Panel Created To Help Va's Tobacco Region Meeting

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) â¿¿ A commission created to spark development in southwest and Southside Virginia is set to discuss its efforts to help communities hurt by manufacturing and agricultural job losses.

The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission is scheduled to meet Tuesday in Richmond.

According to its most recent annual report, the commission spent about $116 million for 124 grants in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

That includes $28 million to help build industrial and commercial "mega-sites" to attract new businesses and more than $16 million to fund energy and biotechnology research. It also has provided grants for numerous economic development projects.

The commission targets communities that have the highest unemployment rates. It uses bond money from Virginia's share of the $206 billion national settlement against the tobacco industry.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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