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Secretary Warner Reports Business Growth Numbers in West Virginia for December and 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia saw a slight decrease in business registration growth in 2017 compared to the previous year according to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.

According to data from the Business Statistics Database (BSD), the state saw 10.87 percent growth in new business registrations for 2017 (attachment). This was 1.23 percent less than 2016, which saw 12.10 percent business registration growth. A total of 8,318 new businesses registered with the Secretary of State's Office in 2017.

For the year of 2017, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Wayne counties led the state in business growth. Lincoln County saw 14.41 percent growth, Jefferson County's business growth was 14.09 percent, and Wayne County had 13.6 percent business growth over the last 12 months.

For the month of December 2017, three counties saw the most percentage growth in business registrations. The Secretary of State’s Business & Licensing Division reports that the top three counties for business growth in December are Wirt County with 1.53 percent growth, Lewis County with 1.30 percent growth, and Hancock County with 1.20 percent growth.

The number of business entities grew in Wirt County from 129 to 131, business entities in Lewis County increased from 685 to 692, and the number of entities licensed to do business in Hancock County increased in number from 988 to 999. Statewide, 510 new businesses were incorporated or started in December, with 52 out of 55 counties reporting business growth (attachment).

To discover more information regarding business statistics in every county throughout West Virginia, go to

Lincoln Economic Summit sees large attendance, varied program

Lincoln Economic Summit 2017
Managing Editor
The Lincoln Journal

HAMLIN - The Lincoln County Economic Summit attracted a large attendance of around 50, last week, and offered a diverse program of speakers throughout the day- long event. Hosted at the Lincoln Primary Care Center’s WELL Center in Hamlin, the Thursday, September 7, 2017 event was organized by the Lincoln County Economic Development Authority (LEDA). The gathering served as the main public launch of the authority’s Comprehensive Plan 2017, which was drafted with the assistance of E.L. Robinson Engineering and funded through grant support.

After opening remarks from LEDA Executive Director Larry Stutler and LEDA Board President Josh Stowers, an overview of the comprehensive plan was presented by Jeff Nelson of E.L. Robinson. 
The first panel of the day dealt with infrastructure, both its challenges and potential. Speakers for the panel were Scott Eplin (WVDOH district manager), Gary McCallister (Lincoln PSD chairman), and Brian Vance (Armstrong general manager). A presentation dealing with workforce development and statistics followed, courtesy of Sharon Adams and Ben Balding of the West Virginia Development Office. Chad Story read a greeting on behalf of U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-WV3), unable to attend due to his commitments in Washington D.C. and Congress being in session.

The main lunchtime speaker was Executive Director Anne Blankenship of the WV Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA). After a detailed presentation regarding Lincoln County’s location in relation to gas potential in deep shale, Blankenship fielded a number of questions from participants.

Neal Vance of the WV Department of Transportation addressed the summit regarding import and export possibilities in Lincoln County, and focused much of his presentation on the Heartland Intermodal Gateway, a project in which he has been closely involved in recent years. Vance noted that the facility is just one hour and one minute from Hamlin, connecting Lincoln County to the whole world in a matter of hours through rail and sea.

The final panel of the afternoon examined the potential for growth in Lincoln County. Speakers were Brian Crist (LPCC CEO), David Roberts (WVU Extension agent), Heather Vanater (WV Development Office), and Dan Taylor (WV Hub).

Organizers expressed broad satisfaction with the event following its conclusion.

*Photo: Lincoln EDA Executive Director Larry Stutler is shown addressing last week’s summit in Hamlin. Speakers included (insets, l-r) Lincoln EDA Board President Josh Stowers, Neal Vance (WVDOT), and Anne Blankenship (WVONGA).
Lincoln County hopes broadband, data capabilities attract new businesses
Managing Editor
The Lincoln Journal

HAMLIN, W.Va. — Lincoln County leads the way; that’s not heard often enough. As efforts continue statewide to advance broadband access throughout West Virginia, and increase available speeds to residential and business consumers, available Internet services in Hamlin and throughout many parts of Lincoln County have long outpaced regional, state, and national speeds.
Now, business, government, and economic development leaders in the county are looking to reach out to potential entrepreneurs and corporate interests to make sure they know Lincoln County is at the forefront for data capabilities. Meanwhile, in other parts of the state, the broadband map is far patchier, with federal lawmakers continuing their work to expand access.

