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Local Columns

History in the Hills: Consider Ohio River’s role

Whether we realize it or not, our history is tied to the Ohio River. Flowing through our community over millennia, the river cut the Ohio Valley deeply, giving us the landscape we are all familiar with. Looking back to the earliest history of this area, we can assume that there has been ...

Trump’s defenders have adopted a doctrine of infallibility

There’s a reason people think President Trump has a cult of personality, but it may not be the reason you think. Yes, there are those who think Trump was delivered to us by God and that his decisions and actions are imbued with divine providence and authority. But that sort of stuff is ...

Flipping the switch on Automatic Voter Registration

Social media anymore is so filled with misinformation that sometimes my tolerance for nonsense breaks. I’m at that point now with the falsehoods being spread by lawmakers, activists, and even some media in regards to Automatic Voter Registration, or AVR for short. First, the usual ...

Thoughts of what I’m not and what I am

My thoughts have turned recently to what I am and what I’m not. The latter would include not being a world traveler or even a U.S. one for that matter, which sometimes makes me feel a bit guilty or at least a little uncomfortable in circles where the conversation flows freely about joyful ...

What can you do to beautify your town?

Unfortunately, trash along our roads is an everyday thing in our world. People eat in their vehicles, and instead of keeping it until they reach their destination, they throw it out their windows. Items fly out of the back of trucks. We drop papers as we walk along the sidewalk, not even ...

Some more potpourri from Charleston

The September legislative interim meetings start this morning, as does the resumption of the special session. You thought that was over? Nope. The special session for “education betterment,” called by Gov. Jim Justice the day after the 2019 legislative session ended on March 9 after he ...

Having a sibling who’s a year-round Santa

“Oh, that Linda!” That’s the reaction Better Half and I always say collectively or independently whenever a package arrives from my oldest sister, who lives in South Carolina. If ever there were a generous, gift-giving spirit it is Linda, and I have been the beneficiary of her good ...

Road work needs to be taken care of

This past week, representatives of the West Virginia Department of Transportation were in our area as part of a public workshop to receive comment on a series of alternative proposals for improvements to state Route 2 through New Cumberland. In particular, the area identified as Ridge Avenue, ...

History in the Hills: Our place in history

The place we live in is so important. It has the power to shape who we are and what we do with our future. The place I love and the place that has shaped me is the Ohio Valley. I grew up here, not during the boom years of the mills and factories, but during the so-called de-industrialization ...

Striving for the only acceptance that matters

Colossians 3:1-4 — Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your ...

Follow the Constitution, or bring our troops home

Some 1,600 years ago, in the year 410 AD, barbarian armies underneath King Alaric captured the ancient city of Rome, ransacking and pillaging the center of the Roman Empire. The fall of the once-great capital sent terrifying shockwaves throughout the Western world, triggering St. Jerome to ...

Placing the dunce cap on our schools

I’ve spent the last few days pouring over the data from the second annual Balanced Scorecard report on the performance of West Virginia’s schools, and I’m really kind of appalled at the results for the students we’re pushing into college or the workforce. This weekend I focused on the ...

Pretty cool having Aunt Betty as my neighbor

It’s pretty cool being next-door neighbors with Aunt Betty. That’s a definite perk of returning to my roots and living in the family homestead where my father was born, where Houts have lived continuously since the house was built in the 1880s, and where my dad lived in his adult married ...

We’re heading for several big changes

Change often cannot be easy. For some, in fact, it can be quite difficult and unwanted, but change comes whether we want it or not. The Weirton community has seen more than its share of change over the years, with the rise and fall of the local steel industry, recent investment in the natural ...

Where there is unity, there is peace

On September 11, 2001 I was working for the United States government. I was sitting at my desk when someone told me that the country was under attack. We were told that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center and that there were other planes headed toward other locations. There was total ...

Our Community Stars will be shining

There are many different awards programs and recognition events held throughout the Tri-State Area each year. And that’s a very good thing, because they all remind us that there are many people and organizations in our region who are doing great things and are deserving of praise. Our ...

Taking a look at the Democratic bench

So, it looks like U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., won’t run for governor in the Democratic primary in May 2020 after all. I should have stuck with my instinct months ago that he wouldn’t actually run just like he did in 2016. The problem is I think for a time he really was going to do it. ...

A week of communication discoveries

So this is how my week of discoveries went… Our landline phone in the kitchen decided it had had enough of us. Despite battery changes, wire jiggling and mild expletives, it refused to function. And that’s a problem, given the old-time “gossip table” I’d bought in recent months ...

We can’t forget the natural part of the world

One of the things we here in West Virginia are fortunate about is that, just about everywhere we turn, we are surrounded by nature. In other states, you might have to drive a couple of hours in order to find an area of seemingly unspoiled wilderness. We cherish our forested areas, our lakes ...

Continuing the efforts of reviving the small town church

“Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church. How could anyone know where Christ is and what faith is in Him unless they knew where His believers are?” Martin Luther “Who has despised the day of small things?” Zechariah 4:10. The answer to Zechariah’s rhetorical question ...