Chairman Robert Conte called the meeting to order at 9:38 a.m. In addition to Dr. Conte, other voting members present were Fredrick Armstrong, Jack Dickinson, Harold Forbes, Victor Greco, Amy Haden, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Bill Richardson, Noel Tenney, and Dr. Joan Walker. Voting members absent were Becky Frye, Dr. Charles Hulse, and Dr. Helene Jacobs. Ex officio voting member absent was Dr. Bill Arnett. Ex officio non-voting members present were Joe Geiger, director of Archives and History, serving as secretary to the commission; Adam Hodges, director, Museums Section; Dr. Michael Hohn, director, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey; and Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation Section. Ex officio non-voting member absent was Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History. Culture and History staff members present were Historic Preservation staff member Erin Riebe and Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner of the Division of Culture and History. Historic Preservation staff member Pam Brooks arrived at 11:37.
Introductions were made, followed by remembrances of Dr. Stuart McGehee by Dr. Conte, Dr. Walker, Mr. Richardson, and Dr. Ledbetter. Dr. Ledbetter proposed the following resolution:
“In Memoriam: The West Virginia Archives and History Commission Honors the Life, Career and Lasting Impact of Dr. Charles Stuart McGehee:
…Therefore, Be It Resolved, that the West Virginia Archives and History Commission recognize and honor Dr. McGehee’s legacy across the State of West Virginia as one of the leading historians and voices of the state’s coal history and by leaving five books; more than 50 learned articles that appeared in national and regional publications; and fond memories of his phenomenal legacy that will live forever; and
…Be It Finally Resolved, that the West Virginia Archives and History Commission go on record to acknowledge Dr. Charles Stuart McGehee’s personal contribution to the West Virginia Archives and History Commission, with five of those years as the Commission’s chair, and his personal dedication to the Commission’s mission of preserving and disseminating the history of this great state to enhance the lives of current and future generations.”
Dr. Ledbetter moved for the adoption of the resolution, and Mr. Dickinson offered the second. Motion carried.
Following introductions, Chairman Conte asked for a motion on the meeting minutes of 2 October 2009. Ms. Haden moved for approval of the minutes, but referred to a correction regarding members’ authority relative to approval of highway historic markers. She asked that the statement read, “pursuant to the enabling statute; however, the commission’s public duty would be best served by continuing to approve the marker program regardless of any legal interpretation of the commission’s authority.” Mr. Tenney, referring to the bottom line of page four, stated it should read, “Buckhannon Landmarks Commission,” rather than “Upshur County Landmarks Commission.” A second to Ms. Haden’s motion was made by Mr. Greco. Motion carried. Mr. Armstrong asked that he be recorded in the minutes as “abstained” since he was not present at the 2 October 2009 meeting.
Chairman Conte called upon Mr. Geiger for the Archives and History report. In addition to information provided in the monthly reports for September through December previously mailed to members (copy attached to official minutes), he noted that the Veterans Memorial was re-dedicated the day before Veterans Day in a ceremony put on by Military Affairs. He added that staff, along with a volunteer, is focusing on the writing of veterans’ biographies. An announcement will be made soon with regard to more than $250,000 in grants awarded by the Records Management and Preservation Board. Legislation has been introduced to change the wording in the Code to increase the percentage that will be available for grants. Two new pieces of equipment, currently being tested and on which staff is being trained, have been purchased by Archives. One will convert microfilm to digital images and the other will convert digital images to microfilm. There are now 272 highway markers that have been or will be completed. A new transportation enhancement grant, awarded last year, will begin soon. The grant was for $80,000 with a $20,000 match for fifty new replacement markers. He added that next year, Archives and History will probably apply for grants to provide funding for new markers. The first Annual Showcase was held with more than 100 Archives supporters in attendance. The monthly Lecture and Workshop Series is still well attended, and the Tuesday morning Genealogy Club continues to meet, with Archives staff and others serving as presenters. Efforts are being made through working with the Department of Education and RESA to reach out to students, in particular eighth graders. New library rules are in effect and daily registration of users of the Archives Library is being monitored. An e-mail list is being utilized to advise of current and upcoming events regarding Archives. A future online exhibit, as well as a workshop in the library, is being planned for the 1960 Presidential Election which will include individuals’ recollections.
