Regional News

Jim’s Promise Tour Launches

Justice: New roads, new jobs, and hope are on the way

The Free Press WV

Governor kicked off the Jim’s Promise Tour to highlight specific road construction projects that fulfill Governor Justice’s pledge to fix the state’s roads and bring tens of thousands of jobs to the Mountain State.

Justice and Transportation Secretary Tom Smith visited Hurricane, WV to discuss the new work that’s going to occur on I-64 between Hurricane and Milton, and then they went to Clarksburg to give an update on the action happening on local roads in North Central West Virginia.

Transportation Secretary Tom Smith said, “Jim’s Promise Program is historic because it’s the most significant investment West Virginia’s ever seen in its roads and will make such a difference for our state.”

“This is only the start of immediate jobs, immediate opportunity, and immediate hope,” said Governor Justice.  “These road projects that are going on now are just the beginning of West Virginia making a real comeback. It’s the first step to bringing West Virginia the greatness we deserve. Let’s roll!”

Smith added, “In just three months, we’ve already leveraged $350 million worth of work thanks to the Governor’s plan and it’s one and a half times larger than the Obama stimulus spent on West Virginia’s roads. This is just the beginning of a new chapter for West Virginia’s infrastructure. Jim’s Promise means fixing roads in every corner of our state and thousands and thousands of new jobs.”

UHC to Transfer to EPIC System, Offer MyWVUChart

Starting next month, United Hospital Center patients will be able to manage all of their medical information from the convenience of their smartphone.

On August 01, 2017, UHC will switch to the EPIC computer system that provides patients with access to MyWVUChart, WVU Medicine’s online patient portal.

Once the transition is complete, all of UHC’s information will be in one place, said Stephanie Smart, vice president of nursing at UHC.

“The entire hospital will be on the same system, and, right now, that is not true,” she said. “We have a couple of different electronic systems that we use, so the systems don’t always talk and communicate the way we want them to or need them to.”

The EPIC software system is a vast improvement over the hospital’s current system, Smart said.

“We currently are on an electronic medical record system, but it is slightly outdated,” she said. “EPIC is on the forefront of technology for electronic medical records. It’s kind of an exciting time for us to be able to participate in this and be involved.”

The Free Press WV
Beginning August 01, you can access many MYWVUChart features via the mobile app. With the implementation of MyWVUChart (the online patient portal for all of WVU Medicine), in conjunction with the new EPIC computer system, UHC will achieve an even higher standard of care coordination through electronic health records for the thousands of patients UHC serves in North Central West Virginia.

The biggest advantage of the new system is that it allows UHC to communicate with and stay connected to the other facilities in the WVU Medicine network, said Brian Cottrill, assistant vice president and assistant chief information officer of WVU Medicine.

“Right now, if you come in here as a patient, they can only see your UHC record,” Cottrill said. “After we go live on EPIC, we’ll be able to see your records from throughout our health system. If you had something done from a specialist in Morgantown or at WVU Hospitals, that’s all available.”

Patients who take advantage of the MyWVUChart mobile app or website will be able to access their medical information and manage their medical care conveniently, Cottrill said.

“Through MyChart, patients will be able to see all aspects of their care and even message their physicians, see their appointments, see what’s due on their bill and see their lab results,” he said. “It’s all available online in a much more compressive way than what United has today.”

To access MyWVUChart, patients will need to visit the website and request an activation code. After receiving the code, patients will have 30 days to activate their accounts, Cottrill said.

Medical information stored on MyWVUChart is secure, and patients don’t need to worry about their data being compromised, he said.

The Free Press WV
Pictured is Brian Cottrill, assistant vice president and assistant CIO of WVU Medicine, accessing many MYWVUChart features via the mobile app that will be available August 01 when UHC will offer MyWVUChart, the online patient portal for all of WVU Medicine. With the implementation of MyWVUChart, in conjunction with the new EPIC computer system, UHC will achieve an even higher standard of care coordination through electronic health records for the thousands of patients UHC serves in North Central West Virginia.

