20 Years Ago
Week of October 24, 2002
Love to Learn Program Stresses Importance of Reading to Kids
First Lady Sandy Wise
One of my favorite things to do is read to children. I love to sit with a child on my lap and share a good story—and, more importantly, reading helps our children learn. That’s why I launched Love to Learn.
Love to Learn is about preparing children for school from the moment they are born, through the everyday loving activities of their parents and caregivers. I wanted to do something to support West Virginia parents by providing information and helpful hints about reading and talking to young children.
There is scientific evidence that reinforces the importance of reading and talking to young children. A young child’s experiences affect how the brain grows and develops. This, in turn, impacts every aspect of a child’s life.
A baby’s brain grows rapidly in the first three years of life. Because this growth is so important, children love to learn. Learning experiences are as important to them as eating or sleeping.
Experts tell us that young children must first build a foundation for future learning. Children need a warm and intimate relationship with parents and caregivers. They need opportunities to explore their world and feel safe while they do.
It’s a simple idea that can make a profound difference for West Virginia’s children and their future. By building a solid foundation for future learning, our children will be ready for school and for the challenges that face them as they grow.
30 Years Ago
Week of October 22, 1992
Halloween symbols go back to a time when people, young and old, lived in real dread of goblins and ghosts, of witches and cats—especially at Halloween. The Celtic people who lived more than 2,000 years ago feared the evening of October 31 more than any other time of the year. It was the eve of their festival of Samhein, Lord of the Dead. Evil spirits were everywhere! Celtic people who became Christians were told that the fire rites they had held for the Lord of the Dead on October 31 would now protect them against the Devil — the enemy of God and the Christian church.
Many symbols of Halloween are evident in our community. The Halloween traditions call for costume-dressed children, “trick or treating” and partying. What a fun time this will be for people, young and old!
Chicory: This Plant
Is Not Just for Coffee Any More
In Europe, chicory is grown as a leafy winter vegetable whose roots are forced to produce shoots for salads or for cooking. The large taproots of the plants can be roasted as a coffee substitute or additive. Roots of witloof chicory contain high levels of sugar and have been used for alcohol production in Russia.
Chicory has been little used for animal grazing, mainly because of its stemmy nature and tendency to run to seed. In recent years, however, New Zealand scientists have successfully selected a much leafier and more productive variety of chicory named “Grasslands Puna.”
When grown as pasture in New Zealand and Australia, Grasslands Puna has produced high yields of dry matter in summer and fall and is very palatable and of high quality for grazing dairy and beef cattle and sheep.
Scientists and farmers in West Virginia and Pennsylvania are cooperating to examine the potential of this forage plant in the northeast United States.
40 Years Ago
Week of October 14, 1982
Accumulation of Leaves Can Damage Lawns
Thinking about putting off leaf raking until every leaf is off your trees? You may want to think again.
Besides being unsightly, that bed of leaves covering your yard can cause a good bit of damage to the lawn beneath it.
West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service specialists suggest that you promptly remove leaves that fall on grass or groundcovers.
The specialists explain that as leaves fall they layer themselves. That is, they create a mat that cuts off normal light, air and water to the grass or groundcover.
This is especially critical if you have a new lawn in which the grass isn’t well established. This tender young grass can’t stand long periods of being covered with leaves.
If you have an established lawn, you may not need to rake the leaves. Instead, you might be able to mulch them by running over them with a lawn mower.
Leaves cut into small pieces will decay and add organic matter to the soil.
The leaves you rake up this fall needn’t be a further problem after they are gathered. In fact, they can be of some value.
Rather than searching for a way of hauling them off or disposing of them, use them in a compost, which later can be used where you need to improve the soil.
If you are thinking about raking the leaves up around shrubs and leaving them there for a mulch, try grinding or mulching them first. Whole leaves bed down and cut off light, air and water to your shrubs and small trees.
Ever since the colonial days, Amercan farm lore has stated that the wooly bear forecasts the weather of the coming winter. If the brown band around the caterpillar’s center is broad, the winter will be mild and vice versa. The brown band was wide on all the wooly worms that the writer observed here this fall.
The first killing frost here was October 18. On Upper Thorn Creek, gardens were damaged by frost August 29.
After the first snowstorm of the season Saturday, the air was nippy on Sunday, but it was a nice bright day to take a ride in the countryside. Richard Ruddle, Jr., was doing this in his horsedrawn buggy, thus giving the sightseers an excellent display of the so-called good old days at Ruddle.
60 Years Ago
Week of October 18, 1962
100 YEARS AGO
By LON K. SAVAGE
Editor’s Note—The following is one of a series of articles on the Civil War. Each weekly installment covers events which occurred exactly 100 years ago.
McClellan to Advance
President Lincoln again was getting impatient with his top field general 100 years ago this week.
