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Around Calhoun County Archive
by Bill Bailey

     

Updated on Wednesday*:

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Obituaries

Around Calhoun 

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July 17, 2014

Bands of heavy rain moved over our area in the past week in the wake of a storm front that passed through on July 8.

As the storm approached Calhoun County, it had already caused widespread wind damage in other counties in our region, and the winds were severe when they hit here.

Trees were blown over, some onto houses, and large limbs littered roads and yards. Highways were blocked from one end of the county to the other, until highway crews and volunteers cleared away the debris.

Power was out in many sections of Calhoun, with some power not restored until Friday evening.

While this was not a derecho like the one that devastated so much of the country in 2012, the winds that blew across the ridge tops exceeded 60 miles per hour.

*   *   *   *   *

Sitting on our deck Saturday afternoon, visiting with family, we spotted what appeared to be a fox in the road at the end of our yard (about 150 yards away). I feared that it might be rabid, since it was wobbling around and very unsteady on its feet.

After watching it for a minute or so, it took a couple of steps toward the creek, and then I was able to determine that it was a newborn fawn that must have been only minutes old. It stumbled up out of the creek bed, went into some nearby tall weeds, and lay down to await the return of its mother.

While visiting with other family members on Sunday afternoon, they were remarking about how quiet and peaceful it was in the holler, when a doe stepped out of the weeds at the end of our yard. Just as I was about to tell the story of the newborn fawn, the little bugger came bursting through the weeds next to its mother and continued to leap, bound and cavort to the delight of us all.

 

July 10, 2014

Kaye Yoak and her crew of summertime helpers stopped by last Thursday to inform me that they were just about to do some more beautification on the little “island” between Rite Aid and Dollar General.

They already had all of the materials, flowers, mulch, tools etc., in the back of the truck and stopped by as a courtesy so that I might have the chance to shoot some photos of people giving back to the community.

I had asked her to be sure to alert me a couple of months ago, because I feel that it is a small enough compensation for her and the kids that assist her in these endeavors to be able to see their picture in the paper.

Unfortunately, I could not leave the office in time to get out there for the photo shoot, but I hope that all who read this remember who to thank when they see the hard work put into the project. Thank you, Kaye and kids, and, while I apologize for not getting your picture, I look forward to photographing your next project.

*    *    *    *

Last week, it was said in the Chronicle that a huge cabbage shown in a photo was grown by Diane Acuri. Although she was sitting at the table where the cabbage was being sold, it was actually grown by Jerry and Loretta Sanger of Sanger Farm on Meadow Run, Orma.

*    *    *    *

A nice storm blew threw Grantsville on Tuesday after-noon, bringing some relief from the hot temperatures and dry weather. Just as the storm was about to break, there was a high wind that came through town that was somewhat unusual, in that it felt hot enough to have come from an oven. It was nice and cool after the rain.

 

July 3, 2014

I do believe that it can be too hot and muggy for a person to sleep comfortably. I do believe that has been demonstrated over the last week.

Even with a fan on at night, blowing directly on me, I find that I cannot sleep more than an hour at a time. I wake up hot and sticky--and remember dreams of being in a swamp in Florida. I do not like it one bit.

Now, although I hate to bring bad tidings, July has only just begun and the hottest part of the summer is still to come. I wonder if there is any way I could wrangle an assignment to the North Pole--just for a couple of months. I will return, say, in mid-September.

*    *    *    *

There have been some storms lately, and while they do seem to cool things down for a bit, that causes the humidity to rise, and then we go back to sticky.

*    *    *    *

Perhaps, I will find the time to go fishing sometime soon and manage to fall into the water long enough to cool off.

At least there always seems to be a breeze blowing on the water, and the simple act of fishing is just about the most relaxing thing I can think of to do in the summer.

I think I will check our inflatable water conveyances this weekend and start planning a day of paddling.

 

June 26, 2014

There was tragedy in the holler last weekend. A pair of flycatchers, who have been nesting on the periphery of our upper deck, lost their two baby birds to a blacksnake.

Said blacksnake must have been extremely agile to get up that high with nothing but vertical wooden walls to climb.

I heard the birds raising a ruckus, and saw them both flying towards their nest and hovering there while chirping loudly, so I went out on the deck to see what was the matter. Looking to the nest, I spotted a blacksnake hanging down over the nest with mouth gaped wide and two little birdie feet sticking out.

Although I was at least 25 feet from the snake, he spotted me and retracted back up behind the edge boards where I couldn’t see him.

I went in the house and got our .22 caliber air rifle and waited an hour for Mr. blacksnake to stick his ugly little head back down toward the nest, so that I might give him a third eye right between his normal two, but he never showed himself.

The two flycatcher parents kept going up close to the nest, hovering and chirping, but alas, their babies were gone.

*    *    *    *

On a brighter note, our bird feeders are being frequented by all kinds of parent birds teaching their babies where to go for sunflower seeds.

The downy woodpeckers will completely cover their beak with material from the suet cake and then fly to a nearby tree, where their young can clean off the suet and send mom back for more.

 

June 19, 2014

If all went well, you are holding in your hands the very first issue of The Calhoun Chronicle to be set digitally from beginning to end.

*    *    *    *

All credit for this belongs to our editor, Newton Nichols, who started his career learning to set type on a linotype machine, went on to Varityper, IBM typewriters, several different types of headliners, all the way to Adobe InDesign. Quite a span of talent.

*    *    *    *

Over the years, the Chronicle has changed production methods several times, but nothing as drastic as this. This new method of producing the newspaper will result in a more environmentally friendly output. No more wasted paper from proof sheets, no more quickly used up toner cartridges or any of the other materials it used to take to do a manual paste-up on layout sheets from scratch.

*    *    *    *

This will also give us the opportunity to sell digital subscriptions in the future, as well as make the entire paper more user friendly, now that the entire paper can be “text searched” when someone wants to find a name or event. While this may not mean that much to anyone right now, our descendants will have a much easier time searching the archives than we do now.

*    *    *    *

All of us here at The Calhoun Chronicle have been working toward, and anticipating, this moment since 2009. We hope you enjoy it.

 

June 12, 2014

I love the Wood Festival, although it does wear me out every year. I run around town each day and go home late each night.

On the Sunday after the festival, I like to sleep in late (until 9 or 10 a.m.); however, last Sunday, I was shaken out of bed at 7:45 a.m. by thunder shaking the windows of the house. Oh well, perhaps I will sleep in next year on the Sunday following the Wood Festival.

*    *    *    *

This year, there seemed to be more people enjoying the festivities each evening, and the entertainment was good, as it always is.

I particularly got a kick out of listening to the crowd wondering about the main act on Saturday night, Beatlemania Magic. I kept hearing folks talking about the act, as I wandered around getting a feeling for the crowd and taking photos.


Some thought they might put people in a box and cut them in half, while others argued that they hoped that they would produce coins from audience member’s ears or show us all some good card tricks.

Personally, I was hoping to learn the trick of making a bouquet of flowers appear out of thin air. That could come in real handy when you forget a birthday or anniversary.

*    *    *    *

All of the birds that frequent our feeders have had a very successful year in the little tiny baby bird department. The feeders have been overrun with parents packing their beaks with seed, while the baby birds hop along the limbs and scream to be fed.

In a week or so, the parents will be proudly perched on those same limbs telling junior, “You want to eat? You know how it’s done. There it is. I am not going to feed you any more.” Such is life.

June 5, 2014

Most of our subscribers will notice the lack of an insert   from Foodland in this week’s Chronicle. Seeing as how no good deed goes unpunished, Foodland, in an effort to make their sales flyers up-to-date on a weekly basis, is changing the sale dates to run from Wednesday to Tuesday instead of Sunday to Saturday.

That may have caused confusion with the company that prints their flyers, and they sort of skipped a week. Therefore, the sale flyers Foodland received Monday are not for this week, but are for next week.

The good news is that the flyers for next week are already here and we should have no problems getting them in the paper . . . next week.

The changeover of sale dates will make the flyer usable as soon as you get your paper rather than having to wait until the following Sunday.

*    *    *    *

I am still learning just how clever raccoons can be. There is a momma ’coon coming to the house every night and bringing along her brood of three little ones. This is causing me some slight problems with the bird feeders.

I have been taking the feeders in at night to prevent a ’coon feast from causing a bird famine, but if the large three-tube feeder is close to empty, I have been leaving it out on its limb. The ’coon cannot reach it way up there anyway.

I now know that momma has taught her children well. Apparently, she climbs the tree, goes out on that limb, and causes the feeder to go lower and lower as she goes farther out on the limb, adding more weight to the total.

The little ’coons stand on the deck railing and wait until they can reach the feeder and then, using their tiny human-like hands, they rip the red bird stations right out of the tubes allowing what is left of the sunflower seeds to pour out--party time for ’coons!

Now, I take them all in every night and the ’coons just tear everything up on the deck in a fit of pique because of their frustration.

I keep telling them that there are lots of tiny lobsters down in the creek, if they will simply turn over the rocks and grab them.

May 29, 2014

The rose breasted grosbeaks that we thought were going to make nests and stay in our holler for the summer have moved on. They ate their fill at the feeders for a month or so, but we have not seen them for two weeks. Oh well, they were fun to watch while they were here, and they will probably stop by for a weeklong visit on their journey south this fall.

*    *    *    *

Since quite a few farmers have been cutting hay, I have been expecting thunderstorms for five days now. It is Tuesday afternoon and the storms are hitting us in waves. That’s alright, we really need the rain (even if the hay lying in the fields doesn’t).

*    *    *    *

We have been seeing many bluebirds lately, but none are using our birdhouses.

I love to watch their acrobatics, as they snatch bugs out of the air and, with just a few flicks of their wings, deliver them to the hungry babies waiting anxiously and open-mouthed in the nest.

*    *    *    *

The Calhoun County Wood Festival will be the happening in Grantsville next week. Love it or not, it always provides entertainment and gets folks together for a while.

*    *    *    *

The river has been looking very inviting lately, and I could swear that sometimes, in late evening, I can hear the bass in the river calling my name and begging me to feed them a tasty artificial bait. Now that the storms have arrived, I expect it will soon be too muddy for a successful fishing trip.

 

 

May 22, 2014

The opportunity exists overnight Friday through Saturday morning, if the skies are clear and you want to witness some-thing that has never been seen before, to view what may become a brand new meteor shower.

Comet 209P/LINEAR orbits the sun every 5.1 years, with its aphelion (farthest point from the sun) lying just inside Jupiter’s orbit. It is a member of Jupiter’s family of comets, which consists of icy bodies whose current orbits are primarily determined by the gravitational influence of the giant planet rather than the Oort Cloud.

We can thank Jupiter for raising the potential of a spectacular meteor shower on Saturday morning, because the gas giant has shepherded 209P/LINEAR into the orbit we find it in today. Its most recent encounter in February 2012 saw the comet pass within 54 million miles of Jupiter.

Indeed, Earth will arrive at the comet’s orbital plane at around 2 a.m. on Saturday. Some believe that a significant meteor outburst will result. Meteor experts have been working hard trying to determine just what Earth’s interaction with the dusty debris of Comet 209P/LINEAR will produce.

Predictions for this event range anywhere from 100 meteors per hour to perhaps a full-fledged meteor storm of 1,000 per hour. My vote is for the storm. I guarantee I will be out on the deck watching this possibly momentous event.

The place to look is to the north. The meteors will appear to come from an area near Polaris, the North Star. If you can find the Little and Big Dippers, they will shoot from almost between them.

 

May 15, 2014

Work has begun on what is commonly known as “The Pit,” next to the town parking lot in Grantsville, hopefully geared toward the town having a Gino’s/Tudor’s Biscuit World in that location at a later date (see photo above). So far, all that seems to be happening is leveling of the surface.

* * * *

A new eatery opened last Saturday across from Dollar General in Grantsville. I look forward to grabbing a delicious hot dog or sub at Sull Dog’s this summer. I may even take the time to eat my meal in the shade of its porch.

*    *    *    *

Lightning bugs, or fireflies, are now gracing our yard each evening, making it seem as though a large crowd of people is down in our far yard and taking pictures at a concert or sporting event.

Later at night, they decorate the trees surrounding the yard, flashing like Christmas lights from the top to the bottom of the trees.

I have many childhood memories of catching the flashy little insects, putting them in a jar (with holes punched in the lid), and reading works by Samuel Clemens by the light they emitted. Perhaps that is why my eyes are so bad.

*    *    *    *

Whippoorwills are still serenading us nearly every night. There are at least three of the night birds that sing to us, usually from different sides of the house, up and down the holler.

A chorus of three to four barred owls occasionally accompanies them. I love this time of year (as long as it doesn’t get too hot).

 

May 8, 2014

Sometimes buying a calf gets a little more complicated than you might think. Last Thursday, a couple of calves were purchased from Joe Cain at Big Bend.

The fun began when the calves were brought to the end of the bridge on the other side of the river, so they could cross over to the Rt. 5 side.

You know how people say, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it?” The bridge they were going to cross was a swinging bridge made for foot traffic.

Needless to say, the calves balked at the idea that they had go across the river on the bridge. I know quite a few people who won’t cross the river on a swinging bridge.

With helpful guidance, the crossing was made without incident, and the calves are no doubt hoping that they never have to do that again.

*    *    *    *

We had two unusual visitors at our feeders last fall, rose breasted grosbeaks. They stopped by for a few days of rest and sunflower seeds and then left for the winter. We enjoyed their stay and thought that perhaps we might see them again this fall.

Evidently, they enjoyed their stay so much last year that they told some friends about the holler. We now have three nesting pairs of them visiting the feeders every day.

*    *    *    *

The hummingbird population is growing steadily. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of eight of them flitting around the decks now.

 

 

May 1, 2014

We had some welcome visitors at our house over the weekend. They flew in from somewhere in Central America, where they had spent the winter in warmer climes.

We have been looking for them to arrive for a couple of weeks, and supposed they might have run into some bad weather.

I am talking, of course, about ruby throated hummingbirds.

Early Saturday morning, a beautiful male flew into my view outside a window over-looking our back deck and squeaked at me until he knew I had gotten the message, “I’m Home!”

He then flew over to a tree near where the feeder hangs throughout the summer to await the ceremonial “first filling of the hummer feeder,” ensuring that he would be the first to sip the sweet nectar from the fake, yellow plastic flowers.

We are now certain that there are two hummers fighting over the feeder. It can be hard to tell sometimes, because they are so quick. There will be more soon.

*    *    *    *

The beautification of the small island between Rite Aid and Dollar General, at the corner of Main and Florence streets, undertaken by Kay Yoak and a volunteer crew of children last year, is showing everyone who passes by what civic pride can do.

The tulips have been blooming and bringing a welcome splash of color to an otherwise drab corner for a few weeks now. Other flowers that the crew planted will be blooming throughout the summer.

Thank you, Kay and kids, for a job well done!

 

April 24, 2014

I was certain I would be looking for morels in my favorite spots last weekend, and I have no real excuse except laziness. I just couldn’t make myself face that long, slow hike to the top of the hill. Soon, it will be too late in the season (that will be my next excuse).

*    *    *    *

Other folks, those with gumption, have been making a trip out to the woods and they have been very well rewarded. I hear reports every week of people making extraordinary finds of the little delectable fungi.

*    *    *    *

Dogwoods, redbuds and fruit trees are providing nectar to energetic honeybees. Folks are getting into the weekly chore of yard work and gardening, and I am sitting on my porch.

*    *    *    *

I hear reports from across the hill, in the general direction of the old Cherry Fork Church, of black bears that have been spotted wandering about and getting into mischief. I hope that folks who live in that neck of the woods don’t mind that I scare those bears back over their way whenever they come over to our side of the mountain.

*    *    *    *

Trilliums are covering the woods, with white blooms, turning a hike in the woods into a photographic opportunity. I suggest that everyone go to the woods with family this weekend.

 

April 17, 2014

We had family come for the weekend from Toledo, Ohio, which is right on the border with Michigan. They were amazed at the intensity of green and the spring flowers that are already blooming here in the holler.

We thought it was quite nice of them to bring along fantastic weather, temperatures in the 70s and 80s and no rain.

They were also treated to the hooting of the barred owls, the trilling of whippoorwills, the vividly bright plumage of gold-finches and a concert delivered nightly by spring peeper toads and various tree frogs.

Unfortunately, when our company returned to Ohio on Monday, they took the beautiful weather with them.

It was snowing off and on all day Tuesday. I think we will call and beg them to send the warmth back, and we will be very happy to return the snow to the northlands where it belongs.

*    *    *    *

Dogwoods blossoms are open now, but are still green. They will turn white by the weekend. Redbud trees are bringing lively color to the roadsides and the hillsides. This is a vibrant time of the year, rivaled only by fall foliage.

*    *    *    *

Some very lucky folks are finding morels already. I have looked for them in a couple of my favorite spots, but, around our holler, I think the tasty little morsels are waiting for the tulip poplars to awaken and the fiddlehead ferns to arise. I still have not seen any tiny green mayapple umbrellas peeking through the leaves, and when I do, that will be yet another indicator that it is time to search for the first morels of the year. We may run into each other out in the woods.

 

 

 

April 10, 2014

My ramps were not showing any green above ground at this time last week, but when I looked at them on Monday evening, they were ready for harvest. They have grown five inches in one week.

*    *    *    *

The crocuses and snowdrops are finished, leaving only memories of the beauty they showed us through the last snows of winter.

*    *    *    *

I love this time of year. The entire world around us seems to go from a dull gray/brown to vivid green in the course of a couple of days. Driving out of our holler, as we approach White Pine, there is a pastoral hillside along the road that has turned a spectacular shade of green.

*    *    *    *

Some folks have already begun the summer chore of mowing the yard. I believe I will wait for another week . . . or two . . . before I mow mine. The deer still enjoy eating mine each night, and they are doing a fine job of keeping the grass cropped fairly short, so that sounds like a fine plan to me.

*    *    *    *

I noticed on Tuesday morning that trilliums have sprung from the earth and will most likely be blooming by the weekend.

That makes springtime walks in the woods a great time to take your camera along, while you have an opportunity for some fantastic shots. There are only so many springs given to us in this life to enjoy, so get out there and have at it.

*    *    *    *

Morels should be up now, but they may still be miniscule in size. I expect I will be making a journey to the hilltop within the next week to see just how big they are (and just because I really want to take a walk in the woods).

I heard from a local professional morel hunter that they are already up on the West Fork, but he wisely refused to tell me where they could be found.

April 3, 2014

Spring is now officially here, as far as I’m concerned. Daffodils are in bloom, forsythia is just about to bloom and goldfinches are changing into their bright yellow, summer feathers.

*    *    *    *

Although we all like the warmer temperatures, I believe everyone will agree that we do not need much more rain. What we had over last weekend is enough to do us for a while.

*    *    *    *

Fire has brought tragedy back to Calhoun County. Last Saturday night, a fire broke out in a home on Leading Creek Road taking the lives of three generations of the Davidson family that lived there.

A man returning home from work reported the blaze around 10 p.m. After calling 911, he and a neighbor went to the home to see if there was anything they could do, but the flames were too hot and the fire was too big.

Grantsville, Arnoldsburg and Smithville volunteer fire departments came to the scene, but the structure was fully engulfed when they arrived.

Killed were Roy Davidson, his daughter Teresa Davidson, and mother Nora Davidson.

*    *    *    *

Another fire on Southside, Grantsville, on Monday was brought under control through the quick action of Grantsville Volunteer Fire Dept. An outbuilding caught fire around 5 p.m. and threatened two nearby structures with intense heat.  Fire fighters sprayed down the fire and the nearby residences, saving the homes from destruction.

March 27, 2014

Crocuses are blooming and daffodils are next. If we get enough warm weather, there will be morels coming up in the woods soon. I will check my favorite spots this weekend.

*    *    *    *

Some gardens are being plowed around the county. It seems to me that folks usually plow before this, but we have had a rather harsh and long winter. I wonder how our summer is going to be.

*    *    *    *

I am convinced that the barred owls in our holler have had a successful hatching of little owlets. Something is driving the crows crazy near our house every day, all day long, and when I walk over to the hillside to see what’s happening, the crows all fly away,    and then a barred owl lifts from the ground and sits in a tree nearby.

Since I like owls much better than crows, the crows had better watch out. Besides, does it really take 50 crows to harass one owl?

*    *    *    *

The Dept. of Human Services has moved from Main Street, Grantsville, to its new location at the Industrial Park. They have a nice new building there, with an ample parking lot.

Another business leaving town is Life Guard Medical Supply, which will close its office in Grantsville on Apr. 7, and work out of its Roane County office.

*    *    *    *

There must be a way to attract new businesses to Calhoun County, even if the state government has to use big tax breaks to bring them in.

 

March 20, 2014

We were blessed by fantastic spring-like weather last Saturday, almost 70 degrees, with frogs a-croaking and peepers peeping. It was followed by typical late winter weather on Sunday. It started snowing before 4 p.m. and didn’t stop until around 4 a.m. on Monday.

*    *    *    *

We measured very close to 12 inches of snow in places on our decks before retiring on Sunday night, and it was a winter wonderland when we got up on Monday morning.

There was so much snow on all the trees and their limbs that the birds had nowhere to land to line up to visit our feeders. After a few near  misses, they managed to knock off enough snow to make room on a couple of limbs, and then the show began in earnest.

There were so many birds flying around the feeders, I feared there would be mid-air collisions between the incoming and the outgoing visitors.

There were no collisions, but, as temperatures warmed, there was an avalanche on one of the feeders when half of the accumulated snow on the tripe-tube feeder slid off, taking a few birds with it. None were hurt, and they flew right back to the feeder to risk it again.

Quite a bit of the snow had melted away by Tuesday afternoon.

*    *    *    *

You may be aware that the Chronicle webpage has not been updated in over a month. Well, that is my job and I was not being lazy, I was being very frustrated.

Our web server, Lumos Networks, removed my ability to access the site to make changes while they “upgraded their servers.” They gave no warning, actually cutting off my update that week just as I was attempting to post the Homepage, and offered no apologies when access was finally given back. As far as I am concerned, they did much more damage than they did good.

I have been working to restore the site, but what they managed to do while “up-grading” was to come close to destroying our site. Most of the links are broken and some of the pages are now incomplete.

I have managed to update the Community Calendar, Obituaries and Homepage so far, and I thank all of you for your patience while I attempt to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. I will be diligent.

*    *    *    *

All of Calhoun welcomes Spring on Thursday. We sure won’t be missing Winter, at least not until August when the temperature hits 95 degrees in the shade.

 

January 30, 2014

Groundhog Day is on Sunday, and one thing is certain. We do not need another six weeks of winter! As of this writing, the weather forecast for Sunday is for rain and snow mixing throughout the day. Perfect! Mr. Groundhog won’t see his shadow and spring will suffer no delay.

I suppose now, that I have the answer to the question, “Where did all the songbirds go this winter?” They all went south to warmer climes in hopes of escaping the bitter cold we have endured.

Since birds eat caterpillars, and the majority of caterpillars I saw last fall were either all black or mostly black, the birds must have obeyed the old saying about determining winter’s severity and left early to go south. They refused to hang around with us.

I am just about through with my first 50-lb. sack of sunflower seeds since last fall. By this time of year, I am usually going through 50 lbs. a week, so this cold weather is, at least, saving me money on birdseed.

*    *    *    *

Everyone who has to travel outside of Calhoun County when we have bad weather should be able to agree on one thing, we have the best highway department and workers in the entire state.

It is more than a little disconcerting when you are leaving Calhoun, and cross the county line, and go from pavement (Calhoun) to snow and ice so bad (other counties) that you cannot see the lines or the berms.

These crews not only work hard to keep the main roads open, they treat the secondary roads too, making it possible for us to get to the main roads.

Our highway crews are out there doing their best to keep the roads as safe as possible, while we are inside, safe and warm. Give them all a wave and a thank you whenever you get a chance.

*    *    *    *

The snowdrop flowers were coming up in our yard about three inches before all of the snow fell on them. I am certain they will be alright, and I am looking forward to watching them bloom in a few weeks.

*    *    *    *

Just before dark last Saturday, it began snowing so hard that I took a short walk in the yard and came back in with two inches of snow on my hat. After this 45-minute snow squall, we measured eight inches of snow on our deck. That included other snowfalls that still had not melted. I surrender; I am now ready for mud season (Spring).

January 23, 2014

There was more snow here last weekend, including a couple of inches in our holler, making the birds thankful that we still keep our feeders filled with a suet cake hanging in the midst of the feeders.

While there is still only one pair of cardinals, the goldfinch chickadee populations appear to be increasing.

*    *    *    *

As I am writing this, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning in our area for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Since they are often wrong with their forecasts, I wonder how their “two to four inches” of snow will actually measure up. I am going to guess we will have eight inches before it is all said and done, and the birds will be hitting the feeders hot and heavy while the snow is flying.

I will also go out on a limb and predict school closings, runs on bread and milk at the stores, and folks calling in to miss work due to weather.

The forecast for the end of this week is for . . . you guessed it, more snow, although they are being extremely vague about the amounts.

*    *    *    *

Calhoun County is still living on the “frontier” when it comes to “Hi-Speed” internet. My research shows that true high-speed rural internet should be the ability to access four MB download speed and two MB upload speed. I wonder if anyone around here can ever get that kind of speed?

There are many places on the internet where you can check your speed, just type “internet speed test” in the search window of your browser and choose which one you want to use. I only use the free tests, and even Frontier has a test site available.

The fastest I have tested is 2.1 MB and the slowest was when I was informed that there wasn’t enough speed in my connection to test for speed (that is pretty slow).

I am interested in what folks around the county will get when they test their connection.

January 16, 2014

We are enjoying a January thaw, but it will not last. Some snow is in the forecast for the rest of the week. Oh well, such is the way of winter.

At least there are a few more minutes of daylight brightening every day, and my snowdrop flowers have popped a couple inches above ground already. It won’t be long until daffodils, tulips and crocus begin to rise above the ground. I am looking forward to spring, but dreading the mud that accompanies it.

*    *    *    *

One of the good things about the recent spate of below zero temperatures is that it may have frozen the ground deep enough to help reduce the tick population for this summer.

If luck is with us, it may also have killed off some of the Asian ladybugs that winter beneath tree bark.

I did hear reports that it did not get cold enough around here to kill off the emerald ash borer invasion, but it still may have wiped out some of them. One can only hope.

*    *    *    *

It is only a little over two weeks until Groundhog Day is upon us. I hope that day is a cloudy one.

 

January 9, 2014

Believe it or not, I love snow, but loathe temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. I know that makes no sense, but as I have “matured” I cannot tolerate the cold as I once did.

*    *    *    *

The below-zero temperatures we had on Tuesday morning almost shut everything in the state down. Schools were closed in all 55 counties. Even Calhoun County courthouse employees were on a two-hour delay. It was an absolutely miserable day to be outside. I am definitely looking forward to this weekend and the predicted balmy 50 degrees we can all enjoy.

*    *    *    *

Birds were hitting the feeders pretty hard over the past week. I have had to fill both of them within the last 10 days. It is just a tad funny to see all the little birdies, with their feathers all fluffed out to the max, looking as fat as an old setting hen, huddled on the limbs around the feeder.

That is how they wait for me to lift myself from my recliner to pick up the bucket with the sunflower seeds and shovel my way through the snow to refill the feeders.

They never fly too far away while this is going on though, preferring to roost in the nearby hemlock tree, singing their praises to the sunflower seed man.

*    *    *    *

The new Arnoldsburg school opened last Thursday, but, as of Tuesday, that is the only day it has been open.

 

January 2, 2014

We have now started a new year and I’m sure many of you made “resolutions.” I made a resolution many years ago never to make another resolution, but I do wish much luck to those of you who are trying it yet again.

I can only offer some advice on keeping your word to your-self though. Always remember, if you can envision it, you can  do it.

You want to stop smoking? Just stop. In about four days, you should be over the addiction, but you will never be over the compulsion (or habit).

If you find yourself beginning to waver, just remember how much a pack of cigarettes costs, and multiply that by how much you smoked and 365 days in a year (1 pack @ $3.50 x 365 = $1,277.50).

Not smoking puts all of that money into your pocket, instead of giving it to the tobacco producers. As a consequence, you will start to feel better and your life expectancy will improve significantly.

*    *    *    *

Losing weight is a much more difficult proposition. There are many reasons for obesity, but many of us simply eat too much of the wrong things, and don’t get enough exercise (I fit this category).

Adjust your diet, exercise daily, and keep a log of your meals, exercise and couch potato time. There are also many books available to help lose weight.

*    *    *    *

Any and all resolutions can be achieved, but only if you really want it to happen. No one else can do it for you. Just remember, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!”

 

December 26, 2013

The end of another year is here and, although much has happened both good and bad, all in all, I believe it was a very good year.

Personally, I broke my leg; however, the reason for the broken leg was an ankle with deadened nerves that allowed said ankle to roll completely over for no reason. Somehow, when the ankle rolled over and I broke my leg, it managed to rejuvenate the nerves and now the ankle is much improved. I’ll take that as a good thing, since it will allow me to walk in the woods again to take photos without fear of falling over.

*    *    *    *

Grantsville has improved its look with the destruction of some dilapidated properties and the future is looking brighter with the addition of a Gino’s/ Tudor’s Biscuit World coming in the next year or so, and rumors of a Subway possibly coming too.

Calhoun County Farmer’s Market is open for the winter through the auspices of Berea Gardens, located at the former Minnora School.

Arnoldsburg has a brand new state-of-the-art elementary school for students in that area.

Area residents were able to come to Grantsville this Christmas season to enjoy the Singing Christmas Tree at the court-house.

I am sure there is more good that has happened around the county, as well as in each individual’s life, and there is more coming to us every week.

*    *    *    *

For those looking for the This Week In History column, there is not one for this week’s issue because, until just a few years ago, no Chronicle was printed during the last week of the year, so that Chronicle staff could enjoy a week off.

*    *    *    *

Thank you for reading my ramblings from week to week, and we all hope for a Happy New Year for everyone!

 

December 19, 2013

The annual Grantsville Home-town Christmas Parade went off without a hitch last Friday. The weather was almost perfect, not too cold and not raining. There were around 200 people gathered around the courthouse and on nearby street corners to enjoy the Singing Christmas Tree, setup and operated by Jim Sullivan. Many children were on their best behavior, patiently waiting for Santa’s arrival.

The winner of the Christmas Window Decoration contest was, once again, the Law Office of Tony Morgan, whose window was festooned with taxidermy and Christmas items. It is a very popular attraction. J&B Drug Store was second and Family History Center was third.

Santa, who arrived on the last fire truck in the procession, took a seat in the courthouse, where he heard the Christmas wishes of all the little children, with the exception of the few who were frightened of him--and one tiny tot that slept through the whole affair.

Even a few older (you know who you are) children (at heart) sat on his lap and expressed their wish list.

*    *    *    *

Jim Sullivan asked the crowd if they would like to see the Singing Tree back again next year and received a resounding “Yes.” It cost around $600 to set the tree up and maintain it, so he is looking for donations from individuals or, better yet, business and organizational sponsors. To make a donation to help keep the tree singing next year, call him, 531-0084 or 477-3489.

*    *    *    *

I spoke briefly with Richard Kirby, who was in town for the Christmas festivities, and he said that he usually runs through a 50 lb. sack of sunflower seeds feeding the birds every week in winter. This year, there are not many birds coming to his feeders. He has yet to run through the sack he bought in early November.

*    *    *    *

I sent an email to the National Audubon Society to inform them of our dearth of wild birds to see if they are hearing the same from others in West Virginia. The Great Backyard Bird Count will happen soon and I don’t think I will have much to report.

*    *    *    *

If you are stuck trying to figure out what to get as a gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend or relative, the Country Christmas Craft Show, located behind J&B Drug, will be open through Dec. 23. Stop by and you can find unique and unusual gifts, plus a selection of my framed and unframed wildlife photos, including the barred owl that I mention in this column from time to time.

 

December 12, 2013

Predictions from the National Weather Service and other agencies for last Sunday were for snow and sleet accumulating less than one inch. I think they were just a tad wrong. It snowed so hard all of Sunday morning that we could not see any further than 50 yards. We ended up with almost seven inches on our decks before the snow changed to freezing rain, and then just rain.

*    *    *    *

Thankfully, they were wrong about the flooding predictions though, at least so far.

*    *    *    *

All of the snow on Sunday brought in even more birds to our feeders. We had some visitors stop by that we had not seen in a while--juncos, tufted titmouse, male and female cardinals and several species of woodpeckers, along with a few mourning doves. It was snowing so hard that I had to go out and clean some of the snow out of the feeders so the little birdies could find some food.

*    *    *    *

In talking to other bird-watchers around the county, I have found that there are just not as many birds wintering over in our area this year. The birds must know something about this winter that I have not heard. I am now trying to find out just what almanac the little birdies use to predict a winter’s savagery, so that I can subscribe.

*    *    *    *

 A few inches of snow were forecast for Tuesday. At first, it prompted a two-hour school delay, then (with Sunday’s snowfall fresh in memory) a cancellation. As soon as school was called off, it stopped snowing, of course.

*    *    *    *

The forecast for this weekend is, you guessed it, more snow on Saturday and perhaps Sunday, although I have yet to hear how much we might get.

*    *    *    *

If you are stuck trying to figure out what to get as a gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend or relative, you can still stop by the Country Christmas Craft Show, located behind J&B Drug. While there, you can find unique and unusual gifts, plus framed and unframed wildlife photos, including the barred owl that I mention in this column from time to time.

*    *    *    *

Sometimes it is hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit but I must say that living in a snow globe really helps me run a mental playlist of seasonal tunes in my mind as I walk in this winter wonderland.

 

December 5, 2013

The Country Christmas Craft Show, located behind J&B Drug, is open again this year. You can find all kinds of unique gifts for every member of your family there. There is even a selection of my wildlife photography for sale.

*    *    *    *

For all of the dire predictions for heavy snowfall last week (including mine), there was only about three inches that fell in the holler last Wednesday, lightly decorating our house with practically none on the road.

The snow did make the holler look festive; almost like living inside of a snow-globe. Every tree had snow on each limb. More birds came to our feeders during the days of snow, and I had to refill both feeders by Friday.

*    *    *    *

One thing I have noticed over the last few years is that the opening day of deer season no longer sounds like the beginning of a war. Not that long ago, it seems, I remember hearing gun-fire on opening day every few minutes, even though some were from far away. Now, the shots are down to just a few per hour.

*    *    *    *

Pigeons in Grantsville are now looking for a new place to roost. The old Western Auto building was home to dozens of the birds that are still flying around the area, seemingly confused, trying to figure out how a building of that size could simply disappear.

I don’t think it will take them long to completely take over the old Rainbow Hotel. Many windows are missing on that structure and it will most likely collapse before too many more winters pass. I suppose there are those who hope it collapses at night, with all of the pigeons inside.

 

November 28, 2013

Demolition has begun on two structures on Court St. that have been condemned by flood mitigation. The old Western Auto building and the green house beside of it have been flooded several times over the years.

Heavy equipment took down the little house in less than two hours on Monday morning. The Western Auto building is slated for demolition on Friday after asbestos removal.

To me, that represents two of the three places I have worked in my entire life.

Air Rifle Headquarters was located over the Western Auto, and Bob Law, owner of the business, was the first person who thought I had potential as an employee. I worked there until it closed for good around 1981.

My next job was at Red Clay Press, which, at that time, was located just to the right of the Western Auto building. I worked there until it closed in 2004.

I now work at the Calhoun Chronicle, but I will watch out for the heavy equipment to come looking for me and I will run hard and fast if I see it coming.

*    *    *    *

The weather over the weekend was entirely too cold, even for me. Temperatures on Sunday never rose above the freezing mark, with my digital thermometer showing a high of 23 degrees.

Monday morning was bitter cold, with ice in the creek, and it was down to 13 degrees. National Weather Service says there might be snow on the ground by Tuesday morning.

The forecast for Tuesday night and Wednesday is for snow, with multiple inches in the forecast. I will guess we might get around six inches, which will make it easier for hunters to spot and track deer.

Fifty years ago, there was a terrible blizzard around the state for Thanksgiving. Hopefully, that won’t happen this year.

*    *    *    *

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from all of us!

 

November 21, 2013

Activity at our birdfeeders is still very low. I have not seen any cardinals for over a month. I hope, as the weather gets colder and nastier, all of the flocks of feathered friends will return.

We think that perhaps the goldfinch were a little self-conscious and went away for a little privacy while they changed from gaudy summer feathers into their drab winter ones.

Other folks around the county report a decided lack of activity at their feeders also, although some are still reporting seeing a couple of cardinals.

*    *    *    *

Comet Ison, traveling at 234 miles (377 km) a second, is due to come closest to the sun on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, when it is expected to pass 720,000 miles from the solar surface and heat up to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to experts, it is now visible to the naked eye in the hours before daybreak, although binoculars or a telescope works best.

If predictions are correct, the galactic show will rival the Great Comet of 1680, which had a tail 90 million miles long and could be seen during the day because it was so bright, leading many to think it was a punishment from God.

Even if Ison breaks up before then, or fails to survive its closest scrape with the sun, experts believe its death throes could be spectacular. If Ison breaks up during the close pass with the sun it might emerge as chunks or pieces which will still be quite a show in the night skies of December.

*    *    *    *

Friday, Nov. 22, will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Many readers will remember that day just as clearly as I do, and will sit for awhile thinking about it just as I did last night.

I remember sitting in class at the one-room school at Mt. Zion when a woman, who lived just past our playground, came running over to the school, in the rain, with a radio under her coat.

After a brief meeting with our teacher, Ernest Kelly, she came into the school and plugged in the radio. Kelly told us that there was terrible news, the president had been shot. He then had us all put our heads on our desk to pray for the president and our country.

Shortly thereafter, the radio announced that the president was dead. We were all in a state of shock. How could something like that happen in our country? Was anyone truly safe if the president could be killed?

Kelly let any student who walked to school go home early, and I left for home, looking for an assassin behind every tree on the mile walk down Mudlick Road.

 Later that evening, after dark, I was sent out to our well for water. Although it was less than a hundred yards, I was almost too scared to go outside for fear of who might be hiding in the woods, waiting to shoot me.

It took me weeks before I felt anywhere near safe walking our road and never went anywhere without a pocket full of rocks, which I was very good at throwing.

 

November 14, 2013

Jeanne called me on Tuesday to give me a very important piece of good news, the goldfinches returned to our feeder. We had been talking about them that morning while drinking our coffee and watching it snow.

I guess they were happy wherever they were--until it snowed about an inch. She looked out at the feeder around 10 a.m. and said there was a flock of about 20 goldfinch flying around, landing on, and fighting over our two feeders.

We are glad to have them back, since I already invested in a 50-lb. sack of sunflower seeds.

*    *    *    *

The annual Leonid meteor shower will occur the night of Nov. 16. The bad news is that the moon will be full right at that time masking all but the brightest of the shooting stars.

Even though this is one of my favorite meteor showers, I will not even get out of bed for it this year. Way too much light interference.

*    *    *    *

If you feel the need to do a little “sky watching,” you can grab a pair of binoculars, or a small telescope, and take a look at a comet that is making its first appearance in the inner solar system, comet ISON (named for International Scientific Optical Network).

To find out where to look for ISON, search on your computer for exact coordinates. It is very small and somewhat dim right now, so knowing exactly where to look is essential.

It is on track to swing very close around the Sun--missing it by less than one solar diameter on Nov. 28, and, if it is not destroyed by that encounter, emerge into dawn view, possibly with a long tail, in early December. It has the potential to be one of the brightest comets seen in hundreds of years. I will believe that when I see it with my naked eye.

 

November 7, 2013

There were quite a few ghosts, goblins, super heroes etc., running around Grantsville last Thursday, and they were, for the most part, adults!

The Senior Citizens Center held a costume contest, and some businesses in town were staffed by costumed employees.

Even the post office across the street from our office was being run by Cleopatra and Marc Antony.

Several customers who stopped in Friday told me that Halloween was past, and would I please remove my scary mask. I had to tell them it is the same mask I’ve been wearing all my life.

*    *    *    *

Birds are slowly beginning to return to our feeders. I’m not sure why, but for the last month or so, the only birds alighting for a sunflower seed tidbit have been chickadees. Goldfinch, various woodpeckers, titmouse and the majority of our mourning doves have been mysteriously absent.

In talking to others around the county, I found that their feeders are having fewer visitors as well. Perhaps our little feathered friends know more than we do, and suspect we are in for a nasty winter this year, hence they all decided to head for warmer climates.

I am fairly certain that most of the birds we watched last fall, stayed all winter long.

*    *    *    *

Now that November is here,  I suppose it’s time to try and remember where I stored all of my flannel shirts and sweaters.

Next month, I will begin the search for my insulated undies.

 

October 31, 2013

I went for a walk the other day and noticed that the freezing overnight temperatures we have been experiencing lately have brought about many changes in the little pawpaw patch at the end of our yard.

The leaves had all died and fallen in a perfect circle at the base of the trees, like confetti strewn upon the ground in celebration of the beautiful colors of autumn.

*    *    *    *

The frosty nights have also silenced the crickets, katydids and other insects that provided my nightly chorus; however, some of these bugs come back out in the heat of warms days to provide a semblance of their music in the late afternoon and early evening hours.

Soon, the nights will be so quiet that you can even hear the snowflakes brushing into each other on their way down to cover the earth.

*    *    *    *

As a bonus, the Asian ladybugs also congregate on warm surfaces during the day, only to freeze to death at night.

*    *    *    *

There was a fatal fire last Friday night (shown above) in Orma that took the life of Bill Callanan, who was disabled. A passerby spotted the fire, but was unable to enter the dwelling due to the ferocity of the blaze.

Upper West Fork and Arnoldsburg volunteer fire departments battled the inferno, but the dwelling was a complete loss. Firefighters were still at the scene on Saturday afternoon preventing flare-ups.

*    *    *    *

Another fire on Monday afternoon caused some damage to the home of Carl Osborne on Broomstick Road.

 

October 24, 2013

We have now had our first frost in the holler, so any warm stretch of weather, I will be calling “Indian Summer.”

We had to scrape ice off     the windshield on Monday morning, and it appears that it will be cold again for the near future. I expect to see some snow flying in the air in the next three weeks.

*    *    *    *

There was no internet in Calhoun County from Monday night through late Tuesday afternoon due a fiber optic problem somewhere in the system. This should remind us that we are entirely too dependant on internet and computers.

I have heard some people say that we no longer live on the frontier here, but I now know how to live without it. At least Frontiernet.

I was reminded once again to download any files I need the moment I have the chance.

*    *    *    *

Autumn Blair, the 2009 Calhoun Wood Festival Idol winner, is now in competition on a new Lifetime television series called, “Chasing Nashville.”

The first airing was on Tuesday. If you missed it, check the Lifetime website to see when the show may be re-broadcast. All of Calhoun is hoping for her success.

 

October 17, 2013

This Friday’s lunar eclipse is a penumbral event, meaning that the full moon will only pass through the outer bright rim of the Earth’s shadow. Such events are subtle affairs, as opposed to total and partial lunar eclipses, which occur when the moon enters the dark inner core, or umbra, of the Earth’s shadow.

Still, you may just be able to notice a slight dusky shading on the lower southern limb of the moon as it flirts with the umbra, barely missing it around the time of central eclipse at 7:51 p.m. Friday night’s penumbral eclipse is three hours and 59 minutes in duration, and 76.5% of the disk of the moon will be immersed in the penumbra at maximum eclipse.

*    *    *    *

Be sure to attend and enjoy Calhoun Historical Society’s Legends and Lore Tour at Calhoun County Park this weekend (see times listed in this issue). I attend each year and enjoy it more each time.

*    *    *    *

On Saturday, those of you with an adventuring spirit should attend the annual Bridge Day celebration at River Gorge Bridge, near Fayetteville. It will take your breath away to witness folks jumping off a perfectly sound bridge and falling 876 feet to land in the New River below.

There have been some who suggested I go there and take the leap, but no one has yet said that I should take a parachute with me.

*    *    *    *

Momma T’s store burned last Friday, reducing Calhoun’s business base by one, and forcing residents of northern Calhoun to go elsewhere for farm supplies.

*    *    *    *

Whatever you do this weekend, you need to get out and take some pictures of Mother Nature’s most colorful finery, as the leaves turn to multiple shades of gold, red and brown.

*    *    *    *

There is more snow falling in the upper Midwest, although all we get here is rain. I am still waiting for the first hard frost so that the next warm spell can be called Indian Summer.

 

October 10, 2013

Last week, I forgot to mention the demise of a red-bellied woodpecker in Grantsville. The poor bird apparently landed on a power line at the southern end of Main Street and, as woodpeckers often do, turned itself to hang upside down. That turned out to be a fatal mistake, since there was another power line perfectly placed at chest level to an upside down red-bellied woodpecker.

Suddenly, there was a brilliant flash of light and a very loud boom that caused the lights to flicker in our office and the power to go off at several businesses and residences in town.

Although many people thought the unfortunate bird had pecked on a transformer, no transformer is located on the pole beneath where the bird was found--almost fully cooked and featherless.

Power was restored within a couple of hours.

A few days later, I swear I saw five red-bellied woodpeckers sitting on the telephone wire near the site of the accident holding a memorial service.

*    *    *    *

The first winter storm of the season hit the western reaches of the country last week and dropped three feet of snow in some places, but did nothing here.

There is still no rain in our long-term forecast and with forest fire season here, we need rain. Frost is also not in the forecast, even though we almost seem to be enjoying Indian Summer conditions.

*    *    *    *

Leaves on many trees are beginning to change. Last Saturday morning, I enjoyed coffee on our deck while watching a “leaf blizzard.” There were so many leaves blowing around the holler, it made me feel like I was starring in a National Geographic special.

In another few weeks, the leaves will have fallen and the snow will be falling.

 

October 3, 2013

The weather for the past couple of weeks has been spectacular. If you had all the money in the world, you could not buy better weather.

It will warm up some for the remainder of the week, with      a slight chance of rain. A cooling trend is in the forecast for next week. There will be frost on the grass in a couple of weeks.

*    *    *    *

Squirrels have been very busy cutting nuts from the hickory trees. Some evenings, I would almost swear they are having contests to see which side of the holler can store the most food for the coming winter.

There is nearly a continuous fall through the trees, with squirrels chattering at each other from both sides of the house.

*    *    *    *

If you ever feel like you missed your calling, and you should have gone into acting, you can still attend a rehearsal for the upcoming Legends & Lore drama, and perhaps get a part in the show.

The first rehearsal is Tuesday, Oct. 8, 6 p.m., at Heritage Village in Calhoun County Park. If you are over 18, come out and show them what you can do.

*    *    *    *

 ’Tis the season for deer to be stupider than usual and run out into the road in front of a car, regardless of the time of day. Everyday, I see more carcasses and tire skid marks along the road coming into town.

Be careful and do your part to keep car insurance premiums as low as possible, as well as ensure plenty of deer left running around for hunting season.

 

September 26, 2013

It was 40 degrees on Monday morning and 39 degrees at daylight Tuesday in our holler.

Not quite cold enough to coat the grass with frost, but it was cold enough to silence the crickets and katydids.

*    *    *    *

The barred owls were creating quite a racket right beside the house in the middle of the day late last week. I’m not sure what had them so upset, but they carried on for about an hour, yelling back and forth up and down the holler.

*    *    *    *

We saw our first wooly worm a short while back, and it was solid black from end to end. As far as I can remember, that means a nasty winter from start to finish. I guess I will wait to see how many other colors of worms everyone else sees, and then we go with the average.

*    *    *    *

This weekend is the Molasses Festival, so you need to get to Arnoldsburg on Friday and Saturday to enjoy this event.

Due to a lack of volunteers, this year’s festival was cut from three days to two.

If the festival does not get more volunteers before next year, it may be cut out altogether, and so another traditional festival will become just a memory, much like the Upper West Fork Ramp Festival.

*    *    *    *

If you have any time to spare throughout the year, consider volunteering for something in your community. I guarantee any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

 

September 19, 2013

Anyone who enjoys fall weather should be having a good time now. Personally, I love crisp mornings with fog filling the valleys as I come to town. The only thing not good about this time of year are the absolutely insane critters along the roads.

Squirrels and deer have been jumping in and out of the road for two weeks now. It is a good time to see how many bucks are running around, how big their racks are, and just how stupid they are this time of year. Sometimes, we stop along our road and talk to the deer for minutes before they decide that we may be dangerous, and bounce off into the woods.

 The squirrels are just plain crazy, although it is fun to watch them zigzag in front of the car for 50 or 60 feet before they leap onto a tree and peek out from behind it.

*    *    *    *

The only hummingbirds we see now are travelers who stop by for day or so to fill up their tank and rest a bit before heading off to southern climes.

*    *    *    *

I hope that many of you made it to Calhoun Days at the county park last weekend. There was beautiful weather and a lot of activities.

*    *    *    *

Don’t forget to attend the football game at the high school on Friday at 7:30 p.m. for the annual homecoming.

*    *    *    *

My leg still hurts, bad.

 

September 12, 2013

Sometimes, weeks might go by without us spotting any of the owls that live in the holler. Occasionally, we see them every day. Lately, as autumn nears and the little owlets are either on their own, or soon will be cast from the nest, we see one every few days.

It’s nice to know they inhabit the holler and still are not camera shy (it will fly across the road in front of us and land in a nearby tree, waiting until it knows we have taken photos before dropping from the limb and flying off into the woods).

*    *    *    *

The hummingbird population seems to be down to one. I expect it to head south any day, allowing me to clean the feeder and put it away for the winter. I might just leave it out for a while longer in case any hummers heading south from northern regions want to stop by for a sip of West Virginia nectar.

 *    *    *    *

I am now getting around with a “space boot on my right foot and leg” and a cane--on good days. When I feel a bad day coming on, I use the crutches.

As it turns out, when the temporary cast was removed from my leg, we discovered that the ankle was severely sprained also, but the good news is that the fibula break does not require surgery of any kind.

*    *    *    *

Calhoun Days will occur this weekend at Calhoun County Park and Heritage Village. There will be a 5k run/walk, swap meet, nighttime cannon firing (Saturday), Civil War re-enactments, a chance for folks to get together who haven’t run into each other in a while, and much more.

Even in my sad state, I plan to be there, maybe even on both days. We don’t have a whole lot of  happenings here in Calhoun County and this is a fun event for the entire family.

September 5, 2013

About a year and a half ago, my sciatic nerve was severely pinched by a ruptured disc and a bone spur on the spinal column that caused intense back and leg pain on my right side.

Due to that problem, I have suffered muscle atrophy and weakness in my right leg and ankle. At times, my right ankle will simply roll over, causing me to lose balance and/or fall.

Last Saturday night, the ankle gave out and rolled over so badly that it caused my fibula to break just below my knee.

At first, I thought that my ankle had broken, since my entire leg was awash in pain from the tip of my toes to my knee. Since I had not fallen on anything other than my back-side, I figured the leg was fine. Little did I know that without calf muscles to support it, the fibula is not that hard to fracture.

I suppose my summer is now over, as this will probably take around six weeks to heal.

That’s okay, bring on the snow and I will put chains on my crutches.

*    *    *    *

Summer appears to over for the bird population in the holler too. We are only making hummingbird nectar two to three times per week, instead of two batches a day. Their numbers have dropped to around 10 (from about 30), and the rest must have headed off to Central America for the winter.

*    *    *    *

Most of our goldfinches are losing their bright yellow color. They seem to be able to change coloration in a couple of weeks, without ever molting.

*    *    *    *

Now that we are into the “ber” months, I wonder how many weeks until the first frost?

 

August 29, 2013

While walking our dogs before bedtime on Monday night, I looked up into the butternut tree and was thinking about the fact that I had not seen the raccoon family around for several weeks.

I was worried that perhaps tragedy had befallen them. It is a cruel world out there for critters, and if something happened to mama ’coon, the little ones would have to fend for themselves.

Not even 10 minutes later, I looked back into the butternut and, lo and behold, there were five sets of glowing eyes looking back at me.

To further prove that the ’coon family was back around the house, our little dog Shiloh barked most of the night because mama ’coon is always talking to the little rascals as they run around picking up discarded sunflower seeds on the deck and in the yard.

*    *    *    *

It is gratifying to hear from folks who are reading our series about one-room schools. Some have brought in photos of the old schools and many remember attending the schools. I attended Mt. Zion School, which was located on Barnes Run, behind Mt. Zion U.M. Church.

Jim Morgan has helped identify students in last week’s Daniel’s Run School photos. He reports that the two students identified as Mollohan are actually David Simmons (first row) and Diane Simmons (last row). He added, “Thanks for publishing the picture. David had called me yesterday and we relived first grade. The other picture was also of interest, because it had some of my mother’s sisters and brothers. Thanks again.”

 

 

August 22, 2013

I don’t know how it is in other places, but in our holler, where food is plentiful, many of the resident bird population raises two sets of fledglings each summer.

The second hatching is now fully fledged and fully instructed in how to properly open and eat sunflower seeds. Now, all they have to do is fatten up for the fall migration, which will come soon enough.

*    *    *    *

While I knew it was going to rain over the weekend, I was somewhat surprised at the volume of rain we received, in both quantity and sound.

I like to sleep while it is raining, but it rained so hard on Saturday night that the sound of the rain pounding on our steel roof woke me up.

I was almost back to sleep when I remembered that our road was in the midst of being graded for stabilization (good job on the grading guys, it looks really good, so far), and there was still quite a bit of it that had yet to be graveled.

I feared that the rain may have taken advantage of the loose dirt on the down slopes and caused some “ditching” on its own.

It turned out that I was worried for nothing. While a trip out of the holler on Sunday proved to be quite slippery in the muddy spots, the rain had not made any deep ruts.

*    *    *    *

The Mt. Zion Ox Roast is happening on Saturday, so I suggest that all readers make a trip to Mt. Zion Community Park to partake of some good food and friendly visits with old friends. While you’re there, why not make some new friends and have a little “face to face” time instead of “Facebook” time. It will do you good.

