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WVWC Concert Band to Present Spring Concert

The Free Press WV

The Concert Band at West Virginia Wesleyan College will present its spring concert, “Heaven and Earth,” on Monday, April 23 at 7 p.m. in the Culpepper Auditorium of the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts. The concert’s theme of the life’s journey is centered on the performance’s main musical selection, Symphony of Prayer by Eric Schmidt.

Under the direction of Logan Lindsey, director of bands, the concert band will begin the audience’s journey with Schmidt’s first movement, “Adoration.” This movement explores all the quiet and majestic ways one can show adoration for life which manifests itself in deep love and respect. The next movement, “Thanksgiving,” depicts the joys and dance-like emotions that are felt when pure gratitude is present in life. The final movement, “Supplication,” offers solo and quiet passages reminiscent of prayer or contemplation while showing the power of humility and humbleness of asking for something earnestly.

Rounding out the performance will be the movement “Purgatorio” from Robert W. Smith’s symphony The Divine Comedy. This movement puts the mental images of Purgatory into musical form.

“There is a lot of fun to be had performing and listening to these works with their dramatic changes,” stated Lindsey. “This concert will let the audience’s mind wander while being flooded with music that entertains and invokes thought, discussion, daydreams, and much more.”

For additional cultural events at Wesleyan, please visit www.wvwc.edu.

WV Teacher Received the Remaing Donations accepted through a GoFundMe Page

The Free Press WV

All of the money raised from the West Virginia Teacher Strike Fund has been distributed.

More than 950 teachers and school service workers received part of the $332,970 raised from a GoFundMe Page, according to Savanna Lyons with the Teacher Strike Fund.

Organizers said they eventually had to shut down the request site when it became clear they would not be able to fund every request. There were 978 requests submitted.

Erin Cooper, an English teacher at Sissonville High School, is one of the recipients. She received $500.

Cooper is pregnant. She said she didn’t plan on taking time off before having her baby.

“We didn’t plan on doing a strike during my pregnancy. I don’t have enough sick days at the end of the year. When they tack those nine days on, that left me with nine unpaid days,” she told MetroNews.

More than 7,100 people from around the world donated to the fund.

The statewide strike lasted nine days. Teachers and school service personnel rallied every day at the state Capitol in Charleston to demand better pay and benefits. It sparked other states like Kentucky and Oklahoma to stage their own education worker protests in the following weeks.

Cooper said she believes donors were inspired by West Virginia teachers.

“People see what West Virginia teachers did for the whole country. I feel like we started something. It was like a wildfire and it spread across the country, so I’m really proud that we were a part of that and we were the one that ignited the fire,” she said.

The strike ended on Mar. 6 after Governor Jim Justice approved a five percent pay increase for state workers including teachers. The governor also promised to find a permanent funding fix for the state Public Employees Insurance Agency.

Most applicants requested funds for various reasons including lost pay, organizing costs such as signs, travel and meals, electric or hospital bills and child care costs.

Tammy Austin, a substitute custodian for Putnam County Schools, doesn’t receive a salary. If she doesn’t work, she doesn’t get paid.

“It a little rough and it was scary wondering how long it was going to be before they got back to work,” she said.

Austin also received $500 in funds. She said the money was put toward her electric bills.

“It meant a lot. I mean, my electric would’ve probably been turned off if I didn’t receive it, so it was greatly appreciated,” she said.

Educators received checks anywhere from $40 to $1,000 depending on their needs.

Richwood’s 80th Feast of the Ramson set for Saturday

The Free Press WV

The annual Richwood tradition of the “Feast of the Ramson” will take place between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday at Cherry River Elementary School.

For the “Ramp Capital of the World,“ the feast has been looked forward to since 1937 when 13 men held a private dinner with ramps as the central piece and decided to make the dinner public the following year.

The menu for this year’s feast includes ramps, of course, along with ham and bacon, potatoes, brown beans, cornbread, desserts, sassafras tea, coffee and cold drinks.

Tickets purchased at the event will cost $15 for an adult and $7 for a child.

Along with the feast itself, the city will also play home to a arts and crafts show in the downtown area between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

According to the Richwood Area Chamber of Commerce, 65 vendors have reserved over 90 spaces for their wares.

Two local traditional Appalachian musicians will be performing throughout the day roaming about, along with an Appalachian band holding a concert between noon and 3 p.m. on Main Street.

