You can point to the I-79 Technology Park as an example of success.
In fact, what was once rolling farmlands was transformed into a booming high-technology park, which includes a supercomputer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the headquarters of a massive power transmission project and everything in between.
The I-79 park has created thousands of high-tech jobs employing high-tech, highly educated people with an average salary of $60,000. It is an anchor in the high-tech sector of West Virginia.
From the top of Monongalia County to the bottom of Lewis, I-79’s High-Tech Corridor is home to NASA, FBI, NOAA, NIOSH, NETL, Lockheed Martin and a veritable “who’s who” in technology.
And there is no doubt that the vision of former congressional leaders did much to prepare this area for growth and foster it once it began to bloom. Former Congressman Alan B. Mollohan and the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd had a vision for North Central West Virginia, and it included economic diversification by stretching into the high-tech sector.
And this area is all the better for it.
But things have dramatically changed in the last five years. Mollohan no longer serves in Congress, and though his replacement U.S. Rep. David Mckinley has always been a strong advocate for the high-tech companies, the river of funding that once flowed through contracts and construction funding can be more described as a trickle these days.
The economy changed, and Congress is trying to deal with being trillions in the red. Sequestration took effect, slashing federal budgets. The I-79 park has survived, but with more funding, leaders say the group would implement a program to invest in start-up companies that are technology-driven with innovative ideas, create a high-tech campus for new businesses and create an Internet career page for all West Virginia technology-related jobs.
And they’ve looked to the state, asking that an annual grant be increased. The I-79 Technology Park is being left out of much-needed state dollars in favor of a technology park in Charleston, say members of the Affiliate Leadership Council, which represents more than 140 members of the high-tech community in North Central West Virginia.
The group recently sent a letter to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. They say the state-run Regional Technology Park in Charleston receives millions as a line item, while the Marion County park receives a quarter of a million from a grant.
There’s no specific amount the group is asking for; they’re just asking for more state support to grow, to reinvest into the state’s economy and to continue to build upon a strong foundation.
We see the position the state is in. During the Joe Manchin administration, West Virginia took over the nearly bankrupt facility in South Charleston and created a park for nonprofit organizations and higher education. It is a different creature, and must be fed differently. The state’s involvement in the I-79 park has been historically limited primarily because of its federal support.
But that doesn’t mean the mindset shouldn’t change, or at least state leaders should consider supporting the Fairmont park a a higher level because of its potential to give back even more to the state in revenue, payroll and taxes.
We know how important the high-tech sector is to North Central West Virginia. We hope that in the coming months that state leaders realize it, too.
You can point to the I-79 Technology Park as an example of success.
‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia
Hopefully, the heavy snow and extremely cold weather of January, February and early March are in the past.
Remnants of the harsh winter, though, remain. They’re faced each day by the state’s drivers.
Potholes have West Virginia’s roads in their worst condition in years, and the damaging freeze-thaw cycle is not over.
‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.
But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.
“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
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