 

August 15, 2013

While we have been getting some rain in the area, there has been much heavier rain falling to our north and south, with some places suffering from flash flooding.

*    *    *    *

I got up quite early on Sunday and Monday mornings to sit on the deck to watch the Perseid meteor shower. It was actually more like a “meteor drizzle.”

I think I saw around 35 shooting stars over the two nights and have not yet had the time to see if I caught any of them streaking across the sky with my camera.

I suppose I was spoiled by the 2002 Leonid meteor shower that fired at least one meteor across the sky per minute, many of them bright as a flashbulb and leaving behind a plasma trail that looked like a glowing worm in the sky that twisted in the winds of the upper atmosphere for as long as 10 minutes.

I hope that any of you who looked for them had better luck than I did, although any meteor is worth watching.

*    *    *    *

I found out this week that one thing that seems to make a difference in areas affected by emerald ash borers is wood-peckers.

It seems that pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers can make a significant difference in the population of the pests, although it seems that they cannot make the problem go away.

On a recent trip to Morgantown, an emerald ash borer landed on the hood of our car while we were setting in the parking lot. I looked online and could not find Monongalia County listed as infected by the bugs, but I know what I saw, and if the little critter had not been so fast. I would have gotten a photo of him.

 

July 25, 2013

The West Virginia monsoon season continues. I believe we may be setting records for rainfall in the summer months. I certainly cannot remember a wetter summer in my lifetime. All of this rain has to be good for something, although mold is the only thing that comes to mind.

*    *    *    *

Last week, I overheard a couple of visitors from out of state say, while strolling along Main Street in Grantsville with the temperature hovering near 100 degrees in the shade, “I thought we were in ‘Almost Heaven,’ this feels like it may be somewhat hotter than the other place.”

While it was quite hot last week, I didn’t think it was “hotter than Hades.” I was glad to go home every day, where it is always at least 10 degrees cooler down in the holler.

*    *    *    *

Early Friday evening, the sky turned black and I actually looked forward to the cooling breeze (wind) that came blowing toward our house.

The outside temperature dropped 20 degrees in 20 minutes. We opened up the house to let the hot air out, the cool air in, and it felt wonderful.

It was a nice break in the normal stifling atmosphere.

*    *    *    *

I was told that when “Dog Days” comes in hot and wet, it will stay that way until “Dog Days” is over. That means we may as well look for this to last until Aug. 11 or so.

 

July 18, 2013

Part of my birthday gifts last week included a week of having a four-wheeler available for riding. Since I have not been able to walk to the top of the hill to take photos since my back surgery a couple of years ago, I took advantage of the situation and made trips to the top of the world. On trip one, I was able to take some nice photos of a red tailed hawk, among other nice shots.

Saturday morning, I had my coffee drank before 7 a.m. and jumped on the machine so that I could, if I was lucky, get some photos of heavy fog filling the valleys. Unfortunately, the fog was extremely thick and lifted around 9 a.m., instead of settling into the hollers.

My luck held though. While I was there, two tom turkeys strutted out of the woods and strolled along the edge of the meadow long enough for me to get as many pictures as I wanted.

The flowers, spider webs and other plant life provided more photo opportunities.

As I was leaving and rolling across the ridge top, two pileated woodpeckers flew in front of me and landed on a tree a hundred yards or so away. I was able to get a few nice pictures of them, as well as a minute or three of HD video, before they flew away over the hill.

It seemed strange that one bird was chasing the other around and around the tree, until I saw one of them stop and “beak-fight” with the trailing bird. The “beak-fighting” was actually the daddy bird feeding the younger bird.

At the beginning of the video, the two chasing each other around the tree were joined by a third bird, which I believe is the mommy bird. She must have told them it was time to eat and not time to play, as they flew off shortly after her arrival.

*    *    *    *

I will miss going places the easy way, but I do need exercise and a four-wheeler is not going to provide that. Not too sure that my legs are ready for it, but we will see.

 

July 11, 2013

I have walked upon this earth for quite a few years now, and I do not remember ever experiencing a June as rainy as the one we just had, or the first weeks of July being this wet. It seems as though there has been some precipitation every day for the last few weeks.

Some gardens have suffered from a lack of drainage, flooding the plants, at a time of year that I always remember doing the backbreaking chore of trying to keep the garden from dying from a lack of water. Carrying 50 gallons of water a day can make you ache when you consider that each gallon of water weighs eight pounds.

The weather forecast for the end of the week, as of this moment, is for less humidity and clearing skies. Since it is July, and dog days are about to set in, it will continue to be hot.

*    *    *    *

We have been seeing the barred owls that live in our holler almost every day now. They are probably feeding a nest of little, fuzzy owlets. I donated an opossum to the baby owl food drive last week when the ’possum wouldn’t stay off the deck and leave our bird feeders alone. It passed away from a sudden onset of lead poisoning.

*    *    *    *

Anyone who watches the Destination America channel on satellite TV has most likely tuned into the new program, Mountain Monsters. There are some local folks who have appeared on the show, and we are told that more shows are in the works featuring local talent.

I hope to have more on this subject in a week or so.

*    *    *    *

I just got an inflatable kayak from Jeanne for my birthday. It sat in a box on our porch for two weeks while I was under strict orders not to investigate the box or look at the labels. I never looked at the box until my birthday, and then I was surprised at the gift and disappointed in the weather. It was raining within 10 minutes of my opening of the present.

I hope and pray that this weekend will allow some river time, so we can take the kayak out for its maiden voyage and harass some bass.

 

July 4, 2013

I guess we are in the middle of monsoon season around here (although I have never heard of “Mountain State Monsoon Season”). There was so much rain here every day last week that our little creek became a river again, daily, sometimes more than once a day. This would not be a problem, except that we worry about being swept away when crossing through it.

If I remember correctly, our cistern was dry before this time last year. It usually goes dry each year sometime in early July.

I checked on it Saturday and it was overflowing. No complaints from me about that, water is a precious thing.

*    *    *    *

We lost a good neighbor and friend last week. Ray Yoak of Pleasant Hill died.

I will always remember the times I would wake up, go to the kitchen to make coffee, look out the window, and see that there had been several inches of snowfall overnight.

Usually, before I had finished my first cup of coffee, I would hear the sound of a diesel engine idling down the road toward our house. The next thing I knew, there was Ray, drag blade down on the tractor, coming across the creek after plowing the road. He would back up to our car, drop the blade back down and plow the driveway. All he ever wanted for that work was a smile and a wave.

Many times, Ray and I talked about everything that was right, and wrong, about the world. He also worked on the Alaska pipeline project many years ago. He will be missed by many throughout the county, and perhaps, the country.

Ray’s trip to the cemetery was not in the back of a hearse. He traveled in style, riding on a trailer being pulled behind his 4-wheel drive tractor, with his constant canine companion riding in his customary spot in the end loader bucket on the front, guarding Ray’s dinner cooler.

*    *    *    *

Just in time for Independence Day, citizens of Grantsville and Calhoun County have placed Old Glory all around the courthouse. The flags are hanging from each of the light stanchions along the sidewalks so that they will be fully lighted at night. It looks very nice and those involved are to be congratulated.

 

June 27, 2013

Saturday, June 29, will mark the one-year anniversary of the “big wind,” or derecho, as the meteorologists began calling it, that blew through the mid-Atlantic states, causing wide-spread damage and cutting power and phone service to the majority of area residents for many days, some were without power for more than a week.

I plainly remember the feeling of awe and helplessness when I looked up our hollow and saw the blackest clouds I had ever seen, and heard the roar of the wind as all of the trees started bending over, and heard the cracking and crashing as many of them snapped in two or could not resist the wind and were uprooted.

Afterward, large limbs and leaves covered our yard, and some limbs were on the roof of the house, but we were lucky. There was no significant damage at our place.

The sky was the strangest color of orange after the storm passed, and I took a few pictures, but they do not do that sky justice.

There was no way that the color of the sky and the silence that followed the storm could be caught on camera. It was more of an uncanny feeling. The usual sound of birds and insects around the house was missing. I am certain that they were more in awe of nature’s power than we were, since the storm had blown multitudes of nests out of the trees.

The windstorm was followed by extremely hot and humid weather, which was exacerbated by the lack of power since that meant there was no air conditioning available except in designated “cool zones,” located at public facilities where power had been restored.

Ice was trucked into the county and handed out free to those in need (and we were all in need). Folks made sure their neighbors were okay throughout the crisis, delivering food or medicine, or in some cases, letting someone use their generator so they could at least power a fan in an attempt to stave off the heat.

Folks waited in line at gas stations with power and gasoline, hoping to fill up their car and get enough gas to run a generator for a day or two.

In trying times like that, you realize that one of our biggest assets here in Calhoun County and, actually the entire state of West Virginia, is our people. We really are just one big family, who will do whatever it takes to get all of us through times of crisis.

 

June 13, 2013

The 51st Calhoun County Wood Festival was held last week to the delight of all, and many came to Grantsville to enjoy the event.

A lot of effort goes into making the festival a success each year, and I would like a moment to personally thank the volunteers who make this happen for all of us:

Judy Powell, president; Paige Toney, vice  president; Jackie Blankenship, secretary; Jim Sullivan, treasurer; Carol Sloan, Loretta Freshour, Colleen Sullivan, Norma Freshour, and many others.

These folks deserve a pat on the back for what they do for the Wood Festival. If you would like to join these volunteers to help with next year’s Wood Festival, contact any of the above named individuals and they will be glad to help you become a volunteer.

*    *    *    *

One of the things I like best about the Wood Festival is that it is an event that brings folks back to Calhoun County. You see people just walk up to somebody and give them a big hug and then go find a place in the shade to sit and reminisce.

*    *    *    *

I miss the old pickers who used to get together under the awning next to NAPA, where they would sit and play music all day. Many of them have passed on and none of the younger generation of musicians have stepped forth to take their place. Maybe next year?

*    *    *    *

I received two more responses to the question posed previously about the original recipe for the Band Booster’s delicious hot dog sauce.

Tom Yoak sent this in: “Elva Vaughan did the hot dog sauce for the band boosters beginning in 1952 or 1953, when her husband Lloyd Vaughan’s Vo-Ag crew built the concession stand at Wayne Underwood Field. Later, she provided the recipe for others to do it.”

Roger Hamilton of the class of 1973 sent this in: “I believe it was my Mother, Helen Hamilton. I remember her making gallons of the stuff when I was a lot younger.”

 

May 30, 2013

Last weekend was quite a bit cooler than I thought I was used to. I was just beginning to get into nice hot days where I could wear shorts and short sleeved shirts. I tried that combination last Friday and pretty near froze to death, at least until I found a jacket hanging in the office that I had left there on a day when it was cold when I came to work and hot when I left.

Weather predictors for the remainder of this week are calling for warm temperatures again.

Rain will probably be in the forecast next week, since it is just about haying time and it is time for the Wood Festival.

*    *    *    *

On Monday, I attended the Grantsville VFW Post 5959’s Memorial Day service that is  held annually at the monument to veterans in front of the courthouse.

It is surprising how many of us, these days, have forgotten what Memorial Day, or Decoration Day, as it was originally called, is about.

It is a day to honor our fallen veterans who gave their lives fighting for their country, so that we can still enjoy the freedom that they died to protect.

Counting me, there were 13 people at the service. Some who were there remembered that 50 years ago there would have been hundreds of people in attendance, many of them walking several miles to attend the service.

I rue the day when there is no one attending Memorial Day services, with the exception of  the spirits of those who died fighting for their country, whom no one then remembers, or honors.

*    *    *    *

I got a call last week from our friends who were watching the whippoorwill nest. They informed me that I had waited too long and the eggs had hatched. They reported that tiny whippoorwills look surprisingly like little cotton balls. They only stayed around the nesting site for a day or so and then the entire family disappeared into the woods.

*    *    *    *

Do you know who came up with the original recipe for the band booster hotdog sauce? Send your answer to contact@calhounchronicle.com.

 

May 16, 2013

I have heard from some folks who have been spending a little quality time at their favorite fishing holes, and the reports are favorable, so far.

 Everybody has caught fish and had fun doing it. All manner of fish have been landed, although the heavy rain last weekend muddied up the rivers and raised them to a level much too high for fishing.

Take the family out for a fishing trip to a nearby farm pond or one of our nearby small lakes this weekend and see if you can relax while fishing.

Jeanne and I hope to drown some night crawlers soon and join in the fishing fun.

*    *    *    *

I heard a bullfrog croaking just before the weather turned cold. I hope he was able to bury himself in mud before he froze to death.

It turned bitter cold over the weekend and the start of the week, with morning temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. Although it never frosted at our house, it did at various places around Calhoun County, where folks once again found themselves scraping ice from their windshields.

The forecast for the rest of this week is typical for this time of year, hot, then cool, then rainy, then hot again.

*    *    *    *

Most of the spring-flowering trees and shrubs are finished flowering for the year, but the locust trees are in full blooming glory at this time.

*    *    *    *

The streets of Grantsville look a little strange without any parking meters in sight, or even the pipes which held them.

I wonder what we are going do when the country runs out of gasoline and we all start riding horses again. There will be no posts along the streets in town to hitch our horse.

 

May 9, 2013

My spring is now complete. There are fireflies lighting up the evenings in the holler.

Toads are croaking, crickets are singing their song and the barred owls are raising a new family, somewhere, in some branch of the holler. I hear them nightly calling to one another from above the house and below, so I have no idea where to look for the tree in which they are nesting.

*    *    *    *

Hummingbirds are returning daily and are a pleasure to watch, as they fight over the territory surrounding the two feeders we have hanging.

*    *    *    *

Raccoons are very smart critters. One of our bird feeders is hanging from a plant stand hanging over the edge of a deck, so that no critter can reach it and empty it during the night.

We began to notice that the feeder was always empty in the morning when the birds came to eat. Upon detailed investigation, we discovered traces of freshly mown grass on the deck rail and the bottom part of the plant stand rod. Momma raccoon was evidently shaking the stand, which caused the sunflower seeds to fall out on the ground so that her little ones could feed.

Sunday night, I took the feeder inside and then went out later to see what I could see. I scared momma ’coon up a tree, and little ones ran across the creek and up into the woods, disappointed at the lack of a feeder to shake. I can barely afford to feed the birds, so the ’coons are on their own.

*    *    *    *

Friday afternoon, we stopped at a yard sale in town and were told that the residents of the house having the sale had been seeing bald eagles flying over town and landing in a tree in their back yard. I gave them my phone number at work and, with any luck, I will get a call soon so I can get some pictures of bald eagles in town.

They spotted a pair of the magnificent raptors, so I hope they have a nest somewhere, so we can have more to cherish in the coming years.

 

May 2, 2013

While sitting in my living room on Sunday afternoon, I was somewhat startled when I saw a hummingbird fly back and forth outside our sliding glass doors. I am sure that if I had been standing on the deck the little guy would have performed acrobatics right in front of my face, as they do each year.

I recovered my feeders from the deck, cleaned them thoroughly, and made an extra-sweet batch of fresh hummingbird juice, then hung the feeders outside.

Within an hour, there were three grateful little hummers happily fighting over the feeders.

*    *    *    *

We would like to welcome back correspondence Dorothy Dye, who has written the Beech Valley News for many years.

*    *    *    *

According to Calhoun sheriff Carl Ballengee, 46.5 lbs. of prescription drugs were turned in at last weekend’s Prescription Drug Take Back.

*    *    *    *

Although I have not made any more trips to the hilltop to search for morel mushrooms, I heard over the weekend of many folks having success in their endeavors to harvest the tasty little fungus.

*    *    *    *

Many tales of turkey calling and hunting were also being told over the weekend.

My favorite being a tale that told of two guys taking turns calling the wily birds in. One took his turn as the hunter and the other called and squawked and squawked and called until, finally, a tom ran out of the woods right in front of them. It was so little that the hunter decided not to shoot it.

The hunter then became the caller. Evidently, his calling was much more becoming to the older tom turkeys. After about ten minutes of his calling on a squawk box, an old tom strutted out of the woods and was immediately shot by the other guy.

According to the story, it weighed over 20 lbs., had an 11-inch beard, and two-inch spurs.

 

April 25, 2013

Ah, spring, it’s hot--it’s not. It’s raining, and two days later you have to watch out for brush fires. My grass grew over the space of three days to the point where it had to either be mowed or put up for hay.

This is the time of the year for change, and I have found that, during the winter, my body sure did changed. I did some work outside this past weekend and by Sunday afternoon, while on my way to the top of the hill to look for morels, I found myself with an aching back, legs a little shaky and one-step away from a cramp, and my ears were ringing for some reason.

I did, however, find just over 40 little morels on my trip to the hilltop. Some were almost ready to dry up, and I found none of the morels that should have been coming up, no half-frees or grays. I think we need a little rain for them to arrive.

*    *    *    *

Tom turkeys are strutting their stuff, striking a pose and getting the hens to form flocks. Since turkey season started on Monday, I guess they will disappear from the roadside until season ends.

The sound of gobblers waking up each morning is a thrilling sound, which was never heard around these parts when I was a boy. We also never heard any coyote barking back then either. Given my druthers, I think I prefer the sound of the gobblers.

*    *    *    *

I heard whippoorwills in the holler last week. The owls have not been as vocal this late in the spring. They have also not been hanging around the fields in the morning so I can get a photo of them. I will keep on looking for them though, and when they appear, I will get as many pictures as I can.

 

April 18, 2013

It has been really beautiful outside this spring. We have been spared the frost and freezes (so far), and all of the fruit trees are in flower. Trilliums, fiddlehead ferns and bleeding hearts are blooming also. Redbuds and dogwoods are looking good and morel mushrooms have been found.

On Sunday, a trip was made to the hilltop, and three lovely little morels made the trip back down the hill. It is time to get out there and harvest morels, for they will be gone in just a few short weeks.

*    *    *    *

Earth Day is Monday, Apr. 22. Be sure to take a hike in the woods or a drive in your car, and appreciate what Mother Earth gives to us each spring. Take some pictures too, and be sure to get the family in the photos.

*    *    *    *

If anyone reading this knows where the lady slippers grow, call me at the office, 354-6917. There is a photographer visiting here again this spring, and she wishes to get some good shots of the local orchids. She was here last spring, but I was unable to gather information on the whereabouts of the lovely flowers.

*    *    *    *

There will be a meteor shower on Monday, with a peak between 3:45 and 4:30 a.m. Even if that’s too early for you, you should still be able to catch some of the meteors earlier on Sunday night, although the moon’s light may obscure them somewhat. Generally, there will be more meteors visible than usual for a few days on either side of the peak of the shower.

The meteors will appear to be generally originating from the Northeastern portion of the sky, in the constellation Lyra. This year, the moon (waxing gibbous at the time) will be setting rather late, so it would be best to watch for the meteors at that time. They tend to peak towards the early morning hours, so it works out well.

 

April 11, 2013

This past weekend was the first time this year that it was actually warmer outside our house than inside. Temperatures were over 75 degrees on Sunday and 82 degrees on Tuesday. The weather will become turbulent later this week and will cool down again, but will get warm again next week.

*    *    *    *

I also noticed that, while the grass did not need mowing on Saturday, it had grown over an inch by Sunday afternoon. I swear that I could hear the grass growing as the sun shone down upon it.

*    *    *    *

As an old neighbor of mine, Oak Stafford, used to say, “Spring is busting out all over!” Monday morning on my way to work, I saw that the meadows and pastures have finally achieved that certain, particular shade of green that I wait for every year.

*    *    *    *

Forsythias have blossomed, showing their bright, yellow blooms where there were only buds last week. Trilliums are popping out of the ground and will soon be showing off their spring attire.

*    *    *    *

The beautiful magnolia tree at the end of Main St. in Grantsville, opened its flowers, starting Monday and continuing Tuesday. If history is any indication, this means we will have another frost within 10 days. That poor tree almost always gets its blooms froze off.

*    *    *    *

All of this warm weather has gotten me started thinking of two things, fishing and hunting for morel mushrooms. Fishing will have to wait awhile until the water warms up a bit, but morel hunting should be going on already. They have begun to haunt my dreams, which means they are up, whether I can find them or not.

I will endeavor to climb the hill sometime this week to see if I can find any of the tasty little morsels. According to websites dealing with morels, they were found in West Virginia and Ohio as of last weekend.

 

April 4, 2013

Easter weekend was a happy one at our house. We had company from Toledo, Ohio, and a house full of children and grandchildren on Easter Sunday.

The Easter Bunny made it to our yard and left a bunch of colored eggs, although I don’t know where he found a hen that lays plastic eggs. A good time was had by all, in spite of rain.

*    *    *    *

It seems that we may have a pair of eastern bluebirds making a nest in one of our birdhouses. I saw the male perched on a limb above the birdhouse on Saturday morning, checking out the place. He flew over and landed on the porch (a nail), and stuck his head inside for a peek.

When he flew away, I thought that the birdhouse was not up to his code, but then on Sunday morning, I saw him showing it to a female bluebird. He looked so proud when she finally climbed inside and stuck her little head out of the hole.

We are happy to see them as the birdhouse has been hanging there for years with no takers.

*    *    *    *

Spring peepers are really starting to get loud in the holler, and the owls are heard each night, although we have not seen them in the daytime for a few weeks.

*    *    *    *

One of our goldfinches is wearing his bright yellow summer suit, while others are only beginning to change. I suppose that if the brightest plumage gets the girls, he should be having tons of fun this spring.

 

March 28, 2013

I think I have finally survived the great cold of 2013. I noticed fewer buzzards sitting in the trees on the hill across from the office, so they must think I am going to make it now. I was pretty miserable for a couple of weeks though.

*    *    *    *

It doesn’t seem to matter now whether or not any groundhog anywhere saw his shadow. This is the seventh week since that fateful day and winter  is still hanging on with a vengeance.

I remember this time last year. I had already mowed my lawn. Not really because I wanted to, but because if I didn’t, it would have looked like a hayfield.

*    *    *    *

The ramps are growing in my holler, so I guess they should up just about everywhere. I think ramps and garlic are both good things to consume large quantities of during the cold and flu season. They may not help your body fight any diseases, but they should help keep infected people from getting too close you.

*    *    *    *

Even though it has been cold and snowy, many of the trees in our holler have buds that are ready to open. The forsythia are thinking about sprouting leaves and the multi-flora roses have little tiny leaves on them.

There are yard sales listed in the newspaper this week. I reckon we all muddled through another winter.

March 21, 2013

Tragedy struck last Thursday when a fire broke out around 5 a.m. in a mobile home near Chloe, killing three children and their 57-year-old grandmother, and severely burning two men, the father and uncle of the children.

Cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but state officials stated that there were no signs of smoke detectors.

*    *    *    *

I don’t know the reason why, but a spring cold is the worst illness I get all winter. It comes on slow and then peaks and drags on making me feel downright miserable and, so far, it’s still hanging on. There is nothing to do now but endure.

*    *    *    *

It was like living in a snow globe over the weekend in our holler. The snow fell in large flakes pretty much all day on Saturday and Sunday. It did not stick anywhere except in my memory, where it will suffice to cool me on the hot days to come.

*    *    *    *

The Vernal Equinox, other-wise known as Spring, came unto us Wednesday. Of course, snow is in the forecast for Wednesday night and Thursday. There are no warm temperatures in the immediate forecast.

That’s okay. I don’t feel like doing anything outdoors right now anyway. Perhaps when I am finished with this cold, or it is finished with me.

*    *    *    *

I have yet to check my ramp patch to see if they are peeking through the leaves, but I did notice that our bleeding hearts are a couple of inches tall already.

*    *    *    *

The spring peepers were peeping over the weekend, even in the snow, and the owls have been quite vocal of late.

 

March 14, 2013

Last week’s snowmeggedan forecast passed by our area and left us in a warm pocket dealing with rain and wind. The week-end, however, was glorious, with temperatures finally passing the 70 degree mark.

One of our daffodils showed its appreciation for the warmth and sunshine and bloomed over the weekend, and all of our crocuses are now in bloom. Early spring wildflowers, that I have always called “Look Mommies,” which are very small with white blossoms, are also blooming.

I expect to have morel mushroom dreams before long. They are already finding the tasty little morsels in Georgia and Alabama.

*    *    *    *

Twenty years ago, a “perfect storm” hit here with heavy snow and blizzard conditions. The kids were scheduled to perform in the Heartwood in the Hills production of “Song of the Sidewalk” at Glenville State College that night. Needless to say, the play did not go on.

By the time night fell, there were over 28 inches of snow in our yard and trees were down everywhere. Many of the weather experts on television and radio called the blizzard, “The Storm of the Century,” even though they failed to predict it.

There was no way in or out of our hollow except by foot and that was by slogging through the deep snow and climbing over and through the dozens of large trees that were covering the road.

A day or so after the blizzard, I was going out to take pictures of the snow and ice. Temperatures at dawn that day read the coldest I’ve ever seen, 28 below zero. It was so cold that, as I was taking pictures with my camera on an old metal tripod, my mustache would freeze to the tripod making it a very painful day for picture taking.

The kids had a blast playing in the snow on the days when the temperature was above 20 degrees. They were able to do something they had never done before; they made tunnels under the snow to connect their snow forts.

The highway department cut their way in five days later, much to the chagrin of the kids who then had to go back to school, and we had to go back to work.

 

March 7, 2013

As of Tuesday morning, the weather forecast for the middle of the week is very iffy. If the low-pressure system does this, there will be rain and very little snow. If it does that, we may have the worst snowstorm of our winter season falling upon our heads. My guess is that it will be somewhere in between the two extremes, and we will have a few inches of snow to deal with. The forecast for the weekend is calling for temperatures hovering close to 60 degrees. I can live with that.

*    *    *    *

Don’t forget that this Sunday is the time to spring forward one hour to enjoy daylight saving time. If you forget to do this, you will be late for church.

*    *    *    *

I am still getting reports on the black bear that is hanging around White Pine. The latest thing is that the bear has been tearing up people’s yards and destroying their flowerpots.

As long as the bear doesn’t come over the hill to our place, I am okay with it being in the “neighborhood.” While I like to take photos of wildlife, asking a bear to hold still while I take a picture is a little too wild for me. I’ll stick with taking photos of my feathered friends.

*    *    *    *

Last week and this week, the Chronicle had over a half-page of help wanted ads. I take that as a good sign that things could be picking up around here.

*    *    *    *

Due to the interest shown by readers over the reprinting of a one-room school story in “This Week in History” 25 years ago, the Chronicle plans to run the entire series again, beginning soon. I look forward to transcribing the series for publication, as I was an attendee of the one-room school at Mt. Zion, where I learned practically everything I know.

 

February 28, 2013

Last Friday morning, there was a miniature ice storm in our holler. It was raining when I got up, the temperature was 29, and the holler was coated in about a 10th of an inch of ice by 9 a.m. Walking the dogs was pretty funny, as, even with four-footed drive, they slipped and slid on the driveway. Needless to say, I stayed off the slick stuff to avoid any mishaps.

*    *    *    *

There were fewer Calhoun County participants this year for the Great Bird Count. Still, at least four people had fun counting our little feathered friends over the President’s Day holiday weekend. No one else around here counted very many goldfinches. I wonder if they are wintering mostly in our holler, wolfing down sunflower seeds.

*    *    *    *

Spring is only three weeks away, and that seems to be the mantra that everyone is muttering under his or her breath as they walk around town: “Spring is almost here, I think I can make it.”

There is also the added plus that we will all “spring forward” on Sunday, Mar. 10. It is always nice to have that extra hour of sunlight after the workday is over, even though we have to get up an hour earlier.

*    *    *    *

We have started this week with above freeing temperatures and rain, again. It just means more mud to slog through until mid-week when temperatures will fall again, and snow is back in the forecast.

*    *    *    *

Birds are singing their happy spring songs, while flirting with the females at the feeder and making nests in nearby trees.

*    *    *    *

All of the shrubs, bushes and fruit trees are ready for a week of hot weather to pop their flower buds open. Our lilacs are about ready to burst open, even in the cold weather.

 

February 14, 2013

It would seem that the groundhogs’ predictions of an early spring was proved wrong in every state to the north and east of West Virginia.

Record snowfalls and blizzard conditions just missed us by a few hundred miles when Nemo slammed into the northeast last weekend.

All of the snow that had been in our yard from the last storm had melted away in Monday’s 60 degree temperatures.

Snow is in the forecast for our area for later in the week, so stock up on sunflower seeds for the little birdies.

*    *    *    *

Ten years ago, on Feb. 16, we went through the worst ice storm on record for Calhoun County, as near as I can tell.

It started on Sunday with rain forecast to change to snow. Although the temperature dropped to 28 degrees, the rain continued to fall and freeze on every surface.

At our place, there was almost an inch of ice covering everything by nightfall, and the weight of the ice caused trees to break or fall almost continuously.

There were over 20 timber-sized trees across our one mile of road before it was over, and we had not been able to sleep for three days, which was when the danger of trees falling on our house seemed to be over.

Many areas of Calhoun looked like a war zone after the devastation ended. Folks were without power or heat and it was not something that any of us want to endure ever again.

*    *    *    *

Don’t forget about the Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend. Go to www.birdsource.org to find out how to participate.

*    *    *    *

Crocuses are coming up in our yard, and I have seen some blooming along White Pine Road next to Robert Yoak’s house. They always give me hope of spring, each and every year.

 

January 31, 2013

There were quite a few folks complaining about the weather this week.

On Monday, they were complaining about the icy conditions caused by warm temperatures and rain beginning to melt the compacted snow from last Friday’s snow-storm, which left roads, like ours, a one-mile, one-lane skating rink.

Tuesday, the complaints were about the heat, since it was around 65 degrees at noontime. Many said that weather like this causes folks to get sick

By Wednesday, there will be torrential downpours followed by snow and cold temperatures for Wednesday night and then Thursday through Sunday.

Winter, this year, is a roller coaster of vicissitudes, with mud being the main result of the whole mess.

Oh, by the way, my flowers are still coming up as if it were March.

*    *    *    *

There were two people who reported sighting a bald eagle in the area this week, one from   the Russett area and another from around Henry’s Fork. I believe we may have several pairs of the majestic birds living in the county now. I hope to get some photos of at least one of them this spring, as well as some more photos of the barred owls in our holler.

*    *    *    *

I was asked this week if I knew where Calhoun County was in the chronological order of counties formed in West Virginia. Surprisingly, I did not.

Thanks to the electronic age we now live in, it didn’t take me more than 15 minutes to find out.

Of West Virginia’s 55 counties there are 44 counties that were founded before 1856, which is when Calhoun County was founded.

Roane and Tucker counties were also founded in 1856. Roane’s founding date is Mar. 11, while Tucker’s is Mar. 7. Calhoun County came into being on Mar. 5, 1856. That should make us the 45th county to be formed in the state.

*    *    *    *

 

If you should see any groundhogs standing up and peeking around on Saturday, don’t scare them or they will run into their hole in the ground, and we will suffer through six more weeks of winter. On second thought, scare the heck out of them. I like winter.

 

January 24, 2013

I don’t mind a cold, brisk morning every now and then during the winter, but when you start your day in single digit temperatures, you just might find yourself shivering a little bit from time to time all day long.

Tuesday morning, it was nine degrees at our house, and the forecast for Wednesday morning is even closer to the zero mark.

Thankfully, the forecast is calling for snow later in the week. It will have to warm up into the 20s before the atmosphere can hold enough moisture to produce a decent snowfall.

*    *    *    *

The unusually warm temperatures we have had lately seem to be causing our tulips and daffodils to begin coming up. They are already over an inch out of the ground. Snowdrop shoots are starting to produce flower heads, although I think the cold we are experiencing will bite everything back to ground level.

*    *    *    *

The old Grantsville Graded School, now owned by Calhoun Banks, has had all of the windows blocked in with plywood. It looks better, and should help keep the weather out of the building.

*    *    *    *

I have been hearing that the black bear of White Pine has been making appearances down in the old Cherry Fork Church area near Big Rock. As long as Mr. Bear stays on that side of the hill, I will be happy. I have no desire to take our dogs out for a walk and run into a bear. The dogs will outrun me and the bear will eat hillbilly for supper.

 

December 13, 2012

State highway department workers were looking at the immense holes where drains have collapsed along the south end of Main St., Grantsville, on Tuesday. It looked as if they were planning to repair the chasms, and then they moved on to things they had a better chance of fixing.

*    *    *    *

It seems that the Weather Channel has decided to begin naming major winter storms this year. The next one will start with the letter “D.” We have yet to see any snow from any of them. Perhaps we may see some snow before they get to the end of the alphabet.

*    *    *    *

Even with all of the rain on Saturday, which made our holler look like a dark, foggy forest from a J.R.R. Tolkien movie. There were many hunters out and about last Saturday. At least one large deer made the final trip out of the holler on the front end of a four-wheeler in the afternoon of that miserable day.

*    *    *    *

The skies are predicted to be clear on Thursday night, and that is a good thing for those who like to observe meteor showers.

The Geminid meteor shower will peak on Thursday night through dawn on Friday, and the moon will also be absent from the night sky, allowing us to see as many as 40-50 flashing meteors per hour after 10 p.m.

The meteors are made up of minute particles of rocky debris ranging in size from grains of sand to peas. They are leftovers from a small asteroid named 3200 Phaethon.

Over the centuries, the asteroid has spread its river of rubble for hundreds of millions of miles in its orbit, and every year we go right through the middle of it in December.

The best place to look for these streaks of light is straight up, or the darkest piece of sky you can see. The meteors are traveling at 22 miles per second (79,000 mph), so when one of them hits the upper atmosphere, the friction from air vaporizes it into a white-hot streak.

Larger meteors may travel across the entire sky and leave a glowing trail of plasma (sometimes referred to as smoke), which looks like a twisting worm in the sky after a minute or two. All in all, it is a thing of natural beauty that should not be missed.

 

November 22, 2012

I have received an advisory from W.Va. Dept. of Natural Resources that I feel I should share with everyone who reads this column:

Backyard bird watchers need to be extra vigilant this year in maintaining feeders, according to ornithologist Richard Bailey of the wildlife resources section.

“We’ve received widespread reports of large flocks of pine siskins, a North American migratory bird in the finch family, so we could be in for an irruption of this highly nomadic species this winter,” said Bailey.

An irruption is an unusually high migration of a species due to various factors.

“Last time this happened, there were bird kills reported throughout the state from salmonellosis,” said Bailey. “This negative impact may be avoided if bird enthusiasts will spend a few minutes each week cleaning their feeders, (which) greatly reduces the risk of disease trans-mission, as birds and other animals move from place to place seeking food.”

Feeders should be cleaned every two weeks and rinsed with a 10 percent bleach solution and thoroughly dried before refilling. Hulls should be raked up or cleared with a wet-dry vacuum and disposed of regularly. This is important with feeders containing thistle seed, as this is the food that pine siskins and their close relative, the American goldfinch, prefer.

Birds with salmonellosis can shiver, appear lethargic and unsteady, and often perch in one place for an extended period. If diseased or dead birds are seen at your feeding station, stop feeding immediately. Dispose of the seed in the feeders and clean them. Wait a few days to a week before resuming feeding. The birds will survive fine without you for a few days. Dead birds at your feeder should be reported to WVDNR staff by calling 637-0245.

*    *    *    *

In local news, the bell (shown above) that hung in front of First Baptist Church, Grantsville, apparently fell off and broke into pieces last Wednesday. Not that I would have ever done such a thing, but, in my youth, it seems that I remember kids ringing that bell so often during October that the clapper would be removed until Sunday morning after Halloween. The darling children used the cap from a fire hydrant just to ring the bell.

*    *    *    *

Jeanne and I were on our road, down in the holler, and witnessed something that I did not know occurred, a deer was frolicking with a turkey in a field along the road. They ran back and forth, dodging toward one another with the deer leaping into the air and the turkey spreading its wings and spinning around.

I know some might say they were in a territorial dispute, but having witnessed the entire display, I am certain they were enjoying themselves. They eventually quit playing and began to forage through the field pretty much side-by-side.

SORRY FOR THE INTERRUPTION-COMPUTER PROBLEM

August 16, 2012

Computers simply exist to drive you nutty, or at least drive me nutty. My computer still likes to make my days more interesting by crashing just when I need it the most. It also has developed the lovely habit of messing up some of my files, which forces me to double-check everything I do, but I shall prevail.

Bridge Day is coming in October and I have promised my computer that I will take it to the event. I understand that they will have a catapult on the bridge to throw things, er, I mean people, from the 876-foot height down into the canyon below.

*    *    *    *

The Town of Grantsville is now putting parking tickets on cars. In the old days, they put one ticket per day on a car, but now they can ticket a car each time they check the meters. I would rather be nickel and dimed to death than have to pay the fine, wouldn’t you?

*    *    *    *

Lightning bugs are beginning to diminish when I look for them in the evening. We will soon be in what I call the Ber months. September, October, etc.

*    *    *    *

Personally, I have had just about enough of this hot weather. I am looking forward to drinking my coffee out on the deck on a crisp, frosty fall morning, with the smell of colorful leaves in my nostrils and the barking of busy squirrels in my ears.

*    *    *    *

I called the telephone company last Friday to report a problem on my line, and was told they would probably get to it by Tuesday. They didn’t. If I thought I could keep the string tight, even in the rain, I would get a couple of soup cans and a lot of kite string and make my own phone line to town.

 

MY APOLOGIES FOR COMPUTER MALFUNCTION ...MISSING FILES

February 2, 2012

Snowdrops are blooming in town, although the ones at our house still have a week to go. The tips of tulips are beginning to show above the mulch that has kept them safe all winter, and if you look closely, you can see the tightly wound heads of fiddlehead ferns just starting to break the surface of the ground.

*    *    *    *

I hope all the recent warm weather doesn’t cause plants to start too early, so that they get bitten back to the roots when the bitter cold arrives. Birds are starting to eat more every day, so they should have the stamina for all of the activities to come when spring finally arrives.

*    *    *    *

Next Thursday is groundhog day, and I don’t know whether I want it to be clear or cloudy. I would like to see at least a little bit of winter.

*    *    *    *

Calhoun County has a tie to this year’s American Idol contest on the FOX network.

Christian Lopez, a 16-year-old junior at Martinsburg High School, is the son of Jamie Lopez, a former Minnora resident who was master of ceremonies for Calhoun County High School’s Follies 1987.

Christian received a “Golden Ticket” in September to go the Hollywood semi-finals that were held in late December.

To see if Lopez moves on    to the finals, we will have to wait for the show to air sometime in February. I wish him luck.

*    *    *    *

Good news for folks who use (or at least attempted to use) the ATM at Calhoun Banks in Grantsville. It was in the process of being replaced on Tuesday afternoon and was expected to be up and running by evening. More than one person I spoke with mentioned that the ATM had been awfully balky lately and they were very pleased to hear of its replacement.

 

January 26, 2012

Monday was a nice taste of the warm and breezy days of the coming spring. Temperatures were in the lower 60s, making it possible to walk around town in shirtsleeves, although the 35-45 miles per hour gusty winds precluded wearing my hat. I just didn’t feel like chasing it all over town.

*    *    *    *

More spring flowers are beginning to appear in our yard. We are seeing daffodils and jonquils coming up alongside the snowdrops, which will be blooming in a week or so.

*    *    *    *

I have heard reports that the bald eagle that has been wintering in the area, has been spotted in our holler. I have yet to see it, although I will admit that I have not had much time to look for it. I will have more time to look around, and take photos if possible, as the days get longer.

*    *    *    *

Robins have been spotted in Calhoun, and reported to me by two independent observers. I will keep looking in the usual fields until I see some myself.

*    *    *    *

Calhoun still led the state in unemployment statistics for December, with a rate of 12.7% in the latest release by Workforce West Virginia that came out Jan. 23. Webster and Grant counties are a close second with a rate of 12.6% each. Among area counties, Roane’s unemployment rate is 11.8%, followed by Wirt, 11.5%; Clay, 11.0%; Ritchie, 7.7%; and Gilmer, 6.3%.

 

January 19, 2012

If my memory serves me right (and it isn’t all that reliable), this time period in 1994 makes the weather we have had lately seem like a walk in the park on a sunny day.

*    *    *    *

I know that we had a blizzard that started on Saturday and rendered all of the county and most of the state a disaster area.

*    *    *    *

Although the weather service had predicted three to four inches of snow, we ended up with over 28 inches at our house.

*    *    *    *

Every pine tree on the hill next to the house was uprooted or broken off. Many of the beautiful large redbud and dogwood trees in our yard were also uprooted and more than 25 timber-sized trees were in the middle of our road.

*    *    *    *

This was followed by the coldest temperatures I have ever seen. Two days after the blizzard, I awoke, looked at our outdoor thermometer, and did a triple take. It read 30 below zero. I put on some coffee water, drank a cup, then thought to get my camera to take a picture of the thermometer. By then it had warmed up to 28 below.

*    *    *    *

It was so cold that when I set up the camera on an old metal tripod, my mustache froze to the tripod and caused considerable pain when I jerked loose.

*    *    *    *

All together, we spent five days marooned in our holler before the highway department was able to cut us out. It was one of the most enjoyable times that we had with our kids, watching them make tunnels, forts, castles, snowmen and women, and all of the other things that kids used to do to have fun in the winter.

 

January 12, 2012

I really don’t like wishy-washy winter weather. It should be cold enough to freeze the mud, but not so cold as to freeze the nose off my face. It is aggravating to drive out the holler on frozen mud and drive back in at the end of the day on squishy, sticky red clay mud.

*    *    *    *

It seems that the wooly worms this fall predicted a nasty winter from start to finish. I guess they were wrong, so far.

*    *    *    *

These warm days and frigid nights have been causing a phenomenon known as freezing fog, which happens when fog forms overnight and then freezes on the road surface in the early hours of morning. If it is thick enough, it is also known as black ice, so be very cautious and drive slow. It is better to get where you are going in one piece than to get there in pieces.

*    *    *    *

I have been hearing some coyotes making their noises in the holler for a couple of weeks now. It seems they like to chase deer about every other day.

*    *    *    *

Our snowdrops are still up, and not frostbitten as yet, but I believe they are wondering what happened to the warm weather that caused them to rise from the earth so early in the year. There are still no other flowers peeking through the winter grasses.

 

January 5, 2012

We have ushered in a new year and let me tell you, it’s going to be a long one. It is, after all, Leap Year, which gives us one extra day every four years.

Since there will be 366 days this year, I expect most of us will have to find something to do on the extra day, perhaps visit with loved ones or enjoy a day driving along the back roads of the county, maybe even touring scenic or historical spots in our beautiful state.

*    *    *    *

I went to school with a guy whose birthday was on Feb. 29. We used to joke around with him about only being able to celebrate his birth every four years, but as I reflect on this, I realize that a person born on Feb. 29, 1904 (1900 was not a Leap Year, even though it was divisible by 100, it was not divisible by 400, which is the rule), would only be 27 years old by the calendar.

*    *    *    *

Over the weekend, I was walking in our yard when I noticed that the first flowers of the year, the little white Snow Drops, were up, but have not yet formed blossom heads. I don’t remember seeing them up this early, but perhaps they were trying to tell me that snow was on the way.

*    *    *    *

All things considered, it seems like this was a fairly peaceful start to the New Year, and I sincerely hope that the  rest of the year is just as uneventful.

*    *    *    *

The first day of this year was one of the windiest days in quite a while. We listened to the wind roaring across the hill tops as the warmer weather was replaced by an icy blast that also gave us a couple of inches of snow over Monday and Tuesday. The rest of this week should give us slightly warmer temperatures for a few days and then we go back to winter.

*    *    *    *

There was a bad accident on White Pine Road on New Year’s Eve, with one person airlifted to Charleston after being cut out of his vehicle with the Jaws of Life.

 

December 29, 2011

Well, Christmas has come and gone again for another year. The good news is that next year is Leap Year, so we will have an extra day to pay for this year’s gifts before we get to do it all over again.

Even though I really wanted snow for Christmas again this year, just like last year, we were stuck with bright, sunny weather with temperatures in the mid-40s. When we awakened on Christmas morning, the world outside our windows was bright white from an overnight coating of frost.

 *    *    *    *

I hope that all of you had as much fun with friends, neighbors and family (especially grandchildren) as we did on Christmas Day.

It makes it all worthwhile to see the wide smiles and hear the joyous laughter as gifts are opened in the morning or tales are told around the table as we partake of our holiday feast.

*    *    *    *

Now that the New Year is upon us, I hope that everyone has a prosperous and fulfilling year ahead, full of love and laughter--and fishing, mustn’t forget about fishing.

 

December 22, 2011

Freezing and thawing is already making me wish for some beautiful, white snow to cover up the mud that would make walking easier when off the pavement, and also make the world seem more festive and seasonal. I just love to see pine and holly trees laden with new-fallen snow.

National Weather Service is saying that we will not have a white Christmas, but I still have not given up hope that it may at least snow on Christmas Eve so that it can be just a dusting on the ground Christmas morning. Anything is possible.

*    *    *    *

A young Ohio woman apparently suffered from a seizure and lost control of her vehicle last Sunday while driving along Rt. 5 near Big Root Road. She was taken by ambulance to Minnie Hamilton where she was treated and released.

*    *    *    *

A Calhoun County man and woman are facing charges for allegedly operating a lab for making methamphetamine in the Big Bend area.

Harley Little, 41, and Tiffany Davis, 23, face penalties of imprisonment for not less than two years or more than 10 and a fine no less than $5,000 up to $25,000. Bond has been set at $20,000 each.

*    *    *    *

A woman from Hog Knob stopped in the Chronicle office last week to confirm the sighting of a Bald Eagle by Charlie Simers of White Pine, who brought in a photo of the bird about a month ago.

According to the woman, the eagle has been spotted flying up and down the Little Kanawha River and occasionally crosses the ridge near where she lives.

It would be nice if the bird has a mate in the area. We will have to watch for developments next year, when the weather warms, to see if there is nest-making happening.

*    *    *    *

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours, and all of ours, a very Merry Christmas. May you enjoy the company of family and friends during this holiday season and be safe, warm, and content.

 

December 15, 2011

I guess that as we mature, we begin to tolerate the cold weather a little less each year. The recent cold temperatures, being down in the mid to upper teens, make it hard for me to warm up once I am really chilled. Perhaps, I will make a large pot of chili this weekend, and try to stay inside as much as possible.

*    *    *    *

A water line ruptured along Main Street on Monday, causing a small geyser to erupt from the sidewalk in front of the old Koffee Kup restaurant. There was no damage to the sidewalk just a muddy mess.

*    *    *    *

There have been three celestial events in the past few weeks that I have not mentioned in this column as I usually do.

This was brought to my attention by a reader who thought I had forgotten about them. The fact is that there was not going to be much to see with any of them, and I didn’t want anyone to freeze for little return.

Two meteor showers have occurred, with an almost full moon washing out all the brightest ones, and a total lunar eclipse last weekend that was only visible from the west coast and Pacific area.

We will just have to hope that next year the moon lets us see more events in the night sky.

*    *    *    *

Muzzle load rifle hunters are getting their chance this week to bag another deer. The weather has been perfect so far, clear and cold with no rain, but the forecast calls for it to become rainy before the end of the week.

I hope the hunters can keep their powder dry, although most muzzle loading rifles in use today utilize percussion caps to fire instead of flint and a flash pan. It must have been really difficult to hunt in old days.

 

December 8, 2011

We still see deer in our holler, but there has been a change in how they act when they see us. They are very wary and tend to run away almost as soon as we spot them. Before deer season, they would stand still and just look at us until we went away.

*    *    *    *

I saw a large flock of migrating buzzards circling above Grantsville on Monday afternoon. There were probably 40 or 50 birds in the flock, which were last seen heading south.

*    *    *    *

Hometown Country Christmas Santa parade last Friday evening was a big success with area youngsters. There was quite a crowd cheering for Santa when he arrived on the front bumper of a fire truck. He then went into the courthouse to find out what the little ones wanted for Christmas and gave each of them a large chunk of chocolate.

*    *    *    *

An 86-year-old Millstone man went deer hunting Monday afternoon and failed to return before dark, causing his worried family to call 911 for help finding him. He was found right away, no worse for wear, and informed his rescuers that he was running late because he had killed a deer and it took time to get it out of the woods.

*    *    *    *

Snow is in the forecast for the latter part of the week, but I don’t think it will amount to much. I do hope we have snow for Christmas. It is all that I want for a gift.

 

December 1, 2011

I am still able to walk upright, so I guess that makes me an upstanding member of the community.

*    *    *    *

There was considerable high water last week from the incessant rain, but little to no damage reported. Roads were closed all over the county and the high water caused the courthouse in Grantsville to be closed on Wednesday. The creeks and river are back within the boundaries of their banks   for the moment. The forecast mentions snow and colder temperatures.

*    *    *    *

Thanksgiving, which has come and gone, is a special time for the gathering of family and friends. I hope everyone had as nice a thanksgiving as I did, and I hope you enjoy the rest of this year.

*    *    *    *

Talking with some of Calhoun’s deer hunters last week revealed that many were not in the woods the first couple of days due to the rain and fog. Most feel that hunting weather this week will be better and they have planned their hunting excursions accordingly. I, and the automobile insurance industry, wish them the best of luck.

 

November 24, 2011

The news about my back is still good. There is a loss of feeling and muscle in the right leg to contend with, but I am still pain-free in that leg. I wish to thank everyone who sent me cards and kept me in their hearts and minds.

*    *    *    *

I have noticed that many forsythia bushes have been fooled by the recent spate of warm, wet weather. At least one of the bushes, along White Pine Road, is almost in full bloom.

*    *    *    *

Bucks only deer season started Monday with a whimper, at least compared to other years. I usually awaken to the echo of many rifles firing on nearby ridge tops and down toward the end of our hollow. This year, not one shot. In fairness to the hunters, the weather is too warm to hang a deer. It was so foggy in the morning that it would have been difficult to see anything 10 feet away, and doggone it, it is much more traditional to hunt deer when it is snowing.

*    *    *    *

A major water line break at Mt. Zion last week caused inconvenience to Mt Zion PSD customers, but probably made many children happy. Due to problems with the water, school was closed for a day. 

*    *    *    *

Two cars collided near Chloe Hardware last Thursday after-noon, causing injuries serious enough that both drivers had to be transported to Charleston Area Medical Center’s trauma unit, one by helicopter. The Jaws of Life was used to extract both victims from the wreckage. Rt. 16 was closed until the wreck was cleared from the highway.

*    *    *    *

A fire on Thursday evening, near Leafbank, severely damaged a home and destroyed all of the belongings of James and Jessica Wilmoth and their two children. If you would like to help the family, call 354-0050 or 354-6704.

*    *    *    *

The weather forecast for this week is not good for hunters. Daytime temperatures will be in the 50s and 60s with plenty of rain and no snow in sight at   this time. Temperatures next week should be in the 40s and 50s, with a cooling trend coming at the end of the forecast period.

 

November 17, 2011

As some of you might have noticed, I was unable to write this column last week.

I have been suffering from severe sciatic pain for a couple of months and was finally referred to a neurosurgeon in Charleston who took a look at me, my MRI and nerve damage assessments, and said, “Do you want the surgery tomorrow or do you want to wait until next week?”

When he told me that there was an 80 percent chance that the pain could be alleviated with surgery, I said, “Let’s do it tomorrow.” I had the surgery on Friday, Nov. 4, and now the pain in my leg and foot is gone!

I still didn’t feel well enough to come back to work right away, so I didn’t write this column last week, but I am very happy to report that I should not be missing anymore work due to the sciatic problem. It is amazing how much your outlook on life changes when you are no longer suffering in agony.

*    *    *    *

I saw a red fox trotting up the road that runs past our house early Monday morning. We also saw one of the barred owls while driving out of the holler.

*    *    *    *

Someone hit a deer really hard on Town Hill over the weekend. Right at the beginning of the skid marks, there is evidence of an exploding deer. Oh well, I guess the crows and other scavengers enjoyed having their dinner already in pieces.

*    *    *    *

Bucks only deer season begins Monday. You can tell it is getting close by the number of gunshots you hear in a day’s time. Every hunter knows that you have to make sure that your rifle is shooting on target, so that you won’t miss that big one on opening day.

I would like to remind every-one to follow the rules of safe hunting and remember not to shoot at anything you cannot see clearly--and donate your deer.

*    *    *    *

Someone broke into the equipment building at Calhoun County Park around the first of the month and stole a weed-eater, pole saw and chainsaw. Thieves also trashed the park by tossing garbage cans over the hill and around the pond. When the thieves are caught, perhaps part of their sentence should be public service at the park for a year.

*    *    *    *

There was a two-car collision on Sunday night in the Annamoriah area that sent one man to Minnie Hamilton Health System for evaluation. Three other crash victims were shaken up.

*    *    *    *

There were three brush fires in the county in the past week: one on Meadow Run near Minnora, one near the Clay County line, and one on Rush Run, near Stumptown.

The woods are ripe for fires at this time of the year and all hunters should be aware of the potential for fire when they are in the woods. Make sure that you extinguish all cigarettes, cigars, etc., and watch any camp fires to ensure that no sparks get to the woods.

 

November 3, 2011

Oak trees are beginning to look like torches in the early morning light, with all the shades of red their leaves are showing this year. If you have yet to go for a walk in the woods this fall, grab your kids and your camera and enjoy the last of the warm weather this weekend, taking photos of your children playing in the leaves.

*    *    *    *

If you got up early last Saturday morning, you witnessed the first measurable snowfall of this coming winter. We had over an inch on our deck railing and I, at least, loved watching it drift slowly to the ground like snowflakes in a snow globe.

*    *    *    *

I have it on good authority that a bald eagle was hanging around the White Pine area recently. I also saw the picture of our national bird that was taken while it was sitting on a tree branch near the creek, not far from the old swimming hole known as Big Rock.

A coyote was also killed in that same area at about the same time. Perhaps Calhoun County is becoming wild. We already knew it was wonderful.

*    *    *    *

Don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour on Saturday night before you go to bed. It will allow you to sleep in an extra hour, although it robs you of an hour of light in the evening.

*    *    *    *

I didn’t see or hear any ghosts or goblins in our holler over the weekend, but I did hear what I believe to be coyotes arguing with a barn owl last Sunday night.

