Joshua Nelson, right, smiles and prepares to embrace his wife, Brittany, at the Boone County Courthouse last night after unofficial results showed him as the winner for a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates. This story was voted the top story of 2012 by the Coal Valley News’ editorial board.
As Boone County prepares for the New Year, 2013, the Coal Valley News would like to pause and reflect back on events from this past year.
These are the stories that brought a smile to lips, a tear to an eye, eliciting strong feelings from our readers - from anger to pride - these headlines range the gamut, and are just a sampling of the many stories the Coal Valley News brought to its readers in 2012:
1. Boone County elects first-ever Republican to state House
MADISON – For the first time in Boone County history a Republican candidate has been elected as a representative to the West Virginia House of Delegates.
Read more: Coal Valley News - Boone County elects its first ever Republican to state House
A newcomer to politics, Joshua Nelson, a Republican, defeated Democrat incumbent Larry Barker 3,942 votes to 2,396. Nelson received 62.17 percent to Barker’s 37.79 percent, according to unofficial totals.
Nelson thanked his supporters, as well as thanking Barker for his service to his community.
“I am very honored to be given the privilege to represent the best people and coal miners in the world at the state Legislature,” Nelson said. “I will fight as hard for our jobs and way of life as I did in this election.”
Nelson was really given no chance to win by many because he was a Republican. Nelson became the first Republican to win a seat in the state House and the first Republican to win any election in Boone County since 1984.
“There are so many people to thank, but I have to get up at 6:30 a.m. and go to work in a coal mine,” Nelson said.
Boone County overwhelmingly voted for Republican Mitt Romney for U.S. President over Barack Obama, 5,414 votes to 2,777 or 63.73 percent to 32.69 percent. However, Obama was declared by most all news stations as the winner and re-elected to be the next president.
Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin was also declared the winner of the West Virginia governor’s race over Republican Bill Maloney.
Democrat Joe Manchin easily defeated Republican challenger John Raese for U.S. Senate.
2. Double murder in Bloomingrose
Timothy Ray Parsons, 36, was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree sexual assault and one count of kidnapping.
According to Boone County Sheriff Rodney Miller, Parsons allegedly killed his wife, mother-in-law and raped his 15-year-old step-daughter.
Miller said Gloria “Sue” Kinder, Parsons’ mother-in-law, and Leighanne Kinder-Parsons, Parsons’ wife, were stabbed to death at their home on River Avenue in Bloomingrose.
According to the criminal complaint, the 15-year-old told investigators while she was taking a shower about 11 p.m. on May 14, 2012, Gloria Sue Kinder went upstairs and found her daughter’s body, Leighanne Kinder, with her throat cut.
Gloria Sue Kinder was then confronted by Parsons who then bound her feet and hands and used a sharp instrument to cut her throat, killing her, according to the complaint.
Investigators say the juvenile states that’s when Parsons told her he was going to have sex with her. After the victim said no, Parsons told her he killed her mother and grandmother and threatened to kill her if she didn’t have sex with him, according to the complaint. Parsons then showed the juvenile the bodies of Gloria Sue Kinder and Leighanne Kinder-Parsons.
According to the complaint, Parsons then forcibly dragged the victim back downstairs to her bedroom and bound her hands and feet to the bed and assaulted her.
The 15-year-old told investigators Parsons stayed at the house until 9 a.m., Tuesday. A few hours later the girl was able to break loose from the bindings and go to a neighbor’s home for help.
3. UBB Memorial Dedication
WHITESVILLE – Rob Dinsmore, the designer of the Upper Big Branch Miners Monument, wanted to make one thing very clear to those attending the memorial dedication ceremony Friday in Whitesville – the monument “is not a tombstone.”
“This is not a tombstone," Dinsmore said. "This site is not a graveyard. This is an opportunity to learn about the rich heritage of the coal industry in West Virginia and an opportunity to celebrate this great state, its beauty and to those who call it home. And it's an opportunity to remember, to remember the 29 men we lost in April 2010."
