Member News

WEST VIRGINIA AMERICAN WATER AND AMERICAN WATER CHARITABLE FOUNDATION PROVIDE OVER $845,000 IN STATEWIDE SUPPORT TO COMMUNITIES IN 2023

Charleston, W.V. July 16, 2024 – West Virginia American Water announced today its end-of-year charitable total for 2023. Last year, the company provided over $459,000 through grants, charitable contributions and programming support to nearly 127 organizations across West Virginia. In addition, the American Water Charitable Foundation (AWCF) donated $386,200 in grants and employee matching gifts, further impacting communities served by West Virginia American Water. Combined, total giving exceeded $845,200.

“At West Virginia American Water, our work extends beyond providing safe, clean, and reliable water and wastewater services to our customers,” said Rob Burton, President of West Virginia American Water. “We are also committed to supporting organizations that make our communities a better place to live and work for our customers and employees. That’s why we’re proud to collectively provide over $845,000 in funding to benefit the well-being and safety of our customers and communities.”

Some of the 2023 American Water Charitable Foundation grantees in West Virginia included:

  • The Huntington Children’s Museum ($164,520) to support the organization’s new ADA accessible Sensory City exhibit
  • The American Red Cross Central Appalachian Region ($30,000) to support disaster relief efforts following flash flooding in Kanawha, Fayette and Clay Counties
  • Mission West Virginia ($25,000) to fund its Bridge Program, a mentorship initiative focused on at-risk youth, including those in foster care and homeless teens
  • First Lady Cathy Justice’s Communities in Schools Program ($25,000) to support its Steps to Student Success Program
  • The West Virginia Manufacturers Association Educational Fund ($19,820) to enhance its Explore the New Manufacturing Program, aiming to bolster careers in the manufacturing industry

West Virginia American Water employees also engaged in philanthropy of their own, having raised over $37,000 for 73 West Virginia non-profit organizations through the American Water Charitable Foundation’s volunteer and matching gift program.

“American Water has long believed in the importance of being a good neighbor and good steward of the environment, and grant programs provided by the American Water Charitable Foundation are one important component of that philosophy,” said Carrie Williams, American Water Charitable Foundation President. “We’re proud to provide this funding to organizations across West Virginia and throughout our company’s national service area.” 

To learn more about West Virginia American Water’s community engagement, visit westvirginiaamwater.com and view the company’s 2023 Community Impact Report. West Virginia American Water grants and sponsorships are funded by company shareholders and are not recovered in customer rates.


RENOVATIONS TO THE SHAWNEE SPORTS COMPLEX WELCOME AND TOURISM CENTER BEGIN THIS MONTH

Charleston, W.V. July 15, 2024 – Renovations to the Welcome Center at the Shawnee Sports Complex will begin this month. Groundbreaking will take place at the end of July 2024 with a date to be determined. Pray Construction is the contractor for this project and has 371 days to complete the requisite work, with the notice to proceed that was issued July 8, 2024. 

There will be a fence around the construction site and a temporary main entrance will be available behind field 2. Construction will take place Monday through Friday with on-site work hours from 7am – 5pm. These hours could change due to the weather.

Shawnee Sports Complex will operate with regular field rental times and all scheduled events will proceed normally. Any additional information that will be required for specific events will be sent out as needed. Shawnee and Pray Construction will work closely over the next year to ensure smooth operation during construction.

Those visiting and living in the area should be mindful of large construction equipment moving in and out of the property, and exercise caution while in the area.

If you have any questions, please call Shawnee at (304) 357-5147 or email info@shawneesports.com.


WEST VIRGINIA AMERICAN WATER PROVIDES HANDY TIPS TO CONSERVE WATER AND SAVE MONEY THIS SUMMER

Charleston, W.V. July 9, 2024 – West Virginia American Water highlights tips for wise water use this summer. It’s estimated that up to 50% of water used outdoors in the summer is not needed to maintain a healthy landscape. By implementing the tips below, customers can conserve when watering, in the yard and around the house. 

  • When Watering:
    • Only water when needed: Depending on the weather or type of plants/turf, watering may only be needed once or twice per week.  
    • Water early in the morning or late in the day: Water when the sun is low minimizes evaporation. 
    • Watch what you’re watering: Check sprinkler heads to be sure they’re not wasting water on paved or unwanted areas. Reduce run times for shaded areas. 
    • Keep an eye on the weather: If rain is in the forecast, lawns and plants may not need to be watered. Consider turning off your sprinkler system off ahead of time. 
    • Make use of rainwater: Water collected in rain barrels can be used later to water outdoor plants and trees. Just make sure rain barrels have proper coverings. 
  • In the Yard:
    • Use drought-resistant species: Native plants will have the benefit of being adapted to local conditions. Also, they usually need less maintenance and watering. 
    • Mulch: Mulching beds can help retain moisture and prevent weeds. Be careful not to over-mulch. Two to three inches should do the job. 
    • Set your mower higher: Anything cut less than two inches high is much more vulnerable to burnout, weeds, insects and disease. The sweet spot is somewhere between 2.5 to 3.5 inches, depending on the time of year.  
  • Around the House
    • Check for leaks and breaks: Do a periodic walkthrough of landscaped area to make sure system pipes are in good condition.  
    • Sweep, don’t spray: Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, decks and sidewalks.  
    • Car wash wisely: Washing a car with a bucket of soapy water uses far less water than leaving a hose running.  

 
For more water-saving and conservation tips, click here or visit the ‘Wise Water Use’ page under ‘Water and Wastewater Information’ on the company’s website at www.westvirginiaamwater.com.  


PROPEL YOUR SMALL BUSINESS WITH THESE STRATEGIC DATA GOVERNANCE TIPS

Charleston, W.V. July 9, 2024 – In the ever-evolving realm of small business operations, data governance stands out as a crucial strategy that goes beyond simple data management. It provides businesses with the necessary tools to manage, secure, and utilize their data effectively for decision-making, innovation, and growth. Adopting this systematic approach allows small businesses to protect their information while optimizing their operational processes and sustaining competitive agility. In this article, we go over several ways you can maintain control over every aspect of your business by using these tools.

The Essence of Data Governance

Data governance comprises a robust framework of processes, policies, and standards designed to optimize the use of information in achieving organizational goals. This strategic approach establishes a methodical system for managing data assets, upholding their integrity, security, and accessibility throughout the organization. A well-implemented governance plan not only ensures data quality and reliability but also enhances compliance with regulatory standards, thereby assuring stakeholders of the organization’s commitment to maintaining high data management standards.

Protecting Critical Data with PDFs

Protecting your employees’ and customers’ data is crucial for adhering to data governance standards. Using PDFs for contracts can provide an added layer of security and protection for customer and employee data, as they are typically encrypted and can be password-protected so only your intended audience can access the PDF’s information. If you ever need to adjust access, knowing how to remove password from PDF documents by updating the security settings is very helpful. This ensures you maintain the necessary security levels while adapting to your business needs.

Driving Innovation

By implementing data governance, you empower your business to fully exploit the capabilities of your data. This structured approach protects sensitive information while facilitating its use in innovative applications, promoting a culture of creativity and ongoing enhancement. Such an environment supports the development of new solutions and the refinement of existing operations, ensuring your business remains agile and attuned to market shifts and customer demands. Moreover, this proactive stance on data handling fosters a competitive edge, allowing your business to adapt quickly to new opportunities and challenges.

Optimizing Resource Allocation

Implementing data governance enhances resource management by eliminating redundancies and ensuring efficient use of data assets. This strategic allocation fosters improved decision-making and can significantly cut costs, thereby boosting the financial well-being of your business. Streamlined data management not only quickens response times but also facilitates more agile business practices, which in turn positions your company to respond adeptly to industry changes and customer demands.

Uncovering Business Insights

A robust data governance framework simplifies the analysis and comprehension of business patterns, offering clear insights that inform strategic decision-making. This deep understanding enables you to forecast trends and tailor strategies to meet both present and future market demands. Recognizing and leveraging these patterns is essential for fostering sustainable growth and securing long-term success. Moreover, this strategic insight helps you stay ahead of competitors by quickly adapting to changes in the business environment.

Boosting Transparency

Data governance enhances transparency within your business by making data readily available to those who require it and ensuring strict adherence to regulatory standards. This increased transparency fosters trust among stakeholders and bolsters the accountability of your business processes. Having clear and accessible data supports an operational model characterized by integrity and openness, which in turn, promotes a culture of trust and ethical business practices throughout the organization.

Embracing a comprehensive data governance strategy provides small businesses with a solid foundation for sustainable growth and strong security. By applying principles like using PDFs to protect sensitive data, allocating your resources wisely, and remaining transparent, your small business can enhance productivity, build trust with partners and customers, and confidently handle the complexities of the digital era. Data governance is more than a regulatory requirement; it is a critical strategy that drives your business toward enduring success and prepares it to seize future opportunities effectively.Join the Charleston Area Alliance to get the tools and make the connections you need to build a winning business in our community!


KANAWHA COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION OFFERS SUMMER SPECIAL FOR GOLFERS

Charleston, W.V. June 28, 2024 – It’s time to get out and play golf! Kanawha County Parks and Recreation is offering a Summer Special for the month of July at Short Course at Coonskin Park. From July 1-31, 2024, all kids ages 15 and under play free with a paying adult.

Short Course at Coonskin Park is a nine-hole course, perfect for beginners or for anyone who wants
to play a quick round. Play twice to get the full 18-hole experience. Call Coonskin Park’s Pro Shop at
304-341-8013 to schedule your tee time. The Kanawha County Commission encourages everyone to take advantage of this Summer Special. It will be fun for the whole family


MAYOR GOODWIN JOINS SENATOR CAPITO & MANCHIN TO ANNOUNCE $25M RAISE CONSTRUCTION GRANT FOR CAPITOL CONNECTOR PROJECT

Charleston, W.V. June 28, 2024 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin joins Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Senator Joe Manchin in announcing the City of Charleston has been awarded a FY2024 RAISE grant from the US Department of Transportation, totaling $24,995,250, for the construction phase of the Capital Connector Project. 

“Senator Capito and Senator Manchin have been instrumental in securing a $1.75M RAISE planning grant and a $25M RAISE construction grant for this transformative infrastructure project. Our Senators’ continued commitment to the City of Charleston, combined with support from the WV Department of Transportation, has positioned us to take the Capital Connector project from shovel-ready through construction,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “This project will catalyze over $100M in new economic revitalization projects – including the expansion of downtown housing, investment in a new headquarters for TC Energy that will bring 450 jobs to downtown, and key events such as USA Cycling’s Pro Road National Championships which will take place in our Capital City through 2028.” 

“Completing the Capital Connector Project is critical to the upgrade and redesign of Kanawha Boulevard, and will have a dramatic impact in our downtown area,” said Senator Capito. “That’s one of the many reasons I have been proud to lead the effort in personally advocating for and securing the necessary resources for this project to make sure it is able to move forward successfully. Sound infrastructure is important to the economic development of West Virginia, and investments in our roads and communities – like this one – will raise the quality of life for all who live in and visit our capital city.”

“The Capital Connector Project shows that when you work together through the federal, state and local levels, great things happen,” said Senator Manchin. “I’m proud to have secured this essential funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will support the construction phase and ultimately, take us from a city with a river to a true river city. I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have for our communities and the new economic opportunities it will bring to Charleston for decades to come.”

The Capital Connector Project will build on the successful $5.7M transformation of Kanawha Boulevard West into a safer complete street in 2018 – with the project starting at the intersection of Kanawha Boulevard and Tennessee Avenue at Magic Island and proceeding under I-64, across the Kanawha Boulevard Bridge, through downtown Charleston, and culminating at the 35th Street Bridge. The Capital Connector Project also includes the quarter-mile segment of Greenbrier Street from Kanawha Boulevard to Washington Street.  These core roadways see an average of 45,600 vehicle trips daily.

Key components of this complete street project include:

  • Reimagining the Kanawha Boulevard corridor to better facilitate shared use of vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic by reconfiguring its layout or reducing lanes –
    • Facilitating the establishment of approximately 3.5 miles of 12’-wide minimum separated shared-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians, new crosswalks, improvements at 15 signalized intersections, and traffic calming and pedestrian safety upgrades.
    • Allow for streetscaping, new bus stops, green infrastructure, enhanced stormwater management, new LED lighting for safety and sustainability, and wayfinding signage.
  • Connecting complete streets with a $17.3M WV Department of Transportation investments in the South Side, 35th Street, and Kanawha River bridges to support bicyclists and pedestrians – creating a robust biking and walking loop on both sides of the river as envisioned in the 2016 Charleston Bike & Trail Master Plan.
    • These upgrades will connect to the Charleston Amtrak Station to establish multi-modal connections to key transit hubs—further improving the overall efficiency of the transportation network.
  • Establishing public transit on the entirety of Kanawha Boulevard to better connect the West Side through Downtown and to the East End, and between the Charleston Amtrak Station and Yeager International Airport.
    • A feasibility study is being conducted with RAISE planning grant funds to assess the most feasible method of providing this transit while addressing and correcting any gross weight restrictions that could prohibit bus access.
    • Improvements under consideration in the study and planning phase include solar-power transit stops, bus pull-in lanes, bus priority schemes, and designated zones to ensure the safety and convenience of commuters.

The City of Charleston was awarded a FY2021 RAISE planning grant for the Capital Connector Project.  The City of Charleston engaged GAI Consultants for the design phase which is currently in progress.  To date, as part of the Capital Connector Project planning,

  • GAI has:
    • Hosted the first public meeting and completed the first public survey.
    • Scheduled the next public meeting – one of two future public input opportunities – for August 15 at 5:30P at the Kanawha County Public Library Main Library.
    • Collected traffic data that is being processed to assess lane reductions and reconfigurations.
    • Completed the project survey (base mapping).
  • GAI is:
    • Developing roadway plans based on the traffic study
    • Collecting project case studies.
    • Reviewing public input and developing programming.
    • Developing conceptual designs.

INDEPENDENT MARKETING TACTICS FOR MODERN ENTREPRENEURS

Charleston, W.V. June 24, 2024 – Embracing the role of your own marketing department not only cuts costs but also enhances authenticity and control over your brand’s messaging. This guide outlines crucial strategies to effectively manage your marketing tasks. From leveraging AI technology to honing your marketing message, you’ll discover key steps to mastering your promotional efforts.

Powering Your Brand with AI

Harness the power of AI to produce engaging visual content swiftly for all your marketing needs. AI-generated images ensure your brand remains visually consistent and appealing across all platforms, from social media to advertisements. This innovative approach saves valuable time and reduces the reliance on intricate design skills. Take a look at how a text-to-image tool can revolutionize content creation, streamlining the generation of quality visuals. With such tools at your disposal, focus shifts seamlessly to strategic tasks, enhancing your overall marketing efficiency.

Deep Dive into Your Audience

Understanding your target market is fundamental to any successful marketing strategy. Dive deep into who your customers are, what they need, and how they behave. Conduct surveys, analyze market research, and use data analytics to gather insights. Tailor your messaging, products, and services to meet their specific needs. Knowing your audience intimately allows you to create campaigns that resonate, increasing engagement and conversion rates. By focusing your efforts on a well-defined target market, you can allocate your resources more efficiently and achieve better results.

Optimizing Your Marketing Platforms

Not all marketing channels are created equal, and what works for one business may not work for another. Assess the effectiveness of your current marketing channels. Are you getting the desired engagement and return on investment? If not, it might be time to switch things up. Experiment with different platforms, such as social media, email marketing, content marketing, and paid advertising. Monitor the performance of each channel to determine which ones yield the best results. Being adaptable and willing to change your approach can lead to more effective marketing strategies.

Metrics that Matter

Tracking the effectiveness of your marketing efforts is essential to understand what works and what doesn’t. Use tools like Google Analytics, social media insights, and email marketing reports to gather data on your campaigns. Pay attention to metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and engagement levels. Analyzing this data helps you identify successful strategies and areas that need improvement. Regularly reviewing your marketing performance ensures you stay on track and make informed decisions to enhance your campaigns.

Strategy in Motion

Marketing is an ever-evolving field, and your strategy should reflect that. Regularly revisit your marketing plan to ensure it aligns with your business goals and market conditions. Evaluate your objectives, target audience, and tactics to see if they still hold true. This process allows you to stay relevant and competitive. Adjusting your strategy in response to new trends, technologies, and consumer behaviors ensures you remain effective in reaching your audience and achieving your business objectives.

Messages that Connect

Your marketing message is the core of your communication with your audience. It needs to be clear, compelling, and consistent across all channels. Refine your message to ensure it accurately represents your brand and resonates with your target market. Focus on the benefits your products or services offer and how they solve your customers’ problems. A well-crafted marketing message can differentiate you from competitors and build a strong connection with your audience. Regularly reviewing and updating your message ensures it remains relevant and impactful.

Taking on the role of your own marketing department can be challenging but immensely rewarding. By leveraging AI-generated images, understanding your target market, evaluating marketing channels, tracking effectiveness, reassessing strategies, and refining your message, you can create a robust and effective marketing plan. Stay adaptable, continuously learn, and embrace new tools and techniques to keep your marketing efforts fresh and impactful. With dedication and the right approach, you can master the art of marketing and drive your business to new heights.


Become a member of the Charleston Area Alliance to get the tools and make the connections you need to build a winning business in our community!


OFFICAL CHILDREN’S CHOIR OF WEST VIRGINIA ANNOUNCES APPALACHIAN FESTIVAL OF YOUNG VOICES 2024

Charleston, W.V. June 3, 2024 – The Appalachian Children’s Chorus (ACC) has invited children’s choirs from around the country to participate in the Appalachian Festival of Young Voices scheduled for June 14 – 18, 2024. The festival is a musically and culturally enriching experience for all participants according to Dr. Rollo Dilworth, who is an internationally renowned conductor, educator, and clinician and was recently
appointed Senior Vice Dean at Temple University. He has conducted the combined festival choirs since
2007 and will continue to do so in 2024.

This amazing opportunity includes a FREE festival choir performance at the Charleston Coliseum and
Convention Center Theater on Monday, June 17, 2024, at 7 p.m., four nights at the Embassy Suites hotel,
a performance with a world class traditional string band and orchestra, time with Dr. Dilworth and singer/songwriting Ron Sowell, square dancing with live music, Appalachian storytelling, and a post concert celebration. The following children’s choir from across the nation will participate in the festival:

The Appalachian Children’s Chorus (WV), Boston Bilingual Singers (MA), Centennial Children’s Chorus (CO), Chattanooga Girls Choir (TN), Children’s Chorus of Carroll County (MD), Children’s Chorus of
Maryland (MD), Glorystar Children’s Chorus (MD), North Carolina Boys Choir (NC), Piedmont East Bay
Children’s Chorus (CA), Strathmore Children’s Chorus (MD), and the Winston Salem Academy (NC)

“We are thrilled to host our festival in Charleston once again not only so that we can showcase our
beautiful city and rich culture, but also so that we can support our local economy,” said Chris Brown,
Artistic Director of the Appalachian Children’s Chorus. “We are anxious to share this amazing musical
opportunity and immerse young artists from around the country in our Appalachian culture.”

As part of ACC’s mission to provide artistic excellence, a quality music education, and extraordinary
opportunities while creating a positive effect on the lives of West Virginia’s youth, the Appalachian
Festival of Young Voices covers all aspects of who we are as an organization.


For more information on the festival call Blaine Hess at 304.532.2269 or email him at blaine@wvacc.org


WVU MEDICINE THOMAS HOSPITALS TO HOST HIRING EVENT AT SOHO’S

Charleston, W.V. May 21, 2024 – WVU Medicine Thomas Hospitals is hosting a hiring event with open interviews on Thursday, June 20, 2024, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at SoHo’s Beer Garden in the Capitol Market (800 Smith Street, Charleston, WV 25301).

Job seekers are invited to bring a resume and chat with a recruiter in a casual atmosphere to learn about careers at WVU Medicine Thomas Hospitals. Refreshments will be provided. 

The event is open to the public and registration is not required. While recruiters will be on site to provide information on all open positions at Thomas Hospitals, featured positions include Registered Nurses, Graduate Nurses, Phlebotomists, Radiation Therapists, Respiratory Therapists, and Surgical Technicians.  

Thomas Hospitals offers a family-like environment, tuition reimbursement for employees and their dependents, student loan reimbursement, comprehensive benefits, and competitive compensation. Browse all open positions and apply online at careers.thomashospitals.org

For more information about WVU Medicine Thomas Hospitals, visit ThomasHospitals.org.    


ALL CITY POOLS TO OPEN SATURDAY, MAY 25

Charleston, W.V. May 24, 2024 – The City of Charleston Parks and Recreation Department announced all
city pools will open Saturday, May 25, 2024. Entrance to city pools is free. “We are excited to start another pool season for the City of Charleston,” said Rashaun Poore, Director of Parks and Recreation. “One of the most exciting parts of pool season is seeing some of our community center kids becoming a part of our team by working some of our seasonal jobs. When we see this transition happening, we know we are doing something right!” City pools provide approximately 55 summer jobs – including lifeguards, pool managers, and concession workers.


POOL/SPLASHPAD HOURS AND INFORMATION
Kanawha City Community Center
3511 Venable Avenue | 304.348.6484
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

North Charleston Recreation Center
2009 7th Avenue | 304.348.6884
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center
314 Donnally Street | 304.348.6404
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

Cato Park
200 Baker Lane | 304.348.6860
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

Note: City of Charleston pool facilities will be closed Mondays for maintenance – except for
Monday, May 29 (for Memorial Day).

Pool guests are welcome to bring chairs and coolers. Coolers are subject to search. Alcohol and
glass containers are not permitted. All City of Charleston Parks and Recreation facilities are nonsmoking facilities. Cigarettes and tobacco products are not allowed in pool areas. Questions regarding whether a pool is or will be open should be directed to the respective Parks
and Recreation facility


TOYOTA WEST VIRGINIA WELCOMES MASON COUNTY SCHOOL STUDENTS TO 4T ACADEMY FOR UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR

Charleston, W.V. May 20, 2024 – Toyota West Virginia celebrates the newest 4T Academy class and welcomes a new school system to the program. Mason County students will now join their peers in Kanawha and Putnam counties in the work-based learning program at Toyota West Virginia.

Toyota established the 4T Academy in the Mountain State in 2022 to help connect upper-level students in local high schools with career opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

The Ts in 4T stand for Team, Teach, Together, and Toyota.

During the four semester-program, students gain real world experience while working alongside and learning from industry professionals. Seniors receive an hourly wage during their final semester.

“We’re excited to welcome students from Mason County into the Toyota West Virginia family,” said David Rosier, Toyota West Virginia President. “The 4T Academy provides young people with a great opportunity to learn more about the high tech, exciting world of advanced manufacturing. They will be immersed in a work culture that focuses on respect, collaboration, and continuous improvement. These skills will build a great foundation for future success.”

The 4T curriculum includes classes on electrical, pneumatics, hydraulics, precision machining, industrial automation, robotics and more. Students are paired with a mentor from the line, helping them gain a better understanding of Toyota Business Practices. The program is done in partnership with The Education Alliance and Purdue University’s Indiana Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (In-Mac).