“You have to login or use your TouchID,” he said. “To get your account, we have to verify that it’s you. If you want to see anybody else’s, it’s the same process we’ve always had with medical records. Those secure medical records standards are still in place. It’s just easier to get to now.”

Being part of the WVU medical system allows UHC to implement EPIC without having to bear its cost, Cottrill said.

“EPIC only goes to big academic medical centers,” he said. “The only reason we have an opportunity here to use EPIC is because we’re part of the health system. Ruby already had it, and we’re being added onto their system.”

Cottrill said almost 2,000 of the hospital’s employees are being trained to use the new system.

The training varies from position to position, he said.

“It depends on your job; it’s very specialized,” Cottrill said. “There are a lot of different modules to be trained in. If you’re a physician, you get trained in placing physician orders for patients. If you’re a biller, you get trained in how to go through those financial statements.”

For more information on MyWVUChart, visit or call 866.982.4278.

Controlled Deer Hunt Applications Available for Four West Virginia State Parks

Applications for controlled deer hunts in 2017 are being accepted at four West Virginia State Parks.

Those parks are Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park in Wood County, Pipestem Resort State Park in Summers County, Cacapon Resort State Park in Morgan County and North Bend State Park in Ritchie County.

For the first time, multiple-day hunts are scheduled at Cacapon and North Bend State Parks.

The deadline to apply is August 13, 2017. All West Virginia hunting regulations will apply.

Applications must be submitted at

Applicants with a DNR ID number must log in using their existing account.

The Free Press WV

New customers need to create an account on the Electronic Licensing and Game Checking System.

“Controlled hunts have been successful in deer management in previous years,” said Sam Cowell, hunt coordinator for the West Virginia State Parks system.

“It is an effective and efficient means of maintaining a biologically and socially balanced deer herd at our parks experiencing overpopulation.”

Dates for the 2017 controlled hunts at state parks are as follows:


Hunting Date

Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park

September 25 and October 23

Pipestem Resort State Park

October 09-10

Cacapon Resort State Park

November 03-04

North Bend State Park

November 06-08 and November 13-15

Controlled Hunt Application Process

Applications must be submitted at

Once logged in, applicants must select “Enter Lottery” and then choose only one of the hunting options listed for the park where the applicant is applying to hunt.

Multiple entries for the same park hunt may disqualify you.

Applications must be completed by midnight Sunday, August 13, 2017.

Hunters will be selected at random. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of August.

Controlled Hunts Benefits

Controlled hunts help manage deer populations. Over-browsing by deer leads to loss of native vegetation, prevents forest regeneration and alters habitats for all wildlife species living in the park.

The primary goal of controlled hunts is to reduce deer numbers to levels that prevent habitat loss, property damage, vehicle collisions and potential human injuries.

Hunting contributes to wildlife conservation while maintaining a healthy deer herd population.

State park contacts are: Nathan Hanshaw, Pipestem Resort State Park 304.466.1800); Miles Evenson, Blennerhassett Island State Park (304.420.4800); Scott Fortney, Cacapon Resort State Park (304.258.1022); and Steve Jones, North Bend State Park (304.643.2931).

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources hunting regulations will apply to all managed hunts.

To learn more, visit

WV Pastor Plans Hunger Strike Against Health-Care Repeal

The West Virginia minister famous for telling a senator how the Affordable Care Act saved her daughter’s life now says she plans a hunger strike to oppose the ACA’s repeal.

Reverend Janice Hill of Parkersburg met with Senator Shelley Moore Capito to testify against the Senate health-care legislation last month. Video of their meeting drew nationwide attention after Hill credited Obamacare with saving her daughter’s life by making sure she got cancer treatment.

Hill now says if and when she knows the repeal bill is to be up for a vote, she’ll start a water-only fast.

The Free Press WV
A West Virginia minister says she’ll do anything she can
- including going on a hunger strike -
to get senators such as Shelley Moore Capito to vote against healthcare legislation.

