Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

July 14, 2013

Odd and unexpected headlines punctuate a busy week in the newsroom

RICHMOND, Va. — It was a week of unusual, odd and unexpected headlines. From sad and surprising to downright crazy, stories in recent days were not of the mundane variety.

Last week started out with a tragic case of abandoned newborn twins. Initially, the story was that the infants were abandoned at a house in Mingo County and then taken by the homeowner to a McDowell County hospital.

That first report left many of us in the newsroom shaking our heads. Something wasn’t quite right. By the end of the week our hunch was confirmed. West Virginia State Police troopers investigating the case discovered the woman who reported the twins had been abandoned at her home was actually the mother. “She advised us that she already has children and that she couldn’t take care of the twins,” Sgt. J.S. McCarty, assistant commander of the Welch Detachment, told the Daily Telegraph. “She gave birth at home.”

Because West Virginia has a Safe Haven Law no charges are pending against the mother.

While some may wonder how a mother could give up her children, many of the Daily Telegraph’s social media followers felt her actions were brave. I have to agree. There are many couples in our region and state who would love to have children, but can’t. For this mother to acknowledge the baby boys could have a better life elsewhere was a courageous act.

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One of last week’s most crazy headlines came on Tuesday, when a family feud erupted on Courthouse Road near Princeton, spurring a car chase on Route 460 and ending in an attempted pepper spraying incident — by both parties — in Bluefield.

Initially, it appeared the actions were a result of road rage. But soon it was learned that the parties involved had a long-standing feud.

Such feuds are certainly a part of our Appalachian culture — think Hatfields and McCoys — yet the dangers involved in last week’s incident put many innocent bystanders at risk.

If families want to fight they should keep it on Facebook or their own lawns and off well-traveled highways. What if last week’s car chase had resulted in a crash involving innocent families with children?

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Another interesting headline that came to light last week involved Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and a $1,000-a-ticket fundraising party planned for him by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In a Register-Herald story, a Manchin aide noted the two men do not agree on many issues, but they both believe “it’s just common sense to require criminal and mental background checks” for sales at gun shows and online purchases.

Bloomberg is known to be anti-coal, having donated $50 million to the Sierra Club for a campaign against the industry.

Certainly Senator Manchin can enjoy a party with whomever he wants. However, perception is important — especially in the political game. The appearance of a close relationship with a known anti-coal figurehead could spell trouble for Manchin in the future.

As for the gun control measures Manchin has endorsed, many readers speaking out on our Facebook page are against them — vehemently.

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The Bluefield Daily Telegraph’s 25th Annual Chicory Square Concert Series is in full swing, and this year’s events have been hugely successful. Although a couple of the concerts have been rained out, those held have been well-attended and enjoyed.

The All-American Celebration on July 5th was attended by more than 150 people who enjoyed a free concert by Bill Archer and Karl Miller, as well as free hot dogs, apple pies, popcorn, face painting and autographs by the Bluefield Blue Jays. It was a great event, made possible with the support of Cole Chevy.

If you haven’t attended a concert yet, mark your calendars for noon on Fridays and make your way to Chicory Square in downtown Bluefield.

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Also in last week’s news was the announcement of a new publisher for the Daily Telegraph. Randy Mooney, a West Virginia native, is taking the helm of the paper.

A graduate of West Virginia University, Randy is familiar with the Mountain State, and its people. “I look forward to building on the Daily Telegraph’s record of service to this community,” he said. “We’ll be focused on getting involved in the community to support growth and positive change. It’s also nice to be back in the Mountain State. I’m happy to come home.”

We know the people of Four Season’s Country will join the Telegraph staff in welcoming Randy and his family to southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia.

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A drug roundup last week in McDowell County spurred a great A-1 story and some interesting photos. Many of the individuals were obviously arrested in the early morning hours, and appeared shirtless and disheveled in their mugshots. Needless to say, there were many quips and comments.

The advise here is clear. If one anticipates a potential early-morning arrest, it may be advantageous to have a shirt and make-up case close by.

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

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