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Rick Steelhammer

Staff writer
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New England grad students get Land Trust crash course in West Virginia wilderness

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A pair of graduate students with New England roots recently completed an internship in the canyons and forests of south-central West Virginia that let them know “wild and wonderful” are more than just words...

Past week’s news leaves much for which to be grateful

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A few items to add to this week’s gratitude journal:

I’m grateful that my dentist took up muskie fishing instead of international lion hunting.

I’m thankful that the guy who jumped into ...

Charleston-born software entrepreneur Frank Pritt dies

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Frank Pritt, 75, the Charleston native who used a retirement nest egg to launch a fabulously successful second career as a software designer, allowing him to build a seaside mansion in California that included Charleston...

New River Gorge program trains teen rangers

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FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — After backing out of a first attempt to rappel down a sheer, 80-foot slab of sandstone at the New River Gorge’s Bridge Buttress climbing area, Helena...

I’m a-telling you, there’s a column here that SO needs read

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While my saying “my truck needs washed” sounds reasonable to people in my neighborhood -- especially those who have seen it lately following the recent monsoons -- it apparently strikes a dissonant chord wi...

Yeager committee questions expenses since landslide

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Members of Yeager Airport’s finance committee recommended a review of more than $1 million in expenses paid out after the March 12 landslide, after several hundred thousand dollars worth of checks were questioned ...

Green Bank Telescope to key new push to find ‘E.T.’

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank — the place where the world’s first scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence began in 1960 — will play a k...

Crews begin removing debris from Yeager’s safety runway

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After delays caused by legal proceedings and torrential rains, remediation work got underway Monday on the landslide that sheared away from a section of Yeager Airport’s safety overrun a...

A visit to Blennerhassett Island’s other mansion

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PARKERSBURG — To walk inside one of Ohio’s finest homes from its earliest years of settlement, you have to travel to West Virginia.

Maple Shade, the home of Aaron Waldo Putnam and his wife, Charlotte ...

Dunbar water line repaired; pumping back to normal

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West Virginia American Water officials say they’ve finished repairs on a leak-plagued section of 36-inch water transmission main that was shut down twice last week and again on Monday, interrupting service for tho...

Yeager board chooses Mingo firm to remove slide, stabilize hillside

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Yeager Airport’s construction committee on Tuesday selected S&E Clearing and Hydroseeding, of Varney, to remove the collapsed portion of the airport’s safety-overrun area and stabilize the hillside from...

National Youth Science Foundation buys Canaan Valley Institute headquarters

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The National Youth Science Foundation has completed its purchase of the Canaan Valley Institute’s 28,000-square-foot headquarters and science center off Corridor H near Davis, the foundation announced Tuesday.

...

West Kanawha water main bursts again, is shut down

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Repairs to a 36-inch transmission main line in Dunbar that ruptured again Monday for the third time in about a week were expected to take longer than 24 hours to complete this time, according to West Virginia American Wa...

Water hazards following yet another water crisis

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I’ve got water on the brain as I type these words, now at the end of day three without water back at the crumbling Steelhammer compound in the artists’ colony of Cross Lanes.

I can honestly say I miss...

Investigations lead to animal cruelty, dog-fighting charges

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Investigations into animal cruelty allegations at opposite ends of the state earlier this week led to charges against two people and the rescue of 24 farm animals in Kanawha County and 21 pit b...

Canaan restaurateurs make switch to Sutton Lake marina operators

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SUTTON -- After briefing a family group on the safe operation of a pontoon boat, Ron Cvetican clambers aboard a jet ski to show a Charleston couple the basics on how to ride it, before clambering back up to the dock to i...

Reduction in available airline seats prompts Yeager to consider record landing fee hike

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Although Yeager Airport’s projected operating expenses for the coming fiscal year are nearly $100,000 less than the current year’s, the airport’s governing board will be asking airlines for record hi...

Beetles damage poplar trees across West Virginia

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Yellow poplar, West Virginia’s most abundant commercial timber species, is under attack by an invading army of tiny black beetles known as yellow poplar weevils, according to state Department of Agriculture and Di...

New River Gorge hosts fishing and painting workshops

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A fly-fishing class, painting workshops, a birding walk, a ranger-guided walking tour of historic Thurmond and a two-mile walk along the Bluestone National Scenic River are among free public programs taking place Tuesday...

Steelhammer: Sony hacking done, North Korea develops cure for all major diseases

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North Korea, a country known for using an anti-aircraft gun to publicly execute its defense minister, hacking Sony Pictures to block the release of a comedy poking fun at its leader, discovering the remains of an ancient...

Yeager Airport activates siren in area affected by landslide

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Yeager Airport officials have unveiled a warning system designed to protect residents in the area affected by a March 12 mudslide.

When gages recently installed in Elk Two-Mile Creek indicate that stream flow is ap...

Holly Grove mansion’s 200 years bring Ruffner reunion to Charleston

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In 1815, Kanawha County saltmaker Daniel Ruffner completed work on a stately, solid, two-story brick mansion built to replace the log farmhouse his family had occupied since moving here from Virginia’s Shenandoah ...

Eastern cougars extinct, not endangered, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces

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While concluding the probable disappearance of the eastern cougar -- which once lived in every eastern state in habitats ranging from mountains to coastal marshes -- the federal agency acknowledged that cougars have been...

Holly Grove mansion’s 200 years bring Ruffner reunion to Charleston

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In 1815, Kanawha County saltmaker Daniel Ruffner completed work on a stately, solid, two-story brick mansion built to replace the log farmhouse his family had occupied since moving here from Virginia’s Shenandoah ...

Eagle sightings still main attraction for Potomac Eagle excursion train, now in 25th year

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Nesting bald eagles had been absent from West Virginia for generations due to habitat loss and a sharp drop in population brought on by the sustained use of the now-banned pesticide DDT, which, after entering the food ch...

Northern Canada wildfires add to Southern West Virginia haze

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Remnants of a smoke plume traveling more than 2,000 miles to the southeast from a series of wildland fires in northern Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan continued to linger over Southern West Virginia on Thursday, addin...

Steelhammer: Winning lottery jackpot getting to be more savory than sweet

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Since I invest in scratch-off lottery tickets as a key component of my diversified retirement portfolio, I tend to take notice of trends in other states’ lotto offerings, such as Indiana’s debut last week o...

Volunteers haul discarded tires from Tug Fork River in WV

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MATEWAN, W.Va. — Keith Gibson is working tirelessly to make the Tug Fork River tireless.

The former coal miner is now in hi...

Ohio River Water Trail named National Recreation Trail

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The Ohio River Water Trail, a 46-mile stretch of the Ohio River linking downtown Pittsburgh with the town of Newell in Hancock County in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle, was named a National Recreation Trail on...