“When I know it’s going to go for a vote, then I will make my stand,“ he says. “And this isn’t a stunt for me. These are people’s lives, including my daughters.“

The Senate vote has been delayed. Capito has not clearly said if she will vote for or against the bill. If she votes no, most observers expect the repeal to fail.

The Senate bill’s supporters argue the Affordable Care Act offered too much - that it created unsustainable, generous government health-care promises. But many of the act’s insurance rules have been very popular.

Hill says her daughter has a rare form of cancer that is very expensive to treat. She says before Obamacare, her daughter’s insurance company would likely have cut off her coverage because she hit an annual cost cap or because she had a pre-existing condition.

“So the fact that there wasn’t a cap and the fact that there’s not pre-existing conditions really and truly is what’s keeping her alive,“ she explains.

Hill says Capito should vote no, and negotiate with Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin who want to fix the parts of Obamacare that aren’t working and keep what is.

“Cross that stupid aisle - to be a leader, to be working with Sen. Manchin, and be one West Virginia,“ adds Hill.

Hill and other clergy were to deliver letters and petitions to Capito’s Charleston office Tuesday.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

GCHS Teacher Make Presentation in Nashville, TN

A team of four teachers from Gilmer County High School made a presentation at the SREB’s High Schools That Work Conference in Nashville, TN, on July 14, 2017.  Traci DeWall (Technology Integration Specialist), Brittany Duelly (Math 11-12), Kelly Barr (Math 7) and McKinley Buckley (Social Studies 11-12)  led “Blending at Its Best: Engaging and Differentiating for the 21st Century”.  In their presentation, the GCHS panel explained the data that was derived from student surveys about internet connectivity at home, the types of devices they have, and how they best learn, while teachers were surveyed on their comfort and mastery of using technology in the classroom.  The participants were actively engaged in the exploration of free- or low-cost websites that enhance instruction and learning. Time was spent on the development of key tools, and the participants left with something they could immediately integrate into their classroom.

The Free Press WV
(Pictured standing L to R): Traci DeWall (Technology Integration Specialist), Brittany Duelly (Math 11-12),
Kelly Barr (Math 7) and McKinley Buckley (Social Studies 11-12)

“That was the goal of presentation,“ said Mrs. Nasia Butcher, principal, “to ensure that participants left with tools that they could immediately use in their classroom.  Based on the feedback from teachers and administrations, we achieved our goal.  I am very proud to showcase Gilmer County High School and the excellent work our teachers do. I believe that our technology integration is at an appropriate ratio with direct instruction.  Technology was never intended to supplant instruction, it was intended to augment good instruction.  Students still want teacher led instruction, but the integration of technology allows students to do so much more.  I believe we have that balance.“  Other teachers attending the conference were Mrs. Lora Chapman (Computer Applications) and Mr. Jacob Yocum (Social Studies 9-10).

The Southern Regional Education Board works with states to improve public education at every level, from early childhood through doctoral education. SREB helps policymakers make informed decisions by providing independent, accurate data and recommendations. They help educators strengthen student learning with professional development, proven practices and curricula. And they help policymakers, institutions and educators share scarce resources to accomplish more together than they could alone.

SREB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Atlanta. SREB’s 16 member states are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Their work is funded by member appropriations, as well as by contracts and grants from foundations and from local, state and federal agencies.

Braxie Helps to Promote ‘Monstrous’ Tourism in Flatwoods Area

Folklore and scary stories are often passed down through generations, but one West Virginia county is creatively using those tales to promote tourism.

The Flatwoods Monster, commonly referred to as “Braxie,” has been a popular Braxton County tale since Sept. 12, 1952, when there was a supposed alien sighting in the hills of Flatwoods.

“What makes it particularly interesting is it was a group of a lot of boys, from the ages of like 10 to 17 or so, and two of the boys’ mothers,” said Andrew Smith, executive director of Braxton County Convention Visitors Bureau. “It was a kind of reputable group and an interesting group, which I think was one of things that kind of helped propel it into notoriety nationally at the time.”

