Dr. Robert Conte, Chairman, welcomed everyone to the Archives and History Commission meeting held at the Earl Ray Tomblin Convention Center in Chapmanville on Friday, 6 May 2005 at 9:35 a.m. As more than one hundred guests were in attendance, he explained that the meeting was one of three held by the Archives and History Commission each year and that the members had been appointed by various governors over time. He reviewed the agenda, noting that there would be four reports presented and Old Business before the presentation of the ten nominations to the National Register, of which the Battle of Blair Mountain would be first. After members introduced themselves, Chairman Conte declared a quorum existed. Voting members present were Dr. Ken Bailey, Margaret Brennan, Dr. Gloria Gozdzik, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Joy Stalnaker, Kip Stowell, Noel Tenney, Dr. Joan Walker, Marjorie Zirk, Dr. Bill Arnett, (ex officio) president, West Virginia Historical Association, and Michael Shock, (ex officio) president, West Virginia Historical Society. Voting member Dr. Chuck Hulse was absent. Ex officio non-voting members present were Phyllis Baxter, president, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, Troy O. Body, acting commissioner of the Division of Culture and History and State Historic Preservation Officer, Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation, Stan Bumgardner, acting Museums Section director, and Fredrick H. Armstrong, director, Archives and History, and secretary for the commission. Non-voting ex officio member Carl Smith, director of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, was absent. Staff present were Alan Rowe and Erin Riebe, Historic Preservation section.
Chairman Conte then asked for approval of the 28 January 2005 meeting minutes. Marjorie Zirk moved for approval with Charles Ledbetter providing the second. Chairman Conte noted that his absence from this meeting was not listed and asked that this omission be corrected. There being no further additions or revisions to the minutes of the 28 January meeting, the motion was voted upon with the addition of Dr. Conte as absent, and passed.
In the immediate absence of Mr. Body, Chairman Conte called for the Museums Section report. Mr. Bumgardner referred members to his written report distributed before the meeting (copy attached to official minutes). After a brief interval, and in the absence of any questions, he thanked Mr. Stowell for his assistance in setting up the arrangements for staff's Eastern Panhandle trip to meet with National Park conservation and exhibits staff several weeks earlier. The trip had been very beneficial in developing the specifications for the museum renovation.
Chairman Conte called on Ms. Pierce for the Historic Preservation report. She referred members to her handout summarizing activities of the section since the last meeting (copy attached to official minutes). She commented on staff changes, meetings and travel to the national SHPO Conference in Washington, DC, the History Day Historic Preservation Awards, the new "Open House" traveling office program, the training workshop scheduled for consultants and others interested in the survey process, and staff work in behalf of the National Register program. The office had processed three Part 1, four Part 2, and three Part 3 commercial investment tax credit applications and four Part 1, six Part 2, and five Part 3 residential applications. The Review and Compliance program issued 689 letters. An orientation for the Survey and Planning Grant recipients was conducted in March and members would be considering staff review and recommendations for State Historic Preservation Development Grants later in the day. She reported on the progress of the database and GIS projects and work on the Grave Creek and Weston State Hospital "Save America's Treasures" projects, with approval for the addition at the former. Bids were submitted to the office of Education and the Arts for the approval of the addition. There being no questions, Chairman Conte called on Mr. Armstrong for the Archives and History report.
Mr. Armstrong referred to his reports for January, February and March (copy attached to official minutes) distributed earlier and apologized for not having the April report due to lack of time. He commented on Library services, noting the usual smaller number of visits at this time due to the legislative session and the lack of adequate parking on the Capitol Complex. He noted activities related to Archives and History's centennial observance with the publication of Picturing West Virginia (distributed later) and a Charleston Daily Mail story spanning three full pages; the web site feature of "This Day in West Virginia History," which provides links to other documents and materials in the Archives related to the event of the day; and a lecture by staff member Terry Lowry on the Adjutant General's records, which also resulted in an extensive story in the Charleston Gazette newspaper week before last. Members would be advised of future programs as they developed during the year. He cited the success of the annual Hoot Owl held 1 April with almost fifty paying for the night, the recent acquisition of a collection of some two thousand state yearbooks, the Wise Papers, the W. W. Trent collection and the status of the Randolph Papers. The moving image collection was recognized for its support of the recent Public Broadcasting's airing of "The Appalachians" and the Motion Masters production of the documentary on Senator Byrd. He noted the project to index the moving image collection by capturing scene changes, and transferring them to DVD format, was progressing and already assisting access to specific event footage.
