Thank you for reading our second issue of Mountain Peeks. We received overwhelmingly positive reviews of issue number one, and advertisers were happy with responses as well. This new 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 will “peek” into our region’s history, issues, plans, projects, promises, and future from a different perspective than most publications.
As elk from Eastern Kentucky migrated into far Southwest Virginia over the past decade, support for having them in the Virginia coalfields has grown. State officials estimate that from 50-100 elk are now in the Virginia coalfield region, with a couple of small groups staying for years in and around specific areas. A few Virginia elk have been killed illegally as well as legally. Until now, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries allowed and actually promoted the taking of elk as deer during deer season.
Our boots hadn’t even touched the ground outside of the truck when we lost count of how many bulls we could hear. They were coming from a 360-degree arc around us, and one of them had to be inside 100 yards. It’s tough to pull out your gear in total silence when you’re twitching with adrenaline. My companion Claudis had a better excuse than I did, though. He’d never even seen an elk before the previous evening when we’d spotted a small herd.
The Appalachian College of Pharmacy (ACP) (www.acpharm.org) recently announced that the college has been advanced from candidate status to full accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
The Appalachian College of Pharmacy(ACP) recently placed nationally in the top ten (out of 125 entries) in three categories at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual Meeting & Exposition in Washington, D.C.
Cigarette smoking is a form of child abuse, says one of the nation’s leading child abuse experts, and it’s high time we recognize it as such. “More young children are killed by parental smoking than by all unintentional injuries combined,” says James Garbarino, an internationally recognized expert on child protection and the director of Cornell University’s Family Life Development Center. These deaths include almost 3,000 annually due to low birth weight, 2,000 due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and another 1,300 attributed to respiratory infection, asthma, and burns, according to researchers in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
Being the youngest member of the Virginia General Assembly since colonial days, especially coming from a rural region six hours from the state’s capitol, has been an exhilarating experience for Delegate Will Morefield, the state representative from the Third Legislative District that serves all of Buchanan County, most of Tazewell County, and the Honaker area of Russell County.
In the 1980s, a gentleman from Southwest Virginia decided to take his wife and kids to Florida for the first time to see the ocean and hunt sea shells. Everyone was very excited. They loaded up the pickup, hooked a tag-a-long camper to the rear bumper, and took off. The husband drove until he got to central Georgia and decided to take a break. He pulled over and asked his wife to take over while he went back in the camper to take a nap.
In the old Sears building across from the Richlands High School, a special event occurs on the first and third Saturday of each month. Hundreds of people show up at Miller’s Auction House where Cedar Bluff and Richlands meet, but no one seems to mind which town they are in when the gavel bangs out the winning bid.
During the last presidential race, the stereotype of Appalachia once again reared its ugly head. The national media could not resist taking repeated potshots at the last place they can slander without penalty. The region’s embracement of Hillary Clinton over Barrack Obama in the Democrat primaries had to be based upon racism, the media conclusion went, although many northern state and city polls showed that race was a determining factor at a higher rate there than in the mountains. The media tended to ignore the fact that whether black or white, if a voter primarily chooses a candidate based on race, that is racism. Candidate Obama’s biggest difficulty in Appalachia tended to be his liberal views about gun rights, questions about religion and Reverend Wright, and lingering doubts in the mountains that government can fix anything. In fact, our region has embraced many government interventions and programs, including Roosevelt’s New Deal, federal labor rights, and national mine safety and reclamation laws, to name a few. Like most Americans though, we are generally opposed to federal intervention and pork unless it helps us directly.
Throughout the Southwest Virginia region, the presence of litter affects not only the appearance of the landscape and the negative attitude of others toward those of us who live here, but it is also a deterrent to tourism and new industry. Although dramatic progress has been made over the past several years to clean up as well as to change attitudes and habits, litter and illegal dump sites continue to mar many roadways, mountainsides, and streams in our otherwise beautiful area.
Conservation Group Seeks Sponsors to Publish Educational Book about the Upper Tennessee Watershed in
The Virginia headwaters of the Upper Tennessee River consist of three river systems — the Holston, Clinch, and Powell — which together contain more species and varieties of plants and animals than any other watershed in continental North America. The heavily-forested and mountainous region contains 48 imperiled fish and mussel species, 21 of which are listed as federally endangered or threatened. The three rivers and their many tributaries are also essential to the health and well-being of people in the region and millions of citizens downstream. All three rivers are extensively used to supply public drinking water as well as recreation and wildlife habitat.
Hikers, bikers, and hunters of southwestern Virginia will be pleased to learn of the establishment of a new trail on Clinch Mountain tracing the border of Washington and Russell counties. The trail, open to foot traffic only, will be built in two stages.
Buchanan County’s supervisors, school board, industrial development authority, and private donors raised and pledged millions of dollars and provided two school buildings in downtown Grundy for the project. The Appalachian School of Law began to take shape during the next sixteen months. In August 1997, the Appalachian School of Law became the first higher education institution in the Virginia coalfields offering graduate or professional degrees when the Dean and 21 faculty and staff members welcomed its charter class of 71 full-time students, including 30 women and several minorities, to the new Grundy campus.
Only as we age and hone the art of looking at the world through the eyes of others do we have true insight. Such is the case for those of us that have not lived the terrible experience of war except through stories, movies, old photos, veterans, and graveyards.
Over thirty years ago, the Federal Surface Mining Act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. I was invited to attend the Rose Garden signing ceremony because of the work that I and many others had done to get the Act passed. When he signed the bill, President Carter complained that the bill had been “watered down” and said he hoped it would be a start for stronger laws to come.