Ms. Haden asked if there was any way to project the events simultaneously in the Culture Center Theater. Mr. Geiger’s response was that it could probably be done to enable the people to see the exhibit, while others can view it online. Mr. Richardson spoke of a friend who was Hubert Humphrey’s front man who has a lot of information and who also did some work for John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy, and he noted this friend would be a good source for information. Dr. Walker commended Mr. Geiger on the detail of his Archives monthly reports. He credited staff member Mary Johnson, preparer of the monthly reports, as well as of the section’s Annual Report.
Referring to the information provided in the Archives October Monthly Report, Mr. Armstrong asked if Archives has lost storage space, to which Mr. Geiger replied in the affirmative. Mr. Armstrong referred to the December report, asking if that was relevant to the meetings held regarding storage space. Mr. Geiger explained that he had met with people about storage space in two different areas. One meeting was with the Real Estate Commission people to begin the process of responding to the RMPB’s request to look into the cost for off-site storage for county records. He noted he had also had a meeting regarding state records management, which was the result of an aftermath of the Department of Administration’s audit on state records. Mr. Armstrong next referred to information in the monthly report where a visit to Nova Records Management was mentioned and asked if it was regarding county or state records. Mr. Geiger replied it was regarding state records and he and others had toured the facility.
Mr. Armstrong asked Mr. Geiger if, eventually, before disposal of stored records, he, as director of Archives, would have to give approval for disposal. Mr. Geiger stated that is correct. Mr. Armstrong noted that other than the Treasurer’s Office and one of the licensing boards, he sees no evidence of any state records activities, either in the way of records management relative to disposal or of archiving any records; yet, storage space is being lost due to equipment installations. He asked if the installation could have been done in a way so as not to lose the space. Mr. Geiger acknowledged his surprise at the choice of installation and the loss of space, but noted resolution of the access problem. Mr. Armstrong asked if the only language change in terms of the RMPB legislation is regarding the percentage that could go out in grants. Mr. Geiger responded that the proposed legislation also called for the removal of the words “otherwise dispose of,” which has to do with the destruction, as opposed to disposal, of records. He responded in the affirmative to Mr. Armstrong’s follow-up question if, by removing that reference, the records would not be transferred to anyone other than the state or county official. Mr. Armstrong pointed out that it seems that more RMPB grants go to other than county clerks and that the board has failed to introduce funding components that would address the other aspects of county government. Mr. Geiger stated that the RMPB feared that the introduction of any proposed additional fees might kill the legislation. A final question from Mr. Armstrong concerned equipment purchased by the RMPB funds and whether it was going to be staffed by Archives staff or by new staff. Mr. Geiger explained that currently one Archives staff member and one part-time employee have been trained. A request has been put in for two full-time positions, to be paid out of the county records monies, for the statewide preservation project and that request is currently awaiting approval. Mr. Armstrong asked if the equipment was purchased with RMPB funds and if that means it will only be used for county records. Mr. Geiger stated that it probably would not just be used for county records. Mr. Armstrong asked if that would not co-mingle funds, to which Mr. Geiger replied that he thinks he could get permission from the RMPB to use the equipment for other Archives projects. Mr. Armstrong noted that the monies are segregated from appropriated lottery funds that the agency distributes to Archives, and in terms of an audit it could create considerable problems if they are not done in such a way as to not convolute the funding. He asked if the equipment is going to be creating microfilm and if the storage concerns for microfilm have been resolved since he left. Mr. Geiger said Archives and History is running out of space and will probably have to box up the film temporarily.
Mr. Armstrong asked if funds are still available to continue the Veterans Memorial Program. Mr. Geiger responded that there was funding for personnel for about eighteen to twenty-two months. In response to Mr. Armstrong’s question, Mr. Geiger stated that Archives will not receive any staff increase. Mr. Armstrong then asked if the Vital Records Program is complete, to which Mr. Geiger answered in the affirmative. Mr. Armstrong asked if there is any residue funding for the program to continue, to which Mr. Geiger replied that there are funds still available. Mr. Armstrong asked about other possible records projects, to which Mr. Geiger responded that Archives and History would look at other records and determine how best to proceed with digitization projects. In response to Mr. Armstrong’s remarks regarding technology challenges, Mr. Geiger noted that since the new servers were installed, everything is going well, despite some glitches.
