My Goals for WVEC
by Mary Wildfire, WVEC President
In the twelve years since the E-council formed, the environmental
landscape in West Virginia has changed considerably. The time had come,
when we met for the Fall Gathering, to directly address such questions
as the proper role of our group within the environmental community and
our confused relation to CAG. Instead of the usual issue workshops and
strategy discussions, this year's gathering primarily focused on this
collective soul-searching. It wasn't much fun, but I believe it was
necessary, healthy and effective-and that WVEC is now emerging from the
We decided to reaffirm our Mission Statement, and that while we will
continue to have individual memberships, we will focus more on
networking with other organizations. To this end, we plan to adjust our
by-laws to open up more seats on our Board of Directors for
representatives of groups.
As the new president, my primary goal is to see the process of
"emerging from the storm" to completion. This means two
things: choosing the best ways to take care of the practical aspects of
our separation from CAG, and achieving a clear agreement on the
E-council's proper niche within the environmental community. I expect
that by the time Mary Ellen O'Farrell takes the helm next September, we
will be back to issue workshops and strategy sessions.
I plan to continue to act as a liaison between West Virginia greens
and the national and international groups working on globalization
issues. To this end, I hope to be in Porto Alegre, Brazil at the end of
January for the second annual World Social Forum. This venue was created
not to criticize corporate-dominated globalization, but to work out a
democratic alternative to it. How should we structure the rules of trade
to prioritize environmental protection, respect for diversity, human
rights, and social and economic justice over profits? The slogan created
at the World Social Forum last year is being heard more and more in the
streets: Another World Is Possible.
Here in West Virginia, also, we would do well to manifest this
vision, broadcasting vivid pictures of the sustainable world that is
indeed possible. A fine example is the Green Energy campaign being
started by Jim Kotcon and others. Let's have more of this kind of
thinking! Sometimes we must point out what's wrong, but if we also
depict clearly what a better alternative would look like, we'll have
better odds of getting there.
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by Norm Steenstra, WV-CAG Executive Director
This GREEN will be the last one edited and distributed at the WV-CAG
office. We're not sure exactly how many issues we've produced over the
years but certainly it's close to 175. For me, personally, that equates
to more than three years of spending Friday nights writing, copying,
stapling and folding. Needless to say, there are mixed feelings here at
CAG about producing our last issue.
GREEN and the Update are two of the most important networking and
unifying tools that the environmental community has at its disposal. I
believe that as another group of folks takes over its production, the
newsletter will continue to be a vital element in our green causes.
From its birth in 1989, the relationship between WVEC and WV-CAG has
been blurred. I think of the two organizations as members of the same
family. If you'll pardon the trite analogy, WV-CAG was the parent and
WVEC the child. In its infancy, WVEC was absolutely dependent on WV-CAG
staff, money and resources. As WVEC grew, the dependency continued but
the natural search for self identity also began to emerge. Resentment on
both sides sometimes builds in these situations but usually respect and
admiration result in spite of the growing pains.
For many GREEN readers, the relationship between WV-CAG and WVEC was
unimportant or unnoticed. To others it has become a focal point of
personality and style disagreements and the separation of the two groups
the utmost priority. At any rate, WV-CAG can no longer subsidize the
WVEC by performing 90% of its work. Neither the rewards nor the inherent
criticisms are worth it to us. WV-CAG will remain a committed WVEC
organizational member. WV-CAG staff Linda Mallet, Gary Zuckett, Julie
Archer and myself are active WVEC Board members. We will continue to
work toward presenting a united green message to the Legislature, media
and the state regulators.
GREEN will change and the lobby effort will change because of the
WVEC's new independence. Change/Reformation is important to keep a group
fresh and innovative. I'm confident that these clearer lines of
distinction between the two organizations will make them both stronger.
I want to personally thank the volunteers that helped produce the
GREEN and the Update. I also want to thank the WV-CAG Board for allowing
us to provide in-kind staff to the WVEC for the greater good of the
environmental community at the expense of our own identity. Each GREEN
editor has been affiliated with WV-CAG and their dedication, humor and
talent made the newsletter the envy of environmentalists across the
country. To past editors Sheila McEntee, Kim Baker, Gary Zuckett, and
Linda Mallet, the child leaving the nest in no way reflects on your
As for WV-CAG, we've always tried to connect environmental issues
with other social justice and "democratic" process concerns.