The preeminent provider of broadband services in Lincoln County, Armstrong, has exceeded stated minimum broadband standards for quite some time. In comments to The Lincoln Journal, Hamlin Armstrong General Manager Brian Vance pointed to the recent push by federal lawmakers to enhance broadband access statewide, efforts he said he welcomed and supported. “I continue to hear that broadband with speeds of 10 mbps (megabits per second) is the minimum standard for acceptable speeds,” Vance noted. “However the new number we are hearing is 25 mbps. That is what is required to classify as broadband speeds. However, Armstrong has been giving 25 mbps for a decade, and now we offer 400 mbps to anyone that wants it. Our base product is 100 mbps, which is four times as fast as the 25 mbps the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) says you must have to be considered broadband,” said Vance. He further noted that Armstrong could even accommodate any business that wanted 1 gbps (gigabits per second) speeds. “That’s as fast as anywhere in the world,” said Vance.

Recently, Broadband for West Virginia asked economic development authorities (EDA) and chambers of commerce around the state to complete a broadband survey. In Lincoln County, the survey was completed by the Lincoln EDA. The answers provided by the EDA here appear to confirm much of Vance’s points about the quality of service here. According to the Lincoln EDA:
— 0-10 percent of businesses here use dial-up internet.
— 41-50 percent use Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) for telecommunication services.
— 11-20 percent of businesses here would see a substantial improvement in their daily operations through a doubling of broadband speeds. This relatively low percentage appears to reflect the availability of generally satisfactory speeds for many businesses here.
— 51-75 percent of businesses with Internet use cable Internet.
— The maximum speeds offered in the county far exceed 100mbps. Fiber optic service is also available in parts of the county, again with speeds in excess of 100mbps.
— Just 11-20 percent of businesses use satellite Internet.
— Similarly, 11-20 percent use DSL Internet, with the maximum speed through that option being 10mbps.
— 51-75 percent of businesses in Lincoln County are said to have access to broadband Internet.

Vance said some refer to broadband as the “lifeblood of business” these days.

“If Lincoln County has been offering these speeds for a decade, in places like Hamlin, West Hamlin, Branchland, Ranger, Harts, Big Creek, Kiahsville, and Salt Rock, where is the business growth? In these areas you can get DIA circuits, PRI circuits and Point to Point circuits,” Vance said. “There is nothing, broadband wise, holding these areas back,” he added.

Vance pointed to nearby business expansions in the region for comparison. “Take for example Kinetic Park in Huntington. There was an Amazon call center put in there. There is no warehouse there and no trucking is needed. Yet they still put the facility there,” Vance said. “I would be willing to bet they paid more for that property there than they would have in our industrial park here in Lincoln County. But they put it there, even though we have all the facilities to meet their needs. How are rural areas supposed to grow?”

One possibility, he observed, is that the development is connected with road infrastructure. “Look at Southridge (Kanawha County) and Teays Valley (Putnam County). These areas were nothing until a road was built,” Vance said. But with regard to Lincoln County attracting major investment, Vance observed that, with no easy access, people will continue to move where they have easy access to a four-lane road.
Lincoln EDA Executive Director Larry Stutler echoed Vance’s points. “We have found that, relative to other West Virginia counties of similar demographics, we are well ahead of the curve. This is not to say that we can’t do better, in fact we must. But currently we have a significant edge,” said Stutler. “It’s imperative to have adequate broadband, not only to recruit the bricks and mortar businesses, but to support home based businesses as well. The latter is an area we are increasingly focusing on,” Stutler noted.

A few counties to the east, the picture is less rosy in terms of broadband coverage. In a recent letter to newspaper editors, Stutler’s counterpart in Webster County, Geary Weir, decried the access to broadband in the most rural parts of West Virginia.

“The Internet was supposed to level the playing field for geography. You would be able to work from anywhere as long you had access to a quality high-speed connection. The promises were boundless as the most rural parts of West Virginia would be opened to global markets. The great mountains of Appalachia would no longer be a hindrance to growth – but instead serve as a calling card to those who wanted to get away from it all and still be able to be connected at the same time,” the Webster County EDA executive director wrote. “But the reality is that the only way for the promised land of connectivity to become reality is for even the most rural parts of Appalachia to be connected to broadband Internet at the same levels as downtown Washington D.C.”

