Blog - West Virginia Strong

Making sure kids get fed this summer

Part of the lifeblood of West Virginia communities is helping local neighbors in need. There are few higher sorts of help than making sure children are fed and getting good nutrition. So, take note that the West Virginia Department of Education is looking for partnerships with organizations across the state to feed children and offer supervised activities this summer, especially in low-income areas. Continue reading

The penitentiary busts out a new career

The West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville close in 1995. But as an article in weelunk.com notes, the prison “has had quite the second act." Locals believed the storied institution would yet another abandoned hulk in a Rust Belt town. Yet the penitentiary now has a thriving career as a locale for TV shows, videos, and film. Continue reading

Finding land to farm in the Mountain State

There are many who’d rather not leave West Virginia, if they could find a job to support themselves and their family.  Some dream of being a part of one of the state’s historic occupations—running a farm. But national surveys show the biggest challenge to being a farmer, regardless of geography or if you grew up on a farm, is finding land. So, check out the Finding Farmland Course, a free online tool for young and beginning farmers.  Continue reading

New Martinsville restaurant has been the place to eat for eight decades

Sometimes the best restaurants in town boast the longest history since they stick to the basics that keep West Virginians so attached to chowing down in the Mountain State: home-cooked meals in a friendly setting. Quinet’s Court Restaurant in West Virginia has been offering homecooked meals for nearly eight decades in New Martinsville, where the owners first began serving dishes in 1941. Continue reading

Looking back on 100-year-old WV man’s WW2 service

West Virginia has a long, impressive history of service by the state’s men and women in America’s wars. Dabney Kisner of Durbin, who turned 100 years old Jan. 13, 2020,  served bravely in World War II, and his exploits flying as a bomber pilot read like a Hollywood movie. Some airmen refused to go on any more terrifying bombing runs and Kisner would fly in their place, at one point bailing out by parachute over a Belgium town after his plane was hit. Hear the tale of what happened next in this Pocahontas Times reprint of a story about his war service on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Continue reading

Strong women and right to vote celebrated in 2020

It’s no secret strong women—from mothers to grandmothers, sisters to aunts—have made West Virginia strong through hard work, family ties and community involvement. Women are also a growing force as entrepreneurs and politicians in the Mountain State. The year 2020 marks 100 years since women in the state and country earned the right to vote which brought them influence far beyond the homeplace. To mark ratification of the 19th Amendment, public and private organizations are teaming up to organize events around the state to commemorate the centennial and the role West Virginia played in ensuring women had the right to vote. Continue reading

From Afghanistan to the West Virginia hills

Ask a West Virginia resident about their family history and you will likely trace their family roots back to any number of countries around the world. The state continues to be a welcoming place for others, including refugees such as 28-year-old Najib Ahmad Bakhtari, who found safety in the West Virginia hills when he left the danger and unrest in his home country of Afghanistan. “The thing that got me about West Virginia was the beauty of the mountains and peacefulness of the small town,” he says.  Continue reading

The notable working class history of the WV hotdog

Laura Jackson Roberts used to be a hot dog minimalist, but is now a convert to the pleasures—and history—of the loaded West Virginia Hot Dog, one of the state’s culinary delights. The Mountain State version of a loaded hot dog—which may include chili, onions, mustard, coleslaw and more—speaks to the state’s proud, working class roots, as it may have originated during the Great Depression, she says.  Continue reading

Grant program can help communities highlight history

If you live in rural West Virginia, love where you live and want to bring attention to its rich history, check out a new grant program. The program is targeted at rural communities in West Virginia through the State Historic Preservation Office of the Department of Arts, Culture and History, the West Virginia Legislature and the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.  Continue reading

Look ahead to Spring 2020 festivals around WV

Among the many blessings of life in West Virginia are the distinct seasons, each one of which brings particular pleasures for celebrating community life and the state’s many special features. WV Explorer magazine looks ahead to Spring 2020 and community festivals that include ramp dinners (photo), wildflower walks, and maple-syrup festivals, events which are attracting more tourists to the charms of the Mountain State. Continue reading