We will be producing our own legislative newsletter, not in competition
but complementing the GREEN. Visit our website at www.wvcag.org
for more details on our broad legislative agenda.
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Attention Air Activists
Since 1991 citizens of rural Southwest Virginia have been fighting
AEP's proposed 765kV transmission line from Oceana WV to Southwest
Virginia. This line will trash communities and plow through the
Jefferson National Forest, albeit "tactfully" since the
Company was rebuffed in a 1996 "No Action" decision in a DEIS.
Now the route has changed and we're into a Supplemental DEIS at the
scoping stage. Comments are due this coming Monday, October 15! (Ed.
note: this was received as we went to press. Please check with Dave
about making post deadline comments.)
Though you are welcome to talk about communities, vistas, roadless
areas, premier cave systems, health effects, Indiana bats, and a host of
other issues, I'd be happy if each of you could email with but *one*
The construction and operation of the 765kV transmission line may
adversely affect the health and well being of citizens and the
environment within the service area and beyond by increasing the
emissions from AEP's coal-burning generators in West Virginia and the
The Forest Service refused to admit this as a significant issue in
the DEIS, and it's critical we get it in there this time around. They
really need to hear that many people consider this a significant issue
in their analysis. Remember to include your mailing address in your
comment. The address is:
Copy and paste the whole thing as the email address. The complete
address must be used. It's not case-sensitive; I don't know about all
those spaces but it works. Thanks! David Muhly, Sierra Club/Appalachian
Region, (540)688-2190, email@example.com
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Take Action For State Forests
by Dave Saville, WV Highlands Conservancy
Currently, the State Division of Forestry (DOF) is drafting what they
call management plans for the State Forests. In reality, they are
nothing more than timber harvesting plans. What does the law say about
how the Forests should be managed? It states "The purposes
are.....the management of state forests for conservation and
preservation of wildlife, fish, forest species, natural areas, aesthetic
and scenic values and to provide developed and undeveloped outdoor
recreational opportunities, and hunting and fishing for the citizens of
this state and its visitors." In another passage, the
legislature added that the state forests are important for research, and
mentioned timber production and demonstration of forestry management.
The law sums it up by finding that the state forests "should be
managed on a multiple-use basis." As currently practiced, the
planning process ignores all the multiple uses but one. In the minds of
the DOF planners, managing our State Forests is all about cutting the
The DOF pretends to take citizens wishes into account when it writes
these plans, but the "citizen involvement" portion of the
planning is a meaningless process and merely window dressing. By the
time the citizens get a chance to be involved in these plans, they are
already virtually completed. So DOF is free to use state forests as cash
cows to fund itself. When it wants to give its employees a raise, just
exploit a state forest. When it wants some new equipment, just exploit a
state forest. There is no way that responsible timbering and management
of our state forests can occur when the proceeds are kept and used at
will by the very agency making the decisions. The pocketbook is driving
decision making, not sound forest management. Management of our precious
few state forests and their resources should be done in an open process
in a manor acceptable to, and desirable by, the citizens of the state,
not at the will of an agency for its own funding. Objective management
is impossible when the agency making the decisions gets to keep the
proceeds from these decisions.
The DOF has just released the "draft" plan for Kumbrabow
State Forest. This state forest was created when Herman Guy Kump, West
Virginia governor from 1932-1936, and two of his cabinet members, Mr.
Brady and Mr. Bowers decided to donate approximately 1,500 acres of land
each to form a state park. They took portions from each of their names
and combined them to name Kumbrabow. Request a copy of the draft plan by
writing the DOF at 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston, WV 25305, or
call them at 304-558-2788, or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See for yourself the obviously biased and flawed nature of these
"plans." Attend the public hearing at the Tygart Valley
High School this Thursday October 20, at 7 pm and comment on this
draft plan. Hold the DOF responsible to manage our state forests as the
law requires, for all West Virginians. Our state forests are too few and
too small to be turned into tree farms to fund the DOF. It took a brave
act of the Legislature to reign in this out of control agency and
prohibit timbering in Kanawha State Forest. Perhaps the legislature
needs to revisit the process for our remaining nine state forests.
