Tag Archives: West

National Perspective: West Virginia hopes to reverse a decade of decline

DRY FORK, W.Va. — There’s nobody here.

Well, almost nobody. This unincorporated community is in a magnificent corner of the world, garlanded by mountains, picturesque farms planted along the road, eight miles from not one but two ski areas and a state park that describes itself as a conference center and resort. Mostly the sounds here are of deep silences.
Some 1,085 people live here today. In 1900 — when loggers toiled amid the densely forested hills, a lumber mill sat on Red Creek, the community had its own railroad, and coal mines operated nearby — Dry Fork had a population of 3,224.

This is a fortunate part of the state, endowed with stunning beauty, a growing tourist industry and many advantages, including a median family income 10% higher than the rest of West Virginia and a rate of higher education double the state figure. And yet the population has fallen by two-thirds since the days when workers — the gandy dancers, as the men who worked the rails were called, or the pick-and-shovel men who dug for coal, or the logging crews from Pennsylvania and Nova Scotia who employed skidding tongs and peaveys to harvest the trees — filled the silences with their grunts. They extracted wood and coal from the area and sent the profits to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Cleveland.

That is the West Virginia story.

That story’s latest chapter is of fresh decline. Newly released Census Bureau data show that West Virginia suffered the largest population decline in the country, a drop of nearly 60,000 people, or 3.2 percent, in the decade between 2010 and 2020. It is one of seven states that will lose a congressional seat in next year’s midterm elections.

There are several explanations, all of them partial, all plausible. Poverty is one (about one in seven West Virginians qualify for the national definition). Job loss is another (especially in coal, which has lost more than half its jobs in the past dozen years). The two, of course are related. So is drug addiction (West Virginia has by far the highest rate of opioid addiction — four times higher than Texas, almost certainly the result of the astonishing fact that seven in 10 West Virginians have been prescribed opioids).

Unemployment is especially severe in the coal-oriented southwestern counties of McDowell, Boone, Wyoming, Mingo and Logan, which have lost at least a quarter of their jobs over half a decade, the result of environmental regulation and the competitive cost of natural gas, a rival fuel source. In those places, as elsewhere, internet connections are pitiable, roads beyond the highways often are tortuous, and the refugees to brighter prospects out of state tend to be younger, better educated and better trained.

“The result is a vicious cycle where the losses make the area less attractive, and that drives away more businesses,” said John Deskins, who heads the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at West Virginia University. “It is very hard to halt that. All the tools government has are better at boosting development of areas that are on the upswing than in helping communities that are in decline. They are better at accelerating growth than reversing momentum.”

West Virginia is experiencing in the third decade of the 21st century what Iowa experienced in the last decade of the 20th century, when small towns shrank, a farm-credit crunch pinched many farmers, and broader economic changes squeezed the state’s economy. In those years, some farmers burned their barns rather than pay taxes on them.

Exactly 30 years ago, I visited Alden, Iowa, just when Linda and Tom Jass decided to abandon the family corn and soybean fields near the Iowa River, leaving Mrs. Jass’ parents, both in their 70s, to tend to the sheep and crops in a town that hadn’t had a grocery store, a doctor or a police officer in a generation. Mr. Jass told me at the time that he had lost “a ton of money” in the richest soil in the world. He had no idea where he was going to go, only that he was determined to leave.

I caught up with him the other day and discovered that the couple left shortly after we talked.

They relocated to South Dakota, where his wife taught sixth grade and he managed absentee-owner farmlands.

“I worry that small towns struggle,” said Mr. Jass. “But I am glad we left when we did.”

Mrs. Jass has no regrets. “We have enjoyed our new home and we love the town, and we love being close to Sioux Falls,” she said. “Our kids all found great spouses, and it has worked out really well. We still have family and friends back in Alden, but we are settled here in South Dakota. We are staying put, right where we are.”

