A project of Friends of Lost River Valley
We wanted to thank the over 70 people who attended the first Friends of Lost River Valley community meeting last Saturday. Below are summary notes from the meeting in case you missed it. Special thanks to Tim Wheeler for taking notes.
(*Not verbatim, only a summary.)
1. Friends of Lost River Valley Organization
2. Farmers Market
3. Emergency Services
4. Cacapon Institute
5. Open Discussion & Questions
Joe Kapp welcomed everyone. He thanked the Lost River Grill and Larry Curtis for hosting the meeting.
1. FRIENDS OF LOST RIVER VALLEY COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION
The purpose of Friends of the Lost River Valley is to enhance the community. It is an opportunity for people to become engaged and start a dialog about Community Events. It was hoped that the meeting would enhance and expand opportunities and create new opportunities. Joe stated that many events have become established in the LR Valley. (i.e Movie Nights, 5K Run Walk).
Joe introduced and turned the meeting over to Ann Morgan and Margo Pfleger
Ann first visited the area 28 years ago and was charmed by the community. It was completely opposite of DC. She purchased property here and has enjoyed the community for 28+ years.
Last fall, threatened by the proposed Propane Storage Facility along 259, the community rallied to stop the facility from being considered. It was a powerful and eye-opening experience for everyone involved. It was viewed as a way to become involved together, share information and work on issues beyond advocacy.
Margo Pfleger relayed the story of how the community has been working together on events for a number of years, (i.e. Outdoor Movie Nights, Fall 5K Run/Walk, Lost River Bike Classic, Fairness WV Fundraisers). With the existing structure in place it would be easy to use it as a positive and centralizing force.
Donald Hitchcock discussed proposed events and fun nights. He mentioned two new events, the Game Night to be held 3rd Thursday of each month and a 2nd Sunday Hike.
Donald then outlined the Mission and Goals as stated in the agenda for the meeting:
The mission of the Friends of Lost River Valley is to improve the quality of life for the Lost River Valley community and make it a vibrant arts, cultural and recreation destination.
The goals of the organization include:
1. Highlight and preserve the history of the region.
2. Create, enhance and support local arts and cultural experiences.
3. Attract local and sustainable economic opportunities and growth.
4. Promote tourism and outdoor recreational activities.
Paul Yandura spoke about Tourism and Marketing. The LR Valley is well represented on the Hardy County Convention and Visitors Bureau by Toni Mathias Harvey, (owner of the Inn at Lost River and the Lost River General Store) and Bob Dillard (owner of Lost River Realty) along with Audrey Taucher (from Raw Talent Ranch).
Paul stated that the purpose of the CVB was to help promote local and small businesses in Hardy County and work to promote tourism. A Lost River Valley tourist map is in the process of being created as part of a larger Lost River marketing campaign. The Valley is also now being marketed by the creation of a new blog highlighting events (www.friendsoflostrivervalley.org) and a future one-stop online visitors portal specific to the LR Valley is being considered. The Valley was also represented last year at the DC Capital Pride. Local businesses contributed information and funds to provide for the tent at the Capital Pride.
Joe Kapp spoke of the strong support for the arts and music in the area. Joe noted the longevity of the Lost River Artisans Cooperative. Joe also acknowledged all the great work the Artists’ Cooperative has done over the years and is going to ensure that we collaborate closely with them. It is hoped that all of these parts can be amplified through new events and activities. There are plans to conduct an Artists Census, Studio Tours, and secure an outdoor facility to host concerts and music/arts events. It is hoped that these activities will highlight the rich culture of art/music in the LR Valley.
Joe introduced Dr. Chuck Terrell, President of Eastern WV Community College. Joe and Paul have been working closely with Pres. Terrell on ideas for partnering with the LR Valley and the Friends of the Lost River Valley organization.
Pres. Terrell said that earlier in the day he presided over graduation ceremonies at the college. He stated that there were approximately 104 graduates with about 45 walking today. He wants to utilize the skills and resources that the LR Valley provides to enhance the curriculum at Eastern. He also reported that his students had created their own Arts Society. The members are writers, artists and photographers. They found money last year to publish the Eagle’s Nest, a booklet highlighting their writings, photography and art. The 2nd edition was just published this spring.
Pres. Terrell is excited about the partnership with Friends of the Lost River and possibilities for entrepreneurial and mentoring activities. He announced that Eastern just hired the first fulltime Business Instructor, who inspired High School students from 6 counties at their first entrepreneurial convention for students. Pres. Terrell stated his entrepreneurial philosophy: not just to survive, but thrive. He wants to see more cooperation between agriculture-business-farm to table using state resources/ EWVCC to produce sustainable entrepreneurial activities.
He stated that he hopes to increase the opportunities by working with Friends of Lost River Valley.
