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Depot Welcome Center Greets Nearly 18,000 Visitors in 2007Depot Welcome Center Greets Nearly 18,000 Visitors in 2007By Wayne Sheets

December 28, 2007
By Wayne Sheets, Contributing Business Writer
“Two-thousand seven has been an interesting year,” said Ed Griesel, president of the Elkins Depot Welcome Center. “Close to 18,000 visitors came into the Depot Welcome Center this year compared to 7,000 last year. Next year should bring a continued increase in visitor traffic and we need to prepare for that increase now. Most business owners, citizens and community organizations are eager to do their part in making Elkins inviting. We who meet every two weeks do not have lots of answers; however, we try to improve things. We share successes and failures together and try to build on the importance of working as one. We are beginning to see a slight increase in visitor traffic downtown mainly due to the New Tygart Flyer operating out of the Depot, the opening of the American Mountain Theater and other area attractions.”

Griesel said, “I want to thank each of you for your support and look forward to 2008 with great anticipation. Please extend an invitation to others to join us. Also, I wish everyone a Happy New Year.”

The next Downtown Merchants Meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 8, at Ceramics with Class on Davis Avenue. Why not start the New Year off right by joining the other merchants for an hour or so every other Tuesday morning and sharing your ideas about how to make Elkins a more interesting destination on the tourism highway, and a better place to live, work and play. Elaine Griesel also has a wonderful breakfast prepared to enjoy after each meeting.


It seems that every time we turn around someone is asking us for our Social Security number, but just to whom must we give it? According to the Better Business Bureau, any business can ask for your SSN, however, there are only a very few entities that can actually request it, which include transactions involving taxes, bank business, brokerages and employers. Here are some tips suggested by the BBB that will help protect and minimize the use of your SSN:

1. Before you reveal any personally identifying information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared with others. Ask questions about the company’s privacy policy such as, Will you have a choice about the use of your information? Can you choose to have it kept confidential?

2. Ask if the business accepts alternative identification. If they do not, you can refuse to do business with them. Remember, though, there’s a possibility they will refuse to provide whatever product or service you are seeking.

3. If possible, do not give your SSN over the telephone or the Internet.

4. When you discard receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, fiscal statements, bank checks and statements, expired credit cards, credit offers you get in the mail and mailing labels from magazines, tear or shred them.


In the Dec. 15 issue of this column, I mentioned that the Rotary Club of Elkins was considering making Ron Selders and Joyce Hanson honorary members and in doing so mentioned a few of Ron’s contributions to Rotary and the community. This past week, my failure to do the same for Joyce was brought to my attention. Joyce was a member of Rotary for 15 years and served as the club’s music director for 14 of those years. She was twice elected to the board of directors and initiated the club’s silent auction, which has become one of the club’s major fundraisers. I apologize, Joyce, for my shortcomings. I do wish, however, that whoever wrote to advise me of the errors of my ways had signed his or her name to the letter.


I want to remind everyone that the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce will host its first legislative breakfast on Jan. 4, at 7:30 a.m., at the Randolph County Community Arts Center. The event is open to everyone. Non-chamber members will be charged a $5 fee. Chamber members will be admitted free of charge.

The chamber is pleased to offer this event, which will provide an opportunity for business leaders and citizens to share the important issues facing Randolph County with their elected representatives before the upcoming legislative session convenes on Jan. 9.

The Randolph County delegation that includes state Sens. Walt Helmick, D-15th District, and Clark Barnes, R-15th District, and Delegates Bill Proudfoot and Bill Hartman, both D-37th District, have been invited to attend and participate in a question/answer forum.

The buffet breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. with proceedings to get under way at 7:45 a.m. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the chamber office at 636-2717 or by e-mail at


Now that 2007 is about to become history, it is time to take a quick mental journey back in time and spend a few moments reflecting on our successes and failures of the year. There is an old axiom that goes something like “those that do nothing make no mistakes.”

It is also true that those who take on the role of leaders, whether it be in our local community, county, state or at the national level, do so at the peril of bringing upon themselves the dissatisfaction and wrath of those who do not agree. We’ve experienced a lot of this during the year in many areas. We must also keep in mind, however, that a democratic society cannot function without transparency and compromise. The problem in our community is that compromise is extremely hard to come by. There’s simply too much of the “it’s either my way, or no way” attitude. There are a number of things that need to be accomplished that will make our community a better place to live, work and play — too many to enumerate here, and I’m sure they are known anyway — and the only way they can be accomplished is through working together toward acceptable compromises. It is my wish that we can overcome some of the obstacles standing in the way of the progress. We need to make our community a better and more attractive place.

Happy New Year everyone. May 2008 be your happiest and most prosperous year ever.



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