RED, the Regional Economic Development Partnership, has for the past three to five years been partnering with several oil and gas related companies which have operations in Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel counties.
Josh Jefferson and Joelle Ennis, members of the RED staff, spoke to members of the Moundsville Lions Club on Tuesday pertaining to this partnering effort.
Jefferson explained RED is a one-stop resource for development programs, location assistance, demographics and economic and community information in the region.
According to Jefferson, much of this partnering has been in helping in acquiring land, setting up college training courses for future employees, and working with businesses who can supply materials, etc., to these firms.
He stated that RED also works in conjunction with the state Development Office, county commissions and other agencies on behalf of these new businesses.
He pointed out that because the oil and gas industry is something new in the area at this time, some of the issues do provide a challenge, but added that things seem to be working out well.
Jefferson pointed out that area legislators are doing an excellent job when isssues involve the state's help.
Jefferson said that the local involvement also includes working with small businesses in the area, and that one of Ennis' duties is to meet with small businesses to receive input from them, such as have they benefited through increased sales, have they employed additional personnel, and what can RED can do to help them.
Jefferson told the Lions Club members that he is aware of some businesses in the area who were on the verge of bankruptcy, who have increased their work force through the gas and oil effort in the area. He said, "We are not only looking at how the oil and gas industry is affecting us now, but we have long-term goals connected to this business, whether it be increased employment of locals, better housing, etc."
Ennis, as marketing coordinator, plans to visit all area small businesses, pointing out that small business is defined as one with an employment of 500 or less.
Ironically after listening to Jefferson and Ennis speak on Tuesday, I was at the RED office in Wheeling on Wednesday, where two CSX officials made a presentation to RED which also involved partnership. The award they presented is even called a Partnershipping award.
The award was given in recognition of RED's efforts to locate three energy-related projects in Marshall County - Dominion Energy at Natrium, Caiman Energy in the Moundsville area and AES Drilling Fluids in Benwood.
The total investment for these three projects will exceed $1 billion and create more than 100 long-term job opportunities. These facilities also are expected to generate an estimated 9,250 carloads of freight annually for CSX.
Clark Robertson, CSX's assistant vice president-regional development, told me the recent oil and gas boom in Marshall and Wetzel counties has increased CSX business dramatically. He said the transporting of sand and pipe in this area has increased significantly.
The Strand Theatre Preservation Society will be sponsoring musical movies beginning this month. The Society has secured sponsors for the four Monday night showings, and although the admission is only $5 the STPS hopes to make some money to help with additional upgrading of the 90-year-old structure.
This Monday's showing will be that of "West Side Story," sponsored by the Moundsville First Presbyterian Church and State Farm Insurance, Rosalyn E. Rhodes agency.
Other movies will be "Rent" on March 12; "Fiddler on the Roof" on March 19; and "Grease" on March 26. The curtain will go up at 7:30 p.m. for all of the above movies.
Movie ticket locations are: Moundsville Pharmacy, Perkins Restaurant and Bakery in Moundsville and the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce. Also, tickets may be obtained at www.Showclix.com or at the door. For more information about the movies or other events planned for the theatre visit www.StrandTheatreWV.com or call 304-845-3431.
The 7th annual Marshall County Home and Business Expo will be an event of Friday (4-8 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m. until 5 p.m.) at the Moundsville Training Center located within the walls of the West Virginia Penitentiary.
In addition to the different booths, there will also be a craft show.
One of the attractions will be the Pirate Patriot will be make an appearance from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Friday.
For anyone wishing to receive an eye pressure screening, the Moundsville Lions Club will provide that service at its booth. The Lions state Sight Foundationhas provided two mobile units.
Also, anyone wishing to dispose of used eyeglasses or eyeglass cases may do so as the Lions will have a container to accept them. In turn, used eyeglasses will end up in a Third World Country.
As mentioned in a previous article, it will be easier for those attending to get from their vehicle to the front door of Training Center as the Marshall County Senior Citizens Center will be providing a free shuttle. The shuttle will make rounds along Jefferson Avenue and Eighth Street.
The 35th annual Marshall County Ham, Bacon and Egg Show and Sale will take place Wednesday at the Cheaspeake Energy Building at the Marshall County Fairgrounds in Moundsville. Anyone wishing additional information can call Cameron High School at 304-686-3336.
Last Sunday's column received a fourth place ranking on the News-Register website for the best read stories. It was about former John Marshall High School head wrestling coaches Bill Hinegardner, Ed Dugas and Ed West returning this year as assistant coach.
I did have one mistake, I failed to state that West was inducted in the West Virginia Chapter of the National Hall of Fame, that induction having place in 2008. Thus all three of these have been enshrined in this ''Hall'' which is located in Stillwater, Okla.
If you drove through the Narrows this week you saw that work had resumed.
When the project closed down for the Winter it was noted that the weather would determine when work would start-up.
A meeting is set for March 19 to update McMechen and Glen Dale city officials, along those from county 911 Dispatch, and the Office of Emergency Management.