February 26, 2015
Mother Nature and Old Man Winter got into one heck
of a fight over the weekend, and it appears that we lost. All day on
Saturday, it rained and snowed, both at the same time, and if it had
just been snowing all day, we would have gotten more than a foot.
The only good news we had around these parts was
that the ice that accumulated on the trees and cars, and everything
else, was not too thick. We had around a tenth of an inch of ice
covering everything before it was over.
We already had about eight inches of powdery,
fluffy snow on the ground when all this started, and then it was
suddenly topped with a crust of ice that our little miniature sheltie
dog didn’t seem to appreciate. Each time I took him out to do his
business on Sunday, he kept breaking though the crust and was forced to
laboriously make his way around the hill.
On Monday, the poor little dog was even more
confused. He thought he would break through the crust again, but he
couldn’t have been more wrong.
The crust was much thicker, and his problem now was
that when he made it out of the tracks from before, he lost all traction
and slid down the hill.
I like winter, but even I am beginning to dream of
spring-time and warmer days. Each day lasts a little longer than the one
before, so there is hope.
Our goldfinches are beginning to show their summer
colors already. Some of them are trading their dun color for bright
gold, and most of them have a few flecks of gold showing in spots.
All of the birds have been cavorting around the
feeders throughout this stretch of bad weather to pay us back for all of
the sunflower seed they eat each day. They go through about seven pounds
a day in the holler.
The donkey parents, Badonkadonk (mom) and
Donkeyoatey (dad), and little baby Dinky Donk are doing fine, even
through all of the bone-chilling cold weather. They still enjoy two
apples a day, when we can get out.
February 19, 2015
Twelve years ago, we suffered through the great ice
storm of 2003. It started on Sunday, and I remember hearing trees
succumbing to the weight of the ice and crashing down every few minutes.
We worried that the tall poplar trees surrounding
our house, already leaning toward the house, would not be able to
withstand any more of the ice that was forecast to fall mid-week.
While looking at the tree that we were worried
about the most, I came up with a plan to get the ice off the side of the
tree above the house and make the tree lean the other way, I used a
12-gauge shotgun to blast the ice off the limbs. Surprisingly, after
half a box of number 4 shot, it worked.
The storm we endured on Saturday had some of the
strangest weather I have ever seen. Our house has a covered front deck
that faces north, and the wind was blowing so hard from that direction
that the side of the house, beneath the porch, was snow blasted.
watching birds landing on feeders, frantically trying to eat as much
sunflower seed as quickly as possible, when a super gust of wind
stripped all of the birds from the feeders and the trees. One minute the
feeders and limbs had at least 20 birds on them, and the next, they were
They didn’t fly away, they were blown away. All
that afternoon, the birds had to fight the wind and the snow. We saw
snow blowing every which way even straight up in the air, and it was the
only time I remember seeing the feeders covered in snow on all sides,
top, bottom and all around.
The forecast for the remaining part of the week is
calling for more of the same: snow and temperatures hovering in the
single digits on both sides of the zero mark.
February 12, 2015
I find it amazing how hard winter is hitting the
northeast this year. They have it worse than us almost every year, but
this winter has been epic and apocryphal.
At my age, it seems that I can remember winters
where we had as much as two feet on the ground at times, but never five
or six feet. That would be devastating were it to happen here. We live
too far apart to be of much use to one another when the only way to
travel through the snow is by tunneling.
Our forecast for the end of this week is for a
return to winter. With temperatures in the teens and even lower, snow
may even begin to accumulate, or the forecast may be totally bogus, and
I may take a walk in the woods wearing a short-sleeve shirt.
Mid-February is the time of year when anything is possible with the
I enjoy the sun coming up a little earlier and
setting a tad later. We all can use a little more daylight.
The birds in the holler are starting to sing a
different tune, more inline with Valentine’s Day. They flock to our
feeders and sing songs of courtship, while carefully choosing a
sunflower seed to give to a chosen mate.
Soon, they will begin fixing up last year’s nest or
making a new one. So far, the cardinals are the most amorous, but the
mourning doves are also passing seeds from beak to beak.
February 5, 2015
I got a call on Tuesday morning from Barb Roberts,
a subscriber from Five Forks, who had a
visitor that had been sitting on her windowsill for over an hour. She
knew it was an owl, but was unsure of the species. After we discussed
its size and markings, we were able to identify it as a screech owl.
Eastern screech owls are less than a foot tall with
cute little ears on the top of their heads. They are best known for
their eerie call, sort of a screech, in the spring and early summer, and
their diminutive size.
I found out on Tuesday evening that the owl had
sat, quietly napping, in Barb’s window until around , when it flew off while she was watching and landed in
a tree in her yard.
Don’t you just love nature?
We dodged a bullet once again, with yet another
major winter storm passing us by. We were on the warm, rainy side of
I wonder just how long our luck will hold out. Will
the next storm give us snow or more rain?
January 29, 2015
We have a new face in the holler. One of the
donkeys that help protect our neighbor’s newborn calves from being eaten
by coyotes now has something else to protect, a newborn, cute as can be,
We named the two donkeys when they first arrived in
the holler BaDonkaDonk (female) and Donkeyoatey (male), and have
tentatively named the little new one DinkyDonk.