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, joined by the families of those lost at the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, the West Virginia Congressional Delegation, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Health and Safety Joe Main, and members of the UBB Mining Memorial Group, paid tribute to the miners during the memorial dedication.
Tomblin asked for a moment of silence for the miner who was tragically killed in a mine accident before the dedication ceremony of the granite memorial.
“I wish I could tell you I could ease your heartache, but unfortunately, I cannot. What I can tell you is that a day doesn't go by that I don't think of you-the families and friends who lost someone on that terrible day,” Tomblin said. “I also think every day about the coal miners, across West Virginia, who are working hard to provide for their families. I think about their safety and want to be sure they come home to their families every night.
“This memorial will ensure the world will always remember the 29 good men, the 29 miners who gave their lives doing the work that all of us depend on. I'd like to personally thank all of those who were instrumental in creating this beautiful memorial.”
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who was governor at the time of the disaster, also spoke at the event.
“We gather today to remember the 29 brave souls who were lost at Upper Big Branch Mine, pay tribute to their families and dedicate this beautiful memorial for future generations as a testament to our shared commitment that no family should endure a preventable tragedy ever again,” Manchin said. “Our entire nation grieved with the miners’ families for their tremendous loss, and I join my fellow West Virginians today, as we dedicate this impressive memorial, to honor their courage, sacrifice and the extraordinary strength of their families.”
“This striking memorial symbolizes strength,” Manchin said. “Strength of those brave men, the strength of their families and the unwavering strength of this community. This memorial stands as a reminder…a reminder of what we lost, the love we shared for our fallen brothers, as a reminder that life is often too short and as a reminder that we must always put safety first. This memorial stands for all of us – to help heal, to reflect and to never forget.”
U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), said the miners would never be forgotten.
“Today my heart aches anew with the memory of 29 men who, on that terrible day two years ago, walked away from their homes on earth, into Upper Big Branch and into the loving arms of their Creator,” Rockefeller said. “It is their memory that we honor today. To the families of those lost, I sorely grieve with you today.”
U.S. Congressman Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) called the monument at “magnificent tribute.”
“This is a great memorial to such good men,” Rahall said. “But I surely hope that we never have the need to erect one like it, ever again. That, to me, would be the ultimate monument to our miners,” said Rahall in remarks at the ceremony dedicating a granite wall featuring 29 silhouettes depicting the victims of the April 2010 disaster at Upper Big Branch.”
U.S. Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito spoke about the women that lost their men to the tragedy.
“These women have been strong and helped to keep their families together through this tragedy,” she said. “They are to be commended as well.”
One of those women who lost their husband and other relatives to the disaster, Jennifer Napper, was at the ceremony with her daughter.
“I am grateful to everyone who helped to make the monument a reality,” Napper said.
Napper lost her husband, Joshua Napper, when their daughter Jenna Leigh Napper was only 14-months old.
“She is now 4-years-old and it’s wonderful that she will have a place to come back to see the legacy of her father and learn about the history of coal mining, which is the thing many of her family members gave their lives for,” she said.
Shelia Combs, president of the UBB Mining Memorial Group, Inc., said so many people gave of their time and money to see that this project became a reality.
“We finished a year ahead of schedule and it’s because so many companies, the Town of Whitesville and regular citizens did everything they could do to get this project completed,” she said.
West Virginia State Police Chaplin Trooper Jim Mitchell gave a moving Invocation to begin the ceremony and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main also spoke at the event.
4. Hurricane Sandy dumps snow on Boone County
MADISON — Hurricane Sandy dumped snow at least 6 inches of snow on parts of Boone County, knocking out power to many homes, closing schools and businesses, and even canceling trick or treat.
The Boone County Commission issued a storm warning with recorded telephone calls urging residents to be prepared for the storm by having plenty of food, water and other needed supplies. They advised residents to stay off of the roadways and to remain indoors, if possible.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency as residents deal with the effects from Hurricane Sandy. A winter storm warning was issued in Boone County through Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012.
Tomblin opened a special communications center at the state Capitol in Charleston.
