Photos – Sugar Grove Tractor Parade

Treasure Mountain Festival Guide Released

When the nights get shorter, Pendleton County residents know a few things are guaranteed to happen soon – school will start, football season will start, and the Treasure Mountain Festival will be on its way.

The annual festival guide, this year a 48-page publication, has been released today digitally, with printed guides to be distributed in the second half of the month.

Download the pdf version of the guide here.

The 49th annual festival’s theme is “Come Home to the Mountains,” a theme conveyed throughout the guide, and in the logo, which was designed this year by Jess Felici.

The guide also includes the official release of the 50th year theme and logo.

Lean State Budget Takes a Bite out Local Festivals

The fight to pass a budget in the West Virginia legislature has intensified over the last several years, and the budget that just went into effect is taking a chunk out of Fairs and Festivals recipients.

In the end, West Virginia’s Fairs and Festivals took a 20% across-the-board cut, which affected many of Pendleton County’s major events. Below is an incomplete list that shows the amount of each cut from 2016 to 2017.

Budget cuts to Fairs and Festivals is not a new occurrence. Also included is the allocated amount for each from the 2008 budget, to see how far each event has been cut over the past nine years. Pendleton County Fair took the largest hit, dropping from $25,000 in 2008 to $6,253 in the budget that recently took effect.

Treasure Mountain Festival
2017 – $14,851
2016 – $18,564
2008 – $25,000

Ruddle Park Jamboree
2017 – $4,690
2016 – $5,863
2008 – N/A (1st year in the budget was 2014 at $6,750)

Spring Fest (Listed as Franklin Fishing Derby)
2017 – $4,456
2016 – $5,570
2008 – $7,500

Pendleton County Fair
2017 – $6,253
2016 – $7,817
2008 – $25,000
It could have been worse, though. Governor Jim Justice’s proposed budget included no money allocated for individual fairs and festivals.

Man Arrested in Franklin for 2014 North Carolina Homicide

Early Lynn Isner, Sr.

Early Lynn Isner, Sr., 59, was arrested Sunday in Franklin and is being extradited to North Carolina. Isner is charged, along with his ex-girlfriend, with the murder of his son-in-law, Arwayne Singhal.

In a press release released Wednesday by the Onslow County, N.C. Sheriff’s Office, Singhal’s body was discovered in a grave in a remote pasture area in Richlands, N.C. He had been reported missing in March of 2014, and investigators suspected foul play. The trail ran cold in the ensuing three years, but recent information that came to light led detectives to the body’s location.

Detectives traveled to Franklin on Sunday to interview Isner, and ultimately made the arrest. According to the press release, in addition to Isner, authorities arrested Jacqueline Joan Hasley, 74, of Maysville, N.C. in connection with the murder.

Isner is charged with one open count of murder, and Hasley is charged with accessory after the fact to murder. She is currently being held on a $250,000.00 secured appearance bond.

The Onslow Sheriff’s office can be found here.

Swilled Dog Hard Cider Earns Awards at Largest International Cider Competition

Swilled Dog Hard Cider, a West Virginia hard cider company that launched in January, has achieved international recognition for four of its cider varieties.

The family-owned company, which prides itself on crafting refreshing, crisp hard apple ciders, recently became an award winning cider company. In April, Swilled Dog entered GLINTCAP (Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition), the largest cider competition in the world.

“We competed against the biggest cider companies in the world,” cider maker and co-owner Jill Gallaher said. “And we are thrilled to be recognized alongside them and even above them in some cases.”

The limited edition West Virginia Scrumpy earned Silver in the Heritage Cider- Dry category. All of the apples in this cider were donated from West Virginia residents and the company donates
100% of the proceeds to local, West Virginia charities. Granny’s Gold, Swilled Dog’s Winter/Spring seasonal also earned Silver in the Specialty Cider and Perry category. Two of Swilled Dog’s Flagship ciders, Bunny Slope and Walk the Dog earned Bronze in the Hopped Cider and Heritage Cider- Dry categories, respectively.

Co-owner Brad Glover believes this puts a spotlight on West Virginia.

“I think this shows that West Virginia can make great hard cider and can be a player on the national stage. We’ve received such an amazing response from the people of West Virginia, which has allowed us to scale up and grow very quickly while also giving back to our communities. We want to continue to represent our wonderful state and give the residents of West Virginia a delicious, local product.”

Swilled Dog gives at least 1% of sales to West Virginia charities and is now available statewide after recently partnering with Mountain State Beverage for distribution.

Swilled Dog just released its Summer seasonal, Island Vibes, which is a pineapple apple cider. Caramel Apple, one of the company’s much-anticipated flagship ciders, has also just been released.

“We would have loved to enter these two ciders into the cider competition this year but they weren’t ready in time. We think they would have done very well,” said co-owner Chris Lemmon.

Article from submitted press release

PCHS is Top-Ranked Class A WV School According to U.S News & World Report

U.S. News and World Report has released their annual list of the best high schools, and a familiar name is sitting near the top of the West Virginia list.