What struck me all those years ago, and what seems especially poignant now, are the remarks of their son Luke. “The chances that I’ll be a farmer in Alden are almost nonexistent,” he said at age 14. “Farmers are always in debt, they don’t have any fun, they work hard and they don’t get anything out of it. I’ll do anything but farm.”

He was true to his word. Though he now works for the agricultural powerhouse Cargill Inc. in Minneapolis, he is in the company’s IT department. “I never liked it there much,” he said of his hometown of Alden. “The opportunities weren’t there.”

West Virginia is determined to avoid the phenomenon that sent the Jass family fleeing north. The state legislature passed a bill to make it easier for remote workers to operate out of the state, canceling sales and income taxes for the first 30 days of telecommuting, and lawmakers next year will consider a proposal to make the state more attractive to migrants by eliminating the income tax completely.

“This has been a big topic in the state and the driving force behind a lot of our politics,” said Sean O’Leary, a senior policy analyst at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. “We can’t grow economically without people. As our population declines, the older and unhealthy members of our state still have growing needs.”
In the years between 2010 and 2018, 27,000 more people left West Virginia than moved in. It may be almost heaven, but the problem is that it is almost empty.

David M. Shribman is the former executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Follow him on Twitter at ShribmanPG.

Read more
This post originally posted here usnews

This week in West Virginia history – coalvalleynews.com

July 4, 1882: The steamboats Scioto and John Lomas collided on the Ohio River as they were returning from holiday excursions. The Scioto sank almost instantly, and 70 people drowned.

July 4, 1918: Poet Muriel Miller Dressler was born in Kanawha County. Her poem ‘‘Appalachia,’’ published in 1970, was her signature piece.

July 4, 1928: West Virginia dedicated Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park. Droop Mountain was the site of one of the most important Civil War battles fought on West Virginia soil.

July 4, 1938: Musician Bill Withers Jr. was born into a miner’s family of 13 children in Slab Fork, Raleigh County. In 1971, Withers released his first album, “Just As I Am,” including his first Grammy-winning song, “Ain’t No Sunshine.” In 2015 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

July 5, 1896: Cartoonist Kendall Vintroux was born at Fraziers Bottom. He began his career with the Charleston Gazette when he submitted a cartoon about the town of Poca’s first paved road. Many of his drawings are now in the collection of the University of Charleston.

July 5, 1950: Army Private Kenneth Shadrick of Wyoming County was the first U.S. serviceman killed in action in the Korean War.

July 6, 1806: Statesman Charles James Faulkner was born in Martinsburg. Faulkner served in the West Virginia legislature, U.S. Congress (1851–59), and as U.S. minister to France.

July 6, 1848: Historian Virgil A. Lewis was born in Mason County. In 1905, Governor Dawson appointed Lewis as the first director of the Bureau of Archives and History.

July 6, 1883: Judge ‘‘R.D.’’ Bailey was born at Baileysville, Wyoming County. Bailey came into wide prominence as the judge of the Matewan Massacre trial in 1921.

July 7, 1928: The Madonna of the Trail monument was dedicated in Wheeling. It is one of the 12 such statues erected along the National Road to honor America’s pioneering women.

July 8, 1894: Walter Aegerter was born in Helvetia. An amateur photographer, Aegerter built both a studio and darkroom on his farm and photographed portraits, families, celebrations and everyday scenes of the German Swiss settlement. The glass plate negatives survive today in several archived collections.

July 8, 1924: Rock ’n’ roll pioneer Johnnie Johnson was born in Fairmont. Johnson collaborated with Chuck Berry on songs such as ‘‘Roll Over, Beethoven.’’ Berry’s hit ‘‘Johnny B. Goode’’ was written as a tribute to Johnson.

July 8, 1961: Sutton Dam was dedicated by Gov. Wally Barron. The Army Corps of Engineers operates the dam for purposes of flood control, low-flow augmentation, and recreation.

