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Homeland security forum scheduled at training center

October 30, 2003

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety and the Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation will co-host a two-day Homeland security forum next month in the Eastern Panhandle.

The event will be held at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown on Nov. 9 and 10.

Emergency responders, hospital administrators, physicians, public health workers, business and manufacturing representatives, law enforcement, local government leaders, educators, military and public safety officials will mix with federal officials and security experts from the private sector to discuss a variety of security issues.

"West Virginia has special concerns to be addressed," Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, said in a news release. "We have issues related to our geographic proximity to other population centers along with the challenges inherent in being a very rural state. We have industries here - like chemical manufacturing - that have special concerns.

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"There is a wealth of talent and expertise in West Virginia in our public safety, law enforcement, health and emergency responder communities. This will be an opportunity to blend some of these resources with experts from other fields," Rockefeller said in the release.

Rockefeller said special attention will be given to issues such as infrastructure protection, funding resources, community coordination, school safety, technology and communications.

The scheduled keynote speakers are Robert Mueller, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Lee Hamilton, former U.S. representative and co-chairman of the 9/11 Investigation Commission.

Speakers and panel discussion leaders include: Joe Martin, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety; Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the Columbia University School of Public Health; Dr. Catherine Slemp, executive director of the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health's Threat Preparedness Initiative; and Karen Price, president of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association and officials from the Department of Homeland Security.

"We're far better prepared now for a terrorist event in our state than we were two years ago. And we'll be better prepared next year than we are now, in part because of this summit," Martin said in the news release.

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