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Who Could Run in Rocky’s Place in 2014?

The Gilmer Free Press

Now that U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller has announced his retirement, there’s lots of speculation about who will run for the Democratic nomination for that seat in 2014.

Here are a couple names that have come up, in no particular order, and some of their pros and cons.

Carte Goodwin

Pros: He has a jump start because he served for four months as U.S. Senator in 2010 between the time that Robert Byrd died and Joe Manchin won election.  He is part of a family that is well-connected in West Virginia politics.  His wife, Rochelle, works for Senator Rockefeller.

Cons: He does not have personal wealth and would have to raise large amounts of money.  He has only limited political experience and has never run for office.  The other side of being well-connected is that some resent the Goodwin family’s influence in West Virginia politics.

Booth Goodwin

Pros: Just like his cousin, Carte, Booth or someone in his family knows everybody worth knowing in West Virginia Democratic politics.  He has increased his profile dramatically in the last couple of years while serving as the U.S. Attorney for the southern district.

Cons: Like his cousin, Booth cannot write a check for a big campaign.  He has not demonstrated that he can win a political race.  And again, the Goodwin name causes some blowback from those who are suspicious (or jealous) of the family and its politics.

Robin Davis

Pros: Davis, who was just elected to her second term on the state Supreme Court, has proven she can win a statewide race.  She is an effective campaigner who, along with her successful trial lawyer husband Scott Segal, can write a big check for a race.

Cons: Davis would have to give up her seat on the court the moment she declares her candidacy.  She has a ton of Supreme Court opinions that would be fodder for an opponent.

Gaston Caperton

Pros: The former Governor left on a high note after two terms.  Caperton has enough personal wealth to contribute heavily to his own campaign.  Caperton expanded his network of contacts during his tenure as president of the College Board.

Cons: Caperton has been out of the public eye for awhile; it’s been 17 years since he was Governor.  He will turn 74 in 2014, making him 80 years old at the end of the term.

Nick Rahall

Pros:  Rahall has seniority.  The Congressman has represented the third district since the 1976 election.  He would have an advantage in the Primary Election because he has run successfully in his district many times.  He can argue that knows the ways of Washington .

Cons: It may hurt more than help these days to be a Washington veteran.  While Rahall has never lost a race in his district, he is not nearly as well known north of Route 60.  He has taken thousands of votes that could be dissected by opponents.


Pros: Somewhere out there could be a fresh face, perhaps even someone with money.  Think Gaston Caperton in 1988.  Critics will say this newcomer has no experience, but that also means no voting record to be exploited.

Cons: It’s often hard for a newcomer to cut through the clutter.  The media coverage migrates toward the known names.  Who out there with success and money wants to subject themselves to the rigors of a big time political campaign?

So, these are just a few names. What names would you like to submit?

~~  Hoppy Kercheval ~~

G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Marple Faces Uphill Battle to Get Job Back


Former West Virginia School Superintendent Jorea Marple is suing the state Board of Education, claiming she was illegally fired last November.  Marple wants her job back. She adds that she has “suffered humiliation and anguish as a direct proximate result of her termination.”

No doubt Marple has suffered.  Getting fired will do that.  But Marple and a majority on the state Board of Education differed on how to respond to the comprehensive audit of public education.

“Many (board) members found no sense of urgency in the Department (of Education) to address some of the issues that have been outlined,” said Board President Wade Linger.  “Too often, we were told how things can’t change instead of being offered solutions.”

Marple was, like most top administrators, an at-will employee, and therefore not subject to civil service protection.

The at-will doctrine has been an important part of employment law since it was penned in the late 19th century by Horace Wood.  His 1877 treatise reasoned that the relationship between an employer and an employee, unless otherwise specified, can be terminated at any time for any reason.

Many exceptions have been added over the years. For example, an at-will employee cannot be let go because of their skin color or because he/she refuses to do something illegal or as retaliation.

Barring any of the exceptions, however, at-will employees are subject to firing without cause.

That principle was upheld by the West Virginia Supreme Court last year when it sided with the state Division of Culture and History over its firing of Fred Armstrong, the long-time director of Archives and History.

The court ruled that “an at-will employee… may be terminated at any time, without reason, unless this termination violates some substantial public policy (such as any of the reasons mentioned above).”

