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Rick Steelhammer

Staff writer
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Some Labor Day thoughts on Memorial Day


Staff writer

Last week’s vote to phase in a $15 minimum wage in Los Angeles followed by the discovery and public disclosure of Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen’s somewhat more substa...

Event commemorates McCausland’s tardy surrender 150 years ago


When Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, not all troops under his command were willing to lay down their arms and give up the Confederate cause.


Andy’s Grill, a WVSU fixture for nearly 60 years, scheduled for demolition


Andy’s Grill, an Institute landmark where generations of West Virginia State students got together over ribs, hot bologna sandwiches and wings, has a date with the wrecking ball, possibly as early as today, but mo...

Work on Yeager landslide removal still weeks away


Yeager Airport board members voted April 29 to hire a contractor on an emergency basis to begin the work of stabilizing and removing the slip zone at the end of the airport’s main runway. However, the starting dat...

Searching for news of the weird? Your Florida site is calling


West Virginia has its share of rustic oddballs and hapless criminals, but I’ll cede bragging rights to the nation’s number one locale for overall quirkiness to the Sunshine State, where freakish, freshwater...

Webster County theater connects music lovers, musicians


Dusty Anderson’s vision for an off-the-beaten-track music venue at the mouth of Jerry Run in the mountains of Webster County seemed a bit far-fetched to some of his neighbors — in fact, Anderson himself was...

$1 million grant to North Bend Rail Trail be used for drainage, resurfacing


The ride along the North Bend Rail Trail’s lesser-used eastern end will soon be a lot smoother and drier, thanks to $1.035 million in grant funds that will be used to pay for drainage and resurfacing work along th...

FBI’s case against Louie Louie was screwy, screwy


I was in junior high when “Louie Louie,” the three-chord hit by the Kingsmen, collected a lot of air time and generated a fair amount of talk among people my age about its mostly indecipherable lyrics. Thos...

Astronomer talks Mars at UC lecture


While Steven Squyres has spent much of the past 30 years working on Mars-roving robots like the “Opportunity,” which continues to send images and data to Earth more than 10 years after it landed on the red...

Group waits for decision on ex-Navy base


A nonprofit group that wants to convert a U.S. Navy base in Pendleton County into a vocational college and life skills center for young adults says it’ll go to another state if West Virginia corrections officials ...

Pulsar found with Green Bank data has longest orbiting route


Follow-up observations of a pulsar discovered in 2012 by a pair of high school students analyzing data from the Green Bank Telescope have revealed that the pulsar has the widest orbit ever detected around another neutron...

What goes on in Texas...Let’s hope it stays there


While former Texas governor and presumed presidential candidate Rick Perry’s Wikipedia page will likely never mention Mensa membership, he’s suddenly looking a lot smarter, thanks to recent actions by the s...

Three Rivers Avian Center marks 25 years


BROOKS, W.Va. -- Ron and Wendy Perrone’s life calling wasn’t immediately obvious.

In the late 1980s, Ron, a professional musician and theater sound designer for 25 years, was taking his career in a d...

Yeager hires contractor to begin clearing runway slide


Work is expected to begin this week on a project designed to stabilize the slip zone at the end of Yeager Airport’s main runway overlooking Keystone Drive and Elk Two-Mile Creek, where landslides on March 12 and 1...

In wake of deliberate German Airbus crash, FAA still has no formal mental exam for U.S. airline pilots


While the poor mental health of a co-pilot is suspected as the cause of the deadly Germanwings Airbus 320 crash in the French Alps last month, and pilot mental health issues are believed to have played roles in six other...

Thinking of orange foods and recycled beer


The Food Police took down a major offender last week when they convinced the folks who run Kraft it was in their best interest to stop using artificial dyes to give their best-selling, blue-boxed macaroni and cheese prod...

Retired coal miner blazes trail in Slingshot


Kenny Williams may not seem like the most likely guy in the Charleston area to be the first to own a Polaris Slingshot, the sleek new futuristic-looking three-wheeled roadster that a Car and Driver reviewer described as ...

Forest Service OKs pipeline survey through Mon Forest


A permit to survey a 17.1-mile section of the Monongahela National Forest in Randolph and Pocahontas counties for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been approved by the U.S. Forest Service.

The year-long sur...

Girl Scouts to hold July Jamboree at the Summit


Girl Scouts from across the nation are being invited to take part in a five-day Girl Scout Jamboree this summer at Fayette County’s Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, the site of 2013’s National ...

Fayette County stand now part of Old-Growth Forest Network


THURMOND — With less than 1 percent of the forests encountered by settlers in the Eastern United States escaping the ax and saw in the centuries that followed their arrival, a mo...

Parkersburg woman is state’s last daughter of the Civil War


PARKERSBURG -- Rachel Perine now wishes she had paid more attention to her father’s accounts of military life.

“He was a great talker, and people -- older people especially -- seemed interested in wha...

Chester not bagging it with teapot repairs


Chester, West Virginia’s northernmost city, is anxious to spout off about its unique, homespun tourist attraction, The World’s Largest Teapot. A recently launched clean-up and renovation project should keep...

Celebrate Appalachian spring with nature hikes


For Southern West Virginia residents hankering to get outside and smell the flowers, the New River Gorge National River and nearby state parks and state forests are offering a abundance of wildflower and nature-themed hi...

Kids learn skills ranging from outdoor cooking to robotics at Kanawha County 4-H Camp


Now in its 100th year, the 4-H camping program continues to fulfill its original mission of providing kids with a safe, fun outdoor setting where they can develop hands-on life skills and make long-lasting friendships.

Some thoughts on death and taxes


In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes, Benjamin Franklin famously observed back in 1789.

That certainty is striking home on a personal level as I pound out these words, having ret...

Third defendant in St. Albans murder pleads guilty


The fate of a St. Albans woman lies in the hands of Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom after she gave up her right to a jury trial and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Friday.

Jessica May Wilson, 29, was char...

Nonprofit group raising funds toward W.Va. mountain purchase


A Potomac River conservation group has raised 94 percent of the $3.2 million needed to buy a 1,700-acre section of Hampshire County’s White Horse Mountain for use as a public hunting and fishing area, instead of a...

Irked by lagging insurers, Yeager Airport settling landslide claims itself


Frustrated with the failure of insurance carriers to begin processing claims or offering settlements to those whose property was damaged or destroyed in the March 12 runway safety zone slope failure, Yeager Airportȁ...

West Virginia Railroad Museum on track for April 18 grand opening


ELKINS -- Without the arrival of the railroad, the coal and timber industries would never have rapidly become the powerful economic forces they came to be in West Virginia.

Yeager investigates possible fraud related to landslide outreach


Yeager Airport Police and Kanawha County sheriff’s investigators are looking into several instances of alleged fraud and other criminal activity by those who received help from the airport following the March 12 l...

New River Gorge trail tops USA Today list


The New River Gorge National River’s Endless Wall Trail has been chosen the nation’s best national park hike in USA Today’s Readers’ Choice contest.

The 2.4-mile trail passes through a h...

Top O Rock, Alexander Creel Tavern, named to statewide Buildings at Risk Register


Top O Rock, Charleston’s glassy, modernist, six-story hillside residential masterpiece, is one of the first two properties to be listed on the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia’s new Buildings at Risk ...

McDowell coal company store being resurrected as museum


KIMBALL, W.Va. — A $1.5 million restoration project underway in Kimball could keep the Houston Coal Company Store — perhaps the best preserved of more than 100 company sto...