“Today, we have an opportunity to fully deliver on the Internet’s possibilities for connecting Appalachia to the rest of the world. But we can only accomplish this if they get things right in Washington D.C.,” Weir wrote, also pointing to the importance of the technological framework required to underpin connectivity. “With each new development that finds the Internet moving faster and faster comes the need for upgrades to that infrastructure and supporting equipment. And our mountains make that more difficult.”

The director said the process had been made more difficult by the federal government, in that service providers do not know what to expect given what he said are “constantly changing regulations” by the FCC. “In 2015, under the Obama Administration, the FCC placed broadband under a category of utility regulations that were created in the 1930s. This slowed development in rural areas as providers figured out how to work with the new regulations. Then, under the Trump Administration, the FCC decided to remove the same 1930s-era regulations to move the development of broadband back to how it was naturally coming along before 2015,” Weir wrote.

“This back-and-forth action by the FCC has created long-term uncertainty for broadband Internet providers. Understanding that these same utility-style regulations can come back into play after the next election, investment may continue to be slow because the size of the infrastructure to be developed means projects can take years to complete – well beyond one administration to another,” the director said, before underscoring the need for a bipartisan approach. “Providers have publicly stated they support an open Internet – so all sides can agree that it should be written into law. By doing so, it will protect users and consumers while giving stability to providers so they can invest in bringing broadband Internet to rural areas like West Virginia,” Weir wrote.

Concluding his letter, Weir pointed to the risk of a continued exodus of young people from the Mountain State. “Without smart policies, broadband will become like highways and other infrastructure that came too little and too late to Appalachia. And then, not only will the promise of the Internet not be fulfilled – but we will continue to see yet another generation leave our wonderful state to live in places where they can be connected,” Weir concluded in the July letter.

At the federal level, West Virginia’s two U.S. senators have been vocal on the broadband topic, strongly advocating for improvements, sponsoring legislation, and convening roundtable gatherings. Just recently, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) joined FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in visiting the Eastern Panhandle in what the senator’s office said was an effort to draw attention to the need for rural broadband. The visit included meeting with Hardy County businesses, ASC Services and Lost River Trading Post, both of whom are said to rely on strong connectivity in the area. Capito and Pai also visited Capon Springs Resort in nearby Hampshire County where broadband connectivity is far less optimal.

“Broadband deployment is absolutely necessary for our rural communities to thrive,” Senator Capito said. “It was wonderful to have Chairman Pai join me in West Virginia again to highlight the importance of this issue. Improving broadband accessibility in West Virginia is one of my top priorities and Chairman Pai understands the need in communities like Hampshire County who lack connectivity. I am grateful for Chairman Pai’s commitment to this issue and look forward to continuing our work together to bridge the digital divide,” the senator concluded.

Since coming into office, Capito has made broadband access a top priority. In the spring of 2015, she introduced the Capito Connect plan. The three pillars of her approach are:
— Understanding the Benefits of a Connected West Virginia
— Fostering Collaboration between Government and the Private Sector
— Promoting Economic Growth through Innovation

“Making sure West Virginia communities are connected to each other and areas outside of our state is critically important to encouraging economic growth, keeping our communities safe and improving the lives of West Virginians,” said Capito. “That’s why I have made connecting West Virginia one of my top priorities,” she added. The senator’s office says the broadband efforts are continuing.

In a recent news release, the office noted that Capito spent much of June discussing broadband Internet and how to increase access in rural West Virginia. She secured support for the Gigabit Opportunity Act from Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who joined as a co-sponsor. His support is significant given his position as the top Democrat on the Senate Financial Services and General Government subcommittee, which Capito chairs.

According to Capito’s office, the legislation would quicken the roll out of high-speed internet in low-income and rural communities by attracting businesses through tax deferrals. Gigabit Opportunity Zones would be developed, enabling businesses to expense equipment costs in these areas.
The legislation would remove barriers to new development, Capito’s office said. This would foster more competition between Internet companies. Furthermore, government entities, at the state, county, and municipal level would be urged to enact streamlined broadband regulations, so as to encourage zone creation.

“Internet access should be broadly available, no matter whether you live in a small town or a big city,” Capito said. “This connectivity is essential to growing our nation’s economy and, more particular, West Virginia’s economy.” She spoke of the need for America to close the “digital divide” between communities.

