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Appalachian Trail Flip Flop Kick Off Weekend, May 2 & 3

For some Appalachian Trail hikers, the motto “Hike Your Own Hike” is taking on a new meaning as thru-hikers with non-traditional itineraries gain in popularity. Although 80 percent of hikers who set out to complete the entire Appalachian Trail in 12 months or less start in Georgia and end in Maine, a growing percentage are attempting a “flip-flop,” which is a hike that begins and/or ends mid-Trail. The ATC is encouraging this type of conservation-minded thru-hike.

If you’re curious about flip-flop hikes, you’re not alone! That’s why we’ve decided to host the inaugural Flip Flop Kick Off (FFKO) weekend on Saturday and Sunday, May 2 and 3, at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Learn more about flip-flop hiking and help us celebrate this year’s class of flip-flop thru-hikers by attending this special event. See the schedule of events below for specific details about workshops, games, music and more!

Schedule of Events (new events/updated times are being added regularly):

Saturday, May 2

10 a.m.: Session 1: Flip-Flopping in 2014 by Anne “Nubbins” Brown
Location: Curtis Freewill Baptist Church basement

11 a.m.: Session 2: The Advantages of an Alternative Thru-Hike:  How to Plan your Flip-Flop by Ryan “Castanada” Seltzer (2009 “Cool Breeze” flip-flopper)
Location: Curtis Freewill Baptist Church basement

Noon: Session 3: First Aid and Staying Healthy by Heather “Brave” Harmon-Sloan
Location: Curtis Freewill Baptist Church basement

Noon to 2 p.m.: Cookout (hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, and drinks available for donation)
Location: Odd Fellows yard

1 p.m. Session 4: Pack Shakedown - Lauralee “Blissful” Bliss
Session will begin with a demo pack shakedown comparing heavy and lightweight packs. Then Lauralee will evaluate items in packs of individual hikers looking to reduce their pack weight. To have your pack assessed, sign up at the Event Info Table (first-come, first-served). All are invited to observe.
Location: Curtis Freewill Baptist Church basement

1 to 4 p.m.: Live music featuring The Hokums (1 to 2 p.m.), Todd Coyle (2 to 3 p.m.), and Craggy Island (3 to 4 p.m.)
Location: Main stage at Odd Fellows yard

2:30 p.m.: Session 5: Flip-Flop Hiker Panel Discussion with Anne “Nubbins” Brown ’14 (Pearisburg northbound); Emily “Fiver” Mishler ’14 (Harpers Ferry northbound); and Ryan “Castanada” Seltzer ’09 (modified “Cool Breeze”)
Location: Curtis Freewill Baptist Church basement

3:30 p.m.: Session 6: Flipping Out for 30 Days: Lessons Learned by “Treehugger”
Location: Curtis Freewill Baptist Church basement

4:30 p.m.: Session 7: Trail Magic Panel Discussion with Lauralee “Blissful” Bliss, Heather “Brave” Harmon-Sloan and others.
Location: Curtis Freewill Baptist Church basement

5 p.m.: Day concludes with prize giveaways
Location: Main stage, Odd Fellows Lawn

Sorry, no pets are allowed at the Curtis Freewill Baptist Church.

Other fun festival offerings:
- Interactive Leave No Trace demonstrations at 10:15, 11:15, 2:45, 3:45 and 4:45. Learn how to bear bag and dig a proper cat hole!
- Ongoing kid’s activities, including a special A.T. Cornhole game
- Free temporary tattoos
- A commemorative Flip Flop Kick Off stamp for your Appalachian Trail Passport! Just visit the Information table during the event.
- Exhibitors and Vendors include The Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA), Appalachian Outdoor Readiness & Essentials, The Appalachian Trail Museum, Half App Ts, Harpers Ferry Merchants Association, The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), Potomac Valley Audubon Society, River Riders, Trego Mountain Nature Center, Two Rivers Treads, and more!
Sunday, May 3

7:30 a.m.: Community pancake breakfast
Location: Camp Hill Methodist Church, 601 Washington St.
9 a.m.: Flip flop hiker sendoff
Location: ATC’s Visitor Center

Lodging
A variety of lodging options can be found at http://www.historicharpersferry.org. Additional lodging is available in Charles Town, WV, 5-7 miles away.

Camping
Camping options within 10 miles of Harpers Ferry include:

- KOA - Harpers Ferry, WV - (2 miles west of ATC)

- Harpers Ferry Campground, Harpers Ferry, WV – 4 miles west of ATC (by vehicle), about 2 miles on foot.

- *Knoxville-Harpers Ferry HI Hostel - Knoxville, MD, 4 miles north of ATC (closed during the day) - you can stay in the hostel or pitch your tent.

- *Brunswick Family Campground - Brunswick, MD 7 miles east, along the Potomac -River and C&O Towpath (about 3 miles trail East of the A.T. junction at Keeptryst Road near Weverton).

- Maple Tree Campground - Rohrersville, Maryland, 10 miles north of ATC, very close to the A.T. at Crampton Gap wooded, campsites and cabins.

*Harpers Ferry-Bolivar A.T. Community Supporters

Parking
Parking is available in the lots below (west of) the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, between Washington and Fillmore Streets and Zachary Taylor and Storer College Place. If you are coming from Union Street or the stoplight, this is the block just uphill of Mena’s Pizza, on the right. If these lots fill up, you can park in the maintenance lot at the south end of Zachary Taylor Street.

More information about this event is posted when it becomes available, so keep on checking back! In the meantime, email Laurie Potteiger at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you have specific questions or if you want to become involved in this special event.


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May Workshops at Jala Yoga Announced

Charles Town, WV—Jala Yoga, the vibrant yoga studio with locations in Winchester, VA, Shepherdstown, WV, and Charles Town, WV, has announced its May workshops. From learning the basics to experiencing Ayurveda to practicing with a DJ, there are many ways to expand your yoga practice in May.  Registration for all workshops can be done at jalayogaflow.com or by phoning 401-440-0279.

On Saturday, May 16, from 6:30-8:00 pm, Jala owner Christa Mastrangelo Joyce leads a YogaJam with DJ Xtina.  This is a fun opportunity to experience yoga in a new way, encouraging you to flow in rhythm to dance tunes.  The YogaJam takes place at Jala’s Charles Town location, 307 West Washington Street. The cost is just $18 to be part of this unique event!

Yoga instructor Katherine Berger leads a Spring Ritual Ayurveda Reset on Sundays, May 17,  24, and 31, from 2:00-4:00 pm.  Katherine will introduce practical, everyday lifestyle choices that will bring greater vitality, balance, and clarity, with particular emphasis on diet and specific yoga postures for Spring.  Included in the 3-week program are a live call with Katherine, a private Facebook group for support, daily emails with stress relief practices and recipes, shopping lists, and unlimited yoga classes during the program.  The cost is $120 ($80 for members). The workshop takes place at Jala’s Winchester location, Creekside Station, 3119 Valley Avenue, Unit 110.

Starting on Sunday, May 24 and meeting every Sunday through June 21, from 3:30-5:00 pm, is Jala’s 5-Week Beginner’s Series.  Instructor Will Hufnagel teaches this class at Jala’s Charles Town studio.  The course will cover yoga postures and philosophy, and students who complete the 5 weeks will have the foundation to move on to other classes on the Jala Yoga schedule.  The cost is $60, with a $5 discount for those who register before May 20.

The popular Young Yogis class for children ages 3-6 will continue on Tuesdays, 4:00-4:30 pm, throughout the months of May and June.  The class takes place at the Charles Town studio. Instructor Whitney Ingram introduces yoga postures to kids while they make new friends and have fun.  The cost is $12 a class.

To register for any of the workshops or for more information about Jala Yoga and its other offerings, please visit http://www.jalayogaflow.com or call 401-440-0279.

PHOTO: DJ Xtina (courtesy of the artist)


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An Evening with one of CATF’s Playwrights, Michael Weller

Please join the Contemporary American Theater Festival this Saturday, May 2nd at 7:00 p.m. in the Marinoff Theater at Shepherd University for an Evening with Michael Weller, one of this season’s playwrights.  He will be reading from selected works including this season’s production of The Full Catastrophe.

The evening will also contain a guided discussion by our Producing Director, Ed Herendeen. Don’t miss this chance to meet, greet, and ask questions of one of our inspiring playwrights! Expected run time is 90 minutes.

Tickets (tax deductible) are $50 each.  You may contact CATF at (304) 876-3473 to reserve a seat.  Please bring your friends to this incredible event and help celebrate the 25th Anniversary Season!

MICHAEL WELLER is best known for his plays Moonchildren, Loose Ends, Spoils of War, and his trilogy including What the Night is For, Fifty Words (MCC), and Side Effects (MCC). He wrote the Book for the musical Dr. Zhivago, from the novel by Boris Pasternak, which premiered in Sydney, Australia in February 2011 and will open on Broadway in April. For ten years, Michael was the Supervising Mentor for the Mentor Project of the Cherry Lane Theatre.

His films include Hair, Ragtime (for Milos Forman), Lost Angels (for Hugh Hodson) and a teleplay of his Broadway drama Spoils of War, starring Kate Nelligan. He was a writer-producer on the critically acclaimed series “Once & Again.”

Michael’s work has garnered an Academy Award nomination, and N.A.A.C. P. Outstanding Contribution Award, Critics Outer Circle Award, a Rockefeller Foundation Grant and a Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award, and a Helen Merrill Award for playwriting. The Broken Watch Theatre Company has honored him by naming their playhouse in his name. He is on the counsel of the Writers Guild of America and a member of the Dramatists Guild.


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Martinsburg Heritage Days 2015 Complete Schedule

EXPERIENCE Martinsburg-home of generals, spies, & intrigue

Friday, May 8, 2015:

6:30pm—Opening Ceremony at the Adam Stephen Monument in the 600 block of South Queen Street, conducted by patriotic groups and local organizations.

8:00pm—Ghost tours: “Haunted History and Legends of Martinsburg,” a 2-hour walking tour of ghost sites and scary stories of old town Martinsburg. Not recommended for under age 13. Tickets are $12. Reservations 304-261-7470.

8:00pm—“Once Upon a Mattress” at the Apollo Civic Theatre, 128 East Martin Street. Regular admission $15, students with ID $7.  Reserve tickets 304-263-6766.

Saturday, May 9, 2015:

8:00-10:00am—Founding Fathers Pancake & Sausage Breakfast at the historic Trinity UM Church, 220 West Martin Street, sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 25. Cost is $7 for adults, $3 for children under 13. Civil War author Bob O’Connor will give a presentation about his book, “The Life of Abraham Lincoln as President.”   

10:00am-2:00pm—Kayak Float on the Tuscarora Creek, at 440 North Queen Street, sponsored by the Eastern Panhandle Trailblazers. Bring your kayak to put in at the creek next to the old Foundry near the railroad underpass on North Queen Street for a half-hour ride to the takeout point along East John Street below the Adam Stephen House. (Please note: only kayakers with some experience will be allowed to make this incredible journey. This event may be cancelled in the event of rain.)

10:00am-4:00pm—Continuous showing of Martinsburg films from the 1920s to 1950s from the library archives at the Martinsburg Public Library, 101 East King Street.

10:00am-5:00pm—Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street, will feature an exhibit of plein air paintings to call attention to historic locations around Martinsburg.

10:00am-5:00pm—Historic site tours at participating sites including Adam Stephen House & Tunnels, Belle Boyd House, Boydville, For the Kids by George Children’s Museum , Martinsburg Roundhouse, Sumner-Ramer Heritage Archives, and Triple Brick Museum. Hours for tours may vary a little at some sites. The trolley will be providing free transportation between listed sites between 9:30am and 6:00pm.
                                                                                                         
Adam Stephen House,309 East John Street,tours of house and Triple Brick Museum by the General Adam Stephen Memorial Association; Adam Stephen portrayed by John DiCarlo; tours of the tunnels by the Tri- State Grotto chapter of the National Speleological Society; French & Indian War demonstrations by Harold “Gene” Butts; yard sale by the Adam Stephen Association; lunch and refreshments for sale by the Martinsburg Lions Club.

—Belle Boyd House, 126 East Race Street, tours of the house and rose and herb gardens by Berkeley County Historical Society and the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau; tourist information center; information booth by Berkeley Boarder Guards chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans; living historians including Belle Boyd portrayed by Tricia Strader and the 5 th Virginia Infantry camp.

—Boydville, 601 South Queen Street, tours by the Friends of Boydville and Jonathon & Meagan Mann; bean soup lunch for sale; metal-detecting demonstration; information booth for Haunted History & Legends of Martinsburg ghost tours; information booth in dining
room for booking events at historic Boydville.

—For the Kids, by George, Children’s Musuem, at Caperton Train Station, 229 East Martin Street, Discounted children’s museum tickets $3 for ages 2 and up.

—Martinsburg Roundhouse, access by bridge at train station, 229 East Martin Street, tours by Retired Railroad Workers; running train exhibits by the Bunker Hill Train Club and the Potomac Garden Railroad Club, and railroad history merit badge program for Scouts.

—Sumner-Ramer Heritage Archives Museum, 515 West Martin Street, hosted by Leonard & Helen Harris; exhibit of memorabilia from the Sumner-Ramer Memorial School, which was Martinsburg’s and Berkeley County’s first African-American public school.                                                                       

12:00-5:00pm—JamFest on the Square sponsored by Berkeley County Relay for Life at the town square plaza (intersection of King and Queen Streets) with vendors and the following bands: FOG from 12:00-1:30pm, Old Lady Afro from 1:30-3:00pm, Joker’s from 3:00-5:00pm.                           

1:00pm—Dedication of new flagpole and flags at the Confederate Monument and Soldiers Grave in Green Hill Cemetery at 486 East Burke Street by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The public is invited to attend this dedication ceremony.                                                                                     

1:00pm—Wonderment Puppet Theatre, 411 West King Street, puppet performance. Admission: $5 for ages 2 and up.

2:00pm-The Be-Hive, 205 North Queen Street, free activity for families with children at 2:00pm. Doors open 1pm.                                               

3:30pm: High Heel Race, at the town square plaza (intersection of King and Queen Streets), sponsored by Berkeley County Relay for Life.                     

5:00pm—Bras and Boxers Auction, at the town square plaza (intersection of King and Queen Streets), sponsored by Berkeley County Relay for Life.

8:00pm—Ghost tours: Haunted History and Legends of Martinsburg, a 2-hour walking tour of ghost sites and scary stories of old town Martinsburg. Not recommended for under age 13. Tickets are $12. Reservations 304-261-7470.

8:00pm—“Once Upon a Mattress” at the Apollo Civic Theatre, 128 East Martin Street. Regular admission $15, students with ID $7. Reserve tickets 304-263-6766.

Sunday, May 10, 2015:

9:00am-4:00pm—Belle Boyd House, 126 East Race Street, tours of the house by Berkeley County Historical Society and the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Berkeley County tourist information available.

12:00-5:00pm—For the Kids, by George, Children’s Musuem, at Caperton Train Station, 229 East Martin Street, Day of Play museum fundraiser with life-size chess game, checkers, hopscotch, marble-shooting, shut-the-box, and more!  Small gift for visiting both For the Kids by George Museum & the Adam Stephen House.

12:00-5:00pm—General Adam Stephen House, 309 East John Street, Children’s Games Day featuring children’s games and activities including baby lambs, lawn-bowling, hoop-rolling, graces, and making a silhouette portrait for Mom. House tours on the hour from 12:00 to 4:00pm.                                         

1:00pm—Wonderment Puppet Theatre, 411 West King Street, puppet performance. Admission: $5 for ages 2 and up.

2:30pm—“Once Upon a Mattress” at the Apollo Civic Theatre, 128 East Martin Street. Regular admission $12, students with ID $7. Reserve tickets 304-263-6766.


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Church at Martinsburg Opens Doors to the Community

On Thursday, April 30, the Church at Martinsburg held an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for its recently renovated facility at 50 Monroe Street near Berkeley Plaza, located off US-11. The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by area business owners, church members, and several local and state government officials. The church is excited to partner with and serve the community, especially as it settles into Martinsburg’s northside.

In the past few years, Martinsburg’s northside, once the hub for merchants in the city, has seen a surge of growth and expansion. The Church at Martinsburg is excited to be a part of that revitalization as the city continues to experience growth.

With over 500 people attending Sunday services, the Church at Martinsburg had outgrown its former location at Regal Cinemas on Foxcroft Avenue. “We have been amazed to see people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and age groups come to our church, and it has been humbling to watch God bring more people to our faith family every week,” said Jacob Atchley, the church’s Lead Pastor.

A greeting was read from Senator Joe Manchin, along with remarks and prayers from the church’s pastors and staff. “Jesus is changing lives — we see it on a weekly basis. The gospel is bearing fruit not just on Sunday, but throughout the week,” said Atchley.

On Sunday, March 8, the Church at Martinsburg began having worship services in their new space at 50 Monroe Street. The church took ownership of the building in July 2014 and began the renovation process.

At close to 30,000 square feet, the church’s facility at 50 Monroe Street has a 600-seat auditorium, an open gathering space in the lobby, seven children’s classrooms, adult education classrooms, a prayer room, a large administration wing and ample room to grow. The church has a heart to use this space not only for Sunday services, but as a training center for Christians that will love and serve the community throughout the week.

The Church at Martinsburg has Sunday services at 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. at 50 Monroe Street, Martinsburg, WV 25404. All are welcome to attend services and enjoy coffee and refreshments. For more information on the Church at Martinsburg, please visit http://www.martinsburgchurch.org.

Photo: Several leaders from the church and the community celebrate at the Church at Martinsburg’s ribbon cutting. L-R: Tina Combs, Jill Upson, Jamie Leatherman, Jacob Atchley, Lindsey Atchley, Saira Blair, Richard Marsh, Tammy Borden.


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Kidz Power Pacs May Updates

We wanted to share updates for May. If you can help with any of the items please let us know!

1. Next Packing: May 15th unloading of the truck starting at 430 pm until roughly 7 pm. May 16th packing of the bags. We start gathering at 9 am for fellowship and refreshments, 930 we ask you be there for announcements, instructions, pray and we start packing.  This will be our last regular packing for this school year. All takes place at Eagle School Intermediate and all ages are welcome!!  Park in back parking lot of school and enter through center metal door.

2. Summer Program:  We do go all summer long. We are seeking team helpers for our different distribution sites through out Berkeley and Jefferson county. We are also collecting large boxes of cereal and jars of peanut butter to add to the children’s food boxes. We are estimating 600 of each needed each month of June, July and August.  Interested in helping in either area please let us know.

Summer program does cost the ministry extra per child as we are covering a months worth of food compared to just the weekends. If you would like to help cover the extra cost please let us know. Average extra cost per child is $15 per child per month.

3.  One Harvest: This is another ministry CCM has for the communities. Great way to save on grocery bill, no limits on how much you can order, no qualifications to meet which means it is for EVERYONE, same great food you would buy in a grocery store just cheaper in price, ministry receives $1 back per box ordered which helps the ministry, donate to the ministry or donate a box directly to a family in need and we also are state approved to accept the EBT/food stamp card!!! See menu attached.

4. 3rd Annual Community Day in the Park Event : Takes place June 27th at War Memorial Park by main stage and pavilion. We have 4 major needs : 1. We are in need of sponsors for different items to help on the cost of this event. If your church, business or company would like to sponsor we would DEEPLY appreciate it.  2. We also need LOTS and LOTS of volunteers to help through out the day.  3. We would love to have your church, outreach or agency set up through out the event. One purpose of this event is to provide many resources to the community and have them all in one location. 4. Last but not least: Prayers for the event: many people be reached, family and children enjoy a free , no stress day, all needs are met, travel mercies for all that attend and we have beautiful weather!!!

Please use this link to obtain the forms needed for sponsorship and to set up that day. Email us back if you can spare some time on that day to be helping hands.  http://communitycombined.org/fundraisers/day-in-the-park-homelink  If you can’t copy and paste this link click on the link below that takes you to our website. Event is on our home page and you can follow links from there. 

5. Huge Thank you to each and everyone that has made this year another huge success for CCM and Kidz Power Pacs!! Due to your prayers , love and support no child had to be placed on a waiting list!! We took a huge leap of faith on adding all the extra schools this year in Jefferson County. We added almost 200 extra children and even though some months were tight our Lord provided and all children were covered each and every month!!! We were able to provide 22,400 meals per month for our regular weekend packing’s plus 12,800 sides per month and 3,200 fruit snacks which is a little bonus the children enjoy. We strive to make sure they are receiving meals and sides compared to snacks each weekend. During the breaks the children received all 3 meals for each and every day they were out of school. Again no snacks were included as they already have that food source at home.

We are truly seeking more sponsors and churches to partner with us in the Jefferson County area. Many of the children with the added schools this year still need covered. Please help us spread the word and help us get these children covered for this coming fall! Each year the need increases. Send them to our facebook page or website to read about the ministry. We will be happy to meet with anyone to discuss sponsorship and answer any questions. We would Love to share with your congregation, group, business and always feel welcome to come join us. It’s also a great way to earn those community hours if needed!!!

Thank you all so very much!!!
Diana and team


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Potomac Conservancy securing funds to buy West Virginia’s White Horse Mountain

Save White Horse Mountain: Indiegogo Campaign Film | 4.83 min

Potomac Conservancy, a non-profit safeguarding the waters of the Potomac River and its tributaries, is calling on the public to donate to a crowdsourcing campaign to support a $3.2 million effort to purchase West Virginia’s 1700-acre White Horse Mountain. The purchase will protect the land from development threats. Once the land is acquired, Potomac Conservancy plans to transfer the title to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources which will open up the mountain to the public for hunting, hiking, wildlife viewing and other recreational activities.

Located in Hampshire County, West Virginia, less than a 3-hour drive from the Washington DC Metro area, White Horse Mountain is one of the largest tracts of unbroken forested land remaining in the South Branch Valley. For six miles, the land parallels the South Branch River, a major tributary to the Potomac River which supplies water to nearly 6 million people. The mountain itself, protects the spring-fed municipal water supply for the nearby town of Springfield.

While the majority of the money to complete the purchase of the mountain has come from private donors, foundations, and a loan from The Conservation Fund, a portion will be raised through an online INDIEGOGO campaign. Through this campaign, the Conservancy aims to raise at least $35,000 to help fund the purchase of the mountain.

“Current development plans would carve the undisturbed natural lands into 70 residential lots, which would not only destroy this treasured forest but would also damage water quality downstream and put local wildlife habitat at risk,” says Aimee Weldon, Senior Director of Lands at Potomac Conservancy and project manager for the land deal.

“Potomac Conservancy is purchasing White Horse Mountain to ensure a different future for this land as a place that everyone can enjoy rather than just a few private homeowners. Anyone can play a role in saving this mountain by contributing to the crowdsourcing campaign and sharing it on social media,” Weldon adds.

White Horse Mountain is currently owned by a Florida developer who bought the land in 2003 with plans to create a new subdivision on the property. The housing market decline forced the land back onto the market. 

“We now have a rare opportunity to put this land into conservation and open it to public use once again,” said Weldon. “The area is a long-time community priority as it was once open to the public while owned by the timber company MeadWestvaco prior to 2003.”

In addition to acquiring the mountain and transferring to the State, Potomac Conservancy will encourage further protection of the area by helping private landowners near White Horse apply for grant funds to purchase conservation easements on over 3,000 acres of nearby land in order to create a larger conservation hub.

BACKGROUND: Founded in 1993, Potomac Conservancy is a member-supported non-profit that works to ensure the Potomac River boasts clean water, healthy lands, and vibrant communities. The Conservancy fights for improved water quality through conservation and advocacy, and empowers local landowners, volunteers, activists, members, and partners to lead the charge for clean streams and safe drinking water.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WHITE HORSE MOUNTAIN, please visit http://www.potomac.org/whitehorse or contact Patricia Brooks at 202-351-1757.


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Berkeley Arts Council Announces June Art Classes

The Berkeley Arts Council announced new classes for June to be presented in the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg.

Judith Becker will teach “Intermediate Watercolor Painting” for all students who have either taken classes in beginning watercolor or have had experience painting on their own and want to further their skills. Classes will be held Fridays, June 5, 12, 19, 26 from1-4pm.


Jean Kellogg offers two classes for intermediate and advanced artists. “Drawing Mystery and Mastery” aims to increase their drawing skills achieve more satisfying images and results. Classes will be held Thursdays, June 4, 11, 18, 25 from 1-4pm. In the six week class, “Layers Meaning - Developing Depth, Dimension and Personal Meaning in your Art” students will learn to create mystery, evoke an emotional response through unique mixed-media, multilayer, multidimensional images. Classes will be held Sundays, June 7, 14, 21, 28, July 5, and 12 from 1-4pm.

Saturday workshops include “Exploring Exciting Background Techniques” (June 13, 1-4pm) taught by Judith Becker. This workshop introduces a full spectrum of techniques and considerations when choosing the best approach to compliment or enhance the artwork’s subject through the background areas.

On Saturday, June 20 from 1-4pm Jean Kellogg will present “Abstracted! Flow, Texture and Abstracted Design”. This three hour workshop will explore versatile techniques and various media to create intricate textures to personalize and execute the artist’s abstract artistic vision.

Open Studio with Judith Becker continues on Wednesday afternoons from 1-4pm through June.

