Chairman Robert Conte called the meeting to order at 9:34 a.m. In addition to Dr. Conte, other voting members present were Harold Forbes, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Noel Tenney, and Dr. Joan Walker. Voting members absent were Becky Frye, Victor Greco, and Bill Richardson. Ex officio voting members present were Fredrick Armstrong and Dr. Bill Arnett. Ex officio non-voting members present were Joe Geiger, director of Archives and History, serving as secretary to the commission; Dr. Michael Hohn, director, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (arrived at 10:17 a.m.); Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation Section; ex officio non-voting members absent were Charles Morris, director, Museums Section; and Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History. Also present were Historic Preservation staff members Jennifer Brennan, Pam Brooks, Bethany Canfield, and Erin Riebe. Chairman Conte noted two adjustments to the agenda: under Old Business, discussion of the Procedural Rules which were ready to be filed with the Secretary of State's office; and under New Business, in addition to Survey and Planning grants, the commission will also vote on the second round of Development grants.
Following introductions, Chairman Conte asked for a motion on the meeting minutes of 27 September 2012. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Dr. Arnett, with a second by Dr. Ledbetter. Mr. Armstrong noted that according to Robert's Rules of Order, ex officio non-voting members may not make a motion, and that at the September meeting, such a member made a motion and provided the second. He suggested the nomination on page 7 be re-done with voting members doing the nominating, but Ms. Pierce stated she believed there was not a problem. Motion carried.
Chairman Conte asked for a motion on the meeting minutes of 27 December 2012. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Mr. Forbes, with a second by Dr. Arnett. Motion carried. Mr. Armstrong abstained.
Chairman Conte called upon Mr. Geiger for the Archives and History report. Mr. Geiger referred members to information provided in the monthly reports for September through December 2012 (copies attached to official minutes). Mr. Geiger then discussed section activities, including the announcement of a $168,000 grant from the Department of Transportation for sesquicentennial markers, which, in conjunction with a previous grant, will fund 160 new highway historical markers relating to the Civil War and statehood. He informed members about a governors' exhibit that had been displayed in the Archives Library which had received media coverage and was viewed by several governors. Geiger discussed records management activities, including the county statewide preservation project and work with state agencies on retention schedules and authorization to destroy requests. After noting the success of History Day, he reported that History Bowl regional competitions were underway and would eventually include about 150 teams. Library programs continue to draw outstanding attendance and Geiger noted that Dr. Ledbetter would be speaking on April 2 on the West Virginia State Aviation Program.
Mr. Forbes asked how many students participated in History Bowl, and Mr. Geiger responded that although perhaps 600 will participate in the actual competition, hundreds more competed to become members of their school's team. Mr. Armstrong asked about duplication of listed highway markers on the November and December reports and was informed it was most likely a mistake. In response to a question from Mr. Armstrong about the Jones Brothers marker in Clay County, Mr. Geiger stated that the Clay County Commission had sponsored the marker and that it would be stored until road construction in the area was completed and it could be installed. Chairman Conte asked if the sesquicentennial markers were new markers and was informed that they were. Mr. Tenney asked about the process for selecting the subjects, and Mr. Geiger stated that Archives and History staff would be making the final decisions but would probably consult with local historians if suggestions or advice was needed. Geiger notified the commission that the grants that funded the replacement and refurbishment of 350 markers have been completed and also that an arrangement has been made with the Division of Highways for the installation of private-sponsor markers. Mr. Armstrong asked about a time frame for completion of the project, and he was informed that grant periods are normally two to three years from initiation date, but that authorization to proceed has not been granted.