It has occurred to me that the fuzzy caterpillars
that I consulted last fall for their winter prognostications may have
been New England insects that were just passing through our
area on their way south, attempting to avoid disastrous weather.
While we have not avoided winter weather
altogether, we have been lucky so far in not having to deal with the
weather the northeast corridor has suffered through since last fall.
I like a good snow, every-thing covered in a
blanket of pure white, tracks everywhere in the snow telling the story
of wildlife coping with winter, showing how animals seek out food caches
they hid before winter set in; however, snow-drifts that can swallow
cars are something I don’t wish to deal with.
The barred owls are making quite a bit of racket
almost every night. I suppose there will be baby barred owls hatching
before too long.
The weather service is calling for snow and cold
temperatures starting on Thursday night and continuing through the
weekend. I wonder if they might be right this time.
January 22, 2015
The annual January thaw has come and gone. It
usually occurs around the 20th (or third week) and was welcomed here, as
it was just warm enough to melt the ice that had accumulated in shady
Of course, the forecast now is calling for
rain/snow mix by the weekend, so I suppose we will go back to winter
conditions. Cold and rainy weekends are a great time to make chili--and
I do like my chili.
One of the holler’s barred owls made an appearance
for us yesterday. It dropped down out of a tree right in front of us and
flew to a branch near the road to pose for some photographs. Jeanne got
some great shots before it flew off to his home in a hollow beech tree
below our house.
A fire escape is being constructed on the backside
of the courthouse. It has been a long time coming and, while we all hope
it will never be used, it is a good thing to have.
It is nice to see some action at the Tudor’s/Gino’s
building again. I have a hankering for a good biscuit with toppings, and
was beginning to wonder if the building would ever be finished. I
predict it will open around the middle of May.
This is the time of year when half of Grantsville’s Main Street burned
to the ground in 1966. I remember the fire siren going on and on and
seeing the flames reach into the sky from our house near the old
swimming pool. I ran over to town, but was not allowed anywhere near the
March of the next year, we had the worst flood in
our history. That was a very bad time for the town, but, somehow, it
January 15, 2015
Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The
good news is that it warmed up some and started to melt the snow that is
packed solid on your road.
The bad news is that it then started to rain and
the temperature held all night at 32.5 degrees. Now your road is a
ribbon of ice. Got skates?
It seems that this scenario occurs every winter, at
least once and sometimes two or three times. When it happens, there is
nothing else to do except walk out and walk in.
It is only a mile either way on my road, but it is
uphill going out and I swear that makes for an awfully long mile. I much
prefer walking into the holler. A downhill mile is a beautiful thing.
On Tuesday morning, as I was enjoying my walk out
of the holler, our resident Cooper’s hawk accompanied me for a short
distance, as he and his mate were slowly circling over the trees looking
for a squirrel to split for breakfast.
They probably visit our feeder when times are
really hard to feast upon the fat, tender mourning doves that hang
around all day.
I don’t know if they were successful in their
squirrel hunt, because I had to pay attention to where I was placing my
It seems that maturity equals fragility, and I
cannot afford to break anything this year (I recently made my last
payment on the leg I broke in 2013). I think I will see how long I can
go without a break.
January 8, 2015, is missing
January 1, 2015
There was no snow for Christmas, and it appears
there will be no snow for the foreseeable future. While that makes many
folks quite happy, it makes me a little sad. I like snow. I’m sure there
will be plenty of snow before winter is over.
All of the birds in the holler seem to be a little
confused when the weather begins to look bad and the barometer starts to
drop. They hit the feeders hard, and they can eat a suet cake in a day
and a half.
I know they expect it to snow and are afraid the
snow will cover all of their natural food sources. The thing is though,
they don’t give the feeders a rest when all it does is rain. They can
run through a bag of sunflower seeds pretty quick.
There are snowdrops beginning to emerge from the
earth in preparation for blooming in mid to late February. I can also
see daffodils peeking up, although they are barely coming up.
Jeanne saw the Cooper’s hawk while driving into the
holler last week. It loves to drop down from a perch in the trees and
fly a short distance in front of the car, until it goes back up to pose
for a photo in another tree overhanging the road.
I suppose it is wintering over here where the
supply of fat squirrels and mourning doves is abundant.
Jeanne and I wish everyone a very happy New Year.
December 25, 2014
It seems that my dreams for a white Christmas this
year will remain just that, dreams. The weather service was agreeing
with me over the weekend.
They were predicting a change in the weather on
Wednesday, turning blustery and getting colder, with rain turning to
snow overnight. Now, it says that it will still rain, but will be too
warm for snow.
Too bad. Snow is really all that I want for
It is unreal how dead the streets of Grantsville
are, even this close to Christmas. There are practically no cars parked
along Main Street and no
one walking along the sidewalks.
It was a much different story 30 or 40 years ago.
It saddens me, but I don’t know how to bring the old times back, and I
am fairly certain they will never return.
Main Street and now shopping online is
killing the malls.
