Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 21, 2014

Chamber of Commerce hosts lively board meeting

BLUEFIELD — The Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors enjoyed a spirited meeting Thursday at the Quality Inn & Conference Center. Division vice chairs outlined the status of a variety of programs and other members provided reports on several issues.

Margaret O’Neal, executive director of the United Way of Southern West Virginia, asked members of the board for help in getting to know the area human service agencies.

“I am obviously new to the area,” O’Neal said. “We are here to help, but you all know things that I don’t know. Let me know the human service agencies of our area that can use our help.” She said that 501 (c)(3) not for profit agencies need to contact her soon. “March 14 is our deadline,” she said. O’Neal said that the United Way of Southern West Virginia now serves seven counties and the town of Bluefield, Va.

Dr. David Olive, president of Bluefield College, announced that the college is in the process of working to build a new, 84-bed apartment building on campus. After the meeting, Olive said that the college is working out the application for the project. He also reported on the BC Art Department’s “Bluefield Rising Community Art Sculpture, and asked members to drop off ladders for the artwork. “You get the ladder back if you want it,” he said.

Mike Watson, Bluefield, Va., town manager, reported that Aarons is coming to the former Kroger site. He also reported on the status of the city and town’s joint celebration of the 90th anniversary of the July 12, 1924, “Marriage of the Bluefields,” when Graham, Va., changed its name to Bluefield, Va.

“We would like to have the celebration on July 23-24,” Watson said. “We’re looking for all of the volunteers we can find.” He said that the committee has two meetings scheduled next week.

Lana Pentasuglia, chair of the Four Seasons Women’s Conference, provided a thorough update of the conference scheduled March 18. The theme for the conference is, “Take a chance on life,” and Cea Cohen Elliott is the keynote speaker. “We plan to have a wonderful day,” Pentasuglia said.

Marie Blackwell, executive director of the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau, reported on the CVB. She said that later on Thursday afternoon, she would meet with a group of 10 journalists who are touring the Coal Heritage Highway. She also said that next week she will meet with tour operators, directors and others at the Travel South USA that will be held in West Virginia for the first time, Blackwell said.

Kim Allen, vice chair of Internal Affairs, announced that Investment Planning Advisors and Kings Warriors are both new members of the chamber. Bud Clapp reported that the Youth Leadership group had their life management and social networking session on Wednesday evening. Becky Ritter, vice chair of Community Life Division, reported that the next Youth Leadership session on March 5 will be jointly sponsored by Bluefield Regional Medical Center and King’s Tire, and will be on Business and Industry.

Jim Nelson, of Bluefield State College, reported that more than 50 potential college students visited the BSC campus as part of the “College Goal Sunday.” He also reported that BSC is making preparations to participate in the Higher Education Day in Charleston.

Josh Cline, Bluefield’s economic redevelopment and planning director, urged chamber board members to attend the city’s public hearing in city hall on Home Rule at 5:30 p.m. on March 25. Clint Ransom, manager of the Mercer County Airport, reported on the positive changes including the restroom and lobby renovations at the airport. He said the Airport Authority has a $400,000 grant from the H.I. Shott Jr. Foundation and added that the authority is working to raise another $400,000 to build a new hangar.

Tammy Collins, co-chair of the Better Living Show, set for April 25-26, warned the board members that she and her co-chair, Jennifer Saddler, will be calling from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. to recruit volunteers.

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