Rushing flood waters made streets and railroad routes impassable near Philippi, one of many West Virginia communities enduring major flooding this year.
BY GRACE TRUMAN
Trial by water. That's how many West Virginians would describe what their lives have been like in 1996.
From 1anuary through September, four major floods and numerous flash floods have struck communities and farmland in more than 40 counties; four people have been killed in flood-related incidents. Flood damage statewide has been estimated at $100 million. Thousands of families have had to cope with damaged homes, destroyed personal belongings, lost income, and disrupted lives. Recovery efforts have been almost continuous in some
areas. And throughout the state, West Virginia University Extension Service county agents have joined with other community leaders and with relief agencies to help people rebuild their lives. "During the flood preparation and the aftermath, our goal was simply to find ways to help people with needs," said Carl Townsend, WVU extension agent in Ohio County. The Northern Panhandle was hit hard by the January continued on page 3
viewpoint It always a pleasure to welcome readers for another update on some of the things that are happening in the WVU Extension Service. Since the last issue of Vision, we have circulated the WVU-ES 1995 Annual Report. I hope you have seen that report. If not, let us know and we'll get a copy to you. I hope the articles that follow will be of interest to you. Summer has come and gone, and as the lead article documents, it was an unusual one with tragic consequences for many of our citizens. Here at WVU in Morgantown, the challenge of change has been in the air throughout the year. Operation Jumpstart was initiated successfully, and we're almost at the end of the football season. With the severance benefit plan in place, we've had changing faces and more than 300 "severances" from the WVU family, while we struggle with the legislative mandate for accountability and increased recognition of our customers' needs. Extension has not been in isolation through all of this-we have lost 27 of our folks through severance. That, plus a very 2
tight financial position, has kept some continuous stress on the system. But we learn to live with our situation, and as business writer Tom Peters has opined, "Today, loving change, tumult, even chaos is a prerequisite for survival, let alone success." We often do not fully appreciate the tremendous resilience of the human spirit to adjust and adapt until we experience some of these human relationships firsthand. Some of that is reflected in a couple of our articles in this issue. Another change coming soon, will be the selection of a permanent WVU Associate Provost for the Extension Service. The Search Committee has been working diligently and hopes to have the position filled around the first of the year. We'll keep you posted. I've had the opportunity to spend some time lately at Jackson's Mill State 4-H Conference Center, near Weston. It has been lovely during the fall leaf season, with the changing colors and a few bright, sunny days. Many folks feel that Jackson's Mill truly is one of the treasures of our state. Although it is officially
the State 4-H Camp, it certainly has much to offer many groups as a conference center. Keep that in mind as you plan your next meeting or conference. If you need a peaceful, productive setting, give Marie Burleigh a call at 1-800-2878206 to see if we can accommodate you. Thank you for your support of the people who make up the WVU Extension Service. We are most appreciative, and we welcome your insights and perspectives on our work.
-Bob Maxwell, Interim Associate Provost & Director
mission of the Virginia University
Extension Service is to form
learning partnerships with the people of West Virginia to enable
them to improve their lives and
communities. To these partnerships, we bring useful research- and experience-based knowledge that
facilitates critical thinking and skill development.
Extension Vision: Fall 1996
Rain and more rain
Swept off its foundation by raging flood waters, the house on the right rests against the porch of an adjacent home in Marlinton. continued from page 1
flood, caused by heavy rains and melting snows from an earlier blizzard. All 800 homes on Wheeling Island in the Ohio River were damaged, and thousands of people had to be evacuated. Townsend and fellow extension agent John Miller were part of an Emergency
Reaction Center team operating in the basement of Wheeling's City-County Building. As calls came in for assistance from flood victims or workers in the field, the team dispatched volunteers to the sites. In the days and weeks after the water subsided, the extension agents disseminated information on cleanup and repairs. Now, Townsend continues to work with the Ohio Valley Caregivers Organization to prepare volunteers for future disaster response efforts.
