www.wvgazette.com http://www.wvgazette.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2015, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: March 28, 2015 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT01/303289974 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT01/303289974 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:03:58 -0400 Anderson, Paul 1 p.m., St. Paul Baptist Church, St. Albans.


Barna, John W. 11 a.m., St. George Orthodox Cathedral, Charleston.


Brannon, Allison P. 1 p.m., Taylor


Brower, Leatha 1 p.m., Trinity Independent Baptist Church, Alum Creek.


Buchneit, Phyllis 7:30 p.m., Honaker Funeral Home, Logan.


Canterbury, Madge M. 1 p.m., Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.


Derrick, Gooley 11 a.m., Dunbar Mountain Mission, Dunbar.


Dial, Harry L. 11 a.m., Evans Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Chapmanville.


Farmer, Wendell 1 p.m., Freeman Funeral Home, Chapmanville.


Field, Toka E. 11 a.m., Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans.


Halstead, Roger 2 p.m., Toney's Branch Freewill Baptist Church, Toney's Branch.


Hanna, Richard M. Jr. 2 p.m., Simons


Jacobs, Sally A. 1:30 p.m., Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Montgomery.


Johnson, James E. 2 p.m., Alderson Presbyterian Church, Alderson.


Lane, Gordon R. Sr. 2 p.m., Monclo Freewill Baptist Church, Monclo.


Lehew, Jeffrey D. 5 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.


Lyons, Mildred Noon, Matics Funeral Home, Clendenin.


Manley, Carrol J. 1 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.


Moore Thacker, Alisha M.


Paul, David 11 a.m., St. Paul Episcopal Church, Charleston.


Pettit, Shannon B. 1 p.m., Duffield Cemetery, Duck.


Shaffer, Frank Jr. 1 p.m., Christ United Methodist Church, Wheeling.


Sisk, Charles E. 3 p.m., Kingdom Life Fellowship Church, Nitro.


Smith, Emma Lee 1 p.m., Groves Funeral Home, Union.


Vance, Gary W. 1 p.m., Stevens & Grass Funeral Home, Malden.


Vass, Edward A. Sr. 1 p.m., Wayside United Methodist Church, Wayside.


Watts, Jeanette D. 2:30 p.m., Honaker Funeral Home, Logan.


Williams, Ceresia L. 11 a.m., Broyles


Wolfe, John F. 4 p.m., Village Chapel Presbyterian Church, Charleston.

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Lecta Abbott http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289975 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289975 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:03:56 -0400 Lecta Jean Abbott, 82, of Clendenin, went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, March 26, 2015, at Hubbard Hospice House, after a long illness.

She was the daughter of the late Duffie and Wilma McCroskey Shamblin. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Clyde F. Abbott; son, Clyde Randall Abbott; brother, Daniel Shamblin.

She was a member of Amma Senior Citizens and she attended Thorofare Community Church, Clendenin.

Lecta is survived by her son, Danny and his wife, Jill Abbott of Clendenin; daughter, Cheryl and her husband, Rick Smith of Elkview; grandchildren, Danielle (Gary), Natalie (Scotty) and Amanda (Zak); great-grandchildren, Daniel, Haley, Gracelynn and Danika.

Lecta's funeral service will be 2 p.m. Sunday, March 29, at Matics Funeral Home in Clendenin with David Kersey officiating. Burial will be at the Shamblin Cemetery in Clendenin. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Condolences may be expressed online at www.maticsfuneralhome.com.

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Howard Andrews Jr. http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289980 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289980 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:03:41 -0400 Howard Raymond "Ray" Andrews Jr., went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at Willow Brook at Delaware Run surrounded by those whom he loved.

Born on April 9, 1930 in Charleston, West Virginia, he was the son of the late Howard and Juanita (Armstrong) Andrews. A proud Eagle Scout at age 14, he followed the Scout Oath throughout his life; with duty to God, country, and family. He served his country as a member of the United States Army in Taegu, Korea where he was in charge of the photo lab earning the rank of 1st Lieutenant.

