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  1. WVSBDC offers small business workshop in Hardy County

    Register for June 26 session on business fundamentals

    MOOREFIELD, W.Va. — A workshop on “Business Fundamentals” is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, June 26, in Hardy County. The workshop is part of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WVSBDC) training and business coaching program Three Step Jump Start to help small business owners receive the right information at the right time. The workshop will be held in the Rural Development Authority building, 223 North Main Street, Suite 102, Moorefield.

    Three Step Jump Start helps entrepreneurs and small business owners in West Virginia accelerate their potential success by learning the structure and services provided by WVSBDC. The first step is to view the Three Step Jump Start video on the agency’s website, www.wvsbdc.org

    Individuals can then attend the Business Fundamentals workshop, designed specifically for startups and new businesses. The workshop provides essential information on what an entrepreneur needs to know to start a business successfully. Registration is required by Tuesday, June 24. To register, call B. Ludewig at 304-530-4964.

    After completing the workshop, interested entrepreneurs or business owners may schedule an appointment with WVSBDC for one-on-one coaching sessions. WVSBDC coach Beth Ludewig can provide assistance with business plan development, financial statement preparation, cash flow analysis and other services.

    The WVSBDC is part of the West Virginia Development Office and creates economic impact through offering entrepreneurs and small businesses cost-effective business coaching and technical assistance. The West Virginia SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The WVSBDC is an Accredited Member of America’s SBDC network.

    # # #

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 5, 2014
    CONTACT: B. Ludewig, 304-530-4964

    posted Friday, May 30, 2014 aP 2:38 PM
     

  2. National conference to honor Small Business Coach James Epling as 2014 State Star

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — James Epling has been selected as the West Virginia 2014 State Star by America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), announced Kristina Oliver, state director of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WVSBDC). The ASBDC State Star honors outstanding employees from Small Business Development Centers.

    Epling, representing West Virginia, and Stars from other states, will be recognized Sept. 9 in a private reception during the ASBDC national conference in Grapevine, Texas.

    “Jim Epling was selected as the 2014 West Virginia State Star in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments, his commitment to clients and dedicated service to the Small Business Development Center," said Oliver. “He has not only shared his business planning, financial and loan packaging expertise with his clients, but has been a willing resource for others as well. He has also worked in collaboration with other WVSBDC business coaches and local economic development authorities to help West Virginia small businesses succeed.”

    A native of Summersville, Epling graduated from West Virginia Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management and later received his Master of Business Administration from Marshall University. Before joining WVSBDC in 1986, he worked in the coal industry and for an industrial supply company. Epling also taught business and accounting classes on a part-time basis for various colleges in the area. Epling is one of this year’s six WVSBDC business coaches to receive a certificate for Capital Access Recognition for accessing more than $1 million dollars of capital infusion for their clients.

    During 2014, Epling was one of six business coaches to receive a certificate for Capital Access Recognition for accessing more than $1 million dollars of capital infusion for their clients.

    “It has been an honor to meet with hundreds of small business owners and to help start and expand their businesses in the central and southern counties of West Virginia,” Epling said. “The businesses have been diverse, from logging companies to beauty shops, from hospitality/tourism to coal mining equipment rebuilders, from convenience stores to wood manufacturing. It has been a very interesting and rewarding 28 years.”

    Some of Epling’s small business clients described the value his coaching has added to their companies.

    Bill and Sharon Glasscock are owners of Laurel Creek Hardwoods, a sawmill and lumber wholesaler in Richwood, Nicholas County.

    “If it were not for Jim Epling, our business – and 26 jobs – would not be here now,” said Glasscock. “In 2002, I was working as plant manager and Sharon as lumber sales in a mill in Richwood when the owner decided to close the operation. The employees said if we bought the plant, they’d work for us. We didn’t have the capital. The New River Gorge Economic Development Authority put together a financial team and suggested that Jim Epling with the Small Business Development Center help us with our business plan.

    “The finance providers asked a lot of questions. A week before the closing, one asked a particular question. Jim and I worked together for eight hours to address that question. We must have done a good job because we got the loan. I know of no one else who would work that hard for a business that wasn’t his own. Jim has also encouraged us to attend several workshops on financial management of small businesses. Jim really wants his clients to succeed.”

    Aaron Huffman owns Green Mountain Builders, but it was in his quest for a different business that introduced him to Epling.

