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.

Craig Morgan to Headline Tri-County Fair

Country music artist Craig Morgan will be performing at the Tri-County Fair on Friday, Aug. 4, at 8 p.m.

What has been billed as “The Tuesday Night Big Show” is moving to Friday night this year, according to the press release.

Morgan has made a name for himself as a country music icon, TV host, celebrated outdoorsman and patriotic Army veteran. One of country music’s best-loved artists, the Black River Entertainment artist thrills massive crowds with signature hits, including “Bonfire,” Almost Home,” “Redneck Yacht Club,” “International Harvester,” “This Ole Boy,” Wake Up Loving You” and the six week #1, “That’s What I Love About Sunday.”

Craig received one of country music’s highest honors when he was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2008. In addition to a prolific country music career, he hosts the award-winning TV show “Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors,” now in its seventh season on the Outdoor Channel. Prior to becoming a country music star, Morgan spent seventeen years serving in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves. He is an avid supporter of America’s military personnel and a recipient of the 2006 USO Merit Award.

For more information on Craig Morgan, visit www.craigmorgan.com and engage with him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Other highlights for the week’s entertainment include The Easters performing for the traditional Sunday evening Gospel Sing.

The traditional Tri-County Fair Queen Pageant on Monday July 30 and a lumberjack competition Tuesday, Aug. 1. Wednesday night after the parade The Little Mountain Boys from Piney River Virginia will be bringing Blue Grass Music to the stage and Thursday evening will have the return of the lawn mower tractor pull.

The demolition derby will be held Friday night after the Morgan performance, as well as Saturday, to close out the fair.

Wildcats Playing for Region II Section 2 Championship Friday

Trey Cooper makes a quick layup after a steal during the Class A Region II Section 2 Semifinal match against Moorefield.

The Wildcats’ Boys Basketball team ended Moorefield’s season Wednesday night, defeating the Yellow Jackets 65-47 in the Class A Region II Section 2 Semifinal match.

It was a close game near the end of the second quarter, with Pendleton County pulling ahead for a 27-22 lead at halftime.

The ‘Cats blew the game wide open in the second half, pulling getting a 10-point lead early in the third quarter and never looking back.

The Wildcats will venture deeper into the postseason with a crack at the Class A Region II Section 2 Championship this Friday. Pendleton County will face off against Tucker County, who defeated East Hardy 81-52 on Wednesday night. The game will be played in Keyser this Friday at 7 p.m.

The 10 Year

Feb. 18, 2017 marks an unpleasant anniversary. Rather than reflect on that moment and the ripples it sent through my life, I think more to the time leading up to it, which galvanized who I am today in my professional life.

Got my start in the newspaper world in May of 2001, at age 19, working for The Pendleton Times. I was hired for the summer after my sophomore year in college, but worked there whenever I could, as I moved through the second half of my higher education.

In those days the newspaper was still produced by printing out the different design elements from an ancient Apple Macintosh, cutting them out and waxing them so they would stick to a sheet the actual size of the newspaper. That sheet would then be taken to the printer, scanned onto an aluminum plate and reproduced on newsprint.

I loved it. It was like a jigsaw puzzle that you got paid to put together, and I was particularity good at it too. So much so that I switched majors from journalism to graphic design after that first summer.

[It was also during my first summer that I first put together the Treasure Mountain Festival guide, a publication that I still produce annually.]

After finishing school in Summer of 2003, I was hired full time, mostly to develop a website (which didn’t happen), but also to help with layout duties and advertising design.

Publisher Bill McCoy was already in his 80s when I first met him, but he still possessed a keen eye for newspaper craft. Although he had relinquished most duties at the paper by then, he still came in Tuesday mornings, cane and coffee in hand, to read over the week’s news and lay out the front page.

Perhaps it was because I came to know him late in his life that my opinion formed differently from others, but he always struck me as someone willing to try new things if the situation called for it. Co-workers who were there much longer than me knew him, instead, as someone who was very adherent to the continuity of the past – to keep things the way they had always been.

That said, he wasn’t one to pull punches either. I remember once complimenting him on the look of a front page a particular week. It was a genuine remark, but I knew he had struggled with getting it just the way he wanted. His gruff response, “Really? I think it looks like shit.”

He was my first mentor for understanding the creative and logical process of developing an attractive and attention-grabbing front page. I was in awe of the process, and dreamed of someday being the one to design the front page.

That day came sooner than expected. Bill had been sick in the days leading up to the Nov. 20, 2003 edition, and with no one else available, I was given the task of making the front page.

It was something I approached with raw enthusiasm, meeting early with editor Ed Tallman to figure out which stories were being written for that week, and visualizing a layout approach. I went out and took pictures of trees fallen in a recent wind storm, took a group picture of the members of the newly formed Chamber of Commerce for the lead, broke a story about Subway opening. Also, it was the week prior to hunting season, so obviously that was a front page story.

Early Tuesday morning I came into the paper and pasted together my inaugural front page.

It was a work of art, I thought.

I was so proud.

I should have guessed what would follow.

A few hours later, as the rest of the paper came together, Bill arrived as he always had. He had been feeling much better, but no one ever passed the message on to the staff.

Ed saw him enter and ran to the front of the room to explain the situation. Bill seemed unfazed by what could have been viewed as betrayal, and went to the back to the office to read the stories as he always had.

The guilt I felt that day still resonates, and all I could do then was quietly continue on with the rest of the paper as he read over the stories for that week.

Once he finished reading, he got up, and walked to the already-completed front page, sitting on a concrete table in the center of the room. He stared at it, emotionless, for several minutes. In that time, I decided I may as well approach – perhaps for a scolding or, at best, a sharp critique.

Instead he looked up at me and smiled. “Hell of a good looking front page,” he said.

I was relieved and flattered, but still shell-shocked by the morning’s events, and stood numb as I watched him slowly make his way to the front door.

That was the last time I saw him in the office.

I still saw him out on the streets or in the restaurants, and always had a pleasant conversation with him about what was going on with the business or with the community.

Ten years ago today, on Feb. 18, 2007, I was fired from The Pendleton Times. My raw enthusiasm had been forged into a sharp opinion of how the newspaper should look and read, and those creative clashes ultimately became deliberate insubordination. It took me years to admit that to myself, and until now to acknowledge it publicly.

Bill had little to do with the operation by then and had no involvement in the decision, but I never wanted to know if he endorsed it. In the times after that, I avoided making contact with him in public, and maintained that elusiveness until his passing in June of 2008.

I went on to work for the Moorefield Examiner, whose owner was a cousin of Bill’s. In the 10 years since The Pendleton Times, I have moved up to become the advertising and production manager at the Examiner. Among my many tasks there is laying out the front page – a task I hold as just as much of an honor now as I did that first time.

Aside from that, the traces of guilt are still there in every page I produce. The guilt that I robbed someone of the last thing they did to feel useful, and the guilt that someone had to step away in order for me to thrive.

This is a story I’ve never told anyone before, but one I remind myself of every day. Framed and hanging on the bedroom wall above my head is that actual front page paste-up sheet from Nov. 20, 2003. It’s the last thing I see at night, the first thing I see each morning, and serves as a guidepost to know that I am where I am because of where I started.

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