Details and online registration is available at http://artworks.berkeleyartswv.org/instruction/

The Berkeley Art Works, a project of the Berkeley Arts Council, is the realization of the long-held dream of the arts community in Martinsburg and Berkeley County West Virginia: to have a community-based arts facility that supports local and regional artists, brings quality arts experiences for the members of the public, and provides a wide range of arts learning experiences for local residents, artists, and artisans. The Berkeley Arts Council is on the Web at http://www.berkeleyartswv.org.


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City Farming: Food in the Backyard Program at Harpers Ferry NHP

On Saturday and Sunday, May 9th and 10th, experience Victorian everyday life in antebellum Harpers Ferry. Before the onset of the Industrial Revolution and the mass production of processed foods, ordinary citizens depended on small kitchen gardens for sustenance, right in the heart of the smoke filled industrial town.

Visit the park’s historic garden and discover the connections between historic gardening and solutions for confronting climate change that today can be mitigated by Victorian organic gardening methods.  Join Living History staff and volunteers on the park green opposite the Bookshop to see heirloom seedlings and purchase historic heirloom seeds from the Bookshop to start your very own kitchen garden.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/UtAEk


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12th Annual Washington County Museum Ramble Schedule Announced

HAGERSTOWN, MD –The 12th Annual Museum Ramble, sponsored by the Washington County Association of Museums and Historical Sites (WCAMHS) and the Visit Hagerstown-Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), is set to commence again on Friday, May 1, 2015. This year’s Ramble includes 30 local museums and historic sites. Many of the participating museums have special offerings planned for the weekend. For some of the museums, this event marks their grand opening weekend for the season.

“We are very happy to be celebrating the Ramble’s 12th year,” said WCAMHS President Joyce Stanley. “No matter what your interests are—fine arts, rural heritage, American history, black history, geology, or trains—you’re sure to enjoy a ramble through this year’s selection of Washington County museums. We welcome visitors and residents to take a trip through our county and experience our rich history through visiting some of our wonderful museums.”

With more sites participating than ever before, organizers suggest a good place to start the day is at the downtown Hagerstown Visitor Center, 6 North Potomac Street, Hagerstown, MD.

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The Museum Ramble will take place throughout the month of May 2015.
  • A number of museums within close proximity of each other have elected to pick one weekend in May to help you focus your attention on a different area of the county each weekend. Others will be open each weekend. It is important to check the guide for each museum or site’s hours.
  • May 2-3 Mid-County and City Center (includes Hagerstown and Williamsport)
  • May 9-10 Southeast County (includes Sharpsburg, Boonsboro)
  • May 16-17 Northeast County (Includes Beaver Creek, Smithsburg, Ft. Ritchie)
  • May 23-25 & May 30-31 West County (includes Hancock, Clear Spring, Fort Frederick)
  • Some sites will be offering Ramble Rewards at their sites. Drawings will be held at a number of sites, as well. Be sure you fill out an entry form during your visit. See each listing for the special rewards and drawing prizes. (You do not need to be present to win drawings.)


The printed guide is available at the Visitor Welcome Center in downtown Hagerstown and at the various museum sites. The online Museum Ramble brochure includes a list of participating sites, the hours for each site, and links to a Google map for ease in locating each site on the self-guided tour. It can be accessed at http://museumramble.visithagerstown.com/

All 4th grade students in Washington County Public Schools are given a Museum Ramble brochure to encourage their participation as a supplement to their lessons about local history.

Of Maryland’s 300-plus museums, more than ten percent are located in Washington County. The Museum Ramble makes the most of this by welcoming residents and visitors to the county’s museums, many of which are private and typically open by appointment only. New this year to the Museum Ramble are Beaver Creek School Museum from 1904; Hancock Museum; Hancock Visitors Center, which houses the Sidling Hill Exhibit; The Kennedy Farm, which John Brown used as the staging area for the raid on Harpers Ferry, and Wilson Country School and Store.

The Visit Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing, and expanding the local visitor industry. Washington County is part of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (http://www.heartofthecivilwar.org), and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area (http://hallowedground.org). Washington County is also part of the Quad-State Tourism Coalition, a four-state tourism group along I-81. For more information, see: http://www.quadstate81.com.


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Shepherdstown Cemetery Preservation Demonstration to be held Saturday, April 25

On Saturday, April 25 from 3 to 5 p.m., students from Shepherd University’s Historic Preservation Class will discuss and demonstrate their efforts to map, document, and preserve the Shepherd Family Burial Ground. The presentation will take place at the Burial Ground located on New Street between Church and King Streets in Shepherdstown. The event is part of the Historic Shepherdstown Commission Speakers Series for 2015. It is free and open to the public.

The Historic Shepherdstown Commission has been working with the Corporation of Shepherdstown to restore the deteriorating walls surrounding the burial ground, maintain the grounds, and preserve the gravestones. The Commission has received grants for wall restoration from the Helen Parker Willard Fund and the Two Rivers Giving Circle, both part of the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation, as well as from the Shepherd family.
       
The work to be discussed and demonstrated on Saturday will contribute to the preservation efforts by documenting the burial ground and beginning the process of restoring the stones.
       
The cemetery is said to be the burial place of Thomas Shepherd who laid out and incorporated Shepherdstown in the early 1700’s. It is the burial place of his son Abraham (d.1863), who fought in the Revolution, and presided over the first elected Board of Trustees of Shepherdstown and of Thomas’s grandson, Rezin Davis Shepherd (1784-1865), who shaped the town as we see it today.
       
For further information, contact Historic Shepherdstown Administrator Teresa McLaughlin at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 304-876-0910.


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Volunteers Being Sought for Historic Newcomer House Exhibit and Visitors Center at Antietam

Sharpsburg, MD – Here is a unique opportunity to become a National Park Service volunteer! Volunteers are being sought to staff the historic Newcomer House on the Antietam National Battlefield during the 2015 season.

While no specific knowledge or skills are required, a willingness to deal with the public in a cordial manner is a must! Also, interest in Civil War history is a definite plus. Volunteers will receive mentor training on-site during regular visitor hours. A volunteer’s primary duty is to greet visitors as they enter the Newcomer House Exhibit and Visitors Center, and help orient them to the immediate area and opportunities in the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (HCWHA). The job description is available below.

Newcomer House volunteers also receive opportunities for special programs and tours.

The Newcomer House, 18422 Shepherdstown Pike, Sharpsburg, MD, is one of only two historic homes on the battlefield open to the public. The other is Pry House Field Hospital Museum. The Newcomer House was built in the late 1780s as part of a thriving mill complex and farm astride the Boonsboro Pike where the Middle Bridge spans Antietam Creek. The house gets its present day name from Joshua Newcomer who owned the property during the 1862 Battle of Antietam. This is the period to which the appearance of the house has been restored.

A cooperative agreement between the Antietam National Battlefield and the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau allows for programming, management and maintenance of the Newcomer House. It is the official Visitors Center for the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, which encompasses portions of Washington, Frederick and Carroll Counties. Three exhibit rooms explore the major themes of the heritage area: In the Heat of Battle, On the Home Front, and Beyond the Battlefield.

Those interested in volunteering should contact the Newcomer House coordinator Rachel Nichols: 240-308-1740, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing, and expanding the local visitor industry. For more information about Hagerstown-Washington County, see http://www.marylandmemories.com.

The Antietam National Battlefield is a member of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. In November of 2012, the State of Maryland recognized the unique partnership of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Antietam National Battlefield, and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area with the Governor’s Cultural Heritage Tourism Award for the Newcomer House project. The Cultural Heritage Tourism Award is presented for outstanding investments and contributions in stewardship and development of Maryland’s cultural heritage product and engagement in regional and statewide tourism initiatives.

Washington County has five national parks, eight state parks, over 30 museums, a renowned professional symphony orchestra, a professional minor league baseball team, and the county has been ranked first in the State of Maryland in the Retail Opportunity Index. The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing, and expanding the local visitor industry. Washington County is part of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (http://www.heartofthecivilwar.org), and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area (http://hallowedground.org). Washington County is also part of the Quad-State Tourism Coalition, a four-state tourism group along I-81. For more information, see: http://www.quadstate81.com.

Antietam National Battlefield tells the story of America’s bloodiest day in our nation’s fight for freedom. On September 17, 1862 over 23,000 Americans were killed or wounded in the Battle of Antietam. As the sun set over the bloody fields of Sharpsburg, the Civil War became a different struggle. Five days after the battle, armed with pen and paper, Abraham Lincoln changed the war and our nation when he issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation declared freedom for the enslaved in the rebelling states, beginning the important journey of freedom and equality for all Americans. Antietam National Battlefield preserves these stories of tragedy and of hope on America’s journey from Civil War to Civil Rights. For further information, visit http://www.nps.gov/anti/.

Newcomer House Volunteer Job Description

Necessary Skills:
No specific knowledge or skills are required, but a willingness to interact with the public in a cordial manner is important.

Working Conditions:
The volunteer’s work will occur at the Newcomer House Visitor Information Center. Volunteers will be expected to work independently with little supervision. The Newcomer House is a small visitor center on Maryland Rte. 34, with visitation that increases during the busy summer months.

Duties:
A volunteer’s primary duty is to greet visitors as they enter the Newcomer House information center and orient them to the area. This area encompasses the local community, the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, South Mountain State Battlefield, Antietam National Battlefield, and the Pry House Field Hospital Museum. The volunteer will hand out informational literature, tell visitors about the area, and assist them in meeting their needs.
Over the course of time, the volunteer is expected to become familiar with the resources available at the Newcomer House, such as park handouts and maps of the area. Volunteers will also help with a variety of office duties, such as making copies and answering the phones.

Training:
The volunteer will be provided with adequate training and orientation to enable them to perform their job in a satisfactory manner. The volunteer coordinator will be available to answer questions from the volunteer about the position. Volunteers may be assigned a mentor; either a park ranger, experienced volunteer, or partner organization staff member for on the job training.

Uniform:
The volunteer must wear the prescribed uniform. The park will provide the volunteer with a shirt, shoulder patch, hat, and nameplate. The uniform also includes dark brown or khaki trousers/skirt. If the volunteer needs to buy trousers, the park will reimburse the volunteer. Uniforms should be clean and neatly pressed.

Time Commitment:
The Newcomer House will be open seasonally: Hours are 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday April, May, October and November; Daily June-October. The volunteer is expected to work a minimum of six hours per month during the summer season. If the volunteer is unable to show up for work as regularly scheduled, he or she should notify a supervisor as soon as possible.

Evaluation:
The volunteer coordinator will evaluate the volunteer’s performance after 90 days to determine if the volunteer is meeting the park’s expectations and if the job is meeting the volunteer’s expectations. Subsequent evaluations will occur annually.
The most important factors in evaluating a volunteer’s performance are:
1) Polite and pleasant interactions with the visiting public.
2) Reliable attendance and punctuality.
3) The accuracy of information provided to the public.

For more information please contact Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area Washington County Assistant Rachel Nichols, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 240-308-1740.


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Leitersburg Cinemas Upgrades VIP Seats and Announces Healthy Menu Options

Hagerstown, Maryland [April 13, 2015]: Leitersburg Cinemas announced two new ways to improve the local movie-going experience – better VIP seating and healthy menu options.

Leitersburg Cinemas recently replaced the 5-year-old manual leather recliners with new, power-reclining VIP seats in all four VIP theaters. Four out of the ten screens are equipped with VIP seats.

Local independent theater installs new power-reclining VIP seats; Launches Healthy Menu Options, including Air-popped Popcorn

“It was time to swap-out the old VIP seats. They were in decent shape, but many needed repaired constantly, so we decided to upgrade sooner than later,” said Rich Daughtridge, Founder and President of High Rock Holdings, the parent company of Leitersburg Cinemas.

In addition to the VIP seat replacement project, dubbed “Chairpocolypes II”, officials said they also took the opportunity to paint floors, install new carpet, upgrade track lighting in all of the VIP theaters. All renovations were completed in a two-week timeframe in March.

“We are excited by how all the renovations turned out. It looks great and really freshens up the theater,” said Greg Mills, Chief Operating Officer of High Rock Holdings. “Headed into the busiest time of the year for movie-going, the Spring and Summer, our customers can continue to sit back, relax and watch great movies.”

In addition to more comfortable seating, Leitersburg Cinemas also announced Healthy Menu Options for patrons. The new menu features air-popped popcorn, low sugar drink options and a healthy kids snack in their popular Kids Pack. The company kicked off the idea by having a roundtable discussion with local health professionals and vendors, working with HEAL of Washington County on a marketing initiative.

“It’s very progressive to offer these healthy options in an industry known for not-so-healthy food and drink options. We love the fact that patrons can decide to eat healthier and the costs remain the same,” said Greg Mills.

“We believe we’re one of the first movie theaters in the country to install an air-popped popcorn machine. So far the feedback has been overwhelming positive.”

Reopened in 2010 by Rich Daughtridge and Dave Schleigh, Leitersburg Cinemas has seen great success – including exceeding national averages.  The owners attribute the success to a supportive community, VIP seating, affordable pricing, and ongoing facility improvements. 

Leitersburg Cinemas is located at 20145 Leitersburg Pike in Hagerstown, Maryland.  For more information, visit LeitersburgCinemas.com or Facebook.com/LeitersburgCinemas.

 


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Under Fire: Hold the High Ground!

On Saturday and Sunday, April 25-26th, visitors are invited to witness the power of field artillery that defended the Union garrison during the Siege of 1862. Living History staff and volunteers will present artillery demonstrations at 1, 2, and 3 p.m., on the battle which led to General Stonewall Jackson’s capture of 12,500 Federal soldiers. A military camp will be open for visitation on the Bolivar Heights Battlefield from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Shuttles from the Visitor Center at Cavalier Heights to the Bolivar Heights Battlefield will be provided.

“We are surrounded by enemy batteries,” wrote a Union officer garrisoned at Harpers Ferry on September 15, 1862. On that day, the 12,500-man Union garrison surrendered to Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. This military action at Harpers Ferry was the largest surrender of Union troops during the American Civil War. Following the surrender of Federal troops, Jackson’s men marched northward to join Confederate General Robert E. Lee near Sharpsburg, Maryland, arriving in time to save Lee’s flank from annihilation during the Battle of Antietam.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/5zfsvG


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Asbury UMC Announces Unity Service, Yard Sale and VBS

Asbury UMC To Hold Pentecost Unity Service
Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV invites our entire community to join us as we celebrate the Church’s birthday on Sunday May 24th with a special Pentecost Unity Service.  This single service at 10 AM will feature special music, readings, a dynamic sermon and much more.  Everyone is then invited to join in for a time of fellowship in Williams Hall.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC To Hold Church Yard Sale
Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV will hold its annual church wide yard sale on Friday June 12th & Saturday June 13th .  All proceeds from this event will go towards the ministries of the church.  Outside spaces will be available to the public for $15/day or $25/2 days.  Asbury UMC is handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information and to reserve your space.

Asbury UMC Announces 2015 Vacation Bible School Schedule
Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV announces their 2015 Vacation Bible School Program titled ‘Everest’.  Registration will be on Monday June 29th at 5:30 PM and the VBS program will be each weeknight from 6-8 PM (June 29th – July 3rd).  At Everest Vacation Bible School, kids experience God’s Word in surprising and unforgettable ways! Children are invited to embark on an icy expedition and learn how to overcome obstacles with God’s awesome power. We will help anchor kids in rock-solid Bible truths that will guide them through life’s challenges. All children, regardless of denomination or church affiliation are invited to participate.  Asbury UMC is handicapped accessible


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‘In the Hills and Hollows’ follows the lives of those impacted by the fossil fuel industries

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va.—Filmmaker Keely Kernan is launching a Kickstarter campaign to help finance a feature film, based in West Virginia, that documents the impact of the fossil fuel industries upon people and communities throughout the Mountain State. A launch party for the Kickstarter campaign will be held at the Opera House in Shepherdstown on May 7th. Opening reception will start at 7 p.m. There will be live music, food and drinks.

Starting at 7:30 p.m. the event will feature a screening of a series of short films about environmental topics, including the water crisis in West Virginia and the effects that coal and natural gas extraction has had on residents and the landscape of Appalachia. The extended trailer for the feature film, “In the Hills and Hollows,” will also be screened. Speakers include filmmaker Keely Kernan, Elise Keaton from the Greenbrier River Watershed Association, and Autumn Long, a landowner in Harrison County.

“‘In the Hills and Hollows’ is an intimate exploration of life in the midst of the natural gas boom in West Virginia and explores the often dire consequences of mono-economies based on fossil fuels.” For example in the southern part of the state, the counties that produce the most coal are some of the poorest counties in the United States. Much like the infrastructure built to support the coal industry, large new infrastructure systems are being built to produce and transport natural gas acquired through fracking. There are currently four pipelines proposed, up to 42 inches in diameter, to transport natural gas from northern West Virginia to other states and ports for export.

Speaker Elise Keaton and Autumn Long are both featured in the film.  If approved, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would be built right next to Autumn Long’s property in Harrison County. The construction process would involve clear-cutting a one hundred and fifty-five foot wide swath of land that would travel 550 miles from northern West Virginia, through the Monongahela National Forest, and into Virginia and North Carolina.  Autumn will be traveling from Harrison County to share her story and experiences.  Elise Keaton, from the Greenbrier River Watershed Association, has tirelessly driven thousands of miles across West Virginia to educate Mountain State residents about the pipelines, their rights and how they can make their voices heard on this vital topic.

Kernan says, “The goal is to provide a space through which the public can learn about the issues in a way that connects them to the stories being shared in the film. And raise awareness about the kickstarter campaign to help raise funds for the feature film.”

The event is being organized in conjunction with Sustainable Shepherdstown and the Shepherdstown Opera House. To date the short films have been sponsored in part by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. A Kickstarter campaign will be launched on May 7th to raise additional funds needed in order to produce the feature film “In the Hills and Hollow.” Contributors have the opportunity to receive various rewards such as a special thank you in the end credits of the film and much more. Those making the most significant contributions will receive credit as an associate producer, producer, or executive producer. Organizations also have the opportunity to receive official sponsorship credit with their name and logo in the end credits of the film.

Free and Open to the Public
Event: Film Screenings and Kickstarter Launch Party
Date: May 7th 2015
Opening Reception 7:00 pm (Live music, food, and drinks)
Screening Start 7:30 pm
Location: Shepherdstown Opera House 131 W German Street Shepherdstown, WV

Learn More
http://www.inthehillsandhollows.com

Find us on social media
http://www.facebook.com/Inthehillsandhollows
http://www.twitter.com/HillsHollowsDoc


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Registration Now Open For The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s 40TH Biennial Conference

Winchester, VA - Registration is now open for the 2015 Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) Biennial Conference, scheduled for July 17-24, at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. The event, co-hosted by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and the Mountain Club of Maryland, will feature hikes, excursions, activities, and workshops related to the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), hiking, local history and outdoor recreation. This event draws in one of the largest gathering of hikers in the United States, with more than 1,000 participants expected.

There will be 70 different professionally guided hikes focused on nature, history, and beauty of the surrounding area. Hikes will take place on the A.T. and other local trails in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia.

Thirty-five excursions are also scheduled to highlight the beauty, culture, history, and opportunities for adventure in the Shenandoah Valley and the area surrounding the university. Trips to battlefields, the C&O Canal, the Appalachian Trail Museum, the Virginia Arboretum, wineries, a scenic train ride along the Potomac River, a walking tour of Old Town Winchester , and a trip to Shenandoah Caverns are just some of the opportunities that will be available. Other outdoor activities include rafting, horseback riding, zip-lining and more.

During the conference, informative workshops will be offered on the following topics: A.T. - The Trail, A.T. - The Communities, Creative Arts, Environment, Hiking and Backpacking Skills, History, Natural Wonders, Other Trails, Youth/Outreach, Trail Maintenance & Management, and Volunteer Leaders and Club Management.

Various entertainments conclude each day of the conference. These include stand-up comedy and bands performing every style of music including: bluegrass, classic rock, folk, country, and pop. There will also be nightly informative and inspirational presentations and films on a wide range of topics. “Early Bird” registration runs through May 31.

Online registration closes July 1. Lodging and camping options are available on and off campus. Meal plans are also available to participants.

Pricing options vary based on individual factors such as hikes, excursions, lodging and meal plans, and length of stay. Event Overview:2015 “Hiking Through History” Biennial ConferenceJuly 17-24, 2015Shenandoah University, Winchester, VirginiaTo register visit http://www.atc2015.org

For more information about the Biennial Conference or to register, visit http://www.atc2015.org.

About the Appalachian Trail ConservancyThe ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park Service, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,185 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail - ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, please visit http://www.appalachiantrail.org.

Contact: Javier Folgar Appalachian Trail Conservancy Tel: 304.885.0481Fax: 304.535.2667 Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or http://www.appalachiantrail.org


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FREE Skating/ Soft Play

RESTORATION LIFE MINISTRIES would like to treat you and your family to a FREE Gospel Skate, Soft Play, and Fun Night Event @ Galaxy Skateland!
Food/ Drinks sold at concession.

Like Us & Check coming on Facebook Event!!!!!!!!!!
When: Wednesday, April 29
Time: 6pm- 8pm
Place: Galaxy Skateland, 1201 3rd St, Martinsburg, WV
Contact/Questions: Call 304-263-3130


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WVCALA: Learjet Justice Connection Raise Questions About Impartiality In Justice System

Charleston, W.Va. – Citing the need for an impartial legal system and fairness for all West Virginians in the court system, West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA) announced its support of a complaint filed with the Judicial Investigation Commission of West Virginia regarding the connections between West Virginia Supreme Court Judge Robin Davis, her husband, and an out-of-state personal injury lawyer who purchased a million-dollar Learjet from them. 

“We strongly believe that every West Virginian deserves a fair day in court. The information surrounding this million-dollar Learjet transaction between Justice Robin Davis, her husband, and a personal injury lawyer who later appeared before the judge raises serious questions of impartiality and about our code of judicial conduct. The public should know whether or not Justice Davis may have erred in not disclosing this million dollar transaction to her colleagues, the court, and the litigants in this case – and every case that this lawyer has before the Supreme Court of Appeals,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

The complaint filed with the Judicial Investigation Commission of West Virginia claims that several canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct were violated, including subsection E of Canon 3, which states “A judge should disclose on the record information that the judge believes the parties or their lawyers might consider relevant to the question of disqualification, even if the judge believes there is no real basis for disqualification.”

Stauffer concluded, “A recent statewide public opinion survey found that 82 percent of West Virginians believe Justice Davis should have disclosed this million-dollar Learjet deal. We too believe that under the Code of Judicial Conduct it should have been disclosed. What compounds these concerns is the fact that Justice Davis continues to hear cases involving this lawyer who bought the Learjet even after this transaction was dramatically exposed on national television.”

West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse is a nonprofit citizen watchdog group with 30,000 members interested in a broad range of civil justice issues.  For more information, visit http://www.WVCALA.org.


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New Leadership And Chapter Designation For Local Red Cross

MORGANTOWN, WV –  Recently the National Red Cross Organization has orchestrated a complete restructuring both administratively and geographically. 

There are now four chapters in West Virginia with the north central portion of the state and the Eastern Panhandle combining into a single region – the Northeast WV Chapter.  The newly designated Chapter, formerly the River Valley and Eastern Panhandle chapters, includes a larger territory comprised of 18 counties in the northeast quadrant of the state. 

To spearhead efforts in the area, The American Red Cross has hired Casandra Fritzsche as the new Executive Director of the Northeast WV Chapter of the organization which is headquartered at the Chapter’s office in Morgantown.

In her capacity as Executive Director, Fritzsche will be responsible for the day-day management of the Chapter, fundraising and promotion of the organization in order to raise public awareness and increase volunteers.  She will also oversee the popular Taste of Morgantown annual fundraising event. 

Fritzsche has an impressive history with the American Red Cross.  Most recently, Fritzsche served as a mobile staff member with the Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) branch of the American Red Cross.  She began her career with the American Red Cross in 2011 at Fort Carson, CO then transferred to Okinawa, Japan where she worked closely with Marine Corps/Navy units embedded in the South Pacific.  After two years in Okinawa, she returned to the U.S. to run SAF programming for both Wyoming and Northern Colorado. Over the past four years Casandra has worked in a variety of capacities, from teaching CPR courses to responding to helicopter crashes and much more.

Prior to joining the American Red Cross, Casandra served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa.  While serving as a sustainable agriculture/forestry volunteer, she worked closely with village leaders to develop advanced farming/gardening techniques for sub-Saharan climates.  In her village, she also taught reading groups targeted at educating local girls unable to attend traditional schools.

Upon completing her Peace Corps service, Casandra accepted an Adlai Stevenson Community and Economic Development Fellowship at Illinois State University where she earned a Master’s Degree in Political Science/Community and Economic Development.  Casandra also holds a BS in International Political Science/Environmental Science from Illinois State University.

Anyone interested in more information on volunteering with the Red Cross can call 304-598-9500.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross. In West Virginia, visit redcrosswv.org or visit us on Twitter at @ARCWV.

