Chairman Bob Conte welcomed members and guests to the Archives and History Commission meeting at 9:33 a.m., called the meeting to order and asked members to introduce themselves. In addition to Dr. Conte, voting members present were Dr. Ken Bailey, Margaret Brennan, Dr. Gloria Gozdzik, Joy Stalnaker, Kip Stowell and Noel Tenney. Secretary Armstrong noted voting members absent: Dr. Charles (Chuck) Hulse and Dr. Joan Walker, who were on archaeological digs; Dr. Charles Ledbetter, who had a prior engagement; and Marjorie Zirk, whose son passed away earlier this morning. Ex officio voting members present were Dr. Bill Arnett, president, West Virginia Historical Association; and Michael Shock, president, West Virginia Historical Society. Ex officio non-voting members present were Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History; Fredrick Armstrong, director of Archives and History and secretary to the commission; Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation; and Adam Hodges, director, Museums. Ex officio non-voting members absent were Phyllis Baxter, president, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia; and Dr. Michael Hohn, director, WV Geological and Economic Survey. Others present were Erin Riebe, Historic Preservation staff, and Chad Proudfoot, Capitol Building Commission vice chairman.
Chairman Conte, before proceeding with the meeting, advised members of the need to revise the Agenda due to a death in the commissioner's family. He requested agreement to move the commissioner's report and New Business, requiring his presence, up earlier on the Agenda. He announced that the Baker's Fort, Hancock County, National Register nomination under Old Business would be postponed on request of the presenter and that Ms. Brennan would be providing a sub-committee report on the proposed renovations to the Archives and History Library and its move into the Library Commission under Old Business. Chairman Conte then referred members to the minutes of the 26 January 2007 meeting, mailed earlier, and asked for revisions or corrections or a motion to approve as distributed. Mr. Stowell moved for approval of the previous meeting minutes and Dr. Arnett provided the second. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte called upon the commissioner for the agency report. He reported that RSL, the architectural firm hired to complete all sound effects and audio, was presenting its 50 percent progress report at a meeting today. The RFP and RFQ were being prepared for the build-out and fabrication and, if all remained on schedule, work should start by 10 September with an estimated opening date of December 2008 to March 2009. Members were informed that the basic design was complete, with some twelve thousand artifacts to be included, and were invited to arrange a walk thru when in Charleston. He updated members on the legislative session, which had provided $75,000 for the highway historical marker maintenance program and funding for the flag exhibit at West Virginia Independence Hall, and thanked Ms. Brennan for her letters of support. He informed members of the scheduled exhibit of 580 Homer Laughlin pieces in The Cultural Center. This is one of a series called "West Virginia's Gift to the World," promoting West Virginia's industry and culture. He reported that these exhibits will then be shown elsewhere, and cited, as an example, Blenko, which had traveled to Logan and was to go to Berkeley Springs and Huntington, in collaboration with the Huntington Museum of Art. A similar exhibit arrangement and collaboration with other museums and sites would feature Fenton Glass. He reported on plans for the 2008 West Virginia Dance Festival and an exhibit featuring gifts to former governors of the state. The Senate Districts photo exhibits had been successful and well received, as had the Pete Ballard "Ladies of Fashion" exhibit. To address the closed State Museum, he noted a number of items from the collection which were now on display for school children. Plans were in the works for an exhibit of Vivian Woofter's embassy designs in the Governor's Mansion and for a "Collegiate Series" of twelve public performances by West Virginia University at the Cultural Center, which will be taped by the Library Commission for distribution to public libraries and shown on its cable channel. He concluded his report, stating that he had spoken to the Governor's Office yesterday and was told that the governor would be making some commission appointments in the next thirty days.
Commissioner Reid-Smith then addressed the Agenda item, agency expenditure schedule and budget goals, under New Business. The agency appropriation included $750,000 for the new HVAC equipment at West Virginia Independence Hall and $499,000 for the flag exhibit to be installed, hopefully in the next six to eight months. The agency also received $2.6 million dollars to bring the building up to fire code safety standards and $134,000 for a space analysis for museum artifacts and archives collections, a required step for museum accreditation, a process he planned to initiate after the museum reopens in 2009. For next fiscal year, the agency was looking at a "Save America's Treasures" grant for a new roof for WVIH, but if not successful, he had already mentioned it to the governor for inclusion in the 2008-09 executive budget. He and Ms. Pierce were already working toward a request to increase Historic Preservation grant funds from $450,000 to one million on an annual basis. He mentioned interest in a source of seed funds for local historical groups to assist them in projects and to encourage community development. Another need is the static Programming budget, which had been at $292,000 for a number of years, less than the agency received originally. He would be advocating an increase to $500,000, a doubling of the Cultural Facilities fund of $750,000 and an increase in the Arts Commission grant funds from $810,000 to one million. He stated that the directors would have a retreat in June to discuss and plan the next year's budget needs and this would be reported to the commission afterward.
