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Rick Steelhammer

Staff Writer
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Steelhammer, Rick

Reaching millennials a top priority for state’s tourism industry

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Now that West Virginia hosts more millennial than baby boomer visitors, the state’s tourism industry is finding ways to adapt to the demographic.

WV National Park Service units report $37M in deferred maintenance needs

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While Congress increased funding for maintenance this year at America’s national parks by $118 million, the National Park Service’s deferred maintenance backlog increased by $440 million in 2015, creating a...

Rick Steelhammer: On Trumping for peace and toilet paper warfare

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Last week was a strange one for global politics.

First, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and then North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un launched a balloon-bor...

Man charged with felony child abuse; infant son on life support

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A 55-day-old child was bleeding from the brain and from behind both eyes when taken to a local hospital, police said Wednesday after charging the boy’s father with felony child abuse.

Man meets New River Gorge 100-mile hiking challenge in 14 days

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When Melvin Hartley of Fayetteville decided to take part in the New River Gorge 100 Mile Challenge, he didn’t let any grass grow under his feet.

The Challenge, sponsored by the New River Gorge National River...

Rick Steelhammer: Jail-free Judd ready to joust for bragging rights as state’s top ‘none of the above’ candidate

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The virtually unknown Texan who captured nearly 42 percent of West Virginia’s vote during the 2012 Democratic presidential primary because he was not Barack Obama is back, this time hoping to collect even m...

Yeager gets another FEMA check, still lacks funding to rebuild safety zone

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While the Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued a check to reimburse Yeager Airport $318,615 for its response to damages to utilities and adjacent property owners caused by the collapse of its safety overrun are...

Snow accumulation brings moment of fame to Shepherdstown man

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On Sunday, Shepherdstown resident Karl Hafer Jr. retweeted a BBC Weather story about his hometown officially recording the most snow accumulation from this weekend’s winter storm, accompanied by the caption ȁ...

A blizzard of snowy weather jargon now nipping at your noses

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Now that it’s whiter outside than an Academy Awards nomination list, the news business’ winter cliche season is officially underway.

I was reminded of that fact on Friday, when the arrival of the seas...

Winter storm pummels area; state of emergency declared

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West Virginians can expect to fight the relentless snowfall that has been dumped on the region at least until this afternoon.

According to the National Weather Service, residents in Charleston can expect to dig o...

Power outages feared as wet, heavy snowfall approaches state

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State emergency services personnel were preparing to do battle with a snowstorm reminiscent of 2012's Superstorm Sandy, as a winter weather system with the potential to dump 10 to 18 inches of wet, heavy snow on the Kana...

After $3 million restoration, 1835 plantation home stands empty, boarded

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GREEN BOTTOM — When plans were announced in 2008 to restore the 1835-vintage Albert Gallatin Jenkins plantation house, located on a gentle rise overlooking the Ohio River near the Cabe...

Rick Steelhammer: Saluting a time when big cheeses at the White House were something to eat

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I feel obligated to make a havarti attempt to whey in on last Wednesday’s “Big Block of Cheese Day” at the White House, during which Obama staffers were grilled via Twitter on topics ranging f...

Amtrak launches business class service for Cardinal passengers

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More spacious seating, complimentary Wi-Fi and soft drinks and other perks will be available to travelers using Amtrak’s Cardinal route, linking Charleston to New York, Washington, Cincinnati, Chicago and other ci...

Charleston, Huntington advance in ‘Best Communities’ competition

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Charleston and Huntington are among 15 U.S. cities to make it to the semifinal round in America’s Best Communities competition, qualifying them for a chance to win economic revitalization grants of up to $3 millio...

Pools, picnic areas, campgrounds dropped at four wildlife management areas

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Recreation facilities not associated with fishing and hunting at four Southern West Virginia Wildlife Management Areas were officially closed as of Saturday, in an effort to help the Division of Natural Resources’...

