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Thursday, April 5, 2007

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DEBBIE WAMPLER, center, (NPB Clintwood Branch manager), presents Mountain Heritage Coordinator Steve Hamro III with a check for $3,000 representing a New People's Bank donation to the non-profit organization to be used for its Big Sandy Watershed book. From left are NPB Haysi Branch Manager Jeff Owens: NPB Board of Directors Member Mickey McGlothlin, Wampler, Hamro, NPB Haysi Grundy Branch Manager Chris Mitchell and NPB Pound Branch Manager Brad Robinson. 
(Staff photo/Cathy St. Clair.)


Big Sandy Watershed Book Launched
Impact Expected in Multiple Counties

  A book focusing on the Big Sandy watershed is in the works now by Mountain Heritage, a non-profit organization which previously produced a book showcasing the Clinch River Watershed.
  More than 3,000 students, teachers, community leaders and public officials in Wise, Russell, Scott and Tazewell counties and part of Lee County, have received The Clinch River: A World Class Treasure, which is used in Earth Science classes, as well as in educating other citizens, about watershed protection. 
  The Big Sandy book is expected to have a similar impact in Buchanan and Dickenson counties and the Pound section of Wise County where the Big Sandy and its tributaries flow.
  Kari Kilgore, editor and page layout designer for the Clinch River book, met with several educators and conservation officials who live or work in the Big Sandy Watershed.   As a result of that meeting, the Big Sandy book is being launched.
  New Peoples Bank presented a $3,000 donation toward the book. The Buchanan County Board of Supervisors approved $7,500 for the book. Steve Hamro III, coordinator for watershed projects in Buchanan County, accepted the donations on behalf of Mountain Heritage.
  The Dickenson County Board of Supervisors has pledged a donation as well.
  Kenneth Hart, CEO of NPB, commented when approving the donation that the bank supported education as well as the protection of family farms, small businesses, wildlife habitat and the overall quality of life in Southwest Virginia.
  Hamro recognized the bank's contribution noting it will go a long way toward making the book a reality.
  The new book will cover the Earth Science SOLs for ninth graders, but will also be distributed to all high school students within the Big Sandy watershed.  After that, each new class of ninth graders will receive the book as funding permits.  The book will focus not only on protecting the remaining natural resources within the watershed, but also on the challenges ahead to restore many damaged and threatened areas.   
  Hamro, as the coordinator for watershed projects in Buchanan County, particularly the Garden Creek area, has also agreed to help coordinate the Big Sandy watershed book project.  
  He noted that plans are to have the book ready by August.
  "We are well on our way to getting the book into production," Hamro said.
  He commented that the coalfield region must educate and protect itself from permanent and irreversible damages to its water resources.
  Hamro added that many coal companies contribute to the region’s future and help fund water, health and education projects.
  “We appreciate them very much and hope that all companies doing business here will help us as we help them," he said. "It is up to us to make sure that our future generations have a reason to stay here and help us build an economy and achieve the American dream.”
  He continued, "this book is an excellent way to educate all our high school students, who are our next generation, about the Big Sandy watershed and the importance of keeping our rivers and streams clean."
  Local businesses and leaders have been contacted for their support of the project.
  “The support of private contributors and partners was vital in making the Clinch River watershed book such a valuable learning resource," Hamro said. "Mountain Heritage is seeking financial support, advertisers, and science advisors to join with us in making the Big Sandy watershed book a reality and a quality keepsake.”
  For more information about the Big Sandy Watershed book project, interested persons may contact Hamro at 276-498-1676.

For more of the story, see the print edition of the Mountaineer, on sale at newsstands now.  For more information on how to subscribe to the Mountaineer, call 276-935-2123 today.

