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Business briefs, Monday, Oct. 15

Dislocated miners can acquire grants

Some dislocated miners and family members affected by a coal mining layoff may be eligible to receive up to $5,000 for classroom training in a high-demand occupation.

To qualify, coal miners and family members must have been affected by a layoff after March 1 that was covered by a notice issued under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, act.

This includes workers at Long Branch Energy, Pine Ridge Coal, Alpha Natural Resources/Black Castle Mining, Alpha Natural Resources/Progress Coal Co., Alpha Natural Resources/Marfork Coal Co., Hobet Mining LLC, ICG Eastern, LLC/Arch Coal, Fola Coal Co., Little Eagle Coal Co., and Patriot Coal/Mountain Edge Mining.

WorkForce West Virginia will provide information about the grant opportunities this week at informational sessions in Logan, Montgomery and Ghent.

The Logan session will be from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. The Montgomery session will be from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bridgemont Community and Technical College. The Ghent session will be from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at New River Community and Technical College.

Information also is available by calling the United Mine Workers of America Career Center in Beckley at 304 253-3772 or 1 877 798-8692. In addition, information is posted online at

Dealers may supply CNG trucks to state

Chrysler Group announced that two of its dealers in West Virginia have landed contracts to supply the state with Ram 2500 Heavy Duty pickup trucks powered with compressed natural gas or CNG.

Stephens Auto Center of Danville and Greenbrier Motors of Lewisburg are among 13 Ram truck dealers to win contracts to supply CNG-powered trucks to a total of 19 states.

West Virginia Department of Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown said,  "The state of Oklahoma led the charge for a multi-state solicitation and resulting contract award for compressed natural gas vehicles. There is not a specified number of vehicles that must be purchased from this contract. The contract period is from Oct. 5, 2012, through Oct. 4, 2013, and may be used as needed.

"Prior to any orders being issued against this contract, agreements may need to be finalized, for which the Purchasing Division is currently reviewing," Holley-Brown said.

Training center plans open house

There will be an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Regulatory Training Center in South Charleston at 1 p.m. Oct. 26, said Bev Jarrett, the Kanawha County school system's safety director.

The center conducts safety training for industrial workers and school system employees. It is on the site of the former Edison Elementary School, 120 Third Ave.

Visitors bureau seeks volunteers

The Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau is recruiting volunteers to serve as ambassadors for the city.

 Ambassadors will perform duties aimed at enhancing visitors' experiences in Charleston, such as staffing a welcome table at the airport during large conventions or assisting with visitors bureau events.

Alisa Bailey, the visitors bureau's chief executive officer, said, "Our ambassadors roll out the welcome mat and show visitors the best Charleston has to offer - its friendly people. By enhancing the visitors' experience we ensure that they will come back to Charleston again and again."

Interested individuals may get more information and enroll in the program at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the East End Family Resource Center at Roosevelt, 502 Ruffner Ave. More information also is available by calling Matthew Austin at the visitors bureau, 304-344-5075.

Alpha will host preview at center

Alpha Technologies will host a sneak preview of its data center in the West Virginia Regional Technology Park at South Charleston from noon to 4 p.m. on Oct. 25, said consultant Bob Bliss.

Alpha, headquartered in Hurricane, bought the former Union Carbide Corp. data center, known as Building 6000, from The Dow Chemical Co. in June for $6.1 million.

Doug Tate, Alpha's president, has said Alpha plans to continue using the building as a data center, providing data storage, disaster recovery, cloud computing and other services to state and local government agencies and commercial customers.

The Oct. 25 preview is being billed as an invitation-only, VIP event.

Mens Wearhouse set for a makeover

The Mens Wearhouse store at The Shops at Trace Fork is about to get a makeover, said store manager John Beckett.

"It will be a true remodel, from the signage outside to pretty much everything inside," Beckett said. Some storm damage to the roof and elsewhere also will be repaired, he said. Work is expected to start within the next three weeks.

The 5,200-square-foot store has been operating for 10 years in the brick building at the intersection of RHL Boulevard and Trace Fork Boulevard.

Burke's Outlet opens in Nitro

Burke's Outlet, which says it sells "brand-name apparel and accessories for the entire family at up to 70 percent off department store prices," has opened in Nitro Marketplace.

The store is in the 25,000 square feet of space previously occupied by Goody's.

"It is a nice addition to the center," said Racine Leahy, leasing representative for Nitro Marketplace.

According to the company's website, Burke's also has stores in West Virginia at Summersville and Princeton. The privately held company has more than 160 stores in 11 states. Burke's is headquartered in Bradenton, Fla.

Town Center plans unveiling for renovations

The Charleston Town Center is apparently planning to officially unveil its renovations on Dec. 4.

An email sent Friday on behalf of Thomas Bird, the shopping center's manager, said, "As the renovation of Charleston Town Center nears completion . . . the anticipation is growing! Save the date! 12.04.2012."

The mall is undergoing about $7 million in renovations. Earlier this month, Mall Marketing Director Lisa McCracken said the entire project should be completed by Thanksgiving.



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