He was raised in Logan, West Virginia and graduated from Brilliant, OH High School where he learned to play the clarinet and continued to play as a member of the All Ohio Band. He played clarinet while attending Ohio University and West Virginia University. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and his Law degree from West Virginia University in 1956. He was President of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity while at West Virginia University and also received the Mountain academic honors.

In 1952, he married his beloved wife of 62 years Alice (Roush) Andrews. He practiced law from 1956 – 1998 and helped shape Charleston, WV by serving on the Municipal Planning Committee in 1978. He was currently on the Board of Trustees for the VanAndel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was a 50 year member of the Bar Association.

Ray moved to Delaware in 2009 and was a member of the William Street United Methodist Church.

Ray was an avid and award winning photographer loving all aspects of photography and built his own darkrooms to develop the film. He used this art to benefit his family by creating unique Christmas cards each year, and documenting vacations in Europe, projects in his home and work as a lawyer. He enjoyed sailing his own boat on Lake Michigan and fishing in Canada with his father. He also piloted his own Cessna airplane to facilitate working in five states for Columbia Gas.

Following his love of classical music, Ray served on the board of directors for two symphonies in Charleston, WV and then, Grand Rapids, MI after moving there to work as the in-house attorney for the Amway Corporation.

In addition to his wife Alice, he is also survived by a sister-in-law, Dorothy Roush, and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his beloved sons, John Howard in 1980 and Thomas Chester in 2001.

Celebration of life service will be held 2 p.m. Monday, March 30, at the William Street United Methodist Church, 28 W. William Street, Delaware, OH 43015, where a reception will follow and military honors will be provided by the Delaware County Veterans Association. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Ray's final resting place will be at a later date on the banks of the Ohio River in Kirkland Memorial Gardens in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center in Delaware.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ray's memory may be made to the Charleston, WV Symphony, Grand Rapids, MI Symphony or The Central Ohio Symphony.

Condolences may be expressed to the family and memories may be shared by visiting www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.

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Gary Wade Arthur http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289998 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289998 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:02:33 -0400 Mr. Gary Wade Arthur, 63, of Huntington, passed away March 25, 2015.

A tribute to the life of Gary will be 2 p.m. Sunday, March 29, at Bancroft Church of God Mission. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service on Sunday.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.hardingfamilygroup.com.

Gatens-Harding Funeral Home, 147 Main St., Poca, is serving the Arthur family.

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Shana Bryant http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289984 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289984 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:03:30 -0400 Shana Hope Bryant, 29, of Harts, died March 26, 2015. Service will be 1 p.m., Mon. March 30, at Freeman Funeral Home. Friends may call from 6 to 9 p.m. at the funeral home. Freeman Funeral Home, Chapmanville, is in charge of arrangements.

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Phyllis Buchneit http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289994 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289994 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:02:51 -0400 Pyllis (Peanut) Buchneit, 57, of Holden, formerly of Wickliff, Ohio, died March 23, 2015. A celebration of life will be held 7:30 p.m. at Honaker Funeral Home, Logan. Friends may call from 6 to 7:30 p.m. att he funeral home Sat. In keeping with her wishes, Peanut will be cremated. Honaker Funeral Home of Logan has been entrusted with the arrangements.

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Milton Byrd Jr. http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289993 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289993 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:02:53 -0400 Milton L. Byrd Jr., "Butch", 72, went to his heavenly home Wednesday, March 26, 2015, at CAMC Teays Valley, surrounded by family.

Milton was born July 18, 1942, while the United States was involved in World War II, during a black out in Ripley, while his mother was visiting her mother. He was a son of the late Virginia Bileth and the late Milton L. Byrd Sr.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Michael Sean Byrd; stepdaughter, Patricia Ann Davis; and brother, Ronald Allen Byrd.