    “My wife and I were in the process of securing financing for a major business purchase,” Huffman said. “We learned about SBDC through our local bank and were put in contact with James Epling. We knew the numbers for the business would work, but Jim was able to show us how.  He also formatted the data to meet the requirements of our loan application. Jim was a great help and we felt like he truly wanted the purchase to go through for us. He communicated with us, as well as our bank, throughout the entire process. It took almost four months for the whole transaction to be completed. As of noon, Friday the 22nd of August, my wife and I are the proud owners of the Historic General Lewis Inn — a 25-room, full-service hotel and restaurant — in Lewisburg. Thanks for your help, Jim!”

    Paul and Jennifer Breuer, owners of Country Road Cabins near the New River Gorge National Recreation Area, has had a working relationship with Epling for more than a decade.

    “Jim has been invaluable in developing and refinancing our business here at Country Road Cabins in Hico for more than 15 years,” Paul Breuer said. “He has provided sound, wise advice and pointed us in the right directions. Many, many thanks!”

    The WVSBDC is part of the West Virginia Development Office and creates economic impact through offering entrepreneurs and small businesses cost-effective business coaching and technical assistance. The West Virginia SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The WVSBDC is an Accredited Member of America’s SBDC network.

    # # #

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 9, 2014
    CONTACT: Catherine Zacchi, 304-957-9340, catherine.m.zacchi@wv.gov
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/WVSBDC

    posted Tuesday, September 9, 2014 aA 11:41 AM
     

  3. WVSBDC offers small business workshop in Kanawha County

    Register for Sept. 25 session on Business Fundamentals

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A workshop on Business Fundamentals is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Sept. 25, in Kanawha County. The workshop is part of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WVSBDC) training and business coaching program Three Step Jump Start to help small business owners receive the right information at the right time. The workshop will be held in the Charleston Area Alliance Building, 1116 Smith Street, Room 310, Charleston.

    Three Step Jump Start helps entrepreneurs and small business owners in West Virginia accelerate their potential success by learning the structure and services provided by WVSBDC. The first step is to view the Three Step Jump Start video on the agency’s website, www.wvsbdc.org.

    Individuals can then attend the Business Fundamentals workshop, designed specifically for startups and new businesses. The workshop provides essential information on what an entrepreneur needs to know to start a business successfully. There is a $35-per-person fee for the workshop. Attendees paying online should bring the online receipt copy to the workshop.

    Registration is required at least two days in advance. To register, call Dreama Wolfingbarger at 304-957-2083 or email dreama.l.wolfingbarger@wv.gov.  

    After completing the workshop, interested entrepreneurs or business owners may schedule an appointment with WVSBDC for one-on-one coaching sessions. The WVSBDC coaches provide assistance with business plan development, financial statement preparation, cash flow analysis and other services.

    The WVSBDC is part of the West Virginia Development Office and creates economic impact through offering entrepreneurs and small businesses cost-effective business coaching and technical assistance. The West Virginia SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The WVSBDC is an Accredited Member of America’s SBDC network.

    # # #

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 11, 2014
    CONTACT: Catherine Zacchi, 304-957-9340, catherine.m.zacchi@wv.gov
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/WVSBDC

    posted Thursday, September 11, 2014 aP 2:46 PM
     

  4. WVSBDC offers small business workshop in Putnam County

    Register for Oct. 7 session on Business Fundamentals

    WINFIELD, W.Va. — A workshop on Business Fundamentals is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, Oct. 7, in Putnam County. The workshop is part of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WVSBDC) training and business coaching program Three Step Jump Start to help small business owners receive the right information at the right time. The workshop will be held at the Putnam Chamber of Commerce, 5664 State Rt. 34, Winfield.

    Three Step Jump Start helps entrepreneurs and small business owners in West Virginia accelerate their potential success by learning the structure and services provided by WVSBDC. The first step is to view the Three Step Jump Start video on the agency’s website, www.wvsbdc.org.

    Individuals can then attend the Business Fundamentals workshop, designed specifically for startups and new businesses. The workshop provides essential information on what an entrepreneur needs to know to start a business successfully. There is a $35-per-person fee for the workshop. Attendees paying online should bring the online receipt copy to the workshop.

    Registration is required at least two days in advance. To register, call Dreama Wolfingbarger at 304-957-2083 or email dreama.l.wolfingbarger@wv.gov

    After completing the workshop, interested entrepreneurs or business owners may schedule an appointment with WVSBDC for one-on-one coaching sessions. The WVSBDC coaches provide assistance with business plan development, financial statement preparation, cash flow analysis and other services.

    The WVSBDC is part of the West Virginia Development Office and creates economic impact through offering entrepreneurs and small businesses cost-effective business coaching and technical assistance. The West Virginia SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The WVSBDC is an Accredited Member of America’s SBDC network.