Dr. Ledbetter asked if the parking problem being experienced by Culture and History and other agencies is being addressed for the whole complex. Ms. Proctor stated she understood that it was being addressed by several cabinet level individuals, including Administration and Education and the Arts; however, she has not heard any updates on the Master Plan recently.
Chairman Conte then called upon Ms. Pierce for her presentation of the Historic Preservation report. Ms. Pierce referred to her report distributed to members (copy attached to official minutes) and added that this is the time of year when they have just finished their National Park Service End-of-Year Report for FY 2009, which ended September 30. A new Historian I has been hired to assist with the Review and Compliance Program and there are currently two vacant positions within the section. Ms. Riebe worked with the NPS staff and the National Register staff who came to Charleston to provide a workshop in October on the NR nomination process. She commented on the recently released 2010 Calendar and added that work is being done on the 2011 Calendar which will be associated with the Civil War and battlefields. Ms. Pierce participated with the Development Office to select On Trac Main Street participants. Staff Review and Compliance historians and archaeologists have been working with several agencies on the Section 106 Review process requirements in order for them to take advantage of stimulus funding. Staff has also been involved with the Highland Wind Power Project in Virginia, Moorefield Sewage Treatment Plant, and with the Federal Highway Administration regarding mitigation associated with Route 35. From October through December, 767 letters had been completed with regard to Section 106 reviews, and reviews have been done regarding tax credit projects. The outside contractor has completed the digital scanning of inventory forms, reports, and other paper forms so as to aid in getting the information online. Staff has been working with Preservation Alliance of West Virginia on a “Preserve America” grant, as well as editing two brochures that will be published to highlight two Heritage Trails, one associated with theaters and the other with the New Deal. Concluding her report, Ms. Pierce informed members that she had attended the last few monthly status meetings held at Jenkins Plantation, which included getting to go up on the scaffolding to view the work being done by a local construction firm and being overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Mr. Greco asked whether the number of reviews, 767, is more or less than usual. Ms. Pierce explained that when they file the end-of-the-year applications, the stimulus projects have increased the number and, compared to last year, there were more Memorandum of Agreements this year. Ms. Haden asked if there is additional funding for Section 106 Review staffing, to which Ms. Pierce noted there is not. She added that the Historic Preservation Fund did not receive any stimulus funds. Fredrick Armstrong asked why the Historic Preservation Five-Year Plan is not on the website. Ms. Pierce responded that she thought it had been placed online, and Ms. Proctor stated she would take care of it.
Chairman Conte then called upon Mr. Hodges for his presentation of the Museums report. He referred to his report distributed to members (copy attached to official minutes) and pointed out that more than 60,000 people had visited the West Virginia State Museum since the June 2009 opening. He noted school visits and children’s programming such as Museum Mondays and Second Saturdays and spoke of a recent legislative audit conducted over a week-time period which revealed a visitor survey rating of 4.8 out of 5. He mentioned the installation of several exhibits and programming at the Historic Sites. Jenkins Plantation is still under restoration by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and work continues to move forward. Camp Washington-Carver is closed for the season with staff continuing maintenance during the winter. Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, under the direction of David Rotenizer, has held several outreach programs and tours and recently acquired the personal library of Dr. Don Dragoo, a noted archaeologist. West Virginia Independence Hall is undergoing restoration work and now has a new site manager, Travis Henline.
