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Wells Eakin Awarded Director Emeritus

May 26, 2011 - Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce
At it's May 25th board meeting held at Quinet's Family Restaurant, the Wetzel County Chamber bestowed the first ever Director Emeritus status on Wells Eakin, life-long resident and local businessman of New Martinsville. Wells, who is 90 years old this year, went to Marshall University for 2 years before transferring to WVU where he received a degree in business administration. Wells went to work for his father being the 3rd generation to operate the business. His cousin took over the hardware store and Wells went into appliances & furniture. He was a charter member of the Downtown Business Association in 1974 and has been a member of the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce in all its forms. Wells is also a member of the Wetzel County Building Commission and still remains in that position also. Congratulations, Wells Eakin!!!!

In other business, the Chamber has made an offer to the city of New Martinsville to help with the utility expense by paying a monthly utility abatement fee of $250.00. The city committee has yet to address the offer and accept it but the city did install a new energy efficient heating and cooling system last month in the building that houses the chamber offices on the first floor and where a couple of different organizations utilize the second floor.

The Awards Dinner was a tremendous success and everyone who attended had a great time! Other activities coming up that the Chamber sponsors are the Chili-Fest in October and the CVB has agreed to chair that event. The Chamber is still looking for a chair for the annual Christmas Parade held in New Martinsville. Tom Casey has agreed to chair the Annual Celebration Dinner and this year's will be bringing you something special.

The new membership directories are almost ready to go to print. We have had an excellent response from the members with about 85% who replied. We really want to thank all those members who responded with how they wanted their listing in the directory!

From the economic growth committee, the revitalization brochures are out and available at the Chamber office. The recent Job Fair held at the New Martinsville United Methodist Church had 30 vendors and over 100 job seekers. 61 of those job seekers completed and returned surveys to help make next year's job fair even bigger and better. Valley Ventures is continuing work on the Economic Development Master Plan and should have that completed by the end of May and also are working with over 30 businesses and/or individuals who are seeking help in either starting, expanding, or revitalizing a business. Things are really starting to move and in the right direction!

Valley Ventures also visited the board meeting of the Convention & Visitors Bureau and will help with a tri-fold brochure outlining the 3 phases of the museum renovation to help keep the public informed of the progress being made. Part 1 of Phase 1 of the renovation should be completed some time in July. Two new board members were added to the CVB - Lois Fitzsimmons Morford from Parkersburg and Tom Myslinsky from New Martinsville.

Riverfront Development Committee reported that the Festival of Memories is solid, but still waiting for commitments from some of the food vendors. Typically they receive last minute responses. Tim Shiben is planning a War Memorial Exhibit in the Shiben building as a new event for the festival and also new this year will be children's films at the Lincoln Theater on Friday night. The sternwheeler will return and they are looking for organizations who would like to sponsor events on the sternwheeler either for their own organization or for the public. The RDC received the money from the now defunct Regatta organization and will use that income for the next two years to fund the fireworks. Demolition is moving along well at the old fire hall (property which the city donated to the Riverfront Development Committee) with the sides and roof already removed. They have decided to keep the metal beam frame and use it to build a shelter using funds from Bayer's donation to build the trusses. Stone from the old Nazarene Church is also to be used at the Fireman's Park.

Cork Bowen from the Paden City Development Authority reported on activities planned in the Paden City area. They are having a Memorial Celebration on Monday at 11 am at the park and there is also a Memorial at Paden Memorial Gardens set at 10 am on Monday also. June 4th they will be hosting a Foundation 5K which is used to help fund scholarships. Beginning on June 30th, and continuing on every Thursday in July and August, Music in the Park will be held from 7 to 9 pm. First up will be Hillbilly Heaven to kick off the big alumni weekend in Paden City.

ArtsLink will again be hosting Arts in the Park on July 4th at Bruce Park beginning at noon. River City Brass will be performing that same evening at 7 pm at the Lincoln Theater. Come early as this one may get full quick! Also, the children's theater will have a production of Alice In Wonderland on Aug. 4th, 5th & 6th. In addition, ArtsLink will host the free coffee house every Thursday night in August at 7pm on the lawn at ArtsLink. These are always very enjoyable events.

And I know there are activities planned in other communities in the county - however these are the ones brought to the Chamber's attention at the board meeting. Each city in the county has an ex-officio seat on the board and is permitted to send a representative. The board meeting is also open to the public and is held the last Wednesday of every month at WVNCC. If you have activities that you would like to have added to the Chamber's newsletter or website contact the Chamber office at 304-455-3825 or the Chamber website at


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