With weather slated to be nice on Saturday, the chamber is expecting a large crowd and said in a good year they can go through 1,600 pounds of ramps at the feast.

For more information, you can visit the 80th Feast of the Ramson page on Facebook.

Imagination Library Successfully Transitions to West Virginia Department of Education

The Free Press WV

West Virginia’s Imagination Library program successfully transitioned to the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) this week, making it the first of several programs to shift as a result of HB 4006, which dissolved the Department of Education and the Arts.

“I am happy to report the transition took place seamlessly and the program will continue without disruption,” said Acting Secretary of Education and the Arts, Clayton Burch. “Additionally, no funding tied to Imagination Library will be jeopardized.”

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a non-profit organization that provides thousands of books each month to registered children in participating communities throughout West Virginia. As a cornerstone of the WV Leaders of Literacy: Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the program promotes the early love of reading and learning as the building block for a strong foundation in education. Currently, 41 counties use Imagination Library to ensure children ages birth through five receive a new children’s book monthly. More than 26,000 children have early access to books because of Imagination Library and more than 1.9 million books have been distributed since the program began in West Virginia in 2007.

“Research confirms that the only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading performance is the number of books a child has access to in the home,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “The West Virginia Department of Education is committed to not only supporting, but expanding Imagination Library which is intrinsic to the vision for closing the third-grade reading gap.”

As part of the transition, the WVDE plans to expand the program to all 55 counties in West Virginia. To help reach that goal, the WVDE has partnered with the June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development, a non-profit organization that works to provide leadership in education initiatives for West Virginia educators and students. The June Harless Center will act as a fundraising arm for the Imagination Library program to help it grow.

Those interested in bringing Imagination Library to families or those who have questions may contact Charlotte Webb, Coordinator of Elementary Education at the WVDE at 304.558.9994 or ‘ctwebb@k12.wv.us’.

Emrick Awarded Top Honors by NATA ICSM

The Free Press WV

Rae Emrick ’95, assistant professor of athletic training at West Virginia Wesleyan College, was recently awarded District III Head D2 Athletic Trainer by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Intercollegiate Council for Sports Medicine (NATA ICSM).

Each year, the ICSM recognizes one individual for exceptional performance as a head athletic trainer in the following collegiate divisions: NCAA D1, NCAA D2, NCAA, NAIA, Junior College/Community College and Club, Intramural, and Recreational Sports. Recipients are actively involved in their community or campus, athletic training associations, and promotion of the profession. Nominees much be employed as a full-time Head Athletic Trainer in a collegiate setting, exhibit professional experience in a collegiate setting, and general experience as Head Athletic Trainer.

Emrick was nominated by John Zubal, assistant athletic trainer at Wesleyan.

“It was a tremendous shock when I received the call from Andy Carter of the NATA ICSM committee notifying me of my selection for this award,” said Emrick. “I am honored to have been nominated by John and am completely humbled by being selected as this year’s winner. The AT staff that we have on campus are great and make my job much easier.” 

Emrick is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction from West Virginia University. During her tenure at WVWC, she has worked as an athletic trainer with many Bobcat athletic teams and served as a clinical instructor for athletic training students. In the fall of 2007, Emrick assumed the role of Program Director of the Athletic Training Program. She has taught courses at WVWC since 1997 in a variety of subject areas, such as athletic training (BSAT and MSAT), exercise science, anatomy and physiology, health and physical education, and general education courses within the freshman seminar program. She received a bachelor of science from Wesleyan and a master of science from Marshall University.

FERC approves pipe yards for Atlantic Coast Pipeline project

The Free Press WV

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Dominion Energy approval Thursday to construct pipe yards in both Upshur County, West Virginia and Halifax County, North Carolina, in anticipation of the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

According to a company spokesman, the Upshur County site is located off of U.S. Route 33 approximately one mile up Brushy Fork. Plans are for a fairly large operation there.

FERC’s approval of the ‘yards’ comes after a targeted filing made by Dominion earlier this week. Additional targeted filings are expected in the weeks ahead as the company gets closer to making its request to start construction on the 600-mile natural gas pipeline from West Virginia through Virginia and into southeastern North Carolina.

Dominion is still waiting on its water certification permit from the State of Virginia. West Virginia and North Carolina regulators have already approved similar permits.

Dominion will make its request to start construction with FERC in two filings. It hopes the first phase of work can begin later this year.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline asked for an extension for tree felling late last month but was denied by FERC.