The senator has also been to the forefront in efforts to improve mobile telephony signals here. As reported first in The Lincoln Journal, three weeks ago, Capito joined Lincoln County Commissioner K.K. Matthews in announcing T-Mobile’s plans to expand its footprint here. In comments to The Lincoln Journal, this past weekend, Commission President Charles Vance welcomed the announcement.

“I think we should all thank those involved for their help, from D.C. down to the local people who contacted their representatives. We have been lucky to have two U.S. senators who listen to the needs of the people they represent. The lack of cellular coverage has been a barrier to our economic development and a cause for concern for our health and welfare. People have told me that it was one of the reasons they could not relocate to Lincoln County,” said Vance. “For more than 10 years we have chased this dream but have been turned down by numerous carriers. Now, with the plan put forth and a carrier willing to make the investments necessary, it should be only a short time until our families can drive either side of the county and cross the county with the knowledge that if something does happen on the way, help is but a call away. I want the people of Lincoln County to know that all of our local government continues to strive to do what we can with what we have and we appreciate the public’s patience with our efforts. I want to thank Commissioner K.K. Matthews for his determination and perseverance in this worthy endeavor.”

“I am lucky to preside over a county commission that has such able commissioners working so well together to help all our people,” he added. The president also acknowledged the broadband infrastructure in the county. “I am impressed with Armstrong’s service and product and I feel they are good community partners. I appreciate their expansion into underserved areas. It helps with business location and expansions,” concluded Vance.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been similarly active on broadband matters. Just three weeks ago, on August 2, Manchin’s (D-WV) Rural Wireless Access Act of 2017 was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. A day later, the FCC responded to the senator’s call to advance the Mobility Fund II. Manchin’s office noted that this will provide $4.53 billion to expand rural broadband access.

“These votes are significant steps towards closing the broadband coverage gaps that exist in West Virginia,” Senator Manchin said. “Accurate and reliable coverage maps are necessary to close the digital divide in rural America and expand broadband deployment across the Mountain State. These efforts represent critical progress towards delivering reliable broadband access to even our most rural and remote communities. I commend Chairman Pai and the entire FCC for working with me to ensure this funding increases broadband coverage in West Virginia.”

The Rural Wireless Act now heads to the full Senate. Manchin’s office noted that the legislation would expand broadband in West Virginia by requiring the FCC to improve the way it collects broadband data. “For too long, broadband coverage data has overstated coverage levels available to consumers and has not reflected the real-world broadband experience in rural America,” his office said.

Back in Lincoln County, Armstrong’s Vance remains proud about what his company can offer. However, top of the line broadband access may not be enough for rural parts of the Mountain State.

“It seems this push for rural broadband has dominated the government in recent months and I do feel this is very important to the economic growth of West Virginia. However, I also feel that having a four-lane road, or even the nice airport we could have had 10 or so years ago, would be much more beneficial to the economic growth of our area,” concluded Vance.

Entrepreneurship celebrated as Hamlin hair salon opens
Styles Unlimited Ribbon Cutting
Managing Editor
The Lincoln Journal

HAMLIN - A hair salon, located at the same premises as a previous salon shuttered for a number of years, celebrated its opening last week with a fine turnout of friends, family, and business leaders. Samantha Payton has opened Styles Unlimited at the eastern end of Hamlin, next to Hamlin Subway. The business’ first full day was Thursday, June 1, 2017. An official opening, coordinated in conjunction with the Lincoln Economic Development Authority (EDA), took place Wednesday evening, May 31.
Speaking at the ribbon cutting, Payton spoke of her excitement at taking on the new enterprise. Weeks of preparation and work culminated with the opening. The interior of the business was redecorated in preparation for customers. An array of services are being offered at the business, including hair styling, nails, tanning, and facials. Payton is being joined at the business by several other professional stylists and technicians.

"What we’re really celebrating today is the entrepreneur,”
said LEDA Executive Director Larry Stutler. 