*    *    *    *

Anyone driving through Grantsville last Saturday morning may have thought that the bridge was a strange place for someone to hang their “delicates.” It actually was done to promote Breast Cancer Awareness and is known, at least around here, as Bras Across the Bridge. Hopefully, the string of bras all along the sidewalk didn’t “hold up” any traffic.

 

October 27, 2011

The nightly chorus of crickets and katydids has been greatly diminished by the recent chilly weather. Crickets were chirping so slow last Sunday night that I almost felt sorry for them and wished I could warm the holler up enough to make them happy.

Fall foliage is still changing on a daily basis, getting more and more colorful every day, at least until the next storm blows through with wind and rain, and sends the leaves to the ground.

*    *    *    *

Veterans Day is Nov. 11. If you or a family member were in the military, and have not been listed in our veteran’s issue in prior years, send us your information (branch of service, years served and where, rank, etc.) and we will add it to our veteran’s pages for the issue of Nov. 10. There are many more who served in the military from Calhoun County than we have listed, but we need your input to complete the listing.

*    *    *    *

Calhoun Historical Society presented its Legends and Lore drama last weekend, with beautiful weather conditions.

Members should be very proud of the production that made visitors feel like they were transported back to the 1860s.

The actors’ portrayal of their characters was so believable, you could feel their pain, fear and sense of loss from living in the trying and turbulent time of the Civil War.

*    *    *    *

There was a fire reported in a trailer in the Beech Road area last Thursday morning. The fire was in the furnace, and residents were able to extinguish the fire before fire fighters got to the scene. There was smoke damage, but otherwise no more problems.

If you have not had your furnace or heating units serviced and checked by a professional, now would be a good time to have it done. Performed each year, it could save your family from the many disasters that can happen from faulty equipment.

*    *    *    *

There was an accident in the Annamoriah area last Saturday evening that involved a single vehicle that wound up on its top. Two ambulances and Grantsville VFD responded. Three people were sent to the hospital.

*    *    *    *

Drivers need to be alert for seasonal changes in driving conditions, such as wet leaves on the road, deer running out, frost forming on bridge surfaces, and, coming soon, snow and sleet.

 

October 20, 2011

The bountiful beauty of last week’s autumnal glory was short lived when a storm front passed through the county on Thursday night. Between the strong winds and the heavy rain, many of the recently colorfully turned leaves were driven from the trees prematurely.

At least, down in our holler, it looked like a winter blizzard of leaves instead of snow, as the leaves were ripped from the hilltops only to waft down in our yard as gently as feathers after a pillow fight. I thought of it as a prelude to what I will see when the snow really begins to fly.

*    *    *    *

Owls are once again beginning to frequent the edges of our yard in the evening. They come, unfortunately, when it is too dark to identify them properly, although we can tell that at least one appears to stand over two feet tall.

*    *    *    *

Someone who occasionally drives through town, usually around five o’clock, seems to be using old deep-fryer oil from restaurants to power their truck. I think that is a good idea, especially since the exhaust from that truck smells as if a restaurant just drove down Main Street.

I much prefer that smell to the stench of diesel or gasoline engine exhaust, although I do find myself hankering after a large order of French fries after the truck passes through.

*    *    *    *

Fat Matt’s, the restaurant across from Rite Aid in Grantsville, was broken into sometime between Saturday evening and Monday morning. It remained closed on Monday, as the investigation was underway. Police report that they have a suspect of interest in the case.

*    *    *    *

The new Ruth Looney Trail, connecting Minnie Hamilton Health Service and the town parking lot, was dedicated on Tuesday afternoon. A small crowd was on hand for the dedication and ribbon cutting, and many took the initial walk to the bottom of the trail. It was unknown how many walked back up the stairs, as I am too lame to walk them in either direction.

*    *    *    *

Sometimes, you are driving along one of our beautiful Calhoun highways and an animal suddenly darts out in front of your car. If you cannot stop in time and hit the animal, you hope that you didn’t hurt it, or your car, too badly. Unless the animal you hit happens to be a black bear, then you hope you didn’t hit it and make it mad enough to wonder why car guts taste like people.

That is approximately what happened around 8 p.m. on Sunday, when a car collided with a black bear in the vicinity of Orma. Fortunately for the driver, the car suffered light damage and the bear was killed. DNR officer Charles Stephens responded to the call and took custody of the bear.

*    *    *    *

The 2nd annual Legends and Lore Tour, sponsored by Calhoun Historical Society, will be held on Saturday at 2 and 5 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. It is     a very interesting and informative way to learn how things were in the 1860s, as well as some of the history of our county, and the life and times of our ancestors.

 

October 13, 2011

The trees covering Calhoun County’s hillsides have already begun to show off their autumnal beauty. We started noticing over the weekend that the hickory trees were beginning to turn golden and the maples were putting on their scarlet cloaks.

For some reason, the poplar trees have already dropped most of their leaves in our holler and the sycamores looked downright ghostly showing their white bark in the light of the full moon.

*    *    *    *

The hoot owls and the barred owls have been yelling at each other nightly to celebrate the coming of fall and the good hunting made possible by the brilliant moon.

*    *    *    *

Emergency services responded to Milo Road last Thursday morning, answering a call to possible drug overdose.

The 26-year-old victim was unresponsive and not breathing when the ambulance arrived, but began breathing on his own again after being administered CPR by emergency personnel. He was transported to Minnie Hamilton Health System.

*    *    *    *

Grantsville’s annual town-wide yard sale went well last Saturday. The weather could not have better and there were many people taking advantage of the bargains to be had all over town. One worker at Grantsville Foodland said, “It seemed like the Wood Festival was going on. There were so many people in town, it has been very busy here.”

*    *    *    *

The 57th annual Black Walnut Festival is going on this week. The Calhoun County High School marching band will be in the parade on Saturday and compete in the festival band competition.

 

October 6, 2011

For those of you who think they don’t get enough exercise by walking multiple laps around Underwood Field or walking around River Street, there is a new way to tone up those muscles, a stair climber.

Construction of the new walking path to promote health and fitness between the town parking lot and Minnie Hamilton Health System’s parking lot is almost complete. It appears that there are plenty of stairs to climb--for those so inclined. If you do a few laps up and down that walkway, you will feel the burn in your legs, lungs, etc.

The good news: If you experience any chest pains or extreme shortness of breath due to one lap too many, you are really close to the emergency room.

*    *    *    *

I know that most of you would rather not hear this, but there was over eight inches of snow on the ground at Snowshoe. I daresay that we will see snow, at least in the air, before the end of October.

*    *    *    *

It has been almost a week since we have seen a humming-bird at our feeder. The feeder will continue to hang there until the weather turns cold enough to freeze the nectar, just in case a latecomer needs a drink. We miss them already and hope they are enjoying their vacation in the south.

*    *    *    *

I have still not found my old hat, but I am now wearing another one that was donated  by a nice lady who stated,   “You just don’t look right in a ball cap.” My thanks for the nice hat, I think it looks pretty good.

*    *    *    *

A car went over a steep embankment on Beech Road last Thursday night, which resulted in an arrest for driving under the influence for the driver and cuts for the unlucky passenger.

*    *    *    *

Another wreck on Friday night occurred on Rt. 5 east of Grantsville, when a driver lost control of his vehicle and took out a telephone pole. The driver was transported to Minnie Hamilton for evaluation.

*    *    *    *

Not to be outdone, there was a wreck on Sunday night on Crummies Creek Road. A pickup truck apparently rolled over on its side, so the passengers -- and others on the scene -- rolled it back onto its wheels and they drove away before police arrived on the scene.

 

September 29, 2011

Since timing is rumored to be everything, why was it that the thunderstorm that hit here on Monday evening slammed us so hard just as we started down our road? With blackened skies surrounding us, and only nine-tenths of a mile to go before we reached the safety of our home, the full fury of the storm was unleashed.

Rain fell so hard we could barely see the road; tree limbs were flailing this way and that, and the wind was throwing branches at us, which bounced off the car as loud as gunshots.

There have been many trees that have fallen across our road during storms and we had our fingers crossed that we would not see one fall in front of us, or on top of the car.

The good news is that we did, indeed, make it home un-scathed. We even managed to cross the creek before the water got too high; although we were pelted by small hailstones and drenched by the time we got inside.

*    *    *    *

There was a good turnout for the Molasses Festival held last weekend. The making of molasses is hard work and the volunteers who make this festival happen, I am sure, would like to see some young blood begin to come to the meetings so the festival can continue for generations to come.

*    *    *    *

An early morning trailer fire near Stinson, on Mud Fork, caused firemen to worry about the safety of the occupants. Since no one was there when the firemen came to fight the blaze, they could only assume that they were inside the structure. After sifting through the debris for a couple of hours, the occupants, Billy and Debra Melrath Cason, returned to the scene. They had been at a neighbor’s house since escaping the blaze, with one person suffering a burn on the arm.

The State Fire Marshal’s office will look into the fire.

*    *    *    *

The sign in front of where the old bridge used to be on Main St. has been repainted and you can now read “Calhoun County,” “Lions Club” and “Women’s Club.” It is a nice improvement to the town.

*    *    *    *

A man who was found dead in the woods near Russett has been identified as Larry Estep, 55, of Looneyville. He died as a result of injuries sustained from a four-wheeler accident.

*    *    *    *

A Five Forks man, Charles Blair, whose home was destroyed by fire a few years ago, was charged with indecent exposure last Thursday morning. It seems that Blair was spotted walking along Mill St. in Grantsville wearing nothing more than a blaze orange hat and a pink backpack. I totally agree, blaze orange and pink are a nasty and indecent combination.

*    *    *    *

A 22-year-old man was injured Monday evening when he lost control of a four-wheeler along the Left Fork of Crummies Creek. He received injuries to his head and chest.

 

September 22, 2011

Two yellow jacket nests were discovered in our yard when the final weed eating of the summer was done. Our son-in-law, Chris Nicholas, was doing the job for us and suffered multiple stings.

Little did the bees know that stinging Chris only served to make him angrier than a stirred up beehive.

We watched him jumping around while continuing to beat the ground in one spot with the weed eater, and occasionally swatting at himself. When he trotted away, still swatting at himself, and shut the machine off, we asked what he had been doing while hitting the ground, “Swatting yellow jackets with weed eater string,” was his reply, “They think they can fly straight at me, but the string turns them into a yellow fog.”

We gave the bees their just desserts (a generous dollop of gasoline) a couple of nights later.

*    *    *    *

A body was found in the woods near Russett last Saturday afternoon. At this time, police have not released any information as to the identity of the man or the cause of death.

*    *    *    *

It is beginning to smell like fall now. I was sitting on the porch last weekend, watching leaves fall like snowflakes whenever a breeze blew down the holler, when I noticed that faint, musty smell of fall.

It was certainly quite chilly last Thursday and Friday nights. Chilly enough that we had the heating stove providing us with a welcome, warm glow.

*    *    *    *

The end of summer and the beginning of autumn is this Friday. It seems that it wasn’t long ago that we were welcoming spring back to the area. The years just seem to fly past, like hummingbirds in a fight.

*    *    *    *

I have been told by more than a few people that this year’s crop of squirrels is every bit as tasty as last year, and that the gravy may even be better.

*    *    *    *

Turkey, deer and foxes seem to be on the move, and anxious about the season changing.

 

September 15, 2011

We now seem to be down to one remaining hummingbird from our abundant summer flock. She seems a bit on the chubby side now (stored energy), so I expect her to be gone shortly. Itinerant groups of hummers are still stopping by the feeder for a few sips of nectar on their way south.

*    *    *    *

I have observed more than a few wooly worms in the past week. The bad news is that they were all completely black, which might mean we are in for a bad winter. If I remember correctly, last fall’s wooly worms were all black too.

*    *    *    *

Squirrel season started last Saturday. I guess not many hunters were in the mood for squirrel gravy, since I did not hear one shot the entire day.

*    *    *    *

One problem with severe sciatic pain shooting down the leg is that the more it hurts the hotter I feel.

At some point during one of my “hot flashes,” I took off my hat (brown, looks like a Stetson) somewhere, to cool my fevered brow, and lost the darn thing. I have found that long-term pain equals short-term patience, so I must have just walked off and left the hat where it lay.

If anyone has found my hat, I would really appreciate you dropping it off at the Chronicle office. It was a treasured Christmas present.

*    *    *    *

Two Calhoun County men face felony charges for burglary, as well as other charges, after being arrested in connection with crimes committed lately in the West Fork area.

Alfred Starcher is charged with three felony charges and is being held in Central Regional Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Brian Lamp is charged with one felony count of nighttime burglary and is being held in Central Regional Jail in lieu of $12,000 bail.

*    *    *    *

The weather forecast for this weekend calls for us to experience a little taste of fall, perhaps forcing some to turn on their heat. Overnight temperatures are projected to drop into the mid-40s by Friday night. Wear a jacket to the game.

 

September 8, 2011

Our hummingbirds are few nowadays, but I will continue to fill the feeder until mid November to allow migrating hummers from up north to stop by our house for a sip of the nectar.

*    *    *    *

Sunday will mark the 10th anniversary of the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. That day is also Patriot Day. Therefore, while we honor the lives lost, and the courage shown by our fellow Americans on that day 10 years ago, we must also remember what it means to be true Patriot. The dictionary defines the word as meaning, “One who loves, and is devoted to, his native country and its welfare.”

*    *    *    *

I am starting to see large flocks of birds heading south to spend the winter in warmer climates. Personally, I like winter--watching the snow fly while the woods are covered under a blanket of white--and would miss it very much by having only two seasons a year, hot and hotter, with increased humidity.

*    *    *    *

Squirrel season opens Saturday. It is said the reason the season is starting a month early is to allow hunters more time to bag the wily little tree hugging critters. I used to hunt them myself, years ago, but had no luck when the trees were still fully in leaf. The hunting was much better after the first killing frost helped remove the leaves from the trees and botfly larvae from the squirrels.

 *    *    *    *

There were three accidents over the Labor Day weekend and, fortunately, everyone involved survived.

An all-terrain vehicle went out of control Saturday evening close to Frozen Run on the West Fork injuring a man bad enough that he had to be flown to a hospital with head, arm and hip injuries.

A motorcycle wreck near Chloe on Sunday sent another victim flying to a hospital with a broken leg and other unknown injuries.

Monday evening, a car went out of control on Phillips Run, crashing through a garbage enclosure and flying through the air over the creek before coming to rest on the far side of the creek. The car was totaled and two passengers were taken to MHHS, where they treated for minor injuries.

*    *    *    *

At approximately 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Grantsville and vicinity lost power due to an unknown problem at presstime. Power was restored at 5:03 p.m. allowing me the opportunity to rewrite this column, since I lost my work when the power went off unexpectedly. Perhaps it is even better this time.

On a strange and weird note, when the power came back on something happened in town that has not happened in quite a few years, the fire siren went off, repeatedly. There were many people who stopped their cars in the street to ask what was going on: is it a fire, a tornado, or just the end of the world?

 

September 1, 2011

We are beginning to see more and more squirrels running across the road as they scope out the nut trees in preparation for a fall harvest. I wonder if anyone notified them that hunting season is slated to start about a month early this year. They sure are pretty busy.

*    *    *    *

The pain in my butt has moved down my leg to my knee, where it hung out for a short visit before moving down into my right foot, which now feels quite numb and useless.

I figure in a day or two I should be able to take off my shoe and shake the pain out of it onto the ground, where I will quickly bury it. [Editor’s note: We believe Bill is under the influence of pain medication.]

*    *    *    *

I incorrectly stated that there was no damage in our area from the earthquake. At least one house on White Pine Road shook hard enough to cause the glass in their shower to shatter. Fortunately, no one was taking a shower at the time. That could have been embarrassing.

*    *    *    *

Hummingbirds have slowed down their intake of sweet nectar to the point where I only refill their feeder every couple of days. There are definitely fewer of them too.

The bird feeders filled with sunflower seeds are already seeing an increase in business as fall closes in and their time to fly away comes closer. We are running through about 20 lbs. each week. We will miss them when they leave, but we really enjoy watching all the ones that trust us to visit the feeders during the winter, as they shiver in the snow.

*    *    *    *

Hurricane Irene missed our area completely with much needed rain, although there was a stiff, steady breeze blowing across the ridges last Saturday. There were also some interesting cloud formations going over from unusual directions.

*    *    *    *

A head-on collision between two cars caused some serious injuries last Thursday, just south of Orma on Rt. 16. Two victims suffered compound leg fractures and both were sent to CAMC, one by ambulance and one by helicopter. Two helicopters were requested, but weather conditions allowed only one to come to the scene.

*    *    *    *

At about the same time, a trailer fire was reported near Nicut Road on Upper Big Run Road. The car wreck still had the road closed, which caused a problem to firemen responding to the fire. No one was living in the trailer at the time of the fire.

*    *    *    *

Autumn is only three weeks away. Enjoy the last days of summer while you can. Snow will be flying soon.

 

August 25, 2011

The last lightning bug in our holler has disappeared. We saw it blinking slowly as it made its lonely way around the edges of our yard last week, but when I looked for it over the weekend, it was gone. All that I can see now are the glow bugs on the ground that promise that we will have a new batch of them to admire next May.

* * * *

I have been experiencing some rather painful sciatic nerve pain for a short while. Even though it has tended to slow me down, it hasn’t been all bad. Last Wednesday, I was passed on the street by one of the most beautiful ladies in Grantsville, Ola Jarvis Stalfort.

The Chronicles had arrived and needed mailed out, so I was on my slow and painful way down Main Street when I heard Ola pushing her handy basket walker behind me. I tried to speed up so I could beat her to the corner and cross the street before she got there, but she caught up and passed me as I was going past the Family Court building.

Since she is a year or so older than me, she stopped and asked me what I had done to myself. When I replied I was getting old, she laughed at me.

As soon as I feel better, I am going to demand a rematch. I just hope I don’t embarrass myself again.

* * * *

Folks around the county, and many other places, were shook up on Tuesday afternoon when a 5.9 magnitude earthquake occurred about 35 miles northwest of Richmond, Va. Calls were coming in to the Chronicle office immediately after the quake from concerned citizens who wanted to know if we had any information on the event.

An aftershock with a magnitude of about 2.8 on the Richter scale occurred about an hour after the initial shock.

So many people were attempting to send a report in to the website of U.S. Geological Service that its server evidently crashed and prevented many reports from being received.

While East Coast earthquakes are far less common than in the West, they tend to be felt over a much broader area. That’s because the crust is not as mangled and fractured, allowing seismic waves to travel without interruption.

The quake, which happened one day after a 2.8 magnitude knocked foodstuff off shelves in Colorado, was felt as far north as Toronto, Canada, and forced evacuations in government buildings up and down the east coast and as far west as Columbus, Ohio.

As of 4 p.m., Tuesday, no damage had been reported in our area, except for shattered nerves, although slight damage and mild injuries have been reported in areas closer to the epicenter of the quake.

*    *    *    *

For those who like to walk in the woods, and know what ginseng looks like, ’seng season starts on Sept. 1. Be sure you have permission from landowners, dig only the bigger three and four prong and no little ones, and re-plant all  seeds in the area from which you dug the root. If you know what yellow root (goldenseal) looks like, it fetches a pretty good price too, some say $30 a pound and up for quality, wild roots.

 

August 18, 2011

Rain, as well as temperatures, fell over the weekend. I hope that will set the trend for how the weather will be for the rest of the summer, which has only five more weeks to run.

*    *    *    *

Some of our hummingbirds have been hovering just outside our sliding screen door, chattering at us as if to thank us for providing them nectar all summer. I suppose they will be leaving for their winter vacation in the southern reaches over the coming weeks. We will miss them when they go.

All we will have to watch when they go is the fall migrating birds and the goldfinches and other species that hang around all winter.

*    *    *    *

I have seen quite a few big buck deer along the roads. Some of the racks are still in velvet, some are nice and shiny, and some look as if the buck is carrying a sumac tree on his head. Be careful that you don’t bag a buck with your Buick.

*    *    *    *

I got up at 4 a.m. on Saturday to see the Perseid meteor shower. I put water on for coffee and went outside to check the sky for cloud cover.

While I was outside for those five minutes, I saw one very bright, quick shooting star, so I made the coffee, woke Jeanne up and we sat in our lawn chairs on the deck drinking coffee and staring up into space. That’s when the clouds moved in and we didn’t see another meteor. Oh well, next August it will happen again in a darker phase of the moon, so we will just have to wait.

*    *    *    *

I would like to thank the highway department for the work they are doing on White Pine Road. They are using a small paving machine to repair the bad spots, making the road smoother and much easier on my aching back.

*    *    *    *

Arson is suspected as the cause of a fire on Monday afternoon that burned the old Mt. Olive Baptist Church to the ground. Volunteer fire departments from Grantsville and Arnoldsburg responded to battle the blaze in the old abandoned church that was located along Husk Ridge.

Since there had been rain off and on that morning, both departments had trucks slide into the ditch while driving out the dirt road.

The State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the fire.

 

August 11, 2011

We are finally seeing a break in the heat and humidity department. The forecast is for some rain showers, followed by lower temperatures and less humidity, which should allow us all to    be a bit more comfortable. It should be nice weather for a walk in the woods.

*    *    *    *

Don’t forget about the annual Perseid meteor shower that will peak this weekend. Go out a few hours before dawn, look toward the northeast, and enjoy the show.

*    *    *    *

Ginseng digging season used to start Aug. 15, but the season now runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. The average price for a pound of dried wild ’seng was $445 last year, but I would guess it will go even higher this fall.

This is a good time to scout the woods for three and four pronged plants in preparation for the season’s beginning. Even if you see a nice, big four-prong plant, with a gob of red berries in the middle, you must wait until next month to dig it. Get a good topographic map and mark your harvest areas.

*    *    *    *

The hummingbird circus at our house has a new act, yellow jackets. They gather at the feeders and attempt to chase the hummers away. The hummers then try to pierce the little bees with their sharp beaks. We just sit back and enjoy the show.

*    *    *    *

Two pickup trucks collided in a sharp turn near Orma last Thursday morning, sending two of the occupants to the hospital, one with a possible fracture.

 

August 4, 2011

It is still very hot and humid, with little to no rain to cool things off. There have been some lightning flashes over the horizon on occasion, just enough to make it nice to sit on the porch with your feet up, listen to some good music, and enjoy the light show. I think of it as going to Mother Nature’s concert.

*    *    *    *

We may have hit upon a way to get hummingbirds to associate with each other without quite so much aggression; they get along much better when they are hungry.

Last Sunday, I was filling the four feeders, with maybe 24 hummers (they are quick and hard to count), when one of the feeders suffered a broken string and crashed onto the deck.

The broken feeder had been able to accommodate five at once, and of the three that are left, two take them one at a time and one will feed as many as eight at once.

Now, they all congregate on and around the big feeder in a cloud of grey, white and crimson. They will only allow others to sit at the feeder long enough to get a sip or two and then they swoop in to remind them that others are thirsty too.

It is almost like watching a flying catfight with 24 cats involved. You can’t get entertainment like that on television.

I guess I need another large hummingbird feeder.

*    *    *    *

A tractor accident on his farm sent family court judge Larry Whited to the hospital last Sunday morning. He remains in the intensive care unit at CAMC General Division, Charleston.

*    *    *    *

The annual Perseid meteor shower is due to peak around Aug. 12-14, but the full moon will keep us from seeing the fainter ones. To view it, go out around 3:30 a.m., set up your lawn chair, and look to the northeast. Usually, there are around 60 per hour flashing across the night sky.

*    *    *    *

A single car accident sent a man to the hospital last Wednesday night. The vehicle he was riding in went off a small bridge on Straight Creek Road and wound up in the creek bed. The man suffered a back injury and appeared to have not had his seat belt on.

*    *    *    *

Two post offices are on the list of future closures released by the U.S. Post Office last week. Orma and Millstone will be closed and their routes and P.O. Box customers transferred to another location.

*    *    *    *

There have already been more than a few calls to the emergency center concerning bee stings. Yellow jackets are beginning to get mean as fall approaches, so be careful when mowing or walking to avoid stirring up a nest.

 

 

July 21, 2011

It is entirely too hot for it to be only mid-July. Even with some storms forecast to pop-up throughout the rest of the week, daytime temperatures will still be in the 90s, with overnight lows in the mid to lower 70s. It will also be quite humid. Absolutely perfect weather to suffer heatstroke, so try to maintain your cool.

*    *    *    *

Some folks traveling through Yellow Creek late last Saturday night had a problem when they missed a bridge and the car went over an embankment and into a small stream. Three people were injured, with two females flown to Charleston and one male taken to Minnie Hamilton Health System. State police are investigating the accident.

*    *    *    *

The annual State Police marijuana eradication program started earlier this year, with helicopter surveillance over the county for a couple of days last week. Apparently, the over flights were successful as the State Police have said that several arrests are pending due to the searches.

*    *    *    *

A neighbor called last Saturday to inform me of a large tree that had fallen across our road and onto the telephone line. When I went to check it out and see if I could cut it out of the road, I learned a valuable lesson--never over-tighten the chain on a chainsaw.

The last time I cut a tree off the road, my chain came off the bar and I had to take it home to put it back on and tighten it.

I put it back on and made it nice and tight, and put it back in the car until the next tree falls, but it will not go around the bar when it is too tight to move away from the bar. It just smokes the clutch until you loosen it up a bit.

Now, if I can remember to keep the tools in the car to accomplish both those repairs, I will be doing fine.

 

July 14, 2011

The weather has been just a tad too hot and humid for my taste, but the storm that blew through the area on Monday evening did cool things down a bit. Of course, with winds blowing through the trees hard enough to bend them almost completely over, that is to be expected. The high winds caused some power outages in the county and blew a few trees down in the roads, but nothing too bad. The rain was welcomed too, except to those who had hay down waiting to dry.

*    *    *    *

We still have birds flocking to our feeders to enjoy the black oil sunflower seeds, but the biggest change in the bird population is our hummingbird flock.

We have four hummingbird feeders strategically placed around our decks, so it is difficult to count the little hummers as they buzz around from one to the other, but I think we have more than a dozen visiting this summer.

They tend to flock the most around whichever feeder has the oldest nectar in it, since it has probably started to ferment. I guess they like a buzz when they are buzzing around harassing each other.

They congregate and are not quite so hostile to one another when dark approaches. They must feel that the need to fill   up before they sleep is more important than guarding the feeder.

*    *    *    *

Two folks I know were driving along the West Fork last week when they spotted something cross the road in front of them. They both got out of their cars, looked at each other, and said, “Did you see what I just saw!” They reported that they saw the biggest black bear they have ever seen amble across the road and go off into the woods. I know for sure that West Virginia is wonderful, and it seems to getting wild as well.

*    *    *    *

One of our daughters took her children to Family Fun Day in Big Bend last weekend. They all had a great time and look forward to going again next year. An airplane flew over and tossed candy out to the children. I hope they don’t start thinking that every airplane has candy to throw out or they will get a stiff neck looking up all day.

 

July 7, 2011

The weather for the holiday weekend was delightful. It threatened to rain and storm, but never did at our house, although I understand that it rained and stormed quite fiercely in other parts of the county. We were able to see some nice fireworks from our front deck on Sunday night.

*    *    *    *

Dog Days have set in, in case you had not noticed how hot and humid it is. I was always told that you should be extra careful about cuts and scratches during Dog Days, so be sure to clean all wounds and apply anti-bacterial ointment before you bandage, and change the bandage every day.

*    *    *    *

We finally met the raccoon’s little ones. I think their mom was trying to teach one of the little guys how to hold the bird feeder with one paw while scooping out sunflower seeds with the other. Evidently, she forgot to show it how to hold onto the deck rail with his back feet, because we heard a loud squealing and squalling, a sound containing both pain and fear, coming from the deck.

When we looked, momma ’coon was hanging on to the feeder laughing, and one small ’coon was staggering around the deck making a racket to equal the sound of doom. I almost stepped on it as it stumbled out from behind a large planter, and I was barefoot. The other little ones had already been scared by the excitement and had scattered to the yard, where all we could see were their little eyes.

*    *    *    *

Repairs made to Rt. 16, one to fix a slip and another where a water line break had been, have been repaved like new. My hat is off to the highway department for the quick fixes.

*    *    *    *

Over 300 people attended last Saturday’s all-class reunion held at Calhoun Middle/High School. I am certain that there were many folks whose face still hurt on Sunday from all of the smiling they did at the event.

*    *    *    *

People traveling Rt. 5 west of Grantsville should expect some delay in their travel for a while. The road is being resurfaced from Big Bend to Big Root, so be extra careful driving through that area.

 

June 30, 2011

I believe I was once told by an elder that you could tell what the coming winter will be like by observing where the yellow jackets build their nest. Close to the ground, or underground, means a mild winter. Last week, I found that they are building a nest on our upper deck, eight feet above the deck surface. That’s a whole lot of snow, although it was pretty deep on that deck last winter. Oh well, their prediction is probably invalid, since I sprayed the nest and knocked it down.

*    *    *    *

On a similar note, I found an emerald ash borer on the deck and sent it to the Promised Land, hopefully, before it laid any eggs.

*    *    *    *

Jeanne and I stopped at the Grantsville Farmer’s Market last Friday and took home a large bag filled with fresh produce. It provided some good, healthy eating, and we will be shopping there each week.

*    *    *    *

Someone bounced a vehicle off a brick wall along High St., Grantsville, just above the First Baptist Church early one morning last week. I would not be surprised if there wasn’t a deer involved in the accident.

*    *    *    *

One of the creatures we don’t see much of around here is the timber rattlesnake. Thanks to Sand Ridge resident Philip Stevens, there is one less rather large timber rattler left to scare the pants off of us.

Stevens’ wife and her cat were out walking last Thursday morning when they spotted the 53.5-inch rattlesnake lying coiled up next to a log. Stevens tamed the snake with a 12-gauge shotgun.

The Stevens’ Sand Ridge home is located near Bear Fork, where many wild creatures are known to abound.

 

June 23, 2011

The weather has been tolerable for the past week. It rained fairly hard on Sunday, but I am sure we needed it. Severe weather is predicted this week, but it remains to be seen if the storms actually reach here.

*    *    *    *

Summer officially started Tuesday, June 21, so at least we made it through the spring, now if we can only make it through the summer.

*    *    *    *

Our telephone line was caught by a bulldozer riding on a flatbed truck last Wednesday morning, and snapped like an old thread. I called Frontier to report the outage and was assured it would be fixed within 24 hours. It is my opinion that Frontier needs a new clock, as our phone wasn’t repaired until Friday by one of the local technicians, who had received the repair order that very morning.

*    *    *    *

In an unrelated incident, Calhoun County was without broadband service for most of the day on Monday due an outage of service from Frontier.

*    *    *    *

A nesting pair of barred owls that live in our holler have been pretty busy sitting in a maple tree at the end of yard hunting rodents (and, I think, robins). We always know when the owls fly into the maple tree, as all of the other birds who nest in and around our yard, raise a ruckus and try to chase the much larger owls away. It seems to annoy the owls to no end.

 *    *    *    *

Thomas Husk, accused of the second degree murder of John Cyrus, waived a preliminary hearing in Calhoun County magistrate court last week. The case will go before a grand jury. Husk’s bond was reduced from $300,000 to $20,000 at the request of his attorney. Husk will be placed under home confinement until the trial. The defense stated that this was a case of self defense, without premeditation.

*    *    *    *

An outbuilding next to a house trailer on Mud Fork burned last Thursday night. A fireman responding to the call wrecked his truck when he lost control on the wet roadway. He was unhurt, but his truck was not so lucky.

*    *    *    *

A pick up truck wrecked on Rt. 16, just north of the intersection at Millstone on Friday evening. A teenage boy was injured in the accident and sent to CAMC.

*    *    *    *

Two Calhoun residents were arrested in Nicholas County   for possession of items necessary in making meth. The men were arrested after a traffic  stop. Bond was set at $50,000 each.

*    *    *    *

Now that summer is here, ATV crashes have begun. A young girl was injured after wrecking on Slab Fork, off White Pine Road, on Monday. A man struck a building near Orma while riding an ATV on Monday evening.

 

June 16, 2011

After quite a long spell of hot, humid and miserable weather, Mother Nature turned off the heat and turned on the air conditioner. While that was a welcome for most folks, some were seen sporting sweatshirts and sweaters to maintain the body heat.

*    *    *    *

Severe storms moved into the area last week, uprooting trees and disrupting electrical service to many residents of the West Fork area. When the storm passed over Grantsville, it turned as black as nightfall outside, rained sideways and lightning struck close by, but little damage was reported.

*    *    *    *

Three would-be Huckleberry Finns captured a boat that the storm had cast loose in the Munday area, and jumped in for an adventure, leaving two more cautious people waiting for their return. The afternoon trip on the Little Kanawha River came to an end when members of Grantsville Volunteer Fire Dept. found them a few miles downstream around 1:30 a.m. after a three-hour search.

*    *    *    *

We took the bird feeders in one night last week to foil the supper plans of the raccoons. They were caught, red-handed, as it were, pulling feeders over to the deck railing with one paw, while scooping sunflower seeds into their mouth with the other.

I did not know that raccoons could be so vindictive. They squealed and squalled for over an hour, with momma ’coon yelling at her babies and them yelling back. We could hear them scurrying around and making noises on the deck, and found what they had been up   to the next morning. Utter mayhem.

They had knocked things off the railing down into the yard, knocked over a decorative yard rabbit, and attempted to destroy some of our pink flamingo yard ornaments. They even gnawed most of a candle. They are now on my short list.

*    *    *    *

There has been some haying done along Pleasant Hill ridge. The smell of newly cut hay is one of things I think of on cold winter days. It helps to warm me up.

*    *    *    *

A lot of work is being done on Rt. 16 north of Grantsville. A slip close to the top of Town Hill is being repaired with steel girders that should hold things back for a while. The paving job from the top of Town Hill to Big Springs is finished and the guardrails are being done.

*    *    *    *

W.Va. State Folk Festival will be held this weekend in Glenville. There is always foot-stomping music, dancing and clogging. Grace DeLorenzo is representing Calhoun as a Folk Festival Belle.

 

June 9, 2011

Even though I bragged on the weather last week, it was nothing compared to the three days of the Wood Festival. The weather was perfect and the festival was fantastic. If you didn’t make it into Grantsville for the festival, you should next year.

*    *    *    *

It would appear that the opossums that have been plaguing us for the last six months or so, have been replaced by raccoons. That’s okay by me. Opossums look like giant rats, while raccoons are somewhat cuter, with their little black noses, and bandit-shaded faces. We still try to keep them from coming to the deck, but they insist on paying a visit almost every night. We have yet to see the little raccoon kids, but I know we will soon.

*    *    *    *

Grantsville Farmer’s Market opened last Friday with a good showing from area growers and artisans. Tom McColley was there with a variety of produce, live plants and granola foods.

Joshua Stough of Sycamore brought fresh and dried shitake mushrooms and inoculated oak logs, so you can grow your own.

Grant Clark, blacksmith, was selling leaf lettuce and hand-made metal items.

The Honey Man, Wayne  Cottrell, had honey for sale. His table was covered with jars of comb honey, strained honey, cream honey, and honey ice cream topping with nuts.

Janet Richards offered golden comet pullet chicks, fresh brown eggs, apple and blackberry pies, brownies, and key lime cup-cakes.

*    *    *    *

A 21 year-old man was found in the road near Big Springs last Thursday evening, with severe head trauma after apparently falling from a moving vehicle. Brian Huffman, who used to live in the Big Bend area, did not appear to have been hit by a car. He was flown to CAMC and is in serious condition. People on the scene when the ambulance arrived had no idea how the man had come to be in the road.

*    *    *    *

On the other end of the county, a man went over an embankment on Walnut Road last Friday evening and suffered head trauma requiring a chopper ride to CAMC.

*    *    *    *

If you have business to be conducted this week at the courthouse in Grantsville, be advised that it is scheduled to be closed on Friday, June 10, due to the installation of three-phase electricity to run the new air conditioning system.

 

June 2, 2011

I don’t believe it would be possible to have better weather for Memorial Day weekend-- temperatures hovered just below the hot stage and no rain.

*    *    *    *

Multi-flora roses were in bloom for those who like to pick flowers to place on the graves of people they didn’t much care for. Daisies were plentiful for those loved ones that we miss most at this time of year.

*    *    *    *

Our children and grandchildren were in the holler on Sunday for fun, food and frolic. Mostly, it was the grandchildren who did the frolicking . . . in the creek.

*    *    *    *

Things almost got a little too interesting last Wednesday morning when a truck hauling dynamite to the new bridge construction site at Annamoriah lost its rear end, along with some of the load, two miles East of Brooksville on Rt. 5. The road was closed to all traffic for a few hours while the explosives were secured and moved. No injuries were reported.

*    *    *    *

There has been a turn of events in the 2006 alleged murder of David Wayne Beach of Roane County. With new evidence in hand, State Police have filed murder charges against William Albert Denmark of Beech. Investigators returned to the area in March 2010, unearthed the alleged gravesite, and sent the soil and contents of the dig to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., for forensic analysis. The forensic report confirms finding a .38 caliber bullet, as well as indications that a human body had been in the grave and removed.  

*    *    *    *

This weekend is the Wood Festival celebration in Grantsville, with all kinds of entertainment, food, crafts, and fun for all, as well as a chance to visit with all the folks you only see at the festival. The weather should be tolerably warm with very little precipitation, so I reckon we will see you there!

 

May 26, 2011

Lightning bugs have begun to dance in the fields each evening. They always bring a peaceful feeling when I watch them flash their messages of love to one another.

*    *    *    *

I heard a report of a black bear being spotted along Rt. 7, near Stumptown. I hope that it was heading into Bear Fork where it belongs. There was one traveling through the White Pine region some years back, but it hasn’t been spotted in quite a while.

*    *    *    *

Memorial Day is Monday, so be sure to remember loved ones you have lost, and hug the ones you still have.

*    *    *    *

Folks in Grantsville still have no actual restaurant to sit down in for a meal. It seems that word of the closings has not reached everyone, since some people have been observed bumping repeatedly into the door, thinking that it is merely stuck. Word on the street is that the corner, smaller eatery, may open soon under new management.

*    *    *    *

This has been one of the rainiest springs I can remember. There has not really been enough dry weather to get a decent start on a garden, although the weather has been perfect for yard growth.

*    *    *    *

Environmental Protection Agency staged a mock drill last Sunday at a dorm at Glenville State College. It was supposed to resemble the explosion of a methamphetamine lab, with injuries, evidence protection  and crime scene security procedures. It cost $30,000 and was filmed by the EPA, which will give a report to the responding agencies in about two months.

 

May 19, 2011

It has been very cool and rainy during the last week. Some folks have even been spotted on Main Street wearing coats. I guess we all were a little spoiled by temperatures in the 80s. The first cutting of hay is looking thick and full, but the weather is going to have to change for it to be harvested.

*    *    *    *

Koffee Kup did not open on Monday and word on the street is that it is not going to re-open any time soon. I suppose Gino’s, Momma T’s and the Foodland deli will be a little busier for a while.

*    *    *    *

There was a terrible wreck about three miles east of Grantsville on Rt. 5 at the end of Laurel Creek on Saturday morning. Volunteer firemen used the jaws of life to extract one man from the twisted wreckage. Four people were injured, at least one seriously, and a record number of four Life Flight helicopters responded to transport the victims to trauma centers.

*    *    *    *

Thieves broke into Chloe Hardware twice last week and made off with pop, cigarettes and beer. Maybe they should buy more of these items when the store is open, so that they don’t run out in the middle of the night and have to resort to crime to satisfy their habits.

*    *    *    *

Now that spring is fully upon us, people are beginning to drive their four-wheelers too fast for road conditions and getting themselves injured. It seems that it would be a more enjoyable ride to go no more than 15 miles per hour and enjoy looking at the scenery, rather than watching it go by in a blur and then becoming part of it. Walking is also a safer alternative and is much quieter.

*    *    *    *

We happened to drive by the Recycling Center at Cabot’s Station last Saturday and were glad to see traffic backed up waiting to offload old tires at the tire roundup. It was a very successful event.

*    *    *    *

Too bad more people didn’t make it out to the polls to vote. The turnout for that very important event was somewhat light.

 

May 12, 2011

The world around us is now a plush, living green; so is my lawn. Guess I had better get it mowed before I come home to find it baled and stacked.

*    *    *    *

Cardinals are bringing their babies to our feeder to teach them to crack open sunflower seeds. Just like human children, they whine, wheedle and complain until someone else cracks the shell and gives them the succulent reward. They learn quickly, though, and then the cardinals return to their nest and hatch another clutch, so they can go through it again.

*    *    *    *

The resurfacing project of Rt. 16 from Pleasant Hill to Big Springs is moving right along. It doesn’t look or feel like the same highway without all the bumps and cracked pavement.

*    *    *    *

The Little Kanawha River has quieted down now that the rain has stopped. It is actually starting to look pretty good for fishing. It might just be about time to locate my fishing gear and put some new line on the reels.

*    *    *    *

The race for governor will narrow the field on Saturday. The primary for the 14-month unexpired term has 15 candidates. The general election will be on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Be sure to go to the polls on Saturday to make your choice known.

*    *    *    *

Another good reason to go out this Saturday is to get rid of some of the tires lying around. W.Va. Dept. of Environmental Protection and Calhoun County Solid Waste Authority are sponsoring a tire collection from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cabot Recycling Station. Old tires are a breeding ground for mosquitoes. This is your chance to legally dispose of up to 10 of them, 16 inches or less.

*    *    *    *

The honey locust trees are blooming and the bees are enjoying their blossoms. Jack-in-the-pulpits are also in bloom. The morel season is down to finding the last of the giant yellows, and then we have to wait until next spring. 

 

May 5, 2011

Calhoun County had plenty of rain and some storms, but from Mississippi to Virginia, 312 tornadoes were spawned from last week’s storms, with a record setting 226 in one day (the previous record was 148 in 1974). It was also the second deadliest tornado outbreak since 1936 when 436 people died.

The violent outbreak cost 342 people their lives, with thousands more injured, and many who lost everything they owned.

www.AccuWeather.com said there were more than 900 tornadoes in the U.S. in April.  Unfortunately, May and June are the months that usually are the worst for violent weather. I guess we all had better batten down the hatches and hold on tight to our loved ones.  

*    *    *    *

Dollar General in Grantsville is undergoing a transformation, with remodeling happening that should make shopping there a better experience for customers. The store will have a grand re-opening celebration soon.

 *    *    *    *

This weekend is Mother’s Day. Remember, mothers will love you when no one else will. Give her a hug and kiss, take her out to dinner, or think of her if she has already passed on.

*    *    *    *

Someone attempted to steal equipment from Ted Adkins’ equipment yard, just south of Arnoldsburg last week. Windows were broken and ignitions were tampered with, but nothing was stolen. Adkins is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the those involved.

The same thieves may have been involved in a similar incident at Ron Lane’s used equipment lot that was unsuccessful.

*    *    *    *

Grantsville is holding its annual town-wide yard sale on Saturday. If you have any money to spare, and wish to  buy things as cheaply as possible, come to town and hit all the sales. If you don’t need anything, there will be bake sales to satisfy your sweet  tooth.

 

April 28, 2011

A barred owl made our day early Monday morning when it took time out of its busy breakfast schedule to pose for some pictures.

Usually, I get my camera in hand quickly and begin to shoot. This time, the camera said, “Change the batteries,” and so I did, with some loose ones rolling around the bottom of my camera bag. The camera was not happy with my choice of batteries and repeated its earlier message.

The owl waited, somewhat impatiently, while I retrieved four more loose batteries from the bag and inserted them into my Canon. Fortunately, they had power enough to shoot a good series of photos while I attempted to imitate a screech owl to get the barred owl to turn its head, look into the camera, and smile.

Since there are so many owls in our little hollow, I hope to get more pictures throughout the year. Perhaps, if I actually go tromping through the woods looking for them, I may get some photos of little owlets.

*    *    *    *

For those of you who enjoy eating a meal of gourmet morels the season is just about over. I suggest that you head out into the woods this week and look for the large yellow morels around old orchards, although I have found them just about anywhere.

*    *    *    *

Spring gobbler season opened Monday for those who like to hunt for turkeys in the morning and morels in the afternoon. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if a turkey hunter had bagged the large emu that was running loose in the county 10 or so years ago. How would he have gotten it into an oven?

*    *    *    *

Although we were spared the worst of last week’s storms, there was still enough power left in them to cause damage to some areas of the county. Trees were blown down in southern Calhoun and there were some power outages. No injuries were reported. The threat of bad weather continues throughout the rest of the week, with temperatures forecast to fall to a more seasonal level.

*    *    *    *

Average retail gasoline prices in West Virginia have risen 4.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.91/gal. This compares with the national average that has increased 2.8 cents in the last week to $3.83/ gal., according to gasoline price website www.WestVirginiaGasPrices.com.

 

April 21, 2011

Spring is officially on in our hollow. Last weekend, two hummingbirds arrived at the feeder and drank long and deep before flying over to a nearby limb to keep watch for other arrivals. Monday night we heard our first whippoorwills singing their springtime song. Redbud and dogwoods are in full bloom and spring flowers are brightening up the woodlands. You just have to love springtime.

*    *    *    *

The highway department has been grading and graveling county roads to repair the damage from last winter. Pothole repair is also underway.

*    *    *    *

An arcing power line near the Bethlehem Church, east of Grantsville, ignited a brush fire last Friday. Windy conditions, access problems and steep terrain made the job more difficult for volunteer firefighters, but they soon had it under control.

*    *    *    *

According to U.S. Dept. of Labor statistics, Calhoun still leads the state in unemployment. The “not seasonally adjusted” rate for February in Calhoun was 19.9%, a 2.1% improvement over last year’s figure of 22%. The average for the state in the same period was 10.3% for both years. It seems that we have a workforce with no work to do.

Perhaps, someone needs to look into the possibility of getting a manufacturing plant of some kind to move into the county, so folks can find work closer to home.

 

April 14, 2011

Last weekend, I moved one of our regular bird feeders to a different spot on the deck and hung up a hummingbird feeder. We still haven’t spotted any hummers, but the move has surely confused more than a few chickadees. They land on the hummer feeder and turn their little heads this way and that, peck at the tiny holes made for hummingbird tongues, look in the window at us in disgust, and fly away.

*    *    *    *

Like it or not, it is time to get the mower out and get to work, or, perhaps, buy a goat and move it around the yard until the job is done.

*    *    *    *

Morels are definitely up. I found around 10 last Saturday and have reports of many more being harvested. The best part of morel hunting, for me, is finding that I can still make it to the top of the hill behind our house. I’m not completely convinced that plate tectonics is not still active here in West Virginia. I swear that the top of the hill keeps getting farther and farther away each year.

*    *    *    *

Wildflowers are blooming, fruit trees too. Redbuds have begun to show off their colors and dogwoods tree buds have burst open and should turn white by the end of the week.

*    *    *    *

The planned re-surfacing of Rt. 16 north of Grantsville has begun. The contractor is busy putting in new culverts. Although there will be some inconvenience while the job is being done, I look forward to a smooth road surface until winter weather tears it up again.

*    *    *    *

Koffee Kup Bakery and Pizza shop, at the corner of Main and Florence streets in Grantsville, has re-opened for the summer. It offer donuts, pizza, ice cream, smoothies, milkshakes, subs and bagels.

*    *    *    *

Four people on ATVs ran into some trouble on Sunday when their machines broke down. Thankfully, they were saved by another modern convenience that, while not broken, still needed to be carried to a hilltop so that it could work. Cell phones, when they have service, can be a lifesaver.

 

April 7, 2011

You just have to love springtime. Last weekend, the weather was alternately good and bad, cold and wet. Temperatures were in the upper 70s on Monday, and then the skies went from gray to black in minutes. The warm air was violently replaced by wind,   hail and rain. The rest of the week should be fine--warmer and beautiful. Just typical spring weather.

*    *    *    *

I spotted a lone, white seagull flying around Grantsville last week. I wonder if he was looking for Jonathan Livingston.

*    *    *    *

On Monday morning, I looked at fruit trees that had full buds on their limbs, but no blossoms. By Monday evening, with the hot weather, some of the trees had bloomed. By the weekend, I will go to the woods on a morel hunt. I expect to find some too.

*    *    *    *

The main roads of Calhoun County are really showing their age after this winter’s abuses. Potholes are getting deeper and bigger. The highway department is strapped for cash and equipment is in short supply.

I think we should take away the governor’s helicopter and have him drive all around the state in a reasonably priced 10-year-old car. Perhaps all of the potholes could shake loose a little cash for road repair.

*    *    *    *

Jeanne and I attended the concert at Calhoun Middle/High School last Friday evening for her birthday. Seats were in short supply. Johnny Staats opened the show with his nimble fingers flying over the strings of his mandolin on some favorite blue-grass tunes.

He told us all to play close attention to a song he wrote, “Don’t Mind the Mule, Just Load the Wagon.” It seems that is the way he feels sometimes while driving his truck on deliveries. It was good to see him play again.

Doyle Lawson and Quick-silver took the stage and held the crowd in thrall for the next two hours. He delivered fast bluegrass, soulful gospel, and down-home humor.

 

March 31, 2011

Once again, as soon as the forsythia blossoms opened fully, I woke up to find it had snowed on them. They were lucky to be standing at all after the hailstorms that moved through the county over a period of several days. That same cold front also had Calhoun under a tornado watch. Many people were more than a little upset with the change that the cold front made in the weather this week.

*    *    *    *

This is the week of spring break for Calhoun County students and teachers, and the warm weather of the past few weeks had them hoping for more of the same while they had time to enjoy it. Oh well, at least they had time off, even though the temperatures have been downright cold and the weather promises to be nasty for the rest of the week.

*    *    *    *

High winds caused severe damage to the pavilion at Upper West Fork Park. The wind lifted the roof off the pavilion and sent it flying almost a hundred yards away. The wind also dropped a tree on a house near the park that caused even more damage.

*    *    *    *

A structure fire destroyed a residence on Walnut Road last Wednesday. The home of Kenny McCumbers was a total loss, along with all the contents. McCumbers had lived in the home for 15 years with his daughter, who was at school at the time. Thankfully, no one was injured in the blaze.

*    *    *    *

There is a new building at West Fork Park, Arnoldsburg, that will serve as a shelter for vendors and for the country store during the Molasses Festival. It will also be used for special events.

*    *    *    *

The building was funded by West Fork Community Action, with a small grant from Rural Community and Development.

*    *    *    *

Morel mushrooms have begun to pop up in nearby counties, despite the inclement weather. I still have yet to find any.

 

March 24, 2011

Highs in the 70s, lows in the 30s, heavy rain, hail of differing sizes, thunder, lightning, the promise of snow mixed with rain--you just have to love spring weather for all of its diversity.

*    *    *    *

Spring peepers have been soothing my soul for almost a week now. If only the little morel mushrooms would begin to pop out of the ground.

*    *    *    *

Highway crews were busy attempting to fix a small slip along the new pavement on Town Hill, north of Grantsville, on Monday. The storms that occurred Monday night pretty much negated their efforts.

*    *    *    *

There was a rather large full moon over the weekend, as the moon was the closest it has been to Earth in 18 years. As the disk of the moon passed overhead through the night, it appeared almost as big as it usually does when it is rising and close to the horizon.

It was also so bright on Saturday night that you could go for a walk without a flashlight. The owls really sang their welcome to the brightest moon they will likely ever see.

*    *    *    *

I am anxiously awaiting the sound of the lonesome whippoorwill. I expect we will hear them in a week or so.

*    *    *    *

There has been a change at Pleasant Hill, as Parson’s One Stop has changed hands and is now Momma T’s. The store still sells everything as before, but also has breakfast items for take-out, as well as lunch, dinner and pizza. Plans are in the works for outdoor picnic tables and a shelter, as well as a Zumba room and a tanning bed.

We wish the new owners, Barb and Ed Tingler, much success in their endeavors. As Barb likes to say, “Momma T’s is the place to be.”

 

March 17, 2011

Spring begins on Sunday, by the calendar, but with temperatures forecast to hit the lower 70’s on Friday, I am inclined to celebrate the season a little early.

*    *    *    *

All of the onion grass is getting quite high in my yard, and it seems that violets will soon be blooming. Our little ramp patch is showing shoots about four inches high. Morels still haunt my dreams. Soon, I will be walking the hills and enjoying the rebirth that comes with spring.

*    *    *    *

There were various flood watches and warnings in the past week, and we did get some serious rain, but we were spared any serious flooding problems.

*    *    *    *

Since the fishing season is upon us, I thought you might find this interesting. Little Kanawha River was the number one musky producer last year, according to figures released by the Husky Musky Club. There were 54 reported legal-size muskies caught in the Little Kanawha, with Stonewall Jackson Lake second at 47. South Fork of the Hughes and the Monongahela had 14 each.

*    *    *    *

Another fire has struck Calhoun. Sunday afternoon, an unoccupied residence burned near the intersection of Rt. 5 and Munday Road. It seems that we went for a while without any fires, but our luck has changed.

*    *    *    *

Many people in Calhoun remember Chuck Smith, a CHS graduate who lived at Mt. Zion, and still has family here. He and his family live in Japan and I was very happy to hear from him that he and his immediate family are all right. I guess FaceBook does have some use after all.

They live about 70 miles south of Tokyo, and, while they felt the earthquake, no tsunamis affected their area. Their ex-tended family lives throughout Japan, and some of them have not yet been heard from. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers, as well as all of the people affected by the massive tragedy.

 

March 10, 2011

Typical March weather has been the norm for the past week. Not bad, followed by high winds and heavy rain, finished off by, you guessed it, snow. The remainder of this week calls for much of the same. Spring comes to us, on the calendar at least, on Sunday, Mar. 20. I suppose, since we have waited this long, we can wait another couple of weeks.

*    *    *    *

Fred “Joe” Whytsell, Jr., of Henry’s Fork, suffered severe burns last Wednesday when he attempted to extinguish a trash fire at his residence. He was badly burned on his lower body and hands, and died Thursday in a Huntington hospital.