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Request For Proposals
The WVEC is currently accepting proposals/applications for the
#1. Newsletter editing production and distribution. The WVEC produces
newsletters on a weekly basis during the Legislative Session and
approximately every other month otherwise. Candidates should have the
ability to edit, copy and mail newsletters to approximately 500 members.
Newsletter copy will be provided by WVEC Board members, volunteers and
organizational members. Newsletter production will include contacting
these contributors and coordinating submissions on a timely basis.
Historically the WVEC has paid $100 per issue to its newsletter staff.
#2. Administrative Staff WVEC is seeking a contract employee(s) to
manage its database, plan and coordinate E-Day (an annual
awareness-raising event at the Capitol during the session), answer
phones and perform miscellaneous office duties. Historically, the WVEC
has paid $150 per month for these services.
#3. WVEC is seeking a 2002 Lobby Team Coordinator. Candidates should
have an excellent understanding of the state political system, how bills
are introduced, how sub-committees and committees operate, and should
have a flexible schedule and ability to monitor and react quickly to
proposed legislation and other developments. The Lobby Team Coordinator
is responsible for hiring and managing the other lobby team members,
with input from the WVEC Board of Directors. The stipend for this
position is flexible, based on experience. Stipends are also available
for other Lobby Team members.
WVEC is a state-wide, 501(c)4 organization. Our mission is to
facilitate communication and cooperation among citizens in promoting
environmental protection in West Virginia, to assist in organizing
grassroots groups, to facilitate interaction among established
environmental organizations, and to correspond with all appropriate
local, state, and federal agencies involved in the management of West
Proposals should be received by November 7, 2001. Send to Executive
Committee, West Virginia Environmental Council, 1324 Virginia St. E.,
Charleston, WV 25301.
WVEC will consider proposals on just one items (e.g., newsletter
production) or a package of two or more items. Please include resumes
from individuals that will be involved in the work. Call 304-346-5905
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Thoughts and "Thank Yous"
by Donald S. Garvin, Jr., Outgoing WVEC President
Having served as your president for the last two years, I want to
offer a sincere "Thank You" to WVEC board members for giving
me the opportunity to serve this wonderful group of folks in this
Seriously. You may not believe me, but this is something I really
wanted to do. I am the biggest cheerleader for the E-Council concept.
There is no other group or organization that does and can do what the
E-Council does in this state. We do not always do it well, and it is not
always enjoyable. But we have done it with a large degree of success now
for almost 12 years. And we have had some truly enjoyable great times
along the way.
I was pleased that so many of you participated in the Annual Meeting
this year. At times it was painful, I know. But we made some progress
and I think we all remain friends (that is not at all a guarantee when
you go through an organizational soul-searching therapy session).
It is my hope that we will continue to discuss our organizational
structure during the coming year. We still have some problems to work
through and some important questions to answer. It seems to me that we
have chosen an organizational path of evolution, rather than revolution.
And that is probably for the good. But we all know that there will still
be rough spots along that path, and there are still issues out there to
However, the good news is that Mary Wildfire is your next president.
I think she will be great. I sense that she will be a good communicator
and will likely be able to work with and empower our committees to a
greater degree than I managed to accomplish. Mary has good ideas, she is
truly a voice of "the people," and no one can question her
dedication to the environmental movement. I hope you will support her
and offer to do the things necessary to make the job of WVEC president
not so burdensome.
As for me, I am your "Immediate Past President." I have
decided on a role for myself in that regard that I hope will be
acceptable to Mary (and the rest of the board as well). I want to
continue to be our biggest cheerleader and to work on encouraging our
individual members and member groups to continue to support WVEC
financially. I want to continue to be that "shameless" voice,
blaring another "Shameless Plea" for you to send more money!
As for "Thank Yous," if I try to mention everyone who has
provided me help or good advice (or even bad advice) during my terms as
president, I will surely inadvertently leave someone out. So my sincere
thanks to you all. You know who you are.
My final thoughts here I will address to Nathan Fetty, a.k.a.
