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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.


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Berkeley Art Works Trifecta of Art Exhibits for February

The Berkeley Art Works in Martinsburg, WV presents a trifecta of art exhibits for February. Three exhibits will run from February 4-28 with a reception on Saturday, February 14 from 4-6pm.

“North Shenandoah Woods”, is an exhibit of fine wood crafted art and hand-crafted furniture. The exhibit is curated by Joe Bourgeois, a furniture designer and wood craftsman based in Bunker Hill, WV.

Artists whose work will be exhibited include wood turner Neil Super, wood carver Nancy Streeter, furniture maker Suzanne Ravgiala, wood sculpture Bruce Fransen, furniture designer Joe Bourgeois, and others.

The “Trees” exhibit will be displayed along with the wood craft work in the Art Works main gallery, and will include paintings, photographs, and mixed media work submitted by local and regional artists. The exhibit was juried by a committee of Berkeley Art Works artists.

In the Back Space gallery, there will be a selection of work by students who have taken various classes and workshops at the Art Works over the last year. Come and see what people have been learning from our talented teaching artists.

The Berkeley Art Works is located at 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg. Winter hours are Wed 11-3, Thu 11-5, Fri 11-5, and Sat 11-4. Closed Sun-Tue. For more information email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 304-620-7277.

The Berkeley Art Works, a service 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.


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Berkeley Arts Council New Workshops for March

The Berkeley Arts Council announces two new workshops for March March to be presented at the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg.

Jean Kellogg will present “Landscape Elements in Drawing Media” on Saturday, March 7 from 1-4pm and “Dimension and Texture in Art” on Saturday, March 21 from 1-4pm.

Previously announced workshops for February and March are “Art from the Heart”, a workshop for Valentine’s Day taught by Jean Kellogg (Sunday, February 8 from 1-3pm), Adult Egg Tempera Painting Workshop taught by Hilda Eiber (Saturday, February 14 from 1-4pm), and Reverse Painting on Glass taught by Hilda Eiber (Saturday, March 14 from 1-4pm).

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


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Vote for Berkeley Springs in BudgetTravel.com’s Coolest Small Town in America Contest

Received from the Berkeley Springs Chamber of Commerce

URGENT request—please VOTE and distribute however you can, the website for BudgetTravel.com’s Coolest Small Town in America (link below.) Berkeley Springs is one of 15 national finalists!  The top 10 in the voting will be featured on Budget Travel’s heavily trafficked website not to mention all the folks who are going to vote for other towns getting to know about us.  We now can call ourselves one of America’s coolest small towns just by virtue of having made it to the finals.  This is a huge and FREE marketing opportunity that we can exploit to make even bigger.  PLEASE HELP!  VOTE every 24 hours until 2/25.

VOTE—for Berkeley Springs.  Every 24 hours through Feb. 25.  WE ARE America’s Coolest Small Town.
http://www.budgettravel.com/contest/vote-for-americas-coolest-small-town-2015,18/


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Eastern Panhandle Entrepreneurs Forum Presents Legal Strategies for Small Business Start-Ups

Martinsburg, West Virginia – Attorney Elizabeth “Layne” Diehl will address the Eastern Panhandle Entrepreneurs Forum (EPEF) on Thurs., Feb. 5th at the Purple Iris in Martinsburg, 5:30 p.m. Don’t miss this free opportunity to hear from an expert on topics ranging from government contracting, financing possibilities and crowd funding, home-based business considerations and website considerations and social media.

EPEF events are free and open to the public and start at 5:30 p.m. with networking and refreshments followed by the program at 6:30 p.m.

Diehl, CEO and managing member of Diehl Law, LLC in Martinsburg, is an attorney and executive experienced in the law of employment, education, communications, small business, immigration and non-profit administration. She is dedicated to the advancement of economic development and growth opportunities for the state of West Virginia in its greater metropolitan Washington, D.C. quad-state region.

Organized by the economic development authorities in Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties, the EPEF is a non-profit organization of individuals in the business and technical communities that promotes the creation and growth of innovative new businesses in the Eastern Panhandle. Programs are held the first Thursday in February, May, August and November, rotating between venues in the three counties. The organization is based on the premise that the future economic vitality of our region comes in large part from the emergence of new businesses through entrepreneurship. In order for this to occur, there must be an entrepreneurial culture, a pool of resources to draw from, and successful models to follow.

For more information call or click: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 304-728-3255, http://www.jcda.net/entrepreneurs-forum/.

The Purple Iris is located at 1956 Winchester Ave. in Martinsburg, West Virginia.


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WVCALA Statement On Passage Of HB 2002

Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA) issued the following statement after the West Virginia House of Delegates passed House Bill 2002 today.

“We applaud the bi-partisan coalition of legislators in the House of Delegates who supported House Bill 2002. West Virginians strongly agree that defendants in a lawsuit that a jury finds partially responsible for an accident should be required to pay an amount equal to their role in that accident. This bill brings fairness to West Virginia’s courts,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

“Our current system unfairly penalizes job creators by forcing them to pay lawsuit costs even when they have very little responsibility for a lawsuit. Forcing people to pay for someone else’s fault drives job opportunities away from West Virginia and hurts our economy,” concluded Stauffer.

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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A New Spring BBQ Tradition To Be Auditioned in Leitersburg

Hagerstown, MD—Mountain Maryland Events, LLC announces the first ever Leitersburg BBQ Festival to take place on Saturday, April 18th at the Ruritan Community Park (home of the Leitersburg Peach Festival) in Leitersburg, MD (just a few miles north of Hagerstown, MD).

The organizers of the popular wine and beer festivals in Hagerstown will be now also be hosting dozens of local restaurants, caterers, artists, crafters, nonprofits, and businesses all in the name of one of our country’s greatest culinary traditions - barbeque!

The event will offer a true family atmosphere (children 12 & under are free) and will be celebrated with vendors, games, and entertainment for every age group. Organizers are anticipating drawing visitors from the quad-state region, bringing in as many as 3,000 saucy faces the very first year.

A smattering of the BBQ vendors for the day include Just Smokin Around BBQ, Smoking Quarters BBQ, Hog-It-Up BBQ, Bub-B-Que, JZ’s Brick Oven Pizza, and Sweet Dreams Deli. Some good eats from local chef/owner John Walla of the Black Eyed Susan Restaurant are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Hagerstown, MD - Mountain Maryland Events, LLC announces “Leitersburg BBQ Festival” to be held on Saturday April 18th, 2015 at the Leitersburg Ruritan Community Park in Leitersburg, MD, where the annual Peach Festival is held.


A post about the event on Bub-B-Cue’s facebook page said, “By the looks of it there’s some heavy hitters who will be there and we plan to bring our A game as well! Really looking forward to it and making some new Q friends.”

“Whether you have a new or longstanding adoration (or even an obsession) of roasted, grilled, broiled or smoked meats and the like, there will be no shortage of anything and everything “barbeque”,” said organizer Rob Immer, of Mountain Maryland Events.

To make this a true community event, The Leitersburg BBQ Festival is also the stage for one of the local charities whom the festival is benefitting, the Leitersburg Ruritan Club.  The club’s mission is, “Fellowship, Goodwill, and Community Service, surveying the needs of the community and then working to meet those needs.”

“This is an exciting event to be holding in Washington County,” said Dan Spedden, President of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We expect it to attract visitors from the entire region who will ‘develop a taste’ for Washington County and want to return at other times to sample all of the richness the county has to offer.”

Festival hours are 11a.m. until 6p.m. and tickets will be available at the event’s website, at Galaxy Liquors and other participating retailers for $7 in advance, then $10 at the gate. Price includes free parking, live music all day, access to all vendors, and free adult and children’s activities.

For more information about the event, please visit http://www.LeitersburgBBQFestival.com

Other events organized by the group include the annual Taste Of The Valley Food & Wine Festival and Quad State Beer Fest. More information about them can be found on their website at http://www.MountainMarylandEvents.com

Mountain Maryland Events is a member of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention & 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 growth for the local economy by promoting, developing and expanding the local visitor industry. For more information about the CVB go to http://www.marylandmemories.com.


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Beat the Winter Blues with Jala Yoga’s February Workshops

Winchester, VA—Jala Yoga, the vibrant yoga studio with locations in Shepherdstown, WV, Charles Town, WV, and Winchester, VA, has announced its February workshops.  From strengthening your core to balancing your chakras to enjoying a playful afternoon of partner yoga, Jala has something for everyone.

On Sunday, February 1, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, yoga instructor Kimber Hyatt leads a Chakra-Balancing Workshop at Jala’s Charles Town location, 307 West Washington Street.  Through a yoga practice and specific yogic breathing, Kimber will introduce the Chakras, explain what their qualities are, and teach how to bring balance to these important energy centers within each of us.  The cost of the workshop is $30.

On Saturday, February 7, from 2:00 to 3:30 pm, Pilates instructor Jaime Haines leads an Introduction to Pilates workshop at Jala’s Winchester studio, Creekside Station, 3119 Valley Avenue.  Jaime will explain the principles and postures of this multi-faceted, integrative exercise system.  Participants will learn how to activate the deep core muscles known as the ‘Powerhouse’ while experiencing a 60-minute Pilates Mat class.  Each student will also receive a postural alignment assessment. The cost of the workshop is $10.

On Saturday, February 7, from 5:30-7:30 pm, Renea Moran teaches a Core Power Workshop at the Shepherdstown studio, 117 West German Street. This workshop will help students strengthen their cores, learn how to use the breath to gain strength, and develop stronger back muscles.  The cost is $25.

