The Charleston Gazette March 14, 2011

Byrd's school site gets TLC from NYC students

By Rick Steelhammer

The Coal Heritage Highway is a nationally designated scenic driving route that passes by a number of historic sites, mainly along U.S. 52 and W.Va. 16 in southern West Virginia, to showcase the region's coal mining history. It is one of 126 driving tours sanctioned nationally by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

 Dewey Houck, president of the Rural Appalachian Improvement League, which is partnering with the Mark Twain alumni to clear and develop the site, said it might be possible to divert water flowing from an abandoned deep mine just behind the school to supply the planned fountain.

"We'd like to see this site become the gateway for the Coal Heritage Highway," Houck said. The road passing through Stotesbury, Tams and other communities in the Winding Gulf Coalfield from W.Va. 16 has been designated a spur of the Coal Heritage Highway.

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Volunteers are a vital part of RAIL's success. We are SEEKING VOLUNTEERS! Please contact us if you want to make a difference and join our remarkable work teams.

In September 2010 RAIL volunteers began initiating a plan to invigorate Community and Economic development in the southern coalfields of West Virginia. In the past ten years RAIL has studied the needs of families in Appalachia as well as available resources and other accessible opportunities that can help their community become sustainable. Gaining a better understanding of what is needed has culminated in the Coal Heritage Trail of New Commerce Action Plan. Those implementing this plan, an organization at the grass roots, well understand their work cannot be successful without the help of volunteers and generous resources providers. Anyone interested in participating in this bold undertaking of helping families living in the Appalachian coalfields improve their economic and social conditions may contact for more information. RAIL gets its name from Rural Appalachian Improvement League, Inc. and can best be described as Volunteers coming together as an organization to find ways to best benefit their community

March 18, 2011

Alternative Spring Break
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