List of Article with: kanawha county
The story below appeared in today’s Charleston Gazette.
By Paul J. Nyden
NGK Spark Plugs plans to hire additional workers to expand its manufacturing facilities in Sissonville, in addition to the 300 employees who already work there.
But NGK Vice President Bob Pepper said Wednesday, “We have not yet finalized the total number of new jobs. We should have a pretty good idea by the end of next week.”
In October, NGK will begin moving production equipment to Sissonville from its plant in Irvine, Calif., which will stop making spark plugs next May.
“The consolidation of manufacturing into one location enables us to manage our process with a single team and facilitates better economies of scale,” Pepper said. “An expanded West Virginia campus will further strengthen our global network and better position the company to service its North American manufacturing customers.”
Headquartered in Wixom, Mich., NGK has manufacturing, storage and distribution facilities in Sissonville, Irvine and Chicago, Ill.
In 1995, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., played a key role in attracting NGK to West Virginia. NGK, the first Japanese auto company to come to the state, built an oxygen sensor plant near Sissonville 15 years ago.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Pepper and NGK Chief Administrative Officer Richard Sullivan were in Irvine, where they announced the shutdown of part of that facility.
“We are meeting with individuals and associates there [who might be losing their jobs]. It is a tough couple of days here,” Pepper said on Wednesday.
“On the other side of the coin, it is very positive news for Kanawha County and Sissonville.”
In Sissonville, production of oxygen sensors, which reduce exhaust emissions, has also increased recently.
“We have taken on additional business that had been done in Japan for our customers in Brazil — Ford and Fiat,” Pepper said. “There has also been a strengthening of the auto market in the U.S., a little busier than expected.”
Rockefeller said, “This additional plant responsibility is another testament to our state’s incredible workforce. I know that the team members at NGK will be able to handle anything sent their way and I thank the company for putting their faith in us.”
Gov. Joe Manchin said he was pleased NGK decided to expand its local operations.
“In these difficult economic times, to have this level of commitment from NGK is remarkable and truly strengthens our ability to attract future investments.”
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said, “All too often, we are told no one in West Virginia is doing anything about keeping, and bringing in, good-paying jobs.
“Here is a great success story. We already have over 300 good-paying jobs with excellent benefits. We all have benefited from the cooperation between the federal government, Sen. Rockefeller, state government, local government and the Charleston Area Alliance.”
NGK said its Irvine facility will continue to operate as a distribution center and depot for the West Coast.
The Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority is proud to announce its the opening of its new EMS Ambulance Station at 107 ½ Koontz Avenue in Clendenin.
The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.
Open House festivities include music, refreshments, emergency vehicle displays, Health Net Aero medical and a Health Fair. The program will begin at noon with the Clendenin American Legion Post 61 Flag presentation ceremony.
The KCEAA program will feature speakers from the “New Clendenin Inc., 25045,” Kanawha County commissioners and Sheriff Mike Rutherford.
Students from Herbert Hoover High School and Clendenin Grade School are taking part, as well.
Everyone is invited to join the celebration.
Kanawha County citizens join their fellow West Virginians in their thoughts and prayers as we mourn the tragic loss of 25 miners, those still missing and those that were injured in the Mine Explosion at the Massey Energy subsidiary Performance Coal Company’s Upper Big Branch Mine-South.
Out of respect, the county has cancelled the previously scheduled dedication of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office headquarters and the Office of the Kanawha County Prosecutor. The event was scheduled for April 7 but has now been canceled.
The decision to cancel the dedication ceremony was made in consult with Sheriff Mike Rutherford, Prosecutor Mark Plants, Commission President Kent Carper, Commissioner Henry C. Shores and Commissioner Dave Hardy.
“We are reminded as a coal producing county that while our miners keep the lights on for us, they do so while exposing themselves in a dangerous environment,” said Commission President Carper.
Commissioner Shores added, “Our hearts go out to the children, families and loved ones of these fallen miners.”
“The bond between our coal mining communities is strong and we mourn this tragic loss,” said Commissioner Hardy.
“A number of statewide officials, including West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Thomas E. McHugh and Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito we slated to make a presentation during the ceremony,” Carper said. “They understandably, along with all of our local County officials, need to give their full attention and support to our coal mining families which are grief stricken and heartbroken.”
KEYS 4 HealthyKids has been awarded a $360,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to improve opportunities for physical activity and access to affordable, healthy foods for children and families in Kanawha County. Based on a rigorous selection process that drew more than 500 proposals from across the country, Kanawha County is one of 41 sites selected for the RWJF Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities initiative.
In Kanawha County, 47 percent of predominately low-income children are overweight or obese. Not only do these children face health issues such as higher rates of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, they also incur higher medical costs and are generally less productive in school. As its name suggests, KEYS 4 HealthyKids will use a four-key approach to achieve healthy communities:
- The Key to Knowledge will emphasize the importance of eating adequate fruits and vegetables, limiting screen time, engaging in regular physical activity, and eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages.
- The Key to Eating Healthy will work with local merchants to sell fresh foods, enhance existing farmers markets, engage community members in gardening projects, and help daycares and after-school programs provide nutritious snacks and beverages.
- The Key to Youth being Active will help revitalize community centers and other play spaces, and assess and improve local greenways, trails, sidewalks and street crossings.
- The Key to Safety and Empowerment will address residents’ concerns and enlist them in efforts to help make their communities safer places to walk and play outdoors.
The initial focus of the effort will be on at-risk youth and families in the West Side and East End of Charleston, eventually expanding to other Kanawha County communities.
Dr. Jamie Jeffrey, a local pediatrician and director of the KEYS 4 HealthyKids initiative, said that she often encounters parents who are struggling to find affordable, healthy foods and safe places for their children to be active close to home. “I am so excited for this opportunity for our youth!” Jeffrey said, “We all want to be healthier and now, through this grant, we will be able to accomplish the policy and environmental changes needed to make our dreams a reality. “But,” she added, “we will need local residents to participate to have the greatest impact.”
“With the help of the RWJF and our partners, we will have an opportunity to work with after-school programs to adopt a comprehensive food policy to develop nutrition, health, and environmental guidelines that ensure meals, snacks, and beverages include healthy and sustainable choices,” added Kate Alie, West Virginia University Extension Specialist and project evaluator for KEYS 4 HealthyKids.
Krista Farley, director of Health Promotions for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said the initiative also will “create an environment to engage and empower youth to be active everyday, in their own back yards.”
Encouraged by this opportunity to make long-lasting changes in the community, Judy Crabtree, Director of the Kanawha Coalition for Community Health Improvement, and Coordinator for KEYS 4 HealthyKids said “community mobilization and seeking meaningful environmental change are two strategies that research indicates can influence entire communities.” She added, “changing the world might be a little difficult, but you can certainly improve your neighborhood and impact behaviors and decisions regarding eating healthy and being active.”
Susie Salisbury, Vice-President with the Charleston Area Alliance, and member of Charleston City Council, said “I am impressed by the number of organizations that have come to the table to develop KEYS 4 HealthyKids and its strategic plan to address childhood obesity in Kanawha County. Both the City of Charleston and the Alliance are pleased to support these efforts.” (more…)