Welcome to The Clendenin Leader where you will find all things related to, and about, the Town of Clendenin, West Virginia and the surrounding Elk River Valley areas.
As with many businesses, The Clendenin Leader was primarily born out of need. After the 2016 Flood which devastated the Clendenin, Elkview, Clay, and surrounding areas, the public need for accurate information increased dramatically. Important rebuilding efforts are ongoing and will continue for many years; residentially, commercially, and with the local schools. The demand for solid information regarding these issues and others, has grown substantially, both locally and among Elk River natives now living far from home.
We at the Clendenin Leader are dedicated to providing a state-of-the-art, non-bias, professional platform intended to enlighten and inform our readers of local news and events.
Wherever you are, near or far, The Clendenin Leader will be here keeping it local, keeping it simple, and keeping it very real!
Thank you for joining us!
The Clendenin Leader Staff
Click on the sections below to learn more.
Our mission is to:
- Report and share reliable information, with the utmost integrity, to readers both near and far.
- Celebrate our people, both past and present, our achievements, our traditions, and our rich history by featuring business leaders, students, educators, athletes, and other interesting and accomplished people from our community.
- Include a wide variety of other useful information platforms such as classifieds, wedding and birth announcements, obituaries, church and school news and events, etc.
- Provide professional public forums for positive discussion, the sharing of ideas, as well as constructive debate associated with critical issues.
- Connect you instantly to public utility companies in the area, emergency management services, town government, and more!
Bottom line, The Clendenin Leader will be your information source and a one-stop-shop for all things related to Clendenin and the Elk River Valley.
There are many new faces, organizations, activities, and events taking place in our area now – post 2016 flood. Clendenin has a new town government and a new Planning Commission (facilitated by WVU). FEMA, WV VOAD, UMCOR, the Greater Kanawha Long-Term Recovery Committee, and other organizations are all still active in recovery efforts up and down Elk River, plus there are new recovery programs out there such as RiseWV. Demolition and rehabbing of homes, and the building of new ones continues with the help of government agencies, various organizations, volunteer recovery workers, and others. New economic development initiatives are being proposed and discussed between local leaders and the county, state and federal agencies, organizations and institutions. New and existing businesses are opening their doors. In addition, recovery issues involving our schools and the Kanawha County Board of Education are still ongoing as well.
Many of these organizations involved now, and the current issues brought on by the flood, are somewhat new and unfamiliar. Sure, we have had floods in the past, but nothing like 2016; it has changed everyone, and our community forever. Information regarding these important matters, as well as the normal news encompassing the community, is not currently available or reliable. The Clendenin Leader plans to change that!
The Future is NOW
We at The Clendenin Leader feel that any discussions or decisions regarding the future of our town, our community, and/or our schools, need to involve many voices and ideas; the process should be inclusive. In order for this to effectively happen however, people need to be informed of the facts and not just hearsay, rumor, or opinion. We intend to provide factual-based information, backed by documentation, sources, and interviews, so that those interested may fully enlighten themselves on the issues at hand. This will enable readers to better draw their own conclusions and voice their opinions based on accurate information.
Our online, state of the art technology platform will drive us into the future and open our community to the world. Area natives now living far from home will be able to keep tabs on news and events, and potential investors can monitor economic conditions for possible opportunities. We invite everyone to join us on the website and on social media, and encourage everyone to sign up for alerts to gain instant access to breaking news as it happens or becomes available.
The future is now, and The Clendenin Leader plans to be a part of it. Our site will be a living, breathing source of information about our Elk River communities. If you are connected to the Clendenin and Elk River Valley in anyway, you will want to check in with The Clendenin Leader daily. There is something of interest here for everyone, and new articles, news events, and stories will be added regularly. We pride ourselves in providing you with a quality product you can rely on.
WHO IS BEHIND THE CLENDENIN LEADER?
More About Susan Jack
A direct descendant of William Morris, first permanent white settler of the Great Kanawha Valley, Susan’s passion for the Elk River Valley runs deep. Prior to the 2016 Flood, Susan was in the process of relocating out-of-state, but in the midst of rising waters made a commitment to help her friends, neighbors, and strangers to help rebuild Clendenin, both as a private citizen volunteer, and also later as the Executive Director of the Greater Kanawha Long-Term Recovery Committee.