Mr. Armstrong informed members that he and Commissioner Body had appeared before the Veterans Affairs Joint Legislative Committee to inform it of the need to continue the work of the Veterans Memorial Archives and the need to restore the dedicated funding to continue this work and the correction of the names. As of today, about 775 individual names have been identified that qualify to be placed on the memorial, but were missed in the original work, and there were 132 errors in the names etched in memorial. For Project Access, he was pleased to report that all but about two CDs of the digital images and database have been received of the births, deaths, and marriages for the six counties and the statewide deaths, audited for acceptance and were being "ingested" by the staff now in preparation for public access. This too had received press attention in the State Journal, which created considerable interest and questions before there was any data with which to respond. He concluded by updating members on the county records management and preservation program, reporting on some of the work of the twenty-two grants now in their last quarter, and the recent awarding of seventeen new grants for fiscal year 2005-2006. These recipients would be attending a grants and records management training workshop later this month. He reported that during the legislative session they had been able to have the records board expanded to include a sheriff and assessor, so as to have their expertise for these records in developing the retention and disposition schedules and future grant submissions.
There being no questions, Chairman Conte, stating that the National Register presentations would be up on the Agenda in a few minutes, requested that the sign-up sheet listing individuals who wished to address the commission regarding any nominations be brought forward. He then called on Ms. Stalnaker for a report on History Day. She reported favorably on the activities and program for the ninth annual, 17 March, event, noting the work of the sponsors to bring it together, and announced that 16 February had been reserved for 2006. Mr. Armstrong informed members that fifty-four groups had participated and thirty- eight History Hero awards presented.
Before Chairman Conte called for the final item on the Agenda under Old Business, the Historic Preservation Certified Preservation District Sub-committee Report, he reminded members they should have a draft as of April 21. Following comments by Ms. Pierce, Ms. Stalnaker, and Ms. Baxter, chair of the committee, it was noted that the 21 April draft had been prepared by Ms. Pierce and Chris Knorr. Ms. Stalnaker, recognized by Chairman Conte as being in order, moved that the commission approve the criteria for the state certified community designation, based upon the Preserve America Community criteria and addressed in the 21 April draft. She then inquired if a committee was to be appointed to oversee the program and Mr. Body stated they could come back to the commission if they wanted a committee, or it could be handled by a sub- committee. Dr. Arnett seconded the motion; motion passed.
