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Merchants worry decorations will be vandalized

November 27, 2010
By Wayne Sheets, Contributing Business Writer

During the past summer and fall, Elaine Griesel and several others spent untold hours hosting fundraising events to purchase Christmas lighting to decorate the Elkins Railroad Depot and The Town Square. Now they are worried about the security of the lighting and decorations once they are in place.

For the past several years and probably for as long as people have donated their time and resources to make Elkins a place of seasonal beauty, there have been those who are bent on damaging or destroying that beauty. One can't help but wonder why anyone would stoop so low as to destroy anything that belongs to another, especially those things that express the message of the Christmas season and make it such beautiful one - but it continues to happen.

At the Downtown Merchants meeting on Nov. 9, Mayor Duke Talbott was asked if there was anything that could be done to stop those bent on destroying the decorations and lights. He said that he would ask the Elkins City Police Department to increase their patrols of the area in hopes that might help reduce vandalism. Let's hope it works.

To those who harbor ideas of destroying the seasonal beauty, please don't do it. The satisfaction of enjoying the lighting and decorations will surely be greater than destroying what others have done to make our town a beautiful one during this special season.

Griesel hopes to use the lighting and decorations she spent so much time and effort to acquire to last for many years to come. To those who would damage or destroy them, you are invited to enjoy their beauty and the messages they radiate; don't harm them, leave them alone for others to enjoy, too.


One of the hefty challenges facing those who are interested in strengthening Elkins' economy during the slow trading months of January through mid-April is finding ways to get people to Elkins during that time. The city is strategically located at the crossroads of the traffic destined for ski resorts in Canaan Valley and Snowshoe Mountain. Finding ways of exploiting this good fortune would no doubt help the local economy.

The whole idea is to get more people into the area's stores and one way to do that might be to have special activities during those months, each with a different theme. Martha Metheny suggested at Tuesday's Downtown Merchants' meeting that perhaps it would be possible to plan special activities based on a theme appropriate for that month, i.e., something to do with the Super Bowl in January and in February the theme for special shopping activities might be based on Valentine's Day and/or the arts since the Randolph County ArtsBank does a lot of promoting the arts and also hosts its annual auction that month. More discussion will take place in the coming weeks. If you have an idea you'd like to share, call Metheny at Henry G's Restaurant at 304-636-1570 or Heather Goodwin Henline at The Inter-Mountain at 304-636-2121, ext 104. You may also contact Henline by email at:


Special efforts are under way to "Light up Elkins" during the Christmas Parade on Dec. 3 and on through Jan 1. The chamber and downtown merchants are encouraging everyone, merchants and private citizens alike, to "decorate your buildings and store fronts with as many lights as you can to give Elkins that special seasonal glow."

The idea is to make Elkins shine bright during the holiday season and everyone's participation would be appreciated. It doesn't cost anything except a little extra electricity. Owners of buildings with empty storefronts are encouraged to decorate them, too. If you have questions, you will get some help by calling Metheny and Goodwin Henline at the numbers listed in the paragraph above.


Last week I went into one of the local quick marts to make a purchase and when I started to pay the clerk, the new $10 bills I had were sticking together. I made a remark something to the effect that "I had just made them and they are sticking together."

The clerk looked at me very seriously and said that perhaps I shouldn't be making comments like that because within the past few days they had taken in a counterfeit $10 bill and a $50 bill. I got serious real quick and noticed that she was especially careful to check the bill I gave her. You can bet that I will not be making that comment anymore.

I contacted Diana Summerfield, customer service manager at Mountain Valley Bank who also handles the bank's security issues, regarding ways that private citizens can protect themselves from getting counterfeit bills.

She suggested that if you need large bills always go to your bank and purchase them. According to Summerfield, banks have currency counters that detect counterfeits.

"We hardly ever count money in large quantities by hand," Summerfield said. "We let the counters do it both for security and time-saving reasons. Our tellers are also trained in ways to detect counterfeit bills.

"Occasionally we will receive a phoney bill in a deposit from a business," she added. "That bill is immediately taken out of circulation (at the depositor's expense) and turned over to appropriate authorities. Most of the bills that businesses include in their deposits are taken in by someone in the company who receives payments and are not trained well in the ways of detecting phoney bills. It's not that the businesses are trying to pass along the worthless money; they innocently include it in their deposits not knowing that the bill or bills are there.

"In today's business world of hi-tech copying devices, it is relatively easy for someone who is good at copying documents to make bills that look authentic," Summerfield continued. "They are, however, easily detected. People who are properly trained can tell by the feel of them that they are no good. I've seen fakes of every denomination except the one dollar bill."

Summerfield cautioned that the counterfeit bills are in circulation in the area.

"With the Christmas shopping season at hand, a lot of cash will be changing hands," she said. "It would certainly be advisable for everyone who handles money and private citizens as well to take the time to become familiar with the ways counterfeit bills can be detected."


Henry G's Restaurant on Third Street will be hosting a breakfast with Santa on Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then he will be at Hopscotch from noon to around 4 p.m. Bring the kids and have breakfast with Santa and then enjoy his company at Hopscotch.


The Randolph County Development Authority will sponsor a "Kris Kringle Market" on The Town Square on Dec. 3 from 4-8 p.m. For more information, call Nancy Barlow, executive secretary of the RCDA, at 304-637-0803.


The Orange Blossom Trails Music Hall in Lost Creek will begin its Christmas program tonight. This year's theme is "Bring Christ back into Christmas." The theater will perform their Christmas special show on Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18. On the Dec. 18 a very special guest - Santa - will appear on stage with the performers.



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