The pipeline would start in Harrison County and proceed across Lewis, Upshur, Randolph and Pocahontas counties in West Virginia before heading into Virginia and then into North Carolina.

~~  Jeff Jenkins ~~

big WV pipeline projects Construction Kicks Off

The Free Press WV

Two major natural gas pipelines originating in West Virginia are moving forward with construction activities after focusing on cutting trees through the winter months.

Mountain Valley Pipeline will extend 42-inch diameter natural gas pipeline over 303 miles to transport West Virginia natural gas into southern Virginia. The pipeline developer says the $3.5 billion project is on pace for completion this year after felling trees in areas considered to be sensitive habitats for bats and migratory birds.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run 600 miles from West Virginia through Virginia and into southeastern North Carolina, delivering up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of Marcellus shale gas. That $5.1 billion project is on track for completion in 2019, developers say.

Each project is meant to move West Virginia natural gas to eastern markets, potentially generating higher prices. But there is also focus on how the enormous projects may affect the landscape and waterways as construction commences.

Mountain Valley Pipeline says it remains on target for completion late this year.

“Mountain Valley Pipeline is pleased to report 100 percent completion of all tree-felling activities requiring time-of-year restrictions related to endangered bats,” stated Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for MVP.

“The project team continues to conduct tree-felling and related activity in accordance with state and federal laws, and the project remains on target for a late 2018 in-service.”

Mountain Valley Pipeline was the focus of protesters in treetop platforms this winter in Monroe County, where trees were being cleared for a path through the Jefferson National Forest. The protesters were aiming to make MVP miss a March 31 deadline to clear trees in the area.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the protests, which did prevent tree felling in that immediate area past March 31, squared with Mountain Valley’s progress.

In West Virginia, the Mountain Valley Pipeline would pass through Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, Summers, Braxton, Harrison, Lewis, Webster and Wetzel counties.

Mountain Valley Pipeline’s developers say the project will produce 9,000 jobs in Virginia and West Virginia. The project anticipates direct spending of $407 million in Virginia, and $811 million in West Virginia.

During construction, the project is anticipated to generate $34 million in state and local taxes in Virginia and $47 million in West Virginia.

The most recent weekly report provided from Mountain Valley Pipeline to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission noted that tree felling continues in several areas along the path.

The progress report also says construction continues at the compressor stations that are necessary to keep natural gas flowing through the pipeline. Road construction is also continuing, and construction is starting on authorized lay down yards.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline would start in Harrison County and proceed across Lewis, Upshur, Randolph and Pocahontas counties in West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina.

Over the course of construction, Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s developers say the project will generate more than 17,000 new jobs and $2.7 billion in economic activity across the region, with more than 13,000 professionals working directly on pipeline construction.

The pipeline will be built in individual sections, or spreads, with multiple spreads under construction at the same time.

That project is still aiming for a 2019 completion.

“We’re still on track to start construction later this spring and complete the project by the end of next year,” stated Aaron Ruby, a spokesman for Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline asked for an extension for tree felling late last month and was denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We’ve completed tree felling along more than 200 miles of the route,” Ruby stated. “While that’s less than we planned for this year, we’ll still have a productive construction season.

“Once we receive a few remaining approvals, we’ll start full construction later this spring and summer. Any work we can’t complete this year we’ll shift to next year, which will keep us on track to finish up by the end of 2019.”

West Virginia’s Division of Environmental Protection has established a web page giving state residents an overview of several ongoing pipeline projects, along with access to public documents associated with the projects.

~~  Brad McElhinny ~~

West Virginia Libraries Celebrate National Library Week April 08-14

The Free Press WV

This week, the West Virginia Library Commission joins libraries nationwide and across the state in celebrating the many ways libraries lead their communities through the transformative services, programs and expertise they offer.

April 08-14 is National Library Week, an annual celebration of the life-changing work of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries aren’t just places to borrow books or study—they’re also creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate using new technologies and develop their skills and passions.

Libraries of all types have long been evolving to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Diverse groups including elected officials, small business owners and students depend upon libraries and the resources they offer. Resources like e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners and programs for job seekers are just a few ways libraries and librarians are transforming to lead their communities. Community members can also develop their own leadership skills at the library, with endless opportunity to build skills and confidence through resources and programming.