Some West Virginia communities had barely completed repairs from the January floods when they were deluged again in May-and then again in July-and then once more in September. "It seems like people were just getting back to normal from the January flood when we got hit again," noted Larry Campbell, extension agent in Tucker County. "And in between the big floods, we also experienced major flash flooding on some of the tributaries. Farmers were hit hard; they've lost cattle and the use of their land, and they lost a lot of their hay reserves." Recurring floods also are causing anxiety over loss of jobs in flood-prone areas.
As president of the Tucker County Planning Commission, Campbell is helping local officials explore options for flood prevention, including work on river channels, dike extensions, and dredging. In a small county with five rivers, however, the threat of flooding can never be eliminated. Tucker was one of many counties hit hard by the devastating flood that swept through West Virginia in November 1985, killing 47 people and causing $500 million in damage. Jim Stiles, West Virginia University volunteers carry mudfilled carpeting from a home in Parsons. Campbell's predecessor, helped to help local officials launch organize a county emerrecovery efforts. University gency services unit in volunteers also brought crisis the aftermath of that counseling materials and expenence. assisted with cleanup efforts. "Compared to ' 85, The town of Marlinton in we were a lot better Pocahontas County was nearby off this time because one of the sites where crews of we had this group in WVU faculty, staff and stuplace. Those people dents helped to clear flood did a really good debris. The county's WVU job," Campbell noted. extension agents, Tracy Samples and Jim Pritchard, Helping hands spearheaded cleanup and recovery efforts by local 4-H As it did in 1985, WVU groups and farm families. has been dispatching assis"We organized work groups tance teams to Parsons and of 4-H teen leaders to help other communities this year to clean out schools and to help elderly people with cleanup. All of our kids helped out where they could; some of A National Guard trooper helps to coordinate cleanup efforts in Marlinton. them spent two or three days in each house," Samples noted.
Campbell said Parsons Footwear, a shoe manufacturer employing about 150, was so extensively damaged that it never reopened after the January flood. Other firms may have to relocate as part of a buyout through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Extension Vision: Fall 1996
Donated clothing helped to keep Pocahontas families warm in the ahermath of a major flood in January.
A high school gymnasium becomes a community food bank for families in need.
The agents also fielded many questions on food safety, drinking water quality, and sanitation after each flood. "What people expected from us, first and foremost, was good information," Samples said. For Pritchard, a priority was restoring the Pocahontas County Producers Cooperative, the only outlet in the county for selling livestock through public auction. "For the average Extension Vision: Fall 1996
farmer, that is a very important facility," he explained, noting that about $2 million worth of cattle was sold through the cooperative in 1995. The January flood inflicted heavy damage on the co-op. In the stockyard area, surging waters lifted the wooden gates off their hinges and tossed them about like toys. All of the scales, office equipment, and livestock supplies were covered with mud and silt.
Checks, invoices, and other paper records were destroyed. Freezing temperatures hampered cleanup efforts for weeks. The facility was finally back in operation in April, only to be flooded again a few weeks later. Pritchard said relocating the facility is a financial impossibility for the co-op. And, because it is a pole building without rigid walls, it cannot be insured against flood damage.
"The co-op doesn't have the cash flow to build another facility," he added. "If it had been destroyed, we probably would have just been out of business.': Heavy rains were the cause of the May flooding, which hit many southern counties that were not involved in the other floods. Storms dumped more than three inches of rain on southern West Virginia, forcing about 750 people to abandon their homes and knocking out power to about 4,300 residents. In Logan County, WVU Extension agent Sam Rogers said some of the worst damage occurred in areas not pre viously considered flood pronethe communities of Omar, Switzer, Monaville, Main Island Creek, and the Whitman-Holden area. He thinks he knows why. "The reason that certain areas flooded is that the timber at the head of each one of those hollows had recently been
clear-cut to prepare for surface mining," Rogers asserted. "These areas had not been known for flooding in the past." The extension agent praises the work of relief agencies who came in to help. "The Red Cross, FEMA, the National Guard-they all really did a good job. They got in here quickly and got directly involved when we needed them."