The declaration came as Tomblin coordinated resources with National Guard Adjutant Gen. James Hoyer and Jimmy Gianato, the state’s homeland security director.
Tomblin says officials are looking at a “three-punch storm.”
“With rain and snow already falling, the threat of flooding is expected to increase in both panhandles,” the governor said. “Two or more feet of snow was expected in mountainous counties such as Pocahontas, Randolph and Tucker. And high winds will bring the possibility of power outages.”
Early Tuesday morning President Barack Obama signed a federal disaster declaration for the state as well. This allows FEMA and Department of Homeland Security to offer relief to those hit hardest during this storm.
In Boone County, Bolt Mountain and other higher elevations were snow covered Monday and at least one car accident was reported.
Tomblin advised residents to be ready for outages and to stay off the roadways.
Boone County Sheriff Rodney A. Miller, Danville Mayor Mark McClure, Madison Mayor H.H. Howel, Jr. and Sylvester Mayor Manuel Arvon issued a joint press released rescheduling trick or treat for the unincorporated areas of Boone County and for the towns of Madison, Danville and Sylvester.
“This decision was made after consultation with the National Weather Service and discussions with the Mayors available by telephone this evening,” said Sheriff Miller. “In the event of hazardous weather this week as forecasted, Saturday can give citizens the ability to possibly recover from this storm.”
Miller said the decision was made for the safety of Boone County children.
State and city workers continued to try to keep roadways and sidewalks cleared even as snow continued to fall on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.
Appalachian Power reported that 9,732 of its 12,938 customers in Boone County were without power, which was 75.2 percent at one point during the storm. Across West Virginia, a total of 243,000 customers were without power during the storm.
This storm came after another devastating storm hit the county in June.
The massive June 29 storm that tore across West Virginia undoubtedly affected you or someone close to you. Nearly everyone can point to individual stories about the storm, but taken in totality, this storm was without a doubt more damaging than any weather event we have ever experienced at Appalachian Power.
The storm was part of a massive “super derecho” or straight-line wind storm that traveled close to 700 miles in 10 hours, devastating 10 states and leaving more than 4 million homes and businesses without electricity. It was as devastating as a hurricane in its destructive force, but unlike a hurricane, it came with little advance warning.
In Appalachian Power’s service area, a record 573,000 customers were left out of service – nearly 60 percent of the company’s total customers and almost twice the number of outages we’ve seen from any prior storm. In West Virginia alone, 330,000 customers had no electricity.
The Boone County Commission with the help of the Boone County Emergency Services staff helped to pass out much-need water, food and other supplies to residents affected by the storm. Truckloads of ice were distributed throughout the county, as well as bottled water and food.
“The Bandytown, Twighlight, Wharton, Van, Spruce River, Prenter, Racine, Whitesville areas were some of the hardest hit areas and we will be distributing supplies as long as they last,” said Boone County’s Director of Maintenance Kerry Dickens.
Dickens added that West Fork, Pond Fork, Jeffrey, Meadow Fork and Spruce Laurel are also without power and are still struggling to make it through last week’s storm.
“BB&T Bank donated 4,000 bags of ice and the Boone County Commission has brought it in from North Carolina,” Dickens explained. “We have been passing out bottled water and expect two more truckloads.”
Dickens said the county has also passed out over 1,000 meals ready to eat.
“We over 4,000 more meals coming this weekend,” he added.
Dickens said county workers, volunteers, and emergency responders in the county are doing everything they can to help those in need.
“Water, ice and meals are being taken to the elderly and those living in the rural areas of the county,” he said. “All the utility and water companies are doing all they can to recover from these devastating storms.”
The state and federal governments also offered assistance to those in need.
5. After 48 years Boone Memorial Hospital transfers operations from a county owned hospital to a non-profit community hospital
MADISON — Since 1964, the year the hospital opened its doors, Boone Memorial Hospital has been a county-owned hospital. However, on July 1, 2012 BMH Inc. as it is now called a community operated entity.