Surviving is his loving wife of 43 years, Marian Gail Byrd; daughter, Heather Dawn Sullivan of Charlotte, N.C.; stepdaughters, Debbie Lewis (Sterling) of Hurricane, Kathie Grady (Chuck) of Eleanor/Cross Lanes, and Kristie Anderson (Sonny) of St. Albans.; stepson, Eddie Broderick (Beth) of St. Albans; 15 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Milton was a member of St. Marks Episcopal Church in St. Albans. He was a member of St. Albans Moose Lodge 868, and Nitro Legion #123 in Nitro.

He was a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 466 and served as an instructor for the 5th year apprentices for several years.

He was a fan of West Virginia University and loved attending the games. He enjoyed attending all the events that his grandchildren were in. He will be sadly missed by all.

The family would like to thank the staff at CAMC Putnam General for being so kind and helpful to Milton and his family during his stay. You are a great bunch of people!

Funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Monday March 30, at Bartlett-Chapman Funeral Home, St. Albans with The Rev. Charles Pope officiating. Entombment will follow in Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans.

Visitation will be 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 29, at the funeral home.

Bartlett-Chapman Funeral Home, family-owned and located at 409 Sixth Avenue, St. Albans is honored to serve the Byrd family.

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Dorothy Byrnside http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289989 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289989 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:03:09 -0400 Dorothy Byrnside, 89, of Hurricane, passed away Thursday, March 26, 2015, at her home, with her family by her side after a long illness. She was born in Lincoln County February 6, 1926, to the late Everett and Nellie Sowards. She was a member of Hurricane First Baptist Church.

She is survived by her husband of 69 years Hobert Byrnside; and daughters, Barbara (Larry) Harris of Charleston and Debbie (Joe) Thompson; and grandchildren, Jessica (Jason) Haynes, Joe (Tara) Thompson, all of Lake Floyd, W.Va.; and great-grandchildren, Donovan Haynes and Paiton and Logan Thompson. The family would like to thank her special caretakers, Becky Porter and Nicole Bevins for their loving care.

Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Sunday, March 29, at Allen Funeral Home with Rev. Dr James Lutz officiating. Burial will follow in Valley View Memorial Park. Friends may call from noon to 2 p.m. prior to the service at Allen Funeral Home.

Should friends desire, contributions may be sent to Hospice Care, 1606 Kanawha Blvd., W. Charleston, WV 25387-2536. Please visit allenfuneralhomewv.com to share memories and condolences.

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Larry "Red" Corley http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289997 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289997 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:02:36 -0400 Larry R. "Red" Corley, 76, of Ravenswood, died March 25, 2015. Service will be 1 p.m. Monday, March 30, at Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood. Visitation will be 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 29, at the funeral home.

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Lillian Fitzgerald http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289981 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/OBIT/303289981 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:03:38 -0400 Lillian "Sis" Fitzgerald, 94, of Point Pleasant, died Thurs. March 26, 2015. Graveside service will be 2 p.m. Sun. March 29, at Kirkland Memorial Gardens, Point Pleasant. Arrangements are under the direction of the Wilcoxen Funeral Home, Point Pleasant.

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Volunteers sought for W.Va. spring highway cleanup http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/GZ01/150329192 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/GZ01/150329192 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 16:00:59 -0400 CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The state Department of Environmental Protection is accepting registrations for the Adopt-A-Highway Spring Statewide Cleanup.

Officials say volunteers have until April 10 to register for the event that takes place on April 25. The event is co-sponsored by the DEP and the state Division of Highways, the Adopt-A-Highway.

Individuals, families, churches, businesses, schools, civic organizations, government agencies and communities can register to pick up trash on almost any state-maintained road, back road, or main route.

Volunteers must be at least 12 years old to participate. They will be provided garbage bags, work gloves and safety vests. The state also takes care of disposing of collected trash.

Officials say more than 4,800 volunteers turned out for the spring 2014 Adopt-A-Highway spring cleanup and cleared over 1,500 miles of West Virginia roadways.