Chairman Conte called for New Business, with the first item being the presentation of National Register nominations. He stated there were ten nominations and because of the demonstrated interest in the Battle of Blair Mountain, it would be first. The format would allow two, thirty-minute presentations, to be followed by comments from the public who had signed up to speak for an allotted five minutes, after which the commission would discuss and act on the nomination. He then called on Ms. Pierce, who reviewed the National Register nomination process in accordance with the federal regulations, 36CFR-60, and referred to a pink sheet of information prepared by the staff, which outlines the four Criteria for National Register nominations. She reviewed these, noting that the nomination process requires that at least one of the Criteria be met, the series of Criteria considerations, nomination process and what the National Register and listing does and does not do, all of which were addressed on the pink sheet distributed earlier. She stated that the ten nominations had been through staff review and were being presented to the commission, which was charged to look at three main items: the significance within local, state, or national context; the integrity of the resource, historical architectural and/or archaeological; and the definition of what constitutes the resource, including the definition of the extended boundaries of the resource. Following the commission's recommendation to approve or disapprove, the staff processes the approved nomination and submits it to the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, to determine if eligible. Ms. Pierce then called on Mr. Bill Price to introduce Mr. Frank Unger, the consultant who prepared the nomination for Battle of Blair Mountain Site, Logan County, for his presentation. Mr. Price distributed copies of Mr. Unger's presentation, entitled "Myths and Lies" to members (copy attached to official minutes), and spoke to the involvement of local residents and groups in the process of moving the nomination forward. He noted the receipt of numerous post cards and petitions in support of the nomination, which had been turned in to the Historic Preservation office and of more to add to these. He then introduced Mr. Unger, who has a Master's Degree in historic preservation from the University of Kentucky and is the owner of a private preservation consulting firm, to present the nomination. Mr. Unger used digital images of the handout and spoke to what he identified as misconceptions, myths and lies associated with the site by those opposed to its being listed on the National Register. He noted the significance of the ridge line being nominated as the defensive position of those forces opposing the miners march on Logan and its importance to American labor history, and cited examples and sources documenting the existence of logging roads and gas wells having an impact on the terrain at that time. He contended that the historical and current slides demonstrated that the property retained the essential physical features that enable it to convey its historic identity and the site's integrity. He referred members to a brochure distributed (copy attached to official minutes), demonstrating these features with an aerial photo of the Left Fork of Beech Creek, one of the important earlier advances by the union miners. He concluded his presentation, emphasizing the importance of the battle to labor history, of the ridge line's importance to the battle, and the remaining integrity of this line.
Chairman Conte introduced the second speaker, Mr. Bob McLuskey, who introduced himself as an attorney with Jackson Kelly in Charleston, representing certain property owners in the proposed nomination. He stated he had worked with the Blair Mountain site for fourteen years and that members should have received a package in the mail prior to the meeting (copy attached to official minutes). He referenced this and used a large map to demonstrate the boundaries of the nomination submitted for their consideration and those areas owned by the three companies he represented colored in yellow, comprising a large majority of the areas within the nomination boundary. Each of the landowners opposed the nomination primarily for three reasons: not all of the landowners had actually been notified of the petition in violation of the federal regulations; there were issues with the integrity of the site; and there were issues with the proposed boundary. Before addressing each of these issues, he reviewed some past history and exchanges between the state and the property owners, including the 1991 Blair Mountain Study Commission conducted by Professor Billy Joe Peyton for an ad hoc group composed of representatives of the legislature, the United Mine Workers, land owners, and the Division of Culture and History. He stated this study was exhaustive in every detail to identify every potential site and spot which could be documented as having historical significance and this report resulted in a "commemoration agreement." He then referred to a 1999 nomination petition which Historic Preservation staff reviewed, conducted aerial and surface site investigations and issued its findings that the site integrity had been compromised and it did not consider it eligible. He stated the current nomination was not initiated by historic preservation interests, but other interests: the Sierra Club and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. He then addressed his initial three points, stating that if the site lacked the required integrity in 1999 as stated by the SHPO, it certainly has not re-gained it in the past five or six years. He then noted that a number of permits, such as one for the Peach Tree area mentioned in the nomination presentation, had already been issued for surface mining with the SHPO consent. He also noted the absence of documentation for any resources in the northern 3.5-mile area of Crooked Creek Gap to Mill Creek Gap. He then addressed his third issue with the nomination, the failure to identify and properly notify property owners in accordance with federal regulations. He stated that six landowners were mailed notification this week and he had identified four more whom the office had failed to include in its mailing. He concluded his presentation by questioning the SHPO interpretation of a "no response" as concurring with the nomination and, in light of these points, recommended that the commission table or reject the nomination.
Chairman Conte stated that the commission would now hear public comments of no more than five minutes in the order of those who had signed the list to address the commission. (List of speakers and transcript of comments attached to official minutes.) Following these comments, Mr. Body thanked everyone for exercising their civic right in attending and expressing their position and then stated that the determination on the Blair Mountain nomination is not the Division of Culture and History's call, as the division remains neutral. Chairman Conte then declared the meeting recessed at 12:50 p.m. for a fifteen minute break.