Photo: Casandra Fritzsche, the new Executive Director of the Northeast WV Chapter of the American Red Cross


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Announcement and follow up of the Lincoln’s Assassination from the Hagerstown Herald & Torch Light

The Herald broke the news with a broadside extra:

The Herald and Torch Light

HAGERSTOWN, APRIL 15, 1865.
ASSASSINATION OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE SECRETARY OF STATE!

Washington, April 15.
President Lincoln was shot last night, and died this morning at 7 30!

The next regular edition of the newspaper included the resolution passed by the County Commissioners, who “ though sorely stricken, we sorrow not as those having no hope, but turn to our present Chief executive Andrew Johnson, whose wisdom and patriotism commend him to our implicit confidence and support”.

The same day there were reports of the funeral plans for the slain president and the local response. “In Hagerstown, the places of business will close from 10 a. m. till 4 p. m., and there will be services in all the loyal churches, as suggested by the Acting Secretary of State.” (http://www.whilbr.org/itemdetail.aspx?idEntry=8344)

On April 26, the Herald and Torch Light reported that “We were glad to notice that for once, the rancorous feeling of party spirit was swallowed up, and that those of our citizens whose party prejudices have been against us, united in paying respect to the illustrious dead.— We have no reason to suppose their grief was not genuine. Services were held in all the churches, which were well attended.”(http://www.whilbr.org/itemdetail.aspx?idEntry=8345 )

There were two stories of discontent. One told of a man, on hearing of the assassination, began tolling a bell in Funkstown. He was shot at by “some base and cowardly rebel” (http://www.whilbr.org/itemdetail.aspx?idEntry=8346.) The other was the arrest and later imprisonment of a local merchant, J.D. Reamer, a “rebel sympathizer” according to the newspaper, who knew of a plan to assassinate the president. He was imprisoned in Washington DC until the furor died down on July 5th. http://www.whilbr.org/itemdetail.aspx?idEntry=8352

These stories were indexed by the Historic Newspaper Indexing Project at the Washington County Free Library. The library has indexed the local Hagerstown newspapers from 1790 to 1865. Their website is http://www.washcolibrary.org/localhistory/newsindex.asp. The Civil War stories from the Hagerstown papers are available online in a feature called 150 years ago this week, on the Western Maryland Regional Library’s history website, http://www.whilbr.org. The collection is available at http://www.whilbr.org/CW150Hagerstown/index.aspx . Click on the April 1865 tab.

For more information contact
Jill Craig
Digitization Librarian
Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740

301-739-3250 ext 553

Historical documents and photographs from the libraries and historical societies of Allegany, Garrett and Washington Counties, Maryland

http://www.whilbr.org and http://digital.whilbr.org
http://www.facebook.com/whilbr


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Jewish Food Festival Expands its Menu and Activities: Community Invited to Celebrate

Hagerstown, MD - Congregation B’nai Abraham is pleased to welcome the entire community to the Jewish Food Festival to be held on Sunday, May 3rd, from 11am-4pm. The Festival, in its 30th year, will be held at Congregation B’nai Abraham, 53 East Baltimore Street in Hagerstown.

This year, the Jewish Food Festival will expand to offer a larger sampling of Jewish tradition and culture. Jewish music will be offered under a big-top tent. The Congregational Youth Group will serve kosher hot dogs and fixings outdoors and will host children’s activities such as face-painting. As in years past, anyone interested is invited to participate in tours of the sanctuary.

Brisket, stuffed cabbage, blintzes, chopped liver, kugel, matzoh ball soup, and other traditional Jewish delicacies will be offered a la carte to eat in or carry out. In addition, there will be a large selection of homemade baked goods for sale.

According to Carole Lafferman, Jewish Food Festival Co-chair, this is a proud opportunity for the Temple. “The Jewish Food Festival is an opportunity for us to showcase and celebrate Jewish culture. Even more importantly, however, we are proud of our 125 years in the Tri-state area - what an opportunity for us to celebrate alongside our fellow religious and tri-state community.”

For more information, please call or email the Congregation B’nai Abraham office: 301-733-5039 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Tennis Clinics for Summer 2015 are now open

Registration is currently being accepted for our Summer Tennis Clinics. The fee for these clinics is $45 per participant per session. Class sizes are limited, so don’t delay. All clinics are held at the War Memorial Park Tennis Courts located by the State Farm Pioneer Pavilion.

Ages 5-7 - 3 sessions available. All sessions are from 4:30- 5:15pm

June 8th - 11th
July 6th - 9th
August 3rd - 6th
Ages 8-10 - 3 sessions available. All sessions are from 5:30-6:15pm

June 8th - 11th
July 6th - 9th
August 3rd - 6th
Middle School Tennis - ages 11-14 and children must be entering grades 6-8 for the 2015/2016 school year. 2 sessions available. Both sessions are from 5:00-5:45pm

June 15th - 18th
July 13th - 16th

For online registration follow this link: https://apm.activecommunities.com/mbcparksandrecdept/Home

To download a form follow this link: http://www.mbcparks-rec.org/register-here/downloadable-forms/

Please note that Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation will give refunds ONLY for programs/leagues we are unable to offer due to lack of enrollment.

Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation
273 Woodbury Ave.
Martinsburg, WV
25404


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Art Works Open Studio Offered Wednesdays in May

The Berkeley Art Works at 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg will offer All Media Open Studio with Jean Kellogg on Wednesdays from 1-4pm during the month of May

Whether you’re working in watercolor, acrylics, pastels, oil, or some combination, artists of all skill levels are invited to come in and enjoy a social and collaborative atmosphere where you can strengthen your skills or try new ideas or techniques with one of our experienced instructors available to provide individualized coaching and guidance.

Jean Kellogg is an award-winning regional fine and commercial artist, art instructor for arts organizations, and for county and state continuing education programs; also an illustrator, writer and artisan. She works in a wide variety of media, such as charcoal, oil & acrylic paints, and mixed media.

While this is not a formal instruction program, it’s a great opportunity to continue to practice what you have learned in other classes, revitalize those rusty skills, get some help with a stubborn composition, or just take the time for yourself to focus on your artwork with fewer distractions and some expert advice!

Tuition is $80 for the four three-hour sessions. For details and online registration, visit http://artworks.berkeleyartswv.org/openstudio/.

The Berkeley Art Works, a project of the Berkeley Arts Council, is the realization of the long-held dream of the arts community in Martinsburg and Berkeley County West Virginia: to have a community-based arts facility that supports local and regional artists, brings quality arts experiences for the members of the public, and provides a wide range of arts learning experiences for local residents, artists, and artisans. The Berkeley Arts Council is on the Web at http://www.berkeleyartswv.org.


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Hike Harpers Ferry!

The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation recently launched “Find Your Park,” a public awareness and education campaign celebrating the milestone centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016 and setting the stage for the next 100 years.

In conjunction with the “Find Your Park” campaign, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has introduced a new program, “Hike Harpers Ferry,” to encourage park visitors to explore the heritage and dramatic landscapes of the park.

Beginning on April 18, 2015, ten park trails are being highlighted. From the leisurely Bolivar Heights Trail with panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the more strenuous Loudoun Heights with views of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, there is something for everyone!

A free poster, ideal for framing, is available in the Park Bookshop on Shenandoah Street. Stop in and begin collecting commemorative decals for all ten park hiking trails.

Help America find a park! Share a photo of your favorite park trail and tag it #FindYourPark.


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Spring Tree-painting Workshop at Berkeley Art Works

The Berkeley Arts Council offers an afternoon workshop, “Capturing the Beauty of Trees,” on Saturday, April 18.  Under the guidance of instructor Judith Becker participants will learn and practice the essentials, using whatever type of art materials they are comfortable with.

“Painting beautiful trees, in any media, requires an understanding of more than the shapes and particular characteristics of different trees,” Becker said. “An artist also needs to capture the colors, shades, textures and open spaces.”

The “Capturing the Beauty of Trees” workshop will be held on Saturday, April 18, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., at Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street in downtown Martinsburg. Tuition is $45; pre-registration is required. Space is still available but limited. For more information and to pre-register, visit http://www.berkeleyartswv.org/artworks/instruction/.


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Berkeley Arts Council New Art Classes for May

The Berkeley Arts Council announces three new art classes for May to be presented at the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street in downtown Martinsburg. May classes will be taught by Judith Becker, a juried artist with dual degrees in design and education.

For novices, Becker will present “Beginning Watercolor Painting” on a series of four Tuesday afternoons, May 5, 12, 19 and 26, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Two additional classes are designed for students working at all skill levels. “Mixed Media with Water Based Paint” is designed to expand one’s ability to express one’s self beyond the ordinary. The series will be held on Fridays, May 8, 15, 22 and 29, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. 

“Unlocking the Mysteries of Shading and Shadows,” a one-day class open to students using any medium, will take place on Saturday, May 9, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

As previously announced, Judith Becker will lead a special spring class, “Capturing the Beauty of Trees,” on Saturday, April 18, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.  Celebrate the season by learning to capture the colors, shades, textures and open spaces of different trees.

Details and registration information is on the web at artworks.berkeleyartswv.org/instruction/.


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Woman’s Club Presentation of Solar System Program

You are invited to attend a one-hour presentation on “Our Solar System”  to be held Thursday, April 16, 1:30 PM at the “pink house” on 856 Washington Street, Harpers Ferry.

The planetary missions and telescopic data from the past decade have revealed great surprises and detailed views into our neighboring worlds in the Solar System as well as planets orbiting other stars.  Dr. Lori Feaga will highlight images of many recent planetary encounters as well as share insight into some of the processes that we now know take place on other planets and their moons. As a contributing science member of several small body missions to comets, the second half of the presentation will focus on our understanding of comets and their importance in the history of the Solar System. Finally, the first landing, made by the Rosetta mission this past fall, will be discussed.

Dr. Lori Feaga is an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Maryland and a NASA Solar System Ambassador with a background in planetary spectroscopy. As a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, she studied the composition of the atmosphere of Io, one of Jupiter’s moons. More recently, she has been involved in numerous cometary investigations and missions. As a Solar System Ambassador and with mission experience from Deep Impact, she took her expertise into the classroom as the Education and Public Outreach Lead on DIXI and enjoys meeting with audiences to share the cutting edge of cometary science.

This program is being sponsored by the Harpers Ferry District Woman’s Club and we welcome everyone to attend.  To assure space for everyone, we are asking that you email us to reserve your seat.  Please email Ms. Laurel Drake at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) no later than April 12.


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Suns to Unveil 35th Anniversary Jersey

HAGERSTOWN, MD – The Hagerstown Suns announced today that the team will unveil its special 35th anniversary jersey on Monday, April 13 at a press conference at the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 3:00pm. This 35th anniversary jersey will be worn during each Saturday home game this season and is sponsored by the Hagerstown Suns Fan Club.

This specialty anniversary jersey is part of a season-long celebration for the 35th anniversary that will include at least one promotional activity and/or giveaway during each home stand of the 2015 season that will have a tie-in to the 35th anniversary celebration.

The jerseys will eventually be auctioned off following the Suns game against Kannapolis on Saturday, August 29. Replicas of the jerseys will be handed out to the first 1,000 fans who enter the Municipal Stadium gates for the Suns July 11 game against Delmarva thanks to Pepsi.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a non-profit private organization whose mission is to develop and market Washington County as a viable and desirable travel destination to meeting planners, leisure travelers, and business customers. Its offices are located at 16 Public Square in downtown Hagerstown.

The Suns begin the home portion of their 2015 season on Thursday, April 16 against the Lakewood BlueClaws. Two days later, on Saturday April 18, will be the first time the Suns will wear their 35th anniversary jerseys. In order to reserve your seats for either game call the Suns box office at 301-791-6266 or go to http://www.hagerstownsuns.com


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April Events at Asbury United Methodist Church

Asbury UMC - Run For God Bible Study & 5K
Asbury United Methodist Church in Charles Town WV is pleased to host the Run For God 5k Challenge!  This challenge is part bible study and part training program. The primary goal is to learn to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ while understanding the parallels of enduring a sport like running and enduring your faith.  This study is for everyone! In fact, this study is designed for those who have never run, and if you have never run in your life, there is no better time to start than now. We meet Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. at Asbury UMC and the class will conclude by running the Asbury UMC ‘Independence Day 5k’ in July.  The book can be purchased at http://www.RunForGod.com.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC - Financial Peace University
Asbury UMC in Charles Town will be hosting a Financial Peace University class, taught on video by Dave Ramsey. You will learn how money really works from budgeting and dumping debt to building wealth and giving. Class will meet on Sundays at 2 p.m.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC - Yarn Ministry
Are you looking for a ministry of prayer and care for others? You might consider a unique way to serve as the “hands” of Christ through crochet or knitting—-and there is opportunity to support this ministry without knowing how to crochet or knit. Prayer is the focus—-and our mission is to create handmade gifts of comfort, hope and peace that demonstrate God’s love. Praying for a stranger helps us to learn to trust the truth that God works through us when we care for friends and strangers alike. Join us from 3-5 PM on Sunday afternoons and learn more about this exciting ministry. Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC – Revival Bible Study
Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV invites our community to join us on Thursday; April 16th at 6 PM as we begin a new Bible Study titled “Revival”.  In this study, we follow Adam Hamilton for a six-week journey as he travels to England, following the life of John Wesley and exploring his defining characteristics of a Wesleyan Christian. Wesley’s story is our story it’s our heritage, it defines our faith, and it challenges us to rediscover our spiritual passion. This six-week Bible study tracing the life of John Wesley throughout England. This study will deepen people’s faith by calling them to a devout and holy life while defining what the Christian life looks like through the eyes of a Wesleyan Christian.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC Taco Take-Out Fundraiser
The Asbury Missions Committee will host a “Taco Take-Out” fundraiser on Sunday; April 19th from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM.  Tacos, and other Southwestern Foods will be available in Williams Hall for purchase for dine-in or carry out.  All monies raised will be used to help send Asbury members on a mission trip in July 2015 to the Navajo Indian Reservation.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC To Hold Pentecost Unity Service
Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV invites our entire community to join us as we celebrate the Church’s birthday on Sunday May 24th with a special Pentecost Unity Service.  This single service at 10 AM will feature special music, readings, a dynamic sermon and much more.  Everyone is then invited to join in for a time of fellowship in the Asbury Center.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC To Hold Church Yard Sale
Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV will hold its annual church wide yard sale on Friday June 12th & Saturday June 13th .  All proceeds from this event will go towards the ministries of the church.  Outside spaces will be available to the public for $15/day or $25/2 days.  Asbury UMC is handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information and to reserve your space.


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Maryland Heights Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection

A pair of Peregrine falcons is attempting to nest on the cliff face of Maryland Heights in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Park and US Fish and Wildlife staff have observed the falcons building what appears to be a nest on the cliff face to the left of the old Mennen’s sign. 

To protect the nesting birds from inadvertent disturbance or harassment, areas in and around the cliff face of Maryland Heights will be closed effective April 10. The areas will be closed to all visitor use, including climbing activities, along the cliff face area. The climbing areas affected by the closure include all the routes in the Gully and Sign Wall sections. These areas will remain closed until approximately five weeks after the chicks take their first flights, or fledge, from their nests. The re-opening of these areas is expected around mid-August. The climbing routes in the areas of the Union Wall, ABC Ramps, Train Tunnel Wall and Confederate Walls will remain open at this time. Information on the closed area will be posted at the Park Information Center, Visitor Center, park website and social media sites.

In 2000, the park attempted a reintroduction program of peregrine falcons to Maryland Heights. While peregrines were introduced back into the area, there were no documented cases of those falcons coming back to the Maryland Heights for nesting. This is one of the first times peregrines have been seen attempting to use the Maryland Heights cliff face for nesting since that program ended.

The park will announce the reopening of the closed areas upon determining that the fledglings from this year have become independent of their parents and human activities will not harm or disrupt their further development. For more information call (304) 535-6029.

Photo: mage showing closed area of Maryland Heights, NPS Image/R. Levins


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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park to kick off National Park Week with “A Day in the Park”

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park invites the public to the “A Day in the Park” event on Saturday April 18, 2015 from 10am to 4pm. This event will occur on the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger Day and will give kids of all ages the opportunity to have fun while learning about how the National Park Service operates. This is an entrance fee free event, and it will kick off National Park Week at Harpers Ferry.

Highlights of activities for would-be Junior Rangers include:

  • Snap a photo at the retro ranger station
  • Smell and touch artifacts in a “Hands-On History” activity
  • Become a NPS Centennial Junior Ranger
  • Dress up as a ranger or wildland firefighter
  • Have your photo taken with Smokey Bear
  • Play National Park Service Jeopardy
  • Paint or color your national parks
  • Learn about volunteer opportunities
  • Play “You’re in Charge” and learn how to manage a national park
  • Get an inside look at a Law Enforcement patrol car
  • Discover the meaning behind the National Park Service’s symbol, the arrowhead
  • Hike with natural resources staff and learn about invasive versus non-invasive plants and citizen science
  • Watch as 3D models of museum artifacts are made and learn how the National Park Service cares for and preserves museum collections
  • Build a national park visitor center with blocks
  • Work at a real Information Desk to help other kids plan their visit

The Harpers Ferry Historical Association, a park partner, will have a sales area in the event tent with children’s items, Junior Ranger apparel and games, and “Hike Harpers Ferry” t-shirts along with free “Hike Harpers Ferry” posters for cancellations. Also, they will be launching their recently updated Towpath Guide to the C&O Canal by Tom Hahn. Free posters of a variety of national parks will be available for visitors. Take this opportunity to support Harpers Ferry National Historical Park by supporting our partner. Stop by to see them and help them reach their goal of 100 new Association members by the National Park Service’s 100th birthday on August 19, 2016.

Beyond the “A Day in the Park” event, Harpers Ferry NHP will also feature special 2pm ranger programs during National Park Week. The schedule is as follows:

Monday, April 20: “Harpers Ferry: A Place in History” – an overview of Harpers Ferry’s amazing history
Tuesday, April 21: “The Plants of Virginius Island” – hike with natural resources staff along Virginius Island and learn about invasive versus non-invasive plants
Wednesday, April 22: “Trail & Town” – hike with the park’s volunteer coordinator along the Appalachian Trail in Harpers Ferry
Thursday, April 23: “Meet a Park Archeologist” – a presentation regarding Harpers Ferry archeology and an opportunity to ask the archeologist questions
Friday, April 24: “Find Your Park” – explore Lower Town with the park’s social media specialist and learn how to Find Your Park and share your park stories and adventures through social media

 


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What’s Next, Berkeley County? to host first community-wide conversation April 21

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – What’s Next, Berkeley County?, a local chapter of the nonpartisan, statewide What’s Next, West Virginia? initiative, will host its first community-wide conversation from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, at James Rumsey Technical Institute, located at 3274 Hedgesville Road in Martinsburg. The discussions will bring together residents from all walks of life and points of view to engage in thoughtful conversations about possibilities for building a more diverse and vibrant economy. All members of the local community are encouraged to attend and participate.

“I am very excited for our future,” said James Hersick, organizer of the What’s Next, Berkeley County? group. “I love the idea of connecting the people in a community to each other and engaging and empowering them in the process of creating new opportunities for Berkeley County.”

Joining forces with community members, local business owners and organizations like the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, the Berkeley County Economic Development Authority and Catholic Charities West Virginia, What’s Next, Berkeley County? is hoping to start an ongoing community dialogue aimed at uncovering new perspectives and grassroots ideas for moving Berkeley County forward. The process will engage the diverse voices of area residents to encourage thinking, talking and taking actions based on the community’s own priorities.

Community conversations will take place in town halls, at businesses and organizations and online in an atmosphere that encourages respectful sharing of differing perspectives. Ensuring future prosperity for Berkeley County is a complex task that will require the involvement of nearly every sector of the community. The dialogues will allow community members to unite in purpose and create solutions to help improve the quality of life for residents and future generations.

Visit http://www.facebook.com/WNWVBC to RSVP to the April 21 community conversation. For more information about hosting or sponsoring an upcoming conversation, email James Hersick at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 877-840-9220.

Visit http://www.whatsnextwv.org to learn more about the statewide What’s Next, West Virginia? initiative.

​​ About What’s Next, Berkeley County?

What’s Next, Berkeley County? is a local chapter of What’s Next, West Virginia?, a nonpartisan, statewide initiative designed to encourage community-based conversations about West Virginia’s future and to help communities plan actions based on their own ideas for building stronger local economies. For more information about What’s Next, Berkeley County?, email James Hersick at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 877-840-9220.

Visit http://www.whatsnextwv.org to learn more about the statewide What’s Next, West Virginia? initiative.


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Refereeing Rights: The Freedman’s Bureau, 1865

Saturday April 11, 2015, from 11am-4pm, visitors are invited to step back to the end of the Civil War in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Discover the numerous clashing opinions and divisive issues of this turbulent era as the Freedmen’s Bureau officers implemented martial law in Harpers Ferry, often acting as a judge or jury for the civilians and soldiers of the town. Visit the Freedmen’s Bureau military office exhibit to see how disputes over the rights of newly freed slaves were resolved. The bureau used military authority to establish schools or churches, open an employment office, legitimize marriages, pay bounties due to black soldiers for serving their country, and assisting to reunite families broken up by enslavement.  Bureau offices were established to referee the rights of newly freed slaves in states with southern sympathies, conflicting loyalties, and racial tensions.

After the Civil War ended, reconstruction of the South began. Freed slaves streamed into Harpers Ferry at the end of the war, seeking both protection from former masters and opportunities for starting a new life. Battered by the Civil War, the town struggled to support the influx in population. The federally established Freedmen’s Bureau sent representatives to Harpers Ferry in order to assist former slaves and ensure their new rights as American citizens and help the community as a whole transition from a society of slavery to one of freedom and equality.

Photo: “The Freedman’s Bureau” drawn by A.R. Waud Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/92514996/)


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Washington D.C. Area National Parks Join Find Your Park Movement

WASHINGTON – National capital region parks join national parks, programs and partners across the country to encourage everyone to find their park and share their stories online at FindYourPark.com. To inspire area residents to find their park and to help engage a new generation of park stewards, area parks will offer fee free days on April 18 and 19. Several area parks will also offer special programs throughout National Park Week, which runs April 18-26, and on National Junior Ranger Day, April 18.

“I encourage everyone to get out and explore area parks during National Park Week and ‘Find Your Park.’ National parks touch many of us in the greater Washington area on a daily basis, so I invite you to explore someplace new. Maybe a ranger-led hike at a historic Civil War fort or battlefield or a bike ride along the C&O Canal Towpath; have a picnic in a neighborhood park, or visit a national historic landmark,” National Capital Regional Director Bob Vogel said. “Get out and Find Your Park!”

“Find Your Park” is the theme for this year’s National Park Week, April 18 – 26. To find special programs and activities near you during this year’s park week visit the national park week event calendar online. 

Launched March 30 by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, Find Your Park is a public awareness and education campaign celebrating the milestone centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016 and setting the stage for its second century of service.

“Find Your Park” invites the public to see that a national park can be more than a place—it can be a feeling, a state of mind, or a sense of American pride. Beyond vast landscapes, the campaign highlights historical, urban and cultural parks, as well as the National Park Service programs that protect, preserve and share nature, culture, and history in communities nationwide.

Visit http://www.NationalParkWeek.org to learn more about how you can join parks, programs, and partners in celebrating National Park Week across the country.


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President Lincoln is Assassinated!: The Harpers Ferry Reaction

Saturday April 18, 2015, from 11am to 4pm, visitors are invited to step back to the end of the Civil War when President Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865. Learn how the Provost Marshal reacted to the search for assassin Booth while moving forward to extend full freedom to four million former slaves freed by war.

Visit the Park’s Dry Goods Store to see mourning goods that symbolically represent the loss of all Americans including their President. Living History staff and volunteers will be on hand to help explain how ordinary people would have mourned Abraham Lincoln. See numerous objects kept or collected because of their association with Lincoln’s death such as stereopticon images, white and black cockades, and small carte de visites, pictures that paid tribute to all Americans who bore the brunt of war.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/4DxgYN


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Jefferson County Photography Club Spring 2015 Exhibit April 2 to April 12

The Jefferson County Photography Club (JCPC) will exhibit a selection of prints by club members in the Charles Town Visitors’ Center Fire Hall Gallery, 108 North George Street in Charles Town, WV. The exhibit will be on display April 2 to April 12, and a reception will be held Friday April 10, from 5p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Visitors’ Center/Gallery is open seven days a week from 10am - 5pm.

Established in 2008, the club’s mission is to provide an opportunity for members of the community to share, learn and develop photographic skills, as well as to explore the creative and documentary potential of photography to preserve the rich history and culture of Jefferson County.  JCPC members work exclusively with still photography:  film, digital, color, and black and white.

The JCPC meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm at the Charles Town Visitors Center Fire Hall Gallery, 108 N. George Street, in Charles Town.  The Club welcomes others interested in photography to attend and become members.  Club activities include photo contests, presentations, topic discussions, image critiques, field trips, gallery showings, specialized photography classes, and the continuous exchange of information and ideas.  Plans for the future include community photo shoots, historical shoots and youth education programs. 

For more information on the Jefferson County Photography Club, please contact Melanie Brownsmith at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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U.S. Cellular Suggest Apps for Last Minute Tax Prep

All of us pay taxes, and today it doesn’t have to be taxing to do so. Current mobile devices can be loaded with apps that help taxpayers stay organized and knowledgeable, making filing taxes much easier. These same devices can access online tools that assist taxpayers in any tax bracket.

