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LEPC?Initiates Community Awareness Program

October 18, 2008
By Wayne Sheets, Contributing Business Writer

The Randolph County Local Emergency Planning Committee announced the initiation of its community awareness program at Wednesday's monthly meeting. The 20-minute program is an overview of what the Randolph County LEPC and Office of Emergency Management is doing to prepare for natural and/or manmade cataclysmic events such a flooding, mass migration, terrorist attacks or attacks on or in our schools.

The first of the series of presentations throughout the county will be made to members of the Rotary Club of Elkins on Monday. The presentation covers how data on potential flood situations is collected and distributed to appropriate NOAA and state agencies, interoperability communications systems, emergency shelters and a prototype school security system. These are but a few of the ongoing projects funded by federal and state grants.

One of the greatest challenges of both sponsoring organizations is apathy toward the fact that any one of these events could happen here at home at any time. The consensus of everyone involved in the preparations for these catastrophes is that it is not a matter of if an event will occur - it's a matter of when. One school official said in a recent meeting that the innocence of the Beaver and Wally Cleaver school days are over. "While we like to think that we are immune to an event such as the one at Virginia Tech or Columbine High School, we are not," he said.

The program will be presented to civic and social organizations throughout the county. For more information or to schedule a presentation, call the Office of Emergency Management at 636-0483.

In August, Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ellen Spears mailed 800 surveys to people who have participated in the July 4 Mountain State Street Machines car show. Of the 180 responses, 140 were in favor of continuing to have the show in the Elkins City Park. The Cruise-in will continue to be in downtown Elkins on Friday evening as before.

Heavy rainfall on Thursday and Friday before this year's show rendered the park unusable and it was held in the streets of downtown Elkins. Many of the merchants were pleased and hoped it would continue to be held downtown.

According to Spears, the survey revealed that approximately $52,000 was spent in Elkins during this year's weekend event.

The Cloverleaf 4-H Club will be decorating the Town Square for today's Farmer's Market with pumpkins, sunflowers, cornstalks and other fall harvest decoration items. There are only three more market days left - Nov. 1 is the last one, according to Joel Wolpert, who oversees the market's operations.

The Belington Fall Festival will also take place today beginning at 11 a.m. They, too, will have local produce and products for sale as well as craft items. According to festival planners, the main attractions are a pumpkin drop and the Mr. Belington Beauty Pageant. Some say they can't wait to see "them dudes all prettied up!"

The festivities conclude with a cakewalk at around 5 p.m.

Here's an interesting bit of information that was brought to my attention by a friend - free 411 service. I checked it out on and it is true.

Cell phone companies have been charging $1 or more for information calls by customers who place an estimated 6 billion calls per year, mostly from their automobiles while driving. By dialing 1-800-FREE411 (1-800-373-3411), free service will be provide by a company called Jingle Networks. Thousands of national and local businesses sponsor this service with brief valuable audio advertisements that are played to callers who request businesses in their yellow pages category. The free service is available for the cost of listening to a few seconds of advertisement - which seems worthwhile. This will work on your home telephone also.

For more information, log on to

Missy Armentrout McCollum, director of The Old Brick Playhouse, and Erin Franklin of EduCorps VISTA WV joined Rotarians for lunch on Oct. 6. While there, they spoke to the members regarding the EduCorps program. The group is a new resource designed to secure alternative funding for the Randolph County school system. Franklin said she would be searching for grants, volunteers and donations in an attempt to provide the school with some of the resources they are requesting. Schools will be able to submit requests for money, in-kind resources or volunteers by using the EduCorps application. EduCorps will then start searching for these resources and keep schools updated as opportunities become available.

Schools' needs, according to McCollum and Franklin, include but are not limited to interactive whiteboards, musical instruments, carpeting, cabinets, bookshelves, laptop computers, choir uniforms, playground equipment and numerous other items. Those who might have a surplus of these and other items that schools can use are encouraged to call Franklin at 614-6268 or e-mail



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