The meeting reconvened at 1:15 p.m., at which time Chairman Conte requested a motion on the Battle of Blair Mountain nomination. Ms. Stalnaker first spoke to the commission role as a review board to comply with the Department of the Interior's Manual for State Historic Preservation Review Boards (copy attached to official minutes) requirement to vote on three things: significance in local, state, or national context; integrity, historical, architectural, and/or archeological; and the boundaries. Dr. Walker added that the guidelines stated the requirement that members were to apply professional and technical standards in an unbiased fashion to determine if the property meets the National Register criteria as written in the nomination, not on varying issues. Dr. Ledbetter requested clarification on the process of notifying property owners and its effect on the nomination. Ms. Pierce stated this was not a commission issue, but a staff responsibility and that notification had been sent by certified letter thirty-one days in advance to identified property owners, two public informational meetings had been held in the area with identified property owners invited to the 18 March meeting, and a public notification had been published in the paper. Dr. Arnett requested clarification on the nomination boundary. Ms. Pierce stated the map provided showed the boundary. Dr. Arnett and Chairman Conte asked for clarification regarding differences cited in the presentations and the statement that an area without documented sites was included. Ms. Pierce referenced them to pages ten and two, and staff comments, for their review. Ms. Brennan and Dr. Gozdzik likewise stated confusion regarding the boundary now and previously, and Ms. Pierce reviewed this from the original 1980 nomination and changes in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2001, during which the revisions reduced the boundary of the area and strengthened the site's integrity. Ms. Brennan stated this explanation helped to understand the statements in the presentations in reference to the boundary, and Ms. Pierce stated that her 1999 letter addressed the larger area. In reply to Mr. Stowell's question about the process following the vote, Ms. Pierce stated if the nomination were passed and forwarded to the Keeper, owner objections would be forwarded, and if a majority were opposed to listing, it would not be listed, but she will determine if it is eligible. She further stated that the Keeper could disagree with the commission. Chairman Conte asked again if there was interest in one way or the other on the Battle of Blair Mountain nomination. Ms. Stalnaker stated she would move to approve the nomination to get it on the table for consideration. Dr. Arnett moved to second. Dr. Walker spoke favorably about the nomination, which is well written about the events, but there are issues in the nomination which are inappropriate. As an example, she cited wording citing the threat of mining, which makes it sound like a salvage nomination as opposed to a nomination based on its historical merits. She questioned Map 2, which shows the configuration of the boundaries of the district and documented sites and battles within the proposed nomination site, but there is a lack of supporting documentation for these. She stated she would like to see documentation and substantiation on these. As an archaeologist, she stated she has seen many features that did not turn out to be features, and she would like to see substantiation in the nomination for the list of features referred to on the map and spread sheet that represents the documented field investigation. Mr. Unger stated the nomination was under Criterion A, not D, to which Dr. Gozdzik asked if the foxholes and such were left out, what would be left. Mr. Rowe explained that, under Criterion A, as a site, it was not necessary to prove that the buildings [sic] sites were actually associated with the battle, and this was a natural landscape and terrain associated with the event. Dr. Walker stated that this appeared as a technicality issue, which would require thoughtful refinement to overcome. Dr. Bailey inquired about the responses received from other property owners and multiple owners, to which Ms. Pierce stated the commission was not obliged to address property owners. He stated that, as he had heard from a couple, he was interested in knowing how many had been heard from and the tenor of these. Ms. Riebe stated she thought they had received 21 objections of 57 contacted. In reply to Dr. Gozdzik's question regarding the commemoration plan mentioned in the presentation, Ms. Pierce stated it did not apply to the commission's charge. Chairman Conte reminded members that their charge was to focus on the merits of the nomination and then recognized Mr. McLuskey