Ripley City Mayor Carolyn Rader was thrilled to be the speaker at the Rotary Club luncheon on Wednesday, June 5.

“Ripley, as far as I’m concerned is the only place to live,” Rader said. “I truly think Ripley is the greatest city in America. As mayor of this city, it is my twelfth year and I feel like the luckiest lady in the world to get to work for Ripley.”

Rader noted that Jackson County works together in times of struggle. She informed the Rotary of a story concerning a water leak in Ripley that took all of the city maintenance crews and just when she thought things were at the lowest point, maintenance men from Ravenswood came in to help and save the day.

“I’m proud of Josh Miller and what he’s has done for the City of Ravenswood,” Rader said. “I don’t wear red and black and he doesn’t wear blue and white, but that’s ok, we are there for each other and have a mutual respect.”

Rader noted there are seven men in maintenance for the city and a total of 35 employees to take care of the city of Ripley, which includes law enforcement. She feels they do a great job keeping things going in Ripley.

Rader discussed the progress of the sewer project. She said that sewer costs are rising due to the second phase of the project. A new sewer plant is being built to replace the sewage ponds and create a better system that meets all requirements.

Some good things going on in Ripley as mentioned by Rader include being home to the largest small town Independence Day celebration, home of the West Virginia Chocolate Festival, as well as having a wonderful Veteran’s Day Parade.

When the Veteran’s Day parade was originally started around eight or nine years ago, Ripley honored 44 World War II veterans, last year 746 total veterans were honored.

“The interest is there for Ripley to show our love and respect to our veterans,” Rader said. “The parade continues to grow each year.”

Rader updated the group on the City Park grand re-opening on June 1, noting it was a success. The public was introduced to the four new tennis courts, basketball court, and remote control cars course that were all recently added to the park.

The new splash pad was a hit with kids as well as parents. It will remain open and running during park hours even after the pool closes for the season. It is a free feature that is available to anyone, any age.

Rader said that Ripley’s goal is to get people downtown for shopping, eating, and spending family time together.

With intense excitement Rader moved on to the activities and events for the upcoming Independence Day celebration.

Rader said there will be a “Little Patriot Hour” featuring Batman, Wonder Woman, and Captain America.

“The event committee for the Fourth of July has chosen a person for our Visionary award, Leadership award, and Equestrian award,” Rader said.

Rod Parsons was selected for the Visionary award, Delegate Steve Westfall will accept the Leadership award, and the Equestrian award will go to Dwayne Harrison. They will be the honored guests for the parade.

The theme of the grand marshals for the parade is “Ripley believes in our youth.” Anyone or team who won a state championship, such as the Ripley High School archery team, Robotics team, track team, they will all be grand marshals.

Rader mentioned entertainment for the Fourth of July will consist of many talented musical acts and activities over a five day period. She noted that the Gambill Amusement Company Carnival will be in town beginning July 2 through July 6.

Fireworks will be at 10 p.m. on the fourth.

Rader said that during all the fourth events, the Mountain State Arts & Craft Fair will be going on at Cedar Lakes and the Wild, Wonderful Arts & Crafts Festival will be going on at the Jackson County Junior Fairgrounds.

“No one can come to Ripley and say they can’t find something to do, because they can,” Rader said.

Rader commended the workers of the City of Ripley.

“Ripley has wonderful people in all departments,” Rader said. “I am very proud to live in Ripley.”

As a member of the Ripley High School Alumni Association, Rader spoke about a fundraiser they are doing to raise money for scholarships for graduating seniors.

For $50 someone from the association will place a cup in a persons yard. This cup will hold a flag that will be changed out for 12 different holidays. Once the flag is placed for one holiday, following that holiday, it will be picked up and the next one will be set out. This will continue throughout the year.

The next year if the person wishes to continue with the flags, the cost will drop to $35. Once the cost of the flag is covered, the remaining money received goes completely to the RHS Alumni Association to be used for scholarships.

The City of Ripley is participating in a similar fundraiser. For $50 a person can buy a banner that will feature a veteran and it will be showcased on the light posts in Ripley from the fourth of July through Veteran’s Day. The banners are $50 per side, if someone wants to put two veterans on the banner, they can do one on each side, the cost would be $100.

“The City of Ripley is a great place, so many good things are happening,” Rader said. “I think we are all lucky that we live within Jackson County, but I’ll sell you a house in Ripley if you want one.”