    # # #


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 16, 2014

    CONTACT: Catherine Zacchi, 304-957-9340, catherine.m.zacchi@wv.gov

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/WVSBDC

    posted Tuesday, September 16, 2014 aP 12:37 PM
     

  5. “GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY” ON WEST VIRGINIA’S WHITEWATER RIVERS

    W.Va. Division of Tourism to host rafting adventure
    on New River Sept. 3; Gauley Season to begin Sept. 5

    CHARLESTON, West Virginia (September 2, 2014) – The West Virginia Division of Tourism, in partnership with River Expeditions, the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture will host “Go Outside and Raft” tomorrow, Wednesday September 3 at River Expeditions located at 900 Broadway Avenue, Oak Hill, West Virginia 25901.  The group will depart on a rafting adventure at 8 a.m., followed by a cookout at 1 p.m. 

    “West Virginia offers a number of outstanding rafting opportunities, including the boulder strewn canyon of the Cheat River, the mighty Tygart River, the historic Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers as well as the world renowned New and Gauley Rivers,” said Tourism Commissioner and Deputy Secretary of Commerce Amy Shuler Goodwin.  “This month’s ‘Go Outside and Raft’ adventure not only highlights whitewater rafting in the Mountain State, it kicks-off the much anticipated Gauley season which begins September 5.”  

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unleashes thousands of gallons of water from the Summersville Dam, marking the start of Gauley Season. These timed releases transform the Gauley River into the “Beast of the East,” making for a legendary whitewater experience ranked among the best in the world.  This year’s release dates are scheduled for Sept. 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-29 and Oct. 3-5, 11-12 and 18-19.

    For more information on whitewater rafting in West Virginia, visit www.wvriversports.com or contact one of the state’s professional outfitters:

    • ACE Adventure Resort (Minden): 304-469-2651
    • Adventures on the Gorge (Lansing): 888-287-4496
    • Alpine Ministries (Mount Hope): 304-877-6427
    • Blackwater Outdoor Adventures (Parsons): 304-478-3775
    • Cantrell Ultimate Rafting (Fayetteville): 304-877-8235
    • Cheat River Outfitters (Albright): 304-329-2024
    • New and Gauley River Adventures (Lansing): 800-759-7238
    • River Expeditions (Oak Hill): 800-463-9873
    • River Riders (Harpers Ferry) 800-326-7238
    • West Virginia Adventures (Glen Jean): 304-465-2025

    “Go Outside and Raft” is the third in a series of themed events scheduled to take place in the coming months throughout West Virginia.  The campaign challenges West Virginians to “Go Outside and Play” and targets specific activities—ranging from outdoor recreation and festivals to culture and history.  Participants are encouraged to use #GoOutsideAndPlay to share their “Wild Wonderful Wednesday” experiences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    Find your adventure in West Virginia at www.GoToWV.com or by calling 800-225-5982. You can also join the conversation and share your wild and wonderful stories on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotowv or on Twitter and Instagram @gotowv with #GoToWV.

    Contact:              

    Tina Stinson

    304-957-9338

    tina.l.stinson@wv.gov

    posted Tuesday, September 2, 2014 aP 4:39 PM
     

  6. ADVENTURE ADVISORY: Sept. 18-28

    The Adventure Advisory, prepared and distributed by the West Virginia Division of Tourism, highlights some of the many activities happening across the Mountain State. Additional listings are posted at www.GoToWV.com; click on “Calendar.” Event organizers and promoters are encouraged to submit items for Tourism’s online calendar by sending an email to Tourism.Listings@wv.gov

    Sept. 18-21: 46th Annual Treasure Mountain Festival—Celebrating Our Past, Franklin 
    304-358-3298; emwhitewv@yahoo.com 
    http://www.treasuremountainfestival.com 
    This year’s festival, “Celebrating Our Past,” features antique car/truck/engine shows, apple butter and cider making, craft sales and heritage demonstrations, beard and mustache contest, quilt show, live music and a grand parade.

    Sept. 18-21: Clay County Golden Delicious Festival, Clay 
    304-332-5018; clayapplefestival@gmail.com 
    http://www.claygoldendeliciousfestival.com
    The theme this year is “An Apple a Day – It’s the Clay County Way!” Activities and attractions include an antique car show, 5K Run/Walk, golf tournament, parade, apple butter making, live music, crafts and fireworks. 