On Saturday, February 14, from 2:00-4:00 pm, Jala celebrates Valentine’s Day with Takes Two to Yoga, a workshop in partner yoga.  The workshop takes place at Jala’s Winchester studio, and is taught by Carol Lenhart, who was featured in August’s Yoga Journal talking about the benefits of yoga for two. In partner yoga, students rely on each other for support in each posture, expanding and strengthening their body-mind connection.  Bring a partner (friend, co-worker, spouse) or not! Beginners are welcome. The cost is $25 per person or $38 per pair, or $20/$36 early bird if registered by February 11.

To register or for more information about Jala Yoga, please visit http://www.jalayogaflow.com or call 401-440-0279.


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Write-In Candidate For Hancock Town Council Makes Appeal

I am Charles Wilkinson

I ask for your vote as a WRITE-IN CANDIDATE for COUNCILMAN FOR HANCOCK, MARYLAND.

Many of you will remember that I ran for Councilman in the election of 2013.

Since 2013 I have been able to meet more of our Hancock Citizens, investors and business owners. I have also observed the positive growth that reinforces my belief that I had when I was looking for a retirement hometown:

(My statement below answers why I am running for Councilman.)

HANCOCK IS THE BEST PLACE FOR CHARLES WILKINSON TO LIVE

BECAUSE HANCOCK HAS A VERY POSITIVE FUTURE

I am a retired educator. I was a teacher of history for twenty plus years. I also served as a principal for a short time. I have also traveled extensively all over America.

1. As a direct result of my education (a Masters Degree in Educational Administration),  my career and my extensive travels across America, I KNOW I can make a positive contribution to the continued growth of Hancock.

2. We must continue to strengthen our existing businesses as we use all professional individuals both within and without Hancock to search for new businesses and INDUSTRIES to invest in Hancock.

3. Hancock has various opportunities (problems) that Hancock faces. Our former Prowler/Fleetwood facility is now empty as Evolve/Featherlight seem to be 100% out of business.

Our old sewer lagoon seems to be unable to comply with Maryland and EPA sewer regulations and thus may cost millions of dollars to eventually replace.

But I feel Hancock’s biggest problem was forced on Hancock years ago when I-70 was created in such a way to dead end into Breezewood with Breezewood becoming a huge preferred “destination” instead of choosing Hancock for truckers and private travelers who are ready to spend money if only they could quickly obtain food, fuel and lodging in Hancock.  Our Maryland/Hancock portion of I-70 further compounds our problem with the current design of Exits 3 and Exit 5 that makes Hancock very unattractive to truckers and private travelers who might wish to enter and leave Hancock quickly and easily for food and fuel.

A big part of the solution to Hancock’s BIGGEST problem (Hancock is not a Town that is easy to quickly enter and leave) will require large amounts of County, State and Federal money. Thus it will be a difficult/expensive problem to solve. However, I am ready to work with our Town, County, State and Federal governments to start to create “Hancock’s Golden Mile”......generally in the area of Hancock’s Log Cabin.

Please WRITE-IN Charles Wilkinson for Hancock Councilman on January 26.


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January / February Events at Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV

*** BEGINS THIS WEEKEND *** Asbury UMC - “Iron Men” Study
Beginning Jan 24th at 6:00 PM, Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV invites the men of our community to join us for our “Iron Men” Bible Study.  This series is designed to equip men—in a devotional type setting, to do spiritual battle with the enemy, which includes recognizing the deceptions about doing true spiritual battle, realizing the roles men play at the front lines.  There is no charge for this event 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 on Sundays from 2-4 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 - Souper Bowl Sunday
Please support Asbury’s Sunday School & Youth Group on Sunday; February 1st as they mobilize to fight hunger in our community by collecting monetary donations & non-perishable foods for Jefferson County Community Ministries. “Souper Bowl Sunday” began in 1990 as a way for youth to help those in need and 100% of what they raise stays in the local community. Please support this worthy cause through your donations and also by praying this “Souper Bowl” prayer before the big game begins: “Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat. Amen”.  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 - Boy Scout Troop 42 Valentines Dinner
Did you know that it costs about $250 to send one Boy Scout to summer camp?  To help our local troop make camp a reality for all their members, the Asbury United Methodist Men is partnering with Boy Scout Troop #42 to host a Valentines Dinner & Show to the Jefferson County Community. Tickets are $25 each or two for $45 and all proceeds from ticket sales will be used to help send scouts to camp this summer.  Asbury UMC is located at 110 West North Street in Charles Town WV and our facilities are handicapped accessible.  For tickets or more information, please call 304-725-5513 or visit http://www.myasburychurch.org.

Asbury UMC – Honoring Local Scouts
On Sunday February 8th at 9:35 & 11 a.m., Asbury UMC in Charles Town WV is inviting all local Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and their families to join us for Scout Sunday.  On this special day, Asbury will honor our Scouting Youth, Parents, and Leaders and the Scouts will have a vital part in the worship services as well.  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 - Ash Wednesday Service
Join Asbury UMC for our Ash Wednesday Services on Wednesday; February 18th at 7 PM.  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent.  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 - 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.


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What To Expect From Wireless In 2015

Wireless technology is ever-changing, but West Virginia residents and businesses can stay on the cutting edge in 2015 with a little insight on upcoming industry trends.

Jay Ellison, executive vice president of operations for U.S. Cellular, says 2015 will bring even more options to customize and revolutionize the way we use wireless devices.

“The convenience of wireless technology can be seen in so much of our daily lives, whether it be wirelessly monitoring cross-country shipments for your business or video-chatting with your family across continents to stay in touch,” Ellison said. “The devices we now carry in our hands are replacing older technology and making it easier and less expensive to entertain ourselves and get things done.”

Heading into the New Year, Ellison anticipates five trends that will pulse through the wireless industry in 2015 and beyond:

1. Wirelessly monitoring your health

We’ve become accustomed to checking our symptoms online, but technology will have an even greater impact on how we monitor health. Ellison expects to see increased use of “telemedicine,” which allows people to contact trained medical professionals from home or work via smartphones and tablets. They’re able to discuss symptoms and health concerns and get prescriptions or treatment.

As the technology evolves and more doctors and consumers experience the convenience, this trend will expand in the health care field. There also will be a higher demand for add-on accessories, such as heart-rate monitors and blood testers, as well as smart watches that deliver these services. With Apple, Samsung, Motorola and LG all planning to offer an assortment of wearable devices in 2015, the opportunities to monitor and improve health through a wireless device get even easier.

2. Growth in wireless business solutions

Mobile technology will play a bigger role in the growth of small and large businesses with a broader move to machine-to-machine (M2M) innovations. M2M technology allows wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices of the same type, such as vehicle or fleet tracking systems. In the last year, M2M adoption has increased by more than 80 percent, with 22 percent of companies now actively using the technology.

“Through M2M, fast 4G LTE networks and additional business solutions, there are cost-effective ways to enhance business productivity around the clock while also being scalable for future growth,” Ellison said. “Whether a business needs smartphones, tablets, hotspots, modems, vehicle tracking, wireless sensors or cloud storage solutions, U.S. Cellular will be leading the charge to meet these needs in 2015.”

3. Tablets everywhere – from elementary schools to the office

Tablets have exploded in popularity over the past two years as an entertainment device, and we’re now seeing the devices used in formal environments, such as schools and offices. In 2015, this trend will gain traction. Some schools are switching from print textbooks to digital textbooks on tablets. The tablets are lighter than books, easier on the environment and have been shown to increase student interactivity and creativity. In offices, tablets with detachable keyboards will become the go-to device for on-the-go productivity.

“U.S. Cellular encourages the opportunities to bring technology into classrooms and works with business owners to determine the best way they can utilize tablets in their day-to-day operations,” Ellison said.

4. Growth of VoLTE

Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) is the next evolution in wireless calling. It provides several advantages over current voice calling, including higher-quality calls, power and spectrum efficiency related to bandwidth and the use of interactive services, such as easy video calling.

The technology has been championed by wireless carriers for several years now, but progress in bringing the benefits to consumers has moved slowly until this point. Now, 2015 will bring more VoLTE-enabled smartphones, which will entice more carriers to adopt the technology for customers.

“U.S. Cellular is currently conducting trials of the service and plans to begin rolling it out in 2016,” Ellison added.

5. Cutting the Cable Cord

With wireless technology increasing access options to TV, movies and video, 2013 was the first year that traditional pay-TV services recorded negative new customers. The increased media consumption through computers, tablets and smartphones has led to an increase in “Cord Nevers,” young people who never have established a traditional pay-TV subscription. 

This trend will expand in 2015 as some major networks, including HBO and CBS, are planning to provide streaming options outside of the traditional TV format.

“We expect the cord-cutting trend to continue in 2015,” Ellison said. “And traditional TV networks and providers, as well as wireless carriers, will have to adapt their offerings to keep up with it.”

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, nearly 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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Jefferson County Little League (JCLL) 2015 Spring Season Registrations

Jefferson County Little League (JCLL)
Tee Ball, Baseball and Softball Registration for the Spring 2015 Season

SPRING 2015 REGISTRATION INFORMATION

Tee Ball, Baseball and Softball Registration for the Spring 2015 season will be held in February on the following Saturdays from 10AM to 1PM, in the Charles Town Middle School cafeteria, 193 High Street, Charles Town:

February 7

February 14

February 21

Registrations will also be held on Wednesday, February 11, and Wednesday, February 25, from 6PM to 8PM, also at the Charles Town Middle School cafeteria.

