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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
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February 21, 2012     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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February 21, 2012
 

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Wednesday, Februa 22,2012 News pirit of JEFFERSON and FARMER&apos;SADVOCATE Charleston FROM PAGE A1 The day was created to give interested parties from the area a chance to make their views known to legislators and to pro- mote awareness of the Eastern Panhandle's issues. "We always hear people com- plaining that they are not rec- ognized because they are so far away from Charleston. I thought this would be the perfect thing to do to be more recognizable" said Communication Outreach of Jefferson County, West Vir- ginia founder and President Cher- yl Keyrouze, who said she was inspired to organize the event through her participation in the Leadership Jefferson program. "I was in Leadership Jefferson, and ... there was another county that was having a 'county day.' I asked Andrew Skinner, who's in charge of Leadership Jefferson, if Jefferson County had a day. He said 'No,' and I asked 'Why not?' and he said, 'Because nobody has ever tried it,'" Keyrouze said. Harpers Ferry Mayor Joe An- derson and Town Council Mem- ber Betsy Bainbridge said they came to increase awareness of the impact state policy has on small municipalities like their town. "The state helps us with many of the things that we do- particu- larly our big projects" Anderson said. "It is important to build rela- tionships with people hem in or- der to be more effective wrestling with the issues we have in town." Bainbridge said the event has been instructive in teaching her how state government operates. BANCRK Delegate Tiffany Lawerence, middle, reads a resolution recog- nizing Monday, Feb. 20 as Jefferson County Day. Also pictured Delegate Eric Householder, left, and Senator Herb Snyder. and where residents can go on a state level to get some help or ad- vice. 'Tm very concemed about the small municipalities in the state like Harpers Ferry. These ale very dif- ficult financial times, and I'm inter- ested in alerting our representatives to our situation," Bainbridge said. 'q'his is also the beginning of the cycle for the grant process, so this is an oppommity to talk about many of the ideas we have and to get help putting together various proposals," Anderson said. Rob Losey, co-owner of Bloomery Planation Distillery, came to Charleston to advocate for specific policy changes that he thinks would aid his business. The distillery, which produces an Italian after-dinner liqueur called 'lemon- cello,' is held back by two regula- tions in particular, argued Losey. "Current laws allow breweries to taste heer and other malt beverages (at liquor stores). The same is true with wine at wineries" Losey said. However, Losey cannot hold a tasting of his lemoncello at a li- quor store because it is classified as a distilled beverage. He said his strongest lemoncello has an alco- hol content that is similar to wine, but the law classifies his beverages as liquors because grain alcohol is used as an ingredient. "It would give us a chance to al- low our product to speak for itself, rather than relying on just the label to sell it. As a small business with a limited marketing budget, that is just huge for us" Losey said. Another regulation that Losey sees cutting into his profits is West Vhginia's 'blue laws' which pro- hibit the sale of liquor on Sundays. "One of the biggest tourism days is Sunday," Losey said. "We are right across the river from Loud- oun County, Va. where they have a them," Pape said. "l. highly rec- number of wineries that can do tast- ommend Jefferson County Day ings on Sunday. People drive right by me to head out that way. I don't have the same oplxattmity to bring V'wginia customers here to Jeffer- son County." "We're in West V'wginia because it is very distillery=friendly, a great tourist area, a great business cli- mate. With that being said, them are always things that we could do to make it more friendly to that busi- ness," he said. for anyone in the county who wants to get some face time with their legislators. I don't think you could do it any other way." Chuck Ellison and Paul Es- pinosa of Frontier Communica- tions attended the event to in- crease awareness of a threat to their business: copper cable theft. "Unfortunately, cable theft has been a major issue in West Vir= The Eastern Panhandle Organi- ginia," Espinosa said. "There is zation of Home Owners Associa- tions also came to the capitol with a policy agenda they were advocat- ing to legislators. Their concerns focus on Chapter 36B of the state Code, which reg- ulates homeowners' associations and provides them with a number of protections. "What 3613 does is to give a lot of protections to homeowners and their association. The issue to EPO- HOA is that developers are choos- ing not to put that provision in their documents, which means the hom- eowners are losing out on all these protections," said Ami Pape, one of EPOHOA's representatives. Pape and.other EPOHOA mem- bers came to advocate broader ap- plication of these legal protections to HOAs throughout the state. Pape said Jefferson County Day offered the organization a unique oppolXU- nity to meet with legislators from areas of the state without home- owner associations. "Some of them don't really un- derstand what an HOA is because there are really just a few pockets in the state that have HOAs and condo associations. Part of EPO- HOA's mission is to educate legislation that is currently be- ing considered that concerns ca- ble theft. One deals with copper theft generally The other deals specifically with the disruption of emergency services." "When it comes right down to it, copper theft is a safety