    Sept. 19-20: Hatfield and McCoy Mountain Heritage Festival, Chief Logan Lodge and Conference Center, Logan 
    304-752-1324; logancountychamber@frontier.com 
    The festival features a Hillbilly Zip Line, live music, a turkey call contest, cruise-in, chili cook-off, hunting and fishing vendors, and arts and crafts. Additionally, there will be guest appearances by Heroes 4 Higher. Children are encouraged to dress as their favorite superhero.  Tickets are $5 for adults and $1 for kids ages 12 and under.

    Sept. 20: Oldtime and Bluegrass Fall Festival, Camp Creek State Park, Camp Creek 
    304-425-9481
    http://www.campcreekstatepark.com 
    This annual family oriented event features music, clogging, apple butter making, pig roast, food concessions and more.

    Sept. 20-21: 13th Annual Mothman Festival, Point Pleasant 
    304-812-5211; jeffwamsley@eurekanet.com
    http://www.mothmanfestival.com 
    The Mothman Festival is an annual commemoration of the visit of the mysterious entity known as the “Mothman,” as described in John A. Keel’s book, “The Mothman Prophecies.” The festival features a wide variety of vendors and merchants, live local music, food, tram tours, museum tours and hay rides. 

    Sept. 20-21: 23rd Annual Kirkwood Winery Grape Stompin’ Festival, Summersville 
    304-872-7332; 888-498-9463; Isaiah@kirkwood-wine.com 
    http://www.kirkwood-wine.com 
    Activities and attractions include covered wagon/horse/buggy rides, live music, handmade crafts, pottery making demonstrations, grape eating and grape stomping contest, distillery tours and a wine tasting. Bring your lawn chair, stay all day, get barefoot and stomp grapes!

    Sept. 20-21: 52nd Annual Harvest Moon Arts and Crafts Festival, Parkersburg
    304-424-7311; vmarshall@woodrecreation.com
    http://www.woodrecreation.com 
    This annual juried craft show features 185+ crafters, craft demonstrations, food vendors, live entertainment, kids’ karaoke contest, apple butter and soap making demonstrations, chain saw carvers and more.

    Sept. 25-28: Preston County Buckwheat Festival, Kingwood 
    304-379-2203; dkuhn@frontiernet.net
    http://www.buckwheatfest.com
    "A Scrapbook of Buckwheat Memories" is the theme for this year’s festival. A sampling of activities and attractions include arts and crafts, carnival, food vendors, livestock, live music, raffles, parades, wood carving exhibition, lumberjack competition, Irish Road Bowling and a car show.

    Sept. 26-27: Dungeon of Horrors, Former West Virginia State Penitentiary, Moundsville 
    304-845-6200; suzanne@WVPenTours.com  
    www.WVPenTours.com 
    The prison is known to have one of the highest levels of paranormal activity in the United States and most people who have survived the dungeon of horrors believe that the prisoners still haunt the darkened hallways of the prison today. They experienced the fright of being locked up in a cell, the fear of being lost in a maze and the terror of an eerie walk through the dungeon of horrors!

    Sept. 26-28: 39th Annual Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Fall Festival, Shenandoah Junction
    304-725-2055; 800-624-0577; info@jeffersoncountywvchamber.org 
    http://www.jeffersoncountywvchamber.org/festival
    Meet approximately 200 artisans and crafters demonstrate and showcase their work at this nationally acclaimed festival. The event features live bluegrass music, wine tasting and a variety of food.

    Sept. 26-28: ShockaCon Horror/Sci-Fi Convention, Beni Kedem Shrine Center, Charleston 
    304-345-3674; 304-344-6790; mikewinland@suddenlink.net
    http://www.wvshockacon.com 
    ShockaCon Horror/Sci-Fi Convention is three days of Halloween-style-mayhem. The event features celebrity guests, live bands, film screenings, costumes, contests and more.

    Sept. 26-28: Volcano Days, Waverly 
    304-679-3611; info@mountwoodpark.org 
    http://www.mountwoodpark.org
    Volcano Days celebrates the memory of Volcano, a once-thriving oil boom town along the border between Ritchie and Wood counties. The memory of Volcano is commemorated every year at Mountwood Park during a fun-filled weekend. Activities and attractions include antique engines, pageants, crafters, vendors, music, food and more.

    Sept. 27: Dragon Boat Festival, Krodel Park Lake, Point Pleasant 
    304-674-0144; museum@pprivermuseum.com
    http://www.pprivermuseum.com
    Come and experience this engaging and fun-filled day of racing in a Dragon Boat on Krodel Park Lake. Food vendors will be set up along with inflatables, climbing rock wall, and games for kids. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

    Sept. 27: Princeton AutumnFest, Princeton 
    304-487-1502; pmccc@frontiernet.net 
    www.pmccc.com/autumnfest 
    This annual fall celebration/downtown street festival features music, kids’ activities, crafts, food, 5K walk/run, Great Pumpkin Cook-off, vendors and a car show.