Chairman Conte then called upon Ms. Pierce for her presentation of the Historic Preservation report. Ms. Pierce referred to the report distributed to members (copy attached to official minutes) and noted the completion of the End of Year FY 2012 report for the National Park Service and the submission of the 2013 grant. She stated that education workshops for realtors had been scheduled, and dates had been set for the cycle of revising the 5-year Historic Preservation plan. Ms. Pierce noted her attendance at an annual SHPO conference in Washington, and she praised Tami Koontz for her work on the GIS system. SHPO staff member Bethany Canfield informed members more than 64,000 survey forms were available on-line, gave a demonstration of the system, and answered questions about its operation and updating. Mr. Armstrong asked if the end-of-the-year report would be placed on-line and was informed it would not be. He also asked about the Hinton fire, and Michael Gioulis, who was in attendance, noted he believed the damage was several blocks outside the historic district. Mr. Armstrong asked about the two schools in Preston County, and Ms. Pierce said they were determined eligible but will be razed.
In the absence of Charles Morris, no report was given on Museums activities, but a written report was distributed (copy attached to official minutes).
In the absence of Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, no report was given on Culture and History activities.
Turning to Old Business, Ms. Riebe provided updates on National Register nominations previously reviewed by the commission (copy attached to official minutes). Of the nine nominations approved at the last commission meeting, all were listed in the National Register except for Buffington Island, which had more than 50 percent owner objections; however, it has been forwarded on by the Ohio SHPO to determine formal eligibility.
Chairman Conte then called on Mr. Geiger to comment on the progress of the filing of the commission by-laws as Procedural Rules with the Secretary of State. Mr. Geiger stated the by-laws were ready to be filed but he asked for commission opinion as to whether to include a provision designating the director of Historic Preservation to serve as secretary for the commission in the absence of the director of Archives and History. He also noted that although the by-laws permitted telephone or electronic communication for special and emergency meetings, it does not contain a similar provision to permit commission members to participate in regular meetings in this manner, and he asked if this reflected the sentiment of the current commission. Mr. Armstrong stated he believed that it was unnecessary to designate a replacement for the secretary since the chairperson had the authority to appoint a replacement and would logically select one of the staff members. Chairman Conte suggested Mr. Geiger make the suggested changes and run the amended by-laws by the commission at a future meeting. Mr. Tenney stated the inclusion of that provision might be an enticement to eliminate physical meetings. Mr. Armstrong noted that the terms of all current commissioners had expired and that members had been informed a year earlier that action would be taken on appointments. Mr. Armstrong made a motion to defer action on the by-laws until action is seen on the appointments and re-appointments by state government. Mr. Tenney seconded. Dr. Ledbetter questioned whether taking this action would accomplish anything, and Dr. Hohn suggested using teleconferencing to reach a quorum was a commonsense approach. Mr. Tenney stated the commission should hold off action until hearing from the governor's office. Motion passed.
Turning to New Business, Chairman Conte called for the presentation of the National Register nominations.
Thomas C. Miller Public School, Marion County, nominated under Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being 1914 and 1928, was presented by Michael Gioulis. Dr. Ledbetter moved for approval of the nomination and Dr. Walker provided the second. Motion carried.
Morris Memorial Hospital for Crippled Children, Cabell County, nominated under Criterion A, Health/Medicine, and Criterion A, Social History, with period of significance being 1936-1960, was presented by Michael Gioulis. Before presenting the nomination, Mr. Gioulis had Tom Canterbury, mayor of Milton, and Charles Conard, Milton councilman, who were in attendance to support the nomination, introduce themselves. Mr. Armstrong asked where the historic photographs were located and was informed they were from West Virginia University, private collections, and the Herald Dispatch. Mr. Armstrong stated he recalled that the National Archives had a collection of relevant photographs. Chairman Conte asked if the building had been sitting unused since 1960, and Mr. Gioulis responded that the building had been used as a nursing home but had been vacant since 2009. It is hoped it will be utilized as a drug rehabilitation facility. Mr. Armstrong noted several footnote corrections that need to be made and suggested more mention in the nomination of the surgeries conducted at the hospital. Mr. Tenney asked why the architecture criteria was not used and was informed by Mr. Gioulis that Criterion A was more defensible and researchable, although they may look into adding architecture. Mr. Tenney believed that adding architecture would strengthen support for WPA structures throughout the state. Mr. Tenney moved for approval of the nomination, and Dr. Arnett provided the second. Motion carried.
