Last updated: July 18. 2013 2:04PM - 166 Views
Fred Pace
Civitas News Service

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Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has appointed Larry V. Lodato, director of the Boone County Community and Economic Development Corporation, to the National Coal Heritage Area Authority’s Board of Directors.

The National Coal Heritage Area encompasses hundreds of square miles in southern West Virginia where thousands of miners labored for many decades to produce the coal which created modern America.

The stories of the NCHA, its communities and its people area truly of national significance.

Coalfield history and culture remain key elements of America social and economic history; industrial might, labor struggles and the growth of distinctive cultural enclaves among different ethnic groups who worked side-by side.

The stories of the coalfields are uniquely American stories, which continue to be expressed in the customs, communities and narratives of this remarkable region and its people.

Through the activities of the National Coal Heritage Area, these stories can be related to a broader audience in many new ways, while celebrating and preserving the history and culture of this region.

The designation of the National Coal Heritage Area in 1996 by U.S. Congressman Nick Joe Rahall II came about as a result of the concern of citizens that the essential elements of this nationally significant story were being lost through neglect.

Since that designation, the West Virginia Legislature created the National Coal Heritage Area Authority as the entity responsible for the development of the National Coal Heritage Area and for the preservation, interpretation and promotion of the NCHA. The NCHA depends on partnerships with other organizations and communities to accomplish its mission.

Several local projects have been implemented by the National Coal Heritage Area including the Nellis Archives/Church restoration and a new roof, display cases and exhibits for the Coal Heritage Museum in Madison.

Lodato also serves on the Scenic Byroads Committee of the National Coal Heritage Area.

This committee is charged with formulating plans to develop tourism and recreation opportunities in the more rural areas of the tri-county areas of Boone, Logan and Mingo counties.

“I look forward to having a say in Boone County’s tourism opportunities and to continue to have a voice in keeping Boone County’s rich coal heritage tradition alive,” Lodato said.

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