The state Board of Education could copy and paste the Armstrong ruling in its response to Marple.

Marple’s lawyers may believe they have the advantage, however, because of an earlier state Supreme Court decision.

In the 1982 case “Martha Major v. George DeFrench and the City of Morgantown,” the court overturned the city’s firing of Major.  The ruling–which coincidentally was written by then-Justice Darrell McGraw who is Marple’s husband—expounded on the due process rights of employees and protection of the employee’s reputation.

So, how will this all end?

Marple, as an at-will employee, has a weak argument for getting her job back.  Even if a sympathetic circuit judge sided with Marple, the state Supreme Court’s ruling in the Armstrong case shows the lean of the justices on such matters.

Additionally, it’s hard to imagine that Marple’s reputation has been damaged or that her ability to get another job is in peril.  As the Charleston Daily Mail, which supported the Marple firing, opined, “She retains high regard even of the people who back the board’s action.”

The real issue here is not Marple’s hurt feelings, but rather the quality of public education in West Virginia, and that’s where the state Board of Education has turned its attention.

G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Senator Wants to Smell the Raoses


The annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner for West Virginia Democrats was underway at the Charleston Civic Center.  The state’s leading Democrats were rallying the faithful with their best stem-winder speeches.

When it came time for the state’s senior Democrat, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, to take the podium, he passed.  Rockefeller, 75, who has suffered through back and knee pain for years, didn’t feel as though he could stand on his feet for another half-hour.

When a politician forgoes an opportunity to give a speech before an adoring crowd, you know all is not well.

And so when the five-term Senator announced Friday that he will not run for re-election in 2014, you heard people say they were not necessarily surprised.

But I suspect there are more reasons than the increasing physical limitations that contributed to Rockefeller’s decision.  Slowing down causes one to, as Rockefeller said, “recalibrate… to find a new balance for the thing I love—public service, and family.”

Typically, the most insincere sentiment spoken by retiring politicians is that they want to “spend more time with their family.”  It’s great cover for the real reasons powerful men and women move—or are pushed—from the spotlight.

But I believe Rockefeller.

The Gilmer Free Press

He and Sharon have four grown children with families of their own and six grandchildren.  “They are endlessly supportive and bring such total joy,” Rockefeller said, as he looked upon many of those family members in the front row during Friday’s announcement.

Interestingly, in a video piece posted on Rockefeller’s website just a few days earlier, the Senator said he was frustrated with political gridlock in Washington, D.C.  “It seems like many of my colleagues have forgotten how to get along with each other,” Rockefeller lamented.

There was a tone of resignation in his voice. Although Rockefeller said in his retirement announcement Friday that he will continue to fight and work for causes he cares about, the weariness is evident.

As one Rockefeller associate put it, would you rather spend your remaining days traipsing through the corridors of the Hart Building (the Senate office building) or playing with the grand kids in your Pocahontas County home?

Another thought is that Rockefeller faces a difficult re-election challenge in 2014.  The likely Republican challenger, Shelley Moore Capito, is a popular Republican Congresswoman.  Rockefeller would not get the usual pass that accompanies a sitting U.S. Senator in West Virginia.

Sure, Rockefeller could win a sixth term, but it wasn’t going to be easy.

In the late Robert Byrd’s autobiography, Child of The Appalachian Coalfields, the iconic Senator waxed eloquently about the stages of his life: “It was a road filled with hopes in the morning of life; preparation when the sun was at its meridian; and service in the long afternoon with lengthening shadows that stretch away to hills of the night.”

Byrd watched the shadows from his beloved Senate, the place where he was truly home, the place where he would spend his final days.

Rockefeller, it would seem, has other plans.