West Virginia public libraries help lead their communities with programs such as summer reading for young students, book discussion groups, assistance in job searches and resume writing, and by offering volunteer tax assistance during tax season. The WVLC does its part with innovative programs, such as Letters About Literature, the annual reading and writing competition for students in grades 4 through 12.

“Public Libraries help lead our community by advocating for widespread access to crucial services and lifelong learning,” said Karen Goff, Executive Secretary of the WVLC. “Libraries level the playing field for people of any age who seek information and access to technologies to improve their quality of life.”

Libraries also offer something unique to their communities, the expertise of individual librarians. Librarians assist patrons in using increasingly complex technology and sorting through the potentially overwhelming mass of information bombarding today’s digital society. This is especially crucial when access to reliable and trustworthy data is more important than ever.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is designed to recognize the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.

For more information on how libraries lead their communities, contact your local library or the WVLC at 304.558.2041.


West Virginia Library Commission encourages lifelong learning, individual empowerment, civic engagement, and an enriched quality of life by enhancing library and information services for all West Virginians. WVLC is an independent agency of the Office of the Secretary of Education and the Arts. To learn more about the WVLC, please visit www.librarycommission.wv.gov or call us at 304.558.2041.

Parkersburg’s Sarah Sisson Named WVWC Newman Civic Fellow 2018

The Free Press WV

Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has announced the students who comprises the organization’s 2018 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows, including West Virginia Wesleyan College’s own Sarah Sisson.

A junior, Sisson of Parkersburg, WV, is an athletic training major and psychology minor.  While at Wesleyan, she has been a member of WE LEAD and Zeta Tau Alpha.

“I am honored that I was nominated for this fellowship and even more humbled that I was chosen,” said Sisson. “I do not take part in community service for recognition; I do it because it is what makes me passionate for life. It brings me true joy knowing that I somehow made the world a little better.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional, and civic growth. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with access to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

“I feel that I embody the notion of a Newman Civic Fellow by living my life in service to others,” commented Sisson. “Making a difference, no matter how large or small in life, for the better is, I feel, why I am here. For those who know me, one of my greatest passions is being a voice for those who do not have one, whether that means animals or people.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.

Campus Compact is a nonprofit coalition of more than 1000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. As the only national association dedicated to this mission, Campus Compact is a leader in building community engagement into campus and academic life. 

For more information, visit www.compact.org and follow @Campus_Compact on Twitter.

Two arrested in connection with Roane break-in

The Free Press WV

A man wanted in connection with a January break-in in Roane County is now in custody, along with a woman accused of helping him hide out afterward.

Investigators located Justin Skaggs Thursday night in the Mt. Zion community in Calhoun county. Skaggs was the leading suspect in a break-in at a home on Egypt Road in Roane County back in January. During that break-in, the homeowner was asleep.

Police also arrested Hunter Leigh Roberts as an accessory after the fact.

Suits Over Marcellus Property Taxes Could Clobber Schools, Counties

The Free Press WV

A pair of cases before the West Virginia Supreme Court over gas well property taxes could be “devastating” to local governments and schools.

Antero Resources won their cases in Doddridge County circuit court, but the implications could extend statewide or industry-wide. The company said tax offices aren’t letting them deduct true post-production expenses for Marcellus wells.

Doddridge County Commission President Greg Robinson said the ruling could cut school funding by more than $4.5 million. And he said, under the school aid formula, public education really depends on what were strong revenues from those taxes.

“Doddridge County gets $0 from the state of West Virginia,” Robinson said. “So obviously that’s going to be potentially devastating to the county.“

According to one court filing, in 2017 state rules said Antero could deduct no more than $175,000 per well. The company argued the actual cost of transport, pipelines and keeping the wells running after they were drilled was between $650,000 and $1 million a year.

Robinson said the cases could reduce county and school revenues by about 15 percent. He said they had already started on an $80 million plan to get more than two-thirds of county residents connected to public water.

“We’re moving on that,” he said; “’Course, if we have no money to do the engineering or whenever a match is required, then that will have to come to an end.“

He said depending on what the court does, the county hopes to negotiate a solution with the company. But Robinson said one way or another, they will have to adjust.

“It would be very good if this could be equitably resolved amongst the parties,” he said. “But if it’s not, I guess we’ll all have to live with the results from the Supreme Court.“

A final decision could come in May or June.

The case numbers are 17-AA-1 and 17-AA-3. Filings are HERE and HERE

drug ring Charges in Lewis County

The Free Press WV

Seventeen individuals of Lewis, Upshur and Marion counties are facing drug-related charges following several months of investigations in Lewis County.