'l)'ou move on ... " Molly Reichard, WVU extension agent in Barbour County, is coping with the floods of 1996 as an extension educator and as a victim/survivor. Reichard lost virtually everything she owned when floodwaters from the nearby Tygart River roared through her one-story apartment in northern Philippi May 16. The water was rising at a rate of 18 inches an hour when she evacuated at 2 a.m. "I didn't have time to take much. I
WVU volunteers teamed up to help families throughout the state recover from floods.
grabbed my Bible and my photographs of my nephews," she recalled. When she returned the next morning, the town was under water and she couldn't get to her home. She finally maneuvered to a spot where she could look across the river to her house; she saw the water was up to the windows. It was
' 'J my weeded out a lot material things in life, but a lot of people lost things. You move on. It's a very humbling experience, but it makes you appreciate what's important in life ... " -Molly Reichard
trying to help others cope with their losses. "I was gomg through the same processes myself, so I knew firsthand what they Weary emergency response persons and flood victims share a hot were feelmeal before resuming recovery efforts. ing," she another day before she could recalled. "In a way, it was get inside to assess the damage. comforting to me to know that "The water in the house had I wasn't the only one hit here. risen to 33 inches before it I was able to share the informabegan to recede. All my tion I was getting and help furniture was destroyed, all of them find the help they needed." the appliances, my books and Reichard, who had no photos, and school yearbooks. All that I could salvage was insurance coverage on her what was in the upper cabiproperty, refuses to dwell on nets," Reichard said. the loss. It was 10 weeks before the "I weeded out a lot of material things in my life, but a building was repaired and she lot of people lost things. You could return to her apartment. During that time, she was move on. It's a very humbling
experience, but it makes you appreciate what's important in life," she said. Friends, family members, and extension colleagues helped the extension agent to replace some of what she lost to the flood waters. She also received assistance from FEMA and from area churches. Reichard reports that life "is back to normal now," but she admits to some lingering anxiety that surfaces whenever storm clouds fill the sky. "Every time it rains, I'm restless. I keep getting up to check outside until it stops." That discomfort is common to those who have weathered the floods this year, says extension agent Rogers in Logan County. While his home was not flooded, he recalls how it felt to watch the rising water move across his lawn and swirl around his front steps. "It never got up in the house, but it still makes you wonder: Will it next time?''
''J tbutnever got up in the house, it still makes you wonder: Will it next time?'' -Sam Rogers, Jr.
and Wyoming counties; Susan Gianato of Mercer County; Patricia Silcott of Monongalia County; and Mary Lou Schmidt of Fayette and Nicholas counties teamed with
Women take charge of finances
BY JERRY KESSEL
Ever sift through desk drawers or shoe boxes hunting for records? Maybe yours? Perhaps a family member's? After one such search, you probably promised yourself to "find a better way" to handle your paperwork. After all, time is money. Reliable record keeping is much easier than sifting through a disorganized mess. The only thing standing between you and well-organized financial records is simple organization. But where to begin? Six West Virginia University Extension Service home economists decided to pool resources to bring the desired results. At various locations, Deborah Shriver of Marion County; Judy Matlick of Jefferson County; Bonnie Hunley of McDowell, Mingo, 8
"If I go through and fill out this whole workbook, I think we would have everything we need," noted Sandy Smith of Oak Hill. She was one of 19 women who attended sessions at Mt. Lookout Elementary School in Nicholas County. Schmidt, Judy McClung of Craigsville, and Becky Wood of Pax made arrangements with various presenters. Professionals who volunteered their time and expertise were Steve Fergerson of Summersville, Linda Ramsey of Fayetteville, Connie Lewis of Beckley, James Lively Jr. and Lynn Pollard of Oak Hill, and Asa Fuller and Connie Paxton of Charleston.
Mt. Lookout women ...
Extension Homemakers, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Certified Public Accountants, bankers, trust officers, and attorneys. From this group, the Women's Financial Information Program evolved. Topics included "Getting Organized," "Banking and Credit," "How Does Your Cash Flow?," "Managing Your Risks," "Deciding What If?," "Investing for Retirement," and "Professional Help-Where to Get It." AARP provided each participant a 21 0-page money management workbook, and various bankers supplied additional fact sheets. A $5 charge covered insurance and refreshments.