In response to Mr. Stowell's comments on a Haitian art collection at the Huntington Art Museum, the commissioner thanked him for the suggestion and stated that he favored collaborative projects and hoped that his position with the Martin Luther King Commission would enable him to direct some funding toward such a project for Black History Month next February. He noted that he and Mr. Tenney, prior to the meeting, had discussed the need for more local funding for museums and he welcomed suggestions and comments from members at any time.
In response to Ms. Brennan's request for an update on the Archives and History Library move, the commissioner stated he appreciated members' concern and had asked his counterpart, J. D. Waggoner, Secretary, West Virginia Library Commission, to have three of his commission members serve on the ad hoc committee with her subcommittee. There was currently no written plan, but as there had been no changes to either library rooms in thirty years, if something was going to happen, he wanted new furniture, more microfilm machines, all the best technology, as well as a Manuscript Reading Room separate from the general Reading Room. He reported that no food would be prepared in The Cultural Center, but would be catered from the Capitol Food Court. He concluded that he was aware of people's concerns and looked forward to addressing them through the ad hoc committee.
In response to Chairman Conte's question about positions and vacancies, the commissioner replied that Jeff Pierson had been appointed Arts Section director and five positions remained vacant in the Museums Section, including the head of exhibits and assistant museum director.
Chairman Conte called for the Museums report. As Mr. Hodges distributed the report (copy attached to official minutes), Commissioner Reid-Smith encouraged members to visit and see the museum plans and work and to let him know their thoughts. He noted work with educators around the state as part of the museum's educational component and development.
Mr. Hodges addressed various items on his report: the restoration work on the governors' portraits, the Blenko and Youth Art exhibits, the new museum teaser exhibit in the former museum space, museum educational work, and exhibits and events at the sites - Museum in the Park in Logan, Civil War Days at the Jenkins Plantation, plans for the Appalachian String Band Festival during the summer season at Camp Washington-Carver, and the groundbreaking ceremony for the archaeology complex at Grave Creek Mound, which was held on April 26.
Commissioner Reid-Smith interjected that the funding mechanism for the museum renovation was in place, with Culture and History receiving 3 million dollars from the Secretary of Administration from the Capitol Building Improvement Fund and the governor's verbal commitment for the final 6.1 million. In reply to Chairman Conte's question as to this being a supplemental appropriation, he replied that it was not. He explained that project manager Jim Hunt, who has over twenty years of experience with theme attractions such as Universal, Disney and Paramount, was creating what would basically be a theme park about history, to which Mr. Hodges stated the technology would be integrated into it. The commissioner noted the challenges of state purchasing regulations for the project and cited some cost savings the agency had realized, estimated at $500,000, by looking into such options as having a citizen volunteer construct the log cabin for an exhibit. He offered to send members an update from the 75 and 100 percent plans, if they requested these. He then informed the commission that he and Mr. Hodges and Charles Morris would be going to the Grave Creek site in June to plan the upgrade of exhibits there, some of which dated back to its opening in the 1970s. Mr. Hodges informed members that they were in the process of hiring a new education coordinator, someone within the agency, for the site. The commissioner commented on the assistance Ms. Brennan provided by writing and visiting her legislative representatives to seek their support of the funding request for the flag exhibit at WVIH and similar assistance from the Arts Commission in support of S.B. 609. He encouraged members to write their legislators and express their opinions, as they represented various areas of the state and their legislators would listen to them, which would be beneficial to the agency's FY 2009 budget request. In reply to Ms. Stalnaker's request to be informed by e-mail, he stated that members would be informed of the Improvement Level requests which dealt with anything that went through the commission after the June directors' meeting.