“Many of the individuals sought in today’s operation have perturbed many good citizens for a very long time,” Lewis County Sheriff Adam Gissy said in a press release issued Wednesday. “Tips provided by community members have proven essential in guiding investigators through many of these drug investigations.

“I welcome any information that citizens can provide in aiding law enforcement, and am thankful for the position they have taken to make our county a safer place,” Gissy said.

Four of the 17 individuals are still at-large. Those facing charges include:

— Colton Lester, 29, of Buckhannon
— Cody Richards, 23, of Weston
— Joshua Ryan McGuire, 31, of Weston
— David “Pack Rat” Pickens, 62, of Ireland
— Joseph Adam Osborne, 37, of Camden
— Josh Osborne, 29, of Fairmont
— James Lorentz, 33, of Weston
— Tia Neal, 34, of Weston
— Steven Lockhart, 26, of Jane Lew
— Brian Ketron, 36, of Weston
— Chasity Knapp, 40, of Jane Lew
— David Hicks, 55, of Weston
— Dana Anderson, 26, of Fairmont
— Hubert Westbrook, 40, of Weston
— Camron Barnett, 29, of Roanoke
— Markus Wilt, 26, of Weston
— Julie Hudson, 40, of Weston

Members from the Weston Police Department, Buckhannon Police Department, and the West Virginia State Police assisted with the operation.

WVWC to hold Two-Day Lincoln Conversations Event

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Department of History, the Phi Alpha Theta history honor society, and the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library are proud to co-sponsor the first “Conversations on Lincoln” to be held over two days on Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7, 2018. The proceedings, which are primarily student-organized, will feature a variety of speakers, re-enactments, exhibits, and entertainment events focused on the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Additionally, a keynote address by Dr. Michael E. Woods of Marshall University on Saturday will feature one of the region’s leading experts on Lincoln.

The “Conversations on Lincoln” will kick off on Friday, April 6 with Lincoln re-enactor Robert Brugler speaking to students at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. Later that morning, he will speak to a history course at West Virginia Wesleyan College before making his way to the Upshur County Public Library in Tennerton for a public presentation at 1:00 p.m. Brugler and his wife, Barbara, who portrays Mary Todd Lincoln, will make a variety of other presentations throughout the event.

Other highlights of the weekend include a log splitting contest, high tea and conversation with Mary Todd Lincoln, and a keynote address by Marshall University professor Dr. Michael E. Woods. Additionally, two white glove tours will be given of the Charles Aubrey Jones Hon. ’49 Abraham Lincoln collection, which is held in the Rare Book Room of the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library. Charles Aubrey Jones was a 1904 alumnus of West Virginia Wesleyan and began collecting Lincoln artifacts, books, manuscripts, and ephemera after becoming acquainted with Colonel Osborn S. Oldroyd. Oldroyd was largely responsible for the preservation of the Petersen House in Washington, D.C., which is the home where Lincoln died. Oldroyd was also a prodigious Lincoln collector, which sparked Jones’s interest.

The Jones Lincoln collection was believed to be the largest collection of Lincoln materials in Ohio, and the third largest east of the Mississippi River at the time it came to Wesleyan in 1971. The collection was officially donated to the College in 1985 as a gift of Charles Aubrey Jones’s daughter, Elizabeth “Betty” Jones. In recent years, the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library has attempted to increase usage of the collection for scholarship, educational purposes, and community outreach.

This effort was forged by students William Wasson, a senior from Martinsburg; Kathryne Newton, a junior from Buckhannon, WV; Madison Lapole, a junior from Inwood, WV; and Annie Fleming ’17 from Beverly, WV. Kevin Spear ’76, Board of Trustees member and longtime Lincoln fan, helped initiate this event, as well as impromptu Lincoln lectures on campus. Spear hopes to see one Lincoln-centered event every year.