The registration cost is $120 for the first player of a family.  Any additional players (up to 4) per family - $110 per player.  Cash, Check and Credit Cards accepted.
NOTE:  The above costs include $50 in fundraising raffle tickets which can be sold to offset that portion of the registration cost.  The registration cost includes a hat and shirt for baseball, and a visor and shirt for softball.

For information, including forms and what you will need to bring, please visit http://www.eteamz.com/jcllplayball/news/index.cfm?cat=329582.


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Maryland Symphony Orchestra Offers Annual “Symphony Saturdays” Educational Series

Hagerstown, MD-The Maryland Symphony Orchestra will offer its annual “Symphony Saturdays” educational series on February 14, 21, 28, and March 14, 2015 in downtown Hagerstown.

This award-winning series of educational programs that introduces first, second, and third graders to brass, woodwind, string, and percussion instruments will be held over the course of three Saturdays in February and one in March.  Children will have the opportunity to meet MSO musicians and hear them talk about the history of their instruments.  The musicians will also play for the students and allow them to get a feel for what it is like to actually play a clarinet, or a trumpet, or beat the bass drum.

The series begins on February 14 with Strings and followed by Woodwinds on February 21, Brass on February 28, and Percussion on March 14.  Three sessions are held per Saturday:  9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.; and, 12:00 Noon to 1:00 p.m.

All sessions, with the exception of the Percussion, will be held at the Washington County Public Library, 100 S. Potomac Street.  The location for the Percussion sessions will be announced at a later date.

The fee for the entire series is $25 per child which is payable at time of registration.  All children must be accompanied by a parent.  Registration forms are available at http://www.marylandsymphony.org/symphony-saturdays. Deadline for registration is Monday, February 2.  Please make checks payable to MSO.  For more information, contact Nicole Haughton, MSO operations manager and educator coordinator, at 301-797-4000, extension 103.


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Southern Morgan Residents Oppose Proposed Dollar General Store

At a community forum Monday night in southern Morgan County, approximately 60 people said they opposed the building of a Dollar General store at the intersection of Oakland Road and U.S. 522. The site, south of Berkeley Springs on the busy north-south U.S. 522, is currently four lots in the residential subdivision Oakland Overlook.

A rep for MDG, the subdivision developer and seller, said there is a contract between his boss and Cross Development, LLC, the prospective developer.  Justin Cowles said MDG acquired the land several years ago and planned half-acre lots as a neighborhood of affordable housing for the working class who could not afford homes marketed to higher-income families or wealthier retirees. Several lots have been developed.  Those homeowners are the same ones who oppose this sale now that would create a store in their backyard.

The section of 12 half-acre lots had not sold in recent years, Cowles said, because the drop in the real estate market had allowed for working class families to buy other ready-made homes or take advantage of foreclosures.  And, he said local builders had resisted building 1,200 square-foot ranches when they could make “boat loads” of money building upscale homes.

He said his company did not actively seek developing the land commercially, but a broker claiming to be looking for potential sites for Dollar General, contacted him.  He said, “I told the broker about the nearby business park and another site on 522 that were good sites, but I don’t know if the broker took that information back to Dollar General. The broker called back and said Dollar General was interested in the corner of Oakland Road and 522. “

They made an offer, but it’s not a done deal.  Cowles said, “There are several contingencies with feasibilities to be met before it goes to the settlement table. If any feasibilities, clauses, or contingencies aren’t met, either party could pull out.”

When requested, Cowles would not make the sales contract documents available to the public. He did say, however, that the purchaser was Cross Development, LLC, who would apparently develop the property and build the store that Dollar General would lease.

When asked if he wanted a Dollar General store on the site, Cowles said personally he was on the fence. But his wife, who used to work for one of the two dollar stores in town, wanted the convenience of such a store.

Russell Mokhiber of the blog Morgan County USA was outwardly opposed to the proposed store and moderated the town hall. He presented six planned speakers and then asked for public comment.

Most of the residents spoke up as living in Oakland Overlook or adjoining areas off Oakland Road or U.S. 522. They said the store would increase traffic on an already busy highway, increase speeding truck traffic, and be a safety hazard. They didn’t want a store at that particular site and said there were other places like the Morgan County Business Park. Others were concerned about damage to the Indian Run and Sleepy Creek watershed, tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay.

Others said they had stores nearby for bread and milk, namely Cacapon Market at the Exxon station, and Ridge Deli. When they wanted to go to a dollar store, they drove the 20 mile plus/minus roundtrip to Dollar General or Family Dollar in Berkeley Springs, and did their other shopping.

At least six waivers on various aspects of the construction have been requested by Cross Development, LLC.  Paul Stern said those waivers involve the health department, a WVDEP sewage permit waiver, Eastern Panhandle Conservation District sediment waiver, and WVDEP pollution discharge elimination system waiver.  The deal would involve merging four smaller lots into one larger lot of approximately two acres for the store site. A new storm water management pond would be constructed, and an entrance off Oakland Road.

Residents said according to plans they’d seen, the entrance would not allow trucks to get far enough off the road to unload. When leaving, trucks would not be able to drive out forwards but have to somehow exit the same way they went in.

Gareth Foulds said he goes to Winchester for major shopping. Foulds said he puts his turn signal on way down the road that he plans to turn onto Oakland because of the fast traffic on U.S. 522. A new store would require turn lanes and widening of the road. He wondered if the taxpayers would have the burden.

“I think Dollar General wants to lay out a claim and defeat any other stores,” Foulds said. “If I need something in an emergency, I go to Cacapon Market.”

Gail Foulds is a former president of Sleepy Creek Watershed Association. She said Sleepy Creek and Indian Run had been on a list of impared streams because of fecal matter. Over the past few years, volunteers had worked to clean up Indian Run, which has been removed from the list. She was concerned about oil and other runoff from the store’s parking lot into ditches, eventually emptying into the run or Sleep Creek.

Rebecca McLeod used a dry-erase board to draw a diagram. She was concerned about apparent entrance waivers the purchaser had requested with the department of highways. She said 18-wheelers drive U.S. 522 at more than 60 mph. She said a left turn lane is not all that’s necessary, and that vehicles would need a deceleration lane. She felt the turn lane at Cacapon Resort State Park just north doesn’t meet standards either according to her research.

Cowles said if the DOH doesn’t issue an entrance permit, then it wouldn’t even get to the planning commission for approval. The planning commission must abide by subdivision ordinances and requirements on the books. Planning commission president Jack Soronen said there are certain permit waivers his group or the health department cannot forgive. But from time to time they do make a decision to approve contingent on the permit being supplied later. He encouraged public comment.

One resident said he didn’t see the economic benefit from a third dollar store in the county.  “It won’t create any jobs except for one or two full-time ones and a few part-time ones,” he said.

No one said anything positive about the construction jobs created if one was built, or of the half-dozen jobs created for employees of the new store. It was not apparent if the construction jobs would be for local workers or workers from outside the area.

A couple others said they were undecided but wanted to get both sides of the story and consider the consequences.

Nelson Divilbiss lives on Valley Road. He was the one person at the meeting who spoke up that he wanted the store. “I’ve lived here for 55 years,” he said. “And it seems that no one wants any development in Morgan County. I’m tired of driving 25 miles to town to get a loaf of bread that doesn’t cost $4. Something is needed on this end of the county for us whether it’s Dollar General, Kmart, or Walmart.”

In contrast, Bob Donadieu said he’d been a resident of Oakland Road 42 years. He said, “The road is quiet and residential, but we’re a forgotten community. We’re one of the last ones plowed. The road isn’t any wider than it was 40 years ago. The developer bought the land from my first wife’s family. I know times change but we don’t need the community changed from residential to commercial.”
Since most of the crowd disapproved of Dollar General moving into the southern part of the county, Divilbiss asked the crowd if they were from the county or moved to the county. Many answered they’d moved from somewhere else and some said in recent months. 

He said, “I didn’t approve you moving here. You talk about more traffic from it. No one else would drive down here to go to the store with two in town. We’d be the only ones using it. It won’t hurt the Exxon. Dollar General doesn’t sell gas.”

A meeting of the Morgan County Planning Commission will be held 7 p.m. Jan. 27 in the Morgan County Courthouse to consider waivers. Mokhiber asked for volunteers to develop a strategy to formally oppose the commercial development.

Photo Credit, Tricia Strader: About 60 to 70 people crowded into Union Chapel United Methodist Church Jan. 19 for a town hall about a proposed Dollar General Store on Oakland Road and U.S. 522


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WVCALA Kicks Off Public Education Campaign Calling For Lawsuit Reforms

WVCALA: More Jobs, Not More Lawsuits | 0.52 min

Press Release received from WVCALA.

Charleston, W.Va. – Calling for long-needed lawsuit reforms to bring jobs and boost the Mountain State economy, West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WVCALA) today kicked off a public education campaign encouraging West Virginians to make their voices heard and contact their elected officials.

“We’re very excited to begin a television campaign today to highlight the need for lawsuit reforms and urge West Virginians to contact their state legislators and call for more jobs, not more lawsuits. Our grassroots members across the state are encouraged to see movement in the Legislature finally, and they’re doing their part in contacting their elected state leaders asking to see lawsuit reforms pass this legislative session,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of the group.

