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Local Business and Economic Development

Gov. Ralph Northam

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) –  Gov.  Northam says he has restored voting and other civil rights to more than 22,000 felons who have completed their sentences since taking office last year.Northam announced the milestone Wednesday. The restored rights include the right to vote, serve on a jury and run for public office.The Democratic governor previously announced in February that he’d restored rights to more than 10,000 felons.His predecessor, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, made undoing a vestige of the state’s Jim Crow era and restoring voting a hallmark of his term in office and restored the rights of more than 170,000 felons.Virginia is one of a handful of states that permanently limit the civil rights of people convicted of a felony barring gubernatorial intervention.

SML Packaging is expanding – and moving from its currently Lynchburg home to larger space on Venture Drive Forest. The Bedford County Economic Development Authority says SML will invest $650,000 and add four jobs over the next three years. The company makes custom packaging machinery needs for the glass and bottling industry. It currently employs seven full-time workers.

NEWS RELEASE: The Bedford County Office of Economic Development, in partnership with the Economic Development Authority (EDA), is pleased to welcome SML Packaging, LLC to Bedford County. The bottle machine manufacturer will lease a 22,000 square foot space on Venture Drive in Forest and plans to invest $650,000 and add four new jobs over the next three years.

SML Packaging was established in the Lynchburg region in 2005 to meet the custom packaging machinery needs for the glass and bottling industry, such as craft beer and wine producers. The company employs seven full time employees and will add four more at its new location in Forest.

A Forest company is expanding, planning to add eight jobs over the next three years. Valtim Marketing Solutions will invest $750,000 to increase its envelope production capacity. Valtim current employs 96 full-time workers.

NEWS RELEASE: Bedford, Virginia—The Bedford County Office of Economic Development, in partnership with the Economic Development Authority, is pleased to announce that Valtim Marketing Solutions, Inc. will expand its operation in Forest and invest $750,000, adding eight new jobs over the next three years.

“Due to client demand and an industry shortage in envelope production, we are vertically integrating, bringing more industry solutions under one roof to better serve our customers”, said Tim Hamilton, President and CEO of Valtim. “We can now do larger production runs – from the thousands to the millions – with quicker turnaround.”

The company, located on Venture Drive in Forest, employs 96 full time people and plans to hire eight more employees over the next three years as it grows its envelope production capacity.


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A Virginia craft beer brewer is getting into the hard apple cider business with the state’s help.Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday that Apocalypse Ale Works in Bedford County is spending $300,000 to build Legacy Cider. News outlets report the new cidery will be attached to Apocalypse Ale Works’ existing production facility. Legacy Cider and Apocalypse owner Doug John says the current business climate is perfect for expansion, adding that the state’s climate also is perfect for apples.Northam approved a $12,000 grant through the state’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund. The new cidery plans to create up to eight new jobs and rely solely on Virginia apples. It’s expected to purchase about 12,150 bushels of Virginia-grown apples over the next three years.

Lynchburg Regional Airport officials say American Airlines will add a seventh daily round-trip flight between Lynchburg and Charlotte, effective Thursday, September 5th. In addition, American will bring a larger regional jet in October to one of the existing flights, increasing seating capacity to and from LYH even more. Here is the full news release:



RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia will hold its annual three-day sales tax holiday this weekend.The tax holiday is meant to help families save money on back-to-school purchases and to encourage Virginians to take necessary precautions during hurricane season.Consumers can purchase eligible items from Friday through Sunday without paying state and local sales tax.Eligible products include school supplies that cost $20 or less per item, and clothing and footwear that cost $100 or less per item.Hurricane and emergency preparedness items include: portable generators, $1,0 or less; gas-powered chain saws, $350 or less; chain saw accessories, $60 or less; and other hurricane preparedness products, $60 or less.A detailed list of qualifying items can be found on the Virginia Tax website.

With Father’s Day this weekend, a study shows that Virginia is a much better state for working dads than for working moms. WLNI’s Ian Price has more:

06-14 Working Dads WLNI-WRAP

Full results to the Wallet Hub study looking at the “best states for working dads” can be found by clicking here

You can see the full results for the “best states for working moms” study by clicking here

River Ridge Mall is planning a multi-million-dollar redevelopment, with work scheduled to begin by the end of this month. The initial phase involves a total remodel of the mall’s center court — it will include an amphitheater and a more modern look. The rest of River Ridge will see remodeling work over the next two years.

Reporter Andre Whitehead spoke with mall Spokesperson Katie Farris, who described what to expect during that first phase of work:

06-13 Farris Bite-WLNI-WEB

NEWS RELEASE: A planned redevelopment of Lynchburg’s River Ridge Mall is scheduled to begin this summer. The plans for River Ridge include a multi-million-dollar remodel with a state-of-the-art renovation of the interior of the property beginning with the center court area. This area currently includes national retailers such as Belk, American Eagle Outfitters, New York & Company, Finish Line and soon-to-open SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium. All stores will remain open during the remodel.

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