Sept.2 Press Event: Fire Departments Open 19 Public Computer Labs in southern West Virginia

Franklin, WV- Nineteen fire departments in southern West Virginia are set to open public computer labs with broadband. To celebrate these new learning centers, the Logan Fire Department will host a regional press conference on September 2. Participants will include Congressman Nick Rahall, WV Director of Homeland Security Jim Gianato, WV Fire Marshall, Sterling Lewis, and community spokespersons. An open house from 7-9pm for the public will feature guest speaker, Chris Lawrence, host of WV Outdoors of WV MetroNews.

Broadband offers new educational and economic opportunities, which is why more than $130 million of 2009 federal stimulus funds were invested to increase broadband infrastructure and training in West Virginia. The Future Generations Graduate School, an accredited institution of higher education based in Pendleton County, received a $4.4 million grant to support broadband accessibility and training through 60 fire departments. The West Virginia Department of Commerce received $126 million to expand broadband infrastructure.

Data shows that while many West Virginians have increasing access to broadband, subscription rates fall behind the national average. The Future Generations Graduate School recently completed household surveys in 26 communities in its year-one service area. This data shows that 49.5% of households subscribe to broadband, a significantly lower rate than the national average of 63%. A full report of broadband usage data will be released on September 2.

To provide training on the benefits of broadband and make it more accessible, over three years Future Generations Graduate School will equip 60 fire departments with 10 computers connected to broadband. Local computer mentors will offer training and support. Other training will include: Career Readiness, E-Commerce, Disaster Resilience, Health, and Online Mapping. This project will also repair and sell low-cost refurbished computers.

Press Conference Agenda — Fire Departments Open 19 New Public Computer Labs in southern WV

September 2  

Logan, WV
Logan Fire Department, 219 Dingess Street

10:30 – 11:30

Logan Fire Chief, Scott Beckett

Future Generations Spokespersons, Traci Hickson and LeeAnn Shreve
WV Fire Marshall Sterling Lewis

Congressman Nick Rahall
Director of WV Homeland Security, Jim Gianato

Regional Community Spokespersons
Mayor of Gilbert, Vivian LivingGoodWharton-Barrett Computer Mentor, Aaron Dickerson
Jack Bowden, 911 Director of Raleigh County

Mayor of Logan, Sarafino Nolletti

Public Open House at Logan Fire Department featuring Guest Speaker, Chris Lawrence 7-9pm. Free Event, Open to the Public

Chris Lawrence Bio 

The morning voice of the Morning News on MetroNews has been associated with West Virginia Radio Corporation for more than a decade. The native of Big Stone Gap, Virginia joined the company as an anchor at WAJR in Morgantown in 1990.

The University of Tennessee graduate not only excels in anchoring and reporting on MetroNews, but also has flourished in his coverage of hunting and fishing. Chris serves as host of the popular West Virginia Outdoors each Saturday morning, and is an accomplished bass tournament fisherman. He has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists and named Outdoor Writer of the year by the West Virginia Bowhunters Association.

Chris and his wife Samantha reside in Hurricane with their three children, Travis, Hank, and Savannah.  

Chris Lawrence will speak on the opportunities that computers and the internet offer to West Virginia’s outdoorsmen.


RSVP and Contact: Traci Hickson, Project Director and Director of Communications

Ph. 304.358.2000 Email.

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