Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Get Some Financial Savvy This Evening!

Get smart about your money - saving , investing, using credit wisely and planning for your future. This is information everyone should have!

Join us for "Financial Savvy," a Generation Charleston Professional Development Speaker Series presentation, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. this evening at the Charleston Area Alliance. The office is located at 1116 Smith Street.

Kelly Castleberry of Smith Barney is leading the presentation.

Learn about retirement planning, investments and credit awareness!

Contact Danny Forinash at (304) 340-4253 or for more information.

More West Virginia Businesses File Their Taxes Online Than Ever Before

Governor Joe Manchin and West Virginia State Tax Commissioner Christopher G. Morris announced today that more West Virginia businesses are filing their monthly taxes online than ever before.

Since the May 15, 2008 launch of the West Virginia State Tax Department’s MyTaxes online tax filing system, the number of taxpayers filing online has increased by 4,000 users when compared to the previous online filing system. In all, 9,418 taxpayers have filed more than 12,000 returns.

“MyTaxes enables taxpayers to electronically manage their accounts,” said Morris. “The online filing system makes it easier for taxpayers to be tax compliant and to update their account information. It also allows the State Tax Department to communicate directly with the taxpayer almost instantaneously.”

MyTaxes allows business taxpayers the ability to view, pay and file their State taxes from anywhere 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and holidays. Once a business makes a payment, the receipt is instantly noted on its account.

“This innovative tool is bringing West Virginia to the forefront of modern tax agency service,” Governor Manchin said. “Business taxpayers are saving themselves time while also saving money by decreasing administrative costs associated with paper returns.”

In the two months MyTaxes has been online, the State has collected $53.6 million. E-filing capability for other State taxes will be added to the MyTaxes system for taxpayer convenience in October.

Business owners can get back to their business faster by logging online to to view, file and pay many of their State taxes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nation's First Modern Coal-to-Liquids Plant to Be Built in West Virginia

Gov. Manchin joins Sen. Rockefeller and local officials, with support from Sen. Byrd, and West Virginia Congressional delegation to announce CONSOL and SES will invest $800 million in Marshall County CTL facility

BENWOOD, W.Va. – Gov. Joe Manchin today joined Sen. Jay Rockefeller, with support from Sen. Robert C. Byrd and West Virginia’s Congressional delegation, and officials from CONSOL Energy, Synthesis Energy Systems (SES) and the Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED), to announce a project that will help propel the State of West Virginia to the forefront of national energy leadership: The construction of the nation’s first modern coal-to-liquids plant here in the state’s Northern Panhandle.

“It’s clearer than ever that one of the biggest issues our state and country faces is meeting our energy needs,” Manchin said. “Technological solutions like this plant at Benwood will lead to more environmentally friendly ways to use our coal and hold the key to America’s energy security.

“I am committed to making West Virginia the leader in clean coal technology and the construction of clean coal power and fuel liquefaction plants. We have the resources and expertise to realize our goal.”

Rockefeller said the project will give West Virginia an opportunity to show the world that the state is a global leader in energy issues and modern coal technology. “We are in the midst of a serious energy crisis in America. Today, with this project and others in the works, West Virginia is announcing to the world that we're not waiting around anymore,” Rockefeller said.
“We’re getting started with a CTL plant that will create jobs, meet modern environmental standards and develop our most abundant domestic resource - coal. This plant will help put our state and our country on the path to energy security and greater economic growth.”

Byrd said, “America cannot meet its energy needs. West Virginia has the coal, the brains, and the determination to meet that challenge and demonstrate to the world that we intend to be part of the solution.”

CONSOL, the nation’s largest producer of bituminous coal, and SES, a global industrial gasification company, intend to develop through a joint venture, their first U. S. coal gasification and liquefaction plant in West Virginia -- an $800 million investment. The boards of directors of CONSOL and SES have authorized funds for development activities, including the front-end engineering design (“FEED”) package. Each member company will contribute equally to this phase of the project. CONSOL and SES have formed Northern Appalachia Fuel LLC (NAF) as the company through which the development will occur.

“This project has the potential to transform West Virginia from a major coal-producing state to a national energy center as well,” said J. Brett Harvey, president and CEO of CONSOL Energy.

“By converting some of our region’s abundant, high-Btu coal into gases and liquids, not only will we create economic value for the state, but we will help West Virginia become the linchpin of American energy security,” Harvey said.

