Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

April 14, 2013

Community and big-name concerts spur headlines as summer nears

BLUEFIELD — It is hard to believe it’s been 25 years. For a quarter of a century, the Daily Telegraph has been sponsoring the Chicory Square Concert Series in downtown Bluefield.

During these two and a half decades, we’ve seen a plethora of performers take the stage. Country, gospel, rock, dance — the genres are diverse, but the talent is tremendous and amplified by hometown pride. There is nothing like a lunch hour spent in a downtown park, enjoying a hot dog, and watching friends, family and neighbors take the stage for an hour of entertainment.

There is a change in this year’s schedule. The Bluefield Beaver band, which has traditionally taken the stage for the first and last concert of the season, will be in Disney Land during this year’s kick-off event on May 24. Fortunately, the Bluefield Middle School band has agreed to fill in as a replacement, and we are eager to see the 100 young band students take the stage during their inaugural concert.

The Bluefield Beaver band will be headlining our second concert on May 31, and will again take the stage during our final concert on Aug. 30.

This season, as in years past, we will once again host a special, patriotic concert to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. This year’s event has been scheduled for July 5. The concert will feature entertainment by the Telegraph’s own Bill Archer with his musical partner Karl Miller.

Sponsored by Cole Chevrolet, the concert will once again take on an all-American theme and will include free hot dogs, served up by the Internet Cafe, free apple pies, courtesy of Hardee’s on Bluefield Avenue, a multitude of door prizes and autographs by the Bluefield Blue Jays.

If you haven’t attended one of our patriotic concerts, you should mark it on your calendar as a must-attend event.

On July 5 in downtown Bluefield, it will be all about baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.

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In years past, southern West Virginia has played host to many big-name country performers but few, if any, legendary rock bands. That will change this summer.

As part of The Greenbrier Classic Concert Series, Aerosmith will hit the amphitheater stage near the W.Va. State Fairgrounds in Fairlea on Saturday, July 6.

“This is big,” Jim Justice, chairman and owner of The Greenbrier, told our sister newspaper the Register-Herald. “Aerosmith is the biggest act that we’ve brought to The Greenbrier Classic so far. They’re the top-selling American rock band of all time. We’re very pleased to have them.”

Many residents of southern West Virginia are pleased as well. When news broke of the band’s appearance Thursday morning, it was fun to watch numerous newsroom employees — who are usually ho-hum about free concert passes — excitedly asking about how many, if any, tickets the Telegraph would have for the show.

Count me as one of them.

Admission to the Greenbrier Classic Concert Series is included in the price of weekly Greenbrier Classic tournament badges, priced from $159 per person. Country music superstar Kenny Chesney is also scheduled to perform during the 2013 event on Thursday night, July 4.

For more information, visit www.greenbrierclassic.com.

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The decision by MTV last week to cancel the West Virginia-based reality show “Buckwild” in the wake of star Shain Gandee’s death prompted a flood of responses on the Telegraph’s Facebook page. Gandee and two others — his 48-year-old uncle David Gandee and 27-year-old friend Donald Robert Myers — were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning on April 1. Their vehicle was stuck in a mud pit, with the tail pipe submerged.

Many of those posting were happy that the show had been canceled, citing bad publicity for West Virginia. One reader posted, “I’m so sorry it took the deaths of three people for them to realize how wrong they were!”

But not all were in agreement. “I don’t think they should of canceled this show,” another reader posted. “I have watched it and I did not see anything wrong. It was just a bunch of kids having fun.”

Whether one liked or disliked the show, it certainly generated controversy and feedback.

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It would appear Mercer County is experiencing dog days in the spring this year.

In the midst of an ongoing and often vicious debate about a proposal to ban pit bulls in the city of Bluefield, the recent killing of a pit bull near Princeton by a State Police trooper sparked additional controversy.

State police officials say the dog was charging the trooper in an aggressive manner. Family members who owned the dog said the 6-month-old pit bull had just been let outside to relieve itself. The pit bull was not on a leash or in a fenced-in yard.

This case underscores the importance of keeping dogs restrained — especially large breeds — no matter where one lives. In this case, the family lives in a trailer park that does have a leash-fence rule in place.

As for the Bluefield ban on pit bulls, the second reading of the ordinance will be at the next city board meeting on Tuesday, April 23, at 6 p.m. We encourage all those who feel strongly about the ban — for or against — to make plans to attend.

Samantha Perry is editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at sperry@bdtonline.com. Follow her @BDTPerry.

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