The WV CALA ad highlights a recent report that says more than half of West Virginians do not have jobs, which makes West Virginia the only state in the country where the workforce participation rate is below fifty percent. Additionally, the ad highlights the leadership of Senate President Bill Cole and Speaker Tim Armstead in making lawsuit reforms a key component of their economic development package this session.

Stauffer added, “Passing reforms to stop lawsuit abuse can help bring our state into the national mainstream. We’ve been an outlier for too long on many civil justice issues.”


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Registration now open for 2015 BCT Harpers Ferry Half/5k/kids

Registration now open for 2015 BCT Harpers Ferry Half/5k/kids

Register early and invite friends $5 off until Jan 31 w coupon “$5SPECIAL”

The Half Marathon is a challenging and hilly course covering the expanse of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the Civil War era towns connecting them. Expansive views of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, a loop through Harpers Ferry National Historical Park School House Ridge South, Murphy Farm, Lower Town Harpers Ferry, John Brown’s Fort, Bolivar, Storer College, and the homes taking you back to the 1860’s.

Our 5K event is a mix of trail and road and includes a loop of the School House Ridge South portion of the Harpers Ferry National Park.

To encourage youth participation in the sport, all runners 18 and under are free for the 5k. A free one mile Kids Event will be on site at River Riders and runs through their Adventure Park. Live music and refreshments will be provided at the post race party.

The maps are posted on the “course” section of our web page with the elevation profile.

JOIN US FOR A FUN FESTIVE EVENT.

Thank you Bank of Charles Town for continuing as presenting sponsor And River Riders for the amazing hosting. Visit us on Freedom’s Run Facebook page for local running news and updates.


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WV CALA Encourages Policymakers To Support Lawsuit Reforms That Bring Fairness To Our Court

Press Release received from WV CALA.

Charleston, W.Va. – Allocating responsibility for harm in lawsuits should be based on fairness, according to most West Virginians, and West Virginia policymakers now have the opportunity to make sure that happens in our courtrooms. 

Legal reform watchdog group West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA) is urging legislators to pass comparative fault legislation to allow juries to accurately allocate liability in lawsuits.

“The current system is unfair in that some participants in a lawsuit might be held liable for fault or damages for which a jury has not found them responsible. About three out of four West Virginia voters (71%) say a defendant in a lawsuit that a jury finds partially responsible for an accident should be required to pay an amount equal to their role in that accident, according to a recent WV CALA opinion survey,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of the group.

A clear trend in states over the past two decades has been a move away from full joint liability and toward fairness and equating liability with fault.

Stauffer continued, “Our current system unfairly penalizes job creators by forcing them to pay lawsuit costs even when they have very little responsibility for a lawsuit. Forcing people to pay for someone else’s fault drives job opportunities away from West Virginia and hurts our economy.”

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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Questions Answered By Hancock Town Election Candidate Dardar

Press Release received from Dardar campaign.

Name—Nigel Dardar    
Office Sought——Mayor of Hancock  
Age—-67

Occupation—-Volunteer Advocate for Hancock and Western Maryland

Education—-Four (4) Year Degree in Marketing (I graduated as one of the two top Marketing Students in my graduating class at Lamar University in Texas.)

Career Experience—-Primary focus was the marketing of various types of industrial equipment throughout America while based either in Houston, Dallas and Leesburg, Virginia. Most satisfying was the sale of very large emergency generators in support of hospitals, airports, and power plants. That experience has provided me with the maximum confidence to work with various engineering support staff to confirm that I fully understand the detailed needs of my customers. As a result, I am very demanding to be sure that all equipment construction and performance specifications are understood and met. Plus I have gained the utmost confidence in interacting with the very highest levels of corporations and governments while confirming that all levels of employment are also satisfied with the final product.

1. My number one reason to be Mayor of Hancock I love Hancock.  I am constantly optimistic no matter how negative others around me might be. In January of 2009 when I was elected as a Town Councilman I did at least two things that no other Community Leader or member of Hancock’s Town Council was willing to do. I became very active in Hancock’s Chamber of Commerce. (There is no Town in America that can expect to prosper if the Town Mayor/Town Councilmen boycott the local Chamber of Commerce.) I also took over personal protection and presentation of most of Hancock’s empty buildings on Main Street. I did that in spite of at least two community leaders telling me that I was wasting my time. I was told that the large historical buildings were too old to ever be renovated and too expensive to be torn down.(Did that sound like any kind of plan?) I personally sealed up the buildings from vagrants, cats and pigeons.I constantly monitored all empty buildings for signs of either vagrants, pigeons or leaking roofs. I personally escorted architects and prospective buyers through the empty buildings. I made sure their sidewalks had snow removed and grass cut. I used my own resources and imagination to make the store fronts looked more attractive/lived in/as if a party was constantly being held. I am proud to say that the three largest buildings that were under my care have been bought by investors from outside of Hancock. I KNOW that Hancock is progressing forward in many different positive ways. I KNOW that I AM the Mayor to accelerate that progress to new heights.

2. My best ideas for encouraging businesses and employers to come to Hancock would first and foremost be to work closely with the businesses we already have in Hancock. Many businesses have been in Hancock for many years. All of those businesses would welcome increases in their businesses. That goal alone will not be easy. I will pledge myself to first and foremost to do whatever it takes to help our current businesses to grow much stronger. A strong core of Hancock businesses coupled with finding ways to keep both our young and our older citizens here, coupled with all of our natural resources will continue to attract new investors and new businesses to Hancock. I have the energy and skills to identify and attract those new businesses to Hancock. As I have already said, I am prepared to do all I have discussed above and still do much more knowing that my pay as Mayor will be $38 per week.

3. I think that the biggest problem facing Hancock is the long time conflict that seems to exist between various individuals, various groups within Hancock. My first month as Mayor I will ask for a meeting of all of Hancock’s citizens. I would hope that in either the first or second or third or fourth such meeting we would overflow our High School Auditorium. During those multiple meetings we need to listen and record all, all concerns and promise each other that we will end these foolish Hancock internal conflicts. Since our schools and our churches are two of Hancock’s bedrocks, we could certainly ask them to assist us as we move toward a more unified Hancock. I know that Hancock can come together as a hard working, prosperous Town.

I ASK THAT YOU VOTE FOR NIGEL DARDAR FOR MAYOR OF HANCOCK on Monday January 26.


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WVCALA: Governor’s Address Omits A Needed Tool To Help The Economy: Legal Reform

Charleston, W.Va. – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s proposals in the State of the State address missed a key opportunity to highlight needed legal reforms that could create jobs and boost the economy in the state, according to the legal reform group West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA).

“It’s unfortunate that Governor Tomblin neglected to address our state’s notorious and job-killing legal climate,” observed Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA. “Just last month, the American Tort Reform Foundation named West Virginia a ‘Judicial Hellhole’ because of its unfair and unbalanced lawsuit system.”

In addition to its ‘Judicial Hellhole’ classification, West Virginia continues to rank last in the country in workforce participation, a title the state has held for more than 30 years.

Stauffer continued, “We are very hopeful that Governor Tomblin will work in a bipartisan manner with State Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead, who have said passing much needed legal reforms are a key component of the economic recovery package for West Virginia that they plan to propose to the West Virginia Legislature.”

The sixty-day Regular Session of the West Virginia Legislature kicked off on Wednesday in Charleston. Hoping to shake the ‘Judicial Hellhole” label and spur job growth, many legislators, including Cole and Armstead, have expressed an interest in looking at legal reforms that would bring West Virginia more in line with other jurisdictions throughout the nation.

“Our grassroots members are hopeful the Legislature will pass legal reforms such as the creation of an intermediate appellate court, improved joint and several liability laws, protections for property owners against trespassers, and legislation to ensure transparency in the hiring of private attorneys by state agencies, similar to the good government policy established by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey,” concluded Stauffer.


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Internship Opportunity at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown

HAGERSTOWN, MD - The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts offers internships to qualified college students with an interest in Art, Art History, or Museum Studies. In an environment of supervised, hands-on learning, internships allow students to become familiar with the day-to-day operations of the museum and to contribute to a variety of museum projects and functions. Applications are accepted in the spring of each year, for 1 summer internship position with a stipend; other volunteer internships may also be available.

CUSHWA COLLEGE INTERNSHIP    

Application deadline: March 1
       
Through her estate, Jean Cushwa and her heirs have established a program of support for a deserving college student from Washington County, Maryland, majoring in Visual/Studio Art, Art History, Art Education, Architecture, Design, or Museum Studies.
       
The work of the Cushwa Intern will support WCMFA art collections, exhibition planning and management, and/or art education program activities. The intern will be supervised by WCMFA professional staff. All interns, regardless of prior experience, will receive and overview of the museum’s operations as well as specific museum training in collections, exhibitions or art education management, and museum best practices. Interns will benefit from an introduction to behind the scenes work of a professional art museum, and from the opportunity to develop professional skills.
       
The student intern will be chosen by a Selection Committee, comprised of representatives from the WCMFA’s Board of Trustees, Board of Advisors, Director, and Staff. The internship is funded through the Jean Cushwa Art Internship Fund. The student stipend, up to $1,000 total, will be determined by the Finance Committee and based on the total number of hours worked.

To Apply: No later than March 1, submit a letter of interest, accompanied by a copy of a current transcript, plus one letter of recommendation from a professor or counselor to:

Cushwa College Internship
Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
401 Museum Drive
P.O. Box 423
Hagerstown, MD 21741

Final selection and notification will be made by March 31.
       