July 9, 1942: An explosion at the Pursglove No. 2 Mine at Scotts Run near Morgantown killed 20 men. It was one of three fatal accidents at the mining operation in an eight-month period.

July 9, 1989: Treasurer A. James Manchin resigned after being impeached. With a stock market downturn in 1987, Manchin bore much of the blame when the state lost nearly $ 300 million in investments for which he was responsible.

July 10, 1769: Physician Jesse Bennet was born. He performed the first successful caesarian section in America in 1794, on his own wife and without proper equipment and with no antiseptics. He later established a large practice in Mason County and served as an Army surgeon in the War of 1812.

July 10, 1936: The temperature in Martinsburg reached 112 degrees. It tied the record for hottest temperature on record, which had been set August 4, 1930, at Moorefield.

Read more
This post originally posted here usnews

West Nile virus detected in South Dakota

The virus has been detected in mosquito pools in Brookings and Codington counties, state health officials said. They urged South Dakotans to take steps to protect themselves and their families against West Nile virus, which can cause fever, headaches, rash, swollen lymph nodes and muscle and joint aches.

“Given the rural nature of our state and increased outdoor activities during the summer, protecting yourself against mosquito bites remains an important factor against West Nile infection,” said Dr. Joshua Clayton, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health, in a news release. “Something as simple as using bug spray or limiting activities between dusk-to-dawn hours can reduce your infection risk significantly.”

Personal precautions against West Nile virus are most important for those at the highest risk for the virus, state health officials say. Those people include those over age 50, pregnant women, transplant patients, individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure and those with a history of alcohol abuse. People with severe or unusual headaches should see their physicians.

Prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of WNV with the following precautions:

  • Apply mosquito repellents (DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus 2-undecanone, param-menthane-diol, or IR3535) to clothes and exposed skin. Limit exposure by wearing pants and long sleeves in the evening;
  • Limit time outdoors from dusk to midnight when mosquitoes are most active. The mosquito species Culex tarsalis are the primary carrier of West Nile virus in South Dakota;
  • Remove standing water that gives mosquitoes a place to breed. Regularly change water in bird baths, outside pet dishes, and drain water from other flowerpots and garden containers and stay away from areas near standing water;
  • Support local mosquito control efforts.

No human cases of West Nile virus have yet been found in South Dakota. Nationwide, 11 cases have been reported including in North Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Texas and Arizona as of July 13, according to the Department of Health. One West Nile fatality, in California, was reported last week.

Models current predict South Dakota will have 85 cases of West Nile virus cases this year, considered a moderate amount.

Since its first human WNV case in 2002, the state has reported 2,634 human cases, including 850 hospitalizations and 46 deaths. Every county has reported cases.

For more information on West Nile virus and prevention steps, visit the Department of Health’s website, DOH.SD.GOV.

Read more
This post originally posted here usnews

Progressives Demand Green New Deal as New York Floods and The West Overheats

By Sharon Zhang, Truthout
July 9, 2021

Frustrated by the sidelining of the climate crisis in recent infrastructure negotiations between the White House and a bipartisan group of senators, House progressives have sent a letter to House leadership demanding action on the climate in the form of a Green New Deal and climate provisions in the infrastructure bill and the Democrats’ upcoming reconciliation bill.

“As the urgency to invest in public climate infrastructure and jobs intensifies each day, we urge you to work with us to deliver robust and lasting investments at a scale that directly addresses the climate crisis,” the progressives, led by Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri), wrote to House leaders Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-South Carolina), as reported by CBS.

Indeed, over just the past weeks, the U.S. has been hit with climate emergency after climate emergency. The western U.S. experienced a record heat wave and is bracing for another. “Firenados” are becoming more frequent in California and New York City’s subways are flooding before tropical storm Elsa has even hit the region. Meanwhile, the Gulf of Mexico caught on fire due to an oil spill.

Most, if not all, of these emergencies have been brought on and worsened by the climate crisis. Yet, over the past weeks, as the country was hit with overlapping and seemingly unending climate disasters, the White House accepted drastic cuts to its infrastructure plan — including measures that would address the crisis.
The letter, which was signed by progressives like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), as well as other member of the “squad,” calls for stronger and more immediate measures to address the climate crisis than the White House is currently proposing.

“We are very concerned that the American Jobs Plan (AJP), and more so the bipartisan compromise as it presently stands, will not reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving the climate crisis to the extent that science and justice require,” the 11 representatives wrote. “We need a jobs and infrastructure plan that meets demands laid out in the Green New Deal.”

The lawmakers, while encouraged by Democrats’ growing calls of “no climate, no deal” on the infrastructure bill, say that the White House needs to push funding for frontline communities, provisions for tribal sovereignty and labor protections. They also emphasize that strong climate provisions are vital for the upcoming reconciliation bill.
Their list of priorities for the bill include proposals like $ 1 trillion for developing public renewable energy with union-backed workers, $ 250 billion for climate justice funding, $ 600 billion for public transportation and electrification of the public transit sector, and money for public housing and a Civilian Climate Corps.

“Any investments we make should prioritize frontline communities, ensure respect for tribal sovereignty, and include strong labor standards and protections,” the letter read. “This is the very least we can do to avert the worst of the climate crisis. Anything less would be unacceptable and an abdication of our global responsibility.”
Progressive lawmakers have also been emphasizing the importance of immediate climate action online, taking aim at Republican and moderate arguments that action on the climate crisis is too expensive or that bipartisanship is necessary to legislate in Congress.

“Firenados in northern California. Ocean fires in the Gulf of Mexico. Subway waterfalls in New York City. A heat dome in the Northwest melting power cables, killing hundreds and frying marine animals,” wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) on Friday. “I have been told that combatting climate change is expensive. Compared to what?”

Read more
This post originally posted here usnews

Prepare for Your Journey as Weird West Hits Xbox This Fall

Hello Xbox community! We’ve been working away on our debut title Weird West for a while now, and we’re extremely excited to announce that it’s coming to Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S this Fall. As this is the first time we’re writing to you, we figured we’d give you an exclusive look at two of the journeys you’ll be taking during your time in the Old West.

Weird West

Weird West is a third-person immersive sim set in a dark fantasy reimagining of the Old West. Gunslingers, evil stalking the night, ritual performers, and people cursed to live freakish lives fill the world with unique and exciting encounters. And beware: Your ally can quickly become your foe as you hunt for the meaning of the burning mark at the heart of your story.

Weird West features five intertwined Journeys, and here we’ll dip into two of them, the Oneirist and the Pigman.

Weird West

The Oneirists have spent their time in the West perfecting the art of future telling to protect the land from its own dark devices. As a new initiate to their order, you’ll begin the Oneirist journey by slipping into your first vision trance that shows you a much grimmer future than initiates normally see. Your journey won’t be an easy one—a whole future hangs in the balance—but with a heap of magical abilities, alongside a six shooter or two, you’ll have as good a shot as you could hope for to save the West from what’s coming.

Weird West

Moving on to something a little different now: the Pigman journey. You were a man once, sure, but now your body’s been transformed into half-human half-pig by somebody with a bone to pick. Now you’re unsightly. Disgusting to the people you once knew; even entering a town in Weird West will cause folks to shout insults, or worse—sic the law on you. As your journey begins, you’ll thirst for one thing and one thing only: to find the person who did this to you and discover their reasons for doing it. But looking like a monster brings out the worst in people, so don’t expect it to be an easy ride.

Weird West

These are just two of the five journeys you’ll take in Weird West, where no two are the same. As an immersive experience, you’ll create posse’s, form friendships, and enemies.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, we’re extremely excited to be releasing on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S this Fall. Follow @WolfEyeGames and @devolverdigital for all the latest info on Weird West.

