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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
CLENDENIN, W.VA. – Movie nights are back on Friday evenings this summer at the Clendenin Little League ball field. Concessions will be available from 6:30 p.m. until 15 minutes after the movie starts. All movies begin at 7:00 p.m. Here is the movie line-up and dates for the summer of 2018. Mark your calendars and plan to bring your friends and family to enjoy one of these great movies.
June 15 – UP
June 29 – The Wizard of OZ
July 13 – WALL-E
July 20 – The Goonies
July 27 – Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Excitement is in the air as the 1st Annual Clendenin Homecoming Festival quickly approaches. June 22-24, 2018 the Town of Clendenin will welcome guests from near and far to witness the progress of a once flood ravaged town and to celebrate the rebirth of the community. The resilience and spirit of those who call Clendenin and the Elk River home is remarkable and unmistakable.
The Clendenin Homecoming Committee is a growing group of local citizens working tirelessly since last year to plan and coordinate the upcoming festival. In addition to the carnival and parade, the festival will feature numerous activities like a kayak race, horseshoe tournament, fishing tournament, numerous concerts, fireworks, craft and food vendors, and so much more. See below for a complete list of the festival agenda. Craft/sales and food vendor applications are still being accepted, so it is not too late to register for a booth.
2018 Clendenin Homecoming Festival Pageant winners: (L-R) Teen Queen Lauren Gorma, Queen Charley Clayton, and Mrs. Queen Alicia Casto
The Clendening Homecoming Festival recently crowned its royalty at the recent Clendenin Homecoming Festival Pageant. Winners included Teen Queen Lauren Gorma, Queen Charley Clayton, and Mrs. Queen Alicia Casto. The Children’s Pageant Royalty includes: Baby Mister-Zachary Brake II, Little Mister-Wyatt Russell, Baby Miss-McKenna Garnes, Tiny Miss-Sophia Casto, Little Miss-Grace Fletcher, and Junior Miss-Natalie Donohew.
Various businesses in Clendenin have re-opened their doors and new businesses have made Clendenin their home since the June 2016 Flood; however, to date, Clendenin does not have a hotel. Many who attend the festival will stay with family and friends in the area; however some may seek other accommodations. There are hotels in neighboring towns, including nearby Elkview, and local Bed and Breakfast’s in and around Clendenin. Country Road House & Berries is located in Clendenin and has a Bed & Breakfast, along with the best strawberries in the area. You can contact them for room availability at (304) 553-5761 or by visiting their website.
Airbnb and Home Away are also great places that you can search for places to stay during the festival. Both Airbnb and Home Away are online marketplaces which lets people rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests. If you live in Clendenin or the surrounding areas and you are interested in learning how you can earn extra money by renting your room(s) and/or property during the Festival, here are some great resources:
In preparation for the festival, the Town of Clendenin along with the Kanawha County Commission, Chuck Grishaber with the Kanawha County Planning Department, and 25045- A New Clendenin, are sponsoring an Elk River Cleanup in Clendenin on June 9. Volunteers are asked to meet at Smith’s Foodfair parking lot at 9AM. View more details HERE.
2018 CLENDENIN HOMECOMING FESTIVAL AGENDA
Friday, June 22
6:00 PM: Myers Amusements Carnival (Across from the Post Office)
7:00 PM: Audio Outlaws Concert (Main Street Stage)
5:00 PM: Fishing Tournament Awards (Main Street Stage)
Sponsors for the Clendenin Homecoming Festival include First Bank of Charleston, Pulmonary Associates, Poca Valley Bank, Shafer Equipment, Charleston Blueprint, FYAO, Cabin Creek Health Systems, Cantrell’s Florist, Houff Transfer, Teays River Construction Company, The Yak House, Kanawha County Commission, O.V. Smith and Sons, Inc., Town of Clendenin, and The Clendenin Leader.
Books ready for check out at the Clendenin Branch Library. Jordyn Johnson/WVMetroNews.com
By: Jordyn Johnson | Posted: May 30, 2018 at 3:32 p.m. | Source: WV MetroNews
CLENDENIN, W.Va.– Tuesday night Tammy Parker, branch manager at the Clendenin Branch Library, had trouble sleeping, because she was so excited for the next day– a day she has been looking forward to for two years.
Wednesday was the ribbon-cutting of the new Clendenin Branch Library since the 2016 flooding ruined the former branch. It has taken two years for the community to get its library back but due to hard work and perseverance books can be read once more.
“We have been here working to get all the furniture in, the books on the shelves and in the mean time, when I was out in the community, people were stopping me and asking me, ‘When is the
The teen section of the newly opened Clendenin Branch Library, Jordyn Johnson/WVMetroNews.com
library opening?’ and I would say, ‘Oh in a few days or a few weeks’ or whatever, and so everyone was asking, and I was so excited,” Parker said.
The new branch is located in the former Clendenin Middle School. While the branch is still getting settled, those in the area now have a place for reading and computer access.
“There’s still a few things that we still haven’t completed,” Parker said. “We’re still waiting for a couple pieces of furniture and to get the last pieces of our computers ready to go, and it was a lot of work but worth it.”
Midge Forwood is the president of the Clendenin Branch Library Advisory Board and has worked in the branch since its first opening in Clendenin.
“We’ve waited two years, and now we’re here, and I’m happy,” she said at the opening.
Many residents and book-lovers alike have been anxiously awaiting the branch’s reopening.
“I think that, you know, it’s a happy day for a lot of us and especially the Library Advisory Board,” Forwood said. “We work hard to keep it here, you know. We work hard to buy the things that we need for the library, and so we’re just real happy.”
Clendenin’s library is very important to the community, because without it, not many residents would have access to computers and so many books.
“The one thing that we need for our young people is our library– we really do,” Forwood said. “They use our computers. Not every family in this area has a computer, so after school, and even in the summertime, the library is always full of kids.”
Now that summer break is here for Clendenin’s school-children, the branch has lots of activities planned for all ages.
“We have programs planned for the whole summer. We have some big programs,” Parker said. “We’ve got ‘Dino Ed’ coming with his animatronic dinosaurs, and we’ve got just all kinds of programs throughout the summer.”
While the library location changed, its supporters work to make it feel like home.
“We’re going to do a few new things, but we wanted it to be as much like it was as possible to keep the kids familiar with what kind of things we have in the library,” Parker said.
The opening drew lots of members from the community, and now that the branch is open again, it will draw people from all around.
“Once people know that we’re here, know where we are, it’ll be good,” Forwood said.
The new Clendenin Library Branch is located at 107 Koontz Avenue.
The Clendenin Fairs and Festivals Committee held a meeting on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 3PM at Momma Payne’s restaurant on Main Street to discuss the first annual Clendenin Homecoming Festival, which will take place June 22-24, 2018 in Clendenin, West Virginia, and is scheduled to reoccur the last weekend in June every year.
The discussions focused around the coordination of events during the festival, which included the parade, beauty pageant, fireworks, carnival, car show, activities, and entertainment, as well as food and craft vendors, and fundraisers.
According to Committee members, they are anticipating 1,000-1,500+ people during the three day event and more than 100 volunteers are needed to assist with everything from general labor, concession stands, parking, fundraisers, etc. Anyone interested in helping should send a message on the Clendenin Homecoming Festival’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/clendeninhomecoming/, where you can also view additional information about the festival. Volunteers do not have to live in Clendenin town limits and do not need to be on the Clendenin Fairs and Festivals Committee to participate. Everyone is welcome.