2. FARMERS MARKET
Bob Dillard discussed plans for a Lost River Farmer’s Market. He has been working with local farmers in Moorefield, Wardensville and LR on the idea. He has also been working with the CVB on the Market. He hopes to sell items that are grown and produced in Hardy County. The idea is to provide nutritious food that is locally produced. He wants to sell local farmer’s produce that is left over from their harvest. Bob stated the goal of the Lost River Farmers Market and Habitat Garden would be to work to promote a healthy community, sound nutrition and respect for the environment.
Bob, who is a member of the Hardy County CVB, also added a side note to Tourism and Marketing update that Paul Yandura gave earlier adding that the CVB gave $3,000.00 for the creation of a map of the LR Valley. He thanked Greg Sears for helping with the initial map layout and said that the map should be completed in 4 weeks. John Butler who is working on the map is also working on a website.
3. EMERGENCY SERVICES
Tim Ramsey spoke on the topic of Emergency Services. Recently, the Hardy County Commissioners responded to the fact that emergency services were to be ended because the local for-profit EMS was foreclosed upon by the Federal Government and a local bank. The Commissioners gave the EMS $260,000.00 to help start an emergency services commission. Tim is the Treasurer of the commission. The Federal Government and the banks are set to auction off the equipment and buildings. They have been assessed at over $1,000,000.00. EMS would be back on Monday working under the charter of Wardensville Fire and Rescue. It can take 3 months for a new charter to be granted for the new organization, but Tim stated that there are individuals in Charleston helping to expedite the process.
4. CACAPON INSTITUTE
Neil Gillies of the Cacapon Institute spoke about the Cacapon Institute which was founded in 1985 to study water quality and do research. They work with the Chesapeake Bay Conservation Authority. He stressed that individual actions have little impact, but collectively we can do a great deal together in coordination to ensure that we don’t pollute the waters. The biggest threat to water resources is agricultural pollutants that end up in the Chesapeake Bay. Neil stressed to the group that we cannot just point the finger at agriculture, we must all do our parts. The Institute is working to reduce runoff and invasive species. Communities can work together to reduce pollutants and invasive species. Neil also provided a handout with more information about the Institute’s work that can be found here: Community Environmental Management Overview
5. OPEN DISCUSSION & QUESTIONS
People were encouraged to step up, create ideas and share information. A blog, Facebook page and website have been created and anyone interested in staying informed can join the Friends of Lost River Valley email list here.
How many students attend Eastern? Pres. Terrell, stated about 800, with 1000 expected this fall. Most work on certificates in Early Childhood Care/Nursing/Information Technology. Some students do attend to transfer to a University. Most stay in the area.
Her husband was a District Toast Master and would be interested in helping.
Ann Morgan and DeWayne Lawrence:
Many individuals have skills and experience and are willing to work with the students to help them. How can people interested in teaching get involved with Eastern? They were encouraged to contact the College’s Workforce Office.
How can someone get involved in creating new trails or existing trails in the local parks? She is willing to work on a fundraiser to create Bike Trails.
Noted the upcoming events at the LR Artisans Cooperative. The events planned include: Fiber Festival/Memorial Day Weekend, July –the 25th Anniversary of the Cooperative. The events will include a marching of the sheep, craft demos and events are planned weekly throughout the season.
Asked what is happening with fracking? It was stated that wells have been drilled in Hampshire County/Fulks Run and Bergton Area. They were not successful. The Harrisonburg Paper stated that the company was leaving the area, according to Bob Dillard. Cathy Winters stated that an attorney told her that fracking was not planned in Hardy County.
Asked “How many people vote in Hardy County?” About 1/3 raised their hands. There were about 69 in attendance at the meeting.
Two New Property owners were recognized:
Wayne Turner and Lance Schwulst
A Yard Sale is planned for July at the General Store. She also stated that there needs to be a plan to store equipment used for community events and a way to access them easily.
Asked why we don’t have a recycling program? Where do we take recyclables? Margo stated that she takes items to VA and most weekenders take their items back to DC and NoVA. She went before the Planning Commission to encourage recycling in the newly adopted Comprehensive Plan.
Paul Yandura stated that recycling would be on a future agenda.
Raised the question on the future of Cell Phone Service. DeWayne Lawrence stated evidence of Honey Bees being harmed by cell tower radiation. Some people stated that they use micro cell towers in their homes to have cell service. It works off of the internet service.
Stated that there were plans to build cell towers along 259. Currently there are towers in Wardensville along Corridor H and on Bears Hell. There was a survey done by Shentel and 3 sites were identified as possible locations. One location is on the hill behind the Lost River Grill. The other sites are located further down SR259 towards VA. All of the towers are on hold due to lack of carriers that would place the equipment on them. Should there be further activity to construct cell towers, the Hardy County Planning Commission would have to hold a public hearing and vote to issue a permit. Notice of the hearing would have to be published in the Moorefield Examiner 30 days ahead of time.