- The Associated Press

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Heating bill aid available for low-income in W.Va. http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/GZ01/150329193 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/GZ01/150329193 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 15:52:34 -0400 CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Low-income West Virginians can get help paying heating bills through a state program.

The Department of Health and Resources will begin taking applications on Monday for the Emergency Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

Officials say households must meet all program guidelines to qualify and be in an emergency situation that will disrupt the primary heating source if not met.

Residents must go to their local DHHR office to apply. The program will operate until funds are exhausted.

Officials say those whose primary source of heat is either gas or electricity must provide their cut-off notice when applying.

Residents using other primary heating sources or bulk fuel may qualify for assistance if their heating fuel is at a low level during the application period.

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Volunteers sought for W.Va. spring highway cleanup http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/GZ01/150329194 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/GZ01/150329194 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 15:50:40 -0400 CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The state Department of Environmental Protection is accepting registrations for the Adopt-A-Highway Spring Statewide Cleanup.

Officials say volunteers have until April 10 to register for the event that takes place on April 25. The event is co-sponsored by the DEP and the state Division of Highways, the Adopt-A-Highway.

Individuals, families, churches, businesses, schools, civic organizations, government agencies and communities can register to pick up trash on almost any state-maintained road, back road, or main route.

Volunteers must be at least 12 years old to participate. They will be provided garbage bags, work gloves and safety vests. The state also takes care of disposing of collected trash.

Officials say more than 4,800 volunteers turned out for the spring 2014 Adopt-A-Highway spring cleanup and cleared over 1,500 miles of West Virginia roadways.

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W.Va. police shoot, kill man after attempted traffic stop http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/ARTICLE/150329195 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/ARTICLE/150329195 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:52:12 -0400

KEYSER, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia State Police say a Keyser area man has died after being shot by a trooper following an attempted traffic stop.

Lt. Michael Baylous says authorities received a call concerning 42-year-old Harvey Oates being distraught and in possession of a gun. Oates was known by the troopers and had outstanding warrants.

While responding, officials saw Oates driving on an area road and tried to pull him over. Oates fled and ran his vehicle off the road.

Officials say Oates then exited the vehicle and threatened to shoot the officers and himself.

Oates later became agitated and began moving toward the officers. When Oates ignored commands to stop and drop his weapon, one of the troopers shot Oates in response to having the gun pointed at him.

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W.Va. agriculture department seeking to honor contributions http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/ARTICLE/150329196 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/ARTICLE/150329196 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:51:17 -0400

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The state Department of Agriculture is seeking nominations for a program honoring contributions by women to the agriculture, forestry and specialty crop industries.

The West Virginia Women in Agriculture program has recognized dozens of women since it began in 2010. Previous honorees have been involved in a variety of fields including beef, dairy, education, specialty crop production and forestry.

Nominations are due by June 1. Forms can be obtained by contacting (304) 585-2210 or on the department's website at www.wvagriculture.org.

Biographies of honorees will be featured on department displays during the State Fair of West Virginia.

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Volunteers sought for W.Va. spring highway cleanup http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/ARTICLE/150329197 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/ARTICLE/150329197 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:50:24 -0400

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The state Department of Environmental Protection is accepting registrations for the Adopt-A-Highway Spring Statewide Cleanup.

Officials say volunteers have until April 10 to register for the event that takes place on April 25. The event is co-sponsored by the DEP and the state Division of Highways, the Adopt-A-Highway.

Individuals, families, churches, businesses, schools, civic organizations, government agencies and communities can register to pick up trash on almost any state-maintained road, back road, or main route.

Volunteers must be at least 12 years old to participate. They will be provided garbage bags, work gloves and safety vests. The state also takes care of disposing of collected trash.

Officials say more than 4,800 volunteers turned out for the spring 2014 Adopt-A-Highway spring cleanup and cleared over 1,500 miles of West Virginia roadways.