"Boy Wonder," who was my lobby team buddy on water issues the
last two years: I couldn't have gotten through it without you, dude! And
I fully expect to see you in the trenches again in 2002!
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WVEC Sets 2002 Legislative Priorities
by Gary Zuckett, Legislative Coordinator
I've been to most of the WVEC's annual gatherings and never fail to
appreciate the dedication and expertise assembled there. This one was no
exception. Two of my favorite events during the weekend are the "I
live on a Dot" session and the extended discussion and
prioritization of the major ecological issues facing the state.
For those who haven't attended the Fall Gathering, the 'Dot' session
is an unusual icebreaker where everyone gets up, one-by-one, to share
his or her passion and reason for being there. Regional airports, coal
sludge ponds, mountaintop removal mining, national forest plans, water
quality, quarries, recycling, acid rain, and scores of local issues were
discussed, almost as many issues as individuals. One gets a sense of
dread that so much is wrong with our state after listening to the litany
of ailments. However, the flip side is the potential for positive action
represented by this dedicated group of environmentalists.
As our meeting wrapped up on Sunday, we finally got to the part I'd
been waiting for - the discussion on legislative priorities. After the
necessary but drawn-out work on the reorganization and by-laws, this was
a welcome relief.
After a short discussion on the past legislative session and brief
updates by the leaders on the perennial topics of water, coal, trees,
and air, we had a go-round so everyone could list his or her legislative
concerns. From this we distilled a half dozen broad issues which we
agreed were essentials for our lobby team to address. These topics will
be developed further in future GREEN issues. So for now I'll briefly lay
out the territory as seen from Camp Pioneer.
Logging Reform: Seen any good floods lately? Chances are
there's been massive logging nearby. WV has very few and weak controls
on timbering. What exists are "voluntary best management
practices." That's right. The state assumes that all timber cutters
are following the best (and most costly) methods for cutting and hauling
trees out of concerns for their local community and the health of the
environment. NOT! This is a real joke. Regulations must be made
mandatory and strengthened to protect our soil, water, roads and lives.
CORL the Coalition for Responsible Logging and WV Highland
Conservancy are the lead groups on this issue and WVEC expects to assist
their effort to introduce and pass a reform bill again this year.
Green Energy: "California here we come" if we go
through with the Electricity Deregulation package as proposed by the
Public Service Commission and the utility companies and passed by the
legislature. So far implementation has been held up by the potential
loss of millions of dollars of tax revenue. Our governor is wise to
appoint an "Energy Task Force" to reevaluate the situation and
recommend new options.
WVEC wants a package including incentives for renewable (green)
energy and full disclosure of the generation sources of electricity
being sold. One of the lessons from dereg is that many consumers will
pay a little more for clean energy if they have the choice. Another
consideration is the "grandfathering" of dirty burning coal
plants into the WV plan. Even Texas, under then Governor Bush, made
these asthma generators clean up their acts in its dereg plan.
Coal Issues With the "what's good for coal is good for
WV" attitude of the majority of legislators (see campaign finance
below), coal issues abound.
Bonding of mining operations to insure reclamation has been in the
news lately. The courts have ruled the state's bonding fund is
inadequate for the necessary reclamation of abandoned mining sites. WVEC
wants a fully funded program or federal takeover of the whole mess to
insure that old mining operations are taken care of. This is a win-win
situation. If more money is available to reclaim the neglected scars of
mining, more jobs will be created for out-of-work miners and the
environment is better protected from acid mine drainage, flooding,
erosion and other damage.
Coal slurry ponds have also garnered recent public attention. These
toxic time bombs are threatening rivers and streams around the state.
There are better ways to deal with this by-product of coal production.
Let's do it.
Coal regulations the devil is in the details. Every year coal
lobbyists and their lawyers try to weaken the already minimal
regulations governing their industry. It's a war of attrition and the
environment often looses. However if our lobby team wasn't watching
these slimeballs' every move, a lot more damage would slide through.
It's a game of cat and mouse, with King Koal seeing how much it can eat
away at environmental protections before it gets caught. Actually, it's
not really fair to single out coal when oil & gas, chemicals, and
anyone with a smokestack in the air or discharge pipe in the river is
Overweight coal trucks continue to rampage through the state. Coal
operators maximize profit at the expense of our roads and lives. A
simple change in regulation could stop the majority of this lawlessness.
