History | WayBackWhen™

History, WayBackWhen™

WayBackWhen™: September 29

Today is Sunday, September 29, the 272nd day of 2013. There are 93 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

“Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.“ — Eleanor Roosevelt, American first lady (1884-1962)

Today’s Highlight in History:

The Gilmer Free Press

On September 29, 1789, the U.S. War Department established a regular army with a strength of several hundred men.

On this date:

In 1829, London’s reorganized police force, which became known as Scotland Yard, went on duty.

In 1862, Prussia’s newly appointed minister-president, Otto von Bismarck, delivered a speech to the country’s parliament in which he declared the issue of German unification would be decided “not through speeches and majority decisions” but by “iron and blood (Eisen und Blut).“ (Some references give the date of this speech as Sept. 30, 1862.)

In 1907, the foundation stone was laid for the Washington National Cathedral, which wasn’t fully completed until this date in 1990.

In 1912, movie director Michelangelo Antonioni was born in Ferrara, Italy.

In 1938, British, French, German and Italian leaders concluded the Munich Agreement, which was aimed at appeasing Adolf Hitler by allowing Nazi annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland.

In 1957, the New York Giants played their last game at the Polo Grounds, losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-1. (The Giants moved to San Francisco.)

In 1978, Pope John Paul I was found dead in his Vatican apartment just over a month after becoming head of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1982, Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide claimed the first of seven victims in the Chicago area. (To date, the case remains unsolved.)

In 1986, the Soviet Union released Nicholas Daniloff, an American journalist confined on spying charges.

In 1987, Henry Ford II, longtime chairman of Ford Motor Co., died in Detroit at age 70.

In 2001, President George W. Bush condemned Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers for harboring Osama bin Laden and his followers as the United States pressed its military and diplomatic campaign against terror.

In 2005, John G. Roberts Jr. was sworn in as the nation’s 17th chief justice after winning Senate confirmation.

Ten years ago:

The White House denied that President Bush’s top political adviser,

Karl Rove, had leaked CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity to retaliate against her husband, an opponent of the administration’s Iraq policy.

President Bush signed legislation to ratify the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to set up a national do-not-call list for telemarketers.

Five years ago:

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 777 points after the House defeated, 228-205, a $700 billion emergency rescue for the nation’s financial system, leaving both parties and the Bush administration scrambling to pick up the pieces.

One year ago:

Omar Khadr, the last Western detainee held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, returned to Canada after a decade in custody.

Former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger died at the age of 86.

Today’s Birthdays:

Actress Lizabeth Scott is 92

Conductor Richard Bonynge is 83

Actress Anita Ekberg is 82

Writer-director Robert Benton is 81

Singer Jerry Lee Lewis is 78

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is 77

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is 71

Actor Ian McShane is 71

Jazz musician Jean-Luc Ponty is 71

Lech Walesa (lehk vah-WEN’-sah), the former president of Poland, is 70

Television-film composer Mike Post is 69

Actress Patricia Hodge is 67

TV personality Bryant Gumbel is 65

Rock singer-musician Mark Farner is 65

Rock singer-musician Mike Pinera is 65

Country singer Alvin Crow is 63

Actor Drake Hogestyn is 60

Broadcast journalist Gwen Ifill is 58

Former child actor Ken Weatherwax (TV: “The Addams Family”) is 58

Olympic gold medal runner Sebastian Coe is 57

Singer Suzzy Roche (The Roches) is 57

Comedian-actor Andrew “Dice” Clay is 56

Rock singer John Payne (Asia) is 55

Actor Roger Bart is 51

Singer-musician Les Claypool is 50

Actress Jill Whelan is 47

Actor Luke Goss is 45.

Rock musician Brad Smith (Blind Melon) is 45

Actress Erika Eleniak is 44

Rhythm-and-blues singer Devante Swing (Jodeci) is 44

Country singer Brad Cotter (“Nashville Star”) is 43

Actress Emily Lloyd is 43

Actress Natasha Gregson Wagner is 43

Actress Rachel Cronin is 42

Country musician Danick Dupelle (Emerson Drive) is 40

Actor Alexis Cruz is 39

Actor Zachary Levi is 33

Country singer Katie McNeill (3 of Hearts) is 31

Rock musician Josh Farro is 26

Actor Doug Brochu is 23

Singer Phillip Phillips is 23

Actress Clara Mamet is 19

Flashback: What Happened on September 28, ....


•  1865 The Wirt Oil and Mining Company was incorporated in West Virginia by the following: James C. Clarke, Robert Black, William L. Evans, James J. Hazlett, Jacob Turney, George Dorn, John C. McCausland, Israel Uncapher, Edward Keenan, William Dixon, Richard Coulter of Greensburg, PA; Welsh, Evans and Company, Samuel Long, William A. Stokes of Westmoreland County, PA; John P. Kilgore, Alexander J. Keenan of Venango County, PA; Alexander Kilgore, William Welsh of Ludwick, PA; John Hugus, Simon Hugus of Salem, PA; John A. Meredith of Pittsburgh, PA; Jay Cadwell, of Lancaster, PA; John L. Chambers, Castner Hanway of Latrobe, PA; Joseph Walthour, Elias Shotts, Joseph M. Stephenson of Adamsburgh, PA; and John P. Clarke of Wirt County. The company’s purpose was to mine oil, coal, and other extractive minerals in the state, with its main office in Burning Springs, Wirt County.

•  1973 Jay Rockefeller became president of West Virginia Wesleyan College.

•  1973 The $10.1 million contract was awarded to a firm from Springfield, Ohio for construction of The Cultural Center beside the State Capitol in Charleston.

•  1974 WCLG - FM radio went on the air in Morgantown, the sister station to WCLG - AM.

•  1978 A general railroad strike began in West Virginia. Norfolk & Western (N&W) employees had already been on strike.

WayBackWhen™: September 28

Today is Saturday, September 28, the 271th day of 2013. There are 94 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

“A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a truth.“ — Thomas Mann, German writer (1875-1955).

Today’s Highlight in History:

The Gilmer Free Press

On September 28, 1787, the Congress of the Confederation voted to send the just-completed Constitution of the United States to state legislatures for their approval.

On this date:

In 1066, William the Conqueror invaded England to claim the English throne.

In 1542, Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrived at present-day San Diego.

In 1781, American forces in the Revolutionary War, backed by a French fleet, began their successful siege of Yorktown, Va.

In 1850, flogging was abolished as a form of punishment in the U.S. Navy.