Tim Vail, president and CEO of SES, said he is proud of the progress toward development of the plant and that they appreciate the state’s and RED’s support. “Together with our partner, CONSOL Energy, we will be taking a first step toward securing energy independence in the U.S. as we convert raw and residual coal from CONSOL’s Shoemaker mine and plant into gasoline in an environmentally responsible and cost-efficient manner.”

The FEED will include a carbon management strategy that will focus on carbon sequestration in a deep saline aquifer. At a later date, NAF will file for environmental and other permits necessary for the construction of the plant.

CONSOL and SES propose to site the plant near Benwood in Marshall County on a brownfields redevelopment site. The plant is expected to be a “mine mouth” facility with feedstock supplied directly from CONSOL’s nearby Shoemaker complex. The feedstock will be a blend of run-of-mine coal and coal otherwise not recovered in the normal preparation process.

Don Mason, president of the Marshall County Commission, said this investment will help to stabilize the region’s economy for years to come. “We want to thank Consol, SES, the City of Benwood, the State of West Virginia and RED for their foresight and commitment to this project,” Mason said.

Coal will be converted to synthetic gas using SES proprietary technology. The syngas would be used to produce about 720,000 metric tons per year of methanol that can be used as a feedstock for the chemical industry. Officials expect the project will be capable of converting methanol to about 100 million gallons per year of 87 octane gasoline. NAF is negotiating with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering to license their proprietary methanol-to-gasoline technology. As envisioned, the project will include a river terminal facility, where products will be stored in tanks for off-loading into barges for ultimate delivery.

CONSOL and SES also have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the State of West Virginia and its partner, the Regional Economic Development Partnership, a private West Virginia non-profit development corporation focused on generating business opportunities through job creation and economic stimulus in Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel counties. Under the provisions of the MOU, the state and RED will provide financing and tax incentives to the project over a 10-year period.

Harvey thanked the State of West Virginia and the RED for their assistance and support of the project. “In every conversation I have had with Gov. Manchin in recent years, we have talked about ways to leverage West Virginia’s coal position into a national energy leadership position -- a position in which jobs, economic growth, and the enhancement of American energy security flow from the harnessing of West Virginia’s resources and the ‘can-do’ attitude of its people,” Harvey said. “His vision is sound. With West Virginia’s help, our success with this plant will make the vision a reality.”

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The editorial below appeared in the July 26 edition of the Charleston Gazette.

The Charleston Gazette: Teamwork
Unify city, county

Increasingly, America's urban zones are growing together in fused cities, longtime University of Charleston political science professor Evelyn Harris pointed out in a Monday commentary.

Increasingly, America's urban zones are growing together in fused cities, longtime University of Charleston political science professor Evelyn Harris pointed out in a Monday commentary.

"SanSan" is the unbroken urban mass from San Diego to San Francisco. "ChiPitt" is the solid megalopolis from Chicago to Pittsburgh. And "BosWash" is the familiar term for nonstop Boston-to-Washington urbanization.

Yet 80,000 separate local governments remain across America, ruling small parcels, Harris noted, and local residents are slow to cooperate in merged jurisdictions to streamline operations and save taxpayer money.

"We are now faced with expensive duplications of governmental services," she wrote, "causing increasing costs and therefore more taxes and delays in decisions to meet local governmental needs."

Harris pointed out that Kanawha County has 16 municipalities, and efforts to simplify them have produced spotty results. The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department joined in 1947. The combined city-county jail and city-county animal shelter came later, as did the joint 911 emergency call system (located in the W.E. "Ned" Chilton III communications center, named for this newspaper's merger-minded late publisher). City-county housing departments were combined recently. Charleston's landfill has become, in effect, a city-county facility. But other teamwork plans mostly have stalled.

"At last, Charleston and Kanawha County are planning to provide solutions for our local governments by investigating possible consolidations," the professor said.

The brightest opportunity in decades lies in the movement to expand Charleston to encompass all of Kanawha County. This unification wouldn't affect the 15 smaller municipalities, which would retain their local leaders and local identities. Only Charleston and Kanawha governments would change.

County Commission President Kent Carper is to take Kanawha mayors to Louisville in September to see how city-county unification lifted the Kentucky municipality from 250,000 to 713,000 population, ranking it among America's major cities - and also saved taxpayers $18 million by merging services.