‘Chamber Cash’ supports local business

West Virginia communities have a long history of supporting local businesses. But the Chamber of Commerce in the Wetzel County city of New Martinsville has taken it to the next level with “Chamber Cash.” The idea—share it with your own town or city!—encourages community members to support local businesses and foster a more connected community by using Chamber Cash, which works similar to a gift certificate. You can use the $25 Chamber Cash certificates at 27 local businesses and also re-sell them through raffles and prizes. Continue reading

Still creative and back home in West Virginia

We’re all familiar with tales of why people leave West Virginia. Then, there are tales of why they come back. Chelsey Kedding left Wheeling to attend Manhattan School of Music Conservatory in New York City, where she married and began to raise a daughter. She moved back to Wheeling recently, where she now teaches children music, offers sound therapy classes and much more. “Here we have family around us for support, we can explore creative endeavors without breaking the bank, we can live a little bit slower pace of life and grow within a community.” Continue reading

A look at proposed changes to New River Gorge National River designation

The Montgomery Herald takes a deep dive into legislation to change the New River Gorge National River into the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Introduced by WV senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito,  the change would designate 64,495 acres as National Preserve, with hunting and fishing allowed in accordance with federal rules. The National Park side would contain 7,691 acres, with hunting restricted in The Lower Gorge, Thurmond, Grandview and Sandstone Falls. Some hunters object to the restrictions while some area businesses see it as a boon to tourism. Continue reading

Therapy dog showcases 3D printer promise in Parkersburg

Therapy dogs inspire many in hospitals and other places. But one named Keating, born missing a leg, is an inspiration and example of 3D printing technology in West Virginia. Staff and local youth at the West Virginia University Parkersburg Entrepreneur Center were visited recently by Keating, who was rescued by owners of Miller Prosthetics and Orthotics. Continue reading

Hard-to-find WV folk art intrigues visitors to New River Gorge

Many West Virginians artists feel no need to feature their exceptional skills on stage or in a gallery. It's just part of what they do and who they are—artists. Such is the case with a mysterious stone carving created by a local West Virginian in the 1950s, way off the beaten path in Fayette County.  Continue reading

WV old timers knew how to fight the winter blues

Maybe if we all had the hard daily chores that used to require West Virginians to get outside, we would be happier during winter months, when our hills and hollows cause the sun to set early. WVU professor and psychiatrist Mark Miller, describes Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as “winter blues, winter depression, which has its onset in the fall when the days get shorter, darker, colder..."  Continue reading

WV Bird Lovers Continue 120-year Holiday Tradition

People all over West Virginia are getting outside this holiday season to count birds in support of bird conservation efforts—and it's not too late to get in on the fun. The oldest citizen science survey in the world, inspired originally by year end tradition of shooting birds to celebrate the new year, the annual Christmas Bird Count is coordinated in West Virginia by birding clubs across the state through January 6, 2020.  Continue reading

“Appalachian Advisors Network" seeks applicants

Ahead of the 2020 election, the online magazine “100 Days in Appalachia” is inviting West Virginians to join a group of Appalachians of all backgrounds and walks of life to help the rest of America better understand what is really happening here. They’re calling it the “Appalachian Advisors Network.”  Continue reading

Toasting Jamie's Memory

In 2018, West Virginian Jamie Lynn Orth Taylor died at the age of 31 from colon cancer. Her parents honored her memory by creating “Jamie’s Warriors,” which provides comfort to chemotherapy patients. But Jamie’s memory also lives on with the recent release of a rose wine in her name dubbed “Sweet Jamie,” by Moss Farms Winery in Wheeling.  READ ON: Sweet Jamie: The Woman Behind the Wine

Head to Ritchie County for a treasure hunt

There’s a re treasures aplenty in the small towns of West Virginia. If you are an antique and flea-store hunter, one you may not know about hidden away on a small-town street in Ritchie County is Arlo's Antiques and Flower Barn. Continue reading