Amy came over on Sunday with her new little dog,
Cami (short for camouflage, for which her color scheme is perfect). Amy,
Jeanne and I went for a walk up the road. We went clear out of sight of
the house and had a really nice walk.
Jeanne and I wish all of our friends, neighbors,
family, and even those we have never met, a very Merry Christmas. May
you always have everything you need.
December 18, 2014
It would seem like some kind of record for tax
liens sold in the county during November’s sheriff’s auction.
This week’s legal advertisement reports the sale of
149 lots for over $422,000, which includes $238,000 sold to Waco Oil &
Gas Co., Inc., Mike Ross, Inc.
Maybe, it’s gas exploration speculation?
A large black bear was killed not too far, as the
crow flies, from our holler. It was taken in the
area. I was happy to hear about this, as I have been hearing reports
about bears in our neighborhood for the past few years, and I have been
somewhat concerned that one might just wind up in our yard.
We have had bears in the yard before, but they were
transient bears that were gone the same day. They didn’t come onto our
decks or even approach the house.
Now that I know there is one less bear in the
woods, I will feel a tad safer when I walk our dogs at night.
Since the weather forecast for the remainder of
this week calls for tolerable weather, I will go out onto the proverbial
limb and forecast some intolerable weather for Christmas. Nothing too
bad, no blizzards or any-thing like that, just crisp cold nights with a
dusting of snow on the ground Christmas morning.
I love waking up at daybreak on Christmas morning,
looking out the window and seeing snow falling, as if I’m living in a
snow globe, and then relaxing with a steaming hot cup of coffee while
waiting for the grandchildren to attack their presents later in the
The state highway department was patching holes in
the streets of Grantsville last week.
Now, I am still getting used to not hearing the
double thump of vehicles hitting the holes in the street outside the
office. Oh, well, as soon as the weather turns nasty, those holes will
December 11, 2014
Deer season seemed to be a dud this year. There
were not very many hunters out in the woods and not many shots were
fired. I don’t know if the weather was not cooperating, people have lost
interest in hunting or we have become too complacent. The result is the
same, there will be more deer killed by Toyotas than by guns this year.
I know there are plenty of deer in the woods,
because I see them beside the main roads (standing, as well as dead).
It won’t take too many years of low deer kill
before there are too many deer for the forests to support. Then disease
will cull the herds for us.
Birds have begun to flock to our feeders again. We
will soon be going through 20 lbs. of black oil sunflower seeds a week.
It is sort of our Christmas present to each other to buy seed and suet
cakes for the birds to eat over the winter. We are gifted-back through
watching the antics of our little feathered friends as they frolic and
Some folks I have talked to forget that goldfinches
molt in the fall and lose their bright yellow plumage. They ask me if
they have migrated south. While some do migrate, the majority hang
around throughout the year.
All through the winter, goldfinch males are
somewhat dun colored, almost resembling some type of sparrow, but, come
late March or early April, they will regain their summer beauty.
While the woodpeckers spend more time on the suet
cake than any other species, chick-a-dees and cardinals like to eat suet
December 4, 2014
We had snow in the air and on the ground last week.
Predictions are that we will be seeing more snow on Thanksgiving.
That should make all the deer hunters happy. Except
for the rare albino deer, snow makes it impossible for deer to hide in
open fields or in the woods, at least as long as they are moving about.
It also makes tracking so easy that a city slicker
can do it (and they can then back-track their own trail to find their
way back to the truck).
County was crippled by
three feet of snow that started to fall the evening before Thanksgiving
and continued falling as a blizzard for two days. Snowdrifts were 10
feet deep in some places of the county and roads were impassable for
close to two weeks.
That sounds like really rough weather, until you
think of the poor souls along the lake-effect snow belt in Pennsylvania and New York. I cannot imagine seven, eight or
even nine feet of snow piled on the roof of our house, or in our yard!
You would have to make a tunnel just to get to the
car. Although why you would want to get to your car is beyond me.
To deer hunt, all you would need to do is wait
inside your cozy, snow insulated home until the snow melted, and then
pick up the frozen carcasses of the deer in the devastated woodlands
surrounding your home.
Perhaps, I will be satisfied with an inch or two of
snow instead. How about you?
November 20, 2014
Winter has arrived early, with a vengeance. The
wooly worms that predicted winter would come early and hit hard, have
There have already been two major winter storms
(named by the Weather Channel) and it is only mid-November. There will
be a minimum of six feet of snow on the ground in the “lake effect”
areas by the weekend.
Even though all we had for snow was a dusting,
school was on a two-hour delay Tuesday morning due to icy road
conditions with a low temperature of 16 degrees. The temperature was
down to 14 degrees one morning last week and it was almost that cold the
There has never been anything like this early start
to winter in my lifetime. If we had an “Indian Summer,” it was just one
I believe it might behoove all of us to stay
stocked up on essentials from now until April, or later.
Next week is the beginning of deer season, and I
wonder if the weather will stay crisp and cold with a little snow or
warm up too much to hang a deer from a tree in the yard. The last few
years have been warm one year and cold the next. I think it will
probably be cold, rainy and miserable at the start of the week, until it
turns to snow and bitter cold for Thanksgiving.