I'm No Outsider
I am the sixth great granddaughter of William Morris, the first permanent white settler of the Great Kanawha Valley. My branch of the family tree migrated up the Elk River and settled there around 1850. My mother is from Elkview and my father is from Clendenin. My great great grandparents on both sides of my family were store owners in the Elk River Valley in the early 1900s. One was owned by the Douglas Family on Wills Creek near Elkview, and the other owned by the Bird Family in the town of Clendenin. My grandparents were the original owners of a General Store on Frame Road called Snodgrass Grocery as well. It would later be sold to the Sams family of Elkview, and became commonly known as Sams Store.
I attended Clendenin Elementary, Clendenin Jr. High, and graduated from Herbert Hoover High School in 1981. My activities were music and the band, 4-H, horseback riding and showing, and school athletics.
I earned athletic scholarships and played basketball and volleyball for Garrett College in Maryland, and basketball and softball at the University of Charleston. I graduated from Garrett College with an Associate of Arts Degree, WV State College (now University) with a Regents Bachelors of Arts Degree, and Marshall University with a Master of Science Degree. In 2015, I was honored to be inducted into the Inaugural Garrett College Athletics Hall of Fame.
I began my professional career in heavy industry and construction, specializing in industrial safety and risk management. Through the years I established, owned, and operated numerous businesses, having later sold several of them.
I am a former faculty member of West Virginia University where I served as a County Extension Agent specializing in 4-H & Youth Development, Economic Development, and Families & Health Programs. I also worked with Advantage Valley and served as a Manager, Recruiter, and an Entrepreneurial Coach.
I am very passionate about my community, so in the days and months following the 2016 Flood, I made a decision to assist in any way I could. As circumstances would warrant, my volunteer activities extended to a ten month period.
I was humbled when notified that I had been nominated and later selected to receive the SBA’s 2017 National Phoenix Award for Disaster Recovery by a Volunteer, and accepted the award in Washington DC on behalf of the people of the town of Clendenin, and of the Elk River Valley.
I am currently employed as the Executive Director of the Greater Kanawha Long-Term Recovery Committee, specializing in volunteer construction coordination, post 2016 Flood. I proudly serve alongside Mark and Stacy as co-owner/operator of The Clendenin Leader as well, where we each share a collective vision to help rebuild Clendenin and the surrounding Elk River Valley areas.
More About Mark Burdette
Mark is the adopted son of Marguerite “Peggy” Ann Oakes Shamblin of Pinch, West Virginia who graduated from Clendenin High School in 1960 and Sammy Ray Burdette of Charleson (Crede), West Virginia who graduated from Elkview High School in 1961. He calls the Elk River Valley his home. Always has, always will. Not being directly impacted by the 2016 Flood, Mark was drawn into a supporting role to help Susan and Stacy with their own personal experiences, as the flood had impacted their lives in very different ways. This was the catalyst that brought them all together to pursue the creation of The Clendenin Leader.
Growing Up on ``The River``
Growing up on Elk River is very special to me and I’m very proud to call it my home. I’m fortunate to say that most of my memories are good ones, compared to the few not so good ones. I’m lucky that I still have many friends on the river, and with this new endeavor I’m looking forward to crossing paths again. I’m truly excited about our new business and the positive impact I hope we will have on the community I love.
I started my elementary school career in Pinch just a short walk from the house where I grew up. Next thing I know I’m riding a school bus each day living the awkward days of middle school. They called it “Junior High School” back in those days. Upon completion of my 8th grade year I decided to go to Elk Valley Christian School to begin high school, which was one of the best decisions of my life. I successfully completed high school and become an official member of the Class of 1990.
The next fall I was college bound and choose to stay close to home to attend WVU Tech majoring in pre-engineering. I quickly figured out that I was no engineer. To be even closer to home I went to WV State University that following spring majoring in Business Administration. At that time I was beginning to question whether college was for me and took a break to explore other options.
I gave college one last ditched effort in 1993 by attending the University of Charleston majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Accounting. After 39 hours of college credit I decided to depart higher education to pursue my entrepreneurial career.
