Author: Mike Mallow (Page 2 of 4)

Ah, January: Slushy on Monday, Sunny by Wednesday

A flooded hollow near the Pendleton/Grant County border.

Monday brought a wintry mix that capped off a night of rain, which brought high water to the area Monday afternoon. In the higher elevations, the rain turned to snow, making the mountain roads slick and impassable in some areas. At one point, Route 33 was closed on Shenandoah Mountain and on North Mountain, while Department of Highway crews cleared the roads.

By Wednesday, the mess was a distant memory, with temperatures settling in the low 60s.

Not one to be decisive, the weather returns to January norms tomorrow with rain and possible snow showers Thursday and Friday.

Swilled Dog Hard Cider Launching This Month

Swilled Dog Hard Cider, the 2nd hard cidery in West Virginia, will be opening for business very soon.

The family owned and operated, Franklin-based company blends new age cider techniques with old traditions, will be looking to bring its passion for cider making to the people of West Virginia and beyond.

“We are thrilled to bring our ciders to the marketplace,” said Brad Glover, one of the family’s owners. “This has been something that our family has wanted to do for quite some time. We have received such a great response from everyone, and we can’t wait to launch this brand in West Virginia.”

Swilled Dog is also passionate about making an impact.

Glover said, “It is extremely important for us to give back and use our company as a platform to make a real impact in the communities in which we operate and do business. We love the state of West Virginia and want to make sure we are not only giving financially but also giving our time to the causes that we feel most passionate about supporting. Cider is very important to us, but equally important is being part of the solution and to lead the effort in making a real impact in the state through agriculture, education and championing our favorite animal causes.”

Because of this, Swilled Dog has committed to not only give its time, but to also give at least 1% of its annual sales to local communities and charities. As the company grows, Glover said that this number would easily be increased.

Transparency is also a major focus for the Swilled Dog team.

“We want to make sure we are open and completely transparent about our cider-making process and our ingredients,” cider maker Mike Gallaher stated. “We take great pride in our blending of new cider making techniques and traditional processes we have grown accustom to enjoying. We think that the cider industry has come a long way in bringing new styles to the market. From flavored ciders
using hops and other natural flavorings to making more traditional artisanal ciders, we will continue to embrace the trends that move the category forward. We also make sure that the majority of our apples and juice are sourced directly from local West Virginia orchards and farmers. Even with our own orchards being planted with cider-specific apples, our goal is to only increase our percentage of locally sourced ingredients.”

One of the first ciders Swilled Dog will be selling is its 2016 limited edition West Virginia Scrumpy. All of the apples in this cider were donated directly from generous West Virginia residents. Barry Glover, one of the other family member owners and the company’s Operations Manager couldn’t believe the response.

“It was a lot of knocking on doors. Everyone seemed very excited about the prospect that his or her apples would be used in making a local West Virginia product. Once word got out, we had people calling us to see if we wanted to come look at their apple trees. We couldn’t believe all of the generosity.”

Not only will the company be offering the West Virginia Scrumpy, but their lineup will also feature Apple Bottom, a semi-dry more traditional cider, Bunny Slope, a hopped cider produced to attract the craft beer crowd, Spicy Pumpkin, a cider flavored with actual pumpkin and chai tea spices, and Sweet Caramel, a caramel flavored cider. As they continue to experiment with new flavors and apple blends, plans are in the works for more.

Swilled Dog is planning launch events across the state. Operating without a tasting room, the company will focus on creating fun and exciting events and featuring their products on tap and in bottle at local restaurants and bars.

Brooke Glover, the company’s Director of Sales and Marketing, thinks that West Virginia has a tremendous opportunity to put its mark on the hard cider industry that is experiencing quite a resurgence.

“You only need to look across the state’s borders to see the impact hard cider is making in Pennsylvania and Virginia. As hard cider across the country continues to become a bigger segment of the market, West Virginia needs to catch up and show its heritage for apple cultivation and hard cider. Our focus is to first build our brand in the state but quickly become regionally focused. We have big plans for this brand and look forward to putting our mark on the recovery of the industry across the country.”