Jeanne continues to improve every week. We walked
down in the yard to our fire pit and back last weekend, and it went very
It is a trip of about 250 yards over typical West Virginia terrain,
down and then level before going back up the driveway to the steps,
across the deck and into the house.
Soon, when the weather breaks, we will go to the
fire pit, build a small warming fire and sit in our swing for a while.
November 13, 2014
Judging from the questions I have answered over the
last five days, I think I shall make a clarification about something I
said here last week.
The extraordinary buck mentioned in this column
last week was spotted along the ridge on the Grantsville end of Pleasant Hill, not in our holler.
All kinds of people asked me where, exactly, that
buck was spotted in the holler. I had to tell them it was spotted on the
ridge along Rt. 16 (but I did not tell anyone where it was spotted). I
also reminded them that, between all of the landowners in and around the
holler, the holler is posted, no hunting or trespassing.
I remember the great flood of 1985, which occurred
right about this time, 29 years ago.
There was much speculation at the time about what
had saved Grantsville from an even more severe flood, like the 1967
flood. Many attributed the lower crest to the newly constructed
Industrial Park just above town on Rt. 5.
Some said it was due to Burnsville Dam. That dam is
too far away to be of much use to us here.
I lived through both of the floods and I can tell
you that in 1967 it rained for three days, and that rain melted snow, so
there was a whole lot more water to deal with back then.
Not that any of that matters very much, the damage
was severe both times.
The big ol’ black bear has still not been spotted
in the holler, thankfully.
November 6, 2014
Although there was considerable wind and rain last
weekend, there was no snow. I will wait patiently to see if there is any
snow this weekend. It seems that the bad weather is forecast for the
middle of the week this time.
On the way to work on Monday morning, there were two
does standing in the middle of the road, looking off to the side and up
the hill a little.
We came to a stop to avoid hitting them, and I looked
over to see what had their attention so affixed that they didn’t see us
coming at them. Lo and behold, standing there in a right-of-way was a
buck deer with the biggest rack I have seen in years.
It looked like a deer with two sumac trees stuck to
its head. I know you can’t eat the horns, but I guarantee you couldn’t
get this rack into your largest stock pot to make soup out of them.
Someone is going to harvest a mighty fine rack in a
couple of weeks.
* * * *
On Sunday, while we were looking out the windows
that face down our holler, we were surprised to see a humongous turkey
strolling around the hill. Some other fine specimens of turkey, both
hens and toms, followed him around the hill, but none were as large as
* * *
We heard from a neighbor that he had seen some
fairly large bear tracks on top of the hill, about a tenth of a mile
from our house, and they were heading our way. Mayhaps, the coyotes will
eat it before it shows up on the deck.
October 30, 2014
I heard the “S” word mentioned on a local weather
forecast on Tuesday. Spencer radio said there may be snow flying through
the air and sticking on the ground overnight on Friday.
That means as Halloween leaves at and November rolls in, winter might as
well jump on us with both feet. I am certain that scenario is scary to
some, but I am looking forward to it.
Although most of the leaves have left the trees,
there are still some maple trees that are colorful enough to take your
Even though it came early this year, it has been a
spectacularly beautiful autumn with very photogenic vistas.
General Election Day is nearly upon us. Please, for
the sake of your kids, your pets, your parents, friends and neighbors,
if not for yourself, get up, get out and VOTE.
It is illegal for someone else to do it for you, so
you must make the extreme sacrifice and go to the polls.
Who knows, perhaps someday you will be able to
utilize the “Vote Now” app on your smart phone, but until then, vote the
old fashioned way, on a computing device.
October 23, 2014
Hard rain and brisk wind at the end of last week
caused a drastic change overnight. It knocked our watercolor of fall
fantasia to the ground.
Most of the trees have lost their leaves already,
and the glorious colors of autumn are now a thing of the past. There are
some few exceptions to the rule and their fiery color really stands out
against the stark background.
There was a dusting of snow in the mountains over
the weekend, but our temperatures here stayed above the freezing mark.
The forecast for the next week calls for seasonable
weather, with no frost or snow. I think we will see a freezing morning
The new Gino’s/Tudor’s being constructed in the old
town parking lot is coming along nicely. There should be a grand opening
before the end of the year. I look forward to a steaming hot biscuit
with a sausage patty and fried egg in the middle.
All of the forest critters must be moving about at
night, and they must not be paying much attention, since it seems there
are quite a few of them littering the highways each morning.
I really won’t miss the opossums much, but I hate
to see the little tree rats (squirrels) lying dead along the road. Oh,
well, the dead squirrels disappear rather quickly since they are the
perfect size for raptors to stick their talons in for a quick trip to
October 16, 2014
Jeanne continues to improve after her hip
replacement on Oct. 1. She is looking forward to being pain-free for the
first time in years (unfortunately, her pain level is still intense),
and being able to walk around the yard with the grandchildren.
After enjoying some seasonably cool temperatures
last week, Tuesday was quite warm. There is a storm front due to move
through that will take the warm weather with it when it goes. Next week,
we will be cool again.