“Rather than being a county owned hospital we now have a community operated non-profit. We have obtained the 501-c-3 designation from the IRS,” said Tommy Mullins, BMH Administrator. However, although we have made the change we operate exactly the same way,” he explains.
The Hospital will be run by a community Board of Directors, which at this time remains the same group of Board of Trustees who ran the hospital before the transfer.
The BMH Community Board of Directors consists of Douglas R. Bell, HH “Kip” Howell, James A. “Tony” Hensley (Vice-President), James “Jim” Gore, Robert “Bob” Brown (President), Janet Yeager (Secretary), Thomas Bias, William R. “Bill” Stone, Virgil Underwood and Emeritus member, R.B. Foster.
“Basically nothing changed in the process,” explains Mullins. The Board, Administration, Medical Staff and staffing are the same as before. We operate the same way. Also, if for some reason years later the hospital closes, all of the assets will revert back to the County Commission,” he adds.
The entire process took over 3 years. Basically the Hospital Board of Trustees, along with the County Commission worked together and was convinced that this is the best thing for healthcare in Boone County. Once all parties agreed the process began. Gaining approval from the Internal Revenue Service took 16 ½ months and it required passing of State Legislation.
Senator Ron Stollings was instrumental in getting the legislation passed that allowed the transfer from County operated to non-profit.
Nearly 10-15 documents were prepared by County Commission Attorney, Sam Hall along with Boone Memorial Hospital, Inc. Attorney, Robert L. Coffield of Flaherty, Sensabaugh & Bonasso. The Attorneys made the transfer legal, which was based on the Legislation that passed.
Boone Memorial Hospital, Inc. Board members and Administration along with Coffield, Hall and County Commissioners attended the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, June 25th to sign the necessary documents to make the transfer official.
“The County Commission was very cooperative and understanding in realizing that in order to build a new hospital the ownership had to be changed. We had to make the transfer from county-operated to community operated. We greatly appreciate the County Commission’s support over the years and through this process,” said Mullins.
BMH, Inc. will have to follow many IRS regulations that were not required before.
“I feel there are advantages to us being non-profit, especially when trying to raise funds to build a new facility.” Mullins said.
“The new regulations are all set for the protection of the public and to allow BMH, Inc. to provide quality healthcare for many more years to come. Although we have to adhere to new regulations the hospital will run much the same as before.”
Boone Memorial Hospital, Inc. extends their gratitude to Senator Ron Stollings, Boone County Commissioners Eddie Hendricks, Mickey Brown and Athol Halstead, and the Hospital Board and Staff for having the insight and vision to see this transfer as a vital move to allow for improved future healthcare for Boone County and the surrounding areas.
Mullins remains the longest standing Hospital Administrator in the State of WV, having served 48 years to Boone Memorial Hospital. As the sole remaining original BMH Employee, Mullins was somewhat emotional when he talked about the transfer.
“I had a lot of feelings to be honest. After 48 years of doing business alongside the County Commission it was emotional to see it all come to an end. However, I was also happy because this means we are moving forward to a new era of advanced healthcare.”
When BMH first opened its doors in 1964 they had 38 employees and five doctors on the medical staff. By 1989 the hospital had tripled in personnel size and expanded three times and by 2000 BMH had increased personnel to over 100, with a medical staff of 10 physicians, along with more than two dozen consulting courtesy and emergency medical physicians available to serve patients needs. Today BMH has nearly 200 employees, has increased medical staff and specialties, extended their services and continues to grow and strive. BMH, Inc. is still moving forward with plans to build a new hospital.
“More information will be available soon regarding our plans to build. We are very excited about the future of BMH, Inc. and can’t wait to move forward. This transfer was another piece of the puzzle and we are getting closer and closer to seeing this long-time dream of mine and many others become a reality,” concluded Mullins.
6. County completes new judicial annex, updates other county projects
MADISON — Boone County Commissioner Mickey Brown was the guest speaker at the Madison Rotary Club on February 2. Rotarians were given an update on county projects including the new building under construction behind the courthouse that will house Family Court and other offices, and is expected to be completed by May 2012.