“Mason County Schools is excited to begin this partnership with Toyota West Virginia and The Education Alliance that will result in a collaboration that gives Mason County Career Technology students an opportunity to be part of the 4T Academy,” said Tim Hardesty, Superintendent of Mason County Schools. “The program will allow our students to be part of an innovative approach to skills development and hands-on learning combined with on-the-job work experience that will prepare them for future success.”

Parents and students interested in learning about the 4T Academy can visit https://4tacademy.com/west-virginia for more information.

For information about the 4T program at Toyota West Virginia, please contact George Gannon.


MAYOR ANNOUNCES NEW FIRE HEADQUARTERS PROJECT, PHASE 1 OF FIRE STATION RENOVATIONS

Charleston, W.V. May 20, 2024 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin this evening announced the design and
construction of a new Fire Headquarters and the first phase to renovate all eight fire stations. Both projects will get underway with the approval of Resolution No. 969-24 – allowing for the purchase
of property adjacent to Fire Station 1; Resolution No. 970-24 – allowing the City to enter into a contract with KZF Design, Inc for the design and construction of the new Fire Headquarters; and Resolution No. 971-24 – authorizing the City to enter into a contract with The Thrasher Group, Inc. for phase one of the fire station renovations during this evening’s Charleston City Council Meeting.


“During my State of the City Address, I set several priorities – including the construction of a new
Fire Headquarters and the renovation of our eight fire stations. Our Fire Department stands ready
24/7 making it critical we provide a space where our fire and EMS workers can get a good night’s
rest and a good meal, and a place where they can learn and grow as first responders while also
being able to work on their physical and personal health,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “I’m
thrilled we can get these critical projects underway for the men and women who always put our
community first—and not just during emergencies and times of need.”


“Having spent countless hours in our fire stations – both as a firefighter and as a former Fire Chief
– I know, firsthand, how much these station renovations and a Fire Headquarters are needed,” said Council Member Chuck Overstreet. “Not only will these projects provide better accommodations for our firefighters, but they will also enhance our ability to serve our Charleston community.”

Resolution No. 969-24 authorizes the City to purchase property on the 1300 Block of Lee Street,
East adjacent to Charleston Fire Department Station 1, and to execute all necessary documents to
finalize the purchase. The property—to be purchased—will be used for the construction of the new
Fire Department headquarters.

Resolution No. 970-2 authorizes the City to enter into a contract with KZF Design, Inc for the provisions of architectural design, engineering, and construction management services for the new Fire Department Headquarters which will include administrative offices, training facilities, and wellness facilities. KZF Design, Inc will work with ZMM for architectural support, engineering, and local construction administrative services; and a Geotechnical Engineer-Consultant (TBD). Resolution No. 971-24 authorizes the City to enter into a contract with The Trasher Group, Inc. for phase one of the Charleston Fire Department fire station renovation project which will include a condition assessment and creation of base plans for all eight stations.


KANAWHA COUNTY COMMISSION DECLARES RESULTS FROM THE MAY 14TH PRIMARY ELECTION AFTER SUCCESSFUL CANVASS

Charleston, W.V. May 20, 2024 – The Kanawha County Commission sitting as the Board of Canvassers
started the Canvass of the May 14th Primary Election on Monday, May 20th at 7:00 a.m. The Board of Canvassers were responsible for the oversight of the Canvass for the Primary Election for all County Races, State Races, Congressional Races, the Board of Education Race, the St. Albans Municipal Race, Montgomery Municipal race and the Dunbar Municipal Race.

The Canvass of the provisional and absentee ballots was completed around 11:00 a.m.on Monday. The ballots that could be counted by State Code were tabulated and new cumulative totals for Election Results were run. There were no significant changes to any race totals as a result of the Canvass. You can read a list of the declared results on our website at Kanawha.us.

The required 3% hand-count began also began at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, May 20th. The hand count was completed at 4:15 p.m. Then, the Commissioners declared the results of the Primary Election at 4:16 p.m. These races cannot be certified until 48 hours after all counties have finished their Canvass and declared results. The Kanawha County Commission plans to meet on Thursday, May 23rd at 5:00 p.m. to certify the local races contingent upon certain counties completing their Canvass and declaring their results.

Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick said, “As always, our Election workers did an outstanding job from working early voting, manning the polls, to hand counting for Canvass. I can’t thank each and every one of them enough. I take pride in ensuring that our Elections are run with integrity and accuracy.”


LIVE ON THE LEVEE, PRESENTED BY MOSES AUTO GROUP, TO FEATURE 10 NIGHTS OF LIVE MUSIC ON THE SCHOENBAUM STAGE

Charleston, W.V. May 10, 2024 – The City of Charleston today announced the lineup for the 2024 Live on
the Levee, presented by Moses Auto Group which will begin May 24, 2024 with First Responder & Military Night and end August 10, 2024 with Back to School Night. The free concert series takes place on the Schoenbaum Stage at Haddad Riverfront Park with each night of live music beginning at 6:30 p.m.


“Live on the Levee is a summertime staple that brings folks together to experience the magic of live music, and create lasting memories with our friends and families,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We appreciate the invaluable support of the sponsors and partners whose generous contributions ensure this free concert series remains accessible to our entire community – enriching lives and fostering connection through music.”


“We are committed to supporting local events – like Live on the Levee – that celebrate the arts, promote cultural diversity, and contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of our Capital City,” said Jeremy Nelson, Moses Auto Group. “We hope everyone takes time this summer to make plans to meet at the Levee for live music, great food, and fun Friday nights!”

2024 Live on the Levee Lineup
MAY 24 First Responder & Military Night & Fireworks; Groove Marmalade | Something Special
MAY 31 Night Fever – A Tribute to The Bee Gees | Rewind the Walkman
JUN 7 Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears | The Spurgie Hankins Band
JUN 14 Levon | The Greens
JUN 21 John Inghram presents: Tribute to the Talking Heads | The Kind Thieves
JUN 28 Josh Pantry | The Weekend Warriors
JUL 12 The Local Honeys | Corduroy Brown
JUL 19 Joslyn & The Sweet Compression | Brenna & The Boys
JUL 26 Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns | Grace Campbell
AUG 9 Back to School Night; Golden | Emmalea Deal & The Hot Mess


Sponsors for the 2024 include: Moses Auto Group (title sponsor), Brewer & Company of West
Virginia, Inc. (diamond sponsor), Lou Wendell Marine Sales (diamond sponsor), The Health Plan
(diamond sponsor), Adecco (gold sponsor), BridgeValley Community and Technical College, City
National Bank, Mountain State Beverage, RCAC-APEX Accelerator, Spriggs Distributing,
Terradon, University of Charleston, White Insurance, FestivALL, Highland Hospital, Bobbie Jo’s
Bar and Grill, Bowles Rice LLP, EnAct, Garrettson Insurance, Highmark West Virginia,
SERVPRO, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, West Virginia Golf Association, West
Virginia State University, ZMM Architects & Engineers, and Jim Strawn & Company


ADVANTAGE VALLEY, INC. SECURES $3.4 MILLION GRANT FOR VOSSLOH TRACK BUILDING

Charleston, W.V. May 9, 2024 – Advantage Valley, Inc. announces a grant award of $3.4 million dollars from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to spearhead the transformation of the Vossloh Track Building in Poca, West Virginia. These funds will leverage an additional $1.9 million from the State of West Virginia. Interim financing will be provided by Poca Valley Bank. This substantial project is poised to revitalize the former manufacturing plant, and support job creation and private investment in the Advantage Valley region.

“This EDA investment will support infrastructure improvements at the former Vossloh Track Building that will grow economic opportunity, support job growth and spur private investment in Charleston,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

In 2023, Advantage Valley, Inc. entered into a contract to purchase the 118,000 sq ft manufacturing facility, known as the Vossloh Track Building. Advantage Valley expects to close on the property in approximately 60 days, and put a vacant, dilapidated building back into productive use by attracting good paying manufacturing jobs to the region. Advantage Valley seeks one or more tenants for the building, after a projected 18 months of renovation.

“This project adds valuable inventory to the available sites for companies seeking to expand or relocate in this region,” says Terrell Ellis, President & CEO of Advantage Valley. “We recognized the demand for large manufacturing facilities and worked with our many partners to make this a priority project. This substantial investment will have a consequential impact on the region.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., echoed Raimondo’s support for the project.

Capito said that she would “look forward to the positive impact it will have on the Charleston area for years to come.”

“The EDA continues to be a strong partner for bolstering West Virginia’s economy and this announcement is proof of that,” Manchin said. “Renovating the former Vossloh Track Building will create good-paying jobs and spur economic opportunity throughout the entire Metro Valley.”

Advantage Valley is seeking interest from one or more prospective tenants for the building. All inquiries should be directed to Terrell Ellis at (304) 352-1165 or terrell@advantagevalley.com. To learn more about the property, please visit the Advantage Valley website at https://advantagevalley.com.


WEST VIRGINIA AMERICAN WATER TO COMMEMORATE NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK

Charleston, W.V. May 9, 2024 – West Virginia American Water will commemorate National Infrastructure Week starting Monday, May 13 through Friday, May 17. The company will highlight its commitment to replacing and upgrading infrastructure that addresses the evolving needs of water and wastewater systems across the Mountain State.

“As the state’s largest water and wastewater utility, we believe that ongoing investment into our treatment and distribution systems is an essential component of our commitment to providing safe, reliable service to nearly a third of the state’s population,” said Rob Burton, president of West Virginia American Water. “National Infrastructure Week offers an excellent opportunity for us to share information about those investments and to explain why they are so important to the communities we serve now and well into the future.”

In 2024, West Virginia American Water plans to invest approximately $97 million in water and wastewater infrastructure improvements throughout its service territory. Projects include replacement of over 20 miles of water main, replacement of mechanical and process components at water and wastewater plants, installation of new water main to serve troubled systems and replacement of pumps at various booster and lift stations.

“West Virginia American Water recognizes the vital role our infrastructure investments play in improving quality of life, driving economic growth and creating jobs in the state,” continued Burton. “We value and appreciate our employees, contractors and state and local agencies who work together to execute these projects annually.”

Major infrastructure upgrade projects include replacing 1,300 feet of 12-inch and 6-inch PVC pipe on Indiana Avenue in Charleston, replacing 2,600 feet of 6-inch PVC pipe on Pinoak Road in Lashmeet and replacing 400 feet of 2-inch PVC pipe along 6th Street West from Monroe Avenue to Madison Avenue in Huntington.

For more information about West Virginia American Water’s 2024 planned investment and previously completed projects, visit the company’s interactive infrastructure upgrade map.


ADVANTAGE VALLEY, INC. RECIEVES $25,000 GRANT FROM TRUIST FOUNDATION

Charleston, W.V. April 30, 2024 – Advantage Valley today announced it received a grant from Truist Foundation in the amount of $25,000 for its FASTER WV Entrepreneurship Program. The funding will be used to provide Technical Assistance for food and beverage producers in region. Technical Assistance awards will include, but are not limited to, services such as marketing strategies, production planning, distribution and fulfillment strategies, recipe and process assistance, nutrition panel and label development, and more.

Advantage Valley has procured the professional services of Russ Bailey, of Evergreen Creative Group, to assist with helping clients tell their stories, sell more of their product, and scale their businesses.

“Advantage Valley is honored to receive this grant from Truist Foundation, a testament to their commitment to fostering economic growth and small business success in our region. This funding will bolster our FASTER WV Entrepreneurship Program, specifically in our focus on food and beverage producers. This support is especially crucial now as we look to the opening of the new commercial kitchen facilities in the LIFT Center on Charleston’s East End. Our goal is to strengthen our small food manufacturing sector so that we have a robust pipeline of small businesses using the facility, “ says Terrell Ellis, President and CEO of Advantage Valley. “We are extremely grateful for Truist Foundation’s partnership in advancing our mission of strengthening our community’s economy, one business at a time.”

“Receiving this grant from Truist Foundation is a significant milestone for our FASTER WV Entrepreneurship Program, particularly for the micro businesses we serve in the food and beverage sector,” says Bryan Shaw, Director of Entrepreneurial Development for Advantage Valley. “This funding will directly impact business growth by providing essential technical assistance tailored to the unique needs of small food and beverage producers. We would like to thank the Truist Foundation for its investment in our mission to empower micro businesses and drive economic prosperity in Advantage Valley.”

Advantage Valley, Inc. is a regional economic development organization with a mission to grow economic opportunity in the Charleston-Huntington Metro Area by increasing investment in the region, leveraging resources, and building collaboration among community stakeholders.

Advantage Valley’s FASTER WV Program, designed to identify, encourage, and support small business start-up growth, offers coaching, entrepreneurship classes, and access to capital through mini grants and loans. Since its inception, the FASTER WV program has positively impacted over 700 clients, providing more than 6,360 hours of coaching. Notably, it has contributed to the creation of 149 new businesses and 200 jobs, improved over 100 existing businesses. Learn more at https://advantagevalley.com/entrepreneurship/.


UNIVERSITY OF CHARLESTON TO CREATE NEW REHABILITATION SCIENCE AND ATHLETICS CENTER

Charleston, W.V. April 29, 2024 – While many schools are downsizing, the University of Charleston is growing. UC is launching new graduate degree programs in occupational and physical therapy to meet the increasing demands for rehabilitation services in the city, state, and region. The Morrison Rehabilitation Science and Athletics Center in Gorman Hall will be the home for these new programs. A multi-million-dollar renovation will include modern occupational and physical therapy labs, quiet study rooms, and lounge and meeting spaces, ensuring students have the tools needed for success. The facility will also house a classroom and faculty and staff offices. Adjacent spaces will include new and renovated visitor locker rooms, laundry facilities, and weight training rooms for student athletes.

The two new programs will be part of UC’s School of Health Sciences.

“Forecasted jobs in occupational and physical therapy in the state and region far exceed the number of students graduating from existing state programs throughout this decade,” shared School of Health Sciences Dean Mindy Smith. “Adding these two healthcare programs to our existing portfolio is consistent with our strategy to design and deliver new programs that lead to high-paying jobs in in-demand fields.”

UC has raised over $10 million to fund the startup costs of the Master of Occupational Therapy and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs and the renovation work for the Rehabilitation Science and Athletics Center.

“As a private independent university, we fuel innovation through external funding,” said UC President Marty Roth. “We are fortunate to have the support of area foundations and individuals who believe in the power of higher education. Their investment in UC is an investment in future jobs and quality of care.”

The Center will be named after the late J. Holmes Morrison, the longest serving Chair of UC’s Board of Trustees, a renowned area banker, and a community icon.

Current UC Board of Trustees Chair Greg Burton stated, “Holmes helped lead the University for many years. His passion for healthcare and innovation makes the Center a perfect way to honor and memorialize his legacy.”

Lead donors for the project include Lisa and Larry Pack, the Maier Foundation, Encova Foundation, Martha Gaines and Russell Wehrle Memorial Foundation, HB Wehrle Foundation, John L. Dickinson Family, Jessica and Pat Graney, Kim and Greg Burton, the Hearst Foundation, Fonda and John Elliot, and Marion and Richard Sinclair. Funding also includes a federal Health Resources and Services Administration grant through the Congressionally Directed Spending process.

In addition, UC is proudly establishing the J. Holmes Morrison Endowed Scholarship fund. Scholarship funding will be made available to undergraduate students pursuing rehabilitation science careers.

“We are dedicated to making a great UC education accessible and affordable,” said Roth. “UC students regularly graduate with less debt than those graduating from other West Virginia colleges and universities. The Morrison Scholarship will help us continue this tradition.” Contributions may be made to the scholarship fund at any time.

The Master of Occupational Therapy program is currently enrolling students. The anticipated start date of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is Fall 2026. Pickering Associates and Pray Construction are leading the Rehabilitation Science and Athletics Center project, with completion expected by 2026.

For questions or more information about the Rehabilitation Science and Athletic Training Center, please contact Ella Curry, UC Vice President for Marketing and Communications at ellacurry@ucwv.edu.


KANAWHA COUNTY COMMISSION AND THE CITY OF CHARLESTON SERVE UP NEXT STEPS FOR CAPITAL SPORTS CENTER

Charleston, W.V. April 23, 2024 – The Kanawha County Commission and the City of Charleston will hold a press conference on Thursday, April 25th at 1:00 PM about the demolition of the Macy’s building and on the next steps for the Capital Sports Center project. The press conference will take place on Lee Street outside Macy’s and across from the Marriott.

On Monday, members of the media were given a walkthrough of the gutted-out Macy’s building five years after it closed in 2019. Demolition begins later this week. It’s expected to take 6-8 weeks. The architecture and design phase could take 8-12 months. Then, construction could take about two years. The Capital Sports Center is expected to be complete by 2027.


Commissioner Ben Salango said, “Sports tourism is a booming $40 billion industry nationwide, and we want to get a small piece of that pie with the Capital Sports Center. The demolition of the Macy’s building is a huge step in this long process, and we look forward to the Capital Sports Center bringing an economic boost to our city, our county, and our state.”


“Our City and County teams have worked hard to develop a plan to get the ball rolling on the Capital Sports Center– a project that will be a key economic driver for our community’s future. Phase 1 of this project will allow us to host more sports teams for tournaments like the volleyball tournament that brought in over 120 teams and approximately 2,000 kids to the Coliseum and Convention Center a couple of weeks ago,” said Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We appreciate the support of Senator Manchin and Senator Capito and thank the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority for helping to make our vision for this sports complex a reality.”

“The new Capital Sports Center will truly be transformational for Kanawha County and the region, and I’m pleased the project is already underway,” said Senator Joe Manchin. “Not only will the new center reinvigorate downtown Charleston, but it will also attract new tournaments and visitors from all over our state and surrounding regions. I am proud to support this exciting project and I look forward to seeing its positive impacts for all of West Virginia.”

Commission President Lance Wheeler added, “When you look at the success of the Shawnee Sports Complex over the last five years, it’s a no brainer that the Capital Sports Center is a great investment in our local economy.”

Commissioner Kent Carper said, “This collaboration between the City of Charleston and the Kanawha County Commission is monumental, and this sports complex will be a great addition to the downtown area.


MAYOR ANNOUNCES $1.2M PROJECT TO TURF NORTH CHARLESTON MULTI-USE ATHLETIC FIELD

Charleston, W.V. April 15, 2024 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin announced the investment of $1.2M to turf
the North Charleston multi-use athletic field for baseball, football, and soccer—bringing the total number of turfed city-owned athletic fields to 11 and representing a nearly $10M total investment. “The addition of this multi-use athletic field in North Charleston is a tremendous investment in our Parks and Recreation facilities – expanding opportunities for youth soccer and football and aligning with our vision to provide our kids with increased playing time while also growing sports tourism through new opportunities,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We are incredibly grateful for the outreach and support from our community and eagerly await the first games on this new field.”

“I am thrilled about the addition of this new multi-use field at the North Charleston Community Center – especially for our young people,” said Council Member Pat Jones. “Not only will this field provide a space to play football, baseball and soccer it will also serve as a hub for social interactions and community gatherings – enriching the overall quality of life in our community.”

“This turfing project will be great for our community,” said Council Member Larry Moore. “By adding this new turfed field, we are fostering increased participation among our youth in sports and promoting healthier lifestyles. This project will not only provide a space for organized sports but also encourage spontaneous physical activities – benefiting the overall wellbeing of our community members.”

Members of Charleston City Council approved the contract with FieldTurfUSA, Inc. to turf a multi-use field during this evening’s regularly scheduled City Council meeting. The project will be funded through a $250k federal grant and $950k approved in the City’s FY 2024 budget. Work is anticipated to begin in late spring/early summer.

In June 2022, Charleston City Council approved an $8M investment to turf 10 city-owned athletic fields, including Bigley Field 1 – Upper, Bigley Field 2 – Lower, Cato Park Lower Soccer Field, Cato Park Upper Soccer Field, Kanawha City Little League Field, Kanawha City Softball / University of Charleston Field, Martin Luther King, Jr Center Complex, North Charleston Little League Field, GoMart Ballpark Field, and Suppa Little League/Softball Field.


OVER 45 TONS OF REFUSE COLLECTED DURING CLEAN UP EVENT

40 tons of storm debris collected in Kanawha City and South Hills this past Saturday

Charleston, W.V. April 8, 2024 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin announced today that over 45 tons of refuse (40 tons ofstorm debris) was collected at the Spring 2024 Team Up to Clean Up event on Saturday, April 6, 2024.Approximately 60 volunteers representing local businesses, organizations and the city came together to clean and beautify the Kanawha City and South Hills areas. “Volunteers and especially the City’s Public ground crews really showed up for the residence of Kanawha City and South Hills this weekend,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We had multiple backhoe crews clearing large tree and storm debris, along with groups of volunteers walking the streets collecting litter—it truly was an all hands-on deck effort from our community.”

The City of Charleston’s next two Team Up to Clean Up events are scheduled for:
Saturday, April 20, 2024, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
West Side and North Charleston
KRT parking lot
441 Stockton Street
Charleston, WV 25387


Saturday, May 4, 2024, from 9 am to 1 p.m.
Downtown and East End

Shanklin Parking Garage
503 Virginia Street, E.
Charleston, WV 25301


CRAFTING A BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS EVENT PLANNING AND EXECUTION

Charleston, W.V. April 9, 2024 – Planning and hosting a memorable business event is a strategic endeavor that can yield significant benefits for your organization. Whether it’s a product launch, a conference, a workshop, or a networking event, the success of your gathering depends on careful preparation and execution. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through steps to ensure your business event is not only successful but also unforgettable.

Setting a Budget: The foundation of a successful business event lies in setting a well-defined budget. Before you dive into the details of planning, establish a clear financial plan. Determine how much you’re willing to invest in the event and allocate funds to various aspects such as venue, marketing, catering, and entertainment. Staying within your budget is crucial for financial stability and ensuring a positive return on investment.

Creating Event Handouts with Ease: When hosting events, small business owners can amplify their impact by distributing handouts, like brochures, product sheets, or informative booklets, that succinctly showcase their offerings. To ensure these materials are easily navigable and professional-looking, figuring out how to add page numbers to PDF documents is key; this can be effortlessly achieved by using an online PDF tool where you simply upload your document, select the desired position and style for the pages and page numbers, and then apply the changes. This process not only enhances the readability of your handouts but also keeps all your valuable information in one organized place, making it a breeze for attendees to refer back to your business.

Ensuring Accessibility for Everyone: Inclusivity is a cornerstone of a memorable business event. It’s critical to make your event accessible to all attendees, regardless of their needs or abilities. Consider individuals with disabilities by ensuring that the venue is wheelchair-friendly and providing sign language interpreters if necessary. Additionally, offer accessible digital materials to create a welcoming and inclusive environment that aligns with your company’s values.

Choosing the Right Date and Time: Selecting the perfect date and time for your business event is a critical decision. Conduct thorough research on your target audience’s schedules and preferences. Avoid scheduling conflicts with major holidays or industry events, which could adversely affect attendance. Instead, choose a date and time that maximizes the likelihood of attracting your intended audience and keeping them engaged throughout the event.

Selecting a Suitable Venue: The choice of venue plays a pivotal role in shaping the overall experience of your business event. It’s vital to select a location that aligns with your event’s objectives and mirrors your brand’s identity. Factors to consider include venue capacity, layout, and technical capabilities. A well-chosen venue enhances the ambiance and impact of your event, leaving a lasting impression on attendees.

