20 Years Ago
Week of June 19, 2003
Reenactment on Seneca Rocks to Be Aired on TV
The reenactment of the successful rescue of a climber who fell more than 100 feet in Colorado was filmed at Seneca Rocks two weeks ago by Brain Box, a Maryland-based production company.
The story of the climber’s rescue is slated to be televised on the Discovery Channel in “September or October,” said Curtis Crigler, a member of the Pendleton County Tactical Rescue Team, who took part in the reenactment along with Jay Benkert, Greg Feagans and several members of the North Fork Rescue Squad and the Seneca Rocks Volunteer Fire Department.
It was simply much less expensive for Brain Box to film here, Crigler said, than to “drag all their people and equipment to Colorado and spend money going out West.”
Benkert and Feagans, Crigler said, “were the paramedics who reenacted patient care and patient treatment.”
Brain Box, he noted, used four camera operators that day, and the producers were extremely “efficient” in shooting.
“They knew what they wanted and how to get it,” he said. “Our people doctored an actor and then lowered a “prop.” It was interesting. The only thing that might not have suited Brain Box was that it was a windy day. But it was actors, camera crew and the whole nine yards, a reenactment of the whole thing.”
Crigler said he supposed it was the “length of the fall and that the climber survived” that made the incident worthy of being dramatized and filmed for broadcast this fall on the Discovery Channel.
Deaths Exceed Births In West Virginia
Data compiled for 2001 by the West Virginia Health Statistics Center show that the state’s population dropped by nearly 7,000 between 2000 and 2001 and that population in 38 of the state’s 55 counties declined in that year.
The Health Statistics Center’s data also showed that, for the fifth successive year, there were more deaths than births in West Virginia.
The oldest person to pass away in the state in 2001 was a 115-year-old man. The oldest female to die was 111.
That data also shows that heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in this state.
30 Years Ago
Week of June 17, 1993
A single penny used to be an immense fortune years ago. Of course, during the Depression, there wasn’t much money to go around so the pennies were clutched firmly. Then too, there were so many things in gleaming jars at the store to choose from: taffy, horehound drops, gum drops, jelly beans, lemon drops, licorice whips, and chocolate to name a few in the candy section. Naturally, chocolate tasted so good—but was gone too fast! Burnt peanuts would fetch the most for a penny; peppermint sticks disappeared slowly; and the caramel could be counted on to stick to the teeth.
There were countless other items to be purchased with a penny but the candy was an instant treasure. Nowadays, pennies seem to be a nuisance—to be added weight in pockets or handbags. They usually end up in a jar or a piggy bank. What a drastic change for the penny!
40 Years Ago
Week of June 16, 1983
In South Branch River Being Investigated
Department of Natural Resources personnel are investigating an extensive fish kill in the South Branch of the Potomac River south of Franklin that has been termed one of the worst incidents of its kind that has occurred in recent years in eastern West Virginia.
The deadly pollution of the streams was discovered last Friday evening when residents living along the river noticed dead fish floating down the river and cloudy water in the stream.
“Everything alive was wiped out for a distance of 3.4 miles,” said Gerald Lewis of Romney, district game and fish biologist for the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources.
“A partial kill occurred for a distance of an additional 1.8 miles,” Lewis said. “This is a total distance of 5.2 miles that the agent, apparently some type of chemical, was effective, which indicated that it was very potent and possibly a considerable quantity of it.
The area of the river affected by the pollutant began in the vicinty of the Ivan Stone farm 13 miles south of Franklin and extended down stream from there.
Forest Grady of Romney, district supervisor of the Water Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources, said samples of water have been sent to the state laboratory at Charleston to be analyzed to identify the chemical that was the polluting agent.
“Whatever it was,” commented Grady, “it was deadly. It wiped out everything in the stream for a distance of more than three miles and it killed a lot of fish and other aquatic life for more than two more miles. It is the worst case of water poisioning that has occurred in eastern West Virginia that I know of, and I have been working here 30 years.”
“A total of 24,500 fish, including trout, suckers and minnows, were killed in the area,” Lewis reported. He estimated the monetary damage caused by the pollutant at $2,558.67, which includes the value of the fish killed and the cost of the investigation.
Lewis ascertained the number of fish killed by walking the entire length of the stream affected and counting the number of dead fish over a distance of 100 yards every half mile. He said many of the dead fish were native brook trout, and the biggest fish he saw was a 15-inch brown trout.
Lewis said the chemical caused not only a direct loss in the number of fish killed, but it also caused an indirect recreational loss because it would be some time before that particular section of the river regains a similar population of fish.
“Chemical spills will happen,” Grady commented, “and if they are promptly reported, it makes it much easier to take the corrective steps that are necessary.”
Can Help People Grow
By: Raymond Blum
Not long ago, I read a magazine article involving a camping trip. This couple was touring the East Coast by motorcycle and spent a night in a private campground outside of Conway, New Hampshire. Because of crowding, they were forced to spend the night at a site that was recently bulldozed open. After their tent was pitched, they sat back to relax when four college age lads took the last remaining site next to them.
