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Genesis Healthcare, Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce Host Breakfast

June 13, 2018
BY TELINA FRYE - Staff Writer ( , Wetzel Chronicle

The annual State of Wetzel County breakfast was held at New Martinsville's Genesis HealthCare on June 7. The event is organized by the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce. Registration and breakfast, the latter provided by Genesis Healthcare, began at 7:30 a.m. At 8 a.m., everyone was welcomed by the Chamber's Eric Vincent. Camissa McCurdy, of Genesis Healthcare, then welcomed everyone, and the program got underway.

The first Keynote Speaker was Jason Hamman, Economic Development Director for Monroe County, Ohio. Hamman spoke on a couple of projects that will not only impact Monroe County, but will impact Wetzel County as well. One of those is happening on the other side of the former Ormet property, Hannibal Industrial Park. The Hannibal Industrial Park has had a lot of success since it was bought by Hannibal Real Estate in 2007 and transformed into a multi-tennant industrial campus, primarily to serve the oil and gas industry.

Wetzel County Commissioner Lisa Heasley, also a guest spaker, spoke on the "ABCs" of the commission. She gave a review of the jobs and situations she has undertaken while on the commission, each job beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. It was noted the Chamber has been collaborating with Wetzel County Schools, WVNCC, and other organizations to provide a regional vocational training center. The Chamber has pledged $50,000 toward this program, and the goal is to train a local workforce.

Article Photos

Photos by Telina Frye
Charles Clements, West Virginia Senator.

It was pointed out at the end of Heasley's talk that she had forgotten to mention grant writing for the town of Pine Grove for water/sewage issues that the town has been working on and trying to correct with assistance.

The next speaker was Larry Tackett, West Virginia Northern Community College. He spoke of some of the assets community colleges have that four year schools don't, including the college credit courses available at high schools throughout the valley for only $25 per credit hour, compared to the normal $135 per credit hour rate. Tackett told of two students from Valley High School this past year that each graduated with an associate degree from WVNCC. This degree only cost their parents $1,500.

WVNCC has provided an Entrepreneurship & Small Business Development Program in the past and will be doing so again Sept. 4 thru Nov. 13 on Tuesdays.

It is an 11 week course. It is for anyone wishing to start a business or who has an existing business and wants to improve or expand their efforts. The program is open to the public at no cost; however, pre-registration is required to secure a space. To register, call the Chamber at 304-455-3825. This course is provided by EQT Grant Funding. WVNCC prepares and hosts the classes at their New Martinsville Campus.

The fourth speaker was Jerry Mullens, Westlake Plant Manager. Westlake is celebrating its 75th year in 2018. It was previously known as PPG. Westlake Chemical is a company headquartered in Housten, Texas. There are 11 plants located in the United States. There are also plants in Canada, Taiwan, Germany, China and India. Westlake possesses $8 billion in revenue.

Charles Clements, WV State Senator, was the last speaker of the day. He spoke of three major pieces of legislation passed, which will affect Wetzel County. The co-tenancy bill would allow a 75 percent majority of property owners to agree to lease out a jointly owned piece of property for oil and gas development. The second piece of legislation is Senate Bill 360 which affects Wetzel County. This bill changes the way royalties are calculated for flat-rate leases. This bill is being challenged by one oil company, so there is an uncertainty as to its future. The other piece of legislation that helps Wetzel County affects the consolidation of jails and prisons in the state.

Sharon Thomas, Wetzel County Chamber, wrapped up the breakfast by speaking of some of the initiatives the Chamber of Commerce is focusing on. One of those is the School to Work Program: The Chamber is participating in this by collaborating with private businesses. This program will provide employment opportunities to graduating seniors immediately out of high school and/or vocational training facilities. The Chamber provides contact information between participating private businesses needing employees and graduating students needing employment. The graduating students need to provide: a good attitude, good attendance record, decent grades, good work ethics, and be drug free.

One of the other additions is the Chamber Benefit Plan. Folks may be eligible to participate in the Chamber Benefit Plan - Group Rate Insurance. An informational session will be held on Thursday, June 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the New Martinsville Public Library meeting room. This session is co-hosted by the Chamber and McCoy Consulting. Information will be given on how businesses or organizations may benefit. There will be question and answer opportunities. Local agency representatives that offer this plan will be present. RSVP is required to 304-455-3825.

It was also announced that Reynolds Memorial Hospital has just joined the Chamber of Commerce. The hospital had a ribbon cutting Monday, June 11 at 10 a.m. to introduce their cath lab.



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