Movies: List of 85th Annual Academy Award Nominations

The Gilmer Free Press

Complete list of 85th Annual Academy Award nominations:

1. Best Picture:
•  “Amour,“ ‘'Argo,“ ‘'Beasts of the Southern Wild”
•  ‘'Django Unchained”
•  ‘'Les Miserables”
•  ‘'Life of Pi”
•  ‘'Lincoln”
•  ‘'Silver Linings Playbook”
•  ‘'Zero Dark Thirty”

2. Actor:
•  Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
•  Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
•  Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
•  Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
•  Denzel Washington, “Flight”

3. Actress:
•  Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
•  Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
•  Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
•  Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
•  Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

4. Supporting Actor:
•  Alan Arkin, “Argo”
•  Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”
•  Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
•  Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
•  Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

5. Supporting Actress:
•  Amy Adams, “The Master”
•  Sally Field, “Lincoln”
•  Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
•  Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”
•  Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”

6. Directing:
•  Michael Haneke, “Amour”
•  Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
•  Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
•  Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
•  David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

7. Foreign Language Film:
•  “Amour,“ Austria
•  “Kon-Tiki,“ Norway
•  “No,“ Chile
•  “A Royal Affair,“ Denmark
•  “War Witch,“ Canada

8. Adapted Screenplay:
•  Chris Terrio, “Argo”
•  Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
•  David Magee, “Life of Pi”
•  Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”
•  David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

9. Original Screenplay:
•  Michael Haneke, “Amour”
•  Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”
•  John Gatins, “Flight”
•  Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, “Moonrise Kingdom”
•  Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”

10. Animated Feature Film:
•  “Brave”
•  “Frankenweenie”
•  “ParaNorman”
•  “The Pirates! Band of Misfits”
•  “Wreck-It Ralph”

11. Production Design:
•  “Anna Karenina”
•  “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
•  ‘'Les Miserables”
•  ‘'Life of Pi”
•  ‘'Lincoln”

12. Cinematography:
•  “Anna Karenina”
•  ‘'Django Unchained”
•  ‘'Life of Pi”
•  ‘'Lincoln”
•  ‘'Skyfall”

13. Sound Mixing:
•  “Argo”
•  ‘'Les Miserables”
•  ‘'Life of Pi”
•  ‘'Lincoln”
•  ‘'Skyfall”

14. Sound Editing:
•  “Argo”
•  ‘'Django Unchained”
•  ‘'Life of Pi”
•  ‘'Skyfall”
•  ‘'Zero Dark Thirty”

15. Original Score:
•  “Anna Karenina,“ Dario Marianelli
•  “Argo,“ Alexandre Desplat
•  “Life of Pi,“ Mychael Danna
•  “Lincoln,“ John Williams
•  “Skyfall,“ Thomas Newman

16. Original Song:
•  “Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice,“ J. Ralph
•  “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from “Ted,“ Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane
•  “Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi,“ Mychael Danna and Bombay Jayashri
•  “Skyfall” from “Skyfall,“ Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
•  “Suddenly” from “Les Miserables,“ Claude-Michel Schonberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

17. Costume:
•  “Anna Karenina”
•  ‘'Les Miserables”
•  ‘'Lincoln”
•  “Mirror Mirror”
•  ‘'Snow White and the Huntsman”

18. Documentary Feature:
•  “5 Broken Cameras”
•  ‘'The Gatekeepers”
•  ‘'How to Survive a Plague”
•  ‘'The Invisible War”
•  ‘'Searching for Sugar Man”

19. Documentary (short subject):
•  “Inocente”
•  ‘'Kings Point”
•  ‘'Mondays at Racine”
•  ‘'Open Heart”
•  ‘Redemption”

20. Film Editing:
•  “Argo”
•  ‘'Life of Pi”
•  ‘'Lincoln”
•  ‘'Silver Linings Playbook”
•  ‘'Zero Dark Thirty”

21. Makeup and Hairstyling:
‘'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
‘'Les Miserables”

22. Animated Short Film:
•  “Adam and Dog”
•  ‘'Fresh Guacamole”
•  ‘'Head over Heels”
•  ‘'Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare”
•  “Paperman”

23. Live Action Short Film:
•  “Asad”
•  ‘'Buzkashi Boys”
•  ‘'Curfew”
•  ‘'Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)“
•  ‘'Henry”

24. Visual Effects:
•  “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
•  ‘'Life of Pi”
•  ‘'Marvel’s The Avengers”
•  ‘'Prometheus”
•  ‘'Snow White and the Huntsman”

David McKinley Watching Shelly Moore Capito

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia’s First District Congressman says he wants any U.S. Senator from West Virginia to hold the line on spending.

“I want to make sure that we have the most fiscal hawk that we can because this county’s got problems right now,” Congressman David McKinley said.

As of now, Congressman McKinley, a Republican, says he likes what he is seeing from Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito who is also a Republican.