Eagle Scout candidate designs houses for Capitol Complex squirrels (video)

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The West Virginia State Capitol Complex’s newest buildings don’t require clearing a security checkpoint and being scanned by a metal detector to enter — you just have to be able to climb a tree and s...

Fire destroys South Charleston sports bar

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On Thursday morning, when Randy Atkins left Mojo’s, the downtown South Charleston sports bar he has owned and managed for the past five years, everything seemed normal. By the time he drove to his Nitro home, he&#...

Clay Center planetarium, theater named in honor of Caperton

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The Clay Center has renamed its giant screen film and planetarium theater the Governor Gaston Caperton Digital Dome in honor of the former governor who led a partnership that recently donated $1 million to the center...

New River Gorge’s “100 Mile Challenge” takes first steps at Grandview

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Beckley — The idea of hiking 100 miles in the New River Gorge National River during 2016 has struck a chord with outdoor enthusiasts and New Year’s ...

WV guides on US team in world whitewater rafting championship

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An impressive run on the Upper Gauley River landed a pair of West Virginians on the women’s U.S. Whitewater Raft Team, where they can expect more thrilling races.

In September, after posting a come-from-beh...

WV state, national parks to host ‘First Day’ hikes in 2016

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West Virginia’s state parks and state forests are hosting eight “First Day” hikes on Friday to encourage nature lovers and those with New Year’s outdoor fitness resolutions to start 2016 on th...

Deal in works for management change for Yeager’s general aviation operation

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A Charleston, S.C., aviation management firm is interested in taking over Yeager Airport’s general aviation operation, now managed by long-time lessee Executive Air.

On Wednesday, two top officials with Hawt...

Yeager seeks $10 million repair loan instead of Rainy Day funds

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Instead of seeking permission to tap the West Virginia’s Rainy Day Fund to pay for repairs to Yeager Airport’s collapsed safety-overrun area, officials from the Charleston airport have asked Gov. Earl Ray T...

WV ski areas suffer from El Niño meltdown

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Unseasonably warm, wet weather that swept into the east in late December courtesy of El Niño has forced all but one West Virginia ski area to suspend operations at least until the coming weekend, following the expec...

Improvements to watershed creates ideal habitat for native brook trout

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RICHWOOD — A dusky shadow the size and shape of a small banana darted through the lower depths of a sun-dappled pool and took cover in the shade of a falle...

Church group buys 1,100-acre Gauley Canyon site for regional camp

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Young Life, a non-denominational ministry for middle school, high school and college students, has bought a 1,100-acre tract of land along the Gauley River Canyo...

Red spruce restoration effort takes root

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WHITMER — Five years ago, volunteers had to kneel down to plant red spruce seedlings, each a foot tall, along the upper reaches of Gandy Creek bordering the Monongahela National Forest...

WVDNR prepares for return of elk after 140-year absence

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HOLDEN — When West Virginia acquires its first batch of wild elk for re-establishing its own herd in the state’s Southern coalfields, the Division of ...

Agency seeks alternate pipeline route through Monongahela National Forest

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has asked developers of the planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline to consider an alternative route through the Monongahela National Forest that would veer southward...

New ATV trail system eyed for central West Virginia

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A feasibility study for a proposed ATV trail system in central West Virginia similar to the Hatfield-McCoy Trails network in the southern section of the state will be presented to the state Legislature next month, follow...

$1 sale: Century-old Lewisburg train depot

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For that hard-to-please history buff or rail fan on your Christmas shopping list, the Lewisburg Historic Landmarks Commission is offering what might be the perfect gift: a 105-year-old railroad depot, available at a well...

Retiring state parks administrator suggests buying land for low-frills parks

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It wasn’t long after he left the cradle that Bob Beanblossom, district administrator for the Division of Natural Resources’ parks and recreation section, knew his life would involve forests.

Now, he&#...