Established in 1931 and dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting works of art for the people of Washington County and citizens from the four-state region, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Admission to the Museum is free and its collection includes over 6,500 works of art. The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts has an enduring commitment to arts education and to the support of regional artists. The Museum actively collects works of art in the fields of American Art, world cultures, and art of the region. The museum regularly offers studio art courses, art historical lectures, concerts, and exhibitions from its permanent collection and traveling shows. The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is funded through support from museum membership and annual fund donations by the public, grants from the business and corporate communities, and support from Washington County, the City of Hagerstown, private foundations, and the Maryland State Arts Council. For more information on the Museum, please phone (301) 739-5727 or visit http://www.wcmfa.org.  Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.


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Volunteer to End Homelessness in the Eastern Panhandle (UPDATED DATES)

January 28th, 29th, and 30th, members of the community will volunteer to go out in teams to meet and survey as many people who are homeless as we can find in Berkeley County.

Finding these people generates federal assistance for the eastern panhandle and gives the housing community the information necessary to HOUSE the individuals that YOU find. This is part of the effort to end homelessness in West Virginia, and you can play a very important role by signing up here!

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/c7YMjh


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Celebrating The 200Th Anniversary Of The Historic Roman Baths in Berkeley Springs

SPECIAL MUSEUM HOURS THIS WEEKEND—JANUARY 17 & 18—11am to 4pm

As traditional, the Museum of the Berkeley Springs is closed through mid March—EXCEPT FOR THIS WEEKEND! As part of the Moveable Spa Feast activity of Travel Berkeley Springs through the month of January, the Museum is open on Saturday and Sunday highlighting its several exhibits related to Berkeley Springs’ long history as a spa town. One of the most interesting parts of that history is the procession of eight bath houses over the centuries. This year, 2015, is the 200th anniversary of the Historic Roman Bath House in which the Museum is lodged.

On SUNDAY AT 2PM, Museum president and local author, Jeanne Mozier, will be using these exhibits as backdrop for a free talk on BATHHOUSES OF BERKELEY SPRINGS, and in particular the Roman Bath House. Come hear the talk, explore through photos and drawings the bathhouses of the past. And, if you really want an extraordinary heritage experience, go downstairs and have a Roman Bath.

The Museum of the Berkeley Springs is housed on the second floor of the 1815 Roman Bath House in Berkeley Springs State Park, oldest public building in the historic town.

Through its exhibits, publications and activities, the Museum showcases the story of the famous warm mineral springs and their continuing impact on the life and people around them.

The Museum of the Berkeley Springs is the interpretive center for the western segment of the Washington Heritage Trail National Scenic Byway.

The Museum is free to the public and supported through membership, donations and other sources.


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WV CALA: West Virginia Voters Support Lawsuit Reform

Charleston, W.Va. – A majority of West Virginia voters link implementing lawsuit reforms with improving West Virginia’s economy and job market, with a strong majority (72%) saying legislative leaders should make improving the economy and passing legal reforms a priority this legislative session. Five in ten (50%) agree that lawsuit reforms will improve the economy compared to nearly two in ten (16%) who believe such reforms would have a negative impact, according to a January 2015 voter survey.

Nearly three in five (59%) West Virginians say the newly elected Legislature will address the issues most important to them. The survey was just completed by a local opinion research firm for West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA).

“West Virginia voters care deeply about passing lawsuit reforms to help improve West Virginia’s economy and it should be a top priority for our state leaders heading into the legislative session,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

More than half (56%) support the creation of an intermediate court of appeals in West Virginia, which was an increase of three percent (3%) over the previous year when WV CALA conducted its annual survey in March 2014.

Stauffer noted, “Increasingly, West Virginians are realizing that West Virginia is the only state without a guaranteed right of appeal, and the need for an intermediate court of appeals continues to grow.”

Nearly three in four respondents (74%) support legislation to codify transparency rules put in place by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to bring sunshine to the practice of hiring private lawyers and setting reasonable limits on the fees these lawyers can bill the state.

“Clearly, West Virginians support the policy that Attorney General Morrisey has put in place about how the state uses outside lawyers,” Stauffer observed. “Morrisey’s policy has saved our state nearly four million dollars, and the Legislature should put the policy into code so this good government policy is in place for future attorneys general.”

The opinion survey also found more than seven in ten (71%) of voters believe that a party in a lawsuit, which a jury finds partially responsible for an accident, should be required to pay an amount equal to their role in that accident.

“This is about fairness, and West Virginians overwhelmingly say that defendants should pay according to their share of responsibility for an accident. Currently, someone with a smaller portion of the responsibility for an accident may end up paying more than what has been determined to be their share,” said Stauffer

The survey by MBE Research questioned 609 registered West Virginia voters on January 5-6 about several topics related to the state’s legal climate, and the margin of error is +/- 3.96 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

Read the polling memo from MBE Research here.


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2015 Yoga Teacher Training to begin in February at Jala Yoga

Shepherdstown, WV – Jala Yoga, the vibrant yoga studio with locations in Shepherdstown, WV, Charles Town, WV, and Winchester, VA, is seeking dedicated students for its 2015 Yoga Teacher Training Program that begins February 27.  If you’re one of those people who remembers how much those first yoga classes changed you and who is now ready to make a further investment in your practice, then Jala’s training program located in charming downtown Shepherdstown is for you. The Yoga Alliance registered training meets once a month between February and September, 2015, and successful completion culminates in a Hatha Yoga Teacher Certification.

The cost of the training is $2,300.  Students who register by February 7th receive $100 off the cost.  Payment options and scholarships are available.

The program, an affiliate of Baltimore’s Charm City Yoga, is taught by Jala owner Christa Mastrangelo Joyce.  Topics covered include yoga postures, breathing techniques, anatomy, meditation, and philosophy.  The program is designed for serious yoga students and for health and wellness professionals, including chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, and nutritionists, who wish to integrate quality yoga instruction into their own settings.

“It is a true delight imparting yoga information to a group of curious and hard-working students,” Mastrangelo Joyce says.  “Having this program in such an intimate place as Shepherdstown is also incredibly special. I am thrilled to be helping the field of yoga expand.”

For detailed information about the Teacher Training program, please visit http://www.jalayogaflow.com/teacher-training, call 401-440-0279, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Photo: Christa Mastrangelo Joyce (credit: Pang Tubhirun)


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Martinsburg - Berkeley County Parks and Rec Adult Hockey Registration Now Open

Registration for the Spring 2015 Adult Inline Hockey is now open. The registration deadline is March 6, 2015. The season will begin on March 21, 2015. The registration fee is $60 with an additional $40 fee if you are new to the league, or if you have played before but need a new jersey. Any registrations received after the deadline will incur a $10 late fee.

Any 16 year olds and up playing in the majors division of the youth hockey league may also play in the Adult league. You will receive a $5 discount when you register ONE player for BOTH leagues.

You may register in person at either of the recreation centers.

You may download a registration form from our website: http://www.mbcparks-rec.org/register-here/downloadable-forms/

Or you may register online here: https://apm.activecommunities.com/mbcparksandrecdept/Home

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

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/caYx27


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Anita Thomas Trio to perform at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, January 11

HAGERSTOWN, MD - The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts will present the Anita Thomas Trio in concert on Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.  The trio is comprised of Anita Thomas, saxophone/clarinet, Jay Miles, upright bass and Bob Sykes, piano.  The concert is a ticketed event, $5.00 for non-members and free for members, children 12 and under and students with ID.

“Jazz is about being in the moment” - Herbie Hancock.  When the Anita Thomas Trio plays you will hear decades of experience and dedication intersecting with the desire to create something new and unique to that moment.  Inspired by each other, the trio draws upon their vast collective knowledge of the jazz tradition, playing songs of the 1920’s all the way to present day compositions.  Melodious and mellifluous, rhythmic and playful, the trio brings personality and expertise to each selection.  In the immortal words of Louis Armstrong, “To jazz, or not to jazz, there is no question!”

Thomas, a native of Sydney, Australia, has performed all over the world.  As a freelance musician, she began her career in Sydney working club dates, playing for musical theater and performing at major concert venues and jazz festivals.  Currently she plays saxophone and clarinet with the Brooks Tegler Big Band, the Ray Birely Orchestra, the Blue Crescent Syncopators and Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes.  She also teaches a jazz ensemble at Frederick Community College and each summer is an instructor at the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Camps.

Jay Miles is originally from the southern New Mexican desert.  He has played jazz, swing and blues in the Washington area since 1989 and spent 7 years in Las Vegas performing the music of Louie Prima.  Jay has played with a wide variety of entertainers, from Bob Hope to Van Morrison.

Bob Sykes has been teaching and performing professionally for the past thirty years in the Washington, DC area.  He maintains an active performing schedule as a free-lance pianist and has performed at nearly every venue in the DC area, including The Kennedy Center, Blues Alley, Carter Baron Amphitheatre, and The Barns of Wolftrap.  Bob serves as co-chair of the Jazz Department at The Levine School of Music, where he has been a faculty member since 1994.

Established in 1931 and dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting works of art for the people of Washington County and citizens from the four-state region, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Admission to the Museum is free and its collection includes over 6,500 works of art. The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts has an enduring commitment to arts education and to the support of regional artists. The Museum actively collects works of art in the fields of American Art, world cultures, and art of the region. The museum regularly offers studio art courses, art historical lectures, concerts, and exhibitions from its permanent collection and traveling shows. The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is funded through support from museum membership and annual fund donations by the public, grants from the business and corporate communities, and support from Washington County, the City of Hagerstown, private foundations, and the Maryland State Arts Council. For more information on the Museum, please phone (301) 739-5727 or visit http://www.wcmfa.org.

Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.


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The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts presents Rena M. Hoisington, January 15

The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts presents Rena M. Hoisington - Mexican Prints in the Collection of the Baltimore Museum of Arts on Thursday, January 15, 2015 from 12 noon - 2:00 p.m.  There will be a catered Lunch and Lecture: Museum Members $12.00 / Non-members $15.00.  Lecture only: Museum Members Free / Non-members $5.00. Please call 301/739-5727 for reservations or register online at http://www.wcmfa.org.

Rena M. Hoisington is Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs at The Baltimore Museum of Art, where she has worked since 2006.  She has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, where she wrote her dissertation on Maurice-Quentin de La Tour and the Triumph of Pastel Painting in Eighteenth-Century France.  While in graduate school, Rena worked as a Graduate Intern in the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as a Research Assistant in the Department of Drawings & Prints at The Morgan Library & Museum, as a Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Prints, Drawings & Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and as an Assistant Curator at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

In Baltimore, Hoisington has organized the survey Looking through the Lens: Photography 1900-1960 (2008) and the focus exhibition Woodcuts Now (2010); she also worked on a collaborative project, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, between The Johns Hopkins University and The Baltimore Museum of Art that culminated in the exhibition Print by Print: Series from Dürer to Lichtenstein (October 30, 2011 - March 25, 2012).  Most recently Rena wrote the essay “Arbeit und Freundschaft: Corot, Oudinot und das Atelier in Daubignys Haus in Auvers,” for the catalogue of the fall 2012 exhibition Camille Corot: Nature und Traum at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe and the two essays “Learning to Etch” and “Etching as a Vehicle for Innovation: Four Exceptional Peintre-Graveurs” for the catalogue for the exhibition Artists and Amateurs: Etching in Eighteenth-Century France at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (October 1, 2013 - January 5, 2014).

Established in 1931 and dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting works of art for the people of Washington County and citizens from the four-state region, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Admission to the Museum is free and its collection includes over 6,500 works of art. The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts has an enduring commitment to arts education and to the support of regional artists. The Museum actively collects works of art in the fields of American Art, world cultures, and art of the region. The museum regularly offers studio art courses, art historical lectures, concerts, and exhibitions from its permanent collection and traveling shows. The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is funded through support from museum membership and annual fund donations by the public, grants from the business and corporate communities, and support from Washington County, the City of Hagerstown, private foundations, and the Maryland State Arts Council. For more information on the Museum, please phone (301) 739-5727 or visit http://www.wcmfa.org.

Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.


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January Events at Cacapon State Park

Berkeley Springs, WV - Cacapon State Park will host the following events during the month of January.

Saturday, January 10

10:00-11:00am Snowflakes, Snowflakes, Everywhere
Join the Naturalist to make your own snowflake to celebrate the winter season! Snowflake creating will take place in the Nature Center.

1:00-1:45pm Walk Back Through Time
CCC Camp Morgan helped to construct many of the structures at Cacapon. Meet the Naturalist at the Nature Center to learn more about the Civilian Conservation Corp and their impact on this area.

This will be an easy one mile walk through the park.

2:00-2:45pm Celebrate the Cardinal
Meet at the Nature Center to paint an ornament modeled after our state bird, the Cardinal! Use it as a decoration or give as a gift this season.

Saturday, January 17- Nature Center Closed

Saturday, January 24

10:00-11:00am Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Meet the Naturalist at the Nature Center to explore the natural and historic landscape of the Cabin Loop Trail. This trail is approximately 1 mile with a few hills. Following the hike, hot tea or hot chocolate will be available to warm your insides.

11:30-12:00pm Look for the “BEAR” Necessities
Join the Naturalist in the Nature Center to learn the necessities of a bear’s life. We will view an eyewitness video on all different species of bears and their necessities of life!

3:00-4:00pm “T"riffic Crafts
Bring and old T-shirt to the Nature Center to create a scarf just in time for the colder weather or make one to give as a gift.


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Nigel Dardar Continues Campaign to be Mayor of Hancock, Maryland

Press Release received from Dardar campaign.

In spite of Hancock paying their Mayor only $38 per week, Nigel Dardar is campaigning to be Mayor of Hancock, Maryland. Mr. Dardar had served as a Town Councilman for Hancock in 2009 thru 2012.

The Hancock Election will be January 26. Nigel is again campaigning primarily on his desire to instill a more open and ethical government in Hancock. One key campaign item that he will insist on if elected as Mayor of Hancock is that Hancock’s Town Manager always be a member in good standing with the ICMA (International City/County Management Association). ICMA is an international organization that demands that members are commited to equity, transparency, integrity, stewardship of public resources, political neutrality and respect for the rights and responsibility of elected officials and residents.

The current Mayor of Hancock and the current Hancock Town Council refuse to employ a Town Manager who is a member of ICMA. Mr. Dardar has retired from a career in marketing both tangible and intangible products. Most of Mr. Dardar’s industrial equipment marketing career required his successful interaction with all levels of management of large and small corporations and/or various municipal, county, state and federal governments.

Mr. Dardar is prepared to be a full time mayor, keeping regular and irregular office hours in spite of the fact that his job carries no health benefits and pays only $38 per week.


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WV CALA Kicks off Statewide Legal Reform Public Education Campaign

Charleston, W.Va. - West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA) kicked off a statewide campaign today to highlight jackpot justice, lawsuit greed, and the controversial “Learjet Justice” story, which exposed the connections between Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Davis, her husband, and an out-of-state personal injury lawyer who purchased a private jet from them.

“We kicked off our public education effort today to once again highlight lawsuit greed, jackpot justice, and greedy personal injury lawyers who are taking advantage of our legal system. Additionally, we continue to focus on “Learjet Justice” because Justice Robin Davis, her husband, and an out-of-state personal injury lawyer who purchased a million dollar airplane from them continue to avoid answering questions about their connections as a major case handled by the out-of-state lawyer was coming before then Chief Justice Robin Davis and the Supreme Court of Appeals,” said Roman Stauffer of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA).

In addition to highlighting “Learjet Justice,” WV CALA’s public education effort will inform West Virginia’s about a recent report from the American Tort Reform Foundation that labeled the state’s legal system, particularly the Supreme Court of Appeals, a “Judicial Hellhole.”

“The Judicial Hellholes report highlights significant legal issues in our state that need to be addressed. These issues make it difficult to move our state forward, attract job creators, and grow our existing businesses. Passing legal reforms is an economic development package that will help all West Virginians. We’re hopeful the new legislative leaders act to reform our legal system and bring our state more into the national mainstream,” concluded Stauffer.


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WCMFA Announces Popular Prize Winner of 81st Annual Cumberland Valley Photography Salon

HAGERSTOWN, MD - Madeline Junkin of Falling Waters, West Virginia, was awarded the Popular Choice Award in Washington County Museum of Fine Arts 81st Annual Cumberland Valley Photography Salon for her black and white photo shown above: “Reflections of Strength.” During the exhibition, which ran from June 21 through October 26, visitors to the museum cast over 950 ballots for their favorite work of art in this juried exhibition.
       
Sponsored by LA Cameras of Chambersburg, the prestigious Popular Choice Award is a $200 gift card to the store at 1019 Wayne Avenue.  LA Cameras is a new sponsor for the Cumberland Valley Photography Salon this year.

“Drops"by Sabrina Biddinger of Frederick, MD, and “Silence of Summer” by June Jarkey of Middletown, MD, also received numerous votes from visitors to the Exhibition. This exhibition, as well as the annual Cumberland Valley Artist Exhibition, exemplifies the museum’s commitment to regional artists. 
       
Established in 1931 and dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting works of art for the people of Washington County and citizens from the four-state region, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Admission to the Museum is free and its collection includes over 6,500 works of art. The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts has an enduring commitment to arts education and to the support of regional artists.

The Museum actively collects works of art in the fields of American Art, world cultures, and art of the region. The museum regularly offers studio art courses, art historical lectures, concerts, and exhibitions from its permanent collection and traveling shows. The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is funded through support from museum membership and annual fund donations by the public, grants from the business and corporate communities, and support from Washington County, the City of Hagerstown, private foundations, and the Maryland State Arts Council.
       
For more information on the Museum, please phone (301) 739-5727 or visit http://www.wcmfa.org.  Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.


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Berkeley Arts Council Members’ Exhibit

The Berkeley Arts Council presents its second Members’ Exhibit in the gallery at the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg, WV.

More than thirty art works are on display and for sale including paintings, photographs, and sculpture. Media includes oil, watercolor, pastels and more.

Join us to meet the artists at the reception on Friday, January 16 from 5-7pm at the gallery.

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

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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Berkeley Art Works Exhibits 4-H Club Photography Competition

The Berkeley County 4-H Extension office, in celebration of 100 Years of 4-H, invited all Berkeley County 4-H members to participate in a photography contest. The photographs from this competition will be exhibited in the Berkeley Art Works Back Space Gallery, 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg, from January 8-31.

There will be a reception on Saturday January 17 from 4-6pm. Come and meet the young artists and give them your encouragement. The gallery is located at 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg, WV. Gallery hours for the winter are Wed 11-3, Thu 11-5, Fri 11-5 and Sat 11-4 (except until 6 for the reception.)

