautification efforts for U.S. 29 Business in Madison Heights.

The county committee meets often during the year to discuss ways to beautify the corridor. In November, those efforts included planting a slew of trees along well-traveled areas. Removing old signs also has been part of the committee’s initiative.

Other plans include putting banners on poles along the roadway and having the Amherst logo on the Amherst County Service Authority’s water tank located in close distance to businesses such as Lowes, Dairy Queen and McDonald’s.

“The county’s getting some skin in the game,” Amherst County Director of Community Development Jeremy Bryant said of the beautification efforts at last Thursday’s county planning commission meeting.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Madison Heights Public Library, 200 River James Shopping Center. For questions, call the county’s community development department at (434) 946-9303.

SBC graduate to speak on taking part in Iditarod race

Just more than two weeks after completing the 2019 Iditarod, Sweet Briar College graduate Alison Lifka will make the trip to Virginia to speak at her alma mater. Lifka will give a public talk about her experience training for and racing in the Iditarod, 1,000-mile race in Alaska, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, in the Boxwood Room at the Conference Center, followed by a reception. On Wednesday, April 3, she will meet with groups of Sweet Briar students.

Lifka, an Asheville, North Carolina native, finished her first Iditarod in 13 days, 8.5 hours in 32nd place. A group of Sweet Briar alumnae were on hand in Anchorage to cheer Lifka on at the start of the race, and many more celebrated and cheered her all the way to the finish line, according to the college.

For more information on Likfa’s presentation, email Linda Fink at

VCCA to hold open house of art studios April 7

Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst will open its doors for a rare look into studios of writers, visual artists and composers in residence on Sunday, April 7.

The open house is from 4 to 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served and visitors can take a self-guided tour of the groups, including springtime views of the Blue Ridge foothills as well as VCCA’s extensive outdoor art collection.

VCCA hosts artist-fellows reguarly at its Mt. San Angelo facility across from Sweet Briar College.

VCCA Salon at Sweet Briar to feature documentary screening

Sweet Briar College’s monthly VCCA Salon will feature a feature-length documentary screening of “Instructions of Parting” directed by artist and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow Amy Jenkins. The screening will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4 in the 1948Theater in the Fitness and Athletics Center on campus and is free and open to the public.

Over the course of one tumultuous year, Jenkins confronts the cancer diagnoses of her mother, sister and brother, and also welcomes her first child to life.

“Instructions on Parting” had its world premiere in New York City at Doc Fortnight, the Museum of Modern Art’s international festival of nonfiction film, in February 2018, and its international premiere at the Sydney Film Festival in Australia in June. It won Best Documentary at the Athens International Film and Video Festival in Ohio. Its New England premiere happened at the Independent Film Festival Boston last April and it was also screened at Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey and the Greenpoint Film Festival in Brooklyn. 

Jenkins’s artwork combines video, sculpture, performance writing and audio and focuses on family relationships, desire and gender identity. Her work has been exhibited, screened and published all over the world.

For more information about this VCCA Salon event and others, email Carrie Brown at

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