FoodFair opens in West Hamlin

Managing Editor
The Lincoln Journal

WEST HAMLIN - Bill has joined the FoodFair team; a brief pause will see Hudson’s IGA become FoodFair this coming weekend. The landmark grocery store, which has served decades of customers in Lincoln County, will be closed this coming Sunday, June 11, 2017. It will reopen promptly on Monday, June 12, becoming the latest FoodFair in the region. The West Hamlin location will become the 16th store across West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky.
FoodFair is celebrating its 50th year this year, marking five decades since the first store opened. On July 1, 1967, FoodFair opened its doors as "Tower FoodFair” in Barboursville. Charles Forth availed of the chance to buy the 4,000 square foot premises in Barboursville. Now, 50 years later, the company is ready to open its 16th store, here in Lincoln County. 
"We are a family owned and operated business, spanning three generations,” Forth recently said. "The grocery business has been a passion of the Forth family for over 50 years,” he added. Forth attributed the company’s success to a number of factors. "One of the biggest reasons FoodFair has been so competitive in the market today is its local warehouse distribution center. Today, we are the only food distribution company left in West Virginia. Having a state of the art inventory control system, coupled with an efficient delivery method allows us to pass the savings on to our customers, which has allowed us to be be very competitive,” he told the Huntington Herald-Dispatch.
President of the company today is Charles Forth’s son, Tim Forth, who urged customers to come and see for themselves the value available. "We have very competitive prices that are lower on many products and items,” he said. He also pointed to the company being ahead of the competition. "We were there first. We’ve been there since 1967,” he said, underscoring customer loyalty. "People still want to shop at a locally owned supermarket, and we can still meet their needs,” he said.
Lincoln Economic Development Authority (EDA) Executive Director Larry Stutler was among those welcoming FoodFair to Lincoln County. "The EDA is excited to welcome FoodFair to Lincoln County. They are without question a first class operation and a top notch corporate citizen. We are beyond proud to have them locate here, and continue to offer our support and assistance,” said Stutler. "I am personally familiar with their entrepreneurial success story and it is quite amazing. The Lincoln EDA further acknowledges and commends the Stowers Group and Lincoln Plaza for continuing to be an economic driver in Lincoln County,” he concluded.

Floodplain Manager of the Year award for Rick Helton
Rick Helton
Managing Editor
The Lincoln Journal

DAVIS - Lincoln County's floodplain manager was recently honored at a major state convention. Floodplain Manager Rick Helton, who also serves as the county's building permit officer, was presented with a special trophy by the West Virginia State Floodplain Managers Association (WVFMA) at the group's annual meeting at Blackwater Falls State Park Lodge. The conference ran from June 13 to June 15, 2016. The presentation was made by Kevin Sneed, West Virginia State Floodplain Management Coordinator. Helton was named West Virginia Floodplain Manager of the Year out of a total of 272 county and municipal floodplain administrators.

According to organizers, Helton's honor reflected his various duties in issuing FEMA designated floodplain building and development permits in Lincoln County, and how he was instrumental in assisting the Volunteer Organization Active in Disasters (VOAD) in leading efforts to rebuild 16 private bridges of the 157 destroyed by floods during the several presidentially declared disasters in 2015. As reported previously in both The Lincoln Journal and Lincoln News Sentinel, each bridge replacement costs between $8,000 and $16,000, with the monies and work entirely derived from volunteers and substantially discounted materials from major suppliers. The effort continues on additional bridges in a prioritized manner.
Lincoln EDA secures $20,000 EDGE grant