A Sunday analysis by City Hall reporter Jim Balow showed that Charleston has shrunk relentlessly, dropping from nearly 86,000 population in 1960, and is expected to slide below 50,000 in the 2010 census. Thus West Virginia would lose its only remaining Class I city - unless unification with Kanawha County balloons Charleston to about 190,000.

Annexation of a few affluent suburbs such as Knollwood or Terry Road along Corridor G might add a few thousand to Charleston. If all parties agree that such merger is beneficial, it should be pursued. But the most exciting prospect would be expanding the capital to fill the entire county, engulfing 190,000 people.

Carper says the Kanawha Commission is ready to launch the effort, and he urges Charleston city council to take action. Businesses support the plan. The Charleston Area Alliance wants the streamlining as a top priority.

We hope this boost occurs. We hope local leaders appoint a unification commission to draft a city-county charter, and the required 60 percent of voters approve it. The dramatic change would pump new vitality into West Virginia's capital region.

Monday, July 28, 2008


The 2008 Charleston Area Alliance Golf Scramble is today at the Edgewood Country Club Derrick's Creek Course. Pre-registration has ended. The shotgun start is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

Here are some directions to the course for those who have pre-registered:

From Charleston:

Take I-77 north to exit 114 (Sissonville, Pocatalico).
Go to the bottom of the exit ramp and make a right turn onto Route 21.
Stay on Rte. 21 about1/3 mile and take the 2nd right turn, Derrick's Creek Road. Follow Derrick's Creek Road about 2 miles. The golf course will be on your left.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dealers Wanted

More than 100 gaming jobs are available at Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center. The average salary plus tips is between $35,000 and $45,000.

Dealers who are hired and complete their 90-day introductory period will be reimbursed for the cost of the training. Also, Financial Aid is available through West Virginia State Community & Technical College

Table Game Training Schedule
(Morning, Afternoon & Evening Sessions Offered to Fit Around Your Schedule)

● Black Jack Training – Cost $490.00
July 28 – Sept. 12 (80 seats available)

Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center
Human Resources Department
(304) 776-1000

Contact Information for sign-up
West Virginia State Community & Technical College (304-766-5113)
103 Cole Complex
P.O. Box 1000
Institute, WV 25112


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Generation Charleston is LinkedIn!

Have you always wondered where your new contact in Generation Charleston went to school? Where they were born? What their job is now?

Well, if you are a LinkedIn user, the Charleston Area Alliance and Generation Charleston have created a new Generation Charleston user group on LinkedIn where you can connect with fellow members. Click here to view the LinkedIn page.

Generation Charleston has Facebook page, as well, so LinkedIn is another way to connect with the group and learn more about what we're doing in the region.

If you have no idea what Web 2.0 concepts are and have never heard of LinkedIn, stay tuned. The Charleston Area Alliance is holding a Web 2.0 seminar with presenters Skip Lineburg of Maple Creative and Jeff James of Mythology in October. We would invite you to join that session to learn more about how these tools can help you in both your personal and professional life.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The event preview below appeared in the Charleston Daily Mail.

Charleston Ballet to host dance medicine seminar

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Charleston Ballet will host an interactive dance medicine seminar designed especially for dancers, skaters, gymnasts and instructors.

The seminar will concentrate on nutrition, injury prevention and the development of a better arabesque.

Instructor Jacqui Haas is an athletic trainer for the Cincinnati Ballet. She is the dance medicine director of Wellington Orthopedics. She also is a former professional ballet dancer with a degree in dance and is a member of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, the National Athletic Trainers Association, and Pilates Method Alliance.

The seminar is scheduled for 6:15 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 5. at the Charleston Ballet studios on Hale Street.

Cost is $45. Parents of youth dancers are invited to the nutrition portion of the seminar from 8:45 - 9:30 p.m. Call (304) 342-6541 for more information or to register.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Job Posting

Bowles Rice, a regional law firm which provides a professional working environment, competitive salary and generous benefits, is seeking a Human Resources Director.

The Human Resources Director is responsible for all aspects of the firm’s human resources operations including recruiting, developing and retaining staff; assisting with attorney recruitment; professional development; knowledge of compensation and benefits programs; monitoring and supporting the firm’s commitment to diversity and equal opportunity; and administering compliance with all laws relating to employment

Candidates must have excellent communication and organizational skills; proficiency in related technology applications, ability to travel; and must be able to handle multiple tasks and large workload for a very active business. College degree and minimum of five years relevant experience is required.

