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Legislative Breakfast Gets the Word Out

December 15, 2007
By Wayne Sheets, Contributing Business Writer
In the unlikely event that you are not aware of it, our state’s Legislature goes into session Jan. 9. As a way of informing our elected representatives of the issues of concern in our area, Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ellen Spears is planning a Legislative Breakfast at the Randolph County Community Arts Center at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 4. This meeting is open to all concerned citizens as well as chamber members.

Last August, Spears conducted a survey among Chamber of Commerce members and the issues of major concern as voiced by those who replied to the survey will be presented to the legislators in the format of a legislative agenda. The issues of concern are affordable health care, a skilled workforce, cooperation among local government entities, community visioning, local planning process and community appearance, small business and entrepreneurial development and business lobbying, tax and tort reform. The legislators will also be presented with a resolution supporting state finance of small business and entrepreneurial development.

This breakfast is intended to, and will, provide an opportunity to discuss with our elected representatives those issues of concern to everyone. For more information regarding the event, contact the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce at 636-2717.


AT&T Field Service Manager Sandi Van Handel has released information regarding a fraudulent telephone scam involving area codes 809. Scam artists will call and either leave a message of urgency saying that they have something important to tell you, and then leave a telephone number starting with the 809 area code. Or, they will get you to call by telling you that they have information regarding a family member who has been ill or to tell you someone has been arrested, died, or to let you know you have won a wonderful prize. In each case, you are told to call the 809 number right away.

Once you make the call, a charge of $2,425 per minute will be charged to your account. You may get a long recorded message that will keep you on the telephone for a long period of time running the bill higher. It works because area code 809 is located in the British Virgin Islands — The Bahamas. The charges become a nightmare, because you made the call. If you complain, both your local phone company and your long distance carrier will not want to get involved and will most likely tell you that they are simply providing the billing for the foreign company. You’ll end up dealing with a foreign company that argues they have done nothing wrong. Additional information on this and other area codes used in the scam can be found at the AT&T Web site link:


For all the stargazers out there, the night sky will be a dazzling playground of meteorites for the next few days. Unfortunately, if you are not a professional astronomer, you may not know that the Geminid Meteor Shower will have peaked last Thursday night, but there will still be several days of beautiful multi-colored meteors crisscrossing the sky.

Most well known meteor showers, like the Perseids and Leonids, are very old. They’ve been observed for hundreds, even thousands of years. The earliest record of a modern-day meteor shower is probably a notation in Chinese annals dated 36 AD, regarding the Perseids, where it is said, “more than 200 meteors flew thither in the morning.”

The Geminids are a different story. The first Geminid meteors suddenly appeared in the mid-1800s. The early showers were unimpressive, boasting a mere 10 to 20 shooting stars per hour. Since then, however, the Geminids have grown in intensity. In 1996, the last time the Geminids appeared in the dark moon-less sky, observers saw a many as 100 per hour. Sky-watchers under clear skies should see at least that many this year if the Geminids continue to intensify.

Most meteor showers result from debris that boils off a comet’s nucleus when it passes close to the sun. The nighttime fireworks of the Geminid are different. They originate from what appears to be a rocky asteroid. According to NASA, astronomers are still uncertain as to how particles from a tough rocky asteroid could break or boil off to form a meteoroid stream.

If you’re interested in seeing a sky full of shooting stars, hope for a clear, moon-less night within the next few days and between 8 p.m. and daylight the next morning The fireworks usually peak around 2 a.m. Early in the evening, from 10 p.m. until midnight, they are best viewed looking to the southeast about 30 degrees above the horizon toward Gemini. At 2 a.m., the show will be in the southern sky approximately 45 degrees above the horizon in the southern sky.


The Rotary Club of Elkins lost a faithful servant recently with the resignation of Ron Selders. Ron has been with Rotary longer than one likes to remember, and was one of those who, for so many years, helped prepare those great barbequed chicken dinners. Officers of the club are considering making him an honorary member. The club is also considering honoring Joyce Hanson in the same manner. Who could object to that?

Liz Marshall brought a troupe of tremendous singers from Jennings Randolph Elementary School and entertained the club at its luncheon on Monday. They sang a program of Christmas music. There must have been about 25 of them, and their singing was beautiful.

Rotarians Pat Schumann and Dr. Thomas Mann presented Rotary Club President Donna Seibert with a certificate naming the Rotary Club of Elkins to Davis & Elkins College’s 1904 Society. The organization is a recognition society that pays tribute to people and organizations that contribute $1,000 or more per year to the college.

The Rotary Club is seeking new members. If you hold, or are retired from, a professional, proprietary, executive, or managerial position, have the capacity to meet the club’s weekly attendance or community project participation requirements, and live or work within the locality of the club or the surrounding area (primarily Elkins is the local area), and like to serve your fellowman in service and humanitarian projects, Rotary would like to have you as a member. If you’d like to be a member of this great organization, get in touch with a Rotarian or stop by the YMCA on Mondays around noon when the Rotary Club meets and talk to any one of us. Information may also be found at

Seibert is making a list (and checking it twice) of all the organizations that Rotary has helped through donations during the last six months of this year, and I’ll endeavor to bring that to you as soon as I can.



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