The new building under construction behind the Boone County courthouse and adjacent to the courthouse annex will house Family Court offices on the first floor and the sheriff's offices on the second floor. The county commission will move to the third floor, and the basement area will provide much needed space for county records.
An update on the four-story, $4.1 million project was completed by May of this year, and was provided by Commissioner Mickey Brown when he visited the Madison Rotary Club on February 2.
Brown said providing sufficient space for Family Court is mandated by West Virginia Code. The commission was approached by the Family Court judge and the West Virginia Supreme Court informing the commission that the county was out of compliance in meeting the minimum specifications for space.
Brown said the commission had put aside money for capital projects and that's how the county was able to fund the construction of the building this time.
The Rotarians invited the commissioner to the meeting to talk about the new multi-million dollar structure, and he also spoke about several other on-going services the county plans to continue to improve on in the coming months, not the least of which are water projects.
"One of our top priorities, if not the top one, has been to provide good water to residents in all parts of Boone County, and we're about 95 percent of that goal," Brown said. "Our next water projects will be in the Cox's Fork and Mud River areas."
Another priority of the commission, Brown said, is to increase the capacity of the present sewer system, which is nearly at capacity now. This is a must for economic development and increased housing.
Other projects touched on by Brown included the solid waste transfer stations, improvements to parks and recreation, the county's seven senior citizens centers, and renovation of the courtroom and the jurors’ room.
7. Mullins named ‘Citizen of the Year’
MADISON — The Madison Rotarians have chosen Carolyn Mullins as the 2012 Madison Rotary Club Citizen of the Year. The announcement was made at the club’s annual dinner held in the fellowship hall of the Madison United Methodist Church.
For the past 15 years, the Madison Rotary Club has chosen an outstanding citizen in the community to receive this award. The selection is based on the recipient’s worthwhile contributions to his/her community, and with Carolyn’s history of volunteer service to the City of Madison, principally through the REV UP revitalization program, as well as other activities involving church and county, she more than meets the criteria to receive this prestigious honor.
Carolyn is a member of the New Hope Baptist Church where she serves as church secretary. She is a member of the Women’s Missionary Society and a Sunday School teacher for 9 to 11 year-olds. One of her greatest passions is helping children.
Another passion is the revitalization of the City of Madison, especially the downtown area. She has been a volunteer with REV UP Madison since the group formed in 2008. She has served as secretary, and has been president of the group for the past two years. And if that isn’t enough, she is also the grant writer for REV UP.
In addition to her church work and REV UP duties, Carolyn is a member of the Boone County Community and Economic Development Corp board of directors, an active member of the All About Health group, serves on Madison City Council, and is Queen Mother of the Madison Red Hat Society chapter. Previously she was a volunteer tutor with West Virginia Literacy.
Carolyn is a 1961 graduate of Scott High School and Capitol City Commercial College, 1963. She worked in the insurance industry for 40 years—two years for Continental Insurance Company in Charleston, and 38 years with Ferrell and Hill Insurance Agency in Madison, retiring in 2008.
She is the proud mother of Susan K. Shreve who resides in Madison with her husband Bruce and their daughter, Emily Kate, a highest honors graduate of Scott High School Class of 2012. Katie will be attending WVU this fall and is a 2012 recipient of a Madison Rotary Club Scholarship.
Being named the Rotary Citizen of the Year also comes with the honor of becoming a Paul Harris Fellow, the highest recognition given by Rotary International, and named for Paul Harris, a Chicago businessman who founded Rotary more than 100 years ago. The Madison club has made a $1,000 donation to the Rotary International Foundation in Carolyn’s name. Donations to the Foundation are used to provide grants for humanitarian projects in countries around the world.
Carolyn received a certificate and pin authenticating her a Paul Harris Fellow.
“I am very honored to receive this award,” Carolyn said in learning of this special recognition. “I never imagined becoming a Paul Harris Fellow. Rotary is such a wonderful organization that works to make this a better world for everyone.”