To learn more about the company and its launch, events, or more, visit their website at

The Antler Room Brings an Artisan’s Hub to Franklin

“Enough with the election. Who wants a painting?” Amy Berg posted on her Facebook page last May. The West Virginia primary election had just passed, and she had just lost a hard fought battle for Pendleton County Circuit Clerk by fewer than 300 votes.

Undeterred, a new passion was blossoming in her life, and it was the popularity of her paintings that led to the opening of the Antler Room, which opens Jan. 6.

See the video below for more.

Christmas Haikus

A year ago I picked up on a writing challenge on Twitter. With the hashtag #HaikuADVENTure, people were making up haikus related to Advent, the season leading up to Christmas.

Armed with a lack of knowledge on Advent specifically, my haikus soon went off the rails, covering a wide variety of aspects of the season. From consumerism to contemplation, I’ve compiled the bulk of them below – with a few more added this year to help fill out the list. There is something for everyone.

For the reveler who is not down with church terminology:
Googled word “Advent” / So I wouldn’t look stupid / For using it wrong.

For the reveler who is an extroverted hunter:
We mighty hunters / Traverse unforgiving wild / Return with flat screen.

For the reveler who is an introverted hunter:
Shopping Black Friday / Computer and pajamas / Only fights router.

For the reveler who sees the ghost of consumerism’s past:
Saw ad for K-Mart / I could not believe my eyes / K-Mart still exists.

For the reveler who sees the ghost of consumerism’s present:
Spoke with a cut-out / Of Ree Drummond at Walmart / Thinking she was real.

For the reveler who sees the ghost of consumerism’s future:
Forget Santa Claus / A drone delivered my gifts / No chimney needed.

For the reveler who has a geek side:
No haiku right now / I’m going to see Star Wars / mind preoccupied.

For the reveler who decorates on a budget:
The stockings were hung / Despite protest from my toes / My feet are cold now.

For the reveler who goes all out decorating:
The space station called / They can see my lights from there / My power bill weeps.

For the reveler who doesn’t go all out decorating:
Put up lights indoors / but feels more like seedy bar / than it does festive.

For the reveler who has mixed feelings on winter:
Snow on the hillside / awesome display of beauty / Snow on the road. Ick.

For the reveler who is a film critic:
Yule Log is peaceful / director’s commentary / unnecessary.

For the reveler who is resourceful:
Chestnuts are roasting / over chestnut wood as well / we used the whole tree.

For the reveler who sees the big picture:
These memorable times / converge on a single point / and then dissipate.

For the reveler who likes a good origin story
Bathed in the moonlight / it was not the only source / the shepherds realized.

For the reveler who likes finality:
It’s all over now / Valentine’s candy is out / Consumers move on.

Celebrating the Season: Main Street Magic Featuring Sweets with Santa

The Pendleton County Chamber of Commerce will is sponsoring Main Street Magic featuring Sweets with Santa this Friday, Dec. 9.

The event will be held on Main Street in Franklin in front of the Church of God. If it becomes to cold outside, the event will be held at The Antler Room next door.

Kids are invited to visit with Mr. & Mrs. Claus, and enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies. Kids can also bring their letters to Santa from him to take back to the North Pole.

Don’t Forget Local Businesses This Holiday Season


No Doorbusters. No long lines wrapping around the building. No irate consumers looking for the cheapest bang for their buck. This is what you can get from Black Friday shopping, and sometimes just general shopping around the holidays.

Meanwhile, you get none of that from shopping local. In fact, you may get a little more out of the bargain – from great customer service to the knowledge that your purchase is making an investment in the community. Local purchases will continue to sustain and grow the local storefronts that we still have, and could even encourage other entrepreneurs to take a serious look at setting up shop in the community. Its a win-win for us all.

Obviously, there’s a lot of things you can’t get in Pendleton County. Most electronic devices outside of appliances are nowhere to be found, which is the bulk of what the hot gifts are these days. That said, there are a multitude of great gift ideas still available right here in Pendleton County.

What we want to do is compile a list of all the great Christmas shopping ideas that are available in the county. From the storefronts to the sales consultants, we want to know them all so you can know them all too.

To get on this list, or to add someone you know, email us at We hope to begin compiling this list next week.