Collaborating with Partners or Sponsors: Collaborating with other businesses or securing sponsors can elevate the stature and impact of your business event. Seek partnerships with companies that share your target audience or values. Sponsors can offer financial support, promotional assistance, or valuable resources that enhance the quality and reach of your event, making it even more attractive to attendees.

Creating an Engaging Agenda: Crafting an agenda that captures and maintains attendees’ interest from start to finish is essential for a successful business event. Diversify the program by incorporating educational sessions, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities. Ensure that the chosen speakers and topics align with your event’s theme and objectives. A well-structured agenda not only enhances the attendee experience but also leaves a profound and positive impression.
Planning and hosting a memorable business event requires meticulous attention to detail, strategic thinking, and a commitment to inclusivity so you can ensure the event is not just successful but truly unforgettable. Embrace the key steps outlined in this guide, and your next business event will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression, setting the stage for future success and growth.Become a member of the Charleston Area Alliance to get the tools and make the connections you need to build a winning business in our community!

CITY OF CHARLESTON ASSESSING DAMAGE DUE TO MOST RECENT SEVERE WEATHER EVENT

More storms expected later this afternoon and evening

Charleston, W.V. April 2, 2024 – All City of Charleston crews are out assessing the damage from the
significant weather event which occurred earlier today. The Charleston Fire Department, Charleston Police Department, Street Department and Refuse Department are currently working to clear roads of trees, work with AEP on down powerlines and ensure access to hospitals and schools.

The City is working with the Kanawha County Commission closely on efforts to determine the significance of the damage and prepare for addition weather coming this afternoon. Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin has joined the Kanawha County Commission in requesting Governor Jim Justice issue a State of Emergency for Kanawha County.


“Our teams will work around the clock to ensure safe passage of our roads. We are working quickly, but safely, so please be patient and report all instances of down trees or powerlines to the City,” said Mayor Goodwin. “With more severe weather possible this afternoon, we ask everyone to listen for weather related alerts on the news or on their phone and take necessary steps to stay safe.”

Mayor Goodwin added, “I have reached out to other Mayor’s in the County to let them know the City of Charleston stands ready to assist in any cleanup effort. Once we are comfortable that the weather has passed, it will be all hands-on-deck to assist with the cleanup and recovery efforts throughout our entire County.”

If you are aware of a down powerline and there is any reason to believe the powerline is active, immediately call 911. For all other calls related to the storm, please call 304-348-8174 or 304-348-
8014.


DIGITAL INNOVATIONS: CHARTING THE PATH TO BUSINESS SUCCESS

Charleston, W.V. April 1, 2024 – With the business sphere evolving more rapidly than ever, the indispensability of digital innovation is crystal clear. Embracing digital innovation is not just a strategic move, but a necessity for growth and sustainability. This guide aims to equip entrepreneurs with effective strategies for leveraging digital tools and technologies, paving the way for business transformation and success in the digital age.

Embracing Email Invoices

In the fast-paced world of small business, understanding what is an invoice versus a bill is crucial; an invoice is an itemized and detailed record of services or products provided, often sent after the fact to allow for payment within a specified period. By utilizing an invoice generator, business owners can swiftly create customized, professional invoices that are easily emailed to clients, ensuring quick delivery and significantly reducing the wait time for payments. This method not only streamlines the billing process but also supports timely and organized financial management, contrasting with the immediate and less detailed nature of bills that require prompt payment upon receipt.

Building a Strong Online Presence

A robust online presence is indispensable in today’s digital marketplace. It involves developing engaging content, implementing search engine optimization (SEO), and actively engaging in social media marketing. Such practices drive significant website traffic and amplify your brand’s visibility. This heightened online presence is a vital tool for building brand credibility and fostering customer loyalty, which in turn can lead to increased business opportunities and revenue.

Leveraging Customer Insights Through Data

In the realm of digital business, understanding your customers’ needs and preferences is paramount. Utilizing data analytics tools allows you to evaluate customer behavior, preferences, and emerging trends. This data-driven approach enables you to customize your products and services to better meet customer demands, leading to improved satisfaction and loyalty. By harnessing the power of data analytics, businesses can make more informed decisions, tailor their marketing strategies, and ultimately drive growth and profitability.

Optimizing Time Management

Effective time management is a critical skill for entrepreneurs. Integrating digital tools, including calendar apps, project management software, and customer relationship management (CRM) software, can greatly boost productivity and efficiency. These tools assist in organizing schedules, tracking important deadlines, and streamlining workflow processes, while CRM software specifically aids in managing customer interactions and data, thereby enhancing customer service and engagement. This approach to time management allows entrepreneurs to effectively prioritize and focus on key business activities.

The Impact of a Mobile Application

In the current era of mobile technology, developing a mobile application for your business can be a game-changer. A mobile app provides customers with easy and immediate access to your products and services, greatly enhancing their user experience. This not only strengthens customer engagement but also fosters a stronger connection between your brand and its audience. Additionally, a mobile app can serve as a valuable tool for collecting user data and feedback, which can be used to further refine your business offerings.

Collaborating with Technology Experts

Collaborating with IT specialists or tech-savvy professionals is essential for businesses looking to integrate and maximize technology in their operations. These experts bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in navigating the technical aspects of various digital platforms, ensuring that your business operations are efficient, secure, and up-to-date. Their insights can be invaluable in identifying new technological opportunities and in implementing solutions that can drive business growth and innovation.

Embracing New Technologies

Staying ahead of the curve in today’s competitive business landscape often means adopting emerging technologies. Innovations in artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain present unique opportunities for businesses to differentiate themselves. By staying informed about these technologies and integrating them into your business model, you can uncover new ways to enhance efficiency, improve customer experiences, and create new revenue streams.

Empowering Yourself Through Basic Coding Skills

Acquiring fundamental coding skills can empower entrepreneurs to take a more hands-on approach in managing their digital platforms. Being able to make immediate updates and changes to your website or digital applications reduces dependence on external developers, allowing for quicker adaptations to market trends and customer feedback. This not only saves time and resources but also provides a deeper understanding of the digital aspects of your business. You can improve your coding skills by taking advantage of online resources. 

Integrating digital innovation into your business strategy is crucial in navigating the complexities of the modern business landscape. By implementing these key strategies, entrepreneurs can build a strong online presence, protect their confidential information with PDFs, gain deeper customer insights, manage their time more efficiently, and stay abreast of technological advancements. The journey toward digital mastery is a continuous one, but it is undoubtedly the key to unlocking new levels of success and achieving sustainable growth in the digital era.

Become a member of the Charleston Area Alliance to get the tools and make the connections you need to build a winning business in our community!


P&R DEPT, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH LEGENDARY LIFEGUARDS, TO PROVIDE FREE LIFEGUARD CERTIFICATION TO ELIGIBLE CANDIDATES

Charleston, W.V. March 25, 2024 – The City of Charleston Parks and Recreation Department in partnership with Legendary Lifeguards is providing eligible lifeguard candidates the opportunity to be certified for free so long as they are at least 15 years of age, apply to work at one of the City’s pools, and pass the Lifeguard Water Skill Evaluation. Applications are also being accepted for seasonal jobs within the Parks and Recreation Department including concession workers, pool managers, and laborers. 

“We are thrilled to again partner with Legendary Lifeguards to make getting a lifeguard job at our city pools more accessible to our young people by reducing the financial burden on families,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “Whether it’s providing jobs so our young people can gain valuable work experience, creating accessible recreational spaces for our kids to play, or fostering a supportive environment where our teens can reach their full potential – providing opportunities for our youngest Charlestonians will always be one of my top priorities.”

“As we gear up for pool season, we always look forward to seeing our returning lifeguards as well as employing new lifeguards,” said Rashaun Poore, Director of Parks and Recreation. “Last season we were able to open all four swimming pools, which is a testament to the very successful partnership we have with Legendary Lifeguards to help provide free lifeguard certifications. The free certifications not only help us to staff the pools, but they are also an incentive for kids to try something new that they may never have been able to try.”

To qualify for the free lifeguard certification interested [lifeguard] candidates must first complete the online lifeguard application to work at one of the City’s pools. Upon receipt of the application, the applicant will be provided with the Lifeguard Water Skill Evaluation schedule.  Upon successful completion of the Lifeguard Water Skill Evaluation, the applicant will be provided a three-day Lifeguard Certification schedule. These certification classes will be provided to the applicant at no cost through the partnership with Legendary Lifeguards. 

Seasonal jobs within the Parks and Recreational Department – including lifeguards, laborers, concession workers, and pool managers—are posted on the City of Charleston website under Current Job Listings. Youth needing assistance completing an application can call the Parks and Recreation Department at 304.348.6860 or stop by one of the community centers during regular operating hours.


USA CYCLING PRO ROAD NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUTES RELEASED

Event takes place May 14-19 in Charleston

Charleston, W.V. March 20, 2024 – The City of Charleston and the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau today released the routes for the May 14-19 USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships.

There are three events within the championships: Time Trials, Criterium and Road Race. All races begin and end at Haddad Riverfront Park.

The Time Trials are an Olympic qualifying event with the top male and female winners representing Team USA at the 2024 Paris Olympics. This route is along Kanawha Boulevard. Riders start at Haddad Riverfront Park and travel to Daniel Boone Park where they will turn and ride to Patrick Street before completing the loop at Haddad Riverfront Park. The Time Trials take place May 14-15.

The Criterium, or Crit for short, is a multi-lap road race where the riders zip down city streets, navigating the course past cheering fans. This loop runs from Haddad Riverfront Park along Kanawha Boulevard to Court Street, onto Lee Street then Summers Street then Quarrier Street to Hale Street and back to Kanawha Boulevard.  These timed races take place May 16-17.

The Road Race is a multi-lap competition along some of Charleston’s toughest terrain. Beginning at Haddad Riverfront Park, riders will take Hale Street to Virginia Street East and then over the South Side Bridge where they will climb Bridge Road to Short Road, then descend Louden Heights Road back down to Dickinson Street and McFarland Street to return to Kanawha Boulevard. The next turn is at Wertz Avenue and from there, riders tackle Oakridge Drive and WV-114 S (Greenbrier Street) before returning to Kanawha Boulevard. The loop completes with a turn on Brooks Street, then on to Quarrier and Summer streets.  Elite and U23 Females will complete six laps, U23 Males will complete seven, and Elite Males will complete 10. The Road Race takes place May 18-19.

“As the USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships get closer, we will start seeing more folks biking along the race routes to get a feel for the routes and the terrain,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “To help ensure a safe road environment for everyone, it is paramount we emphasize the importance of road harmony – including awareness of one’s surroundings, sharing the road, exhibiting patience – among cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians.”

Road closures will be in place beginning on Sunday, May 12, and through Sunday, May 19 for the USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships to ensure the safety of participants and spectators. The closures will begin on Kanawha Boulevard from Clendenin Street to Capitol Street on Sunday and expand both eastbound and westbound for the Individual Time Trials on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Criterium on Thursday and Friday, and the Road Race on Saturday and Sunday.  Closures will include both hard closures and rolling closures.

The City of Charleston is working with USA Cycling, the Charleston CVB, and community partners to ensure a robust plan is in place to communicate road closures and detours to the public – especially to those who live and work along the race routes, and taking into account other events and the Primary Election that will be taking place during the same timeframe. As this information is made available it will be posted to City of Charleston channels and https://charlestonwv.com/usa-cycling/.     

Fan Zones will be set up along the courses, including City Center at Slack Plaza, and Bridge Road. Information will be released on Fan Zones later.

Officials with the CVB anticipate this year’s event will draw more than 500 athletes, as well as team staff, families, and cycling enthusiasts. This is the event’s inaugural year in Charleston and will continue each year through 2028.

For more information about the 2024 USA Cycling Pro Road Championships, visit www.charlestonwv.com


CITY ANNOUNCES DATES FOR 2024 TEAM UP TO CLEAN UP

Charleston, W.V. March 12, 2024 – The Spring 2024 Team Up to Clean Up events will take place on April 6, April 20, and May 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Local businesses, organizations, and members of the community are encouraged to join the City to clean and beautify Charleston.

“As we ‘Team Up to Clean Up’, we elevate civic pride and empower residents, businesses, and organizations to embrace the transformative power of community synergy to create a vibrant and sustainable Capital City,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We are thrilled to host our annual citywide cleanup and look forward to working with our neighbors, businesses, and local organizations to clean and beautify our city.”

Team Up to Clean Up Dates & Info

April 6: Kanawha City / South Hills

Supply pick-up location: Kanawha City Community Center, 3511 Venable Avenue

April 20: West Side / North Charleston / Bigley Ave. Area

Supply pick-up location: KRT Parking Lot, 441-449 Stockton Street 

May 4: Downtown / East End 

Supply pick-up location: Shanklin Parking Garage, 503 Virginia Street East 

Clean up supplies, t-shirts, snacks, and water will be provided.  Anyone who has a litter picker or gloves from a previous cleanup is encouraged to bring them as the City has a limited supply of pickers and gloves.

Individuals and groups that are interested in participating are encouraged to complete the online form which includes the Volunteer Waiver and Release Form in advance of the Team Up to Clean Up events. Paper forms will be available at the designated supply pick-up location. 


GOODWIN ADMINISTRATION PRESENTS PROPOSED FY 2025 BUDGET

Charleston, W.V. March 4, 2024 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin and Finance Director Andy Wood presented
the proposed FY 2025 budget to the Charleston City Council Finance Committee.
“We have invested an incredible amount of time and energy into better understanding the path we
need to take to secure a better future for our city. These steps have afforded us the opportunity to
not only have long-term financial clarity but also begin making significant investments in the City’s
future – investments in our people, places, and spaces; and the way we operate,” said Mayor Amy
Shuler Goodwin. “The proposed budget highlights many of the priorities we have for the
upcoming year – starting with our City employees.”
The Administration’s proposed FY 2025 Budget:

  • Maintains all critical City services and operations.
  • Does not include any new taxes or fees or increases to taxes or fees.
  • Continues plan to achieve a $15/hour starting wage.
  • Includes an across-the-board pay raise for all employees – including police and fire.
  • Includes incentives for uniformed employees (police and fire) to encourage participation in
    special team assignments that require increased training and certifications.
  • Streamlines property code enforcement through a new Development Services Department
    which integrates the existing Building and Planning Departments.
  • Creates the Turf Maintenance Fund to accumulate resources for the eventual replacement
    of the significant investments that have been made in the city’s athletic fields.
  • Recognizes over $2M benefit of pension funding change.
  • Maintains funding for paving and building demolitions.
    Charleston City Council will vote on the proposed FY 2025 budget during the City Council
    meeting on March 18, 2024.

2024 CHARLESTON YOUTH ART MONTH JURIED EXHIBITION WINNERS ANNOUNCED, EXHIBIT OPENS FOR VIEWING

Nearly 175 pieces of artwork will be on display through the end of March at the City Service Center

Charleston, W.V. February 29, 2024 – The winners of the 2024 Charleston Youth Art Month Juried Exhibition were announced during a ceremony at the City Service Center Conference Room this evening
followed by a reception, and the official opening of the exhibition which features nearly 175 pieces
of artwork from Kanawha County students, grades K-12.

“It is exciting and inspiring to see the enthusiasm and talent demonstrated by our youth artists,”
said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “This year’s Charleston Youth Art Month Juried Exhibition is a
vibrant celebration of artistic expression – showcasing the diverse voices and talents of our youth.”
“The most important thing you can do with your art is share it,” said Jeff Pierson, Director, Office
of Public Art. “This exhibition gives us a chance to see the unique talent and imagination of our
young people.”

Artwork was evaluated by a panel of professionals and evaluated based on originality, creativity,
overall design, and composition. Awards were presented to:

Best of Show
Telina Williams, Charleston Catholic | Hidden Smiles | Crayon on Watercolor Paper
Mayor’s Choice
Ariel Long, Wolf Pack Homeschool | Cracked Not Broken | Acrylic on Canvas
1st Place (k-5)
Serenity Holley, Richmond Elementary | Poinsettia | Oil Pastel
1st Place (6-8)
Madalyn Lovejoy, John Adams Middle | Deer | Oil Pastel
1st Place (9-12)
Khalia Reid, Herbert Hoover High | Blue in the Face | Oil Pastel
2nd Place (k-5)
Jordan Loudermilk, Richmond Elementary | Owl | Oil Pastel
2nd Place (6-8)
Riley Adkins, Sissonville Middle | One Faced | Cardboard
2nd Place (9-12)
Scout Cox, Herbert Hoover High | Anxiety Blossoms| Acrylic Paint
3rd Place (k-5)
Hazel Hagler, Homeschool | Perfectly Flower | Mixed Media
3rd Place (6-8)
Karlie White, Sissonville Middle | Untitled| Graphite
3rd Place (9-12)
Emma White, Herbert Hoover High | My Home of Hidden Wonder | Digital
Honorable Mention (k-5):
Scarlett Eich, Point Harmony Elementary | Happiness | Tempera
Honorable Mention (6-8):
Matthew Schaefer, John Adams Middle | Value Drawing | Colored Pencil
Honorable Mention (9-12):
Kaeden Jerry-Watson, Nitro High | Landscape in Oil Pastel | Oil Pastel

Youth Art Month is a celebration of the visual arts, and exists to direct attention to recognize art
education as a viable factor in the total education curriculum that develops citizens of a global
society; to direct attention to the value of art education for divergent and critical thinking; to
encourage commitment to the arts by students, community organizations, and individuals
everywhere; and increase community understanding and interest in art and art education through
involvement in art exhibits, workshops, and other creative ventures. (via CFAE)
More than 75 pieces of artwork were juried in 2023 and displayed at the City Service Center
during Youth Art Month


MAYOR ANNOUNCES SCOTT DEMPSEY AS CHIEF OF POLICE

Charleston, W.V. February 16, 2024 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin today announced Scott Dempsey will serve as the new Chief of Police for the Charleston Police Department.

“For the past six months—I have taken my time to do research and put in place robust processes to ensure we have someone with the right skills, experience, and values to fill the critical role of Chief of Police. As I interviewed applicants, I considered the future of the Charleston Police Department – I wanted to make sure our new Chief of Police would work well with our officers and with our community,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “I look forward to working with Chief Dempsey and Deputy Chief Webb as they lead the Department forward – with a keen focus on recruitment, accountability, and transparency.”    

Dempsey has served on the Charleston Police Department for more than 23 years – most recently serving as interim Chief of Police and previously serving as Deputy Chief of Police (2020-2023), the Warrants Division Commander, Housing Liaison Officer, Information Services Commander, Chief Firearms Instructor, Detective in the Criminal Investigation Division, along with various temporary assignments throughout his career.  Dempsey is a Certified Law Enforcement Instructor in the State of West Virginia and is certified in homicide investigations, property investigations, fraud investigations, leadership techniques, and community service. Dempsey has been recognized for his work with CPD by several Federal Law Enforcement Agencies for his investigative work along with State and Federal Prosecutor Offices for many successful prosecutions. Dempsey serves as the current Vice President of the West Virginia Chiefs of Police Association. A graduate of West Virginia State University, Dempsey has a bachelor’s degree with a criminal justice emphasis.

“It has been an honor and privilege to work alongside the men and women of the Charleston Police Department for more than two decades,” said Chief of Police Scott Dempsey.  “I am truly grateful and humbled to serve with our officers as the Chief of Police and I am committed to our continued efforts to ensure the well-being of our community through robust public safety initiatives and to build lasting relationships with those who live, work, and visit our Capital City.”

Jason Webb – who has served on the Charleston Police Department for more than 18 years – will serve as Deputy Chief of Police for the Charleston Police Department. Webb most recently served as Commander MDENT and SWAT and previously served as the Public Services Division Commander, Patrol District Supervisor, Criminal Investigative Division Detective, within the Accident Investigation Bureau, and as a Patrol Officer. Webb’s other assignments have included DIVE team member (2008-2009), SWAT team member (since 2009), SWAT sniper team member (since 2014), firearms instructor (since 2015), and field training officer/supervisor (Since 2008). Webb has been recognized as an Officer of the Year nominee for the Criminal Investigative Division (2012) and the U.S. Attorney Southern District Outstanding Drug Trafficking Cases Award for Excellence in Pursuit of Justice (twice) in 2023. 

“I am excited to take this next step in my law enforcement career and to continue the Department’s efforts to foster positive working relationships with members of our community,” said Deputy Chief Jason Webb. “I am truly grateful to Chief Dempsey and Mayor Goodwin for considering me for this leadership position and I’m thrilled about the opportunity to serve our Capital City and its citizens in a new and meaningful way.”

Mayor Goodwin announced on December 15, 2023, that the application to fill the Chief of Police vacancy with the Charleston Police Department was available online through January 15, 2024.  Twenty-seven applications were received – eight internal applications and 19 external applications, which included 10 out-of-state applicants and 9 in-state applicants. Interviews took place in January and February.


NUCOR WV TO HIGHLIGHT CONTRACTING OPPORTUNITIES DURING METAL TECH EXPO

Charleston, W.V. February 12, 2024 – Representatives from Nucor West Virginia will discuss opportunities for area companies to contract with the steelmaker behemoth during the Tri-State Metal Tech Expo March 8 in Huntington.

The expo is shaping up to be the largest ever metalworking business-to-business event in the region. Companies large and small from 12 West Virginia counties and from eastern Kentucky and southeastern Ohio already have registered for the event at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.

Presented by the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center (MAMC), Advantage Valley, and the West Virginia Development Office, the expo will connect metalworking operations of all sizes with large manufacturers that need their services, while providing larger manufacturers with opportunities to shorten supply chains by sourcing metal parts from local businesses.

“You don’t have to operate a machine shop or welding operation or be a large company looking to source metalworking to participate,” said MAMC Director Derek Scarbro. “Maybe you sell metalworking equipment or supplies, provide powder coating, plating or related services. This event is for anyone and everyone who wants to grow their metalworking business, find new customers or identify suppliers closer to home.”

The free expo will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the DoubleTree, 1001 Third Ave., Huntington. Participants are encouraged to reserve tables so they can share information with attendees about what their company needs or offers. Nucor of West Virginia will provide lunch.

Register at www.mfg.marshall.edu/metaltech. If you have questions or need additional information, contact MAMC’s Tanner Drown at tanner.drown@mfg.marshall.edu or 304-781-1688.


MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM TEMPORARILY SHUT DOWN DUE TO LIFE AND SAFETY CONCERNS REQUIRING IMMEDIATE ATTENTION

Coliseum & Convention Center team working with promoters regarding events scheduled at the venue

Charleston, W.V. February 5, 2024 – The Municipal Auditorium has been temporarily shut down due to critical electrical and structural issues that require immediate attention due to life safety concerns. The
Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center team is currently working with promoters regarding
scheduled events at the venue.


Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin issued the following statement regarding the temporary closure. “For quite some time, we have been concerned about the condition of the Municipal Auditorium. At the end of last year, we engaged a firm to assess and evaluate the condition of the Art Deco-style building that opened in 1939.


“Given the age of the building (approx. 85 years), we anticipated we’d find issues. We were notified of critical electrical and structural issues that require immediate attention due to life and safety concerns and, based on the assessments provided by professional engineers and the utility company, were instructed to shut down the Municipal Auditorium — resulting in the cancellation of events at the venue this week.


“The safety of the public and our employees, in all our public buildings, is always our top priority. We are actively trying to identify any possible solutions that will allow us to ensure the safety of those entering and working in the building. “The Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center team is working with promoters regarding events scheduled at the venue. Any notifications regarding changes to currently scheduled events will be communicated directly to ticketholders.