Benefits package includes 401(k), profit sharing and an excellent work environment.

Send resumes with cover letter and salary history to: Bowles Rice, Human Resources Department, P.O. Box 1386 Charleston, WV 25325 or fax (304) 343-3058. Qualified candidates will be contacted. Equal opportunity employer.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Generation Charleston Day

Generation Charleston Day at Power Park is this evening at 5:30 p.m., and registration has ended.

For those who have purchased tickets, here are some things to know about the event.

Those receiving tickets through sponsors can bring their tickets to the Generation Charleston welcome table near the park's main entrance beginning a little before 5:30 p.m. There, they can pick up wristbands and food tickets.

Those who purchased tickets individually at Generation Charleston events or online can pick up tickets, wristbands and coupons at the same table. All names should be on the registration list. Cups will be available, too! And we all know what cups are for!

The main entrance is off Morris Street near right field. The Party Deck is just inside the main entrance.

Going by registration numbers, attendance should be near Party Deck capacity, so this looks to be a great event.

Tickets will have been purchased before the event. We will not be selling them the day of the game.

Before the event, the Membership Team is hosting its monthly orientation meeting in the Mythology Marketing Offices in the Power Park building.The meeting begins at 5:15 p.m. July 18. Meet Generation Charleston leadership, get connected and meet fellow members.

Join us for a Day at Power Park. Meet new people. Have a great time with friends. Enjoy food and beverages. Watch some baseball. The Power take on the Columbus Catfish at 7:05 p.m. Fireworks follow the game.

In addition, Leadership Kanawha Valley is incorporating its annual reunion into the Generation Charleston event.

Through this event and other activities, Generation Charleston is demonstrating the city has much to offer. Our mission involves enhancing the city's cultural and economic atmosphere, as well as offering community outreach, social and development opportunities.

The Day at Power Park sponsors are Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love LLP, BrickStreet Insurance, Charleston Area Medical Center, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Dixon Hughes PLLC, Flaherty Sensabaugh & Bonasso PLLC, Jackson Kelly PLLC, McJunkin Red Man Corporation, Spilman Thomas & Battle PLLC and Steptoe & Johnson PLLC.

Big thanks to all our sponsors and everyone who helped bring together this event!

The Associated Press story below is more good news for West Virginia's growing film industry.

Charles Manson documentary scene shot in West Virginia town

A new documentary about Charles Manson may feature a scene shot in a section of Martinsburg that looks a lot like San Francisco.

Pamela Haynes, director of the West Virginia Film Office, says producers provided reference photos of the Haight-Ashbury district, where Manson spent time in the 1960s.

She says it was the spitting image of North Queen Street, where a film crew worked Monday.
Sirens Media is producing the film for MSNBC. Faith Gaskins, the re-creation producer, says other scenes have been shot in Jessup and Silver Spring, Md.

The untitled film is expected to air next year, the 40th anniversary of the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six other people by Manson followers.Manson is played by Charlie Davidson, an actor from Silver Spring.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Music for ArtWalk

After the success of last month’s Downtown ArtWalk, which was part of FestivALL, the Charleston Area Alliance will continue offering street music for the event.

The July ArtWalk is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. July 17.

“Street musicians added to the ArtWalk’s relaxing ambiance,” said Susie Salisbury, vice president of community development for the Charleston Area Alliance. “They were so well-received, we decided to offer acoustic music again. We hope it can strengthen the ArtWalk tradition.”

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation provided grant support for the musicians.

Benji Taylor of Huntington will be one of the performers. He recently finished his first solo album, “These Things Between Us.” His expressive, poignant music is reminiscent of Howie Day, Damien Rice and Dave Matthews.

Jared Wittekind and John Dye, a pair of University of Charleston students, also will be performing acoustic sets. A Marietta, Ohio, native, Wittekind began playing with Dye, an Elkview native, this year. The duo has been creating and recording original songs, as well as performing rock covers.

“Having singer-songwriters play during ArtWalk is something different,” Salisbury said. “It will be a unique flavor for the event. The acoustic music mixes well with the atmosphere.”

The event showcases Downtown Charleston’s thriving art scene. Participating locations include Art Emporium, The Purple Moon, Gallery Eleven, The Clay Center, Chet Lowther Studio, Good New Mountaineer Garage Gallery, Stray Dog Antiques, Callen McJunkin Gallery – The Loft @ 219 and the Taylor Books Annex Gallery.

