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MINUTES
WEST VIRGINIA
ARCHIVES AND HISTORY COMMISSION
SPRING MEETING
FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2016
HILTON GARDEN INN
MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA

Chairman Harold Forbes called the meeting to order at 9:32 a.m. In addition to Mr. Forbes, other voting members present were Tommy Bailey, Dr. Melissa Bingmann, Rebecca Frye, Victor Greco, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Dr. Billy Joe Peyton, Nathan Randolph, Alison Thornton, and Dr. Joan Walker. Voting members absent were Dr. Robert Conte, Nat DeBruin, and Keven Walker. Ex officio voting member present was Dr. Bill Arnett. Ex officio voting member absent was Fredrick Armstrong. Ex officio non-voting members present were Joe Geiger, director, Archives and History Section; Dr. Michael Hohn, director, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey; Charles Morris, director, Museums Section; Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation Section; and Randall-Reid Smith, commissioner of Culture and History. Ex officio non-voting member absent was Sandra Scaffidi, president of Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. Also present were Historic Preservation staff members Pam Brooks, Jeff Smith, and WVU fellow Amanda West.

Following introductions, Chairman Forbes asked for a motion on the meeting minutes of 29 January 2016. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Mr. Randolph, with a second by Dr. Arnett. The motion was approved.

Chairman Forbes then called for a motion to approve the agenda. Dr. Hohn asked to be added to the agenda to enable him to display and describe his miniatures of historical buildings. Mr. Geiger noted that the item 2016 State Development Grants should be 2017 State Development Grants. Dr. Bingmann asked that she be permitted to make an announcement about National History Day at the end of the meeting if time permits. Jeff Smith noted that there were no National Register nominations to be considered, so he had a brief training presentation on the process. Mr. Greco made a motion to approve the agenda as amended, with a second by Mr. Randolph. The motion was approved.

Chairman Forbes called upon Mr. Geiger for the Archives and History report. Mr. Geiger referred members to information provided in the monthly reports for December 2015 through March 2016 (copies attached to official minutes) and then reviewed recent activities. He noted the success of History Bowl and stated that the first forty sesquicentennial highway historical markers had been ordered and were being completed. A meeting had been held with the governor’s staff and First Lady Tomblin regarding the transfer of their official papers to the State Archives. He mentioned recent speakers in the Archives and History lecture series, including Huey Perry, Terry Lowry, and Dr. Joseph Turner, and summarized ongoing efforts to establish an electronic records program. Geiger added that he had delivered a presentation to circuit clerks and that work continued on processing the Court of Claims and Brown family collections.

Chairman Forbes asked for a definition of dark storage and Mr. Geiger explained that this referred to storage of the original electronic records that were transferred to the State Archives or created by Archives and History staff. Dark storage was for permanent preservation of digital records, and entailed preventing the alteration of digital files by viewing, backing up, or any other action. Mr. Forbes noted that had been the procedure for the storage of audio and video files for decades. Dr. Ledbetter asked if paper copies were still made and Mr. Geiger responded collections like the Manchin photographs would be preserved only in electronic format. Mr. Randolph talked about the necessity to have software to open old files and Mr. Geiger agreed, but noted it was also important to keep those original files in their original version as well.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Susan Pierce for the Historic Preservation report. Ms. Pierce provided a written report to members (copy attached to official minutes) as well as the draft 2017 annual work program. She then reviewed recent activities, including the mention of new staff members. She noted that staff had conducted training around the state for the Certified Local Government program and National Register activities. She also mentioned work on the development grant program, which included monitoring a variety of covenants, and attendance at pre-bid meetings for the Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion stabilization project and the Blue Church in Wheeling. Staff has written articles for the Fall issue of Goldenseal magazine, which will focus on historic preservation. She noted that the commissioner worked with several state senators to present a Senate resolution recognizing fifty years of SHPO activities.

Ms. Pierce informed the commission that staff had been busy with review and compliance activities, including meeting with Division of Highways representatives regarding repairs to the Wheeling Suspension Bridge and the National Road. She noted work to aid the Museums section with the Buffalo repatriation efforts and stated that Ms. Brooks had conducted the survey and planning grant orientation.