This was apparently their first camping trip and when their vintage tent was pitched, one of the men went up on the hill, cut down a green pine tree, hauled it down to the camp and poured Coleman fuel on it. Someone else lit a match and with a terrifying WOOSH, the tree was ablaze.
While this was going on, another young man straightened out a coat hanger, speared three hot dogs and roasted them over the fire. All four of these guys stood staring into the fire when one of them said, “Ya know, it just doesn’t get any better than this,” The other three shook their heads confirming the fact that this was the best moment in their lives.
Now, let’s move a bit closer to home. Two weeks ago, several of us from the Seneca Rocks Visitor Center were at Spruce Knob Lake when the stock truck pulled up. A crowd immediately assembled and several men literally hung on the truck waiting for the fish to pour out. As the fish cascaded out of a long tube into the lake, one man was even trying to snag a fish before it hit the water. Before the fish had a chance to realize what was happening, everyone was throwing out their lines in the hopes of catching a fish. The man who tried to snag a fish was in heaven. Not only did he make the first cast, he even managed to catch the first fish. His eyes sparkled with delight, and I’m sure that if I had yelled, “Yeah, it just doesn’t get any better than this,” he would have agreed. This was the supreme experience, the pinnacle of outdoors-ness. It just doesn’t get, we have been told, any better than this. Well, gentlemen, let me assure you, it does get better than that, infinitely better.
Now, I have nothing against camping or fishing for I dearly love them both. But I love the quality and purity of the experience more than anything else. My wife, children and I are enthusiastic campers, and I dearly love to watch my children catch fish. But these experiences help us grow as a family and as individuals. It doesn’t really matter if we catch fish or if we have a campfire, but whatever we do, it will be done ethically as a way to further understand and respect the out-of-doors. I hope that as you all seek the friendship, quietness, and enjoy the experience of the outdoors this summer, you will strive for inner growth and help to improve the quality of our forests.
60 Years Ago
Week of June 27, 1963
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.
Lee Nears Gettysburg, Faces Meade’s Army
A gentle rain fell on the Potomac River 100 years ago this week as Confederate General Robert E. Lee, astride his horse, Traveller, splashed across the shallow Potomac River into Maryland. As he rode, factories were closing down in Pittsburgh, Pa., so that the workers could dig trenches around the city; in Philadelphia, veterans of the War of 1812 formed a regiment to protect their city, and in southeastern Pennsylvania, farmers fled their homes and drove their cattle northward.
It was June 25, and Lee was in the midst of his most important invasion of the Civil War. Ahead of him, his army of 80,000 was stretched out through western Maryland and southeastern Pennsylvania, causing panic in dozens of towns and cities and threatening, it seemed, the entire northeast. Dick Ewell, leading the most advanced corps, already was at Chambersburg, Pa., having moved through Sharpsburg, Md. Lee’s other two corps—commanded by James Longstreet and A. P. Hill—were spreading out into the Maryland countryside. A London Times correspondent predicted Lee might soon be riding triumphantly up Broadway in New York City.
Indeed, Lee’s army moved as if it were about to capture the entire northeast. Ewell pushed on to Carlisle, 20 miles east of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capitol, and Lee told him to go ahead and capture it if he could. Ewell sent “Old Jubilation” Early farther east where he captured York, Pa., and held it under ransom, collecting 1,200 pairs of shoes, 1,000 hats, three days’ rations and $28,000 in money. Early cut railroads and looked as if he might move north on Philadelphia or south on Baltimore or Washington. Ewell pushed up to the river across from Harrisburg, and the people listened in horror as cannons boomed around their town.
But “Fighting Joe” Hooker, who had been left behind with his Federal army in Virginia, was racing northward to get between Lee’s army and Washington. On June 27th, as Ewell reached Carlisle, Hooker completed the job of moving his army across the Potomac into Maryland just west of Washington, and as he crossed he called out for reenforcements—demanded, in fact, that either he get reenforcements or he would resign.
President Lincoln quickly complied—not by sending reenforcements but by accepting Hooker’s resignation. He had grown tired of Hooker’s indecision, and he sent an aide into the Federal camp, where the aide awoke scholarly General George C. Meade and informed him he was now commander of the Army of the Potomac, succeeding Hooker.
Meanwhile, Lee had run into trouble. His infantry now was ranging across the Pennsylvania countryside, but his cavalry—the “eyes” of his army—was nowhere to be seen. Dashing “Jeb” Stuart, his cavalry commander, somehow had gotten in between Hooker’s army and Washington (Stuart was in sight of the nation’s capitol once) and was busy capturing and plundering Federal supply trains.
But Lee needed information about Hooker’s movements, and Stuart was not there to give it. It was not until June 28th that Lee learned of Hooker’s movements, and he realized that he just consolidated his army. Orders went out, and the three Confederate corps began converging—Early moving south, Longstreet and Hill moving east.
Their roads came together at a little town called Gettysburg, Pa., and when they arrived there, they found Federals waiting. The scene had been set for the western hemisphere’s greatest battle.
Next week: Gettysburg.
To Speed Mail Delivery
A new system of mail addressing will go into effect in the United States July 1.
Known as the “ZIP Code,” the new addressing system includes a five-digit code number which is added to the end of the customary address. A different code number is assigned to each post office in the United States.