“As I mentioned in my State of the City address, we know this venue, its size, and the demand for
top-tier talent is strong— but we also know significant improvements need to be made as we work
toward reimagining a venue that best fits our market, ensuring a greater return.”


SBA OPENS BUSINESS RECOVERY CENTERS IN WEST VIRGINIA

Charleston, W.V. February, 3, 2024 – The U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience today announced the opening of two Business Recovery Centers (BRCs) in West Virginia to meet the needs of businesses who were affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides that occurred Aug. 28-30, 2023.


“Our Business Recovery Centers are one of the most powerful resources at SBA’s disposal to support business owners,” said Francisco Sanchez, Jr., Associate Administrator, Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience. “Business owners can meet in-person with our specialists to apply for SBA disaster loans and get information on the full breadth of our programs designed to help them navigate their recovery.”

The disaster declaration covers Boone, Calhoun, Clay, Harrison, and Kanawha counties in West Virginia, which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs): Barbour, Braxton, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Jackson, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Nicholas, Putnam, Raleigh, Ritchie, Roane, Taylor, Upshur, Wetzel, Wirt, and Wyoming in West Virginia.

Customer Service Representatives at SBA’s Business Recovery Centers will assist business owners complete their disaster loan application, accept documents for existing applications, and provide status on loan applications. The Centers will operate as indicated below until further notice:

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or
replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business
assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of
improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the
future.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and
most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to
help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

Interest rates are as low as 4% for businesses, 2.375% for nonprofit organizations, and 2.5% for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. Interest does not begin to accrue, and monthly payments are not due, until 12 months from the date of the initial disbursement. Loan amounts and
terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.


To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable,
applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video
Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.


Applicants may apply online and receive additional disaster assistance information at
sba.gov/disaster. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email
disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. For people who
are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications
relay services.


The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is April 1, 2024. The deadline
to return economic injury applications is Oct. 30, 2024.


BAND APPLICATION AVAILABLE FOR 2023 LIVE ON THE LEVEE

Applications due by COB February 21, 2024 at 5P

Charleston, W.V. – January 24, 2024 – The City of Charleston is accepting applications from bands interested in performing during the 2024 Live on the Levee Concert Series—a family-friendly event—which takes place at Haddad Riverfront Park on the Schoenbaum Stage and brings people to downtown Charleston each week for live music, food, and fun.


“Live on the Levee is a summertime staple – bringing folks together, through live music, to create shared experiences and make lasting memories,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. We are excited to start planning for 2024 and look forward to announcing this season’s lineup in late spring.”

The band application is available at liveontheleveecharleston.com and is due by February 21, 2024 at 5 p.m. Questions regarding the application or requests for a paper copy application can be directed to Miranda Dillon at lotlbands@cityofcharleston.org. Completed paper applications should be emailed to: lotlbands@cityofcharleston.org with the subject line: “2024 LOTL Band Application” or mailed to the attention of Miranda Dillon, 501 Virginia Street East, Charleston, WV 25330.


REGIONAL HOUSING STUDY CALLS FOR SIGNIFICANT NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

Hurricane, W.V. January 24, 2024 – Advantage Valley commissioned a 10 county regional housing study to assess the availability and affordability of housing across the spectrum of household incomes. With recent increased economic activity and announcements in the region, the study was commissioned to better understand the region’s evolving housing market and attract and encourage residential development to meet current and future housing needs.

According to Terrell Ellis, Advantage Valley’s President and CEO, “We intuitively knew that with the new jobs coming into the region, we will need to increase the supply of quality housing but we have not been able to exactly quantify the need. Now we know that there will be a large demand for thousands of new rental units and single family homes over the next five years. However, this study also really brought to light some important issues that we face right now with regard to affordability and accessibility.”

“The economic investment planned or underway in the Advantage Valley Region of West Virginia will contribute greatly to the demand for additional housing within a region that is already facing a significant housing shortage,” says Patrick Bowen, President of Bowen Research. “These facts point to numerous residential development opportunities for both rental and for-sale housing.”

A broad cross section of the community was surveyed or interviewed to gain valuable insight into their perceptions of the housing market. Nearly 1,200 survey responses were received from community leaders, residents, employers, lenders, and developers. Some key findings included that nearly 30% of employers indicated that they have difficulty attracting or retaining employees due to housing issues. In addition, developers noted that lack of available sites, cost of labor, materials, and land, and land/zoning regulations are common barriers to residential development.

The study concluded that the recent economic development announcements and corresponding job growth will result in positive overall household growth for the region reversing a projected decline that had been forecast. From 2023-2028, the region has the potential to create 5,359 direct and 17,506 indirect jobs, resulting in 13,000 new households.

However, affordability for many households is a current challenge. There is an imbalance between wages paid and housing affordability in the rental and single family home markets. 49% of the top 35 occupations in the region do not have sufficient median wages to afford the typical rental at the respective Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom unit; and 79 % of the top occupations in the region cannot afford a typical for-sale home.

The projected growth in the number of new jobs and households will continue to affect what is already a critically low housing supply. The multi-family rental vacancy rate is far below healthy market conditions. A vacancy rate of only 1%, or 118 out of 10,000 units, indicates a significant need for additional multi-family rental housing for all income levels. A healthy market vacancy rate is 4%.

The region’s inventory of for-sale housing is also extremely low and dated, and housing prices are increasing. On average, available homes in the region were built in 1966. There were only 621 homes available for purchase (as of October 2023) representing only 0.4% of the housing stock; and prices have increased 16% from 2020-2023.

When accounting for new jobs and families, the region will need several thousand new units of rental and for sale housing to meet the demand generated by new households coming into the region including nearly 11,000 rental units and 20,000 single family homes over the five-year projection period. The largest need for rental units will be for households with incomes of $50,000 or less; and the largest need for single family homes will be in the $300,000 range.

According to Bowen, “While the region faces many challenges with housing, particularly with the lack of available housing and clear pent-up demand for more affordable workforce housing, these challenges also represent significant housing development opportunities for the region. Combining these residential development opportunities with the substantial economic investment underway and planned, the Advantage Valley Region is poised to experience unprecedented growth. The housing needs assessment will serve as a great tool for strategic planning on a local and regional level, and can be used to attract and encourage much needed residential development across the region.”

“Armed with this information, Advantage Valley will be working within the region to educate community leaders about the findings, address barriers identified in the report that may inhibit new development, and promote available opportunities for new housing,” said Ellis.

The study includes not only regional findings, but also provides detailed data on each of the 10 counties including Boone, Cabell, Clay, Kanawha, Jackson, Lincoln, Mason, Putnam, Roane and Wayne. The regional and county reports can be accessed on the Advantage Valley website at www.advantagevalley.com.

Bowen National Research, a nationally recognized real estate market analysis firm completed the study. Support for the study was provided by The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, American Electric Power, Huntington Bank, Kanawha, Cabell, and Mason Counties, Protec, and the Jackson County and Roane County Development Authorities.


MAYOR GOODWIN AND INTERIM CHIEF DEMPSEY SWEAR IN 6 NEW POLICE OFFICERS

Charleston, W.V. December 18, 2023 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin and Interim Chief of Police Scott Dempsey swore in six new police officers this morning at City Hall.

“We are proud of the efforts of our Charleston Police Department to recruit new officers of diverse backgrounds who can best serve the people of our Capital City – especially during a time when recruitment is tough across the country,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We are thrilled to have six new officers joining the ranks of the Charleston Police Department. I wish them the best as they start their training tomorrow at our Training Division.”

“It is an exciting day for the Charleston Police Department when we hire new officers who want to be part of a cause greater than their individual selves—providing extraordinary safety and security to our communities as well as outstanding public service to our Capital City,” said Interim Chief of Police Scott Dempsey.  

These six officers will start their training tomorrow morning (Tuesday, December 19) with the Charleston Police Department Training Division. Then in January 2024, the officers will train at the West Virginia State Police Academy where they will receive 15 weeks of law enforcement training.  The officers must successfully complete over 850 academic hours, followed by a 20-week Field Training Program where they will be directly supervised, trained, and observed by the leaders of the Police Department.


MAYOR GOODWIN ANNOUNCES APPLICATION TO FILL POLICE CHIEF VACANCY NOW AVAILABLE, DUE JANUARY 15

Charleston, W.V. December 15, 2023 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin today announced the application to fill the Chief of Police vacancy within the Charleston Police Department is now available online through January 15, 2024. The application process will precede interviews, and the naming of the new Chief of Police.

“Naming our city’s next Chief of Police is something I take very seriously. The ideal candidate must be able to work with our Charleston police officers and with our communities, be someone who our officers and community members can put their faith and trust in, and have experience in the law enforcement field,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “For the past several weeks, we have researched and reviewed application processes for police departments and law enforcement agencies in West Virginia and across the country so that we could establish a more robust process for selecting our next Police Chief. Beginning today and through January 15, we will accept applications to fill the vacancy, followed by an interview process before naming a new Chief of Police for the Charleston Police Department.”

The application to fill the Chief of Police vacancy is available online through January 15, 2024. Questions regarding the application can be directed to City of Charleston Human Resources Department at 304.348.8015. 


MAYOR & INTERIM CHIEF REMEMBER LIFE AND LEGACY OF PATROLMAN CASSIE JOHNSON

Charleston, W.V. December 2, 2023 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin and interim Chief of Police Scott Dempsey today issued the below statements remembering the life and legacy of Patrolman Cassie Johnson.  

“Patrolman Cassie Johnson carried herself with grace and confidence as she served the city she loved. When she talked about policing and her call to serve, you knew that’s what she was meant to do,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “Let us all remember Cassie’s bravery, courage, and determination—and celebrate her spirit, her laugh, and the indelible mark she left on the hearts of Charleston and its people. May we also, on the day marking her end of watch, keep her family and her brothers and sisters in blue in our thoughts.”  

“Honoring the memory of our fallen officers pays tribute to their unwavering commitment to safeguarding our Charleston community and celebrates the profound impact they have had on the people they served,” said interim Chief of Police Scott Dempsey. “To honor the memory of Patrolman Cassie Johnson, we will observe a moment of silence on police channel 1 on December 3 at 1:46 p.m.”  

The Charleston Police Department honors all fallen officers with a moment of silence on police radio channel 1 on the day of end of watch.  

Patrolman Cassie Johnson succumbed to injuries sustained while on duty in December 2020. Johnson served as a Humane Officer for the City of Charleston starting in October 2017 before joining the Charleston Police Department on January 11, 2019.  


CITY KICKS OFF THE HOLIDAY SEASON WITH RECORD BREAKING EVENTS

Holly Jolly Brawley and Light the Night Brought Thousands to Downtown Charleston

Charleston, W.V. November 27, 2023 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin highlighted the exciting weekend of holiday events in the City of Charleston – bringing families, residents, and visitors from across the region to the Capital City.  While thousands of people were kicking off Holly Jolly Brawley Friday evening, Salango Law Dirty Birds Light the Night was setting Ballpark attendance records at the same time. 

“It has been beyond amazing to see so many people enjoying our city,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We knew key investments in our city, such as reimagining City Center at Slack Plaza and turfing Go Mart Ballpark, would pay immediate returns to our residents, but I am not sure anyone could have predicted the number of people who visited our city this past weekend.” 

“We know if we create exciting and vibrant events in our city, people will come,” Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin added. “We have proven it over and over again and when we have amazing people like Kevin Madison, Morgan Morrison, Andy Shea and our entire City of Charleston team willing to put in the work, we know it will pay dividends throughout our city.” 

Over 23,000 people have already visited the Salango Law Dirty Birds Light the Night at GoMart Ballpark since the event opened on November 17. According to Andy Shea, owner of the Charleston Dirty Birds, Friday night set the first attendance record at GoMart Ballpark, only to be surpassed by Saturday night, making Light the Night the largest attended event in Ballpark history—with close to 6,500 people attending.  

“Light the Night has been truly amazing. People from across the state and the country have already visited our event with universal excitement. Our staff dedicated a tremendous amount of time and resources toward making this happen and it is sincerely gratifying seeing so many people enjoy the ballpark during the winter months,” said Andy Shea, Owner of the Charleston Dirty Birds. “Thanks to Salango Law, the City of Charleston, the Charleston CVB, Go Mart and all our sponsors and partners for believing that we could create an experience like none other.” 

Holly Jolly Brawley kicked off six weeks of Christmas trees and lights taking over downtown Charleston this weekend. An estimated weekend crowd of over 10,000 people attended the two-day event. City Center at Slack Plaza, Brawley Walkway and Lee Triangle are home to over 160 beautifully decorated Christmas trees. The kick-off event featured inflatables for kids, photos with Santa, face painting, live music and dozens of vendors. 

“This event has surpassed everyone’s wildest dreams – not only with the number of people it brings downtown, but also the many businesses and organizations who committed their time to decorating trees,” said Kevin Madison, President of the Downtown Charleston Association. “Holly Jolly Brawley did exactly what we all hoped it would when we had the idea four years ago – brought people downtown, packed our local restaurants and shops and was a family event that everyone could enjoy. It was a festive way to kick off the holiday season.”  

In addition to the kick-off of Holly Jolley Brawley, Friday night was the start of the City of Charleston’s first Private Outdoor Designated Area (PODA) – the City Center PODA. The Capital City Sip-N-Stroll was extremely popular for visitors to Holly Jolley Brawley, leading local bars, and restaurants to record breaking sales. 

“We were so happy to see so many smiling faces, of all ages, out and about during Holly Jolly Brawley to view the beautiful trees and decorations downtown,” said Lisa Godwin, Owner of Fife Street Brewing. “This no doubt helped Fife Street Brewing have a record sales weekend and I feel it was because of PODA and the advertising of Holly Jolly. At one point our GM John Query looked at me and said his cheeks were hurting from smiling so much. What a compliment to the City and foot traffic!! Thank you, Mayor Goodwin, Ben Mishoe, Charleston City Council and Kevin Madison and Morgan Morrison and to our Fife Street Employees.” 

Folks could more easily attend multiple events this past weekend because of the Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority’s (KRT) Holly Jolly Brawley Trolley. Close to 1,800 people rode back and forth between downtown and the Ballpark to enjoy both events on Friday and Saturday night. The Trolley will be open to riders 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm every Friday through Sunday (November 24 – December 31) and will make stops at City Center (Holly Jolly Brawley), Lee Street Triangle, GoMart Ballpark and Capitol Market.  

“Through this partnership with the City of Charleston to provide free transportation for folks attending holiday events in our Capital City, we had an amazing weekend on our Trolley,” said Sean Hill, KRT Executive Director. “Anything we can do to promote public transportation while enhancing the experience for residents and visitors to Charleston is exactly the type of work KRT is here for. We are thrilled with this first weekend and cannot wait to get folks back on the Trolley for the rest of the holiday season.” 

The holiday festivities continue in Charleston with both Holly Jolly Brawley and Salango Law Dirty Birds Light the Night remaining open until January 1. In addition, the Capitol Market will be kicking off their Holiday Village at Capitol Market on December 1 which will run on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the next three weekends.  

Charleston’s Christmas Parade will take place December 7, 2023 starting at 7pm.  


CITY CENTER CAPITAL CITY SIP-N-STROLL (PODA) TO GO LIVE

City shares important information related to participation in the PODA

Charleston, W.V. November 22, 2023 – The City of Charleston’s first Private Outdoor Designated Area (PODA)will go live Friday, November 24, 2023 at 4 p.m. during the 3rd Annual Holly Jolly Brawley, hosted
by the Downtown Charleston Association.

“While PODA is still a relatively new concept in West Virginia – with Huntington establishing the first PODA in the state – similar concepts are common in other states,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “These designated areas have the potential to increase visitors to our restaurants and local businesses, increase retail sales, and add to the unique visitor experience in Charleston.”


The West Virginia Legislature enabled cities to create Private Outdoor Designated Areas, or PODAs, through Senate Bill 534. Charleston City Council passed Bill No. 8013 Committee Substitute, As Amended at the regular meeting on October 2, 2023. The Bill established four PODA districts: City Center, Bridge Road, Capitol Market, and Elk City.


“Since Council’s passage of this bill, the City has worked closely with the WVABCA towards a speedy but well-planned launch, and worked with downtown businesses who are vastly supportive of the PODA concept,” said City Manager Ben Mishoe.


Outlined below is the information folks will need to know about participating in the City Center Capital City Sip-N-Stroll (PODA). Additional information is available online: https://charlestonwv.gov/poda.

HOURS
At this time, only the City Center Capital City Sip-N-Stroll (PODA) will be turned on. The hours
will be Monday – Friday from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

SIGNAGE
PODA Districts are marked by boundary signage – both entering the PODA and exiting the
PODA. This signage includes a QR code which directs individuals to the PODA website.
In addition, three types of decals will be used by businesses within the PODA District – black,
green, and red.

  • Black decals (Beverages Sold Here) – indicate an establishment designated to serve PODA
    beverages.
  • Green decal – (Beverages Welcome) – indicate a retail or service establishment permits
    PODA beverages to enter.
  • Red decal (Please, No Beverages) OR no decal – indicates a retail or service establishment
    that does not permit PODA beverages to enter.
    GUIDELINES
    PODA beverages must be in an approved PODA cup purchased from a licensed, participating
    PODA establishment.
    Licensed, participating PODA establishments must display the official black “Capital City Sip-NStroll, Beverages Sold Here” decal.
    The current businesses who have received approval from the City and the PODA permit from the
    WVABCA are the following:
  • Adelphia Sports Bar and Grill
  • Black Sheep Burritos and Brews
  • Dem 2 Brothers and a Grill
  • Fife Street Brewing
  • Hale House
  • Hale Street Center
  • Sam’s Uptown Café
  • Vino’s Bar and Grill
  • Whiskey Glasses
    PODA beverages/cups must stay within PODA District boundaries marked by signage.
    PODA beverages may be taken into businesses that display the official green “Capital City Sip-NStroll Beverages Welcome” signage (decal) in the window.
    PODA beverages/cups must be disposed of before exiting the PODA and/or entering a business
    that displays the official red “Capital City Sip-N-Stroll Please, No beverages” decal or no official
    PODA decal.
    PODA beverages/cups may not leave the PODA District. Leaving the PODA with an alcoholic
    beverage is a violation of applicable open container laws.
    BUSINESS SPECIFIC INFORMATION
    Information specific to businesses within the PODA District is available online at
    https://www.charlestonwv.gov/poda/business. In addition, businesses within the PODA District
    with PODA related questions can email PODA@cityofcharleston.org.

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES “CITIZEN APPRECIATION PARKING”

Free parking at all on-street parking meters on Saturdays from November 25 – December 30

Charleston, W.V. November 7, 2023 – During Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting, Charleston City Council approved “Citizen Appreciation Parking.” This waives hourly parking fees at all metered on-street
parking spaces November 25, December 2, December 9, December 16, December 23, and December 30.

“The holiday season is fast approaching, and with it – more folks visiting our local businesses to shop, attending seasonal events, and dining in our restaurants,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “By offering more free parking options on Saturdays, folks can focus on what matters most – enjoying their time with family and friends in our Capital City.”


“Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy. By choosing to shop local – we foster a sense of community and contribute to the long-term sustainability of our Charleston businesses,” said Council Member Jennifer Pharr, Vice Chair for Planning / Streets and Traffic Committee. “My hope is the additional free parking will encourage everyone to shop local this holiday season.” Free parking is also available in city-owned parking garages all day on Saturdays and Sundays and from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays – except during special event parking. For more information about parking, please visit: www.charlestonwv.gov/government/city-departments/traffic-parking.


CITY WELCOMES WORLEY AND 170 EMPLOYEES TO CHARLESTON

Charleston, W.V. November 6, 2023 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin this evening welcomed Worley and their 170 employees to downtown Charleston. During its regular meeting, Charleston City Council
approved Res. No. 903-23 which provides up to 120 monthly parking spaces in Municipal Parking
Building #2 for a duration of 36 months at no cost to Worley which will be relocating to the
Capital City.


Worley’s relocation includes 170 total employees, most of which will work in the field of engineering services. Their new offices will be located downtown in Laidley Tower. “For the past four and a half years, we have made it a top priority to invest in our community— strengthening our infrastructure, encouraging new development, creating a vibrant downtown, and making Charleston a place where businesses want to put down roots,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We are excited to welcome Worley to our Capital City and look forward to working with them in the future.”


Res. No. 903-23 provides the parking spaces at no cost for 36 months provided the company commits to establishing new operations for a minimum seven-year lease in a downtown facility. Any parking above 120 spaces and beyond the 36-month period will be paid at the standard parking rates for the building.
“We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to the City of Charleston as Worley moves its current office from Elkview,” said Richard Clay, Director of Operations, US East, Worley. “We admire Mayor Amy Goodwin’s commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment and look forward to the economic impact we will create together in the years to come. Charleston continues to be a great place for Worley employees to live, work and play.”

About Worley: Worley is a global company headquartered in Australia. The company’s purpose is to deliver a more sustainable world. Worley is a leading global provider of professional project and asset services in the energy chemicals and resources sectors. As a knowledge-based service provider, the company uses its knowledge and capabilities to support customers to reduce their emissions and move towards a low-carbon future.


CITY CONCLUDES HERE TO SERVE COMMUNITY MEETINGS

Charleston, W.V. November 3, 2023 – The City of Charleston concluded its 2023 Here to Serve community meetings which provided citizens the opportunity to ask questions, share ideas and troubleshoot challenges in person and via an online form.  During the meetings the Planning Department focused on community outreach geared toward updating the City’s Comprehensive Plan.

“Here to Serve is about bringing city government to our community members – making our departments more accessible to the folks we serve and getting to know the folks in our communities,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin.  “We appreciate everyone who came out to talk with us and who provided feedback online; as well as the facilities who welcomed and hosted our City Team for our meetings.”  

Nearly 120 community members attended the Here to Serve community meetings to speak with departments in person, and nearly 30 comment forms were submitted – with the majority being submitted via the online form.

“The Here to Serve events have been a lot like calling DoorDash for city support. All of Charleston’s City Hall is basically delivered to a community center or church next to your home,” said Council Member At-Large Joe Solomon. “While I love when people come to City Hall, it’s been a joy to meet people in their neighborhoods. I’ve gotten a chance to help people on issues ranging from basement flooding, noisy neighbors, traffic congestion, to navigating a new small business, and helping a Senior learn about the free gym inside her local Parks and Recreation community center.”

“It’s always great to sit down with the folks in our community and talk about the issues most important to them,” said Council Member At-Large Shawn Taylor. “Through community meetings, like Here to Serve series, we encourage open dialogue and continued collaboration.”  

During the Here to Serve community meetings the City’s Planning Department focused on community outreach geared toward updating the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Using large scale maps of the neighborhoods, facilitating interactive input sessions, and a survey, the department was able to collect information about the things most important to the community which included: greenspace, transportation, housing, public safety, and more. A draft of the Comprehensive Plan will be available on the Planning Department’s website next week.  

“Based on our survey, people largely feel that Charleston provides a good quality of life for its citizens and that the City has been moving in the right direction,” said Dan Vriendt, Director, Planning Department.  “They desire to see a continued commitment to having outstanding parks and recreational facilities, maintaining Charleston’s position as the region’s entertainment and cultural hub, and continuing to maintain high quality municipal services.”