Does the legislature have the guts to go up against Koal on this issue
of profit vs people? We'll see
Campaign Finance Reform: i.e. public financing of elections.
It's really simple. If we (the taxpayers) fund the campaigns, then those
who get elected will remember they are working for the public instead of
various special interests that now finance elections. As Molly Ivans
says, "Them that pays the piper gets to call the tune." The WV
People's Election Reform Coalition (PERC-WV) is spearheading this
essential option for clean elections with a draft public financing
proposal called "HB 1776." See www.publicampaign.org for loads
of reasons why this is "The Reform That Makes All Other Reforms
Water Quality Issues affect us all and can be some of the most
technical to understand. Luckily we had both WV Rivers Coalition and
Trout Guys to walk us through the Water Quality package coming up. The
regulations enacting last year's Antidegradation rules will be an issue
including the list of streams designated Tier 2.5 which are reproducing
trout waters. This list will be finalized during the next session.
Industry will attempt to demote as many as they can to class 2 or lower
to allow more pollutants to be dumped into them before the automatic
"AntiDeg" review kicks in.
Container Law for WV: There was a time when pop bottles were
returnable and kids everywhere scoured the roadsides to earn the cash
they could collect by taking them back to the store. Then the disposable
society kicked in. Several states now have "bottle bills" that
reinstate a bounty on bottles and cans. They have cleaner roadsides and
more jobs processing returns. This is also a net energy saver. A bottle
bill for WV would reduce litter, create jobs, and conserve energy. A
triple win scenario. WV-CAG (www.wvcag.org)
brought this idea back from the dead and WVEC members wholeheartedly
Defensive Actions: During every session there are always the
offensives from the other side that must be dealt with on the spot.
Every day the Lobby team reads new bills looking for the above mentioned
attrition of our environmental protections. A large importer of NY
sewage sludge was recently shut down by the courts as a public nuance.
He was also a large contributor in the last state elections. One never
knows what polluters will try next. To paraphrase, the price of
environmental protection is eternal vigilance.
All the Rest: The above are only the tip of the iceberg. There
are always more issues that must be kept on the radar screen such as the
Regional Airport, Solid Waste, Blackwater Canyon, greenspace issues, and
many, many more. So stay tuned and if you're not already on the WVEC
e-mail action alert list, send a note to Chris hogbin at email@example.com
(our list mother) and get ready for 2002.
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Fast Track is Back
by Mary Wildfire, WVEC President
First they said they wouldn't vote on Fast Track for at least a
month. Then the Reprehensible Reptiles hid it within the "Economic
Recovery Act," like baking a turd into a tart in hopes Congress
would bite down and swallow before realizing what that smell was. Then
came September 11th and a brief respite in which there was much talk of
healing and bipartisan unity. But there was also an upsurge in support
for Bush, and apparently these guys just couldn't restrain themselves-
House Ways and Means Chairman Thomas and U.S. Trade Representative
Zoellick decided to wrap the tart in the flag and sprint for the
goalpost. They're talking like opposition to Fast Track is support for
terrorism, or motivated by campaign donations from threatened
industries. Three tame Democrats have signed on to the
"compromise," and it's scheduled to go out of committee Friday
the 5th. There may be a vote this week!
Fast Track paves the way for expansion of NAFTA and more rounds of
the WTO, both of which have private little tribunals in which afflicted
corporations can get environmental laws and other "non-tarriff
barriers to trade," ruled non-compliant and sanctioned.
The AFL-CIO has reactivated its toll-free number. Especially if
you live in Capito's district-because she is still on the fence-
call 1-800-393-1082, and then dial in your zip code and you'll
automatically be connected to your Congressperson. Talk about the
environment or American jobs, about democracy or sovereignty, but call
and tell her to Vote NO to Fast Track!
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Attack by Air a Commentary
by Donald S. Garvin, Jr.
We are all shocked and saddened by the events of Sept. 11 and the
loss of more than 6,000 lives through such an inhumane act. At the
recent WVEC annual meeting we appropriately paused for a moment of grief
for those lives lost and reflection on that tragic atrocity.