Mickey McGlothlin Announces For Delegate's Seat

by JoBeth Wampler
Staff Reporter

Mickey McGlothlin, of Watkins Branch, has announced he will seek the Democrat nomination for the House of Delegates in the coming election.
  McGlothlin is seeking to represent the 3rd Legislative District of the House of Delegates, which consists of Buchanan, Russell and Tazewell counties. The post is currently occupied by Democrat Dan Bowling.
  A Democrat primary will be held June 12 to determine the party's candidate for the November election.
  McGlothlin is a former Buchanan County Commonwealth's Attorney and currently serves as County Attorney.
  The son of the late Woodrow and Sally Ann Cook McGlothlin, he is a graduate of Garden High School, the University of Virginia and the Marshall Wythe School of Law of the College of William and Mary.
  McGlothlin, who worked with county government to bring the Keen Mountain Correctional Center, Appalachian School of Law and University of Appalachia College of Pharmacy to Buchanan County, said there is still much work to be done.
  Among his intent to bring new jobs and industry into the region, McGlothlin has vowed to work to develop the Coalfields Expressway, the Bluestone Regional Business and Technology Center, Poplar Gap, and an industrial park in the Claypool Hill/Richlands area.
  As well as working to improve local roads and airports, he said he hopes to expand public water and sewer systems and support local farming and logging industries. To improve the educational system, McGlothlin said he plans to ensure local teachers are paid fair salaries and benefits.
  He said he also hopes to ensure that all citizens of the region have access to adequate health care and immunizations and vaccinations for all diseases and plans to seek funding to ensure each citizen has access to high quality housing and reasonable power and other utility rates.
  McGlothlin and his wife, Sandy, have three sons, Alex, Aaron and Asher.

For more of the story, see the print edition of the Mountaineer, on sale at newsstands now.  For more information on how to subscribe to the Mountaineer, call 276-935-2123 today.

APCO May Not Get 25.4% Rate Hike

by Cathy St. Clair
News Editor

Phone calls, letters and on-line signatures on a petition asking that the State Corporation Commission deny a 25.4 percent rate hike request made by Appalachian Power Company apparently paid off with the announcement last week that a SCC Hearing Examiner had recommended the company receive approval for only 3.9 percent.
  The 25.4 percent has been in effect on the electricity bills of APCO customers on an interim basis since October 2, 2006 pending SCC approval.
  Assuming the SCC board agrees with the hearing examiner’s recommendation, APCO customers will be subject to a refund with interest.
  APCO filed its $198. 5 million rate request in May 2006 and was allowed to implement it in October pending final SCC approval.
  SCC Hearing Examiner Alexander F. Skirpan recommended the company be allowed an overall net increase of some $30.6 million -- $167.9 million less than the $198.5 million APCO requested.
  If the recommendation is approved, the average monthly bill increase allowed would be $2.33 per 1,000 kilowatt hours, instead of the $13.66 per 1,000 kilowatt hour the company originally sought.
  Participants in the proceedings have 21 days to comment on the hearing examiner’s report and the commission may then accept, reject or modify the hearing examiner’s findings.
  Del. Bill Carrico, who spearheaded a coalition of legislators opposing the increase, noted that while a final solution has not been reached, the coalition is “getting closer to relief for the people of this area.”
  APCO has some 500,000 customers in all or parts of 31 southwest Virginia counties.
  Carrico recognized all those who have stepped forward for the people of the region.
  “Attorney General Bob McDonnell has led the charge, along with my coalition of legislators in the area,” Carrico said.
  However, he said, most of the credit goes to citizens “who continue to speak out through phone calls, emails and our website.”
  The website was visited more than 25,000 times in two weeks.
  Other legislators who are members of the coalition who spoke out in opposition to the 25.4 percent rate increase included Sen. Phillip Puckett; Sen. William Wampler; Sen. Brandon Bell; Sen. Roscoe Reynolds; Del. Dan Bowling; Del. Joe Johnson; Del. Bud Phillips; Del. Terry Kilgore; Del. Danny Marshall; Del. Allan Dudley; Del. Ward Armstrong; Dell Anne Crockett-Stark; and Del. Dave Nutter.

For more of the story, see the print edition of the Mountaineer, on sale at newsstands now.  For more information on how to subscribe to the Mountaineer, call 276-935-2123 today.


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