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.
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.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Since late June many residents in an area from Big Chimney to Elkview have experienced several tree-related power outages. Many of the outages were lengthy and most took place the first week of July, a period in which high temperatures and heat indexes helped produce a series of isolated but severe summer storms.
“We understand why people are upset about it,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and COO. “It’s not the type of reliability we aim to provide, it’s not the quality of service our customers deserve, but it is something to which we’re dedicating significant resources to make better.”
Beam explained that across its West Virginia service area Appalachian Power is implementing a cycle-based right of way maintenance program, where vegetation is cleared from along electrical circuits end-to-end every four years. Since 2014 the company has invested more than $190 million on its cycle-based vegetation management program, and is seeing an overall drop in tree-related outages of 32 percent on circuits that have been completed.
Tree clearing work began in 2017 on the Elkview-area circuit plagued by recent outages. Unfortunately most of the recent outages came from tree contact in areas still scheduled to be cleared.
“We still have about 40 miles of line to clear on this circuit and should have that work complete in September,” said Beam. “We are investing $1.2 million on this circuit alone to clear trees from power line rights-of-way.” Beam says while Appalachian Power can’t stop storms from bringing down trees, tree-related outages should drop significantly as a result of the work.
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers.
As part of a large initiative to reduce outages on an electrical circuit from Big Chimney to Elkview, Appalachian Power is investing $1.2 million on this circuit to clear trees from power line rights-of-way. https://t.co/lMv0yDGTjDpic.twitter.com/A471IYtSYD
Cunningham issued a press release two days ago to announce that its Lions Paw 4-Well Pad, in Clay County, is now producing at a rate of 10,000 plus barrels of oil per month. Normally we don’t cover news from conventional drillers, but Cunningham is interesting for a few reasons. While the rock layers Cunningham targets are…
By: Chris Dickerson | Posted: June 4, 2018 | Source: WV Record
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office has secured a $257,500 settlement against a door-to-door meat wholesaler, along with a court order that permanently prohibits it and its owner from engaging in similar business activities.
Members of the Attorney General’s elder abuse litigation and prevention unit alleged Thaxton Wholesale Meats LLC and its owner, Steven A. Thaxton, exploited elderly and vulnerable West Virginians. Both stood accused of coercing elderly consumers to purchase meat they could not afford and in quantities they could not possibly consume.
“No one should be pressured into buying goods they do not need at unreasonable prices,” Morrisey said in a statement. “This settlement exemplifies our office’s diligent work to protect the elderly, and all West Virginia consumers, from fraud or financial exploitation.”
The settlement requires Thaxton Wholesale Meats to…
Manchin submitted a waiver on May 15 to participate in the Mobility Fund Phase II challenge process in order to make sure data collection records accurately showed coverage available to West Virginians.
Mobility Fund Phase II was created to provide up to $4.53 billion worth of support to build 4G LTE service for rural areas that lack coverage. Eastern counties and parts of western and southern West Virginia are considered eligible areas.
Manchin said in the request, while he is not a government entity or service provider entitled to the challenge process, internet access is an interest of his public service due to legislative work and outreach on the matter.
The FCC approved the request on May 25, saying Manchin’s request was in good cause.
Manchin said in a statement Tuesday the waiver allows him to engage in the challenge process and work to increase internet coverage as needed.
“As a lifelong West Virginian and proud public servant who tries to visit every county in the state at least once each year, I have driven nearly every mile of road in our state and experienced first-hand the loss of broadband coverage along the way,” he said.
A map of eligible is available at the FCC’s website. If anyone has questions about the challenge process or the map, Manchin said they should reach out to his office at 202-224-3954 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marian Clowes, senior program officer with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, announces over $200,000 in grants presented Monday by the foundation for local and regional projects and programs. (Photo by Wayne Towner)
PARKERSBURG — Over $200,000 in grants were awarded Monday by the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates to local and regional projects and programs.
The PACF presented $209,056 in grants through its Community Action Grants Program to organizations within its 11-county service region, including Wood, Wirt, Ritchie, Doddridge, Mason, Calhoun, Gilmer, Roane, Pleasants and Jackson counties in West Virginia, and Washington County, Ohio.
Of this total, the foundation’s Ritchie County Community Foundation affiliate awarded $2,890; the remainder of grants came from PACF funds.
Some of the grants went to support programs designed to address food insecurity and provide healthy food choices. Others supported parks and recreation facilities, programs addressing substance abuse and access to oral health care, equipment needs for volunteer fire departments and projects in education, arts and human and youth services.
“At our annual meeting this past January, several speakers highlighted the problem of food insecurity in our state,” said senior program officer Marian Clowes. “Hunger is a real issue, as is access to healthy foods. We are excited that these grant-funded programs will help bring healthy food to children, families and seniors on our region.”