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State Police shoot, kill man after attempted traffic stop http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/GZ01/150329198 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/GZ01/150329198 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 12:48:26 -0400 KEYSER, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia State Police say a Keyser area man has died after being shot by a trooper following an attempted traffic stop.

Lt. Michael Baylous says authorities received a call concerning 42-year-old Harvey Oates being distraught and in possession of a gun. Oates was known by the troopers and had outstanding warrants.

While responding, officials saw Oates driving on an area road and tried to pull him over. Oates fled and ran his vehicle off the road.

Officials say Oates then exited the vehicle and threatened to shoot the officers and himself.

Oates later became agitated and began moving toward the officers. When Oates ignored commands to stop and drop his weapon, one of the troopers shot Oates in response to having the gun pointed at him.

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Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation announces first-quarter grants http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/GZ01/150329199 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/GZ01/150329199 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 08:20:58 -0400 The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Board of Trustees has approved the distribution of the first collaborative grants under their new strategic plan and also the foundation's responsive grants in the Arts and Culture cycle. It approved a total of 14 grants for a sum of $240,350.

The foundation's new strategic plan is based on building community wealth and focusing on the three goal areas of health, education, and civic leadership. By working to grow multiple forms of community wealth, foundation officials believe it and their partners can have substantial and more lasting impact on the root causes that continually undermine better outcomes in the communities they serve.

| First Quarter Education Grant: WVU Foundation/Extension Services, STEM Ambassador program, $94,000.

The STEM Ambassador program hires college students pursuing STEM degrees from local higher education institutions, trains them in positive youth development and STEM curricula, and integrates them as summer ambassadors into 4-H and other summer community learning events in each of the six counties in TGKVF's service region. Each STEM ambassador, through a partnership with six WVU Extension offices, will spend 400 hours in work related to their designated county and impact more than 2,000 youth throughout the course of the program as well as engage with local STEM industry partners.

| First Quarter Civic Leadership Grant: DuBois on Main, DuBois Youth Leadership and Media Academy, $6,100.

The DuBois Youth and Media Leadership Academy will serve middle-school aged youth of diverse backgrounds in the Mount Hope area of Fayette County by engaging them in a six-week summer project to document and publicize stories of DuBois High School, while promoting leadership, volunteerism, and civic engagement. Approximately 12 youth will be matched with an alumnus of DuBois living in the local area, encouraging neighborhood engagement. They will record video interviews with the alumni about childhood, attending DuBois, racial identity, and leadership.

The Arts and Culture grants are:

| A New Clendenin Inc.: Funding will support the costs associated with architectural services to partially restore the interior of the town's historic Roxy Theater. $12,000.

| Arts in Action: Funding will support student classroom and performance outfits for youth that have financial need, recognition awards and event supplies. $20,000.

| Charleston Ballet Inc.: Funding will support the 60th anniversary season, assisting with guest artist expenses for 9-10 performances including a varied program for October, Nutcracker performances with the WV Symphony, and full-length "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" with the Columbia Classical Ballet. $15,750.

| Charleston Civic Chorus: Funding will support five performances including the Spring Concert, FestivALL concert, Winter Concert and two concerts for the Charleston GoodNight festivities. $1,500.

| Coda Mountain Academy of Music: Funding will support three high-caliber summer music day camps for Appalachian students with faculty who have graduated from top schools. $10,000.

| FestivALL Charleston Inc.: Funding will support specific projects including the Dance Gala, Carriage Trail Walk, Children's Art Fair, Art-for-All, Writers Roundtable, Cashore Marionette, Dance in Davis Park, Public Art projects and the American Shakespeare Center. $20,750.

| Friends of Alban Arts & Conference Center- Funds will support the 2015-2016 schedule of community theatre productions including "Dr. Doolittle," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "It's A Wonderful Life, The Next 5 Years," "The Flick" and "Urinetown." $10,000

| WV Public Broadcasting Foundation: Funding will support Mountain Stage to continue to strengthen its community partnerships and continue to bring high quality, affordable live music programming to the Kanawha Valley. $15,750.