The facts show early-filers and procrastinators alike are both catching on to newer ways to handle their money. According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, 47 percent of smartphone users have used their phone to manage their budget or finances.  Thirty-one percent use finance tracking apps, like Mint or Check, to monitor credit scores and manage investments.

Sixty-two percent of users also used their smartphones to keep track of account transactions, pay bills or deposit checks. Similarly, the Internal Revenue Service reports that more than 27 million people e-filed their 2014 taxes. When the right tools are accessible and reliable, smartphone savvy citizens are taking control of their money and time by using mobile apps. This year taxpayers won’t just be e-filing—they’ll go mobile, filing from the latest iPad Air 2 or iPhone 6.

“Tax Day is always looming,” says Jack Brundige, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in the Mid-South. “With the right mobile device and apps, people can be organized throughout the year, so they can file efficiently and accurately.”

Tax laws change yearly, but with financial planning, budgeting and tax preparation apps and mobile sites, taxpayers can skip the IRS Taxpayer Center and local post office, and access up-to-date tax information on their mobile device.

To stay on top of your deductions, estimate your payments and monitor your filings, U.S. Cellular recommends the following tools for your mobile devices:

MyTaxRefund by TurboTax: (Free for iOS, Android) Quickly check e-file status of federal and state returns so you can count the days until your refund shows up. Requires that you file electronically. 

TurboTax Tax Preparation: (iOS, Android) Equally powerful on a smartphone or tablet, TurboTax helps users file anywhere, anytime for free. Just take a picture of your W-2, answer some simple questions about your life, and e-file securely whether you’re at home or at the local coffee shop. In-app purchases provide audit defense and additional support for those who are self-employed.

Slice: (Free for iOS, Android, Web) Are you an online shopper? This receipt and package-tracking app scans your Gmail or Yahoo account for emailed receipts. Track and sort your purchases and stay on top of your tax deductions throughout the year. Being organized will help you when it’s time to file.

H & R Block for iPad: (Free) Prepare, print and e-file your federal return for free with this app specifically designed for the Apple tablet. In addition, H & R Block double checks your return for accuracy, and provides free audit support should the IRS not see things your way.

TaxACT Ultimate Bundle: ($17.95) This tax-preparation Web site gathers your tax information through a step-by-step interview process. It has an effective user interface, and includes all IRS federal forms and schedules that can be e-filed. Its site-based help system is context sensitive and offers multiple types of assistance.

IRS FreeFile: (Free) Do your federal taxes online for free with Web-based help from the federal government. Visit IRS.gov/freefile to find the best IRS partner company products to help you file. Combine e-file with direct deposit to get your refund faster.

“With the strength of U.S. Cellular’s 4G LTE network smartphone and tablet users can access timely information, file taxes safely and quickly without compromising accuracy, all from your mobile device,” adds Brundige.


¹ Results are from a nationally representative online survey of 738 smartphone owners conducted by U.S. Cellular in partnership with Maritz Research from November 12-20, 2014.

4G LTE service provided through King Street Wireless, a partner of U.S. Cellular. LTE is a trademark of ETSI.

About U.S. Cellular
U.S. Cellular is the fifth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier has a strong line-up of cutting-edge devices that are all backed by a high-quality network in big and small cities and rural communities. Currently, 94 percent of customers have access to 4G LTE speeds. U.S. Cellular was named a J.D. Power and Associates Customer Champion in 2014 for the third time in four years. To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or uscellular.com. To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with U.S. Cellular on Facebook.com/uscellular, Twitter.com/uscellular and YouTube.com/uscellularcorp.


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Economic Development Problems Addressed at Morgan Commission

The saga of some community opposition to a proposed Dollar General store at Oakland Road and U.S. 522 in southern Morgan County has trickled into activities of the county’s Economic Development Authority.  Some members of the county’s EDA have outwardly opposed the proposed store, which has Morgan County Commission members concerned.  Commissioner Bob Ford said he’d been asked by citizens why members of the EDA would oppose commercial development that could bring jobs.

“…when members of the EDA begin joining with protestors, I have a problem with that. I don’t understand what those members of this committee think it is all about.” - Commissioner Bob Ford

Members of the EDA include Commissioner Brad Close, Jerry Berman, Jeanne Mozier, Town of Bath Mayor Susan Webster, John Allen Swaim, Mark Harrell, Connie Perry, Beth Peters Curtin, George McVey, Betsy Heath.

Berman is a Great Cacapon resident in the western portion of the county. He opposes the proposed store site and co-wrote a song against the store to the tune of “Country Roads.” 

“People have been making negative comments about the Dollar General company,” said Ford at an EDA meeting on March 19. “They talk about it on social media and in the local weekly newspaper. I understand the public is entitled to an opinion and I don’t want to silence that. On the other hand, when members of the EDA begin joining with protestors, I have a problem with that. I don’t understand what those members of this committee think it is all about.”

He said over the last two years, the county had invested tens of thousands of dollars in a business coach and partially contributed to a salary for a full-time EDA director whose salary totaled over $50,000. There is currently no EDA director. The job is vacant.  Bill Clark left the job in late 2013 for another position.  Terry Burhans relocated here and was hired last August, but resigned in December.

“I have heard members of this committee making negative comments in regards to other industries in our county,” continued Ford. “This is unacceptable. I’ve personally talked to some site selectors for commercial development in the county. They have asked me what’s going on with the Dollar General store.”

He said members of the EDA who enter into public protests to economic development should resign. The county commission appoints members to the EDA and does have the power to remove them if necessary. No such action has been taken yet.

Jeanne Mozier asked Ford who else he’d like to resign, and he responded, “If the shoe fits, wear it.”

Ford added he will not vote to approve any more funding to the EDA’s budget until the members who participated in the protest resign.

Ford said, “Citizens in the county are frustrated and tired of the statements a handful of people are making that think they know what’s best for the county. It’s my belief that the EDA’s charge is to bring value to our county enhancing our tax base and creating jobs for the county, not to act as a zoning board and pick and choose what companies they want to locate in our county or where they want them to locate.

As long as they meet permitting requirements, the EDA should support them. We’re not going to have back-door zoning. The citizens spoke very clearly about zoning.”

Commission president Brad Close said the county needs to get serious about economic development, and the board needs to get serious about it. He knew some had served a very long time and acknowledged members of the EDA have created jobs in the community.

Berman negotiated a franchise agreement with Comcast, completed a study on the availability of cell service and broadband internet in the county, and helped draft EDA grants. He was named EDA Volunteer of the Year in 2010.

Webster said everyone in the community can’t work in tourism. “The board needs to be totally honest about the county’s economics,” she said.  “There is a disconnect between people who make the decisions and those we serve. We need to be more diverse, creating as many well-paying jobs as we can. There is sixty percent poverty in the schools. That store could have five to ten employees, so it would be good for the economy.”

“The development of Morgan County is something we can’t take lightly,” said Close.  “I don’t suggest it hasn’t been in the past; we might have different pictures of what we want the county to look like.  But we need to focus on economic development and make it a priority.”

The county’s tax base from commercial assessments was down about $17 million in 2014 compared to 2013.


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Yoga Teacher Training Information Session Scheduled

Winchester, VA – Jala Yoga hosts an information session about its upcoming Summer Intensive Teacher Training on Saturday, April 11, from 2:00-3:00 pm. The information session takes place at Jala’s Winchester studio, Creekside Station, 3119 Valley Avenue, Unit 110. Christa Mastrangelo Joyce, lead teacher of the course, will explain the format of the 200-hour, Yoga Alliance-registered training. Light refreshments will be served.

The intensive training will take place in Winchester daily from July 13-August 5, 2015.

No registration is required for the free information session.  Call 401-440-0279 or email jalayoga.christa@gmail for more information.


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Jewish Food Festival Expands its Menu and Activities:  Community Invited to Celebrate

Hagerstown, MD - Congregation B’nai Abraham is pleased to welcome the entire community to the Jewish Food Festival to be held on Sunday, May 3rd, from 11am-4pm. The Festival, in its 30th year, will be held at Congregation B’nai Abraham, 53 East Baltimore Street in Hagerstown.

This year, the Jewish Food Festival will expand to offer a larger sampling of Jewish tradition and culture. Jewish music will be offered under a big-top tent. The Congregational Youth Group will serve kosher hot dogs and fixings outdoors and will host children’s activities such as face-painting. As in years past, anyone interested is invited to participate in tours of the sanctuary.

Brisket, stuffed cabbage, blintzes, chopped liver, kugel, matzoh ball soup, and other traditional Jewish delicacies will be offered a la carte to eat in or carry out. In addition, there will be a large selection of homemade baked goods for sale.

According to Carole Lafferman, Jewish Food Festival Co-chair, this is a proud opportunity for the Temple. “The Jewish Food Festival is an opportunity for us to showcase and celebrate Jewish culture. Even more importantly, however, we are proud of our 125 years in the Tri-state area - what an opportunity for us to celebrate alongside our fellow religious and tri-state community.”

For more information, please call or email the Congregation B’nai Abraham office: 301-733-5039 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Sierra Pacific Mortgage Announces Newest Member: Colin Hitt

MARTINSBURG, WV – Sierra Pacific Mortgage is pleased to announce the addition of Colin Hitt as the newest member of their lending team. Hitt is a Berkeley County native and 2006 graduate of Shepherd University where he completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.

In his professional career, Hitt has been instrumental in the hospitality and lodging industries in the Eastern Panhandle. In his new role with Sierra Pacific Mortgage, he will focus on originating home purchase and refinance mortgages from a diverse inventory of loan products including USDA, FHA, VA, conventional and many more.

“When we first met Colin, we knew immediately that he possessed the passion and compassion to represent Sierra Pacific Mortgage with the utmost professionalism to our home purchasing clientele,” remarked Branch Manager Tom Burke.

Colin, and his wife Amy, reside in Inwood, West Virginia.

For more information about Sierra Pacific Mortgage, visit http://www.SPMWV.com or call (304) 263-1000.

About Sierra Pacific Mortgage:
Sierra Pacific Mortgage is mortgage lender headquartered in Folsom, California with retail branches located throughout the US.  Operating in a number of lending capacities including retail, wholesale and correspondent, SPM is credited with funding more than $4.5 billion for those who purchased or refinanced their home in 2014.  Located at 55 Meridian Parkway, Martinsburg, West Virginia, the Sierra Pacific Mortgage Martinsburg branch is routinely listed as a top 10 producing branch in both units and dollars funded.


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The End of John Brown’s Civil War: Appomattox Court House April 9, 2015

At 3:15pm on April 9, 2015, we invite visitors to join Harpers Ferry National Historical Park rangers and St. Peter’s Catholic Church at Harpers Ferry to mark the symbolic end of the Civil War.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park will commemorate the Appomattox surrender moment by participating in a nationwide “ringing of bells across the land.”

Visit the historic John Brown Fort to take your turn ringing a bell at the very place where former slave and orator Frederick Douglass said the American Civil War began. “John Brown began the war that ended American slavery and made this a free Republic, Douglass said in 1880. “The South…drew the sword of rebellion and thus made her own, and not Brown’s, the lost cause of the century.” 

On April 9, 1865 - 150 years ago - Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, ending the bloodiest war in American History. With the Union victory came the preservation of the United States and the freedom of 4 million African-Americans.

Located on the border between North and South, Harpers Ferry changed hands eight times during the war, and the historic town was virtually destroyed. Five battles occurred at Harpers Ferry between 1861-1864, and the town’s antebellum population dwindled from 3,000 to 100 residents.

This bell ringing commemoration not only will mark the end of the Civil War in which more than 750,000 Americans perished, but communities are invited to ring their own bells in celebration of freedom and a restored Union. Others may use the occasion as an expression of mourning and a moment of silence for the fallen. Sites may ring bells to mark the beginning of reconciliation and reconstruction, or as the next step in the continuing struggle for civil rights.

Photo: Photo from John Brown Hanging Ceremony, Dec. 2009


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The Shepherdstown Handmade Market launches its 3rd year this weekend!

Local and regional artists, artisans and crafters will come together April 4th and 5th for the first installment of the monthly 1st Weekend Handmade Market series which runs April through November at the War Memorial Building, 102 E. German St., Shepherdstown WV. The Market is open this Saturday from 10am-7pm and Sunday from 9am-4pm. There is always free admission.

This year, makers at the Handmade Market will offer creative home décor, skillful fine art, functional pottery, beautiful sewn items, stained glass art, statement jewelry, awesome accessories, and so much more. In addition to the returning favorites, new sellers will be joining us this season to offer their unique handmade goodness, so there will be something new to see each month. The Market series is also planning several special markets this year, such as the Solstice Market, and the All Jewelry, Only Jewelry Market. Check out our Facebook page for schedules, featured sellers, and other up-to-date information: http://facebook.com/SCCHandmadeMarket

This weekend, you can shop the creative works of: Toni Kay Dye (hand-painted feathers and wildlife art), Michael Dye (hand-carved wizard wands, fantasy figurines), Legend Mountain (soft sculpture, appliqué and folk art), Happy Cat Stained Glass (brilliant stained glass panels and art), Creations by Tigerlily (crochet items, aprons, catnip cat toys, bookmarks).

The Handmade Market is sponsored by the Shepherdstown Community Club (SCC). Monies collected from sellers’ space fees go towards the maintenance and operation of the historic War Memorial Building, an important civic and community hub in downtown Shepherdstown, and the 21-acre public access Morgan Grove park. From 2013-2014, the Handmade Market series raised over $20,000 for the Shepherdstown Community Club!

While you are in vibrant downtown Shepherdstown, stock up on locally-grown farm-fresh foods, cheeses, baked goods, garden plants, and natural products at the Shepherdstown Farmers Market, open Sundays from 9am-1pm behind the Handmade Market. Browse the quaint local shops and boutiques, have a delicious lunch at one of Shepherdstown’s finest eateries, stop by the Visitor Center and grab a map to take the walking tour through our lovely historic town. Go to www.shepherdstown.us to find a guide to public parking in Shepherdstown.

Save the Dates! 2015 Handmade Market Dates and Hours: April 4-5, May 2-3, June 6-7, July 4-5, August 8-9, September 5-6, October 3-4, November 7-8. Open Saturdays from 10am-7pm and Sundays from 9am-4pm.


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Berkeley Art Works: Call for Artists and Artisans

Calling artists and artisans who wish to join the “Artists at The Works” co-op group at the Berkeley Art Works.

Work will be juried by a committee of artists and selected based on the work’s suitability for inclusion in the Art Works co-op gallery. We will consider 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional work. Artists whose work is accepted by the jury committee may be placed on a waiting list until a space opens in the gallery.

Current call deadline for submission is April 12, 2015. For details and application hist http://artworks.berkeleyartswv.org/artists.php

The Berkeley Art Works, a project of the Berkeley Arts Council, is the realization of the long-held dream of the arts community in Martinsburg and Berkeley County West Virginia: to have a community-based arts facility that supports local and regional artists, brings quality arts experiences for the members of the public, and provides a wide range of arts learning experiences for local residents, artists, and artisans. The Berkeley Arts Council is on the Web at http://www.berkeleyartswv.org.


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Crystal Grottoes, in their 93rd Year Of Caving, Announces Recently Excavated Tunnel and Lighting

The Crystal Grottoes are constantly evolving and growing. On April 5, 2014 a new exciting passageway was opened and made available to tour. The new addition was named, “The Tri State Passageway” after the Tri State Grotto group that helped with excavation, and it is nearly 100ft long and packed with beautiful glittering formations. The Crystal Grottoes also completed a project on November 15th, 2014, that brought about a conversion to powerful LED lighting. “This project cost just upwards of $17,000.00 dollars and has drastically enhanced the experience that guests will receive throughout their tour. With great emphasis on careful placement of these new lights, we guarantee our visitors will see the caverns like no one ever has before,” said owner Jerry Downs.

About Crystal Grottoes: It was 4:30 in the afternoon of September 18th, 1920 when the caverns were first discovered, since that day it has been nearly one hundred years that people have been coming from all over the world to see the phenomenon that is The Crystal Grottoes. The morning of April 2nd, 1922 The Crystal Grottoes Caverns first opened for tours, at a cost of seven cents per tour. Now, 93 years after the grand opening, the caverns are available to tour seven days a week from 10:00am to 5:00pm every day. The cost of a tour is $20.00 for adults, and $10.00 for children under 12 years of age.

The Crystal Grottoes is a member of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau, a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing and expanding the local visitor industry. For more information about Hagerstown-Washington County see: http://www.visithagerstown.com


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The Friends of Tolson’s Chapel to Host Second Annual Gala Fundraising Dinner

Sharpsburg, Md. – The Friends of Tolson’s Chapel will host their second Annual Gala Fundraising Dinner on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church – Lappans, near Boonsboro.  The proceeds will help with ongoing operations and to maintain the chapel and cemetery grounds at Tolson’s Chapel in Sharpsburg, MD.  PLEASE NOTE: the due date to RSVP has been extended to March 27, 2015.

This year’s event will feature lively and melodious jazz by the Anita Thomas Trio.  Other entertainment will include a tale by Master Storyteller, Renee Emanuel, who is also serving as the event’s Master of Ceremonies.  A Silent Auction will also be taking place, along with raffles, throughout the evening.  The event begins at 6:00 p.m. with a reception, and dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m.

Tours of the restored slave gallery at St. Mark’s-Lappans will be available prior to the event from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for attendees of the gala dinner.

The event is open to the public, with purchase of tickets by March 27, 2015.  Ticket price is $65 per person, and special pricing for a limited number of full tables of eight. Cost of ticket is payable by cash, check or credit card.  Tickets for the event can be purchased via PayPal on their website:  http://www.tolsonschapel.org.  Or contact Edie Wallace via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 240-452-7389.

“The Friends of Tolson’s Chapel is a 501(c)(3) organization that was created to restore and interpret the important history of Tolson’s Chapel.  The Chapel stands on the ground of the Antietam Battlefield, which led to the Emancipation Proclamation, and signifies the beginnings of a free life and a free community – a church and school – for African Americans,” said the President of the Friends of Tolson’s Chapel.  Tours are available by appointment.  Their website is http://www.tolsonschapel.org .

Tolson’s Chapel is a member of the CVB, a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing and expanding the local visitor industry. For more information about Hagerstown-Washington County see: http://www.visithagerstown.com


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Six Residents File Petition Against Morgan Planning Commission Over Proposed Dollar General

BERKELEY SPRINGS, WV - Late last week, attorney Larry Schultz of Burke, Schultz, Harman and Jenkinson, filed papers with the Morgan County Circuit Court for some residents of southern Morgan County who oppose the possible building of a Dollar General Store at U.S. 522 and Oakland Road. Petitioners are Robert Donadieu, Rita Donadieu, George Nelson Sparks, Patience T. Sparks, Donna Fallin, and Martha Ann MacNamara v. Morgan County Planning Commission. The Petition requests the court grant a Writ of Mandamus ordering the planning commission to follow “applicable rules of the Subdivision Ordinance;” and the Writ of Certiorari asks the court hear the case.

The petitioners ask for a review on the commission’s decision on Feb. 17 to grant a re-platting of lots at Oakland Overlook.  Cross Development, LLC, which has a purchase contract on the land with contingencies, had requested a change in classification of some lots in the residential subdivision from residential to mixed use. This mixed use of commercial and residential is termed a “planned use development” or PUD. 

This change of four lots would allow for commercial development of 2.5 acres and the remaining 8 lots would were approved for single family housing. The change was approved by the planning commission.

The planning commission also voted on five waivers requested by the developer for time extensions, which passed 8-1 with one abstention each time. Those waivers were regarding a Morgan County Health Department well permit; a revised West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection/West Virginia Department of Health sewage permit; West Virginia Department of Highways entrance permit; A West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection storm water and sediment erosion control permit; and an Eastern Panhandle Conservation District sediment and erosion control review.

The residents listed in the court filing have been vocally against the site of the proposed store. The Donadieus’ property, according to the petition, is 1,000 feet or less from the location. The Sparks’ property is less than a quarter-mile away. Fallin’s land is contiguous; and MacNamara, a non-resident, has 2.6 acres across Oakland Road from the proposed site. The petitioners listed injury, prejudice, inconvenience of lights, noise, and traffic congestion, and diminution of real estate value as their reasons.

The petition said they believe the planning commission failed to establish proper records of information prior to approving the re-plat of the lots with the waivers. Schultz said the board failed to follow its own subdivision ordinance rules. He cited WV Code 8A-5-7(a). The petition said the Code states a plan submitted by developers seeking action by the commission “must include everything required by the governing body’s subdivision and land development ordinance” (8A-5-7(a)). The petition says Sections 4.4 and 4.5 of the Morgan County Subdivision Ordinance requires permits such as septic system permits, proposed plan for control of erosion and sediment, etc. before a preliminary plat public hearing. It says the planning commission advertised and held the public hearing and approved the requests without all “mandatory” documents.

Planning Commission President Jack Soronen and County Planner Alma Gorse could not comment this week on the court case. But Soronen said Feb. 17 that these permits would later be required during final plat submittal for review and vote.  He had said the waivers were merely time extensions, and these are administrative procedures. His board does not make final judgments on permits for highway entrances, wells, and septics. They rely on the DOH and entities such as the health department for their expertise. His had said his commission basically dots the “I’s” and crosses the “T’s.”

Soronen said there would be a public hearing in the future before a final vote to approve the commercial development. The pettioners listed a lack of public records or minutes available from Feb. 17 as part of their complaint. The next planning commission meeting was scheduled for March 24, when the Feb. 17 minutes would be approved and available for public review. The Petition was filed March 19.

OTHER RESIDENTS SUPPORT THE PROPOSED STORE

While some county residents have opposed the store’s possible location, other have vocally supported its construction.  On Feb. 17, Peggy Oakes said she helps out many elderly residents, and driving several miles to Dollar General, Family Dollar, or Food Lion nearer Berkeley Springs is difficult.  She and a couple others said they need a store of this type that isn’t 24 miles away from them roundtrip.

Ginger Johnson presented a petition to the planning commission of 127 signatures in favor of the store.

Oakland Overlook was originally planned by Cacapon Associates as half-acre residential lots for working class families to be able to afford to build.  However, many lots have remained unsold due, officials of Cacapon Associates said, to the building boom when builders could build higher-priced homes elsewhere to market to retirees, and the economic downturn that flooded the market with affordable existing homes. A broker for the buyer approached the firm about buying a portion of the land that borders Oakland Road and U.S. 522 for a possible Dollar General store.

Josh Allen of Cross Development, said market research done supports another dollar store in Morgan County. Representing Cacapon Associates, Justin Cowles said that other parts of U.S. 522 are already a mix of residential and commercial development along Cacapon South development, near the proposed site.


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Grammy Winner and World Renowned Classical Guitarist to Appear with The Maryland Symphony Orchestra

Hagerstown, MD.  Classical guitarist Sharon Isbin will take center stage as soloist with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of Affinity: Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, written especially for her by noted jazz and rock musician, Chris Brubeck. The final Masterworks concerts of the MSO’s 33rd Season will take place on Saturday, April 11 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 12 at 3 p.m. at the historic Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown.

Acclaimed for her extraordinary lyricism, technique, and versatility, multiple GRAMMY Award winner Isbin has been hailed as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time.”  Her GRAMMY win in 2001 for “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance” made her the first classical guitarist to receive a GRAMMY in 28 years.  She is also the winner of Guitar Player magazine’s “Best Classical Guitarist” award.  She has appeared as soloist with over 170 orchestras and has given sold-out performances in the world’s finest concert halls.  Isbin’s catalog of over 25 recordings-from Baroque, Spanish/Latin, and 20th Century to crossover and jazz infusions-reflects remarkable versatility. Her latest recording, Sharon Isbin & Friends, became a #1 bestseller on Amazon.com, and includes guest rock/jazz guitarists Steve Vai, Steve Morse, Nancy Wilson (Heart), Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo.  Her world premiere recording of concerti written for her by Christopher Rouse and Tan Dun earned her a 2002 GRAMMY.

She is a frequent guest on national radio programs including All Thing Considered and Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.  She has been profiled on television throughout the world and was the only classical guitarist to perform in the 2010 GRAMMY Awards, the year she won a GRAMMY for her CD, Journey to the New World (with guests Joan Baez and Mark O’Connor). Ranked as a #1 bestselling classical CD on Amazon.com and iTunes, it spent 63 consecutive weeks on the top Billboard charts.  Isbin has also been profiled in periodicals from People to Elle, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, as well as on the cover of over 45 magazines.  A one-hour documentary presented by American Public Television and titled Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, has been shown on nearly 200 public television stations throughout the United States over the past few months.  She has also performed, in concert, at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. Isbin received a B.A. cum laude from Yale University and a Master of Music from the Yale School of Music.  She is the author of the Classical Guitar Answer Book, and is Director of guitar departments at the Aspen Music Festival and The Juilliard School (which she created in 1989 becoming the first and only guitar instructor in the institution’s 100-year anniversary).  To learn more, go to http://www.sharonisbin.com.