The Clay Center’s “Best of Photography and Film from the George Eastman House Collection” is free and open to the public during ArtWalk. The exhibit runs from July 17 to Sept. 14.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Golf Scramble is 2 Weeks Away!

Join the Charleston Area Alliance fore a great day of golf and fundraising at the Charleston Area Alliance's annual golf outing, scheduled for Monday, July 28, at the Edgewood Country Club Derrick's Creek Golf Course.

The format will be 4-person scramble. The cost is $500 per team and $125 per individual. Box lunches will be provided, and a reception dinner will follow the tournament. Mulligans are available for purchase.

The first, second and third place teams, along with closest to the pin winners, will receive prizes. Players also will have the chance to play golf poker and participate in a prize raffle.

Registration begins at 10 a.m. Lunch is scheduled for 11 a.m., and the shotgun start is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

Click here to download the registration form.

Title, tournament and hole sponsorships are available. Contact Danny Forinash at (304) 340-4253 or for more information.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The story below appeared in Sunday's Charleston Gazette. Holmes Morrison, former Charleson Chamber of Commerce chairman, will be receiving the 2008 Spirit of the Valley Award.

Longtime bank chief wins Spirit of Valley

By Bob Schwarz
Staff writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When One Valley Bank was gobbling up smaller banks across West Virginia and into Virginia, Holmes Morrison was guiding all those mergers and acquisitions.

"Holmes was the sort of guy who others wanted to call back," recalled Phyllis Arnold. "He was easy to talk with. And he didn't play hardball negotiating."

Morrison listened well, Arnold said. He understood the concerns of the people across the table. He found common ground.

From 1985 to 2000, Morrison was president and CEO of what became One Valley Bancorp, and after the 2000 merger with BB&T, he stayed on as chairman and CEO of BB&T-West Virginia for two years.

Morrison operated by consensus when possible, Arnold said. He was able to juggle three or four projects that might overwhelm someone else, Arnold said. "He would not let the minutia of the day overwhelm the actions needed on major, strategic goals."

He laughed a lot, and liked to mix practical jokes into the workday, Arnold said. Share a meal with him, and by the end of the meal, he worked his paper napkin to shreds, she added. "Holmes looks as smooth and calm as anyone. But under the water - like they say about ducks - he is moving as fast as he can."

Except for a one-year break when he had to rotate off the board, Morrison has led the University of Charleston's governing board since 1993.

"He's passionate about the role the university can play in the community and the region," said UC President Ed Welch, who took the job in 1989 when UC was going through a near-death experience. (Since then Welch has guided day-to-day operations as UC rebuilt much of its campus, boosted enrollment, added a football team and opened a pharmacy school.)

Morrison has kept the ship steady during a time of tumultuous change, Welch said. "His approach to things is reasoned. He doesn't just grasp at wild straws. When he champions a cause, others have confidence it is a just and right thing to do."

Because of all he has done for the community, Morrison is the 2008 Spirit of the Valley Award honoree, given annually by the YMCA of Kanawha Valley. The selection committee consisted of Mayor Danny Jones; United Way of Central West Virginia Chairman Jim Sutherland; YMCA of Kanawha Valley Chairman J. Michael Forbes; Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Chairman Henry Harmon; Charleston Area Alliance Chairman Jack Rossi; and all previous Spirit of the Valley honorees.

Morrison will be honored with a luncheon Aug. 20 at the Embassy Suites hotel. The proceeds go to the YMCA's youth scholarship fund, except for $15,000 that goes to Morrison's designated charity - UC. Tickets start at $150 for the luncheon, which raised $233,000 last year. Call LeeAnn Doyle at 340-3540.

At the meeting when Morrison was going to take over as UC board chairman, the board asked Welch to tear up his old contract and sign a new one for a longer stay. Welch was reluctant. "I had reservations about the board's participation in the life of the institution," Welch recalled.

"The then-board chair said, "What's the next item of business,' and Holmes said, "Wait a minute, we can't move on without taking that seriously and talking about it," Welch recalled. "And out of that came a statement of expectations for every board member. We developed a process for evaluating board members, which led to some nonrenewals. That was a pivotal moment for shaping the board and the board taking ownership of the institution."

"He's an easy person to talk with. He likes to hear about what you're doing," said Dan Martin, a longtime friend who once worked at One Valley and later co-owned Mullens Motor Dodge in Parkersburg.

