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Putting the Forest Back into the MSFF

September 6, 2008
By WAYNE SHEETS, Contributing Business Writer

It appears that Director General Lisa Wamsley is taking steps necessary to get forestry and wildlife people more involved with the Mountain State Forest Festival.

"My goal is to get more of the forestry and wildlife management personnel involved with the festival," Wamsley said at a recent meeting I had with her and Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge Manager Jonathan Schafler. "To have them in the park and representing our forest so that people will start to think about preserving them is a start for us. This is what the festival organizers had in mind at the beginning. I feel that we need to get back to the basic theme of the festival. It is a small start this year and I'm hoping that in the years to come each director general will build this part of the festival bigger and better.

"We need to make people aware of all the natural beauty that we have in our backyards," she said. "We're going to try little changes to make the festival a litter greener. Jonathan has been a great help and without him, I wouldn't have gotten this off to a start."

In an e-mail message to the management of the many and varied organizations of wildlife and forest management, Schafler said, "As we inch closer to the 2008 Forest Festival, I want to ask for your participation in bringing a renewed conservation message to the state's largest festival. As I mentioned in an earlier e-mail, we have a commitment from festival organizers to offer a great park location, no application fee and many other amenities for organizations and agencies that wish to participate. All you need is a tent, people and an activity you can share with kids.

"Thursday's 'School Day' will host nearly 1,000 school children who are loosing their connection to wildlife and wild places to iPods, Game Boys, PlayStations and television. When these young people turn into tomorrow's voters, the lack of a conservation ethic may have serious consequences for our open spaces, public lands and the environment. Here is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the conservation work of your organization/agency and share our common values with West Virginias young and old alike."

Agencies wishing to participate in this renewed interest in bringing the forest back into the Forest Festival may call Wamsley at the MSFF office at 636-1824, or Schafler at the Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge at 866-3858, by fax at 866-3852, or by e-mail at

Some of you may have already received the warning about a computer virus being distributed through a message titled "Postcard from Hallmark." If you have that's great, but if you haven't here's what's happening.

You receive an e-mail message saying it's from a dear friend or relative and open it. As soon as you do, it opens "A Postcard Image" which "burns" the Zero Sector of the hard drive, or "C" drive, in your computer.

According to Snopes this warning is legitimate and serious. Apparently, too, there is no cure for the worm. For more information, log on to: I checked this one out and it's real folks.

Here's a reminder of another unwanted circumstance. Supposedly everyone's cellular telephone number was released to telemarketing subscribers on Friday and we are now susceptible to being harassed by telemarketers at all hours of the day and night - and be charged for the call. You can be spared this misery by calling the National Do Not Call Center at 1-888-328-1222. You must call from the cell phone number you want blocked - you cannot call from a different phone. This will block your number for five years, at which time the procedure will have to be repeated all over again, or better still, maybe all the telemarketers will have gone broke and/or found other employment.

Dr. Russell Sobel, professor of Economics and James Clark Coffman Distinguished Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies in the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University, addressed a group of nearly 50 area business executives at the Holiday Inn Express on Friday. His address dealt with the economic climate of West Virginia and what can be done to improve it.

The event launched what will be a series of discussions by business leaders in the coming months based on the book, "Unleashing Capitalism Why Prosperity Stops at the West Virginia Border and How to Fix It" edited by Sobel.

The Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce and Davis Health System sponsored his address. Mark Doak, director of Davis Health System, hosted the luncheon.

Notices of dates and locations of future meetings will be published in this column and other sources. Those interested in sponsoring future discussions or joining the discussions should call the ERCCC office at 636-2717.

I'm sure that my mentioning a couple of recent books to reach bookstores will not set in motion a buying spree for them as happens when Oprah Winfrey mentions one on her show but it's fun to dream. The first one I'd like to mention as suggested reading is titled "The Limits of Power - The End of American Exceptionalism" by Andrew J. Bacevich.

According to the review by Robert G. Kaiser in the "Washington Post" Bacevich is a West Point graduate who served his country as an Army office for more than 20 years retiring as a Colonel with a reputation as one of the leading intellectuals in our armed services. He is not running for office so he is willing to speak candidly and bluntly to his countrymen about their selfishness, their hubris, their sanctimony and the grave problems they now face.

If his credentials don't impress the reader, perhaps the following short quote will: "No one today seriously believes that the actions of the legislative branch are informed by a collective determination to promote the common good" and "The chief ... function of Congress is to ensure the re-election of its members." He also says that Americans consume too much ... go to war too often ... and don't govern ourselves wisely enough." Bacevich describes an America beset by three crises: a crisis of profligacy, a crisis in politics and a crisis in the military.

His book could not have come at a more crucial time.

The second one should be lighter and fun-filled. It's titled, "The New Elite: The Truly Wealthy." It's based on interviews of 6,000 people with liquid assets of at least $5 million, and written conjointly by Jim Taylor, Doug Harrison and Stephen Kraus. The authors suggest that while not every reader may become a millionaire, they might discover interesting ways of selling something to those who do. The book sheds light on many interesting common traits of the rich - one being that the average age of the super rich is a mere 47 years. Pick up a copy. I think it will be an interesting read.



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