Thu, May 20


A Better Vision for the Valley

Please join us to discuss the sustainable economic development potential in our communities.

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A Better Vision for the Valley

Time & Location

May 20, 2021, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

About The Event

Concerned Ohio River Residents, League of Women Voters, and the Climate Reality Project are excited to announce a second, virtual “Better Vision for the Valley” conference to discuss the sustainable economic development potential in our communities. We warmly welcome community members to the table to map a better future for our Ohio River Valley.

The first Better Vision conference, held in May 2019, invited area residents, local business owners, decisionmakers, policy experts, and elected officials to a presentation series and roundtable discussion on sustainable development opportunities. We touched upon exciting new investment opportunities for the Ohio Valley: renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, hemp cultivation, and eco-tourism.

Our second “Better Vision for the Valley” conference will feature presentations from experts and entrepreneurs on the economic opportunity of these ideas. We’ll then hold a facilitated Q&A session and open discussion on alternative development ideas we’d like to pursue as a community.

Our speakers will include:

  • Jill Hunkler, Moderator, Community Organizer at Concerned Ohio River Residents: Jill Hunkler is a mother, teacher, artist, writer, environmental advocate, and grassroots organizer. She is a seventh generation Ohio resident in Belmont County, the most heavily fracked in the state. She considers herself a fracking refugee. Due to the vast oil and gas infrastructure that polluted her country home in the Slope Creek Valley, she experienced negative health impacts, and was forced to relocate. She educates the public about the threats we face due to the polluting and destructive oil and gas and petrochemical industries. She has helped empower people in her community and beyond to stand up for their rights for a healthy environment. Her mission is to promote peace, clean energy solutions, and a healthy and protected Mother Earth for current and future generations. Jill recently testified before the House Subcommittee on the Environment alongside Greta Thunberg on the role of fossil fuel subsidies in preventing action on the climate crisis.
  • Sean O’Leary, Senior Researcher at the Ohio River Valley Institute: Sean O’Leary is a Senior Researcher at the Ohio River Valley Institute, an independent, nonprofit research and communications center working to equip the region’s residents and decision-makers with the policy research and practical tools they need to advance long-term solutions to some of Appalachia’s most significant challenges. His research focuses on energy economics and petrochemicals. O’Leary, a Wheeling native, has written about coal, natural gas, and their role in the economies of Appalachia in a book, a newspaper column, and blog titled, “The State of My State”. Previously, he served as communications director at the NW Energy Coalition in Seattle, Washington.
  • Annie Rouse, Hemp Entrepreneur, Founder of Think Hempy Thoughts: Annie Rouse is a hemp entrepreneur, producer, artist, strategist, Fulbright scholar and environmentalist. She is the co-founder of Anavii Market, an online market for hemp products, and founder of the blog Think Hempy Thoughts.
  • Jeffrey Morris, President, Roxby Development: Roxby Development supports sustainable ventures in business and real estate in order to create a long-term viable society. Our team is committed to developing and nurturing forward thinking projects with a collective humane and financial return. Based in Wheeling, WV, Roxby is a family-owned business grounded in values of creating an inclusive environment where all people can thrive.
  • Vincent DeGeorge, PhD. Special Projects & Strategic Initiatives, Grow Ohio Valley: Wheeling’s urban farming start-up nonprofit, Grow Ohio Valley has been practicing regenerative agriculture and retooling the local food system for almost a decade - converting unused, vacant sites and buildings into productive farms, community space, and a grocery store all while steering the regional food system towards improved local health and economic outcomes. Dr. DeGeorge presents from his academic & industry background in Materials & Energy research, community development, and advocacy.

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