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Tornado gets its name back

By From staff reports

Tornado is Tornado once again.

The U.S. Board of Geographic Names on Thursday voted to restore the historical name of the Kanawha County community.

The name of the unincorporated Kanawha County community along the Coal River was changed to Upper Falls on official U.S. maps in 2010.

The community has been called Tornado since 1881, but the U.S. Geological Survey renamed the community outside St. Albans to Upper Falls after receiving a letter from an individual who lives in the area.

Residents have complained that the name change caused problems with promoting the town, as many GPS-based mapping programs used the U.S. Geological Survey's official name.

The Kanawha County Commission held a meeting Feb. 28 to allow members of the public to speak about the change. Commissioners then requested that the federal government change the name back to Tornado.

In addition to commission support, Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va.; Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; and Delegates Suzette Raines, Eric Nelson and J.B. McCuskey, all R-Kanawha, all spoke in favor of  "Tornado."

Following the vote Thursday, Kanawha commissioners praised the naming board and members of the community who advocated for the change.

"I think it was the right thing to do," Commission President Kent Carper said. 

Carper said the change would not have been possible without the vocal support of state and federal lawmakers.  

"But most importantly it could not have been done without the help of Chief Greg Childress of the Tornado (Volunteer Fire Department) and the citizens of Tornado," Carper said.

"I think the citizens of Kanawha County have spoken," Commissioner Hoppy Shores said.

"This is an example of how citizens can organize, in a grass roots manor, and get things accomplished," said Commissioner Dave Hardy.


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