The Clendenin Library has been open for four months in its new/temporary location after a two year absence due to the 2016 flood in Clendenin. Located in the old Middle School building on Koontz Avenue, the library offers nearly all of the services that were available at the former library. The hours are: Tuesday and Thursday 10-8, Wednesday 12-6, Saturday 10-3.
Although the space is smaller, there are plenty of books, audiobooks, DVDs and music CDs. Other services the library offers includes public computers, Wi-Fi, and copy machine. The Clendenin Library is excited to be back in the community to provide these services.
Programs for all ages are also being offered as in the past. Monthly events are as follows:
Preschool Storytime—first three Thursdays each month at 11:00 a.m.
Teen Time—second Tuesday each month at 5:30 p.m.
Book Group—first Tuesday each month at 12:00 p.m. (For Adults and Seniors)
Purls and Chains, a knitting and crocheting group—first Thursday each month at 6:00 p.m. (For Teens through Seniors)
Many other programs and special events are held throughout the year and a calendar of these events is available at the library or on their website kanawhalibrary.org.
Make it a part of your routine to visit the library!
Elk River Boxing Club is located at 5522 Elk River Road, in Elkview, West Virginia. They currently offer kickboxing, karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu MMA classes for all ages and skill levels; however, according to Coach Rob Fletcher, they are in need of donated weight equipment. They are starting construction on a new weight room in order to expand on the services they are offering which also provides a positive outlet for youth in the community.
According to Fletcher, they currently have 10-15 school age members, many of which ride the bus to the gym after school each day. “A majority of the kids we work with are on our scholarship program. They usually arrive around 4:30 PM and the parents pick them up between 6:00 PM and 6:30 PM. We start each day with warm-up exercises and fitness training, then depending on which day it is, we have class in either boxing, Kick Boxing or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.” Fletcher wants to provide a safe, positive, drug-free environment for more kids, who may not be interested in combat sports. Fletcher continued, “I started working with the kids from the Elk River area in 2012 that would come to my gym in Charleston. Some I would pick up and take home and some caught the KRT to there. I could see a lot of these kids were in a place in their lives where they could choose two paths. My main objective has been to help the area kids, and if we can change a path some of these kids are on before it’s too late, then everything we do here is worth it.”
If anyone is interested in helping Elk River Boxing Club with their mission or has weight equipment they would like to donate, contact Rob Fletcher at (681) 313-6001. Check them out on Facebook.
Recently, The Clendenin Leader sat down with Briana Warner, Communications Director of Kanawha County Schools and Brette Fraley, Executive Director of Kanawha County Schools Pupil Transportation to address the bus driver shortage at the Elkview School Bus Terminal in Elkview, West Virginia.
Below is the full interview where you can learn more about this issue that has been in the news and the topic of online conversation.
We also touched on the change in start time that many parents on Elk River have been vocal about, especially as the weather begins to turn cooler and winter will be upon us.
We will continue to follow this story so be sure to stay connected to The Clendenin Leader and get engaged and let us know what you think about this these important issues related to our children and schools.
On October 13-14th, 2018, Clendenin Homecoming Festival Teen Queen-Lauren Gorman will be competing in the Miss West Virginia Teen USA competition held at the Creative Arts Center Lyell B Clay Theatre at West Virginia University. Lauren has placed in the Top 5 for the last two years at this pageant and was third runner-up last year. According to pageant director, Heather Rouch, “This year Lauren is in a great position to take the crown. If she does, she would then go on to represent at the Miss Teen USA pageant.”
Lauren is a scholar athlete and currently attends Roane County High School where she is a senior. She is actively involved in Varsity Volleyball and will also be leaving next week to prepare for New York Fashion Week where she is modeling for several designers.
Rouch indicated that sponsors are required for the competition. The Clendenin Homecoming Festival will be paying for her entry fee to compete; however, Lauren will need to prepare for competition and will need a wardrobe as well as beauty expenses. According to Rouch, sponsors will be listed in the official program, on the Miss Teen WV USA website as Lauren’s sponsor, and will be promoted on Gorman’s social media for the entire term of her reign. In addition, Gorman will be available for appearance opportunities.
Rouch stated, “Lauren is one of the most unique and amazing young women I’ve ever encountered. I could not think of a better person to represent our state at the Miss Teen USA pageant. She has been a wonderful representative for Clendenin and we are all so proud of her and can’t wait to see what she accomplishes in the future.”