Grants awarded through the PACF’s Community Action Grants Program are made possible by individuals and businesses that have established a charitable fund with the PACF.
The PACF grants are:
* Adolescent Health Initiative, Region 5 — $7,000 to support the “Developing Star Leaders” program, which engages students from the Mid-Ohio Valley in developing individual and team leadership skills.
* Calhoun County Family Resource Network — $7,120 to support the Calhoun County Nourishing Network’s efforts to improve access to healthy, whole foods for youth, resource-limited families, and seniors.
* City of Parkersburg — $10,000 to purchase and install an aquaflex surface for the new splash park at the City Park pool.
* Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Mid-Ohio Valley — $5,000 to support financial education programs across the Mid-Ohio Valley.
* Doddridge County Elementary School — $600 to plant trees and to teach students about the life cycles of plants.
* Doddridge County Farmers Market — $5,000 to enable the market to participate in the SNAP “Double Up Bucks” program and to promote the market to the public.
* Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Department — $7,250 to purchase turnout gear for firefighters.
* Ely Chapman Education Foundation — $5,183 to repair and replace downspout at the facility.
* Faithlink/Community Resources — $2,150 to support the purchase of a vehicle for the new Senior Ride Link program.
* Family Crisis Intervention Center — $10,000 to support operating expenses for the Kids First Program.
* Fourth Circuit Public Defender Corporation — $4,000 to support the cost of transportation for clients admitted to substance abuse treatment facilities.
* Harrisville Volunteer Fire Department — $1,210 to purchase firefighting nozzles and a fire hose.
* Horizons Center for Independent Living — $5,000 to build an ADA compliant ramp to the facility.
* Little Hocking Fire and Rescue Inc. — $6,396 to purchase scuba diving masks for the rescue diving team.
* Little Kanawha Area Development Corporation — $2,000 to purchase security cameras to be placed in Wirt County to combat an increase in crime.
* Lubeck Elementary School — $4,845 to purchase playground equipment for Pre-K students.
* Lubeck United Methodist Church Lunch SAK Program — $6,650 to help supply, on weekends, school holidays and summer break, food for children from Lubeck Elementary School, to expand service to Blennerhassett Elementary School, and to assist Blennerhassett Middle School with its food and hygiene pantry.
* Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council — $2,300 to repair and/or replace sewing machines used by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program to sew items donated to agencies throughout its communities.
* Minnie Hamilton Health System — $11,600 to assist with the purchase of medication carts.
* NFS Ministries – Latrobe Street Mission — $7,500 to purchase bed frames and mattresses for the women’s dorm.
* Pennsboro Volunteer Fire Department — $7,000 to assist with the replacement of rescue tools.
* Ritchie County Family Resource Network — $1,000 to create a Necessity Closet, to provide hygiene items for those in need.
* Roane County Commission — $7,200 to purchase bunk beds with safety railings for the Roane County 4-H Camp.
* Rotary Club of Parkersburg — $1,500 to support the Drug Free Clubs of America program at Parkersburg High School and Parkersburg South High School.
* Schrader Youth Ballet — $4,000 to purchase a vinyl marley floor to be used at performances.
* Smithville Elementary School — $610 to create hands-on science experiments for the Pre-K through 5th grade classes.
* Town of Reedy — $7,500 to purchase and install a coin-operated bulk water machine to serve citizens who must haul water for use in their homes in Roane, Wirt, and Jackson counties.
* United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley — $2,500 to install a security system.
* Voices for Children CASA Program — $9,000 to provide operating support.
* Voices of the Street/Essentially Yours — $1,000 to provide operating support.
* Washington Bottom Community Building Association — $4,500 to provide flooring and upgraded lighting in the community building.
* West Virginia Health Right — $2,500 to purchase dental supplies for the mobile dental clinic serving Roane County.
* West Virginia University Extension Service Family Nutrition Program — $10,000 to provide pop-up farmers markets at schools in Wood County to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables by children from families with limited income.
* West Virginia University School of Public Health — $1,500 to provide students with practical learning experiences by undertaking community health projects in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
* West Virginia University Foundation/Energy Express — $3,552 to provide take home books to children enrolled in Energy Express in Calhoun, Gilmer, Roane and Wirt counties.
* West Virginia Symphony Orchestra Parkersburg — $5,000 to support operations and programming.
* Wood County 4-H Leaders Association — $12,000 to purchase a stove and kitchen equipment for the Wood County 4-H Camp.
* Wood County Parks and Recreation Commission/Mountwood Park — $15,000 to replace the roofs on cabins at the park.
Ritchie County Community Foundation grants:
* Harrisville Volunteer Fire Department — $1,650 to purchase firefighting nozzles and a fire hose.
* Smithville Elementary School — $1,240 to create hands-on science experiments for the Pre-K through fifth grade classes.