We have had two screech owls singing in the holler
this past week. All of the other owls like to join in and sing along
with them, which is fine by me. I would much rather listen to owls than
We have yet to see our first frost in the holler,
so the insects are still making music loudly each night.
This is also the time of year when lightning bug
larvae are moving about on the ground. They light up just like fireflies
do. Whatever the chemicals are that allow them to do this must make the
larvae very unpalatable, because they would be extraordinarily easy to
eat since they stay lit for a minute or two.
Bucks are still gathered together and running in
small packs, but that will change any time now. As the season of rut
comes on them, they will get territorial and fight one another for
dominance. Deer season will come soon enough and thin out the herd.
October 9, 2014
Jeanne had her hip replacement surgery last
Wednesday, and she was released from Ruby Memorial on Saturday, right in
the middle of Mountaineer Homecoming Madness. She made it fine through
the surgery and was pleased to survive getting out of
She is recuperating at home, and we hope to be
taking some nice long walks together this winter, and getting some
serious fishing in next year.
Last Saturday morning, it got pretty dark outside
and started to rain. We have a steel roof on the house, and it sounded
like it was being hit with sleet or small hail. I ran into the living
room to see what was going on and it turned out to be a blizzard of
leaves that were falling with the rain and wind.
The peak of fall foliage has now passed in the
holler, but there are still some beautiful scenes to be seen from the
The owls in the holler are beginning to get noisy
every night now. They are probably bragging to one another about how
many squirrels they have been eating.
There are times when it looks windy in the woods
around the house, with limbs shaking and small trees swaying, but it is
just multitudes of squirrels shaking the nuts out of the trees.
Speaking of going out on a limb, I will now predict
snow on the ground before Thanksgiving. Not a whole lot, just enough to
make the deer hunters happy.
October 2, 2014
One of the coolest events to watch in the sky will
happen in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Oct. 8, when the sun,
Earth and moon line up perfectly. We will see Earth’s shadow fall upon
the face of the full moon. This event is called a total lunar eclipse
and it is the second of four lunar eclipses in a row occurring at
six-month intervals, a sequence known as a tetrad.
The show starts at when the umbra, the darkest part of Earth’s shadow,
first touches the full moon. Sorry about the timing of this event, but
if you want to see it, you have to get up in the middle of the night. It
is also advisable to find a
to watch from, since this eclipse will end as the moon sets and the sun
Watch for the next hour, as the moon moves eastward
into Earth’s shadow.
The total phase of the eclipse begins at and lasts almost an hour. The moon
will take on a very strange reddish or coppery color when it is fully in
Standing on the moon, an astronaut would see the
sun completely obscured by the Earth, and a ring of bright color
outlining Earth, the light of all the sunrises and sunsets that circle
our world at any given time. That light shining through our atmosphere,
and then on the moon, gives it the unusual color we see.
Different atmospheric conditions on Earth can cause
the eclipsed moon to appear darker or brighter, reddish, chocolate
colored or almost completely black.
Before the eclipse begins, the full moon will
overpower most of the stars in the sky, but watch how many come out when
the moon is dark.
If you want to, try to find the dim and distant
planet Uranus with binoculars or a telescope, just to the lower left of
the fully eclipsed moon. If you stay up through all of the total phase,
you may spot brilliant Jupiter rising in the east. It is a great time to
preview the bright stars and constellations of winter: Orion, Gemini,
the Pleiades, and others.
Bird activity in the holler has declined in the
past week, but it will increase after we get hit with the first frost.
Tree foliage around here is several weeks ahead of
schedule, due, I suppose, to a lack of rain. We usually don’t have all
of this color lighting up the hillsides until mid to late October. I
don’t mind, though, it is still very pretty and photogenic.
Now is the time to plant any bulbs for your flower
gardens next year.
I have spotted three wooly worms in three days.
They were all three black as night from end to end. Better break out the
skis, snowshoes and long-johns.
September 25, 2014
Our last hummingbird left for the long journey
south sometime last Friday. It was replaced on Sunday with another one,
who apparently just stopped by our place long enough to “top off the
tank” for its journey to Central America.
It amazes me that those little birds, who can’t
stay away from a feeder more than 10 minutes, can make a trip covering
so many miles.
The little raptor that loves to fly in front of us
as we drive in and out of the holler has been identified. We believe it
is a Cooper’s hawk. We got some great photos of it last week, and that
is what cinched the identification (and Jeanne put one photo in a frame
and it really looks nice).
Everything it loves to eat lives in our holler,
squirrels, mourning doves, etc., so we are sure it will stay a while,
and will surely enjoy each day of its stay. The only possible problem I
can see is that there are many owls in the holler, and they may not be
as welcoming as we are.
Summer is officially over. “Fall has fell and its
cold as heck,” is close to what we used to say when we were kids. In
actuality, autumn began on Monday and it has been rather nippy in the
mornings. It was 39 degrees at our house on Tuesday morning.
There is much talk of what our upcoming winter is
going to be like, since folks are starting to spot wooly worms here and
there. I saw one last week that had a little brown on both ends and was
jet black in the middle (winter starts and ends mild, but is terrible in
the middle), but I have heard reports from one person who saw two of
them in one day and they were both white!