The Free Press WV

With the national attention that the excitement quickly gained, Braxton County continues to use that fame as a method of tourism to the area.

Smith said the story of Braxie is what makes Braxton County so unique.

“We have it and nobody else does,” he said. “Just like Point Pleasant has with Mothman for the last 20 years or so, we’re more or less doing the same thing. If you want potential travelers to take note of your area as a possible destination, the first thing you’ve got to get them to do is stop and look and listen.”

Braxie has even gained some international attention, with frequent spottings in popular video games.

“I’m not sure why but it seems like Japanese video game designers particularly really grabbed ahold of our monster,” Smith said. “It’s been used for ‘bosses’ for games, which is the person you have to beat at the end of the game, for four of five different games and spanning a couple decades.”

The most famous video game appearance of Braxie’s has been in Zelda.

Of course, Braxie isn’t the only attraction in Braxton County, but simply a way to draw people in to all that the county has to offer.

“Of course we’re home to two great lakes — not Great Lakes with a capital ‘G’ but fantastic lakes — the Burnsville Lake and the Sutton Lake,” Smith said. “We have the Elk River Water Trail that starts at the Sutton Dam and goes all the way down to Charleston.”

Coupled with its central proximity and Interstate 79 running through the middle of the county, towns such as Sutton and Flatwoods are a great meeting spot for many state organizations. Several hotels and conference centers have popped up in the area as a result.

Those destinations will continue to be attractions for years to come, and area businesses gladly welcome those looking to explore Braxie’s story.

“I think they’re seeing the positivity that’s coming from it, and maybe what could have been thought as negativity that could’ve come from it just doesn’t come,” Smith said.

~~  Brittany Murray ~~

GCHS Land Judging Team Qualified for National Competition

The Gilmer County High School land judging team secured a 4th place finish at the State FFA Convention and has qualified to compete at the national land judging competition in Oklahoma City, OK in May 2018. 

The team has been working since early May perfecting their land judging skills. On May 11, the team went to a practice competition in Jane Lew where they placed second in home site evaluation and third in land judging with a combination score that put them in first place for the two contests. Individually, in home site, students placed third through sixth, which gave them a starting point to improve upon. 

The Free Press WV
Members of the GCHS land judging team are (L to R):
Jaccob Klapka, son of Jeanette Klapka and John Klapka; Evan Jedamski, son of Melissa and Bert Jedamski; Ashlee White, daughter of Tina and Nelson White; Zane Cogar, son of Sherry and Thomas Cogar; and Marshall Cottrill, son of Dendra Miller and Steve Cottrill; Mr. Nick Cox, GCHS Vo-Ag teacher.

At the regional contest held on June 15 in Flatwoods, the team won both land judging and home site contests.  In land judging, the team had individuals place first, third, fourth and seventh with a total score of 1062 of 1200 possible points. In the home site competition, individuals placed first, second, third and seventh for a total score of 1270 of 1344 possible points.  Winning both of these contests qualified the GCHS team for the state contest.

At the state level held on July 14 in Ripley, WV, the team placed fourth in the home site and land judging contests. With a score of 1016 of 1200 possible points in land judging, and a score of 1198 of 1344 possible points in home site, GCHS team took fourth place and qualified them to compete at the national competition. Ashlee White placed tenth individually in home site and Zane Cogar placed seventh individually in land judging at the state competition.

“I am extremely proud of the effort this team put forth,“ said GCHS teach Mr. Nick Cox.  “The students set high expectations for themselves, and have worked diligently to achieve their goals.  I knew from the first day that this team was special, and that they could qualify for national competition.  They are right where I wanted them to be in their preparation for regional and state competitions.  Now, the real work begins to prepare to compete against hundred of other teams from across the nation.“

Normantown 4-H Club Visits Cabot Recycling Station

The Normantown Knights 4-H Club visited the Cabot Recycling Station, near Grantsville, on July 17th. Kim Solomon provided the group with a tour. The club learned that nearly everything they come in contact with is recyclable. The members were able to see how the different types of recyclables are sorted and processed. One of the highlights of the trip for the kids was seeing how aluminum cans are crushed and compacted into a small cube. The members all felt recycling was something they would like to begin doing as a group and as individuals.