Brubeck first hit the music scene as an innovative rock and jazz musician, eventually recording and performing with his Dad, the legendary Dave Brubeck.  He plays bass, trombone, piano, guitar, sings, and has earned international attention as composer, performer, and leader of his groups, The Brubeck Brothers Quartet and Triple Play.  Onstage, Chris’ irrepressible enthusiasm is matched by his command of jazz, blues, funk, pop, and classical musical styles.  An award-winning composer, Chris’ natural talents have made him the go-to composer for genre-bending modern classical music all over the planet.  For more information on Brubeck, go to http://www.chrisbrubeck.com.

“Affinity” possesses an international stylistic flair with sounds that reflect the rhythms and harmonies of South America, the Middle East, Iberian Peninsula, and America,” says Brubeck.  This is a “tour de force” for a truly exceptional guitarist.”

All ticket holders are welcome to attend “Prelude” which takes place one hour before each concert.  Music Director Elizabeth Schulze and the guest artists share information on featured composers and their works that will enhance concert-goers enjoyment and appreciation of the concert.

Tickets, ranging from $15 to $50, may be purchased ONLINE at tickets.marylandsymphony.org; in person at 30 W. Washington Street (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.); or by calling 301-797-4000 during regular business hours.  All students through grade 12 are admitted free to all Masterworks concerts.  Student rush tickets are available for higher education students for $5.00.  Seat selection will be at the discretion of the box office personnel.  The Maryland Theatre Box Office opens 90 minutes before concert time.

The Artist Sponsor is The Betsy Russell Fund for New Music and additional sponsorship is provided by Barbara & Tom Henderson.

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive.  The Maryland Symphony Orchestra is the area’s premier professional orchestra, dedicated to providing musical performances that educate and entertain, while enhancing the cultural environment of Western Maryland and the surrounding region.


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Local Dancers Win WVU Summer Dance Camp Scholarships

Two local dancers were awarded scholarships to the WVU Summer Dance Camp at the conclusion of the Second Dance Works Festival sponsored by the Berkeley Arts Council. The winners were Rebecca Avey, of the Rhythm and Motion Studio, and Madison Gray, from Inwood Dance Company. The scholarships were awarded by Yoav Kaddar, Associate Professor,  and General Hambrick, Assistant Professor, with the WVU School for the Creative Arts.

19 Dancers submitted an essay on the topic of “What Winning a Scholarship to the WVU Summer Dance Camp Would Mean to Me”. The Two dancers impressed the instructors through out the program’s dance classes and were selected for the scholarships for their hard work, focus and talent displayed during the Festival’s dance education program. The scholarships cover a week of intensive dance instruction at the WVU Morgantown Campus, including free room and board while attending the dance camp.

The Dance Works Festival is produced by the Berkeley Arts Council in association with the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation Department.

Photo: Yoav Kaddar and General Hambrick from the WVU School of Creative Arts with the two winners of the essay contest, Rebecca Avey and Madison Gray. The winners each received a scholarship to the Summer Dance Camp at the West Virginia University School of the Creative Arts.


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American Conservation Film Festival Welcomes Spring with Movie & Dinner Party

The American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF) will celebrate spring with a movie and dinner party on April 11 featuring the film Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields, its filmmaker, and special guests involved with farming and veterans’ issues.
Dulanie Ellis, the filmmaker of Ground Operations, and Edgar Hercila, a farmer-veteran, will be coming from Los Angeles to join the party and participate in a discussion following the movie and before dinner.

“The veterans I’ve met have as a result of producing and distributing Ground Operations give me hope in these very troubled times. I am thrilled to share this story about solutions with the American Conservation Film Festival as we all strive for positive responses to our environmental challenges,” says Ellis.

Festivities begin at 4:30pm at the Opera House with the screening of this award-winning 40- minute documentary that champions combat vets who are rebuilding their lives as organic farmers and ranchers and revitalizing their communities with access to local, affordable, fresh, healthy food. The film was screened at ACFF’s 2014 Festival and has been a valuable tool in making people aware of this effort and providing resources to veterans looking for meaningful employment.

“For me, the movement and this film are about continuing my service and about veterans growing food… the way that we consume food in this country must change, and I think that veterans possess a unique set of skills that are perfect to meet this challenge,” says Hercila.

Following the movie, the party will move to the Shepherdstown Community Club for a cocktail hour and discussion with the special guests including local farmer-author Forrest Pritchard, Barbara Hartman, Chief of Nutrition and Food Service at the VA Medical Center in Martinsburg, and two active West Virginia farmer-veterans. A delicious, locally-sourced buffet dinner will be served. The party is a fundraiser for ACFF, who is going into its 13th year of bringing outstanding conservation films, filmmakers, and educational programs to Shepherdstown and beyond. A few very special items will be live auctioned to add to the fun and coffers.

Space is limited and tickets are $50 per person, $200 for two at the Sponsor level, and $600 for a reserved table of 8. To purchase tickets, visit http://conservationfilm.org/special- events/spring-2015-fundraiser-ground-operations/. Follow Ground Operations
Movie & Dinner Party on Facebook for frequent updates on the festivities!

Questions? E-mail Jennifer Lee at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 540-539-6150.


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Morgan’s Grove Market Meeting to Be Held For Interested Vendors

Shepherdstown, W.Va.- Morgan’s Grove Market, an agricultural campus and healthy living collaborative in Shepherdstown, is now seeking vendors for the 2015 market season.

Interested individuals or businesses should attend Morgan’s Grove Market vendor meeting, to be held at The Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, W.Va. on Wednesday, April 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Vendors needed include food merchants such as, but not limited to, growers, farmers, bakers, artisan and craft vendors, and service vendors. Booths are $20 per week with no commitment.

The meeting will provide an opportunity for vendors to ask questions, fill out necessary paperwork, and to learn more about the Market Manager Program, which allows vendors to sell their items without being present. An overview of the new Community Kitchen will also be provided.

“This year is going to be a very special year because we will extend the market to six days a week through our new Community Kitchen and grocery store,” said Peter Corum, one of the market’s managing members.

The grand opening of Morgan’s Grove Market will be held Saturday, May 2, 2015. Morgan’s Grove Market is celebrating its five-year anniversary. The market will be held each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is located at 3988 Kearneysville Pike, Shepherdstown.

To learn more about Morgan’s Grove Market, call 304-283-2467, or visit http://www.MorgansGroveMarket.com.

About Morgan’s Grove Market:

Morgan’s Grove Market is a health-conscious, sustainable market based in Shepherdstown, W. Va.  Founded in 2011, Morgan’s Grove Market has dedicated itself to providing citizens an opportunity to create an environmentally and economically sustainable community through an agricultural- based healthy lifestyle.

Photo: Vendors selling gluten-free goods at the 2014 Morgan’s Grove Market


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Dedication Of Two Historical Markers Set For Saturday, March 21, 2015 At Tolson’s Chapel

Sharpsburg, MD – A special new gravestone and wayside exhibit will be dedicated at the historic Tolson’s Chapel, at 1:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

The dedication ceremony will be held to honor the new gravestone for Virginia Cook.  The grave stone was funded by a Virginia Cook Memorial Fund set up by the Sharpsburg Town Council and Mayor.  Ms. Cook was a well-known Sharpsburg resident who was a member of the last congregation of the historic black church. Her death marks the last of these congregants when she passed away in 1996, just short of her 87th birthday. The town of Sharpsburg raised the funds in 2014 for the gravestone, through donations to the nonprofit Friends of Tolson’s Chapel. It was installed in late November of 2014; prior to this installation, there was no demarcation of her gravesite.

There will also be dedication of a new Wayside Exhibit. The exhibit highlights the historical significance of the Tolson Chapel and its importance as a black school and church in Sharpsburg.  The wayside marker was funded by a grant from the Washington County Community Foundation (Mary K. Bowman Fund) and by a grant from Preservation Maryland.

Edie Wallace, president of the Friends of Tolson’s Chapel said ”The Chapel stands on the grounds of the battle that led to the Emancipation Proclamation, and signifies the beginnings of a free life and a free community – a church and school – for African Americans.”

The dedication ceremony will begin at 1:00 pm.

Tolson’s Chapel is a member of the CVB, a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing and expanding the local visitor industry. For more information about Hagerstown-Washington County see: http://www.visithagerstown.com


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Hagerstown-Washington County CVB Releases 2015 Official Visitors Guide

Hagerstown, MD—The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is proud to announce the arrival of its 2015 Visitor Guide. The first printing is being made available to visitors, CVB members, AAA offices, Visitor Welcome Centers, travel bureaus, tour organizations and convention groups, malls, and other tourism offices. More than 150,000 visitors guides are being distributed.

New Design Features Milestone Celebrations of Area Events and Attractions. Cover features an embossed montage of photos from Washington County.


“The annual Hagerstown-Washington County Visitor Guide is the most sought-after resource about our area,” said Convention and Visitors Bureau director of operations Jolene Thomas. “Visitors appreciate and utilize the CVB’s annual guide to Washington County.”

The small and portable size includes colorful photography. This year’s guide was designed and produced by Worx Graphic Design, Inc of Hagerstown, MD. The Herald Mail handled the printing and Phoenix Color produced the embossed cover.

The cover, depicts an embossed photo montage of area attractions and local events.  It also highlights that “Adventure Awaits” as celebrations of several local milestones occur this year.  Featured in the centerfold of the guide is a photo collection of these milestones; The Maryland Theatre celebrating their 100th year, the 20th Anniversary of both the Western Maryland Blues Fest and Augustoberfest events, and the 35th Anniversary of the Hagerstown Suns.

“This year’s Visitors Guide has a brand new design, coloration, and additional visitor-friendly sections.  There are articles highlighting our Civil War heritage, outdoor recreation, wineries and the local tie-in that Washington County has with John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln’s assassin – which is also part of a state-wide anniversary of 150 years,” said Dan Spedden, President of the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The 84-page guide includes maps of Hagerstown and Washington County, restaurant and shopping listings, details about annual special events, a service guide, and an updated accommodations section that highlights amenities available at hotels, motels, campgrounds, and bed and breakfasts.

The 2015 Visitor Guide is available at the downtown Hagerstown Visitor Welcome Center. Residents and visitors are welcome to stop in and pick up a copy. The Visitor Guide may also be requested online at http://www.marylandmemories.org/visitors-guide.php.

The guide will also be available as a photo flip-book on the CVB’s web site.

The first printing of more than 150,000 copies of the 2015 Visitor Guide is being distributed to potential visitors, travel professionals, and meeting planners who interact with the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tens of thousands of guides are sent to people who request them because of advertisements in magazines and on web sites. Bulk purchases of the Visitor Guide may be arranged for area businesses for their marketing and relocation efforts.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501©6 nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop tourism and market Washington County to meeting planners, leisure travelers and business customers. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing, and expanding the local visitor industry. http://www.visithagerstown.org.


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ResourceU Brings Small Business Training to West Virginia

Charleston, W.Va.—The Small Business Committee of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce ResourceU, a small business “university” that offers a series of free small business trainings in conjunction with the West Virginia Small Business Development Center, Leadership West Virginia, West Virginia Executive magazine and local chambers of commerce throughout the state.

Trainings will begin in March 2015 and will be offered once per month in different areas of the state and will follow Leadership West Virginia’s Class of 2015 schedule. Speakers for ResourceU will offer sessions in basic accounting, marketing, human resources, financing, and other small business needs.

Basic tools, resources, networking opportunities, and building blocks for business owners will be provided free of charge to participants. The 2015 small business training schedule will include monthly sessions that will take place once per month on an afternoon from 3-5 p.m. with a networking reception to follow.

The first series of training sessions will be as follows:

Session 1
Wednesday March 25, 3-5 p.m., Marriott Charleston Town Center in Charleston, WV

Session 2
Wednesday April 15, 3-5 p.m., Holiday Inn in Martinsburg, WV

Session 3
Wednesday, May 13, 3-5 p.m., Chief Logan Lodge in Logan, WV

Session 4
Wednesday, June 17, 3-5 p.m. New River Gorge CVB in Oak Hill, WV

Session 5
Wednesday, July 15, 3-5 p.m. Hilton Garden Inn in Morgantown, WV

Session 6
Wednesday, September 16, 3-5 p.m. Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, WV

Session 7
Wednesday, October 28, 3-5 p.m. Location TBA in Lewisburg, WV

Participation is free, but registration is required and provided on a first come, first serve basis. Registration is available through the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Web site online at http://www.wvchamber.com/wcevents/eventdetail.aspx?eventid=252


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Antietam Battlefield Announces Junior Ranger Day 2015

Please join us on Saturday, April 18, 2015 for Junior Ranger Day at Antietam National Battlefield. Children ages twelve and under will be able to participate in special programs, interact with volunteers portraying Civil War soldiers, and have the opportunity to become Junior Park Rangers.

Schedule of Events:
10:00 a.m. Junior Park Ranger Activity-Meets in front of the park visitor center. Children (and their parents) will complete the Junior Park Ranger Activity Books. Park rangers and park volunteers will be available to help. Upon completion, children will receive a Junior Park Ranger Badge and Certificate with their name on it. (Most activity books will take about one-hour to complete depending on age).

11:00 a.m. Civil War Soldier Program-Meets at the New York State Monument near the visitor center. Living historians portraying Civil War Soldiers will enlist the children into the army, teach them how a soldier marched, and discuss the life of the common soldier. (1/2 hour)

11:30-12:30 a.m. Free time to explore the visitor center and eat lunch. There will also be an activity table set up at the visitor center with crafts and 19th Century games.

12:30 p.m. Cannon Firing at the Mumma Farm (Stop #6 on the driving tour map). Join our living history volunteers as they explain how a cannon was loaded and fired. Then we’ll end Junior Ranger Day with a bang! (20 minutes)

There is no cost for these programs. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please feel free to call us at 301-432-5124or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any questions.


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Jefferson County Photography Club Spring 2015 Exhibit

The Jefferson County Photography Club (JCPC) will exhibit a selection of prints by club members in the Charles Town Visitors’ Center Fire Hall Gallery, 108 North George Street in Charles Town, WV. The exhibit will be on display April 2 to April 12, and a reception will be held Friday April 10, from 5p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Visitors’ Center/Gallery is open seven days a week from 10am - 5pm.

Established in 2008, the club’s mission is to provide an opportunity for members of the community to share, learn and develop photographic skills, as well as to explore the creative and documentary potential of photography to preserve the rich history and culture of Jefferson County.  JCPC members work exclusively with still photography:  film, digital, color, and black and white.

The JCPC meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm at the Charles Town Visitors Center Fire Hall Gallery, 108 N. George Street, in Charles Town.  The Club welcomes others interested in photography to attend and become members.  Club activities include photo contests, presentations, topic discussions, image critiques, field trips, gallery showings, specialized photography classes, and the continuous exchange of information and ideas.  Plans for the future include community photo shoots, historical shoots and youth education programs. 

For more information on the Jefferson County Photography Club, please contact Melanie Brownsmith at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  pho


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“Brain Games” Fundraiser For Adult Literacy Scheduled For April 12

MARTINSBURG, W.Va.—Organizers of the Eastern Panhandle’s longest-running trivia tournament are spicing up this year’s competition with a format change borrowed from a long-running television quiz show.

The 18th annual Brain Games will be held Sunday, April 12, at James Rumsey Technical Institute, 3274 Hedgesville Road (W.Va. Route 9), west of Martinsburg. Registration and player check-in will begin at noon, with the games scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

The event is a fundraiser for Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle. The Martinsburg-based organization helps adults in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties improve basic literacy skills in reading, writing and numeracy. For community members whose first language is not English, it provides access to English language instruction. LVEP’s services are provided free of charge by volunteer tutors trained to state and national standards.

As has been the case since the first Brain Games in 1998, the contest will consist of four rounds of 25 questions each. Teams of three to six players will have 15 minutes to come up with the answers in each round. Questions will include a mix of pure trivia and general knowledge of subjects ranging from history, geography, and literature to sports, pop culture, and more.

In the first three rounds, as before, teams will be credited with one point for each correct answer. This year’s final round, however, “could change everything because it will be worth 75 points,” said Judy Malone, Brain Games coordinator.

Round Four will be played “Jeopardy!”-style. The questions—phrased in the form of “answers” as they are on the popular TV show—will be grouped into five categories and valued from one to five points in ascending order of difficulty. Correct responses will earn a team the corresponding number of points, but incorrect guesses will result in those points being deducted from a team’s total.

“The risk-reward factor will add an element of strategy that didn’t exist before,” said Bob Fleenor, a former five-time “Jeopardy!” champion who wrote this year’s quiz. “How aggressively do you want to play?”

It also means the battle for the trophies to be awarded to the top three teams will be wide-open, according to Fleenor.
“In the past, many teams were already out of the running before the final round,” he said. “Now, every team will have at least a mathematical chance to win.”

“It will be fun and exciting and challenging,” Malone said.

In another change this year, the registration fee of $25 per player—which hasn’t increased in many years—will include lunch. Pizza, sandwiches, soft drinks and other beverages, cupcakes, and other food items will be available free of charge to all participants. Donations will be accepted but not required.

Participants will be encouraged to browse a selection of donated books, games and puzzles which will be available for purchase. Anyone who has such items to donate for resale may bring them on the day of the event.
There will also be a silent auction of items, including gift certificates, donated by a number of Eastern Panhandle businesses.
“Remember, every penny you spend at Brain Games helps teach an adult to read,” Malone said.

Registration forms have been sent to past Brain Games participants. If you didn’t receive one or are interested in forming a team, contact Malone at 304-754-7581 or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
ABOUT LVEP
Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle (LVEP) is based in Martinsburg. LVEP helps adults improve their basic literacy skills in reading, writing, and numeracy, and, for community members whose first language is not English, provides access to English language instruction.

For more than 30 years, LVEP has offered tutoring in basic literacy and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) in both one-on-one and small-group environments, based on availability.

Services are provided free of charge by volunteer tutors, who are trained to Literacy West Virginia and ProLiteracy America standards. LVEP’s tri-county literacy project serves Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan County adults who need to develop or improve basic literacy skills, including those individuals for whom English is not their first language. Tutoring outcomes focus on basic skills, knowledge, and attitudes that empower students, often low-income, to function well in their families, communities, and workplaces.

LVEP is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and is a registered charity in the state of West Virginia. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. LVEP is a United Way Partner Agency, a CFC Federation Member #55578, an affiliate of Literacy WV, and ProLiteracy America. For more information about LVEP, go to http://www.lvep-wv.org/.


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Annual “LEFT OF THE BANK” Magical Evening of Music and Poetry April 17 Event Benefits Library

Friends of the Shepherdstown Library holds its 11th annual “Left of the Bank” Magical Evening of Poetry and Music on April 17 at 7:30 pm in the intimate setting of La Casa de Carlos e Isabel at 202 South Princess Street, Shepherdstown, just to the left of Jefferson Security Bank.

Held each year during National Poetry Month, this popular cultural event celebrates poetry and this area’s fertile poetry scene. This year’s roster of poets features Stephen Altman, Lin Batton, Earl Hairston, Sonja James, and Christa Mastrangelo. Their work runs the gamut of contemporary poetry, from performance poetry to narrative sonnet-making. The inimitable Ed Zahniser serves as Master of Ceremonies. Music is by Laura First with Don Oehser.

On commenting on why she supports Left of the Bank, Associate Producing Director of the Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) Peggy McKowen said, “One year I actually read some work - some slam poetry and play text from Sam Shepard’s work.  It was so wonderful to share another side or an artist’s work with a group of people that appreciated the skill required to journey between writing poetry and writing plays.

It is truly an impressive event and community - a literate bunch that treasures the artistry of the written word.  I give credit in part to the Library for engaging our community and creating value for the importance and beauty of STORYTELLING and WORDS.”

Guests enjoy tantalizing appetizers and delectable desserts, with a fine beer and wine selection or soft drinks. Doors open for refreshments at 7:00 pm, and the two-hour program starts at 7:30. All proceeds fund programs and materials for the Shepherdstown Public Library.

“Left of the Bank is like Harry Truman,” Master of Ceremonies Ed Zahniser says. “We got our start in a clothing store on German Street. Now we hold forth in Shepherdstown’s former school bus garage with its purple roof on Princess Street. I missed one year for a funeral. Don Oehser missed one year for a wedding. FOSL demanded written excuses.”

Lex Miller, a long-time supporter of the event, added, “We are blessed with many magical experiences in Shepherdstown. Among them are The Rumsey Radio Hour and Left of the Bank. Each displays the talents of our friends and neighbors and supports our very special local library. And, thankfully, unlike the magic of Brigadoon, you don’t have to wait a 100 years for their return, nor wear a kilt to enjoy them.”   

Tickets are $35, and this event is limited to 90 attendees, so hurry to Shepherdstown Library to get yours now! If there are any tickets left on the night of the event, you will be able to purchase them at the door of 202 South Princess Street. Free parking will be available that evening next door at the Jefferson Security Bank.


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March Events at Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV

Asbury UMC - Run For God Bible Study & 5K
Asbury United Methodist Church in Charles Town WV is pleased to host the Run For God 5k Challenge!  This challenge is part bible study and part training program. The primary goal is to learn to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ while understanding the parallels of enduring a sport like running and enduring your faith.  This study is for everyone! In fact, this study is designed for those who have never run, and if you have never run in your life, there is no better time to start than now. We will meet Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. at Asbury UMC beginning March 22nd and the class will conclude by running the Asbury UMC ‘Independence Day 5k’ in July.  The book can be purchased at http://www.RunForGod.com.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC - Financial Peace University
Asbury UMC in Charles Town will be hosting a Financial Peace University class, taught on video by Dave Ramsey. You will learn how money really works from budgeting and dumping debt to building wealth and giving. Class will begin on Sunday, March 22 at 2 p.m.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC Welcomes Gospel Legends - The Jacobs Brothers
Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV is excited to host The Jacobs Brothers at a special Gospel Concert on Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 6 p.m.  The Jacobs Brothers are international veterans of gospel music who have traveled millions of miles and produced more than 50 albums.  They will be joined onstage by local gospel favorites – The Men In Black Gospel Singers.  This concert is open to the public and admission is free.  There will be a free will offering to help the singers offset their expenses. Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC Announces Holy Week Schedule
Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV invites our community to celebrate Holy Week & Easter Sunday with us.  Beginning with Palm Sunday - March 29th, we will hold a Unity Worship Service at 10:00 a.m. with uplifting music from our Children’s Shepherds Choir, our Adult Sanctuary Choir and selected arrangements by organist Jeff Nicely on our Peragallo Pipe Organ.  There will be a time of fellowship following the service.  On Wednesday April 1st, Asbury will hold a Lenten Communion & Prayer service from Noon-1pm.  On Holy Thursday April 2nd, Asbury commemorates the Last Supper with a Love Feast at 6 PM and Communion Worship Service at 6:30 PM.  On Good Friday April 3rd, Asbury joins the South Jefferson Ministerial Association in the ‘Walk Of Witness’ at 10 AM, we will hold a Prayer Vigil in Asbury’s Moler Chapel from 9am to 3pm and then we will hold a Tenebrae Worship Service at 7 PM.  On April 5th - Easter Sunday - Asbury will begin the day with other area Christians at the Community Easter Sunrise Service at Jefferson Memorial Park followed by our traditional Easter Worship Services at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. and our Contemporary Easter Worship Service at 9:35.  Communion will be served at all 3 services.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information about any of our Holy Week.

Asbury UMC - Yarn Ministry
Are you looking for a ministry of prayer and care for others? You might consider a unique way to serve as the “hands” of Christ through crochet or knitting—-and there is opportunity to support this ministry without knowing how to crochet or knit. Prayer is the focus—-and our mission is to create handmade gifts of comfort, hope and peace that demonstrate God’s love. Praying for a stranger helps us to learn to trust the truth that God works through us when we care for friends and strangers alike. Join us beginning Sunday Feb 15th from 3-5 PM and learn more about this exciting ministry. Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC – Revival Bible Study
Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV invites our community to join us on Thursday; April 16th at 6 PM as we begin a new Bible Study titled “Revival”.  In this study, we follow Adam Hamilton for a six-week journey as he travels to England, following the life of John Wesley and exploring his defining characteristics of a Wesleyan Christian. Wesley’s story is our story it’s our heritage, it defines our faith, and it challenges us to rediscover our spiritual passion. This six-week Bible study tracing the life of John Wesley throughout England. This study will deepen people’s faith by calling them to a devout and holy life while defining what the Christian life looks like through the eyes of a Wesleyan Christian.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC Taco Take-Out Fundraiser
The Asbury Missions Committee will host a “Taco Take-Out” fundraiser on Sunday; April 19th from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM.  Tacos, and other Southwestern Foods will be available in Williams Hall for purchase for dine-in or carry out.  All monies raised will be used to help send Asbury members on a mission trip in July 2015 to the Navajo Indian Reservation.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC To Hold Pentecost Unity Service
Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV invites our entire community to join us as we celebrate the Church’s birthday on Sunday May 24th with a special Pentecost Unity Service.  This single service at 10 AM will feature special music, readings, a dynamic sermon and much more.  Everyone is then invited to join in for a time of fellowship in the Asbury Center.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.


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Comment Sought on House & Road Sign Ordinance in Morgan County

BERKELEY SPRINGS, WV - At their Jan. 22 and Feb. 5 meetings, the Morgan County Commission discussed the need for adequate road signage of hundreds of county roads. They are seeking public comment about a law that would require uniform signs and posting of house numbers. A March 5 public hearing was held but with little turnout due to the winter storm Thor. The courthouse closed shortly after the time set for the hearing. A second hearing is scheduled April 16 at 10 a.m. at the commission room of the county courthouse.