| Partnership of African American Churches: Funding will support Closing the Gap Through Arts Program to provide opportunities for artistic expression to a marginalized youth population in the Greater Charleston area. $7,000.

| West Virginia Music Hall of Fame Inc.: Funding will support the Traveling Museum, a project created to visit elementary schools in TGKVF's six-county area. The museum includes an interactive map and a make-your-own-CD recording studio. $14,000

| womanSong: Funding will support the 2015 season including concerts in April and December. $3,500.

| WV Professional Dance Company: Funding will support the Earth's Quilt Common Threads-Exploring Subjects Across the Curriculum project. This projects offers an engaging way to teach students core subjects - like math, science, geography, art and communication through professional dance performances. $10,000.

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation's mission is to make thoughtful and proactive investments that grow the multiple forms of wealth necessary for our community to thrive. It serves a six county region that includes Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln and Putnam Counties. The foundation envisions a forward-thinking and closely connected community that fearlessly works together to promote the prosperity of all.

Those wishing to apply for a grant during the 2015 year should visit the Foundation's website at www.tgkvf.org.

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Philip Maramba: Efforts to help pedestrians put city's best foot forward http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/DM04/150329200 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/DM04/150329200 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 05:24:30 -0400

A guy I worked with at the Beckley paper liked staying in shape and frequently took to the streets for a run before work.

I was motoring about town one day and saw him trotting along the shoulder and gave him a friendly beep of the horn.

He responded by holding aloft his middle finger and kept right on running.

Turns out it was nothing personal. He had just grown tired of being harassed by drivers going out of their way to pester him. ("Run, Forrest!") Flipping off motorists was his way of fighting back.

Aside from the older portions of town, the rise of modern Beckley's suburban sprawl has precluded the building of sidewalks in its efforts to connect residential and commercial areas. It's a city built for automobiles, not pedestrians.

Charleston, a more established population hub, has miles of sidewalks extending from its city center and is exploring ways to make itself even more pedestrian friendly. Officials say these efforts make the city safer for its residents, more attractive to newcomers and helps downtown businesses.

Last week, a group of consultants spent some time in town studying how to make the area more navigable and enticing for bicyclists by way of bike routes and new trails.

As a guy who used to be in shape and is looking for opportunities to regain it, I can only applaud the city's endeavors.

But especially as a guy who's biked, run and walked his share of road berms, I'm glad to see pedestrians so embraced.

Truth be told, it's the walkers I'm especially advocating for.

When you see bicyclists or runners trucking along the road, there's an implied purpose to their being there, a laudable intent. Saving the environment. Fitness. Or both.

So, too, are folks making their way along a city sidewalk. A colleague observed that "these are people going somewhere." To an office. To a restaurant. To enjoy the weather. One glance can reveal they're a contributing part of the citizenry.

But what does the sight of a person walking along the shoulder say?

"They don't have a car," she said.

And in this mobile, go-go society, that's a kind of disenfranchisement.

When I was learning how to drive, I locked my dad's keys in the car after a trip to the mall. That walk with him back home - a mile and a half in a steady drizzle - gave me an appreciation of what it means to be walking off the side of the road.

(I've also run out of gas on Corridor G within walking distance of my house here, too. At night. Twice.)

More often than not, though, I see these walkers through the windshield of my climate-controlled SUV. They've got someplace to get to; I've got someplace to get to. They're carrying plastic grocery bags; I'm carrying plastic grocery bags. Technically, we're doing the same thing, but I'm doing it from a car. Aside from possibly exhibiting poor driving etiquette, my going from place to place doesn't lead to anyone to look askance at me.

Not having a place to walk puts pedestrians at the mercy of motorists and, in a way, robs them of some measure of their dignity.