If you are interested in helping to sponsor Clendenin Homecoming Festival Teen Queen, Lauren Gorman, to compete in the Miss West Virginia Teen USA Pageant, contact Heather Roush at email@example.com.
On Friday Elk River native Dean Jeffries (R) was sworn in as the newest member of the West Virginia House of Delegates. Jeffries will serve the people of the 40th District which covers the Elk River Valley area in Kanawha County replacing Tim Armstead’s vacancy upon his recent appointment to the WV Supreme Court.
Surrounded by close family and friends, Jeffries was sworn in by Judge Dan Greear as other key members of the House of Delegates were in attendance. The new Speaker of the House, Roger Hanshaw welcomed Jeffries by appointing him to the Joint Committee on Flooding effective immediately.
Jeffries said, “It was a great honor and blessing to have my family with me while I was sworn in by Judge Greear this morning to the WV House of Delegates. The response from the Elk River Community since being appointed has been overwhelmingly incredible. I love our people and our community. They were first and foremost in my heart as I took the oath today. The swearing-in ceremony today was for the Elk River Area. Those that were involved from the Legislature are well aware of my passion to serve the people of this District. I was welcomed with an antique photograph of the town of Clendenin and an appointment by the Speaker of the House to the Joint Committee on Flooding. Speaker Hanshaw understands my commitment to the revitalization of the Elk River Community. It was a huge honor to have Speaker Hanshaw’s confidence in me to place me on the Joint Committee for Flooding. I am excited and ready to serve the 40th District and the Great State of West Virginia. Before leaving my new office at the Capitol I placed a river rock from Queen Shoals in my desk drawer. I will never forget why I am there or who I am there to serve. God bless the Elk River Area and the Wonderful State of West Virginia!!”
Jeffries will face Melissa Riggs Huffman (D) in the general election on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
Listen to Dean Jeffries swearing-in ceremony and acceptance speech.
The Clendenin Leader recently reached out to Briana Warner, Communications Director with Kanawha County Schools to learn more about the bus shortage that is currently affecting the Elk River area.
According to Warner the Elkview bus garage is the largest terminal in Kanawha County and is currently operating with a 35% shortage of drivers/runs being taken every day.
We offered Warner the opportunity to offer a statement to help the Elk River Community understand what exactly is going on and what they can do to help.
Here is the current list of open runs (meaning no permanent full-time assigned driver) or ones that cannot be run due to no drivers:
709 / 702 / 1103 /1109 / 1121 / 1114 / 1118 / 1204 / 1205 / 1211 / 1212 / 1213 / 1214 / 1215 / 1218 / 1219/ 1221 = total of 17 runs. “To break it down farther if you estimate 50 students per run x 3 runs per morning and 3 runs per afternoon = around 5,000 seats that cannot be offered to our students”, said Warner.
Currently, KCS has multiclass employees (mechanics, technicians, other transportation staff) running 1204, 1211, 1212, 1213, 1214.
The Kanawha County Board of Education and the Executive Director of Transportation are working on streamlining the training process so that they can maintain training and safety standards, but also move interested applicants through the process more quickly.
Anyone interested in becoming a bus driver can apply here:
A training class begins on Monday, Sept. 10 and they are working on further training classes now.
We have received several comments from concerned parents about the later start time in Kanawha County and asked Warner to comment on that issue as well.
Warner stated, “All of this is happening separately from the bell schedule change. If we ran last year’s schedule, we would be in a worse situation with more problems. This year’s schedule was designed for efficiency, but due to the shortage, we are not able to run as it is designed.”
Warner provided us the following link with additional details regarding the bus driver shortage and encourages everyone to take time to review.
CLENDENIN, WV – Earlier today Gov. Jim Justice announced that he has appointed Warren “Dean” Jeffries (R) to the House of Delegates seat in District 40. Jeffries fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Delegate Tim Armstead who himself was recently appointed to the WV Supreme Court.
The Clendenin Leader reached out to Jeffries for immediate comment on his recent appointment to the House of Delegates. Jeffries said, “I am humbled and honored by the governor‘s decision to appoint me to the seat vacated by former Speaker of the House, Tim Armstead. I love the Elk River Area and our great state. West Virginia is making a comeback. I will work as hard as I can to bring jobs to West Virginia so that those who love the state as much as I do can continue to call it home.”