Commissioner Bob Ford reported in January that Morgan has approximately 900 roads not adequately marked with signs. Morgan is the only county that did not complete sign identification by 2009 when the Statewide Addressing and Mapping Board (WVSAMB) disbanded after about eight years on a project to help counties mark all roads.  There had been grant funding for purchasing signs or sign-making equipment. The board disseminated in 2009 and divided the remaining money equally among the 55 counties. The only funding available now is 911 monies.

The problem came to Ford’s attention when a Jan. 7 emergency call received by 911 dispatchers involved a mobile home that was not adequately marked.  The proper address was on file, and the caller did confirm it. But state police had trouble finding the home on a dark, stormy night. It turned out, subdivision roads weren’t clearly marked, and the mobile home was marked with a lot number rather than house number or name.

Commissioners decided to complete the project no matter how long it takes because of the need of proper signage for emergency services personnel.  Ford sought quotes on signs, sign poles, and sign-making equipment.  He reported his findings to date to commissioners Brad Close and Joel Tuttle on Feb. 5. 

Hardy County officials offered to make signs for Morgan County on their own equipment for a very reasonable rate.  Ford said if 900 signs are needed, the price tag might be around $16,200 for the signs, about $18 each.  He talked with someone at the West Virginia Department of Corrections on the most reasonable costs for sign posts. He was told they could get the posts, brackets and fittings for about $24,279.00.  And, he checked on a post hole driver and power source from various vendors.  He said the power source for the post hole driver could be used in future for other uses such as powering a jackhammer. One quote from Grainger was for $11,100.  Another was $6,745.00.

On March 11, he said it will cost about $70,000.  Hardy County will provide the signs at nominal cost. Hardware and equipment will come from West Virginia Correctional Industries.  It all depends on how many residents have marked their own roads and if they comply with WV Code requirements. It will take time, perhaps up to one year to complete the project.  Utility authorities will have to be contacted on every sign placement to check for underground utility lines. Corrections department officials would oversee community service workers on placing the signs. 

They drafted a new ordinance with rules and regulations about marking private streets, mobile homes, single family homes, etc. Under a new ordinance, the commission would appoint a Mapping and Addressing Coordinator who would sort out road names and direct placements of signs to create a database of road names.

The owner of any house, building, or structure built in the county after the addressing took effect would have to get an official 911 address from the mapping coordinator and then post the assigned address on the house or building within 30 days. There are requirements about the size of house numbers and posting of a sign, and how address numbers should be a contrasting color against a reflective background for visibility. County subdivision rules currently require roads, streets and lanes in a subdivision be identified with posted signs.
A couple residents were opposed to the ordinance when speaking to commissioners March 5.  They wanted their private road to remain private. Some were confused about requirements of the size of house numbers to be required to be posted by homeowners. However, volunteer fire company personnel, EMS, and postal officials were for a more uniform road and home sign labeling process.

Ford said he can understand the right to privacy.  “One homeowner felt he shouldn’t pay for a sign on the house or house numbers just because it’s required. He thought the government should furnish it if it’s a mandate. I can understand that. But West Virginia Code states it’s up to the homeowner.  Some counties are doing it at county expense, but we cannot.”
Ford said if existing house numbers are clearly visible from the right of way, there’s no problem. “We won’t have someone tracking down people.  But if EMS or the fire department is dispatched and can’t find the house, they will make a report. The mapping coordinator will notify the homeowner or send a letter they have 30 days to adequately mark the house.”
He said the whole intent is for emergency personnel to be able to find someone in need.

The proposed ordinance is posted at http://www.morgancountywv.gov for review; or, a copy can be obtained at the Morgan County Courthouse in Berkeley Springs.  Anyone who cannot attend the public hearing can send comments to the Morgan County Commission at 77 Fairfax Street, Berkeley Springs, WV 25411.


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WV CALA Launches Public Education Campaign Thanking House Of Delegates For Supporting Lawsuit Reform

Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA) today announced the launch of a statewide public education radio campaign to thank members of the West Virginia House of Delegates who have supported much-needed reforms to West Virginia’s lawsuit system. In recent weeks, the House of Delegates has passed lawsuit reforms to bring fairness and impartiality to West Virginia’s lawsuit system, which will help create jobs and boost the state’s economy.

“Under the leadership of Speaker Tim Armstead and House Judiciary Chairman John Shott, the West Virginia House of Delegates has passed measures to help make West Virginia’s lawsuit system serve the interests of ordinary people, instead of personal injury lawyers. They have deliberated and passed many lawsuit reforms that will help end the abuse of our state’s lawsuit’ system, which has earned a national reputation as a ‘Judicial Hellhole.’ Our statewide public education effort will let West Virginians know that some delegates are working to support these reforms,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

In recent weeks, the House of Delegates has passed reforms to protect property owners from those who trespass illegally and file lawsuits, bring equality to the lawsuit system for those with claims against healthcare providers, protect property owners from abusive lawsuits based on open and obvious dangers, and ensure that those responsible for accident pay their share of the damages awarded by a jury.

Stauffer concluded, “It’s refreshing to see that the new leadership at the West Virginia Legislature is committed to supporting an economic development package that includes the much-needed lawsuit reforms that we have discussed for many years. These reforms will bring West Virginia in line with surrounding states and create more opportunities for West Virginians.”


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March Kidz Power Pacs and One Harvest updates

Speaking of Spring !!!!

March 13th we will gather at Eagle School Intermediate starting at 430 to unload the KPP food and preparing for our Spring Break packing!! Saturday we will start gathering at 9 am for fellowship and refreshments, 930 we ask you be there to hear instructions on packing, announcements, join us in prayer and then we will begin packing almost 4000 bags!! So invite your friends, your church, your boss and let them see first hand what God is doing in our community!!! All ages are welcome!

We will be collecting the following items to prepare for our summer program: Large boxes of cereal, jars of peanut butter, cans of ravioli, tubes of toothpaste and packs of hot dogs (hot dogs only drop at the packing’s please)  Items can be dropped off at the packing’s, JSB Bank in Martinsburg or Inwood, Heather’s Hair Haven, Chamber office in Jefferson County or Ranson Center Hall.

We are in the planning stage for our 3rd annual Community Day in the Park on June 27th at War Memorial Park. This is a day for our surrounding communities to come and enjoy a free filled day of JOY! Praise and Worship bands playing all day, youth groups performing skits, face painting, moon bounces , free food and lots of fun. We are seeking other churches, outreaches and local agencies to set up booths that would provide the community with much needed resources and sharing the love of Christ. If interested in volunteering , setting up a booth, or to sponsor a moon bounce or any of the supplies that are needed please email us so we can get this event planned out. We need many , many helping hands for this day. Can you give a few hours? Bring your youth group or groups to help!

We are seeking to add to some of our teams:

One Harvest is a great way to save on your personal grocery bill or share it with a friend. We are seeking ones that would like to help us get menus out into the public, help take orders and if the orders grow we will need more help on distribution day.

Fundraising and events: Like to help raise more funds for the ministry, help set up at events or festivals, or help spread the word on the ministry? Email us or be sure and sign up on the sign up sheet at our upcoming packing.

Be sure and stay connected , see pictures, and help share our facebook page! It is a great tool to share with your friends that haven’t gotten connected yet.

Thank you all for your continual prayers, love and support!!!

Diana and the entire KPP team

Community Combined Ministries, INC
PO BOX 2805
Martinsburg WV 25402

Diana Wall, Berkeley County Coordinator- 304-268-8778
Kim Bittle, Jefferson County Coordinator — 571-748-9289

Join us on FB!
https://www.facebook.com/CommunityCombinedMinistries

http://www.communitycombined.org

God’s Vision, God leading, God’s Glory!
Feeding Families, Children and helping unify communities through
His Word, His Love, and His Power


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Call for Entries: Photo15 Juried Photography Exhibit

The Berkeley Arts Council announces a call for entries for Photo15, its second juried photography exhibit. The deadline for entries is April 27, 2015. The exhibit will be displayed from June10 -July 11 in the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg. There will be a reception on Saturday, June 20 from 3-5pm.

The Juror for the exhibit is Dean Kessmann, Associate Professor at George Washington University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate students.  A $250 Best in Show Award is sponsored by LA Cameras of Chambersburg, PA. The theme for the exhibit is open.

For the full prospectus and online entries, visit http://artworks.berkeleyartswv.org/photo15/. For more information email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 304-620-7277.

The Berkeley Art Works, a project of the Berkeley Arts Council, is the realization of the long-held dream of the arts community in Martinsburg and Berkeley County West Virginia: to have a community-based arts facility that supports local and regional artists, brings quality arts experiences for the members of the public, and provides a wide range of arts learning experiences for local residents, artists, and artisans. The Berkeley Arts Council is on the Web at http://www.berkeleyartswv.org.


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Fifth Annual Art and Earth Exhibit Accepted Artists Announced

The Berkeley Arts Council has announced the accepted artists for the Fifth Annual Art and Earth Juried Exhibit, which will be displayed April 2 through May 2 in the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg. There will be a reception for the artists and an award presentation on Saturday, June 11 from 5-7pm.

The Juror was Margaret Winslow, Associate Curator for Contemporary Art at the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, Delaware. She selected 47 works by 42 artists from 17 states out of over 200 works submitted. A full list of the accepted artists is at http://artworks.berkeleyartswv.org/artandearth/.

The Berkeley Arts Council is a 501(c)(3) non‐profit organization incorporated in West Virginia working to ensure that Berkeley County has a vibrant, vital arts environment by promoting awareness, understanding and appreciation of the literary, visual and performing arts in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. The Berkeley Arts Council is on the Web at http://www.berkeleyartswv.org.


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2015 Endangered Properties Announced by Preservation Alliance of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va.—The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia today announced during a press conference at the state capitol the addition of three resources to its list of more than 40 endangered historical properties in West Virginia.

A farmhouse in Mount Nebo, a service station in Fayettevillle, and the entire national historic district in Beckley have been designated as endangered by the alliance, according to its executive director, Danielle LaPresta.

Disclosed every February since 2009, the list has become one of the organization’s most useful tools and has allowed it to build interest in the rescue of threatened landmarks and landscapes. Properties that make the list qualify for assistance through the alliance.

LaPresta said this year’s announcement is noteworthy in that it includes a multi-property national historic district.

“Normally we work with individual properties, but this year the entire national historic district of Beckley is in eminent danger brought about by neglect, demolition, and inappropriate development,” she said.

More than 20 of 100 historic properties in downtown Beckley have been demolished since the Beckley Courthouse Square National Historic District was created in 1994, LaPresta said, and another 20 have been remodeled without concern for historical standards. The proposed demolition of additional buildings could lead to the removal of the district from the National Register of Historic Places.

“Because of the loss of integrity, the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office has warned that the district is in danger of being removed from the National Register of Historic Places,” she said.

LaPresta said the organization is considering how it will provide assistance to property owners in Beckley as the endangered resource is so large. Typically the resource is smaller, as is the case with the former Esso station at Fayetteville, in Fayette County, and a farm near Mount Nebo, in Nicholas County.

The former service station on W.Va. 16 was built in 1945 and operated through the late 1990s. In 2014, the current owners purchased the station with the intent to renovate it and pursue a tenant to operate a shop or restaurant. During the period between the closing and sale,the station was neglected. Its leaky, failing roof could collapse from the weight of snow and water damage within has caused mold and white rot issues, LaPresta said.

“The owners are passionate about rehabilitating this property, but they have little experience with preservation,” she said, “so we’ll help provide the guidance they need to save the site before it deteriorates beyond a point of salvage.”

The Old White House, near Mount Nebo,  is a two-story log structurecovered in clapboard and built in about 1845 by Matthew McClung on land given to him by his grandfather William McClung, a settler who claimed nearly 100,000 acres on the Gauley River. The farm has been in the McClung and McMillion families since. For the past 30 years, it sat vacant and suffered from vandalism and from water damage from a leaking roof, LaPresta said.

“The owners are in the process of passing ownership to their grandson, who is passionate about restoring the property and will implement a management policy so that it may serve as a community resource,” she said.

After being nominated by individuals and organizations, properties which have been added to the alliance’s list are selected through a competitive application process based on imminent danger, on local support for their reuse, and on their eligibility for or listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The organization’s field services representative, Lynn Stasick, works with local residents rallying to save and repurpose these endangered sites, providing advocacy, capacity building, and preservation assistance such as structural needs assessments.

Endangered properties that are not immediately eligible for the list may be eligible for the alliance’s new Buildings-At-Risk Register program. These properties are not immediately eligible for technical services, but their listing may be used as a means to leverage support and may be added at any time of year.  Inclusion on the register may also be the first step on the approach to the endangered properties list.

Current endangered properties in West Virginia may be found on the Preservation Alliance’s website at http://www.pawv.org/endanger.htm

Citizens who are interested in assisting with preservation projects may contact the alliance at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Visit http://www.pawv.org for preservation updates, for more information about each of the endangered properties, or to download a nomination form for next year’s endangered properties list.


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Youth Art Month at the Berkeley Art Works

In celebration of Youth Art Month, the Berkeley Art Works is displaying an exhibit of 40 photographic images by students from all four of the Berkeley County high schools.

Also on display in the Back Space gallery is a selection of work by home schooled students in the region.

There will be a reception Saturday, March 14 from 3-5pm. Come and meet the young artists and encourage their creativity.

Gallery hours are Wed 11-3, Thu 11-5, Fri 11-5 and Sat 11-4.


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WV CALA Statement On Governor Tomblin’s Approval Of House Bill 2002

Charleston, W.Va. – Today, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed House Bill 2002, which will allocate responsibility for harm in lawsuits based on fairness, according to legal watchdog group West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA).

“We thank Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for signing House Bill 2002, which was approved with bi-partisan majorities in the State Senate and House of Delegates. This legislation, which an overwhelming number of West Virginians support, is a step in bringing our lawsuit system inline with other states across the country. This lawsuit reform was an important part of the economic recovery package that State Senate President Bill Cole and Speaker Tim Armstead proposed to help create jobs and boost our economy,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

Stauffer continued, “There are additional lawsuit reforms that continue to advance through the West Virginia Legislature. These reforms along with the ones that have already passed and Governor Tomblin has already approved will ensure that our legal system is impartial and all West Virginians have a fair day in court.”


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History Worth Fighting For: Court Rules County PC Violated WV Law

A Press Release from the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association

On February 26, 2015, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals (WVSCA) ruled that the Jefferson County Planning Commission (PC), in two instances, violated the West Virginia Open Governmental proceedings Act (OGPA) when the PC granted extensions to the developer of Far Away Farm (FAF). The WVSCA rulings reverse prior rulings by the Circuit Court. The WVSCA rulings were the result of a petition filed by Gary Capriotti, Edward Dunleavy, Edward Moore and the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc.

In July 2011, the PC approved a secret agreement with the developer of FAF granting extensions of the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and the Community Impact Statement (CIS) to build 152 houses on the farm. The agenda for that meeting did not identify the PC/FAF agreement as a subject of consideration. The agenda item under which the agreement was discussed was titled: “Reports from Legal Counsel and legal advice.” The WVSCA ruled that: “Because the agenda notice did not adequately inform the public of the specific items to be considered at the Planning Commission’s July 26, 2011, meeting, we find that the Planning Commission violated W. Va. Code 6-9A-3 and reverse the circuit court’s contrary ruling.”

Also, the WVSCA cited W. Va. Code 6-9A-4(b)(11) that “if the public agency has approved or considered a settlement in closed session, and the terms of the settlement allow disclosure, the terms of that settlement shall be reported by the public agency and entered into its minutes within a reasonable time after the settlement is concluded.” While the Court stated that the PC “referenced the settlement at its meeting of October 11, 2011, and indicated that it would attach the final settlement to the minutes of that meeting, it has yet do so.” “Accordingly, we find that the Planning Commission has violated the reporting requirements set forth in W.Va. Code 6-9A-4(b)(11).”

The WVSCA remanded the case back to the Circuit Court to provide a remedy for the violations.

SBPA is a tax-exempt 501(c) (3) charitable organization.

For more information contact:
Edward Dunleavy
President
Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc.
(917) 747-5748


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Homebuyer Education and Credit Counseling Classes Available

The Partnership for Affordable Housing sponsors a homebuyer education class the third Saturday of each month. Free one-on-one credit counseling is also available by appointment. The class and counseling are available in both English and Spanish.

To sign up for a class or schedule an appointment, call 304-725-6189 or 304-707-2539. To learn more, go to pahwv.org.

Partnership for Affordable Housing Inc.
238 W. Washington Street
Charles Town, WV 25414
(304) 725-6189 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
http://www.PAHwv.org
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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Last Chance to Protect Your Ash Trees

If you own or manage ash trees and they haven’t already been killed off by the emerald ash borer (EAB), this year is your last chance to take proactive measures. Over 20 states in the US have been impacted, with tens of millions of ash trees lost, and all of West Virginia is under state and federal quarantine for movement of wood. Sadly, if you are in the eastern panhandle it is likely that your ash trees are already infested with EAB.

Given this reality, here are your management options:

  • Have your trees treated. It is probably too late for preventative treatments so talk to a certified arborist about injecting your trees with a ‘therapeutic’ product called Tree-age® (emamectin benzoate – not a neonicotinoid). There is a biologically derived (or ‘organic’) product called Tree-azin® that gets mixed reviews but is a greener option worth considering. Of course there is financial cost involved but many people find it well worth it when they consider the alternative.
  • Have select trees treated. If you have a woodlot or just too many trees to address, choose one or a handful of specimens to protect until EAB have wiped out all non-treated ash in the region and move on. The theory is that this will leave you a living ash tree legacy that can provide seed for later generations. Provincial foresters in Canada are experimenting with this in their managed forests and I find it an intriguing strategy.
  • Sell trees for timber. If EAB have not impacted the quality of wood, there may be some monetary value in having your ash trees harvested. At the very least they can serve as a source for firewood.
  • Have tree removed. If in a frequently used landscape (your backyard for instance?) and treatment is not an option, have the tree removed by a licensed and insured tree professional as it will soon pose a safety risk as a standing dead tree.
  • Do nothing. If in a natural area there is little harm in simply letting your ash trees succumb to EAB and eventually serve as organic matter for the forest floor. Just remember that in five years or less, these trees will be standing dead snags and can pose a hazard in some circumstances.

We have recently learned that EAB have also been attacking white fringe trees, a close relative of ash, and that our ubiquitous yet cherished black walnuts may be threatened by a new pest in the near future. Boy, oh, boy. One headache at a time, right?

For more information on EAB, visit this multi-agency website: http://www.emeraldashborer.info

The nearby Inwood office of West Virginia’s Division of Forestry can be reached at 304-229-2665.

Shawn Walker is owner of Trees 101, a consulting arborist business based in Shepherdstown. Website: http://www.trees101.net

Photo: EAB larval galleries under the bark of an infested ash tree in Shepherdstown’s Rumsey Park


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Two Rivers Grand Slam; Veterun, Race for the Birds, Harpers Ferry Half & Freedom’s Run

Race for the Birds is excited to announce its new partnership (Two River Grand Slam) with 3 additional local races:

VETERUN: March 7, 2015
http://veterun.org/

Race for the Birds: April 25, 2015
http://raceforthebirds.org

Harpers Ferry Half Marathon: May 9, 2015
harpersferryhalf.org

Freedom’s Run: October 10, 2015
http://freedomsrun.org/

We challenge you to complete the Two Rivers Grand Slam by participating in all four of these events in 2015!

Qualify for the Grand Slam by either participating in a paid race or volunteering at least 4 hours, in all four events.

More details will follow, including the award for completing the Grand Slam.

Contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any questions you may have.

Register for Race for the Birds at raceforthebirds.org


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Is your Cupcake worth $500?

Chocolatefest 2015 Cupcake Contest

CUPCAKES: Please bring two dozen cupcakes. All cupcakes will be judged. Cupcakes must be in standard cupcake liners.  All cupcakes must contain chocolate with anything else you want to add. Participants may submit multiple entries and there are no age restrictions.  Cupcakes entered in the contest become property of Main Street Martinsburg.

PRESENTATION: Please bring a small index card stating the type of your cupcake. Please put your name on the card.  This is considered part of your presentation.  Fun names tend to capture the imagination of the tasters/judges.  Props are permitted to help tell your cupcakes’ story; however, you must fit props and cupcakes in a two foot space. Any indecent matter will not be allowed and will be disqualified.

RECIPE: You may scratch bake or doctor up a box mix prior to baking (example: adding canned pumpkin to a vanilla box mix). You are required to submit a list of ingredients at check-in. Nuts are permitted; please be sure to accurately label cupcakes containing nuts or nut derivatives. All recipes, once they are submitted, become property of Main Street Martinsburg.

CHECK-IN: Saturday, April 25th with Cupcakes @ The 1902 Building on the corner of Martin Street & Queen Street in downtown Martinsburg. Contestants must arrive between 8 am & 10 am to set up prior to the tasting start time. Please check-in when you arrive. You are not required to stay with your cupcakes during the event.

VOTING PROCEDURE:  Each cupcake will be evaluated by all judges.  Judge’s ballots will be collected and tabulated to determine the First Place winner and Most Creative prize winner. Winners will be announced at 3:30 p.m. the day of the event. You must have a registration form on file to be judged. All entries need to be in by April 20, 2015.

APPLICATION FEE: $10.00 per entry. This price gets you into the chocolate walk. You are not required to stay with your cupcakes during the event. However, if you wish to sample chocolates on the Chocolate Walk and view the Cupcake Contest, you must have a wrist band.

JUDGING IS BASED ON THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

TASTE OVERALL TEXTURE, OVERALL APPEARANCE AND OVERALL CREATIVITY
PRIZES WILL BE AWARDED TO THE BEST ENTRIES THAT MEET CONTEST CRITERIA:
FIRST PLACE- $500.00 SECOND PLACE- (Most Creative) $150.00


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Church at Martinsburg Begins Meeting at 50 Monroe Street

In the past few years, Martinsburg’s northside, once the hub for merchants in the city, has seen a surge of growth and expansion. The Church at Martinsburg is excited to be a part of that revitalization as the city continues to experience growth.

On Sunday, March 8, the Church at Martinsburg will begin having worship services in their new space at 50 Monroe Street in Martinsburg near Berkeley Plaza, located off US-11. The church took ownership of the building in July 2014 and began the renovation process.

The church has had several meeting places since it was founded in 2009. The church began in the home of a member’s family and quickly outgrew and began meeting at the Holiday Inn on Foxcroft Avenue in Martinsburg. March 1 marked their last Sunday meeting at the Regal Cinemas in Martinsburg, which was celebrated with popcorn, singing, and stories of God’s faithfulness throughout their nearly 6 year history, 5 of which were spent at Regal.

“Jesus is changing lives — we see it on a weekly basis. The gospel is bearing fruit not just on Sunday, but throughout the week,” said Jacob Atchley, their lead pastor. According to Atchley, moving across town offers more opportunities to further their mission. “Our mission is simple and unchanging - we are a people helping people find and follow Jesus.”

With over 400 people attending Sunday services, the Church at Martinsburg has outgrown its current location on Foxcroft Avenue. “We have been amazed to see people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and age groups come to our church, and it has been humbling to watch God bring more people to our faith family every week,” said Atchley.

Starting this Sunday, services will be at 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. at 50 Monroe Street, Martinsburg, WV 25404. All are welcome to attend services and enjoy coffee and refreshments. For more information on the Church at Martinsburg, please visit http://www.martinsburgchurch.org.


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Heritage Authority to discuss enlarging boundaries of Civil War Heritage Area to include Sharpsburg

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND—The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Friday, March 6 on a request to enlarge the boundaries of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (http://www.heartofthecivilwar.org) to include the Town of Sharpsburg.

The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area was certified by the Authority in 2006 and currently includes areas within Carroll, Frederick and Washington Counties including 26 towns and cities. Certified Heritage Areas foster partnerships between governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations to promote more livable and economically sustainable communities. They preserve and celebrate Maryland’s history, cultural traditions, and natural areas through grants, loans, tax credits and other tools.

WHAT: Maryland Heritage Areas Authority Public Hearing on the proposal to enlarge the boundaries of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area to include the Town of Sharpsburg

WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday, March 6, 2015

WHERE: Sharpsburg Town Hall, Upstairs Meeting Room 106 East Main Street
Sharpsburg, Maryland 21782

WHO: Local government officials, heritage resource organizations, tourism industry representatives, business and property owners, and others who are interested in the proposal to enlarge the boundaries of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area to include the Town of Sharpsburg.

The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority is an independent unit of state government that operates in the Maryland Department of Planning. For more information, visit the website at http://mht.maryland.gov/heritageareas.shtml or telephone (410) 514-7685.


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WVCALA Applauds Attorney General Morrisey And Legislature For Leading On Outside Counsel Policy

Charleston, W.Va. – Legislation to bring transparency to the Attorney General’s use of outside counsel (Senate Bill 291), approved by the State Senate today, is a good government reform that will bring transparency to state’s use of contingency fee lawyers, according to legal watchdog group West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA).