Since the bloody battle of Antietam September 17, Gen. George B. McClellan had been organizing his forces in the west Maryland countryside just north of the Potomac River. To the southwest, at Winchester, Va., his old enemy, Gen. Robert E. Lee, regrouped his forces. Richmond lay 150 miles off to the southeast, a littler nearer to McClellan than to Lee.
But a month had elapsed, and McClellan made no move. It was the same delaying game he had played the previous winter when he refused to leave Washington and march on Richmond. Lincoln was growing just as impatient this fall as he had the preceding one.
In early October, McClellan received a wire from Gen. Henry W. Hallack in Washington. “The Pesident directs,” Hallack said, “that you cross the Potomac and give battle to the enemy or drive him south…”
It did no good.
Finally, another message came in, and it appeared Lincoln was reaching the end of his patience. “Are you not,” the President wrote McClellan, “Overcautious when you assume that you cannot do what the enemy is constantly doing?”
“Change positions with Lee, and think you not he would break your communications with Richmond in twenty-four hours? Why cannot you reach Richmond before him, unless you admit that he is more than your equal on a march? His route is the arc of a circle; yours the chord. Should he move towards Richmond, why not press him closely, fight him if a favorable opportunity presents and at least try to beat him to Richmond on the inside track?
“If we cannot beat the enemy where he now is, we never can, he again being within the entrenchments of Richmond?”
But still, it did no good.
And then, as if to rub salt in his wounds, McClellan was subjected to another humiliation by another old opponent, the dashing young Confederate Gen. James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart.For before Lincoln had written his message to McClellan, Stuart returned from a repeat performance of his famous stunt the preceding spring at Richmond. He again had ridden around McClellan’s army.
On his latest trip, Stuart had set out with his cavalry, 1,800 strong, crossed the Potomac near Williamsport, Md., rode on to Mercersburg, Pa., and then to Chambersburg, Pa., where he demanded and received its surrender.
There, he seized 500 horses, a quantity of uniforms, shoes and clothing in the shops, (paying for them in Confederate money) and destroyed the town’s machine shop, railroad station and rolling railroad stock. After bivouacking in the streets, he rode south again down the Monocacy Valley and recrossed the Potomac, having circled McClellan’s army again.
Even Northerners praised the audacity of the stunt.
Next week: McClellan Enters Virginia.
Two Cows Here
Contrary to popular belief, lightnig frequently strikes twice in the same place.
This is the opinion of Gerald Kimble of Riverton who has had enough experience with it to know.
During a severe electrical storm on the night of October 7, lightning struck and killed two of Kimble’s milk cows. They were standing under a cedar tree in a field near his home not far from the Seneca Caverns.
And to prove that lightning bolts favor the same targets year after year, Kimble said lightning killed two cows in just about the same spot 13 years ago and three lambs 10 years ago.
Kimble said he never goes near the cedar tree during electrical storms.
Something to Celebrate!
by Carl R. Sullivan,
Exec. Dir., West Virginia Centennial Commission
The sentence that appears in the upper left-hand corner (Look to the wealth of West Virginia) has a deceptive simplicity:
It is really a most important reminder for us, as West Virginia begins to count her blessings. Now, rather than keeping her hands clapped over her eyes in despair, she is at least peeking through her fingers at the brighter promise of what can be.
We are beginning to look to our wealth. And, as our eyes grow accustomed to the light of hope, we can feel the initial stirrings of excitement, the birth of a cautious but living optimism about our future. We are discovering that the more we look to our wealth—with our eyes clear and our sleeves rolled up—the richer we find them.
Other contributors to this series have described these wealths in terms of spiritual heritage and natural resource. The wealth that I’d explore with you is one you may not have considered a wealth: the wonder of our Centennial arriving exactly when we need it!
Shakespeare said, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, lead on to fortune.”
Now, just as we are aswirl in the turning of our economic tide, we are given this great gift of our one hundredth birthday—miraculously timed to help us mark the tidal crest, to take it at its flood, and ride it forward to undreamed-of fortune.
Certainly, West Virginia has had more than her share of problems. But as Henry J. Kaiser said, “Problems are opportunities in work clothes.” And the biggest problems can rebound in the greatest accomplishment. The deeper the trough, the stronger swells the wave that follows; the further back the string is drawn, the straighter speeds the arrow. Such is the way of history’s turning points. This Centennial year is opportunity timed to the rhythm of our destiny; it can and must be celebrated in the grandest tradition, to accomplish real and lasting benefits for the entire state.
An imaginatively planned, successfully implemented Centennial effort demands the combined dedication and enthusiasm of us all. Our enthusiasm, focused properly, will lend a bright new luster to our many wealths. I can assure you that it will bring tourists in new numbers, stimulate expanded industrial and commercial development, give new value to the things we make and sell, and enhance our state’s prestige and standing. It will remind us—and show the world—how our mountain heritage has readied us to stand tall in the modern community of states; how West Virginians can put shoulder to shoulder to get a job done.