*    *    *    *

Don’t forget to “Spring Forward” and set your clocks ahead an hour on Saturday night. The price we pay for an extra hour of daylight in the evening is getting up an hour early in the morning. It is also a good time to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and make sure that they function correctly. Your smoke alarm is not a device to tell you that your dinner is done.

*    *    *    *

Early Saturday morning, a fire broke out in a two-story house on Wigner St., Grantsville, threatening the life of Nina Parsons, who barely escaped the flames. Her brother-in-law, who lives nearby, heard her screaming and managed to rescue her in time. The home was a total loss. The State Fire Marshal is investigating the fire.

*    *    *    *

Another early morning fire struck a home on Pine Creek on Monday. Dale McFarland heard his smoke detector going off around 4 a.m., and escaped the inferno with his dogs. He was prevented by one of the dogs from re-entering the burning residence to retrieve belongings.

*    *    *    *

Unemployment increased in 51 of 55 West Virginia counties in January. Calhoun’s jobless rate of 18.3 percent was the highest in the state.

Unemployment in Clay, Pendleton and Pocahontas decreased, and Webster stayed the same.

 

March 3, 2011

The hillsides of Calhoun County have taken on a purplish-mauve hue as the buds of all of the trees are beginning to swell so they can burst forth with tiny green leaves in a few weeks. Redbud trees almost seem to glow in the early morning light. Morel mushrooms have begun to haunt my dreams. Spring is only three weeks away.

*    *    *    *

Newton Nichols, editor and sportswriter of The Calhoun Chronicle, was honored as the Media Person of the Year last week by state coaches at the W.Va. High School Wrestling Tournament in Huntington. He was recognized for his 31 years of promoting wrestling through sports writing. His fellow staff members at the Chronicle applaud his achievement.

*    *    *    *

All of the heavy rain we have been receiving had us under flood watches and caused some minor flooding in parts of the county. Arnoldsburg Elementary was threatened twice in the past week by rising waters, which forced the school to move everything to keep it out of the water in case the West Fork flooded the school again.

A news team from Huntington’s WSAZ-3 came to Arnoldsburg and did a report on the flooding problems at the school and about the bond levy election that will be held on Friday.

There was much more rain to our south and heavy snow to the north. May our luck hold through the next round of storms.

*    *    *    *

American Electric Power has suspended the proposed Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) 765-kilovolt transmission line project that would have cut across southern Calhoun County. The project is on hold while the company completes a more rigorous analysis of power transmission requirements.

 

February 24, 2011

During Monday night’s rain, I observed two signs of spring, a small frog hopping across the road and night crawlers in our yard.

Yellow crocuses are blooming along White Pine Road and forsythia buds are taking on a yellow hue in preparation of bursting forth with canary-colored blossoms, as soon as the weather warms a little more. Of course, as soon as the forsythia blooms, we will likely get another few inches of wet snow. That has been the pattern for the last several years.

*    *    *    *

I was informed on Tuesday morning that some strange looking white birds have been spotted in the Stumptown area. They do not appear to be cranes or egrets, but may be lost seagulls.

*    *    *    *

The pigeons in Grantsville are already sitting on the roof of the courthouse, cooing to each other in hopes of increasing the population again. It appears that someone is working toward de-creasing the number of pigeons in town, since the pigeons are often in the middle of Main Street pecking at food and dodging traffic. So far, the pigeons are winning their battle with cars and trucks, as none have stayed in the road long enough to be struck.

*    *    *    *

The annual Great Backyard Bird Count was held last weekend, and at least three people participated in the Grantsville area. There were no other localities listed this year in Calhoun County, although West Virginia had 508 people who submitted lists. The most species of birds submitted was Huntington where 53 different were reported.

*    *    *    *

Now that we have made progress toward flattening some of the ruts in our road from the thaw, it has started to rain and made the mud so slick that all you can do is aim the car and hope for the best. I guess we will make the ruts deeper now.

 

February 17, 2011

I have now beheld, with my own eyes, robins flying and hopping about. I saw them in Morgantown, but if they are that far north, they are here as well, and I just have not been paying enough attention.

The plumage on the gold finches is beginning to brighten up and we have been seeing just a hint of early spring “courting behavior” at the feeders.

Our snowdrop flowers are recovering nicely after being buried under the snow since early December, and have already developed flower buds. I expect to see them open before the end of the week. The crocuses have yet to appear.

*    *    *    *

Even though the weather for this week is predicted to be much warmer, I feel that winter is only setting us up for more nasty weather in the future. Get out and enjoy it while you can.

*    *    *    *

A house near the Calhoun/ Roane county line went up in flames on Monday night. It had just been rented and was in the process of being occupied. No one was at home and no injuries were reported.

*    *    *    *

The 14th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will take place Feb. 18-21. This national citizen science project is an opportunity for all to discover the wonders of nature we call birds.

The top five most frequently reported species were northern cardinal, dark-eyed junco, mourning dove, downy woodpecker and blue jay.

Anyone can take part in the count, from novice bird watcher to expert. Participants count birds for as little as 15 minutes on one or more days of the event and report their sightings online. It’s easy, free and fun.

Results are updated hourly on animated maps and colorful graphs for all to view. For in-formation, visit www.birdcount.org or call 1-800-843-2473.

Last year, 21 species and 292 birds were identified in Grantsville, with 20 species and 406 birds sighted in Orma. Participate with your children and you will all have family fun, while learning more about birds.

 

February 10, 2011

There is still no change in the weather pattern, with the exception that we were spared being a part of the blizzard that swept across the nation last week. We were on the warm side of the storm and now only suffer from deep, slimy mud.

*    *    *    *

A very trustworthy person told me that she has been seeing robins hopping around Grantsville since early January. I have yet to see them, but I am looking harder now.

*    *    *    *

Since most of the snow around our house melted with the rain last week, we were   able to see where our spring flowers will soon be blooming. The first flowers of the year, Snowdrops, are up. They were bent down from trying to rise through snow and ice, but should be blooming in a week or so.

 *    *    *    *

I saw my first SmartCar parked along the streets of Grantsville on Tuesday. From seeing them on television, I knew they were small, but until you stand beside one, “small” is a relative term. It appears there is room for two people and, perhaps, a poodle. I have driven larger ATVs than that. While I am certain that the gas mileage must be incredible, I cannot imagine being in a SmartCar in a head-on collision.

*    *    *    *

Judy Wolfram, writer of the column “Waste Not, Want Not” reports that the trusty 1926 Chevy truck with the heater that will blast you out, mentioned in her column last week, was a typo. It is actually a 1976 Chevy. She did say that it was the vehicle that she and husband Frank trusted the most when the roads were bad, and a trip to town was unavoidable.

 

February 3, 2011

Groundhog Day was Feb. 2, and since that is the day the paper is produced, I do not have the predictions from two of the most famous groundhogs, French Creek Freddie or Punxsutawney Phil. The forecast for Feb. 2 was for rain, or snow, or ice, or a combination of all three. Regardless of what the groundhogs say, my prediction is that we are going to have more winter weather. Spring is less than seven weeks away. Surely we can all hang on that long.

*    *    *    *

It seems that some of the birds hanging around our feeders are beginning to sing songs that I associate with spring. They sing a longer, livelier song, and they are beginning to show signs of spring aggressiveness. Robins may be hopping around the fields in a few weeks. I hope they bring their little tiny snowshoes.

*    *    *    *

Wednesday through Friday was wicked for local drivers. The snow made road conditions so bad that the Calhoun County Office of Emergency Services advised everyone to stay off the roads, except for emergency travel. Semi-trucks were stuck on hills and cars were in the ditches everywhere. Main roads were being treated as fast as the trucks could travel from one end of the county to the other, but secondary roads were still treacherous. Schools were also closed due to the snow.

*    *    *    *

Main roads around the county are showing signs of nature’s abuse. Snowplows catch the edges of cracked areas of pavement and remove chunks of road, along with the snow, which makes potholes that much deeper and longer. With all the snow that has fallen, there has been a lot of plowing done to keep the roads open. Highway department trucks are doing their best to fill in some of the worst potholes, whenever weather permits, but the weather hasn’t been cooperating much. Some progress is being made.

*    *    *    *

A 52-year-old Stutler Ridge man, Tim Carpenter, rolled over an all-terrain vehicle somewhere between Little Creek Road and Rt. 5 on Tuesday afternoon of last week. He was flown by HealthNet to CAMC, after sustaining a dislocated shoulder and broken collarbone.

 

January 27, 2011

Yes indeed, there is snow on the ground and more on the way. Spring begins this year on March 20. I wonder how much more snow we will see before then.

*    *    *    *

State Police arrested a teller at the Glenville branch of Calhoun Banks last Thursday. Florence Parker, 27, of Gassaway, was charged with 29 counts of falsifying accounts and three counts of embezzlement. The investigation began last November after three customers who operated vending machine businesses, noticed that the total deposited was always less than their count when Parker counted the money. Parker was arraigned in Gilmer County Magistrate court and released on bond.

*    *    *    *

On Jan. 17, 1966, the fire siren in Grantsville started going off and kept going for longer than usual. I lived close to where the swimming pool used to be and went out on the back porch to see if I could see anything.

From my vantage point, it looked like the hospital was burning. When I ran toward town, I saw that it was the block of buildings along Main St. from where J&B Drug now stands to where the Family History Center is today.

The fire was so hot, it melted windows in the old Rainbow Hotel and in the Calhoun Super Service new car display area. Over one million dollars of damage resulted from the devastating fire. There was no loss of life and no serious injuries.

The next year, Grantsville suffered through the worst flood in its history.

*    *    *    *

A new book has been released for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, “Civilian War in West Virginia: The Moccasin Rangers.”

Written by George A. Hall, it concerns the Moccasin Ranger engagements in central West Virginia. It covers the history of Moccasin Ranger personalities, and leading Union companies that pursued them from Calhoun to Greenbrier counties, and all points in between.

The “Snake Hunters” and “Salem Rifles” of the Union forces shoot it out with Con-federate luminaries such as Perry Conley, the Douglas brothers, Nancy Hart, and George Downs.

Research sheds more light on the legendary Nancy Hart, her exploits, and her marriage to Joshua Douglas.

 

January 20, 2011

By the end of last week, there was over a foot of snow on our deck. Wednesday afternoon, I hiked about a half mile on White Pine Road and I swear it snowed two inches during the short period of time it took me to do it.

I thought about getting my camera out to take some pictures, but it was snowing so hard I couldn’t see more than 20 feet in any direction. If I had taken a picture, it would have looked as if I had photographed a white wall. As far as I am concerned, it was a mini-blizzard, and it occurred several more times that afternoon after I was home.

*    *    *    *

As I write this, the forecast is calling for more snow on Tuesday night and “accumulating” snow by the end of the week. Since we were only supposed to get a few inches last Wednesday, I will try to be ready for whatever we receive this time.

*    *    *    *

The birds that visit our house are so happy that we can still afford to feed them that it makes them want to sing. It’s too bad that owls don’t eat sunflower seeds, because we hear their mournful cries occasionally at night. The owls probably hang around our house hoping to snatch the fat, sleeping songbirds from their perch at night. I guess, in a way, we are feeding the owls.

*    *    *    *

The extreme winter weather we have experienced so far this year has caused a shortage of material for treatment of icy highways. Department of High-ways trucks have been through Grantsville empty, and return with what appears to be salt in hopes of having enough material on hand to keep the roads open later this week. The crews has also been applying hot-patch to some of the nastier holes in local roads, when the weather gives them a chance.

*    *    *    *

A Grantsville man, 21-year-old Derek Brannon, was arrested in Ripley and charged with attempting to operate a clandestine drug lab. Brannon was arrested, along with a 22- year-old Gandeeville woman, after they bought quantities of materials used in making methamphetamine. Arresting officers found more ingredients upon searching the couple’s car.

*    *    *    *

Black ice surprised an 18- year-old driver early Tuesday morning. The driver lost control of a pick-up truck on Rt. 16 south of Grantsville. No one was reported injured in the accident.

 

January 13, 2011

For those who reminisce about the way winter used to be, there is no longer any reason for fond memories. You can make some new ones by just looking out the window.

Once again, the ground at our house is covered with six inches of snow, and we are due to receive even more of the fluffy, white rain. As I am writing this, the weather service is calling for up to seven more inches of snow before the weekend. Schools in Roane and Calhoun counties were forced to send students home three hours early on Tuesday. Now, if I could only remember where I stored my snowshoes so very long ago.

*    *    *    *

In addition to the usual entourage frequenting our bird feeders, the chickadees, flickers, downy and red headed woodpeckers, goldfinches, nuthatches, juncos, sparrows and the occasional night-visiting flying squirrels, we are now seeing daily visits from some beautiful grosbeaks.

All of the birds retreat to nearby branches when I go out on the deck to refill the feeders, and they sing songs of joy as the sunflower seeds rise, once again, to the top. It is a worthwhile effort keeping them fed through these harsh winters, as we get to watch their antics at the feeders and hear their songs of thanks.

*    *    *    *

Shelby Davis, 21, of Big Springs was arrested in the early hours of New Year’s Day for multiple offences after entering a house and threatening the occupants. The owner of the house held Davis at gunpoint until police arrived to take him into custody. After being removed from the house, Davis began cursing the officers and attempted to fight them. Perhaps there were a few too many toasts to the New Year before this event.

*    *    *    *

Fire destroyed a home near Orma on Crooked Run last weekend. The family residing in the home escaped after a three-year-old child awoke to find the house engulfed in smoke and fire. The four occupants ran from the burning structure with only the clothes on their backs.

*    *    *    *

A car overturned in a sharp curve on Rts. 33/119, near Speedy Mart, Arnoldsburg, on Monday afternoon. Although the car wound up on its top in the ditch, no injuries were reported.

 

January 6, 2011

There was snow cover on our yard for almost the entire month of December. There is still a spot of ice, here and there, but I guess I will have to wait until the end of the week before the ground is once again covered beneath a white, fluffy quilt.

*    *    *    *

The wild birds that frequent our feeders seem to be happy with the no-snow situation. They can now find things to eat in the woods and fields and are not emptying the feeders in one day. I can afford that.

*    *    *    *

There are some opossums that are about to die of lead poisoning. They won’t take a hint. I have smacked them hard with a walking stick in an attempt to keep from coming onto our decks at night. Now they come in the daytime and in the night and they are not long for this world. I suppose that after I “do the deed,” I will at least give them a proper burial.

*    *    *    *

Last Saturday evening, police in Grantsville stopped a Dodge truck for reckless driving and, while officer Joey Garrett, was radioing in the stop, the driver stomped on the gas and drove away. Garrett was joined in the pursuit by another Grantsville policeman, Rob Bradley, while the truck sped west on Rt. 5.

According to the officers, the chase reached speeds close to 90 miles per hour before the alleged driver of the vehicle, Willie S. Nicholson of Clarksburg, lost control in a curve near Cabot Station and collided with four parked cars, causing considerable damage to all of them. The truck flipped over onto its top.

Garrett came around the curve as Nicholson was exiting the upside-down truck and steered off the highway to avoid running over the man.

Nicholson fled the scene on foot, but was captured a short distance from the scene. He was arraigned Sunday in magistrate court on felony counts for fleeing in a vehicle while driving under the influence and third-offense driving under suspension.

He was also charged with misdemeanor counts of fleeing on foot, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, reckless driving, obstruction of justice, driving too fast for road conditions, improper registration, no registration, and no insurance. His bond was set at $15,000.

*    *    *    *

While the price of gas around Calhoun County does vary, and is over $3 a gallon, we just returned from Morgantown on Monday and the price displayed along the interstate went as high as $3.38. Whatever the market will bear, I guess.

 

December 23, 2010

No matter that the calendar says that winter officially began Dec. 21, as far as I am concerned, it began around Dec. 1, when snow began to accumulate on our decks. It is still there with more on the way.

We had to make a trip to Morgantown last Thursday and the roads were atrocious, both going and returning, although they were much worse on the return trip. It took all of the courage of our daughter Amy,   a new all-wheel-drive Ford Escape, and over four hours to come home.

*    *    *    *

All in all, I would much rather walk in snow than drive on roads where the lines cannot be seen for the snow and slush.

*    *    *    *

Calhoun schools were closed Thursday and Friday last week due to excessive snowfall. I am sure the children were upset over having two days to play in the snow, instead of attending school.

*    *    *    *

The forecast, at press time, is calling for snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Be sure to dress warmly and drive carefully, if you plan to make visits on Christmas.

*    *    *    *

Fire destroyed a mobile home located near Chloe last Friday afternoon. No one was home at the time of the blaze. The structure was a total loss.

*    *    *    *

State Police have arrested a 20 year-old Five Forks man, Zachary Wease, who escaped from home confinement last June, after being charged with arson of a house belonging to Norma Joy Freshour. Wease had been on home confinement for grand larceny and is the first Calhoun home confinement case to attempt escape in the county. He was found and arrested after police received a tip.

 

December 16, 2010

I like snow. Snow makes the world look pure and white, instead of bland and muddy. On the other hand, I am not so fond of bitter cold. On Tuesday morning, it was cold enough to freeze the flame off a candle.

 *    *    *    *

While schools were closed on Monday due to snow-covered roads, on Tuesday morning, they were on a two-hour delay due to temperatures that were, with the wind chill factor, below zero. Birds flocking to our feeders have the appearance of being very fat, due to the way they ruffle their feathers in an attempt to keep warm. You know it is much too cold outside when your moustache freezes to your camera tripod when taking photos of snowy landscapes.

 *    *    *    *

Another thing you can see in fresh snow is animal tracks. There used to be squirrel, rabbit, grouse, fox and deer tracks crisscrossing our road.

This year, there are very few tracks. We have spotted two squirrels, twice, hanging onto the same tree. I hope that this winter does not eliminate wildlife the way last winter did--or next year, there will be no tracks to follow.

  *    *    *    *

An Orma man, Edward Barrera, 87, who was found dead in his house last week, left 32 dogs for the sheriff’s department to deal with, mostly pit bulls. Officials estimate Barrera had been dead for two or three weeks.

Animal control officer Bob Groves found some dogs that had died from a lack of water and food, and notified the Humane Society. Its investigator allegedly found equipment that can be used to train dogs for illegal dog fights. The Humane Society removed and placed most of the surviving animals.

Earlier this year, Barrera was arrested in Jackson County with over a pound of marijuana, making him one of the oldest people ever to be arrested in the state on a drug charge.

 *    *    *    *

Richard Vance, the man accused of robbing the Arnolds-burg Branch of Calhoun Banks, waived a preliminary hearing on Monday in magistrate court. The case will move to circuit court and be taken before a grand jury.

 *    *    *    *

A 230-lb black bear was killed on Crummies Creek last week by Douglas Rush, who killed a 500-lb. bear last year.

 

December 9, 2010

Last Thursday afternoon a mobile home decided that it had been mobile long enough and rolled over onto its side on Rt. 16 in a sharp curve on Millstone Hill. The road was one-lane for a few hours and had to be closed while the trailer was up-righted.

*    *    *    *

Even though the official start of winter is two weeks away, by the measure of the snow on our deck, it is here already. Tuesday morning, the snow measured six inches on the railing and three inches in the yard. I guess the prognosticating wooly worms, which were all black this fall, may be right about how this winter is going to go.

*    *    *    *

The snow forced a two-hour delay of Calhoun County schools on Monday, and schools were closed due to bad road conditions on Tuesday.

*    *    *    *

Lots of birds have been flocking to our feeders. Some of the more impatient finches and chickadees have been fighting for space on the tube style feeder. The bigger birds and woodpeckers go to the large feeders, while the cats crouch on the ground beneath dreaming of a hot, feathery meal. The birds ruin their day by tossing them sunflower seed hulls.

*    *    *    *

Ted Schartiger of Massillon, Ohio, a native of Calhoun, went for a walk last Thursday from a hunting cabin at Frozen. His intent was to travel to a cemetery on Bear Fork where his parents are buried, and take some pictures. Evidently, he became disoriented and failed to return to the cabin.

A search and rescue effort began around 8 p.m. Thursday that involved 20 to 30 people who searched through the night, as temperatures dropped into the 20s, with light snow falling. Four rescue dogs and handlers were in on the hunt. Schartiger was found early Friday morning several miles into the Bear Fork wilderness, with no injuries and one heck of a story to tell.

 

December 2, 2010

As deer season continues into the second week, it seems that the weather is keeping this year’s total kills down below normal levels. It has been too warm and sometimes rainy.

The forecast for the middle of this week, and perhaps Saturday, calls for the skies to be filled with fluffy, white precipitation. That should help with deer hunting. Even though most folks don’t like snow, I think I like it better than mud.

*    *    *    *

The home of Rick Alderman, local electrical contractor of Altizer Road, burned to the ground last week. The cause of the fire was a hot water tank. Alderman thought he had managed to quench the fire. Apparently, it had gotten into the wall or ceiling and totally destroyed the home. Alderman and his well-known German shepherd, Bob, escaped without injury.

 *    *    *    *

A man from the Chloe area died last week while deer hunting in the woods near Oka Road after suffering a possible heart attack.

*    *    *    *

All of the birds that like to spend the winter at our house have begun their annual feasting. We have three feeders that have to be filled almost daily. A large one that holds almost five pounds lasts almost a week. If this coming winter is anything like the last one, I hope we can afford to keep feeding them all winter.

*    *    *    *

Don’t miss the annual Calhoun County Christmas parade on Friday at 6 p.m. in Grantsville. Santa will be there so that the little ones can tell him what they want for Christmas. Come early and shop for gifts at the Country Christmas Craft Show in the courthouse or at the crafters shop in the former Garland’s Grocery on Main St.

 

November 25, 2010

The annual West Virginia holiday, known as deer season, opened Monday morning at daybreak. If you were unaware that the hunt was about to begin, I am sure you knew it had started when you awoke to the sound of gunfire echoing through the hills.

Although I have not seen as many deer as I usually do at this time of the year, I am confident that many hunters will feast on venison soon.

*    *    *    *

Weather over the weekend was nice, as it also was for the first day of deer season. The rest of Thanksgiving week should be rainy, for which we should give thanks. I look forward to small streams filling the space between their banks. It has been too dry around here for much too long.

*    *    *    *

The long-drawn out case of Ronnie Rush, who recently pled guilty to the murder of Ward Groves and Mary Hicks of Sand Ridge, has finally come to an end. Rush was sentenced last Friday in Ripley to serve 30 years in prison.

Rush was convicted twice for the 2003 murders in earlier trials, but the convictions were overturned by the State Supreme Court due to errors committed.

*    *    *    *

Sixty-five years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, 1945, there was a terrible explosion at Cabot Station that almost completely destroyed the natural gas compressor plant located there. Two Calhoun men, Elijah Nester and Junior Hawkins, were killed.

The explosion blew open some doors in Grantsville, nearly three miles away, and rattled windows and knocked pictures from walls up to 10 miles away. The fire raging into the night sky was seen from as far away as Harrisville.

The exact cause of the disaster was never determined, but it was speculated that it was caused by a spark initiated from metal to metal contact.

 

November 18, 2010

I believe that we have now had our Indian summer. Last weekend, the weather was warm and sunny--and this occurred after water was frozen in buckets and puddles outside for three straight days.

*    *    *    *

The news is not good concerning the weather prognostication caterpillars. Every fuzzy little caterpillar I have seen so far this fall has been completely black. Most years, you will see them with some brown on them somewhere, but not this year. If I remember correctly, this means a cold, bad winter all the way until spring. Sort of like last year, I guess.

*    *    *    *

Christopher Todd Smith of Grantsville pled guilty this week in magistrate court for destruction of property belonging to Grantsville mayor Gary Knight. He was sentenced to 30 days in Central Regional Jail, with credit for time served, and fined  $165.80 in court costs. Smith faces several other unrelated charges in Calhoun and Lewis counties.

*    *    *    *

There were some brush fires in the county last week, but none of them got out of hand. Remember the burning laws, so you don’t have to pay fines for burning when you shouldn’t.

*    *    *    *

Gathering firewood turned tragic last Saturday morning when a 16-year-old Nicut boy suffered third degree burns to various areas of his body. He was flown to the burn center at Cabell Huntington Hospital and then to a burn center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

*    *    *    *

Sheriff Park Richards was shot and killed while serving a mental hygiene warrant 34 years ago on Nov. 18. Rt. 16 from Grantsville to the Ritchie county line was named Park Richards Memorial Highway to honor him in 2006.

 

November 11, 2010

There was hail falling last Thursday night at our house, followed by rather large grains of sleet on Friday afternoon. It seems that winter is closing in on us.

*    *    *    *

Even though I like the extra hour of sleep we now enjoy, after returning to standard   time, I miss the hour of light   we had to give away in the evening. Perhaps we should just go a half-hour forward next spring and leave it alone after that.

*    *    *    *

The Leonid meteor shower will occur Wednesday night into Thursday morning, Nov. 17-18. It normally produces 40 or more per hour at its peak and is best known for producing large fireballs that leave “plasma trails” in the sky in their wake. Some of the trails remain visible for as long as five minutes after the meteor has passed. You may see more than the average number of meteors from Nov. 13-20.

*    *    *    *

A Philips Run man was awakened by smoke last Saturday morning. Although unharmed, he suffered from smoke inhalation. Grantsville Volunteer Fire Dept. was able to bring the fire under control with a minimum of structural damage.

*    *    *    *

A juvenile from Roane County has been arrested in the Spencer area after attempting to steal a car. He is a suspect in the alleged theft of five vehicles in Calhoun, which he used for joyriding.

*    *    *    *

Joshua Boswell of Orma was shot in the face with a small caliber pistol early last Thurs-day. He reportedly opened his door after someone knocked around 1:45 a.m., and was allegedly shot by a hooded, masked person, who immediately fled the scene. State Police are investigating the shooting and have already talked to some suspects. Boswell is reported to be in fair condition at Charleston Area Medical Center.

 

November 4, 2010

The big storm that moved through the area last week brought a lot of wind and some rain, but seemed to pretty much go around us. There were scattered reports of the wind moving furniture, empty above ground pools, and basketball stands, but nothing major.

*    *    *    *

We are now enjoying typical fall weather, although I heard that light snow is in the forecast for the mountains this week.

*    *    *    *

Weather for Saturday’s Halloween activities allowed all of the little ghosts, goblins and other fearsome creatures to gather candy, while scaring their elders. Hopefully, the little monsters remembered to brush their teeth.

*    *    *    *

State police responded to a complaint on Altizer Road last week in connection with a reported shooting. Daniel Hudson, 51, was charged with domestic battery and wanton endangerment, after allegedly firing a .38 caliber pistol four or five times at the car of the victim, who was, until then, his domestic partner. The woman was unhurt, but one tire was hit and deflated.

*    *    *    *

I’m sure that everyone is thankful that the election madness has passed for another two years. I have never seen so much mud slinging in my life. There were three and four robo-calls coming on our phone each day, along with so-called push-polls that ask questions that really have no correct answer, and could be counted on coming almost every evening. If this is the way that politics will play out in the future, I think that I will have my phone taken out before the next election. I shudder to think how many trees were used to make the paper for all of the mailings that came in. I did recycle every political piece of mail so that the trees did not die in vain.

*    *    *    *

An Arnoldsburg man, Brian Burrows, has been charged with conspiracy to commit theft in connection with an ATV that was allegedly stolen for the second time in a year. Another warrant was issued for the arrest of another man in connection with the theft.

 

October 28, 2010

Once again, we have had frost in the mornings and beautiful weather the rest of the day over the weekend.

Tuesday morning, the sky was a bright pink, quickly shading to red. The old adage, “Red sky in morning, sailors take warning,” comes to mind, especially with a forecast for severe thunderstorms on Tuesday night. In the afternoon, it was a balmy 75 degrees, with blustery winds. We will have to see what the storms bring us later.

*    *    *    *

There will be a new place to eat in Grantsville on Saturday, when Koffee Kup opens a pizzeria on the corner where the bakery used to be. The menu has not been finalized yet, but insiders say they will also serve subs and other items.

*    *    *    *

The former Pursley Furniture building was purchased recently by two men who are reportedly looking to open a consignment shop on the main floor, with rental apartments on the top floor.

*    *    *    *

The man accused of murdering a Calhoun County couple, Mike and Julie Flanagan, entered a plea of guilty on two counts of first degree murder last week in a pre-trial hearing held in Mason County. Kirk Miller of Salem will be sentenced on each charge and will serve no less than 30 years in prison.

*    *    *    *

For those who like to hunt deer, but have families that don’t like the taste of venison, there is a program in place that can help you feed the needy. Hunters Helping the Hungry was started in 1992, sponsored by W.Va. Dept. of Natural Resources. The program offers a way for hunters to donate legally harvested deer venison to needy families. For information on how you can donate your deer, and the location of a participating deer processor near you, call Mountaineer Food Bank, Gassaway, 364-5518.

 

October 21, 2010

The little rain we received last Friday was welcome, but the chill that came along with it only reminds us that winter is just a few weeks away. The leaves are still turning color and almost seem to glow in the sunset or sunrise. The only problem is that they keep piling up in eave troughs and yards.

*    *    *    *

Although some hunters have been bagging squirrels, I have been told that there are not very many of them running in the woods this year. It seems that last fall’s meager crop of nuts and last winter’s snow caused many of them to perish. There are plenty of nuts this year, so those that survive the hunters will have plenty to eat.

*    *    *    *

A juvenile was apprehended for the theft and joyriding of five vehicles last weekend. Everyone is reminded not to leave keys or valuables in their vehicles to help prevent things like this from happening.

*    *    *    *

Work on the new Corder Bridge on Rt. 33/119 continues, with approaches and piers built. We look forward to the day when the new bridge is opened.

*    *    *    *

There will be a hearing in Grantsville on Monday, Nov. 15, for Kirk Allen Miller, who was indicted in February for the 2009 murder of Mike and Julie Flanagan on Sycamore Creek.

*    *    *    *

U.S. Marshals and the FBI are now involved in the Arnoldsburg bank robbery. The police are looking for Richard Vance, who was involved in a burglary case in Roane County in 2008, and was placed on three years probation for receiving stolen property. If you know his whereabouts, call the W.Va. State Police, 354-6334.

 

October 14, 2010

Sometimes, you wish you could buy good weather, but no one could possibly afford the weather we have been having. Crisp, cool nights and warm, sunny days, with the tang of Fall in the air just can’t be beat.

Many trees have begun to show off their colorful autumn coats. We had better get out and enjoy them now; they won’t last another couple of weeks.

My favorite, I suppose, is the maple tree. They range in color from dusty brown through yellow and all the way to a scarlet so bright, it makes you squint when you see them in bright sunlight.

*    *    *    *

There has been a warrant issued for a man who State Police say is the prime suspect in the recent armed robbery of the Arnoldsburg branch of Calhoun Banks. Police are looking for Richard Vance, 21, originally from Lincoln County, who had been living in the Orma area. Vance has been charged with first degree armed robbery and the theft of an ATV from a residence near Walnut. If anyone has information about Vance, they can call the State Police, 354-6334.

*    *    *    *

There was a rash of vehicle thefts over the weekend in southern Calhoun County. State Police say that five vehicles were stolen and possibly used for joyrides, since they were found abandoned. Police remind everyone to remove valuables and keys from their vehicles.

*    *    *    *

A resurfacing project on Rt. 16 North of Grantsville has begun. Culverts are being dug up and replaced, causing a few delays for traffic. Travelers can look forward to a smooth road surface that won’t crumble in just one winter.

*    *    *    *

There are many activities happening around West Virginia this weekend. Spencer is hosting the 56th West Virginia Black Walnut Festival, Oct. 14-17. The 32nd Bridge Day will be held at New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville on Saturday. Air Expo will be held at Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport in Wood County on Sunday.

 

October 7, 2010

Now that computers are one of the main tools of everyday existence, it is no fun when you find your tool broken. I am sure I am not alone among folks who suffered through the power surges in Grantsville’s power grid recently. All those who had computer problems have my sympathy. What a pain it is to attempt to get help from someone in India who is only trying to make a living.

*    *    *    *

The weather lately has been appropriate for this time of year, cold and miserable. It is supposed to improve greatly by the weekend, so I suggest you go out and enjoy it. Soon, there will be frost on the rooftops and then there will be snow on the ground.

*    *    *    *

West Virginia’s fall forest fire season runs through Dec. 31. Outdoor burning is prohibited from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Now that squirrel season is about to start, remember to be careful with fire and matches while hunting in the woods. Make sure you extinguish any cigarettes, and put the butts in your pocket so you don’t litter.

 *    *    *    *

There were numerous State Police vehicles in the county last week, but whatever they were here for has not been released for publication. They were accompanied by at least one helicopter, which flew over Grantsville and other areas of the county several times.

*    *    *    *

If the rain and wind don’t knock all of the leaves from the trees, we should begin to see good fall colors in another week or so.

*    *    *    *

Our goldfinches are no longer gold. They have already adapted to their winter colors, changing from bright yellow to a ruddy, grayish brown in a matter of a few weeks. Many species of birds are feeding on sunflower seeds at our feeder. The lone hummingbird has been absent for three days now.

*    *    *    *

Tax liens for tracts or lots of land or undivided interests therein in Calhoun, which are delinquent for the nonpayment of 2009 taxes total $78,319. Sale for those not redeemed will be held Friday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

 

September 30, 2010

There was more excitement in Grantsville last Thursday morning caused by power surges. An electric pole caught fire in front of the library and major surges came through power lines causing many problems in the end of town not affected by blown transformers the preceding week. Electronic machinery was fried in several businesses and surge protectors were thanked for saving some electronics.

*    *    *    *

Fall weather has been the norm for the past week, with the exception of a few hot days in mid-week. The forecast calls for more mild weather heading into next week.

*    *    *    *

Computer problems have plagued me all week, so please excuse this short report.

 

September 23, 2010

Autumnal equinox occurred on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 11:09 p.m., when the Sun appeared to cross the celestial equator, from north to south. It marked the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. In other words, Fall has fell.

In the language of science, an equinox is either of two points on the celestial sphere where the ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect. For the rest of us, it’s one of two times a year when the Sun crosses the equator and the day and night are of approximately equal length.

*    *    *    *

Severe weather moved into the area last Thursday evening, after causing severe damage elsewhere. Although there were tornado watches issued and reports of minor damage in Calhoun, we were at the tail-end of the system and got off lightly.

*    *    *    *

A transformer exploded on Main St., Grantsville, last Thursday, just before the storm hit, causing power outages that lasted through Friday.

*    *    *    *

A local couple, Chris and Amy Nicholas, were at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, on Thursday for medical tests, when they were suddenly locked into their examination room due to a gunman shooting a doctor on the eighth floor of the building they were in. After a few hours of lockdown and worry, the police found the gunman in a room where he had taken the life of his paralyzed mother, and then his own.

*    *    *    *

For those of you who are wondering when you should take down your hummingbird feeders, the answer is when you do not see any hummingbirds for two weeks. They are in the midst of their annual migration, and your feeder can give them more “nectar” than the flowers that are currently blooming.

This is also the time of the year when you might be able to see migrating hummingbirds other than the traditional ruby throated. A few western species of hummingbirds occasionally pass through our area including the rufous, Allen’s, Anna’s, calliope and white eared hummingbirds. Some folks even leave their feeders out until Christmas.

*    *    *    *

Drivers should be aware that deer are about to enter the rut season. Now is when we will see them running across roads in single file or just standing in the road in a herd. When their minds are on females, they can be just as stupid as humans.

*    *    *    *

Due to complications of a kidney stone and being hospitalized, Chronicle editor Newton Nichols missed his first Calhoun Red Devils’ football game in  31 years. Ironically, the final score of the game he missed was 31-0. Makes you think, doesn’t it.

 

September 16, 2010

Fall weather is still the norm, although we did receive some much-needed rain on Monday evening. The weather should remain autumn-like throughout into the weekend.

*    *    *    *

The annual marijuana eradication program conducted by West Virginia State Police got underway last week with a helicopter flying low over many areas of Calhoun County. State Police reported 252 plants were found on Laurel Creek, Pine Creek, Right Fork of Crummies Creek, and two miles East of Grantsville, near Rt. 5. Arrests are pending.

*    *    *    *

William Seth Denmark of Beech had a charge of kidnapping dropped last week by a grand jury that did indict him with one count of malicious assault and one count of conspiracy to commit a felony.

Denmark had been charged with holding Veronica Cottrill at gunpoint while he buried the body of a missing Roane County man, David Beach.

Also facing criminal charges in relation to the case are Denmark’s parents, William Anthony Denmark and Jackie Lynn Denmark.

*    *    *    *

A tanker truck carrying fuel was involved in an accident near Stinson last Friday afternoon. A car was sideswiped in a sharp turn on Rt. 16. There were no injuries reported.

*    *    *    *

A fire destroyed the home of Pearl King of Leatherbark last Saturday night. She was visiting in Jackson County when the fire started. The State Fire Marshal is looking into the possible cause of the fire.

*    *    *    *

For those looking for something to do outdoors this weekend, there is Tannerfest on Friday and Saturday at the old school in Tanner.

There is also the Clay County Golden Delicious Festival, celebrating the birthplace of the Golden Delicious apple, from Thursday through Sunday.

 

September 9, 2010

Around Calhoun County, we have just experienced a  taste of fall. After a cold front moved through the area on Friday and brought thunderstorms and rain, morning temperatures were in the lower forties during the weekend.

The miniature cold snap has my remaining hummingbirds filling up for their long journey south.

Squirrels were barking orders to each other each morning and spent their days rushing through the treetops knocking down nuts for winter storage.

Some bucks with impressive racks are beginning to run together, but they will soon begin to fight for territory and does.

*    *    *    *

Fire razed a mobile home on Walnut last Tuesday evening. Firefighters remained at the scene for some time to put out fires that had spread to other structures on the property.

*    *    *    *

The second annual Calhoun Days will be held this weekend and promises to be bigger and better than last year.

There will be plenty to see and do for the entire family, including Union and Confederate civil war encampments, re-enactments of the Battle of Sycamore, cannon firings, contests of skill, and a performance by fiddler Lester McCumbers.

Calhoun Historical Society will open up Heritage Village to educate everyone on how our ancestors lived, worked and played.

 

September 2, 2010

I guess hummingbirds can read. Since I mentioned how much they were costing me in sugar water, their numbers have been drastically reduced. Now, there are only three or four flitting about. Actually, they are already beginning their annual migration to warmer southern climates. I will leave the feeder out though, because some of them coming this way from the north stop by for a drink and a day of rest. Now is also a good time to fill your regular bird feeder to satisfy the hunger of all the other migratory birds that travel our area.

*    *    *    *

Rather large preying mantises have been stalking Main Street in Grantsville for a couple of weeks. They seem to hang out in front of the bank. I hope they are not planning something.

*    *    *    *

On Sunday, I went fishing. It was a beautiful day to go fishing, but not a good day to catch fish. I caught three rather small ones and ran into a fellow angler who was using an artificial bait that was slightly bigger than the fish I caught. I suppose it felt like he was catching one with every cast.

*    *    *    *

Parents dropping off children at Pleasant Hill School and Arnoldsburg Elementary need to remember that they cannot drive past school buses that are stopped in front of the school with their lights flashing. They are also dropping off students, and the same law applies in the parking lot as on the highway.

*    *    *    *

The weather has been absolutely beautiful for the past week: no rain and not too hot to sleep. The lack of rain also helps to stretch the time between yard work, so that I will only need to mow a couple of more times before the snow flies.

 

August 26, 2010

Temperatures have dropped back down to a more comfortable level this week, with only a slight rise in the forecast by the end of the week. There may also be a little bit of rain in the mix, somewhere in the middle.

*    *    *    *

Monarch butterflies are now laying their eggs on milkweed plants for the fall hatch, which will then somehow navigate all the way to Mexico. Seems like a long way for a fragile little insect to fly, but I guess enough of them get there to make it quite the vacation spot for monarchs.

*    *    *    *

To answer a question that was on many lips last week, I was informed of the reason that Grantsville’s garbage was piled in the parking lot last week: Environmental Protection Agency regulations and a broke down truck.

Since household garbage can routinely contain some hazardous waste, such as leftover bug spray or paint, old prescription drugs, etc., that need to stay out of groundwater, there are regulations regarding their disposal.

During an emergency situation, such as a broken truck, when household waste cannot be taken to an approved landfill and garbage must be stored outside of an approved dumpster or dumpsite, it cannot be stored on topsoil. If it is, the soil must be removed and disposed of along with the garbage.

Waste may be piled on paved surfaces as long as the paved surface is treated after the trash is removed. This must be done to ensure that leaking trash bags do not contaminate the ground where they sit, and continue to contaminate groundwater with each rain thereafter.

The town has no other site suitable for emergency storage of household waste.

*    *    *    *

If you are looking for something to do on Saturday, why not go to Mt. Zion, the center of the world, and attend the 51st annual Ox Roast--before or after you vote in the special election. There will be plenty of mouth-watering food and it is a good time to visit friends and neighbors. Even the weather should be fine.

 

August 19, 2010

I am sure that you are as tired of hearing about it as I am, but it has been nothing but hot around these parts. Even though the thermometer has not reached 100 degrees, it has consistently been in the upper 80s and mid to lower 90s and, along with very high humidity, it has been quite uncomfortable.

*    *    *    *

Going to the library on Tuesday, I couldn’t help but notice that someone from the Town of Grantsville had finally painted white along the curb    in front of the building to mark a legal parking space. Un-fortunately, the paint was applied to the wrong side of the street.

The curb opposite the library was inadvertently painted yellow, which made what had been a legal parking spot into an illegal one, with one ticket having already been issued. Sources report that the proper town officials had been notified and that the problem would soon be rectified.

*    *    *    *

This year has been very good for hummingbirds. There are so many at our feeder that we cannot count them. They are always moving too fast and seem to be fighting amongst themselves most of the time.

We have counted 10 at one time sitting on the feeder, with more hovering about impatiently waiting their turn. I do know that they can drink almost a quart of homemade nectar a day. I hope they appreciate it, because sugar isn’t cheap. They should all be leaving shortly after the first of next month for their winter vacation in Central America.

 

August 12, 2010

We needed a break from the heat. We needed some rain. What we got were two of the most severe thunderstorms of the summer. High winds, lots of lightning and torrential downpours tore through the county last week, but caused surprisingly little damage considering the potential of the two storms.

*    *    *    *

Looking at the trees surrounding our yard, I have discovered that our black walnut trees have no walnuts again this year, despite there being some trees in other areas of the county with the largest hulls I’ve ever seen. The hazelnut trees are heavily laden already. Acorns and hickory nuts are also doing well. The squirrels that survived last winter should be eating well this fall.

*    *    *    *

If you find yourself wanting to go out and get amongst the people this weekend, you have at least two choices that are close by. The Upper West Fork firemen are sponsoring their annual bluegrass festival from Thursday through Saturday.          

There will be plenty of good music and good times.

Creston Homecoming will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. to honor the historic river town and remember life the way it was back then. It would be a good place to share old photos and memories.

*    *    *    *

In the spirit of community, Kaye Yoak of Pleasant Hill encouraged seven of her nieces and nephews to do a project to improve the look of the parking lot at Pleasant Hill School. The children painted the bumper rails and gate, as well as just a little of themselves. The painters were Jordan and Carissa Yoak, children of Eddie and Dawn Yoak; Summer, Chase and Garrett Parsons, children of Robby and Stephanie Parsons; and Kaylin and Adam Parsons, children of Paul and Lori Parsons.

*    *    *    *

A man riding a motorcycle struck and killed a deer near Big Bend last Saturday afternoon. He was taken to Minnie Hamilton Health System. The deer was dead at the scene.

 

August 5, 2010

The weather continues to be extremely hot, humid, and downright miserable. Some who have tried their luck fishing have reported that even the fish are too lethargic to eat.

Perhaps, if we have a summer rainstorm, I will try my luck immediately after and see if the cooler water entices the fish to have a bite to eat.

There seems to have been a large hatch of little bugs with long translucent wings over the weekend. I remember fishing on the river at night in a johnboat and encountering clouds of these bugs that were so thick you had to put your T-shirt over your mouth to breathe.

*    *    *    *

Construction will begin soon on a new bridge to replace the Corder Bridge on the Roane-Calhoun county line. The old iron structure will continue to carry traffic until the new bridge is completed.

*    *    *    *

The news on Tuesday morning told of six teenagers in Louisiana who drowned while trying to save the life of another. None of the kids knew how to swim.

You teach your children not to play with fire, not to talk to strangers, as well as be smart in all that they do. Be sure to teach your children how to swim.

Water makes up 71% of the surface of the earth. You taught them how to walk, so be sure to teach them how to swim. It can save their life or the life of another.

*    *    *    *

The biggest meteor shower of the summer will occur next week on Thursday night, although there is a slim chance it could happen on Wednesday night. Since this year’s Perseid meteor shower occurs during the time of a new moon, the predicted peak is 50 to 80 meteors per hour.

You do not need binoculars or a telescope, just a clear, dark sky and an unobstructed view of the northeast. Although, if you just look straight up, you will still many “shooting stars.” The best time to look for them is from 11 p.m. until dawn. Take a blanket, the kids, some bug repellent, and make a night of it. Nature’s fireworks are hard to beat.

*    *    *    *

Grantsville is looking good, thanks to the summer youth workers, who have been busy all summer cleaning the streets and painting new lines in parking areas and the parking meter poles, among other things. They do a good job and we should all let them know how much we appreciate their efforts.

 

July 29, 2010

Up until the beginning of this week, it has been hotter than the Fourth of July. There was a threat of flash flooding last weekend, but that problem went elsewhere.

*    *    *    *

Judging by the trees in Grantsville, we are going to have a bumper crop of walnuts this year. They are already the size of tangerines on some of the trees. One can only hope that all the nut-bearing trees appreciate the weather we have been experiencing and will produce a large crop. At least the woodland creatures will have something to eat this winter, if it turns out to be anything like the last one.

*    *    *    *

Lately, you may have been inconvenienced by men working on phone lines in the Grantsville area, and wondered why they were replacing telephone poles and stringing some new line. The new line is fiber optic cable to enable higher internet speeds. It seems that not long ago, we were still using “party lines” in Calhoun. Now, all our younger citizens want to be “online, all the time.”

I guess it will be alright, as soon as scientists develop a memory chip that can be installed in our brain. Some days it seems that my memory is overloaded.

*    *    *    *

A fire was reported Tuesday morning across the river from veterinarian Joe Cain’s residence. A barn was burning and, at press time, it is unknown whether it burned to the ground.

*    *    *    *

The biggest meteor shower of the summer is building strength and should peak with a showing of 50 to 80 meteors per hour   on the night of Aug. 12-13, although there is a slim chance it could happen the night before.

I tell you this now because there will be a slow build up each night before the peak. You may enjoy seeing as many as 15 per hour before then.

You do not need binoculars or a telescope, just a clear sky and unobstructed view of the northeast (look for a W-pattern in the stars--they will appear just below that). The best time to look for them is from 11 p.m. until dawn. Take a blanket and the children and make a night of it. Nature’s fireworks are hard to beat.

 

July 22, 2010

As the dog days of summer go, this one is for the books. It has been excessively hot for consecutively more days than in the recent past, and we have received rain periodically throughout this traditionally drier part of the year.

I look forward to the cooler days of fall, followed by the white covering of winter snow, because you can always dress warm by piling on the heavy clothes, but you can only remove so much in an attempt to stay cool.

*    *    *    *

Tuesday, July 20, marked the 41st anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to land men on the moon and return them safely to earth. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon that day, I was glued to the couch, excited that the landing was without mishap and eagerly waiting for the first steps on the lunar surface.

That was also the day I was to leave town for a week to attend a science camp at Butcher’s Bend at Mineral Wells. I was sure that, since the astronauts would begin their historic trip down the ladder of the lunar excursion module, Eagle, at around 10 p.m., we would not see it at camp. Thanks to a Parkersburg store, Bobier TV and Electronics, who provided the camp with two of the biggest TVs it had in stock, and to the people in charge of the camp, who let us stay up that late, it made my first night at science camp one of the most memorable nights ever.

Now, we are happy when a major oil company manages to cap a well that shouldn’t have been a problem in the first place. I guess that’s progress.

*    *    *    *

Rain slick highways have caused a few accidents lately. Remember to slow down when it rains. Your tires may be a little more worn than you think, and the road surface is slicker with water on it. Take a little time to enjoy the rain.

*    *    *    *

Little spotted fawns can be seen frolicking in fields after the rains, while the mother deer eat the succulent grasses. Many bucks with horns in velvet stand off to the side in groups and watch. This should be a good year for deer hunters.

 

July 15, 2010

Some rain fell on the area the beginning of the week. The grass is looking greener and my weeping willow is much happier. Of course, you can’t have rain without very high humidity, which can make 80 degrees feel like 90, so I can still complain about the heat.

*    *    *    *

I did do a little fishing over the weekend and I can tell you that it feels strange to catch a fish, hold it in your hands, and the fish feels warmer than the air. It was fun though. I caught 14 nice bass, lost two really nice ones, and lost one that was big enough to snap my line when I tried to set the hook.

*    *    *    *

Many tasty treats are coming from local gardens. Nothing can beat the taste and smell of fresh, chilled cucumber salad. My thanks go out to all who have extra veggies to give to those who do not have a garden of their own. As my grandmother used to say, “Be a good neighbor, share your hard labor.”

*    *    *    *

Some progress is happening at the future construction site for the new bridge to replace the Corder bridge on Rt. 33-119 at the Roane/Calhoun county line. It will be nice to see a large truck coming at you when you are about to cross Henry’s Fork and not have to worry about a collision on the narrow bridge.

*    *    *    *

Paul Stalnaker, retired math teacher and all-around good man, died recently. Many knew him as a teacher at Calhoun County High School. I always thought he was fair and honest. When forced to strict measures, he was never afraid to apply the “board of education to the seat of knowledge.” He will be missed.

 

July 8, 2010

I guess the weather for the Fourth of July was absolutely perfect, since it was hot as a firecracker. Unfortunately, it continues to be even hotter each day this week, with temperature indices going close to, and perhaps over, the 100-degree mark. That makes it rough on those who labor out in the heat and those without air conditioning. By the weekend that should change when a cold front moves through bringing some rain and slightly cooler temperatures.

*    *    *    *

It’s no wonder our ancestors weren’t as overweight as today’s generation. They must have sweated away any excess calories in the summer and then worked them off in the winter trying to stay warm.

*    *    *    *

The excess heat makes it hard to catch fish as well. The water in the Little Kanawha River feels fairly close to bathwater, and the fish don’t feed much. One local couple who went camping over the holiday weekend said the only bites they got were from mosquitoes.

*    *    *    *

The lack of rain has dried up creeks and springs, and many area residents are going about the yearly chore of hauling water to fill their cisterns. Everyone has said it would be nice if Mother Nature would water their gardens for a day or two and give them a break from that heavy chore.

 

July 1, 2010

After repeating the hot and muggy pattern for another weekend, it seems we are in for some nice weather, with cooler temperatures and much lower humidity--at least until the 4th of July, when it is forecast to heat up again.

*    *    *    *

Even though it appeared no one was going to take advantage of Grantsville Community Garden, within the last two weeks someone has put it to good use. There are a couple of rows of tomato plants and perhaps some other vegetables on the way.

Gardening is an excellent way to work through stresses of everyday living, until bugs, blight, hail or deer come along and make you blow your top.

*    *    *    *

West Virginia lost Sen. Robert Byrd this week. When I was just a boy, I remember a government snafu that stopped my father’s disability checks for over a year. It seemed that no one could help until Byrd became involved and got matters corrected right away. He will not be easily replaced.

*    *    *    *

Now that the first cutting of hay is in the barn, so to speak, I have noticed that more farmers have begun using their old square balers again. It makes sense to me, as they are more easily stacked and actually worth more if sold to other farmers.

Now, if a few farmers would start putting up haystacks again, I would feel transported back in time.

 

June 24, 2010

The weather has continued to be hot and muggy, with the occasional thunderstorm to raise the humidity even higher. Overnight temperatures give little relief from the oppressive heat, although having a fan makes it tolerable.

*    *    *    *

Three cows were killed near Cabot Station last week, when the tree they were gathered under was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm.

We would all do well to remember that if you can hear thunder you should seek safe shelter immediately. You don’t want to be under the next tree that draws a lightning strike.

*    *    *    *

An 87-year-old Arnoldsburg man was arrested last week in Jackson County, after police found one and a half pounds of marijuana in his car.

*    *    *    *

Twenty volunteers on bicycles rode around the state from Huntington to Jackson’s Mill braving some of the hottest weather of the year to raise funds to help kids attend 4-H camp. They arrived in Grantsville last Saturday from Parkersburg and were welcomed by county extension agent Curt Garrison, whose parents hosted the cyclists at their home.

*    *    *    *

As of Tuesday at 3 p.m., according to Allegheny Power, the planned power outage for Thursday, June 24, 9 a.m. to noon, along Rt. 5 west of Grantsville, is still planned.

Last week, Allegheny listed the areas affected as Rt. 5 West of Grantsville to Creston, Leafbank, Hardman, Big Root, Yellow Creek, Bryner, Little Creek, Stutler Run, Annamoriah Creek, Munday, and Katies  Run.

 

June 17, 2010

Hot and muggy with occasional thunderstorms is the perfect description of recent weather. Over the weekend, a very heavy rain fell in the Grantsville area, which managed to clog every drain on town hill with mud and rock.

The runoff made the ditches a little deeper and deposited quite a bit of gravel and rock across the road at the north end of town. Highway crews cleaned the grates and removed the muck on Monday morning.

*    *    *    *

Gardens around the county are starting to look lush and folks are already beginning to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

*    *    *    *

Raspberries are beginning to ripen for those inclined to go berry picking. That was a job that I didn’t mind doing when I was a lad, I picked many gallons of berries and gave them to our neighbors, who would return the favor to me in the winter in the form of jam and jelly.

*    *    *    *

The official start of summer is Monday, June 21. I expect things will heat up then, even more than have so far. I look forward to winter when you can dress warmly. There’s only so much you can take off to stay cool.

