CHARLESTON, W.Va. — One group is asking What’s Next, West Virginia? It’s an all-encompassing question about the state’s future that is the focus of a series of regional workshops now being held across the Mountain State.

Betty Knighton, who is with the group, described that series as “non-partisan community conversations about strengthening local economies.” The goal, she said, is innovative thinking about where West Virginia can go from here — in local areas and statewide.

“We’re building on what is currently happening and the strengths that we have and then coming up with ideas for developing additional work that can improve the quality of life here,” Knighton explained on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

The next regional What’s Next, West Virginia? workshop for community organizers will be held on Tuesday at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg.

Knighton said there are three main questions to answer. “One is, where are we now? The second is, where do we want to go? And then the third is, how are we going to get there?”

She said she’s seeing a lot of energy throughout West Virginia when it comes to discussing the state’s future. “I hope there will be a lot of synergy that occurs when people come together and try to put their heads together to figure out what those next steps might be for their community,” she said.

In addition to Tuesday’s Martinsburg event, regional workshops are also planned for Aug. 21 in Beckley, Sept. 3 in Charleston and Sept. 16 in Wheeling. Community leaders asked What’s Next, West Virginia? in Buckhannon last week.

More information about What’s Next, West Virginia? and the upcoming regional meetings is available here.

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • susanf1218

    I have said for years that the Eastern Panhandle ought to belong to Maryland and Virginia and the Northern Panhandle to Pennsylvania or Ohio. Geographically, the boundaries of this state make no sense. Lop those two panhandles off and we would have a nice oval shape (more or less). LOL! But seriously, our biggest mistake was declaring our independence from Virginia. Maybe they would take us back!

  • pc

    Hey, we've got an experienced "community organizer" in the White House, and look at what a bang up job he has done!!!

  • WV Guru

    You forgot to mention that the educated, doers, and achievers have been leaving for greener pastures for 70 years.

  • truth be told

    Seems there are more people working in the Nat Gas industry in the Clarksburg area than NASA and FBI combined. Listen to any radio station for a few minutes and you'll hear companies advertising job openings... solid pay and benefits. I'd say the area is doing fine.

  • Hillboy

    Hmm, sounds pretty grim Captain. I suggest that we throw in the towel and divide WV up among our 5 neighboring states. Then people won't even have to move to leave the state.

  • Bill

    Just another feel good do nothing meeting.

  • someone else

    Clarksburg is doing fine? With Byrd gone, Mollahan gone, and Machino just not caring, the high tech industry is becoming lean. The high tech consortium is all but dead, and NASA is talking about pulling out. What else is there? FBI? Fracking?

  • Wirerowe

    Three questions Hoppy for Ms. Knighton (1) is she aware of similar initiatives in places like China, India, Thailand or Brazil .Or are they focusing on more concrete ways to make the lives of their people better (2) what are the sources and total amount of funding for her organization and (3) do she and her board have a track record of successful ,sustained, I am sure she will love that adjective, outcomes from their meetings and networking.

  • Dave, just Dave



    I'm thinking education might be key ...

  • some are doing just fine

    Truth is, some parts of the state are doing OK. Greenbrier valley, eastern panhandle, parts of the northern panhandle and Clarksburg area. But if you relied on coal extraction . . . well, its been a steady decline for five decades, long before anyone ever heard of e.p.a.

  • CaptainQ

    What's next, West Virginia?

    After Obama's EPA prematurely shuts down the coal industry, what's LEFT?

    The recent natural gas boom won't last forever, and since most of those jobs and that revenue goes to out-of-state folks, it doesn't really help the Mountain State all that much. Even the tourism industry in WV is not on solid footing due to the undependable weather (for the ski resorts) and lack of reliable roads to get to all these tourist destinations.

    What's next, West Virginia? More WV citizens leaving the state for greener pastures and more/higher taxes for those working WV people who remain here. Count on it!

  • Who Cares

    What next for WV? COLLASPE. Are leaders now and in the furture will destroy this state and country. Only thing we as citizens can do. Is sit by and watch it crash.

  • Shadow

    I wonder if these Community Organizers are employees of the State? I doubt if they are doing it pro bono. However, for starters, I think they would be better off lobbying the Legislature. For those ideas, the comments on this website provide a good start of what is needed. And no waste of travel costs, rooms costs, and wasted time.

  • wvwisdom

    Actually, David, this group will only waste a little bit of taxpayer $, most of it apparently laundered through WV Pub Radio. And a few dozen people will be able to claim (falsely, of course) that they did some good for WV. You can't put a price tag on that sort of smug posturing.

  • David

    The NEXT thing should be to stop wasting tax dollars on dumb crap like this!