The issues that rose to the top for meeting participants are also issues the City has prioritized over the past four and a half years – including rehabilitating and maintaining the existing housing stock, enforcing property maintenance codes, continuing beautification efforts, eliminating blight, and creating public art. Among the infrastructure improvements deemed most important by meeting participants were replacing old streetlights with brighter and more efficient LED lights; and providing comfortable and well-maintained sidewalks, bike trails, and routes for people of all ages and abilities.

The City of Charleston hosted five Here to Serve community meetings: September 19 at Kanawha City Community Center, September 28 at Mary C Snow Elementary School, October 11 at Elizabeth Memorial United Methodist, October 24 at KCPL Main Library,


CHARLESTON COLISEUM AND CONVENTION CENTER COMPLEX WELCOMES OVER 1 MILLION VISITORS, SELLS OVER $27.1M IN TICKETS SINCE JAN. 2021

This month-Complex hosts 3 sold out shows in one week, breaks merchandise and concessions records

Charleston, W.V. October 26, 2023 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin joined the Charleston Convention and
Visitors Bureau (CCVB), and the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center Board to announce the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center Complex has hosted more than 650 unique events, welcomed more than one million visitors, and sold over $27.1 million in tickets. Earlier this month the Complex hosted three sold-out shows and one at 90 percent capacity in the span of one week, resulting in new venue records being set.


“Two and a half years ago we decided to change the way we operate the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center Complex. Through our continued partnership with OVG360 we have seen more big-name concerts, comedy shows, family events and – more folks packing the Coliseum and Convention Center and the Municipal Auditorium,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “Now, more than ever, it is imperative we invest in our future, so that we can continue to capitalize on the energy, excitement, and positive forward momentum.”


From October 3 – 9, the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center Complex hosted three sold out shows: Jelly Roll (country), Lana Del Rey (alternative), and Ringo Starr (classic rock / pop) and sold 90 percent of capacity for Lauren Daigle (Christian contemporary). When Jelly Roll fans packed the Coliseum, a new single event concessions revenue record was set at $185,000—breaking Morgan Wallen’s building record by $5,000. Two days later Lana Del Rey fans purchased $225,000 in merchandise — breaking Morgan Wallen’s building record of $195,000.


“A lot of great things are happening at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center! What is truly amazing is—we are breaking our own venue records,” said Carrie Fenwick, Chair, Coliseum and Convention Center Board. “That same week, we paid more than $250,000 in wages to local event workers – further supporting the folks in our community.”


For the week of sold-out shows (October 3 – 9, 2023)—19 percent of attendees were visitors from 50 miles away or more, visitor spending accounted for 20 percent of all spending in the city, and hotel occupancy averaged 84 percent – with hotel occupancy being 97 percent on October 5. Top origin markets included: Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland/Akron, OH; Columbus, OH; Norfolk/Newport News, VA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA; and Washington, DC.


In addition to hosting more than 650 unique events, welcoming more than one million visitors and selling over $27.1 million in tickets (doubling the average annual live event ticket sales as compared to pre-pandemic sales) – the average annual food and beverage earnings have doubled as compared to pre-pandemic data as a result of the expanded convention space opportunities and increase in concert activity, sponsorship revenue has doubled (as compared to pre-pandemic revenues), the 770 seat Theater has been utilized for commercial ticketed events including nine sold-out shows.


“We see clearly that dynamic activity at the Coliseum and Convention Center drives hotel occupancy and visitor spending,” said Tim Brady, President and CEO, Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We know that tourism is economic development and the numbers you’re seeing today bear that out. Real money is being spent in the city because of this activity and local people are seeing the benefits. It’s sustainable and it’s a formula that works.”


“Since the new management and direction of the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center was established with Mayor Goodwin’s leadership, we have seen more events, more folks coming in to see shows, and more venue records set,” said Charleston City Council Member Chad Robinson. “The diverse lineup of events, the excitement surrounding each announcement, and the positive economic and social impacts we are seeing are all great news for the City of Charleston.”


“It’s an exciting time in downtown Charleston,” said Charleston City Council Member Mary Beth Hoover. “With the revitalization of City Center at Slack Plaza, the continued success of the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center Complex, and the recent investment in the Capital Sports Center—we are not only helping drive visitors to our city for shows, programing and sports but also to shop, dine and stay overnight.”


The Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center is now a hub for indoor sports tourism. In addition to the International Table Tennis Federation Pan American Youth Championships which brought in more than 200 athletes from 27 countries – the facility has also hosted the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship. During this men’s volleyball event—16 percent of attendees were visitors from 50 miles away or more and hotel occupancy averaged 71 percent. Top origin markets included: Pittsburgh, PA; Columbus, OH; Cleveland, OH; and Washington, DC.


THE ELK RIVER TRAIL FOUNDATION RECEIVES $1,365,000 FROM APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION’S POWER INITIATIVE

Charleston, W.V. October 23, 2023 – The Elk River Trail Foundation has been awarded $1,365,000 in grant funds by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for the Harnessing the Economic Power of the Elk River Trails Project, designed to kickstart the implementation of the Elk River Trails plan to intentionally grow business and downtown development alongside the expansion of the Elk River Rail and Water Trails. Specifically, grant funds will be used to better connect the trail systems to the four trail towns of Clendenin, Clay, Sutton, and Gassaway by constructing trailheads, water access points, and pedestrian access. In addition, the grant will support the beautification of the communities by establishing a downtown facade program. A significant effort will also be made to promote outdoor recreation and tourism business development through Advantage Valley’s FASTER WV program which is designed to provide coaching, technical assistance and financing to new and expanding small businesses. The grant will also provide funding for a comprehensive marketing program to promote the four communities and the trail systems.

This project addresses priorities outlined in a 2022 ARC-funded Elk River Trail Town Plan that identified the opportunities for business and tourism infrastructure expansion and job creation along the Elk River. The project is expected to create over 40 businesses and leverage significant private investment along the trails and within the communities.

This award is part of a recently announced nearly $54 million package supporting 64 projects in 217 coal-impacted counties through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, which directs federal resources to economic diversification projects in Appalachian communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries. This is the largest single POWER awards package to date since the initiative launched in 2015.

“From workforce training and agriculture, to downtown development and broadband expansion, the projects receiving grants in this round of POWER funding show that the future of Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities is economically diverse and innovative,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Projects like these are resulting in life-changing transformations, which in turn, not only provides new economic opportunities, but brings a renewed sense of hope and purpose across our Appalachian Region.”

“We are excited to partner with the Foundation on this initiative. The outdoor recreation economy is growing significantly in West Virginia and this trail system is no different,” said Terrell Ellis, President & CEO of Advantage Valley. “When fully constructed, we project visitations to the Elk River Trails to approach 150,000 annually. Our analysis shows that these visitors will spend an average of $100 per day. Funding from this grant will allow us to expand our FASTER WV program to assist new and expanding small businesses with startups and expansions so that we can meet the demand that is projected by increased tourism in these communities,” said Ellis. 

“I am very excited that this grant enables the Foundation to support and promote economic growth associated with the Elk River Rail and Water Trails. We are already seeing the development of outdoor recreation and tourism-related businesses along the trails, and this grant will help our communities become attractive trail towns,” says Ken Tawney, President of the Elk River Trails Foundation. “I also want to thank our partners, including Advantage Valley, Braxton County Commission, Braxton County Development Authority, and 25045 – A New Clendenin, Inc. We thank ARC for this funding, as well as the Benedum Foundation who also assisted with funding the original trail town study. Finally, I want to recognize the efforts of our board, our trail town committee, and the volunteers who have spent time contributing to this project and who will continue to do so as we move into the implementation stage of this project.”   

The Elk River Trail Foundation preserves, protects, and enhances the Elk River Trails for public recreation, community health and well-being, conservation, ecology, education, economic development, and cultural enrichment. The Elk River Trail System runs through portions of Kanawha, Clay, and Braxton Counties.  Paralleling the Elk River, the Elk River Trail System provides recreation opportunities for anglers, boaters, cyclists, hikers, and equestrians living in or visiting the center of the state. 


SUPPLEMENTAL LOOSE LEAF COLLECTION STARTS OCTOBER 30

Leaves can be bagged and left curbside, or raked to edge of street for supplemental loose leaf collection

Charleston, W.V. October 23, 2023 – The City of Charleston Public Works Department reminds residents they can bag leaves and set them out on their normal trash day or rake leaves to the edge of the street to
be picked up as part of supplemental loose leaf collection, starting October 30.

Answers to common questions are included below.
I raked my leaves to the edge of the street. Why weren’t they picked up?
A: Public Works crews cannot collect leaves from every residence along a route in a single day.
Instead, crews collect leaves along their route and mark the location where they end the day. During
the next scheduled shift on that route, the crew starts from the location marked at the end of the last
shift in that area. This process continues until the route has been completed. Then, crews will start
again at the beginning of the route.


Additionally, the Public Works crews who collect leaves are the same folks who salt the roads and
provide snow removal during inclement weather.


What days will supplemental loose leaf collection take place?

A: Public Works crews, weather permitting, will be in Kanawha City on Mondays and Tuesdays;
South Hills on Wednesdays and Thursdays; and West Side, North Charleston and East End on
Fridays.


Is there a limit to the amount of bagged leaves I can put out on trash day?
A: No.


Where do I put my leaves to be picked up?
A: Leaves must be raked to the edge of the street to be collected. Leaves in alleyways will not be
collected.


For further assistance and questions, please call 304.348.6850.


COUNCIL APPROVES $5M FROM UNASSIGNED FUND BALANCE FOR CAPITAL SPORTS CENTER, $1M FOR PUBLIC SAFETY CENTER

Funding also allocated for North Charleston turfing project, conversion of city streetlights to LED’s, demolitions, Kanawha City Community Center HVAC, and more

Charleston, W.V. October 17, 2023 – During Monday’s Charleston City Council meeting, Council approved
funding for several projects – including funding for the Capital Sports Center, the Public Safety Center, demolitions, turfing at North Charleston Community Center, conversion of city-owned streetlights to LEDs, the HVAC/roof project at Kanawha City Community Center – using funds from the unassigned fund balance.


“For the past four and a half years we have prioritized fiscal responsibility – balancing our city’s budget with no new taxes and without cutting or eliminating essential city services, creating and maintaining the largest rainy-day fund in the city’s history, and investing in more paving and more demolitions. During this time, we have seen an increase in development in town, more events and programming, the return of the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta, more bookings at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center, and expanded usage of GoMart Ballpark resulting in more folks coming into Charleston,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “With more folks in town, revenues are up. This combined with expenses being down and our continued hard work have positioned us to make significant investments in projects that will support growth and prosperity long into the future.”


“We are excited about the opportunities – for area athletes, sports tourism, and our local economy – that will be possible through the Capital Sports Center,” said Council Member Brent Burton. “The City’s $5M combined with the County’s $5M will help get the ball rolling on this key economic development project, further reinforcing our collective commitment to growing sports tourism in Charleston.”

Projects funded through the Unassigned Fund Balance include—
➢ $5M toward the Capital Sports Center: These funds match the Kanawha County
Commission’s $5M contribution toward the facility.
➢ $1M toward the Public Safety Center: This is an additional $1M – $2M was previously
allocated through ARPA and the prior year’s unassigned fund balance.
➢ $400,000 toward demolitions: Since 2019, more than 500 structures have been demolished.
This funding will allow the Building Department to continue its work to demolish more vacant /
unsafe structures.
➢ $350k toward turfing at North Charleston: This will provide matching funds for a Land
and Water Conservation Fund grant for the turfing of the football field at North Charleston
Community Center – increasing the number of city-owned turfed athletic fields to 11 and
providing another space to play and train.
➢ $350k toward the conversion of city-owned streetlights to LEDs: These funds will
convert city-owned lights to LEDs for a cleaner, brighter light that will make streets and
neighborhoods safer. This is in addition to the current project with AEP to convert nearly 6k
streetlights to LEDs.
➢ $200k toward the Kanawha City Community Center HVAC & roof project: The cost
to replace and repair the roof and HVAC at Kanawha City Community Center is nearly $1M.
These funds will supplement the amount already allocated for the project.


SECRETARY WARNER LAUNCES STATEWIDE COALITION TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN WEST VIRGINIA

Charleston, W.V. October 16, 2023 – Secretary of State Mac Warner is proud to announce the creation of a statewide coalition of the West Virginia business community to fight against human trafficking in our state. West Virginia Businesses Against Trafficking (WVBAT)has already gained support from many statewide associations and businesses. 

The WV Secretary of State’s office is the location for registration and licensing for more than 161,000 businesses operating in West Virginia. WV Secretary of State Mac Warner is asking all business owners to join the WVBAT coalition to combat human trafficking and to promote the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) of the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office. 

“My office serves as the business hub for West Virginia, and I invite all businesses in the state to join this coalition. WVBAT coalition members will play a pivotal role in combatting human trafficking, one victim at a time,” said Secretary Warner. Warner continued, “Human trafficking is evil, and this coalition is designed to stop the practice, one business and one victim at a time. Participation in this cause is of the highest importance; small businesses and large corporations play an equally vital role in disseminating information and supporting victims.” 

The WVBAT partnership between The WV Secretary of State’s office and the West Virginia Fusion Center empowers businesses to intervene and take a stand against human trafficking. Warner’s Office will be providing available resources to the WVBAT members through the recently announced “YOU CAN” human trafficking initiative.

The West Virginia Fusion Center under the WV Department of Homeland Security, in keeping with Governor Justice’s vision to use all resources available to protect our state and our citizens, recently announced the new statewide, anti-human trafficking initiative, “YOU CAN,” said Fusion Center Director Jack Luikart. “We are now proud to partner with the WV Secretary of State’s Office for their initiative, West Virginia Businesses Against Trafficking. Our mission is clear, we aim to raise public awareness and equip individuals with the knowledge and resources to report suspected instances of human trafficking. By uniting with federal, state, and local partners, we can provide our communities with the tools and knowledge needed to be vigilant and proactive in the fight against human trafficking,” Luikart continued. 

“We are now proud to partner with the WV Secretary of State’s Office for their initiative, West Virginia Businesses Against Trafficking. Our mission is clear, we aim to raise public awareness and equip individuals with the knowledge and resources to report suspected instances of human trafficking. By uniting with federal, state, and local partners, we can provide our communities with the tools and knowledge needed to be vigilant and proactive in the fight against human trafficking,” Luikart continued. 

Given Secretary Warner’s role in overseeing the registration of all businesses within the state, WVBAT will leverage existing relationships of the Secretary of State’s Business Division to encourage businesses to participate. The materials included in the campaign will provide potentially lifesaving information to victims on how to seek help and guidance on reporting suspicious activity to local, state, and federal authorities.

 “I am proud to lead the effort to mobilize businesses and business owners who share a desire to end human trafficking in West Virginia”, said Secretary Warner. “If WVBAT can help law enforcement save even a single victim’s life, then this cause deserves the utmost support from our communities.”

Businesses can learn more about the WVBAT coalition and sign up to participate in the program here.


CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA TO HOST PRO ROAD NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS MAY 15-19, 2024

Winner will automatically qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics

Charleston, W.V. October 13, 2023 – The city of Charleston, West Virginia, is set to become the epicenter of American professional cycling as it will proudly host the USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships for the next five years. This thrilling event will bring together elite and up-and-coming cyclists from across the nation to compete for coveted national titles in 2024-2028, starting with the first event on May 15-19, 2024.  

The Pro Road National Championships will continue to feature the professional Road Race, Time Trial and Criterium, with the addition of the Under-23 and Junior 17-18 age categories in an effort to elevate the UCI categories on the national stage, creating one world-class cycling event.  

“It’s been 20 years since we’ve seen this level of performance by American riders in the European peloton,” said Brendan Quirk, USA Cycling’s President and CEO. “This makes it the perfect time for USA Cycling to really invest in Pro Road Nationals and make it the ultimate week of road racing for American riders at all levels of the developmental pathway – Professional, U23, and Junior 17-18.”  

The 2024 event is expected to draw top-tier riders, including Olympians, World Tour professionals, and rising stars just two months prior to the Summer Olympic Games. The winner of the Elite Men’s and Women’s Time Trial events at the 2024 Pro Road National Championships will automatically qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games set to be held July 26 – August 11. 

 “Our goal for the qualifier in Charleston is to closely mimic the course riders will face in Paris. The 2024 Olympic Time Trial Course is 32.4 kilometers in length and is predominately flat,” said Jim Miller, USA Cycling’s Chief of Sport Performance. 

 Athletes will vie for gold on the formidable roads and picturesque landscapes of Charleston and its surrounding areas, providing the best-in-class racing while showcasing West Virginia’s natural beauty.  

“After seven successful years in Knoxville, we are thrilled to start a new tradition with Charleston. We vetted several different venues and were extremely impressed by the challenging terrain and beauty of West Virginia’s capital city, as well as the capability of the local organizing committee led by the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau,” continued Quirk.  

“This event is an exciting opportunity to showcase our city. It’s going to take a group effort and, so far, the cycling community has responded with incredible enthusiasm,” said Tim Brady, President/CEO of the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We also couldn’t host championships of this magnitude without the support of the City of Charleston and our number one advocate, Mayor Amy Goodwin.”   

The remaining 2024 National Championship calendar will be announced in the coming weeks.  

“We are thrilled to welcome the USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships to Charleston – starting in the Spring of 2024 – to experience our Capital City’s natural beauty and vibrant communities,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We look forward to working with the Charleston CVB and our cycling community in the months ahead to prepare for this national championship.”   

For more information about the USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships, please visit https://roadnats.usacycling.org/pro-road   Visit USACycling.org for more information on the athletes, events and membership programs, and follow @USACycling across all channels for the latest on Team USA.  


USDA WILL BEGIN USING MOST RECENT CENSUS DATA TO DETERMINE ELIGIBILITY FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development today announced that USDA, on Oct. 1, 2023, will begin using the most recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine program eligibility for Rural Development programs. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2024, the agency will use 2020 Decennial Census population data and 2017-2021 American Community Survey (ACS) income data to determine eligibility. The agency previously used 2010 Decennial Census population data and 2006-2010 ACS data. Rural Development will also unveil updated online program eligibility maps. The maps will help individuals and organizations applying for Fiscal Year 2024 funding to quickly determine if an area is considered rural and/or eligible for Rural Development programs. The updated maps will be posted to the RD Eligibility Site. The agency will continue to use 2010 census population data and 2006-2010 ACS income data to process complete applications submitted prior to Sept. 30, 2023, if the:

For more information about the transition to the 2020 Decennial Census data and 2017-2021 ACS data, please contact your RD State Office representative at https://www.rd.usda.gov/about-rd/state-offices.


CITY HOSTS UNVEILING OF THE CHARLY BENCH HONORING THE LATE CHARLES JUPITER HAMILTON

Charleston, W.V. September 21, 2023 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin joined the City’s Office of Public Art;
Rhoda Hamilton, wife of the late Charles Jupiter Hamilton; and community members to unveil the Charly Bench which is located near the Wonder Mural on Charleston’s West Side.

“Charly’s artwork and legacy continue to bring vibrancy to our Capital City,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We are truly grateful for his lasting contributions to our arts community, and we absolutely love his continued presence through this new public art piece.” “Charly was a kind and gentle soul who had a great love for everyone. He was so giving of his time and his art. Charly would often help other artists as they navigated their own artwork,” said Rhoda Hamilton. “His quirky sense of humor always put a smile on my face. He was the love of my life.”

“This project was designed in collaboration with Charly Hamilton before his passing,” said Jeff
Pierson, Director of the Office of Public Art. “We hope this piece will bring the same wonder and
whimsy that Charly brought to all of his work.” Jeff Pierson worked in collaboration with Charles Jupiter Hamilton to design the Charly Bench – first starting with sketches, and then developing a final concept rendering before Hamilton’s passing in 2021. Robert Haddy sculpted and fabricated the maquette and final sculpture. Jeff Pierson and Rob Cleland painted the sculpture based on Charly’s color design.


CITY TO HOST HERE TO SERVE COMMUNITY MEETINGS

First meeting to take place Tuesday, September 19 at Kanawha City Community Center

Charleston, W.V. September 13, 2023 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin announced the City of Charleston will host five Here to Serve community meetings to provide citizens an opportunity to meet members of the City Team – including representatives from City Departments and City Council Members, ask questions, share ideas, and troubleshoot challenges.


“I am thrilled to bring back the Here to Serve community meetings – an initiative we first started in 2019 to make City government more accessible,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “These meetings provide an opportunity for folks to connect one-on-one with our City Team in their communities – allowing us to better understand the challenges folks may be experiencing, hear ideas firsthand, and talk through proactive solutions.” Here to Serve community meetings will take place on the following dates/locations and are open to the public. All meetings will begin at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, September 19: Kanawha City Community Center
3511 Venable Ave, Charleston, WV

Thursday, September 28: Mary C Snow Elementary School Cafeteria
100 Florida Street, Charleston, WV

Wednesday, October 11: Elizabeth Memorial United Methodist
108 Oakwood Rd, Charleston, WV

Tuesday, October 24: KCPL Main Library
Main 311C – TGKVF Mtg Rm
123 Capitol St, Charleston, WV

Wednesday, November 1: Roosevelt Neighborhood Center
502 Ruffner Ave, Charleston, WV

Anyone who is unable to attend the Here to Serve events may use the online comment form to
provide ideas, feedback, and comments to the City of Charleston.


FESTIVAL OFFERS $10,000 IN PRIZES TO MAKERS OF ALL AGES

Charleston, W.V. September 12, 2023– To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the West Virginia Makes Festival, the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center (MAMC) is offering $10,000 in cash prizes to winners of this year’s Design Challenge. Artisans, inventors, manufacturers, students and makers of all kinds are encouraged to enter their creations by participating in the Oct. 6 festival on the Huntington campus of Marshall University, said Kara Mullins, Makes Festival coordinator.

“We want to make this year’s festival the biggest and best yet,” Mullins said. “To encourage more participation from across West Virginia and beyond, we’re offering the largest prize cache ever. People of all ages are eligible to compete for their share of the money.”

Multiple prizes will be awarded in adult and youth categories, including a $5,000 cash award to the adult champion, $1,000 to the youth champion and $500 to the People’s Choice winner, as voted on by festivalgoers. “This is a celebration of creativity and ingenuity in all forms,” Mullins said. “That why we encourage makers of all ages, from elementary school-age children to retired adults to demonstrate their creations, whatever they are.” This year, West Virginia’s largest maker fair coincides with National Manufacturing Day. Mullins urged manufacturers of all types to participate in the festival to represent the state’s rich history of manufacturing.

“There are a variety of ways to participate in the Makes Festival,” Mullins explained. “In addition to the Design Challenge, individuals can demonstrate their creations, register as exhibitors and offer information about how they support makers, provide making activities or games, or attend as a school or other group. We want everyone who can come to join us and enjoy all the festival has to offer, from hands-on making activities, virtual reality and robotics to music and even a splat-tacular pumpkin drop presented by the June Harless Center at Marshall University!”

There is no cost to participate in the festival but Design Challengers, exhibitors and groups are asked to register at www.mfg.marshall.edu/wvmf2023. Design challengers and other exhibitors are welcome to sell their creations during the event.