Dr. Peyton asked about the WVU Tech center and was informed by Ms. Pierce that it was the organization that hosts SHPO’s GIS system. Dr. Hohn noted the formal name was the West Virginia GIS Technical Center. Mr. Greco praised the extensive work of the section.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Charles Morris for the Museums report. Mr. Morris provided a written report to members (copy attached to official minutes) and reviewed section activities. He informed commission members that activities would be taking place at all sites for the celebration of West Virginia Day on June 20. Also, the fortieth anniversary of the Culture Center will be celebrated on Saturday, July 16. The award winners of the juried exhibition are on display in the Culture Center through the summer. At Camp Washington-Carver, staff is preparing for the busy summer season. Museums and technical services staff have been designing and building new exhibits at Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex and a new site manager has been hired at West Virginia Independence Hall. Museum in the Park recently held its annual wildflower walk, which has been held for more than thirty years. The Museum Education unit just completed lesson plans for K-5 and are working with teachers across the state. He also noted progress in the installation of the collections storage system, and stated that a long-time leak at the Culture Center was being fixed.

Chairman Forbes noted that although she was unable to attend, Ms. Scaffidi had submitted a report on the activities of Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV). Chairman Forbes shared her report and distributed cards with information about the PAWV conference, which will be held September 22-24 in Beverly and Elkins.

Chairman Forbes called on Dr. Arnett for a report by the West Virginia Historical Association. Dr. Arnett noted that he had nothing to report but that he would continue to serve for as long as he was needed.

In the absence of Mr. Armstrong, no report was given by the West Virginia Historical Society.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith for a report on Culture and History activities. The commissioner spoke about History Bowl and increased student attendance at the museum and noted that the rolled shelving project would be completed in mid-July. He reviewed work at Camp Washington-Carver, where three roofs and a deck are to be replaced. He also mentioned work at Independence Hall and a project to fix a leak at the Culture Center.

The commissioner also reviewed legislative budget proposals and mentioned various activities to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. In addition to an October 16 event at the Culture Center, a lecture series on historic preservation, named for former commission member Snookie Nutting, will be introduced at West Virginia Independence Hall. He noted work on the VH1 Save the Music Foundation project, which has given more than two million dollars to schools in West Virginia, and said the new VH1 executive director is committed to finishing the project.

Mr. Randolph mentioned that he had recently attended an event at the Culture Center and praised the flexibility of the staff. He also expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the commissioner to protect the budget. Mr. Bailey seconded Mr. Randolph’s comments and praised the commissioner for his work.

Turning to Old Business, Chairman Forbes called for an update on previous National Register nominations. Mr. Smith informed members that the four nominations approved by the commission in January were listed in May.

Dr. Ledbetter made a motion that Chairman Forbes prepare a letter to the state legislature on behalf of the commission reflecting support of continuation of the budget for Culture and History. Mr. Randolph seconded the motion and noted that the emphasis should be on the financial benefits of supporting the agency. The motion was approved.

Turning to New Business, Chairman Forbes called on Ms. Pierce to present the FY2017 State Development Grants. She briefly explained than an outside panel was convened to evaluate, score, and prepare funding recommendations. The panel recommended $420,164 in grant funding. Following her presentation, Ms. Thornton asked if applicants considered the time necessary to complete their projects, and Ms. Pierce agreed meeting deadlines was a growing concern. Dr. Hohn asked about partial funding for roof replacements, and Ms. Pierce noted that sometimes the limit in available grant funds forced these organizations to seek additional funding to supplement the grant and complete the project. Dr. Bingmann noted that the Blue Church requested $76,000 for a roof but only received $12,000. Ms. Brooks responded that they had previously been awarded a grant for structural work on the roof and that this grant request was for the roof itself. The review panel considered that they had already received $50,000. Dr. Hohn asked if training was provided to grant applicants, and Ms. Pierce replied that a checklist was provided and that Ms. Brooks spent a considerable amount of time responding to questions from applicants.

Dr. Ledbetter pointed out an error, stating that Grant 17-039 was awarded $40,250 but “no funding recommended” was noted in the comments column. Mr. Randolph made a motion to amend the cover sheet comments for Grant 17-039 by changing the words in the comments section from “no funding recommended” to “partial funding recommended.” Mr. Bailey seconded the motion. The motion was approved.