Dick Bradford, Morrison's tennis doubles partner for many years, said Morrison was fiercely competitive but never got mad at him on the court. Jennifer Willets, now a banker but once Morrison's secretary, said she saw Morrison get aggravated just once, and that lasted just 30 seconds.

"Running a bank is a very serious thing," Willets said. "He made it look easy. He could look at something and analyze it quickly and figure out a means to an end."

Morrison is a past chairman of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce, past chairman of the West Virginia Roundtable, and past president of the Charleston Rotary Club. He is driven to succeed, friends say.

Walk onto the ground floor of BB&T's Charleston offices, and the employees greet him by first name. "I never adapted well to Mr. Morrison," Morrison said.

He makes the coffee every morning, said his wife, Antoinette, who married him 37 years ago when she was 21. "He makes the bed. I go out jogging and come home and find the bed made, which is a nice surprise."

Holmes, 67, isn't handy around the house, but likes to raise tomatoes, Antoinette said. "I'm the one who owns the tool chest. I had to learn how to replace the sprayer at the sink once. I was always the one who cleaned the gutters because of his back."

He reads the sports pages avidly, Antoinette said. He reads both Charleston newspapers and the Wall Street Journal daily and sometimes The New York Times. He checks out the WV Newsline regularly on the computer.

The two divide the cooking duties, Antoinette said. "He likes to cook. He cooks basic things but cooks them well. The good news is he likes dogs. We wouldn't be married if he didn't."

The Morrisons spend five or six weeks every summer at their lakeside camp in southern Ontario. "We read a lot," Antoinette said. "He kayaks, we canoe, we have a little Sunfish [a tiny sailboat]. We go out on the lake with it. We bike. He likes to sit on the dock and watch the wildlife."

Holmes is a member of the executive committee of The Orme School in Mayer, Ariz., where the headmaster directed a summer camp that Morrison remembers fondly. "I had some good mentors growing up," Morrison said. "The camp director taught us that when you leave a campsite, leave it better than you found it."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Orientation Meeting to Precede Power Park Event

Before Generation Charleston Day at Power Park, the Membership Team is hosting its monthly orientation meeting in the Mythology Marketing Offices in the Power Park building.

The meeting begins at 5:15 p.m. July 18. Meet Generation Charleston leadership, get connected and meet fellow members.

RSVP to by July 17th, 3 p.m.

The Power Park event follows at 5:30 p.m., and the night's game begins at 7:05 p.m.

Visit to purchase the $12 tickets. We will not be accepting payments or selling tickets the day of the game.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Captive Audience Laws Pre-Empted

By Anna M. Dailey
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP

During the 2008 Legislative Session there was considerable debate over “Captive Audience Legislation.” The state's various labor unions pushed hard for legislation which would prohibit private employers from bringing their employees together and expressing management's opinion on a union organizing effort. Businesses across the state opposed the legislation because the federal government has already regulated this area of law under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), giving employers the right of free speech so long as it is not coercive or threatening.

The West Virginia House of Delegates passed the Captive Audience legislation, despite various delegates voting for it, who acknowledged that the proposed legislation was probably preempted by federal labor law (NLRA). Wisely, the West Virginia Senate chose to wait on the United States Supreme Court's decision in a pending case: Chamber of Commerce v. Brown. On June 19, 2008, the United States Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision found that captive audience legislation passed in California was preempted by federal labor law. In the California case, the captive audience legislation prohibited employers who received state funding to hold captive audience meetings and left enforcement to a state agency.

The Supreme Court's recent decision explains the history of the NLRA, which was enacted in 1935 and amended in 1947. In 1947, Congress added Section 8(c) to the NLRA which specifically protects free speech by both unions and employers, thereby protecting the First Amendment rights of all interested parties. The Supreme Court acknowledged that the NLRA favors "uninhibited, robust, and wide-open debate in labor disputes". Further, the Court pointed out that it is the NLRB or Labor Board which is charged with determining whether such free speech becomes coercive, and therefore unlawful, not state enforcement agencies.

In short, had both houses of the West Virginia legislature passed the Captive Audience legislation being pushed by the state's various unions, and the law signed into effect, it would surely have been ruled preempted and unenforceable by the federal courts. This would have been a costly and needless expense to the state's coffers.