As this completed the Museums report, Chairman Conte called for the Historic Preservation report. Ms. Pierce distributed copies of her report (copy attached to official minutes) and noted staff changes and vacancies; work on the Comprehensive Plan and the public meetings held to obtain the public's perspective; and Section 106 project reviews, which included an increasing number of turbine power and power lines, and surface mining permits. She reported on a meeting with the legal representative working on a Programmatic Agreement regarding Blair Mountain and with sponsors redrafting the nomination. She announced that the office had received a Transportation Enhancement grant and a joint long-term project with the Division of Highways on a survey of highway bridges. She concluded her report with comments on the placement of National Register property nominations on the web site, work related to tax projects, and the "Save America's Treasures" grant project at Grave Creek.
Following comments by members regarding the public meetings, Mr. Stowell requested that commission members be notified when staff would be in their area so they might be able to attend meetings. Ms. Pierce explained that contacting and making arrangements with commission members was sometimes beyond available staff time. Following Ms. Stalnaker's note of appreciation for staff assistance with cemeteries and the commissioner's comment regarding some cemetery vandalism in the Bramwell area, Ms. Pierce responded that they did not have authority regarding destruction and that this would have to be referred to local authorities. There being no further questions or comments, Chairman Conte called upon Mr. Armstrong for the Archives and History report.
Mr. Armstrong referred members to the report distributed, which included compiled statistical information for the period January through April and monthly reports on various programs and projects (copies attached to official minutes). He noted staff work on the photos for the Senate Districts exhibits for the cafeteria and legislative and state agency offices; identification of photos in the J. J. Young collection by B & O Railroad Historical Society volunteers; progress in the processing of the Jennings Randolph collection, demonstrated by the descriptions for twenty cubic foot boxes of photographs on the web site; and the collection workshop series held in the library on topics such as cemetery and Civil War veteran research, and how to use the web site to the best advantage. In March they had conducted a Religious Archives workshop with approximately thirty people attending from the Greater Kanawha Valley. They have decided to continue to meet and network informally or organize to work together and assist each other. He commented on recent acquisitions such as the Williams family films of the Elkins area in the 1930s, the Wheeling Socialist papers, and three 16 mm microfilm cameras, and noted work performed in assisting with History Day and the success of Hoot Owl in March. He briefed members on the progress of the West Virginia Vital Research Records project, the success of the highway historical markers maintenance in DOH districts 7 and 9, and the ongoing work with county government records as staff to the Records Management and Preservation Board, which has just received its Legislative Performance Audit Report with no adverse findings. He concluded his report by noting increased requests from the Department of Administration regarding projects on the Capitol and the status of the Veterans Memorial name corrections and additions and recent damages to the memorial by a errant motorist.
Mr. Armstrong, in reply to Dr. Bailey's question concerning his report's mention of Greenbrier County records being transferred to the Greenbrier Historical Society, explained that he had learned of this last fall but was told it was just some "loose" papers that they would process and then make available to be microfilmed. Recently a citizen contacted him about the society having the county marriage bonds and he learned they had received some 2,700 of these in the loose papers transferred with possibly one hundred cubic feet of county records. As the county records fell under the Records Management and Preservation Board, he had met with the county and circuit clerks, and staff would be inventorying these records in behalf of the board and the State Archives tomorrow to assist the board in resolving the displaced records.
There being no further questions, Chairman Conte called upon Mr. Proudfoot for the Capitol Building Commission report. Mr. Proudfoot reported that since the commission's last meeting, the CBC had approved a small stairwell project and reviewed a presentation on the New Cafeteria. He commented on reasons for the closure of the former cafeteria for a plethora of violations and noted that General Services staff and their contractor presented a good plan and the CBC gave its approval to move ahead. The CBC had also approved the Veterans Memorial project to re-carve the names, as it was not a substantial change. He noted the CBC had a very good relationship with General Services and Culture and History, but that it would be good to get a procedural policy manual for how they operate and that a committee had been appointed to look into some Code changes for the CBC. He informed the commission that the CBC, under Senate Concurrent Resolution 52, would be looking into issues with the roof top walkways, which provide access from the main building to the wings, but are not handicap accessible. As this concluded his report, the commissioner interjected that General Services had provided the CBC a copy of a three-year plan, totaling about $30 million, for various Capitol projects in response to the governor's interest in returning the building to its glory. He noted the governor also wanted murals done, as this appeared to be Cass Gilbert's intention.
