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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.

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 www.swilleddog.com.

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

shoppendleton

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 mike@pendletonwv.com. 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.

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