Capito has already announced her plans to run for U.S. Senate in 2014.

McKinley, though, is not ruling his own Senate run.  He says a number of people have approached him about the possibility.

“I have told them I am, right now, watching to see what happens with Shelley, how well she continues to maintain a fiscal policy that is good for this country,” the Congressman said on Thursday’s MetroNews Talkline.

“If she is not going to be that fiscal hawk that is going to make sure that we get our spending under control, then we’ll find another candidate.”

Any Republican nominated will potentially face longtime U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat, in the 2014 General Election.

Congressman McKinley is serving his second term in the U.S. House while Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito started her seventh term this month.

G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - “On the Brink” of Education Overhaul


House Speaker Rick Thompson was rolling along in his traditional opening day speech of the 2013 legislative session with the usual boilerplate material: work together, a better future, look what we have accomplished together, etc.

But then this line:  “The education system in West Virginia is on the brink of an overhaul.”

In the media we don’t actually “stop the presses” anymore, we tweet breaking news, and several State Capitol reporters latched on to the Speaker’s line, rushing it out to their followers.

Thompson continued to his fellow House members: “It is important that all members of the House of Delegates are up to date and knowledgeable of what the audit recommends and what is needed to improve upon our education environment.”

The language is significant.

Thompson could have ignored the controversial audit, or thrown out some banality about “improving our schools.”  No one would have taken much notice.

But instead he used the word “overhaul.”

The audit found, and the reform-minded state Board of Education agreed, that our public school system is bureaucratically top heavy, badly in need of innovative ways to develop, reward and retain great educators and inadequate in preparing all students for workforce needs and careers.

The status quo isn’t working.

Our students are below the national average in 21 of 24 categories measured by the National Assessment of Education Progress.  One in four high schools students doesn’t graduate on time.

Teachers are hemmed in by an across-the-board pay and benefit schedule that fails to reward excellence.  Local school boards are hamstrung by a litany of rules and regulations that come out of Charleston and Washington.

Local boards are desperate for more control, according to Mercer County School Board President Greg Prudich.

Speaking to lawmakers this week on behalf of the West Virginia School Board Association, Prudich said, “Our association contends the ultimate goal is to vest more power and authority for education decision making at the county level over the next five years, creating precisely the environment called for in the audit.”

Governor Tomblin is expected to propose substantial education reform this legislative session, shifting more control to county school systems and breaking up the antiquated and absurdly restrictive hiring and firing rules.

But the success or failure of any reforms will depend largely on whether legislative leaders are on board.

Senate President Jeff Kessler indicated to me this week on Metronews Talkline that he is.  “You’re going to see some real efforts (to pass legislation) that do make some positive changes,” Kessler said.

And now we see a green light from Thompson, leader of the House, where the stiffest opposition to tangible education reform is likely to appear.

A meaningful overhaul will be difficult, but it’s encouraging that Thompson has his members on the brink.

WVEA Responds to Education Audit

The Gilmer Free Press

Many of the recommendations in the Governor’s Education Efficiency Audit will likely face opposition from members of the West Virginia Education Association on any road to implementation.

WVEA President Dale Lee was in front of state lawmakers, earlier this week at the State Capitol, to detail the WVEA’s response to the Governor’s Education Efficiency Audit.

After seven public forums on the audit’s proposals last fall, Lee says it is clear teachers want pay raises for all educators, across the board.

“Until we address salaries as a comprehensive issue, as a whole, then I don’t think we need to be tinkering with just the fringes of it,” Lee said.

The audit recommends merit pay, meaning the salary for a teacher would be determined using evaluation results that could take into account student performance.

“Per person, everyone said they don’t want to set up a system that creates a divisive atmosphere and no one has seen a merit pay system that is fair and equitable yet…..and improves student achievement,” Lee said on Wednesday’s MetroNews Talkline.

He says teachers also oppose differential pay which would allocate higher salaries to teachers who fill more in demand positions.

Lee says teachers are also rejecting a proposals that would give principals more authority to fire and hire teachers, mandate 180 days of instruction and reduce the weight of seniority in hiring decisions.

You can read the WVEA’s full response to the education efficiency audit at

Legislation, based on the audit’s recommendations, is expected to come up when the 2013 Regular Legislative Session begins at the State House on Wednesday, February 13, 2013.