Brookside Historic District, Preston County, nominated under Criterion A, Entertainment/Recreation, and Criterion A, Agriculture, with period of significance being ca. 1885-1924; 1929-1939, was presented by Courtney Fint Zimmerman. Before her presentation, Ms. Zimmerman introduced Audrey Stevenson of the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area (Americorps). Dr. Walker asked for a clarification on the property transactions, which Ms. Zimmerman provided. Mr. Armstrong asked why 1939 was used as the end date for the nomination and was informed that was when the resort closed. Ms. Riebe noted the opening paragraph needed to be altered, and Mr. Armstrong offered several minor suggestions. Mr. Armstrong moved for approval of the nomination, and Dr. Walker provided the second. Motion carried.
Ms. Pierce presented the FY2013 Survey and Planning Grant applications, noting that the only project not recommended for funding was the Staats Hospital because it did not document current property ownership. Projects that were not fully funded were judged upon the viability of the match and an evaluation of an appropriate dollar figure. Staff recommended funding for a survey only for the East End project due to time constraints. Since this is Certified Local Government funding, they were required by the National Park Service to set aside 10 percent for historic landmark commission activity. Mr. Armstrong asked about the Greenbrier County survey, which would complete the eastern portion of the county, and how the county was divided. Ms. Pierce stated it was not a duplication of what has been done before. Ms. Riebe and Ms. Canfield confirmed they are doing the county systematically and this survey will complete Greenbrier County. Mr. Armstrong asked about the county's historic landmark commission also doing Blue Sulphur Spring House, and he was informed by Ms. Pierce that they were different projects to be completed by different organizations. Dr. Arnett moved to approve the staff recommendations for the FY2013 Survey and Planning Grants with the provision authorizing staff to move funds from cancelled projects or projects unable to use all available funding to the next project in order of priority or to increase funding to an approved project needing additional funds. The motion was seconded by Dr. Walker. Motion carried.
Ms. Pierce then presented the second round of 2013 Development Grant applications. She reviewed how staff determined their scores and presented their recommendations. Mr. Tenney asked if SHPO staff had criteria for community support letters for private residences, and Ms. Pierce responded they accept all types of support documents, including letters and petitions, which come from many different sources. Mr. Armstrong asked about the Marshall County grant, which stated that if funds were left over after the electrical work was completed, they would be used for plaster work. Ms. Pierce stated that since staff had not recommended any funding for plaster work, they would pay half of the cost for the electrical work but would not allow leftover funds to be used for plaster work. Dr. Hohn stated staff needed to make funding amounts clear, and Ms. Pierce agreed. Mr. Armstrong asked if the Fayetteville Elementary School was still functioning as a school and was informed it was. Mr. Armstrong asked why SHPO was providing funding when the school has an alternative source of funding from the State Board of Education. Ms. Pierce responded there was nothing to prevent them from applying, and their application scored higher than those that did not receive funding. Dr. Arnett moved to approve the staff recommendations for the FY2013 Development Grants with the provision authorizing staff to move funds from cancelled projects or projects unable to use all available funding to the next project in order of priority or to increase funding to an approved project needing additional funds. The motion was seconded by Dr. Walker. Motion carried, with Mr. Armstrong voting against.
Chairman Conte appointed Mr. Forbes and Dr. Walker to serve on the Nominating Committee, which will present the suggested slate of officers (Chair and Vice Chair) at the Spring meeting.
Mr. Armstrong made a motion that a resolution be drafted and sent to the Governor requesting action on appointments to the Archives and History Commission, and that a copy be sent to the chair of the Senate Confirmation Committee. Dr. Ledbetter seconded. Motion carried.
Chairman Conte noted that the Spring meeting is scheduled to be held in Elkins on May 31, 2013, and the Fall meeting will be held in Clarksburg or Fairmont on September 27, with October 4 as a backup date.
Dr. Walker made a motion to adjourn and Chairman Conte declared the meeting adjourned at 12:10 p.m.
Joseph N. Geiger, Jr.
Archives and History Commission