*    *    *    *

West Virginia State Folk Festival will be held this weekend in Glenville. It has been going on for 61 years and is a must for lovers of bluegrass, folk music and dance. Go listen to some live music and see if you can keep your feet still.

*    *    *    *

Sunday, June 20, is West Virginia Day and Father’s Day. Be sure to remember and honor both.

 

June 10, 2010

The Calhoun County Wood Festival is over for another year, and it showed that things do get better with age. There was music and laughter, and re-acquainting with old friends that you only see at this time each year.

Although the weather was very hot and muggy, it rained little and did not dampen the spirits of those in attendance, who were ready to enjoy the many activities.

*    *    *    *

There is some resurfacing happening on Rt. 16 North of Grantsville, which should make the road a little more passable. There are very few stretches of smooth road left in the county.

*    *    *    *

The hot weather lately has encouraged some locals to go to an old-fashioned swimming pool, the Little Kanawha River. Three times last week, I saw folks splashing around and having a good time getting cooled off. Sometime soon, I will go do some fishing in the river, and I am certain that I will “accidentally” fall in once or twice.

*    *    *    *

It seems there was a minor accident last week involving a senior citizens bus and a booth on Market St. that sold smoked pork. The bus bumped into the booth and disconnected some of the utilities, causing a slight delay in sandwich making.

*    *    *    *

According to DNR, West Virginia hunters harvested 10,006 turkeys in 2010, the highest since 2006’s 11,735.

Calhoun continued a five-year decline in turkeys killed: 2006, 193; 2007, 150; 2008, 141; 2009, 129; and 2010, 120.

 

June 3, 2010

Even though at times it looked as though the clouds were going to let go and give us a good drenching, the weather was beautiful over the Memorial Day holiday. There was even some hay cut and put up last week.

*    *    *    *

A Calhoun County couple was arrested last week for felony grand larceny after they allegedly took four Alcoa wheels valued at $2,000 from David Cain of Big Bend. The thieves were arrested after they tried to sell the wheels at a recycling center in Elizabeth.

*    *    *    *

There is much excitement in Grantsville, as the town gets ready to kick off the 48th Calhoun County Wood Festival on Thursday. Music is planned for each evening and there is almost always impromptu jamming under the tin roof behind the NAPA store.

*    *    *    *

The black snake that was living in my yard evidently reads the Chronicle. We saw it in the middle of the road heading up the holler last week. I guess it wanted to live bad enough to move away.

*    *    *    *

The historical information sign, telling the story of Grantsville, that has been on the courthouse lawn for years is missing. It was first noticed last week. One can only suppose that it was taken by the state for refurbishing. Last year, two signs went missing in the West Fork area only to mysteriously re-appear months later, all cleaned up, without explanation.

 

May 27, 2010

The weather has been perfect for the last week. I guess that means there is a chance of rain during the Wood Festival.

I’m not saying that it rains every year during the first week in June, but for some reason none of the farmers I know will cut their hay that week. Perhaps it’s hard to find laborers then.

*    *    *    *

There has been much activity on Nobe Road over the past week. A house belonging to Norma Joy Freshour burned last Thursday under suspicious circumstances. Neighbors witnessed people entering the house with sheets covering their heads just before the house went up in flames.

Five days earlier, the house and a pickup truck were hit with shotgun fire and a de-activated hand-grenade was thrown into the yard.

Two men have been arrested in relation to the incidents. The state fire marshal and state police are continuing their investigations and are looking for other suspects.

*    *    *    *

A Calhoun man, Derek Westfall, was seriously injured last Sunday night in a wreck on Nicut Road. Westfall’s vehicle struck some steel I-beams, that were in place for a road slip, and the vehicle was ripped open throwing Westfall into the road. He was sent to CAMC by helicopter and is still in critical condition.

*    *    *    *

Monday is Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day. Cemeteries all over the county have been spruced up and many flower arrangements have been made by hand or purchased to place in remembrance on the graves of those we love and miss so much. In days gone by, folks would walk to the graveyard and pick flowers on the way, while talking about the good times they remembered sharing with the departed.

 

May 20, 2010

We haven’t seen the black snake since the weather turned cold, but the lightning bugs have begun to light up the night, and the toads still sing their lonesome tune.

*    *    *    *

Irises are blooming now and the wide variety of colors they display are one of my favorite things about spring.

*    *    *    *

All the rain we have been getting, while welcome, has kept the river looking like mud and running high. I suppose those of us who wish to do so can go fishing next month.

*    *    *    *

Last Thursday afternoon, lightning struck a tree in Grantsville, and while it did not do much damage to a nearby residence, it cleared people from the streets immediately, including me.

 *    *    *    *

Grantsville has been acting like a young lass before a big dance, getting all gussied up for the upcoming Wood Festival. Volunteers have spent the last few weekends cleaning the streets, planting flowers and generally making the town look nice. On behalf of everyone, I commend them for their efforts.

*    *    *    *

 

Many of the potholes in the county’s roads have been filled, but the rough treatment they received this past winter has left them almost as much patch as road. When you drive on the few stretches of road with a new surface, it feels as smooth as velvet.

 

*    *    *    *

Many species of birds are still coming to our feeders and they seem to be taking more each week. I suppose the little baby birdies have big appetites.

 

May 13, 2010

Every weekend, there seems to be outbreaks of severe weather somewhere in the country. Tornadoes, flooding and super-cell thunderstorms are giving little rest to some areas. Thankfully, except for some much needed rain, the nastiness has stayed away from our area.

*    *    *    *

Little, perfectly halved multi-colored eggshells have begun to drop from nests and mommy and daddy birds have begun the tradition of carrying sunflower seeds to their little cheepers. I look forward to the days when they bring their young to the feeder and I get to watch the small birds throw a fit when their parents won’t get the seeds for them.

*    *    *    *

Even though the primary election took place in an off-year, it seems to me that more people were interested in election days years ago. There were people on the streets, and the restaurants were busy with folks drinking coffee and speculating on who won what while they waited for the votes to be counted and results announced. I guess that, nowadays, people just check what’s happening on “Twitter.” I suppose a restaurant is where wits meet and Twitter is where twits tweet.

*    *    *    *

The great town-wide yard sale took place in Grantsville last Saturday with bargains galore for those who could shop without a hat. While the weather was not too cold, it was windy enough to relocate things from one table to another. The wind was roaring across the hilltops and making trees dance and bend. You know it’s windy when you see a buzzard soaring backwards.

*    *    *    *

The seismic survey thumper trucks were moving right along county roads last week. The only problem was that they only moved about 200 feet and stopped to thump again. That was an inconvenience on two-lane roads and a royal pain on back roads where they took up almost the entire roadway.

 

May 6, 2010

Calhoun County continues to skirt the worst of the severe weather from weekend storms. I cannot imagine what would happen to our area if we were to receive 13 inches of rain in 48 hours like they did in parts of Tennessee. Although fishing from the roof of the courthouse might not be out of the question.

*    *    *    *

A rather large blacksnake has taken up residence in the lower section of our yard. He appears to be between five and six feet in length. This weekend, I will strongly insist that he move to the adjoining woods in order to survive the summer. Otherwise, there just might be a “mowing accident.”

*    *    *    *

The little pink flags and stakes along some area roads were sporting wires early this week, as we are once again being deep-surveyed for deposits of natural gas in the Marcellus shale formation. This month’s issue of Audubon magazine contains an article about the exploration and exploitation of this valuable energy resource deposit and how it is being dealt with, both here and in Pennsylvania.

*    *    *    *

A home at the Rt. 5 end of Big Root was destroyed by fire on Saturday afternoon. No one was home at the time or hurt in the blaze, but a neighbor did kick open a door to save a dog trapped in the residence.

*    *    *    *

Next Tuesday is election day. I hear many people say, “My vote doesn’t count!” I personally believe that their vote doesn’t count, simply because they never go to the polls to cast it. Every election is important, every vote could be critical. Our ancestors fought for the right to vote, so the least you can do is exercise your right. Go vote, you’ll feel better for it.

April 29, 2010

The weather has turned from early summer to late spring with the passing of a cold front that spawned deadly and devastating tornadoes across the southern states. Locally, we received some much needed rain, cooler temperatures, and very little in the way of storms. I guess I will have to mow again this week-end, since rain also makes the grass grow.

*    *    *    *

The rain has alleviated dry conditions, enough so the state-wide ban on outdoor burning was cancelled by the governor. We are still under the normal spring forest fire restrictions until the end of May.

*    *    *    *

 A fire in Millstone last Wednesday burned a barn to the ground and injured the owners when they attempted to fight the fire. Ron Hart was taken to Minnie Hamilton Health System for treatment and his wife Ruby received minor burns on her face and arm. The cause has yet to be determined.

*    *    *    *

A car went upside down and into the creek while traveling Rt. 16 south of Grantsville on Monday morning. The driver suffered minor injuries and was treated and released.

*    *    *    *

The Community Garden project, located just above the former grade school in Grantsville, is on again this year. The price is $5 for a 12’x12’ plot. Nothing tastes better than what you grow yourself and you can’t beat the price--the cost of a fast-food combo meal and a little sweat.

 

April 22, 2010

Earth Day is Thursday, Apr. 22. Why don’t you celebrate by taking a long walk in the woods or by going fishing. The weather is supposed to be nice, so plan on spending some time with Mother Earth. For those who habitually throw trash out the window of their car, be nice to nature for this one day and take your garbage home.

*    *    *    *

Morel season appears to be (maybe) half over. The brown morels, which are the first to appear, are just now appearing in some spots, and are old and dried out in others. On a Sunday trip to the woods above our house, I found browns, grays, and little white morels. You will know the season is almost done, when you begin to find the large yellow morels in a couple of weeks.

*    *    *    *

Whippoorwills are singing nightly and a large owl was saying good morning to us for a few days late last week by perching along our road and spinning its head all the way around to look at us.

*    *    *    *

Carpenter bees, the ones that look like big bumblebees, are out hovering around people’s porches and generally being bothersome. I don’t mind them too much as they provide me with racquetball practice. I have never played racquetball, but I bought a racquet at a yard sale just to swat the bees. I used to use a tennis racquet, but the longer handle seemed somewhat unsportsmanlike. I like the sound of the strings when contact is made and there is one less bee dive-bombing us.

*    *    *    *

A body matching the description of a Charleston man was discovered along the bank of the Little Kanawha River by anglers on Sunday near the mouth of Tanner Creek. Basil Fred Hill, 29, was the subject of a massive search effort when he disappeared after leaving a bar in Glenville in December. The body was sent to the State medical examiner for identification.

 

April 15, 2010

The woods are extremely dry right now, even morel mush-rooms are practically dry when you find them. It is so dry that Gov. Joe Manchin has issued a statewide ban on outdoor burning.

*    *    *    *

Azaleas are beginning to brighten the landscape, alongside the dogwoods and redbuds. Beds of purple and pink phlox, as well as golden buttercups, make great stress relievers for those who walk the woods. The smell of lilacs and hyacinth alone are enough to make me close my eyes and breathe a blissful sigh.

*    *    *    *

A brush fire last Thursday in the Crummies Creek area was reportedly started by sparks from an electric line. The fire took almost seven hours to extinguish and burned about 23 acres.

 *    *    *    *

I have yet to hear the lonesome call of the whippoorwill this spring. There are quite a few that serenade us each spring, so I expect to hear from them soon.

*    *    *    *

If you haven’t cleaned, filled and hung your hummingbird feeders, it is time to do so. Even though they would survive without our help, I love to watch their airborne acrobatics as they attempt to guard three different feeders hung on three different sides of our house.

*    *    *    *

A Mt. Zion man was arrested last week for intimidating and harassing a public official when he allegedly, in an aggressive manner while yelling and cursing, came towards two Dept. of Welfare employees who were following up on a complaint concerning the welfare of children in the residence.

 

April 8, 2010

Spring is in full flush now, redbud trees and forsythias are in their glory, trilliums and fiddlehead ferns are up, morel mushrooms have appeared, and dogwood will be blooming in a week. What a wonderful time of year it is in Calhoun County.

*    *    *    *

Fire, once again, has struck another area family. The Carroll Road home of Jimmy and Tammy Bell caught fire on Monday afternoon and was a total loss, along with the family’s belongings. This makes the third house fire in the last few weeks.

*    *    *    *

Two brush fires were reported on Easter Sunday. Both were east of Grantsville and were constrained to a few acres by volunteers from Glenville and Grantsville.

State law prohibits debris burning from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. during March, April and May, and caution must be exercised when operating motorized equipment or smoking in wooded areas.

*    *    *    *

Now is a perfect time for taking early morning walks in the woods, with family and camera. Many flowers are in bloom, or about to bloom, and the lighting at that time of day is excellent for photography (of both flowers and family).

*    *    *    *

It is with heavy hearts that we heard the news of the mining disaster in Southern West Virginia on Monday. Everyone should remember the miners and their families in their prayers.

 

April 1, 2010

Turkeys are beginning to form large flocks as the old toms gather and guard their harems. The hills echo each morning with their gobbling.

*    *    *    *

Redbud trees are beginning to show just a hint of pink. As soon as they are in full bloom, we should see the dogwoods blossom. The magnificent magnolia tree at the end of the old bridge pier has tried all week to open its blossoms, but the weather has been too cold and rainy. That will change by the weekend when temperatures are forecast in the 80s.

*    *    *    *

Folks who have been trout fishing in nearby Roane County are catching some lunkers. I guess I’ll wait another couple of weeks and give the bass a try.

*    *    *    *

Fires are in the news again, as the home of Calhoun County deputy sheriff J.D. Smith burned to the ground last Friday evening. The house, located at Russett, was reputed to be over 100 years old. The family was uninjured, but lost everything to the blaze except the clothes on their backs.

Monetary and clothing donations can be left at the sheriff’s office. Call 354-6333 for information. A hot dog and bake sale will be held to help the family on Saturday, Apr. 3, at Speedy Mart, Arnoldsburg. For information or to arrange donations, call 655-7401 or 354-0370.

*    *    *    *

Up the river in Glenville, Ellyson Mortuary went up in flames early Saturday morning. Fortunately, no one was injured by the fire, but owner and funeral director Terry Ellyson was unable to save his cats who perished in the inferno.

*    *    *    *

Local and state authorities are investigating breaking and entering of two locations on the West Fork. Nelly’s Store at Minnora was broken into late Thursday or early Friday, with thieves making off with cigarettes, other tobacco products, and lighters. It marks the third time the store has been robbed under its current management.

The United Methodist Church Mission building, also in Minnora, was broken into by removal of a window. The crime was discovered Mar. 24. Thieves made off with a small amount of cash, along with some bottled water and coffee.

 

March 25, 2010

Spring began last Saturday and we celebrated by beginning the yard work, straightening trees bent over by the winter snows, and picking up a forest of sticks and limbs. The fields and meadows (and yards) are really greening up. Some folks have already mowed their lawn for the first time (not me).

Frogs are spreading the word each night and spring flowers are beginning to bloom, lifting the spirit of all who look upon them. Lilac and forsythia bushes are ready to pop and weeping willow and multi-flora roses are already leafing out.

*    *    *    *

Ramps are up, for those who love to eat them and don’t mind being shunned by those who won’t.

*    *    *    *

Morel mushrooms have yet to come up, but I expect them to appear in a week or two. Then, it will time to get my yearly exercise walking up the hills to hunt the tasty little morsels. Some of the old timers (I guess I’m one now, too) believe the bad winter we had means a good year for morels. I know that the heavy snow cover in the woods flattened the leaves, which should help make morels easier to spot.

*    *    *    *

Since the snow has melted, we can see all the trash that folks decided to throw out the window of their car instead of taking it home to properly place in the trash. It reflects badly on everyone when a small part of the population cannot be bothered with keeping their fast food garbage or beverage boxes contained in their car until they get home.

*    *    *    *

The 2010 census workers are out and about, going up and down the hollows of Calhoun County. They all have identification to prove who they are and that they were hired to help you make a difference by being counted. Not being counted is bad for the community, county and state. The census questions are easy and not of a personal nature, so be sure to answer them. After all, if these Calhoun folks had not been hired to work the census, our unemployment rate would have been even higher.

 

March 18, 2010

Calhoun County leads the state once again in unemployment figures. Calhoun had a rate of 21.3%, with Roane at 16.8%; Clay, 16.5%; Wirt, 16.2%; Ritchie, 11.5%; and Gilmer, 9.2%.

*    *    *    *

Springing forward on the clocks somehow seems to take the spring out of my step. Although I do enjoy the extra hour of light in the evening, I find myself missing that hour of sleep in the morning more and more with each passing year. Perhaps they could just move it backward a half-hour this fall and leave it alone.

*    *    *    *

Frogs and peepers have begun their yearly serenade. One of my favorite peeper ponds, located at Pleasant Hill, was filled in last year. I will miss the songs that we used to hear with the windows rolled down as we drove by.

*    *    *    *

Night crawlers were out last week for those who are ready to do a little springtime fishing. I have also noticed that glowbugs (the larval stage of fireflies) are appearing on warmer nights. The owls in our holler have been calling out to each other quite a bit lately.

*    *    *    *

Fire destroyed the residence and all of the belongings of Charlie and Mandee Richards on Mar. 9. The fire started in a camper located next to the house and things got worse when a fire truck from Grantsville VFD got stuck turning into the driveway.

Tanker trucks responded from Smithville and Harrisville, but were unable to get close due to the stuck vehicle. Firemen fought the blaze with hoses that were stretched from Rt. 16.

Monetary and other donations can be left at the Hathaway-Propst residence, across from Victory Baptist Church, on Rt. 16 South of Grantsville, or mailed to Mandee and Charlie Richards, 7106 N. Calhoun Hwy., Big Springs WV 26137. Call 354-6293 or 364-4435 for information.

 

 

March 11, 2010

Just as soon as the snowflakes were removed from the utility poles in Grantsville, we began to see temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s, with rain in the forecast instead of snow.

*    *    *    *

Now that the snow is melting and the spring flowers-- daffodils, snowdrops, crocus and tulips--are beginning to show (they were above ground for a while, just buried beneath the snow), you can tell that they have been deprived of sunlight by the pale green of the stalks. When the snow melted, it exposed a nice bunch of snowdrops blooming along the riverbank in Grantsville. I picked some beautiful little coltsfoot flowers along our road last Saturday.

*    *    *    *

Set your clocks ahead one hour when you go to bed this Saturday night, as this is when we all “spring ahead” to gain an hour of daylight in the evening.

 *    *    *    *

Another sign of spring was the arrival of a geocacher in the county, who found six caches  in one day. He came last Saturday from Bridgeport and thoroughly enjoyed the treasure hunt and the scenery. He vows to return.

*    *    *    *

It will be nice to have some green showing around the county for St. Patrick’s Day next Wednesday.

*    *    *    *

The highway department has been taking advantage of the break in the weather to put some patching in the potholes in the county. Unfortunately, some of our roads are nothing but potholes surrounded by asphalt. This winter has been extremely rough on the roads.

*    *    *    *

Deer are gathered where the grass is greenest, enjoying the best forage they have had in months. Turkey songs once again echo in the valleys as they get ready for the spring dance.

 

 

March 4, 2010

We get a little bit of thaw and then winter returns with a vengeance. A four-day snowstorm began on Thursday and snow continued to fall until Sunday morning. The accumulation of snow in our yard measured 16 inches.

Our little dog Shiloh stands about nine inches tall and taking him out for walks was, at least for us, a comical excursion. He did manage to get through the great white, though mostly by jumping from spot to spot with just his head sticking out above the snow.

Weather for this weekend is forecast to be partly sunny, warmer, with little or no precipitation, if you can believe it.

*    *    *    *

What has been an extremely inconvenient winter for all of us has been a complete disaster for the woodland animals: beginning with a very poor harvest of nuts last fall to months of snow-covered ground, where even winter grass has been almost impossible to find. The deer seem to be a bit scrawny and what few squirrels I have seen were out on the end of limbs, precariously perched, eating the buds of leaves yet to be.

*    *    *    *

On Monday, Mar. 1, 1997, there was severe flooding in the southern end of Calhoun County. If we are lucky, all of the snow we have received will simply melt away without being melted by a few days of rain.

 

February 25, 2010

We received a respite from winter’s icy grasp over the weekend. Temperatures warmed up to almost 50 degrees, with snow melting on roads, yards and roofs. Speaking of roofs, mine has a rather steep pitch and the glacier that was sitting there took a slide on Monday removing the gutters and quite a bit of woodwork in the process. Luckily, no one was under the avalanche when it fell.

*    *    *    *

I have now witnessed robins hopping about pastures and yards with my own eyes. While discussing this harbinger of spring, a fellow informed me that many of the folks he knows look for a different bird to tell them that spring is near, namely, buzzards. Just as they do every fall, buzzards return from their journey south in great flocks each spring. They even have a festival on Mar. 15, celebrating their return in Hinckley, Ohio. 

*    *    *    *

The highway department has been working on patching some of the potholes, but the potholes are keeping ahead of them. Maybe the snow we are due to receive at the end of this week won’t be too bad, so that snow plows won’t dig out the patching that was put in.

*    *    *    *

A house on Hog Nob Hill was seriously damaged on Sunday when a natural gas explosion demolished a wall at one end of the home, knocked doors and windows out, blew a hole in the ceiling and damaged the floor. Two people were in the other end of the house at the time of the explosion, but were uninjured.

*    *    *    *

The man accused of murdering Mike and Julie Flanagan last Easter weekend, Kirk Allen Miller of Salem, made his first appearance in court on Monday. Pre-trial hearing will be in May.

*    *    *    *

Deer are happy to see grass again, and have wasted no time trimming it down to mud. It seems that they have been eating anything they can find, even bark, tree buds and pine needles. They have had a hard time of it this winter.

*    *    *    *

We have been getting nightly visits from one of the biggest opossums I have seen. It looks like a 20-lb. rat and really does not like getting pounded and prodded by a walking stick. It had better learn to stay away mighty soon or it could come down with a quick case of lead poisoning.

*    *    *    *

The nasty ladybugs and wasps are beginning to wake from their long winter’s nap and fly around in homes--a sign of spring we could do without.

 

February 18, 2010

At the risk of sounding redundant, winter still holds us firmly in its icy grasp. It seems there is no respite from the ice and snow (“snow” is now considered a four letter word, so use it with caution). Spring is only four weeks away, but that is too far off for some folks.

*    *    *    *

Robins were reportedly seen in the county a couple of weeks ago, but I thought I would wait to report that bit of news until I saw them myself. I still have not witnessed even a single robin hopping around anywhere, but I do not doubt the earlier report. I just figure the robins got a little tired of hopping in deep snow looking for worms that are still frozen, so they turned around and flew back south. Perhaps, they will try again in April.

*    *    *    *

Tuesday, Feb. 16, marks the seventh anniversary of the worst ice storm ever to hit the area. No matter how bad this winter has been so far, at least it is not as devastating as that one. I still remember the sounds of the trees as they succumbed to the weight of the ice coating them, and either exploded as they broke in two or roared as they were uprooted. For two days that sound was almost constant.

*    *    *    *

The highway department has been working tirelessly to keep the main roads clear, but that does not leave them much time to work on the back roads of the county. Some folks have not been out of their hollers for over a week. The good news around these parts is that your neighbors are always ready to help you out when you need it. With any luck, there might be a break in the weather the latter part of this week to allow people to restock their pantry and refrigerator.

 

 

February 11, 2010

There is no reason to complain about the weather, as there is no way to change it. That said, I am positive that there are many readers out there who have had enough of this snowy winter already.

After seeing up to nine inches of heavy, wet snow fall last Friday night and Saturday, we were on track to get another storm on Tuesday and Wednesday that may deposit another nine or 10 inches.

The heavy, wet snow is the most dangerous as it can collapse roofs, damage trees, cause massive power outages, and pack into ice, causing roads and sidewalks to become treacherous.

*    *    *    *

Schools were closed Friday, Monday and Tuesday, and were likely to be closed Wednesday too. I guess the students will be spending some time in school after the scheduled closing date for summer vacation.

*    *    *    *

Deer have been pawing up the ground under walnut trees in my holler, looking for nuts that have to have been there since 2008. There were no nuts on any of those walnut trees this past fall. They have also been searching for food beneath beech trees, but the squirrels have beat them to the beech nuts.

*    *    *    *

Area roads are taking a beating from all the plowing being done to remove the frequent snows. Potholes will be a definite problem for the highway crews when it warms up enough to permit patching and repair.

 

February 4, 2010

To the best of my recollection, this has been the snowiest winter since 1976-77, when it snowed just after Christmas and stayed on the ground until late February.

That same winter, the river froze solid for miles to a depth of three feet allowing folks to walk from Russett to Grantsville without stepping on the bank-- even the riffles were frozen.

It was snowing here over the weekend and a little more on Tuesday. It is supposed to snow again on Friday and Saturday.

The good news? The groundhog did not see his shadow around here on Groundhog Day, so according to a rodent who spends the majority of winter asleep in a hole in the ground, spring is right around the corner.

*    *    *    *

Snowdrops, the first flowers of the year in our yard, surprised us when the snow melted away last week by showing a couple of inches of growth. They are coming up through the branches of a willow tree that a snowstorm knocked over on Dec. 18. The crocuses have yet to appear, but they should not be far behind.

*    *    *    *

The first full moon of the year was visible last Friday. It is known as the “Wolf Moon” and it was almost as bright as day. On Saturday night, with all the snow cover, a flashlight was not required for a late night walk.

*    *    *    *

Kids today must like video games and television more than playing in the snow. While driving into town on Saturday, we did not see any signs of sledding or outdoor activity of any type involving children (there were many adults shoveling snow).

I guess they will remember big snowstorms only if they lose electrical power and have to actually read something by candle light.

 

January 28, 2010

While we all enjoyed warmer temperatures last weekend, the latter part of this week and the weekend will find us back under winter conditions. Depending on the storm’s track, we could see some substantial snow by Sunday morning, with much colder temperatures.

*    *    *    *

A blue heron was spotted along the banks of Rush Run toward Stumptown. Wonder if that bird is a glutton for punishment or if it perhaps just doesn’t like flying off to Florida every winter.

*    *    *    *

The skeletal remains discovered by hunters in the Creston area have been identified as belonging to Christian Dawn Starcher Seabolt of Spencer, who was 18 when last seen in 2002.

*    *    *    *

A trial in Tennessee has resulted in the conviction of a man for the murder of former Calhoun resident Erastus Gene Stump in 1982. Mac Ray McFarlane, 50, was convicted of premeditated murder in the first degree and was given a sentence of life imprisonment. McFarlane is said to have had an extensive criminal history.

*    *    *    *

Unemployment figures have been released for December, with almost every county in the state reporting at least a slight increase in unemployment. Local figures have Wirt at 12.3%, Roane at 14.4%, Clay at 14.6% and Calhoun with the highest in the state at 15.9%.

At least during the Great Depression, there were many road projects in the county that required manpower to complete. We still appreciate the work done by the stonemasons and road crews who helped make the county accessible.

There isn’t much call for brute force labor anymore and no other jobs on the horizon in the immediate future.

 

January 21, 2010

For the first time in almost a month, we were able to unlock the hubs on our four-wheel drive Tracker to get in and out of our road. There are still areas of snow in the hollow, so the December snowstorms have not completely left.

*    *    *    *

We spotted a wren at the feeder the other day, and the songbirds, every now and then, break into their spring tunes. Only two and a half months until the morel mushrooms come up.

*    *    *    *

Deer are starting to gather together again and feed in the meadows along the roads. I don’t know what they found to eat this winter, but I see they made it so far. Turkeys are also beginning to flock together.

*    *    *    *

An audit done by the legislature showed that West Virginia has too many colleges. The audit also shows that the State has the lowest number of people with bachelor’s degrees in the nation. Glenville State College was one of four rural colleges located a distance from major highways that were singled out.

*    *    *    *

Calhoun County has had a long relationship with Glenville State, and I don’t think it will close just so the legislature can say that it “tightened its belt.”

*    *    *    *

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 1994, was one of the coldest mornings on record for this area with temperatures registering as low as 31 degrees below zero. In comparison, this past Tuesday was almost balmy.

*    *    *    *

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has announced that hunters harvested 154,524 white-tailed deer in 2009, 5.5 percent less than 2008’s 163,603. Breakdown for Calhoun’s 2,653 total was as follows: bucks, 1,151; antlerless, 1,006; muzzleloader, 180; and bow, 316. The 10-county District VI, which includes Calhoun, had the most of any district with 36,875.

 

January 14, 2010

The birds continue to be grateful for the food we provide for them in these times when the ground is snow-covered. The gold finches are just beginning to get their yellow coloration on chest and neck, which indicates that spring is not too far away.

*    *    *    *

This is the longest that snow has been continuously on the ground in many years. It will soon be a month since I have seen my yard.

*    *    *    *

Children have now returned to school after a rather long break--Dec. 21 through Jan. 8. Most of them were quite happy to go back to school, but not quite as happy as their parents, who had had to deal with “I’m bored!” for almost a month. The children were also tired of hearing how all of us more mature folks had to walk two miles to school every day, in knee-deep snow, and uphill both ways.

*    *    *    *

The temperatures have been dipping into the single digits overnight, but that could change by the weekend, and the snow will be gone . . . to be replaced by mud.

*    *    *    *

A house on River Street in Grantsville caught fire early Friday morning and was quickly brought under control by the fire department, which was battling both the fire and temperatures around 10 degrees. An electric heater is the suspected cause of the blaze.

 

January 7, 2010

Citizens of Grantsville are evidently following the letter of the law--they are not feeding the pigeons. Dozens of pigeons were seen on the courthouse roof trying to eat the snow.

*    *    *    *

As a child, I remember sitting on my grandmother’s lap, watching her shake a snow globe, and looking at the peaceful, serene scene with the snow slowly drifting down to cover the little village inside. Being a child, I thought of how nice it would be to live in a snow globe. Well, we all live in one now and it has been placed into a freezer and I, for one, can’t wait to get out (spring is only 10 weeks away).

*    *    *    *

The snow since last Friday, and it has snowed every day, is such a light, fluffy snow that I have seen people clearing their driveways with a leaf blower. When viewed from the highway, it sort of looks like a miniature blizzard with a person moving around inside.

*    *    *    *

The birds at our house very rarely sit patiently in the trees outside our windows. When they sit like that, staring at us with a “hungry look,” I know the feeder is completely empty. When I step outside to fill it up again, the birds get so excited that it sounds as loud as they do on a warm spring morning. They flit about from limb to limb, and some will fly off to alert others that are foraging elsewhere in the hollow that good times have returned and the 15-minute famine has ended.

*    *    *    *

Late last Saturday night, Calhoun law enforcement was advised of a police chase that originated in Gilmer County, with the subject fleeing towards Grantsville on Rt. 5. The driver evidently took a different route and ended up on Rt. 47, headed toward Parkersburg, where police placed a spike strip across the road flattening the suspect’s tires. The driver appeared to have been drinking and is facing multiple charges.

 

December 31, 2009

Christmas has come and gone for another year, but I don’t think it will soon be forgotten. The power outages from last week’s snowstorm lingered on and caused some folks to be without power, even on Christmas day. Power was restored to some areas on Christmas Eve, allowing families to go home and wake up in their own beds on Christmas morning.

*    *    *    *

Yes, we had a white Christmas in Calhoun County. As a matter of fact, quite a bit of that same snow will still be here under a layer of new snow to make New Year’s Eve an excellent time to stay home and stay safe, instead of out on the roads.

*    *    *    *

The birds at our house have told all of their friends about the new feeder I got for Christmas, and they all seem to like it . . . a lot. I guess I will be buying another 25-lb. sack of sunflower seeds by the weekend to keep my feathered friends fed.

*    *    *    *

A heavy facing board that used to hold part of the Rainbow Hotel sign came off the building and onto the sidewalk during the snowstorm. I didn’t see it until I stubbed my toe on it in the snow last week. It is a good thing that it didn’t fall on someone’s head or it would have been them that I tripped over.

*    *    *    *

With the help of family, friends and neighbors, all of Calhoun County has made it through another of nature’s nasty, but pretty, surprises. I’m sure many people are looking forward to next year and a new decade. I sure do hope that the new decade is not as rough on us as the last one was.

 

December 24, 2009

By the calendar, winter started on Monday. By what happened over the weekend, I’m sure most everyone would disagree about that beginning. It has been years since our area has received so much snow in just one day.

It began just after midnight on Friday when the rain, which had been falling steadily all day, turned to snow. By dawn, the white stuff was a foot deep in many areas, and showed no signs of letting up.

At our house, it measured 16.5 inches on the deck and was knee deep on me and way over our little sheltie’s head. It was fun to watch him “porpoise” through the snow.

It was a heavy, wet snow, and it dropped trees on power and telephone lines, as well as on roads, houses and whatever happened to be in the way. Power was said to be out at more than 3,300 Calhoun homes.

Lack of power has also caused water problems. An emergency shipment of 5,000 gallons of bottled water was to be delivered on Monday to help alleviate the problem.

An emergency shelter was opened on Monday at First Baptist Church, Grantsville, to help those without power and heat.

Some folks had places to be and ventured out on the roads-- and many wound up in the ditch or against guardrails. The highway department was dedicated to keeping roads passable to emergency traffic.

We had many different species of birds at our feeders, and it reminded us of shopping on Christmas eve. There were long lines of feathered customers sitting on the limbs and some of them would become impatient and attempt to jump ahead in the line.

That started a few rather contentious fights when it occurred among the gold finches and chickadees. It seemed that the cardinals were the referees, and they would stop the fighting and get a bite to eat whenever they wanted.

 

December 17, 2009

One of the things that really bothers me about all of this schizophrenic weather is going out in the morning, with mild temperatures, wearing a short-sleeved shirt and a light jacket, and then the wind blows in cold weather in the teens. I know, it’s my fault for not dressing warmer in the first place, but it still irks me nonetheless.

Last week’s winds were ferocious, with gusts tearing across the ridge tops like the sound of a jet taking off. Holiday decorations were blown all over yards, making me   think that I just might see Santa Claus on his sleigh with the reindeer flying over someone’s house.

The wind did do minor damage in the area, causing some roof damage and knocking over a tombstone at Pleasant Hill Cemetery. It also blew out a windowpane from the former Rainbow Hotel, which landed and smashed right beside the sidewalk.

*    *    *    *

On Dec. 15, 1967, around 5 p.m. the bridge connecting Point Pleasant and Kanauga, Ohio, collapsed, dumping 31 vehicles into the icy water and killing 46 people. The bridge was dubbed the “Silver Bridge” because it was the country’s first aluminum painted bridge.

*    *    *    *

Winter will officially begin on Monday, Dec. 21, which is the day of least sunlight. I always like to see it get dark a little later each day after that, it lets me know that spring is only a few months away.

 

December 10, 2009

The last day of the two-week deer season was a great day for hunting, with lots of snow. Snow makes the deer easier to spot (unless it’s an albino deer), makes tracking a wounded animal as easy as following a roadmap, and I just like to see the beautiful white layer of frosty, sparkling, frozen water crystals blanketing the dun-colored winter world. If the Weather Service is to be believed, we may even have more snow by this weekend.

*    *    *    *

Monday, Dec. 7, marked the 68th anniversary of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by the Imperial Japanese Navy that catapulted America into World War II. When President Roosevelt, calling on Congress to declare war on Japan, said that the assault was a “day that shall live in infamy,” he gave the Pearl Harbor attack its most famous and enduring title. War was declared on Japan the next day, Dec. 8, 1941. Within a few days, Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. Even before the president’s speech, outraged Americans were flooding recruiting offices to join the Armed Forces.

*    *    *    *

The new security lights at the courthouse were lit for the activities and parade last Friday, and they really make a difference. There were many rosy-cheeked children standing by waiting for Santa to arrive, and they were not disappointed. He met with the little ones in the courthouse and listened to the wish list of each child. A few of the kids had some rather extensive lists. Photos will be available for viewing on our website.

*    *    *    *

Tom Fox, Dept. of Natural Resources retiree, spotted a rare sight in Calhoun: four Sandhill Cranes. These large birds (3 to 5 feet tall) are seldom seen in this area because their migration routes are farther west. If you are lucky enough to see any of them, enjoy the sight and take a photo. You may never repeat the experience.

 

December 3, 2009

The weather continues to be confused on a daily basis. It is getting close to the first of winter, but we are still enjoying some rather warm days, although the nights get pretty frosty. Snow is in the forecast for the end of the week.

*    *    *    *

The new security lights are up around the courthouse, and they make the old structure look a little more modern somehow. The lights are the latest design, and are manufactured to project light toward the ground to cause minimal light pollution in the night sky.

*    *    *    *

Even with the annual deer harvest in full swing, there are still multitudes of deer standing in the fields and along the roads every day. There are also quite a few nice bucks hanging from trees in successful hunters’ yards.

*    *    *    *

It was not a very happy Thanksgiving for a man who was struck by a car that was going west on Rt. 33-119 last Wednesday in Arnoldsburg. The man apparently came down a set of steps that lead directly onto the highway in a turn. He was hit as soon as he stepped onto the road. He was transported to Charleston by helicopter.

*    *    *    *

People around the county have already started decorating their homes and yards for the upcoming holiday season. It really looks nice as one is driving along the roads after dark.

 

November 26, 2009

There was more beautiful weather over the weekend, with sunny skies and temperatures warm enough to confuse some forsythia bushes into sprouting a few flowers.

Hunters went through the annual ritual of sighting-in their rifles. With an over-abundance of deer running around, this year could be a record harvest.

The forecast is for the possibility of snow by the end of the week. It is always nice to have snow on the ground during deer season.

*    *    *    *

When I was growing up, relatives would always come to our house for Thanksgiving week because there were hardly any deer in the Kanawha County area. There weren’t that many around here back in the ’60s either, but at least we had enough to warrant a season.

We would get up an hour or two before daylight, fix a big breakfast, and be in the woods before the sun rose. We walked along paths that we had cleared of sticks and leaves, so we could move stealthily. The secret to a successful buck hunt was to move slowly and quietly.

Those days are long gone, and so is the “slow and quiet” part. Now, you hardly ever see a hunter on foot. They mostly “road hunt” from the back of 4-wheelers or from the warm, dry comfort of 4-wheel-drive vehicles. I suppose it is a good thing that there are so many more deer in the woods now. The deer we hunted years ago would never be seen by today’s hunters.

*    *    *    *

Calhoun had an official unemployment rate of 11.6% for October, trailing Roane at 12.3% and Clay with 14.6%. The tri-county area still suffers the worst unemployment in the state.

*    *    *    *

A Pine Creek man was injured on Saturday night in a  4-wheeler accident. He was transported to Minnie Hamilton and then sent on to Charleston General with serious injuries.

*    *    *    *

Sunday, Nov. 22, marked the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who was killed by a sniper while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Tex., in 1963. It was a day of shock and mourning across the country. All who were living then can well remember that day.

 

November 19, 2009

Another weekend of Indian Summer was enjoyed in the region, with a promise of some much needed rain in the forecast for the latter part of the week.

*    *    *    *

A four-point buck has been hanging around the riverbanks in Grantsville. He must think that no one will notice him, if he stands still until they go away. He has been spotted several times and may survive the upcoming hunting season if he continues to lay low.

*    *    *    *

This week marks the anniversary of the death of sheriff Park Richards, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Nov. 18, 1976, while serving a warrant on a mentally disturbed man who was living in a cave on Rush Run, close to Stumptown.

A section of Rt. 16 from Grantsville to the Calhoun/Ritchie county line was dedicated Park Richards Memorial Highway in 2006 to honor his memory.

*    *    *    *

The European gypsy moth is a serious threat to West Virginia forests. People transporting campers, trailers, RVs and firewood from one area of the state to another is one of the ways it spreads. Hunters should inspect these items for the presence of gypsy moth egg masses and remove any they find. Thirty-nine of the 55 counties are under a gypsy moth quarantine and Calhoun County is on the list. The egg masses are buff colored, approximately a half-inch long, and covered with fine hairs.

In 2009, the gypsy moth defoliated over 44,000 acres of forested land in West Virginia. Gypsy moth larvae feed on over 300 species of trees, with oaks being their preferred diet.

For information call 558-2209 or visit www.wvagriculture.org.

 

November 12, 2009

There were dragonflies and ladybugs flying everywhere over the weekend while we all enjoyed a touch of Indian Summer. Temperatures were   in the lower 70’s and overnight temperatures were above freezing.

*    *    *    *

Be sure to set your alarm clocks to wake you up around 2 a.m. on Nov. 18, so you can enjoy the annual Leonid meteor shower, which is basically debris left behind by the comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. This year, astronomers think that we will be getting a peak of hundreds of meteors, because Earth will be passing close to the center of the comet’s debris trail laid down in 1466. Also, the moon will be new at that time and will not interfere with viewing even the dimmest “shooting stars.” This is your chance to see the best meteor show since the 2002 Leonids.

*    *    *    *

Thursday, Nov. 5, marked the anniversary of the flood of 1985 when high waters caused severe problems throughout the region and took the lives of nearly 50 people around the state. Locally, the Little Kanawha River did not reach record levels in Grantsville, but did set the record in Glenville by being two feet higher than the flood of 1967. Smaller streams in the county wreaked havoc as well.

*    *    *    *

Progress is being made on new security lighting for the grounds of Calhoun Courthouse in Grantsville. The concrete base for the light stands has been poured and we expect to see the poles and lights installed sometime soon.

 

November 5, 2009

While us humans would like to enjoy the extra hour of sleep that we get back when we switch to Daylight Saving Time, animals only pay attention to the daylight itself. Our little dog, Shiloh, wonders why bedtime has moved to an hour later, and still thinks it is time to get up and go outside as soon as the sky begins to lighten. I thought only farmers had to get up at the crack of dawn.

*    *    *    *

A helicopter was buzzing around Calhoun last week and the first part of this week. If you saw it, you may have noticed the rather large saw attachment hanging beneath it. It was in the area to cut branches protruding over the power line that runs from Spencer to Grantsville to Glenville.

*    *    *    *

While watching the aforementioned helicopter flying over Grantsville on Monday, I noticed two large raptors rapidly flying toward the East. It appeared that they did not like seeing anything that large flying around, especially with a saw beneath it. When they flew overhead, you could tell that it was a pair of Ospreys. I hope they come back next year to nest.

*    *    *    *

A local man told me of having six walnut trees in his yard that produced a nice harvest of walnuts this fall. He said that his yard was covered with the nuts for about two days, and then it was covered with squirrels for one afternoon, and the nuts were gone. I suppose the walnuts are now “squirreled away.”

*    *    *    *

Although I doubt if it has anything to do with Halloween, there seem to be quite a few headless deer laying dead along the highways in the county. One supposes that they must have had a nice set of antlers to make someone cut the head off of a road-kill deer and take it with them. On the other hand, perhaps it was done for revenge for all of the damage done to their vehicle. Wouldn’t it be easier to carry a small hacksaw and just remove the horns?

*    *    *    *

It seems that all of the little ghosts, goblins, pirates and other creatures that were out and about last Saturday evening had a good time. Those involved in making their Halloween happy should feel proud.

 

October 29, 2009

The beauty of the trees in all of their autumn splendor simply takes my breath away. It’s like living in a vivid painting of a fall scene. I only wish everyone could experience what it is like to walk along a gravel road, kick through the brilliantly colored leaves, and smell the scent of fall in the air.

*    *    *    *

A methamphetamine bust was made in the Cabot Station area when State Police received a tip that items used for making the drug had been purchased and taken to a specific location. A Lincoln County man has been charged with the crime. The investigation is continuing.

*    *    *    *

H1N1 flu is a topic everyone likes to discuss these days. There are more than a few people I have seen this week who only go out in public wearing the “blue masks.” They probably have a bottle of hand sanitizer handy too. I don’t blame them one bit.

While the flu is widespread in the country, it is still not too bad here. Everyone should take precautions, such as frequent hand washing and immunization to protect themselves and their family.

*    *    *    *

This week marks the anniversary of the first baby born at Calhoun General Hospital, which opened in 1959. On Oct. 27, 1959, Donald Lee Edgell, Jr., was born to Mr. and Mrs. Donald Edgell of Arnoldsburg. Happy birthday, Donald.

*    *    *    *

This week also marks the birthday of the World Wide Web, commonly known as the internet. It came into being on Oct. 29, 1969, when two letters--LO--were typed on a keyboard at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and appeared on a screen at the Stanford Re-search Institute, 314 miles away.

 

October 22, 2009

So far, I have been able to count only one victim of the middle of the street pigeon feeder, a grey squirrel flattened in front of J&B, and I can’t be sure that it is actually related to the feeder. Without much to eat in the woods, who can say that they won’t come into town and commit suicide in the street.

It seems that, at least among the walnuts, trees in the valleys did not produce nuts, while the ones on ridges produced some. I don’t see many acorns or hickory nuts anywhere and the deer are coming into the yard and eating every dead flower and shrub they can. They are also cleaning up sunflower seeds that the birds drop on the ground.

*    *    *    *

Calhoun County unemployment figures from WorkForce West Virginia show a drop of 1.2 percent (13.2 to 12.1) from August to September, which left the county tied for fifth highest with Mason County. Roane leads the state with 13.0, followed by Jackson (12.9), McDowell (12.7), and Wetzel (12.3).

*    *    *    *

The temperature on Monday morning was 27 degrees at our house. Ice was in the puddles and frost covered everything. Since the cold set in, the nights are silent, except for the lonesome hooting of the owls.

*    *    *    *

Standing in line at stores in town, one can hear much about the H1N1 flu in the county and, as with all rumors, most of what you hear is either untrue or unsubstantiated. On Monday, I overheard one mother saying that she was going to keep her daughter home, even if it meant she herself might be arrested for failure to send her child to school.

She was reacting to the rumors going around, instead of contacting school or health officials to get the true story. Remember the words of Franklin Roosevelt, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

 

October 15, 2009

The black snake I mentioned last week was pretty much of average size, so we were somewhat surprised when we spotted about a dozen crows in the trees surrounding the carcass two days later. They weren’t bothering it, just watching it very closely. The next evening, the crows were gone and nine buzzards had taken over the watch. The next day, the snake was missing. Who knew that snake was such a delicacy when there are hundreds of dead squirrels to be found along any roadway.

*    *    *    *

Apparently, someone is breaking the law in Grantsville on an occasional basis. There are mornings when I come to work and see most of the pigeons walking around the middle of the street in front of the courthouse eating something, when the town has forbidden anyone to feed them.

On the flip side of this unlawful act is the fact that, sooner or later, the pigeons will be so intent on cleaning the street that they will forget to fly out of the way of early morning traffic, and the pigeon population will be reduced.

*    *    *    *

Walking past the old Grantsville Tire building, I noticed that it has been made ready for Halloween. I’m glad to know that kids will have something to do for Halloween that will, hopefully, keep them out of trouble. I remember my teenage years and what we got into this time of year, and all of the trouble that we, somehow, avoided.

*    *    *    *

The best way to prevent getting the flu is to get a flu shot for both seasonal flu and H1N1 swine flu. The second best thing is to wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap as often as possible. Cleanliness counts towards keeping healthy.

 

 

October 8, 2009

Despite heavy rain on Friday night, we had beautiful, crisp weather last weekend. This time of year, the fog that fills the valleys each morning makes for an inspiring sight. We all should endeavor to take walks each evening and morning to appreciate the beauty and smell of autumn. It will soon be winter with drab colors and snow flying.

*    *    *    *

Speaking of snow, there were reports from various people that snow was spotted in the air on Monday on Mt. Zion ridge. They said it looked more like falling slush, but it was definitely snow.

*    *    *    *

Some people who stopped to admire a blue heron at a submarine bridge crossing the West Fork were somewhat surprised when they also saw an otter frolicking in the stream. It was swimming on its back and doing belly rolls.

*    *    *    *

Even though it wasn’t that warm on Monday, a black snake made the mistake of stretching itself across the road just when the well tender came down our road. He is still stretched across the road, but is no longer enjoying the sunshine.

*    *    *    *

 Grantsville was very busy last Saturday as folks came  from near and far to bargain   for things at the town-wide yard sale. It almost reminded me of what the streets looked like 40 years ago on a Saturday after-noon.

*    *    *    *

Oct. 4-10 is Fire Prevention Week. Appropriately timed for the beginning of colder weather, it reminds us that we need to prepare for winter by checking heaters and furnaces. Make sure that your smoke detector has a fresh battery installed and make sure everyone in your household knows your fire escape plans. If your house catches fire, everyone needs to know how to escape and where you will all meet to determine who needs further assistance. For information on family safety tips go to www.firepreventionweek.org

 

October 1, 2009

Weather did not cooperate with the planners of the Molasses Festival last weekend, but it could not dampen the spirit of the folks who came out for the fun in Arnoldsburg.

*    *    *    *

The raccoons that have been plaguing my birdfeeder have shown me this week that they are willing to run with a bad crowd, namely opossums. Three times they have shown up late at night with the giant rat-like creatures in tow. The raccoons disappear quickly when caught and the ’possums just stand there and look at you. Perhaps the ’coons are using them for “boot bait.”

*    *    *    *

According to an insurance firm, drivers in West Virginia have a one in 39 chance of hitting a deer in the next 12 months. That’s up from a one in 45 chance last year, which makes West Virginia the number one state for deer collisions for the third year in a row.

There is roughly one deer for every two people (1 million deer, according to the DNR, and 1.8 million people). Four cities, including Charleston, have deer hunts within city limits.

*    *    *    *

Fall forest fire season begins Oct. 1 and runs through Dec. 31. No outdoor burning is allowed between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. The burning of brush and leaves may be burned after 4 p.m. only if carefully supervised. Residents who fail to follow the burning restrictions are subject to fines of up to $300, misdemeanor charges, and can be liable for property damage that is caused by their uncontrolled fire.

 

September 24, 2009

The weather could not have been better for the activities at the Calhoun County High School Homecoming and the Calhoun County Park Fun Festival last weekend. The days were not too hot and the evenings were just right for a long-sleeved shirt to keep out the chill.

*    *    *    *

Monday afternoon, I heard the sound of an unusual engine going through town and looked out the window just in time to see a procession of seven or eight antique Ford horseless carriages go past. I don’t know where they were going on a Monday afternoon, but it sure was a pleasure to see them putter down Main Street.

*    *    *    *

Light rain began on Sunday afternoon and continued, off and on, through Monday and Tuesday. The long dry spell had allowed oil to build up on roadways and the rain made them very slick. There were four minor accidents reported on Monday that were likely related to the phenomenon.

*    *    *    *

An accident involving a 4-wheeler and a deer occurred over the weekend. The rider of the ATV was flown to Charleston by helicopter where he was listed in serious condition. The deer was not so lucky.

*    *    *    *

Fall fell on Tuesday, just in time for reports of light snowfall in areas of the Rocky Mountains. It won’t be long until the snow will start flying in the mountains around Elkins.

*    *    *    *

One of the young raccoons made a visit to my house on Monday night to raid the birdfeeder--again. They have stayed away for over a month, so I just thought they were done mooching off me. Now I know they were just taking a break. I guess I will have to poke them off of my feeder with a walking stick and smack them in the butt to teach them a lesson.

 

September 17, 2009

Another beautiful week of weather has given me nothing to complain about. Fall will arrive on Tuesday, and the days and nights we have been experiencing are just right for getting us ready. The only wooly worms that I have seen, and that have been reported to me, are completely black. I believe that portends for a bad winter. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

*    *    *    *

Bucks are beginning to lose the velvet from their antlers and deer are plentiful along the highways in the morning and evening hours. As long as they stay in the fields and out of    the roadway, I like them just fine.

 *    *    *    *

I hope to see many Calhouners at Calhoun County Park this weekend for the Fun Festival and all of the activities, including the re-enactment of the Skirmish of Sycamore. Although in the original accounts of the skirmish, there was no clear “winner,” perhaps there will be this weekend. It should be fun for the entire family. It might be wise to bring lawn chairs for the events.

*    *    *    *

According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, this year’s oral rabies vaccine (ORV) bait distribution program will only be in portions of Fayette, Greenbrier, McDowell, Mercer, Nicholas, Raleigh and Summers counties.

 

September 10, 2009

Very nice weather has been on tap for the region for the past week. We even received a little rain on Sunday and Monday. The hummingbirds seem to be preparing themselves for their annual winter vacation in South America. Goldfinches are beginning to lose some of their bright yellow plumage. Owls have been making quite a bit of racket on some nights.

*    *    *    *

An accident on Friday evening on Rush Run near Orma put a car over on its top. The driver was not at the scene when authorities arrived to investigate.

*    *    *    *

It seems that the W.Va. Oral Rabies Vaccination Project will soon drop vaccination bait for area raccoons. This is a good idea to combat rabies in wild animals. If you hear a plane flying low over your head in the woods, you might be wise to duck and cover. Those baits might not be too heavy, but they would sure hurt hitting your head at 100 miles an hour.

*    *    *    *

Two county men were found dead on Saturday, one on Mud Fork and the other in Arnoldsburg. Since both deaths were unattended, the bodies have been sent to the state medical examiner’s office in Charleston for autopsy.

*    *    *    *

West Virginia has recorded its first death from H1N1, or swine flu. Michael Bloomfield, 51, of Cabell County had been in the hospital for several days and had other underlying health problems.

 

September 3, 2009

Fall is in the air, at least in the mornings. It has been quite cool in the morning, and the valleys have been filled with so much fog, it looks like a lake of white from ridge top to ridge top.

*    *    *    *

Some paving has occurred in Grantsville in the last week. New strips of pavement have helped the surface of Court Street, Mill Street and the area on Main Street where the drain at the corner in front of the courthouse was quite a drop all by itself.

*    *    *    *

The Town Hill paving project seems to be about done. The  work on guardrails is nearly complete, since the new paving made them too low. All they had to do was remove the guardrail, lift out the posts, drive the posts back in a little  bit higher, and bolt it all back together.

*    *    *    *

The raccoon family that has plagued my bird feeder this summer must have moved on. I have left the feeder out over night for almost a week now and it has survived with no trouble.

I suppose the momma ’coon may have sent the little bandits on down the holler, where they might be fending for themselves.