to respond to the question regarding the number of property owners. He stated that there were 59 parcels, but only 38 or 39 owners and that legal notification did not go out to all, and then added additional comments questioning the proposed boundary, the integrity issue and the SHPO's 1999 letter referenced earlier. Chairman Conte thanked Mr. McCluskey and recognized Dr. Walker, who repeated that the nomination would have to eliminate language specific to sites mentioned, to which Ms. Baxter stated the commission had approved previous nominations conditional on revisions. Dr. Gozdzik indicated that the statement "extensive mining operations" needed to be eliminated; Dr. Walker cited a change necessary on page 24, section 8; Dr. Gozdzik cited a sentence on Page 22, section 8, on right- of-way of power and gas altering tourism. In reply to Dr. Ledbetter's question on past actions by the commission on such changes, Chairman Conte stated they could approve with an expression of their concerns, relying on staff to incorporate the changes, or require it to be revised and re-submitted. Secretary Armstrong stated that in the past, the commission had authorized staff to make similar changes and go forward with the nomination with a report back to the commission, citing the Weston District nomination as an example. Chairman Conte repeated the motion to approve the nomination of Blair Mountain. Ms. Stalnaker asked to amend her motion to include the changes cited by Dr. Walker and Dr. Gozdzik to be made by staff and report back to the Commission. Dr. Arnett, who had provided the second, agreed to accept this as a friendly amendment. Prior to the vote on the motion, Chairman Conte recognized Mr. Unger, who, in the way of offering clarification, referred to the second objection to the terrain of battle sites and logging, noting this site in particular has a tower line on it and referred to the geometrical profile. Chairman Conte called for everyone to vote on the motion. All votes cast were in favor and Chairman Conte declared the motion passed.
Chairman Conte thanked everyone who attended and participated in the nomination process and called on Mr. Taylor to present the next nomination, the Hinton Historic District Boundary amendment, Summers County. He explained the nomination was partially the result of a survey and changes in National Register policies and requirements since the district's initial nomination in 1984. The boundaries remained essentially the same, with a few areas along the railroad tracks to the north now vacant as shown on the district map and only the lot containing Lincoln School, which is a 1920s African-American school, added. It lies along the district's southern boundary. He reviewed the history of Hinton, the number of contributing (217) and non-contributing (27) resources, and the details of the Lincoln School. The nomination was eligible under Criterion C for Architecture with commercial, residential, educational, institutional, both secular and religious, and transportation related properties in the district, with the period of significance 1875 1954. Mr. Robert Crawford, a guest and son of the last principal of the Lincoln School, spoke briefly about the history of the school following the presentation. In reply to Dr. Arnett's question, he noted that the school trophies were saved and displayed in the Summers County High School. Dr. Bailey moved to approve the nomination. Dr. Ledbetter seconded. Mr. Armstrong asked why the nomination did not also include Criterion A, as it was mentioned in some of the text and presentation. It was noted that this was an oversight and the nomination should be considered under both A and C. Chairman Conte called for a vote on the motion; motion passed. Chairman Conte declared a recess for lunch at 2 p.m.
Chairman Conte, noting the absence of Dr. Arnett, stated the existence of a quorum and called the meeting back into session as 3:30 p.m. He requested a revision in the order of the presentation of nominations to allow the Faber Barn to be next. There being no opposition, Ms. Riebe presented the Faber Double-Crib Barn, Kenna area, Jackson County, under Criterion C, Architecture, with the period of significance being 1860. She noted the dating of the construction was based on extant family letters and that it represented one of the few remaining in the state and retaining its historical and architectural integrity. Mr. Stowell commented on the vertical siding and Mr. Tenney on its southern style and use of saddle notching. The owners, Mr. & Mrs. Herbert Faber, spoke briefly about the barn and some of the history and loss of other farm buildings nearby. Chairman Conte called for a motion on the nomination. Mr. Tenney moved to approve the nomination and Ms. Zirk provided the second. Motion carried.