I wonder if the white wooly worm signifies snow up
to a cow’s belly, or something like that. I know it means a very snowy
winter, so dig out your shovel and stock up your larder, here we go
September 18, 2014
Our one little hummingbird is still hitting the
feeder all day long. Jeanne says, and I agree, that we need to bring the
feeder in by the weekend, so the little feller will get the hint and fly
We both attended Calhoun Days last weekend and
enjoyed seeing the sights and visiting with friends. I wrenched my back
slipping in the wet grass, but I recuperated just fine.
The annual marijuana eradication State
Police helicopter survey was conducted a couple of days last week. We
have received no notification of any finds. They spent a good deal of
time just flying around Grantsville and its immediate environs.
Squirrel season opened last Saturday, and I heard
shots being fired, off and on, all day. Remembering my days of hunting
for the little tree rats, I always waited until the leaves were off the
trees, and even then they were still hard to hunt. I guess probably one
squirrel died for every four shots I heard fired. The rest of the tree
rats sat behind the leaves and laughed at the hunters.
We have a new bird of interest in the holler. It is
a raptor, either a small hawk or falcon.
What makes it interesting is that it waits for us
along the road and flies 50 to 100 yards, and then alights in a tree to
wait for us to catch up before doing it all again.
We got some pictures of it last Saturday for
identification. I will post its species here when we get it.
September 11, 2014
It was so hot and humid last Saturday that the
atmosphere was like a pan of soup sitting on a stove. It boiled over.
I kept hearing thunder to the west, and checked the
radar to see what was coming. It showed that severe storms were building
up in Wirt
and heading our way.
Suddenly, the storms, which kept building up from
the same spot, and then moving over top of us, incessantly dumping heavy
rain, caused the National Weather Service in Charleston to issue a flash
The warning area started just to the west of
Grantsville, continued over into
County, and lasted for
more than an hour.
Although it really rained hard in the holler, it
never raised the creek very far above its banks. I’m certain that other
areas close by got it worse, and the lightning and thunder were
impressive to say the least.
Fortunately, all of this kerfuffle moved the nasty
weather to the east and allowed all of us to enjoy beautiful weather,
cooler with low humidity, on Sunday.
We now have one humming bird visiting the feeder,
after another one flew up outside our sliding door screen, did some
acrobatics, said goodbye, and left the holler on Sunday. We expect the
last remaining little bird to leave soon, probably this coming Saturday,
while we are at Calhoun Days.
We will leave our one hummingbird feeder out for
birds migrating from our north to stop by for a drink until freezing
weather sets in.
Right now, the weather service is calling for
temperatures in the upper 60s and lower 70s for this Friday through
Sunday, making this a perfect weekend to go to
for Calhoun Days.
I will be there taking pictures for a while, and
hope to see all of our readers there making memories and enjoying
Please remember the fallen on Sept. 11. We may
someday heal, but we will never forget the lessons learned that day.
September 4, 2014
I went out on our deck last Friday evening, right
around dusk, and enjoyed a whippoorwill concert for 10 minutes or so.
I suppose that they can get confused by the length
of days, and can’t tell whether it is spring or fall. At any rate, it
sure was nice to hear one this late in the summer.
Step outside after dark and you will hear the
continuous trilling of katydids until around when they quiet down enough so that the crickets can
It won’t be too much longer before we suffer
through hard frosts and freezes, and then there will be no sound at
night, other than coyotes, bobcats and owls.
We lose a hummingbird almost every day, as they
take off heading south. I swear they come to our sliding door screen and
hover up and down for a minute or two as a way of saying goodbye before
they go. Not all wildlife is so courteous.
This Saturday is the beginning, and end, of youth
During the special youth squirrel season, a
licensed adult must accompany youth hunters under the age of 15. The
accompanying adult cannot carry a gun or a bow and must remain near
enough to the youth to render advice and assistance.
Youth hunters, age 15 to 17, must comply with all
licensing requirements. All other licensing requirements will remain in
effect and hunters should check the 2014-15 hunting and trapping
regulations for information.
The regular season for squirrel hunting begins
The sixth annual Calhoun Days is coming the weekend
of Sept. 12. It promises to be a fun time for everyone. Since fall
begins Sept. 22, this will be just about the last time to have weekend
fun this summer.
August 28, 2014
Hummingbirds are beginning to leave the area to
migrate to southern climes. I am filling their feeders around every
three days, instead of every day, and the count of the little flitters
I suppose the other birds are heading off as well,
since 20 pounds of sunflower seeds now lasts me a week, and a suet cake
may last for 10 days.
I have heard reports from two reliable people that
they have heard whippoorwills within the last few weeks. I have not
heard any of them in the holler since late June, but I am not out very
much in the evening hours, and the owls get pretty loud then.
We were in line for some heavy rain late last week,
but, as usual, it rained hard to our north and south and barely rained
here. I don’t know what keeps breaking the storms up before they get to
us, but we could use some good, steady rain to fall for a day or so to
get the water table back up to normal.