All those employers and employees who took the time to contact their elected representatives are also to be commended.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Job Postings

4-H Leader

WVSU Extension Service is currently seeking candidates for the position of Program Leader, 4-H Youth Development.

If you know of anyone who may be interested, please forward the link for the position.

The application deadline is July 18.

Masters Degree required, Doctoral degree preferred.

MA and FNP

West Virginia Health Right in Charleston, a free clinic, is seeking a full-time MA nurse practioner and family nurse practioner.

The MA must be professional, energetic, organized and flexible. Phlebotomy experience needed.

The FNP would join a the FNP team in an autonomous setting serving as PCP for underserved clients in a caring, supportive environment.

The clinic offers a competitive salary and benefits.

Send resume/salary expectations to: Attn: Angie, FNP, Clinical Coordinator, W V Health Right, 1520 Washington Street, E., Chas., WV 25311. EOE.

Insurance Staff Position

State Farm is looking to fill an agent's office position. The person would assist with the agent's marketing efforts, provide quality service to State Farm policyholders, conduct needs-based interviews and prepare forms, policies and endorsements.

This employment opportunity is with a State Farm Agent, not with State Insurance Companies and requires the successful completion of licensing requirements to solicit and service State Farm products.

Please fax resume to: (304) 744-7994 or e-mail:

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Root, Root, Root for Generation Charleston

Join Generation Charleston at Power Park July 18 beginning at 5:30 p.m. for food, drinks and good times on the patio.

The Power take on the Columbus Catfish beginning at 7:05 p.m., and fireworks follow the game.The ticket price is $12. Admission, food and drinks are included in the price.

Click here to register.

We are encouraging companies to send their interns and young professionals so they can see firsthand what the region has to offer. Employers have the opportunity to purchase ticket packages. Through this event and other activities, Generation Charleston is demonstrating the city has much to offer. Our mission involves enhancing the city's cultural and economic atmosphere, as well as offering community outreach, social and development opportunities.

The event's sponsors are Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love LLP, BrickStreet Insurance, Charleston Area Medical Center, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Dixon Hughes PLLC, Flaherty Sensabaugh & Bonasso PLLC, Jackson Kelly PLLC, McJunkin Red Man Corporation, Spilman Thomas & Battle PLLC and Steptoe & Johnson PLLC.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Learn Ethics With WorkAbility 101!

A class focussing on ethics continues WorkAbility 101 from 8 a.m. to noon July 7. It will be the third of four classes. The first two, which focussed on customer service and etiquette, were fruitful.

The final class on communications is 8 a.m. to noon July 21.

The per-class cost is $20 for members and $30 for non-members.The Charleston Area Alliance and the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia are teaming up to offer “Skills for the 21st Century,” a series of courses designed to help workers be better, more productive employees.

The goal is to offer businesses more skilled employees and help them reduce turnover. The class also is an excellent opportunity for employees and college graduates who want a better understanding of business basics.

Each “skill set” course includes four classes over a two-month period.

Future course and class themes will include basic personal finance, computer literacy, meeting facilitation, networking and team training.

These are portable skills workers could take with them their entire careers.

Contact Danny Forinash at (304) 340-4253 for more information. Or visit to register or learn more.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Thriving in a Challenged Economy - Today

Making sense of the current economy isn't easy. With the current downturn in the economy, small businesses are particularly tested. The West Virginia Small Business Division has developed a series of practices you can utilize to steer your business successfully through the coming years.

"Thriving in a Challenged Economy," a business management training seminar, is scheduled for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. July 2 at the Charleston Area Alliance, 1116 Smith Street.

The recommendations range from marketing upgrades to revised inventory practices to cash flow reforms— all cutting-edge ideas that will help you build a better business.
Participation is free.

Click here to register online or call (888) 982-7232.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tee Time

Join the Charleston Area Alliance fore a great day of golf and fundraising at the Charleston Area Alliance's annual golf outing, scheduled for Monday, July 28, at the Edgewood Country Club Derrick's Creek Golf Course.

The format will be 4-person scramble. The cost is $500 per team and $125 per individual. Box lunches will be provided, and a reception dinner will follow the tournament. Prizes will be given, as well.

Registration begins at 10 a.m. Lunch is scheduled for 11 a.m., and the shotgun start is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

Click here to download the registration form.

Title, tournament and hole sponsorships are available. Contact Danny Forinash at (304) 340-4253 or for more information.