The Free Press WV
First Row: Kyle Norman, Hannah Beckner, Lindsey Cottrill. 
Second Row: Caleb Cottrill, Hailey Norman, Allison Wood. 
Third Row: Kim Solomon, Cabot Recycling Station Employee, Marshall Cottrill.

The kids were all surprised to learn that of all types of recyclables that are dropped off at that Station, cardboard boxes are the most common item. They also learned several other interesting facts, including thirty-six recycled pop bottles can make one square yard of carpet, and recycling one ton of old paper saves 7,000 gallons of water. The 4-H members were amazed with all of the information that they learned while visiting the Recycling Center. They are all hoping to make changes in their family life that will help with the recycling effort to save our world.

The Free Press WV
The 4-H members see how cans are crushed and compacted into small cubes

Following the trip to the recycling center, the group held their July meeting at a local playground and then went to Gino’s Pizza for lunch. The kids all had a fun and educational trip and the club encourages other clubs, schools and organizations to schedule a tour of the Recycling Station. If you are in the Normantown (Stumptown, Shock, Rosedale, Normantown, Steer Creek) area and would like to join the Normantown Knights 4-H Club, please contact Julie Beckner at 304.354.9343 or contact your local county Extension Office to find a club available in your area.

Scholarships Available Through Women’s Opportunity Fund

The Free Press WV

The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation is accepting scholarship applications for the Women’s Opportunity Fund – Linda H. Culp Memorial Scholarship.  The Women’s Opportunity Fund provides educational resources to non-traditional female students who are working to complete their education or to pursue additional schooling toward higher level career goals, professional certification, or other degrees.  As a memorial to Linda H. Culp, this fund honors a pioneering and hardworking local leader who mentored and supported other women in accomplishing their hopes and dreams.

To be eligible for financial assistance, an applicant must meet all the following requirements:

·      Applicant must be a female, adult learner who is not a recent high school graduate.

·      Applicant must reside in one of the following counties:  Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Jackson, Mason, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wirt, or Wood counties in West Virginia and Athens, Meigs, or Washington counties in Ohio.

·      Applicant must be pursuing a form of post-secondary education, including bachelor’s degrees, advanced degrees, certificate programs, or vocational/technical studies in any chosen field.

Recipients are selected by an independent scholarship advisory committee.  The scholarship can be applied toward tuition, books or other education related costs.  To apply, visit the Foundation’s website,  The application deadline is July 26th.  For additional information, please contact the PACF’s Regional Scholarships Officer, Rachel Brezler, at 304.428.4438.

The Free Press WV

About Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates:

The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates (PACF) works with individuals, families, businesses, and civic or nonprofit organizations to make a positive and permanent commitment for the future of our community.  PACF is a single 501(c)(3) public charity that manages more than 350 charitable funds with nearly $40 million in assets.  PACF works in partnership with its local affiliates to provide leadership and develop philanthropic resources to meet the needs of an 11-county service area.  Since 1963, PACF has helped local citizens support charitable needs and touch every aspect of life in the community in a variety of lasting ways.  For more information about PACF, visit or call 304.428.4438.

Nicholas County Consolidation Issue Tests Local vs. State Authority

The Free Press WV

School consolidation is almost always controversial and emotional.  Proponents see the benefits of new facilities and economies of scale.  Opponents lament losing their community school and long bus rides for their children.

Nicholas County is currently in the throes of just such a debate. Richwood High and Middle School and Summersville Middle were destroyed in last year’s flood. The local school board has approved a plan to combine five schools at one campus near Summersville.

Nicholas County and Richwood High Schools would be merged, as would Richwood and Summersville Middle Schools. The county’s vocational school would also be on the new campus.