I saw a special on television over the weekend
about the drought out west, and I was amazed at how low some of the
major lakes are out there after a couple of years of drought.
Major portions of
get their water from those lakes and use it to irrigate the crops and
provide us with fresh vegetables through the winter. Mayhaps, they will
start to see rain soon, or at least get some heavy snowfall in the
mountains this coming winter to raise their water table substantially.
Speaking of winter, we are now heading into what I
refer to as the “Berrrr” months. September, October, November and
December all end in “ber,” and it gets progressively colder with each
passing month. Yes, I said it . . . snow will be flying in the air
before you know it.
Soon, I will start seeing wooly worms, and I will
report what colors they are sporting this fall to predict the coming
August 21, 2014
Last week, I said that I would not tolerate any
coyotes on our lawn. At least one coyote must have read that and decided
to challenge me.
Sunday afternoon, I heard a noise when I stepped
off the deck while walking the dogs. The noise was a little fawn running
as fast it could down the road, bawling for help. Right behind it was a
coyote, running silently and swift.
The fawn took to the hill, with the coyote right
behind, and ran a circle in the woods next to our house. The chase ended
in a ravine in the woods above our house, when the fawn suddenly became
more vocal, and then quit bawling. Game over, fawn loses, coyote wins.
All of this happened within two to three minutes,
as I stood in the yard with our little dog on his leash. It all happened
so fast, he wasn’t even aware of what was going on.
I am not at all happy about this, and I don’t want
those predators around our home. When the snow flies, I will see about
tracking them back to their den, so that further action may be taken.
Meanwhile, the hummingbirds are fattening up at the
feeders in preparation of their annual trip to
South America. At this point in the year they don’t even
fight much, they just crowd together on the feeder, occasionally using
all 10 feeding holes.
We are still not smoking at our house, and it has
now been a month since we quit, and still feeling better every day, and
not having moments of jealousy when someone lights up in a movie or
August 14, 2014
No matter how careful you are, there are
unscrupulous people in the world that are out there simply waiting to
rip you off.
We still can’t figure out how our debit card was
compromised. It is very rarely used, but at the end of July a charge of
40 cents was made, to see if the card was active, and then a charge of
$49.95 immediately followed. When the rip-off artists (hcincsupport.com)
tried to do it again, Visa stopped the transaction and inactivated the
At least in the old days, a robber had to face you
or break into your house. Now, they can steal from you from the other
side of the world.
My advice? Keep your wallet in your front pocket,
the Bluetooth turned off on your devices, and check your bank accounts
daily. Talk to your bank to see what it recommends to help you keep your
hard-earned money secure.
There are any number of ways for crooks to try to
scam us. If it seems too good to be true, it isn’t. If a family member
or friend is in dire need of money far away from home, ask personal
questions only they would know the answer to and confirm their identity.
There must be special place in Hades for people who
sink so low.
There was quite a commotion in our holler on Monday
night. Around ,
we heard a pack of coyotes howling and screeching about 200 yards from
I don’t know if they came upon a fawn and killed
it, or just wanted us to know they live here too. At any rate, I am now
locked and loaded and our yard is off limits. There will be trouble if
August 7, 2014
I decided to perform a little test early on Monday
morning to see if I could determine how many hummingbirds are hanging
around our feeders.
I took both of the feeders inside for cleaning and
filling, and listened to the screeching of the little disappointed birds
as they waited, impatiently, for me to finish my chore.
Within minutes, I was done and took the feeders
back out to hang in their traditional spots. I was instantly bombarded
by hummers coming at me from all sides, even trying to land on the
feeders while I was still holding on to them.
Finally, I had the feeders in place and I stepped
back to do my count. Of the hummingbirds landing on the feeders, I was
able to count 17, while there were still more flying all around me
awaiting their turn at the nectar.
All-in-all, I would hazard a guess at around two
dozen hummingbirds at our house now, although they will be leaving for
their winter vacation within weeks.
We will miss them, but will enjoy not having to buy
10 pounds of sugar every 10 days.
The Perseid meteor shower will peak from Sunday
through Wednesday, and, even with the moon just past full, the brightest
shooting stars will still make your vigil worthwhile, if you can stay
awake that late or get up that early. The prime time for viewing is the
hours just before dawn.
If it is not cloudy, I will be in my lawn chair,
looking up, either awake or asleep.
July 31, 2014
After decades of addiction, I have finally broken
the bonds of nicotine and freed my lungs from smoking tobacco. I have
been a smoker almost all of my life, and even though tobacco was America’s first cash crop, I will
not give it another dime.
I am tired of paying good money to buy what my
father always referred to as “coffin nails.” When you get down to the
brass tacks, smoking is no different from any other addiction. You have
to pay for your addiction with your money and your health, whether it is
tobacco or heroin.
Jeanne and I both quit smoking July 18, and
although it has not been easy, we are both still pocketing cigarette
money every day and sucking on hard candy.
I want to thank everyone for putting up with me
while I have been going through this. I know I have been quite irritable
and cranky, even more so than usual.