Chairman Conte recessed the meeting at 11:15 and reconvened at 11:30, returning to Old Business and the Library subcommittee report. Ms. Brennan, the committee chair, reported that due to scheduling conflicts she and members Tenney and Bailey had been unable to meet. She stated this appeared to be an evolving project, with the goals and outcome unclear. It was good that Library Commission members would be involved with the committee, but the state would be doing the planning. She noted that she had spoken with Cabinet Secretary Goodwin and understands that she had communicated with other members. She concluded, stating the process was moving slowly and maybe that was a good thing.
Chairman Conte invited Ms. Virginia Gillespie of Hurricane, and representing the Mining Your History Foundation, a great user and support group of the State Archives, to address the commission regarding the proposed relocation of the Archives and History Library. She stated she was a retired Language Arts and West Virginia History school teacher and could not believe that removing the library for a cafe was even being considered when she first heard about it. She went on to address the difficulty in obtaining information regarding the potential combining, or "double-bunking," of this library and its special, one-of-a-kind historical documents with the Library Commission lending library. She stated the MYHF was an umbrella organization for the many historical, genealogical and patriotic groups around the state, as well as a supporter of the Archives and its collections. As more people became aware of this plan, both in-state and out-of-state, letters and petitions of support expressed concerns for these valuable collections. She appealed to members to not let this special history research library be lost.
Chairman Conte then recognized Mr. Larry Ratliff, who expressed similar concerns, the increased threat of infestation because of the food and restaurant service, how it violated a 1977 Supreme Court decision which declared state space could not be given to a private, not-for-profit organization free of rent, and that the former shop outlet across the hall from the library closed under the premise that it was not making money, even though subsidized by the state agency. He concluded, stating that the Archives and library needed more space to make collections, now on the upper levels, more accessible. Chairman Conte thanked the speakers for their comments and concerns, which he felt should be heard by all members, not just those on the committee. He then recognized Mr. Proudfoot who inquired about representation from the CBC on the committee and the commissioner replied that he would represent it.
Chairman Conte thanked everyone and stated that the Baker's Fort Site had been dropped from Old Business, the commissioner had already reported on commission appointments, and Mr. Armstrong had included comments on History Day in his report. Mr. Armstrong added that he had, as requested, been able to secure the Thursday after Presidents' Day for 2008 with the date being 21 February.
Chairman Conte called on Ms. Pierce for a report on the status of the Battle of Blair Mountain nomination. She noted this nomination was now in its second year and in March they had received a third draft for which they provided comments earlier in May. The comments dealt with concerns with Section 7 and the physical condition of each resource. The nomination now addresses Criterion D, adding archaeology as a criteria significance, which requires additional information regarding archaeological resources, and this was not done quite properly according to the National Register requirements for format and layout. Section 8, Statement of Significance, comments included how it should be laid out and the need to address archaeological criterion. In Section 10, the verbal boundary description, issues regarding the boundary justification needed further work. Additional comments concerned the photos, mapping and a few general things. The office had just been notified that the sponsors plan to address these comments and return a draft in a couple of weeks and hope to have the final draft ready for the fall commission meeting. In reply to Chairman Conte's inquiry, it was stated that the substantial changes required that it go back to the commission for its action.
Continuing with Unfinished Business, while awaiting delivery of lunch, Chairman Conte called for the report of the committee for the Highway Historical Marker Draft of Revised Guidelines and Criteria (26 January meeting). Ms. Stalnaker reported in behalf of the committee - Walker, Tenney and Armstrong - that everyone had received the draft of the revised guidelines at the previous meeting and she hoped everyone had read and was prepared to act on these. After reviewing the work of the committee and the guidelines, she moved that they be approved as presented in the draft. Dr. Bailey seconded the motion. There being no discussion, Chairman Conte called for a vote on the motion to approve the guidelines as presented. Motion passed. In reply to Mr. Stowell's question as to when the applications and criteria would be implemented, Mr. Armstrong explained that he had been using them, with an explanation that they were under consideration by the commission, in response to inquiries for the past several months. Mr. Stowell stated the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs in West Virginia would be celebrating their 175th anniversary in two years and they were considering requesting a marker to commemorate this.