Mr. Greco noted increased publicity on activities at WVIH, while Ms. Haden proposed summer camps in conjunction with the Clay Center, to which Mr. Hodges stated they are currently planning for four weeks of summer camps in the arts and history, as well as various other types of sessions. Dr. Ledbetter applauded the commissioner and deputy commissioner for their work in aiding with tour groups to the museum, which was quite impressive. Mr. Armstrong asked about the NAGPRA grant request, and Mr. Hodges stated they did apply for the consultation grant but did not receive the award. He informed members that site manager David Rotenizer is preparing a grant packet for the next round of grants and plans to apply for that grant at every opportunity. The grant request was just to facilitate the consultation, which can go on without the grant, however. Mr. Armstrong asked if the advocates for the resolution to this issue have been advised that it is still “status quo” with no progress on resolution. Mr. Hodges said they have completed and submitted the inventory to NAGPRA officials, as he reported at the last commission meeting. Mr. Armstrong asked if something will appear on Culture and History’s website when this is completed so those seeking information in our state will know it has been posted. Mr. Hodges stated he did not know whether it would be on the agency’s website, but it will appear on the NAGPRA website. Ms. Pierce added that the NPS posts it on the Federal Register. In response to a question by Mr. Forbes about statistics on visitors, Mr. Hodges stated they are recording visitor zip codes, but some do not want to provide that information. A database of e-mail names is being compiled for use in informing the public of various programs and events and sending a digital newsletter. There was some discussion regarding the need to reach the retired population, with Mr. Hodges noting attendance included a large number from this demographic group, and Ms. Proctor noting additional efforts to promote the museum. Ms. Haden mentioned the Elder Hostel as a possible way to bring in a lot of people as well. Mr. Tenney asked if there are any new inroads by the Museums Section in trying to find funding to be re-granted out to small museums in the state to help with exhibit development and collections management. Mr. Richardson commented on the previously discussed need for storage space for records, noting that a lot of historic buildings and small museums in the state are looking for a funding source that would enable them to stay open and suggesting the two things might come together to benefit both.
In the absence of Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, Ms. Proctor presented a brief report from the agency. The Gift Shop, operated by Tamarack, is doing very well and receiving good media coverage. As requested by commission members at the last meeting, Ms. Proctor reported that it is her understanding from the commissioner that there has been no word on the status of commission member Dr. Charles Hulse. Looking at FY2011, the agency, as requested by the governor, will comply with budget cuts by looking for areas to reduce or save in some way to about ten per cent. Mr. Armstrong asked about budget cuts and how they would affect funding of the three sections of the agency in terms of staffing levels. Ms. Proctor stated staff will not be reduced. Mr. Armstrong asked if the budget reductions will be taken in programming areas for those sections, to which Ms. Proctor stated the agency would prefer to not reduce programming, so it would probably be in the area of general revenue, but that is still being reviewed. He asked if cuts in technology are a consideration. She stated the agency will be looking at everything to try to “pare down” as properly and judiciously as possible without affecting programming, staff, or technology because the agency depends on that for a great deal of its growth. Mr. Armstrong asked if any thought has been given to increasing revenues for the agency by other than lottery, general non-legislative appropriation, or outside sources of revenue to supplement the reduction in the overall budget. Ms. Proctor stated there has not been any discussion that she is aware of but told Mr. Armstrong she would be interested in any suggestions. He asked if, at this time, there is consideration of a charge at the door. Ms. Proctor’s response was that it would be challenging, considering that the state taxpayers paid for the door, and, although possible, it is not being considered at this time. There being no further questions with regard to the agency report, Chairman Conte encouraged commission members to take Mr. Hodges up on his offer and visit the museum and he then called for Old Business.
Ms. Riebe distributed updates on National Register nominations previously reviewed by the commission (copy attached to official minutes). She noted that the status of most has not changed, except that the Herman August Meyer House, Tucker County, was returned for changes. She added that on December 30, 2009, Blair Mountain Battlefield, Logan County, was delisted on the basis of procedural error. Mr. Armstrong suggested that the website information be updated with Blair Mountain information so that the public is not given old information. In response to Mr. Richardson’s inquiry if there are any efforts for another Blair Mountain application, Ms. Riebe’s response was that no one has contacted the office yet, but it is a possibility. Mr. Richardson noted that, as he said at the last meeting, they have already started cutting the access road up the mountain, possibly preparing to cut timber. Ms. Haden stated she thinks the listing issue is significant as to whether it is eligible or not from a legal standpoint and from historic preservation law’s point of view, and it wouldn’t be very complicated to relist it because the research has already been done. Mr. Richardson noted the benefit of listing is that it puts mining on “hold” until there is a resolution and the land owners are going to be very aggressive to "mountaintop" the land with the delisting. Ms. Pierce stated that timbering is not a regulated activity, whether it is listed or not. However, in order to mine it, the land owners still have to get a permit from the Division of Environmental Protection and that still requires a review process with the Historic Preservation Office, but it is ultimately up to DEP to decide. Mr. Armstrong stated he agrees with Ms. Haden’s statement but asked if the ownership issue has ever been resolved. If the number of property owners opposed, fully or partially, is greater than the number in favor, he began, Ms. Pierce interjecting, “Then it won’t be listed.” Ms. Riebe explained that 36 CFR 60 would require the office to go through the process again, which would include researching the property ownership, sending out notifications again, and offering new opportunities to object. Objections to previous submissions would still count. Ms. Haden suggested that, if there is a re-nomination, the meeting be held again in Logan so the commission members can educate the people. Ms. Riebe stated that if there is no boundary change, it would just have to be re-processed and sent back.