The 10th anniversary Makes Festival is made possible through the generous financial support of title sponsor West Virginia American Water. For more information, contact Mullins at kara.mullins@mfg.marshall.edu or 304-781-1624.


OCTOBER 12 EXPO TO CONNECT SMALL SUPPLIERS TO LARGE STATE MANUFACTURER

Charleston, W.V. September 12, 2023– Marshall University’s Advanced Manufacturing Center and Advantage Valley are presenting another in their series of Supply Chain Expos to connect small businesses to major companies while forging supply chain connections closer to home.

The October 12 virtual event from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. will feature Gestamp, an international group dedicated to the design, development and manufacture of metal automotive components. Gestamp operates a major manufacturing facility in South Charleston. Founded in 1997, the company has manufacturing operations in 24 countries and generated more than $13 billion in global sales in 2021.

Individuals interested in participating in the free expo will learn about the process for becoming a vendor and have the opportunity to share information about their capabilities and capacities. Gestamp will consider them for supplier opportunities not just in South Charleston, but for its plants globally.

“Our previous expos focusing on the aerospace, chemical, polymer, steel and healthcare industries resulted in numerous contracts for state small businesses, some quite lucrative,” said Derek Scarbro, MAMC director. “Our successful business-to-business events also have helped major companies shorten their supply chains, creating a win-win situation for everyone by keeping West Virginia dollars in state.”
Gestamp’s purchasing needs include the following types of goods and services:

  • Industrial Maintenance
  • Building Repair Services
  • General Construction
  • Packaging Materials
  • Industrial Gasses/Chemicals
  • Fuel
  • Industrial Chillers/Maintenance
  • Cranes
  • IT Services
  • Physical Exams
  • Recycling Services
  • Security Services
  • Electric/ Mechanical Parts Repair
  • Pest Control
  • Water Treatment/Chemicals
  • Canteen Services
  • Safety Systems
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Janitorial Services
  • Lab Calibration Services
  • Signage and Printing (indoor and outdoor)
  • Steel and Heat Treatment

“As you can see from the list, Gestamp contracts for an array of goods and services” Scarbro said. “If you’re a small business operator anywhere in West Virginia capable of providing any of these things, make sure to sign up and participate in our event. Not only is this a great opportunity for Gestamp to identify suppliers closer to its West Virginia facility, it’s an opportunity for Mountain State small businesses to expand their customer base.”

Register for the virtual expo at www.mfg.marshall.edu/gestampexpo23. For more information, contact MAMC’s James Westbrook at james.westbrook@mfg.marshall.edu or 304-720-7740.


CITY HOSTS MLK MURAL PROJECT DEDICATION, CELEBRATES THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF DR. KING’S “I HAVE A DREAM” SPEECH

Charleston, W.V. August 28, 2023 – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin joined the City’s Office of Public Art, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, community leaders, mural participants and others to dedicate the MLK Mural Project and celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I have a dream” speech today at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center. “Today, we celebrate the many folks who came together to create this vibrant mural which showcases the creative and energetic spirit of our community,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “May this mural serve as a reminder of our commitment to honoring the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

“When we developed the concept for this public art project, we wanted to make sure it showcased the diversity in our community through inclusion. Nearly 30 virtual and public workshops were conducted guiding community members of all ages in the creation of over 1,300 self-portraits,” said Jeff Pierson, Director of Public Art.

In February 2020, the City of Charleston Office of Public Art set out to create one of the largest participatory murals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – measuring approximately 17’ x 67’ and being composed of more than 1,300 hand painted self-portraits and a chromatic portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. which measures 14’ x 17’ and which was painted by community members during a paint party. Nearly 40 workshops were held in schools, community centers and virtually.


WV REGIONAL TECH PARK RECEIVES ‘BEST OF WEST VIRGINIA’ AWARD FOR REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EVENT

Charleston, W.V. August 21, 2023 – The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) West Virginia Chapter recognized the West Virginia Regional Technology Park (WVRTP) with the ‘Best of West Virginia’ bronze award for its October 2022 Red Carpet Tour of West Virginia event. WVRTP hosted 20 global business executives and site selectors during the 3-day economic development event. With support from the Kanawha County Commission, the tour showcased the park as a prime location for STEM businesses and West Virginia’s quality of life through the beauty and recreational opportunities of New River Gorge National Park & Preserve.

 The Crystal Awards, presented by PRSA WV, the state’s leading professional organization for the communications and integrated marketing community, honor the state’s top public relations and marketing campaigns annually. WVRTP stood out for its economic development efforts among the many outstanding entries. 

“The Red Carpet Tour event was a collaborative effort of our local and regional partners, and we’re proud to see our efforts recognized with the best of the best,” said Matt Ballard, CEO/executive director of WVRTP. “The West Virginia Regional Technology Park is committed to recruiting STEM industries and fostering growth and innovation in the region. This prestigious award is a testimony to our commitment.”

 WVRTP received additional awards for the Red Carpet Tour of West Virginia event, including a Crystal Award in the campaign category, ‘Events, Seven Days or Less,’ as well as an Award of Merit in the tactic category, ‘Collateral,’ for their unique video invitation boxes, which featured video messages from United States Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin, and b-roll of West Virginia’s landscapes and recreational opportunities.


TOYOTA WEST VIRGINIA NEVER SHEEPISH ON REN-EWE-ABLE ENERGY

Charleston, W.V. August 17, 2023 – Sheer genius. That’s the phrase being used to describe Toyota West Virginia’s newest environmental initiative.

To maintain the area around the facility’s 5-acre solar array, a herd of 20 sheep has been called in to perform some important “lambscaping.”

For solar panels to effectively create power, vegetation must be kept low. Unchecked growth can lead to unwanted shadows that block the sun’s power-generating rays.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a single sheep can eat up to four pounds of grass per day. They can easily fit underneath the solar panels and nibble up stray sprigs and weeds that grow in hard-to-reach areas.

Sheep have a carbon footprint far lower than the typical commercial mower, and they don’t spray rock and debris, which could crack or damage the equipment. Because the animal’s diet is varied, they also reduce the use of pesticides and other chemicals.

“To continue to be great stewards of our environment, we have to embrace new ideas and creative ways of thinking,” said David Rosier, Toyota West Virginia President. “This program helps us save money, lower emissions, support local farmers and do one more thing that puts us in harmony with nature.”

Toyota West Virginia is the company’s first plant to utilize agrivoltaics: using land for both agriculture and solar energy generation.

The array is behind a locked, fenced enclosure. The sheep will be monitored daily and a dog will watch over the herd. The sheep will be onsite from April through October.

Toyota West Virginia has the largest solar array in the state, which can generate 2.6 megawatts of power. That is enough to power more than 400 homes. The solar generation also reduces the plant’s C02 emissions by an estimated 4 million pounds per year. An array of five solar flowers also lines the main road leading to the facility, helping power the employee services buildings and three EV charging stations.

The plant’s biodiversity park features forest and wetland habitats, a pollinator garden, an outdoor classroom, bird houses, bat houses and a nesting platform to support avian species in the area.

Toyota West Virginia is Toyota’s only combined engine and transmission plant in North America. Additionally, Toyota West Virginia is the only manufacturing plant in North America to produce hybrid transaxles. The $2 billion facility employs more than 2,000 people under a nearly two million square foot facility. The plant has invested more than $10 million in various local philanthropic and educational initiatives over the past two decades.


2023 REGATTA GENERATED $37.2 MILLION ECONOMIC IMPACT

An estimated 220,000 people attended five-day event

Charleston, W.V. August 16, 2023 – The City of Charleston, Sternwheel RegattaCommission and the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) declared the 2023 Charleston Sternwheel Regatta a success at a press event Wednesday.Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin announced the five-day event generated $37.2 million in economic impact and attracted an estimated 220,000 attendees to the Capital City.

“Directly supporting nearly 8,000 jobs and generating a total economic impact of $37.2 million, the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta continues to positively impact our Capital City and the region,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “Together, with the support of our community and partners, we will use this forward momentum to guide us as we plan for 2024 – helping ensure more folks can experience the nostalgia, energy, history and excitement of this summertime staple.”

Based on data provided by the Charleston CVB, 20% of Regatta attendees traveled from more than 50 miles away. Washington DC was the second largest origin market for visitors, behind only the Charleston-Huntington metro area. Rounding out the top five origin markets for visitors were Pittsburgh, PA; Parkersburg, WV; and Cincinnati, OH. “We’re especially pleased to see growth in the Washington, DC market,” said Tim Brady, President & CEO of the Charleston CVB. “Last year they were our fourth largest segment, jumping up two slots this year. Their estimated visitor spend is approximately 44% higher than other markets. So not only did more people come from DC, but they also spent more money.” Further economic figures show the event directly supported an estimated 7,948 jobs.

This is the second year for the revived event, which originally began in the 1970s and ran through 2009. In 2022, the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta returned to the riverfront with nationally and internationally known acts, Sternwheeler Races, family activities, and more. The 2023 Regatta featured Better Than Ezra, Flo Rida, Kool & the Gang, and Jo Dee Messina, as well as professional wrestling, classic car show, funeral and fire truck parades, and two nights of fireworks. “The Charleston Sternwheel Regatta represents the best in our community-a spirit that transcends socio-economic boundaries, bringing citizens and visitors together in celebration and camaraderie,” said Alisa Bailey, President of the Sternwheel Regatta Commission. Bailey added that preparations are underway for the 2024 Regatta, but dates have not been set yet. The economic impact was calculated by the CVB using the Destinations International Event Economic Impact Calculator.


BROWN EDWARDS RANKS ON INSIDE PUBLIC ACCOUNTING’S TOP 100 LIST

Charleston, W.V. August 15, 2023 – For the 7th year in a row, Brown Edwards has been recognized as a top accounting firm on the INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) Top 100 List, moving up another spot on the list this year to #72. The IPA 500 recognizes the top U.S.-based accounting firms and is the most comprehensive list of North American public accounting firms available. Each year, IPA ranks the largest public accounting firms in the U.S. based on participating firms’ net revenues. “We remain committed to providing the localized service our clients are accustomed to, while bringing the depth of resources and specializations of a large firm, enabled by our continued growth and market expansion.  As we move into this next fiscal year, we are excited to continue looking for new growth opportunities within the areas and niches we serve,” states CEO Jason Hartman. The Brown Edwards team has expanded both organically and through mergers in key markets. Our geographic footprint has grown to include twelve offices in three states; Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Our expansion has not just helped us to reach more clients geographically but also aids in reaching potential clientele throughout a broad range of industries. As stated by BE’s COO, Laura Sprouse, “Being a top 75 firm for two years in a row has positioned us well to expand both our client and employee base. We are always looking to expand our team and add more talent to the already knowledgeable experts that support our clients every day. Their willingness to help our clients when needed and support for each other is one of the many reasons we have been successful.”


SPECIAL FORCES TO DISCUSS SMALL-BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES DURING MARSHALL EVENT

Charleston, W.V. August 7, 2023 – The U.S. military spends billions of dollars each year contracting with small businesses for good and services. Individuals can learn how they can become part of that supply chain by attending the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center’s (MAMC) Aug. 29 workshop “Doing Business with Special Operations Command” in Huntington.

“This event is part of our continuing effort to bring more military contracting dollars to West Virginia and the surrounding region,” said James Westbrook, MAMC government contracting specialist. “Nearly every small business is capable of becoming a supplier, and it’s a great way to diversify and open new markets.”

Ashley Farrier, director of the Office of Small Business Programs, U.S. Special Operations Command, will be on hand to explain the types of good and services the military requires, what small businesses need to do to become contractors, and specific steps they can take to pursue contracting opportunities.

Farrier also will meet one-on-one with individuals, as time allows, to provide an opportunity for them to explain how their small businesses can contribute to the national defense.

In addition, she will highlight the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which awards federal dollars to small businesses to fund innovative product development.

The Aug. 29 free workshop will begin at 10 a.m. at MAMC Huntington, 1050 Fourth Ave. Those interested in attending are asked to register at www.rcbi.org/ussoc. The registration includes an option to schedule a one-on-one meeting with Farrier.

MAMC is a proud partner of the AIM Higher Consortium, which supports defense manufacturers across West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania. Learn more about AIM Higher atwww.aimhigherconsortium.org.

 For more information, contact Westbrook at westbrook6@rcbi.org or 304-720-7740.


UPDATE: BACK-TO-SCHOOL IMMUNIZATION CELEBRATION MOVED TO TUESDAY, AUG. 15, BECAUSE OF RAINY WEATHER FORECAST

Charleston, W.V. August 7, 2023 – Due to a rainy weather forecast for Kanawha-Charleston Health
Department’s Immunization Celebration event, organizers have pushed the date to next Tuesday, August 15.

“Forecasts are calling for a lot of rain on our original date, so we moved the celebration to the next week out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Steven Eshenaur, KCHD’s Health officer, said. “We still hope to see a bunch of school-aged children and teens at our facility having a great time in bounce houses, on the mega slide, dunking me in a booth and playing the Operation game!”

KCHD’s first Immunization Celebration will be Tuesday, Aug. 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., at 108 Lee St. E., across from the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center in downtown Charleston. Free parking will be available on KCHD’s employee parking lot, across from the Greyhound Bus Station. KCHD’s guest parking lot facing Lee Street will be closed to traffic and filled with an inflatable bounce house, a towering inflatable slide for the braver kids, a Dunk-Our-Doc booth, an Operation Station, a treat stand, and stations for handwashing, of course. “We are the health department, after all,” Eshenaur said.

“All children who are immunized are welcome at the event. If they do not yet have their immunizations, they can get them on site before hitting the bouncy house or dunking me in a dunk tank,” Eshenaur added. “I am sure it will be the most fun they have ever had at an immunization appointment. It’s been a rough couple of years for the kids and teens in Kanawha County communities and beyond. A global pandemic has a way of making everything harder, so the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department team wants to make sure the kids in our community are not only protected from debilitating and deadly childhood diseases that have seen a resurgence in recent years, we also just want help them have a little
fun on what might not be such a fun day for them. Preschool children, seventh-graders and incoming high school seniors require shots to re-enter school every year. No appointments are required for back-to-school shots during the celebration or the next day, Friday, although the big fun is happening Thursday. Beyond that, school shots are available at KCHD by appointment. Children and teens are encouraged to come and celebrate the day regardless of where they were vaccinated. The event is free and open to the public. Prizes and treats will be available while supplies last. The attractions will be supplied by Quantum Party Rentals and will be open for enjoyment until 6 p.m. A special gift will be provided by Donate Life West Virginia. There can be no drop offs. A parent or guardian must accompany his or her child for shots and stay at the event with any child under 18. Seniors may hang out after shots without a parent.

Eshenaur even threw down a challenge for incoming seniors from Kanawha’s high schools. “We’re going to keep a tally of which school rules when it comes to dunking a doctor. So, wear your colors, warm up your throwing arm and try to dunk me. Will it be Nitro, South Charleston, Capital, George Washington, Herbert Hoover, St. Albans, Riverside, Charleston Catholic or Sissonville? Who wants bragging rights?
“If you want extra points, bring your coach, principal or teacher to dunk. Extra points
for that!” Eshenaur said. He’s looking forward to a festive day with positive long-term effects. “School sports are ramping up – kids will huddle together for band, football and cheer practice. Let’s make sure they are protected. College students will be in apartments or residence halls by then, but make sure they are protected. Meningitis is a deadly and crippling disease that is easily prevented with a vaccine. For parents of college-aged kids, learn which immunizations your child’s college recommends, and even if they’ve left for school already, make sure your adult children go get those shots. There’s likely a great county health department not far from campus,” Eshenaur said.

When children come to KCHD for shots, their immunization records are reviewed with parents. For more information, call 304-348-8080.


TEENS, YOUNG ADULTS ELIGIBLE FOR FREE MANUFACTURING TRAINING

Charleston, W.V. August 3, 2023 – Individuals ages 16 to 24 can test drive a career in manufacturing for free during one of the hands-on camps offered this August in South Charleston by the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center (MAMC).

MAMC will conduct two, one-week introductions to computer-controlled machining sessions for teens and young adults at its new Advanced Manufacturing Training & Education Center in the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in August. Each session will include an online component and a hands-on, in-person camp. Participants will learn to design and manufacture metals parts on computer-controlled equipment. No experience or training is required to participate.

“All we ask is that you have a desire to learn,” said Carol Howerton, MAMC’s director of workforce programs. “Machinists are in high demand in our region. This introduction will provide participants with a solid understanding of what machinists do day in and day out. Our hope is that some of the young people who participate will consider pursuing careers in manufacturing.”

MAMC partners with the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation to deliver the camps as part of America’s Cutting Edge, a U.S. Department of Defense-funded national initiative to restore the prominence of the U.S. machine tools sector through transformative thinking, technological innovation and workforce development.
Teens and young adults enrolling in either of the August youth camps will receive lunch and snacks each day and are eligible for travel stipends thanks to financial support from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (GKVF) through a Bridges to Opportunity partnership.

“The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation is excited to partner with the Marshall University Advanced Manufacturing Center’s Bridges to Opportunity (BTO) program,” said Todd Dorcas, CED program officer for GKVF. “By connecting participants to a training pathway to in-demand, quality, well-paying employment opportunities, BTO is a significant community asset.”

To learn more or register for one of the upcoming sessions, visit www.rcbi.org/cnc-bootcamps.  Additional in-person camps will be scheduled throughout the next several months in both South Charleston and Huntington. Register for the online component now to be notified about future dates.


LIVE ON THE LEVEE TO CLOSE OUT SEASON WITH BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 18, 2023

Local organizations team up for Tools for School supply drive in preparation for Back to School Night

Charleston, W.V. August 1, 2023 – Live on the Levee—presented by Moses Auto Group and hosted by the City of Charleston—will close out the 2023 season with Back to School Night featuring live music by opener The Unit and headliner Shelem, kid-focused activities (including sensory sensitive activities), and school supply giveaways on Friday, August 18. In preparation for Back to School Night, United Way of Central West Virginia and West Virginia American Water are teaming up with local organizations to launch the Tools for School supply drive.


Back to School Night Activities will include:

  • Art Activities (FestivALL)
  • Caricatures (Rob Cleland with the Office of Public Art)
  • Character Meet & Greet
  • Face Painting (Alto Design)
  • Fire Safety House (CFD)
  • Foam Garage
  • Free haircuts
  • Games: corn hole, jump rope, outdoor connect four, outdoor Jenga (Parks and Recreation)
  • Giveaways and meet the deputies (KCSO)
  • Gymnastics Demonstration (Maverick Gymnastics)
  • Helmets and Fingerprinting (CPD/CPAA/FBI)
  • Inflatables (Quantum Party Rentals)
  • Library Card sign up (KCPL)
  • Magician (Joey Stepp)
  • Meet the Regatta Queens & Giveaways (Charleston Sternwheel Regatta)
  • Sensory Sensitive Activities (WV CARES)
  • The Fun Fitness Bus
  • Tools for School (United Way of Central West Virginia, West Virginia American Water, East Coast Tees, Encova, Fox 11, Huntington Mall, Pugh Furniture, Todd Judy Ford, WCHS, and ZMM)

Tools for School supplies can be dropped off to United Way of Central West Virginia (1 United Way Square, Charleston). Monetary donations (for supplies) can be made by texting TOOL to 41444 for the United Way of Central West Virginia or online at www.unitedwaycwv.org.


BIRD SCOOTERS NOW AVAILABLE IN CHARLESTON

City Council approved Agreement with Bird during May 2023 meeting; previously adopted Bill No. 7956 Public Safety Committee Substitute as Amended which relates to authorizing the use of motorized scooters

Charleston, W.V. July 24, 2023 – Scooters are now available in the City of Charleston, through Bird – a leader in environmentally friendly electric transportation. The eco-friendly transportation option can be activated through Bird’s free mobile phone application and used for meeting up with friends, exploring the community and taking other daily trips.


“I welcome Bird to Charleston and am glad that community members have a new and fun way to get around. Residents and visitors will now have a way to get to local shops, restaurants, and tourist destinations without having to drive a car,” said Councilmember Emmett Pepper. “This is a healthier and more environmentally friendly way to explore our city.”


Bird aims to make cities more livable by reducing car trips, traffic and carbon emissions. The company’s scooters, developed by an in-house team of leading engineering and vehicle design experts, offer residents without cars another transportation option.


“We applaud the City of Charleston for their commitment to offering convenient, environmentally friendly and reliable transportation options to residents and visitors,” said Austin Marshburn, Head of City and University Partnerships at Bird.
Bird offers features and benefits to riders in Charleston, including:

  • Community Pricing: Bird’s inclusive Community Pricing Program offers a 50 percent discount to low-income riders, Pell grant recipients, select local nonprofit and community organizations, veterans and senior citizens. Those who qualify can sign up by downloading the Bird app, creating an account and emailing proof of eligibility to access@bird.co.
  • Free Rides for Healthcare Workers and Emergency Personnel: To recognize the individuals whose work continues to be so crucial to the health and safety of communities, Bird offers free rides to healthcare workers and emergency personnel. Those who qualify can sign up by emailing a copy of their medical identification card, name and phone number to together@bird.co. Eligible riders receive two free 30-minute rides per day.
  • Community Mode: Bird values community input. Anyone with a Bird account can report or provide feedback on vehicle-related issues such as poorly parked or damaged vehicles in their area by tapping the yield sign on the bottom left of the in-app Bird map. When a report is submitted, someone is assigned to correct the issue.
    On May 15, 2023, Charleston City Council approved Resolution 805-23 authorizing the Mayor or City Manager to enter into a Shared Vehicle Operating Agreement between the City of Charleston and Bird Global, Inc.

Previously, on August 15, 2022, Charleston City Council adopted Bill No. 7956 Public Safety Committee Substitute as Amended which authorized the use of motorized scooters, with certain restrictions. Highlights of the bill are included below.


Motorized scooters are not allowed to be operated:

  1. On road with a speed limit higher than 30 mph;
  2. On sidewalks;
  3. On roadways, paths, or other surface that is closed to bicycle traffic;
  4. With any passengers (in addition to the operator);
  5. By anyone under the age of 16 years of age; Bird only permits operators 18 years of age or older;
  6. While carrying anything that prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars;
  7. While attached to any other vehicle on the road; and
  8. While in an impaired state, as defined in W. Va. Code § 17C-5-2.
    Riders are not permitted to leave a motorized scooter lying on its side on any sidewalk or park a motorized scooter on a sidewalk in any other position, so that there is not an adequate path – three feet or more—for pedestrian traffic. The City will continue to work with Bird to identify the best places to park and operate the scooters.

Marshall University officials has announced that the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center (MAMC) – formerly the Robert C. Byrd Institute – has a new leader.

Huntington, W.V. July 21, 2023 – Marshall University officials has announced that the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center (MAMC) – formerly the Robert C. Byrd Institute – has a new leader.
 
Derek Scarbro, who has served as interim director since last year and previously deputy director and director of business development, assumed the position earlier this month. 
 
“Derek brings excellent insight, experience, and an impeccable skillset to the job,” said H. Toney Stroud, Marshall’s general counsel and chief of external affairs, “He has already been doing great work and I look forward to MAMC’s expanded impact under his leadership. MAMC is an indispensable economic asset for our region, and it’s in good hands with Derek at the helm.”
 