    Sept. 27: WV RoadKill Cook-off/Autumn Harvest Festival/Hammons Musical Heritage Celebration, Marlinton 
    800-336-7009; pccvb@pocahontascountywv.com 
    http://www.pccocwv.com 
    Competitors rally in downtown Marlinton to find out who has the best recipe for wild game. The event also features arts and crafts vendors. Before departing for the day, be sure to stop in at the Pocahontas County Opera House for some foot-stomping music at the “Hammons Musical Heritage Celebration.” 

    Sept. 27 – Oct. 5: 78th Mountain State Forest Festival, Elkins 
    304-636-1824; msff@forestfestival.com
    http://www.forestfestival.com
    The Mountain State Forest Festival is one of the largest and oldest festivals in West Virginia. Featured events and activities include headline concerts and music shows, a lumberjack competition, forestry and wood exhibits, a wing cook-off, a juried art show, arts and crafts, amusement rides and three parades. 

    Sept. 28: Cranberry Shindig, Cranberry Nature Center, Hillsboro 
    800-336-7009; 304-653-4826
    http://www.pocahontascountywv.com 
    This traditional Appalachian festival features Joe Nutter and Variety Pack, and Old Dominion Cloggers.  Local artisans will demonstrate and sell their goods from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Demonstrations and goods include blacksmithing, fly tying, wood turning, wood sculptures, homemade soap, fudge and more.

    Find your adventure in West Virginia at www.gotowv.com or by calling 800-225-5982. You can also join the conversation and share your wild and wonderful stories on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotowv or on Twitter and Instagram @gotowv with #gotowv. 

    ###

    Sept. 16, 2014
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    CONTACT: Tina Stinson
    304-957-9388
    Tina.L.Stinson@wv.gov 

    posted Tuesday, September 16, 2014 aP 4:35 PM
     

  7. about

    posted on Rss WVGES page
    posted Wednesday, March 16, 2011 aP 1:13 PM
     

  8. About_2

    posted on Rss WVGES page
    posted Wednesday, March 16, 2011 aP 2:40 PM
     

  9. W.Va. State Tree Nursery Accepting Orders Sept. 2, 2014

    Department of Commerce facility offers perennial favorites and new species.

    Clements State Tree Nursery
    Customers can order seedlings from Clements State Tree Nursery for planting in either fall 2014 or spring 2015.

    Charleston, West Virginia (PRWEB) August 29, 2014

    West Virginia Division of Forestry officials announced that Clements State Tree Nursery will begin taking orders Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, for the 2014-2015 planting season. Clements Nursery is the state’s only forest tree nursery, specializing in bare-root seedlings. These seedlings include both native trees and others genetically suitable for planting in West Virginia and neighboring states. Customers can order seedlings for planting in either fall 2014 or spring 2015. The online storefront, http://www.wvcommerce.org/ClementsNursery, allows customers to shop 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Deliveries start the week of Thanksgiving.

    Among this year’s inventory are perennial favorites like American chestnut, redbud, sugar maple and a variety of oaks. New this year is hazelnut, a tree that will start producing seeds 2-3 years after planting. Hazelnuts are an excellent food source for wildlife and are higher in nutrition than acorns. Clements Nursery also offers four types of evergreens: white, Virginia and Scotch pines and Norway spruce. Customers can choose from 29 different species of seedlings for whatever their needs may be: reforestation, providing cover and food for wildlife, growing Christmas trees or reclaiming disturbed properties like those previously mined for coal.

    All trees are bare-root seedlings and are 1-2 years old. Seedlings are sold in bundles of 25. Prices depend on the number of seedlings ordered, and there is a 30 percent discount offered on orders of 5,000 or more. Seedlings are grown from seed sources within West Virginia and surrounding states.

    Order online at http://www.wvcommerce.org/ClementsNursery or call 304-675-1820.
    For more information about Clements State Tree Nursery, visit the Division of Forestry’s website at http://www.wvforestry.com.

    # # #

    News Release: Sept 5, 2014    

    Contact:  Leslie Smithson, Public Information Specialist, 304-957-9342 or 304-541-8102, Leslie.C.Smithson@wv.gov

    posted Friday, September 5, 2014 aA 9:44 AM
     

  10. Evergreen Trees Are Good for Wildlife

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. – When considering which trees to plant in your woodlot or landscape, don’t overlook evergreens. Species like white, Virginia and Scotch pine and Norway spruce make great choices for wildlife plantings.