...learn financial basics.
"It's new information and I'll use it!" declared Eileen Brown of Fayetteville. "We've covered so much," acknowledged Sylvia Cox of Summersville. "I wish I'd started sooner."
Extension Vision: Fall 1996
For Georganna Romano of Craigsville, who was one of the facilitators, the most valuable information gained "is knowing where to go for a Jot of things." Other Mt. Lookout facilitators were Elizabeth Tinsley, Sadie Handyside, and Jaunita Morton. Thelma Dietz of Mt. Lookout wished she'd had the information while residing out of state. "If I'd had this earlier, I would have come back to the hills sooner." A program spinoff occurred in one county. A career woman in Jefferson County who completed the sessions assisted mothers of Head Start children with money management strategies. Whatever your income, once you learn the facts about your own finances and your alternatives for improving them, you'll be able to set goals and plan to take charge of your money. For women, the information is doubly essential, based on data from the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor: Women live longer than men. Women are less likely to receive retirement benefits from their companies. Women get less from Social Security in average monthly benefits. Nonetheless, women of all ages are taking charge of their lives by taking charge of their money. As the AARP workbook notes," ... survival is not the only reason to take charge of our money. We also want to enjoy life!"
Extension Vision: Fall 1996
Spirits fly high on 4-H Judging Day
Associate Provost Robert Maxwell, left, joins in the applause as WVU President David C. Hardesty demonstrates his pleasure at receiving a WVU cap as a judging day memento.
BY JERRY KESSEL
When the rains came throughout State 4-H Judging and Aerospace Day, spirits in no way were dampened. Quoting John F. Kennedy who said, "The sun may not always shine in West Virginia, but the people always do," West Virginia University President David C. Hardesty welcomed participants to the Morgantown campus. He challenged them by asking, "Are your goals big enough?" Hardesty also declared, "You
step. By being involved in 4H, you've decided to be successful." Two hundred thirty-eight 4-H'ers converged in Morgantown with extension agents and specialists, coaches, volunteers, and family members. Land judging contestants moved on to Preston County for their competition. The fast-paced events included livestock, land, horticulture, and aerospace. Interim Associate Provost Robert Maxwell and College of Agriculture and Forestry Dean Rosemary Haggett also challenged the 4-H'ers. You're going to be making choices," Dr. Maxwell said. "We hope this experience will help you make the better choices." Dr. Haggett echoed Dean Rosemary Haggett welcomes contestants.
those sentiments. "We want you to be winners," she said. A new element in 1996 was the aerospace rocket demonstration and tour of the College of Engineering
and Mineral Resources. "We combined two events-traditional judging and aerospace," noted Jean Woloshuk, 4-H youth agriculture programs specialist and judging day chairperson. Dr. Woloshuk also acknowledged the 35 organizations and businesses that contributed "to the event's success." Along with awards and the satisfaction of doing their best, the 4-H' ers went home with a purpose: "Keep your goals big enough. Just decide to do it."
Extension Vision : Fall 1 996
At left: Horticulture identification kept contestants focused as they viewed 100 species of plants selected by Dr. John Jett. Below: State land judging competition supervised by Dr. Jeff Skousen occurred on different days and at different locationsone for FFA members seen here at a Jackson County farm-and another for 4-H' ers at a Preston County farm.
Left: Livestock judging conducted by Dr. Phillip Osborne and Dr. Wayne Wagner, tested the hands-on knowledge of 4-H'ers about sheep. They also judged cattle and hogs. Below: At the conclusion of livestock judging, Dr. Wagner persuades a heifer to move on to a different stall at the WVU livestock farm.
Extension Vision : Fall 1996
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Robert H. Maxwell Interim Associate Provost for Extension and Public Service Director, Cooperative Extension Service P.O. Box 6031, Knapp Hall Morgantown, WV 26505-6031
Helping you put knowledge to work £596-043
Nonprofit Organ ization U.S. Postage PAID Morgantown, WV Permit No . 34
extension • From 1 anuary through September, four major floods and numerous flash floods have struck communities and farmland in more than 4...