Turning to New Business, Mr. Geiger noted that History Day is scheduled for February 18, 2010. At present, 68 table reservations have been made, and 44 History Heroes have been selected. Nominees were reviewed by representatives of sponsoring organizations, and letters are being sent to Heroes, the organizations that nominated them, and news media. Next week, mailings will be delivered to legislators informing them of their constituents receiving the award. Other mailings will follow. The Capitol has already been reserved for February 24, 2011, for the Fifteenth Annual History Day. Mr. Geiger asked if the commission wished to approve that date so notification could be given to organizations that attend History Day this year. He advised members that he may need to ask sponsors for financial assistance for a photographer and prints. Dr. Conte agreed that February 24 would be a good date.
Chairman Conte called for the presentation of the National Register nominations. Beverly (boundary amendment), Jefferson County, nominated under Criterion A, Agriculture, with period of significance being c. 1750-1960, was presented by Ms. Riebe. Ms. Haden asked if the NR considers historic farms, to which Ms. Riebe stated they consider farms with local significance. Dr. Walker commented that at times there have been issues of acreage involved in a nomination, but this very well written nomination supports the addition of the acreage to the farm. Mr. Armstrong asked about the variation of acreage. Ms. Riebe referred to the narrative of Section 10, stating she would clarify the language. Mr. Armstrong further noted that the original nomination dealt with the architecture, but now the farm is being nominated; however, the farmstead covered in the original nomination, which included more than just the house, is only on there for architecture. He asked if the NR automatically makes the adjustments now that the entire farm is nominated. Ms. Riebe stated that the additional language can be changed to reflect that. Dr. Walker moved for approval of the nomination, with Mr. Forbes providing the required second. Motion carried.
Wyco Church, Wyoming County, nominated under Criterion C, Architecture, with Criterion Consideration A, Religious Properties, with the period of significance being c. 1917, was presented by Ms. Riebe. Dr. Walker, noting the absence of a description of the roof and its flaws, referred to the summary wherein the wording “open to the elements” is used and stated she would rather it read “despite damage to the roof.” Ms. Haden asked about another church in the area, the Mount Grove Church, and if it is listed on the NR, to which Ms. Riebe responded it is not. In response to a question by Mr. Tenney as to whether any of the other buildings within the Wyco area are on the NR, Ms. Riebe stated they are not. Ms. Haden stated she felt the records of the Mount Grove Church should be addressed and also asked if the architect of the Wyco Church was known. Ms. Riebe noted that in the nomination it was listed as the Wyco Coal Company, but it is not known who built the building or drew up the plans. Discussion continued about the possible significance of other buildings. Mr. Richardson moved for approval of the nomination, with Mr. Dickinson providing the required second. Motion carried.