Mr. Rowe presented the Gormania Presbyterian Church, Grant County, under Criterion C for Architecture, with a period of significance being 1888 (for the main body of the church) and 1925 for the Sunday School addition. He noted that the church also qualified under Criterion A as a property owned by a religious institution or used for religious purposes. The style, once very common in the Allegheny Highlands, was a very simple, white, framed church with a steeple. Dr. Bailey moved to approve the nomination following the presentation and Dr. Gozdzik provided the second. Motion carried.
Mr. Rowe presented the Lost Creek Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Train Depot, Main Street, Lost Creek, Harrison County, under Criterion A for Transportation, with the period of significance being 1892-1955. He noted that the depot served as the center of transportation needs out of Lost Creek and southern Harrison County and played a significant role in the cattle trade, with many large grazing areas kept by prominent area families. There being no questions, Ms. Stalnaker moved to approve the nomination and Mr. Stowell provided the second. Motion carried.
Ms. Riebe presented the Hampshire County Courthouse nomination as one of three to be presented under the County Courthouses of West Virginia multiple property resource context statement approved by the commission previously and accepted by the National Park Service in 2004. The courthouse was presented under Criterion A for Politics and Government and Criterion C for Architecture, for its Neo-Classical Revival style, with the periods of significance being ca. 1850 and 1921-1955. After the presentation, Mr. Armstrong asked if the nomination needs to include any reference to the access ramp, as it appears to present an intrusion to the integrity of the exterior. Ms. Riebe stated this could be added to Section 7 with a statement that it does not affect the significance under either criteria listed. Mr. Armstrong also asked if there was any additional information on the original jail, which looks like the jailer's residence. Ms. Riebe stated they had been unable to locate any more than presented in the nomination. Ms. Zirk moved to approve the nomination and Mr. Tenney provided the seconded. Motion carried.
Ms. Riebe presented the Mineral County Courthouse, Keyser, Mineral County, nomination, under Criterion A for Politics and Government and Criterion C for Architecture, Romanesque Revival style, with the period of significance being 1868-1955. She noted the formation of the county and the construction of the courthouse owed its existence to the influence of Henry Gassaway Davis, who wanted it near industrial enterprises in the region. He had provided the land for construction of the courthouse designed by C.G. Sims and constructed by I.B. Walton. Dr. Gozdzik moved to approve the nomination and Mr. Stowell provided the second. Motion passed.
Ms. Riebe presented the Morgan County Courthouse, Berkeley Springs, Morgan County, nomination under Criterion A for Politics and Government and Criterion C for Architecture, with the period of significance being 1907-1955. Following a question from Ms. Brennan concerning the pressed tin ceiling in the courthouse, Dr. Ledbetter moved to approve the nomination and Mr. Shock provided the second. Motion passed.
Ms. Riebe presented the Edgewood Manor, Clarksburg, Harrison County, nomination under Criterion C for Architecture, being designed by Steven Wardner Ford, with the period of significance being 1914. The home was constructed for Haze Morgan, a lawyer in Clarksburg and a descendant of the prominent western Virginia Morgan family. He lived in the house until his death in 1952. There being no questions on the nomination, Mr. Tenney moved to approve and Dr. Walker provided the second. Motion passed.
Ms. Riebe presented the final nomination, Woodridge, Wheeling, Ohio County, under Criterion A for Community Planning and Development, Transportation, Politics and Government and Criterion C for Architecture, with the periods of significance being 1831- 1864, ca. 1880, and ca. 1920. She recognized the work of Melody Koososwski from Wheeling, who had collaborated on the preparation of the nomination. She commented on the colorful history and design of the house that was constructed in 1831 for Daniel Steenrod and his family. He was a real estate developer who developed the Town of Fulton, now incorporated into Wheeling, and was also closely associated with the route for the National Road. Ms. Brennan moved to approve the nomination and Dr. Ledbetter provided the second. Motion passed. As this concluded the presentation of National Register nominations, members were requested to forward their voting forms to the secretary.