Managing Editor
The Lincoln Journal

WEST HAMLIN - The Lincoln Economic Development Authority (EDA) recently secured a $20,000 EDGE (Economic Development Growth Enhancement) grant from Appalachian Power. The utility company awarded $160,000 in grants throughout its service territory in West Virginia and Virginia, with a goal of assisting communities with business recruitment and retention. In all, 11 localities and non-profit entities are to receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. The Lincoln EDA is one of the recipients of the highest awarded amount of $20,000. The program is administered by AEP Economic & Business Development Director John Smolak.
Speaking to The Lincoln Journal, last week, Lincoln EDA Executive Director Larry Stutler welcomed the grant announcement. "We appreciate the confidence that Appalachian Power has shown in our economic future through the awarding of this grant. This grant will allow us to go forward with the Lincoln Economic Summit in the spring, which in turn will form the basis for developing a Comprehensive Economic Development Plan. The plan will combine both an updated needs assessment and a strategy to address those needs," said Stutler. "We’re especially pleased that the Lincoln EDA request was one of only 11 funded throughout the entire Appalachian Power coverage area, and was for the maximum amount of $20,000," he added.
"We received multiple submissions that were outstanding,” Smolak said. "There are a number of programs with enormous potential and we are proud to be a partner in that success.”
President and COO Charles Patton said the EDGE grant program is representative of the company’s commitment to local communities. "Appalachian Power has a dedicated and experienced team of employees who work hard to support the economic development staff and programs in the localities and communities we serve. This program reinforces our commitment to that effort.”
Award winners in West Virginia include:
- Putnam County Development Authority for engineering associated with the expansion of the county’s business park.
- Lincoln County Development Authority for a new economic development strategic planning analysis.
- Advantage Valley Inc. for a new international business development marketing initiative.
- The City of Bluefield for a new economic development website and small business commercialization center.
- The Charleston Area Alliance for a new comprehensive economic development website.
- The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority to support small business entrepreneurial growth and real estate training.
The Lincoln EDA is based in West Hamlin and is governed by a board of directors. Meetings are conducted bi-monthly on the second Tuesday of the month. Unless otherwise notified, all meetings are at 6:00 p.m. at the Lincoln EDA Office. The board members serve as volunteers and are appointed by the Lincoln County Commission.
Appalachian Power has one 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 to more than five million customers in 11 states.
Goodwill Grand Opening 12-15-15
Goodwill Grand Opening

On December 15, 2015, the 13th Goodwill store in the KYOWVA area officially opened in the Lincoln Plaza in West Hamlin, WV. The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by board members President Dwight Coburn, Secretary/Treasurer Evelyn Cartrwight, Rick Helton, Paula Nelson, Zachery Maynard, Ralph Triplett. Also attending was Executive Director Larry Stutler, Administrative Assistant Tabitha Black, West Hamlin Mayor Ferris Burton, Alissa Stewart, Executive Director of Goodwill Industries of KYOWVA​, and Michael Chirico, a representative of Congressman Evan Jenkins. 

Lincoln Economic Development Authority is pleased to welcome Goodwill Industries to West Hamlin. 


Goodwill Opens in West Hamlin

Goodwill will be open on December 4th, in West Hamlin.

Store hours are Monday-Saturday 9am-8pm and Sunday 12pm-6pm.

The store is located in the Lincoln Plaza: 
10 Lincoln Plaza
West Hamlin, WV 25571


Dwight CoburnLincoln County Native Appointed to State Service Commission
by Governor Tomblin

Contact: Dana Myslinsky, 304-558-0111
CHARLESTON, W.VA. – Native Lincoln County resident Dwight Coburn was appointed by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to serve as part of a bi-partisan commission on volunteerism and service. Dwight Coburn is currently serving as Executive Director for Southwestern Community Action Council, Inc. located in Huntington, WV. In this position, he directs several programs including Head Start and Weatherization which serve Cabell, Lincoln, Mason and Wayne counties. Coburn serves as a board member on several local boards and is currently the chairman of the Corridor Regional Development Authority and the Lincoln Economic Development Authority. His background in community and economic development suit him as a Governor-appointed representative on the Volunteer West Virginia Commission.

The nation’s 53 governor-appointed commissions administer over $250 million in federal grants annually. State service commissions provide Governors with unique solutions to meet each individual state and local needs. 

Coburn will serve a three year term on the 22 member bipartisan commission. Other recent appointments to the commission include:

·         Susie Nelson, Executive Director, Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley, Wheeling, WV

·         Emily S. Fisher, Founder and President of Grow Wings Consulting, LLC, Wheeling, WV

·         Phillip Keith, Executive Director, North Central WV Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc.

·         Andrea Shirey, Executive Director of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley

The Volunteer West Virginia Commission manages West Virginia’s AmeriCorps programs and provides more than 3 million dollars of funding to nonprofits in local communities statewide. Commission programs impact each of West Virginia’s fifty-five counties and support a robust infrastructure of national service and volunteer initiatives that focus on serving veterans, growing our economic, historical and cultural resources, mentoring students, and improving literacy. 

Commissioners are charged with applying for federal grants, distributing funds to subgrantees, overseeing the programmatic and financial health of those grantees, and providing technical assistance and training to current and potential grantees. In addition to this role with AmeriCorps programs, Volunteer West Virginia creates a unified state service plan, houses a disaster services program, organizes an annual statewide conference on volunteerism, and provides support to students, community members and partners to mobilize volunteers. 


