2020 Vision: Wheeling Leaders Looking Ahead

Weelunk doesn’t have a crystal ball to foresee how Wheeling’s future will unfold in 2020, but today’s post is the next best thing. Leaders from all over the city and county share their top goals for the coming year with readers.

Bishop Mark Brennan, Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston

“My personal goal for the new year is to continue to get to know the people of West Virginia. My goal for the Catholics of the Diocese is for us to work together, with trust in the Lord, to bring Christ to our neighbors and our neighbors to Christ.”

Mark Brennan

John Devlin, conductor of Wheeling Symphony Orchestra

“The Wheeling Symphony Orchestra is innovating and, in 2020, we will re-imagine the way that classical-music concerts look, sound … and taste! Our traditional series at The Capitol Theatre is going to be filled with new guest artists, unexpected surprises and a focus on our world-class WSO musicians.

“Outside of the concert hall, we will be expanding our WSO on the Go series (where we bring smaller ensembles into special places all over the Ohio Valley), and we are going to be creating events that will be the perfect date night: delivering less formal concerts that bring together music, food, drinks and socializing.”

John Devlin

Dr. Stephen Greiner, president of West Liberty University 

“My goal, and the goal of West Liberty University, is to continue to serve students in our region and to offer high-quality education that prepares them for success, both professionally and personally. Student success is always a primary goal for me and the university. We are committed to being a leader in higher education and serving our community.”

Dr. Stephen Greiner

Douglass Harrison, CEO, Wheeling Hospital

“My main area of focus for 2020 is growing Wheeling Hospital’s financial stability. In addition, we will continue to move services outside the hospital and continue our growth in the outpatient market. Further integration with WVU Medicine will be a top priority in strengthening our medical staff and continued program development to meet the needs of the community.”

Douglass Harrison

Larry Helms, Wheeling fire chief

“As always, safety for our citizens is paramount, but moving forward with station upgrades and new headquarters will be the biggest goals for 2020.”

Larry Helms

Joshua Lief, rabbi of Temple Shalom

“As our nation heads toward an election in the new year ahead, we find ourselves bitterly divided. My No. 1 goal for 2020 is to find ways to bring people together by identifying shared values, even amidst our many differences. Then, perhaps, we can join with friends and strangers alike in working toward building a better community for all of our neighbors.”

Rabbi Joshua Lief

Tim McCormick, president of the Ohio County Commission

“I have the privilege of serving as president of the Ohio County Commission, who, working with the Ohio County Development Authority, have developed The Highlands. As a group, we are continuing to improve The Highlands as a destination for all ages.

“I also serve as the chair of the Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census. This committee will be explaining and promoting the importance of participating in the 2020 Census that affects all residents of the county.”

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Tim McCormick

Danielle Cross McCracken, president of Oglebay Institute

“As we enter the new year and approach Oglebay Institute’s 90th anniversary, my vision is one full of hope and excitement! I anticipate this to be a year full of reflection and creating the future as we develop innovative ways to educate, entertain and inspire.

“Our focus will not only be on what we can do today to be a cultural resource that enhances the quality of life in the Ohio Valley, but also what we can do today to ensure the vitality of our organization for generations to come.”

Danielle McCracken

Dr. Kimberly Miller, superintendent of Ohio County Schools

“A $42.2 million bond initiative is providing improvements in all of our schools, and those upgrades will benefit our students for years to come. Those improvements include our facilities, but they also involve our classrooms and learning environments. A major goal in 2020 is to ensure that those improvements are made as efficiently as possible without disrupting the academic process.

“The implementation of technology and continued innovation is (also) an ongoing goal throughout Ohio County Schools. We continue to support … initiatives that will ultimately provide our students with innovative spaces and work areas in all our schools.”

Dr. Kimberly Miller

Dr. Dan Mosser, president of West Virginia Northern Community College

“(My No. 1 goal is) aligning WVNCC Career Programs and Workforce Development offerings with local opportunities and needs.

Dr. Dan Mosser

Erikka Storch, president of Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce

“The thing that is first and foremost in my mind is the I-70 bridge construction — to minimize the impact of that on business, retail and restaurants. That includes workers being able to get there in a timely fashion.”

Erikka Storch

Arch Riley, executive director of Wheeling Heritage

“We at Wheeling Heritage have several goals for 2020, all of which are important. We will continue to focus on making Wheeling’s history more accessible to more people, work on the expansion of historic districts in Wheeling, and expand and refine our programs such as Show of Hands, Co.Starters and the Cultural Food Tour.”

Arch Riley

Dottie Thomas, director of Ohio County Public Library

“A public library has five vital roles to play in a community. It must provide information; support education; supply recreational reading, listening and viewing material; act as a community center where groups can meet free of charge for a variety of purposes; and store, catalog and make available the community’s local culture and history through programming, displays and collections.

“My goal for the Ohio County Public Library is to be the best library possible in fulfilling each of these roles. The trustees, staff and I are always seeking ways to expand and improve on these roles while providing the best service possible to our patrons.”

Dottie Thomas

• A long-time journalist, Nora Edinger also blogs at noraedinger.com and Facebook and writes books. Her Christian chick lit and faith-related non-fiction are available on Amazon. She lives in Wheeling, where she is part of a three-generation, two-species household.