I began my professional career in light industry, retail and insurance sales, and eventually entered the technology industry, where I quickly found my home. Through a series of fortunate events I became of the co-founders of Citynet, one of West Virginia’s fastest growing and largest Internet Service Providers at the time, and secured venture capital to fund its rapid growth. With the support of an amazing team by my side, I helped lead Citynet through it’s acquisition by City National Bank for a strategic venture in Internet banking.
For the next five years I continued my career in the technology arena before deciding to switch directions. I became an advocate for entrepreneurship as an economic development strategy. This lead to various initiatives across the state of West Virginia, which became a platform for my passion to help entrepreneurs throughout the state.
Over the past seven years I have been active in several startups and existing businesses to help them grow to the next level. I currently own Spark Magnet Media and serve as the business manager and co-owner of Triquetra Marketing LLC, a branding and marketing company serving clients all over the country. I also proudly serve alongside Susan and Stacy as co-owner/operator of The Clendenin Leader, where we each share a collective vision to help rebuild Clendenin and the surrounding Elk River Valley areas.
More About Stacy Nelson
Stacy was born in Missouri and grew up in Glenville, West Virginia, spending several years after college in Virginia and New York. Stacy decided to return to West Virginia after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Stacy had no connections to Clendenin or the Elk River Valley area prior to the 2016 Flood. Compelled to help, she enlisted the assistance of her team, and created the www.WVFlood.com website and accompanying social media sites, to act as a platform to get necessary supplies to the affected areas immediately following the flood.
Small Town Girl
I grew up in the small town of Glenville, West Virginia. In 1985, while returning from a class trip to Charleston, on a bus with my classmates, we found ourselves stranded at a neighboring school harboring the storm that devastated the town of Glenville and flooded my home. Even as a teenager, I was in awe at the compassion, kindness, and unity that I observed as those communities recovered over the weeks and months that followed.
I attended Glenville Elementary School, Gilmer County High School, and graduated from Glenville State College before relocating to the Richmond, Virginia area. My interests early on included photography, writing, design, and computer applications; all of which are skills that helped to define my career.
Immediately following college I began my professional career in the printing and marketing industries, where I discovered I had a knack for quickly solving problems. After moving to New York I entered the manufacturing industry, where I was able to hone my problem solving skills while learning the mechanics of the automotive sector.
After the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, I decided that I wanted to return to West Virginia to provide a safer environment for my children. It was in West Virginia that I was introduced to the swimming pool and outdoor living industry. After nearly a decade in this space, I migrated to entrepreneurship, creating Triquetra Marketing LLC, a marketing and consulting agency. A few years later I created Backyard Mamma, where I had the pleasure of designing sets for television shows and creating amazing backyard spaces throughout the country.
As I began to see posts on social media about the rising waters in the southern part of the state, I felt compelled to help. It became apparent to me early on that many of my fellow West Virginian’s were quickly going to be in need of food, water, and basic necessary living essentials. I knew that West Virginian’s would step up and help their neighbors in need; however, I was concerned that there may not have been a platform to allow them to know exactly where supplies would be needed and the types of supplies required. With the assistance of my son, who was my IT manager, we worked through the night and created the first version of the www.wvflood.com website, along with Facebook and Twitter pages. We were quickly able to connect communities in need of supplies with fire departments, who had been accepting donations. Members of my team volunteered to help further develop the website and collect data. Within a day, we enlisted the help of volunteers to help collect the needs of each community, coordinate with fire departments for deliveries, and reach out to national brands for donated items. This is when I met Mark Burdette, who reached out to help us early on.
There was not much media coverage of the flood early on due to the presidential election coverage, so I knew that local communication was necessary. When it became apparent to me that the information we had been collecting would be necessary for state officials to continue to manage the situation long term, I contacted Governor Tomblin’s office, who pointed me in the right direction so that the website and all accompanying data could be managed for and accessible by necessary officials.
Mark Burdette now serves as the Business Manager and co-owner of Triquetra Marketing LCC, and I proudly serve alongside Susan and Mark as co-owner/operator of The Clendenin Leader, where we each share a collective vision to help rebuild Clendenin and the surrounding Elk River Valley areas.