In 1920, eight members of the Chicago White Sox were indicted for allegedly throwing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in what became known as the “Black Sox” scandal. Despite initial confessions by several of the players, all were acquitted at trial; still, all eight were banned from baseball for life.

In 1924, two U.S. Army planes landed in Seattle, having completed the first round-the-world flight in 175 days.

In 1939, during World War II, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a treaty calling for the partitioning of Poland, which the two countries had invaded.

In 1960, Ted Williams hit a home run in his last career at-bat as his team, the Boston Red Sox, defeated the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 at Fenway Park.

In 1989, deposed Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos died in exile in Hawaii at age 72.

In 1991, jazz great Miles Davis died in Santa Monica, Calif., at age 65.

In 2001, President George W. Bush told reporters the United States was in “hot pursuit” of terrorists behind the Sept. 11 attacks. The U.N. Security Council approved a sweeping resolution sponsored by the United States requiring all 189 U.N. member nations to deny money, support and sanctuary to terrorists.

In 2002, Iraq defiantly rejected a U.S.-British plan for the United Nations to force President Saddam Hussein to disarm and open his palaces for weapons searches.

Ten years ago:

A massive blackout struck almost all of Italy, leaving millions of people without power.

Pope John Paul II appointed 31 cardinals.

A bomb exploded outside an upscale nightclub in southwestern Colombia, killing at least 13 people.

Movie director Elia (EEL’-ee-ah) Kazan died in New York at age 94.

Tennis champion Althea Gibson died in East Orange, NJ, at age 76.

Five years ago:

President George W. Bush urged Congress to pass a $700 billion rescue plan for beleaguered financial companies, saying in a written statement, “Without this rescue plan, the costs to the American economy could be disastrous.“

Chinese astronauts aboard the Shenzhou 7 returned to Earth after completing their country’s first spacewalk mission.

Austrian 16-year-olds voted for the first time in parliamentary elections under a law adopted in 2007.

One year ago:

Citing national security risks, President Barack Obama blocked a Chinese company from owning four wind farm projects in northern Oregon near a Navy base where the U.S. military flies unmanned drones and electronic-warfare planes on training missions.

The Obama administration sought to rally Syria’s opposition with pledges of $45 million in new nonlethal and humanitarian assistance.

Today’s Birthdays:

Actress Brigitte Bardot is 79

Singer Ben E. King is 75

Actor Joel Higgins is 70

Actor Jeffrey Jones is 67

Singer Helen Shapiro is 67.

Movie writer-director-actor John Sayles is 63

Rock musician George Lynch is 59

Zydeco singer-musician C.J. Chenier (sheh-NEER’) is 56

Actor Steve Hytner is 54

Actress-comedian Janeane Garofalo (juh-NEEN’ guh-RAH’-fuh-loh) is 49

Country singer Matt King is 47

Actress Mira Sorvino is 46

TV personality Moon Zappa is 46

Actress-model Carre Otis is 45

Actress Naomi Watts is 45

Country singer Karen Fairchild (Little Big Town) is 44

Country musician Chuck Crawford is 40

Country singer Mandy Barnett is 38

Rapper Young Jeezy is 36

World Golf Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak is 36

Actor Peter Cambor is 35

Writer-producer-director-actor Bam Margera is 34

Actress Melissa Claire Egan is 32

Actress Jerrika Hinton is 32

Actress Hilary Duff is 26

Actress Skye McCole Bartusiak is 21

Actor Keir Gilchrist is 21

Flashback: What Happened on September 27, ....


•  1777 Native Americans burned down Shepherds Fort at the forks of Wheeling, Ohio County. It had been constructed in 1775, by Colonel David Shepherd, who rebuilt the fort on the same site in 1790. That same day Native Americans attacked troops from Hampshire County under Captain William Forman (or Foreman) at present-day Moundsville, Marshall County. They had been stationed at Fort Henry in Wheeling.

•  1903 Fire destroyed the Leon Building, the N&W Hotel, a “pop” factory, and a restaurant in Williamson, Mingo County.

•  1960 Vice President Richard Nixon spoke at the Charleston Civic Center in his presidential campaign against John Kennedy.

•  1973 Conservative journalist William F. Buckley spoke at West Virginia Tech. When asked if the Watergate scandal had damaged the conservative cause, he gave no reply.

WayBackWhen™: September 27

Today is Friday, September 27, the 270th day of 2013. There are 95 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

“Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.“ — Lillian Dickson, American missionary (1901-1983).

Today’s Highlight in History:

The Gilmer Free Press

On September 27, 1991, President George H.W. Bush announced in a nationally broadcast address that he was eliminating all U.S. battlefield nuclear weapons and called on the Soviet Union to match the gesture.

On this date:

In 1540, Pope Paul III issued a papal bull establishing the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, as a religious order.

In 1779, John Adams was named by Congress to negotiate the Revolutionary War’s peace terms with Britain.

In 1854, the first great disaster involving an Atlantic Ocean passenger vessel occurred when the steamship SS Arctic sank off Newfoundland; of the more than 400 people on board, only 86 survived.

In 1928, the United States said it was recognizing the Nationalist Chinese government.

In 1939, Warsaw, Poland, surrendered after weeks of resistance to invading forces from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II.

In 1941, on “Liberty Fleet Day,“ the United States launched 14 rapidly built military cargo vessels, including the first Liberty ship, the SS Patrick Henry, which was personally launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Baltimore.

In 1942, Glenn Miller and his orchestra performed together for the last time, at the Central Theater in Passaic, N.J., prior to Miller’s entry into the Army.

In 1954, “Tonight!“ hosted by Steve Allen made its network debut on NBC-TV.

In 1964, the government publicly released the report of the Warren Commission, which found that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in assassinating President John F. Kennedy.

In 1988, three days after placing first in the men’s 100-meter dash at the Seoul (sohl) Summer Olympics, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson left for home in disgrace, stripped of his gold medal by officials who said Johnson had used anabolic steroids.

In 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked, 7-7, on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1994, more than 350 Republican congressional candidates gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to sign the “Contract with America,“ a 10-point platform they pledged to enact if voters sent a GOP majority to the House.

In 2001, President George W. Bush asked the nation’s governors to post National Guard troops at airports as a first step toward federal control of airline security.

Ten years ago:

President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Iran and North Korea to abandon suspected nuclear-weapons programs but disagreed over how to deal with both countries; Putin also declined at the end of a two-day summit at Camp David to pledge any postwar help for Iraq.

Entertainer Donald O’Connor died in Calabasas, Calif., at age 78.

