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18 students in Harrison to join high-tech training project
by Gail Marsh
    A small number of high school students from Harrison County will have the opportunity to take computer networking classes next year that could prepare them for high-paying technology jobs or give them a strong foundation for college.
Chester Hall, computer teacher and coordinator of the newly established Cisco Regional Networking Academy at Robert C. Byrd High School, said the school will be able to accept 18 students into the program, three from each of the county's high schools, for classes that will begin in the fall.
    "We want to get the word out that the class will be offered to students throughout the county, and to let the community know that this kind of high-technology training is taking place in our schools. This is a prime example of schools to work," Hall said.
    Cisco Systems Inc., headquartered in California, provides more than 85 percent of the Internet's hardware and software and has offices in more than 50 countries. Seeing the need to fill more than 350,000 current job openings in the information technology industry, Cisco has helped to establish training academies at school systems around the nation. The computer labs can provide students with needed training to work in the field of networking technology.
    Robert C. Byrd High School was chosen as a Cisco regional site earlier this year because of its computer facilities, one of eight sites in the state. Trained staff members will be able to teach students and other educators in 11 counties, and will help to establish local academies at other high schools.
    The fall networking course open to qualified juniors and seniors will cover a complete range of basic-through-advanced-networking concepts, from pulling cable to subnet masking rules and strategies. Students who pass all four semesters and certification testing can begin working in the information technology field with an estimated starting salary of $35,000 to $45,000, or can use the training to continue college studies in the computer science field.
    An informational meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. March 2 at RCB for potential students and parents who want to learn more about the class. Applications are available from guidance counselors.

Rockefeller: I'm in the cockpit now
by Paul Leakan

    Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., told area aviation officials Wednesday that his recent appointment to the Senate Aviation Committee could help them in their efforts to improve and retain air service. "My new role on the aviation subcommittee means that I am in an even better position to help address the air service problems plaguing small communities," he said.     'I will use my position on the committee to fight for rural airport funding, take on airline practices that hurt small communities and limit competition, and develop new ways to attract more and better air service to West Virginia."
Rockefeller announced his appointment to the subcommittee to area aviation officials at the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center Wednesday afternoon. The subcommittee oversees the operation of the Federal Aviation Administration, and helps determine the country's aviation policies.
   The senator said one of his top priorities on the subcommittee will be to protect and restore air service in rural communities, especially those that have been hit hard by deregulation of the industry. Namely, Rockefeller has sponsored the Air Service Restoration Act of 1999, a bill that seeks to bring more affordable, higher quality air service to West Virginia.
    The legislation includes a 5-year, $100 million pilot program for up to 40 small and underserved communities, and grants of up to $500,000 to each community for local initiatives to attract and promote service.
    The bill also calls on the Department of Transportation to review airline industry marketing practices and, if necessary, issue regulations to curb abuses that block entry into the market. The bill is cosponsored by Senators Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.
    Smaller airports have been hit hard by soaring costs for service, said Benedum Airport Manager Jim Griffith, all of which makes Rockefeller's help so important, he said. "Air service changes so quickly, so dramatically," Griffith said.
"And the challenges that go along with retaining air service (and hopefully improving it ) becomes monumental in a very short time."
    Wednesday's discussion was "a good beginning" to future discussions of how to improve air service, Griffith said.
Rockefeller said he looks forward to working with airport officials in the future to help improve the state's air transportation system. After all, quality air service is vital to the future growth of the state, he said.    "I think I can make the claim that aviation in the state will be more important than roads in bringing in business. Business is not going to come into the state unless people can get in and out the state."

Wesleyan has 3-ton gift from King Hussein
by Gail Marsh

    King Hussein of Jordan died recently, but his memory and his gifts will continue in a place few would imagine. The Arab leader gave West Virginia Wesleyan College a 3-ton gift. For the last 32 years, the solid piece of pink Jordanian marble has served as the altar in the Meditation Chapel in the Wesley Chapel building on the college's Buckhannon campus.
    The story of the King's gift goes back to the administration of the late Stanley H. Martin, WVWC president from 1957-1972. Martin, who was a Methodist minister, worked to expand the campus, including construction of Wesley Chapel.
Kenneth Welliver, a former dean of academic affairs who still teaches at Wesleyan, was on staff when the college built the chapel. Welliver said Martin wanted the chapel to reflect a sense of community and tolerance. He solicited items from various leaders and nations to place in the new building.
    Welliver said that Martin originally wrote to King Hussein to ask for a piece of marble from the West Bank of Israel Bethlehem in particular, which was under Arab rule at the time. "I think President Martin envisioned a small object that could be placed in the chapel, along with such gifts as the candlesticks sent from Pope Paul VI or a piece of stone from the boyhood home of John Wesley," Welliver said.
    King Hussein responded that he would be happy to make a gift to Wesleyan. Martin, still visualizing a small piece of marble, wrote the king expressing his thanks and offering to pay for any freight charges. "We were astounded when it     arrived. Thank goodness the King paid the freight and the package wasn't C.O.D.," Welliver said.
    By the time the marble arrived, the chapel was nearing completion. The floor of the Meditation Chapel had to be torn up and reinforced with steel beams. A crew of 15 men using a system of rollers worked two days to get the marble piece to its resting place.
    Wesley Chapel was consecrated on Oct. 29, 1967. Attending the ceremony that day was Ibarhim Nagaway, representing King Hussein, who made the formal presentation to the college. The rectangular stone, enshrined with a plaque honoring its donor, has been in place ever since, and is not likely to be moved.
    The chapel remains a gathering place for students for voluntary services, concerts and other appropriate programs, Welliver said. The 1,500-seat Wesley Chapel is also the site of the annual state United Methodist Church conference each June. "The King was a man of peace and it is an honor that a physical remembrance of his good works is in our college's chapel," said William Haden, current president of the college.

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