A new library on the Guyan
An exciting project is underway beside of Guyan Valley Middle School. The Guyan River Public Library is under construction and is projected to be operational by the end of October; it will replace the present Branchland Outpost Library. This new facility will be a branch of the Hamlin-Lincoln County Library and will be a wonderful asset for the general public as well as for students from local schools. It will include a general area, a children’s section, a computer station area, and a meeting room with kitchenette for library activities and for after-hours meetings by the general public. Funding is available for the construction of the library but not for the furnishings and shelving necessary to make it functional. The Guyan River Public Library Funding Committee has been formed to help secure funds from the general public and businesses to obtain these needed items; committee members are: Sandra Burton, Evelyn Cartwright, Maggie Ellis, Bill Hudson, Jerry Lawson, Sharon Lovejoy, Donna Martin, Sue Ross, Margaret Smith, Ralph Triplett, and David Webb. In the near future, you may see a letter or brochure from the committee more fully explaining the costs of some of the needed items, the floor plan of the library, and the method(s) of donating. The total projected costs for furnishings and shelving is approximately $70,000.
If you would like to donate any amount, you may send a check or money order made out to "Hamlin-Lincoln County Public Library” with the check memo notation of "For Guyan River Public Library” to Hamlin-Lincoln County Public Library, 7999 Lynn Avenue, Hamlin, WV 25523. You may wish to donate an amount to buy a specific item; if so, a plaque with your name will be placed on the item. Also, names of citizens or businesses that donate $500.00 or more will be placed on a prominent plaque inside the library. Cash will also be accepted and receipts provided for all those who request such. Donations are tax deductible. All donations are sincerely appreciated. Examples of specific item costs are as follows: (1) single-faced steel shelving 66”H x 35” W, shelves 12” -$650 a section (for children’s area); (2) double-faced steel shelving 66”H x 35” W, shelves 24” $1100 a section (for children’s area); (3) double-faced steel shelving 90”H x 35” W, shelves 24” $1300 a section (adult area), wooden library chair $215, library table 42”x 42” $600.Library furnishings and shelving are very durable and built to last for many years of usage by the general public and students. If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please contact Library Director Margaret Smith (304-824-5481) or Committee Chair Donna Martin (304-824-3319).

Lincoln EDA to tackle sewer projects

Managing Editor Lincoln Journal

HAMLIN - The Lincoln Economic Development Authority (LEDA) is to take on the coordination of sewer and wastewater treatment projects following a request by the Lincoln County Commission in recent weeks. LEDA Director Larry Stutler spoke at the Thursday, October 2, 2014 regular session of the commission in Hamlin. The director was addressing the commission on separate business, but also took part in the brief discussion on sewer projects and systems countywide.
In recent years, the commission has held preliminary discussions about developing sewer service in the Alum Creek area. This had included exploratory discussions about connecting the community into the South Charleston system with a view to benefiting Corridor G business and development.
Speaking at the October 2 session, Commission President K.K. Matthews confirmed with his colleagues that the commission had not officially engaged with any agency or company regarding the design or planning for the Alum Creek project. He asked that the commission take official action and have the EDA head up the effort.
Commissioner Charles Vance said he agreed with the proposal, but added that it would be worthwhile to include existing sewer projects and operations, possibly with a view to developing five- or 10-year strategic plan for sewer in Lincoln County.
Stutler indicated his willingness to take on the task, but confirmed to the commissioners that he would bring the matter to the Lincoln EDA board of directors first. The authority meets every second month at the Lincoln EDA offices in West Hamlin.
The Lincoln EDA board met Tuesday, November 18. Director Stutler briefed the members on the sewer projects proposal from the commission. The board gave its backing for the EDA to take on the task. According to EDA staff, the board agreed that the EDA will take on the development of a county wide wastewater plan and pursue PSD designation for the establishment of a wastewater treatment plant for the unserved areas of the county.

More Cell Towers in Lincoln County

September 30, 2014: Great news! Yawkey is getting a cell tower.

The County applied for $567,000 for a Yawkey tower. The latest  stage in that process was approved by the state agency today (the  West Virginia Tower Access Assistance Fund (of the Public Service  Commission) today. Construction should be imminent.

The County applied for over $500,000 for a new 400 foot tower at Lincoln  911. That was approved some weeks ago.



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