Read more
This post originally posted here Xbox Wire

This is the Fastest Shrinking Place in West Virginia

The U.S. population grew by just 0.35% between July 2019 and July 2020, the smallest annual growth rate in well over a century. Driven in part by restrictions on immigration and a declining birth rate, stagnant population growth may have profound and far reaching consequences — including reduced economic growth, stagnanting home values, and fewer workers to support an aging population.

This trend is by no means unique to last year. Over the past decade, cities and towns across the country have reported rapid population decline.

The city of Nitro has the fastest shrinking population in West Virginia, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Currently home to an estimated 6,000 people, Nitro’s population declined by 15.3% from 2010 to 2019. Meanwhile, West Virginia’s population contracted by just -1.3% over the same period.

Read more
This post originally posted here usnews

Next State of Play date revealed? Horizon Forbidden West, God of War, PSVR2 update inbound

Gamescom 2021 is launching on August 25, and an air date before then was the only window PS5 fans previously had for the next big PlayStation stream.

But now Serrano has given an update, pinpointing the exact date and time the next State of Play could take place in a new Twitter post online.

And Serrano has claimed the upcoming August 2021 State of Play will kick off on Thursday August 12 at 10pm BST.

Serrano tweeted: “PlayStation Event. August 12, 2021. 2pm PT / 5pm ET / 11pm CEST.

“Updates on the next God of War, Horizon Forbidden West, the next generation of PlayStation VR and more”.

While Sony hasn’t confirmed there will be a State of Play this summer, the PS5 makers did appear to hint they would be dropping some major announcements soon.

Best NL West players Still Not Elected to Hall of Fame

With all 30 MLB teams opening their stadiums in some capacity, fans are filling up ballparks once again.

KNOXVILLE, TN, UNITED STATES, July 9, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) failed to elect any new members in the Hall of Fame for 2021. This marks the first shutout in eight years. For a player to be inducted, they must receive 75% of the total ballots. Since voting began in 1936, this rare occurrence has only happened nine times.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t quality players waiting to hear their name called. Every team has its own list of Hall of Fame hopefuls. Let’s explore the credentials for the best players from each NL West team.

Best NL West players


Arizona Diamondbacks

On stats alone, Curt Schilling is perhaps one of the most deserving. A former World Series MVP, Schilling has dominated in the postseason. He’s posted a 2.23 ERA in 19 career playoff starts. Despite playing for several teams, the pitcher reached his pinnacle with the Diamondbacks. He retired with 216 wins and 3,116 Ks, ranking him 15th in all-time strikeouts. While few deny his accomplishments on the field, some voters have voiced concerns about his life off the diamond. Despite gaining in recent years, Schilling asked to be removed from the ballot after only getting 70% of the votes in 2020.

Colorado Rockies

Another player with a strong argument, Todd Helton is one of only eight players to finish with at least 350 homers and a .315 batting average. Spending his entire, 17-season career with the same team, Todd Helton is also the only Rockies player to have his number retired. Even though his fellow teammate Larry Walker just got inducted last year, Todd Helton continues to wait for his call.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Adrián Beltré and his abrupt exit from the Dodgers have left many voters (and fans) wondering “what if.” Signed as a 19-year-old prospect out of the Dominican Republic, he left during his seventh season with the Dodgers. Playing with several other clubs, the third baseman went on to nap five Gold Gloves and was a four-time All-Star.

San Diego Padres

Gary Sheffield played a remarkable 22 seasons, but only two of these were spent in San Diego. Yet they were probably the best of his career. Other than Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, the outfielder is the only other Padres player to win a batting title. However, he received less than 41% of the BBWAA’s votes in 2021. This leaves him as a long shot to ever get elected.

San Francisco Giants

Like Schilling, Barry Bonds obviously merits consideration on production alone. His 762-career home run is the most in league history. However, his link to steroids and the performance-enhancing drug era has derailed his candidacy. Next year will be his final year on the ballot.

Caroline Hunter
Web Presence, LLC
+1 786-551-9491
email us here