Gilmer County: Friends of Library Meeting - 01.21.13


The Friends of Gilmer Public Library will meet on Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM at the library.

Movies This Week - 01.09.13

The Gilmer Free Press

Zero Dark Thirty

Opens Friday January 11, 2013 | Runtime: 2 hrs. 37 min.

Brutal Disturbing Images, Strong Violence and Language

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden becomes one of the most-wanted men on the planet. The worldwide manhunt for the terrorist leader occupies the resources and attention of two U.S. presidential administrations. Ultimately, it is the work of a dedicated female operative (Jessica Chastain) that proves instrumental in finally locating bin Laden. In May 2011, elite Navy SEALs launch a nighttime strike against bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, killing him.

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain, Edgar Ramirez, Kyle Chandler, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt,James Gandolfini

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Genres: Action/Adventure, Documentary, Suspense/Thriller



The Gilmer Free Press

Gangster Squad

Opens Friday, January 11, 2013 | Runtime: 1 hr. 50 min.

R - Strong violence and language

Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and—if he has his way—every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop…except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart. “Gangster Squad” is a colorful retelling of events surrounding the LAPD’s efforts to take back their nascent city from one of the most dangerous mafia bosses of all time.

Cast: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Michael Peña, Anthony Mackie, Emma Stone

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Genres: Drama



The Gilmer Free Press

A Haunted House

Opens Friday, January 11, 2013 | Runtime: 1 hr. 26 min.

R - Crude and sexual content, language and some drug use

In an outrageous send up of the Paranormal Activity movies, The Devil Inside and other “found footage” movies, A HAUNTED HOUSE features young couple Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) who have just moved in to their dream house. As they settle in, they quickly find they’re not alone. But it’s not the house that’s haunted, it’s Malcolm’s girlfriend who is possessed by a demon. Malcolm hires everyone from a priest to modern day ghostbusters to rid her of this unwelcome intruder, determined not to let the evil spirit ruin his relationship… or, more importantly, his sex life.

Cast: Marlon Wayans, Cedric the Entertainer, Essence Atkins, David Koechner, Nick Swardson, Affion Crockett

Director: Michael Tiddes

Genres: Comedy

GSC’s Mark Jackson to Play in 87th East-West Shrine Game

Glenville State’s Mark Jackson has accepted an invitation to play in the 87th East-West Shrine Game®.

The Game will be held Monday, January 21, 2013 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, kicking off at 3:00 PM CT and televised live on the NFL Network.

The Gilmer Free Press

An offensive tackle from Columbus, OH was a three year starter for the pioneers.  In 2012 he was a team captain, voted Team MVP and was a first team All-WVIAC honoree for the third year in a row.  Jackson was also named t 1st Team All American by the AFCA Coaches and 2nd Team by Beyond Sports Network.

Jackson joins an elite list of football greats, such as John Elway, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and 62 NFL Hall of Famers, who have played in the East-West Shrine Game along with 52 players currently on active NFL rosters.

“The East-West Shrine Game has always fielded players among college football’s best,“ said East-West Shrine Game Executive Director Harold Richardson. “With all 32 NFL teams represented by GMs, coaches and scouts during game week, our players have the terrific opportunity to showcase their talents and get their first glimpse of life in the NFL ... `Just Like on Sunday.‘“

While the teams are divided by East and West, the players come together for the beneficiary of the event, Shriners Hospitals for Children®, an international pediatric specialty health care system.

“We hope our supporters all over the country will come out and enjoy this exciting game,“ said Douglas E. Maxwell, president and CEO of Shriners Hospitals for Children. “Our health care system depends on the generosity of our supporters, and this game is one of our signature events benefitting Shriners Hospitals for Children.“

The East-West Shrine Game tickets are on sale now through all Ticketmaster outlets. Fans can purchase tickets for the January 21, 2012 game online at,, or by phone at 727.342.5777.

All game tickets are $15 general admission tickets (price does not include service fees).

About Shriners Hospitals for Children

Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. The 22 hospitals in the United States, Canada and Mexico provide advanced care for children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. To learn more about Shriners Hospitals for Children, please visit

Gilmer Public Library: WV Reads 150

The Gilmer Free Press

Join the West Virginia Library Commission (WVLC), the West Virginia Center for the Book and libraries across the state in West Virginia Reads 150, a fun reading challenge that celebrates West Virginia’s 150th birthday in 2013.