Wildcats Move on to State Football Semifinals

It’s beginning to look a lot like 1998.

For the second week in a row, the Pendleton County Wildcats pulled off an upset in the State Football Playoffs, upending Tolsia 46-16.

The 4.5 hour trip to Fort Gay (which has an unfortunate claim to fame) didn’t lag the Wildcats at all. They took a 12-0 lead by halftime and never looked back, outflanking the slower Tolsia run game.

This is only the second time in Pendleton County High School history that the Wildcats have made it to the football semifinals – the first being the team’s inaugural season in the fall of 1998.

In fact, the 1998 comparisons ring eerie when considering that, to get to the semifinals then, the Wildcats beat Cameron and a southwestern West Virginia team (though in reverse order).

In the 1998 season, the Wildcats traveled to Poca (now a Class AA team) and scored only a field goal to beat them, 3-0. Pendleton County then moved on to Cameron, where some 4th quarter determination pulled out a 25-24 victory.

Where did Pendleton County go from there? To a familiar regular season rival in neighboring Hardy County. Not only that, but a team that was the favorite to win the championship.

Back then it was Moorefield, and they, in fact, won the championship that year, blowing out the Wildcats 39-6 to move on to the title game.

This time around it is East Hardy that is the favorite. The Cougars have remained undefeated all year, most recently defeating Williamstown 20-14 to move on to the semifinal game against Pendleton County.

Will history repeat itself? Pendleton County has a lot going for it. It’s the only team to defeat East Hardy in regular season play the last two years. Also, the Wildcats are red hot right now, being the only team in all of Class A to pull off upsets in the playoffs so far this year. That’s nothing for the Cougars to purr at when going into next week’s game.

It will at least be a shorter drive to Baker than to Fort Gay.

Also worth mentioning that the M&W playoff streak has ended, with Williamstown losing to East Hardy and Wheeling Central falling to Fayetteville. Though it is notable that Fayetteville was the last school to win the championship before the streak began.

2016 Election Results

summit_supercube_web_ready1With a 62% turnout, Pendleton County voters turned out in droves to cast their votes. Below are the unofficial results.

Donald J. Trump: 2,388
Hillary Clinton: 726
Gary Johnson: 73
Jill Stein: 18
Darrell Castle: 7

US House of Representatives (2nd District)
Alex Mooney: 2,010
Mark Hunt: 986

Bill Cole: 1,560
Jim Justice: 1,333
David Moran: 54
Charlotte Pritt: 164
Phil Hudok: 38

Secretary of State
Mac Waner: 1,628
Natalie Tennant: 1,130
John S. Buckley: 266

John “JB” McCuskey: 1,668
Mary Ann Claytor: 910
Brenton Ricketts 205

Ann Urling: 1,200
John Perdue: 1,549
Michael Young: 154

Commissioner of Agriculture
Kent Leonhardt: 1,263
Walt Helmick: 1,772
Buddy Guthrie: 77

Attorney General
Patrick Morrisey: 1,797
Doug Reynolds: 1,029
Karl Kolenich: 111
Michael Sharley: 50

State Senator (11th District)
Greg Boso: 1,420
Denise Campbell: 1,512
Bruce Zeno Breuninger: 67

House of Delegates (54th District)
Allen Evans: 761

House of Delegates (54th District)
Total is combined with Hardy County totals
Stephen Smith: 3,332
Isaac Sponaugle: 4,396
Tonya Persinger: 467

Circuit Clerk
Shalee Dunkle Wilburn: 2,537

County Commissioner
Gene McConnell: 2,597

County Clerk
Elise Miller White: 2,413

Prosecuting Attorney
Kevin C. Sponaugle: 2,418

Donald Hedrick 2,269
Kevin “Red Bone” Cross 531
Patrick Hottinger 345

Carolyn Sponaugle: 2,462






8:00 p.m. update:
The polls closed a half hour ago and the ballots from different precincts are gradually dropping their ballots in the courthouse. Stay tuned.

Pendleton County does not release their results until all ballots are counted. It will be a long night before any numbers are posted, but we will update any changes in the process.