Chairman Conte recognized Ms. Pierce who asked if it would be within the commission's purview to return to the discussion of the Blair Mountain nomination as the office has been made aware of the possibility of differences in the number of property owners and the law firm representing some of the property owners is considering filing a lawsuit. The office had listed 57 property owners and the lawyers contend the number is 39. Ms. Pierce advised the commission that the office was considering sending the nomination on to the Keeper for a determination of eligibility for which it has 45 days for this process. The office would then go back and again send all property owners a certified letter in accordance with the 30 to 75 days requirements and re-present the nomination at the next meeting. Several members expressed questions and concerns about going back on what was done earlier in the meeting when the interested public on both sides were present. Ms. Stalnaker asked if the owner opposition prevented recommending anyway and Ms. Riebe stated that if it represented fifty percent, which they did not know at this time, it would prevent it from moving forward. Staff advised the commission that this approach would move the process forward by obtaining the Keeper's determination and avert the threat of a lawsuit. Dr. Bailey stated that this approach may be better, but he questioned doing it after the commission's action of this morning. Mr. Armstrong also expressed his concern regarding the conduct of official business under the "Open Meetings" law where the action taken with so many in attendance is altered or reversed later after their departure. Ms. Pierce stated they would proceed as directed by the commission and that her initial question was whether the commission could revisit to discuss or reconsider the nomination. Mr. Armstrong replied that it is his understanding that any commission, any board, can take up and reconsider, even at a later meeting, and this commission has done such in the past, not at the same meeting, but at a later meeting. In reply to Ms. Brennan, Ms. Pierce stated there would be staff re-evaluation of the property owner issue. Ms. Pierce confirmed Ms. Brennan's observation that if the review found everything in order there would be no reason to reconsider the nomination and it could move forward as usual. Dr. Bailey then made a motion to seek an opinion from the Attorney General's Office in respect to the property owner notification process to ensure that all was in order before further action on the nomination. Commissioner Body stated that Secretary Goodwin had called earlier in the week regarding the assignment of an attorney for the agency and the use of this service for such questions and issues in the future. Following additional discussion on these issues, Ms. Brennan provided a second to Dr. Bailey's motion, which he repeated at the request of Ms. Pierce, who stated this would allow them to move the nomination forward before the next meeting, if the legal review cleared the property owner and notification issues. Dr. Ledbetter commented that his vote was based on the Criteria and the three specific areas they were told to address, as he was told the notification process and issues was the responsibility of the staff not the commission, and questioned why it would have to come back to the commission. It was explained that it would depend on what was cited if it was returned by the National Park Service. After extended additional discussion, Mr. Armstrong stated the importance of handling the process correctly, as this meeting had demonstrated the greatest public interest ever and they could not afford to introduce questions of credibility. This discussion led to general agreement that the office would seek legal advice and then submit the nomination if cleared legally. Dr. Bailey withdrew his motion and Ms. Brennan agreed to withdraw her second.
Before returning to the next item of New Business, Chairman Conte called on Mr. Body for his report. He noted that the agency had a number of items proposed for the session- -raises for various sections of the staff, increased funds for the State Museum, and increased grant monies for the commissions -- but failed to receive positive results. He commented on the current efforts to tighten the specs and budget for the museum without a negative impact on the interpretation or visitor experience. He informed members of a meeting with Senator Brooks McCabe who wants to go forward with a major visitors' center for the complex, which would pose potential problems for the division. In the budget, funds were there for the addition at Grave Creek and an increase for the staff. Funding was also there for a second archeologist position and some to support positions at Camp Washington-Carver and the Logan Museum in the Park. He commented on the Archives Centennial, Picturing West Virginia and of a pending contract for a lecture by Henry Louis Gates in October. In response to Dr. Ledbetter's question about contacting museum constituent groups to generate support and a funding drive, Mr. Body stated they now had control of the Museum Board, which had done some fund raising, but they are waiting for a ruling from the Ethics Commission before proceeding. Dr. Ledbetter suggested looking into connecting with schools and visitor groups to advocate, as they relied on the museum as a visitation site.