    White pine and Virginia pine are native to West Virginia so they grow well throughout the Mountain State. Red squirrels and some birds feed on seeds from Virginia and white pines, and both trees provide shelter for grouse, songbirds, birds of prey and small mammals. Songbirds use white pine and Virginia pine needles for nesting material.   

    Although Scotch pine and Norway spruce are not native to West Virginia, they grow well in the state. Norway spruce provides good winter cover for birds and makes good roosting territory for hawks and owls. The bark of the Scotch pine develops deep ridges as the tree matures, providing an excellent breeding ground for mosses, lichens, spiders and insects on which birds and small mammals can feed.

    Clements State Tree Nursery has all four species in stock for the 2014-2015 planting season. Orders can be placed online at www.wvcommerce.org/ClementsNursery.

    # # #

    News Release: Sept 5, 2014    

    Contact:  Leslie Smithson, Public Information Specialist, 304-957-9342 or 304-541-8102, Leslie.C.Smithson@wv.gov

    posted Friday, September 5, 2014 aA 9:49 AM
     

  11. WVDNR Law Enforcement officers seize illegally harvested ginseng in southern West Virginia

           
        BECKLEY, West Virginia – A year-long investigation by Natural Resources Police Officers in southern West Virginia has resulted in 11 arrests and the seizure of 190 pounds of dry ginseng that was illegally harvested before the ginseng digging season began Sept. 1. The estimated market value of the ginseng is $180,000.

        In addition to the ginseng, officers also seized multiple stolen guns, illegal drugs and pills, and $30,000 in cash, according to Lt. Woodrow Brogan of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Law Enforcement District 4 office in Beckley. District 4 includes the counties of Fayette, Greenbrier, Raleigh, Wyoming, McDowell, Mercer, Summers and Monroe.

        “The legal digging and selling of ginseng root has been a part of the culture of southern Appalachia for more than a hundred years,” Lt. Brogan said. “Many people in this area have supplemented their income by digging ginseng, almost all of which is exported to Asia. In the past, they took care to preserve the resource, but we’ve noticed in recent years an increase in people wanting to make a ‘fast buck’ by digging and selling as much ginseng as possible, both in season and out. Much of that increased activity includes unlicensed dealers trading illegal pills for ginseng root.”

        Working with officials with the West Virginia Division of Forestry, which regulates the ginseng digging season and licenses dealers, DNR police officers investigated and conducted two weeks of multiple raids on illegal diggers and dealers, confiscating the dry ginseng and other items.

        Eleven arrests have been made to date and several more arrest warrants are expected in the near future as this is an ongoing investigation, according to Lt. Brogan.

    About West Virginia’s Ginseng Season


        West Virginia’s 2014 ginseng digging season began Sept. 1 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 30. The native herb grows in all of the state’s 55 counties and is ready to harvest when its berries turn red. West Virginia state law requires “sengers,” those who dig the root, to only harvest plants with three or more prongs. The number of prongs indicates the age of the plant. Only plants 5 years old and older can legally be harvested. In addition, sengers are required to replant the berries/seeds from the parent plant in the spot where they harvested it to help continue the species.

        The following laws also apply to the harvesting of ginseng:

    •    No permit is needed to dig wild ginseng, but anyone digging ginseng on someone else’s property must carry written permission from the landowner allowing him or her to harvest ginseng on the property.
    •    Digging ginseng on public lands, including state forests, wildlife management areas or state parks, is prohibited.
    •    Diggers have until March 31 of each year to sell to a registered West Virginia ginseng dealer or have roots weight-receipted at one of the Division of Forestry weigh stations.
    •    Possession of ginseng roots is prohibited from April 1 through Aug. 31 without a weight-receipt from the West Virginia Division of Forestry.

        A list of registered ginseng dealers for 2014-2015 is available in the ginseng section of www.wvforestry.com.

    **DNR**

    Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce
    West Virginia’s ginseng digging season runs from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30, 2014.


    West Virginia Division of Natural Resources                    
    www.wvdnr.gov

    Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor                              
    Frank Jezioro, Director

    News Release: Sept. 17, 2014

    Facebook: West Virginia State Parks
    Twitter: WV State Parks

    Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer 304-957-9365 hoy.r.murphy@wv.gov  

    Contact: Lt. W.W. Brogan, DNR Law Enforcement Section, District 4, 304-256-6945 Woodrow.W.brogan@wv.gov

    posted Wednesday, September 17, 2014 aP 2:18 PM
     

  12. West Virginia Invasive Species Strategic Plan out for public comment


            
        SOUTH CHARLESTON, West Virginia – The draft “West Virginia Invasive Species Strategic Plan” is now available for public comment.

