Some may have already heard the great news from Elkins Mayor Duke Talbott's office regarding the city's higher-than-expected revenues for fiscal year 2009. I saw Talbott at lunch Friday and he was elated. He also asked that I put the news in this column today.
"This is great news for Elkins and the vibrancy of the city's economy," Talbott said. "I would like to thank the finance committee, city clerk, treasurer and administrative officers for the great job they have done in bringing strong financial management to the city. This is especially significant in light of the many new initiatives the city has undertaken during the year. Although final figures will not be available for a few weeks, preliminary estimates indicate that $10,355,000 was collected compared to $10,293,000 that was projected in the city's planned budget. This is an increase of .61 percent over anticipated collections."
Phyllis Baxter has extended an invitation to the public to join the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area at the organization's volunteer picnic on Friday at Stuart Recreation Area. The event will feature recognition for this year's volunteers, partners and AmeriCorps members as well as forest-themed games, music and social time.
The event will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in and around the large pavilion at the park. The picnic will include a potluck dinner with grilled meats and mushrooms provided by the AmeriCorps team. Those who wish to attend may bring a covered dish if they wish, although it's not necessary.
Baxter said the event is being hosted to celebrate the many accomplishments of the 2008-2009 AFHA AmeriCorps team and to recognize this year's AFHA partners and volunteers.
"Feel free to come early to swim or to enjoy the park," she said. "If you can't be there for the whole time, join us for as long as you can. Whether you arrive early for games and recreation or stay late for music and the campfires, there's sure to be something for everyone."
Those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 304-636-6182. Letting them know that you plan to attend will help them determine how much food they will need.
According to Joe and Katie Wolpert, the two who make the Elkins Farmers Market possible, you can now shop for locally grown vegetables and homemade food items while being serenaded by local musicians. Each Saturday there is a wide variety of greens, legumes, roots, fruits, herbs, meats, kitchen goods, cut flowers, honey, maple syrup, jellies and jams, pastries and crafts available. Give your budget a break and shop at the farmer's market. Nancy Barlow, executive secretary of the Randolph County Development Authority, said at Tuesday's merchants meeting that the market is enjoying a great deal of success this summer.
Fresh Food Fridays is also enjoying a healthy and fun-filled season, according to Barlow. Now you can enjoy lunch in the open spaces of the town square, while being serenaded by "DJ Crazy," who is there to play your favorite oldies as well as the hits of today.
Fresh Food Fridays are on the second and fourth Fridays of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Each event has a variety of vendors serving up pizza, seafood, pork sandwiches, lemonade and desserts. What a great way to enjoy an outdoor lunch with friends and coworkers.
Everyone who takes the time to read this column has heard me talk about what a great place barber and beauty shops are for obtaining "the latest in the news" - or to hear the latest rumors floating about. The favorite subject last week was "when is the new restaurant in the railyard going to open to the public?" Everyone has been looking forward to its opening for quite a long time now. They are beginning to wonder if it will open to the public at all or whether it is going to be for the exclusive use of the bus groups that come to town to ride the train.
I don't have the answer; I wish I did. I'll try to find time to talk to the owners in the next few days to see if they can shed some light on the subject. I've had the good fortune to have dinner there and I can assure you that the food was excellent and that the facility is one of the finest in town. I would agree that it would be nice to have another restaurant to choose from when dining out.
When driving by the new building that will house the county health department and other offices, it doesn't look like much headway is being accomplished, but County Commission President Mike Taylor assured those at Tuesday's merchants meeting that construction is proceeding quite well. He predicted that the building would be completed on schedule by Oct. 1. He said that it probably won't be occupied by that date but the construction should be finished. He also stated that they are looking to include some "green space" around the building to brighten it up a bit.
Taylor also mentioned that they are looking for ideas for the use of the old facility after it is vacated. Some suggested that the best thing to do would be to demolish the old building and prepare the site for a new structure, which sounds like a pretty good idea. Most seem to think that the building has seen "its better days."
Don Smith, publisher of The Inter-Mountain, briefed attendees at Tuesday's merchant's meeting regarding the West Virginia Press Association Convention at Snowshoe the weekend of Aug. 7-9. There was an information booth at the convention promoting the city of Elkins and, according to Smith, it experienced an exceptionally high number of visitors. Smith said that a lot of information and pamphlets were passed out to people seeking information about the city and Randolph County.
Smith also advanced the idea of promoting Elkins as a golf-outing destination.
"We have three very popular golf courses within about 75 minutes or less of Elkins," Smith said. "Instead of trying to get those who come to the resorts to visit Elkins, perhaps it would be a good idea to promote Elkins as 'the' place to stay and play golf at three different resort locations instead of only the one at which they are staying. Of course, we must never give up on promoting the city's unique shopping, dining and entertainment venues to those that come to the Snowshoe, Canaan and Stonewall Jackson resorts, but once they are there it is hard to get them to leave. It might be worth taking a look at another way of getting visitors to Elkins."
Things are hopping at Davis & Elkins College these days. Staff and faculty are preparing to welcome more than 300 new students next Saturday. The grand opening of the fitness center will also take place that day around 12:30 p.m., according to Scott Goddard. Then on Sunday at 7 p.m., the college will host an "Evening of Inspiration and Pride with Jack Lengyel" at Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. A "tailgate" reception will follow.
Lengyel came to national attention in 1971 when he accepted the challenge of rebuilding the Marshall University football team following the tragic plane crash the year before. His story inspired the Time/Warner film "We are Marshall." Since his retirement as athletic director at the U.S. Naval Academy, he has and continues to be an inspiration to our armed forces personnel.
For more information regarding this event, call Robin Price at 304-637-1243.