The full schedule of events is below:

Friday, April 6

8:00 a.m. – Abraham Lincoln (reenactor) speaks at Buckhannon-Upshur High School (for high school students only; not open to the public)

Location: Buckhannon-Upshur High School

10:00 a.m. – Speaker: Joie Johnston – “The Supreme Court during the Civil War”

Location: Upshur Reading Room – 1st floor; Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, WVWC

10:30 a.m.-12:00 noon – White glove tour of the Charles Aubrey Jones Abraham Lincoln Collection

Location: Rare Book Room – 2nd floor; Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, WVWC

1:00 p.m. – Abraham Lincoln (reenactor) – “Growing up to be President” with 4th and 5th grade students of Tennerton Elementary School (event is open to the public)

Location: Upshur County Public Library; Route 20 South, Tennerton

5:00 p.m. – High Tea and Reflections on Life in the White House with Mary Todd Lincoln (reenactor)

Location: Upshur Reading Room – 1st floor; Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, WVWC

5:30 p.m. – Log Splitting Contest

Location: In front of the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, WVWC

5:30 p.m. – Abraham Lincoln (reenactor) makes a public speech

Location: Outside French A. See Dining Center, Benedum Campus Center, WVWC

6:30 p.m. – Speaker: Burrus Carnahan – “Emancipation as a weapon of war: the international roots of Lincoln’s Proclamation”

Location: Upshur Reading Room – 1st floor; Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, WVWC

Saturday, April 7

9:30 a.m. – Welcome and Opening Remarks by Kevin Spear (WVWC Trustee and Lincoln Collector)

Location: Upshur Reading Room – 1st floor; Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, WVWC

10:00 a.m. – Speaker: Stephen Wilson – “Abraham Lincoln and Technology”

Location: Upshur Reading Room – 1st floor; Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, WVWC

11:00 a.m. – Speaker: Dick Crews – “Abraham Lincoln the Radical”

Location: Upshur Reading Room – 1st floor; Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, WVWC

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. – Lunch (on your own)

1:30 p.m. – Speaker: Wendy Allen – “A thirty-five year career painting Abraham Lincoln”

Location: Upshur Reading Room – 1st floor; Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, WVWC

2:00 p.m. – Speaker: Beth Wasson – “Abraham Lincoln and Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia”

Location: Upshur Reading Room – 1st floor; Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, WVWC

2:30 p.m. – Speaker: David Kent – “Lincoln is for everyone, not just historians”

Location: Upshur Reading Room – 1st floor; Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, WVWC

3:00 p.m. – Break

3:30 p.m. – Abraham Lincoln (reenactor) recites from his great speeches

Location: L.L. Loar Hall – Auditorium (1st floor)

4:30 p.m. – Keynote Address

Dr. Michael E. Woods – Associate Professor of History at Marshall University (WV)

Location: L.L. Loar Hall – Auditorium (1st floor)

5:30 p.m. (or at conclusion of keynote address) – White glove tour/exhibit of the Charles Aubrey Jones Abraham Lincoln Collection

Location: Rare Book Room; Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, WVWC

All events (except those noted) are free and open to the public. Any history enthusiasts, students, and fans of Abraham Lincoln are encouraged to attend any or all public events.

For more information, please contact Will Wasson at ‘wasson_wa@wvwc.edu’.

Longstanding maple syrup tradition continues at sugar camp

The Free Press WV

Making maple syrup has been a longstanding family tradition for a Pocahontas County man — one he’s proud to continue at a sugar camp near Cass.

Joshua Shinaberry’s grandparents and great-grandparents made maple syrup and hosted all-day pancake dinners for close to 30 years at Cassell’s Sugar Camp on Back Mountain Road. Shinaberry said his great-great grandparents probably made maple syrup too — as it was something just about everyone did back in the 1800s.

“That’s the way they got their sugar back then,” he said in a recent phone interview, explaining the process involves collecting gallons and gallons of sap from maple trees when the temperature is right, and then boiling that sap water down, over an open fire, until it becomes syrup.

“You just boil it — gather it, and boil it,” he said — noting you don’t have to add anything, and you have a finished product. “It’s fascinating to me — all you do is collect the sap, and you’re there.”

The syrup is carefully filtered and then bottled — and while the process is somewhat simple, it’s very time-consuming.

The boiling process can be a 24-hour job for weeks on end, Shinaberry explained, saying he must keep the fire going and check the sap water just about every hour, around the clock. He boils the sap water until it evaporates to nearly the right density of syrup. Then he finishes the boiling process using gas heat, he said — noting the slower evaporation process gives syrup a richer flavor.

It takes anywhere from 40 to 60 gallons of sap water to be boiled down into 1 gallon of maple syrup, Shinaberry said, depending on the actual sugar content of the sap.

Besides the sugar content, the biggest factor is the weather.

For the sap to flow out of tapped maple trees and be collected, the temperature needs to rise above freezing during the day. But the temperature then needs to drop below freezing again — not stay too warm, like the high temperatures that the region experienced during February.