        “Non-native invasive species cost West Virginia millions of dollars every year,” said Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section. “These plants, animals and pathogens reproduce rapidly and have no native predators, so they have become a leading cause of biodiversity loss worldwide. They reduce timber regeneration, lower mast production, degrade wildlife habitat and decrease stream quality.”

        Annual losses and control costs for invasive species in the U.S. are estimated to exceed $127 billion.

        The strategic plan is intended to enable West Virginia and all entities operating within its borders to address the threats posed by terrestrial and aquatic invasive species, including pathogens, which occur or may occur, in the state. Modeled after similar plans nationwide, the plan describes the status of invasive species in West Virginia and proposes a comprehensive set of goals and strategies to address their impacts. This voluntary plan is designed to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of all stages of invasive species management efforts that occur wholly or partially within the state of West Virginia.

        Recommended management goals include:

    •    Coordination
    •    Prevention
    •    Early Detection
    •    Rapid Response
    •    Control and Management
    •    Research and Risk Assessment, and
    •    Education and Outreach

        The document is available for download at www.wvdnr.gov under “Top News Stories.” Please submit comments to Whitney Bailey, either by email at whitney.bailey@mail.wvu.edu or by postal mail to the WVDNR Elkins Operations Center, P.O. Box 67, Elkins, WV 26241. Comments are due by Oct. 22, 2014.

        The West Virginia Invasive Species Working Group first proposed the plan several years ago. It has been developed with the expertise of dozens of professionals from various agencies and organizations across the state.

        Major contributors include The Nature Conservancy, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, The West Virginia Division of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, and the Potomac Highlands Cooperative Weed and Pest Management Area. Development of the plan was funded in part by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force through the Maryland Sea Grant.

    **DNR**

    West Virginia Division of Natural Resources                    
    www.wvdnr.gov

    Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor                              
    Frank Jezioro, Director

    News Release: Sept. 19, 2014

    Facebook: West Virginia State Parks
    Twitter: WV State Parks

    Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer 304-957-9365 hoy.r.murphy@wv.gov  
    Contact: Curtis I. Taylor, Wildlife Resources Section Chief, 304-558-2771 Curtis.I.Taylor@wv.gov
    Whitney Bailey 304-637-0245 whitney.bailey@mail.wvu.edu

    posted Friday, September 19, 2014 aA 11:47 AM
     

  13. West Virginia Fall Foliage Reports Start Sept. 25, 2014

    Blackwater Falls State park


    Department of Commerce’s state foresters will provide leaf peepers with colorful routes and other information through October

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Division of Forestry officials will begin providing weekly fall foliage reports Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. The reports will be available through the agency’s website, www.wvforestry.com, its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/wvforestry, Twitter account, @wvforestry, and the Department of Commerce’s website, www.wvcommerce.org. Reports will be posted each Thursday afternoon through the end of October. Photos and updates, as available through the week, will be posted to the agency’s Facebook page. Fall foliage reports will include percentage of color, recommended driving routes and special points of interest.

    Forestry officials also encourage leaf peepers to post their 2014 West Virginia fall foliage photos to the agency’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/wvforestry), or tweet them using #wvfallcolor.  Photos will be featured on the Division’s Facebook page.
     
    West Virginia is the third most forested state in the nation with 12 million acres of forestland. As the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter, leaves stop producing chlorophyll, the chemical that colors them green. Once the production of chlorophyll stops, leaves take on their true colors, ranging from orange and yellow to red, purple and brown.
     
    Leaves on trees at the highest elevations of the state begin to change color first, and, as fall progresses, color works its way down the mountains into the valleys.

    The first fall foliage report will be released Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014.
     
     # # #

    West Virginia Division of Forestry


    News Release: Sept. 24, 2014 
                  
    Contact:  Leslie Smithson, Public Information Specialist, 304-957-9342 or 304-541-8102, Leslie.C.Smithson@wv.gov

    posted Wednesday, September 24, 2014 aP 1:10 PM
     

  14. Colorful High Country Hotspots

    Dolly Sods
    The majority of foliage in the Dolly Sods area was nearing peak Sept. 23, 2014. Photo courtesy West Virginia Division of Forestry

    West Virginia Division of Forestry releases first fall foliage report

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Fall is officially here and so is West Virginia’s fall foliage season. State foresters report leaves are changing quickly in perennial foliage hotspots like Dolly Sods and Canaan Valley.