The year-long reading initiative encourages West Virginians to read 150 books in any format (printed book, e-book, downloadable text, etc.) from any source, during the course of 2013, West Virginia’s sesquicentennial year. Books can be on any topic, fiction or non-fiction; they must be read between January 01 and December 31, 2013.

People can read 150 books individually, or create teams to read 150 books collectively. Libraries across West Virginia are encouraged to form teams to compete. Teams, which can have up to 15 members, must choose a name and select a leader to keep track of the books read by team members.

All ages and groups can participate – friends, coworkers, book clubs, classmates, seniors, etc. If children are too young to read on their own, kids can have their parents read to them. Families can use their Summer Reading Program reading toward their West Virginia Reads 150 tally.

To participate, sign up at Gilmer Public Library.  Contact the library at 304.462.5620 for more information, or you can check us out on Facebook.

‘Fly Rod Chronicles’ with West Virginia Native Curtis Fleming to Showcase State

The Gilmer Free Press

The bounty and variety of West Virginia’s trout fishing is one of the latest tools the state is using to hook the interest of business executives. The state will be featured on the Outdoor Channel’s “Fly Rod Chronicles with Curtis Fleming” beginning January 01, 2013.

The West Virginia Department of Commerce has made West Virginia a presenting sponsor for the 2013 season of “Fly Rod Chronicles.” Primary Commerce agencies contributing to the sponsorship and show content are West Virginia Tourism and State Parks.

The sponsorship includes 13 original 30-minute episodes. Six shows will be filmed on public streams, rivers or lakes in the state; West Virginia will be integrated into the other seven shows. Three individuals will be selected by the West Virginia Department of Commerce as special guests. In addition, Fleming will make several personal appearances throughout the state.

A West Virginia native from Bridgeport, Host and Executive Producer Curtis Fleming travels the world to find and experience the best hunting and fishing.  The Jan. 1 episode, entitled “Pipestem Trout Wrangler,” was shot on a remote portion of the Bluestone River in November.  The shows will give viewers a chance to see species specific to West Virginia rivers such as the rainbow and golden trout.

Beyond the passionate audience of those who love to fly fish – along with many outdoor and recreational enthusiasts – the show provides an opportunity to nationally showcase West Virginia, as Fleming spends time with the locals, tours the communities and provides viewers with an opportunity to learn about the culture and scenic landmarks of the state.

Pipestem Resort State Park offers sport fishermen a Trout Wrangler package which includes horseback transportation to the Bluestone River Gorge, meals, lodging and a fly fishing guide, said Ed Wooton, outdoor specialist at Pipestem.

“Pipestem, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Pipestem Resort, and WVU and Concord universities worked cooperatively to develop a fly-fishing experience in a remote area of West Virginia as part of a 2007 marketing strategy,” Wooton said. “The object was to create more interest in the Mountain State for destination fishing.”

The Trout Wrangler package also courts fishing license sales and retention of a returning angler to other streams in the Mountain State.

The Outdoor Channel is known to sportsmen across the country and around the world for its programming on all aspects of the sporting life.  Now in its ninth season, “Fly Rod Chronicles” boasts a viewership of nearly 1 million viewers per episode. The show is a true passion for Fleming.  Having developed a deep love and appreciation for the outdoors from his dad, a coal miner, the two of them spent as much time as possible camping by trout streams and hunting whitetail deer in the woods of West Virginia.

The “Trout Wrangler” episode of “Fly Rod Chronicles” will air on the Outdoor Channel at 11 AM Tuesday, January 01; Noon Friday, January 04; and 6:30 PM Saturday, January 05. All times are Eastern.  A repeat broadcast of the episode will air on the same days in the same time slots approximately eight weeks later.  Please check your local listings and cable channels. The upcoming season of “Fly Rod Chronicles” also will shoot at several other locations around West Virginia including the Cranberry, Potomac and Greenbrier rivers.

To learn more about Fly Rod Chronicles visit . To find out more about West Virginia State Parks click

Please visit the West Virginia Division of Tourism online at or call 1.800.225.5982 for a free copy of the 2013 West Virginia Official State Guide.