“We applaud Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and members of the State Senate for their leadership on this very important issue. The State Senate took a significant step to shed light on the practice of awarding contingency fee contracts to outside plaintiffs’ lawyers who do work for the state. Attorney General Morrisey has already implemented a policy that has saved our state millions of dollars. This legislation will ensure that future attorneys general continue to practice this good government policy,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

In 2013, Attorney General Morrisey unveiled an outside counsel policy requiring transparency and competitive bidding for the appointment of private attorneys to represent the State and its agencies in legal proceedings. It’s estimated that the policy has saved nearly $4 million since it was introduced.

Stauffer continued, “It wasn’t too long ago that former Attorney General Darrell McGraw abused the outside counsel process to award friends and campaign donors with lucrative contingency fee contracts (1). The legislation that passed the State Senate today ensures that West Virginians get the best representation, while also providing transparency for the process of hiring outside counsel when needed. We encourage the House of Delegates to take the bill up and pass it.”

“SPECIAL REPORT: Flaunting Laws You Are Charged to Protect,” West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, June 2007


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$15 Million Available For Key Bicycle, Pedestrian & Trail Projects in MD

HANOVER, MD (February 27, 2015) – Working to expand bicycling and walking opportunities throughout Maryland, staff from the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the State Highway Administration (SHA) will hold workshops to detail five programs that provide funding for bicycling, pedestrian and recreational trail projects: Bikeways, Safe Routes to School, Transportation Alternatives, Federal Lands Access Program and Recreational Trails.  In 2015, $15 million in reimbursable grant funding will be available for projects that enhance walking, biking, pedestrian safety and recreational trail access.

“A balanced transportation system must take into consideration the needs of the pedestrian and bicycle communities,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn.

“A balanced transportation system must take into consideration the needs of the pedestrian and bicycle communities,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn.  “These workshops will help local jurisdictions secure the funding they need to make biking and walking a more convenient, safe and fun transportation alternative for residents and tourists.”

MDOT and SHA officials will discuss available funding sources, project eligibility / requirements and funding cycles.  The free workshops are geared toward local governments and non-profit organizations.  They will be held from
3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the following dates at these locations:

March 19th at the Washington County Library, 100 South Potomac Street, Hagerstown, MD.

The event is hosted by Hagerstown Main Street.  To RSVP, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mdot-grant-workshops-tickets-15735137219; and

March 24th at the Bowie City Hall (Room 243), 15901 Excalibur Road, Bowie, MD.

The event is hosted by the City of Bowie and the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area. To RSVP, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mdot-grant-workshop-tickets-15735209435.

Throughout the year, staff from MDOT and SHA will be meeting with representatives from local jurisdictions across the State to discuss bicycle and pedestrian plans and potential projects in more detail.  For more information on Maryland’s Bikeways, Safe Routes to School, Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails programs, please visit the following sites:


In MDOT’s six-year capital program (FY 2015 – FY 2020), the State plans to invest $188 million to improve bicycle and pedestrian access across Maryland.  Additionally, MDOT recently updated its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which establishes a 20-year vision to support cycling and walking as modes of transportation in Maryland.  Learn more at http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/BikeWalkPlan.


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Maryland Symphony Orchestra Concert to Feature Rodney Marsalis and the Philadelphia Big Brass Band

Hagerstown, MD—One of the world’s leading brass ensembles will join the Maryland Symphony Orchestra for two upcoming Masterworks concerts designed to honor the end of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War.  The concerts will be held on Saturday, March 14 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 15 at 3:00 p.m. at the historic Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown.

Rodney Marsalis’s Philadelphia Big Brass Band and the MSO will present “Brothers on the Battlefield,”  a theatrically-staged production that will include a historically-informed narrative, multi-media presentation, and a broad range of music spanning pre-Civil War throughout the duration of the Civil Rights Movement.  Featured selections will include an Earth, Wind and Fire medley; Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man;  excerpts from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story; Pete Seeger’s Where Have All the Flowers Gone;  and, traditional tunes such as Amazing Grace, Just a Closer Walk With Thee,  and When the Saints Go Marching In.

A veritable “dream team” of virtuoso brass players, members of the RMPBB have appeared on the world’s most prominent stages and performed with such groups as The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Baltimore Symphony, the São Paolo State Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Brass, Empire Brass, Dallas Brass, and the Boston Brass.  The group burst into the music scene with a debut performance in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center in Verizon Hall, a residency for the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, and a special feature on the National Public Radio Show, “All Things Considered.”  The group has been invited to perform in major music halls around the world including China’s National Center for the Performing Arts, Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall, and several prominent halls in Brazil and Italy.

Rodney Marsalis is a world-renowned trumpet player whose artistry has been enthusiastically enjoyed inside of the United States and in such countries as France, Spain, Germany, England, Greece, Rumania, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea.  A member of the famous American family of jazz musicians (which includes Wynton and Branford) Marsalis has been praised by music critics for his evocative interpretation, impeccable virtuosity, and beauty of sound.  He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and has worked under the guidance of world renowned conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gerard Schwarz, and John Williams.  Marsalis can be heard as Soloist and Principal Trumpet on more than thirty different recordings with labels such as Decca, Naxos, Koch international Classics, and Albany Records.  His year is split between his duties as Principal Trumpet with Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Artist in residence at Temple University, and various master class and solo engagements in the United States and abroad.

All ticket holders are welcome to attend “Prelude” which takes place one hour before each concert.  Music Director Elizabeth Schulze and the guest artists share information on featured composers and their works that will enhance concert-goers enjoyment and appreciation of the concert.

Tickets, ranging from $15 to $50, may be purchased ONLINE at tickets.marylandsymphony.org; in person at 30 W. Washington Street (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.); or by calling 301-797-4000 during regular business hours.  All students through grade 12 are admitted free to all Masterworks concerts.  Student rush tickets are available for higher education students for $5.00.  Seat selection will be at the discretion of the box office personnel.  The Maryland Theatre Box Office opens 90 minutes before concert time.

The concerts are presented by SpringHill Suites and Courtyard by Marriott and the artist sponsor is Meritus Health.  Free student tickets are made possible through the generosity of Music Director Elizabeth Schulze and the sole corporate sponsor, Susquehanna Bank.

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive.  The Maryland Symphony Orchestra is the area’s premier professional orchestra, dedicated to providing musical performances that educate and entertain, while enhancing the cultural environment of Western Maryland and the surrounding region.


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March into Spring with Jala Yoga’s Upcoming Workshops

Winchester, VA—Jala Yoga, the vibrant yoga studio with locations in Winchester, VA, Shepherdstown, WV, and Charles Town, WV, has announced its March workshops. From learning the basics to experiencing acupuncture to trying out meditation, there are opportunities for people of all ages and levels.  Registration for all workshops can be done at http://www.jalayogaflow.com or by phoning 401-440-0279.

For five consecutive Sundays, from March 1 to March 29, 2:00-3:30 pm, Kathi Peterson teaches a “Beginner’s Series” at the Charles Town studio, 307 West Washington Street.  This course introduces new yoga students to the philosophy and postures of yoga. It is designed so that upon completion, students will be comfortable taking other yoga classes and developing their own yoga practice.  The cost is $60 for all five classes.

Instructor Jocelynne Lowans teaches “Big Yogi, Little Yogi” on Wednesdays, from March 4 to April 1, 1:30-2:30 pm, at the Shepherdstown studio, 117 West German Street.  This class is for children from 0-3 and their parent or caregiver.  It is intended to introduce little ones to the importance of movement, stillness, playfulness, and self-care.  The cost is $50 for all five weeks.

Jake White, a dedicated Integrative Energetic Medicine Practitioner based in Winchester, VA, leads “Heal Your Heart: Meditation for All” on Friday, March 6, 6:45-8:45 pm at the Winchester studio, Creekside Station,
3119 Valley Avenue.  This workshop will utilize meditation, energetic healing techniques, group interaction, and instruction to reconcile with the past and move towards living fully from the heart.  The cost is $20.

Pilates instructor Jaime Haines teaches “Introduction to Pilates: Posture and Principle” on Saturday, March 7, 2:00-3:30 pm at the Winchester studio. In this workshop, Haines explains the principles and postures of this exercise system, including how to properly activate the deep core muscles known as the Powerhouse.  The workshop includes a postural alignment assessment and a 60-minute Pilates mat session. The cost is $10.

Jala Yoga owner and founder Christa Mastrangelo Joyce teaches “Renew Your Resolve: Reconnect, Reaffirm, and Let Go” on Saturday, March 14, 12:30-5:30 pm at the Winchester studio.  The workshop is designed to give participants a fresh start as spring approaches.  Included in this five hour workshop is a vinyasa flow yoga class, breath work, journaling, a restorative yoga practice, and self-massage work. The cost is $65.

Yoga Instructor Turi Nevin-Turkel and Acupuncturist Virginia Hisghman team up to lead a “Spring Seasonal Balance and Acupuncture” worshop on Friday, March 20, 6:00-8:00 pm, at the Winchester studio. This workshop combines the wisdom and techniques of Traditional Oriental Medicine and Yoga to bring students into a space of health, happiness, balance, and peace.  In this workshop, a yin yoga practice will cultivate a deeper connection with the body, mind, and soul, and during a long relaxation, students will experience a guided meditation and acupuncture. The cost is $65.

On Sunday, March 29, 2:00-4:00 pm, Kate Deriso leads “Rebuilding Your Body: Restorative Movement Therapy” at the Charles Town studio.  Kate is a massage therapist and yoga instructor who works with clients who suffer from chronic pain and sports injuries.  In this workshop, she will introduce a system of integrated therapeutic corrective movements, exercises and stretches that will increase strength and mobility, correct dysfunctional movement patters, and give knowledge on how to decrease pain and discomfort, perfect for anyone who has experienced pain, discomfort, and injury, and wants to take greater control over their well-being.  The cost is $35.

Jala Yoga offers yoga classes seven days a week at its three locations.  To register for workshops and classes and for more information about Jala Yoga, please visit http://www.jalayogaflow.com or call 401-440-0279.


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Local Panera Bread Announces $2500 Contribution to Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County

Ranson, WV- The local Panera Bread franchise, comprised of 14 bakery-cafés along the Blue Ridge Mountains, will present the Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County (AWS-JC) with a donation of $2500 on Tuesday, February 24th at 10:30AM.  AWS-JC is the “Operation Dough-Nation” of our local Ranson Panera Bread. Panera’s Community Operation Dough-Nation program focuses on bringing Panera and its customers together to make a difference in the community. Donation containers are placed near the registers in all Panera bakery-cafes for customers to contribute. The company then matches a portion of the donations and distributes the money to local charities of their choosing. The Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County has been a partner since 2006.  Contributions from this year’s donation were made to sponsor the AWS Valentine’s Day Purrfect Buffet event.

Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County- Serving the community continuously since 1952, the Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County, WV was incorporated in West Virginia on February 7, 1952 as a non-profit corporation. The Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County, WV provides housing and adoption services for abandoned, surrendered and abandoned, neglected abused and unwanted dogs, puppies, cats and kittens.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/ov4myW


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WVCALA Launches Public Education Campaign Thanking State Senators

Charleston, W.Va. – The passage of legislation today implementing the nonpartisan election of judges will bring West Virginia into the national mainstream with a majority of states and help engender an independent judiciary, according to legal watchdog group West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA).

On Friday, the West Virginia State Senate approved House Bill 2010, which provides for the election of all justices to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, all circuit court judges, all family court judges and all magistrates on a nonpartisan basis by division.

“We applaud the Legislature for passing this legal reform which will bring West Virginia into the national mainstream in how it elects its judges. Currently, West Virginia is one of only seven states where judges are elected by a partisan ballot. This legislation preserves the opportunity for West Virginians to select their judges, but will also engender an independent judiciary,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

The legislation, House Bill 2010, received strong bi-partisan support when it passed the House of Delegates and also the State Senate. The legislation will now go to Governor Tomblin for consideration where he has five days to approve or veto the bill. 

Stauffer concluded, “The political affiliation of a judge, the views of his or her political party, or a perceived partisan constituency should never be part of the discussion involving judicial matters. We strongly support legal reforms, like the nonpartisan election of judges, that will help ensure all West Virginians have access to an impartial legal system and fair day in court.”


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Morgan Planning Commission Vote Could Allow Commercial Development at Oakland Overlook

A Morgan County Planning Commission hearing was held Feb. 17 regarding re-platting of lots at Oakland Overlook in the southern part of the county. Cross Development, LLC, which has a purchase contract on the land with contingencies, requested a change in classification of some lots in the residential subdivision from residential to mixed use. This mixed use of commercial and residential is termed a “planned use development” or PUD.

WAIVER REQUESTED

Cross Development also asked for a waiver from the commission on the minimum lot size for residential use, an apparent technical matter since there was the existing request to change part of it from residential to commercial.  When the development was planned residential, the lot sizes were a half acre. Now, the subdivision ordinance requires a minimum lot size of one acre. So, the two requests were necessary.  There is no zoning in the county.

Commission members who voted to allow the change said they recognized the developer’s financial hardship of digging up pavement and underground utilities if required to change lot size from half-acre to one acre.

Planning commission member Scott Swaim favored the developer be in compliance with the current ordinance on lot size. But George Didawick thought the developer did have a hardship to change all utilities from half-acre to one-acre lot sizes. Member Jim Hoyt said he was opposed to allowing the change due to financial hardship for complying with the new rules of one-acre lot size. Member Sue Parker said when they changed the minimum lot size to one acre, it was mainly for a septic tank reserve area and buffer zone to adjoining lots. But this subdivision already has water and sewer in place.

The commission passed the measure 7-2, with one abstention and two opposed. Wayne Omps recused himself. This change of nine lots would allow for commercial development of 2.5 acres and the remaining 8 lots in question would total 5.56 acres.

Oakland Overlook was originally planned by Cacapon Associates as half-acre residential lots for working class families to be able to afford to build.  However, many lots have remained unsold due, officials of Cacapon Associates said, to the building boom when builders could build higher-priced homes elsewhere to market to retirees, and the economic downturn that flooded the market with affordable existing homes. A broker for the buyer approached the firm about buying a portion of the land that borders Oakland Road and U.S. 522 for a possible Dollar General store.

RESIDENTS OPPOSED TO A NEW DOLLAR STORE AT OAKLAND ROAD & DEVELOPER RESPONSE

Some area residents who live on Oakland Road or in the nearby Cacapon South subdivision have been vocally opposed to the building of a convenience store at the location, citing traffic issues given the high speeds traveled on U.S. 522. They didn’t like the planned entrance and exit on Oakland Road and thought the space for tractor trailer deliveries was inadequate. They also worry about an expected drop in their property values. 

At least 40 to 50 people have opposed the store at three meetings thus far.  Some saw no need. They said they have a deli just a couple miles away, and the Cacapon Market on U.S. 522.

Rick Watson said Dollar General appearing on the southern end of 522 would give an impression to visitors of Morgan being a poor county.

Dave Owens said, “It makes no sense to put in another store with the economy the way it is. There are only so many dollars to go around. How will this Dollar General affect the existing Dollar General or Family Dollar.? Will they survive if you take business away from them?”

Josh Allen, representing Cross Development, said market research done supports another dollar store in Morgan County and that in three years they have not had any Dollar General fail because another one was nearby.  There would be approximately 15 miles between this store and existing Dollar General or Family Dollar stores.

Several residents opposed said they moved to that area in retirement from the city to get away from “urban sprawl.” Some didn’t want any commercial development of this type nearby, and others said it wasn’t the best location.

Paul Stern sent a lengthy complaint letter to the planning commission and said this store being built constitutes “sprawl.”  He didn’t believe the developer had satisfied requirements in the subdivision ordinance of “extraordinary hardship” in their request of waiver to keep the half-acre lot sizes.

Jerry Berman co-wrote a song against the store to the tune of “Country Roads.”  He said he liked the natural ambiance of the area the way it was.  Bob Donadieu moved to his nearby home 42 years ago from the “city.”  He said this location was not the place for a store.

Roger Salen lives in Cacapon South, and said he was involved in the development of that community.  “It is a very nice community. If you build Dollar General there, it will be disgusting.”

Representing Cacapon Associates, Justin Cowles said, “Even Cacapon South is already a PUD. It’s platted for commercial land that faces 522. The concept of residential and commercial existing side by side is not a foreign concept. That area is designated in the county’s comprehensive plan as a commercially viable area.”

Cowles also speculated if there would be so much opposition if the store was to be another art gallery as can be found in Berkeley Springs and dotted on the landscape of the county.  Berkeley Springs is one of the top art destinations in the country.

RESIDENTS SUPPORTING THE NEW STORE

At this third public meeting about the possible construction, several residents said they actually wanted another dollar store. Peggy Oakes said she helps out many elderly residents, and driving several miles to Dollar General, Family Dollar, or Food Lion nearer Berkeley Springs is difficult.  She and a couple others said they need a store of this type that isn’t 24 miles away from them roundtrip.

Ginger Johnson presented a petition to the planning commission of 127 signatures for the store which she said she was able to get in only one day of canvassing.

WAIVERS FOR TIME EXTENSIONS REQUESTED & PLANNING COMMISSION VOTES

The planning commission also voted on five waivers requested by the developer for time extensions, which passed 8-1 with one abstention each time. Those waivers were regarding a Morgan County Health Department well permit; a revised West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection/West Virginia Department of Health sewage permit; West Virginia Department of Highways entrance permit; A West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection storm water and sediment erosion control permit; and an Eastern Panhandle Conservation District sediment and erosion control review.

These permits will be required later during final plat submittal for review and vote.  Planning Commission President Jack Soronen reminded all those present that these are merely time extensions, and there will be a public hearing in the future before a final vote to approve the commercial development.  He also said these are administrative procedures. His board does not make final judgments on permits for highway entrances, wells, and septics. They rely on the DOH and entities such as the health department for their expertise. His commission basically dots the “I’s” and crosses the “T’s.”

Jim Hoyt was opposed to having a store at the residential subdivision.  He said the developer was spending a lot of money and time to change the classification and to possibly build commercial store on a lot more difficult to enter and exit than one in the existing business park nearby.

“If you put in a store, who will want to buy the remaining lots next door? One mile down the road, there is a beautiful retail location with a flat lot in the business park. It has water and sewer and is under $100,000 price tag. There are fifty employees now in the business park who would stop in a Dollar General to get bread or milk when passing by.”

Those residents opposing the store kept asking the commission to stop the commercial development at that particular site, and some submitted letters stating why they thought the paperwork turned in by the developer was not complete. All this, Soronen said, will become part of public record and will be available for review at the planning commission in the Morgan County Courthouse.

Soronen said again the planning commission cannot oppose commercial development at a particular site for personal reasons.  If rules are complied with and all paperwork is proper, they can only rule on those grounds.

He said this process will take several more months, and public hearings will be announced.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/53q1DH


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U.S. Cellular Announces 2014 Statewide Investment in West Virginia

Company invests more than $12.6 million in network, stores and community support

U.S. Cellular continued to invest in the wireless experience for its customers in 2014 with upgrades to its network and store environment throughout West Virginia.

In an effort to provide a high-quality network that works where West Virginia residents live, work and play, U.S. Cellular invested $11.4 million in network enhancements across the state. This was a combination of 4G LTE enhancements and upgrades to the company’s existing high-speed network.

Shopping for a wireless device should be a positive experience, so U.S. Cellular also invested $1.24 million in its stores across West Virginia to be welcoming places that show off the latest devices, accessories and technology. These newly-designed stores make! shopping for wireless easier, and in 2014 the company built or renovated five of these hands-on, experiential store locations in West Virginia, including those in Clarksburg, Beckley, Morgantown, Romney and Kingwood.

“As a national wireless carrier that covers you in your backyard and across the country, we are constantly striving to provide the best wireless experience for our customers in West Virginia,” said Jack Brundige, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in the Mid-South. “At U.S. Cellular, we care about our local communities, and we will continue to invest in making sure that your phone works when and where you need it – wherever you are.”

In addition to infrastructure enhancements, U.S. Cellular donated $1 million to schools across the country through its Calling All Teachers program. This program provides funding for impactful classroom projects submitted by public school teachers on DonorsChoose.org. In West Virginia, 52 teachers received a total of! $32,369 in funding from U.S. Cellular for their classroom projects, and this local donation benefits more than 2,900 students.

4G LTE not available in all areas. See uscellular.com/4G for detailed coverage info. 4G LTE service is provided in partnership with King Street Wireless. LTE is a trademark of ETSI.

About U.S. Cellular
U.S. Cellular provides its customers with unmatched benefits and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier has a strong line-up of cutting-edge devices that are all backed by its high-speed network, and currently, 93 percent of customers have access to 4G LTE speeds. U.S. Cellular was named a J.D. Power and Associates Customer Champion in 2014 for the third time in four years. To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or uscellular.com. To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with U.S. Cellular on Facebook.com/uscellular, Twitter.com/uscellular and YouTube.com/uscellularcorp.


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Foster Care: A Special Kind of Love

Around Valentine’s Day, the world thinks of love. Usually that love is romantic love. But there are many forms of love. There’s the love people share as friends; there’s the love of families. And families can take on many forms. Being a foster parent is one way of showing love to a child who desperately needs the love of a good parent.

The National Youth Advocate Program is a nationwide youth advocacy organization that specializes in foster care and therapeutic services programs. The representatives provide mental health services and foster care services to children and families. The National Youth Advocate Program has been operating in West Virginia since 1982, and has an office in Martinsburg. There are also in Parkersburg, Fairmont, and Wheeling.

Children are usually referred through the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. These children are victims of abuse and neglect, abandonment, or otherwise do not have a safe home to live in. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has foster homes. In the event that these homes are full, specialized foster care agencies are contacted to secure a home for the child to live in. Children range in age from birth to 18 years old and come from all socioeconomic demographics or racial or cultural groups.

Sara Westendorff is the licensing coordinator in Martinsburg, and responsible for recruiting, training, and licensing foster homes in Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan counties. She works with community groups, businesses, and social media to recruit for foster parents.

She says the need for foster parents or adoptive parents is apparent in West Virginia.  “In 2012, (the last year for which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has statistics), 4,591 children were victims of maltreatment or neglect in West Virginia,” she said. “Over fifty percent suffered neglect, thirty-four percent suffered physical abuse, twenty-eight percent suffered emotional abuse, and five percent suffered sexual abuse.”

She added that as of September 2012, 4,825 children were in foster care in West Virginia. In 2012, 1,143 children were legally free for adoption and awaiting care. And 632 children were adopted from the foster care system.

These statistics were cited from Child Welfare Outcomes 2009- 2012, Report to Congress U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Foster parents need to provide a loving, caring home for these special children.  Children become a part of the family.  Westendorff said, “Our foster parents choose to bond with a foster child in spite of the knowledge that they won’t be in that child’s life forever. Our foster parents choose to smooth out the wrinkles on that piece of paper. They make sure the child receive appropriate medical and mental health services. They make education a priority.”

Foster parents ensure that the child develops appropriate social relationships with friends and peers. They give the child a safe, stable, nurturing home. They serve as role models for biological parents. In a variety of ways, they are helping the biological parents so that the child can go home.

Westendorff added, “This is true love. Loving a child in spite of the knowledge that they might be gone tomorrow because it is good for the child, their family, and their community.”

Currently, there are three children in foster care in the immediate area. At least ten have achieved adoption with foster families in the last five years. The NYAP receives referrals for foster care constantly. 

Westendorff said there are more children in need than there are foster homes available.  “We are in need of foster homes to serve older youth, sibling groups, and drug affected infants.  We also have an older youth that has been accepted to a job preparation program so that she can develop adult life skills and be successful in the future.”

There have been many success stories. Jennifer Holben and her husband have had 23 foster children in their home at varying times over the last decade. She said March will be their ten-year anniversary of taking in their first foster child to join their family of two of their own children.

“My husband and I love children,” Holben said. “He had a customer who was talking about international adoption.  We started looking into it and found out about all the children in the U.S. who need homes. We wanted to help out here in the U.S.”

They took special training and learned first aid and CPR. They took crisis prevention and other training. Then, they took in a two-year old girl, and later welcomed her newborn sister who only weighed four pounds when born. The baby was addicted to heroin.

That was six years ago. Today, those girls are their adopted children, who are part of a family that includes their two biological children and two current foster children.

“The father lost his rights,” Holben explained. “And the mother relinquished her rights. We filed to adopt them and went through the 45-day waiting period.  It felt like much longer.”

There are drawbacks, like loving children that might leave. Many of the children return to their biological parents once the parents get their life together.  However, there are a lot of pros to the cons.

She said there’s a special kind of love that doesn’t have a price tag. If they have take in a baby for a year, they are the ones up with it at night, but they get to see it take its first steps, or maybe first words.  It’s always hard when the children leave, but she wouldn’t trade the experience. 

“You always cry. People ask why we do it. It’s hard to explain.  The saying is parenting is the hardest thing to do. I say being a foster parent is the hardest. We have had kids with us a while that leave and we run into them a year later, and they call me mom or call my husband daddy. That outweighs the pain.”

She said foster parents have to know going into it that they will likely have the children for a short time. These kids have been abused in some way or neglected. She said they come with issues, and every one is different.

“I’d recommend being a foster parent,” said Holben. “The reward is so great watching kids grow and succeed and knowing you were part of it.”