Secretary Armstrong introduced Jenny Boggess, director of the Administrative Section, who made reference to the FY06 Budget and addressed some of the changes. She noted and reviewed changes not already commented on by Mr. Body. She noted that efforts to correct the deficient funds in the Records Management and Preservation Board's account failed during the legislative session, but they would continue to work to have this oversight corrected. This concluded the budget report and Chairman Conte called on Ms. Pierce to address the FY2006 State Historic Preservation Development Grants.
Ms. Pierce referred members to a corrected, final sheet which she had distributed during the break (copy attached to official minutes). She noted total funds requested were over $2.5 million, of which they were recommending awards totaling $400,000, with $50,000 for administrative costs. She pointed out that Washington Bottom Farm would be granted funds out of FY2005, as it had cancelled the project last year and requested the same project this year. She noted they were recommending two of three projects with the same score for funding and the third, the Marion County Courthouse, had a current grant. She invited questions and requested that a motion to approve include language to allow staff the discretion to direct funding to other projects. She noted the list included recent nominations, including Boggs Mill and Homestead Elementary School. In reply to Chairman Conte's question about funding a Dollar General Store (06-015), Ms. Pierce stated it was not the same as the chain, and that it was located in a historic building. She noted that a good many of the projects were roofs and gutters. Dr. Gozdzik moved to approve the list of projects as recommended by the staff, with the understanding that the staff could redirect unexpended funds from failed projects, or those not expending their total award, to other approved projects or the next highest rated project. Ms. Zirk provided the required second. Motion carried.
Ms. Pierce directed members attention to the FY2006 Annual Work Program DRAFT (copy attached to official minutes). She noted this required no action until the next meeting, but it would be posted for public comment. She requested members to review and send in any comments during this period. Attention was directed to the change in the Survey and Planning Grants that go to Certified Local Governments (CLG), which will be on an 80/20 match and the non-CLGs will remain as a 60/40 match.
Chairman Conte called upon Mr. Armstrong for his report on the new highway historic marker request, the Town of Burnsville. Mr. Armstrong stated that a number of towns and communities were recognized with markers in the original 1934-37 program and this request, sponsored by the town, represented a continuation of providing brief town histories for citizens and visitors. He cited the information mailed to members and stated the inscription would be extracted from this (copy attached to official minutes). Chairman Conte recognized Dr. Bailey who moved to approve the Town of Burnsville marker. Dr. Ledbetter provided the second. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte called on Dr. Bailey for the nominating report. Dr. Bailey, on behalf of the Nominating Committee, presented the committee's report, recommending the re-election of the current chairman, Dr. Conte, and Vice-Chairman, Dr. Bailey. He moved adoption of the report and Ms. Stalnaker provided the second. There being no other nominations, members voted on the motion. Motion passed.
Ms. Stalnaker shared with members the headline from the Weston Democrat with regard to Weston and the new district which had been approved by the commission.
Chairman Conte moved on to History Day 2006, asking if there was a date set. Secretary Armstrong advised confirmation for Thursday, 16 February. Ms. Stalnaker advised members that at the next meeting, whether it be in Ronceverte as suggested or elsewhere, there would be a committee meeting the night before as part of the regular meeting with regard to History Day. She suggested the possibility of having dinner together the night before the meeting so the committee could meet.
Chairman Conte advised members that, at this time, the next meeting is scheduled for 7 October in Ronceverte. Secretary Armstrong reminded members that the Winter meeting was scheduled for Friday, 3 February, 2006 with two locations to be considered, The Greenbrier or some place in Lewis County. Chairman Conte identified some concerns with The Greenbrier location because of the new guest policy and the requirements of the "Open Meetings" law. Ms. Stalnaker suggested alternative sites, Weston or Glenville, with a new Best Western for lodging and possibly the meeting, or the college for the meeting. Ms. Stalnaker moved that Glenville be the site of the winter meeting and Dr. Ledbetter provided the second. Motion passed.
Ms. Stalnaker then moved to adjourn and Chairman Conte declared the meeting adjourned at 5:05 p.m.
Fredrick H. Armstrong
Archives and History Commission