Sutton: West Virginia Couple Fights To Keep Braxton Theater Open

The Gilmer Free Press

A national move away from 35-milimeter films is putting a Braxton County theater in jeopardy.

Chuck and Jane Murphy bought the Elk Theatre in 2007 to keep it from closing, and now they’re fighting to keep it open.

The Elk Theatre was built in the 1930s.

It relies on 35-milimeter prints of films like those that have been used for nearly a century.

But in 2013, production companies will begin to rely solely on digital copies of first-run movies.

If the couple cannot raise the $30,000 to $40,000 to buy a new projector by the end of 2013, they will have to close the Elk Theatre.

That means residents of Braxton County will have to drive more than 30 miles to a movie theater.

To donate, visit

Movies This Week - 01.03.13

The Gilmer Free Press

Texas Chainsaw (2013)

Opens Friday, January 04, 2013 | Runtime: 1 hr. 32 min.

R - Strong grisly violence and language throughout

Decades ago, residents of Newt, Texas, long suspected that the Sawyer family was responsible for the disappearances of many people. When their suspicions finally were confirmed, vigilantes torched the Sawyer compound and killed every member of the family—or so they thought. Much later, a young woman named Heather (Alexandra Daddario) learns that she has inherited Texas property from an unknown relative, and she is unaware of horrors that await in the mansion’s dank cellar.

Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Bill Moseley

Director: John Luessenhop

Genres: Horror


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The Impossible

Open Friday, January 04, 2013 | Runtime: 1 hr. 43 min.

PG-13 - Intense Realistic Disaster Seq, Disturbing Injury Images and Brief Nudity

Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons begin their winter vacation in Thailand, looking forward to a few days in tropical paradise. But on the morning of December 26th, as the family relaxes around the pool after their Christmas festivities the night before, a terrifying roar rises up from the center of the earth. As Maria freezes in fear, a huge wall of black water races across the hotel grounds toward her. Based on a true story, THE IMPOSSIBLE is the unforgettable account of a family caught, with tens of thousands of strangers, in the mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time. But the true-life terror is tempered by the unexpected displays of compassion, courage and simple kindness that Maria and her family encounter during the darkest hours of their lives. Both epic and intimate, devastating and uplifting, THE IMPOSSIBLE is a journey to the core of the human heart.

Cast: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast, Marta Etura, Sönke Möhring, Geraldine Chaplin, Ploy Jindachot, Jomjai Sae-limh “Maew”, Johan Sundberg, Jan Sundberg

Director: Juan Antonio Bayona

Genres: Drama


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Promised Land

Opened Friday, January 04, 2013 | Runtime: 1 hr. 46 min.

R – Language

Corporate sales partners Steve Butler (Matt Damon) and Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) arrive in a small town to secure drilling rights for a natural-gas company. They believe that the economic decline has done their work for them and that the townspeople will happily accept whatever offer they make. However, they don’t consider the objections of a respected schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook) and the leader (John Krasinski) of a grassroots campaign against the company’s objective.

Cast: Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand, Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook

Director: Gus Van Sant

Genres: Drama



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A Dark Truth

Opens Friday, January 04, 2013 | Runtime: 1 hr. 28 min.

R - Disturbing Images and Violence

In A Dark Truth, Garcia plays an ex-CIA op-turned political talk show host. He’s hired by a corporate whistle blower to expose her company’s cover-up of a massacre in a South American village. The film draws attention to man’s inhumanity and unconscious actions against the environment and questions if there is a moral and ethical obligation when talking about boundaries, borders and human interaction. With the ever-increasing depletion of earth’s natural resource of water serving as the backdrop, a multi-national corporation disregards basic human needs that result in widespread illness and a people’s uprising. The distress causes unlikely allies to conspire and seek redemption for past deeds and the greater good.

Cast: Andy Garcia, Deborah Kara Unger, Eva Longoria, Forest Whitaker, Kim Coates

Director: Damian Lee

Genres: Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller

Artifacts Help Pinpoint Key Hatfield-Mccoy Battle

The Hatfield clan New Year’s attack on Randolph McCoy’s cabin marked a turning point in America’s most famous feud — the homestead was set ablaze, and two McCoys were gunned down. Hatfield family members and supporters were soon thrown in jail.

