Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 28, 2013

Safety net: Summer concert gets Tazewell boost

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— With help from the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, a popular summer tradition in our region will continue this year. The board agreed last week to award the Second Chance Learning Center a $50,000 grant with $45,000 of the funding as a repayable loan.

The funds will be used to help begin booking entertainment for the third annual Second Chance Rocks the Two Virginia’s concert — an event that attracts thousands to the region each summer while also bringing nationally recognized headline entertainers to the area.

It’s a new tradition that families across the region look forward to each summer. And it will continue this summer thanks to the Tazewell board.

The summer concert serves a dual purpose of entertaining the region while also raising funds for the continued operation of the Second Chance Learning Center, which operates classrooms in Bluefield, Va., and Tazewell.

The learning center — founded by Tazewell native Billy Wagner, a standout relief pitcher for 16 years in the major leagues — provides free counseling, mentoring and tutoring to high school students who are at risk of dropping out of high school. The learning center is a true asset to our region, and area families and children.

Robinson asked the Tazewell board for help last week. Acting on a motion by Eastern District Supervisor Charles Stacy and seconded by Northern District Supervisor Thomas Childress, the board voted unanimously to award Second Chance a $50,000 grant with $45,000 of it repayable.

“This is what I need to make my commitments for the concert,” Erik Robinson, executive director of Second Chance Learning Center, told the board. “I have the greatest sponsors anyone could want. We have a lot of support for the concert.”

Robinson said the funds from Tazewell County provide the concert organizers a “safety net” allowing officials to begin planning and scheduling for this year’s show. He predicted that officials with the concert would be able to repay the loan portion of the grant well before it is due.

Robinson did not release any details about the concert line-up or date, but suggested that those announcements should be coming in the not-too-distant future.

As we all remember, last year’s concert didn’t go off quite as planned — thanks to the destructive derecho storm that blew through the region.

However, it was rescheduled, and thousands still enjoyed the fun  provided by headliners Eric Church and Jake Owen.

We look forward to a forthcoming announcement about this year’s entertainment. And we applaud the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, and Wagner and Church, for working to continue this popular summer tradition in our region.

It’s another reason to look forward to summer.