Most of the consolidation opponents are Richwood residents who want to preserve the schools in their community.  They believe the schools are important linchpins as they rebuild following the flood.  The Nicholas County School Board believes their consolidation plan makes the most sense because of the declining student population and the cost of replacing the damaged schools.

The State Board of Education has twice rejected the plan with some members contending the local board did not give full consideration to the views of consolidation opponents. The local board went to court, claiming the state board has no justification for rejecting its consolidation plan.

Both sides spent all day Tuesday in front of Kanawha Court Circuit Court Judge Duke Bloom making their cases. The question Bloom has to decide is whether the local board or the state board has final say.  The answer is not immediately clear.

The State Supreme Court took up a similar case in 1990.  In Kanawha County Board of Education v. The West Virginia Board of Education, the State Supreme Court ruled that the State Board is empowered to approve or disapprove a county school consolidation plan.

However, that power is not unlimited.  Justice Tom Miller, writing for the majority, referenced the Handbook on Planning School Facilities that said the State Board cannot overrule the county board “unless the proposal does not comply with the education and facility standards established by the State Board, or the county board has not complied with procedural requirements.”

So according to the late Justice Miller, the State Board does trump the local board, but it cannot act in an arbitrary manner.

Governor Jim Justice has injected himself into the controversy, starting with his statement during the State of the State address last February.  “I hope and pray that we end up with a school in Richwood,” he said.  Additionally, former State School Board nominee Barbara Whitecotton believes her name was withdrawn because she appeared to favor the Nicholas County School Board’s plan.

It’s understandable that Richwood wants to keep its schools. However, voters elected the local school board to act in the best interest of the community.  If the State Board can arbitrarily supersede the local board, then the concept of local control for schools is just an illusion.

If Nicholas County strongly objects to their school board’s decisions, the voters can send them on their way in the next election. The voters have no such option with the State Board.

Central WV Community Action, Inc. Works to Get People Back On Their Feet

The Free Press WV

Central West Virginia Community Action, Inc. has just under 100 staff members with 8 locations serving Lewis, Harrison, Gilmer and Ritchie Counties.

Shannon Cunningham-Snead, the executive director, said the agency plays a critical role in the community through its anti-poverty mission.

“The agency is specifically charged to work in collaboration with existing efforts of government services and other non-profits and to avoid the duplication of services,” she said. “The agency conducts a community needs assessment every three years and uses that information to design or re-design its work, especially to fill the gaps where needs are not currently being met.”

The agency’s largest program is Head Start which helps more than 360 low-income families and other at-risk 3 to 5-year-olds in the four country region, Cunningham-Snead said.

“Children participate in pre-school and follow a curriculum designed to prepare them for a successful transition to kindergarten,” she said. “They receive free transportation, meals and other support services, and all children receive medical and dental exams.”

Children with special needs are also provided access to addition services, Cunningham-Snead said. The program is operated in strong partnership with each county’s Board of Education.

“Head Start is unique in that it focuses on the well-being of the child’s whole family, and family coordinators work with the parents and caregivers to ensure that they have access to adequate housing, food, employment opportunities and more,” she said.

Many know the agency for the Family Services program it offers in Lewis County, Cunningham-Snead said. Services are designed to meet unique needs of families in effort to obtain financial self-sufficiency.

“Case managers work with low-income customers on creating a household budget, accessing available resources such as SNAP benefits, housing vouchers, job training opportunities and providing direct assistance to support individuals obtain or maintain employment,” she said.

The agency can also provide job-specific clothing, testing fees, license renewals and more in order for individuals to be successful with employment, Cunningham-Snead said. Through an AmeriCorps program, they also offer free tax preparation services for low-income individuals.

“The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is specifically geared to ensure that qualifying individuals receive the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Care Tax Credit,” she said. “Additionally, opportunities to create a household budget and open a savings account are provided as well.”

Central WV Community Action, Inc. recently received a grant for the No Heat Emergency Program. The initiative provides free repair or replacement of heating systems for qualifying households, Cunningham-Snead said.

