Blog - West Virginia Strong

In era of chain stores, Julian’s Market an exception

Julian’s Market in Huntington is a throwback to a time when mom-and-pop grocery stores dotted neighborhoods. “Remember when the neighborhood grocer greeted and held the door for you? When the owner helped his customers one at a time, making sure each customer was satisfied?” says owner Julian Saad. That legacy continues at this small, family-run market on 12th Street. Continue reading

Build it and they will come

Lego Artist Rocco Buttliere is known for Lego masterpieces of international landmarks. You wouldn’t think someone could be a “professional Lego artist.” But not one, but two of them will be in attendance as a Lego convention comes to West Virginia for the first time ever at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center on July 25-26, 2020.  Continue reading

Otherworldly West Virginia

The Mothman statue in Pt. Pleasant, W.Va. West Virginia is known for mountains, music and stereotypical stories of moonshine. But a top paranormal investigator says the state also should be known for tales of unknown creatures like Mothman and the search for extraterrestrial life via the Greenbank Observatory. Dave Spinks,  a regular on the Travel Channel, History Channel and Destination America, will speak Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, at the Flatwoods Monster Museum in Sutton, and sign copies of his new book, “Real West Virginia UFOs,” a companion to “Real West Virginia Hauntings.” READ ON: Investigator: W.Va. ground-zero for UFO research, encounters

There’s gold in the West Virginia hills

Fall in the Mountain State is an especially colorful time as trees blaze gold and a multitude of other hues. Here is a favorite photo from some years ago of the West Virginia Capitol dome, framed by autumn colors posted recently to Instagram by former Charleston Gazette-Mail photographer Tom Hindman. The gold dome currently is wrapped up and out of sight during a renovation project, so the photo is also a precursor of Autumns to come.

Burger Gold in the Hills — but the Real Reward is the Small Town, Small Business Lifestyle

West Virginia small towns can be a hard place to find a good job. But people willing to create their own jobs, and meeting a community need doing so, will find all kinds of help — not only from their neighbors, but from the occasional big city newspaper reporter as well. Here’s another example of the how people willing to make their own jobs are “making it in the Mountain State....” Continue reading

GUEST VIDEO: Wardensville Garden Market Market Growing the Next Generation of Appalachian Youth Entrepreneurs

There’s a lot of talk about West Virginia’s post-coal economy. In a small Hardy County town, the Wardensville Farm Market is a thriving example of one successful social enterprise. The market—which created 70 new jobs in its first year in 2016, 40 staffed by local high school students— helps trains youth as part of the local food and farm movement. As one student worker puts it: “We deserve to be able to change the world just as much as anyone else.” Continue reading

Spicing up your garden for next year

Lots of West Virginians have gardens. We’re not sure how many plant a lot of red peppers, which most people think of as distinctly south-of-the-border produce. But it turns out that they are a natural insect repellant, in addition to being useful as homegrown pain relief and digestive aid. Continue reading

Leaders tout cybersecurity industry in state

In order to help West Virginians make a good living in the state in an economy increasingly driven bytechnology, a group of leaders in the state have crafted an early plan to increase students’ awareness of cybersecurity and the benefits of entering the field. READ ON: WV tech leaders to push for more growth in cybersecurity industryIMAGE: The I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont, W.Va.

“Small win” in Lewis County is big one for kids

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by headlines about everything wrong with West Virginia. But in any given month, people do thousands of things right. This article describes a “small win” in Lewis County, where parents cleaned up a playground in Ireland, W.Va.  Continue reading

Log cabins sturdy as West Virginians

Did you know the origins of the traditional one-room log cabin found across West Virginia? The log house had its roots with Germanic immigrants, who were used to building with timber. They shared this knowledge with Scotch-Irish and English pioneers who came from a place where timber was scarce. Continue reading

Logging was a family affair

An entry in the “Preserving Pocahontas” feature of The Pocahontas Times shows logging the West Virginia hills was a family affair. The historic portrait from 1924 of the Roberts Family shows the family, including two female members, with teams of horses, logging at Big Elbow on the Williams River. READ ON: Preserving Pocahontas

What the World Needs Now ...

To celebrate its founding 100 years ago by immigrants who came to work in Weirton, W.Va., St. Nicholas Church offered 100 acts of kindness to its community, demonstrating the help-your-neighbor ethic that is such an essential component of the West Virginia way of life. IMAGE: Photo of St. Nicholas from website

Making the choice to stay clean is a daily decision

Making the choice to stay clean is a daily decision. Let’s make sure recovery organizations like The Unity Center get a fair share of drug settlement money for those attempting recovery. Continue reading

FESTIVAL WATCH: Apple Butter Fest in Berkeley Spring in October

West Virginia's annual apple harvest is coming in and apple butter is certainly one of the signature flavors of the Mountain State. It’s worthy of its own festival. And so there is one. Continue reading

Perhaps West Virginia’s Last Pearl Harbor survivor passes away

Wetzel Sanders (center) was believed to be the oldest surviving West Virginian soldier from the attack on Pearl Harbor | Image by Lisa Ferdinando West Virginia’s hills and hollers produce amazing people. Lincoln County resident Wetzel "Sundown" Sanders, possibly the last surviving West Virginia survivor of the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died recently at age 96.  Continue reading

Jennifer Garner teaches West Virginia slang

We missed this Vanity Fair video when it  came out in September 2018. If you missed it, too, check out Jennifer Garner explaining words like “mess,” “crick,” “warsh,” and of course, “errs” and “herd.”  Continue reading

HISTORY LESSON: Battle of Blair Mountain was a nation- shaking event

Workers stand at the entrance to a West Virginia coal mine. | Lewis Hine/Library of Congress Fortune magazine once called The Battle of Blair Mountain an American struggle many people don't know about, but which should be taught widely in schools. Continue reading

Where does the word 'hillbilly' come from?

Above are some of the cartoon images that come up on a search for "hillbilly." Though it is insulting for an outsider to refer to someone from West Virginia as a “hillbilly,' some folks here are proud to call themselves hillbillies. Either way, here’s a quick history of how word may have come to be. Continue reading

PROFILES: West Virginia pilot honored

You may know someone like Joe Turner, or at least shared his experience growing up as a poor kid in the West Virginia hills whose grandfather worked in coal mines as he tended the family farm. Like so many others raised up well in the Mountain State, Turner’s homegrown values of hard work and ambition helped him build a successful life beyond our borders. He became a pilot in Vietnam, flew for Delta, worked at the Pentagon, and was just inducted into the WV Aviation Hall of Fame.  READ ON: JOE TURNER: The Decorated West Virginia Military Pilot You've Never Heard of

HISTORY LESSONS: West Virginia has world's oldest oil producing well

There's more than just coal in those hills. Did you know the oldest oil producing well in the world is here in West Virginia, in the Wirt County town of Burning Springs? Continue reading