According to Jeffries, his immediate priorities are to address the road issues plaguing Blue Creek area and Little Sandy Road along with school-related issues including the shortage of school bus drivers and the later start time that is specifically affecting Herbert Hoover High School. Jeffries went on to add that his number one priority is to bring jobs back to West Virginia and the Elk River. Jeffries said, “My heart is with Clendenin. Anything I can do for Clendenin I will. We’ve got to revitalize that town. My heart is there, I will tell you that.”
Mayor Shana Clendenin welcomed Jeffries’ appointment by saying, “Dean has been actively involved in the happenings of Clendenin and the Elk River for a long time. His appointment is a sensational victory for all of us in District 40.”
Jeffries’ appointment will conclude at the end of Armstead’s current term at the end of this year. Jeffries will be running against Melissa Riggs Huffman (D) for the 2-year term in District 40 coming up this November.
Jeffries, an insurance agent, resides in Elkview with his wife Stacey and four children, Tyler, Alexis, Brynn and Landon.
CLENDENIN, W.Va. – News started to spread last week on social media and throughout the Town of Clendenin and the surrounding Elk River community, that Josh Humphreys, Branch Director of the YMCA of Kanawha Valley was going to speak at Monday evening’s Clendenin Town Council Meeting. Just shy of a packed house, over 25 people from the community turned out, not counting town council members, town police and local media. Normally, these meetings aren’t as well attended, but on Monday, August 27, 2018, people came out to hear what Humphreys had to say.
Josh Humphreys, Branch Director with the YMCA of Kanawha Valley | Photo Credit: Mark Burdette
According to Humphreys, following the 2016 flood, he began working and advocating for the YMCA of Kanawha Valley to expand into, and serve, the Elk River Community. Recently he received the green light from YMCA CEO, Monty Warner to do just that. Several locations on Elk River have been scouted according to Humphreys, but all roads lead back to one building in particular, the old Clendenin Elementary School building. Humphreys toured the building extensively to determine the extent of damage, and stated, “Its not that bad.” He sees it as the most attractive and viable option in the Elk River Community.
Since the 2016 Flood there have been concerns from the local community about what exactly will happen to the historic Clendenin Elementary School building. Many from the community have expressed at previous Town Council meetings and Clendenin Planning Commission meetings, and on social media, the desire to explore how the building can be re-purposed to benefit the local community and perhaps the local economy as well. However, it is widely known among citizens in the community that a non-profit organization based in Clendenin called “25045 – A New Clendenin”, has been adamant to destroy the building and convert the site into a “greenspace” and walking area.
Rewind to sometime in 2017. FEMA representatives started holding meetings with “25045 – A New Clendenin”, that were not widely publicized, in which they jointly formulated a proposal to use FEMA dollars to demolish the old Clendenin Elementary School building rendering the site a “greenspace”. “25045 – A New Clendenin” has expressed publicly that if the building is signed over to the town, then it could become a burden to the town at some point and therefore they think it should be demolished and the property signed over to them.
The building is currently owned by the Kanawha County Board of Education and it is important to note here that there is no legal requirement to tear down the building. In fact, the building is somewhat protected due to its historical status. The KCBOE can choose to use FEMA funds for demolition now, and create a “greenspace”, however should the building remain in place, under different ownership, those funds would not be available for demolition later.
On August 3, 2017 the Town of Clendenin posted on their Facebook Page the “Notice of public meeting regarding the Section 106 review under the National Historic Preservation Act and the development of a Memorandum of Agreement for the demolition of Clendenin Elementary School, 503 Maywood Avenue East, Clendenin, WV seeking public comment to be held at the Clendenin Community Center, 101 First Street, Clendenin, WV 25045, August 17, 2017, 6:30 – 9:00 PM”.
The public meeting was held as scheduled, attendance was good, and FEMA representatives gave a presentation on their proposed use of the site in coordination with “25045 – A New Clendenin”. FEMA agreed to demolish the building, build a walking track around the area to include historical markers, insert a flagpole in the center of the grassy area, upgrade the ballfield, and pay for a painted mural on the Little League building. The Kanawha County Board of Education would transfer ownership to “25045 – A New Clendenin”.
The vast majority of citizens in attendance, and those who chose to speak at that meeting, where respectfully NOT in favor of this particular proposal. Comments of opposition varied from some pointing out that the town already had enough “greenspace”, to others that did not see the need for a walking track due to the fact that Clendenin was already a “walking town” with the topography being quite level all the way through town. It was also noted that there is a track just 2 miles downriver at the old Herbert Hoover High School complex. The underlying sentiment of the majority in attendance was that although they did not want to see the building remain empty or see it fall into disrepair, they would rather see the building re-purposed and/or see a better use of the resource than what was being proposed by FEMA and “25045 – A New Clendenin”. They also indicated that they would like to see something go in at that location that would draw people into town and felt that a “greenspace” and walking path would not accomplish that.