Scarbro replaces longtime director Charlotte Weber, who now serves the university as vice president for government relations. Scarbro praised Weber’s leadership and her dedication in building the former RCBI into a nationally recognized leader of entrepreneurial and manufacturing support.
 
“When you consider the 26,500 people who received training from RCBI or the thousands of companies who improved their operations with RCBI’s help, Charlotte’s impact was profound,” Scarbro said. “I’m honored to now follow in her footsteps and lead this amazing organization.”
 
Scarbro said the center, with locations in Huntington and South Charleston, is continuing to scale its services to help build a strong, resilient economy in the Mountain State.
 
Brandon Dennison, Marshall’s vice president of economic and workforce development who oversees MAMC and other university units, said Scarbro’s appointment is a great step in the creation of an outstanding group of professionals.
 
“President Brad Smith’s vision to harness Marshall University’s collective innovation, knowledge, assets, and leadership for the good of our region continues to crystalize,” Dennison said. “MAMC is a key piece of this team, and Derek will be a valuable leader of our collaborative effort.”
 
Before joining RCBI in 2017, Scarbro served in the public sphere for his professional career. He worked in various West Virginia state government agencies such as the Governor’s Office, Treasurer’s Office, the Development Office, and led statewide non-profit organizations. While in the Governor’s Office he served as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and was the gubernatorial appointee on the Interagency Workforce Development Taskforce.
 
Scarbro grew up in Kanawha County and is a graduate of St. Albans High School.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from Marshall University. He lives in Huntington with his wife, Sara Payne, and daughter, Willa.


WEST VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL YEAGER AIRPORT (CRW) REACHES MILESTONE WITH HIGHEST NUMBER OF ENPLANEMENTS SINCE 2019

Charleston, W.V. July 21, 2023 – Today, West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW) announced that passenger travel is back to pre-pandemic levels. From January to June, 24,284 more passengers passed through CRW when compared to 2022.  In June alone, CRW experienced a 13.4% increase in enplanements, welcoming a total of 178,888 passengers. This substantial growth in air traffic is a testament to the strong and thriving rebound in the travel industry.

As the travel industry continues its upward trajectory and interest in exploring West Virginia’s natural beauty grows, more visitors are choosing CRW as their preferred gateway. The airport’s commitment to providing top-notch services and convenient travel options has resonated well with passengers, contributing to this milestone.

“We love to see so many passengers choosing to fly CRW,” said Airport Director & CEO Dominique Ranieri. “This is a testament to the growth of West Virginia tourism, our hardworking staff, and our airline partners’ confidence in CRW.”

As West Virginia’s largest airport, CRW plays a vital role in promoting economic growth and connectivity for the region. The record-breaking passenger numbers are a testament to the successful partnership between the airport, state officials, and our airline partners. Through continued collaboration, these stakeholders are determined to build upon this momentum and further establish West Virginia as a premier travel destination.

The recent addition of Breeze Airways as an air carrier operating at CRW has significantly influenced the growth in passenger count. Breeze recently announced nonstop flights to Tampa, Florida, which begin on October 4th. Their presence has opened exciting travel opportunities for both business and leisure travelers, connecting West Virginia to popular travel destinations.

It is the mission of West Virginia International Yeager Airport to provide a safe, world-class airport that elevates the customer experience and exceeds stakeholder and tenant expectations while supporting economic development in the state.

For more information about West Virginia International Yeager Airport, flight schedules, and passenger services, please visit yeagerairport.com.


Advantage Valley, Inc. Seeks Community Input on Regional Housing Needs Assessment

Charleston, W.V.  July 10, 2023 – Advantage Valley, Inc. is launching a Housing Needs Assessment for ten counties in the southwest region of West Virginia, including Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Mason, Putnam, Roane, and Wayne Counties. The study is intended to address the current and projected demand for housing that is anticipated by recent job announcements in the region.

Advantage Valley is seeking critically important feedback from residents and employers in the region. An online survey will be conducted to solicit input from residents, employees, commuters, and businesses on types of housing desired, quality of existing housing stock, affordability, and other issues.

“It’s really important that we get feedback from our stakeholders in the region,” said Terrell Ellis, President and CEO of Advantage Valley. “We want to hear from residents about the issues they face in trying to secure quality affordable housing.  But we also want our employers to tell us how housing can help recruit or retain their workforce.  We will also be surveying developers, realtors, and lenders in order to understand how we should develop policies and programs to improve the quantity and quality of our inventory. Therefore, we are encouraging everyone to go to our website and fill out the survey; or fill one out if it comes to your email inbox.” The survey that can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AdvantageValleyPublic. Upon completion of the survey, you can elect to be entered into a drawing for a $250 or $500 Visa gift card.

The final report will be published by December 2023. There will be a series of community meetings around the region to review the study and its findings. “We hope that the report will provide guidance to the development community and policy makers on the type of housing that will be needed in our region for the next 3-5-7 years”, said Ellis.

Support for the study has been significant as funding has been secured from The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, American Electric Power, Huntington Bank, Kanawha, Cabell, and Mason Counties, and the Jackson County, Roane County, and Putnam County Development Authorities.

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West Virginia Regional Technology Park, Helicon Chemical bring Rocket Fuels to its South Charleston Campus  

South Charleston, W.V. – July 10, 2023 – The West Virginia Regional Technology Park (Tech Park) announced Helicon Chemical, a leading innovator in developing drop-in-ready, upgraded binder for government and commercial propulsion systems, as its newest tenant. The Tech Park and Helicon celebrated today with a ribbon cutting event at the South Charleston, West Virginia technology park campus.

The event marks a significant milestone in the growth of both Helicon and the West Virginia Regional Technology Park. The addition of Helicon to the technology park’s esteemed roster of tenants further solidifies its position as a hub for cutting-edge research, development, and innovation in the region.

Developing patented technologies that align with the United States Department of Defense’s top Research and Development priorities, Helicon brings a wealth of expertise and groundbreaking technologies to the technology park. The collaboration between Helicon and the Tech Park is expected to foster an environment of cross-industry collaboration and drive economic development in the region.

“We are delighted to welcome Helicon to the West Virginia Regional Technology Park,” said Matt Ballard, CEO/executive director, West Virginia Regional Technology Park. “Helicon’s innovative technologies continue to gain momentum. Our labs and pilot plants are the best solution for scaling their products. Helicon is a perfect fit for our park and West Virginia, and we look forward to having Helicon join the long list of innovation leaders working at our specialized facilities.”

Partnering with Tech Park tenant AVN, federal, state and local lawmakers, Helicon is using existing infrastructure to manufacture the enhanced binder in West Virginia, bringing jobs to the region while helping to improve national security.

“The partnership we have forged here in West Virginia is a significant step in our ability to deliver enhanced rocket fuel at scale,” said Dr. Wes Naylor, Chief Executive Officer, Helicon. “We look forward to bringing jobs to the community and adding to the rich history of technology development and innovation. Increased range and speed is the name of the game when it comes to deterring bad guys and giving our warfighters the edge in combat—today’s event is step one in making that a reality.”

“I’ve visited the West Virginia Regional Technology Park several times, and each visit leaves me both impressed and encouraged by the economic development efforts and growth underway at the park. Today’s announcement is another milestone and brings a proven innovator in Helicon into the West Virginia business family. Efforts like this both increase our national security and bring needed jobs to our state that build the fabric of our communities. I look forward to seeing the impact that Helicon can make in our state, and the future growth of the West Virginia Regional Technology Park,” Senator Capito said.

“Since 1949, this park, formerly known as the Union Carbide Corporation Technology Center, and the West Virginians who continue to work here have brought innovative, groundbreaking ideas to market that have shaped not only the United States, but the entire world. I am proud to see the West Virginia Regional Tech Park continue that legacy – and that businesses like Helicon see the potential in our small but mighty state. In addition to being America’s energy powerhouse, West Virginia has maintained our national security for generations. We mined the coal and forged the steel that helped us become the greatest military might the world has ever seen. I am glad to welcome Helicon and its innovative defense technologies to West Virginia, and I know that they will find great success here. There truly is no better place to do business,” said Senator Joe Manchin.

About Helicon Chemical:    

Helicon Chemical is developing drop-in-ready, upgraded propellant binder that will improve the performance of missiles, rockets, aerospace propulsion systems and munitions for government and commercial customers. Helicon’s patented technology allows for the rapid modernization of current armaments and future hypersonic weapons programs — aligning with one of the DoD’s top R&D priorities. The binder will help increase speed, lift and overall mission effectiveness of propulsion systems.    

About West Virginia Regional Technology Park:

The West Virginia Regional Technology Park, located in South Charleston, W.Va. is a prominent hub for innovation, science and technology in the state. Originally established to support the chemical industry, the park has since evolved into a multi-tenant campus fostering cutting-edge technologies across various fields.

Home to over 25 businesses and 1,000 jobs, the park is driven by a mission to bolster West Virginia’s economy by nurturing research, innovation, technological advancement and education. It aims to attract talent, foster job creation, and bolster economic growth by supporting STEM-related industries and initiatives.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Jordan Ferrell

Director, Communications & Park Programs

Jordan.ferrell@wvrtp.com

304-692-5982


Trailer Released for New Documentary Series Focused on West Virginia Makers

Charleston, W.V. June 20, 2023 – The producers of popular films about West Virginia and its people released a trailer today for a new documentary series about the Mountain State, titled “WV Makes.”

MotionMasters, a production firm based in the Kanawha Valley, will travel the nooks and crannies of West Virginia to showcase an astonishing assortment of handcrafted and manufactured goods that are made here.

Emblematic crafts such as wood, pottery, quilts, etc., will be profiled along with iconic manufacturers, artisanal foods and agri-businesses. Not just finished goods, but component parts, used in industrial sectors such as aerospace, will be featured as well.

“We make a lot of interesting and fascinating things here in our state, said Diana Sole Walko, president of MotionMasters and executive producer of the series.  “People are going to watch this series and say, ‘I didn’t know we made that here.’  There are too many to tell in an hour, or even 2 or 3, so this is designed to be told in 5 hour-long episodes.”

Likely segments include Homer Laughlin’s Fiestaware, J.Q. Dickinson Salt, Mister B’s Potato Chips, Toyota, Pratt Whitney, Alcon Manufacturing, Blenko Glass and Marble King. These will be interwoven with stories about home-grown successes such as luxury leather goods maker Morgan Rhea, West Virginia Great Barrel Company, Bear Wood Company and many more. Micro businesses and cottage industries will also be showcased.

MotionMasters is working with the Discover the Real West Virginia (DRWV) Foundation, a leading statewide, non-profit economic development organization, to bring the series to the screen.  The foundation will serve as the fiscal sponsor on the project and will also offer content suggestions.

“For three decades, DRWV has proudly showcased the best of West Virginia to executives from around the globe,” said Sara Dearing, executive director of DRWV Foundation.  “We’re very excited to partner with MotionMasters on this first-of-a-kind documentary series celebrating the ingenuity and innovation of our state’s world-class manufacturers and artisans.”  

The total number of episodes will depend on the success of the project’s fundraising efforts, said Sole Walko.  “This is not a commissioned piece. We have to go out and find financial partners to make this happen,” she said.

The producers plan to seek support from a mix of foundations, corporations and individuals, including those who have donated to their previous productions.

Like other documentaries produced by MotionMasters, the series will air on West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

“West Virginia Public Broadcasting makes it our mission to tell West Virginia’s story, said Eddie Isom, Chief Operating Officer, and Director of Programming.

 “This project by MotionMasters will highlight the people of our state and their artistry and business sense. This series will be a great addition to our programming library.”

Some of the firm’s titles are also available on Amazon Prime and have had international broadcasts as well. 

The producers welcome story ideas, which can be emailed to: storytellers@motionmasters.com.

Donations in support of the series should be mailed to the Discover the Real WV Foundation, Inc., 405 Capitol Street, Suite 512, Charleston, WV 25301. Checks should be made payable to:  DRWV Foundation – WV Makes.


CHARLESTON TO HOST 2023 CHRISTMAS PARADE ON DECEMBER 7 – Parade details and application to be available in the coming months

Charleston, W.V. June 14, 2023 – The City of Charleston will host the 2023 Christmas Parade on Thursday, December 7 – with step-off at 7 p.m. sharp. Details regarding parade lineup, theme, route, and applications will be made available in the coming months.
“Planning for the 2023 Charleston Christmas Parade will be underway soon,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We look forward to working with the many community groups and local schools who will be helping kick off the holiday season in our Capital City!”
Details will be made available online at https://charlestonwv.gov/christmasparade.


CITY, KCS, CHARLESTON ROTARY CLUB, AND PIEDMONT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CELEBRATED GRAND OPENING OF CELEBRATION STATION

Charleston, WV.  May 31, 2023 – The City of Charleston, Kanawha County Schools (KCS), the Charleston Rotary Club, and Piedmont Elementary School today celebrated the grand opening of the new Celebration Station on Charleston’s East End with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“It has been incredible to see the transformation of Celebration Station from a playground needing new equipment to being this vibrant accessible space for all of our community members to enjoy,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We are thrilled the City could help support this project alongside our community partners.”


Celebration Station includes two main areas – one for Piedmont Elementary School students and a community playground that is open to all. The new playground includes new swings, climbing equipment, standalone play sets, sensory-sensitive equipment, accessible equipment, seating areas, and more. The green space at Celebration Station features three 4’x8’ original works of art commissioned by the Charleston Rotary Club and created by local artists Melissa Doty, Nichole Westfall and Blake Wheeler – with support from Charleston Creativity Connections and the City of Charleston Office of Public Art. In addition, the original Celebration Station wall on Quarrier Street was repainted by local artist Ryan Hurlbutt and community volunteers.


“We sincerely thank all those involved in making this updated space a reality for our children in this area,” said Dr. Tom Williams, superintendent of Kanawha County Schools. “We know that so much work went into this and we thank all those involved. This was truly a team effort. We hope that as students look around and enjoy these new playground features that they realize just how very much they are supported and valued.”


Funds for the project were raised, in part, by a campaign spearheaded by Charleston Rotary Club. Through private, corporate and philanthropic contributions they received $153,010 to go towards this project. Students at Piedmont Elementary also raised nearly $125,000 towards their school playground. In addition, the City of Charleston contributed $300,000 and KCS provided funding for fencing, paving, lighting, necessary infrastructure, and project management for installation.
“The Charleston Rotary Club is honored to be a catalyst for the restoration of this community treasure,” said Dr. Michelle Foster. “We are thankful to our donors and project partners for their unwavering commitment to seeing this project finally come to fruition.”


Project donors include City of Charleston, AEP Foundation, BB&T/Truist Foundation, Marty Becker, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Charleston Marine, Contractors Association of West Virginia, J. L. Dickinson Foundation, Encova Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, Glotfelty Foundation, Kelly Castlebury and Graystone Consulting, Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, McDonough Foundation, United Bank, WV American Water Foundation, Martha Gaines & Russel Wehrle Foundation, Michael Wehrle, Charleston Rotary Club members, Suttle & Stalnaker, Bailey & Glasser LLP, Old Colony Co. of Greater Kanawha Valley, McJunkin Elevators, Indonesha LLC, United Mine Workers of America, Charleston Area Medical Center PO, Kalasky Orthodontics LTD, Howard and Howard DDS, PLLC, Lora B. Ford, DDS MS PLLC, Tracy L. Wilkerson, DDS PLLC, Sparks Family Orthodontics PLLC, Victor & Victor LLP, Andrew Zegeer DDS, Living Word Christian Center, Dr. John W. McGehee Jr., Dr. Byron H. Black DDS PLLC, Lorena M. Surber DDS, PLLC, Carrie L. Courtney DDS PLLC, Piedmont Elementary Students, their families and supporters.


To celebrate National Mobility Month, Toyota announces donations to expand mobility in local plant community

Buffalo, WV. May 30, 2023 ~ Toyota West Virginia put the automaker’s mission in motion today as they announce three donations to improve mobility: Good News Mountaineer Garage, Putnam County Aging Program and Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority.

“Toyota strives to raise the quality and availability of mobility and to alleviate transportation burdens for those most vulnerable in our area,” said David Rosier, Toyota West Virginia president. “Today’s announcement is another step  toward helping our community reach its full potential.”

  • Good News Mountaineer Garage received $30,000 to support repairs for used vehicles. The Good News Mountaineer Garage helps economically disadvantaged individuals re-enter the workforce by providing transportation for them to attain employment or achieve educational goals.
  • Putnam County Aging Program received an accessible Sienna to serve their senior clients.  Putnam County Aging provides services that enable county residents, age 60 and above, to remain living independently in their own homes for as long as possible. The accessible vehicle allows for easier pick up and drop off of their clients.
  • Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority (KRT) received a Sienna to serve students at BridgeValley Community and Technical College. KRT is a public transportation system serving Kanawha County and portions of Fayette and Putnam counties.

Today’s donations are the result of a research study of transportation challenges in the region. In 2022, Toyota West Virginia partnered with the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) to conduct a mobility needs assessment in Putnam County and the surrounding areas.

The CTAA study found higher education students, older adults and economically-disadvantaged individuals were disproportionately impacted by existing mobility gaps.

Toyota West Virginia is Toyota’s only combined engine and transmission plant in North America. The $2 billion facility employs more than 2,000 people. . The plant has invested more than $10 million in local philanthropic and educational initiatives over the past two decades.

“I am thrilled that Toyota had the vision to make a partnership possible that will help solve the transportation challenge that students face,” said Sean Hill, KRTA executive director. “We are working together make education a priority and prepare the area’s workforce their upcoming careers.”

“Good News Mountaineer Garage has enjoyed a long partnership with Toyota West Virginia,” said Jennifer Thacker, the group’s executive director. “By helping those who need it most secure safe, reliable transportation, we are ensuring that our clients are building better lives for themselves and their families.”

“The Putnam County Aging Program is proud of the role we have played in helping elderly and disabled adults with access to critical care services,” said Jenni Sutherland, executive director Putnam County Aging Program. “This collaboration with Toyota and CTAA has helped our agency meet the increased demand for transportation services and improved the reliability of our transportation program.”


2023 Outdoor Dining to start Memorial Day Weekend

Charleston, WV.  May 23, 2023 ~ The City of Charleston today announced that outdoor dining on Capitol Street will return Memorial Day weekend – beginning Friday, May 26 and running through Sunday, July 30. Capitol Street, from Kanawha Boulevard to Lee Street, will close from Friday at 3 p.m. through Sunday at 11 p.m. for outdoor dining each week – with modified times for Memorial Day weekend and the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta.  Virginia and Quarrier Streets will remain open.  Emergency service personnel will have access to Capitol Street throughout the closure.

Outdoor Dining – Memorial Day Weekend

Capitol Street, from Kanawha Boulevard to Lee Street, will close from Friday, May 26 at 3 p.m. through Monday, May 29 at 11 p.m. 


2023 LIVE ON THE LEVEE SEASON TO START MAY 26

Charleston, WV.  May 10, 2023 ~ The City of Charleston today announced the 2023 Live on the Levee season will begin May 26 on the Schoenbaum Stage at Haddad Riverfront Park. The free concert series will conclude September 2 and feature a variety of musical styles.


“We’re excited to be gearing up for a fun-filled summer in the City of Charleston,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “Whether you’re down at the Levee on Friday night, catching show at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center, swinging by GoMart Ballpark for a game or strolling through City Center at Slack Plaza – you’ll have plenty to choose from when making plans with friends and family!”
“This is our 15th year of bringing fun Friday nights to the people of the Kanawha Valley,” said Jeremy Nelson, Chief Operating Officer, Moses Auto Group. “We hope that everyone will bring their families and enjoy all that downtown Charleston has to offer.”


2023 Live on the Levee Lineup
MAY 26 – Veteran’s Night & Fireworks: Hair Supply | The Chase
JUN 02: Allie Colleen | The Mikele Buck Band
JUN 09: John Inghram presents: A Tribute to The Who |Of The Dell
JUN 16: Rasta Rafiki | Aristotle Jones
JUN 23: Celisse | The New Old Souls
JUL 14 – WTSQ Night: Jim Polak & Ally Fletcher | Dinosaur Burps & The Infidelfonics
JUL 21: Fleetwood Macked (Fleetwood Mac Tribute) | Battle of the Bands Winner
JUL 28: Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle | Eric Bolander
AUG 11: Funk You | Jeremy Short
AUG 18 – Back to School Night: Shelem | The Unit


The City continues to collaborate with organizations to present Live on the Levee performances that coincide with special events – including FestivALL and WTSQ Night. Non-profit partners include: Covenant House, Manna Meal, Religious Coalition for Community Renewal, Roark Sullivan Lifeway Center, and YWCA’s Sojourners Shelter.


Sponsors for the 2023 Live on the Levee season include: Moses Auto Group (title sponsor), Brewer & Company of West Virginia, Inc., Lou Wendell Marine Sales, The Health Plan, BridgeValley Community and Technical College, City National Bank, Highland Hospital, Mountain State Beverage, Mountain State Oral and Facial Surgery, Northwestern Mutual, Spriggs Distributing, Terradon, The Beverage Market, University of Charleston, FestivALL Charleston, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia, WTSQ, Bowles Rice LLP, Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), Garretson Insurance, Goodwin Law, SERVPRO, Solar Holler, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, ZMM Architects & Engineers, and Jim Strawn & Company.


Advantage Valley, Inc. Offers Kauffman FastTrac® Class Beginning May 11

Charleston, WV.  May 3, 2023 ~  Advantage Valley is offering its next Kauffman FastTrac® class starting on Thursday, May 11 at Area 34 in Hurricane, WV.  Kauffman FastTrac® is a 7-week course that connects aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs to the information, frameworks, and resources needed to start and grow a business.  Advantage Valley offers this free class four times a year through its FASTER WV Entrepreneurship Program. 

“Entrepreneurs, and home-grown businesses, have become increasingly important to our regional economy,” said Bryan Shaw, Director of Entrepreneurial Development for Advantage Valley.  “Skills gained from the Kauffman FastTrac® class are crucial for starting a small business or microenterprise.  Let our class help you succeed,” said Shaw.

Ongoing initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship are important to the region.  Small businesses are arguably the backbone of the region’s economy. They create jobs close to home while also bringing needed products and services to a locality and its citizens.

Advantage Valley, Inc. is actively recruiting entrepreneurs for new business growth. 

FASTER WV helps individuals start or scale businesses throughout a 10-county region, including Boone, Braxton, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Mason, Putnam, and Wayne Counties.  FASTER WV offers free business coaching, classes, technical assistance, and access to capital.  Since its inception over three and a half years ago, FASTER WV is responsible for the start of 67 new businesses and the creation of 96 new jobs. $315,500 in loans have been made to local entrepreneurs, and nine mini grants have been awarded for a total of $25,000

Anyone interested in participating in the Kauffman FastTrac® Class can sign up now at https://airtable.com/shrjJJw6DZS1eqXa0.  To learn more about FASTER WV, call 304-352-1165 or visit Advantage Valley’s website https://advantagevalley.com/entrepreneurship/

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Advantage Valley, Inc. is a regional economic development organization with a mission to create economic opportunity in the Charleston-Huntington Metro Areas by attracting investment, building collaboration among community stakeholders, and investing in entrepreneurs.


RCBI begins a new chapter of service

Marshall announces rebranding of institute to reflect growth and importance of the economic and workforce driver 

Marshall University President Brad D. Smith joined campus and community leaders, policymakers, and team members of the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) this week to announce a new name for the long-time institute, which now will be known as the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center.  The announcement comes after approval from the Marshall Board of Governors at its Wednesday meeting.