Mr. Greco recused himself from the meeting at this time. Mr. Randolph made a motion to approve the panel recommendations for all projects except Simpson Memorial Church (17-001), McFarland-Hubbard House (17-008) and Douglass Jr./Sr. High School (17-022). Ms. Thornton seconded the motion. Dr. Bingmann asked what the most important criteria was for funding projects, and Ms. Pierce replied that the documentation of how significant the need is the most important. Photo documentation and community support were also important factors. Dr. Bingmann suggested that commission members be given copies of the blank score sheets so they can see how the panel is evaluating the applicants. She also pointed out that the grant comment sheet stated no consultant was identified for the Crawford Building (17-033) but they were still awarded $40,000. Ms. Pierce responded that they were not fully funded but it was still a worthy project. Dr. Ledbetter called for the question, and the motion passed.

After Dr. Ledbetter recused himself and left the room, Mr. Randolph made a motion to approve the panel recommendation for Simpson Memorial Church (17-001) and Dr. Arnett provided the second. Motion passed. Dr. Peyton recused himself and left the room and Dr. Ledbetter returned to the meeting. Mr. Randolph made a motion to approve panel recommendations for the two McFarland-Hubbard House (17-008) requests and Dr. Bingmann provided the second. Ms. Thornton asked if pressure washing was covered by the grant and was informed that it was not. Motion passed.

Mr. Randolph recused himself and left the room and Dr. Peyton returned to the meeting. Dr. Bingmann made a motion to approve Douglass Jr./Sr. High School (17-022), with a second by Dr. Peyton. The motion was approved.

At 11:20 a.m. Chairman Forbes called for a lunch break and the meeting restarted at 12:07 p.m. with Mr. Greco and Mr. Randolph in attendance.

Mr. Randolph made a motion to accept the panel’s recommendations for the FY2017 State 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. Dr. Bingmann provided the second and the motion was approved.

Dr. Peyton and Mr. Randolph recused themselves and left the room. Following a discussion of the grant panel’s recommendation for the process of reducing grant funding, Chairman Forbes requested that the minutes reflect that the commission has been informed of, have discussed, and understand the recommendations made by the grant panel. Dr. Peyton and Mr. Randolph returned to the meeting.

Chairman Forbes called on Ms. Pierce to present the 2016 Survey and Planning Realtor Training Grants. Dr. Peyton recused himself and left the room. Mr. Greco made a motion to fund both applications, Mr. Randolph provided the second, and the motion was approved.

Following the return of Dr. Peyton to the meeting, Ms. Pierce noted that SHPO staff is developing a list of historic resources representing all fifty-five counties as part of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

Chairman Forbes called on Mr. Randolph to give the Nominating Committee report on a suggested slate of officers (chair and vice chair). Mr. Randolph reported that the committee’s recommendation is for the nomination of Harold Forbes as chairperson and Victor Greco as vice chairperson. Dr. Ledbetter moved to accept the recommendation of the committee and Mr. Bailey provided the second. Motion carried.

Dr. Bingmann informed commission members that the history department at West Virginia University had hosted National History Day, a competition for junior high and high school students, on April 9, with participation from the libraries, the school of education, and the history department.

Jeff Smith gave a detailed training presentation on the National Register listing process and responded to questions from commission members.

Dr. Hohn displayed a number of models of buildings he had constructed as a member of the Mon Valley Railroad Historical Society.

Chairman Forbes noted that there were no commission vacancies at this time and requested that this item be removed from the agenda.

Chairman Forbes noted that the Fall meeting is scheduled to be held at North Bend State Park on September 30, with October 7 as a backup date. The date and location of the Winter meeting are to be determined. The preference would be to have it in conjunction with History Day in Charleston, but if that is not feasible, Stonewall Jackson Resort State Park and Hawks Nest State Park were mentioned as possible alternative locations.

Mr. Greco made a motion to adjourn and Chairman Forbes declared the meeting adjourned at 1:19 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Joseph N. Geiger, Jr.
Secretary


Archives and History Commission

West Virginia Archives and History