Morgan County Day At The West Virginia Capitol

I had to wait a day or two before posting this. Those of you who know me well will understand why. For the most part, we had a great time at Morgan County Day at the state capitol. We met loads of very nice people and sadly, one highly misinformed individual. We are currently researching just how this misinformation was obtained. It's so very hard to verify gossip. Just in case there are others, I would like to clarify a few things. My name is Martha Rhodes. Professionally I have worked in administration for construction companies and media production (primarily for newspapers) however I also know coding for websites (and own several). These sites give small businesses who have little or no budget a place to advertise and grow for free. Many of the owners don't really understand how websites and/or social media works. I receive no money from this state and never have.

Personally, I am an advocate for and support ADA compliance and criminal justice reform (especially where it applies to the mentally ill). I also work for and support 12 Habits For Wonderful People, an award-winning and copyrighted curriculum that was purchased by school systems for many years up until around 2008, when schools lost funding for such programs.
12 Habits For Wonderful People "You Count" in February
12 Habits For Wonderful People Display Table
Elaine Stevens Parke is the Executive Director of All of Us Inc. doing business as 12 Habits For Wonderful People and a friend of mine. She has a Master's Degree in Marketing but also knows little about social media (like so many others who have only employed traditional forms of one-way communication type advertising). To my knowledge, the 12 Habits For Wonderful People is the only thing Elaine publicly supports or expresses an opinion about. Professionally, Elaine has enjoyed a very successful career and while I don't ask her about her personal finances, she almost completely funds the organization here in Berkeley Springs. This is her gift to Morgan County. As a person in their mid 70's, most people would choose to hang on to their cash, in case of emergency. Also, in order to provide this gift, she has been putting off work on her own home. So you see, this gift does come at a personal sacrifice few others would make.

Personally, I can't see how it is possible to confuse the two of us, but it may have happened. Anyway, I feel the need to make it clear that we are two separate individuals. Our persons and our businesses are completely separate.

To my knowledge, neither 12 Habits For Wonderful People nor Elaine Parke has ever posted anything with regard to the work on a Streetscapes project. As myself, on social media, my only comments regarding Streetscapes had to do with supporting ADA compliance and thanking Larry Lower for mentioning that those who support compliance help. He made these statements in a kind, genuine and thankful way at the dedication ceremony at the park and also said to “keep it up”. While I know members on the Streetscapes committee, I don't have time to attend their meetings and therefore I do not, nor have I ever taken credit for their work. I have however made phone calls and also encouraged others to act on behalf of Morgan County to sway state legislators into making funds available for infrastructure projects in our area. I feel this is important because the money could easily go elsewhere.

In my mind, there is no really good reason to attack the character of an elderly woman, especially one so accomplished, without ever meeting her or giving her the chance to respond to the negative allegations against her. What's even more disturbing is that this person is a legislator. Also, who would think that sending inspiring community messages, helping disabled people and/or small businesses would be controversial endeavors? I honestly will never understand why people do some of the things that they do to each other. I guess if people want to view something negatively, they just will.

A while back, the Rotary Club sent Elaine to Rwanda to teach the 12 Habits For Wonderful People curriculum in their schools and it was recently announced that it is going to be developed as a national program in that country. During our visits in the West Virginia state capitol, I have personally heard Elaine offer this curriculum to the people of West Virginia free of charge and that can be verified by those who work in those offices. The effectiveness of the curriculum cannot be denied because there is verifiable data to support it. I have to say, if it were not for our fine community of over 60 ambassadors and the kids that love our materials and inspirational messages, I would advise my friend to keep her money and not to bother wasting her time.

I do not apologize for my beliefs. I do apologize to Elaine if negative people touched her life in an attempt to direct that energy at me if that is what happened. It may just be that in an attempt to protect their funding, some people feel like they are justified in spreading misinformation and negative energy. In my experience, beings of that type very often don't hit their intended targets. Also, when it's all about money, they don't really care if they hit innocents.


M. Rhodes

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Martha started her career working on the production side of the newspaper/magazine industry. Among those publications were The Thrifty Nickle and The New Mexico Independent. Martha also was a Production Coordinator for Reddy Communications, a consulting/information research group for public utilities where she coordinated the production of 60 yearly publications. For more than two years, she was the Owner/Editor of The Chaparral News and it's Anthony Edition, a weekly news/classified ads publication in Chaparral, New Mexico with a circulation of appx. 6500. As a freelance writer Martha has had articles published in various newspapers in New Mexico and has produced informational products for political interests within the state. Martha currently resides in Berkeley Springs, WV and is working as a volunteer for various groups including 12 Habits For Wonderful People.