The rebrand reflects the honing of technical services and workforce training solutions for manufacturers while also positioning the Marshall pillar of excellence for growth.  

“Our continuous commitment to the major areas of emphasis resulting from West Virginia Forward effort has guided our strategic areas of focus at Marshall University. Advanced manufacturing remains a tremendous growth area for our state and surrounding Appalachian region. Building on the decades of innovation at the Robert C. Byrd Institute, we are further strengthening Marshall University’s position as a national leader in this important sector,” Smith said. “Our rebranding effort builds on this strong foundation and sets the stage for boosting the center’s services and training options ten-fold.” 

RCBI was founded in 1990 and has delivered manufacturing training to more than 26,000 individuals and, on average, serves 300 businesses per year.  

“RCBI workforce training programs truly embody the Marshall for All, Marshall Forever mission by offering customized training and certifications for workers to climb to the next level,” said H. Toney Stroud, Marshall’s chief legal officer and external engagement liaison. “Coming from the private sector, I understand industry demands, and this advanced manufacturing center offers unique assistance from supply chain workshops to inventor events to classes and seminars for the public. I am excited about the future.” 

Long-time former director and CEO Charlotte Weber shared her support for this rebranding.

“It is the right time to rebrand – we have new leadership, a new energy and still a dedicated team of professionals who remain committed to advancing the manufacturing sector,” Weber said. “This effort respects our past while paving the way for the future.”  

The staff is also enthusiastic about this rebranding effort.  

“Both President Smith and the Marshall team appreciate higher education as an economic engine, and under their leadership Marshall is leaning into our next chapter of industry engagement,” said Derek Scarbro, interim director of the center.  “We are effectively positioning our team for the next chapter of service.” 

The name change is effective immediately.  

About Marshall’s Advanced Manufacturing Center, formerly known as RCBI: 

 
Since 1990, the center has delivered innovative solutions with leading-edge technology to advance manufacturing and entrepreneurship across West Virginia and beyond. Clients range from students, individuals and small businesses to major manufacturers, including Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Toyota. The center’s locations and training facilities in West Virginia feature more than $22 million in advanced technology for shared use, training, small batch production and rapid prototyping. RCBI has delivered manufacturing training to more than 26,000 individuals in areas ranging from computer-controlled machining and welding technology to quality implementation and additive manufacturing (3D printing). Specifically, nearly 1,000 individuals have completed its nationally recognized machining and welding academic programs, 95 percent of whom have gone on to careers in their chosen fields. With more than 750 years of combined industry experience, RCBI’s staff served 306 companies and delivered workforce training to 764 individuals in 2022 alone.  


Chemours and TC Energy Collaborate on the Development of Two Clean Hydrogen Production Facilities in West Virginia

WILMINGTON, Del.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Chemours Company (“Chemours”) (NYSE: CC), a global chemistry company, and TC Energy, a leader in the responsible development and reliable operation of North American energy infrastructure, have executed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the potential development of two electrolysis-based hydrogen production facilities at or near Chemours’ Washington Works and Belle manufacturing sites in West Virginia. The MOU supports the companies’ participation in and goals of the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2) in West Virginia.

“At TC Energy, we take a customer-driven approach to developing and executing energy solutions”

The agreement covers the companies’ interest in developing, constructing, and operating clean hydrogen production facilities and associated infrastructure. The proposed development includes using established proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers manufactured in America and utilizing Chemours’ NafionTM ion exchange membranes.

Under the terms of the MOU, a non-binding off-take agreement for hydrogen produced by the project would be executed, supporting the facility demands of Chemours. Additionally, hydrogen produced in excess of the off-take agreement would be stored and available for loading and shipment to nearby merchant users.

“As West Virginia’s largest chemical manufacturer, we’re excited by the potential these clean hydrogen production facilities can offer to the State through ARCH2, as well as furthering the decarbonization of our operations,” said Jonathan Lock, Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer at Chemours. “Working with TC Energy, we’ve conducted hydrogen blend testing at our Washington Works and Belle sites, demonstrating the feasibility of feeding a hydrogen-natural gas blend fuel to existing fired boiler equipment. We look forward to moving these potential projects forward as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s call for regional clean hydrogen hub submissions alongside the State and seeing how they can assist us in reaching our bold greenhouse gas reduction goal.”

“At TC Energy, we take a customer-driven approach to developing and executing energy solutions,” said Corey Hessen, Executive Vice President and President, Power & Energy Solutions at TC Energy. “This relationship with Chemours is an excellent example of putting that commitment into effect – serving their green hydrogen demand. With our long history of operating critical infrastructure in West Virginia, we are excited to develop new clean energy production opportunities and to forge a strong relationship with Chemours.”

Responsibility and collaboration are two core company values at TC Energy and Chemours. As the companies continue to progress under the agreement, they will engage community stakeholders to share updates and information.

About The Chemours Company

The Chemours Company (NYSE: CC) is a global leader in Titanium Technologies, Thermal & Specialized Solutions, and Advanced Performance Materials providing its customers with solutions in a wide range of industries with market-defining products, application expertise and chemistry-based innovations. We deliver customized solutions with a wide range of industrial and specialty chemicals products for markets, including coatings, plastics, refrigeration and air conditioning, transportation, semiconductor and consumer electronics, general industrial, and oil and gas. Our flagship products are sold under prominent brands such as Ti-Pure™, Opteon™, Freon™, Teflon™, Viton™, Nafion™, and Krytox™. The company has approximately 6,600 employees and 29 manufacturing sites serving approximately 2,900 customers in approximately 120 countries. Chemours is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware and is listed on the NYSE under the symbol CC.

For more information, we invite you to visit chemours.com or follow us on Twitter @Chemours or LinkedIn.

About TC Energy

We’re a team of 7,000+ energy problem solvers working to move, generate and store the energy North America relies on. Today, we’re taking action to make that energy more sustainable and more secure. We’re innovating and modernizing to reduce emissions from our business. And, we’re delivering new energy solutions – from natural gas and renewables to carbon capture and hydrogen – to help other businesses and industries decarbonize too. Along the way, we invest in communities and partner with our neighbours, customers and governments to build the energy system of the future.

TC Energy’s common shares trade on the Toronto (TSX) and New York (NYSE) stock exchanges under the symbol TRP. To learn more, visit us at TCEnergy.com.


HOUSING STUDY WILL AID DEVELOPERS AND POLICY MAKERS INCREASE REGIONAL HOUSING SUPPLY

Charleston, WV.  April 12, 2023 – Advantage Valley Inc, the area’s regional economic development organization, is sponsoring a 10-county housing assessment to identify the number and type of residential units that will be needed in the Charleston and Huntington metro areas to address the influx of new jobs at Nucor, Berkshire Hathaway’s Precision Castparts, ONE Battery Storage, and other company expansions and announcements. “We are already experiencing a tight housing market”, said Terrell Ellis, President & CEO of Advantage Valley. “The region’s good fortune of seeing the addition of 1000-2000 new jobs in the coming years means that we have to be prepared to capture the spin-off economic impact. We do this by providing attractive, affordable housing and other community amenities in order to ensure that new workers live in our region, and not Ohio or other areas.”

The housing assessment will use a variety of research strategies to identify the number, type and pricing of housing units that are projected in the rental and single-family home categories.  Besides the use of demographic trend information, the analysis will use information from employer and employee surveys, stakeholder interviews with realtors, lenders, local governments, and others.  “While it’s important to understand demographic trends, this data does not take into consideration our new projected employment. The real value of the study is information gleaned from current and new employers about their labor force projections.  Realtors, lenders, and local governments will provide information on current market conditions and how these will change over time”, said Ellis.

“With the recent economic announcements in our region, thousands of direct and indirect jobs are expected. While increased housing demand is great for some folks, we need to be cognizant of our most-vulnerable populations, as well. The study will look at all of this and help us to move forward in a way that benefits all West Virginians”, said Chad Prather, President of Huntington Bank who is contributing funding for the study.

Many communities across the country are experiencing housing shortages caused by a variety of factors.  The study will also provide examples of land use planning, financial programs, and policies from other communities that can be considered best practices and perhaps adopted locally.

The counties included in the study include: Kanawha, Putnam, Cabell, Mason, Jackson, Roane, Boone, Clay, Lincoln, and Wayne.  Advantage Valley has contracted with Bowen National Research to conduct the study.  To date, funding commitments for the study have been provided by American Electric Power (AEP), Huntington Bank of West Virginia, and several of the counties in the study area.  Additional requests for funding are in process.

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Advantage Valley, Inc. is a regional economic development organization with a mission to create economic opportunity in the Charleston-Huntington Metro Areas by attracting investment and building collaboration among community stakeholders. To learn more about Advantage Valley, visit https://advantagevalley.com.


Cooper, Frymyer join RCBI outreach team

The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University has expanded its business outreach team with the addition of two workforce development specialists.


Heather Cooper of Cabin Creek and Todd Frymyer of Charleston will connect manufacturers across the United States – with a special focus on West Virginia and the surrounding region – to the array of services and advanced technology available at RCBI. They will educate employers about manufacturing apprenticeship opportunities and assist companies in implementing registered apprenticeship programs through RCBI’s Apprenticeship Works, the National Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Partnership. The partnership currently works with manufacturers in West Virginia and 20 other states.
Both Cooper and Frymyer are based at RCBI South Charleston.


Cooper, a native of Montgomery, is a graduate of Valley High School. She earned two associate degrees in business from BridgeValley Community & Technical College and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University. She worked at BridgeValley for seven years, helping operate the college’s Advanced Technology Center in South Charleston and implement the Utility Line Service Training Program there.
Frymyer, a native of Morgantown, graduated from Morgantown High School and West Virginia University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. He comes to RCBI from West Virginia Public Broadcasting, where he most recently served as media sales manager. Frymyer previously worked as an account manager at the Charleston Gazette-Mail.


To learn how Cooper and Frymyer can assist your manufacturing operation, contact them at 304.781.1625.


WEST VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL YEAGER AIRPORT RECEIVES FUNDING FOR AIRPORT EQUIPMENT

West Virginia International Yeager Airport to receive $964,648 in funding from the the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  

West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW) is excited to announce that it has received $964,648 in funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This funding will be used to purchase new equipment that will help ensure safe and efficient operations for travelers. The equipment includes a snow broom to keep the airport serviceable during snow periods, a power sweeper to remove debris from the runway surface, and friction measuring equipment to maintain runway safety.   The funding was announced by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee. This funding was made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.   This will enable West Virginia International Yeager Airport to obtain equipment to assist with ensuring safe airport operations during weather events. “CRW would like to thank U.S. Senator Manchin (D-WV), as well as Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for their support of West Virginia International Yeager Airport and our efforts to improve operations and safety for our passengers. We look forward to continuing to provide safe and efficient travel options for the people of West Virginia,” said Airport Director & CEO, Dominique Ranieri.

About West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW)

West Virginia International Yeager Airport is responsible for nearly 3,000 jobs and has a $225-million economic impact in the state. CRW is the largest commercial Airport in West Virginia, with service provided by American, Delta, Spirit, and United Airlines. The Airport’s Mission is: “To provide a safe, world-class airport that elevates the customer experience and exceeds stakeholder and tenant expectations while supporting economic development in the state.”  


WEST VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL YEAGER AIRPORT RECEIVES $1 MILLION FOR TERMINAL UPGRADES

FAA to Fund projects selected under the FY 2023 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Airport Terminal Program (ATP).

On February 27, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that 104 projects at 99 airports would receive a share of nearly $1 billion from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in Fiscal Year 2023.

Among those airport projects, West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW) will receive $1 million under the Airport Terminal Program (ATP) for airport terminal upgrades, including improving ADA compliance and installing a new roof that has exceeded its useful life.

“CRW would like to thank U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), as well as Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for their hard work in helping to make the passenger experience more efficient and enjoyable by fighting for much-needed airport infrastructure improvements,” said Airport Director & CEO, Dominique Ranieri.

“CRW is our communities gateway to the world, and this funding will ensure we continue to operate safely and efficiently,” said Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority Board Chairman, Ed Hill.

Under the ATP, the FAA is providing $5 billion to airports via discretionary, competitive grants for eligible terminal projects over a five-year period. Funding is going out to airports nationwide to benefit passengers with more reliable and efficient airport systems.

CRW received $2.1 million in 2021 from the first-year funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Learn more about this historic investment at faa.gov

About West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW)

West Virginia International Yeager Airport is responsible for nearly 3,000 jobs and has a $225-million economic impact in the state. CRW is the largest commercial Airport in West Virginia, with service provided by American, Delta, Spirit, and United Airlines. The Airport’s Mission is: “To provide a safe, world-class airport that elevates the customer experience and exceeds stakeholder and tenant expectations while supporting economic development in the state.”

Media Contact:

Paige Withrow

Chief Marketing Officer

304-400-5931

paige@yeagerairport.com


DIRTY BIRDS ANNOUNCE FRONT OFFICE PROMOTIONS AND ADDITIONS

Front Office Promotions and Changes for Full-Time Staff

Charleston, WV (February 20, 2023) – The Charleston Dirty Birds announce numerous changes and promotions within the full-time front office staff. The realignments and promotions are designed to strengthen the organization and continue the franchise’s on-field successes.

“We are tremendously proud of our organization’s accomplishments, both on and off the field, the last two years,” said Dirty Birds’ Owner and CEO, Andy Shea. “Our staff has been a key asset to our success, and we look forward to their continued contributions and impact in their new roles.”

In addition to Jeremy Taylor being promoted to General Manager, the Dirty Birds have promoted three additional full-time staff members:

George Levandoski has been promoted to Director and Coordinator of Corporate Sales. Jay Silverman has been promoted to Director of New Business Development, and Jessica Swartz has been promoted to Director of Merchandise and On-Field Apparel.

Among the organization’s Business Operations:

Joining the Dirty Birds’ full-time staff for the 2023 season is Ben Blum as the Business Operations Manager and Nathan Richard returning as the Director of Food and Beverage. Richard worked for the organization from 2017-2019 as the Food and Beverage Assistant before working with the Lake County Captains as the Manager of the Food and Beverage Department.

Rod “Toast” Blackstone remains in the Dirty Birds’ front office staff as Sales and Community Ambassador.

Blain Smith joins the Dirty Birds organization as Group Sales Manager alongside Meg Keller as a Group Sales Account Executive and Community Relations. Smith and Keller develop strategies to continue the partnership and relationship among the Dirty Birds community members.

Among the organization’s Baseball Operations:

Eden Douglas joins the full-time staff as the Manager of Marketing, Entertainment, and Media Relations. Douglas is a Charleston native and has been with the organization since 2019. In her new role, she will oversee Broadcasting; Marketing; Communications; Game Day Production; Promotions; and Social Media. Pete Costigan will be working alongside Douglas as the Assistant Manager of Media Relations and Broadcaster.

The Dirty Birds have added Mackenzie Brown as the Manager of Ticketing and Box Office Operations. Brown is a graduate of the University of Charleston and has been with the Dirty Birds’ ticketing department since 2021.

Andrew Thompson also joins the staff as the Manager of Stadium and Baseball Operations. In his role, Thompson will assist the General Manager in all Baseball Operations including roster additions and changes.

The Dirty Birds start the 2023 season on the road in Staten Island on April 28 before returning to Charleston for their home opener on May 9 at GoMart Ballpark. Season tickets for the 2023 season are now on sale. Single-game tickets will be available on March 3.

For more information or to shop the Dirty Birds team store, visit www.dirtybirdsbaseball.com.

The Charleston Dirty Birds are a member of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Celebrating its 25th Anniversary season in 2023, the Atlantic League is Major League Baseball’s first Professional Partner League, a player gateway to the major leagues, and a leader in baseball innovation. ALPB has sent over 1,200 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 45 million fans to its family-friendly ballparks throughout its 25-year history. Please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com

Contact: Eden Douglas

Manager of Marketing | Entertainment | Media Relations

Phone: 304-553-3949

Email: edouglas@dirtybirdsbaseball.com

February 20, 2023


ADVANTAGE VALLEY, INC. NAMES TERRELL ELLIS AS PRESIDENT & CEO

Charleston, WV.  January 24, 2023 – Advantage Valley, Inc. has recently named Terrell Ellis as President & CEO of the organization, a new full-time position. Since 2016, Ellis has served as Advantage Valley’s part-time Executive Director, successfully leveraging federal funding in support of regional business attraction and retention, foreign direct investment, entrepreneurship, outdoor recreation, and site development efforts. She has overseen the organization through a period of substantial growth in regionalized economic development efforts.

“Terrell has served Advantage Valley exceptionally well as our part-time Executive Director, and the Board of Directors is very pleased to have her transition to being our full-time executive,” says Rob Burton, President of the Advantage Valley Board of Directors and President of West Virginia American Water.  “Terrell is a West Virginian by choice believing that our state has tremendous untapped potential to be the best place in the country to live, work, and play. She has dedicated her professional life to working with communities to help them live up to this potential. I congratulation her upon this new role.” 

For over 29 years Ellis has been the Principal of Terrell Ellis & Associates, a consulting practice that provided support to the public and private sectors on issues related to community and economic revitalization.  She has worked nationally on community and economic development initiatives with an emphasis on small to medium sized rural communities.  Prior to running her own consulting firm, Ellis served as Director of Local Development Initiatives for the West Virginia Development Office for five years, and managed Main Street West Virginia, Governor Caperton’s Partnership for Progress initiative, and the Certified Development Community, Local Economic Development grant programs.

Advantage Valley, Inc. is a non-profit economic development and marketing organization that works with the State of West Virginia, local governments, county economic development authorities, sector and business leaders, chambers of commerce, academic and training institutions, and nonprofit partners to market a nine-county region and help strengthen the region’s economy. 


AVN Corporation acquires MATRIC operations

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AVN Corporation (“AVN”) today announced it has completed the transaction to acquire Mid-Atlantic Technology & Innovation Center (MATRIC), a strategic research and development (R&D) partner for companies in the chemicals and advanced software technologies industries. AVN acquired all of the operations and assets of MATRIC, including all technology, patents and facilities.

All MATRIC employees were transitioned to AVN in the same roles they previously held. MATRIC, the 501c3 non-profit entity, will continue its efforts on fostering economic development in the Kanawha Valley.

AVN Corporation is an employee-owned, for-profit company founded by senior executive leadership Steven B. Hedrick, Elton Bond, John “Jack” P. Dever, Ph.D., and John T. Miesner in 2022. All employees received shares in AVN, and MATRIC, the non-profit entity, will have a small ownership stake, with the holdings expected to further fund charitable works in the future.

“This is an exciting day for our company, our employees and our customers. This year, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary of operation under a new name and legal structure, but with the same commitment to delivering excellence to our customers around the world,” said Hedrick, AVN CEO. “Previously, our non-profit status was impeding our ability to grow, and our name use was restricted. With a new name and legal structure, we have the ability to pursue new avenues of operation and market penetration. We will build off our company’s strong heritage in West Virginia and the science and technology communities, while charting a new course for growth. I am absolutely certain that our visionary founder, Dr. George Keller, would be thrilled with this development.”

The transaction was completed January 1, 2023. Financial details were not disclosed.

“For years, AVN Corporation has been an innovation mainstay in our great state, comprising some of the smartest and most talented chemical engineers, chemists and scientists,” said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). “I am thrilled they are expanding their footprint and look forward to the exciting work they will do in the decades to come.”

“When this company was founded in 2003 in an effort to retain talent in the Kanawha Valley, no one could have known what the future would look like twenty years later,” U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said. “In their previous configuration, the company’s accomplishments in the areas of science and technology have far exceeded anyone’s expectations, which I have been proud to support. Most recently, their work to establish a Center of Excellence for chemical process design, along with their partners, underscores the talent and expertise that is housed within this organization. I look forward watching AVN Corporation grow and wish them continued success moving forward.”

AVN will continue to operate at its South Charleston and Morgantown, W.Va., locations. MATRIC, the nonprofit entity, will be governed by an independent volunteer board of directors.

“We are very grateful to the talented professionals at AVN who have added nearly $200 million to the local economy over the past two decades. We looked forward to seeing even greater achievements from them. MATRIC will now refocus our efforts on our core mission,” said Bill Goode, MATRIC Chairman of the Board of Directors. “As we look forward to exciting times, we remember great leaders like Dr. George Keller, Newton Thomas and Dwight Sherman.”

AVN Corporation will be exhibiting at the SOCMA Specialty & Custom Chemicals Show at Booth #606 on March 1-3, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.

About AVN Corporation

AVN Corporation is the strategic innovation partner of choice that provides uncommon expertise and infrastructure to solve the most challenging science and technology problems. Focusing on the areas of chemical, energy and environmental technologies, technical engineering, specialty and custom manufacturing, and advanced software technologies, AVN delivers innovation from concept to commercialization to manufacturing. We utilize our experienced and renowned staff, unique laboratory and pilot plant facilities, and flexible intellectual property models to create value for customers and investors around the world. We are an energized and expanding company that works from facilities in South Charleston and Morgantown, W.Va. Visit us at www.AVNcorp.com.


Brown Edwards Welcomes New Partner

Accounting and Advisory firm Brown Edwards is pleased to announce Jacob Favaro, CPA, CFP® will be joining the firm as a partner based in our Richmond, Virginia office on February 1, 2023. Prior to joining Brown Edwards, Jacob was a partner at Keiter and brings with him more than 20 years of tax and accounting experience assisting individuals and businesses in the RVA region with tax planning, consulting and compliance.

“We are very excited to have Jacob join our team as a tax partner. His industry knowledge, expertise, and quality of service exemplify what we at Brown Edwards aim to provide to our clients. We are eager to continue the growth of our service base in Richmond with his contributions,” states CEO, Jason Hartman.

Jacob graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelors degree in accounting and a Masters of Taxation. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Certified Financial Planners Board. Jacob’s specialty areas include consulting, compliance and tax research for S-Corporations, partnerships, multi-state corporations, and their owners. He routinely advises clients in a variety of industries including manufacturing, construction, craft beverage, professional services, leasing, and technology.

Jacob is a former President of the Rotary Club of South Richmond and remains active in the club today. During his tenure as president, Jacob led the club in raising over $175,000 to support charities within the local community.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Brown Edwards team, and a part of the growing Richmond office. Brown Edwards will open new doors for me and provide the opportunity to collaborate with clients and staff across the Commonwealth. I am looking forward to bringing my expertise and strong client service to Brown Edwards.”

David Reardon, Brown Edwards Area Coordinator asserts “We are very pleased to welcome a fellow Richmond-native to the Brown Edwards partnership. Jacob’s career has been focused in the RVA Region and his expertise and depth will make a great addition to our local team in support of our ongoing commitment to our clients here and throughout the Brown Edwards network.”

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Brown Edwards is a full-service regional accounting firm with offices in Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee, and is included in Inside Public Accounting’s list as one of the top 100 firms in the United States, an Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Company, and a Top 50 Construction Accounting Firm as compiled by Construction Executive magazine. Brown Edwards is proud to support a wide-range of industries throughout the Mid-Atlantic, including dealerships, benefit plans, construction, credit unions, education, energy, financial institutions, healthcare, manufacturing and distribution, state and local government, real estate and not-for-profit organizations. For more information, visit www.BEcpas.com