Despite those sentiments expressed at the public meeting by the majority of attendees, “25045 – A New Clendenin” continued to pursue the proposed plan anyway. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was drafted and executed by the following federal, state, and county agency representatives, as well as “25045 – A New Clendenin”, however, no signature lines were provided or required, for the Clendenin Town Council Members nor the Mayor of the Town of Clendenin. Many in Clendenin were left wondering why FEMA and the organization “25045 – A New Clendenin” even held a public meeting to begin with, if in the end, the majority opinion of the citizens did not matter, and their elected town officials were completely cut out of the process as well. Signatures included on the executed MOA include the following:
Emily E. Breslin, Public Assistance Branch Chief with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Fast forward to now. As of this date, the building still stands, and according to Humphreys, the historic Clendenin Elementary School building would be a perfect location for a new YMCA facility and would easily accommodate many of their popular programs that serve a wide-range of children, teens, adults and seniors.
Early in Humphreys presentation, he shared the following video that showed the services available and the positive impact the Y can have in a community.
Humphreys alluded to a lot of moving parts and community support required to pull off bringing a YMCA to the town of Clendenin. One possible scenario would be for the School Building Authority to donate the building to the town of Clendenin and access federal dollars to fix and renovate the building. According to Humphreys, the YMCA operates on three things: 1) a shoe-string budget, 2) donations, and 3) volunteers. He made it very clear that the YMCA does not have the money to come in and do this all on their own. They need the entire Elk River community to come together and help make this happen.
Councilman Dave Knight, a member of “25045 – A New Clendenin”, was the most vocal during Humphreys’s presentation stating, “We all would love to see a Y come here. You may want to consider other options because you are asking us, as Town Council, stewards of our tax dollars, to stick our necks out and in case it doesn’t work out, we will be left with it to have to demolish it.” Humphreys responded, “That is part of the reason I am here to tell the community it can’t work without the community getting involved and without everybody coming out, signing up and volunteering.” Knight added, “Well if you’re gonna buy this and do it, that would be great. As far as asking us to do it, I don’t see it myself.” To which a citizen replied, “What’s gonna happen to it? [Are] we just going to stand there and look at it for 100 years?” Knight emphatically responded, “It’s going to be torn down. There’s going to be a track put around it. There’s going to be “greenspace”. There’s going to be a splash park”. At this point the citizens began to rumble in disagreement. Humphreys jumped in to further explain that although there are a few locations that could work and house the YMCA, the old Clendenin Elementary School property would allow the YMCA to service the most amount of people in the community, from the very young to our seniors. Humphreys stated, “The more space we’ve got the more things we can do. That’s what it all boils down to.”
Clendenin Town Council Meeting on Monday, August 28, 2018 | Photo Credit: Mark Burdette
Humphreys went on to explain, “The CEO and the board members of the Y are on board and want to do something to serve the Elk River community.” He continued by expressing concerns of the YMCA board members, stating “They hear about the things that go on up here about the petulant infighting and ridiculous attitudes that some people have up here and it worries them a little bit that the community isn’t going to come together and get behind it.” Humphreys then detailed a vision for the Y, which eventually could serve the entire flood-affected area. The Coonskin pool could be converted to a year-round facility and a location could be set up in Clay. They would customize programs to fit the needs of the community, whether it be exercise classes, daycare, tutoring services, or many other program options. Humphreys further stated that Clendenin could be the central hub for the Y to service the Elk River communities.
In order to serve our community better, we have resources available to our readers on our website to make it easy for you to contact your town, local, state and federal officials (click the corresponding link).
Town resident and community volunteer, Midge Forwood made a great observation that a lot of the town’s patrons are not from Clendenin, but from the surrounding areas in Clay and Roane counties. Humphreys echoed that sentiment that those areas needed served as well and the Y is about serving the entire community.
Schoolcraft added, “There comes a time when you have to take a leap of faith. We can sit around as a community and whine for the next 20 years like I’ve heard for the last 50 years ‘there’s nothing to do, there’s nothing for our kids, we don’t have anything for the seniors, Clendenin is dead’, well…Pick up a shovel!”