Jeanne and I plan to put the amount of money that
we would have spent on cigarettes in an envelope each day and see how
quickly we can save up for something nice.
Perhaps if I put it in writing it will stick: I
will not ever smoke again, I am done with sup-porting the tobacco
Meanwhile, there were dire predictions from the
weather services over the weekend. We were in the path of storms that
could have dropped up to three inches of rain on us in just a few hours,
accompanied by high winds and severe lightning.
Here in Calhoun, we got to see the lightning in the
sky as the storms passed us to the north and the south. I am not
There was a report of a tornado in
County, and flooding in
other parts of the state.
Sometimes, I think we are lucky in what weather we
get and what passes us by.
July 24, 2014
We are starting to see bucks running in the fields,
with their antlers still in velvet.
Does are congregating in the same fields, but are
hanging out near the woods. Bouncing around the edges of the woods are
the little spotted fawns, one of my favorite things to watch.
Fawns have so much energy and seem to take such
delight from being alive that I cannot help but laugh while observing
them at play with one another.
The raccoons are getting back at me for putting the
bird feeders away every night and denying them an easy meal of sunflower
seeds. They tear up our yard each night by lifting up the sod in chunks
and then slinging the chunks.
I guess they are harvesting night crawlers and
other assorted and sundry bugs when they do this, but I really wish they
would stop. I would encourage them to stop by means of violence, but
there are little tiny raccoons helping with the destruction, and they
are just too cute to drive off by throwing rocks.
We still hear the owls nightly and see them every
so often when driving in or out of the holler. They know what our car
looks like and have occasionally been spotted by our daughter, Amy, who
drives a car that looks a lot like ours.
She called us to say that one of the owls had flown
out of the woods right over the hood of her car for a short distance
before landing in a tree beside the road, staring at her until she drove
off. One of life’s “Wow” moments.
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
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
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
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
* * * *
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
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
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
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
I keep telling them that there are lots of tiny
lobsters down in the creek, if they will simply turn over the rocks and
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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 and threatened two nearby structures with intense
heat. Fire fighters sprayed
down the fire and the nearby residences, saving the homes from
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
Since I like owls much better than crows, the crows
had better watch out. Besides, does it really take 50 crows to harass
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
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 and didn’t stop until around 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
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
Quite a bit of the snow had melted away by Tuesday
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 =
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I remember sitting in class at the one-room school
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Another fire on Monday afternoon caused some damage
to the home of Carl Osborne on
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
It will warm up some for the remainder of the week,
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
There is nearly a continuous fall through the
trees, with squirrels chattering at each other from both sides of the
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, , at Heritage Village
in Calhoun County Park.
If you are over 18, come out and show them what you can do.
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
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
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.
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
Don’t forget to attend the football game at the
high school on Friday at 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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 , 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
Do you know who came up with the original recipe
for the band booster hotdog sauce? Send your answer to
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.
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
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
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
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
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
and 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
Birds are singing their happy spring songs, while
flirting with the females at the feeder and making nests in nearby
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
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
County, as near as I can
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
County has a tie to this
year’s American Idol contest on the FOX
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
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
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%,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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”
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,
, 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
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
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 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.
officer Charles Stephens responded to the call and took custody of the
The 2nd annual Legends and Lore Tour, sponsored by
Calhoun Historical Society, will be held on Saturday at 2 and and on Sunday at 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
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
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,
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
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
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
The sign in front of where the old bridge used to
be on Main St. has been
repainted and you can now read “Calhoun
“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
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
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.
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
Brian Lamp is charged with one felony count of
nighttime burglary and is being held in Central Regional Jail in lieu of
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
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 on Tuesday, Grantsville and vicinity lost power due
to an unknown problem at presstime. Power was restored at 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
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
* * * *
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
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 , 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
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
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
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
Since there had been rain off and on that morning,
both departments had trucks slide into the ditch while driving out the
The State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating
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,
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 , 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Former Grantsville police chief J.D. Nicholson died
on Monday at his residence in Walton. The cause of death is unknown at
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Saturday evening’s concerts were followed by a great fireworks
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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”
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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
www.calhounchronicle.com. We will try to put as many on the web as
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
August 23, 2007
man was killed in an ATV accident on Monday evening at Crummies Creek.
He was identified Tuesday morning as Joshua Roberts, 22.
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
Ginseng season is in. Please harvest Ginseng
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
has begun repairs on the courthouse annex building, which was damaged by
a lightning strike in July.
Community Park, Arnoldsburg, will host the 40th annual Molasses
Festival, Sept. 27-29.
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.
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.
geocaches have been visited within the last week.
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,
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
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
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
The Calhoun Chronicle’s new improved website,
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,
Judge David Nibert presided over circuit court on
James M. Jones was sentenced one to five years on
home confinement for his participation in the manufacture of
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
The annual Calhoun
County Wood Festival is two weeks away. Information is available at
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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,
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
Stumptown/Normantown region was without power from about 8:30 on Friday
evening until almost noon on Saturday.
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
Don’t forget to spring
forward. Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, Mar. 11. Spring is two
Spring peeper frogs
began their chirping on Mar. 2 around the ponds and waters in the
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.