Pendleton County Middle/High School is ranked 13th of the top high schools in West Virginia, but is the highest among Class A schools on the list. The report cites a 94% graduation rate and a 14.5 rating for college readiness (35.5 is the high water mark for this rating for West Virginia schools – most schools ranked under 10).

Other high schools in the Potomac Valley Conference were not far behind. Pocahontas County High School ranks just behind Pendleton at 14, East Hardy High School ranks 16th and Petersburg High School ranks #31 (though the rankings are not officially numbered after 21) Moorefield is 70th on the list; however, they are listed with a higher graduation rate,  at 97%.

The calculations for ranking the schools, according to the U.S News and World Report website, list four criteria: Students perform better than expected in their state, disadvantaged students perform better than state average, student graduation rates meet or exceed a national standard, students are prepared for college level coursework.

Pendleton County High School was awarded a bronze medal for their ranking, along with 28 other schools. Only five were awarded a silver metal, and none were given gold.

Introducing Old 55 Magazine

After a year and a half in the works, Old 55 magazine has made its debut.

Conceived while on vacation in Arkansas in October of 2015, Old 55 Magazine is a pictorial publication covering the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia with specific emphasis on Pendleton, Hardy and Grant Counties.

The magazine is a joint project between Pendleton New Media (owner of Pendleton News) and the R.E. Fisher Company, Inc. – the publishers of the Moorefield Examiner.

The magazine will start out as a seasonal publication offered for free to the public. It can also be accessed digitally with a Moorefield Examiner Online Edition subscription, or it can be downloaded from this website at a later time.

The print version of the magazine will be printed in limited quantities, and is trickling out into the public now. An initial sample of 30 was delivered over the weekend – with an additional 250 projected to be delivered by the end of the week.

The first 30 are hand-numbered and do not contain a volume number, which could make them valuable collectors items in the future. Make sure to pick one up today!

Spring Fest is Coming!

13 is a number that stirs superstition, but the Pendleton County Chamber of Commerce is hoping for 13 to be a lucky number.

The 13th annual Spring Fest, scheduled this year for May 5, 6 & 7, offers the same great family fun with a few new additions, thanks to community involvement.

The centerpiece of the festival, the Trophy Trout Rodeo will be held Saturday morning, and features monetary prizes for catching the tagged fish with the lowest number. Young fishers will have the opportunity to catch trout in the spillway that runs parallel to the river.

The boxcar race will ride again. Like last year, the races will be run in the Franklin Elementary School parking lot. In previous years the race had been run on Confederate Road – the steep road that leads to the Pendleton Community Building; however, the road has become too potholed and uneven to run the race safely. Because of the separation from the rest of the festival area, more amenities will be added to the school lot to better accommodate the crowd.

The Spring Fest Dinner has been a part of the festival since the beginning. This year it has a new name, but still has the same great food.

Additions this year, include the seasonal reopening of Warner’s Drive-In, which plans to show The Fate of the Furious, the eighth movie in The Fast and the Furious franchise. The movie will show Friday and Saturday nights, and drive-in will remain open every weekend until September.

For those who would rather catch a great music show, The Country Store Opry will also be performing Saturday night.

Look for a schedule of events soon.

Pendleton County’s Population Continues to Erode

Pendleton County lost 178 residents in 2016, according to data released this week from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Statistics show that the county’s population stands at just over 7,000 at 7,051, dropping from 7,229 in 2015. In addition, the population of the county has dropped 8.4% since 2010, when the number stood at 7,695.

Pendleton County also dropped on the ranking of lowest populated counties in the state, falling from #5 to #3. Only Wirt and Tucker Counties have smaller population, with 5,806 and 6,926 respectively.

If this trend continues, the population of Pendleton County will dip below 7,000 by this July.

The overall statewide trend follows this pattern. According to the Associated Press, 47 of West Virginia’s 55 counties lost population, with the southern coalfield counties and Kanawha County seeing the most significant decreases. Kanawha saw the largest decrease with almost 2,000 leaving the county.

It’s not all bad news as the Eastern Panhandle has seen a steady increase in recent years, mostly because its proximity to the Washington D.C. area.

This story was updated to include the rankings of lowest populated counties.

Warner’s Drive-In Reveals 2017 Schedule

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2, Cars 3, Despicable Me 3. These are just some of the big name movies set to play at Warner’s Drive-In this summer. See the full schedule here.

The drive-in is set to have its first full summer movies season after closing at the end of the season in 2014. Necessary upgrades forced the outdoor theater’s closure.

Last year the business reorganized as a nonprofit and fundraising efforts began in late June. Because of a huge outpouring of support from the community, the drive-in was able to make the required upgrades and open for a truncated season in the autumn of 2016.

According to the drive-in’s Facebook page, more information is being released this week, which will include new fundraising and advertising information for the summer. Stay tuned. This is just the teaser.

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