“To qualify, individuals should own their own home, and their heat source must not be in working condition or not considered a safe method of heating the home,” she said. “The agency provides assistance, as it is available, for those struggling to keep up with utility bills.”

Vonda Berry, the program director, said the Family Services offered are vital for the communities in Lewis County. They are able to assist those who are employable.

“If for some reason someone has lost their job or have been on a leave, they can see a Family Services specialist,” she said. “They will assist in setting goals, create a budget together and appoint them to other available resources if they need it.”

Berry said they like to call what they do a “hand up” instead of a hand-out because they are teaching people how to become self-sufficient and independent.

“It can be hard for those who don’t have a support system and encouragement to get the help they need,” she said. “When someone’s living paycheck to paycheck, it only takes one crisis to set them back.”

The agency works closely with the Department of Health and Human Resources as well as the Family Resource Network, Berry said. They are stronger by pulling everyone together because not one agency can do it all and have all the answers.

“It’s good to have a place to go where someone knows what’s available in the community and can help you set goals, short and long-term,” she said. “I think that’s what hurts people, they get so overwhelmed by a crisis they can’t see what’s next.”

The agency works with the individual to see a vision and then help them get there step-by-step, Berry said.

Individuals seeking assistance can contact the agency’s main number at 304.622.8495 to find the service location nearest to their community. The agency’s Family Services programs are operated at 468 Main Avenue in Weston, and 108 South 3rd Street in Clarksburg.

~~  Victoria L. Cann ~~

DIY Network Show ‘Barnwood Builders’ Visits Ritchie County

On last Sunday’s episode of “Barnwood Builders,” Mark Bowe and his team of old-school craftsmen saved a 150-year-old log cabin on top of a mountain in Ritchie County.

While they were in town, they visited Berdine’s, America’s oldest five and dime store. They also learned to make marbles by hand with Ellenboro glass artist Sam Hogue.

In nearby Cairo, Ritchie County, the Barnwood Builders met Martha and Dick Hartley, a local couple who built a log house homestead by hand.

The episode aired Sunday night on the DIY Network.

For those who missed the Harrisville episode it will air again this Sunday, July 16 at 10 p.m, on DIY.

And it will air again on Tuesday, July 18 at 5 p.m. and Sunday, July 23 at 11 p.m.

Filming for the episode in Ritchie County took place in January.

The Free Press WV

Now in its fifth season, “Barnwood Builders” is one of the most successful shows on the DIY Network, said Sean McCourt, executive producer. Silent Crow Arts, based in New York City, is the production company.

McCourt describes the one-hour show as: “Six good natured West Virginians travel the heartland saving pioneer log cabins and building gorgeous modern homes with reclaimed lumber. The show’s star, Mark Bowe, lives by the motto, ‘work hard, be kind, take pride.’”

Bowe lives in Lewisburg. Bowe wanted the show to present a positive message about West Virginia, McCourt said.

McCourt said he has found that West Virginians take great pride in the homespun series that celebrates old fashioned values and West Virginia pride.

There is a new episode of “Barnwood Builders” every Sunday at 9 p.m. on DIY. Episodes then re-air several times, McCourt said.

McCourt said the Barnwood Builders do great work, transforming old barns and cabins into nice homes.

There are 13 “Barnwood Builders” shows each season, with seven taking place in West Virginia, McCourt said.

Seasons six and seven of the show have been scheduled, McCourt said.

Five Tips that Will Protect Your Eyes from Sun Damage

The days are longer, the sun is hotter, the beach beckons, and out comes the sunscreen. “Summer revelers looking forward to sizzling hot fun in the sun shouldn’t overlook their eyes when it comes to protecting themselves from damaging ultraviolet rays,” warns David A. Faris, M.D., ophthalmologist in Bridgeport.

In support of UV Safety Month in July, Dr. Faris joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in sharing information on how to keep eyes safe from sun damage. Excess sun exposure can put people at risk of serious short-term and long-term eye problems.