Shinaberry said he has about 2,300 taps in maple trees this year.

The old-fashioned way of collecting sap from a tapped tree included using a bucket, but today, plastic tubing can be hooked up to several trees, allowing the sap to flow downhill into a large container.

He said some trees on the 220-acre sugar camp property are large enough for three taps, but smaller trees often have just one or two taps, depending on their diameter.

Shinaberry has made maple syrup for the past 10 years, doing most of the work himself but getting some help from his father, father-in-law and other relatives. Last year, he made about 310 gallons, while this year was a little lower because of the warm weather last month.

“The 10 days of warm weather we had in February messed things up,” Shinaberry said.

He estimated he’ll total about 270 gallons this year, which will be sold to wholesalers or local markets.

The current sugar camp building was built in the 1970s by his grandparents, Paul and Gayle Mullenax. Shinaberry’s great uncle, Neal Cassell, also played a large role in the operation.

Since the original sugar camp building is getting old, Shinaberry said he plans to put up a new, bigger building later this year, with larger living quarters.

He added he enjoys the tradition of making maple syrup.

“The extra money’s good, but I really like doing what my grandparents did. It’s a good feeling,” he said, adding he hopes to one day host pancake dinners again, just like his grandparents did.

He also loves the actual product.

“I love maple syrup — it’s one of my favorite things on planet earth,” he said — adding he also loves the combination of the smells when the syrup is boiling, when the steam and the woodsmoke fill the air.

...

The tradition of making maple syrup is carried on by other local residents as well — in rural Randolph County, the small town of Pickens even hosts the annual West Virginia Maple Syrup Festival each March. This year’s two-day festival is taking place today and Sunday, and it continues to grow in popularity.

Maple syrup, maple candy, maple sugar and pancake feeds are the highlight of the festival, along with crafts, demonstrations and live entertainment.

One popular stop with festivalgoers is Richter’s Maplehouse, a maple sugar camp owned and operated by Mike Richter and his wife, Beth.

Built near the site of Mortimer Hicks’ 1880′s sugar camp, Richter’s Maplehouse contains antique maple-syrup equipment from early neighboring camps. Besides a 150-gallon wood-burning sap evaporator, a bottling room, bucket-hung trees and miles of tubing lines, the Richter camp also offers demonstrations of the maple-syrup-making process and sales of maple products.

Anywhere from 200 to 500 people visit the camp this time of year, Mike Richter said, and he enjoys showing visitors the process of making maple syrup.

He added he enjoys making maple candy and maple butter — which always sells out before the festival — but more than anything, he enjoys being out in the woods.

“That’s probably the best part of the process — tapping the trees is one of my favorite parts of the job, and getting the sap and watching it flow,” he said.

Mike Richter said he’s been making maple syrup for the past 37 years, and he has started to cut back a little. Instead of making a lot of maple syrup and products himself, he now works with other maple-syrup makers in Randolph, Upshur and Tucker counties.

Mike Richter added his least favorite part is that “you can’t control the weather.”

Despite February’s warm temperatures, he said this maple season lasted about four weeks for him, which is close to average.

“If you get four to six weeks, that’s normal,” he said.

Richter’s Maplehouse is located about 4 miles from Pickens, and he said anyone is welcome to stop by for a tour.

WVDEP Launches Webpage Dedicated to Helping Citizens Learn About Pipeline Projects

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) has launched an easy to use webpage designed to help citizens learn more about five major proposed or under construction natural gas pipelines.

The page is available here.

The five pipelines that are the focus of the webpage are the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Mountain Valley Pipeline, the Mountaineer Gas Company Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project, Mountaineer Xpress Pipeline, and the Rover Pipeline.

“We are making sure that anyone who has any questions about these pipelines can find those answers on one easy to use webpage,” WVDEP Cabinet Secretary Austin Caperton said. “People who live near these projects deserve to be able to find answers to their questions quickly, and WVDEP is providing this new webpage to help them do that.”

Available on the webpage is information such as detailed maps of the proposed route of pipeline routes and a link to WVDEP’s searchable online database where additional information such as any inspection and enforcement action and any permit modifications can be found. Also available are public hearing transcripts, responses to comments received at public hearings, and press releases about the pipelines. The page will be updated as more information on each pipeline becomes available. Citizens will also be able to submit reports of possible permit violations via this webpage.

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