Wildcats to Play Cameron in 1st Round of Football State Playoffs

The 9-2 Wildcats will take another crack at the State Football Playoffs, facing off against the Cameron Dragons, who went undefeated in the regular season. The teams will play at Cameron High School in Marshall County next Saturday, Nov. 12, at 1:30 p.m.

It will be a rough road for the Wildcats, but history makes a case for them.

The last time Pendleton County played at Cameron in the playoffs was the 1999, the first year of PCHS’ existence. They beat the higher-ranked team that year and moved on to the semifinal round, losing to Moorefield – who was in the fourth year  of the dynastic run of championship titles.

As previously mentioned, Moorefield is not in the playoffs this year, further cemented by an embarrassing 55-0 loss to 2-8 Magnolia.

However, on the other side of Hardy County, the 10-0 East Hardy enters the playoffs as the top seed. Last year, the Cougars went on to the championship game, but were trounced by Magnolia, who obviously is not in the playoffs this year.

If the Wildcats can hang on until the semifinal round to face the Cougars, it’s important to note that Pendleton County is the only team to have beaten them in the regular season in the past two years. Here’s hoping.

Best of luck, Wildcats.

Download the 2016 Division A Bracket

Fun fact: Since 1996, no team has won the Class A Football Championship whose name hasn’t started with an M or a W. That should change this year. With only mediocre Wheeling Central and Williamstown teams representing that streak this year, it seems likely that statistic will fall.

(If you don’t count schools that no longer exist, Fayetteville (in 1992) is the only non M or W team to win the championship since 1970, when Paden City took the title).

Pendleton County Chamber of Commerce Honors the Community

Business and individual members of the Pendleton County Chamber of Commerce gathered Nov. 3 for the annual banquet and awards ceremony. This year’s dinner was held at the Highlands Golf Club at Fisher Mountain east of Franklin.

Tina Metzer was the guest speaker

Tina Metzer was the guest speaker

Tina Metzer of Eastern WV Community & Technical college’s New Biz Launchpad was the guest speaker, and talked of the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation in small communities.


Winners in the awards ceremony were:

Small Business of the Year
Mountain Air Heating & Cooling
Other nominees: King Sings & Graphics, The Outhouse LLC

Environmentally Conscious Business
Pendleton County Farmers Market
Other nominees: Rainbow Farms, Pendleton County Health Department

Tourism Development
Warner’s Drive-In


Accepting the award were Mike Mallow, John Connor and Gail Price

Other nominees: Germany Valley Overlook Cabins, The Gendarme

Nonprofit of the Year
Sugar Grove Lions Club

Tom Mitchell accepted the award on behalf of the Sugar Grove Lions Club from Bill Loving, Pendleton Community Bank President

Tom Mitchell accepted the award on behalf of the Sugar Grove Lions Club from Bill Loving, Pendleton Community Bank President

Other nominees: Fort Seybert Heritage Education Association

Cornerstone Award
Summit Community Bank

summitaa Accepting the Cornerstone award was Kristin Dingess, Summit Community Bank Franklin Branch Manager.

Accepting the Cornerstone award was Kristin Dingess, Summit Community Bank Franklin Branch Manager.

Other nominees: Greer Industries, ParMar Stores

Young Professional of the Year
Josh Byers

Josh Byers accepted the Young Professional award from John Paul Hott of Hott Insurance

Josh Byers accepted the Young Professional award from John Paul Hott of Hott Insurance

Other nominees: Stuart Bowers, LeeAnn Shreve, Ryan Boggs

Outstanding Volunteer
Bruce Minor

Bruce Minor accepted the Volunteer Award from Carolyn Simmons

Bruce Minor accepted the Volunteer Award from Carolyn Simmons

Other nominees: Eve Firor, Alan Miller, Nila Bland, Bob & Millie Tuckerman

Leadership Award
Carole Hartman

Carole Hartman received the Leadership award from Grant County Bank President George Ford.

Carole Hartman received the Leadership award from Grant County Bank President George Ford.

Other nominees: Dave Seymour, Carl Warner, Rick Gillespie

Outstanding Businessperson
Mark Lambert
Other nominees: David O’Boyle, Jamie Hudson, Joe Harper

Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. King Seegar
Other nominees: Paul Morton, Buster Waybright, Dyer Anderson


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