The Free Press WV

“If eyes are exposed to strong sunlight for too long without protection, UV rays can burn the cornea and cause temporary blindness in a matter of hours,” says Dr. Faris. “Long-term sun exposure has also been linked to an increased risk of cataracts, cancer, and growths on or near the eye.”

Here are five things Dr. Faris recommends that you can do to cut your risk of eye damage from the sun:

  • Wear the right sunglasses – Look for those labeled “UV400” or “100 percent UV protection” when buying sunglasses. Less costly sunglasses with this label can be just as effective as the expensive kind. Darkness or color doesn’t indicate strength of UV protection. UV rays can go through clouds, so wear sunglasses even on overcast days. And while contacts may offer some benefit, they cannot protect the entire eye area from burning rays.

  • Don’t stare at the sun – Sun worshippers take note: directly gazing at the sun can burn holes in the retina, the light-sensitive layer of cells in the back of the eye needed for central vision. This condition is called solar retinopathy. While rare, the damage is irreversible.

  • Check your medication labels – One in three adults uses medication that could make the eyes more vulnerable to UV ray damage, according to a sun safety survey by the Academy. These include certain antibiotics, birth control and estrogen pills, and psoriasis treatments containing psoralen. Check the labels on your prescriptions to see if they cause photosensitivity. If so, make sure to protect your skin and eyes or avoid sun exposure when possible.

  • Put a lid on it – In addition to shades, consider wearing a hat with broad brim. Hats have been shown to significantly cut exposure to harmful rays. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

  • Don’t drive without UV eye protection – Don’t assume that car windows are protecting you from UV light. A recent study found that side windows blocked only 71 percent of rays, compared to 96 percent in the windshield.i Only 14 percent of side windows provided a high enough level of protection, the researchers found. So when you buckle up, make sure you are wearing glasses or sunglasses with the right UV protection.

Grants Available From Community Foundation

The Free Press WV

The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates (PACF) is currently accepting grant applications for the fall cycle of its Community Action Grants Program. 

The Foundation’s application process is online and the deadline to submit is midnight on September 15. 

To access the online application, visit the Foundation’s website:

To be considered for a Community Action Grant, an applicant must be a private, nonprofit organization, tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or a public institution. 

Either the applicant or program to be funded must be located in the Foundation’s eleven-county geographic service area (Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Jackson, Mason, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt, and Wood counties in West Virginia, and Washington County, Ohio).

Priority counties for Foundation grant support are:

  • Calhoun
  • Doddridge
  • Gilmer
  • Ritchie
  • Roane
  • Wirt
  • Wood

The Foundation provides support for capital and equipment projects, program development, technical assistance, training, capacity building, and, under special circumstances, operating support. 

Submitted applications are considered for support from charitable funds managed by the PACF that are designed to support a wide variety of projects and causes throughout the region. 

Applications from Calhoun, Gilmer and Wirt counties are also reviewed by the Foundation’s Little Kanawha Area Community Foundation regional affiliate advisory board.

“In an effort to make a larger and more immediate impact on regional needs, the Foundation has made important changes to its Community Action Grants Program,” said Marian Clowes, PACF’s Senior Program Officer.  “As a result, the maximum grant request size has been increased to $15,000.  Additionally, the proposed projects must be completed within a 12-month timeframe.”

To learn more about the Foundation’s Community Action Grants Program, visit or contact Marian Clowes at 304.428.4438 or .


About the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation

The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates (PACF) works with individuals, families, businesses, and civic or non-profit organizations to make a positive and permanent commitment for the future of our community.  PACF is a single 501(c)(3) public charity that manages more than 340 charitable funds with nearly $34 million in assets.  PACF works in partnership with its local affiliates to provide leadership and develop philanthropic resources to meet the needs of an 11-county service area.  Since 1963, PACF has helped local citizens support charitable needs and touch every aspect of life in the community in a variety of lasting ways.  For more information about PACF, visit or call 304.428.4438.

Click Below for additional Articles...

Page 1 of 92 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »

The Gilmer Free Press

Copyright MMVIII-MMXVI The Gilmer Free Press. All Rights Reserved