Mr. Armstrong informed Chairman Conte that the commission had postponed consideration of a request for a marker for the First Commercial Airport in Mercer County at a previous meeting when it placed consideration of marker requests on hold and appointed a committee to study and consider the highway historical marker criteria. He provided a review of the information on the site, which had been provided to members previously, and asked the commission to either approve the site, request that it be re-submitted under the revised guidelines or reject it. In reply to Ms. Stalnaker's question, he stated the sponsor had submitted documentation with the application and had stated that additional information could be provided. Dr. Bailey stated that additional documentation on the site was not the issue, but that the airport was like many others around the state and failed to meet the criteria for significance of a site. He move to reject the request for a marker for the First Commercial Airport for Mercer County and Dr. Gozdzik seconded the motion. Mr. Stowell stated that he felt the airport was significant to the area. Dr. Bailey agreed that it had local significance, but that it did not stand out above other area airports of the time. He suggested that it would be appropriate for a county or area marker program, but not the state marker program. Following a brief discussion, Chairman Conte called for a vote on the motion to reject the First Commercial Airport. Motion passed with all in favor.
Chairman Conte asked if there was interest in considering the Wayne County Revolutionary War Veterans Grave highway historical marker requests, previously considered. Dr. Bailey stated that he appreciates the feelings of those who submitted the request and had even met with them, but he did not feel these requests met the criteria for state markers and moved to reject all three. Ms. Stalnaker, after stating she had conducted additional research on the three men and, while they did serve, it was without distinction, seconded the motion. She then compared their service with that of others and suggested all were worthy of local recognition and plaques through patriotic groups or county programs. Mr. Tenney noted that some state markers were poor models to follow, citing the romanticized 1930s version of state history, and the program should strive to avoid this and possibly consider removing, or at least changing, some of these. Dr. Bailey stated it was not his intent to diminish the service and contribution the soldiers made to this country and their descendants, but there should be standards to mark those for exemplary or unique service. Several members noted that without standards for significant contributions, the number of state markers for Revolutionary War veterans' graves would undermine the value of such markers and the program in general. Chairman Conte called for vote on the motion. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte declared a recess at 12:20 for lunch and reconvened the meeting at 1:05 p.m., calling on Ms. Riebe for the presentation of National Register nominations.
Ms. Riebe introduced Mr. David Taylor who presented the Mount Hope Historic District, Fayette County, nomination under Criterion A: Commerce, Industry, Social History; Criterion B: Politics/Government; and Criterion C: Architecture, with the period of significance being 1895-ca. 1957. The district includes 170 resources, with only 20 non-contributing properties. Dr. Bailey moved to approve the nomination and Mr. Tenney provided the second and noted the preservation of the structures of the city. Motion passed.
Mr. Taylor presented the Boyd Avenue Historic District, Martinsburg, Berkeley County, nomination under Criterion A: Community Planning and Development and Criterion C: Architecture, with period of significance being ca. 1750 to ca. 1952. The district includes 73 contributing buildings, 3 non-contributing, 1 contributing site, which is the boulevard, and 1 contributing structure. Mr. Stowell commented on the district and moved to approve it. Dr. Gozdzik provided the second. In reply to Ms. Brennan's question on the sponsor, Mr. Taylor stated it was the City of Martinsburg and the Landmarks Commission. There being no further questions or comments, Chairman Conte called for the vote. Motion passed.
Ms. Riebe introduced Ms. Jeannie Boger who presented the Hawthorne Historic District, Huntington, Cabell County, under Criterion C for Architecture, with period of significance being 1900-1950. She noted the district's location on the South Side of Huntington abutting Ritter Park and the Ritter Park Historic District. The district has eighteen primary resources, twelve of which are Colonial Revival, twenty-four contributing buildings, which includes outbuildings, and one non-contributing building. In reply to Mr. Stowell's question about the landscape, Ms. Boger explained that it was probably through the involvement of Charles L. Ritter and J. S. Perry, who developed the subdivision trying to attract a specific group of people, but a specific architect was not identified. Mr. Stowell moved to approve the nomination; Ms. Stalnaker seconded the motion; motion passed. Ms. Riebe noted the office received two notarized objections to the nomination.
Ms. Boger presented the Kenwood (John A. Shepherd) House, Huntington, Cabell County, under Criterion C for Architecture, with the period of significance being 1910-1957. She noted the building was one of the earliest uses of poured-in-place reinforced concrete residential properties in the state. After some discussion on the heating system, Dr. Bailey moved to approve the nomination and Mr. Stowell seconded the motion. Motion passed (Ms. Stalnaker absent at time of vote).