It's about time someone recognized the importance of getting around on foot.

Walking is one of our developmental milestones. Until about the time we turn 16, it's the way most of us get around. Romances spring around it. "Walking distance" makes it a vital sales pitch for commerce and tourism. And when we get older, it's probably one of the things we wish we could do without assistance before possibly losing it altogether.

So here's to promoting people-powered transportation. Let's make it safe and fun for folks to get around town. And for those of us in automobiles, let's watch out for those getting around who aren't. It's time to put one foot in front of the other and move the area forward - one step at a time.

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Indiana tries to control media fallout from religious objection law http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/ARTICLE/150329201 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150328/ARTICLE/150329201 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 04:36:58 -0400

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

INDIANAPOLIS - The heat over Indiana's new religious objections law spread Friday across social media and to the White House as many local officials and business groups around the state tried to jump in and stem the fallout.

Use of the hashtag #boycottindiana spread across Twitter, spurred on by activists such as "Star Trek" actor George Takei, who argued that the measure opens the door to legalized discrimination against gay people. Apple CEO Tim Cook also tweeted his objections, saying he was "deeply disappointed" in the Indiana law.

Supporters of the bill that Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed Thursday say discrimination claims are overblown. They maintain courts haven't allowed that to happen under similar laws covering the federal government and in 19 other states. The measure, which takes effect in July, prohibits state and local laws that "substantially burden" the ability of people - including businesses and associations - to follow their religious beliefs.

Some national gay-rights groups say lawmakers in Indiana and about a dozen other states proposed such bills this year as a way to essentially grant a state-sanctioned waiver for discrimination as the nation's highest court prepares to mull the gay marriage question.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Friday noted the negative reaction to the Indiana law from many businesses and organizations around the country.

"The signing of this bill doesn't seem like it's a step in the direction of equality and justice and liberty for all Americans," he said.

The Arkansas Senate approved a similar proposal Friday despite opposition from home-state retail giant Wal-Mart. Another measure stalled Thursday in the Georgia Legislature after opponents cited the fallout over the Indiana law.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican who opposed the law, said he and other city officials would be talking to many businesses and convention planners to counter the uproar the law has caused.

"I'm more concerned about making sure that everyone knows they can come in here and feel welcome," Ballard said.

Groups such as the Indiana Chamber of Commerce have taken to social media with messages that the state is full of welcoming businesses. Democratic South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg touted on Twitter his city's civil rights ordinance's protections for gays and lesbians, while Republican Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke wrote that the law "sends the wrong message about Indiana."

Stickers touting "This business serves everyone" have been appearing on business windows in many Indiana cities.

Pence, after signing the bill Thursday, said opponents had been mischaracterizing the measure and that it was solely a limit on government restricting people's religious liberties.

Last year, Mississippi enacted a religious objection law just weeks after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, vetoed a similar effort there amid criticism from major corporations. Mississippi hasn't had any high-profile instances of the law being used by businesses to deny goods or services to gays.

Indiana University law professor Daniel Conkle, who testified in favor of the bill in Indiana legislative committees, said he was a supporter of gay rights and that the predictions of negative implications from the law were unjustified.

Conkle, who has written extensively on religious legal issues, said he didn't know of any cases under the similar state laws or the federal statute, which dates to 1993, where a court had sided with a religious objector in a discrimination case.

"This 'license-to-discriminate' argument that seems to have this relentless repetition is just legally wrong," Conkle said Friday. "It is as if you just keep repeating something often enough it takes on a life of its own."

Chris Gahl, a vice president of Visit Indy, said the tourism agency was pointing out to convention planners that cities such as Chicago, New Orleans and St. Louis are in states that already have religious objections laws.

That's part of protecting city's tourism and convention business, which is estimated to have a $4.4 billion annual economic impact with some 75,000 jobs.

"We know that their ability to work is largely dependent on our ability to score convention business and draw in events and visitors," Gahl said.

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