Green Bank gets best look yet at deep space radio wave eruptions

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A team of astronomers sifting through more than 650 hours of archival data from the Green Bank Telescope in Pocahontas County has uncovered the most detailed record ever of a Fast Radio Burst — a deep space radio ...

Yeager board delays vote on safety overrun rebuild plan

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Yeager Airport’s governing board delayed an expected vote Wednesday on choosing a plan to rebuild the Charleston airport’s collapsed safety overrun area.

Instead, the board voted to spend $70,000 to e...

Mysterious rock walls more likely farming-related than prehistoric (video)

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(On our app? See video here)

Although he left West Virginia in 1969 for 34 years to serve in the Navy and then pursue a career in the oil and ...

Capitol Market’s Christmas tree vendors brace for Black Friday sales

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Christmas tree vendors at Charleston’s Capitol Market are preparing for a Black Friday sales rush, as traditionalists who savor the classic looks and spicy aromas of fresh-cut trees hasten to put Thanksgiving behi...

Fairmont State students create designs for Calhoun County starpark

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Fairmont State University architecture students are reaching for the stars in producing the conceptual design for a planned addition to Calhoun County Park, a 250-acre expanse of forested hollows and open ridge-top field...

Clendenin man dies after truck plunges into Elk River

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A Kanawha County man died on Friday morning when the pickup truck he was driving plunged until the Elk River in Charleston.

Jason Alexander Leadmon, 41, of Clendenin, veered off Lee Street, traveled through a parki...

Concrete walls recommended for Yeager Airport’s collapsed safety zone

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A $20 million reconstruction plan that uses two pile-braced concrete walls — one 30-feet tall, to be anchored near the base of a new fill zone, and the other 50 feet tall, near the top of the slope — will b...

Video: Wind-driven forest fires sweep through Kanawha and neighboring counties

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Gusty winds, unseasonably warm temperatures and an abundance of dry, newly fallen leaves posed challenges to firefighters battling nearly 2,000 acres of forest fires scattered through Kanawha, Boone and Raleigh counties ...

Forest Service deems soil testing for planned pipeline useless, new study set to begin

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Contractors working for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are poised to begin a second round of soil surveys through the Monongahela National Forest for use in establishing the route of the planned natural gas conduit through ...

Signmaker, outdoors enthusiast creates scenic highway self-guided tour

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RICHWOOD — Terry Hackney fell in love with the high country around the Monongahela National Forest’s Cranberry Glades back in 1973 at age 9, when he first visited the area with ...

TSA to offer program for expedited airport security clearance at Yeager

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West Virginia air travelers will soon get the chance to sign up for a Transportation Security Administration program that allows them to leave on their shoes, belts and light outerwear, and keep laptops in their cases as...

Rebuild of Yeager’s collapsed safety overrun could be years distant

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Yeager Airport’s governing board has managed to self-finance the removal of unstable earth from the March 12 safety-overrun slope failure, but restoring the safety zone to its former elevation at a safer gradient ...

Marketing campaign highlights three National Park units in WV

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Nearly half of the 1.2 million annual visitors who spend time in the New River Gorge National River, the Gauley River National Recreation Area and the Bluestone National Scenic River don’t realize they are visitin...

Green Bank scope, students take part in White House Astronomy Night

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A miniature radio telescope from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank was part of the array of telescopes deployed on the South Lawn of the White House earlier this week to accommodate a night of star g...

Yeager officials want Rainy Day Fund money for landslide repairs

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Yeager Airport officials are poised to ask Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the West Virginia Legislature to tap the state’s Rainy Day Fund for the $25 million to $35 million they believe is needed to begin rebuilding th...

Mountain State Art & Craft Fair moves from July to September

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RIPLEY, W.Va. — As part of an effort to reverse three consecutive years of red ink and dwindling crowds, the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair — the state’s oldes...

Closure of Hatfield-McCoy trail loops causes turmoil for riders, merchants

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JULIAN — The recent sale of a tract of land along the Boone-Lincoln county line that contains two loops of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails system has left trail users looking for other place...