Ms. Riebe requested a change in the order of presentations to make the Hoge House, Winfield, Putnam County, next, and by consensus of members Mr. Michael J. Pulice presented the James W. Hoge House under Criterion B: Law; Criterion C: Architecture; Criterion Consideration B: moved property; and Criterion Consideration D: cemetery, with the period of significance being 1838, 1857-1882. Following the presentation, Mr. Stowell questioned the stability of the new foundation for the moved building and noted that the structure looks more like that found in the Hudson Valley area. Ms. Riebe informed him that the roof was wood and that it was a rare Putnam County house. In reply to Dr. Bailey's question on the policy for moved structures, Ms. Riebe explained that it has to meet another criterion level, which this does, with the justification that it is not moved too far and still maintains a very similar setting as the original. It was noted that the Craik-Patton House was placed on the National Register after it was moved, and Mr. Pulice noted that National Park Service criterion for moved structures requires that the move was necessary to save the house. This is the case with the Hoge House. There being no further questions or comments, Mr. Shock moved to approve the nomination and Dr. Arnett provided the second. Motion passed.
Ms. Riebe presented the McClung's Price Place, Lewisburg vicinity, Greenbrier County, under Criterion A: Agriculture; Criterion B: Military, Agriculture; and Criterion C: Architecture, with the period of significance being ca. 1800-1957. The nomination was prepared by the property owner, who continues to use the farm for agriculture. Following comments by Chairman Conte on the two generations of the family working on the property and by Mr. Tenney regarding the log construction techniques, Dr. Bailey moved to approve the nomination and Mr. Tenney provided the second. Motion passed.
Ms. Riebe presented the Madison National Bank, Madison, Boone County, under Criterion A: Commerce and Criterion C: Architecture, with the period of significance being 1918-1957. The nomination had been worked on by a student some years ago and Susan Mischler, Boone-Madison Public Library Director, had updated and revised it. The library board of directors, the current owners of the property, could not attend but fully support the nomination. Dr. Bailey moved to approve the nomination and Dr. Arnett seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Ms. Riebe presented the final nomination, Duffields Depot, Shenandoah Junction Vicinity, Jefferson County, under Criterion A: Military and Transportation, with the period of significance being 1839-1883. Ms. Riebe recognized Mr. Jack Snider, President, Duffield Station, Inc., recent purchaser of the depot, who spoke on the group's preservation plans. He informed members that the property was listed as a Jefferson County Historic Landmark last week. In reply to Ms. Brennan's question about sources of funds for their preservation plans, he stated they had submitted a request for a state historic preservation grant. Ms. Stalnaker moved to approve the nomination and Mr. Stowell provided the second. Motion passed. Voting members forwarded their forms to Secretary Armstrong for the record.
Chairman Conte called on Ms. Pierce to present the State Development Grants for 2008-2009 for consideration and approval. She referred members to the Draft Annual Work Program (copy attached to official minutes), distributed earlier for reference in the scoring of the grant proposals. She directed members to refer to the score sheets and the chart with the summary sheets (both attached to official minutes) as she reviewed the process, use of priorities and staff ranking. Members could refer to the program project description for the development grants on the back of the Annual Work Program Draft, and on the last page they would see funding priorities and selection criteria. She explained that the funding priorities 1 through 5 correspond to the score sheet selection criteria priority Section 1. Items 1 through 5 were assigned a point value based upon the description in the application of the work to be performed. Based on this scoring process, full funding was allocated for the highest rated items, with the exception of three, for which remaining funds available would only partially fund.
In reply to Dr. Bailey's question on #2, architectural significance, on the development point score sheet, Ms. Pierce explained that the current selection criteria balances out the significance of the resource and the priority of the activity. A leaky roof receives 10 points, which is the majority of the number of points that could be received for a roof. The score sheet in selection criteria tries to balance out not just the priority of the item to be taken care of, but other criteria that are listed as selection criteria. Otherwise, only Priority 1 projects would receive funds. Ms. Riebe added that something that has significance to more people would receive more points; a nationally significant site would receive more than a locally significant site. Ms. Pierce agreed that assigning point values does not seem completely fair, but it is the best system developed over twenty-some years to balance out the needs of the nationally significant, state level significant resources and those that have the greatest need. After thanking Ms. Pierce and her staff on their efforts to address the subjectivity in the evaluation process, he asked for an explanation on # 7, which allows for some subjectivity and a high rating on the form. She explained that this addresses the applicant's ability to administer and handle the grant. Mr. Tenney commented on the rating of the Marion County Sheriff's Residence. Its use to house the county's historical collections needed the benefit of this in the rating process, although he understood the problem of insufficient funds. Ms. Pierce explained how staff rated this applicant and agreed there were tough choices to be made, but there was a certain amount of subjectivity for members to vote as they feel the need for the project to be awarded. She pointed out that part of the Annual Work Program is to include an evaluation of the actual application to provide a certain degree of subjectivity to balance the objectivity of it. She encouraged members to comment on the draft Annual Work Program and to give specific ideas on how to improve the process.