Five years ago:

China marked its first spacewalk as astronaut Zhai Zhigang (zheye zhu-dawng) floated outside the Shenzhou 7 for 13 minutes.

One year ago:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, holding a diagram of a cartoon-like bomb, told the U.N. General Assembly that the world had only a matter of months to stop Iran before it could build a nuclear bomb.

NFL referees returned to the field, after a tentative deal with the league ended a lockout; games had been marred by controversy, blown calls and confusion as substitute referees officiated during the first three weeks of the season.

Today’s Birthdays:

Actress Jayne Meadows is 93

Actress Kathleen Nolan is 80

Actor Wilford Brimley is 79

Actor Claude Jarman Jr. is 79

Author Barbara Howar is 79

World Golf Hall of Famer Kathy Whitworth is 74

Singer-musician Randy Bachman (Bachman-Turner Overdrive) is 70

Rock singer Meat Loaf is 66

Actress Liz Torres is 66

Actor A Martinez is 65

Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt is 64

Actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is 63

Singer Shaun Cassidy is 55

Comedian Marc Maron is 50

Rock singer Stephan (STEE’-fan) Jenkins (Third Eye Blind) is 49

Actor Patrick Muldoon is 45

Singer Mark Calderon is 43

Actress Amanda Detmer is 42

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow is 41

Rock singer Brad Arnold (3 Doors Down) is 35

Christian rock musician Grant Brandell (Underoath) is 32

Actress Anna Camp is 31

Rapper Lil’ Wayne is 31

Singer Avril Lavigne (AV’-rihl la-VEEN’) is 29

Flashback: What Happened on September 26, ....


•  1841 United States Senator from West Virginia and industrialist Stephen B. Elkins was born in Perry County, OH.

•  1897 Ninety-seven coal miners at the Kanawha County mines of the Stevens Coal Company returned to work. They had been on a sympathy strike since September 1, in support of striking miners in Ohio and Pennsylvania. 18 miners at the site had already returned to work on September 08.

•  1957 Four hundred white students refused to attend the opening of Welch High School, McDowell County, because it was integrated. After a brief demonstration, the students returned to their classrooms.

•  1973 The historic Craik-Patton in Charleston was moved from Ruffner Park to Daniel Boone Park.

•  1983 Ground was broken on a $3.4 million renovation project for Kanawha Airport in Charleston.

WayBackWhen™: September 26

Today is Thursday, September 26, the 269th day of 2013. There are 96 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

“Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want; whatever you feel, be sure that is what you feel.“ — T.S. Eliot, American-Anglo poet, born on this date in 1888, died 1965.

Today’s Highlight in History:

The Gilmer Free Press          The Gilmer Free Press          The Gilmer Free Press

On September 26, 1789, Thomas Jefferson was confirmed by the Senate to be the first United States secretary of state; John Jay, the first chief justice; Edmund Randolph, the first attorney general.

On this date:

In 1777, British troops occupied Philadelphia during the American Revolution.

In 1892, John Philip Sousa and his newly formed band performed publicly for the first time, at the Stillman Music Hall in Plainfield, N.J.

In 1914, the Federal Trade Commission was established.

In 1918, the Meuse-Argonne offensive, resulting in an Allied victory against the Germans, began during World War I.

In 1937, the radio drama “The Shadow,“ starring Orson Welles, premiered on the Mutual Broadcasting System.

In 1952, philosopher George Santayana died in Rome at age 88.

In 1955, following word that President Dwight D. Eisenhower had suffered a heart attack, the New York Stock Exchange saw its worst price decline since 1929.

In 1960, the first debate between presidential nominees took place in Chicago as Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon faced off before a national TV audience.

In 1962, Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers stole his 100th base during a 13-1 victory over the Houston Colt .45s. “The Beverly Hillbillies” premiered on CBS. The cult film “Carnival of Souls” premiered in Lawrence, Kan., where parts of it had been filmed.

In 1969, the family comedy series “The Brady Bunch” premiered on ABC-TV.

In 1986, William H. Rehnquist was sworn in as the 16th chief justice of the United States, while Antonin Scalia joined the Supreme Court as its 103rd member.

In 1990, the Motion Picture Association of America announced it had created a new rating, NC-17, to replace the X rating.

In 1991, four men and four women began a two-year stay inside a sealed-off structure in Oracle, Ariz., called Biosphere 2. They emerged from the structure on this date in 1993.

Ten years ago:

President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin (POO’-tihn) opened a two-day summit at Camp David.

The government issued a recall for Segway scooters, citing instances in which riders fell off when the batteries ran low.

A magnitude 8 quake rocked Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, injuring more than 750 people.

British rock singer Robert Palmer died in Paris at age 54.

Five years ago:

Hollywood screen legend and philanthropist Paul Newman died in Westport, Conn. at age 83.

In their first debate of the presidential campaign, held at the University of Mississippi, Republican John McCain portrayed himself as a battle-tested elder running against a naive rookie, while Democrat Barack Obama suggested McCain was a hothead who’d made the wrong choices on the Iraq war, corporate taxes and more.

Swiss pilot Yves Rossy leapt from a plane over Calais, France, and crossed the English Channel on a homemade jet-propelled wing in 13 minutes.

One year ago:

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both campaigned in Ohio, where Romney said his Massachusetts health care law was proof that he cared about ordinary Americans.

A judge in Pennsylvania upheld perjury charges against two Penn State administrators in the Jerry Sandusky case.

Rebels in Syria set off two car bombs in Damascus that engulfed the army headquarters in flames.

Today’s Birthdays:

Retired baseball All-Star Bobby Shantz is 88

Actor Philip Bosco is 83

Actress Donna Douglas is 81

Actor Richard Herd is 81

South African nationalist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is 77

Country singer David Frizzell is 72

Actor Kent McCord is 71

Television host Anne Robinson is 69

Singer Bryan Ferry is 68

Actress Mary Beth Hurt is 67

Singer Lynn Anderson is 66

Singer Olivia Newton-John is 65

Actor James Keane is 61

Rock singer-musician Cesar Rosas (Los Lobos) is 59

Country singer Carlene Carter is 58

Actress Linda Hamilton is 57

Country singer Doug Supernaw is 53

Rhythm-and-blues singer Cindy Herron (En Vogue) is 52

Actress Melissa Sue Anderson is 51

Actor Patrick Bristow is 51

Rock musician Al Pitrelli is 51

Singer Tracey Thorn (Everything But The Girl) is 51

TV personality Jillian Barberie is 47

Contemporary Christian guitarist Jody Davis (Newsboys) is 46

Actor Jim Caviezel (kuh-VEE’-zuhl) is 45

Actor Ben Shenkman is 45

Singer Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men) is 41

Jazz musician Nicholas Payton is 40

Actor Mark Famiglietti (fah-mihl-YEH’-tee) is 34

Singer-actress Christina Milian (MIHL’-ee-ahn) is 32

Tennis player Serena Williams is 32

Flashback: What Happened on September 25, ....


