A friend and former colleague, Zack Harold, is starting a blog to help people in Boone County, WV make informed voting decisions.
I started this site as a side project after years of frustration at the voting booth. A native Boone Countian, I’ve voted in every election since I was 18 years old. Every single time I voted, there was at least one race where I had no idea who the candidates were, what they stood for, and what they planned to do for my county.
I’ve long felt guilty for not being better-informed, but I eventually realized it wasn’t all my fault. Though there are a few news outlets here in Boone County, their small staffs and small budgets don’t allow for much political coverage.
I created BooneVotes.com in an attempt to fill that gap. I want to profile every single candidate running for office this year, find out why they chose to run for office, why they believe they’re the best person for the job and what they plan to do for the county once they’re elected.
This is too critical a time in our nation, state and county to make decisions based on a party, hometown or last name.
Photos of McDowell County by Michele McDonald/Boston Globe
It is pretty sad that “the story of McDowell County” in the national media is of death and illness…another reason why a community-led project like Hollow is needed.
This is the story in McDowell County, West Virginia: People are dying at younger ages, dying from a lack of care and, in many cases, from a loss of hope. Norma Jean Rose sits with her granddaughter Terri Amber Whitt, 9 in Raysal, West Virginia. Because she doesn’t work and has no savings, she often has to decide sometimes between eating and paying for her medicines. She has heart trouble, and is a diabetic.
ASHLAND - A McDowell County resort on the Hatfield McCoy Trail has earned high marks from its guests.
Ashland Resort was one of 44 campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the country to earn an all around “A” grade in the fourth annual GuestRated™ satisfaction survey of independent parks.
This 76-site park, located on State Route 17 at Ashland, received an “A” grade in overall guest satisfaction for the year 2011. Ashland Resort, an ATV campground [www.atvresort.com] imbedded in Hatfield-McCoy’s Indian Ridge Trail System, provides direct trail access for ATV and dirt bike enthusiasts.
If you’ve noticed scruffy vagrants armed with rifles walking the streets of Hillsboro in the past week, chances are you were seeing the filming of the new movie, “Child of God”. Production began last week at the Pretty Penny Cafe and My Daughter’s Attic.
"Child of God," based on the book with the same name by Cormac McCarthy, is about a young man, ostracized from society, who slips into a life of crime and sexual depravity while living in a cave in Tennessee.
The movie is being produced by Rabbit Bandini Productions. Producer Vince Jolivette and actor/director James Franco, of the Spiderman series and Pineapple Express, took time from their busy shooting schedule Monday to chat.
Jolivette said the tax credits are what brought the crew to West Virginia, but it’s the old-time feel of Hillsboro that cinched it. The production crew had a scout in the area for two months prior to filming to find possible locations near Lewisburg.
Mapping the earmarks
Across the nation, 33 members of Congress have helped direct more than $300 million in earmarks to dozens of public projects for work in close proximity to commercial and residential real estate owned by the lawmakers or their family members.
Before designers refined a vision for automotive-era service stations, they toyed with tudor and oriental styles, now historical. This tudor station at Bramwell, W.Va., is an excellent example. If your West Virginia community is gifted with such structures, please let me know through Facebook or by emailing your information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ever since Americans have had to define what “rural” means, they have done so simply by saying what it is not. In common usage, rural is any place not populous, not developed, not easily reached by an interstate. Our national authority on demographics, the U.S. Census Bureau, classifies it merely as a remainder: “‘Rural’ encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.” That’s it.
And yet, anyone who has ever left the highway in the Golden State knows that rural California is a place far too diverse to lump into the category “other.” From Modoc County to Raisin City, from the Carissa Plains to the Coachella Valley, the experience is in fact one of diversity and depth. The stories here are about rural California as a world unto itself—not a list of the things it is not, but an exploration of the things that it is.
Written by Lisa Hamilton
I find this project very interesting. It includes audio excerpts, maps, photography and short written materials to share the stories of rural California.
Russ and I were meeting today to design the user experience for Hollow and we came across Bear 71. What we found interesting was the interactive topographical map with it’s rich audio and data visualizations. You can even turn your webcam on and become part of the map. Experience Bear 71 here.