Dr. Bailey questioned the Ritchie County applications where staff states the money may be used for one or the other, yet one was rated higher than the other. In reply to his stated position that he could not vote for an either/or situation, Ms. Pierce state these were staff recommendations and commission members could vote their wishes. Ms. Stalnaker noted that the commission's motion routinely gave staff the authority to move funds from failed grants, or those not using all funds made available, to the next highest applicant on the list, which in this case would mean that the Ritchie County Old Stone House project funds would be bumped to the B&O Depot project. Chairman Conte thanked Ms. Pierce for the information and requested a motion to award the grants. Ms. Stalnaker moved to approve the State Development Grants as recommended by staff and that any unexpended funds from failed applicants or applicants unable to use the total award be allocated to the next highest rated applicant. Mr. Stowell seconded the motion. Motion passed, with Dr. Bailey voting "No."
Chairman Conte called on Mr. Armstrong to present the three highway historical marker applications (copies attached to official minutes). He noted that two requests were submitted by private sponsors and one, the Benwood Mine Disaster, came by way of a legislative resolution. In reply to Chairman Conte, he reported the resolution did not include funds and the agency was to find the money for the marker. He stated members had copies of the research supporting the site, highways had suggested a location and he was requesting commission action on it. Dr. Gozdzik moved to approve and Ms. Stalnaker provided the second. Motion passed.
He then reviewed the information on the request for a marker for the David Morgan Memorial Bridge in Marion County, which would recognize David Morgan and the Morgan family. He informed the commission that the Morgan descendants would be celebrating the 100th Reunion in early August and hoped that the marker could be in place by then. He reviewed the contributions of both David Morgan and his descendants to the development of Marion County and explained that the marker would be providing historical support for the naming of the bridge by the legislature. Dr. Gozdzik moved to approve the David Morgan marker and Ms. Stalnaker provided the second. Motion passed.
Mr. Armstrong presented the Townsend Ferry marker, reviewing the information sent to members in advance of the meeting. The ferry was an early crossing on the New River about seven miles from Fayetteville and was operated by the Townsend family in the late 1840s. It continued to operate until a low water bridge was constructed. The Townsend family still owns the house and one of the Townsend descendants was the lawyer Thomas Townsend, who defended William Blizzard in the treason trials in Jefferson County and was the Republican gubernatorial candidate in 1932. Dr. Arnett moved to approve the marker and Dr. Gozdzik provided the second. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte called for the Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman for 2007-2008. Mr. Stowell presented the committee's slate on behalf of Dr. Hulse: Dr. Bob Conte, Chair and Dr. Ken Bailey, Vice Chair, to serve another year. Ms. Stalnaker moved to elect the slate and Dr. Gozdzik seconded the motion. Motion carried by acclamation.
Chairman Conte called for a report on History Day 2008, set for Thursday, 21 February. Ms. Stalnaker commented on the earlier discussion and inquired as to how things could be made easier in planning the event. After a brief discussion, it was agreed to postpone the report on History Day 2008 until the September meeting.
As the Draft Annual Work Program had been distributed earlier and members encouraged to review and provide comments, Chairman Conte stated the only Other Business on the Agenda was the next meeting, which was scheduled for Friday, September 28, in Pt. Pleasant. Ms. Pierce suggested that with the possible return of the Blair Mountain nomination, it might be best to schedule the meeting in Huntington to accommodate the public. After a brief discussion, it was agreed to hold the meeting at a site to be determined in Huntington. The winter meeting date and location were discussed and on a motion by Ms. Stalnaker, seconded by Mr. Stowell, the Friday after History Day in Charleston was approved. As the hour was late, no action was taken on the spring meeting, and with all in agreement Chairman Conte declared the meeting adjourned at 3:25 p.m.
Fredrick H. Armstrong
Archives and History Commission