The Berkeley County 4-H Extension office, in celebration of 100 Years of 4-H, invited all Berkeley County 4-H members to participate in a photography contest. This photography contest allowed our 4-H members to showcase 4-H values and to capture the story of Berkeley County 4-H through the eyes of our members and the lenses of their cameras. Winning photographs were published as the Berkeley County 4-H Calendar for the year 2015. Photographs were evaluated on the following: Impact, Creativity, Technical Merit, Composition, Subject Matter and Story-Telling.

Berkeley County 4-H grows confident, capable, and caring kids with the life skills to thrive in today’s world and succeed in their boldest dreams for tomorrow. Working in partnership with West Virginia University, our 4-H programs offer life-changing experiences to youth of Berkeley County. The caring support of adult volunteers and mentors inspires our young people to work collaboratively, take the lead on their own projects and set and achieve goals with confidence.

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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Maryland Geocaching Society chooses The CHEMO Bag as its primary charity

The GeoWoodstock XIII Committee is proud to announce that it has selected The CHEMO Bagas its primary 501(c)3 charity. As announced earlier, the State of Maryland was selected to host GeoWoodstock XIII, May 23, 2015.  In partnership with the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), thousands of geocachers from around the globe will visit our region.  The event will have many fun activities, learning sessions, exhibitors, vendors, food and much more!

Should GeoWoodstock XIII result in any financial assets following the event, the Maryland Geocaching Society will distribute 100% of those assets to non-profit organizations in our area. The CHEMO Baghas been designated as the primary charitable organization to receive assets.

The CHEMO Bag was chosen for several reasons.  Tim Eggleston Public Relations Lead for GW XIII said, “The Chemo Bag fits our bill of an organization that has an impact on the people it provides for; providing gift bags filled with items to offer comfort to the men and women in the Lehigh Valley, PA undergoing chemotherapy treatments.  We admire its founder Leah Walia, a geocacher (Altimate) and more importantly, a breast cancer survivor.  At The CHEMO Bag nearly 100% of the donations are turned into comfort and support for those undergoing cancer treatment.  We are proud to have The CHEMO Bag as our primary charitable organization. Leah started this organization after she completed chemotherapy in October 2012.  The first bags were delivered to the infusion center in March 2013 and since then over 600 bags have been delivered to four infusion centers in the Lehigh Valley.  Leah states that this is her way of giving back to a community that was so giving to her in her time of need. Leah is part of our geocaching community and we are happy to support her and her efforts in the Lehigh Valley

About The CHEMO Bag
CHEMO: it’s not what you think….Caring Helping Encouraging Motivating Others

The CHEMO Bag Inc., in partnership with the generosity of our community, is committed to providing gift bags filled with items to provide comfort to the men and women in the Lehigh Valley undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

About Geocaching
Geocaching, pronounced “geo-cashing,” is a worldwide phenomenon, in which participants use a hand-held GPS (Global Positioning System) to plot map coordinates in order to locate a hidden treasure or “cache.” Searching for a cache is akin to going on a treasure hunt and can involve clues, riddles and visits to multiple locations. Shovels are a forbidden tool – caches are never buried.  Geocaching is a game that offers something for everyone!

To join the adventure, a geocacher must access the official geocache website at http://www.Geocaching.com to set up an account. A basic membership is free. Once an account is established, the geocacher can use the advance search function to locate geocaches, retrieve the map coordinates, and see the cache details for each geocache. Included with the information for each cache location is a description of the site and details on the type of hide.  The next step is to head outside with a GPS or GPS enabled device (smart phone) to find geocaches.

About the Maryland Geocaching Society
Founded in the fall of 2002, the Maryland Geocaching Society (MGS) was among the first groups to organize around the adventure and passion of geocaching. The MGS has been a nationwide leader in geocaching by creating innovative geocaching activities including GeoTours and GeoTrails, partnering with educational and youth groups, local and Federal government agencies, and tourism offices, to educate and incorporate geocaching as a fun learning activity.  Over the past eight years, the Society has welcomed nearly 5,000 members to its website and sponsored multiple state-wide activities, including “Cache in Trash Out” programs to assist in the maintenance of parks and trail systems. The MGS promotes geocaching as exciting, earth-friendly and adventurous outdoor recreation for the whole family.  Visit http://www.mdgps.org.


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New Workshop Added to Jala’s January Offerings

Shepherdstown, WV—Jala Yoga, the vibrant yoga studio with locations in Shepherdstown, WV, Charles Town, WV, and Winchester, VA, will host guest yoga instructor Elizabeth Davis in a workshop entitled “Cultivate Your Divine Feminine.”  The workshop – just added to the January schedule – will take place on Friday, January 16 from 7:15-9:15 pm at Jala’s Shepherdstown studio, 117 West German Street.  The cost is $30, and registration can be done at http://www.jalayogaflow.com.

Davis is a reiki master, intuitive healer and yoga instructor.  In this workshops, she will lead participants in a journey to the deepest parts of their being, finding both power and grounding.  Among the areas to be explored are how we relate to others and the subtleties of communication.  Through yoga postures and self-inquiry, Davis will facilitate people’s discovery of their own potential.

For more information, visit http://www.jalayogaflow.com or call 401-440-0279.

PHOTO: Elizabeth Davis


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New Ownership and Comedy GREATER TUNA to open season at The Washington County Playhouse

Hagerstown, MD)- The 31st Season of The Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater and Children’s Theater, now owned by Producing Artistic Director Shawn R. Martin and his wife and Managing Director Laura J. Martin, will open with the uproarious comedy GREATER TUNA.

GREATER TUNA debuted in New York City in 1982 at Circle in the Square Downtown and has gone on to become the most widely produced comedy in American history. Written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard, GREATER TUNA is a hilarious visit to the third smallest town in Texas where two actors portray 20 of the town’s upstanding and less than upstanding citizens in a show that made The New York post state that “the audience all but exploded with laughter.”  The Playhouse’s production stars regional theater veterans Steve Steele and Shawn Nakia, with Shawn R. Martin directing.

The play is preceded by dinner which features a full salad bar, hot buffet, dessert and a cash bar.

GREATER TUNA opens on Friday January 16th and continues on Friday and Saturday evenings at 6:00 pm with select Sunday matinees at 1:00pm.

The Washington County Playhouse is located at 44 N. Potomac St., rear, in the heart of Hagerstown, Maryland’s Arts and Entertainment District. Free parking is available in the central lot.

The adult ticket price is $39.00 for dinner and show (beverages and gratuity are not included). Children aged 5 to 12 years are admitted for $19.00.  Tickets for this and all of the 2015 season of shows at The Playhouse are available by calling 301-739-7469. For more information, visit the website http://www.washingtoncountyplayhouse.com


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WV CALA Board Of Directors Select Small Business Owner For Leadership Role

Press Release received from West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA) announced today that the organization’s board of directors has selected Greenbrier County small business owner and job creator Duane Zobrist to serve as Chairman for 2015.

“I am very excited about serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors of WV CALA. As a job creator with dozens of employees, I understand the direct impact that abusive lawsuits can have on a small business and our community. I look forward to working with WV CALA’s 30,000 grassroots members to advocate for fairer courts and much-needed legal reforms that would bring West Virginia more competitive with surrounding states and help attract more job creators to West Virginia,” said Duane Zobrist the newly elected Chairman of WV CALA.

Duane Zobrist owns an outdoor adventures company that operates recreational and team-building activities in Greenbrier Country and other areas. He owns several other small businesses and leads a speaking, consulting, and organizational performance firm focusing on business, family and collegiate leadership.

Also, importantly, the WV CALA Board of Directors expressed deep gratitude to former chairwoman Terry Waxman for her leadership and commitment to stopping lawsuit abuse. In November, Waxman was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in District 48. Waxman will continue to advocate for fairer state courts in the House of Delegates in her new role on the House Judiciary Committee.

“WV CALA has been very fortunate to have two very strong legal reform leaders in succession with Duane Zobrist and Terry Waxman. They understand the importance of a fair and impartial legal system for all West Virginians. Our board and grassroots members cannot thank Delegate Terry Waxman enough for her many years of leadership on legal reform, which has helped WV CALA become an influential voice on legal reforms in West Virginia,” concluded Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.


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Stress Management, What Do I Do With All My Stuff?

Have you ever been overwhelmed, stressed and burdened by the amount of “stuff” that you own?  Do you own the “stuff”?  Or does the “stuff” own you?  Managing your stuff and simplifying things might be a key to reducing the stress in your life.  Learn more.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/8wg1AJ


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Hey Panhandle, Bring Your Resolutions to Reality! Here’s the Trick…

It’s no secret that New Year resolutions are known to be broken. Those who make resolutions, will sometimes tuck this crippling knowledge away, to use as an alibi, after they’ve reluctantly thrown in the towel. And those who’ve decided against resolutions, normally do so as a result of having failed miserably with them in the past.

Now I know that may not sound too positive, but it’s real. In order for us to succeed, we must first identify possible hurdles that could trip us up in the future.
The good news is, “If you really want to crush your resolutions…YOU CAN!” It doesn’t matter what your New Year resolution is; to lose weight, get organized, save money, enjoy life & family, quit smoking, etc… You can accomplish it, this year.

Here are 4 tricks you can use to turn your New Year resolutions to reality. The last one is POWERFUL:

1. Write them all down – write down each of your resolutions and list them in order of priority.

2. Choose just ONE – take the first resolution on your list and begin working on it solely for at least 30 days. By working on just one resolution, you can focus all of your energy on its accomplishment, making it more achievable.

