Thank you for reading our third issue of Mountain Peeks. We have received positive reviews of past issues, and advertisers are happy with responses as well. This regional magazine is about the various people, places, and things that make far Southwest Virginia interesting and one of the best places to live anywhere. We “peek” into our region’s history, issues, plans, projects, promises, and future from a different perspective than most publications. We reach about 45,000 readers in print and several thousand more online here at www.mountainpeeksmag.com.
It has been several months since our last issue of Mountain Peeks. We publish our magazine when we have the time and material. We have received numerous requests to publish more often and will try to do so. Publishing and distributing a free regional magazine takes a lot of time and expense, and we appreciate your support and patience. We particularly thank our ad sponsors. The ad revenue does not pay all of our expenses, but it sure helps take the edge off, as our local elders like to say.
When the name Alona Kennedy comes to mind for birders in our mountain region, it immediately evokes warm memories of good days and good times at Raven Ridge Bed and Breakfast and Campground and great dishes served at her Hummingbird Café near Hayter’s Gap on Clinch Mountain. Many birders have spent the evening at Tanager House, Whippoorwill Lodge, and birding from their spacious decks. All of that and more were found along the Washington-Russell line. It was a spectacular adventure for Alona and her husband, Charles Kennedy.
Three major river systems arise in the hill and valley region of Southwest Virginia and follow the ridgelines, flowing southwest into Northeast Tennessee. The rivers are the Clinch, the Powell and the Holston, and these rivers, along with the French Broad River, eventually form the mighty Tennessee River. This region is characterized by high spruce-covered mountain peaks, wide fertile valleys, and long straight ridgelines. This combination, along with several man-made reservoirs in the region, creates a diversity of different habitats that act as a magnet to a wide variety of bird species. In fact, this area is one of the most biologically diverse areas in North America.
New Court of Appeals Judge Teresa Chafin Joins Ranks of Women Appellate Jurists from Southwest Virgi
The crowd was big, around three hundred, and the number of judges unprecedented, over thirty, as Lebanon native Teresa Chafin became the newest member of the Court of Appeals of Virginia. The Court hears appeals from circuit courts regarding criminal, domestic relations, and administrative decisions. Court of Appeals Judge Teresa Chafin and Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth McClanahan Although the Court of Appeals, numbering eleven judges, is statewide in its jurisdiction, each judge maintains a home office where they and their law clerks research cases and draft opinions. The Court and its review panels periodically sit in different parts of the state to hear appeals, and at least three times a year the full Court hears cases in Richmond.
It is obvious when talking to Southwest Virginia’s newest delegate, Israel O’Quinn, that he loves Southwest Virginia. He says there’s no place like it. Born in Hayter’s Gap in western Washington County, O’Quinn grew up playing baseball in the backyard with his brother, Morgan. But the O’Quinn boys knew they wouldn’t get to play until after their work was done.
A well-known Southwest Virginia outreach minister recently recalled his younger days and how he met his future wife under very peculiar circumstances. As a young, single man, a fledgling minister lived in a small community on the Clinch River and worked out at a local gym. After doing so one day, he cleaned up for a blind date with a young lady in Abingdon who he had heard about from mutual friends. He called her, and they agreed to meet at her parents’ house and see what happened from there.
Like many Appalachian descendants, especially those from Southwest Virginia several generations back, we can generally find that at least a portion of our lineage came directly or indirectly through Scotland. Obviously there are many exceptions, particularly the Mediterranean and Eastern European immigrants that emigrated to the coalfields in droves during the early 1900s coal mining booms. Numerous scholars say that coalfield Appalachia was third only to New York City and San Francisco for the diversity of nationalities present at that time. The census in Wise County during that “black gold” boom of a nearly century ago documented over two dozen nationalities, with Hungarians being the predominant group from Eastern Europe. Similarly, West Virginia had, and still has, a big contingent of residents bearing Slavic surnames from those days. African Americans seeking an alternative to southern sharecropping also played a significant role in coalfield diversity.
Heartwood Chef Barry Boothe forages the farms and farmers’ markets of Southwest Virginia for his new Rooted in Appalachia menu. Heirloom vegetables, grass-fed beef, and most anything else that’s in season makes its way into everything from daily lunch specials and soups to the ever-bountiful Farm Fresh Sunday Gospel Brunch, Thursday Night BBQ, and Virginia Coast Friday Night Seafood Buffet.
Charles William “Bill” Carrico (R-Grayson) was born in Marion, Virginia, in 1961 to Charles and Alda Carrico in the same county that he has represented in the General Assembly for more than a decade. But politics was far removed from the little corner of Smyth County where he was born and raised. Carrico spent most of his youth playing football, fighting, and playing with his siblings Mary, Danny, and Pam. He worked hard to keep his grades up while in school, and began helping his father in his private contract business as a plasterer and sheetrock finisher. “I was a typical Southwest Virginia boy,” says Carrico. “Fights, football, family, and fun.”
Despite living in the sunny south, you may actually be Vitamin D deficient. Research finds that the majority of those living above the 35th parallel are deficient in Vitamin D(1). This means if you are living in most of North Carolina, any part of Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky or even further north, you are at risk for having a Vitamin D deficiency. Additionally, it has been found that 52% of post-menopausal women are Vitamin D deficient(2). With increasing age, our skin becomes thinner, and it not able to utilize Vitamin D from the sun as it did when we were younger. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also found that 7% of children are Vitamin D deficient. This is not surprising based upon poor food choices and the amount of hours spent in front of the television watching or playing video games. Vitamin D levels have also been found to be much lower in patients that are uninsured(3). So whether you are younger or older, it is possible that you aren’t just feeling down. You may in fact be Vitamin D deficient.
To address the economic and health care issues, the Buchanan County Board of Supervisors asked Frank Kilgore, the Assistant County Attorney who had helped initiate the Appalachian School of Law, to lead the efforts to establish another graduate school in Buchanan County. Kilgore brought together a diverse group of volunteers to develop a proposal, including Dr. Lu Ellsworth, founding president of the Appalachian School of Law, and Roger Powers, businessman and Grundy Town Council member, both of whom were centrally involved in starting the law school. The group decided by early July 2003 to establish the University of Appalachia.
Access to the WMA is from Hidden Valley Road on US 19 North. The hardtop road terminates at an area near the top of the mountain referred to as Low Gap. At Low Gap there is a small parking area on the left where the west end trailhead for the new Clinch Mountain Trail is located and another trail emanates that follows the base of the cliffs. Here the road becomes gravel and splits to the right and left. The road to the right (Skycraft Road) continues up the mountain for approximately 1.5 miles. Going left (Hidden Valley Road), the road meanders down to the lake where there is a trailhead at some boulders and gate on the right for a trail along the lake’s south shore, a turnoff to the right for the boat ramp, and another turnoff to the right a little further on for the primitive camping area, terminating at the dam parking area.