Chairman Conte called upon Ms. Pierce for her presentation of the FY2010 Survey and Planning Grants (copy attached to official minutes). Mr. Forbes referred to the Survey section with regard to the Western Hampshire and the Greenbrier County Reconnaissance surveys and the comment stating “increased funding recommended.” Ms. Pierce explained that for the Western Hampshire survey, funding was increased to include the NR nomination. Mr. Forbes asked if they are requesting a certain amount, but Historic Preservation is offering more. Ms. Pierce stated that the proposed amount, when looking at the application, is probably not adequate and the office spoke to the applicant ahead of time to confirm that they would be able to meet the match, which they are possibly ready to do. As it is the first time for an application from the Greenbrier County Commission, the increase in funding is to help them. Mr. Armstrong noted that in the application, the applicant is required to designate the acreage and estimated number of properties. Ms. Pierce reiterated that it is their first application so the office is going to work with them. Mr. Armstrong asked if preliminary contact has been made with the applicant and if the applicant is agreeable to this. The response from Ms. Pierce was, “Yes, and the application has been amended to reflect that in each of these situations.” Ms. Haden thanked Historic Preservation staff for tweaking the program according to comments made by Archives and History Commission members. Mr. Tenney noted he is somewhat involved in one of the grants and will be recusing himself from voting. He asked for clarification with regard to funding as to why so many applications are being received from non-CLGs. Ms. Pierce explained that when Historic Preservation sends out a press release, they do not know what the budget will be, but it varies from year to year as to what portion of it goes to CLGs as opposed to non-CLGs. Mr. Armstrong noted that the application does not reflect that non-CLGs may qualify, but the press release did suggest that non-CLGs could apply. While noting that non-CLGs may apply, Ms. Pierce stated that the Historic Preservation Office will ensure that next year’s announcement clearly states that CLGs would be funded first. She also noted that there were probably a lot of non-CLGs who applied that could have gone through their local historic landmarks commission and stood a better chance of being eligible. Ms. Brooks stated that when she speaks to applicants she makes sure that they know that CLGs will be funded first. A motion was made by Ms. Haden to approve the FY2010 Survey and Planning Grants. Dr. Walker seconded. Dr. Conte yielded the chair to Dr. Ledbetter, as he (Dr. Conte) and Mr. Tenney recused themselves from voting. Motion carried. Dr. Ledbetter then yielded the chair back to Dr. Conte.
Chairman Conte appointed Mr. Tenney and Mr. Richardson to serve on the Nominating Committee, which will present the suggested slate of officers (Chair and Vice Chair) at the Spring meeting. He also appointed Ms. Haden, Dr. Walker and himself to a marker subcommittee that will work with the director of Archives and History to revise wording of guidelines to reflect recent action by the commission to continue serving the program in an advising capacity. Mr. Armstrong noted that the enabling legislation for the division authorizes the commission to have in place procedural rules that have been not only approved by the commission, but also placed before the Secretary of State’s Office and have gone through the process for procedural rules. He noted that since the commission has never done this, the Attorney General’s Office can issue a ruling that it is out of compliance, and added that, based on the enabling legislation, the marker program probably requires legislative rules. Mr. Armstrong then made the motion that, instead of the committee they are looking at, the Archives and History Commission request the development of Legislative Rules for the Highway Marker Program and Procedural Rules for implementation of those Legislative Rules once those rules have gone through the Legislative-Rule-Making process so that the program is in compliance with the enabling legislation and the Code of West Virginia. Ms. Haden noted that the legislative-rule-making process could be initiated by the administration and it can be duly noted that it would be highly recommended that that be initiated as being the proper procedure. Mr. Armstrong stated it requires that Archives and History move forward with their request through the process. He noted that that is what this commission thought it had done probably back in the 1980s. He noted that it is basically a program of the agency, and, as such, does require those safeguards of legislative rule making. Ms. Haden commented proposed rules can take some time and are quite lengthy and she does not feel the commission can mandate a timeframe, but she would recommend the Attorney General’s Office be contacted to work in conjunction with the administration. Mr. Richardson asked what the primary benefits are of going through the process, and Ms. Haden stated that every agency should have its rules promulgated up for public notice. Mr. Armstrong withdrew his motion. Ms. Haden then made a motion that the Archives and History Commission make a request that the administration review the process of initiating rule making on the marker program with the suggestion that it be done in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office. Mr. Armstrong seconded the motion. Motion carried.
In closing, Chairman Conte advised members of the upcoming Spring meeting to be held on Friday, June 4, 2010, in Wheeling, and the Fall meeting, to be held on Friday, October 1, 2010, in Buckhannon. A tentative date of January 28 was set for the Winter 2011 meeting.
Chairman Conte declared the meeting adjourned at 12:17 p.m.
Joseph N. Geiger, Jr.,
Archives and History Commission