Humphreys exclaimed, “What’s going to do the community the best, is what I want to strive for, is strive for the best.”
Susan Jack, community volunteer and co-owner of The Clendenin Leader agreed, “That’s right! We need to strive for the best and quit settling for second best, and we need to go big or go home! We’ve got tremendous potential in this town. We have to start thinking more of ourselves, and we have got to get out and recruit interest with people in Clay and Roane County and get them on board with us. Trust me, there is going to be a lot of people in Clay and Roane counties that will be just as excited about this as the people of Clendenin. Personally, I would love to see that school building saved. I know that’s a risk, but what isn’t in life? I would love to see the school building saved as opposed to more “greenspace”. We have a lot of “greenspace”, rail trails, and we have a walking town. I think it would be a great use of that resource if we can make that work.”
Clendenin Town Council Meeting on Monday, August 28, 2018 | Photo Credit: Mark Burdette
Anita Edmonds made the most profound quote of the evening saying, “When you think about it, every one of us took a risk when we put our houses back together. We didn’t have to do that. I think we all deserve this and I think it’s a good thing.”
Councilman John Shelton encouraged everyone to get involved and come out to the Town Council meetings and show your support if you want to a YMCA in your local community.
I asked Mayor Shana Clendenin what she believes is the next steps in pursuing this opportunity with the YMCA, and she said, “I believe the next steps are to band together and come up with a plan to secure funding for the project. I wholeheartedly believe in the capabilities of the YMCA and the immense opportunity their presence in Clendenin would have on not just the children, but for our adults and seniors as well. I have been working and talking with several key players for this project for a while now. Community support and togetherness is key in making this dream come true for Clendenin’s future.”
Many residents expressed a desire to see the Clendenin Elementary School building saved, and as expressed so eloquently by Midge Forwood, “It is part of our history”.
Clendenin resident Ruth Trembula also read a letter from Karen McClure, who wasn’t able to attend, to express her support for the YMCA to come to Clendenin and occupy the old Clendenin Elementary School building | Photo Credit: Mark Burdette
Local supporters of the YMCA coming to Clendenin have started a Facebook Group called Elk River Community FOR YMCA in Clendenin, WV. They have also created the following social media graphic to allow supporters to change out their Facebook profile picture to help spread the word and encourage others to support the cause. Just right click on the graphic below and save it to your computer or mobile device to upload it to your Facebook page and update your profile picture.
PINCH, W.Va. – For the 117th year in a row, the annual Pinch Reunion will be held from Friday, August 10th through Sunday, August 12th, 2018 in Pinch. WV.
Considered the oldest community reunion in the United States, the event was founded by Judge William Wertz, and originally included civic debates, music, and various community events.
This year’s Pinch Reunion weekend will be filled with a variety of activities for all ages; 5K run/Walk; pie, cookie, cake and cupcake baking contest; car show, vendor and craft fair, games for kids, and a parade. In keeping with tradition, live music will take place Friday and Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Wigwam. Sunday’s festivities include a community church service followed by live Gospel music and free hot dog lunch at 1:30 p.m.
Schedule of events include: Friday: 6:30 p.m. at the Pinch Reunion Grounds Wigwam: Free music including local legend “The Earl of Elkview” George Dougherty, followed by bluegrass music by Band Wagon at 7 p.m. Saturday: 8 a.m., 5K Run/Walk beginning at Pinch Elementary School, with registration beginning at 7 a.m.; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Car Show at New Beginnings Church; 10 a.m., The Coopers Creek CEOS Pie and Cookie Baking Contest submission drop-off at Heritage Baptist Church (for information call 304-541-9026); 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Vendor/Craft Fair at the VFW building; 4 p.m., Parade beginning at Pinch Elementary School with lineup beginning at 3pm; 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., Family Fun Night at Mt. Tabor Church; 7:00 p.m. Awards presentations at the wigwam, 7:15 p.m. – 9 p.m. free concert with opening act Jake and Jocelyn Hayhurst, followed by a country music concert by Clay County native Joanna Young at the Wigwam. Sunday 11 a.m., Community Church Service at Heritage Baptist Church; 1:30 p.m., Reunion closing ceremonies will begin followed by a free hot dog lunch and gospel sing from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the wigwam. For more information, visit www.pinchreunion.webs.com or look up Pinch Reunion WV on Facebook.
For more information about this year’s Pinch Reunion contact Angela Brown at (304) 553-2114.