issue. When thieves steal cable it dismpts service to a whole neighborhood - busi- nesses, hospitals, emergency servic- es, even cell towers are often served with copper cable" he said, adding another issue is that salvage compa- nies are buying up the copper. "Hopefully, if some of these bills pass, we make it illegal for people to buy the stolen copper," Espinosa said. County Commissioner Dale Manuel said he came to discuss the paving a section of Hite Road to the county's 119-acre Hite Road Park, and also/o advocate for devolution of the state's transfer tax. "If we could get the lransfer tax to stay local, then it would make mon- ies available to us in our coffers that would help us to deal with (Eastern Regional Jail) bills. Currently we pay that," Manuel said. "The bills are substantial.About 45 percent of the county's budget goes to public safety, including fire, EMS, law en- forcement and regional jail bills. It is important that we get some addi- tional money to retire that debt." Russell Kitchner, Angela Crone and James R. May of American Public University said their prima- ry motivation for participating in the event was to show support for Jefferson County as a whole and to showcase what they have been able to accomplish since moving to the county. "I think that most of the people here would say there is a story to be told about Jefferson County that is often overlooked because we are on the far end of the Eastern Pan- handle," Kitchner said. "Jefferson County Day has all kinds of potep- tial. I think it is an absolutely essen- tial opportunity." Their displays featured render- ings of their two new buildings - one completed and one still under couslruction - which have been built according to stringent green building standards. "We're adding about 1,500 solar panels being instaUed on the new finance center. They're estimating between 40 and 60 percent of the energy for the building will be pro- duced by those," Crone said. Manuel said he thought Jefferson County Day wasa lremendous suc- cess. He said it provided ground- work for increasing understanding between the far northeastem and southwestern parts of the state. "We need to he hem for two rea- son: number one, to talk and, num- her two, to listen. We need to lis- ten to how the rest of West Virgin- ia lives as well. We have to show them what our unique problems are, but we have to listen to what theirs are as well," Manuel said. , Impact FROM PAGE A1 director, F. Mark Schiavone. "We know consultants are not cheap. I don't see the cost savings at all," Morgan said. The deportment had been in charge of administering im- pact fees and capital planning as well as some functions re- lating to the county budget and the county's information tech- nology infrastructure. Schiavone was not present for last week's vote. Commis- sion President Patsy Noland indicated that he was sick and could not attend. Schiavone said he had no comment on the decision. Though the motion indicat- ed an intention to hire a con- sultant to administer the im- pact fee program, Noland said the commission has not yet de- cided whether to hire a consul- tant. "We're looking at that. We have the engineer. We have the assistant director of impact fees, who is still working for the county," Noland said in an interview. "I'm not sure what we're going to do about that yet. It may be that we do not need a consultant." "That's something we will have to take a look during our budget process," Noland said. Commissioner Dale Manuel presented the motion to elim- inate the department. He ar- gued that the county could nbt afford to keep the department functioning given the drastic slowdown in new construction, which he said has resulted in little work for the department to perform. Manuel said he wanted to "at least (open) a discussion about a department that currently - because of the economy - has a very, very light workload." Manuel pointed out that many of Schiavone's responsi- bilities had already been trans- ferred to Chief Financial Offi- cer Paul Shroyer when he was hired late last year. Manuel argued the measure could save between $200,000 and $225,000 dollars in the county's annual budget. Man- uel said he had worked with Shroyer to come to those fig- ures, which include the elim- ination of salaries and ben- R&A fits for Schiavone and Capital Projects Manager Kirk Davis, who resigned several weeks ago, as well as reduced costs from eliminating the depart- ment itself. Widmyer also questioned the savings figures offered by Manuel, saying that the motion would only result in the elim- ination of one position and would necessitate the hiring of a contractor. "There is not fiscal analysis associated with any of these proposals," Widmyer said. "We're playing fast and loose with the taxpayers' money." "We-are getting rid of the most knowledgeable person on impact fees in West Virgin- ia, for $78,000 (savings), and saying, 'Well, we'll just hire someone,'" Widmyer said. Morgan spoke in strong op- position to the motion, saying it would have a detrimental effect on the impact fee pro- gram. "I believe that the gentle- man's motion ... represents an enormous threat to the contin- uation of impact fee adminis- tration and enforcement and collection in this county. It is not a simple matter. It is a mat- ter that has been handled with a great deal of sophisticated analysis and technical exper- tise," Morgan said. "The idea that you could just contract to somebody on an as-needed ba- sis to run an impact fee pro- gram for Jefferson County - I find that idea absurd." In a sub'sequent interview, Morgan said the job requires that someone be in charge of "fair, impartial and 100 per- cent complete enforcement of the fee." "If you're going to have the fee, you have to make sure that it is administered fairly. I can't imagine a consultant who is brought in on a part-time ba- sis would have the same incen- tive to make sure the program