 

August 27, 2009

The hot and humid weather of last week gave way to a cold front, which passed through on the weekend. The temperature on Monday morning was 54 degrees at our house

*    *    *    *

It was reported on Saturday from people who lived along Rts. 33-119 that they were “pretty sure” that they had just seen Gandalf, the wizard from the Lord of the Rings, walking East in Calhoun.

The traveler was spotted from Spencer to Weston and turned out to be a man named “Pilgrim George,” who has walked from Pittsburgh to Alabama and is on the return leg of his trip.

From the descriptions given of his clothes, hat and staff, I would have probably thought him a wizard myself.

*    *    *    *

A mob of crows was shrieking and diving at an owl or hawk in the trees at the edge of my yard over the weekend. I like raptors more than I do crows, so I went out to investigate. There were too many leaves on the trees to see what the crows were after, so I began waving my arms to scare the crows away. They didn’t care about that. I then held my hand as if I was about to shoot them with a pistol. Still not caring. What they did care about was when I put my arms in the position of firing a shotgun. They all left within seconds.

*    *    *    *

A man was sent to a hospital by helicopter on Sunday night after losing control of a pickup truck on Phillip’s Run and crashing into the creek. A female passenger was taken to Minnie Hamilton Health System.

*    *    *    *

John Manis Richards of Grantsville entered a plea of guilty to a count of grand larceny and conspiracy to commit grand larceny in an agreement before Judge Larry Starcher in Gilmer County court on Thursday. This is from charges made against Richards for the July 2007 theft of a truck and materials from Hardman Supply in Glenville. The trial has been through many delays since its inception.

 

August 20, 2009

It was hot, humid and hazy for the last week, with showers and thunderstorms coming this week. Typical August weather is why many folks prefer September.

*    *    *    *

Tuesday morning, workers with the Dept. of Highways were working on a section of town hill road North of Grantsville digging up some of the work done, and perhaps not yet even completed, by the resurfacing project.

*    *    *    *

An accident occurred just after noon on Tuesday at the intersection of Rts. 16 and 5 in Grantsville. Robert Bonar, principal of Pleasant Hill School, was traveling South through the intersection on his way home for lunch when his pickup truck was struck in the side by a pickup moving East on Rt. 5.          

After striking Bonar’s vehicle, the truck continued through a cable across the entrance to the former Smith’s Service Station, traveled across the lot and over the hill into the deep gully beside Simon St.

 Bonar’s truck suffered moderate damage to the driver’s side, but he was apparently uninjured. The driver of the other truck made his way up the steep, brushy embankment and was taken to Minnie Hamilton Health System for treatment. His condition was unknown at press time.

*    *    *    *

The man who held up the Arnoldsburg branch of Calhoun Banks, Darin Stephen McClain, has been sentenced to 77 months in a Federal prison, followed by three years probation. He has also been ordered to pay $14,409 in restitution and testify in court as needed.

 

August 13, 2009

No more complaining about the lack of hot weather. I don’t really like 90-degree temperatures and high humidity. The river is just starting to clear again after looking muddy enough to plant corn in for a week.

*    *    *    *

Grantsville’s trash truck was back in service before the end of last week. The raccoons and opossums were disappointed that the town parking lot was now “off the menu.”

*    *    *    *

Summer youth workers at the courthouse applied asphalt sealer to the parking lot last week. After seeing them walk down the sidewalk after the job was done, it seemed that the parking lot may have been applying sealer to the workers.

*    *    *    *

Thieves broke into a house on Henry’s Fork last week and made off with a gun, flat screen TV and other items, as well as trashing the place when they were done.

*    *    *    *

Another member of the Energy Express team, who helped with the beautification project in Grantsville, was Angela King. The town and mayor appreciate the efforts of this group of young women.

 

August 6, 2009

The Town of Grantsville is experiencing a garbage disposal crisis. The municipal trash truck has developed a problem in its compactor, which renders it unusable. Garbage is still being collected and stored in the municipal parking lot in a long dumpster. The town hopes to have the problem fixed soon and the parking lot cleaned up.

*    *    *    *

It’s August and we still are experiencing June weather. There has not been a prolonged stretch of really hot weather that we usually expect this time of year, and we have had plenty of rain. Last Friday, we were under a flash flood watch--again. The forecast has more rain this week.

*    *    *    *

Dick Cottrell, 66, of Arnoldsburg, was killed while brush hogging, when a tractor rolled over on him. See the obituary on this page.

*    *    *    *

The paving project in Grantsville and Rt. 16 North is going well. It seems that the resurfacing was almost complete as of Monday and gravel was being laid down for the berm on Tuesday. It will be a wider road this winter for those who brave the hill before the salt trucks treat the snow.

*    *    *    *

Summer youth workers are still making progress painting the parking areas around the courthouse and cleaning the streets of debris, dirt and weeds.

 

July 30, 2009

Storms moved through the area last Friday and Saturday, causing some localized damage on the southern end of the county. There was heavy rain, plenty of lightning, and strong winds in some places. 

*    *    *    *

Roane General Hospital will no longer be in the business of delivering babies. It looks like women in labor will have to plan on leaving early to make it to their chosen hospital. Perhaps prospective fathers should learn how to deliver babies, just in case the car breaks down or the baby won’t wait.

*    *    *    *

Now that there has been a confirmed case of H1N1 (swine flu) in Calhoun, I wonder if the price of pork will plummet. It seems some folks believe that you get the disease from eating pork. It would be nice if there was a “chocolate flu” that made people afraid of eating chocolate, which could reduce the price to nice and cheap.

*    *    *    *

The Chronicle received a call last week from a reader who thought that the Town of Grantsville was paying a $100 bounty on dead pigeons. He was informed that he was mistaken. We would be out of pigeons in about 30 minutes if that were the case.

*    *    *    *

The International Space Station, with the Space Shuttle attached, orbited over the county on Saturday and Sunday nights just after dark. It was too cloudy on Saturday and I forgot to look for it on Sunday. We did see the Russian spacecraft MIR go over some years back, just before it came back into the atmosphere. It was a sight to see.

 

July 23, 2009

We have been the recipient of needed rain within the last week. The Little Kanawha River was muddy for a day and a half. More rain is predicted through the end of the week.

*    *    *    *

For those who may be interested, the raccoons are still visiting my house on a nightly basis. The little raccoons are starting to get a tad fat, so they must be eating well without my contribution.

*    *    *    *

Wirt County leads the state in unemployment at 15.5%. Calhoun is second with 15%.

*    *    *    *

A bomb threat was allegedly telephoned to the U.S. Armory Reserve building below Big Bend last Wednesday. While it caused quite a stir for a while, no explosives were reported found. Calling in fake bomb threats is a serious felony. Jail is the reward you will get when caught.

*    *    *    *

There are many cute little spotted fawn deer running around in the fields (and my yard). Bucks are in velvet, and some of the racks look like a mossy sumac tree.

*    *    *    *

Someone apparently broke into the boarded-up home of the murdered Flanagans. A nearby hunting cabin, owned by an Ohio man, was also burglarized.

*    *    *    *

Grantsville resident John Manis Richards appeared before special judge Larry Starcher in Gilmer County and had his bond reinstated. A new trial date was set for Aug. 20. The trial is about the alleged stealing of equipment and materials from Hardman Supply, Glenville, in July, 2007.

 

 

July 16, 2009

I went fishing last week on my birthday and was able to catch almost 20 bass . . . on my camera. Family members were catching the bass left and right, while I was simply providing the fish with an evening of entertainment. It was great fun though, and I did catch two (very small) bass and a bluegill.

*    *    *    *

I always check the weather forecast for the area by going to the National Weather Service website (and then making up my own mind from the satellite and radar images). They have “On this date in weather history,” and I was reminded that, 20 years ago on July 13, Calhoun and Gilmer counties were hit by severe thunderstorms that dropped two to three inches of rain between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Flash flooding occurred on Barnes Run, Daniels Run, Pink Creek, Sycamore Creek, Rush Run, Steer Creek and Phillips Run. A 62-year-old man was swept into Mike’s Run while attempting to clear a culvert in front of his home. This quote came from the Chronicle, “Most people agreed on two things, that the flooding didn’t seem that bad at first, and that they have never seen so much water come up so quickly before.”

*    *    *    *

July 20 marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that first landed men on the moon. Everyone old enough to remember that day can still recall the grainy, black and white images we saw as we gathered around television sets to witness those historic first steps on the lunar surface. I was attending Science Camp at Butcher Bend and I don’t believe any of us campers were able to go to sleep that night.

We heard President Nixon say, “For one priceless moment in the whole history of man all the people on this Earth are truly one--one in their pride in what you have done and one in our prayers that you will return safely to Earth.”

 

July 9, 2009

Although some of the hay put up last week got an extra rinse and a lot of stirring, the fields look a lot better now that they are cut. We can only hope the weather is better for a second cutting later on.

*    *    *    *

I forgot to bring the bird feeder in from the tree branch one night until maybe 20 minutes after dark. I thought it would not be a problem, since the raccoon usually raids it later than that. I went out to retrieve the feeder without a flashlight and almost grabbed the raccoon by mistake.

It was hanging from the limb by its back feet, one fore leg holding the top of the feeder up, and the other fore leg deep down in the birdseed. It looked quite surprised to see me, but not nearly as surprised as I was when I jerked my hand back out of harms way. I am now more diligent about bringing it in before dark.

*    *    *    *

Carl Smith Paving began road surfacing preparation on Rt. 16 North of Grantsville this week. New culverts and other work is being done first. Be prepared for delays until the project is finished.

*    *    *    *

The “Dog Days” of summer have started. I was always told that fishing at this time of the year was best done at night. Since the Little Kanawha River has been fairly clear for a while, I will try that philosophy soon and see how it goes.

*    *    *    *

Summer Youth Program workers have been busy around Grantsville, painting benches and trash receptacles at the courthouse, cleaning streets, and removing weeds growing in the cracks of sidewalks. More are working at Calhoun Middle/ High School and other locations. It makes things look better and keeps the youths occupied.

*    *    *    *

An accident involving a tractor-trailer closed traffic on one lane of Rt. 16 just before the Ritchie county line on Tuesday afternoon. The scanner reported the truck was in the ditch, but no one was injured.

 

July 2, 2009

The smell of fresh-cut hay is in the air, at least it is at Pleasant Hill. Although the second cutting should be well on its way, many farmers are just now able to get the first cutting in. It may be a rough year for fodder.

*    *    *    *

The raccoon that has been terrorizing our house on a nightly basis showed us the reason why on Monday night. She has four little beggars running along behind her. They must like what the birds kick to the ground from the feeder, because nothing is left out overnight to feed them.

*    *    *    *

Mustang Survival of Elizabeth will open a new facility in the former BF Goodrich building in Spencer. The company expects to hire 20 people initially and hopes to employ about 100 in a few years.

*    *    *    *

Tuesday morning, a car hit a deer and went out of control on the straight just below Calhoun Auto Care on Rt. 16. The car stopped on the edge of the road bank, just short of going over the hill. One passenger was taken to Minnie Hamilton Health System for evaluation.

*    *    *    *

The new video page on the Calhoun Chronicle website that shows performances at the Calhoun Wood Festival has been well received. They include Calhoun Idol winner Autumn Blair, “Fat Boy” Houchin and Side FX, Dixie Moon, and Johnny Staats and Bluegrass Brand. Just Click HERE

 

June 25, 2009

Over the weekend, we were under the threat of major storms and flood watches. Now, it looks like we will have some sunny weather. Perhaps, meadows can get their first cutting since many of them are beyond golden.

*    *    *    *

Lester McCumbers of Nicut was a winner once again at the Folk Festival in Glenville last weekend in the elder fiddle category. Eugene Parsons of Orma placed third in the over 50 banjo category.

*    *    *    *

Grantsville Guppies 4-H club has signed a contract to take on the responsibility of keeping a section of Rt. 5 free from litter. There are still plenty of miles of highway in the county that need adopted for litter control. If you or your organization is interested in helping keep Calhoun clean, call 800-322-5530.

*    *    *    *

There has been a recall of Toll House cookie dough due to some people suffering from e-coli bacteria after ingesting the raw dough. Each package states in the directions that the dough should never be eaten raw. While there is no worry about e-coli in cookies that have been properly baked, it always seems that some of the dough just never makes it to the cookie sheet. From now on, I’ll just bake the cookies and eat them when they are nice and hot.

*    *    *    *

The burnt out skeleton of the house at the corner of Florence and River streets in Grantsville was taken down last week. Although the fire was declared arson at the time, no arrests have been made.

 

June 18, 2009

The jet stream is still following a more southerly route than usual for this time of year, providing the area with more rain than usual. Next month, we will probably not get any rain and will remember this month a little more fondly.

*    *    *    *

A raccoon decided that my bird feeder was available for any wild animal smart enough to gain access to it. He started his escapade by climbing a tree, going out on a limb over the feeder and lifting the top on one end so he could help himself to the contents. The next night, he lifted the entire feeder from its hanger on the limb and dropped it 12 feet onto the ground. He had a nice picnic that night, but will have no more. The feeder comes in when it gets dark, and the birds wake me up in the morning as soon as it is light, so I will take it back out.

*    *    *    *

The Grantsville Community Garden, planted in the plot where the old Hamilton house stood above the graded school, received attention this past weekend, and now has a fence surrounding it and a sign proclaiming it. The rain has been good for the garden, which seems to be coming along nicely.

*    *    *    *

Frontier high speed internet service was interrupted for over 24 hours last Tuesday and Wednesday, causing delays in updating our web pages. Even out here in the country, we still live in a wired world.

*    *    *    *

A Parma, Ohio, man accused of robbing the Arnoldsburg branch of Calhoun Banks in December, Darin Stephen McClain, has pleaded guilty to one count of unarmed robbery in federal court. Sentencing is set for July.

*    *    *    *

A new page has been added to the Calhoun Chronicle website. A video page is available to view several Wood Festival performances, including Calhoun Idol winner Autumn Blair, “Fat Boy” Houchin and Side FX, and Johnny Staats and Bluegrass Brand. A link to the videos is on the main page at www.calhounchronicle.com. If the project is well received, we will endeavor to post other videos.

 

June 11, 2009

Despite the predictions last Tuesday morning from the National Weather Service, it rained for the Wood Festival. It did dry up on Friday, although the fog on Friday night was so thick even bats had trouble flying through it. Saturday was just about the prettiest last day of the festival ever seen, sunny but not too hot.

*    *    *    *

The tree that was growing in the middle of the sidewalk island next to Dollar Store is no more. It seems that the tree’s roots had been breaking into the sewer lines, so it was cut down. It was one of the prettiest, white blooming trees each spring.

*    *    *    *

It seems that economic times can make some folks desperate. Several cars were broken into during daylight by “smash and grab” thieves on Saturday while the owners were enjoying activities on the West Fork and in Grantsville. Five of the thefts happened along Rt. 5 just east of the bridge, one was along west Main St., and three others at the southern end of the county. Anyone with information about these nefarious crimes can call Grantsville police, 354-7500, or the sheriff’s office, 354-6333.

*    *    *    *

Former Grantsville police chief J.D. Nicholson died on Monday at his residence in Walton. The cause of death is unknown at this time.

*    *    *    *

A woman from Sand Ridge, the edge of the Bear Fork wilderness, caught an unusual, unfriendly animal in a live trap last week. It had the markings of a strange looking cat, but was not a bobcat. She turned it over to DNR officer Eric Bostic for identification. Finding nothing wrong with the cat, he released it back into the wild close to Bear Fork. A woman came forward who owned the cat and said that it had escaped when a satellite installer left her door open. Bostic took her to where he released the cat, but it is yet to be found.

*    *    *    *

It was nice to see familiar faces in the crowds at the Wood Festival. While some festivals are getting smaller, thanks to the hard work and dedication of all the volunteers associated with it, the Wood Festival seems to be growing in popularity.

 

June 4, 2009

Hayfields are being mowed and the rain may actually hold off until the hay is put up and the Wood Festival is over. That doesn’t happen very often.

*    *    *    *

Someone was looking over a program for the Wood Festival Chorus from 1964 and noticed that there were 45 businesses sponsoring the event. Now, 45 years later, only seven of those businesses remain: Furr’s Auto Sales, The Calhoun Chronicle, Calhoun Insurance Agency, J&B Drug Store, Smith’s Auto Repair, Stump Funeral Home, and Meadow Gold Dairy (now Dairy Products, Inc.). 

*    *    *    *

Thunderstorms, accompanied by high winds, went through the area last Saturday night and caused some minor damage and put on a spectacular light show . . . in my yard. My telephones are now history and any other lightning damage will show up soon.

*    *    *    *

Excitement has been building all week in anticipation of the start of the Wood Festival on Thursday. There will be many good musical acts, lots of booths featuring arts and crafts, tasty food, carnival rides for   the kids, and a new event, Calhoun Idol contest. I am looking forward to all the events and I am sure I will see you there.

*    *    *    *

Frontier internet service was out for much of the weekend for folks in the county, due to a cable being severed in Wood County. It was a minor inconvenience for most, but a serious problem for businesses who take credit and debit cards.

 

May 28, 2009

The ground was starting to crack and gardens were beginning to look a little parched until rain began falling early this week. It was welcomed by all, except those who have been thinking about cutting their hay. The heavy seed heads were bent low by the precipitation, but a few days of sunshine should stand them up.

*    *    *    *

Rt. 16 North of Grantsville had the trash picked up last week by the same gentleman as before. It looked beautiful the first day, had a few pieces of trash the next day, and, unless folks stop throwing garbage out the windows of their vehicles, will be a mess in a few weeks.

*    *    *    *

A young couple were observed floating on an air mattress down the Little Kanawha River on Sunday. They started out at the boat launch above Grantsville in the early afternoon, winding up in town almost five hours later.             

 They highly recommend that anyone attempting the same trip in sunny circumstances use sunscreen . . . lots of sunscreen. They also mentioned that the juice of the aloe vera plant is very soothing in the short term for sunburn.

*    *    *    *

Despite everything else they have to eat, deer have been sneaking into yards and feasting on flowers and ferns. Some people are starting to get more than a little upset with the thieves and will soon be bouncing stones off of their hides.

*    *    *    *

Memorial Day is a time for remembering loved ones, honoring those who gave their lives for our freedom, and family mini-reunions. Several groups of family members met at the courthouse or in the town parking lot in Grantsville on Monday, so that they could all go together to various graveyards. Over the weekend, there were many family barbecues all over the county.

 

May 21, 2009

Scattered late frost was in the area on Monday and Tuesday mornings; otherwise, temperatures this week will be quite nice. There is a slight chance of showers for Memorial Day, with temperatures in the mid-70s.

*    *    *    *

The large PATH power line that was proposed to go through near Grantsville now appears to cutting across the bottom of Calhoun in the Mudfork-Walnut area. The width of the proposed area is big enough that the line could miss Calhoun altogether.

*    *    *    *

Hayfields in Calhoun are getting golden seed heads in preparation for the first cutting of the season. Some folks cut their hay around Memorial Day, and others wait for the first week of June.

*    *    *    *

The Little Kanawha River is starting to look good for fishing. It might be a good time to gather the kids and go wet a line.

*    *    *    *

West Virginia’s Vandalia Gathering will celebrate its 33rd anniversary this weekend on the Capitol Grounds in Charleston. It is the place to be for mountain traditional music, arts, crafts and lies. Biggest Liars Contest is one of the highlights of the weekend and Calhoun has had winners in the event.

 

May 14, 2009

Calhoun County received at least a little bit of luck when heavy rains that were forecast for last Friday night and Saturday morning fell far to the south.

*    *    *    *

Fireflies have been making their appearance in the evening hours and Luna moths have been seeking outdoor lights.

*    *    *    *

Residents living along the Little Kanawha River were concerned late last week when heavy rains caused water at Burnsville Lake to raise 12 feet higher than normal, flooding campgrounds and launching ramps. When the rains stopped and the water level receded downstream, excess water was released from the dam, which maintained or raised the level of the river above its banks.

*    *    *    *

Last week’s flooding may have destroyed the nesting sites of waterfowl along the river. After water began to recede, Canadian geese and several species of duck were spotted walking along the water’s edge without the little fuzz balls that would have been accompanying them in another few weeks.

*    *    *    *

Randall Arnold of Millstone has unearthed a very strange looking rock, while digging with a backhoe about six feet under ground. It has the appearance of a very large bone. He plans to have the artifact evaluated to see what it is.

 

May 7, 2009

Heavy rain caused flooding in the county on Monday. The forecast for midweek called for more rain, with dry conditions for the weekend.

*    *    *    *

Tasty springtime treats, known as morel mushrooms, are still coming up. The gray, white and giant yellow morels are ripe for harvest. There are only a few weeks left for you to get out and pick some.

*    *    *    *

Police were involved in a chase across four counties last Friday night and Saturday morning. It began on Altizer Road, west of Arnoldsburg, and the driver continued toward Roane County and into Mason and Jackson counties before eluding authorities. A Calhoun man, Gary Ackley, called Sheriff Allen Parsons on Satur-day afternoon to turn himself in.

*    *    *    *

Former Grantsville police chief J.D. Nicholson was allegedly attacked by an unknown assailant on the porch of his home in Walton. Roane County Sheriff’s Dept. is investigating.

*    *    *    *

A local woman was killed and a man injured on Saturday in a four-wheeler accident near Stumptown. The obituary for Amber Nichole Lamp, 24, of Big Springs, is on page two of this week's print edition and on the obituary page of this website.

 

April 30, 2009

Even though the calendar says it is still spring, thermometers showed summertime temperatures of 92 degrees on Saturday and 91 on Sunday at my house. Thunderstorms were to cool things by midweek. Temperatures on the weekend will still be in the 70’s.

*    *    *    *

Carpenter bees (wood boring bees that look like bumblebees) have been hanging around my decks and dive-bombing anyone who comes out. This is the time of year that I get to practice my tennis swings. I don’t play tennis, I just swat the big bees. Actually it is a squash racquet -- the shorter handle increases the thrill.

After years of being swatted, the bees seem to be a little bit smarter. I walk out on the deck and one (or more) will appear in front of my face to challenge me. As soon as I pick up my tennis racket, they disappear. I have to hide it alongside my leg or behind my back, and then they will come, and die. I have been able to greatly improve my backhand.

*    *    *    *

A local man was observed cleaning up trash on Town Hill by himself. He gathered quite a few bags of trash in his endeavor and made the roadway look very nice--until thoughtless people kept on throwing trash out of their cars. Now, it is almost as bad as it was before.

*    *    *    *

Improvements are being made in Grantsville. Main Street Cafe is having an awning installed over the deck in front of the establishment. It will provide shelter for folks who use the walk-up window.

*    *    *    *

There was a mild earthquake last Friday morning, centered near Gallipolis, Ohio. These earthquakes may be associated with the New Madrid Seismic Zone, located midway between St. Louis and Memphis. It has a history of shaking violently, about every 500 years. When it shook for three months in 1811-12, this was the western frontier, and the population was sparse. If it shook with that magnitude again, the devastation could be worse than that caused by Hurricane Katrina.

*    *    *    *

Some in Calhoun are concerned about the swine flu outbreak that is beginning to spread northward from Mexico. According to USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu viruses are not transmitted by food, so you cannot get swine flu from eating pork or pork products. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills other food borne pathogens.

 

April 23, 2009

Apple trees, dogwoods, red buds and trilliums make walking in the woods a pleasure this time of year. Grab your camera and your loved ones and take a hike this weekend.

*    *    *    *

The county continues to buzz with rumors and worry about the murder of two county residents in the Millstone area. State police are still following leads and are working to solve the case.

*    *    *    *

Fire destroyed a trailer on Pink Road last Wednesday morning. It had reportedly been empty for about a month.

*    *    *    *

A spokesman for the new PATH high-voltage power line, slated to come through Calhoun County around 2013, said that the project has been delayed by a year due to the current drop in demand for electricity because of the recession.

*    *    *    *

The unemployment rate for Calhoun in March was 14.3%. Hopefully, that number will drop as seasonal jobs open up for unemployed residents.

*    *    *    *

Wild turkeys continue to issue challenges every morning to other tom turkeys--and the hunters who are preparing for spring gobbler season.

*    *    *    *

The weather forecast for this weekend is looking very good. Temperatures will be in the low 80’s with mostly sunny skies. It should be excellent weather for going fishing or morel hunting, and taking photos of wildflowers.

 

April 16, 2009

Typical springtime weather was in force last week. Cold, warm, chilly, rainy and sunny, and that was just Wednesday. Whippoorwills and screech owls are singing nightly, and wood ticks have made an appearance. Be sure to check the kids for ticks after they play outside.

*    *    *    *

Morel mushrooms are really coming on strong. Although I was unable to look for them last weekend, reports indicate that this may be a banner year for finding plenty of the little delicacies. Morels are very good for you. On their own, before cooking, I doubt they have many calories or grams of fat, and I guarantee that you will lose weight if you climb the hills looking for them.

*    *    *    *

There were reports of a rather large rabbit or bunny hopping through area yards over the weekend, hiding things in clumps of grass and littering. It was deemed not to be the crime of misdemeanor littering when it was discovered that the bunny was only leaving behind candy and other prizes. Children from all over the county volunteered to search for all the left behind stuff and dispose of it themselves.

*    *    *    *

Many area residents attended the Mustang Survival job fair in Spencer last week. People were able to fill out applications for the jobs which are reported to pay $8 an hour, with benefits. Mustang makes flight suits for NASA and the military. The Elizabeth company stands to benefit from a federal stimulus package that requires products for the government to be manufactured in the U.S. The proposed Spencer location could eventually employ more than 100 people.

 

April 9, 2009

Old man winter came by for a brief visit this week. Tuesday morning, we were treated to a little dusting of snow with large flakes floating down most of the day. Several days previously were nice and warm with rain showers. Morel mushrooms are tall enough to harvest for those who look among the poplars close to the top of the hills.

*    *    *    *

A head-on collision between a car and a pickup truck on Rt. 5 at the Calhoun-Wirt line sent three people to hospitals last Friday. One of the victims was flown to Charleston with a possible head injury. Grantsville and Wirt County volunteer fire departments responded to the scene and used extraction devices to rescue the victims.

*    *    *    *

An electric pole caught fire in the rain on Saturday at Pleasant Hill. Although there was no real damage to property, Grantsville VFD discovered the cause of the blaze--a squirrel. The tiny arsonist lost his life in the inferno.

*    *    *    *

Fishing is still good for those willing to get wet. Big Bend resident Caleb Schoolcraft caught a 45-inch muskie on Sunday that weighed 23 lbs.

*    *    *    *

A compressor station located on Crooked Run at Orma, oper-ated by Dominion, developed a problem early Monday morning when, apparently, a steel ball that is used to push fluid through the line became stuck and caused a relief valve to vent pressurized natural gas with a loud whistling noise.

*    *    *    *

Some of Calhoun County’s geocaches have been seeing activity. If you have a GPS device and are interested in the sport of geocaching, go to www.geocaching.com and type your zip code into the search box to see what you can find. There are some nice ones here and plenty more in surrounding counties.

*    *    *    *

During Monday’s session of Calhoun circuit court, Judge David Nibert rejected a binding plea agreement of defendant Christopher Todd Smith. The defendant withdrew his guilty plea and the court ordered parties back to the original standing. His next court appearance is scheduled May 5.

 

 

 

April 2, 2009

Soaking rains have lowered the immediate threat of brush fires in the area and have pushed spring blossoming into high gear. Trilliums and mayapple are coming up, redbuds are showing color, and morels are just beginning to show. While too small to harvest, brown morels should be ready by next weekend.

*    *    *    *

Ramps are ready to dig and are tasty springtime treats. Though there is no longer a ramp festival in the county, there will probably be some ramp dinners held by local organizations.

*    *    *    *

I am looking forward to the first cutting of the lawn that, traditionally, occurs just after Easter. The clumps of high grass are perfect for egg hiding (although the grandchildren have figured that out) .

*    *    *    *

 

Paris and Orva Parsons of Minnora were lucky to escape injury last Wednesday when their car went off Rt. 16 and crashed before going into the West Fork.

 

*    *    *    *

Residents of Millstone and Arnoldsburg reported a drop in water pressure on Wednesday morning last week and complete loss of water most of the day. Service was restored on Wednesday evening.

*    *    *    *

The price of gasoline has begun to rise again. It must be almost time for folks to go on vacation. It seems that when the time to drive far distances comes around, the price goes up enough to keep us from going far. That’s alright, there are  plenty of places nearby to keep us occupied, happy and spending our money in West Virginia.

*    *    *    *

Fishing is starting to pick up. Local anglers have been busy trying to catch the “big one.” I would be happy to catch just one. I may be losing my touch as I “mature.”

 

March 26, 2009

The very dry weather this spring has made the woodlands extremely susceptible to fire. Please don’t burn anything outside until we get some rain. Even cigarette smoking can spark a brush fire, so be extra careful when extinguishing them. If you are found responsible for a brush fire, you can be found liable for any damages caused by that fire.

*    *    *    *

Ramps are beginning to peek through the old leaves in the woods. It will be nice to fry some up with a pan of potatoes and bacon in a week or so.

*    *    *    *

The large magnolia tree at the south end of Main St. in Grantsville has been trying to bloom this week, but the cold weather is holding it back. Its blooming has suffered in recent years due to late frosts, but was spectacular last year.

*    *    *    *

A trial to hear motions has been set for Apr. 17 in Gilmer County circuit court for Grantsville resident John Manis Richards, related to charges stemming from an alleged theft of over $33,000 in materials and equipment last July from Hardman Supply, Glenville.

The trial was delayed when Richards’ attorney’s office was destroyed by a fire. Two  judges, Richard A. Facemire and Jack Alsop, have recused themselves from the case because of information concerning them that had been listed on two websites.

Larry V. Starcher, former State supreme court justice, has been recalled for temporary assignment to hear the case, which is scheduled in May.

*    *    *    *

The highway department kept roads in pretty good shape all winter and has begun the annual spring brush hogging. I hope that the redbud trees along the edges of Rt. 16 north of Grantsville are not cut until they show their colors. They always make a great contrast with the white dogwoods.

 

March 19, 2009

The hills and valleys continue to turn green in anticipation of the official arrival of spring at 11:44 a.m. on Friday, Mar. 20. Turkeys have been singing in the morning and the larger groups they ran with during the winter are beginning to break up. There seem to be plenty of them to provide good hunting.

*    *    *    *

Lilacs leaves are showing, forsythia is about to bloom and weeping willows are showing streamers of green. Tulips should be showing off their flowers in another week. Enjoy it all and be sure to take plenty of photographs.

*    *    *    *

Folks have been spotted on the banks of the Little Kanawha River doing some early fishing. A few have been seen enjoying a little boating and fishing below the launching ramp on Rt. 7. Good luck to all and may the big ones stay on the line, at least until you can see them.

*    *    *    *

Work continues on the courthouse roof in Grantsville. Mon-day afternoon, a crane truck from Modern Builders of Mineral Wells was parked on the lawn beside the south side of the courthouse to lift the materials to the top of the three-story structure to re-roof that section. Quite a few of the people on the sidewalks took a break to watch the action that went without a hitch.

*    *    *    *

The walking path at Underwood Field has more users since the weather has begun to warm up. Walking is an easy and cost-free way to lose weight, lower cholesterol and keep in shape. Depending on the individual, an average of 100 calories is burned per mile walked. There are between 1,760 and 2,640 steps in a mile (depending on your stride). An average fitness-walking pace is about 15 minutes per mile. The pace varies depending on your fitness level, technique, goals, and terrain.

For general fitness walking, you should walk at a pace that increases your heart rate, and one that you can maintain for 30 to 60 minutes. Try the talk test-- if you can’t say a sentence without gasping for air you are walking too fast; if you are walking slowly enough that you can sing a song, you are probably walking too slow.

Since walking is good for the body and the soul, I suspect the hiking paths through the woods at Calhoun County Park will see a lot more use once the wild flowers begin to blossom.

 

March 12, 2009

The first week of March ended with spring-like warmth. Temperatures were close to 80 degrees and gardens were getting plowed. Night crawlers are already out on warm, rainy nights, calling to those who fish to get ready for spring fishing.

Robins and bluebirds have re-appeared in the area and spring peepers insure us all that we have made it through the worst of winter. Spring is just around the corner and now is the time to enjoy the early flowers.

*    *    *    *

Spring brush fire season is here and local fire departments have already been called into action. Outdoor burning, when it is windy, is never a good idea. Follow the burning laws and use common sense when doing any outdoor burning.

*    *    *    *

The highway department has been taking advantage of the good weather to patch some of the holes that winter weather has made in the roads. Some paving projects are set for later this year in the county.

*    *    *    *

Two men from Calhoun have been charged for allegedly breaking into Barker’s Marathon in Smithville last June. Keith Allen Lamp, 23, was arrested in Jackson County and taken to North Central Regional Jail. John Frederick Fisher, 29, was also arrested.

The men are charged with breaking and entering, theft, and felony destruction of property. According to the Ritchie County magistrate clerk’s office, bond has been set at $10,000 each.

*    *    *    *

An accident about two miles East of Grantsville on Rt. 7 in the Enon straight claimed the life of a Creston man on Wednesday, Mar. 4. Chris Bell, 21, was traveling toward Russett when his vehicle went out of control and struck a road bank.

 

March 5, 2009

March came in pretty much like a lamb on Sunday in Calhoun, while slamming almost the entire East Coast with a snowstorm. Goldfinches at the bird feeder are beginning to  lose their dull colored winter feathers in order to gain the beautiful golden plumage of summer.

*    *    *    *

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday. Set your clock ahead one hour so you can get up early and enjoy an extra hour of daylight in the evening. Monday morning will be fun when you have to wake the kids up an hour earlier than usual.

*    *    *    *

Residents are already tired of the new mandatory ten-digit dialing required for local calls. Once the new 681 area code is issued for new customers, you will have to ask people, even a new neighbor, for their complete phone number just to make sure.

*    *    *    *

Mar. 7, 1967, saw the largest flood in history for the Little Kanawha River at Grantsville, cresting at 43.9 feet. Leon (Big) Yoak operated a temporary ferry boat to get people from the road in front of the high school to Rt. 16, so they could get to town.

The water was so high that Yoak took his motorboat over the fence at the end of the football field without touching. Johnboats were tied to the pillars of Rainbow Hotel and Restaurant along Court St. and boats maneuvered down Mill St. to deliver hot meals to folks who stayed in their homes throughout the flood.

*    *    *    *

Wild onions are pushing their way up through the leaves (when the ground isn’t frozen brick-hard) and some crocus are blooming (when not snow-covered). It won’t be too long before ramps come up and morel mushrooms are peeking up from the forest floor.

 

February 26, 2009

 

As a reminder that winter still has three official weeks left on the calendar, up to four inches of snow blanketed the area on Sunday morning. There were some minor accidents caused by the slick roads, but the snow was of the beautiful variety that adhered to tree limbs and made the woods look like a postcard, although it made walking difficult for dogs with short legs. It is forecast to warm up this week with a chance of rain. For the courageous, onion sets are now available for planting.

*    *    *    *

The windstorm last week blew away the Calhoun County flag outside the Chronicle office. After a brief search, it was decided that the flag was probably gone forever. It was later found by a county resident wrapped around a stop sign on Mill Street and returned. You just can’t beat the honesty and integrity of Calhoun people.

*    *    *    *

Winifred White of Chloe will be honored Feb. 26 at W.Va. State University at Institute. She will be presented with an “Un-sung Heroes” award at the 7th annual Civil Rights Day awards ceremony.

 *    *    *    *

The historic Corder bridge, located on Rts. 33/119 at the Roane-Calhoun line, is scheduled for replacement sometime this year. It was suppose to be replaced in 2007, but was delayed by complications. The new bridge will be constructed next to the old one using steel I-beams with concrete decking.

It is estimated that the project, including straightening about a half mile of roadway, will take about two years to complete. A plan released in 2005 listed the cost as $1.5 million, but it will likely be more now.

*    *    *    *

Grantsville Volunteer Fire Dept. has a new rescue truck in service. It is fully equipped for emergencies, including an air bag that can lift up to 28 tons. The truck was obtained with grant money and help from local sources and businesses.

*    *    *    *

The Chronicle website, www.calhounchronicle.com, is attracting more and more viewers from around the county, the country and the world. It is updated every Wednesday with feature stories, sports page, and when available, photos of the week.

 

February 19, 2009

A mighty wind blew through the region on Wednesday night of last week, causing quite a bit of damage and scaring hilltop residents with a roar as loud as thunder. National Weather Ser-vice showed wind speed recorded at Wood County airport in excess of 70 miles per hour.

Locally, about 2,000 residents were without electrical power, and damage was listed as blown-over trees, property damage to barns and outbuildings, missing roof tiles and tin, and exchange of children’s outside toys from yard to yard.

The sign at Pleasant Hill U.M. Church had its frame twisted out of shape. The sign was recovered from across the road and some distance over the hill. The large American flag at the courthouse received damage and now has a rip in it.

If a wind that strong had come through the area after the trees were in full-leaf, the damage would have been much worse.

*    *    *    *

The days are getting longer now and more flowers are beginning to come up. Tulips, daffodils and some I have yet to identify are peeking through the leaves.

*    *    *    *

A reader was concerned about the 75 years ago segment missing from “This Week in History.” The problem lies in the microfiche reel for 1934 at the library. It doesn’t begin until October. We will add it to the column when it is available.

 

February 12, 2009

Winter’s grip on Calhoun loosened a little this past week. Temperatures over the weekend were in the 60’s and almost all of the snow has melted. There are still patches of ice in sheltered hollows, but the warmth and rainfall this week will take care of that.

*       *       *       *

The first spring flowers that we see at our house, delicate little white snowdrops, are already coming up and will be blooming by the end of the month. Songbirds are beginning to pay us back for the food we gave them this winter by regaling us with their spring calls of joy.

*       *       *       *

Monday, Feb. 16, marks the sixth anniversary of the ice storm that hit the region in 2003 and caused so much devastation to woodlands.

*       *       *       *

Even though the mandatory switch from analog to digital TV has been delayed by congress, only WOAY, Oak Hill, will continue to broadcast an analog signal. The other stations will discontinue analog broadcasting on Tuesday, Feb. 17. Remember, reading is good for the soul, uses much less electricity, and allows the imagination to add special effects to stories.

*       *       *       *

People on the streets of Grantsville seemed to be in better spirits this week, since they were able to walk about without a heavy coat on, face turned away from the wind and snow. The rain that is due will most likely turn those smiles upside down.

*       *       *       *

The national unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent in January. West Virginia posted an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent in December, while Calhoun County was at 7.7. With all the layoffs that occur each week throughout the country, we could soon be below the national average.

 

February 5, 2009

January ended with cold, snow, rain, sleet, and all the problems that brings to those who walk on two legs and drive on four wheels. The middle of last week had the region under a winter storm warning that forced many cancellations.

On Sunday, the weather warmed just enough to melt some of the snow off the hillsides and back roads in time for folks to go to Super Bowl parties and to make way for the snow that is due to fall this week.

*       *       *       *

The Pennsylvania groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow on Monday, but French Creek Freddie was treated to a cloudy day. Since Freddie didn’t see his shadow, perhaps winter will be over soon. 

*       *       *       *

There were many accidents in Calhoun in the past week due to the slick roads. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. The pastures and hillsides were marked with the straight lines of sleds and resounded with the laughter of children building snowmen and having snowball fights. 

*       *       *       *

Although many people were surprised last Wednesday that the paper was available when they stopped to buy one, the Chronicle has not missed a day due to weather in well over 20 years.

*       *       *       *

The new president attempted to get the date for digital TV conversion pushed back to June 12. The Senate passed the bill last Monday, but the bill failed to pass in the House of Representatives. For now, that means your off-the-air broadcasts will end Feb. 17, if you aren’t ready for the switch.

*       *       *       *

Mandatory 10-digit dialing on all local calls, except 911, will begin at the end of this month. Make sure you are ready for the change by practicing now and setting up your phone’s internal phonebook for the changeover.  

 

January 29, 2009

Mother Nature is once again in charge of Calhoun County. More snow began falling around 2 a.m. on Tuesday. The entire area was under a severe winter storm warning and a flood watch in case the rain melts all the snow. It is supposed to clear up by Saturday, so maybe it won’t interfere with Super Bowl Sunday.

*       *       *       *

Five Forks resident Charlie Blair has had to endure another fire. Two years ago this month, Charlie’s house burned to the ground and now a mobile home he was living in has burned. Blair suffered second degree burns in this fire, but vows to start over again.

*       *       *       *

Another fire at Sinking Springs of Wednesday of last week destroyed the home and all possessions of Darren and Alma Graffius. They were both at work and their daughter Carrie was at school. The family is in need of everything. You can help them by calling 655-7209 or mailing contributions to P.O. Box 153, Arnoldsburg, WV 25234.

*       *       *       *

There seemed to be hundreds of birds coming to the feeder with the onset of all this bad weather. I hope they appreciate the foresight involved in getting extra sunflower seed home before the storm hit. I can guarantee there is not much to be found for them to eat in the woods right now.

*       *       *       *

Seriously folks, I am still looking for a gas refrigerator, since mine malfunctioned. If you have one, call 354-7164 or 354-9373.

 

January 22, 2009

Mother Nature forced many cancellations last week and the expected cold exceeded predictions of the weather service last weekend.  Temperatures on Friday and Saturday mornings registered 6.7 degrees below zero on our digital thermometer. That is brutally cold.

When temperatures climbed above the freezing mark late Saturday afternoon, the gas froze off, allowing our gas refrigerator to build pressure and pop a leak. The stench of ammonia at 1:30 a.m. will definitely wake you up. Anybody have a spare gas refrigerator?

*       *       *       *

An early morning electrical fire in the home of Jeffery and Sherry Farrell on Leafbank Road last Thursday was brought under control when the smoke and flames awakened two children who immediately alerted everyone to the danger. Some family members carried furniture and valuables outside, while others used several gallons of bottled water and a water hose to battle the blaze until the fire department was able to get to the scene. The home was saved, and tragedy averted, by the quick action of the two boys, Zach and Douglas Farrell.

*       *       *       *

Carbon monoxide fumes apparently overcame two Orma residents early on Saturday morning, when the temperatures dipped below zero. Two residents of the home, located near Orma Post Office, were transported to Minnie Hamilton Health System for treatment, after one of them called 911 in a confused state.

*       *       *       *

Sunday evening, a couple of hoot owls declared war on each other just below our house. It all started with one calling and then another answering. It was a magical moment of two lost nocturnal birds finding a friend. They got closer together as time passed, and then it sounded like the audio of a jungle movie as they came face to face. Either it was a good fight or there will be a few more hoot owls come spring. We seem to have quite a few owls, of many species, in our holler. I look forward to the song of the whippoorwill that will come in just a few more weeks.

 

January 15, 2009

Typical January weather has been the name of the game in the region, with more to come. The forecast calls for snow mid-week. For Friday night, the low temperature could be one degree above zero. Better wrap your water pipes and see to your outside animals.

*       *       *       *

Christopher Goldston, 29, a Nevada native, was discovered unresponsive in a camper at Leatherbark on Saturday night. Emergency services were called in, but were unable to revive the man. The body was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office in South Charleston to determine the cause of death.

*       *       *       *

Potholes along the highways are beginning to grow with the worsening weather, but the Dept. of Highways has been doing a good job keeping the roads cleared of snow. If you travel to an adjoining county on a snowy day, you will appreciate Calhoun’s hard-working crews. When it warms up, they can fill the potholes.

*       *       *       *

It’s definitely time to remember to keep your bird feeders full. When there is snow on the ground and the weather is cold, they depend on you to keep fed.

The birds around my house only eat sunflower seeds and    if  I buy “birdseed” at the   store, they will pick out the sunflower seeds and kick the rest out on the ground. They also like to have a suet cake or two to peck at--when I remember to get them.

January 8, 2009

The year ended in tragedy for a Grantsville woman.

Mellody Rush, 32, apparently got her vehicle stuck in a private driveway in the Russett area and fell over a rock cliff when she became disoriented after leaving the vehicle to seek help in the darkness.

 Her sister called 911 to report her missing around 1:50 a.m. on Jan. 1, beginning a search by Grantsville volunteer firemen. Her body was found at the bottom of a ravine near Sycamore Creek.

*       *       *       *

The new year has brought changes in getting a driver’s license renewed. Everyone is now required to have a vision test before being licensed to drive. Vision screening machines have been installed at all DMV offices and are not supposed to add much extra time to take the test. If you fail the test, you will have to go to an optometrist for a complete vision test and optical correction before receiving your license.

*       *       *       *

If you already have a digital television, or a converter box, or if you receive cable or satellite TV you can skip this. If you don’t, and still get reception from the airwaves, you have until Feb. 17 to prepare for digital TV. According to some local residents who have already made the switch, the stations you can receive are crystal clear with no “snow” or lines of interference (even though the antenna reception before was snowy). If the signal isn’t strong enough you will get nothing.

*       *       *       *

You might want to start dialing all ten digits for local calls so that you can get used to the dialing rules taking effect at the end of February. It is also time to reprogram all the local numbers in your telephone memory and your computer, if you use dial-up.

 

January 1, 2009

No snow for Christmas this year, again. There was much warmer than usual temperatures that came in with a big wind and left the same way. Many yard ornaments were doing some serious dancing in yards and on rooftops.

*       *       *       *

Saturday afternoon was quiet in the county as many residents were inside watching the WVU Mountaineers play in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. The Mountaineers won the game 31-30 to end the college career of Pat White with a record four straight bowl victories as a starting quarterback.

*       *       *       *

Immediately following the football game, fans could watch the WVU basketball team upset No. 15 Ohio State, 76-48, to end the nation’s longest current winning streak.

*       *       *       *

Wednesday night is New Year’s Eve, so remember while you are counting down the seconds until 2009 to add one “leap second.” As the saying goes, every second counts and in the case of leap seconds, that is especially true.

Leap seconds are needed to reconcile two very different ways of measuring time. Traditionally, we have reckoned time by the spin of the Earth and its orbit around the sun. Under this astronomical arrangement, a second is one-86,400th of our planet’s daily rotation. Because of tidal friction and other natural phenomena, that rotation is slowing down by about two-thousandths of a second a day.

Since the 1950s, atomic clocks -- which are based on the unwavering motions of cesium atoms -- have made it possible to measure time more accurately, to within a billionth of a second a day. Every 500 days or so, the difference between the time registered on those clocks and time as registered by the Earth’s rotation adds up to about a second.

*       *       *       *

Thursday is Jan. 1, 2009, so don’t forget to set your calendar ahead one year.

*       *       *       *

Two men have been arrested for allegedly being accessories in the Arnoldsburg bank robbery. Beau Allen Collins, 26, of Arnoldsburg and Richard Allen Starcher, 29, of Spencer have been charged with being an accessory to bank robbery.

 

December 25, 2008

Winter began Sunday, Dec. 21, and Monday, the first full day of winter, made believers out of all of us. Area schools were on a two-hour delay due to single digit temperatures and a wind chill factor below zero.

*       *       *       *

National Weather Service says we will not have a white Christmas this year. It is going to warm up just enough to turn our precipitation into rain and not snow.

*       *       *       *

The U.S. Census Bureau will be hiring people in Calhoun County for the 2010 Census. Work will begin in January. Testing was scheduled Tuesday, Dec. 23, 3 to 6 p.m., at the Senior Citizens Center, Grantsville. Anyone wanting to take the test must bring a photo ID issued by the DMV and one of  the following: a birth certificate, or a passport (expired ones are okay) or a Social Security card. They must be at least 18 and a legal U.S. citizen.

For information call 1-866-861-2010 or visit www.census. gov/detroit to take a practice test.

*       *       *       *

High winds over the weekend made it difficult for some of the holiday yard ornaments in the county. It wouldn’t have surprised me to see Santa, penguins and snowmen flying across the sky, making excellent time with a strong tailwind.

*       *       *       *

Hunters were spotted in the woods on Saturday hunting with muzzle loading rifles. I know they are some of the safest hunters in the woods, after all, they only get one shot and they have to make it count.

 

December 18, 2008

Deer kills were down slightly in the state this season, in spite of the snow cover on the ground, which made the critters a little easier to spot. Maybe everyone’s car insurance will go down a little, since there will be fewer four-legged road hazards.

*       *       *       *

While snow is beautiful on the trees and on the ground, it does a number on inflatable yard decorations. All it takes is about a half-inch of snow and the inflatables cannot stand the pressure. In one yard featuring an inflatable Jimmy Johnson NASCAR racing machine, it appears that Jimmy couldn’t handle the turn and flipped over on his side, while Santa and some penguins are just laying around waiting for the thaw.

*       *       *       *

A former volunteer Grantsville police officer will be spending a little time in jail. Shane Dellinger was sentenced to 60 days in Central Regional Jail and two years probation for a conviction of falsifying time slips when he was a sheriff’s deputy in Braxton County.

*       *       *       *

I thought Santa was coming into town last Friday evening when I heard what sounded like sleigh bells coming down Main Street. It turned out to be a school bus with the new hanging chains underneath.

*       *       *       *

A court case in Gilmer County for John Manis Richards concerning an alleged theft from Hardman Supply, Glenville, has been rescheduled Jan. 6, and may have to be postponed beyond that date. The office of his attorney has burned.

*       *       *       *

A full moon last week provided the brightest midnight light seen in many years. The moon was at its closest point to Earth and the snow covering turned night into almost day. I strolled around my yard and saw deer walking the hills around my house and a rabbit sitting across the road.

 

December 11, 2008

A couple of inches of snow and extremely cold temperatures over the weekend made driving hazardous and caused the can-cellation of some events around the area. The coming week looks like rain, followed by more of the white stuff. Maybe we will have a white Christmas this year.

*       *       *       *

Although it was cold, windy and snowing on Saturday, area hunters were out and about. The stillness of the afternoon snow-fall was broken often by the sound of gunfire as deer had no place to hide.

*       *       *       *

You know times are hard when folks come from out-of-state to rob a bank in Calhoun County.

*       *       *       *

The town of Grantsville sure looks pretty this year. Businesses have decorated their windows, beautiful lights are hanging from the electric poles, and residents all over the county have put out lighted displays to make us all proud.

*       *       *       *

In spite of the cold weather last Friday evening, many people were on hand to view  the Christmas parade and see Santa arrive. At least one of the little ones was overheard telling Santa that he wanted summer weather for Christmas. He was just plain tired of being cold.

*       *       *       *

Grantsville volunteer firemen responded to a garage fire on Barnes run last Friday evening, and through their quick response were able to put out the fire and save a nearby residence and other buildings. All of the volunteers in the county who do so much are to be applauded.

 

December 4, 2008

The snow that covered my decks two weeks ago has now almost melted away. There is a little more snow in the forecast for deer hunters and to help people get in the Christmas spirit.

*       *       *       *

There seemed to be a lull in the annual shooting fest last Thursday afternoon and then I realized it was time for everyone to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner.

*       *       *       *

My Thanksgiving was both filling and fulfilling as I realized that I had much to be thankful for and very little about which to complain.

*       *       *       *

There were two does and a buck lying by the side of the road just as you come into Grantsville on Rt. 16 North. I’m not sure if they were hit by a car, shot, or just came into town on a bad day.

*       *       *       *

I received an update on the address labels mentioned last week. The director of the E-911 addressing program informed me that your old address (when you are notified that it is, indeed, old) will still be valid for one year. Since Christmas is over a year away, you may still need to inform everyone on your Christmas card list of your address change before next year.

*       *       *       *

Many big bucks have been harvested so far this season and there are still some big ones left for the dedicated hunter. The herds do seem to be thinning out and deer are more skittish now that the season is in full swing. I don’t see them standing along the roads in the evening like they were before.

*       *       *       *

Since many people have asked me about giving a class on digital photography, I am now looking for input from those who may be interested in taking a class. Do you want to learn how to shoot pictures or how to process them, or both. Not all cameras are created equal, so it may actually be your camera that is causing problems. There are ways to compensate for that.

I figure that I have saved thousands of dollars since I switched from film to digital back in the early nineties and I am taking better pictures than before too. So can you. See my ad in this week’s paper for more details.

 

November 27, 2008

Bitterly cold weather closed out last week, with morning temperatures on Saturday at 10 degrees.

 *       *       *       *

The beginning of bucks only season had freezing rain in the early morning hours. Some light snow is predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday, with a warmer and sunny Thanksgiving Day.

*       *       *       *

This is a county of neighbors. If you know any shut-ins or elderly people who cannot cook a holiday meal, share some of your Thanksgiving feast. You will feel better for it and they will give thanks to you.

*       *       *       *

According to Calhoun’s addressing and mapping coordinator, the Postal Service Address Management office in Charleston has approved new addresses and residents will receive a letter of notification.

Those little return address labels you may have ready to put on your Christmas cards may not be valid, so get ready to write it on each envelope this year.

*       *       *       *

There were no injuries in an accident at Big Bend when a driver lost control of a car and drove into the High Rise Pizza establishment. Just what we need around here, a drive-through pizza place.

*       *       *       *

In years past, there were folks who rooted for the deer during deer season. They liked seeing the deer standing in the meadows in the evening sun, heads lifted, antlers shining, looking just like a wildlife painting.

The over-abundance of deer now allows people to see entire herds standing in the middle of the road as drivers come around a blind curve.

Hitting an opossum or raccoon with your car makes you feel bad. Hitting a deer and totaling your car makes you feel really bad. Perhaps we could do with a few less deer.

 

November 20, 2008

Winter snow arrived one week too early to help area deer hunters. Calhoun County woke up early on Tuesday to find up to five inches of snow blanketing the ground.

County roads were covered in the white, slippery stuff, making it difficult for many to get to work, sometimes turning a 20- minute drive into an hour or more of nail biting, slip sliding to work. Area schools were on a two-hour delay at first and then were closed for the day.

Maybe next week, we will get more snow for deer season, that always makes the deer easier to spot and to track.