Artifacts recently unearthed appear to pinpoint the location of the 1888 ambush in the woods of Pike County in eastern Kentucky. Excavators found bullets believed to have been fired by the McCoys in self-defense, along with fragments of windows and ceramic from the family’s cabin.

“This is one of the most famous conflicts in American history, and we’ve got bullets fired from one of the key battles. It doesn’t get any better than that,“ said Bill Richardson, a West Virginia University extension professor who was part of the recent discovery.

For tons of historical photographs, stories and behind the scene photos from the shooting of the Hatfields and McCoys miniseries and documentary, click the Hatfields and McCoys link in our Special Sections list to the right.

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The property is owned by Bob Scott, a Hatfield descendant who has suspected for years that the hilly land was the site of the brutal attack. He grew up listening to stories from his parents and grandparents about the 19th-century feud.

“My father told me years ago that someday this well would talk,“ Scott said, referring to the well on the site where Randolph McCoy’s daughter Alafair died while trying to flee the attackers.

Now backed by the discovery, Scott plans to capitalize on the historic 70-acre site near the West Virginia line. The options include a housing development featuring horseback and ATV trails, he said.

Scott’s home is about 75 yards from where the cabin stood. The McCoys moved to nearby Pikeville after the homestead was burned.

The artifacts were found last year during filming of a National Geographic Channel show.

The bullets were discovered burrowed several inches into a hillside overlooking where the McCoy cabin stood, Richardson said. Three different calibers of bullets, including shotgun pellets, were uncovered.

The ammunition, found in an area about 30 feet wide, was traced to the same time period as the 1888 battle, Richardson said.

“The front of the cabin faces almost directly at the spot where these bullets were,“ Richardson said. “We know from the oral histories that they were shooting out the front of the cabin and from the upper windows. So they’re exactly in the spot where they should be.“

Also found during the initial search was a piece of charred wood with a nail traced to the McCoy cabin’s time period, he said.

Later, an archaeological team led by Kim McBride, co-director of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, confirmed the location of the McCoy cabin. They found tiny pieces of window glass and ceramics traced to the same period, along with more nails and charred wood.

She would like to return to the site for more excavation work, which could take three to five weeks.

There were other clues connecting the property to the McCoys. The deed to the property was traced back to Randolph McCoy, she said.

“It was kind of a coming together of all the pieces of evidence,“ McBride said.

The discoveries come amid a surge of interest in the feud that spanned much of the last half of the 19th century. The fighting claimed at least a dozen lives by 1888 and catapulted both families into the American vernacular, becoming shorthand to describe bitter rivalries.

The History Channel aired a three-night miniseries about the feud that set basic cable viewing records. The drama starred Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton as the patriarchs — William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield in West Virginia and Randolph “Ole Ran’l” McCoy in Kentucky.

The New Year’s attack was one of the bloodiest episodes in the feud.

“It was a turning point,“ Richardson said. “The feud had lasted 23 years up until this battle. And then 20 days later it’s virtually over.“

Now, descendants of both families live peacefully among each other in the Appalachian region. And officials in both states see the potential to reap a financial windfall because of the public’s fascination.

Attendance was up last June at a three-day Hatfield and McCoy festival held in Matewan and Williamson in West Virginia and in Pike County in Kentucky. The event featured tours, re-enactments, book signings, arts and crafts, and a marathon run. Descendants showed their allegiance by wearing ribbons — red for Hatfields, blue for McCoys.

Many believe the feud was rooted in the Civil War, but the bitterness was perpetuated by disputes over timber rights and even a pig.

Historical markers describe other pivotal events in the feud, including the spot where three McCoys — all sons of Randolph McCoy — were tied to pawpaw trees and shot to death by an unofficial posse organized by Devil Anse Hatfield. He was avenging the death of his brother Elliston at the hands of the McCoys.

Scott counts descendants from both families as friends.

“It’s very unique to stand here on New Year’s Eve and realize what happened,“ he said. “It’s sad that that occurred, but that was a way of life.“

Although the artifacts were uncovered a few months ago, the discoveries weren’t announced until Monday.

The new National Geographic Channel series, called “Diggers,“ premieres Tuesday.

The episode detailing the McCoy homestead discovery airs on January 29, 2013.

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