Once you’ve made the first resolution a life habit, you can then move to the next one.

3. Keep it to yourself – don’t share your resolution with anyone, especially your closest family members and friends. Bringing your resolution to reality requires your unshaken belief. The slightest negative comment could be detrimental and should be avoided at all costs.

4. Build your belief – this the exciting part. It’s time for you to truly believe that you’ve already achieved your resolution. I know it sounds a bit wacky, but in order to get to where you want to go, you have to know how it feels to be there.

For instance; if you want to lose weight, then you should spend 15 to 30 minutes every day visualizing yourself at your target weight.  See yourself actually living the lifestyle you’d have to live to sustain that weight. Picture your entire day and the meals that you’d eat, exercising you’d have to do and bad habits you’d have to drop.

When you realize that you already have what it is you want and begin living so, your results are inevitable.
The preceding action steps will put you on the right path towards bringing your resolutions to reality. If I had to make one more suggestion, it would be to persist.

Always, always, always continue your journey. A resolution is not a goal that must be met, it is a particular journey that must be taken, which will eventually get you the goal you want to achieve.

When you see your resolution as a journey, you know that the delivery of the goal is on its way. You will not get frustrated, because you realize that by living out your new journeys disciplines, you will eventually reap the rewards. And if you should so happen to stumble along the way, you know that you can get up and continue the journey.

Best wishes on the success of your resolutions!

What’s Your Resolution? We’re taking a poll to learn what the people of Martinsburg, Charles Town, Berkeley Springs and other cities of the Panhandle will be focusing on for their resolutions this year.

Please help us by clicking the link provided and quickly sharing your resolution. Be sure to share this article with your friends & family of the Panhandle to help them get started on their resolutions. Thank you. http://questionpro.com/s/1-2557596-4090512

Residents of Martinsburg WV, Charles Town WV, Berkeley Springs WV and the surrounding cities of the Panhandle that would like assistance with the achievement of their resolutions can join: http://www.ULiveWV.org. We can connect you with other local residents that can give positive support and encouragement on your journey.


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Diverse Offering of Workshops at Jala Yoga in January

Shepherdstown, WV—Jala Yoga, the vibrant yoga studio with locations in Shepherdstown, WV, Charles Town, WV, and Winchester, VA, has announced its January 2015 workshops.  From learning meditation techniques to deepening ones practice to experiencing complementary wellness practices, Jala Yoga is committed to providing high quality workshops for all people.  Information and registration is available at http://www.jalayogaflow.com.

On Friday, January 9 from 6:00-8:00 pm, yoga instructor Turi Nevin-Turkel and licensed acupuncturist Virginia Hisghman offer “Winter Seasonal Balance: Health and Harmony with Yoga and Acupuncture.”  The workshop takes place at the Winchester studio, Creekside Station, 3119 Valley Avenue.  In this workshop, yoga, acupuncture, and traditional Chinese medicine are combined in a one-of-a-kind experience.  Nevin-Turkel teaches a quiet and grounded yoga practice designed to cultivate a deep connection between body, mind, and soul, with a Winter focus.  During the relaxation portion of class, Hisghman will provide acupuncture focusing on seasonal balance points (non-insertion option available).  The cost of the workshop is $65 and is appropriate for all levels of practitioner.

On Sunday, January 11, from 9:30 am to 11:30 am, instructor Whitney Ingram leads “Breathe and Be Still,” at the Charles Town studio, 307 West Washington Street. Breathing and meditation techniques will be taught as a way to eliminate anxiety and stress.  Students will receive adjustments in their seated positions to find the most comfortable way to meditate.  This popular workshop, appropriate for all experience levels, is limited to 15 students.  The cost is $25 until January 8; $30 afterwards.

During the weekend of January 17-18, Jala Yoga owner Christa Mastrangelo Joyce teaches “Beyond Resolutions: Reconnect, Reaffirm, Let Go,” made up of 3 individual workshops that can be taken together or separately.  They all take place at the Winchester location.  On Saturday, January 17, from 12:00-2:30 pm, “Stoke the Flames” is focused on building heat and creating intentions in a vigorous yoga class.  On Sunday, January 18 from 9:30-11:30 am, “Look Within” guides students in self-contemplation. Also on Sunday, January 18, from 1:30-4:00 pm, is “Let It Go,” in which students learn to surrender tensions and expectations with restorative poses and moments of deep reflection.  The cost is $35 for each session or $90 for all three ($80 if registered by January 10).

On Saturday, January 24, from 12:30-3:00 pm, Whitney Ingram teaches “Vinyasa Basics” at the Winchester studio.  Covered in this workshop are sun salutations, how to develop a home yoga practice, and learning modifications for challenging poses.  This workshop, perfect for those new to yoga or those looking to refresh their practice, is limited to 15 students. The cost is $25 until January 20; $30 afterwards.

On Saturday, January 31, from 1:00-4:00 pm, internationally certified henna artist Jessi Edwards will teach a “Beginner’s Henna Workshop” at the Winchester studio.  The workshop will cover the history of henna, safety, mixing techniques, henna designs, and hands on practice and aftercare. Included in the cost of the workshop are supplies including henna, a life-size acrylic hand, and design sheets.  The cost is $65 if registered by January 23; $75 if registered by January 30.  No walk-ins will be accepted.  Class size is limited to 12 people.  All proceeds will benefit 4 Paws for Ability, a 501(c)3 non profit organization, which provides service dogs to children worldwide.

More information about all of the workshops, as well as Jala’s regularly scheduled classes, can be found at http://www.jalayogaflow.com or by calling 401-440-0279.

Photo: Christa Mastrangelo Joyce teaches “Beyond Resolutions” January 17 and 18 in Winchester, VA (credit: Pang Tubhirun)


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First Friday Coffeehouse Kicks Off New Year January 2

First Friday Coffeehouse rings in the new year with an inspiring West Virginia trio January 2 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.

Doug and Shelley Harper, with Dave Fondale, have performed throughout central Appalachia in a variety of prestigious venues including NPR’s Mountain Stage, Tamarack, Theatre West Virginia’s Music in the Mountains in Grandview National Park and The Clay Center, Charleston, WV. Doug Harper’s songs offer a tapestry, woven with the golden threads of the New River/Central Appalachian music culture. They are delivered with Shelley’s smooth, silken harmonies, accompanied by uncluttered musicianship. Audiences come away from performances warmed, amused and inspired. One gratified listener commented, “I feel like I was just read to!”

The Harpers have numerous CDs to their credit and were hits at a previous First Friday engagement several years ago. They hail from the Beckley area.

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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SYNC UP YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS TO STAY ON TRACK

MARTINSBURG, W.Va.—As people work on keeping their 2015 goals to improve their health, get organized or save more money in the New Year, the chance of achieving those goals has never been greater thanks to today’s technology and smartphones, such as the iPhone 6, which offer apps and products to help keep users on track and increase the likelihood of sticking with any resolution throughout the year.

“Mobile devices have become a vital part of simplifying our lives,” said Jack Brundige, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in the Mid-South. “Using new technology and apps to help stay on track with new year resolutions will help turn those resolutions into routines that become part of our daily lives.”

Those looking for help sticking with some of the most common New Year’s resolutions can download the following free apps on the 4G LTE network, with speeds of up to 10 times faster than 3G for their smartphones and tablets:

• Get fit:  Looking to get back in shape, eat better or work out more in 2015? Consider the Runtastic Six Pack app. This free app allows users to work out from home by creating custom workouts with a virtual personal trainer which will show users the proper way to do new exercises. Pair this app and its 50 workout videos with the UP by Jawbone a fitness wristband, and can track what you eat, any activities throughout the day and your sleeping habits. After analyzing these habits, the UP will then suggest small changes that will help improve your outcomes.

• Get organized: In today’s society, it can be hard to keep things in order, but the Any. Do app is an award winner that’s perfect for enhancing any to-do list. The app allows users to create lists of tasks that need to be completed and organize them by category and importance. An alarm can be set for any task so that nothing goes unnoticed. You can also easily sync your tasks from your mobile to your desktop to help stay on top of any to-do list, no matter where you are.

• Spend more time with family: Holidays are a great time to catch up with family, and many decide to make a resolution to see more of their family members throughout the year. The GroupMe app allows everyone in the family to stay in touch and make plans, no matter where in the country they are located. This app allows users to create several groups in which each member can share events, photos, videos and texts. This allows everyone in the group to stay connected and plan visits all in one place.

• Manage finances: According to a 2014 U.S. Cellular survey, 43 percent of smartphone users made the resolution to save money in 2014 . In 2015, smartphone owners can accomplish this task with the Check app. The free app allows users to link bills, bank accounts and credit cards. The app then notifies users of when a payment is coming up and even lets users set up automatic payments. This helps users to avoid late fees and overdraft fees, and they won’t have to worry about missing a bill or being low on funds, as it is all planned out in one simple location.


“New Year’s is a great time to reflect, set goals and decide what you really want to accomplish in 2015,” said Brundige. “Perhaps a great first resolution should be to explore how using your smartphone paired with these great apps can help you reach those goals in the coming year.”

¹ Between Nov. 15 and Dec. 2, 2013, 500 nationally representative online interviews were conducted among smartphone users in partnership with Maritz Research.

Additional data charges may apply. 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 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. Currently, nearly 90 percent of customers have access to 4G LTE speeds, and more than 93 percent will have access by the end of 2014. 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.