 *       *       *       *

Folks who listen to police and emergency scanners were somewhat excited last Thursday when Ritchie County issued an alert for armed robbery suspects who may have been traveling this way on Rt. 16 or West on Rt. 47. Local police responded, but were unable to locate the suspects. They were later arrested in Wood County.

*       *       *       *

Good news for anyone without the cash to pay their property taxes. The sheriff’s office now takes credit cards. They will charge you a 2.95% fee for the privilege.

*       *       *       *

Area residents, who are not yet “close enough” to a telephone substation, may now be able to get high-speed DSL service from Frontier, for a price. It seems that it now has a “line conditioner” that can be installed to help the DSL service reach out twice the distance to help customers that were too far before.

 

November 13, 2008

Even though there have been some sprinkles and light showers, we are still in the midst of a drought. That may change, as the forecast calls    for rain through Saturday night. That should help get the water table a little closer to normal.

*       *       *       *

It will be 32 years ago on Nov. 18 that Calhoun County sheriff Park Richards was killed in the line of duty. Richards was shot while serving a mental hygiene warrant on a mentally disturbed man who was living under a rock overhang on what used to be called Apple Farm at Rush Run.

In November, 2006, a section of Rt. 16 from Grantsville to the Ritchie county line was named the Park Richards Memorial Highway and dedicated to his memory.

*       *       *       *

An 18-year-old male was removed from a wrecked pickup truck early Tuesday morning after an accident just West of Cabot Station. He was flown to Charleston Area Medical Center by helicopter. It was unknown what time the accident occurred or how long it went unnoticed.

*       *       *       *

Area deer are either getting braver or stupider, just when they should be becoming more paranoid of humans. The deer around my house just stand there and look at you when you walk out the door not even 15 feet away. They don’t even move if you yell at them. Come deer season that could be a very bad habit, and an easy drag home.

*       *       *       *

Although John McCain carried the vote in Calhoun County, most of the folks I have talked to are watching to see what changes the new president will make in foreign policy, the financial crises, and income taxes. I am sure that we all wish him the best of luck.

 

November 6, 2008

Although I did not see any snow last week, witnesses I consider more or less reliable, reported that flurries were spotted in skies of Calhoun County. That must make the warm temperatures of this week, “Indian Summer.”

Highs in the 70’s on election day, with sunny skies, seemed to make it an irresistible day for people to get out and vote. Over 500 citizens utilized early voting in the county. It looks like we may have had record turnout for this election.

*       *       *       *

Lots of little ghosts and goblins, witches, princesses and super heroes were out terrorizing the residents of Calhoun last weekend by threatening to “trick” if not treated. At least one of the small doorknockers was dressed as a ladybug. A quick check of the spots on the little beast soon proved that it was not one of the dreaded Asian variety. It was just as  well that citizens had a stash    of candy and other goodies on-hand to appease the little ones.

*       *       *       *

Last weekend, we all set our clocks back an hour to return to daylight standard time. It should have given us all an extra hour to sleep each morning. It doesn’t seem to matter, however, I still wake up at the same time every day no matter what the clock says.

*       *       *       *

A home belonging to Rodney and Roberta Frederick of Big Springs was destroyed by fire last Friday. The family has already received enough donations of clothing, but are still in need of other household items, such as furniture, bedding and other necessities. An account has been set-up at Calhoun Banks to help the family. For information, call Greg or Angie Frederick, 354-9403.

 

October 30, 2008

Forecasters were calling for snow flurries the early part of this week, but so far I have not witnessed the event. We did receive some much-needed rain over the weekend. The oak and hickory trees are now at their peak of color.

*       *       *       *

On Sunday at 2 a.m., daylight saving time will end. It is the time to “fall back.” Set your clocks back an hour before you go to bed so you can sleep-in for an extra hour. Now, the kids will have daylight in the morning while waiting for the bus. The bad thing is that it will be almost dark when you get home from work.

*       *       *       *

Tuesday is election day, so don’t forget to vote. Many thousands of Americans have died so that you may still have the right to vote, be sure you exercise that right or they will have died in vain.

In the U.S., the turnout has been plummeting toward a dismal 50%, although it is expected that this year will have a bigger turnout. Australia has a law that states that you must go to the polls and vote (even if you cast a blank ballot) or face a $20 fine. It seems to be working as the voter turnout in Australia is 95%. In Turkmenistan, the turnout is an astonishing 99%.

*       *       *       *

A semi-truck trailer used to store hay at a construction site at the old McDonald farm near Mt. Zion Community Park caught fire early Monday morning. The hay and trailer were destroyed. Cause of the blaze is unknown and authorities are investigating.

*       *       *       *

Next week will mark the 23rd anniversary of the third highest flood in Grantsville. On Nov. 5, 1985, the Little Kanawha River crested at 42.87 feet, causing major damage to much of the area. The West Fork and Steer Creek also saw major flooding.

*       *       *       *

This weekend is Halloween, so be sure to watch out for little ghosts, goblins, witches and superheroes as they will be too excited to watch out for you.

 

October 23, 2008

Since we have had our first hard frost, we can now look forward to Indian Summer. Snowflakes will be flying through the air soon.

Last weekend may have been the best time for leaf peeping in Calhoun as the brightly colored maple leaves are now scattered on the ground.

Reports from area bow hunters are good. Many nice bucks (and lots of does) were spotted, and some were harvested. I like bow season. It is a very quiet way to hunt and it brings you closer to nature. Also, no one was ever killed by a bow falling and accidentally going off while crossing a fence or while cleaning it.

*       *       *       *

In 2001, the Northern lights were visible in Calhoun. On the nights of Oct. 21 and 28 and Nov. 5, the aurora borealis was seen. Many people who saw the strange colors in the sky did not recognize them as the Northern lights. The lights were mostly a brightly glowing red, on and just above the northern horizon.  Some (including yours truly) thought they were brush fires.

*       *       *       *

 

The new power line, PATH, that is set to cross Calhoun, has announced a change in route. Most likely the change will not affect our area as it involves some difficulty in routing through parklands in the eastern part of the state.

*       *       *       *

The economic crisis that is causing so much trouble on Wall Street seems to be hitting here as well. We are experiencing a sharp rise in the theft of ATVs and anything that isn’t locked up, nailed down, or hidden. Be alert, lock up your valuables and vehicles, and report any suspicious behavior to the police immediately.

*       *       *       *

A fire early last Friday morning destroyed a house in Arnoldsburg. The house was a rental property and had recently been rented. The new tenants were in the process of moving in. No one was at home at the time of the fire.

October 16, 2008

Although I have often heard that frost in the morning and cold nights are necessary for truly colorful fall foliage, this is a most spectacular show of color with no frost and only chilly nights. The maple trees almost make you squint when you see their scarlet leaves. The oak and hickory trees are beginning to change too. Plan a walk with your family in a nearby woods this week to enjoy the changing of the season in sights and scents.

*       *       *       *

Maybe it is a sign of the economy, but this year’s list of delinquent property taxes unpaid in Calhoun County, as listed by the sheriff, is $82,733, an increase of 12.5% over last year’s total of $72,981.

*       *       *       *

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Norville McCune, who lived on Crooked Run at Orma. I met Norv and his brother Bruce in the early ’80s and found them both to be truly amazing men. They lived and worked as our ancestors did, simply, honestly, and hard. They were always busy doing something and they believed in the principle of “re-use” since the depression. Norville died Oct. 7, at the age of 89, while using a weed whacker to clear some brush on his farm. He will be missed by all who knew him.

*       *       *       *

Even though squirrel season opened last Saturday, the little tree rats are still sitting in the middle of the road gnawing on walnuts. Personally, I don’t like walnuts, but the squirrels must think they are worth dying for, or maybe it is easier to get to the meat of the nut after it has been smashed flat by a car. I’m not sure, but I could ask the crow in the tree that is waiting to eat the squirrel after he gets hit by a car.

*       *       *       *

Letters of request for membership on Grantsville town council are being accepted. Letters should be submitted to the mayor by Oct. 29. The new member will take their seat on Monday, Nov. 4. The term will expire at noon on June 30, 2009.

 

October 9, 2008

Leaves are really beginning to change colors--and fill up gutters, if we ever get any rain. Hummingbirds have quit stopping at the feeders, but the fall migrating birds are eating plenty of sunflower seeds to fuel their journey south.

*       *       *       *

The exceedingly dry weather makes it even more important to obey the laws during this forest fire season. Even if we get a little rain, it will not wet the ground very deep in the woods.

*       *       *       *

Workers for the local West Virginia Division of Highways office came across a  large rattlesnake last week along the Right Fork of Crummies Creek. It is unknown whether  or not they used it to fill a pothole.

*       *       *       *

Squirrel season begins Saturday. There are plenty of them this year and, with the excellent harvest of nuts, they should be fat and tasty. Nothing tastes better in the morning than fried squirrel with hair gravy.

 

October 2, 2008

Walnut trees are full of nuts this year, and if you happen to park beneath one, it could look like a hailstorm damaged your car. I took a hit to the top of my head the other day, but it just sounded like the nut hit something hollow.

*       *       *       *

A mobile home caught fire on the lower Southside of Grantsville last Wednesday. The owner of the home attempted to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher, but the fire spread to the ceiling. Grantsville Volunteer Fire Dept. got the fire out. Damages were unknown.

*       *       *       *

The Fall Forest Fire season is from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. Outdoor burning is prohibited between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Please obey the law as it has been unusually dry so far and it won’t take much to get a bad fire going.

*       *       *       *

If you simply cannot wait for the leaves to change, you should plan a trip to the mountains this weekend. The areas around Blackwater canyon and Canaan Valley are almost ready to  peak. If you wait a couple of weeks, you can see the splendor here and save yourself some gas.

 

September 25, 2008

Fall fell softly on Monday, with weather so pretty you couldn’t even buy it on eBay. Makes me wonder if autumn will go out with a bang.

*       *       *       *

Walking along the ridge tops provides a view of trees just on the green side with a touch of autumn blush. Early morning is the best time. The valleys are filled with fog, the birds are happy and the view is spectacular. The most colorful time of the year is just a few short weeks away.

*       *       *       *

Frontier Communications had a problem on Monday afternoon that made it difficult or impossible for Calhoun residents to communicate with the world.

A fiber optic cable about two miles from Grantsville was damaged. That shut down internet and long distance service to everyone, although some customers with a 354 interchange could make local calls. Service was restored by Tuesday morning.

*       *       *       *

Apparently, the owner of a cabin in the Munday area wanted to see if the OnStar emergency service in his vehicle would work even way out in the country. He now knows it does.

A state trooper, Calhoun EMS and Grantsville Volunteer Fire Dept. responded to the  call. The owner said that he had advised OnStar that he was only conducting a test, but OnStar must not have heard that part.

*       *       *       *

Squirrels are getting fat and the deer are getting brave. It must be getting close to hunting season. That, and the fact that you can now hear guns going off every weekend if you sit outside and listen for while. I seem to remember getting a gun sighted-in with only a few shots, not 15 or 20.

 

September 18, 2008

Hurricane Ike, after causing destruction in Texas and other parts of the Gulf Coast, barely grazed Calhoun County on Sunday with a stiff wind blowing over the hilltops and very little rain. It continued to cause damage across parts of Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, with significant wind damage to buildings and trees.

*       *       *       *

Some local farmers are putting up their second cutting of the fields, the last hay of the year. Due to storms that occurred right before the first cutting and dry weather through the summer, cattle may in for a rough winter.

*       *       *       *

Speaking of winter, I accidentally stepped on my first wooly worm. It was mostly black, with a little brown toward the tail. That may mean a cold, hard winter with a warm spell towards the end, or it may mean the poor little fuzzy critter was just unlucky.

*       *       *       *

Allegheny Energy has updated the PATH website, www.pathtransmission.com, for the proposed route of the 765-kilovolt power line that could cross Calhoun County. The site has aerial maps that detail the route. Click on the “Detailed Aerial Maps Available” link. The maps can take a long time to download on dial-up connections, but show the new right-of-way and the existing one.

*       *       *       *

Chestnut trees along Pleasant Hill are loaded with large burrs. It looks like there will be many chestnuts to roast over an open fire this holiday season.

 

September 11, 2008

A little rain blessed the area on Tuesday, with more coming by the weekend. Bucks are starting to lose the velvet from their horns and are making scrapes everywhere. Owls are beginning their fall concert and a large bobcat was crossing a field next to my house the other evening.

*       *       *       *

The old Creston General Store was destroyed by fire on Aug. 30. It was determined that the fire was deliberately set. The store, built in the late 1880s, is prominent in almost any old photograph of Creston. It was the last surviving structure of the once thriving Creston community. The store was owned by Chronicle columnist Alvin Engelke and was being used for storage.

*       *       *       *

A man was injured in a 4-wheeler accident in the back country of Katie’s Run, near Annamoriah, on Sunday afternoon. He was sent to CAMC by helicopter after being carried from the scene. His condition is unknown.

*       *       *       *

Firefighters responded to the scene of a transformer fire near the Annamoriah straight on Tuesday afternoon, but had to wait for the electric company to arrive and shut off the power.

*       *       *       *

Thanks to warm weather this spring, there is a bumper crop of fruit on the trees now. Some trees are unable to hold their bounty and overburdened limbs are beginning to break. There should be excellent apple cider and apple butter this year, as well as preserved peaches and pears. As for me, I believe I will bake an apple pie or two.

*       *       *       *

This Thursday marks the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9-11. Remember that morning with a moment of silence and a prayer that it never happens again.

 

September 4, 2008

Hummingbirds continue to fight at the feeders every day. That is what happens when they are migrating south and stop by to fill up their belly at places they remember on the way. I will keep my feeder up until mid-October or until a week goes by without seeing any of the little wonders.

*       *       *       *

A fire caused heavy damage to a mobile home belonging to Marie Honaker near Altizer last Wednesday night. She is the widow of Rufus Honaker, who was a volunteer fireman at Arnoldsburg for many years.

*       *       *       *

An explosion and fire last Thursday night at the Bayer CropScience plant at Institute proved deadly for one worker and seriously injured another. It could have been much worse. The blast was heard as far as Mink Shoals, 16 miles away. Kanawha County officials recommended a “shelter in place” emergency from South Charleston to the Putnam county line.

*       *       *       *

A low-speed chase across four counties occurred over the weekend. The chase began on Rt. 16 when state police in Clay County reported they were in pursuit of a pickup truck that, after they called for assistance, continued on Rt. 33/119 through Calhoun and Roane and ended on Rt. 119 in Kanawha. It is not known what started the chase.

*       *       *       *

A woman was injured in an accident near Big Springs when her car went out of control and slid over an embankment. She received minor injuries.

*       *       *       *

On Saturday night, an accident on Adam-Altizer Road resulted in some lacerations to one man when his pickup truck reportedly rolled over several times with him being ejected.

 

August 28, 2008

Although the weather has been dry, it has been perfect for those of us with large lawns and small lawnmowers. Grass needs rain to grow and now that we may experience some of the leftover rain from tropical storm Fay, it will be time to mow the lawn again. Only a few more mowings to do, and perhaps one more day of weedeating, and then it will be fall and time to rake the leaves.

*       *       *       *

Jerry and Gayle Burkowski and family search for treasures.

 

It seemed as if a parade was passing by our house last Saturday. There is usually not much traffic, but suddenly there were six people walking by with GPS units in their hands.

Geocachers from Gilmer County were on the hunt for caches in Calhoun. They were searching for Grumpy’s Bathtub, which is located in our holler. They turned out to be Jerry and Gayle Burkowski, college professors at GSC, ac-companied by their children and a grandchild.

*       *       *       *

Now that school is back in session, it should be somewhat quieter during the workday hours in Grantsville. I will not miss the sounds of skateboards attempting the impossible or the painful grunts of the riders when they fail to do their tricks. Not worrying about skateboarders doing their thing in dangerous locations will also be a relief. Perhaps someday a skateboard park may be built in the county to give these kids a somewhat safer place to learn the tricks and practice the falls.

*       *       *       *

A suspicious fire on Big Root early Sunday morning leveled the residence of Joy Freshour and her three children. They were not home at the time. Everything was destroyed in the blaze and the family needs your help, especially since all school clothing and supplies they had purchased were also lost.

Donations may be dropped off at the home of Norma Freshour at Pleasant Hill, or call 354-6996 or 477-3695 to make arrangements for pick up.

Clothing sizes needed are:

Zachary, age 15: pants, men’s 34 waist/32 length; shirts, men’s large; shoes, men’s 13.

Darren (13): pants, men’s 33 waist/30 length; shirts, men’s large; shoes, men’s 12.

Destiny (3): pants, girls’ 5T; shirts, girls 5-6 small; shoes, children’s 12.

Joy: pants, women’s size 20; shirts, women’s 2X; shoes, women’s 11.

*       *       *       *

A bridge cleaning crew from the Parkersburg district of W.Va. Division of Highways was busy on Monday washing and cleaning bridges on Rt. 5 West and in Grantsville. It is a job they do at least twice a year, once in the spring to remove the accumulation of winter cinders and dirt and in late summer/ early fall to remove the debris of summer.

Bridge cleaners are, left to right, Roger Dragoo, Cody Vanmeter and David Vankirk.

 

August 21, 2008

A lack of rain has at least allowed local farmers to harvest another cutting of hay, as well as provide beautiful weather for reunions and gatherings of all kinds.

*       *       *       *

An approximately 115-year- old rough-hewn log barn located near Walnut Road proved how strong it still is, when it was struck by a car on Monday morning. The barn was still standing, while the driver fled the scene. Unfortunately, logs like the ones that were destroyed cannot be easily, if ever, replaced.

*       *       *       *

Hummingbirds are beginning to fight each other a little more at the feeders as they try to put on a little weight for their travel south for winter vacation. Some fine looking bucks, with antlers still in velvet, are starting to follow the does around.

*       *       *       *

Summer is quickly passing. If there are still things you wish to do this summer, you had better get it done now. As for me, I think I will go fishing.

 

August 14, 2008

The weather for the past week has been unusually cool for this time of year, with daytime highs in the upper 70’s and night temperatures in the low 50’s.

Unfortunately, cool nights cause overnight fog that caused poor visibility for viewing the Perseid meteor shower early Tuesday morning from valley locations.

*       *       *       *

The latest issue of National Geographic has informed me that our little friends, the multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis), are also running rampant in England. They were first introduced to mainland Europe in the 1990’s to control crop pests. It is thought they may have crossed from Europe carried by the wind or by flying.

While Asian lady beetles do eat aphids, they also love to eat native ladybugs, making it difficult for the ladybugs to survive. The Brits would like to stop the spread of the bugs with pheromone-laced traps, but say it would be expensive. No mention was made in the article about how the little buggers get into houses and spend the winter.

*       *       *       *

Hunters of the ginseng plant will have to wait until Sept. 1 to begin the seasonal harvest this year. Remember to harvest mature plants only (three prong or larger) and replant the ginseng seeds in the spot where you harvest the root. The season will end Nov. 30.

 

August 7, 2008

Dog Days of August are here and they are not as hot as usual. Storms moved through the area in the past week, but did little damage. Blackberries are ready for picking, but be careful of snakes and bears.

*       *       *       *

A man was picking blackberries on Norman Ridge, near Big Bend, last Thursday, when he encountered a black bear with the same idea. He left the berries for the bear.

*       *       *       *

A burned 2003 Chevy Cavalier was discovered last week on Upper Big Run. It was a total loss. Since it appears to be a case of arson, the State fire marshal has been advised and evidence has been sent to the crime lab.

*       *       *       *

While answering a call on Rowell’s Run, State Police Cpl. Doug Starcher saw two four-wheelers near Hur Church. One of the drivers apparently fled the scene and struck a concrete cistern and went over a hill. The drivers of both ATV’s escaped on foot into the woods. The four-wheeler that was wrecked appeared to be stolen.

 

July 31, 2008

The weather has been typical for late July with pop-up thunderstorms and scattered showers. Gardens continue to produce fresh vegetables and the corn this year is the sweetest it has been in a while.

*       *       *       *

Minimum wage has increased to $6.55 per hour, making those who work out of the county only having to work two days per week to pay for their gasoline.

*       *       *       *

Russell Jones II, 28, of Harrisville, son of Rusty and Vickie Jones of Big Springs, was severely injured July 10 in a gas well explosion. He suffered third degree burns over most of his body and is in the burn unit at Pittsburgh.

Jones drove himself to a grocery store in Pullman after the explosion and was then life flighted to Pittsburgh.

Get-well cards may be sent to West Penn Burn Unit, 4800 Friendship Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15224, Att. Russell E. Jones.

Accounts have been set up at all Calhoun Banks and at West Union Bank, 210 East Main St., Harrisville, WV 26362, to help the family with expenses.

 

July 24, 2008

It has been Dog Days hot in the area for the last week. The heat moved out on Monday night when thunderstorms came through and cooled things down, and blew over a few trees and damaged gardens as well.

*       *       *       *

A well-known eatery on Main St., Grantsville, is up for sale on e-Bay. As my grandma used to say, “Better get it while it’s hot!”

*       *       *       *

Prices of gasoline continue to bounce around. Unless it comes down below $4 a gallon, I hope someone opens some stores in this county so we don’t spend all of our money just getting someplace where we can buy what we need.

*       *       *       *

Some miscreants made a slight miscalculation last Friday night while they were attempting to outrun the sheriff’s department. They thought they had turned off White Pine onto the North end of Bull  River Road, but they came down my dead-end hollow instead. At least there was a full moon for their get-away on foot.

*       *       *       *

A lady wrecked her bicycle on Monday in town on her way to Minnie Hamilton Health System to visit her husband. Good Samaritans stopped to help her, ensure she was all right, and give her a ride to the facility to prevent any more accidents.

*       *       *       *

Saturday, July 26, is the first day to start practicing the 10-digit dialing procedure. You might want to start storing the numbers now in your phone’s memory. It will become man-datory on Feb. 28.

 

July 17, 2008

There has been just enough rain to keep the lawns in need of mowing and Chanterelle mush-rooms coming up. Other than that, we had beautiful weather, and are looking forward to even more of the same.

*       *       *       *

An Ohio man was injured last Thursday when he lost control of his motorcycle on Millstone Hill. He was flown to CAMC by helicopter. His condition is unknown.

*       *       *       *

Thieves continue to break into the old high school and wreak havoc. The latest theft was large bundles of copper wire stolen when the locks and chains were cut. Police are looking into the matter and are contacting metal buyers to identify the thieves. The new owners of the former school are discouraged with the vandalism and theft, but still have hopes   to make something of the facility.

*       *       *       *

Gasoline prices went up last week by around 20 cents. Prices at food stores continue to climb and food banks are being hard hit. Perhaps when the gardens in the area begin to bring forth produce, the price of vegetables will go down.

*       *       *       *

Fishing in the Little Kanawha River has been good lately. Plenty of catfish and bass have been caught. Perhaps I will wet a line soon and try my luck. I don’t have to use much gas to get to the river and I paddle the boat myself anyway.

 

July 10, 2008

The Fourth of July was an all-day rainout this year in Calhoun. Nature didn’t even provide fireworks with the rain. The wet weather has made many gardens grow and surplus vegetables are already being given to thankful folks who live too near the deer.

*       *       *       *

Some local children are eagerly anticipating the return of their father from Iraq. The signs along the road close to Parsons One Stop are counting down the days until they can give him hugs and kisses.

*       *       *       *

Some of the signs that were put up last week for the walking trail along River St. in Grantsville have already been defaced. Perhaps the person who defaced them at least walked the trail while they did it. Makes you wonder how these people with nothing better to do would feel if you spray painted obscenities on something of theirs. Never mind, I’ve seen their T-shirts.

*       *       *       *

It seems there are more bear sightings every week. It might be a good idea to feed your outdoor cats and dogs in the morning and remove their dishes each evening; unless   you want to see a bear at your house.

*       *       *       *

A jury found Howard “Sonny” Lowers not guilty of sexual assault last week. Lowers is a local bluegrass musician and a volunteer at Calhoun Emergency Services. He was arrested last year after being accused of the crime.

*       *       *       *

RPR Industries, Inc., one of the county’s largest employers, has been forced to layoff around 30 workers. A Dayton, Ohio, company that purchased fire-fighting suits from RPR was recently sold and RPR will no longer be supplying them.

 

July 3, 2008

It seems we get storms every other day. Farmers are not getting enough good weather to put up their hay and the storms keep beating it down anyway. Hail has become so common-place, I don’t bother to look out the window when I hear it pounding on my tin roof.

*       *       *       *

The Senior Citizens Center in Grantsville has a new roof in the front to help keep users of the facility dry while departing the buses. It looks good too.

*       *       *       *

A scheduled food distribution at Louisa Chapel United Methodist Church was canceled last Saturday due to a shortage of food to distribute. With people paying so much more for everything they buy, they have very little left to donate to help those who have no money to buy anything. 

*       *       *       *

There were two break-ins on the southern end of the county in the last week. Chloe Auto and Hardware was entered after thieves broke two windows and stole cigarettes and over-the- counter medicines. Nelly’s Store in Minnora was broken into on Sunday morning, but it appears the thieves were frightened away before they were able to steal anything.

Times are hard and jobs are scarce but there are many jobs to be had in prison while doing hard time.

*       *       *       *

A black bear seems to be running around within a few miles of Grantsville. It was photographed in the Riffle Ridge area. Hopefully, it is heading over to Bear Fork for the summer.

 

June 26, 2008

A thunderstorm moved through the center of the county last Friday evening, blasting trees with lightning and dropping so much hail that some reported that it looked like winter. There was so much hail on Rt. 5 East of Grantsville that an eerie fog developed.

*       *       *       *

Two gentlemen from the northern part of the state rode their motorcycles to Grantsville last Friday as part of a personal project to visit and photograph all 55 county courthouses. They were hoping to visit 12 counties, but the weather may not have cooperated. Hopefully, they didn’t catch hail.

*       *       *       *

Calhoun County did not have enough reported damage from the storms that moved through on Wednesday, June 4, to qualify for disaster assistance. Only a few dozen people reported any damage.

*       *       *       *

Wood County sheriff’s deputy Sgt D.C. Massey, recovered two ATVs over the weekend that had been reported stolen in Calhoun County on May 19 and 21. After a chase on Rt. 2 in Wood County, the drivers of the 4-wheelers escaped on foot.  The incident is still under investigation.

*       *       *       *

Little Kanawha River is looking good for fishing. The water is low and clear. Now is the time to night fish for bass and catfish. Better take a child fishing before the next series of storms comes through and makes it high and muddy enough to plant corn.

*       *       *       *

Lulu Myers is undergoing treatment for cancer. Her family would like to express their gratitude for the calls, donations, cards and prayers during this stressful time. Her address is HC 65, Box 26, Mt. Zion, WV 26151.

*       *       *       *

According to a legal notice in this week’s Chronicle, Daniel W. Finch, Jr., has tendered an application to the FCC “for city of license change for radio station construction permit . . . from Arnoldsburg, W.Va., to Fayetteville, W.Va.”

 

June 19, 2008

Hot weather prevailed over the weekend, but cooler temperatures are forecast. It’s about time. Some area residents took advantage of the pleasant weather and managed to get some hay cut and baled.

*       *       *       *

Gov. Joe Manchin has requested that President George Bush declare 11 counties in West Virginia eligible for federal disaster recovery assistance. Calhoun residents with damage from the storms should call Calhoun Control, 354-9272, with estimates of the damage received as soon as possible so that a correct estimate can be given to the governor’s office.

*       *       *       *

Friday is West Virginia Day, so take some time this weekend to get out and enjoy your state. Take the kids fishing, picnicking, hiking or biking.

*       *       *       *

A tractor-trailer was stuck on Simon St. beside the Senior Citizens Center on Tuesday, causing some minor traffic problems.

*       *       *       *

D and D Arcade opened for business last Saturday at the former Y-Mart building in Arnoldsburg. It offers pool tables, video games and a jukebox. At last, the younger generation will have another place to hang out.

 

June 12, 2008

Last week was hotter than a firecracker, with severe thunderstorms that caused flooding and rescheduling of the Wood Festival’s Demolition Derby. Wayne Underwood Field was underwater by Thursday afternoon. The derby was postponed until September.

*       *       *       *

The flooding caused destruction of many bottomland crops, with gardens washed away, fields of hay completely ruined, roads and culverts washed out, and trees falling due to high wind and water-soaked ground.

*       *       *       *

Calhoun residents with damage from the storms should call Calhoun Control, 354-9272, with estimates of the damage received as soon as possible so that a correct estimate can be given to the governor’s office.

*       *       *       *

The music on Saturday night at the Wood Festival started with a new voice from Calhoun, Jeremy “Fat Boy” Houchin with Will Freed of Ohio. Houchin is a singer/songwriter with the talent to take him wherever he wishes to go. The next act was Dixie Moon, featuring Mike and Mary Alice Wilson, Butch Burch, Rick Pitts, Rick Magly and J.B. Butcher. Their performance included hits from Fleetwood Mac and other songs of the seventies. The final act was Dangerfield, featuring Roger Bush, Harry Beall, Rick Poling and Lyle Kerby performing songs made popular by the Beatles.

*       *       *       *

Saturday evening’s concerts were followed by a great fireworks display (visit www.calhounchronicle.com for more photos of the Wood Festival).

*       *       *       *

Owners of the former Calhoun High School, George and Sherry Kusner, were in town to see the festival. They took my daughter Amy and I on a tour of the school. They have many good plans for the facility and have been having problems with vandalism. They spoke of putting video surveillance cameras in strategic areas to help the police with prosecuting people responsible for tearing the place up.

 

June 5, 2008

In spite of another tornado watch and lots of rain on Saturday, May went out without too much trouble. June is a time for putting up hay and enjoying the Wood Festival. If there is any time left, go fishing.

*       *       *       *

The 33rd House of Delegates race appears to be over. It is alleged that the missing 41 ballots in Clay County were a machine error caused by an optical scanner not “reading” the ballots. David Walker maintained his lead.

*       *       *       *

The cost of gasoline is still going up. The cost of living is on the rise and does not seem to be anywhere close to leveling out. It’s not too late to put in a garden so that you may feed your family fresh, home-grown vegetables, at least in the summer and perhaps can the excess to live through the winter.

 *       *       *       *

Calhoun has a bakery in Arnoldsburg. The pepperoni rolls are simply the best I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to sample the rest of the goods.

 

 

May 29, 2008

The valleys and hillsides of Calhoun are rich with the smell of roses . . . multi flora roses. This is the only time of year the pesky plants have any use to humans.

*       *       *       *

Memorial Day weekend was beautiful. Many out-of-state plates were seen as family members came back to Calhoun to place flowers on the graves of their ancestors.

*       *       *       *

The 33rd House of Delegate District race continues to be interesting. Calhoun candidate Ron Blankenship has asked for a recount in Gilmer and Clay counties, but it seems that there is a problem locating 41 ballots in Clay County precinct 37, which is the home precinct of David Walker, the leader of the contest so far. Since the ballots cannot be located and verified, Clay County has been unable to certify their primary results.

 *       *       *       *

There seems to be a mini crime wave in the area. Reports of thefts and burglaries are increasing. Police departments are on the lookout and residents are advised to lock-up items.

 

May 22, 2008

The showers we didn’t get in April are falling now. Gardens are too wet to work in and lawns are getting high.

*       *       *       *

Another fire has struck Calhoun County. Last Saturday evening, the home of Bettie Kisner on Lower Pine Creek was consumed in a fire that generated temperatures high enough to melt pieces off a nearby parked car and ignite a cellar house. Kisner was uninjured, but lost everything.

*       *       *       *

The State Fire Marshal was in Grantsville last week to investigate the fire that occurred on Johnson St.

 *       *       *       *

Arnoldsburg resident Ronald Lane attended the 2008 CON-EXPO in Las Vegas, Nev., and won a New Holland Construction tool chest valued at $2,400. It’s not often you come home with anything from Vegas.

*       *       *       *

Two young boys wandered away from their Sand Ridge home on Sunday. Sheriff Carl Ballengee and his dog Khan, other officers, and Arnoldsburg Volunteer Fire Dept. came to the scene to help locate the missing boys. Just as volunteers started into the woods, family members showed up with the boys after finding them deep into Bear Fork along a dirt road. The boys were okay, just tired and hungry.

*       *       *       *

The race for the 33rd House of Delegate District continues to be close. After last week’s can-vassing of provisional ballots in Calhoun and Gilmer counties, Ron Blankenship picked up 15 votes to tie David Walker of Clay County. When the canvass results came in from Clay, Walker took the lead again by 12 votes, 1,200 to 1,188. At presstime, there was no word from Blankenship whether he would ask for a recount.

 

May 15, 2008

A tornado and flood watch was issued for Calhoun on Mother’s Day, but, fortunately, all we received was much needed rain.

*       *       *       *

The rain was responsible for several accidents over the weekend. No serious injuries were reported. Heavy rain also caused some trees to uproot around the area.

*       *       *       *

Normantown native Rick Frame, who is running for the House of Delegates, performed some volunteer bulldozer work at Calhoun County Park. He helped prepare land for proposed campsites.

 *       *       *       *

Grantsville experienced another fire last weekend. The home of Cozetta Smith on Johnson Street was engulfed in flames when firefighters responded to the call around 11:45 on Saturday night. It was occupied by Christopher Todd Smith, who was not home at the time. He is Cozetta’s grandson. The cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.

*       *       *       *

Work on the new steps in front of the courthouse was delayed for a few days because of the weather, but the last of the concrete was poured on Tuesday. The new steps will be a welcome sight for the Wood Festival in June.

 

 

May 8, 2008

A bumper crop of morels has given area residents a perfect reason to walk in the woods. Many people report finding several hundred of the gourmet mushrooms in a single day.

*       *       *       *

A reminder for voters in next Tuesday’s Primary Election. Voters who are registered as Independent must remember to ask for a ballot if they want to vote one of the two major political parties’ ballots. Poll workers are not allowed by law to remind independent voters that they have that option.

*       *       *       *

The former Minnora School building was sold to Bruce Allen Pipeline Co. Calhoun County Committee on Aging opened three sealed bids. The winning bid was $50,100.

*       *       *       *

Grantsville police received a call last weekend that a man was walking around the trail at Wayne Underwood Field partially naked. Chief Charles Stephens responded to the call.

*       *       *       *

Next Tuesday is your chance to make a difference in Calhoun County, West Virginia, and the nation. Get up, get out and go vote. It’s not just a right, it’s a responsibility.

*       *       *       *

Now that turkey season is in, it seems that I see about 20 of them every morning on the way to work. Perhaps the best way to avoid being shot is to stand along the road.

 

May 1, 2008

Whippoorwills have returned to the hills of Calhoun and begun their nightly serenades. Azalea, jack in the pulpit, may-apple, trillium, and fruit trees of all kinds are in bloom. Just ask anyone with allergies.

*       *       *       *

Voters who are registered as Independent must remember to ask for a ballot for one of the two major political parties. Otherwise, you will only be able to vote for non-partisan offices. Poll workers are required, by law, not to remind independent voters they have that option.

*       *       *       *

Perhaps it is a sign of the economic times that the pigeon population in Grantsville has dropped drastically. The old owl on the courthouse is starting to get lonely. There are over one million recipes on Google for the few pigeons that are still flying around town. 

*       *       *       *

A man was arrested while crawling across Main Street in Grantsville last week. He is said to have been following instructions from God to teach him humility and he planned to finish his laps of crawling across the street as soon as he was released from jail.

*       *       *       *

It seems that some of the political signs and handouts in the present campaign were lacking “Paid for by the candidate” on them. Makes you wonder who they thought was paying for them.

*       *       *       *

It’s turkey season, so be careful when walking in the woods. Don’t practice your turkey calling while strolling down a path, just whistle.

 

April 24, 2008

The trees that were donated and planted in Grantsville last fall made it through the winter and are blooming. Daffodils that were planted by our ancestors continue to bloom each spring along the roadways and hillsides where they brightened the yards of homes that no longer stand. Everyone with flower gardens should be commended on the beauty they bring to the area.

*       *       *       *

Two brush fires struck Calhoun last week and forced firefighters to use leaf blowers and lightweight fire hoses to get the fires under control. A cigarette that was not properly extinguished may have been the cause of one of the fires.

*       *       *       *

Cost of gasoline is still climbing. Perhaps the oil companies are doing their part to help get America in shape. If you can’t afford to drive anywhere, you will have to walk or ride a bicycle.

*       *       *       *

Six mailboxes on Coon Fork Road were smashed last Friday night. While the bashers may think it’s just a prank, it is actually a crime. When caught, the vandals can be charged with destruction of property for each mailbox destroyed and could face six months in jail and a fine. The affected residents hope that this is an isolated incident that will not be repeated.

*       *       *       *

I reported here last week that a large chunk of concrete fell off a truck after straps broke that were holding it in place. I was informed on Monday, by a woman whose parked car was totaled in the incident, that the slab was not being held by straps or chains. The sheriff’s deputy who investigated the accident was unavailable to confirm the report.

*       *       *       *

Potholes in the parking lot at Grantsville Foodland were being filled on Tuesday.

*       *       *       *

Unemployment figures for March, released on Tuesday, showed that Calhoun County had an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent (down from 11.1 in February). Roane’s figure was 8.6 percent (down from 9.9) and Ritchie was 8.1 percent (down from 8.7). Calhoun had a civilian labor force of 2,820 (the 2000 census listed Calhoun with 7,582 residents) and the employment figure was 2,550, leaving 270 residents out of work.

 

April 17, 2008

Owls have begun their springtime hooting fest. Whippoorwills will be singing next. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned and filled. The hillsides and roadsides are beautiful this time of year. I would normally suggest you pack up the family and go for a drive, but with the price of gasoline, it might be best to just take them for a walk.

*       *       *       *

A large chunk of concrete came off a truck on Tuesday in the Cabot Station area after some straps holding it in place broke, allowing the load to shift in a sharp turn. No one was injured, but two parked vehicles suffered damage.

*       *       *       *

After spending some time on the phone with authorities in Charleston, most of whom didn’t know that the Timber Rattlesnake was the official state reptile, I was able to find out the snake does not have protected status. If one is in your yard, you may deal with it however you wish.

*       *       *       *

I also found that we now have an official state fossil, the Ground Sloth. If you find one of them in your yard, call a museum.

*       *       *       *

W.Va. State Police investigated an accidental shooting last Friday evening in the Big Springs area.

Cpl. J.B. Hunt was dispatched to Minnie Hamilton Health System to investigate a gunshot wound received by Roy Allen Parsons, 53, in his upper right leg. Parsons had returned to his home on Big Fork Road after mushroom hunting when he dropped a .22 caliber pistol on the floor. The pistol fired and struck Parsons in the leg.

 

April 10, 2008

Morel mushrooms are up and some are big enough to harvest. The next few weeks will see many residents looking for the little tasty morsels. Redbud and fruit trees are blooming and dogwoods will lighten the hillsides by next week. Wildflowers are coming up and some purple phlox is in bloom already.

Carpenter bees (the ones that look like bumblebees) are starting to bother people who like to spend time on their decks. I have a remedy for them that also helps me get ready for tennis. I walk around my deck with a tennis racket held by my side and give the big bees a good swat when they try to fly in my face.

 

*       *       *       *

A family in the Henry’s Fork area had quite a scare last Wednesday when two children, ages three and four, went for an unauthorized stroll in the woods near their house. Arnoldsburg VFD and other authorities were called to help in the search, but the family found the wanderers before a full-scale search began.

*       *       *       *

West Virginia now has a state reptile, the Timber Rattlesnake. The idea came from students at Romney Middle School. If they had asked residents of Calhoun to vote, we may have went for Box Turtle or even Bullfrog. Now that rattlesnakes are the state reptile, can you still kill one in your yard?

*       *       *       *

A collision between a car and a pickup truck at Five Forks on Sunday night sent two people from the car to Minnie Hamilton Health System. One was treated and released and the other was sent by helicopter to CAMC, Charleston, with a head wound. The driver of the truck was not injured.

 

April 3, 2008

Crocus and snowdrop flowers are just about done for this year. Forsythia, daffodils, tulips and early spring wildflowers are blooming. Weeping willows are showing off their beautiful spring green tresses. Dogwood and redbud trees are almost ready to burst. Ramps are now up about three inches. Morel mushrooms will be peeking through last fall’s leaves anytime now.

*       *       *       *

The old Calhoun County High School was sold again. A Virginia couple are said to be the new owners. We hope to contact them soon to discuss the old structure’s future.

*       *       *       *

The Mud Fork area was subjected to three brush fires on three consecutive days last week. The fires were all in the same general area, leading officials to believe they may have been set. According to some local “experts,” in years gone by, brush fires were set in late winter to clear the ground for ramps and morels in the spring.

*       *       *       *

The winds of political change have been blowing along some of the roadways in the county.  It seems the wind chooses which candidates it likes, and blows over the other signs. Some of them completely over the hill.

 

March 27, 2008

The Calhoun County area received rain last week, but no flooding was reported. Easter weekend was host to beautiful spring weather and children were out early Sunday morning searching for colored eggs. The beginning of this week had large snowflakes swirling in the air, although the temperature was above 40 degrees.

*       *       *       *

The highway department has been busy putting hot patch in the potholes, ditching and working along the major roadways, and fixing the winter ruts on some back roads.

*       *       *       *

A fire alarm went off at Calhoun Banks early last Saturday morning. Grantsville Volunteer Fire Dept. responded immediately, but it was a false alarm.

*       *       *       *

It seems like the public fishing access along the river above Grantsville is no longer being maintained by the state. We will check into it and have an article on that and on fishing in general in an upcoming issue.

 

March 20, 2008

Spring peepers are singing the joys of warmer weather and people are calling the Chronicle office to see if any ramp dinners are scheduled. I checked my ramp patch last weekend and they have yet to appear. Lilac bushes have begun to sprout leaves and dogwood buds are starting to show signs of being ready to burst into bloom.

*       *       *       *

Goldenseal magazine is featuring Bear Fork Trading Post in its spring edition. The six-page article covers the history of the Bear Fork area, and events, artists, opportunities and music of the bluegrass and traditional music hall.

 *       *       *       *

Judge Thomas Evans postponed sentencing until April for accused murderer Ronnie Rush last Friday in Jackson County to allow defense attorneys Teresa Monk and Rocky Holmes time to prepare a motion for a second re-trial. The attorneys claim  that the jury in last fall’s re-trial was tainted by a state trooper who had a conversation with some of the jurors during a lunch break while the trial was being held.

 *       *       *       *

A three-car collision occurred Wednesday afternoon last week on Rt. 16 South of Grantsville. Some of those involved were Calhoun High School students on their way home from school. No injuries were reported.

 *       *       *       *

Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox. It is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover. The earliest that Easter can be is Mar. 22.

The last time Easter was on Mar. 23 was in 1913. The next time will be 2228. The next time Easter will occur on Mar. 22 will be 2285. The last time was 1818.

March 13, 2008

State Police are investigating what appears to be a drive-by shooting in Cabot Station last Tuesday night. Perry Richards, who lives near Cabot Recycling, said the shots were fired around 9:30 p.m. at his home and at a car parked outside the residence. Some windows were reportedly broken

*       *       *       *

Although Calhoun was spared blizzard conditions that struck areas of Ohio on Saturday, it still received four to five inches of snow. Wrecks were commonplace as the highway department worked to keep main roads open.

On Tuesday night last week, high winds caused trees that were standing in rain-soaked ground to uproot. The highway department and others with chainsaws were appreciated for the work done to remove trees and limbs from roads.

 *       *       *       *

Spring flowers continue to flourish, although they were hard to see with all the snow covering them last Saturday. Birds were also hitting the feeders hard and emptying them quickly. We are only a few weeks away from spring Morel mushroom and ramp harvesting.

 

March 6, 2008

Warm temperatures have given area residents an early taste of spring. A beautiful weekend was topped by a high of 72 degrees on Monday. The week will end with colder temperatures and a chance of snow.

*       *       *       *

There is now a U-Haul dealership at Parsons One Stop on Rt. 16 North of Grantsville.

 *       *       *       *

Robins have been spotted strutting around area yards, crocus and daffodils are about to bloom, and spring is less than two weeks away. When we hear the spring peepers, we will have made it through another winter.

*       *       *       *

Area residents are reminded that the Spring Forest Fire Season began Mar. 1. Until May 31, outdoor burning is prohibited between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. and should never be attempted when there is any wind. A brush fire occurred Monday in the Millstone area, with about three acres burning.

*       *       *       *

West Virginia Dept. of Highways has been out on county roads filling in some of the potholes that winter has created.

 

February 28, 2008

Winter refuses to loosen its grip on the area. It seems we can count on snow at least every Tuesday night. Since we put the Chronicle out on Wednesday morning, it makes “paper day” an adventure each week.

*       *       *       *

Snowdrops are blooming and Easter lilies and tulips are breaking through the snow in this area.

 *       *       *       *

Christopher Shane Dellinger, former volunteer Grantsville police officer, was found guilty of four counts of falsifying accounts to obtain money by false pretenses following a two-day trial in Braxton County. The convictions carry a penalty of one to 10 years on each count. Sentencing will be held May 20.

Dellinger had been under investigation in Calhoun County for allegedly taking money for a concealed weapons class he gave without proper credentials.

*       *       *       *

Willard Jones, the “Mayor of Five Forks,” celebrated his 90th birthday on Feb. 25. He has been a well-known musician for over 50 years and can always be found playing somewhere in Grantsville during the Wood Festival.

*       *       *       *

A landslide along the Little Kanawha River behind Wayne Underwood Field is causing concern for users of the facility.  An area of the bank has slid into the river, along with a few trees, that is partially blocking the stream. The county commission will discuss the problem and seek solutions in its next meeting.

 

February 21, 2008

Flu and stomach ailments have afflicted area residents. According to the Center for Disease Control’s weekly influenza summary update map, West Virginia is in the “wide-spread” category.

The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to be vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands can help prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. Flu antiviral drugs can also be used to treat and prevent the flu.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Practice other good health habits: get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

*       *       *       *

A subscriber sent a thank you note for a recent “Publisher’s Desk” column. It seems she had received a mouse pad as a gift and was uncertain of its use.

 Was it meant to go under a mousetrap to prevent a mess? Perhaps, since it was padded, it was meant to silence the awful “snap” noise when the trap was sprung?

While she was trying to understand the use for the pad, she read a column by publisher Helen Morris that dealt with computers, and she realized the mouse pad was meant to go with the computer and under the “clicking thing” that seemed to control it.

 *       *       *       *

A Calhoun resident is facing charges, including attempted murder, after a police chase that started last Friday afternoon in Spencer. Michael Lee Grogg, 23, of Millstone, was arrested after leading police on a chase that included three collisions, two with police cruisers.

 Grogg was charged with attempted murder and with assault on a police officer, obstructing a police officer, DUI, second offense, driving on a license revoked for DUI, reckless driving, and other traffic offenses.

After his arrest, Grogg was arraigned before a Roane magistrate, who set bond at $311,825. Grogg was lodged in Central Regional Jail pending a preliminary hearing on Friday.

*       *       *       *

Five years ago, Calhoun was the scene of a disaster after rain fell across the area with temperatures at 28 degrees, leaving as much as three-quarters of an inch of ice on trees and power lines. Many of the downed  trees can still be seen.

 

February 14, 2008

Prediction of the groundhog still rules. Windy weather over the weekend forced area residents to carry chain saws in their vehicles to cut trees and limbs that fell onto roads. It also made for humorous moments when grown men were sent chasing their hats over the hill. Snow on Monday night caused school cancellations in Calhoun, Roane and Gilmer counties.

*       *       *       *

A total lunar eclipse will occur on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The moon will begin to enter the Earth’s shadow around 7:30 p.m. and will achieve totality just after 10 p.m. It is always something worth seeing.

 *       *       *       *

Sgt. T.D. Corbitt of the Elizabeth State Police detachment is investigating the death of a Creston man, who died Feb. 6 from a stab wound.

 When Corbitt arrived at a trailer park near Elizabeth to investigate a fight in progress, he discovered that Brent Wilson Butler, 33, had sustained a puncture to his upper leg. Butler died from his injury around 9:30 a.m. at Camden-Clark Hospital.

 Three Parkersburg men have been arrested for the murder. Oscar J. Gibson, 33, Howard K. Murray, 31, and Cory Robinson, 20, all being detained at North Central Regional Jail.

*       *       *       *

A brief look at a few local flower gardens has revealed the beginnings of new growth pushing through the mulch. We should see crocus and snowdrop flowers in a few weeks.

 

February 7, 2008

Both French Creek Freddie and Punxsutawney Phil saw their shadows last Saturday, so we may still see six more weeks of winter. The beginning of this week felt more like spring with temperatures in the upper 60’s and thunderstorms. It should end with a chance for snow.

*       *       *       *

West Virginia Records Management and Preservation Board, a part of the Division of Culture and History, has awarded $26,000 for filing cabinets for record preservation to the county commission, which will provide matching funds of 10 percent. The plan is to install a manually operated movable track shelving system, which will help preserve court records and make them more readily available to the public.

 *       *       *       *

Joan Satterfield, Calhoun Dept. of Highways administrator, has returned to Cleveland Clinic to battle Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She will undergo an antibody treatment called Mylotarg to combat the disease.

Cards may be sent to one of three locations:  Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Joan Satterfield, Rm. 30, 9500 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44195; Hope Lodge, Joan Satterfield, Rm. 204, 11432 Mayfield Rd., Cleveland, OH 44106; or Joan Satterfield, P.O. Box 757, Grantsville, WV 26147.

*       *       *       *

A brief look at a few local flower gardens has revealed the beginnings of new growth pushing through the mulch. We should see crocus and snowdrop flowers in a few weeks.

 

January 31, 2008

Cold weather, snow, ice, rain and high winds have been the recipe for recent weather.  Perhaps the groundhog will promise us better weather for the upcoming weeks when he makes his annual appearance on Saturday.

*       *       *       *

John Eckels of Ohio was arrested in Calhoun County on Saturday night by Cpl. J.B. Hunt of the W.Va. State Police for violating his parole for armed robbery. 

*       *       *       *

With plenty of candidates filing for the primary election, it appears we will have some choices to make. Make sure you are registered by Apr. 22 to vote in the May 13 primary, so that your voice will be heard. If you don’t vote, don’t complain about the choices made by those who do.

*       *       *       *

Former Chronicle reporter Lisa Minney will appear on WCHS, channel 8, and on WVAH, channel 11. “Traveling West Virginia” will feature Two Lane Livin’ on Jan. 31 at 6 a.m. and Feb. 1 at 6:15 a.m. and noon on WCHS, and on Jan. 31 at 10 p.m. and Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. on WVAH.

 

January 24, 2008

Temperatures in the deep hollows of Calhoun County reached two degrees on Sunday morning and four degrees early Monday. It was so cold that the icicles had icicles. Spring is only eight weeks away.

*       *       *       *

Sheriff Carl Ballengee withdrew his name after filing for re-election to the office.

*       *       *       *

Barbara Heery and Lorraine Landicini of Raccoon Run, near Stumptown, have asked the county commission for a grant to build a footbridge across Steer Creek so their children can attend school when the water is over the present bridge. They were informed by commissioner Rick Sampson, who had received a letter from Paul Mattox, Jr., W.Va. Secretary of Transportation, that a footbridge would cost about $300,000. There used to be many swinging bridges across Steer Creek that were about 300-feet long. That means it must cost about $1,000 per foot.

*       *       *       *

The Grantsville area will soon have another choice for pizza. The Pizza Barn will be operated by Susan Newell and Crystal Bell and will be located in the former Pro Hardware building on Rt. 5 East. Opening is scheduled in February. They plan to have a special play area for the younger crowd with pool tables, big screen TV, pinball machines and Wii video games. Delivery service to the Grantsville area will be offered.

*       *       *       *

Mike and Lisa Carpenter lost everything they owned, including 10 Dachshund puppies, when their home burned to the ground last Saturday in Spencer. They have returned to the Russett area to start over. If you have household items, or wish to help in any other way, call 354-7414 or 354-7073.

 

January 17, 2008

Winter is fully upon us with a two-hour school delay on Tuesday morning and icy secondary roads throughout the county.

*       *       *       *

Fire destroyed a home in a remote area of the West Fork early on Monday morning. Firefighters from Arnoldsburg and Upper West Fork volunteer fire departments responded, but were too late to save the dwelling of Jackie McCumbers. McCumbers, who lives alone, was visiting his sister at the time.

*       *       *       *

Calhoun County resident and champion fiddler Lester McCumbers performed at Bear Fork Trading Post last Saturday evening. Bluegrass music will definitely keep your toes tapping and get your blood stirring.

 

January 10, 2008

The winter weather last week forced area schools to close on Wednesday and caused a one-day delay in circuit court cases. The temperature dipped to two degrees on Friday morning. This week, the streets of Grantsville looked a bit strange for early January with people riding motorcycles or walking around wearing shorts, T-shirts and sandals, as temperatures were in the low 70’s.

*       *       *       *

John Manis Richards of Grantsville was arrested in Glenville on Saturday after being sought by Gilmer County law enforcement for over six months. Richards spent the rest of the weekend in Central Regional Jail. He was released on Monday on a $16,500 bond.

*       *       *       *

Michael Franek of Mt. Zion spent part of Christmas Day swimming while visiting his son and family in Puerto Rico.

*       *       *       *

Calhoun prosecutor Matt Minney submitted his resignation to the county commission last Friday. He declined to be interviewed by the Chronicle to explain his reason for leaving office. Applications for interim prosecutor are available from county clerk Richard Kirby.

 

January 3, 2008

Old St. Nick was able to make his appointed rounds on Christmas Eve despite the lack of snow. Many happy faces have been observed in the area, along with larger than usual piles for trash pick-up, indicating that everyone had lots of presents to open on Christmas day.

*       *       *       *

A call was made to Calhoun 911 concerning an accident with injury at Grantsville Foodland parking lot last week. When the fire department, police and ambulance crews arrived on scene, it was discovered that it was only a shopping cart that had went over the embankment and rolled down to Philips run. There were no injuries.

*       *       *       *

Two vacant mobile homes were destroyed by fire over the weekend. They were owned by Gordon Brooks. Trooper Jeff Hunt is investigating.