A sobering perspective on this was provided to us by board member Jim
Kotcon, who pointed out that as many as 60,000 people die prematurely
each year because of exposure to air pollution, and more than 30,000
deaths each year are caused by pollution from U.S. power plants.
In fact, according to "Clear the Air," a joint project of
three leading clean air groups (the Clean Air Task Force, National
Environmental Trust and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund), deaths from power
plant pollution exceed the death toll from other causes commonly
understood to be major U.S. public policy priorities. For instance,
drunk driving causes nearly 16,000 deaths per year, while there are over
17,000 homicides in the U.S. each year. Moreover, according to
"Clear the Air," almost 18,000 deaths could be avoided in the
U.S. each year, simply by cleaning up this nation's dirty power plants.
I point this out not to diminish in any way the tragic loss of life
in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania, but only to pose the
obvious question: is it not time that a country as great as ours takes
the simple steps necessary to clean up our air and save thousands of
lives each year in the process? It seems to me that for us not to do so
would be tragic as well.
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Public Hearing Notice
The WVDEP Division of Air Quality (DAQ) will hold a public hearing on
Nov 8, 2001 at 6:00 pm in its conference room at 7012 MacCorkle Ave SE,
Charleston, WV on a proposed State Plan to Implement Emission Guidelines
for Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units (CISWI).
The hearing is being held to satisfy all requirements for submitting
a proposed 111(d)/129 State Plan that will be submitted to the U.S.EPA
and supplements proposed legislative rule 45CSR18 - "To Prevent and
Control Emissions From Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste
Incineration Units," to be effective June 1, 2002. This rule gives
WV regulatory authority to adopt, implement and enforce the Emission
Guidelines requirements for existing CISWI and the New Source Perfomance
Standards for new facilities, either directly through administrative
action requiring compliance with 45CSR18, or by including such
requirements in State permits, where applicable.
Pursuant to Sections 111(d) and 129 of the 1990 Amendments of the
Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA promulgated standards for new commercial and
industrial solid waste incineration units (CISWI) in 40 CFR Part 60,
Subpart CCCC and Emission Guidelines for existing CISWI in Subpart DDDD
to control the emissions of designated pollutants. (See 65 FR 75338,
December 1, 2000). A facility is considered an existing CISWI if the
facility commenced construction on or before Nov. 30, 1999.
Written and oral comments will be accepted until the close of the
hearing on Nov 8, 2001. Comments will also be accepted by e-mail if
transmitted by 6:00 pm on Nov 8, 2001 to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Written comments may be faxed to 304-926-3637 or mailed to: John
Benedict, Deputy Director, DAQ, 7012 MacCorkle Avenue, SE, Charleston,
Comments must be postmarked Nov 8, 2001. Copies of the proposed State
Plan are available for public review at the DAQ office at the above
address and will be posted on the Division's web page at
www.dep.state.wv.us/daq by going to "Inside DAQ," then to
"Regulations," and finally to "Public Notice."
Copies may also be obtained electronically by request made to: email@example.com.
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WVEC Secretary Bob Hamburg is proposing that the WVEC establish a
Green Business of the Year Award. His proposal states that the
award-winning business would, through its activities, demonstrate the
necessary balance and potential symbiotic relationships among financial,
economic, social and environmental concerns. If you have or know of a
business that you would like the WVEC board to consider, please call us
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Salute to Don Garvin, Male
We're not an organization that's very good at saying Thank You or
expressing appreciation to people who give so much time to the WVEC but
we would be remiss not to point out what a critical role Don Garvin
served as WVEC President for the last two years. Don's tireless effort,
caustic wit and ability to herd green cats steered the WVEC through two
rough years. The good news is Don will continue to provide leadership in
his new position of Past President. Thank You, Don!!!
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WVEC's New Officers
At its Annual Fall meeting last month, the WVEC Board elected its
officers for the upcoming year:
Mary Wildfire - President
Mary Ellen O'Farrell - Vice President
Bob Hamburg - Secretary
Linda Mallet - Treasurer
Don Garvin - Past President
The next WVEC Board of Directors meeting will be on Sunday, October
21 from 11 - 4 PM at the CAG office at 1500 Dixie Street, Charleston.
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