W.Va. venture capital program is questionable
Anne Barth paints a very optimistic picture in her Sunday, Jan. 5 article "10 trends shaping W.Va.'s future tech economy." I hope she is right about future "economic development and diversification in the Mountain State."
I found it very interesting that she did not identify the West Virginia Economic Development Authority's venture capital program under the 2002 "WV Capital Company Act" as another resource in the Capital Access Program. Could it be because there is little or nothing left of the $25 million that was appropriated from the $250 million economic development "lottery revenue" bond issue to "stimulate the facility for venture capital financing in West Virginia" and little or nothing to show for it?
There are a lot of new catchy names and acronyms (WVCAP, WVJIT, TechConnect WV, Value Cluster Chain Initiative) being bounced about with an eye toward accessing State Small Business Credit Initiative and other matching federal dollars as well as private investment. One needs only to read the "West Virginia Venture Capital" page at wveda.org to become skeptical of similar lofty goals. Can some of the same names listed as the WVEDA Board of Directors be found on the boards and committees of these new "programs"?
G. W. Hutton
Don't encourage deer farm industry
In regard to the article "Agriculture commissioner wants deer farm oversight," Commissioner Walt Helmick referenced Pennsylvania as having 750 deer farms with 3,500 related jobs. He implied that West Virginia could do the same.
First, let's compare "apples to apples." Pennsylvania is twice the size of West Virginia with seven times the human population. The most we could hope for would be a mere fraction of those figures. What he fails to mention is the disturbing possibility of introducing a disease (such as chronic wasting disease which, to date, has a 100 percent mortality rate) to a wild population. Mr. Helmick claims Pennsylvania deer farms earn $80 million. Expanding deer farms in West Virginia would greatly put at risk the $270 million per year currently being spent by 330,000 licensed hunters. Don't let greed cloud good judgment. There is a real risk to the wild deer population.
Also implied within the article was the revenue that would be generated by the sale of deer meat. This easily opens a market for illegal wild venison. But let's face it, the real money comes from the sale of biogenetically engineered trophy antlers. Some clients (hard to call them hunters) eagerly pay upwards of $15,000 to execute a trophy in a small enclosure. To corrupt such an ancient and honorable activity as the pursuit of deer with the perversion of a deer farm is repulsive.