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Chamber honors its business stars in Jefferson County

June 26, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - A local telephone company which responded to citizen requests and decided to invest $7 million to build a high-speed Internet service for the county was given special recognition by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Wednesday night.

Frontier/A Citizens Communication Co., was presented with the George E. Vickers Major Industry Award for its work to build the new service.

The award was presented during the chamber's 44th annual banquet at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center.

Also during the banquet, J.P. Burns was named Distinguished Citizen of Jefferson County.

Recognition also was given to Pat O'Brien, retired manager of the Towne House Motor Lodge and Restaurant; the Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County; Jefferson County Fair; Sheetz Florist and Patricia Ott, long-time board of directors member of the chamber.

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The $7 million Frontier/A Citizens Communications Co. spent on Internet service was used to build its Digital Subscriber Line, which the company refers to as its DSL service.

The DSL service offers quick service with up to two megabytes per second, said Chuck Ellison, local operations manager for the phone company.

Or in more layman's terms, the service is about as quick as you can "click your mouse," Ellison said.

Frontier/A Citizens Communication Co. built the DSL service after county residents requested a high-speed Internet service be available in the county, Ellison said.

The telephone company wanted to offer the service because many county residents are part of the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore work force and occasionally work from their homes by computer, Ellison said.

Many local schools and businesses also use the DSL service, Ellison said.

"It's been such a fantastic tool for everyone in Jefferson County," Ellison said.

The DSL line "piggybacks" onto a customer's telephone line, Ellison said.

The only equipment needed for the service is the installation of micro filters to keep the DSL and telephone service from interfering with each other and a modem, Ellison said.

The DSL service and a dial tone costs about $79 a month, Ellison said.

Frontier/Citizens has about 22,000 telephone customers in the county and about 3,000 DSL customers, Ellison said.

Burns is president of the Jefferson County Fair, which has become a "leading showcase" for the area agricultural business, said chamber President Pat Dockeney. Burns has worked to spur economic development in the county and has been responsible for saving "green space" through his many years of farming, Dockeney said.

O'Brien has been active in the community and has participated in many organizations. O'Brien continues to serve as a Charles Town magistrate.

The Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County, the Jefferson County Fair and Sheetz Florist were recognized for their long years of service.

The Animal Welfare Society has been in business more than 50 years, the county fair is celebrating its 50th anniversary and Sheetz Florist has been in business for 80 years, chamber officials said.

Ott was honored for her dedication to the chamber, missing only eight out of at least 204 meetings in her 17 years on the board of directors, Dockeney said.

Ott also attended meetings through her battle with cancer, Dockeney said.

In addition to the top awards, 73 businesses that either opened or expanded in the past year were honored.

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