*       *       *       *

A documentary by Topper Sherwood of Martinsburg is in the works about the “back to the land” movement of the 1970’s, which brought many new residents to the area. He has been compiling interviews for three years. It features some Calhoun County residents. A three-minute trailer of the documentary may be viewed at www.backtothelandproject.com.

 

December 27, 2007

There was plenty of wind and rain in the area over the last week, but for those who wished for a white Christmas, no snow.

For those who do not like snow--good news, none is in  the immediate forecast, although there will be more rain.

*       *       *       *

A Calhoun County man was arrested after firing shots into a house on Little White Oak road on Friday after an apparent domestic dispute.

*       *       *       *

Happy new year to former county residents who are invited to come home and visit in 2008.

*       *       *       *

Many homes in the area have been beautifully decorated for the holiday season. If your home is of one of them, take a clear picture of it all lit-up at night using a tripod, or whatever you can find to steady your digital camera, and email it to chroniclebill@gmail.com.

 

December 13, 2007

Snowy weather, with an accumulation of over three inches, closed schools in Calhoun and surrounding counties on Wednesday last week and caused a two-hour delay on Thursday. Accidents were reported from all over the county, but there were no serious injuries. The snow was followed by heavy rain and dense fog. On Tuesday, the temperature was a balmy 68 degrees in Grantsville, with snow in the forecast again for the weekend.

*       *       *       *

The sentencing of Ronnie Rush, which was scheduled last week, has been postponed until Jan. 25. Teresa Monk, Rush’s attorney, is asking the court to set aside a guilty verdict returned in Jackson County due to possible jury contamination.

*       *       *       *

Electric power was disrupted and Rt. 33/119 was closed for a short time near the Millstone intersection on Sunday night when a mudslide caused a power pole to fall across the highway.

*       *       *       *

Many homes in the area have been decorated for the holiday season. If your home is one of these night-time extravaganzas, take a clear picture of it all lit-up at night using a tripod or whatever you can find to steady your digital camera, and email it to the Chronicle website, www.calhounchronicle.com. We will try to put as many on the web as we can.

 

December 6, 2007

There was snow on the ground on Tuesday morning and more snow predicted for Wednesday. It would have been nice to have had this weather during deer season, but a little snow in the air and on the ground (not the roads) does make it seem a little more like Christmastime.

*       *       *       *

Jim Bell, one of the most active volunteers at Heritage Village, was injured in a fall from a ladder while working to put a roof on the Stemple cabin on Saturday. He suffered a blow to the head and a cut to the forehead. He was taken to Roane General Hospital and treated and released.

*       *       *       *

Santa Claus came to town last Friday night riding on a fire truck at the end of the Country Christmas parade. He was surrounded by a host of anxious children who escorted him inside the courthouse where he sat down and visited with all the good little boys and girls. Check out the Chronicle’s webpage for more pictures of the parade and Santa’s visit.

*       *       *       *

Andy Molessa of Wood County, former Calhoun resident, is on the mend after following from a tree stand. He injured some vertebrae in his neck, but family members said he is not paralyzed and will soon begin therapy.

*       *       *       *

Fire swept through the home of the Sigman family, located off Rt. 16, along the West Fork last Friday afternoon. Monica Sigman and two of her children were asleep in a bedroom when her husband Jerry woke her up to a smoke-filled home. They escaped with their lives and the clothes on their backs.

They are in need of everything. There are four children: a one-year-old girl, twin three-year-old boys, and a four-year-old boy. If you can help the Sigman family, call Thelma Carte, 655-9995.

 

November 29, 2007

Christmas shopping is underway. With the rising cost of fuel, it makes sense to shop locally and support local businesses and crafts people, while avoiding the rush and crush of the city.

*       *       *       *

Hunting enthusiasts should enjoy the weather this week, as it will be more like November and less like September. There is even a chance of snow in the forecast.

*       *       *       *

Remember to send packages to area military personnel serving overseas by Dec. 10, the last day a first class package can be mailed with any chance of arriving before Christmas.

*       *       *       *

Hometown Country Christmas is underway at Calhoun Courthouse. The annual Christmas parade is on Friday at 6 p.m. Santa will be coming to town, so be sure to bring your little ones to see the lights and tell Santa how good they have been all year.

*       *       *       *

Andy Molessa, former Calhoun resident, now living in Wood County, was severely injured on Monday when he fell from a tree stand while hunting in Ohio. Family members said he suffered various injuries, including a broken neck and shoulder. He was transported to a hospital in Columbus where he was to undergo surgery on Tuesday.

*       *       *       *

A fire early last Wednesday morning destroyed the home of Ann and Albert Wilson, Jr., of Annamoriah. A cat may have started the fire by knocking over a lit oil lamp. Albert Wilson was in a Charleston hospital at the time of the fire. The Wilsons lost everything in the fire. Contact information for those who want to help will be listed as soon as it is available.

 

November 22, 2007

The annual Thanksgiving tradition of deer season has begun. At a local check-in station, a clerk was overheard referring to this as “Beer Season.” All area hunters are reminded that carrying a gun is carrying responsibility. Be absolutely sure of what you aim at and also that the consumption of alcoholic beverages should be at the card table in the evening while you tell the tale of the one that away.

*       *       *       *

The weather forecast for this week looks good for travelers, but a bit too warm for hanging a big buck from a tree in the yard.

*       *       *       *

A hunter from Ohio was reported to have suffered a fatal heart attack on Monday morning on Sears Run, near Minnora.

Apparently, a hunter in Wirt County was trying to light a burner on Monday morning on a propane stove in order to make some coffee, but did not realize that there was a leak. The resulting explosion knocked the roof off the cabin and sent three men to the hospital.

*       *       *       *

Remember to send your packages to area military personnel serving overseas as soon as possible. Dec. 10 is the last day a first class package can be mailed with any chance of arriving before Christmas. It is always advisable to mail early rather than have a package arrive late.

*       *       *       *

Four accidents were reported last Thursday, mostly due to heavy rain, sleet, snow flurries, and fallen leaves on the roadway from the night before. Five vehicles were damaged, but none of the occupants needed to be taken to the hospital.

November 22, 2007

A local couple celebrating their second anniversary with a trip to the mountains was a little concerned about signs they observed along the highway. The signs read, “Make the Devils Repent!” and “Stick a Fork in the Devils!” They saw the signs for over a mile before they realized they were driving into . . . Moorefield, Calhoun’s playoff opponent last week.

*       *       *       *

A jury in the Jackson County re-trial of Ronnie Rush for the killing of Calhoun residents Ward Groves and Mary Hicks in 2003 found him guilty of two counts of murder in the first degree, but recommended mercy on both counts. Rush was also found guilty of first degree robbery, nighttime burglary,  and conspiracy to commit robbery. Sentencing is scheduled Friday, Dec. 7.

*       *       *       *

Remember to send packages to area military personnel serving overseas as soon as possible. Monday, Dec. 10, is the last day a first class package can be mailed with any chance of arriving before Christmas. It is always advisable to mail early rather than have a package arrive late.

*       *       *       *

The case against former Calhoun County chief deputy Ronald Bandy was dismissed Tuesday morning in circuit court after special prosecutor Gerry Hough said there was insufficient evidence to indicate a crime had been committed.

*       *       *       *

A Big Springs man, Verlin Millican, was injured Monday morning when his vehicle went over an embankment at the intersection of Leading Creek road and Rt. 16. He was transported to Camden-Clark Hospital, Parkersburg.

*       *       *       *

The Ahab Stemple cabin, which was moved to Heritage Village, is in the process of reconstruction. In order to move the structure, the second story and roof were removed. Jim Bell and crew have been putting the pieces of the log cabin back together. They have the second story up and hope to have the roof on soon.

November 8, 2007

Some of the trees in the area are still hanging on tight to their leaves despite hard wind and heavy rain. The National Weather Service was predicting snow flurries Tuesday night or Wednesday morning for Calhoun, and possible light accumulations of the white stuff for mountainous regions of West Virginia.

*       *       *       *

As usual, folks around the area were accused of being late for things last Sunday. The problem stemmed from clocks that were not set back an hour forcing people to show up an hour early.

*       *       *       *

Ronnie Allen Rush was scheduled to be re-tried this week in Jackson County for the double murder committed at Sand Ridge in May, 2003. West Virginia State Supreme Court ordered the re-trial due to State Police misconduct before and during a previous trial when Rush was convicted of murder, robbery, burglary and conspiracy.

*       *       *       *

Veterans Day is Sunday, Nov. 11. Government and many businesses will be closed in observance on Monday, Nov. 12.

Remember, as you enjoy the freedoms of this country, to honor the sacrifices that America’s veterans and their families have made and are making to keep this country safe and free.

*       *       *       *

According to court records, Ronald A. Gordon, Sr., pleaded guilty in circuit court on Tuesday to felony offenses of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, as contained in counts one, six and eight of the May term of grand jury. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 2 at 10 a.m.

 

November 1, 2007

The heat wave is officially over. There was frost on the windshields of cars and rooftops of many houses were white on Monday and Tuesday mornings. Get out your jackets, fall has finally fallen. The next heat wave can be called Indian Summer (first heat wave after the frost), which usually doesn’t happen in November.

*       *       *       *

Ghost, goblins, superheroes, witches, princesses and more were running all over the county on Saturday evening as Halloween events were held at various places, and homes were hailed with the traditional, “Trick or Treat!”

It seems that the creatures of the night were very well behaved (and courteous). There were many more treats than tricks. All the volunteers for these events are to be commended.

*       *       *       *

Signs have been placed along Main Street, and perhaps other streets, in Grantsville that outlaw skateboards, bicycle riding, roller blades and scooter riding. Although two of the signs are attached to the Rt. 5 West signpost, they are there to prevent those activities from happening on town sidewalks.

Rt 5 Sign

There have been some narrow escapes with pedestrians exiting buildings and being almost run-over by persons who should know better than to ride these things on the sidewalks.

According to police chief Charles Stephens, tickets will be issued. Fines will be up to the municipal judge. Citations will also be issued for trespassing at the former high school property.

*       *       *       *

Be sure to set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night. Sunday, Nov. 4, is the day to “Fall back  . . . for another hour of sleep.”

 

October 25, 2007

With fall colors peaking in spectacular fashion, we are now getting some of the rain needed. The leaves will now fall quickly, but the rain will help dampen the forests and reduce the chance for brush fires while providing necessary mud for the land turtles to burrow in before the frost.

*       *       *       *

Mid-Ohio Valley Health Dept., Parkersburg, has reported some cases of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a biological agent responsible for difficult-to-treat infections in humans. It is a variation of Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacterium, which has the ability to survive treatment with beta-lactam antibiotics, including penicillin and methicillin.

Wood (1), Wirt (7) and Roane (9) have reported cases, while none have been reported in Calhoun. Everyone should remember to wash their hands thoroughly and often and tell children to do the same.

*       *       *       *

State Police in Braxton County arrested suspected second kidnapper William Denmark after he turned himself in Monday afternoon. Police had been searching for Denmark for almost two weeks.

 

October 18, 2007

Mother Nature continues to don her gaudiest outfit of the year with all of the fall colors. They are expected to peak within the next 10 days. When the leaves have fallen and color is gone, Mother Nature will cover herself in a blanket of white snow to sleep until spring.

*       *       *       *

Grantsville police chief Charles Stephens is obviously on the job and keeping the promises he made when he was sworn-in. He seems to be working hard.

*       *       *       *

Bow season for deer opened last weekend with no reports of anyone being accidentally shot with an arrow (although a few hunters, after falling, may give up using tree stands).

 *       *       *       *

The drought continues in the area, with little rain in the forecast. All-black wooly worms predict that a nasty winter is in store for the region.

*       *       *       *

Delinquent real estate for non-payment of taxes, published by the county in the newspaper, as required by law, shows a total due of $72,981 in taxes, interest and charges. A public auction will be held at the front door of the courthouse on Wednesday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

*       *       *       *

Police continue to look for an alleged second suspect in the kidnapping case mentioned in last week’s newspaper. Seth Denmark, who resides in both Calhoun and Roane counties, is still on the loose.

 

October 11, 2007

So far, this has been the hottest October on record with high temperature marks being set around the state. Combined with the prolonged drought, it should be an autumn to remember. A cold front moving through the area has cooled temperatures back to where they should be for hunting season.

*       *       *       *

The flowerbeds around the courthouse that were planted in May have been blooming. Hats off for a beautification project that improves the look of the whole community.

*       *       *       *

A 19 year-old Orma resident was arrested on Monday and charged with kidnapping three underage females from Calhoun County. Police are on the lookout for another suspect who may have been involved.

*       *       *       *

National Weather Service will conduct an advanced weather spotter class on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m., at Upper West Fork Park. For in-formation, call 655-8172.

*       *       *       *

Allegheny Power has been working on electric lines along Rt. 16 north of Grantsville. They have been installing new lines and poles. This may explain the frequent power outages and flickers residents of that area have been experiencing lately.     

*       *       *       *

There were two accidents involving four-wheelers over the weekend. One was early Saturday morning in the Cabot Station area that injured the driver and a passenger, who were transported to Minnie Hamilton Health System.

An accident in the Spring Run area had been vacated when the EMS and Arnoldsburg Volunteer Fire Dept. arrived.

*       *       *       *

An insect-borne disease, known as epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), has been found in at least 20 West Virginia counties where deer have tested positive for the disease. Area counties include Calhoun, Roane, Braxton and Ritchie.

The disease has not been found in West Virginia cattle since 1993. Division of Natural Resources said that the first heavy frost will kill off the biting midge that carries the disease. It cannot be transmitted to humans.

 

October 4, 2007

It is starting to feel like fall in the area, as long as you get up early in the morning. Chilly morning temperatures moved in over the weekend, but afternoon temperatures are still warming up to the 80’s. Trees are heading for a spectacular fall showing in a couple of weeks.

*       *       *       *

Creston residents are receiving their mail via Bigbend Post Office. Around 100 people attended a public meeting at Creston Community Building last Thursday. Postal officials said that the Creston address would remain for the time being, but the post office would close. Creston postmaster Ida Wager is now at Bigbend.

*       *       *       *

A cow was killed early Sunday morning when a Roane County driver lost control of a car, struck the cow, a parked truck, some mailboxes, and a garbage bin.

 *       *       *       *

Two Grantsville landmarks are for sale again, the former graded school and former high school. The graded school can be had for $85,000 and the high school can be purchased for $225,000.

*       *       *       *

The rain came last week and residents drove safely through the area of the oil spill on Rt. 16. Hopefully, the rain washed away some of the oil and the road is a little safer.

*       *       *       *

Melco Lumber, a Pennsylvania owned company located just south of the Calhoun-Clay line, will close, causing more unemployment. Lumber is in a slump, according to representatives of the company.

*       *       *       *

Two cars collided in front of Cha-Ti’s convenience store, east of Grantsville on Rt. 5. Both vehicles suffered severe damage and the drivers were transported to Minnie Hamilton.

 

September 27, 2007

An unexplained power outage in the Pleasant Hill area left residents without electric from about 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Sunday. Many attending churches in the area were glad to have windows so they could see their hymnbooks.

*       *       *       *

County clerk Richard Kirby and new director of elections Connie Smith are in Charleston this week for election training.

*       *       *       *

The first week of fall has been unusually hot with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees. Cooler weather is expected for the latter part of the week with daytime highs in the 70’s, along with a prediction of some much-needed rain.

*       *       *       *

An oil spill along Rt. 16 from Pleasant Hill to Leading Creek road caused problems for motorists last week. At this time, it is unknown who is responsible for the leak.

The highway department responded quickly with a truck and sand spreader, causing some to wonder if it was going to snow.

Residents of the area said that, before the state truck arrived, the crude oil was so bad on Jackson Hill, it was forcing some pick-up trucks to lock-in the four-wheel-drive to make the climb to the top, and many cars had to run with two tires on the berm to get enough traction.

When rain does come, motorists should be cautious along that section of highway, as the rain will make the road surface extremely slick and the curves treacherous.

*       *       *       *

A new front porch awning is under construction on the old jail building. The lightning strike that damaged the chimney made massive holes in the old awning, which had to be taken down. Steve Sams of Sams' Home Improvement is doing the work.

*       *       *       *

A Michigan man, who was visiting friends in the area, was severely injured in a four-wheeler accident in a remote area between Munday and Brohard. He was taken by helicopter to Charleston Area Medical Center with a possible back injury.

 

September 20, 2007

According to the National Weather Service, this was the warmest August in the 113-year record for West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Utah. According to a wooly-worm spotted last week, which was all black, it may be a nasty, cold winter.

*       *       *       *

The estate auction of Coleman and Katheryn Burrows had a large turnout on Saturday. Over 200 bidders were on hand to purchase the many collectibles and remember the Burrows.

*       *       *       *

The temperature was in the low 40’s on Saturday morning, causing many Calhoun folks to dig in their closets to find jackets, coats and sweaters. Fall begins on Sunday, Sept. 23, and frost on the pumpkin will be here soon. Leaves on some trees are already beginning to turn, no doubt due to the drought.

*       *       *       *

The Chronicle’s new improved website is still popular throughout the world. We are still waiting for a visit from Antarctica to complete our collection of continents.

*       *       *       *

The 40th annual Molasses Festival cookbooks are for sale at Crystal Lynn’s Hair Trendz, Millstone, and at the Calhoun Chronicle office, Grantsville. It has 600 recipes and comes with an easel to hold it while you cook. They are going fast, so get one while you can.

*       *       *       *

Local law enforcement officers, with the aid of the National Guard, have confiscated 194 marijuana plants from two locations in the county--134 in the Russet area and 60 in two separate plots at Leading Creek.

September 6, 2007

The Town of Grantsville has a new part-time volunteer policeman. Jeff Starcher has started and is PD 3.

*       *       *       *

Please remember to recycle household batteries. Americans purchase more than two billion household batteries a year and most contain metals that are potentially toxic, such as mercury, cadmium and nickel.

 The largest source of mercury in garbage is household batteries, especially alkaline and button batteries. Mercury is a heavy metal with high toxicity. Long-term exposure can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and fetuses.

Household batteries may be recycled at Chloe Hardware, Rt. 16, Chloe, and Cabot Recycling, Rt. 5, Cabot Station.

*       *       *       *

Kevin Church, local Frontier telephone man and minister, was injured on Monday morning when he was pinned to his garage door by a 4-wheeler that slipped off his truck. Although he was taken by helicopter to Charleston, he was released later in the day with multiple rib fractures.     

*       *       *       *

A fire was reported early Saturday at Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center by an automatic fire detector. Grantsville volunteer firemen responded to the scene, but could find no trace of a fire. School officials were there to check on the electrical system.

*       *       *       *

Several small fires have been reported throughout the county, as well as lightning strikes on personal property.

*       *       *       *

The CCCOA is still looking for apples to be donated for its apple butter project for the first week of October. If anyone has apple bearing trees and would like to have the apples go to a good cause, call Cindy Cottrell at CCCOA, 354-7017.

 

August 30, 2007

John Manis Richards, 43, has apparently fled Grantsville after an arrest warrant was issued by Glenville police chief John Moss. He is wanted for allegedly stealing a delivery truck worth $30,000 and building materials and tools worth $3,200 from Hardman’s Home Center, Glenville.

*       *       *       *

Calhoun Community Resources, Inc., in conjunction with local volunteer fire departments, is still taking applications for the Safe Families Smoke Detectors Program. Household information will be required. The program is free. Call CRI, 354-9265, or stop by for information.

*       *       *       *

Angel Food Ministries is taking orders for the September menu. Place orders by 5 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 4, at J&B Drug Store, Grantsville. For information, call 354-6752.

*       *       *       *

If enough interest is shown, there will be an advanced weather spotter class given in the county. There needs to be at least 10 people signed up who have completed the basic class. For information, call Michelle Sears, 655-8172.

*       *       *       *

Two Calhoun sheriff’s deputies will be re-tested for physical training in January. If they pass, they can go to the police academy.

*       *       *       *

Steve “Squeak” Shriver of Shriver Trucking, Weston, was injured while delivering gravel to a well site near Jackson’s Mill. He is known in Calhoun for supplying gravel to farmers and oil field personnel.

 

August 23, 2007

A man was killed in an ATV accident on Monday evening at Crummies Creek. He was identified Tuesday morning as Joshua Roberts, 22.

*       *       *       *

A burro owned by Keith Lynch was attacked by what is thought to be a bear last Friday night. The burro survived and was treated by Joe Cain on Saturday.

*       *       *       *

Ginseng season is in. Please harvest Ginseng responsibly.

*       *       *       *

Reconstruction on the chimney and slate roof at the former jail building should be completed this week. The new work is almost indistinguishable from the original.

*       *       *       *

School starts Monday. Be sure to look out for children in the mornings and the afternoons. They might not be looking out for you.     

*       *       *       *

CCCOA is looking for apples to be donated for its apple butter project in the first week of October. Call 354-7017.

August 16, 2007

  Peter Cobbett has begun repairs on the courthouse annex building, which was damaged by a lightning strike in July.

  *       *       *       *

  West Fork Community Park, Arnoldsburg, will host the 40th annual Molasses Festival, Sept. 27-29.

  *       *       *       *

  CCCOA is looking for apples to be donated for its apple butter project in the first week of October. Call CCCOA, 354-7017, and ask for Cindy.

  *       *       *       *

  A fire on White Pine damaged the home of Randy and Pam Robinson. They and their son Caleb, 14, need a place to stay. If you would like to help, call her parents, James and Estel Tedrick of Creston, 275-3387.

  *       *       *       *

  The weather for the Perseid meteor shower was clear skies and warm temperatures, making it one of the best meteor viewing experiences in recent history. In a 45-minute period, over 70 meteors were sighted.

  *       *       *       *

  Four area geocaches have been visited within the last week. Geocaching.com reports there were visits to Stump Hotel, Calhoun County Park, Upper West Fork Ramp, and Mike Fink and the Unknown Indian.

August 9, 2007

Charlie Whipkey resigned from Grantsville town council on Aug. 1 for personal reasons.

*       *       *       *

CCCOA is looking for apples to be donated for its apple butter project planned for the first week of October. Call CCCOA, 354-7017.

*       *       *       *

Peter Cobbett will start repairs on the chimney at the former jail building this week. The chimney was damaged by a storm.

*       *       *       *

A $12,000 court security grant has been received. Surveillance cameras will be installed in the courthouse hallways and courtroom.

*       *       *       *

The community of Pink was the hub of excitement last Thursday evening, when Helen Franklin ran her Chevy Blazer over a hill. An ambulance, Arnoldsburg Volunteer Fire Dept., and deputies Justin Metheney and Craig Gherke responded. It is believed Franklin and her dog emerged unscathed.

*       *       *       *

Jeanne Wilson of Mt. Zion has received another writing award. Her short story about a young girl’s battle with mental illness, “Locked In,” won third place in the Alabama Writer’s Conclave competition.

*       *       *       *

The Calhoun Chronicle’s new improved website, www.calhounchronicle.com has added a new page for funeral notices that occur between publishing dates. The link can be found at the top and bottom of the page.

*       *       *       *

“Encounter Calhoun,” a 2006 Chronicle project by Lisa Minney, was named first place in special sections category in judging by W.Va. Press Association.

August 2, 2007

An accident on Rt. 16 at Big Springs early Monday morning resulted in no injuries for driver Jason Cunningham and minor cuts and bruises for a seven-year-old boy who was a passenger. The truck was a total loss.

*       *       *       *

Calhoun County Library is having its annual book sale through Friday. You may take as many books as you want for a donation. It is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

*       *       *       *

The family of Eileen Cox, whose house and belongings were lost to a fire last weekend, is in need of donations to help them make an apartment a home. For information on what is needed, call Gary or Rose Knight, 354-6497, or Grantsville town office, 354-7500.

*       *       *       *

Judge David Nibert presided over circuit court on Monday.

James M. Jones was sentenced one to five years on home confinement for his participation in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

George Nicholas Parsons was sentenced to four months in Central Regional Jail on abuse charges; he pled to battery.

James Blankenship was sentenced one to five years on home confinement for violating probation.

The case of Stephen M. Buvoltz was continued to next term due to the need to have evidence analyzed.

July 26, 2007

Miletree Center, Spencer, was sold for $3.4 million last week. It was one of 25 facilities purchased by FC-GEN Acquisition, Inc., from Genesis Health-Care in a $125 million deal.

*       *       *       *

 

Dept. of Natural Resources has reported that there are more black bears running around than there used to be. If anyone has witnessed a bear in the area, let us know.

*       *       *       *

The rain we had last week raised the river by five feet, making it difficult for local fishermen. Now that the work week has started, the river is back down and more rain is predicted later this week.

 

May 31, 2007

As of Tuesday morning, 34 Grantsville residents had voted early in the municipal election to be held Tuesday, June 5.

*       *       *       *

The streets of Grantsville are crowded with carnival rides and vendor’s booths in preparation for the Calhoun County Wood Festival. Be prepared to detour around the courthouse while driving through town.

*       *       *       *

Ron Gordon, charged with nine felonies, appeared for a hearing before Judge Nibert on May 23. He is scheduled to appear for pre-trial motions on Tuesday, June 19, 10 a.m., and to answer charges on eight counts of sexual assault and one count of nighttime burglary on Tuesday, July 10, 9:30 a.m. He is represented by Ernest Skaggs.

*       *       *       *

Jane Cain Lynch, a native of Calhoun, has been hired as superintendent of schools, replacing Ron Blankenship, who is retiring. Lynch will return to the county from W.Va. Dept. of Education, Charleston, where she has been employed in the Office of Assessment and Accountability.

 

May 24, 2007

Todd Borek, WSAZ-TV meteorologist, was at Arnoldsburg School on May 10 to tape a “Winning Attitudes” segment on John Bugby’s African Music Program. The piece aired May 15. The program has been an exciting and rewarding experience for Arnoldsburg students.

*       *       *       *

By Monday afternoon, 19 voters had taken advantage of early voting in the Grantsville municipal election.

*       *       *       *

Seems that the Town of Grantsville chose the right time to cut volunteer officer C.S. Dellinger loose. Shortly after leaving the town’s employment, he taught a concealed weapons class - allegedly using false documents showing that he was a certified firearms instructor.           

Certificates from that class will not be honored.

*       *       *       *

Ronnie Rush, a Calhoun man who has been granted a re-trial by the W.Va. Supreme Court, agreed to initial steps of a plea agreement during a status hearing in Jackson County last week. Originally sentenced to prison in the murders of Ward Groves and Mary Hicks, Rush will likely cooperate with the state, possibly providing detailed information about the murders. The agreement still requires him to plead to at least two felonies. Rush will return to court in Jackson on June 21.

*       *       *       *

Minnie Hamilton Health System will begin paving the parking lots around the facility this week. The paving is expected to last 8-10 days.

 

May 16, 2007

Suzanne Fox and Helen Johnson have entered the election for Grantsville’s recorder as write-in candidates. Early voting is underway.

*       *       *       *

It seems the smoking ban in Grantsville isn’t working. Residents with asthma are frustrated to encounter smokers outside businesses and organizations.

*       *       *       *

Did you know that W.Va. law states that headlights are to be turned on when it is raining? It isn’t so the driver can see, it is so others can see you.

*       *       *       *

Pleasant Hill School has a new sign. Teachers and the community helped with the school improvement project.

*       *       *       *

Saturday is Armed Forces Day. President Harry S Truman led the effort to establish a holiday for citizens to thank military members for patriotic service. On Aug. 31, 1949, the first Armed Forces Day was established to recognize those serving in Air Force, Marines, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard.

*       *       *       *

Gardeners are hoping for rain. Time has come to seed sweet corn, tomatoes and annual flowers, but there has been no rain for almost two weeks. Rain is predicted to arrive Thursday.

*       *       *       *

The annual Calhoun County Wood Festival is two weeks away. Information is available at www.calhounwoodfestival.com

 

May 10, 2007

Despite the frost warning this week, time has come to seed summer squash, cucumbers, snap beans, seed lettuce and late celery.

*       *       *       *

Following a public accusation that he did not have a handicap parking permit, town council member Gaylen Duskey brought his permit to the newspaper for proof that it was his.

*       *       *       *

Poll workers have been selected for the June 5 municipal election. Democrats  serving are Lori Fleagle, Dorothy McCauley and Jennifer Albright, with Carroll McCauley as alternate. Republicans serv­ing are Pam Davis and Josh Funk, with Dolly Hickman as alternate.

*       *       *       *

At least seven dusk till dawn lights have been installed at Wayne Underwood Field. The project got off the ground with  a small grant from Calhoun County commission. Rick Alderman donated time to install the lights, with the help of Kevin Church and Rusty Dawson.

 

May 3, 2007

Local residents took advan­tage of the presence of the attorney general’s “Credit Car” at Calhoun Courthouse last Wednesday. Two A.G. employees were kept busy helping residents check their credit records and advising those who found problems of the best way to correct those problems.

*       *       *       *

The first hummingbirds of the spring season arrived last week, looking for those sugar-water feeders. Whippoorwills also began their spring songs.

*       *       *       *

West Virginia Air National Guard 130th Airlift Wing is sending 85 troops to Afghanistan. The Charleston unit has several C-130 transport planes that will be used to move troops, equipment and supplies. They began leaving last week.

*       *       *       *

More flags are flying in Calhoun cemeteries through the efforts of VFW Post 5959, which has erected flags at St. Paul and Bryner Chapel cemeteries.

*       *       *       *

A Stinson man was life-flighted by HealthNet to Charleston Area Medical Center after he was thrown from his vehicle. The driver, in his 30s, lost control on Rt. 16 near Stinson Grocery and rolled the car over. He was ejected from the vehicle.

*       *       *       *

The re-trial for convicted murderer Ronnie Rush will begin with a preliminary hearing on May 11. The trail is set to start on May 28 in Jackson County.

*       *       *       *

The 34-mile Creston ATV Poker Run drew 347 entrants on Saturday. First price winner ($1,041) was Cynthia Adkins of Mt. Gay, second ($347) was Josh Stull of Mt. Zion and third ($347) was Vince Clancy.

*       *       *       *

A butterfly bandit has decided to decorate a Main Street flower pot with beautiful outdoor decorations. The Chronicle staff thanks the anonymous decorator for the colorful additions outside the annex office door.

 

April 26, 2007

Eddie Harris, courthouse custodian has had a hard time lately. When the door lock on the circuit clerk’s office quit functioning, he had to climb in an open window. When he went to lower the American flag last week, the rope on the pole came undone and the flag went fluttering on the wind. He and Bill Bailey caught the flag before it completely hit the ground.

*       *       *       *

Relay for Life 2007 will be held Saturday, June 23, 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., at Wayne Underwood Field, Grantsville. The theme will be “Operation Hope.”

*       *       *       *

There has been a grievance filed by Eric Webb, a Grantsville employee laid off earlier this year. The subject is a personnel matter and therefore is not public record - unless Webb chooses to make it so.

*       *       *       *

After 29 years as a school superintendent, Ronald Blankenship advised the Calhoun school board that he will retire at the end of June.

*       *       *       *

Police were attempting to serve a warrant on Matthew Bell when he fled into the woods, according to Cpl. Doug Starcher. The warrant is tied to Bell’s alleged involvement in a breaking and entering on Bryner Road a few weeks ago. He was apprehended and sent to Central Regional Jail with a $10,000 bond.

*       *       *       *

Judge David Nibert dismissed drug charges against John Richards. Known as “The Lone Meth Ranger” from his online newsletter, Richards had been facing multiple counts related to the alleged operation of a meth lab in Grantsville. The prosecution reported that the Grantsville detachment of West Virginia State Police threw away or lost the evidence.

*       *       *       *

The State fire marshal’s office is investigating three suspicious Calhoun house fires over the weekend. Two houses on Mud Fork Road, off Rt. 16 near Chloe, burned to the ground on Saturday night and early Sunday morning. A house also burned early Sunday morning just off Nobe Road.

*       *       *       *

Grantsville town council met last week to lay the levy. Loretta Stevens and Gaylen Duskey were absent. Stevens is teaching an evening class on sewing.

*       *       *       *

Macel Hayes of Marietta, mother of Lisa Minney, Chronicle reporter, taught Robert’s Rules of Order in her career as a teacher. She has donated a hardback copy of Robert’s Rules to the Town of Grantsville for its use.

 

 

April 19, 2007

Greg Russell Springston, 26, was sentenced to 1-10 years in the state penitentiary and fined $1,000 for DUI causing death. He was sentenced by Judge Thomas Evans III in relation to the death of a Spencer man who was killed in a collision at Leatherbark in February, 2005.

*       *       *       *

Grantsville VFW Post is continuing its effort to erect flag-poles and flags in Calhoun cemeteries. The veterans plan to erect at least 10 more flags this year. They began last week at Broomstick Cemetery.

*       *       *       *

Kathy Wood and Jacob Mc-Cumbers, E-911 dispatchers, have completed requirements for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) public safety telecommunicator 1 training.

*       *       *       *

A Calhoun Deputy was unable to meet physical requirements for certification for the second time. He will have one more chance to pass.

*       *       *       *
 

Sunday, Apr. 22, is Earth Day. Friday, Apr. 27, is National Arbor Day. It is a good time to plant a tree.

*       *       *       *

Get your hummingbird feeders cleaned and ready. The tiny birds should be returning soon.

*       *       *       *

Awnings over the windows to help spectators view the field have been added to the press box and Wayne Underwood Museum at the Calhoun Middle/ High School athletic complex.

*       *       *       *

Heavy rain swept across West Virginia on Sunday, causing small streams to be out of banks. The West Fork was half-way across the road on Rt. 16 near Rush Run and Orma. Water was also in the road on Rt. 5 at Cain’s Riffle and on Rt. 7 near Russett.

*       *       *       *

This year’s 58th West Virginia Folk Festival at Glenville is dedicated to Calhoun’s noted mountain music makers, Lester and Linda McCumbers of Nicut.

 

 

April 12, 2007

It has been confirmed that five state police officers, Fluharty, Hunt, Starcher, Ellyson and Campbell, currently or formerly involved with the Grantsville detachment, were given polygraph tests in an administrative investigation being conducted by the state police. It has also been confirmed that Fluharty, Hunt, Starcher and Campbell passed their tests.

*       *       *       *

Tulips planted around Calhoun Courthouse by volunteers were in full bloom on Apr. 3. On Apr. 5, it snowed.

*       *       *       *

The decorative foil jacket around the pot your Easter lily came in could kill the plant. No water should be left standing in the bottom of this foil covering, or the lily will be ruined. Remove the pot from the foil each time you water the plant.

*       *       *       *

The West Virginia Film office has received a request from a locations manager for The Travel Channel for its series “The Best Places to Find Cash and Treasures.” It is looking for locations that attract tourists to places where families can hunt for and discover treasures (silver, gold, civil war relics, fossils, antiques buried in old dumps, sunken treasure). If you know of locations in West Virginia, email Pam Haynes,  phaynes@wvtourism.com.

*       *       *       *

With the arrival of spring, Calhoun County geocaches are beginning to be visited. Caches entitled “Calhoun County Park Cache” and “Wind Caves” have been visited twice in the past month.

*       *       *       *

The Grantsville municipal water plant has been awarded two certificates recognizing exceptional performance over a three-year period. One was for the most outstanding surface water system, with the Grantsville plant pulling water from the Little Kanawha River.

*       *       *       *

Following a trial in circuit court last week, a Calhoun jury found Danny Minigh not guilty on two counts: operating a clandestine meth lab and manufacturing a controlled substance. The jury found Minigh guilty of conspiracy in the case, for which he is facing 1-5 years in the state penitentiary.

*       *       *       *

Bernadine Evans reports that she was incorrectly identified in last week’s council meeting by a neighbor.

 

April 5, 2007

A car crashed against a tree on Annamoriah Straight last Thursday. The driver received minor injuries. Calhoun EMS and Grantsville Volunteer Fire Dept. responded.

*       *       *       *

A Calhoun man was life-flighted by HealthNet to Charleston Area Medical Center after his vehicle went out of control and plunged into the West Fork between Orma and Minnora last week. Upper West Fork VFD and Calhoun EMS had to extract the victim from the vehicle, which came to rest in waist-deep water.

*       *       *       *

The southern part of Calhoun was without power on Sunday evening after several lightning storms swept through the area. There was a brush fire on Beech Road near Milo on Monday evening. Upper West Fork Volunteer Fire Dept. responded to both calls.

*       *       *       *

Parkersburg Violent Crimes and Narcotics Task Force arrested two Calhoun men in            

 

Wood County. The men were allegedly buying thousands of nasal pills in Parkersburg. They were charged with operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug lab, and operating a business having drug devices.

A search warrant for property on Jesse’s Run followed the arrests. A police report indicates about 64 items were removed from the house and cellar, most associated with ingredients or paraphernalia used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

*       *       *       *

The trial set to begin this week for former Calhoun chief deputy Ron Bandy has been postponed. Special prosecutor Gerald B. Hough requested the postponement, as several wit-nesses in the case are employees of the W.Va. Dept. of Health and Human Resources in Grantsville and wanted to attend the funeral of their manager, James Morford, on Tuesday.

*       *       *       *

April is the month to divide perennials. To keep your potted Easter lily in good health, avoid placing it in direct sunlight, and turn the pot every two days.

 

March 29, 2007

Following the issue of instructions to reach the dog warden in last week’s newspaper, Calhoun County humane officer Bob Groves clarified the difference between a dog warden and a humane officer. He deals with vicious and abused animals, not simply strays. For assistance from the humane officer, call 354-9271.

*       *       *       *

A special prosecutor assigned to the case against former Calhoun deputy Ron Bandy asked judge Thomas Evans III to dismiss an indictment during a hearing last week. Evans denied the request made by Gerry Hough, who said there are major problems with the State Police’s case.

*       *       *       *

Grantsville town council met last Thursday to have the second reading of a water and sewer rate increase and work on the fiscal budget for next year. It allotted extra funds for repair of the Court Street sidewalk and for repairs of the trash truck.

*       *       *       *

Tuesday morning, the town recorder held a drawing for ballot positions of the names of candidates in the upcoming municipal election.

*       *       *       *

Grantsville resident and town council member Gaylen Duskey has offered to serve as director for the 11th annual Appalachian Classic mountain bike race at Calhoun County Park on Sunday, June 18.

*       *       *       *

Forsythia are blooming and the bass voices of bullfrogs have joined the soprano chorus of the spring peepers. Geese have begun nesting in the area and nearly all spring birds have now made an appearance.

 

 

March 21, 2007

Last week’s article on the industrial park incorrectly stated that county commissioners exonerate property taxes on Calhoun County Industrial Park. The park property taxes cannot be exonerated, as the park is not being taxed.

*       *       *       *

Write-in candidates for the June 5 election must register with the town recorder before they can be elected to any office. Deadline for write-in candidate registration for possible election is May 15, 21 days prior to the election date.

*       *       *       *

The only candidate for recorder, Jane Wease, has moved outside Grantsville town limits, and may or may not move back within the limits    by election time. There are 10 candidates for town council, and two candidates for mayor.

*       *       *       *

Crocus and daffodils are sprouting and blooming, and even tulips are sprouting leaves. Ramps have also sprouted and revealed their locations. Wednesday, Mar. 21, was the official first day of spring. Gardeners can plant asparagus and set strawberry plants. Now is the time to have soil tested.

*       *       *       *

To have the dog warden assist you with stray dog or cat issues, call 354-9271.

*       *       *       *

The Appalachian Classic Mountain Bike Race and Festival, scheduled June 17 at Calhoun County Park, may not be held this year due to the lack of a volunteer race promoter, who handles legal and insurance aspects of the race with W.Va. Mountain Bike Association, coordinates other volunteers and EMS services, and seeks local race support donations. Anyone interested in taking on this position can email appalachianclassic@yahoo.com.

*       *       *       *

Calhoun Wood Festival committee held a softball tournament on Saturday, Mar. 10, at Underwood Field in Grantsville. Winning the four-team tournament was Eugene King’s team, sponsored by State Farm. Second place went to Denton Bell’s team and third place went to Seth Jarvis’ team.

 

March 15, 2007

Calhoun County Commission discussed tossing the county’s employee handbook during its meeting on Monday. The hand-book, established years ago, became an issue when assessor Jason Nettles chose to no longer abide by the handbook in his department. If commissioners cannot settle the issue, and the handbook is rescinded, the county’s insurance rates will increase.

*       *       *       *

Sheriff Carl Ballangee has announced that the sheriff’s department will be receiving a $5,000 onboard camera for one of its cruisers at no charge.

*       *       *       *

Commissioners passed a new 9-1-1 addressing and mapping ordinance during Monday’s meeting.

*       *       *       *

Crocus are in bloom in the region. Daffodils should be blooming soon. Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day.

*       *       *       *

A breaking and entering resulting in stolen equipment has been reported at the former Giar’s Grocery on Rt. 16 near Orma. Owner Carol Giar said a new Troy-Bilt 5,500 watt generator, red in color, was stolen between Jan. 22 and Mar. 2. She is offering an award for information. Call 422-2269.

*       *       *       *

Johnny Staats and Delivery Boys and Mike Morningstar will be music headliners at the Wood Festival, May 30-June 2. Staats and his musicians will perform at 9 p.m., June 2, on a newly elevated Main Street stage. This year’s entertainment will be free to the public.

 

March, 8 2007

The Stumptown/Normantown region was without power from about 8:30 on Friday evening until almost noon on Saturday.

*       *       *       *

Grantsville Police Dept. is checking business doors during evening patrols. Each time an officer makes sure a business is secure, a blue card is left in the door with the date and, soon, the time of the door check.

*       *       *       *

West Virginia’s spring forest fire season is underway. Through May 31, outdoor burning will be permitted only between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 a.m. Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor, fined up to $300, and held liable for the costs of fighting the fire and any damage the fire causes to the property of others.

*       *       *       *

Time has come to prune raspberries and fruit trees. Indoors, gardeners should seed leaf lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and peppers. Begin planting your garden on a dry day, when the soil is not wet or sticky, and the danger of frost is past.

*       *       *       *

Don’t forget to spring forward. Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, Mar. 11. Spring is two weeks away.

*       *       *       *

Spring peeper frogs began their chirping on Mar. 2 around the ponds and waters in the Stumptown area.

*       *       *       *

Girl Scout Cookies are to arrive in Calhoun County for troop pick up on Tuesday.

*       *       *       *

Calhoun County schools will shift from block scheduling to an eight-period instructional day by the 2008-09 school year. Although middle and high school students were given  the chance to informally vote  on the issue, and voted against the change, the new scheduling was unanimously approved by the Calhoun County board of education on Monday.

 

February 28, 2007

Robins and indigo buntings have made their way back to Calhoun after spending the winter somewhere in the south.

*       *       *       *

Whatever might be said about global warming, many Calhoun residents are happy to see a little local warming taking place. Perhaps the areas that had been an ice rink for cars will simply turn back to mud.

*       *       *       *

The “Gardening by the Moon” calendar says that now is the time for planting above-ground crops like beans, peppers, cucumbers and melons, “if your climate is suitable.”

*       *       *       *

The pigeons in Grantsville continue their defiance of the owl placed atop the courthouse. The owl worked for a few months until a mob of crows tried to pick a fight with it. The pigeons were watching and seem to have lost all respect for the owl. We have included a photo (in the paper) of a group of them dancing around the owl while one perches on its head.

*       *       *       *

Over 100 people braved the cold temperatures and snowy weather to attend the first annual Red Neck Pageant, sponsored by Calhoun County Wood Festival on Saturday at Calhoun Middle/High School auditorium. We hope to have photos and a story in next week’s issue of the Chronicle.

*       *       *       *

In case you didn’t notice, the county line was quite obvious during the snow we have had lately. Almost all main roads were clear to the county line in Calhoun and turned white as snow when crossing over to the next county. We should thank our county road workers for a job well done.

 

February 22, 2007

The frozen Little Kanawha River has now thawed. Warmer temperatures and heavy rain have broken up the ice and moved it downstream. Some of the ice blocks thrust up onto the banks of the river were still six inches thick.

*       *       *       *

With the disappearance of snow and ice, more signs of spring are showing up. Many folks report snowdrop flowers are about to bloom and crocuses and daffodils are showing through the soil and will be blooming soon.

*       *       *       *

Grantsville’s State Police detachment chief Sgt. C.J. Ellyson has returned to his duty station in South Charleston. Calhoun County’s two remaining State Police officers will remain here for the time being.

*       *       *       *

A Cairo woman was taken to Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center last Thursday morning by Calhoun EMS after her car went over an embankment near the intersection of Leading Creek Road and Rt. 16.

*       *       *       *

Fire has once again struck a home while the family was   away, destroying the residence   of Everett and Alma Doolittle of Annamoriah on Tuesday morning. They were in Parkersburg at a doctor’s appointment. They lost everything. As soon as information on where donations can be sent is available, we will put it on the Chronicle website/blogpage and print it in the newspaper.

*       *       *       *

If you have not already done so, now is a good time to plan your garden.

 

 

February 15, 2007

The 45th annual Calhoun County Wood Festival committee has announced that this year’s main concert will be free to the public. Johnny Staats and the Delivery Boys and Mike Morningstar will perform.

*       *       *       *

Calhoun EMS and Arnoldsburg Volunteer Fire Dept. responded to Crummies Creek last Thursday to discover a stolen vehicle on its side in a ravine. The driver was not found. The vehicle was allegedly stolen from St. Albans.

*       *       *       *

Don Kelly, who has been missed at town council meetings (he is a regular audience member), is recovering well from hip replacement surgery.

*       *       *       *

A fire destroyed the home of Michelle and Ron Wagoner last Thursday. The community was quick to respond and provide relief. Information on ways to help is provided in this week’s letter box and the Chronicle blog at www.calhounchronicle.com.

*       *       *       *

Adam D. Tucker will sing “Redneck Girl” and other selections during the Wood Festival committee’s first annual Redneck Pageant at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17, at Calhoun Middle/High School auditorium and he will serve as a judge.

 

February 8, 2007

Temperatures around the area have dropped below zero degrees. Frozen water pipes have become almost common in the last few days. Calhoun schools have been on a two-hour delay during this time, but children are still waiting for the bus      in very extreme cold temperatures.

*       *       *       *

Evidence in the case against John Richards, also known as “The Lone Methranger,” was destroyed by State Police Sgt. C.J. Ellyson, who inadvertently threw the evidence out while cleaning a room at the barracks.

*       *       *       *

The ground hog did not see his shadow last Friday morning, implying the early arrival of spring.

*       *       *       *

Do you have a favorite parking meter in Grantsville? It could be a benefit to test the meter to make sure you are getting the time you pay for.

*       *       *       *

The Town of Grantsville’s “new” cruiser was brought home Saturday on a wrecker.

 

 

February 1, 2007

Friday is not only the day for this month’s full moon, it is also Groundhog Day. Don’t be surprised to encounter groundhog-themed items around the courthouse, as WVU Extension agent Jeff Himes, who hails from Pennsylvania, celebrates his favorite holiday.

*       *       *       *

Trapping season for fisher ended Jan. 31 and hunting and trapping seasons for fox, raccoon and bobcat end Feb. 28. Bobcat and fisher pelts must be checked at an official game checking station within 30 days of the close of their seasons.

*       *       *       *

Fire and black ice were the emergencies of the week. A small house and garage burned on Wolf Run, a family in Creston lost everything in a mobile home fire, and another structure burned on Lost Ridge. Minor car accidents due to ice occurred at Hog Knob Hill and at Five Forks.

*       *       *       *

Grantsville resident Dave Trippett, who is recovering from back surgery, is able to get out and about. He attended church on Sunday, and is scheduled for a check up on Valentine’s Day.

*       *       *       *

A yet-to-be-released restructuring plan for regional Community Resources’ offices has reportedly included closing all but four of the offices in the 11-county region. The response to the plan by CRI employees and directors has been heated, and prompted a letter from the president of the board to the directors, chastising some for publicly expressing criticism of the corporation’s actions.

*       *       *       *

Although some may not be aware, parking tickets in Grantsville can be issued through 6 p.m. According to chief J.D. Nicholson, free parking doesn’t begin until after that hour.

*       *       *       *

Five members of the town hall committee met on Monday evening. The public is welcome to attend these meetings, which are held the Monday before council meetings in the courthouse little courtroom at 7 p.m.

January 25, 2007

One of Calhoun’s best known published authors, Sybil Jarvis Pischke, has died. She published The Legend of Mammy Jane,” which is based on her grandmothers life in Calhoun County in the 1880s.

*       *       *       *

Last week, a Calhoun man stopped his pick-up truck along the Little Kanawha River on Rt. 5 to relieve his bladder. The truck apparently slipped into gear and rolled into the river.

*       *       *       *

Winter weather caused several accidents between Sunday and Tuesday morning. Jackson Hill, Rt. 16 at Five Forks, was closed after a vehicle jack-knifed. A car left the highway landing in a creek four miles from Rt. 5 on Munday Road. Schools were on a two-hour delay on Monday. Black ice caught drivers off guard on Tuesday, with a wreck on Hog Knob Hill and at Five Forks. The Rt. 16 bridge was still glazed with ice on Tuesday morning, and got a special dose of salt.

*       *       *       *

Grantsville State Police Sgt. C.J. Ellyson accidentally shot himself in the calf of his leg on Jan. 17 while at his residence in Kanawha County. He had just purchased the weapon for personal use and was putting it together. He was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center were he was treated and released, and will likely be off work for about a week.

*       *       *       *

Family court sessions were held this week in the former Khoury building in Grantsville. The offices were remodeled by the bank and rented by W.Va. Supreme Court for Calhoun’s Family Court.

 

 

January 18, 2007

The Youth Force Program, developed by Shari Johnson, was approved by Calhoun County board of education. It educates students to become educators to peers, family and community through involvement with law and court officials, emergency and social services, and health care professionals. It includes programs for children ages 11-13, ages 14-18, and a teen court for first-time misdemeanor offenders.

*       *       *       *

Bulbs that have sprouted in the unseasonable weather will not bloom in spring if they do so now. Don’t worry, they will be fine for next year--as long as they don’t rot in the soggy ground. Budding and flowering bushes and trees should be protected from the cold if fruits are to result later.

*       *       *       *

With the recent weather, dogs kept outside are likely wading in mud and lying on soggy ground. These conditions make the animal susceptible to all kinds of diseases. Spreading hay or straw in the dog’s area will not only provide comfort, but will also help keep the living quarters healthy.

*       *       *       *

Facilities director Donnie Pitts issued a report to Calhoun County board of education regarding renovation plans for Arnoldsburg School, estimated to cost $500,000. The proposal includes toilets, roofing, masonry, heating and ventilation, and plumbing and electric improvements. Funding will be sought from W.Va. School Building Authority.

*       *       *       *

Grantsville mayor Wilbert Kerby and council member Gaylen Duskey have filed for re-election. Stephanie Ferguson, who has previously applied for vacated council seats, has also signed up to run for council.

*       *       *       *

Toby Wagoner will leave his position at WVRC on Jan. 26 to become a public information officer for the State.

 

January 11, 2007

Sand Ridge/Rt. 16 residents have less than three weeks to sign up for the water line project. For information, contact Mt. Zion PSD.

*       *       *       *

Flowering quince are blooming in the Five Forks area. Still, this is a good time of year to kill weeds, briars, and poison ivy. Having problems with water running out of your house plant pots? Put ice cubes on the soil, away from the plant stems. The plants will slowly get their water as the ice melts.

*       *       *       *

Bucky Dale Arthur, of Annamoriah died in his bed at William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital last week. He was committed to the hospital after entering the state police barracks in Wood County with guns held in western holsters. Ironically, he was a juror in the first murder trial of Ronnie Rush, and died on the first day of motions in Rush’s retrial.

*       *       *       *

A dryer fire filled a house full of smoke last Wednesday at the corner of Wigner and High streets, Grantsville. No major damage was reported. Grantsville Volunteer Fire Dept. responded to the call at 1:50 p.m., sending two trucks.

*       *       *       *

Calhoun EMS and Grantsville Volunteer Fire Dept. responded to an accident on Pine Creek-Hur Road at 1 a.m. last Friday. A Chevy truck was on its side and an ATV, being hauled in the truck, lay on the narrow highway. The driver of the vehicle was not at the scene. Deputy sheriff Justin Metheney is investigating.

*       *       *       *

Vandals caused damages along Rt. 16 North on Saturday night. Paint balls were shot from a vehicle and struck houses and cars in the Pleasant Hill area about 9 p.m. A description of the vehicle was given to the police.

*       *       *       *

A sports car went out of control on Millstone Hill, crashing into a guardrail on Monday at about 8:30 p.m. Calhoun EMS transported three patients to Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center.

*       *       *       *

As temperatures near freezing, the rainwater that flows from the roof of the building on the corner of Main and Court streets, down the Court Street sidewalk, is turning to ice. Be careful.

*       *       *       *

Time to buy a parking permit! Within a few weeks, parking ticket fines in Grantsville will increase, and violators can receive up to three tickets in a day. Get to five unpaid tickets, and you will be hit with court costs--an additional $60 per ticket.

 

January 4, 2007

A new children’s day care is coming to Arnoldsburg at New Life Baptist Church. It is being certified by DHHR, the health department and fire marshal’s office. With a $15 per day rate, the program can take children birth to age 12. Some children could be eligible for payment through DHHR programs like Choices and Connect.

*       *       *       *

The new family court facilities should be ready to hold sessions by Feb. 1.

*       *       *       *

County clerk Richard Kirby received 22 applications for the $25,000 E-911 director’s position during the two-week window for submissions. The director will be in charge of general operations of E-911 in the county, serve as the county’s flood plain officer, and complete E-911 addressing and mapping in the county.

*       *       *       *

January means free parking is over for another year. With more authority to deal with parking issues, the parking meter attendant is expected to be addressing all parking issues.

*       *       *       *

Only one Calhoun High School student entered the Chronicle essay contest. She will receive prizes for first, second and third place. The winner’s name and essay will appear in next week’s issue.

*       *       *       *

Linda McCartney will join The Calhoun Chronicle staff next week.

This Week's Editorial:

By Helen Morris:

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