A little about the project:
"Jeremy Mendes and Leanne Allison’s poignant interactive documentary about a bear in the Canadian Rockies illuminates the way humans engage with wildlife in the age of networks, satellites, and digital surveillance. Audiences from around the world can use their smartphones to become part of an interactive forest environment rich with bears, cougars, sheep, deer, and people as they follow an emotional story of a grizzly bear tagged and monitored by Banff National Park rangers."
Taking advantage of the fact that hundreds of people sit and wait for hours each day in Highland Hospital alone, we will transform the waiting room into a storytelling space and provide the human and technological resources for patients to tell and listen to stories on-site. At the heart of this effort is an interactive story booth to be built – in partnership with the Alameda County Medical Center – as a permanent feature into Highland Hospital’s waiting room. The booth will allow patients and staff the opportunity both to record their own story as well as view other stories from the community. The booth will ask the user to either respond to either a theme or issue-based question. Booth users – depending on the level of privacy they desire – will have four ways to communicate: video, audio, text and physical journal.
McDowell County Senator Fanning Will Not Seek Reelection
January 27, 2012
CHARLESTON (January 27, 2012) — Senator John Pat Fanning (D-McDowell) announced today that he will not seek reelection to the West Virginia State Senate.
Senator Fanning said.: “I have served the residents of my district and the state to the best of my ability for 32 years. I now want to spend more time with my family and take care of some on-going health issues. ”
During his time in the West Virginia State Senate, Senator Fanning has held many high profile positions including chairmanships of the Finance, Transportation, Labor and Natural Resources Committees and as Vice Chair of several others.
“I want to thank the people of the 6th Senatorial District for electing me and giving me the honor and privilege of serving them for more than three decades,” he concluded.
WELCH — Ten people escaped injury after a fire destroyed a historic building in downtown Welch Tuesday.
The fire at the five-story Libby Building on McDowell Street began around 9:45 a.m. At least 10 residents were occupying about half of the 13 apartments in the top three floors of the building when the blaze began, according to Welch Fire Chief Dennie Hale.
Hale said no one was in the two businesses at the base of the building, a bar and a vacant storefront.
AREDALE, IA. — A new era of city government began with a simple postcard from Jeremy Minnier to his 73 neighbors.
“As your newly elected mayor,” Minnier wrote, “I would like to encourage your attendance and participation at our meetings.” Aredale’s 18-year-old mayor, who won 24 write-in votes out of 32 ballots in November, also included his phone number — not that his constituents should have trouble finding him. The bulk of this town (grain elevator, bar, bank, post office, etc.) is contained within a few square blocks.
A few years ago, at a conference about the woes of rural America, one speaker really caught my attention with a very simple message. “Never say ‘rural brain drain,’” She told us. “Think about it.” She pointed out that to say “brain drain” in a rural community is basically telling everyone present — the people who stayed — that they’re dumb. You’re implying they somehow missed the boat and are demonstrating low IQ just by being rural.
If things are, as they say, slower in the South, then integration was no exception. The 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring separate public schools for white and black children unconstitutional, finally incited change in McDowell County schools 11 years later; in some West Virginia counties, like Mercer, which desegregated in 1969, change trickled even slower.
Smith had been a teacher and a coach at Gary District School, an all black institution, before the consolidation into Gary High School happened. With two West Virginia Class A championships under his belt, one in football and one in basketball, he felt certain he’d have a position in the newly consolidated school, coaching black students and white students alike to be their athletic and academic best. He was wrong.
“Segregation became a part of my life when I was born,” Smith states. “But integration started in 1965. It was good that integration came.”
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Construction projects in West Virginia totaled $5.3 billion in 2011, up from $1.9 billion the year before, according to a report from McGraw-Hill Construction.
But the bulk of the increase can be attributed to two large projects, not an overall increase in construction projects in West Virginia, according to the Contractors Association of West Virginia.
A $3 billion coal-to-liquids plant in McDowell County and a $400 million natural gas processing plant in Natrium account for the increase, said Mike Clowser, the group’s executive director.
"I think the numbers are right, the issue is, is it truly [representative] of construction in West Virginia?" Clowser said. The vast majority of construction workers work on highways, bridges, hospital, schools and the like, he said.