•  1784 George Washington visited Bruceton, Preston County.

•  1882 Upon the suggestion of President Johnson N. Camden, the Clarksburg, Weston and Glenville Railroad and Transportation Company issued $100,000 in first mortgage bonds for repair and construction work and for construction of the Weston and Buckhannon Railroad.

•  1913 The Greenbrier Hotel was opened at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier County.

•  1938 The first passenger plane landed in Huntington.

•  1957 White students protested outside Beaver High School in Bluefield, Mercer County, due to their decision to integrate. The following day, most students returned to the classrooms.

•  1992 Charleston city treasurer Drew Payne cancelled a proposed incinerator project for Dupont, Kanawha County, following the submittal of a petition signed by 2,000 in opposition.

•  1992 The United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a bribery conviction of former West Virginia public housing official Carl Smith.

•  1992 Snowshoe and Silver Creek ski resorts, both in Pocahontas County, announced an agreement to merge operations under Snowshoe’s management.

•  1992 Federal Judge Charles Haden reversed an earlier decision, ruling former Charleston Mayor John Hutchinson and two others did not have to pay $600,000 in legal fees, resulting from a 1983 election lawsuit.

WayBackWhen™: September 25

Today is Wednesday, September 25, the 268th day of 2013. There are 97 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

“The richer your friends, the more they will cost you.“ — Elisabeth Marbury, American writer (1856-1933).

Today’s Highlight in History:

The Gilmer Free Press

On September 25, 1789, the first United States Congress adopted 12 amendments to the Constitution and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of the amendments became the Bill of Rights.

On this date:

In 1513, Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and sighted the Pacific Ocean.

In 1690, one of the earliest American newspapers, Publick Occurrences, published its first — and last — edition in Boston.

In 1775, American Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen was captured by the British as he led an attack on Montreal. Allen was released by the British in 1778.

In 1904, a New York City police officer ordered a female automobile passenger on Fifth Avenue to stop smoking a cigarette. A male companion was arrested and later fined $2 for “abusing” the officer.

In 1911, ground was broken for Boston’s Fenway Park.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson collapsed after a speech in Pueblo, Colo., during a national speaking tour in support of the Treaty of Versailles (vehr-SY’).

In 1932, the Spanish region of Catalonia received a Charter of Autonomy. However, the charter was revoked by Francisco Franco at the end of the Spanish Civil War.

In 1957, nine black students who’d been forced to withdraw from Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., because of unruly white crowds were escorted to class by members of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.

In 1962, Sonny Liston knocked out Floyd Patterson in Round 1 to win the world heavyweight title at Comiskey Park in Chicago. “The Longest Day,“ 20th Century Fox’s epic recreation of the D-Day invasion, based on the book by Cornelius Ryan, had its world premiere in France.

In 1978, 144 people were killed when a Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727 and a private plane collided over San Diego.

In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first female justice on the Supreme Court.

In 1992, the Mars Observer blasted off on a $980 million mission to the Red Planet. The probe disappeared just before entering Martian orbit in August 1993. A judge in Orlando, Fla., ruled in favor of Gregory Kingsley, a 12-year-old seeking to “divorce” his biological parents.

In 2001, Saudi Arabia formally severed relations with Afghanistan’s hard-line Taliban government. Former Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan, who’d left professional basketball after winning a half-dozen championship rings, announced he was returning to the game with the Washington Wizards.

Ten years ago:

France reported a staggering death toll of 14,802 from the summer heat wave.

An Islamic court in Nigeria overturned the conviction of an illiterate mother sentenced to be stoned to death for having sex out of wedlock.

Aquila al-Hashimi (ah-KEE’-lah ahl HAH’-shee-mee) of the Iraqi Governing Council died five days after being shot by assailants.

Fifteen people died in a nursing home fire in Nashville, Tenn. Author, journalist and editor George Plimpton died in New York at age 76.

Nobel-winning economist Franco Modigliani died in Cambridge, Mass., at age 85.

Five years ago:

Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama sat down with President George W. Bush at the White House to discuss a multibillion-dollar Wall Street bailout plan, but the session, which also included top congressional leaders, devolved into what the McCain campaign described afterward as a “contentious shouting match.“

Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin defended her remark that the close proximity of Russia to her home state of Alaska gave her foreign policy experience, explaining in a CBS interview that “we have trade missions back and forth.“

Anti-apartheid activist Kgalema Motlanthe (KHAH’-lee-mah moo-KAN’-tay) became the third president of South Africa since the end of white rule.

After a 43-year wait, Paul McCartney performed his first concert in Israel, saying he was on a mission of peace for Israel and the Palestinians.

One year ago:

President Barack Obama, speaking to the U.N. General Assembly, pledged U.S. support for Syrians trying to oust President Bashar Assad, calling him “a dictator who massacres his own people.“

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “We must stop the violence and flows of arms to both sides.“

Mitt Romney joined running mate Paul Ryan for two days of campaigning in Ohio.

A survey of consumer confidence reached its highest level since February on expectations that hiring would soon pick up.

The NFL met with locked-out referees and admitted that a blown call the previous night had cost the Green Bay Packers a game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Singer and TV host Andy Williams died at his Branson, Mo., home at the age of 84.

Today’s Birthdays:

Broadcast journalist Barbara Walters is 84.

Folk singer Ian Tyson is 80.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is 70.

Actor Josh Taylor is 70.

Actor Robert Walden is 70.

Actor-producer Michael Douglas is 69.

Model Cheryl Tiegs is 66.

Actress Mimi Kennedy is 64.

Actor-director Anson Williams is 64.

Actor Mark Hamill is 62.

Basketball Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo is 62.

Polka bandleader Jimmy Sturr is 62.

Actor Colin Friels is 61.

Actor Michael Madsen is 55.

Actress Heather Locklear is 52.

Actress Aida Turturro is 51.

Actor Tate Donovan is 50.

TV personality Keely Shaye Smith is 50.

Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen is 48.

Actor Jason Flemyng is 47.

Actor Will Smith is 45.

Actor Hal Sparks is 44.

Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is 44.

Rock musician Mike Luce (Drowning Pool) is 42.

Actress Bridgette Wilson-Sampras is 40.

Actress Clea DuVall is 36.

Actor Robbie Jones is 36.

Actor Chris Owen is 33.

Rapper T. I. is 33.

Actor Van Hansis is 32.

Actor Lee Norris is 32.

Singer Diana Ortiz (Dream) is 28.

Actress Emmy Clarke (“Monk”) is 22.

Flashback: What Happened on September 24, ....


•  1863 The West Virginia Legislature established a Board of Public Works.

•  1863 A skirmish was fought at Greenbrier Bridge, near Bartow, Pocahontas County.

•  1930 William Alexander MacCorkle, ninth West Virginia governor, died in Charleston.

•  1984 The Laidley Tower office building was dedicated in downtown Charleston. During 1984 and 1985, several large office buildings were constructed in the area.

•  1992 Former Governor Arch Moore was relocated from a federal prison in Alabama to a federal prison near Ashland, KY. Moore had requested the move in order to be closer to his family.

•  1992 A Boone County grand jury requested a full-scale investigation of the Boone County Board of Education, accused by the West Virginia Education Association of holding illegal meetings.

WayBackWhen™: September 24

Today is Tuesday, September 24, the 267th day of 2013. There are 98 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

“History is mostly guessing, the rest is prejudice.“—Will (1885-1981) and Ariel Durant (1898-1981), American historians.

Today’s Highlight in History:

The Gilmer Free Press

On September 24, 1976, former hostage Patricia Hearst was sentenced to seven years in prison for her part in a 1974 bank robbery in San Francisco carried out by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Hearst was released after 22 months after receiving clemency from President Jimmy Carter.

On this date:

In 1789, Congress passed a Judiciary Act, which provided for an attorney general and a Supreme Court.

In 1869, thousands of businessmen were ruined in a Wall Street panic known as Black Friday after financiers Jay Gould and James Fisk attempted to corner the gold market.

In 1929, Lt. James H. Doolittle guided a Consolidated NY-2 Biplane over Mitchel Field in New York in the first all-instrument flight.

In 1948, Mildred Gillars, accused of being Nazi wartime radio propagandist “Axis Sally,“ pleaded not guilty in Washington, D.C., to charges of treason. Gillars, later convicted, ended up serving 12 years in prison.

In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered a heart attack while on vacation in Denver.

In 1961, “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” premiered on NBC.

In 1963, the U.S. Senate ratified a treaty with Britain and the Soviet Union limiting nuclear testing.

In 1969, the trial of the “Chicago Eight” (later seven) began. Five of the defendants were later convicted of crossing state lines to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, but the convictions were ultimately overturned.

In 1991, kidnappers in Lebanon freed British hostage Jack Mann after holding him captive for more than two years. Children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel (GY’-zul), better known as Dr. Seuss, died in La Jolla, Calif., at age 87.

In 2001, President George W. Bush ordered a freeze on the assets of 27 people and organizations with suspected links to terrorism, including Islamic militant Osama bin Laden, and urged other nations to do likewise.

Ten years ago:

After four turbulent months, three special legislative sessions and two Democratic walkouts, both houses of the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature adopted redistricting plans favoring the GOP.

The top candidates vying to replace California Governor Gray Davis joined in a lively debate.

Five years ago:

Officials reopened Galveston, Texas, to residents who were warned about Hurricane Ike’s debris and disruption of utilities.

Japanese lawmakers elected Taro Aso, leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, prime minister.

One year ago:

President Barack Obama told the ABC talk show “The View” that the deadly attack earlier in the month on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was not the result of mob violence; he said “there’s no doubt” that the assault wasn’t spontaneous.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused Obama of minimizing the Benghazi attack as a mere “bump in the road.“

Provocative ads began appearing in New York City subways, equating Muslim radicals with savages.

Today’s Birthdays:

Actor-singer Herb Jeffries is 102

Actress Sheila MacRae is 92

Rhythm-and-blues singer Sonny Turner (The Platters) is 74

Singer Barbara Allbut (The Angels) is 73

Singer Phyllis “Jiggs” Allbut (The Angels) is 71

Singer Gerry Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers) is 71

News anchor Lou Dobbs is 68

Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Joe Greene is 67

Actor Gordon Clapp is 65

Songwriter Holly Knight is 57

Former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II, D-Mass., is 61

Actor Kevin Sorbo is 55

Christian/jazz singer Cedric Dent (Take 6) is 51

Actress-writer Nia Vardalos is 51

Country musician Marty Mitchell is 44

Actress Megan Ward is 44

Singer-musician Marty Cintron (No Mercy) is 42

Contemporary Christian musician Juan DeVevo (Casting Crowns) is 38

Actor Justin Bruening is 34

Olympic gold medal gymnast Paul Hamm (hahm) is 31

Actor Erik Stocklin is 31

Actor Kyle Sullivan is 25

Flashback: What Happened on September 23, ....


•  1863 Joseph H. Diss Debar of Doddridge County designed the state seal.

•  1948 Mathew Perison was executed by hanging at the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville (Marshall County) for a murder committed in Logan County.

•  1958 A group of mostly white residents of Edwight petitioned the Raleigh County Board of Education to desegregate a modern African-American school. Originally, the board had decided to integrate it as a junior high school due to the overcrowding of the all-white Marsh Fork School about three miles away. However, the decision was reversed after African-American residents protested.

•  1973 Former UMW president Tony Boyle attempted suicide, the day he was to begin serving a sentence for misuse of union funds.

•  1980 Former President Gerald Ford appeared at a fundraiser in Charleston for former Governor Moore in his gubernatorial campaign.

•  1983 Employees of the Weirton Steel plant in Weirton (Hancock County) voted to purchase the plant themselves from the National Steel Corporation.

WayBackWhen™: September 23

Today is Monday, September 23, the 266th day of 2013. There are 99 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

“The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions.“—Susan Sontag, American author and critic (1933-2004).

Today’s Highlight in History:

The Gilmer Free Press

On September 23, 1952, Sen. Richard M. Nixon, R-Calif., salvaged his vice-presidential nomination by appearing live on television to refute allegations of improper campaign fundraising. (The address became known as the “Checkers” speech because of Nixon’s on-air reference to the family pet, a dog named Checkers.)

On this date:

In 63 B.C., Caesar Augustus, the first Roman emperor, was born.

In 1779, during the Revolutionary War, the American warship Bon Homme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, defeated the HMS Serapis in battle.

In 1780, British spy John Andre was captured along with papers revealing Benedict Arnold’s plot to surrender West Point to the British.

In 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition returned to St. Louis more than two years after setting out for the Pacific Northwest.

In 1846, Neptune was identified as a planet by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle (GAH’-luh).

In 1908, an apparent baserunning error by Fred Merkle of the New York Giants cost his team a victory against the Chicago Cubs and left the game tied 1-1. The Cubs won a rematch and with it, the National League pennant.

In 1912, Mack Sennett’s first Keystone short subject, a “split-reel” of two comedies both starring Mabel Normand and Ford Sterling (“Cohen Collects a Debt” and “The Water Nymph”), was released. Houston’s William Marsh Rice Institute, later renamed Rice University, opened for classes on the 12th anniversary of Rice’s death.

In 1949, President Harry S. Truman announced there was evidence the Soviet Union had recently conducted a nuclear test explosion. The test had been carried out on Aug. 29, 1949.

In 1957, nine black students who’d entered Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas were forced to withdraw because of a white mob outside.

In 1962, “The Jetsons,“ an animated cartoon series about a Space Age family, premiered as the ABC television network’s first color program.

In 1973, former Argentine president Juan Peron won a landslide election victory that returned him to power; his wife, Isabel, was elected vice president.

In 1981, the Reagan administration announced plans for what became known as Radio Marti.

In 2001, President George W. Bush returned the American flag to full staff at Camp David, symbolically ending a period of national mourning for the 9/11 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Thousands gathered at New York’s Yankee Stadium to offer prayers for the victims of terrorism; Mayor Rudolph Giuliani pledged that “our skyline will rise again.“ Thirteen coal miners were killed in explosions at the Blue Creek Mine Number 5 in Brookwood, Ala.

Ten years ago:

Speaking at the United Nations, President George W. Bush rejected calls from France and Germany to hasten the transfer of power in Iraq, insisting the shift to self-government could be “neither hurried nor delayed.“

A federal appeals court unanimously put California’s recall election back on the calendar for October 07.

Five years ago:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (ah-muh-DEE’-neh-zhahd) accused what he called “a few bullying powers” of trying to thwart his country’s peaceful nuclear program and declared in a speech before the U.N. General Assembly that “the American empire” was nearing collapse.

A 22-year-old gunman opened fire at his trade school in Finland, killing 10 people before fatally shooting himself.

One year ago:

“Homeland” won the Emmy Award for best drama series, and its stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis each won leading actor awards.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told reporters he would spend less time raising money and more time with voters.

The Libyan militia suspected in the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans said it had disbanded on orders of the country’s president.

Today’s Birthdays:

Actor Mickey Rooney is 93

Singer Julio Iglesias is 70

Actor Paul Petersen (“The Donna Reed Show”) is 68

Actress-singer Mary Kay Place is 66

Rock star Bruce Springsteen is 64

Rock musician Leon Taylor (The Ventures) is 58

Actress Rosalind Chao is 56

Golfer Larry Mize is 55

Actor Jason Alexander is 54

Actress Elizabeth Pena is 54

Actor Chi McBride is 52

Country musician Don Herron (BR549) is 51

Actor Erik Todd Dellums is 49

Actress LisaRaye is 47

Singer Ani (AH’-nee) DiFranco is 43

Rock singer Sarah Bettens (K’s Choice) is 41

Recording executive Jermaine Dupri is 41

Actor Kip Pardue is 37

Actor Anthony Mackie is 35

Pop singer Erik-Michael Estrada (“Making the Band”) is 34

Actress Aubrey Dollar is 33

Tennis player Melanie Oudin (oo-DAN’) is 22

Flashback: What Happened on September 22, ....


•  1852 The Weston Branch of the Exchange Bank of Virginia, Lewis County, was opened. The bank profited from construction of the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike and the Northwestern Virginia Railroad.

•  1887 The Weston Central Telephone Company was incorporated in West Virginia by the following: G. M. Burns of Burnsville, Gilmer County; J. S. Hyer of Braxton Court House (Sutton), Braxton County; George I. Davison of Jacksonsville, WV; N. B. Newlon and J. B. Finster of Weston, Lewis County. The company’s purpose was to install telephone lines in Lewis County, Braxton County, Gilmer County, Calhoun County, Upshur County, and Webster County, with its main office in Weston.

•  1890 The Sutton Building and Loan Association was incorporated in West Virginia by the following: L. M. Wade, J. M. Morrison, John L. Gaston, F. J. Baxter, and Charles E. Baab, all of Sutton, Braxton County. The association’s main office was in Sutton.

•  1909 The principal of West Virginia Colored Institute J. McHenry Jones died in Institute, Kanawha County, of Bright’s Disease at the age of 50.

•  1982 Vice President George Bush campaigned in Charleston for Republican Representative Mick Staton.

WayBackWhen™: September 22

Today is Sunday, September 22, the 265th day of 2013. There are 100 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.“ — William Cullen Bryant, American poet (1794-1878).

Today’s Highlight in History:

The Gilmer Free Press

On September 22, 1776, Nathan Hale was hanged as a spy by the British during the Revolutionary War.

On this date:

In 1792, the French Republic was proclaimed.

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all slaves in rebel states should be free as of January 1, 1863.

In 1927, Gene Tunney successfully defended his heavyweight boxing title against Jack Dempsey in the famous “long-count” fight in Chicago.

In 1949, the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb.

In 1950, Omar N. Bradley was promoted to the rank of five-star general, joining an elite group that included Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, George C. Marshall and Henry H. “Hap” Arnold.

In 1961, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued rules prohibiting racial discrimination on interstate buses.

In 1964, the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 3,242 performances.

In 1975, Sara Jane Moore attempted to shoot President Gerald R. Ford outside a San Francisco hotel, but missed. (Moore served 32 years in prison before being paroled on Dec. 31, 2007.)

In 1980, the Persian Gulf conflict between Iran and Iraq erupted into full-scale war.

In 1985, rock and country music artists participated in “FarmAid,“ a concert staged in Champaign, Ill., to help the nation’s farmers.

In 1989, songwriter Irving Berlin died in New York City at age 101.

In 2001, President George W. Bush consulted at length with Russian President Vladimir Putin (POO’-tihn) as the United States mustered a military assault on terrorism in the wake of Sept. 11.

Ten years ago:

A suicide car bombing outside U.N. offices in Baghdad killed an Iraqi policeman.

NATO allies picked Dutch Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (yahp dee hohp SKEHF’-ur) as the alliance’s next secretary-general.

Actor Gordon Jump died at age 71.

Five years ago:

Jury selection began in Washington for the federal corruption trial of Sen. Ted Stevens,R-Alaska. (Jurors later found that Stevens had lied on Senate financial disclosure forms to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and home renovations from a wealthy oil contractor, but the Justice Department later moved to dismiss the indictment because prosecutors had mishandled the case; Stevens lost his re-election bid.)

Marjorie Knoller, whose dogs viciously attacked and killed her neighbor, Dianne Whipple, in their San Francisco apartment building in 2001, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison after her second-degree murder conviction was reinstated.

The U.S. Mint unveiled the first changes to the penny in 50 years, with Abraham Lincoln’s portrait still on the obverse side, but new designs replacing the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse side.

One year ago:

President Barack Obama campaigned before a crowd of 18,000 in Wisconsin, the home of GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi urged the government of Syria to bring an end to that country’s 18-month-old civil war.

In the aftermath of the killing of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, residents of the Libyan city of Benghazi protested at the compounds of several militias, vowing to rid themselves of armed factions and Islamic extremists.

Today’s Birthdays:

Baseball Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda is 86

NBA Commissioner David Stern is 71

Musician King Sunny Ade (ah-DAY’) is 67

Actor Paul Le Mat is 67

Capt. Mark Phillips is 65

Rock singer David Coverdale (Deep Purple, Whitesnake) is 62

Actress Shari Belafonte is 59

Singer Debby Boone is 57

Country singer June Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 57

Singer Nick Cave is 56

Rock singer Johnette Napolitano is 56

Actress Lynn Herring is 56

Classical crossover singer Andrea Bocelli (an-DRAY’-ah boh-CHEL’-ee) is 55

Singer-musician Joan Jett is 55

Actor Scott Baio is 53

Actress Catherine Oxenberg is 52

Actress Bonnie Hunt is 52

Actor Rob Stone (“Mr. Belvedere”) is 51

Musician Matt Sharp is 44

Rock musician Dave Hernandez is 43

Rhythm-and-blues singer Big Rube (Society of Soul) is 42

Actress Mireille Enos is 38

Actress Daniella Alonso is 35

Actor Michael Graziadei (GRAHT’-zee-uh-day-ee) is 34

Actress Ashley Drane (Eckstein) is 32

Actor Tom Felton is 26

Actress Juliette Goglia is 18

Flashback: What Happened on September 21, ....


•  1774 Forces under Colonel Andrew Lewis reached the site of present-day Charleston on their march to the Battle of Point Pleasant, Mason County.

•  1862 A skirmish took place at Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County. Union forces recaptured the town and began establishing more permanent fortifications than previously existed.

•  1898 J. McHenry Jones was chosen as principal of the West Virginia Colored Institute, which later became West Virginia State College, in Institute, Kanawha County.

•  1904 Presbyterian affiliated Davis and Elkins College opened in Elkins, Randolph County, with J. E. Jodgson as president.

•  1912 Mother Jones spoke to striking coal miners on the lawn of the Y.M.C.A. in Charleston, Kanawha County.

•  1992 The National Institute of Chemical Studies in Charleston, Kanawha County, presented former head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency William D. Ruckelshaus with the Russell S. Wehrle Award.

WayBackWhen™: September 21

Today is Saturday, September 21, the 264th day of 2013. There are 101 days left in the year.

Thought for Today:

“The crisis of yesterday is the joke of tomorrow.“ — H.G. Wells, English author (born this day in 1866, died 1946).

Today’s Highlight in History:

The Gilmer Free Press

On September 21, 1912, magician Harry Houdini first publicly performed his so-called Chinese Water Torture Cell trick at the Circus Busch in Berlin, escaping after being immersed upside-down in a vertical water tank, his ankles secured in a set of stocks which made up the tank lid, which was locked into place.

On this date:

In 1792, the French National Convention voted to abolish the monarchy.

In 1893, one of America’s first horseless carriages was taken for a short test drive in Springfield, Mass., by Frank Duryea, who had designed the vehicle with his brother, Charles.

In 1897, the New York Sun ran its famous editorial, written anonymously by Francis P. Church, which declared, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.“

In 1912, legendary cartoon animator Chuck Jones was born in Spokane, Wash.

In 1937, “The Hobbit,“ by J.R.R. Tolkien, was first published by George Allen & Unwin Ltd. of London.

In 1938, a hurricane struck parts of New York and New England, causing widespread damage and claiming some 700 lives.

In 1948, Milton Berle made his debut as permanent host of “The Texaco Star Theater” on NBC-TV.

In 1962, “The Jack Paar Program,“ a weekly, prime-time show that followed Paar’s stint on “The Tonight Show,“ began a three-year run.

In 1970, “NFL Monday Night Football” made its debut on ABC-TV as the Cleveland Browns defeated the visiting New York Jets, 31-21.

In 1982, Amin Gemayel, brother of Lebanon’s assassinated president-elect, Bashir Gemayel, was himself elected president. National Football League players began a 57-day strike, their first regular-season walkout.

In 1987, NFL players called a strike, mainly over the issue of free agency. (The 24-day walkout prompted football owners to hire replacement players.)

In 1989, Hurricane Hugo crashed into Charleston, S.C. (the storm was blamed for 26 directly caused U.S. deaths). Twenty-one students in Alton, Texas, died when their school bus, involved in a collision with a soft-drink delivery truck, careened into a water-filled pit.

Ten years ago:

Former Citigroup CEO John S. Reed was named temporary head of the New York Stock Exchange.

Paul Martin was elected by Canada’s Liberal Party to succeed Jean Chretien (zhahn kreh-TYEN’) as prime minister.

NASA’s aging Galileo spacecraft deliberately plunged into Jupiter’s turbulent atmosphere, bringing a fiery conclusion to a 14-year exploration of the solar system’s largest planet and its moons.

Five years ago:

South African President Thabo Mbeki (TAH’-boh um-BEH’-kee) announced his resignation.

“Mad Men” became the first basic-cable show to win the top series Emmy; “30 Rock” and its stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin won comedy awards.

The United States took back the Ryder Cup with a 16 1/2-11 1/2 victory over Europe.

Baseball said farewell to the original Yankee Stadium as the Bronx Bombers defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.

One year ago:

No one was injured when a plane carrying Ann Romney made an emergency landing in Denver after smoke filled the cabin.

The wife of the Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was traveling from Omaha, Neb., to Los Angeles, when an apparent electrical fire broke out.

A man was bitten multiple times after leaping from a monorail into a tiger exhibit at the Bronx Zoo.

People lined up to buy Apple’s iPhone5 as it went on sale in the United States and several other countries.

Today’s Birthdays:

Poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen is 79

Author-comedian Fannie Flagg is 72

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer is 70

Musician Don Felder is 66

Author Stephen King is 66

Basketball Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore is 64

Actor-comedian Bill Murray is 63

Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye is 62

Rock musician Philthy Animal is 59

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is 56

Movie producer-writer Ethan Coen is 56

Actor-comedian Dave Coulier is 54

Actor David James Elliott is 53

Actress Serena Scott-Thomas is 52

Actress Nancy Travis is 52

Actor Rob Morrow is 51

Retired MLB All-Star Cecil Fielder is 50

Actress Cheryl Hines is 48

Country singer Faith Hill is 46

Rock musician Tyler Stewart (Barenaked Ladies) is 46

Country singer Ronna Reeves is 45

Actress-talk show host Ricki Lake is 45

Rapper Dave (De La Soul) is 45

Actor Rob Benedict is 43

Actor James Lesure is 42

Actor Alfonso Ribeiro is 42

Actor Luke Wilson is 42

Actor Paulo Costanzo is 35

Actor Bradford Anderson is 34

Actress Autumn Reeser is 33

TV personality Nicole Richie is 32

Actress Maggie Grace is 30

Actor Joseph Mazzello is 30

Rapper Wale (WAH’-lay) is 29

Actors Nikolas and Lorenzo Brino are 15

Plan to Protect the ‘Birthplace of Rivers’ as National Monument Announced

The Gilmer Free Press

The Birthplace of Rivers Initiative, a broad statewide coalition of communities, businesses, sportsmen, river organizations, recreation and conservation groups, made public specifics of a proposal to permanently protect an iconic part of West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest as the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument.

The proposal is the result of a collaborative process to solicit feedback over the past year from various stakeholders and the general public. The full proposal is available at Today’s release of a specific proposal is an important next step in a public process to discuss the value of preserving the recreational, scenic and heritage-based traditions West Virginians cherish on the Mountain State’s public lands.

“It is essential that we permanently preserve this area so we have clean water and healthy lands to pass down as our legacy to our children,” said Angie Rosser, Executive Director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. “After much collaboration, we now have a proposal that will protect the natural and cultural resources of the land while fostering economic development and maintaining access for fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreational activities that are important to many user groups and local communities.”

Treasured landscapes

The aptly named Birthplace of Rivers National Monument is the home to the headwaters of six of West Virginia’s most highly regarded rivers - the Cranberry, Cherry, Elk, Gauley, Williams and Greenbrier Rivers. The proposed monument is limited to federal land managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), including the:

— Cranberry Wilderness which features dense forests of red spruce, trout streams and black bear habitat;

— Tea Creek Backcountry, with some on the best mountain biking best trails in the Mid-Atlantic;

— Cranberry Glades, a unique series of tundra-like bogs which shelter migratory birds and rare plants;

— The site of the former Mill Point Federal Prison which imprisoned prohibition moonshiners and conscientious objectors;

— The iconic Falls of Hills Creek which includes West Virginia’s second-highest waterfall; and

— The Highland Scenic Highway which skirts the Cranberry Wilderness, providing unparalleled views of the Williams River Valley.

Many of these special features are protected under temporary guidelines, which are always subject to future administrative changes. Such changes could drastically alter the way these areas are managed, and could compromise some of West Virginia’s most popular scenic areas and most visited outdoor recreation destinations. The Birthplace of Rivers National Monument would safeguard these unique areas from potential threats by solidifying the intent of most of the area’s current management.

Monument proposal: Continued access, recreation and restoration

A national monument designation would permanently protect the iconic resources in this area while providing the flexibility to meet place-specific management and access needs identified by the community.

Under the proposal, the U.S. Forest Service would continue to manage the area. Activities such as hunting, trapping and hunting with dogs would be allowed and ecosystem restoration and management by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) to improve fish and game habitat would continue.

Establishment of the monument would not close any motorized routes currently open to the public and mountain biking would continue to be allowed on recognized trails. No new roads could be created in the national monument except for public safety or to provide necessary access to further the values for which the monument was established.

The monument proposal also calls for a flexible approach to spruce and spruce-hardwood restoration, a key management objective currently emphasized in much of the area. In a letter to the Pocahontas County Commission earlier this year, USFS Chief Thomas Tidwell has indicated to local officials that national monuments have strong potential to improve local economies through tourism and restoration activities.

As a national monument the federal lands within the monument would be permanently protected from potential industrial activities. A designation would also preserve valid existing rights such as previously-existing leases, grazing and rights-of-way. No private lands would be affected by the proposed monument.

“A National Monument would provide a balanced, flexible designation that serves as an honor to the Mountain State and meet the access and management needs of this special area,” said Mike Costello, Executive Director of the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition. “The current proposal reflects a sincere willingness from many West Virginians to come to the table and collectively address certain issues and create a vision for what we want the protected future of this special land to look like.”

Economic benefits of monument designation

In addition to establishing stronger protections, a recent independent economic report indicates that a national monument designation could support 143 jobs and bring a total of $5.2 million in economic activity to the region annually. The designation could also generate a total of more than $800,000 annually in tax revenue which would help support libraries, hospitals, emergency services and local arts programs.

“This is an important step toward a brighter economic future for this region of West Virginia,” says Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester. “Signature protected lands like national monuments have been shown to make communities more attractive places for people to live and work. Local residents are likely to see numerous benefits including additional jobs, greater support for community institutions and more entrepreneurial opportunities.”

Opportunity to protect land that defines the Mountain State

The Birthplace of Rivers is home to some of West Virginia’s most dramatic vistas, tallest waterfalls, cleanest waterways, and a series of sphagnum bogs forgotten by time. The national monument would also marry West Virginians’ love for the land and its renowned musical heritage.

“The natural beauty of our Mountain State is one of the greatest gifts God has given to West Virginia. Establishing the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument will allow us to pass this legacy on to our children” said Rev. Jeffrey S. Allen, Executive Director of the West Virginia Council of Churches. “This endeavor is about preserving the history, the heritage, and the rich mountain culture of West Virginia. It is about birthing a new economy for the people West Virginia.”

The Birthplace of Rivers would be the only National Monument in West Virginia, and would be the first managed by the USFS in the eastern United States. A national monument can be designated either by Congress or the President.

The full proposal can be found at

The Birthplace of Rivers Initiative is a collaborative effort bringing business owners and community leaders together with organizations including the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, West Virginia Council of Churches, the International Mountain Biking Association, West Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited and the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition.

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