Founded in the spring of 1925, the Madison Rotary Club is celebrating its 87th anniversary this year. The Madison club is one of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries whose members number 1.2 million. The world’s largest service club organization, Rotary’s mission is to provide humanitarian service and build goodwill and foster peace throughout the world through a range of humanitarian, intercultural and educational programs and projects.
Most often individual Rotary clubs develop their own service programs, however, all Rotarians are united in a global campaign to eradicate polio, Rotary’s primary goal, PolioPlus, a project to immunize all the world’s children against polio, was created in 1985, and to date Rotary has contributed well over $800 million and countless hours of volunteer service to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries.
The Madison club has for many years contributed to PolioPlus and other worthwhile Rotary International projects while also focusing on our local youth through the awarding of scholarships and support of youth leadership programs. Since the beginning of the Madison Rotary Scholarship Program, the club has awarded scholarships totaling in excess of $100,000 to dozens of local youth who have excelled academically and who have an outstanding record of volunteer service, and/or in need of financial help. Most of these scholarship recipients have gone on to become very successful in their careers and outstanding leaders in their community.
The Madison Rotary Club is grateful to the local community that has generously supported the club’s fundraising efforts for many years that have included pancake breakfasts, auctions, golf outings, musical programs, sports tournaments, and other projects that fund the scholarship program.
Madison Rotary Club outgoing president David Quisenberry made the 2012 Citizen of the Year award presentation.
As his 2011-2012 club year came to an end, President Quisenberry handed over the gavel to incoming president Nick Smith whose term began July 1.
8. Boone County hires female deputy
MADISON – She says she is ready for the challenge.
The first female deputy in several years was sworn in last week for the Boone County Sheriff’s Department during the regular session of the Boone County Commission.
Ashley Keadle, 20, was sworn in by Boone County Commission President Mickey Brown at the Boone County Courthouse Annex.
She says it was her childhood dream to become a police officer.
“I’m very excited and ready for the challenge,” Keadle said. “I have been working toward this goal for the past two or three years. Now I am ready to serve this community.”
She is a 2010 graduate of Herbert Hoover High School.
Boone County Sheriff Rodney Miller says a female deputy is just what the department needed.
“She will give our department a lot of flexibility,” Sheriff Miller said. “Today, it is such a diverse world that we live in. We have female inmates and transports, so it is such a great asset to have a female on the force and we are happy to have her on board.”
Before being sworn in as a deputy she previously worked as a reserve officer for the Dunbar Police Department and for Metro 9-1-1 center in Kanawha County.
“She comes to us with a certain amount of knowledge with law enforcement,” Miller said. “She is going to be a real asset.”
The department now has 21 deputies and still has one opening currently in the hiring process, the sheriff added.
She says she wants to help people and make a difference in the community.
“You can help people. You can do it every single day. You never know what you are going to run into. You get to meet a lot of new people, and help a lot of people and I am really looking forward to that,” Keadle said.
Keadle’s parents, Wayne and Trumannia Keadle, were on hand for the swearing in ceremony.
“I am just so proud of her,” said her father Wayne. “She has worked so hard for this for really her entire life and now she has finally succeeded.”
Her mother said she was also proud, but admitted to being a little nervous about her daughter’s new job.
“She is my baby girl and this is what she wants,” Trumannia Keadle said. “I am just so very proud of her.”
9. College wants to expand in Boone County
MADISON – Officials with Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College approached the Boone County Commission last week about its plans to expand its facilities in Boone County.
“We are interested in land near the Boone County Transfer Station just off Corridor G (U.S. 119),” said Bill Cook, the college’s director of operations. “We would be interested in a partnership with the county or to maybe even purchase the property to expand our facilities.”
The college has a Boone Campus at the Boone Career and Technical Center in Danville, near Foster on state Rt. 3, but needs more room to accommodate its increasing enrollments.
“Our Boone County Campus is maxed out,” said college president and West Virginia First Lady Joanne Tomblin, who also attended the commission meeting. “We are seeing more and more students coming in from the Kanawha Valley and we must look down the road at expanding in Boone County as a big part of our future plans.”
