Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

August 26, 2012

Beauty abounds in southern W.Va.

Have you noticed the Crepe Myrtle blooming in our area? Bluefield has an abundance of the beautiful blooms. McDowell County also has quite an abundance and variety to please the eye.

Crepe Myrtle includes about 50 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs native to the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, northern Australia and parts of Oceania. It is cultivated in warmer climates around the world. The common Crepe Myrtle was brought to Charleston, S.C., around 1790 by French botanist André Michaux.

Myrtle Beach, S.C. (shown as a suburb of southern West Virginia or the 56th county on some maps) was named after the Southern Wax Myrtle, a shrub that has a yellowish green flower. The area now boasts the more colorful Crepe Myrtle. Williamsburg, Va., is also known for the late summer display of these beautiful flowers.

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The day was peaceful. The Tug Fork was tame. Sunlight danced through trees and the shade was welcome. It was just a beautiful day and to be able to enjoy the scenery for a few moments was a treat — somewhere between Iaeger and Roderfield.

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While down on Horse Creek, a few miles from Litwar, I stopped by Andy McCoy’s home. Andy just celebrated another birthday. He retired a few years ago but still keeps up with the mining industry. Andy McCoy’s ancestors settled the area more than 200 years ago after one of them received a land patent (grant).

After he pulled out several ancient maps and other interesting items, I soon realized that McCoy is the local historian. During our conversation, Andy casually mentioned that there are more than 40 components in a telephone that are manufactured from mined materials, many from coal. I enjoyed the visit and seeing my old friend.

Coal is used in many ways. Some of the products made from coal might surprise you — medicine, baking soda, acetylene, mothballs, perfumes, billiard balls, batteries and many other applications. Incidentally, the old Horse Creek School is still standing. The aged wooden structure is a reminder of days gone by.

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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced a statewide plan to fight the substance abuse epidemic in West Virginia by dedicating $7.5 million for the establishment and expansion of regionally based substance abuse support services. He was joined by legislators, members of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Substance Abuse and members from the regional task forces.

It is sad that the drug abuse problem in this state and nation is out of control and our state has to not only put up with the problem but has to expend an enormous amount of tax dollars to deal with this problem. We now have a government subsidized industry dedicated to dealing with what is an illegal problem to begin with.

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David Woodard said that the Red Cross informed him that they have an emergency need for blood. In response, a Blood Drive will be held at the Rescue 945 building at 1289 Boissevain Road in Boissevain, Va., on Tuesday from noon to 6 p.m.. The Pocahontas Masonic Lodge will provide refreshments for them and assist at the registration table. Woodard said to “spread the word to get folks to turn out to donate.”

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This nation is in a mess when we have folks that want to curb soft drinks and legalize street drugs, when criminals have more rights than the arresting officers, and when drug dealers whose wares ruin lives and families forever are given a few weeks jail time for their criminal actions.

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There you have it, a few comments on items of interest to the area. Enjoy the blue skies. And one more thing ... Bluefield is going to miss Pat Brewster. She was an advocate for the betterment of the city, the county, animals and, most importantly, our children in many ways. She left us way too soon.

Wilson Butt, a Bluefield resident, is a retired Department of Highways official.

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