Of course, the foster parents are supervised.  Westendorff completes an in-depth analysis of the home in terms of background checks, references, and interviews with all family members. About 30 hours of training is given to prospective foster parents. They have to take continuing education courses.

And personnel monitor the children by meeting with them. Westendorff said, “As a specialized agency, we provide a lot of services ‘in house.’ We have a treatment coordinator that meets with each child twice a month in the foster home or at school to monitor their case. This treatment coordinator acts as a liaison with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and Child Protective Services. This person ensures that any services that the child needs are provided to them. We also have licensed therapists within our agency so a child can receive counseling quickly and effectively.”

Services are also provided to the biological parents, such as counseling, parenting education, or adult life skills education. The ultimate best goal would be to reunite the children with their biological parents. Over sixty percent of children spend less than a year in foster care.  All services are done with direction from Child Protective Services workers assigned to the case.

The National Youth Advocate Program was founded in 1978 by Dr. Mubarak Awad. Dr. Awad’s father was killed in 1948 in the Israeli-Arab War. He grew up in orphanages in Jerusalem before moving to the United States to attend college in Ohio. In 1978, Dr. Awad observed that children were being institutionalized at an alarming rate. He began to create programs in Ohio to keep children in their communities because of a belief that children are best served in their communities. Today, the National Youth Advocate Program operates in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, Illinois, Florida, and South Carolina.

For more information about the National Youth Advocate Program, call (304) 596-2390 or log onto http://www.nyap.org.  The local office is located at 1314 Edwin Miller Blvd., Suite 103, Martinsburg, WV 25404. 

Photo: The Holben Family with foster child obscured for privacy.


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Call for Artists: Berkeley Arts Council Plein Air Paint-In and Exhibit

On Saturday, May 9, 2015, the Berkley Arts Council is sponsoring its first plein air painting event in conjunction with Martinsburg Heritage Days Festival. This date will also be the opening of BAC’s first exhibit of plein air paintings in the Berkeley Art Works in downtown Martinsburg.

The BAC seeks to pre-register painters to participate in an plein air painting event and exhibit. Participating artists should be prepared to set up in an outdoors location and work on a painting of a scene in that location. Participants may exhibit finished paintings, prints, or other work for sale in the Berkeley Art Works gallery during the month of May.

Visit http://artworks.berkeleyartswv.org/pleinair/ for details and online registration. The deadline for registration is April 6, 2015


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Call for Artists: Photo15 Juried Photography Exhibit

The Berkeley Arts Council in Martinsburg, West Virginia announces Photo15, its 2015 Juried Photography Exhibit, to be displayed in the Berkeley Art Works Gallery, 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg. The exhibit will be on display June 10 – July 11, 2015. There will be a reception on Saturday, June 20, from 3-5pm.

The exhibit is open to all photographers without restriction to technique. The theme for the exhibit is open.

The Juror for the exhibit is Dean Kessmann, Associate Professor at George Washington University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate students.

Images must be submitted online for jurying by April 27. The for full prospectus and online entry system visit http://artworks.berkeleyartswv.org/photo15/.


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WVCALA Launches Public Education Campaign Thanking State Senators

Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA) today announced the launch of a statewide public education radio campaign to thank State Senators who have supported much-needed reforms to West Virginia’s lawsuit system. In recent weeks, the West Virginia State Senate has passed lawsuit reforms to bring fairness and impartiality to West Virginia’s lawsuit system, which will help create jobs and boost the state’s economy

“Under the leadership of State Senate President Bill Cole, the West Virginia Legislature has passed measures to help make West Virginia’s lawsuit system serve the interests of ordinary people, instead of lawyers. The State Senate has deliberated and passed many lawsuit reforms that will help end the abuse of our state’s lawsuit’ system, which has earned national notoriety as a ‘Judicial Hellhole.’ Our statewide public education effort will help make sure West Virginians know how some state senators are working hard to pass these reforms,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

In recent weeks, the State Senate has passed reforms to protect property owners from those who trespass illegally and file lawsuits, bring equality to the lawsuit system for those with claims against healthcare providers, and protect property owners from abusive lawsuits based on open and obvious dangers.

Stauffer concluded, “It’s refreshing to see that the new leadership at the West Virginia Legislature is committed to supporting an economic development package that includes the much-needed lawsuit reforms that we have discussed for many years. These reforms will bring West Virginia in line with surrounding states and create more opportunities for West Virginians.”


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Job Opening: Harpers Ferry Event Planner

A consortium of organizations in the towns of Harpers Ferry and Bolivar, with funding from the Corporation of Harper Ferry, seeks a part-time events planner to help plan, publicize and carry out festivals in our towns.

This position would be from March through June, 2015, with a possibility of continuing for another twelve months if funding becomes available.

Job description:

The event planner would:

  • Plan and coordinate events with town organizations, area merchants, volunteers and staff
  • Help manage publicity, in partnership with the CVB, WV Tourism, and other avenues
  • Supervise a social media campaign
  • Write press releases and research advertising and grant possibilities that our organizations and/or the Town and CVB could pursue
  • Keep records of work and expenses.

The job would pay $20/hour for ten hours monthly, plus 20 hours during and around each festival in setup and event supervision.

Send letter and resume by Feb. 23, 2015 to Chris Craig, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or PO Box 1011, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425.

 


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Stoney Creek Plus Two

Hedgesville, WV - Stoney Creek’s Libby Files and Brett Smeltzer have announced that “West Virginia’s Classic Bluegrass Band” is entering the 2015 season with two additions: banjo player Troy Stangle and guitarist Kenton Catlett. Files described recent rehearsal sessions with the new lineup as “unbelievable.”

Troy Stangle previously played banjo and dobro with All4Hym, who recorded on the Rural Rhythm Christian label. His stage and studio experience made Stangle a logical pick for Stoney Creek.

“Troy displays a vast array of versatility and uniqueness in his banjo skills,” according to the band’s mandolin player Brett Smeltzer. “He is a veteran with a musical talent that is not overpowering, but what audiences will appreciate and find very pleasing to the ear. It’s great to have Troy on board with Stoney Creek.”

The band is also bringing on board guitarist Kenton Catlett. Catlett had filled in with Stoney Creek throughout 2013 and 2014 when guitarist Ed Barney’s job responsibilities kept him from playing show dates. In January 2015, Barney decided to step back from Stoney Creek, and Catlett was a natural fit.

“When I was first getting into bluegrass music nearly 30 years ago, Kenton was the first person that I started playing music with ... rather quickly focusing on both harmonies and arrangement,” Smeltzer noted. Smeltzer and Files agreed that “over the past few years, Kenton has been a reliable source to help out Stoney Creek with his vocal and guitar skill on an ‘as needed’ basis. It is great to know that we have that same commitment from him now on a full-time basis.”

“I would like to welcome the new members to the band,” Files said. “I am excited about the upcoming lineup and the new opportunities that it will bring.”

Longtime banjo and dobro player Darrell Sanders is on the band’s injured reserve list. Sanders is facing surgery for a damaged nerve that has limited his playing ability.

Stoney Creek plans to announce 2015 show dates, as well as returning to the studio to finish work on a new album. The new project will be a follow-up to 2012’s “Are You Ready?” album, which gained the band airplay in over 200 radio markets and a music video in national rotation on BlueHighways TV.

Stoney Creek’s upcoming tour dates and contact information can be found at StoneyCreekBluegrass.net. Radio service, booking, and press inquiries for Stoney Creek can be made by contacting Calv’ry Booking and Management through CalvryBooking.com.


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Art of Pilates Class at the Berkeley Art Works

The Berkeley Art Works will offer Pilates classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 - 9:30am through the month of March featuring Certified Pilates Instructor Kat Ward.

Pilates is a great way to build better posture, alleviate ailments, tone muscles, and center the mind and body. In this introduction to Pilates we will focus on proper form and toning muscle groups while working towards a more stress-free self.

The classes are held at the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg. Tuition is $85 and pre-registration is required. For details and online registration visit http://artworks.berkeleyartswv.org/instruction/


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Open Studio at the Berkeley Art Works

The Open Studio Program is offered in weekly three hour sessions over four weeks starting Tuesday, March 10 and continuing on March 17, 24, and 31, from 1:00 - 4:00pm. For March the instructor during the sessions will be Jean Kellogg

Whether you’re working in watercolor, acrylics, pastels, oil, or some combination, artists of all skill levels are invited to come in and enjoy a social and collaborative atmosphere where you can strengthen your skills or try new ideas or techniques with one of our experienced instructors available to provide individualized coaching and guidance.

While this is not a formal instruction program, it’s a great opportunity to continue to practice what you have learned in other classes, revitalize those rusty skills, get some help with a stubborn composition, or just take the time for yourself to focus on your artwork with fewer distractions and some expert advice!

The Open Studio for April will be led by Judith Becker on Tuesdays, April 7, 14, 21, and 28 from 1:00pm - 4:00pm.

The sessions are held at the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg. The tuition is $80 for the four sessions. Pre-registration is required. For details and online registration information visit http://artworks.berkeleyartswv.org/openstudio/. For more information email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 304-620-7277.


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UPDATED: Late February and March Events at Asbury UMC

*** THIS SATURDAY *** Asbury UMC Spaghetti Dinner
The Asbury Missions Committee will host a Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday; Feb 21, from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM.  We will also have spaghetti carry-out available after church on Sunday, February 22 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM.  All monies raised will be used to help send Asbury members on a mission trip in July 2015 to the Navajo Indian Reservation.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC – Lenten Bible Study
Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV invites our community to join us on Thursday; Feb. 26th at 6 PM as we begin our 2015 Lenten Bible Study titled “Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God”. We’ll learn that being close to God means communicating with Him - telling Him what is on our hearts in prayer and hearing and understanding what he is saying to us. It is this second half of the conversation with God that is so important as we ask questions like: How do we hear his voice? How can we be sure that what we think we hear is not our own subconscious? What role does the Bible play? What if what God says to us is not clear?  Join Asbury as we learn how we can hear God’s voice clearly and develop an intimate partnership with Him in the work of His kingdom.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC Youth Group & Veterun 5k Spaghetti Dinner
The Asbury Riders Youth Group will host a Spaghetti Dinner on Friday; March 6th from 3:30 - 7:00 PM in an effort to raise money for youth ministries.  This dinner is being held in conjunction with the 2nd Annual Veterun 5k, allowing runners to have a great dinner when they pick up their race packets prior to the race on Saturday; March 7th.  Spaghetti Dinner prices: $8/Adult—$5/8 & Under – Under 3 Free.  Dine-in, Carry-out and drive-thru service will be available at Asbury (YES FOLKS, We’ll have drive-thru service!).  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC - Run For God Bible Study & 5K
Asbury United Methodist Church in Charles Town WV is pleased to host the Run For God 5k Challenge!  This challenge is part bible study and part training program. The primary goal is to learn to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ while understanding the parallels of enduring a sport like running and enduring your faith.  This study is for everyone! In fact, this study is designed for those who have never run, and if you have never run in your life, there is no better time to start than now. We will meet Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. at Asbury UMC beginning March 22nd and the class will conclude by running the Asbury UMC ‘Independence Day 5k’ in July.  The book can be purchased at http://www.RunForGod.com.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC - Financial Peace University
Asbury UMC in Charles Town will be hosting a Financial Peace University class, taught on video by Dave Ramsey. You will learn how money really works from budgeting and dumping debt to building wealth and giving. Class will begin on Sunday, March 22 at 2 p.m.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC Welcomes Back Gospel Legends - The Jacobs Brothers
Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV is excited to host The Jacobs Brothers at a special Gospel Concert on Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 6 p.m.  The Jacobs Brothers are international veterans of gospel music who have traveled millions of miles and produced more than 50 albums.  They will be joined onstage by local gospel favorites – The Men In Black Gospel Singers.  This concert is open to the public and admission is free.  There will be a free will offering to help the singers offset their expenses. Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.

Asbury UMC - Yarn Ministry
Are you looking for a ministry of prayer and care for others? You might consider a unique way to serve as the “hands” of Christ through crochet or knitting—-and there is opportunity to support this ministry without knowing how to crochet or knit. Prayer is the focus—-and our mission is to create handmade gifts of comfort, hope and peace that demonstrate God’s love. Praying for a stranger helps us to learn to trust the truth that God works through us when we care for friends and strangers alike. Join us beginning Sunday Feb 15th from 3-5 PM and learn more about this exciting ministry. Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  Please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org for more information.


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First Friday Coffee House Hosts the Rolling Coyotes March 6

The March 6 First Friday Coffeehouse will feature The Rolling Coyotes, a local trio known for their fresh musical approach and crowd-pleasing performances.  The event is held at Trinity Orchard House on Route 45 mid-way between Shepherdstown and Martinsburg, West Virginia.  Doors open for social time and open mic sign-up at 7 pm. All open mic participants should be there early to get a slot to perform at one of the area`s premier listening rooms. Up to eight performers can show off their talents during the hour preceding the feature act.

The Rolling Coyotes offer up an Americana palette of songs that conjure up a comfortably familiar landscape of people and places. Set to toe-tapping swing, lazy country blues, folky ballads and more, their sound glides along like a drive in the countryside. They blend a tasteful, and sometimes playful, mixture of guitar, piano, cello, bass, accordion, ukelele, and mandolin to compliment textured vocals and harmonies. Singer-songwriter, Steve Warner has a baritone voice that is soothing, yet passionately expressive. He has garnered numerous songwriting awards and has had songs recorded by several indie artists. The band includes the multi-instrument and vocal talents of Elliot Simon and Andy Mosholder.  They have graced many of the area’s premier venues and events. 

“Steve Warner will charm you with his amazing charisma, touch you with his amazing songs and lift your spirits with his delightful wisdom. The writing and singing Train of Life, the latest CD by The Rolling Coyotes is about as good as it gets for the genre. They let it all hang out, delivering music that is as much fun as it is entertaining. I look forward to hearing more.” ...Cyrus Rhodes, Indie Music Review. Visit http://www.stevewarnermusic.com.

Enjoy a great evening of music and fellowship. Snacks and refreshments served. Trinity Orchard House is located at 4599 Shepherdstown Rd. (Rt. 45), Martinsburg, WV 25401. From Shepherdstown, it´s four miles on the right from the four-way stop…just before The Pump House.  A $10 donation per person is requested. For more information, contact Steve Warner…304-676-4422 or 304-876-2915.


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WV CALA Applauds Legislation Bringing Transparency To Asbestos Claims Process

Charleston, W.Va. – Future legitimate asbestos claimants would benefit greatly from legal reforms to bring transparency to the asbestos claims process and establish medical criteria for asbestos claimants according to legal watchdog group West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA). These reforms are needed to reduce fraud and help ensure the longevity of asbestos trusts.

“We applaud Senators Takubo, Ferns, Gaunch, Mullins, and Majority Leader Carmichael for introducing the Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act (SB 411). Abuse of the asbestos trust claims process is widespread, and this legislation will shed much-needed daylight on how trusts are being run and cut down on widespread fraud in trust claims and litigation. Greed and misrepresentation of facts are rampant in the system, and future legitimate victims of asbestos exposure are losing out to those factors in our present sytem.,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

In recent years, personal injury lawyers in West Virginia and across the country have been caught abusing the asbestos trust filing process for personal gain. In 2012, two personal injury lawyers and a radiologist in the northern panhandle of West Virginia were found guilty of fraud and racketeering for filing bogus asbestos claims. In January, a court revealed that personal injury lawyers allegedly concealed evidence and induced clients to commit perjury to drive up asbestos-related settlements to garner bigger attorneys’ fees in a bankruptcy proceding for Garlock Sealing Technologies. 

The Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act would require personal injury lawyers to disclose, in litigation, when they have filed claims with asbestos trusts or plan to do so, which is currently not practiced. Additionally, the legislation establishes medical criteria for asbestos claims, which will help eliminate fraudulent trust claims and preserve asbestos trust resources for those with legitimate claims.

Stauffer concluded, “Some millionaire personal injury lawyers are not speaking the truth when they say this legislation will ‘eliminate asbestos monetary recovery.’ This reform legislation will ensure that our lawsuit system is used for justice, not greed. It will ensure that asbestos trusts remain accessible to those with legitimate asbestos claims and will be a giant step toward ending asbestos fraud with trusts and in the courtroom.”


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Managing Stress: Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?

Knowing whether you are an Introvert or Extrovert may be the key to unlocking and reducing your stress levels.

Learn how in the latest article from A Brighter Tomorrow Counseling, Managing Stress: Are you an Introvert or Extrovert.


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National Park Service Accepting Comments on White-Tailed Deer Management Plan

WASHINGTON—The National Park Service (NPS) is requesting public input in developing a White-tailed Deer Management Plan and Environmental Assessment (plan/EA) for Harpers Ferry and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal national historical parks. A joint plan is being developed because both parks face similar issues caused by high densities of deer. Public scoping comments are being accepted through March 20, 2015.

Scoping is the first formal public step in the planning process. The NPS is presenting four preliminary alternatives and five potential focus areas to help guide feedback. The preliminary alternatives are no action, nonlethal deer management, lethal deer management or a combination of lethal and nonlethal deer management. The potential focus areas, from south to north, are Great Falls in Md, White’s Ferry, Canal Farm, Harpers Ferry area, and Four Locks. A newsletter with additional details is available on the project website.

Public Meetings
The NPS is holding three public meetings to discuss the plan, answer questions and accept public comments. The open house format meetings will take place on:

  • Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 6 p.m.to 8 p.m., Upper Classroom in Mather Training Center, Mather Place, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Headquarters, C&O Canal NHP, 1850 Dual Highway, Hagerstown, MD, 21740
  • Thursday, February 26, 2015, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Brooke Hall and Great Falls Room, Rockwood Manor, 11001 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, MD 20854

How to Comment
Members of the public and organizations are encouraged to provide comments online, the NPS preferred method, via the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website.

Comments may also be submitted in writing to:

Attn: Deer Management Plan
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park
1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100
Hagerstown, MD 21740-6620

Comments must be entered into the website or postmarked by March 20, 2015 to receive consideration. Please be aware that the entire comment submitted – including personal identifying information such as address, phone number, e-mail address – may be made publicly available. Requests to withhold such personal identifying information from public release will be considered, but there is no guarantee that they will be withheld.

There are five parks in the national capital region that already have approved white-tailed deer management plans. The parks are: Catoctin Mountain Park (Md.), Rock Creek Park (D.C.), Antietam National Battlefield (Md.), Manassas National Battlefield Park (Va.) and Monocacy National Battlefield (Md.).

For more information visit the project website at http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/NHPdeermanagement.


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WVCALA: Mesh Litigation Recruitment Fraud Highlghts Questionable Tactics Of Personal Injury Lawyers

Charleston, W.Va. – The recent release of evidence of fraudulent recruiting tactics by some personal injury lawyers involved in pelvic mesh litigation being heard in a federal courtroom in West Virginia are just the latest examples of widespread fraud in mass litigation and trust claims (#2, page15), according to West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA). 

“This is another example of how some millionaire personal injury lawyers take advantage of our legal system for personal benefit, and why West Virginia needs to reform its lawsuit system. Just two years ago, two personal injury lawyers were convicted of fraud and racketeering in our state as a result of bogus asbestos claims, and recent revelations across the country show it is just the tip of the iceberg. Personal injury lawyers encouraging people to not be truthful in order to join a class action settlement is abuse of our system that cannot be tolerated,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

In late 2012, a federal jury in the Northern District of West Virginia found two personal injury lawyers and a radiologist guilty of racketeering in connection with their filing of fraudulent asbestos claims (#4).

Several other high profile examples of fraud and abuse by personal injury lawyers has come to light in recent weeks. First, the Speaker of the New York Assembly was indicted for taking kickbacks from a personal injury law firm and channeling money to a doctor who referred clients to the law firm. Secondly, a bankruptcy judge in the Garlock Sealing Technologies case in North Carolina found personal injury lawyers were repeatedly changing their stories in claims they filed, seeking to increase their fees (#6). 

Stauffer concluded, “Now is the time for West Virginia to reform its lawsuit system to ensure it serves the interests of ordinary people, instead of lawyers. It’s no surprise that the millionaire personal injury lawyers oppose lawsuit reforms that would prevent them from abusing our system for personal profit. We encourage West Virginians to call their legislators and tell them we need more jobs, not more lawsuits.”

BACKGROUND LINKS:
(1) “Citing Latest Bombshell Allegations of Trial-Lawyer Fraud, ATRA Urges Congress, DOJ to Investigate,” American Tort Reform Association, Jan. 14 2015

(2) Johnson & Johnson’s and Ethicon’s Motion to Revise Case Management Procedures and for Discovery Related to Plaintiff Solicitation, Jan. 14, 2015

(3) “Johnson & Johnson wants courts to probe telephone solicitations, fraudulent claims in pelvic mesh litigation,” The State Journal, January 15, 2015

(4) “Law Firm Hit With $429,000 Verdict Over Faked Asbestos Suits,” Forbes, Dec. 21, 2012

(5) “CSX Nets Triple Damages In Asbestos Fraud Suit Against Attys,” Law360.com, Sep. 26, 2013

(6) “Judge To Open Files Supporting Garlock Asbestos Fraud Claims Next Week,” Forbes, Nov. 14, 2014


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WVCALA: Supreme Court Justice Should Reconsider Recusal On Learjet Lawyer Cases

Charleston, W.Va. – Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis should recuse herself from cases involving the out-of-state personal injury lawyer who purchased a Learjet for over one million dollars from Justice Davis’ husband, according to legal watchdog group West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA).

“When so much money has exchanged hands with a family member, as we see with the Learjet deal, we believe Justice Davis should recuse herself from all cases involving this personal injury lawyer before our high court so all litigants have a fair and impartial day in court. Our recent statewide public opinion survey shows that eight in ten (82 percent) West Virginians believe Justice Davis should have disclosed her connections to this lawyer. This chain of events has already embarrassed our state’s legal system on national television. Why not take steps to ensure that even the appearance of impartiality and impropriety is removed?” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

On January 30th, attorneys for a defendant with a case pending before the Supreme Court of Appeals involving the personal injury lawyer who purchased the jet filed a motion to disqualify her from the case. Last week, Justice Davis declined to recuse herself.

ABC News disclosed the connection between Justice Davis, her husband, and the out-of-state millionaire personal injury lawyer who purchased the Learjet who also had a nearly $90 million dollar case before the Supreme Court. In addition to the Learjet purchase issue, the same personal injury lawyer and people with connections to him contributed $35,000 to Justice Davis’ re-election campaign.

Stauffer concluded, “Situations like this have led the American Tort Reform Foundation to label our state a ‘Judicial Hellhole’ for more than a decade, and raise obvious questions about the impartiality and fairness of our state’s legal system.”

Supplemental Documents:
Petitioners’ Motion for Disqualification
AMFM, LLC et al. v. Peggy Davis, et al., No. 14-0319
January 30, 2015

Petitioners’ Motion for Disqualification of Justice Robin Davis
HCR Manorcare, LLC et al. v. The Honorable James Stuckey, et al., No 13-C-1137
February 5, 2015

Response to Motion to Disqualify by Justice Robin Davis
AMFM, LLV et al. v. Peggy Davis, et al., No. 14-0319
February 6, 2015


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WVCALA: It’s Time For Lawsuit Reform To Bring Impartiality And Fairness To Our Courts

Press Release received from WVCALA campaign.

Charleston, W.Va. – The “ultimate jury” heard the debate about what to do about lawsuit abuse in West Virginia, and they support lawsuit reforms that would guarantee a jury trial, make our courts fair and impartial, and help create more jobs, watchdog group West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA) says.

“We appreciate that the personal injury lawyers want to talk about our out-of-step legal system and how it prevents our state from attracting much needed jobs. We strongly believe the “ultimate jury,” the voters, heard plenty of debate and spoke very clear and loudly on the need for lawsuit reforms last November. The people of West Virginia elected candidates all across West Virginia of both political parties who support lawsuit reforms, such as those that are currently making their way through the Legislature,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse has been a strong advocate for reforms to bring West Virginia more into the legal mainstream and ensure that all West Virginia’s are ensured a fair and impartial day in court. The watchdog organization recently launched a public education campaign to encourage West Virginians to contact their representatives about much needed lawsuits reform.

In recent weeks, WV CALA debated the personal injury lawyer group’s representative on statewide radio.

Stauffer continued, “The voters of West Virginia told the millionaire personal injury lawyers that our state is not for sale. They told personal injury lawyers, including those recently convicted of fraud and racketeering in the northern panhandle, that it’s time to act to ensure fairness and impartiality in our courts for every litigant. We applaud our Legislature for listening to the people of West Virginia.”


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Underground Railroad Journey Activity at the Children’s Museum

On Saturday, February 28th, the For The Kids, By George! Children’s Museum will be hosting an Underground Railroad Journey experience to commemorate Black History Month. 

From 11am-1pm that day, visitors will take their own journey on the Underground Railroad finding signs, symbols and friends as they try to make their way to freedom while avoiding trouble-making enemies and traps. 

Rosa Clark will be our community partner and educator for this event and all who attend will learn about why this network was such an important part of our story as a nation. 

Volunteers are needed for this activity and will be asked to attend a short training session closer to the day of the event; if interested, please call the Museum at 304.264.9977 or email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The activity is open to all ages and is included with the $6 price of admission for those 2 years old and up.