is protected," she said. "I think that this motion is a shame, is wrong and represents ... a po- tential unraveling of the im- pact fee program in Jefferson County." Noland disputed the asser- tion that outsourcing the man- agement of the impact fee pro- gram would have a negative effect on its administration. "The elimination of the de- partment does not have to af- fect the impact fee manage- ment. I don't believe that it has to and I don't believe that it would. I think that is some- thing that could be contracted out, and I believe that is the better way to do it, (rather) than having a whole depart- ment for that purpose," No- land said. In an interview, Manuel said the functions of the of- fice can be transferred to other departments. He said an outside contractor would only be needed for very oc- casional large-scale reports. "We're going to save mon- ey. We're not going to have to pay benefits for the indi- vidual who does that. It will just be a fee for certain ac- tions performed." Noland said it's important that the county rein in its ex- penses in the face of future reductions in the county bud- get. "There is going to be an impact in West Virginia once the table games are adopted and online in Maryland," No-' land said. "We need to look at our entire budget. I think that - as the years progress, two or three years down the road - I think that budget is going to be even more dif- ficult to manage because of the threat to table games and video lottery that exists now. I think we're going to have to take a hard look at all the departments and determine where we can cut." Widmyer pointed out that three new positions created by the commission in recent months will cost the county more than $100,000 on an an- nual basis. Widmyer offered alter- native motions that would have added new responsibili- ties to 'the department rather than eliminating it, including management of grants and preparation of an annual cap- ital improvement plan. "I frankly think that there is more than enough work in impact fees right now. The state Legislature has asked us to look at new legislation (on affordable housing waivers). Of all the times to take away someone with experience and knowledge and background, this isn't it." Tabb FROM PAGE- A1 included replacing other grain crops with sorghum, a crop that costs 40 percent less to grow, be- comes silage for cattle feed, and can be grown in areas where oth- "er crops won't make it. "It's something that deer won't eat, and they'll eat everything else," Tabb said. That makes sor- ghum practical for acreage near wooded land, he said. "I can spread that sorghum into the problem areas and come out better," he said. Additionally, Tabb, an agri- business management gradu- ate of West Virginia University, described for the competition a system of organic recycling that the farm developed several years ago. "The management of that is something that happened since I've been back from college," he said, adding, his father, Cam, came up with the idea. First, the Tabbs caught onto the possibilities for wood waste created during the real estate boom, when real estate was being cleared quickly to cre- ate housing lots. Those broken trees could become mulch. The Tabbs developed a cartage busi- ness to take the tree waste off the hands of developers, convert it to mulch and make it salable to a new market. Another bio-friendly business the farm has developed involves hauling horse manure from the racetrack in Charles Town as well as the horse farms nearby, and converting it to compost. "We use most of that on our grain acres," Tabb said. And finally, some recycling on the farm takes treated lum- ber, such as pallets and the wood used to frame houses, and con- verts it to sawdust to be sold to horse farms and chicken pro- ducers in Hardy and Hampshire MAGGIE WOLFF PETERSON Lyle Tabb was the guest of the Farm Bureau for five days in Hawaii, where he got to discuss how he has diversified opera- tions at his Kearneysville farm. counties. "We're taking three main things that are burned or thrown away, and adding value to them," Tabb said. In a farm op- eration such as his, the steady income provides a welcome un- derpinning to the vagaries of crop-based revenue. In Hawaii, Tabb didn't make the cut for the top 10, but he and his wife were the guests of the Farm Bureau for five days, then took another three nights in Maui. "We made the trip longer for ourselves," he said. Future goals for Tabb include developing additional ways to make the farm run more ef- ficiently, and he said he is al- ways looking for new grains that might work. Having won at the state level, he is no longer eligible to compete na- tionaUy for the Farm Bureau. Besides, Tabb said that at his age, he is no longer considered a "young farmer." Old wedding invitation leads W.Va. to f'md heir CHARLESTON (AP) -- An old wedding invitation has helped West virginia officials track down the heir to a South Charleston resident's estate and give her more than $480,000. A niece of J.D. Mier will get $481.335.70 after the execu- tor of Mier's estate found her in Ohio after finding the invitation in boxes of personal documents. State Treasurer John Perdue pre- sented executor Robin Klapproth with the check on Friday. West Virginia officials didn't identify the Ohio woman, ac- cording to The Charleston Ga- zette. Klapproth says the woman is thrilled to get the money and to 7 know her genealogical history. - : The West V'wginia Unclaimed" Property Act holds onto unclaimed: money in the state's general reve- nue account until the original owai- ers or heirs can he found. There currently is about $162 million in ? unclaimed money. 3 items for the price of 2 everyday!* * On dryclean items only. :00i<cust Hill At the entrance of TuscowUlo Hills next to Handi-Stop. 304.728.7444 Fri. 7am-5pm Sot. 9am-noon ........ t - . PRE-SEASON All 2011 Models MUST GO! Only *797 oo 19 x 31 x 4 Includes: