www.wvgazettemail.com http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2017, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: February 25, 2017 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/OBIT01/302259978 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/OBIT01/302259978 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Balser, Karen 2 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.


Bird, James 11 a.m., Wilcoxen Funeral Home, Point Pleasant.


Bitzer, Wesley Turner, Jr. 3 p.m., Bible Center Church, South Charleston.


Bradley, James 3 p.m., United Methodist Temple, Beckley.


Callison, Hubert 11 a.m., Oak Grove Presbyterian Church, Hillsboro.


Christian, Frank 11 a.m., Wallace and Wallace Funeral Home, Lewisburg.


Cogar, Joy Mae (Carpenter) 11 a.m., Dodd & Reed Funeral Home, Webster Springs.


Dues, Mary 11 a.m., First Baptist Church, Charleston.


Elliott, Cecil, Jr. 5 p.m., Harding Funerals & Cremations, Kanawha City.


Fillinger, Arnold Noon, Evans Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Chapmanville.


Gowen, Betty Jo Shawver 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Winfield.


Hager, Tawnya 1 p.m., Tyler Mountain Funeral Home, Cross Lanes.


Hanlin, Connie 11 a.m., Stump Funeral Home, Arnoldsburg.


Harold, Barbara Noon, Blessed Sacrament Parish, South Charleston.


Harris, Eva 1:30 p.m., Rhodell Church of God, Rhodell.


Hash, Beulah H. 11 a.m., St. Marks United Methodist Church Chapel, Charleston.


Hatcher, William B. 2 p.m., Sugar Creek Missionary Baptist Church, Charleston.


Haynes, Mildred 1 p.m., Highlawn Baptist Church, St. Albans.


Hopkins, William, Jr. 11 a.m., Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens Mausoleum, Cross Lanes.


Jones, James H. 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.


Kauff, Harold "Gene" 1 p.m., Raynes Funeral Home, Buffalo.


Keen, Stephanie 2 p.m., Fifth Avenue Church of God, South Charleston.


Kincaid, Judy 11 a.m., Pennington Funeral Home, Gauley Bridge.


Kinder, Harry 1 p.m., Harding Funerals & Cremations, Kanawha City.


Mann, Johnny 2 p.m., Ronceverte Volunteer Fire Department.


Melton, Phyllis A. 2:30 p.m., Elk Funeral Home, Charleston.


Monday, Evelyn 2 p.m., Emma Chapel Church Cemetery, Liberty.


Phelps, Helen 1 p.m., Kirkland Memorial Gardens, Point Pleasant.


Seacrist, Kathy 2 p.m., O'Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery.


Sharp, Helen 2:30 p.m., Central Union United Methodist Church.


Smith, Charles 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.


Smith, Vivian 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.


Stickler, Dewey 1 p.m., Henson and Kitchen Mortuary, Huntington.


Stover, Lisa 4 p.m., West Virginia Mission, 1109 Benamati Avenue, Nitro.


Sword, Jean 11 a.m., Fair Haven Baptist Church, Campbells Creek.


Triplett, Dencil 11 a.m., McGhee


Vance, Elsie 2 p.m., Lizemores Methodist Church, Lizemores.


Vickers, Drema 2 p.m., Dotson

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Herman Bartlett http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/OBIT/302259981 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/OBIT/302259981 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Herman Francis Bartlett, 91, of Nitro, passed away February 22, 2017, at Thomas Memorial Hospital in Charleston.

He was born April 16, 1925, in Parkersburg, a son of the late Jedidiah Wells Bartlett and Belle (Westfall) Bartlett.

Mr. Bartlett was a retired Master Plumber out of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 625 of Charleston. He was a Parkersburg High graduate and a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, where he served in the Pacific.

Herman was a quiet man with a big smile and was a hard worker. He was known for wearing his red and white polka dot hat. His motto was "anything worth doing is worth doing well."

Surviving is his wife of 70 years, Marion Kathryn (Agey) Bartlett; his son, Mark Jay Bartlett and his wife, Becky of Lexington, Ky; his daughter, Matina J. Parsons; and her husband, Mike of Scott Depot; and his grandson, Jason Bartlett of Lexington, Ky.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by four brothers, Zeke, Bill, Carl and Lawrence Bartlett; a sister, Hazel Brand; and daughter, Malinda Jo Bartlett.

Graveside service will be 11 a.m., Monday, February 27, at Evergreen South Cemetery. Full military honors will be provided by Parkersburg American Legion Post 15.

Leavitt Funeral Home is assisting the Bartlett family with arrangements. Online guests may send condolences to the family by visiting www.LeavittFuneralHome.com.

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Daniel "Dan" Belcher http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/OBIT/302259995 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/OBIT/302259995 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Daniel "Dan" M. Belcher, 44, of Charleston, went home to be with the Lord, Tuesday, February 22, 2017.

Dan worked at MRC Global for several years as IT Support. He graduated high school, also completing college with an associates and bachelor degrees in computer science and math. He enjoyed gaming, movies, making people smile and laugh. Being a rock to those or helping hand to others in need. Most of all he unconditionally loved his family, friends and pets.

Dan was preceded in death by his father, Cecil Belcher; and his beloved pet, Apollo.

He is survived by his wife, Jessica Dawn Wolfingbarger Belcher; mother, Jo Ann Stephenson Belcher; sisters, Tabitha Belcher and Sally Pierson; brother, Samuel Belcher; also with six nephews; and one niece.

Visitation with family and friends will be held 10 a.m. to noon, Monday, February 27, with the funeral service beginning at noon with Pastor Todd Morris officiating. Burial will follow at Spring Hill Cemetery, Charleston.

In lieu of flowers and in Daniels honor, you may make a donation to: The CAMC Foundation, Cancer Research 3414 Staunton Ave. SE, Charleston, WV 25304 or to New Hope Animal Rescue, 2806 Putnam Ave. Hurricane, WV 25526 (newhoperescuewv.org) and click donate; KCHA, 1248 Greenbrier Street Charleston, WV 25311.

The online guest book can be accessed at www.stevensandgrass.com.

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Wesley Turner Bitzer Jr. http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/OBIT/302259997 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/OBIT/302259997 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Wesley Turner Bitzer Jr., 88, went peacefully to be with the Lord on February 22, 2017. He was born in Dry Branch to the late Dorothy Plaskett Bitzer and Wesley Turner Bitzer Sr. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 62 years, Bonnie Bitzer, and sister, Anne Nasits of Atlanta, Texas.

He is survived by two sons, Richard Douglas Bitzer and wife Cindy of South Charleston, Jeffrey Dale Bitzer and wife Tina of Johnson City, Tenn.; four grandchildren, Douglas Wesley (Courtney) Bitzer of W.Va., Leah Bitzer (Nick) Creathers of W.Va., Lorrie Bitzer (Phillip) Reustle of W.Va., and Jessica (Brett) Compton of Va.; 10 great-grandchildren, Aerilyn, Bryson, Ryder and Stetsen Bitzer, Sydney Creathers, Noah, Wesley and Brandon Reustle, and Easton and Averie Compton.

Wesley graduated from DuPont High School and Colorado School of Mines. He spent most of his career working as a mining engineer for Carbon Industries, and then taught mining at West Virginia Tech for 10 years before retiring.

His life greatly impacted those around him, especially his family. He loved his wife Bonnie even more after 62 years than he did when they were high school sweethearts. He loved being with grandkids and great-grandkids, and family get-togethers were always special, especially around Christmas. He loved keeping in touch with friends and DuPont alumni. He was kind and generous, a man of integrity and character. He attended Bible Center Church for many years.

Funeral service will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 25, at the Bible Center Church, with Pastor Richard Thompson officiating. Visitation will be prior to the service from 1 until 3 p.m. Entombment will follow at Graceland Memorial Park, South Charleston.

The family would like to sincerely thank the wonderful caregivers at Angel Avenue in Teays Valley, Good Living in Malden, and Hospice.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions be made to Bible Center Church, 100 Bible Center Drive, Charleston, WV 25309.

The online guestbook can be accessed at www.Stevensand Grass.com.

Arrangements are in the care of Stevens and Grass Funeral Home, Malden.

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Barbara Sue Brown http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/OBIT/302259988 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/OBIT/302259988 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Barbara Sue Brown, 62, of Danville, passed away Thursday, February 23, 2017. She was born August 23, 1954, and was a daughter of the late Delmar Ray and Mary Frances Ritchie Browning.

She is survived by her husband, Billy Ray Brown; sons, Jeremy (Alex) Gibson of Dawsonville, Ga. and Billy (Treva) Brown of Uneeda, W.Va.; daughters, Crystal (Tommy) Peters of St. Albans and Tonia (JT) Handley of Danville; brother, Delmar (Michelle) Browning of Julian, W.Va.; 12 grandchildren; and a host of uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews and many friends.

She was a homemaker. She attended Greenwood Church of God.

Service will be 11 a.m., Sunday, February 26, at Handley Funeral Home, Danville with Minister Sam Osborne officiating. Burial will follow in Memory Gardens, Madison. Friends may call one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

You may express your condolences to the family at www.handleyfh.com.

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Expect mix of song and dance, politics and protest at Sunday's Oscars http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0606/170229661 GZ0606 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0606/170229661 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 16:49:36 -0500 By Jake Coyle The Associated Press By By Jake Coyle The Associated Press LOS ANGELES - The 89th Academy Awards should be a very schizophrenic affair: equal parts pomp and politics.

The only thing expected to take the stage more often than the frothy front-runner "La La Land" at Sunday's ceremony is protest (and probably some punchlines) over the policies of President Donald Trump. For largely liberal Hollywood, his election has proven a rallying cause-celebre throughout an awards season that has otherwise been a parade of honors for Damien Chazelle's celebrated musical.

Just how political things are going to get at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles may be the biggest question of Sunday night's show, to be broadcast by ABC beginning at 8:30 p.m. EST, with red carpet coverage starting earlier. The current forecast for Sunday is only a slight chance of rain, though the inside of the Dolby Theatre is expected to be far stormier.

Even the usually glitzy lead-up to Sunday's show has taken on the form of a gathering tempest. On Friday, the United Talent Agency, forgoing its usual Oscar party, instead held a rally over immigration. "We will not tolerate chaos and ineptitude and war-mongering," Jodie Foster told attendees.

More strikingly, the six directors of the foreign film nominees on Friday released a joint statement condemning "the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians."

The signees included the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose "The Salesman" is favored to win him his second foreign language Oscar. He isn't attending the awards out of protest for Trump's proposed travel ban from seven predominantly Muslim nations, including Iran.

On Friday, he posted a video thanking the Hollywood community for its support of his Oscar boycott. In it, Farhadi condemned Trump's policies and said they are "trying to promote hate."

And sure to stoke the rhetoric at Sunday's Oscars is news this weekend that U.S. immigration authorities are barring entry to a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who worked on the documentary short nominee "The White Helmets," about the nation's civil war.

Meanwhile, some Trump supporters are calling for a boycott of the broadcast, expecting more speeches like Meryl Streep's fiery remarks at the Globes - which prompted Trump to call her "overrated." (The Academy of Motion Pictures on Friday added Streep, also a nominee, to its presenters.) But similar so-called boycotts have also trailed the Broadway sensation "Hamilton" and 2016's top box-office hit, the "Star Wars" spinoff "Rogue One."

ABC would be very happy with similar results, especially after last year's telecast, hosted by Chris Rock, drew 34.4 million viewers, an eight-year low. Ads this year are still going for $2.1 million for 30-second spots.

Host Jimmy Kimmel will have a delicate balance on his hands. Play it too light and he'll appear out of sync with the mood. Hammer too hard and he'll alienate viewers already inundated by politics.

A lot of the suspense has been deflated by the juggernaut of "La La Land," the Golden Globe winner and favorite to win best picture. It's up for 14 awards, tying it with "Titanic" and "All About Eve" for the record.

Rock's 2016 show, which he introduced as "the White People's Choice Awards," was rife with Hollywood's diversity debate. But after two straight years of all-white acting nominees and the resulting "OscarsSoWhite" rancor, this year's field is teaming with African-American actors and filmmakers, thanks to films like best-picture candidates Barry Jenkin's coming-of-age tale "Moonlight," Denzel Washington's August Wilson adaptation "Fences" and Theodore Melfi's uplifting space-race drama "Hidden Figures."

For the first time, an actor of color is nominated in each acting category. A record six black actors are nominated. Four of the five films nominated for best documentary were made by black filmmakers. Bradford Young ("Arrival") is the second black cinematographer ever nominated. Kimberly Steward, the financer of "Manchester by the Sea," is the second black female producer nominated for best picture.

The nominees follow the efforts by Academy of Motions Pictures Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to diversify the membership of the largely white, older and male film academy. In June, the academy added 683 new members: 46 percent of them were female; 41-percent were nonwhite; and they pulled from 59 countries.

There is other turmoil, too. Only one major studio - Paramount, which distributed "Arrival" and "Fences" - scored a best picture nod this year - and its chief, Brad Grey, departed last week. Amazon, on the other hand, scored its first best-picture nomination with "Manchester by the Sea."

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Tesla discussing electric-car charging station in Charleston http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ03/170229662 GZ03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ03/170229662 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 16:37:04 -0500 Max Garland By Max Garland You can't buy a Tesla vehicle in Charleston, but you might be able to charge one up soon.

Representatives of the Palo Alto-based company, best known for its electric cars, have "had conversations" with a local property owner about installing a charging station at the confluence of the Kanawha and Elk rivers.

"As of right now, that's all they are - conversations," said Charlie Wendell of Mountain Shore Properties, which owns the Courtyard by Marriott hotel at 100 Kanawha Blvd. E., where the station would be located.

Wendell said further inquiries would have to be directed to Tesla, where representatives did not respond to questions about a possible Charleston station.

Out of more than 800 Tesla charging stations nationwide, the only one is in West Virginia - at the Hampton Inn in Triadelphia, off Interstate 70 in the Northern Panhandle. That station opened in 2014. For now, the closest charging station to Charleston is in Wytheville, Virginia, a two-hour drive away, according to the company's website.

Tesla charging locations are a part of the company's Supercharger Network, which have chargers near major corridors and various amenities, according to the company's website. Superchargers replenish up to 170 miles of range in 30 minutes.

All Tesla Model S and Model X drivers can charge their Tesla at any Supercharger. No other electric vehicles are capable of charging at these stations.

Even if Tesla drivers get a charging station in Charleston, they'll still have to buy their vehicles elsewhere. In 2015, state lawmakers passed and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed a bill that prevents direct-to-consumer car companies, including Tesla, from opening stores in West Virginia. The bill emerged from a state Senate led by Mercer County car dealer Bill Cole, although Cole said he had no involvement with the anti-Tesla bill and did not vote on it.

Before that, West Virginia law already prevented residents from buying cars from manufacturers that bypass dealerships and sell directly to consumers.

Last week, Tesla announced a loss of $773 million on $7 billion in revenue in 2016. That's an improvement upon Tesla's loss of $887 million on $4.04 billion in revenue in 2015. The company turned a profit in last year's third quarter, its first profitable quarter in three months.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company's Model 3 vehicles, which will go into production soon, will be easier to make than current models, and will cost about $35,000 each.

Reach Max Garland at max.garland@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4886 or follow @MaxGarlandTypes on Twitter.

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WV colleges plan tribute statues for NASA's Katherine Johnson http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0604/170229663 GZ0604 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0604/170229663 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 16:12:02 -0500 Anna Taylor By Anna Taylor Some stories are never told. Others take years.

It took 54 years and one box-office hit film to bring Katherine Johnson's accomplishments for the U.S. space program to the national spotlight.

The 98-year-old performed complex math calculations that put America's first astronaut into Earth's orbit in 1962. The film "Hidden Figures" shares the once-untold story of three African-American women - Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson - whose work and calculations were monumental in the early days of the U.S. space program.

Now, two West Virginia colleges want to make sure Johnson's achievements never go unnoticed again. Both West Virginia State College and West Virginia Wesleyan College have commissioned statues of Johnson to be installed on their respective campuses.

The film is based on the nonfiction book of the same title by Margot Lee Shetterly. It received three Academy Award nominations this year, including Best Picture.

A White Sulphur Springs native, Johnson calculated the effect of launch conditions in 1962 so NASA's Friendship 7 mission could be performed safely. The mission allowed astronaut John Glenn to be the first American to orbit the Earth. Because NASA was using new electronic data processors at the time, Glenn specifically requested Johnson to double-check the calculations to ensure a safe mission.

Johnson also helped synchronize Project Apollo's Lunar Lander with the moon-orbiting Command and Service Module, and worked on the Space Shuttle and the Earth Resources Satellite, according to her NASA biography written by Shetterly.

It's a story worth telling.

Johnson, who went by Katherine Coleman before she married, enrolled at the West Virginia State College campus when she was 18. The school then was known as the West Virginia Colored Institute. She graduated summa cum laude in 1937. Johnson later became the first African-American woman in the graduate school at West Virginia University, but she left school to start a family before she finished.

She currently resides in Hampton, Virginia.

nnn

Before Andy Thorne starts sculpting for the day, he'll crank up bluegrass music inside his garage-turned-studio near his hilltop home in Buckhannon.

"Anything with a banjo," he said.

The 33-year-old freelance sculptor creates statues, molds and plaques for clients across the country. He's the creative behind a $2,655, 2-foot-tall structure of Johnson at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

The tribute statue will be mounted on a 3-foot-tall pedestal between Christopher Hall and the Reemsnyder Research Center on the Buckhannon campus. Both are science buildings.

"For somebody who came from West Virginia during that time, and is an African-American woman, it's like she had everything going against her, and she got out on top," Thorne said. "It's a pretty awesome story."

Thorne drew portraits growing up but wanted to take that a step further when he started college. He graduated from WVU in 2007 with a sculpture degree. Most of his work is for clients from other states.

"I do just about anything anybody needs," he said. "People, animals, flags, random objects. Anything anybody needs sculpted, I just do it."

He also started teaching art this year to students at Upshur County elementary schools.

Thorne spends multiple hours working in his studio every day. After teaching, he'll have dinner and spend some time with his wife and two sons, then make his way to the studio. His sons, who are 3 and 6, have been known to make some of their own structures while he works. Sometimes they watch him work and will ask questions about who the people are.

"We usually have a little discussion about them," he said.

His older son, Owen, is in kindergarten. He wants to be a scientist. Father and son discussed the similarities between Johnson's career and that of a scientist, and how she is from West Virginia and went to college to learn how to do her job. In addition to that, Thorne turned the discussion into a teachable moment on race and respect.

"I want my kids to be knowledgeable about history because I don't want history to repeat itself," Thorne said. "I just want my boys to know that life's hard sometimes but you can overcome stuff. I told Owen that she went to college and he can too. He has a cousin who is [biracial] so it blows his mind how people are treated because they have brown skin. I tell him no one should be treated poorly. He gets it, but adults don't always get it."

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Like Thorne and many others, Ellen Mueller, assistant professor of art for West Virginia Wesleyan, didn't know Johnson's story until she heard about the movie "Hidden Figures." She was looking for "a notable West Virginian to honor who had overcome challenges to reach excellence," for a 3-D design class project.

"Right after Christmas, I read an article that the main character of the movie is based on a woman from West Virginia," she said. "I thought she was perfect."

She reached out to Thorne, and the art department raised funds for the project - which includes a presentation to the design class.

To make an accurate depiction of Johnson before he could begin sculpting, Thorne researched her accomplishments and studied photos of her.

The statue of Johnson, in a dress, shows her holding a book in her right hand to symbolize education and academia, Thorne said. A medal on top of the book represents the Presidential Medal of Freedom she was awarded in November 2015 by President Barack Obama. On the bottom of the platform near her feet will be markings representing math formulas, like the ones she used, with a piece of chalk and a chalkboard.

Once Thorne is finished with the clay structure, he has to make a mold to send to a foundry. A liquid will be poured into the mold and will solidify to take the shape of Johnson. The statue will have a bronze cast once it's complete.

Mueller and Thorne hope the statue will be ready to be placed on campus by summer.

"Kids are going to go by and see it and know her story," Thorne said. "I would have never known her story if it wouldn't have come from Ellen and the movie. It's one of those stories that needed to be shared."

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It's one of Col. Ron McLeod's missions to give credit where credit is due. Especially if that credit is overdue.

He's currently assisting sisters Cassie and Gregg Ferguson with fundraising efforts for a statue of Johnson to be placed on the campus of her alma mater. The plan is to reach out to key players in the "Hidden Figures" film to provide some of the funding for a statue.

McLeod said the statue not only will preserve Johnson's accomplishments, but also show potential students what they can do.

"This is Black History Month," he said. "One of the things we have failed to do in that history is give recognition. This should have been done here years ago. ... They can put a statue anywhere in the country, but it will have more meaning when they do it at West Virginia State."

Reach Anna Taylor at

anna.taylor@wvgazettemail.com,

304-348-4881 or follow

@byannataylor on Twitter.

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Blast from the past: Arcade a nostalgic dream for Vienna man http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ03/170229664 GZ03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ03/170229664 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 16:03:10 -0500 Bill Lynch By Bill Lynch VIENNA - On a sleepy side street, a block or so off the main road through Vienna, is a plain building with an aging soft-drink machine resting on the porch.

It doesn't look like much, but inside the place is awash with colors, flashing lights, electronic noises and the mechanical chatter of genuine nostalgia.

This is The Scohy Bros' Flashback Arcade, home to more than 80 vintage pinball machines and video games.

Since October, people have been flocking by the carload to the arcade museum Friday and Saturday nights.

Stephen Scohy, the husky owner of the arcade, said he's having the best time with his new business. He loves the games, but he also loves that other people love them, too.

"This one time, I remember looking out the window and seeing some kid, must have been about 11 or 12, just sort of pacing around his parents' car," he said. "The light went on. He saw it and just pumped his fist in the air."

That kid, Scohy said, was him.

The Scohy Bros' Flashback Arcade has all the video greats including "Pac-Man," "Ms. Pac-Man," "Donkey Kong," "Asteroids" and "Space Invaders," as well as some of the latter-day hits like "Dig Dug," "Galaxian" and "Tron."

There are stand-up models and the table-top varieties once found in pizza parlors, ice cream shops and hamburger joints all over the region.

Pinball machines, many of them lovingly restored, line the walls of the main room. Some machines feature rock 'n' roll icons like KISS and Elton John. Others have baseball or auto racing themes. There's a game named for 1970s daredevil Evil Knievel and at least one machine with a classic movie monster motif.

All the games are free to play, but it costs $10 to get past the front door.

"You can play as much as you want," Scohy said. "If you want to play for an hour, that's fine. If you want to play all night, that's fine, too. I'll play with you."

Every now and again, he'll get a doubter.

"About once a weekend or so, I'll get one guy who'll ask me if he can take a look around first," he said.

The arcade owner smiled broadly. He gives them a tour.

So far, no one has walked out without giving Scohy the $10.

He doesn't just show people his games. He throws in a little trivia and history.

"I try to learn something about every game in here," he said.

For example, Scohy said, most of the women who come into his arcade wind up playing "Centipede," a fast-paced game involving shooting garden bugs.

Unlike a lot of other games, players don't use a joystick to move, but a track ball.

Scohy said he doesn't know why so many women like this particular game.

He said, "I don't know if it's the colors or just that women hate bugs, but you always see women playing it."

That's not the interesting part.

"What most people don't know is that 'Centipede' was designed by a woman," Scohy added.

The game was co-designed by Dona Bailey, one of the few women who worked as a programmer in video games in the early 1980s.

She reportedly championed "Centipede" at Atari because it was the only game idea the video game company had at the time that didn't involve lasers and aliens.

Killing bugs seemed different enough.

The flashback arcade is part amusement hall, part museum and part shrine to a specific slice of Americana.

Classic rock hits from the '70s rock band Journey blast over the stereo, and the walls are decorated with images of the 1970s and early 1980s.

It's a passion project for Scohy, something he and his older brother Mark talked about doing for years.

Growing up in Vienna, Scohy said he couldn't wait for Friday night.

"I would mow a lawn and get $4 or shovel a walk and get $2," he said. "In my neighborhood, I'd take out an old lady's trash for a quarter."

It was all money for the Corner Pocket, a small video arcade and pinball parlor seven blocks from his parents' house.

Scohy made the trip dozens of times.

In the beginning, he gravitated toward the pinball machines.

"I played 'Black Knight,' 'Flash Gordon' and then 'Pac-Man,'" he said.

In the early 1980s, everybody was playing "Pac-Man." There was even a song on the radio about it, "Pac-Man Fever" by Buckner and Garcia. It made it to the top 10 on the Billboard charts.

Scohy fell out of love with the arcade in the mid-1980s.

"When they came out with 'Karate Champ,' I was done," he said.

The 1984 game pitted players against one another in a martial arts tournament.

"Karate Champ" hit a sour note with Scohy, and the games that followed became increasingly more violent and graphic.

Scohy didn't play another game until a vacation to a state park in 1999. At the lodge where he was staying, there was a "Silver Slugger" pinball machine.

It wasn't even an old machine. "Silver Slugger" had been released in 1990.

"But I had so much fun playing it, when I got home I started looking for pinball machines online," Scohy said.

He found several and eventually bought his first, a machine called "Rock," for $350.

"This was back when I had no money, and no money for buying something like that," Scohy said.

He had to drive to pick it up from the seller.

"So, I took it home, played it for about a month and then it broke," he said. "Then it was, 'Oh my god, I have no money, and this thing is a giant paperweight. What am I going to do?'"

He researched how to repair the machine and fixed it.

Repairing the machine was soothing. So he bought another one and then another after that.

A real estate appraiser, Scohy said repairing and then playing the old machines helped him unwind - and it wasn't that expensive.

"I prefer to get them broken," he said. "They're cheap, and it's therapy for me."

His elder brother Mark Scohy, living in Charleston, began collecting, too. His pinball machine collection was even featured in the Charleston Gazette-Mail in 2007, back when he only had 17 machines in his basement.

The brothers' collections only grew over the years.

"It got to the point where I had pinball machines and video games all over the house," Stephen Scohy said. "The family room was full. The basement was full. They were everywhere."

The brothers talked about opening an arcade, but Stephen Scohy said it was just a dream - and then the dream died.

Two years ago, Mark Scohy was coming out of a restaurant in Southridge with his wife and friends when he said he needed to go to the restroom.

"It was after church," Stephen Scohy said. "He told them he'd just be a minute."

While they waited just outside the restaurant, Mark Scohy suffered a fatal heart attack.

His brother's death continues to haunt Stephen Scohy.

"We're the same build, have the same job and ate the same kind of things," he said. "He was just a little older than me. I think about him a lot."

In Vienna, Stephen Scohy had to rent storage units to keep all his games.

He would break them down and pack them up to save space. He rotates machines in and out of storage based on his mood.

He still had a lot of games at home, but it was manageable.

Last year, his collection stopped being manageable.

"It got to be too expensive to keep everything in storage," he said.

So Stephen Scohy and his wife, Anne, found a building for sale and got a mortgage.

"It was cheaper than what we paid for rent," he said.

Opening the arcade was a way to help the games pay for themselves while also realizing a dream he and his brother had.

"That's why I wanted to call it Scohy Bros'. I wanted Mark to always be a part of this," Stephen Scohy said.

The Scohy Bros' Flashback Arcade has been almost everything Stephen Scohy wanted. The video games are all from his youth, a less violent era of electronic entertainment.

"No blood and guts," he said. "You don't see anybody rip anyone's spinal column out."

The pinball machine collection isn't quite as pure. There's a "Nightmare on Elm Street" game, based on the horror films of the 1980s featuring the disfigured and knife-fingered Freddie Krueger.

The machine came out around 1990.

"That one gets played all night," Stephen Scohy bragged.

He also has a "South Park" pinball machine with the foul-mouthed cartoon characters. It's much newer.

He loves the crowds that come, sometimes by the carload. Many of his customers are people around his age, but they often bring their families.

"It's fun to watch the kids get into it," he said.

The Scohy Bros' Flashback Arcade is only open Fridays and Saturdays. He also rents the place out for special occasions - birthdays and the occasional bachelor party.

There's not much in the way of food and drinks. He sells a few snacks, but nothing substantial.

"I've thought about doing more with that, but I don't know."

He's not convinced it's good for him or his machines.

In all, he has more than 80 machines inside the building, with plans to add a few more, but they aren't all the machines he has. Stephen Scohy still has more at his house, which he plans to swap in eventually - plus he hasn't stopped collecting.

"I don't have a particular holy grail game that I just have to have," he said. "The game I want the most is just the next one."

The Scohy Bros' Flashback Arcade is open from 6 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday at 405 28th St., in Vienna. Call 304-482-7170 for information.

Reach Bill Lynch at

lynch@wvgazettemail.com,

304-348-5195 or follow

@LostHwys on Twitter.

Follow Bill's One Month at a Time progress on his blog at

blogs.wvgazettemail.com/onemonth.

He's also on Instagram at

instagram.com/billiscap.

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One Month at a Time: February a month of history, haggis and kilts http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0507/170229666 GZ0507 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0507/170229666 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 17:00:00 -0500 Bill Lynch By Bill Lynch More than a year ago, I stumbled into the idea of taking a month to explore a topic I didn't know much about, and then writing about it. One topic led to another and then another and so on.

It's taken me some interesting places. I've learned what it's like to give up meat and to study yoga. I've fired handguns, danced with the ballet and zip-lined off the New River Gorge Bridge.

Each month, I'm just trying to broaden my perspective a little, discover things about myself and the world around me.

This month, in advance of Charleston's Celtic Calling, which arrives in Charleston March 3-5, I've learned about all things Scottish - or at least a lot of them.

Through the month, I've read Celtic folk tales, watched films vaguely based on Scottish history and worked on my Sean Connery accent.

From the Kanawha County Public Library, I checked out the BBC's "A History of Scotland," which did wonders for explaining the country to me - and destroying any belief in the historical accuracy of Mel Gibson's "Braveheart." No. Just no.

I wondered, however, about what Scotland was like now.

Since my request to get the newspaper to book me a flight to the United Kingdom was met with a fit of giggles, I contacted Visit Scotland online and arranged a call with Michael McCuish in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Michael was an amiable guy. We laughed about Gibson's movie and chatted about visiting "the old country."

It turns out West Virginia and Scotland have a lot in common. They're comparable in size. West Virginia is a little more than 24,000 square miles. Scotland is 30,000 square miles.

Both are largely rural, though the cities in Scotland are much larger with denser populations.

Scotland has plenty of ocean-front property. West Virginia secretly annexed Myrtle Beach in the 1970s.

Each place is frequently remembered for its beauty.

"People often say Scotland looks otherworldly," Michael said.

Scotland is a land of fairytale scenery - jagged, stony mountains, rolling green hills, misty valleys leading to deep lakes - including Loch Ness, the home of the Loch Ness Monster.

Scotland has often been used as the backdrop for many films including "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," "Rob Roy" and several James Bond movies.

The country has a history of war, which led to the building (and then sacking) of many castles. Some of the ancient structures are just ruins, but a lot of them are still mostly intact.

Michael said visitors often feel a strong connection to Scotland.

"We hear often that people feel when they come to Scotland that they're coming home," he said.

It's a good marketing slogan, but Michael pointed out while the population of his country is a little over 5 million, 50 million people worldwide identify as having Scottish heritage.

Most people, Michael said, fly into Edinburgh.

"Right when you get to Edinburgh, it can hit you - this great, imposing castle next to an old, extinct volcano."

But it's not all old stones and history.

"Edinburgh has fantastic food and drink, restaurants with Michelin stars," he said.

Scots, Michael said, are generally friendly, very sociable and chatty, especially at the pubs.

"It can be difficult if you don't like talking to people," he said.

Kilts are still fashionable.

Michael said he still wears a kilt, but he really enjoys wearing his kilt when he comes to the U.S., particularly in New York City.

"You'd be surprised at the number of drinks you get there," he said.

I told him I'd be very surprised at that, but promised to give it a try sometime. Maybe.

My bagpipe lessons didn't go particularly well, but I did get to spend time with Bill Holmes of the Beni Kedem Highlanders, a local bagpipe band.

Bill encouraged me with my studies, told me to keep practicing and would sometimes spin into a lecture on musical history.

He's really a fascinating guy who wears a kilt better than me, though the gigs he gets to play his pipes and wear his kilt are sometimes difficult.

Bill is sometimes called on to play the bagpipes at funerals. Often, he said, they only ask for a song or two, but, if they'd let him, he'd play a lot more.

"It's just the way I am," he told me.

At the end of one of our last lessons, while I cheerfully murdered a basic scale on a borrowed practice chanter, Bill invited me to a funeral in Hugheston, near Cedar Grove. A young fireman had died, and Bill had been hired to play the pipes.

"I'd do it for free, if I could," he said, full of regret. "But I had to take off from work to go, and I have to pay my bills."

I'd never been to a fireman's funeral or to any funeral where bagpipes were played. So I went.

Zachary Feltner was an EMT and served with the Whitesville Department. He was 31, and I think he died of lung cancer.

They held the ceremony at the Hughes Creek Community Church. I left the kilt and the T-shirt at the house and came in a shirt and tie. This was more out of respect than to blend in.

Mourners packed the sanctuary of the mid-sized church. The left side was filled by volunteer and professional firefighters, paramedics and a few police officers; uniformed service people.

The right side was all family, friends and community members.

Every pew in the main space was filled. Others sat in the balcony.

I took a seat toward the middle by the aisle and kept a watch on the door in case it became apparent I needed to give up my place.

I found myself feeling a little envious by the size of the crowd and how loved and respected Zach had been. People had come from all over. I'd never seen a funeral party so large for someone without a television show.

I shouldn't have known a soul. Services were well outside of Charleston and among people I didn't know, though I didn't feel entirely out of place. Some of my oldest friends are paramedics and firefighters. I'd also been a volunteer fireman years ago - though only for about a year. I'd trained, taken the tests and gone to the weekly meetings at the firehouse, attended the annual Christmas party, but had only been on a handful of calls.

None of them had been life threatening.

While I sat musing about the likely attendance at my funeral and the general reasonableness of this based on a number of factors, an old friend from college walked up wearing a fire captain's dress uniform.

Chris Lana and I had gone to Concord College together. He'd been the managing editor of the student paper, The Concordian, while I'd written a weird little entertainment column. He'd also lived two doors down the hall in the dorm, which means I probably still owe him money.

Solemnly, Chris walked to where I sat. He shook my hand and asked, "Was he a friend of yours?"

In a low voice, I said, "Well, no. I'm here because of my bagpipes teacher."

My old friend looked at me, sighed, and said, "Of course you are, Bill."

Chris returned to his duties.

It was a fine service. At the end, as the coffin was being loaded on top of a fire engine, Bill appeared with his bagpipes, played a song and people wept.

According to Scotland.com, the bagpipes began to be used in funerals for firefighters and policemen in the mid-19th century.

During the heavy immigration from Scotland and particularly Ireland in the 1800s, many businesses refused to hire the Irish. So immigrants took jobs others wouldn't do, jobs that were particularly dirty and dangerous - like with a city police or fire department.

Deaths on the job were common. Their surviving friends in these fire brigades and police units played the highland pipes to honor them.

Playing the bagpipes became tradition, regardless of where the deceased was born.

Bill told me he was proud to be called on to play for the families at funerals.

"It's a privilege to share that part of their life," he said.

While I was no great shakes at bagpipes, Bill said he was always looking for ways to use the pipes to help his community.

"I'm trying to get flamethrowers for them," he said, grinning wildly. "Wouldn't that be something? I want to use flame throwing bagpipes to raise money for kids with burns."

I promised to ask around.

Between the silliness of wearing a kilt and the solemnity of the funeral, February came in like a lion and went out like a lamb, a good precursor for March and the Celtic Calling.

I learned what I liked: I enjoyed the Glenlivet Scotch, traditional dance and listening to bagpipe music, if not actually playing the bagpipes. I may be a loss when it comes to playing anything other than a car radio.

I enjoyed vegetarian haggis.

I didn't particularly enjoy the kilt - at least not on a regular basis.

Wearing a kilt wasn't much different than wearing a pair of very baggy shorts. I really only had the one incident with the wind, which could have ended in charges being filed, but it was never physically uncomfortable.

Mostly I hated being stared at for being weird.

Finally, this month got me back to running (very, very slowly) as I trained for Saturday's Kilt Run. This is also my first step toward the long-term project of running a Spartan Race at the end of August in Fayette County.

All in all, it was a good month. I have a better handle on what the fuss is about being Scottish and feel ready to really dive into Celtic Calling even if I'm probably going to be mostly walking the kilt run.

Reach Bill Lynch at 304-348-5195

lynch@wvgazettemail.com, or follow

@LostHwys on Twitter. Follow Bill's blog at wvgazettemail.com.

He's also on Instagram at

instagram.com/billiscap/.

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WV Travel Team: Ski-school fun without the winter weather http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0506/170229667 GZ0506 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0506/170229667 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:55:25 -0500 By Jeanne Mozier WV Travel Team By By Jeanne Mozier WV Travel Team MASSANUTTEN, Va. - Massanutten Ski School alumni are legion. Not only is the ski school impressive with classes designed for every age and skill level, but its location helps.

It's easier and less expensive to bring the family to this Shenandoah Valley resort to determine whether they like skiing than it is to jet off to the Rockies or Switzerland. And the ancient sandstone mountains that top out at 3,000 feet are far less intimidating.

We discovered another appealing fact about the four-season resort on our early February visit. Sometimes, all four of the seasons are scrunched together into a single three-day period. We watched people skiing down the 14 ski slopes and snow-tubing lanes, then observed golfers from our condo balcony. Folks were also hiking the undeveloped western slope without heavy snow attire. The resort may wish for consistent weather, but for casual guests, the diversity of offerings is tantalizing.

Massanutten had its genesis as a vacation community with skiing in 1972. Now it has evolved into a playground with so many options it's impossible to imagine running out of things to do. More than a million people a year concur.

In winter, snow sports dominate even on those occasional out-of-season spring days. There are the slopes and tubing areas as well as two park settings for snowboarders. The Family Adventure Park has a three-sided climbing tower as well as a mega-zip line of 800 feet and a 100-foot one for kids.

During the summer, there's a Kids Adventure Course in the park area. There's even a petting farm stocked with several breeds of miniature animals as well as a camel, ram and African tortoise. Warm weather turns the slopes and lifts into downhill mountain-biking courses.

Since my husband, Jack, and I are not skiers - or any kind of winter sports enthusiasts - we were interested in one of the resort's newer attractions. The elaborate indoor-outdoor water park is just a decade old. There are eight water slides, lots of spraying water from various devices and a flow river that made me appreciate the heavily staffed water park. I got trapped spinning around a center piece that looked like some pagan idol and had to be rescued by a lifeguard to break me out of the spin.

Lots of lifeguards are moving around the various areas as well as stationed by particular activities. They were always ready to help. I particularly liked the extensive network of rope-webbed walkways into the heart of water world.

There is no denying the energy and noise level of the water park is extremely high. If you are looking for less raucous activity, come in the late afternoon and find your way to the secluded hot tub area. The temperature was ideal, and jets were strong enough to be therapeutic. The entire water activity expands outside in warmer months. The year-round temperature inside is 84 and 86 degrees respectively for air and water.

Spending the day with the kids at the water park is a popular choice. The three-story facility has several locations for food including the Hideaway Lounge that permits comfortable viewing of all the activity. Nearby is an expansive arcade. Although there are abundant safety vests freely available for use while at the park, bring your own towel. They are not provided, although a towel can be purchased.

Searching for more indoor fun, we explored the two recreation centers on the resort. Le Club, on the mountain side of the resort has an Olympic-size pool, whirlpool, indoor basketball court, elaborate game room and an outdoor ice-skating rink. On the golf side of the resort where we were staying is the Woodstone Center with a smaller pool than Le Club, but also a sauna and whirlpool. Kids Club activities are based at Woodstone, and nearby is the spa with its emphasis on deep-tissue massage for stressed ski muscles, facials designed for winter winds, nails and scrubs.

Our condominium was in the Woodstone area. Spacious and comfortable, it had a balcony overlooking the golf course, a fully equipped kitchen and a whirlpool tub in the bedroom. It's all those fully equipped kitchens that make restaurants on the resort less of a priority, except for carry-out, which is quite popular. There is a stand-alone umbrella bar at the ski lodge along with a cafeteria and an indoor-outdoor bar and grill with regular live entertainment. The resort is renovating the former Fareways into the Camp Fire Grill, opening this spring.

We quickly found our way to the main road that brings travelers from Interstate 81 to Massanutten, where there are several dining choices. We discovered the ping-pong operations of Hank's Smoke House and nearby Thunderbird Café. Owned by the same folks, you can take your receipt from one and get 10 percent off at the other - and keep it up as long as you're around. Both had good food.

At Hank's, Jack's soup and half sandwich was substantial, and the Brunswick Stew was tasty. I had meaty and perfectly cooked wings with Hank's flavorful whiskey sauce. We did breakfast at Thunderbird, and I enjoyed the exceptionally good sausage gravy - light, not gluey - on homemade biscuits.

In the same commercial area as Thunderbird, we chose Romano's Italian Bistro for dinner. It was a good choice with garlic bread that we enjoyed to the last crumb. I had penne in vodka sauce that had just enough bite. Jack selected what could be labeled the cheese-lovers lasagna. Portions of everything were substantial, making those condo kitchens useful for leftovers.

For families staying a week or more, which is commonplace in summer, there is an extensive list of activities from classes and workshops to yoga, aerobics and ski clinics. Entertainment includes movie nights, and Texas Hold 'em poker night. Activity cards make it all easy to use.

The single limiting factor to choosing Massanutten is that it does not allow pets.

For more information check massresort.com or call 540-289-9441.

Jeanne Mozier, of Berkeley Springs, is the author of "Way Out in West Virginia," a must-have guide to the wonders and oddities of the Mountain State. She and noted photographer Steve Shaluta have released the second printing of the coffee-table photo book "West Virginia Beauty, Familiar and Rare." Both books are available around West Virginia and from WVBookCo.com.

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Conductor candidate Meyer's skills cross continents http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0607/170229668 GZ0607 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0607/170229668 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:53:55 -0500 Bill Lynch By Bill Lynch Conductor Daniel Meyer said there was never a reason for him to meet his wife, Mary.

Meyer, who comes to West Virginia this week to perform with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, said, "We should never have met. She played in a string quartet. There's no reason why anyone in a string quartet would hang out with a conductor."

He joked, "The whole point of being in a string quartet is you don't need a conductor."

They met after Meyer was asked to organize a chamber music program of Gustav Mahler songs during the Aspen Music Festival.

"The program included a friend of mine on baritone," he said. "Mary's quartet got roped into playing the project - and that's how we met."

Meyer is married to violist Mary Pesin. The couple has a young son.

Aside from performing with the symphony, Meyer is also vying to replace the retiring Maestro Grant Cooper, who has served as conductor, music director and as the face of the WVSO for more than 15 years.

Months ago, the symphony began a conductor search.

Meyer is the fourth candidate for the job, and, like the others, is very experienced and critically acclaimed.

He's the music director of the Asheville Symphony in North Carolina and the Erie Philharmonic in Erie, Pennsylvania.

He also leads the Wurttembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, the Staatsorchester Darmstadt and the Nuremburg Symphony in Germany.

He tends to juggle both sides of the Atlantic, but he said he enjoys the differences between the European and American orchestras.

The Darmstadt orchestra, for example, is essentially an opera orchestra, he said.

"They mount eight opera performances per year and do symphonic concerts in between. They're just a wonderful orchestra in terms of listening," he said.

They're used to working with singers, which Meyer said makes them a little more attentive to the sounds that are coming back to them.

"That was really gratifying to work with an orchestra like that," he said.

German orchestras, he said, tend to take their time a little more with rehearsals.

"I get anywhere from five to seven rehearsals, typically, when I work with a Germany orchestra," Meyer said. "That means there's a little more time to get your stamp on things, a little more time to pull things apart and put them back together."

It's good to have the time.

"So when the weekend rolls around, you feel like you've really investigated the possibilities," he said.

American orchestras tend to be more to the point.

Meyer said, "With an American orchestra, you get three, maybe four rehearsals to mount a performance. So it behooves musicians to be pretty much note perfect by the time they arrive at the first rehearsal."

As a conductor, Meyer said he demands a lot, but is always respectful.

"I know that I'm standing in front of an accomplished group of musicians," he said. "My goal is not only to get things lined up, in tune and exact, but also to investigate what's happening behind all those notes and symbols on the page."

Meyer said music has been part of his life since before birth. It's in his DNA.

"My mother is a musician," he said. "She's a pianist and organist. She was a vocal music teacher in the public schools and started singing and playing music for us when we were in the womb."

His first musical memories were of sitting next to his mother while she played piano.

"She'd let me sing along and play counter-melodies," Meyer said.

He came to conducting through musical composition.

"I had written work as early as high school," he said. "I wrote some work in Denison University and had a great mentor and professor named William Osborne, who gave me an opportunity to stand up and conduct my own work."

He eventually graduated from Denison University and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

"I'm still good friends with Professor Osborne," he said. "He's since retired, but it's always fun when he comes out to a rehearsal and we can sort of share our thoughts about the music and music making."

Beyond music, Meyer likes the outdoors.

"I love to get outside," he said. "My apartment is right across the river from TNC Park in downtown Pittsburgh."

He loves to catch a baseball game when he can, but he really enjoys hitting the trails with his wife on their bikes.

"There's a lot of wonderful trails here," Meyer said. "They're formed from old rail lines that the coal and steel industries used. They've been paved over and turned into really nice and flat bike paths."

He's also a fan of mechanical watches.

He said, "I don't have a lot of them, but I do like to read about them and study them."

When it comes to travel, Meyer said he seeks comfort food in the cities where he stays. For him, that means Korean and Thai food.

"If I can find a Thai restaurant," he said, "I'm a happy guy."

Reach Bill Lynch at

lynch@wvgazettemail.com,

304-348-5195 or follow

@LostHwys on Twitter.

Follow Bill's One Month at a Time progress on his blog at

blogs.wvgazettemail.com/onemonth.

He's also on Instagram at

instagram.com/billiscap.

WANT TO GO?

West Virginia Symphony Orchestra with guest conductor Daniel Meyer

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Clay Center

TICKETS: $10 to $60

INFO: 304-561-3570 or wvsymphony.org

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ReStore's Tablescape Championship wild with spring inspiration http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0505/170229669 GZ0505 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0505/170229669 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:52:41 -0500 Staff reports By Staff reports Need some decorating ideas for an upcoming Easter buffet or spring dinner? There's a good chance you'll find one at Teays Valley's new boutique-style ReStore, which just announced the winner of its first Tablescape Championship.

Four Putnam County creative businesses were invited to compete. Entries included a country, rustic theme; an elegant Peter Rabbit theme; and a romantic pink-and-red theme.

The winner was a woodland wonderland created by Birds, Blooms and Butterflies by Design, a Hurricane retail facility with products meant to encourage an appreciation for nature. Other entries came from MarisaMade, Sweetly Salvaged and Rock Paper Sisters.

Check out all the tablescapes, and if you like what you see, good news! The Teays Valley ReStore is selling all the items used in the designs in the store this week.

The winner was chosen by hand-written ballot from customers. Birds, Blooms and Butterflies will receive two tickets to A Taste of Rocco's, a dozen cookies from Sugar Momma Sweets and a $100 ReStore gift certificate.

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WV Book Team: Golden Voice audiobooks for busy readers http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0605/170229670 GZ0605 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0605/170229670 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:49:08 -0500 By Dana Smook and Elizabeth Fraser-Dorney WV Book Team By By Dana Smook and Elizabeth Fraser-Dorney WV Book Team Today's busy readers often can't fit all the books they want to read into their hectic days. That is probably why audiobooks saw a rise of 14 percent in new "readership" during 2016, according to a Pew Research Center study.

Audiobooks are now available on CD, Playaways (a portable MP3 player that plays a single book), and online to download or stream. These modern formats are super convenient for listeners, and they are available for free at libraries across the state.

For many audiobook fans, it is the narrator as much as the author who makes the book. These listeners try new authors based on a favorite narrator. AudioFile Magazine bestows the Golden Voice label to outstanding voice actors, which is like being selected for an audiobook hall of fame. The following outstanding audiobook recommendations feature Golden Voice narrations:

Scott Brick narrates a wide range of genres, from best-selling thrillers to historical nonfiction. "Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow has had renewed interest after it inspired the musical. This biography adopts a fascinating perspective on Hamilton's life, as Chernow delves into his early life in the Caribbean and Hamilton's brilliant climb to power during the American Revolution.

Chernow skillfully balances Hamilton's gifts and flaws, capturing the intrigue of an extraordinary figure in American history. Brick's contribution is a narration that remains fresh and powerful throughout, bringing listeners along to witness the rise of a gifted man with an Achilles' heel.

Another exceptional Golden Voice belongs to Dion Graham, who has narrated titles ranging from James Patterson thrillers to James Baldwin. His narration of Jon Walter's powerful "My Name is Not Friday" won the AudioFile Best of Young Adult 2016. This novel will pull at the heartstrings of readers and listeners of all ages.

Thirteen-year-old Samuel is sent away from the orphanage where he lives with other free black boys after taking blame for a misdeed of his brother. Now known as Friday, he is sent south into slavery at the very end of the Civil War. Graham's voice pulls us into Samuel's struggle to survive and reunite with his brother. Will he make it home?

Katherine Kellgren's Golden Voice, known especially for reading children's books and women's fiction, has beguiled countless audiobook listeners. Kellgren recently tackled Gregory Maguire's "After Alice," an enchanted twist on "Alice in Wonderland."

Published right in time for the 150th anniversary of the Lewis Carroll classic, Maguire's take on Wonderland explores what happens when Alice's friend Ada falls down the rabbit hole. While Ada is a few steps behind, Alice's sister Lydia is searching Oxford for them both.

Maguire captures the playful nature of Carroll's writing style, and Kellgren does it full justice as she reads this witty and imaginative take on an enduring story.

Dubbed the Meryl Streep of audiobooks, Barbara Rosenblat has said her work on book series "is always fun as it's like meeting old friends in a new restaurant." Her most recent outing with blockbuster author Linda Fairstein is "Killer Look."

Rosenblat perfectly captures Alexandra Cooper's emotional balancing act as the prosecuting attorney who is pulled into another case before recovering from the events in "Devil's Bridge." Listeners will be on tenterhooks for the case and for Cooper, right until the last minute.

On top of his Golden Voice status, Dick Hill was declared the Best Voice in Mystery & Suspense 2010, making him the perfect narrator for Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. "Night School" pits Reacher against an arms dealer known only as The American, who is about to make a $1 million sale to terrorists.

Hill uses accents and voices to pull readers deeper into Child's gripping and treacherous tale, the most recent in Reacher's adventures.

Alyssa Bresnahan compares narrating a book to learning the rhythm of the author's narrative dance. In "The Lace Reader" by Brunonia Barry, the rhythm lies in the lace in which the Whitney women read the future. After reading the lace leads to the death of her sister and her own breakdown, Towner Whitney doesn't foretell the future anymore.

But the disappearance of her beloved Great Aunt Eva pulls her back to the lace. Bresnahan weaves her own storytelling threads to tell Barry's gothic tale, where we don't know to believe Towner or anyone else's version of the truth. Who will you believe?

The friendship between narrator Stephen Briggs and Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series, led to five AudioFile Earphone Awards. "Raising Steam" regales readers with the tale of Dick Simnel, a self-taught engineer and locomotive builder, and his attempt to bring steam trains to the capitol city Anhk-Morpork.

Chaos and humor abound as various interests try to both control and derail the project. Briggs employs a variety of regional English accents delivering this comic reinvention of the industrial revolution, Discworld-style. Fans will enjoy this last romp with the late Pratchett.

So if you've been hesitant to hit play on an audiobook, don't be. It's not cheating, and some audiobook narrators, like the ones above, can make the experience truly unforgettable.

Plus, you don't have to make time to sit down with a book when you can listen to one while driving, tackling chores, exercising or doing anything that leaves enough brainpower to stay engaged with a storyline.

Kanawha County Public Library offers free online services for e-audiobooks, so you have no excuse not to read in 2017. All you need is your library card.

Want more information about our audiobooks? Get in touch with your friendly local librarian. We are always happy to help.

For more information on audiobooks, contact the main branch of the Kanawha County Public Library at 304-343-4646 or visit www.kanawhalibrary.org.

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WV Culinary Team: The big history of peanuts http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0502/170229672 GZ0502 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0502/170229672 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:40:06 -0500 By Susan Maslowski WV Culinary Team By By Susan Maslowski WV Culinary Team It was the 1950s, and I remember my first book fair in elementary school. My parents gave me money and permission to purchase one paperback book. I chose a biography about George Washington Carver, the American botanist and inventor.

I reread that little book many times. I will forever think of Carver as the peanut man.

Peanuts have an interesting history. The peanut plant is not native to this country. It probably originated in Brazil or Peru. Archaeologists have discovered South American pottery shaped like peanuts. They have also uncovered jars decorated with peanuts that are 3,500 years old.

Incas in Peru used peanuts as sacrificial offerings and even entombed them with their mummies. Brazilian tribes ground them with corn to make a beverage.

European explorers discovered peanuts in Brazil, and they took them back to Europe. In the mid-1500s, Spanish and Portuguese colonists introduced peanuts to Africa, where they were called groundnuts. After their introduction, variations of groundnut stew began appearing throughout West Africa.

Groundnut stew is a meat, peanut and tomato protein-packed stew suitable for lunch or dinner. Peanuts came to this country by way of Portuguese slave traders who served them to enslaved Africans while they were in transit. The slaves called them goober peas or pindars.

This heritage group came to America from many parts of Africa, bringing the memory of foods that were distinctive to their homeland. Here they used traditional ingredients when they could find them, and adapted recipes when resources were limited.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson referred to peanuts in the 1790s. Jefferson contributed to the peanut's increased popularity when he became the first American president to grow them.

It is assumed the slave diet in 18th-century America included peanut soup and stews styled after groundnut stews in Africa. There are records of slaves making peanut soup during that period. At the time, peanuts were viewed as a food fit for pigs and slaves, but they eventually became an ingredient in Anglo-American dishes.

It is said Confederate soldiers introduced Union counterparts to peanuts and peanut soup, which were a good source of protein. Peanut popularity surged after the Civil War. By the mid-1800s several recipes for peanut soup appeared in newspapers and cookbooks. Peanuts became an important part of the American diet.

Peanuts and peanut butter were an integral part of the rations given to soldiers during World Wars I and II. Soldiers during WWII are credited for popularizing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which provided sustenance during maneuvers.

Contrary to popular opinion, Carver did not invent peanut butter. The earliest reference to peanut butter has been traced to the Incas and Aztecs who ground peanuts into a paste.

At least three inventors are credited with modern peanut butter. Marcellus Gilmor Edson patented peanut paste in 1884.

In 1895, John Harvey Kellogg (creator of Kellogg's cereal) patented the process of creating peanut butter from raw peanuts. He marketed peanut butter as a nutritious protein substitute for people who could not chew solid food.

In 1903, Ambrose Straub patented a peanut butter-making machine. Peanut butter was introduced at the St. Louis World's Fair a year later.

At about the same time, peanuts were emerging as a significant agricultural crop in Southern states, since the boll weevil was threatening cotton crops.

Carver encouraged poor African-American farmers in the South to grow peanuts instead of cotton. He knew certain plants, such as peanuts, put nutrients back into the soil that had been depleted by cotton plants. By growing peanuts, farmers could restore the soil and provide food for their animals and families.

Soon the farmers had more peanuts than they could consume, so Carver started to invent ways to use peanuts. He discovered more than 300 uses for peanuts like peanut milk, peanut soap, shaving cream and glue. His innovations increased the popularity of peanuts.

In 1941, the National Peanut Council published Carver's collection of peanut soup recipes. It was the largest collection of peanut soup recipes at that time and included directions for making peanut bisque, peanut consomme and peanut puree.

Peanuts and peanut soup became popular in American homes when peanuts and peanut butter became readily available in grocery stores in the early 20th century.

Today, peanut soup can be found on restaurant menus, including King's Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg.

Groundnut stew is often a primary dish served during Kwanzaa holiday feasts. The stew indicates the legume's important ties to African roots and serves as a remembrance of its sustaining nature during the years of slavery.

I was introduced to Groundnut Stew in the '70s, when two friends returned from serving in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone. It is a winter favorite at our house.

Susan Maslowski founded and operates the Mud River Pottery studio in Milton, where she has created utilitarian ware for nearly 40 years. She sells produce at the Putnam Farmers Market, serves on the boards of the West Virginia Farmers Market Association and The Wild Ramp, and is an advocate for local foods and farmers. She also writes the Farmer's Table cooking column for the Gazette-Mail's Metro section.

Susan can be reached by email at mudriverpottery@aol.com.

Serves 4

1 tablespoon oil

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped celery

1/3 cup finely chopped carrots

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup canned petite-diced tomatoes

1 cup cold milk

¼ cup flour

2 tablespoons red curry paste

½ cup smooth peanut butter

1 cup cooked chicken, cubed (optional)

¼ cup chopped peanuts, for garnish

Heat oil in a soup pot.

Saute onions until translucent.

Add celery and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth and tomatoes.

Simmer on low for about 45 minutes until celery and carrots are cooked.

Combine milk, flour and curry paste in a small bowl.

Whisk until mixture is blended and free of lumps.

Stir milk mixture into hot broth.

Stir in peanut butter and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk until smooth and thickened.

Add chicken and heat through.

Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped peanuts, if desired.

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Laws For Paws: How to help be a voice for the voiceless http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0507/170229673 GZ0507 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0507/170229673 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:38:25 -0500 By Patti Lawson For the Sunday Gazette-Mail By By Patti Lawson For the Sunday Gazette-Mail A woman I'll call Julie was a good Samaritan. After watching a dog for six years languish on a chain, her hesitation at helping him had to end.

His condition deteriorated. He looked sick.

She reasoned with the owners. The dog they called Doogie was fine in their estimation, and they wanted to be left alone. Sometimes she was able to get food over the fence to him, and when the people weren't home, she could get him fresh water.

But one day it was evident he was dying.

Julie didn't care what happened anymore to her; she had to save this dog.

She climbed over the fence and took the dog to a veterinarian. It was there she learned Doogie was 19 and might not survive.

Even though the dog was in serious medical condition, because Pennsylvania classified the dog as personal property, she was arrested for theft. Julie was fined more than $3,000 and served 300 hours of community service.

To her, it was worth it. Doogie died less than a year later, but not before he knew what it was to be loved and to have recovered from his physical wounds.

The owners were charged with nothing. Julie went on and continues to campaign against cruel treatment of companion animals, mainly chaining.

It's quite a dilemma, as I wrote about in my previous column. Some states offer protection for people who can't stand the sight of a suffering animal, whether it's being chained without proper shelter or trapped in a car during extreme temperatures. We take the risk of saving the animal over the prospect of personal legal ramifications.

People who witness the conditions of chained dogs often become depressed, as does the dog. Animals suffer serious psychological problems from being chained 24 hours a day. This is why every state needs a Good Samaritan Law. These are laws that allow people to intervene in the treatment of an animal subjected to dangerous if not illegal conditions.

Many of these laws require the Good Samaritan to do certain things before breaking a car's window to rescue an animal or remove it from a chain. These can include:

n Trying to locate the owner by having the store page the owner by the make and color of the vehicle and the license plate number.

n Call 911.

n Check to see if the door is locked.

n Get the dog out and give it water in small batches.

n Wait until law enforcement and the owner arrive.

Thirteen states have laws that allow certain law enforcement officials and first responders to rescue animals by any means possible in hot or cold cars or from cruel and dangerous situations.

Six states allow private citizens to rescue dogs from cars, and two states have laws pending.

West Virginia has none. That's right - none. Even the police are prohibited from breaking into a vehicle to save a dog's life.

So, if you're a dog in West Virginia left in a hot or freezing car or out in all kinds of elements, help most likely is not on the way.

While states including West Virginia do have anti-tethering laws, it's been my experience that getting anyone to enforce them is almost impossible. And even in states with laws prohibiting chaining, the penalties are often less than a slap on the wrist.

Dogs become lonely, anxious, depressed and physically ill from constant chaining. They often give up their will to live. They are vulnerable to prey animals and cruel individuals. They have no protection. They can't protect their owner or themselves when attached to the end of a chain.

The dog shares no bond with anyone and often becomes aggressive and suffers from certain mental issues. And if your reason for chaining your dog is, "Oh, they will bark if someone comes on the property," get an alarm system.

Chained dogs bark almost all of the time because they are bored and lonely. They bark because the chain is too heavy or the collar too tight. Dogs are sentient beings. They feel things just like we do. The state of Oregon passed a law this year recognizing this, and Alaska recently passed a law allowing the judge to consider evidence and decide who would be the best parent for the dog. They are pack animals and were never meant to live a solitary life on a chain.

Of the 70 million companion dogs in the United States, almost all of them enjoy life as part of a family. Shouldn't all of them?

Chained dogs are subject to theft, which is most often for a horrible purpose such as becoming a bait dog for fighting, being sold to anyone who wants a certain breed for selfish reason and becoming a victim of cruelty. They are vulnerable to other animals that may harm them and any other imaginable harm.

One recourse may be having the owner arrested under your state's anti-cruelty law, as happened in Texas. In states without hot-car or anti-tethering laws, perpetrators may still be prosecuted under the general anti-cruelty laws.

In  Lopez v State, the defendant left his dog in his car on a hot day to go and watch a movie in a theater. Though Texas does not have a hot-car law, he was ultimately convicted under the state's anti-cruelty law. Here is a good link to check your state's tethering law: https://www.animallaw.info/topic/table-state-dog-tether-laws.

West Virginia has a code section in Chapter 61 that most definitely could be used more often: W.V. Code § 61-18-19 reads, "It is unlawful for any person to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cruelly chain or tether an animal."

I would suggest concerned citizens print this out and put it on a note card. Keep it on your cellphone and use it when you call law enforcement in a chaining situation that is cruel or beyond the time limits in your local anti-tethering ordinance.

Become a political activist and lobby the legislature for better animal cruelty laws. Attend your county council sessions where you can be on the agenda to voice your concerns for a kinder world for West Virginia animals to live in.

Run for the board of your local shelter if it's not being operated properly. I for one am sick of hearing about atrocious treatment of animals after they've occurred. Having a pet is one of the most amazing joys of life, it is not a privilege.

Here are some things you can do to make life better for dogs where you live:

n Research your laws and educate yourself to them.

If your state or local community has a law limiting chaining, don't be afraid to call when it's being violated.

n If your state or local community doesn't have a law limiting chaining, get a group of concerned citizens together and get one passed.

n Speak to the caretakers about the dog. Do so in a non-threatening manner. See if you can assist them or if they are willing to give up the dog.

n Report the dog and the address to animal control or your local humane officer. If your area has a minimum of animal control officers, call the police or sheriff.

n If animal control or the humane officer does nothing, there are ways to involve other volunteer groups. These organizations are easily found on the internet.

n If the situation is illegal and the dogs are in bad shape, but animal control and/or the police are not helping, get photos right away. Get them to the media, which is amazingly powerful. Public pressure on officials does work.

n Create your own Facebook page or post about the dogs with the photos, and ask others to cross-post.

n Make an end-run around cruelty laws by reporting noise violations. Dogs don't bark for the fun of it. Something is wrong, and lonely dogs bark the loudest.

n Work on chaining laws. Don't give up. Use every means possible to get laws changed in your state and money in budgets to enforce laws.

Patti Lawson is an award-winning author and attorney. She has written for the Huffington Post, AOL Paw Nation, the Charleston Gazette and other publications. She lives in West Virginia with her two beloved dogs, Sadie and Rusty, and one amazing husband. Visit her website: www.pattilawson.com. Her recent book, "What Happens to Rover When the Marriage is Over? And Other Doggone Legal Dilemmas!" is available locally at book stores or on line at Amazon.comand other locations.

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Pet of the Week: Best friend cats have each others' backs http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ05/170229676 GZ05 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ05/170229676 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:32:18 -0500 HeHimBoy and Squeak are best friends.

The two cats spend their time hanging out together and catching some sun.

Owner Dean Lucas said although the two cats are best friends, they get a kick out of running around and chasing each other.

Show us your pets! We are loving all these pictures of your furry, scaly and feathery friends.

Email photos to social@wvgazette mail.com with "Pet of the Week" in the subject line. Include your name, phone number and contact information, where you live, your pet's name, age and breed if you know them, and a line or two about the photo or something that makes your pet unique. Photos should have 170 dpi or a minimum file size of 300 KB.

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145, 152, 170-pound state wrestling weight classes rescheduled for March in Fairmont http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0203/170229679 GZ0203 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ0203/170229679 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 12:59:46 -0500 Tom Bragg By Tom Bragg After more than 24 hours in limbo, the Class AAA 145-, 152- and 170-pound weight classes are back on.

The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission tweeted Saturday morning that the three weight classes will compete on Monday, March 13 and Tuesday, March 14 at the Fairmont Armory.




The SSAC temporarily suspended all three classes from this weekend’s state tournament in Huntington due to the threat of a herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) infection coming out of last week’s Region 4 tournament at Parkersburg South.

The championship round for all other weight classes begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at Huntington’s Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

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Steelhammer: Bible not only good book worthy of being WV's state tome http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ010702/170229682 GZ010702 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ010702/170229682 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 02:00:28 -0500 Rick Steelhammer By Rick Steelhammer Last year, while the need to cope with a crushing budget deficit loomed over it, the West Virginia Legislature spent much of its regular 60-day session passing laws allowing raw milk and Uber rides to be sold in the state (hopefully not as package deals), making it legal for adults to carry concealed weapons without permits, and adding a right-to-work law while deleting prevailing wage standards.

As it turned out, legislators didn't get around to voting on a budget bill until June.

Budget woes are even more severe this year, as the opioid crisis continues to take its toll, and the state's highway system crumbles away, a pothole at a time. But that hasn't stopped a flow of distracting, unnecessary and sometimes unconstitutional legislation from being introduced, drawing attention away from the tough decisions that need to be made for the state to survive another fiscal year.

Last week, for instance, Delegate Jeff Eldridge, D-Lincoln, and nine co-sponsors introduced HB 2568, a one-sentence proposal designating the Holy Bible as "the official state book of West Virginia."

A similar bill introduced in Tennessee's legislature in 2015 stalled in committee after that state's attorney general declared it unconstitutional, but emerged for a vote in 2016, clearing both houses before Gov. Bill Haslam, himself a Christian and a Bible reader, vetoed it on the grounds that it violated the Constitution's recognition of the need to separate church from state. Haslam also argued that listing the Bible among other official state things, like "Rocky Top," one of Tennessee's five official state songs, or the .50 caliber Barrett sniper rifle, designated last year as Tennessee's official state weapon, "trivializes the Bible, which I believe is a sacred text," according to a National Public Radio interview.

Legislators in Louisiana and Mississippi tried and failed to pass official state Bible designations in 2014, leaving Alabama as the only state I could find during a Friday night net-surfing session that had adopted an official state Bible - one that was bought by state's executive department in 1853 and used to swear in every state governor since then.

When legislators tire of arguing over whether our official state book should include the New American Standard version as well as the King James version, they can begin debating the merits of another Eldridge-sponsored bill, HB 2551, which would require public schools to offer Bible literacy classes covering both Old Testament and New Testament scriptures, or HB 2104, which calls on public schools to provide places of fellowship, prayer and worship to students of all faiths.

The only states other than Alabama with official state books have taken the secular route, which led to Massachusetts naming the children's classic "Make Way for Ducklings" its official state book, while Michigan's legislators chose another children's book, "The Legend of Sleepy Bear," to represent the state.

In my view, there are plenty of worthy candidates for official West Virginia book status - even a couple with titles that conjure up spiritual images, like Mary Lee Settle's "O Beulah Land," or Denise Giardina's "Storming Heaven."

But if legislators want to do the state a favor, they should consider consulting their own Bibles for the appropriate scriptures needed to inspire solutions to the serious issues they face and make "Rocket Boys" the official state book, suitable for promotion to visitors of all walks of life. Thanks to the Legislature's earlier work, it's now possible to grab a quart of raw milk in Charleston and catch an Uber ride down the winding mountain roads of Southern West Virginia to author Homer Hickam's hometown of Coalwood. It makes for an unforgettable, if not gut-wrenching, literary experience.

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James A. Haught: The mountains offer a science display http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ01/170229688 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170225/GZ01/170229688 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 13:53:00 -0500 Billions of years ago, as the planet's crust formed, gravity caused rock layers to be flat. But around West Virginia, many strata now slant upward or even rise vertically like Seneca Rocks. Some places have layers that bend, curve or fold.

Last week in White Sulphur Springs, I noticed hillside rock layers that arc like a rainbow. The most spectacular display I know is at Sideling Hill five miles northwest of Berkeley Springs, where a 340-foot-deep cut for I-68 revealed colossal U-shaped bending.

Mighty forces that tipped and twisted these strata are the same forces that created the Appalachian mountains. It's explained by the new science of plate tectonics, which arose mostly since World War II. The West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey says:

"To understand why mountains occur where they do, we must first understand continental drift, sea-floor spreading and plate tectonics."

Here's how it works: Earth's continents and ocean floors are composed of lighter rock that "floats" on denser rock in the hot, plastic, partly liquid mantle below. Continents and oceans are segmented into "plates." Currents in the mantle cause plates to move a few inches per year - but over hundreds of millions of years, they can travel thousands of miles. It's difficult to grasp that North America moves, but it does.

As continents separate, lava rises through sea-floor cracks to form underwater mountain ranges - thus oceans usually creep wider, very slowly. Conversely, where continental plates crush together or cram overtop ocean plates, slow buckling of the land gradually forms mountains.

Most geologists concur that, around 1 billion years ago, all of Earth's continents were jammed into a mass (dubbed Rodinia, Russian for "homeland"). Then segments separated and moved until they crushed together again about 300 million years ago (into another mass dubbed Pangea, Greek for "all lands").

As Pangea compressed, the collision of the North American plate against the European and African plates crumpled the edge of North America into long folds that became the Appalachians. Sedimentary rock off coastlines - largely limestone containing seashell deposits - was buckled, lifted and thrust inland. A geology book, "Landprints," says:

"It is hard to imagine deformation on so huge a scale. Some folds were pushed completely over on their sides so that older layers lay over younger ones. The result was a mighty mountain range, largely built of sea-floor slabs.... Sheets of sedimentary rock on the Appalachian Plateau were shoved farther and farther west, some of them almost as far as the Ohio River."

That's how the Appalachians, and West Virginia, were created over vast time. At first, the uprisen mountains reached eight miles high, but millions of years of erosion wore them down to one mile.

The geological story can be seen today in cliffs and roadway cuts that expose rock strata. Thus West Virginia's mountains offer a mammoth science display.

Just like Rodinia, Pangea also began dispersing about 200 million years ago. Westward movement by the Americas caused the Atlantic Ocean to appear and widen, inch by inch, millennium by millennium.

Other geological changes occurred. In prehistoric time, rainfall in the Appalachians drained westward in a mighty Teays River that flowed across Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Three million years ago, descending ice-age glaciers blocked the Teays, creating a lake reaching nearly to today's Gauley Bridge - then the dammed water broke around a glacier and formed the Ohio Valley.

We tend to think the mountains are eternal, never changing. In our brief lives, that's true. But science reveals an incredibly long story filled with astounding changes.

Reach James Haight at 304-348-5199 or haught@wvgazettemail.com.

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