    John Anderson, a fire forester with the West Virginia Division of Forestry (DOF), traded his fire rake for a camera earlier this week and headed to the high country to take pictures.

    “The majority of the foliage in the Dolly Sods area is nearing peak,” Anderson said.  “The reds, oranges and yellows provide a colorful accent to the already spectacular scenery.”   
       
    Blueberry and huckleberry bushes at Dolly Sods are approximately 90 percent peak, while the area’s trees are approximately 60 percent peak.
    Dolly Sods is a 17,371-acre area that contains bog and heath eco-types more common to southern Canada. Elevations range from 2,500 to more than 4,700 feet. The wilderness area is located in Grant, Randolph and Tucker counties, West Virginia, within the Monongahela National Forest and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

    Anderson reports foliage in Canaan Valley to be 40-60 percent peak and changing daily, just in time for the 26th annual Leaf Peepers Festival Sept. 26-28, 2014. Canaan Valley is the highest mountain valley east of the Rocky Mountains with a base elevation of 3,100 feet. It is 15 miles long by three miles wide and home to extensive wetlands and botanical communities typically found in sub-Artic bogs and conifer forests. Canaan Valley is in Tucker County, West Virginia.

    Foliage at Spruce Knob, the highest peak in West Virginia, is 50 percent peak. Spruce Knob is in Pendleton County and is 4,863 feet above sea level.

    Forestry officials encourage leaf peepers to post their 2014 West Virginia fall foliage photos to the agency’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/wvforestry), or tweet them using #wvfallcolor.  Photos may be featured on the Division’s Facebook page.

    Weekly reports will be available through the agency’s website, www.wvforestry.com, its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/wvforestry, Twitter account, @wvforestry, and the Department of Commerce’s website, www.wvcommerce.org. Reports will be posted each Thursday afternoon through the end of October. Photos and updates, as available through the week, will be posted to the agency’s Facebook page. 
           
    The next fall foliage report will be released Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014.

    # # #

    West Virginia Division of Forestry

    News Release: Sept. 25, 2014

    Contact: Leslie Smithson, Public Information Specialist, 304-957-9342 or 304-541-8102, Leslie.C.Smithson@wv.gov

    posted Thursday, September 25, 2014 aP 1:43 PM
     

  15. Fall forest fire season starts Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Forestry reminds residents that the state’s fall forest fire season starts Oct. 1, 2014, and runs through Dec. 31, 2014. During these three months, daytime burning is prohibited from the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outdoor burning is permitted only between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.

    State law requires a ring or safety strip around outdoor fires to keep the fire from spreading into the woods. This safety strip must be cleared of all burnable material and be at least 10 feet wide completely around the debris pile.          

    Additional requirements of the state’s fire laws include staying on-site until the fire is completely extinguished, and only burning vegetative materials like leaves, brush and yard clippings.

    If you allow a fire you have started to escape and it causes a wildfire or forest fire, you will be subject to fines ranging from $100 to $1,000. An additional civil penalty of $200 also will be assessed against you.

    The Division of Forestry offers these tips for safe outdoor burning:

    • Burn only after 5 p.m. — it’s the law — and put your fire out completely by 7 a.m.
    • Put debris in several small piles instead of one large one
    • Never burn on overly dry or windy days
    • Select a safe place away from overhead power lines, phone lines or other obstructions and where the fire cannot spread into the woods, weeds or brush
    • Clear at least a 10-foot area around the fire to make sure all burnable materials have been removed
    • Have water and tools on hand to extinguish anything that may escape the burn area
    • Be conscientious of neighbors and don’t burn debris that produces a lot of smoke at times when smoke does not rise. If the smoke spreads out near the ground instead of rising, put out the fire and burn another time
    • Stay with the fire at all times until it is completely out. Leaving a fire unattended for any length of time is illegal
    • Call 911 immediately if a fire does escape

    Commercial burning permits may be obtained by public utilities and people burning in conjunction with commercial, manufacturing, mining or like activities. These burning permits cost $125 each and are issued by local Division of Forestry offices. A permit is required for each site where this type of burning takes place.

    To find out more about West Virginia’s burning laws and where you can obtain a burning permit, visit the Division of Forestry’s website at www.wvforestry.com.

    # # #

    Photo courtesy West Virginia Division of Forestry (see attached photo): Each fall, thousands of acres of West Virginia woodland are lost to wildfire.

    News Release: Sept. 30, 2014                

    Contact:  Leslie Smithson, Public Information Specialist, 304-957-9342 or 304-541-8102, Leslie.C.Smithson@wv.gov

    posted Tuesday, September 30, 2014 aA 11:29 AM