Tomblin said this would be a great opportunity for both the college and the county.
“We think our expansion will also provide great economic opportunities for Boone County as well,” she said. “This is a win-win for the college and the Boone County community.”
Southern was recently named one of the top community and technical colleges in the nation.
“With our facilities in Logan and Williamson as well as the great success of our mine academy, we believe there are tremendous educational and economic opportunities for us to expand,” Tomblin explained. “We would like to meet with you and your economic development team to share ideas and see what the next steps might be toward our expansion goals.”
Tomblin added that there were no plans to shut down the current Boone County Campus, even after any expansion project was completed.
“We have no plans to shut down the current campus in Boone County,” she said. “We want to keep it as well as expanding in Boone County at the location we have mentioned.”
Boone County Commission President Mickey Brown called the college’s expansion proposal “thrilling news.”
“We would be thrilled and happy to work with the college to expand into Boone County,” Brown said. “The educational opportunities offered by Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College are wonderful and to expand on those opportunities is something we can all get excited about.”
Boone Commissioner Eddie Hendricks, who is an educator at Van High School, said he also supports the college’s plan to expand in Boone County.
“Our new age of technology has made technical schools like Southern vitally important to students and those seeking to further their education or re-train in another career path,” he said. “This is a tremendous opportunity and I support it 100 percent.”
The commission asked college officials to first meet with the county’s economic development official Larry V. Lodato for an initial assessment of the 11-acre piece of property.
“We would start with appraising the property and then look at the various options for the county and the college,” Lodato said. “I am very excited to getting started right away on this plan.”
10. Tire clean-up on Big Coal River removes hundreds of tires
BIG COAL RIVER — Over 85 volunteers from many small communities in Southern West Virginia came together to participate in an effort to rid the Big Coal River of Tires. The effort was sponsored by the Coal River Groups Big Coal Branch.
Teresa Perdue, a resident of Ashford, organized the clean up effort and helped to make the clean up a rousing success. Perdue and her extended family have led many similar efforts to improve the river and the community.
Most recently the efforts of the local citizens along with the Boone County Parks and Recreation Commission helped to build a large picnic shelter and provided playground equipment for the County Park located at near by in Dartmont.
“The Saturday tire cleanup was a massive effort aimed at removing a large accumulation of tires in the Big Coal River which flows through the local communities,” Perdue said.
The WV REAP program provided equipment, to harvest the collected tires. The volunteers included local families, children, local business owners, Coal River Group members from St. Albans and Tornado and others who just wanted to make the river shine, according to Perdue.
“The logistics for such a clean up on an isolated slow flowing river where difficult,” she explained. “Canoes and small flat bottom boats were the only way to transport the tires once collected. The organizers estimated that around 586 small big and huge tires were pulled from the river bed and then drug to waiting canoes. The volunteers were required to wade through the river bed and search for tires that had accumulated for over 20 years.”
The West Virginia Reap workers used winches and a small tractor to haul the tires up steep banks to a waiting transport truck.
“The job was hot, tiring and required strong backs,” Perdue added.
The objective, according to Perdue, was simply to, “Make the river shine…” so that local folks and the many new visitors who regularly paddle for recreation down the Coal River Group established Coal River Water trail.
“We love our river, we use it for recreation,” Perdue said. “It’s our Myrtle Beach, and we want the river to be clean and free of all litter.”
“Because of the efforts of so many volunteers, the Big Coal River in this area is now a shining example of how local citizens can make a huge change in their own communities” said Bill Currey, Chairman of the Coal River Group.
The tire clean up was supported heavily by local and regional businesses.
“The Whitesville State Bank provided water flasks, local Coal mines provided bottled water for the volunteers and ice and condiments were provided by the local ‘Country Store,’” Currey said. “West Virginia American Water Company provided a grant to the CRG which was used to purchase two large Work Canoes. The canoes were part of a 20 boat flotilla that was used to transport the collected tires to pick up sites on the river.”