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Rick Steelhammer

Staff writer
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Steelhammer: What’s in a name? Lately, it’s been a place


They may not be as popular as Aiden or Emma, but baby names with a southern theme were on the rise on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line during 2014, according to a report by that was making the rounds alo...

Science group, wildlife refuge vie for Canaan building


On the fringe of the boggy wetlands north of Davis, in Tucker County, a turf battle is taking shape.

The National Youth Science Foundation wants to use a state-of-the-art “green” technology building a...

Volunteers upgrade outhouse featuring state’s best view


Thanks to an army of volunteers, the mountaintop privy said to provide users with the state’s “best view from an outhouse” according to Jeanne Mozier’s guidebook “Way Out in West Virgin...

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In 1926, members of the Charleston Mountain Mission church held a prayer meeting in the West Side hills that included a discussion of ways to help the community’s underprivileged. To begin addressing that issue, a...

DEP kicks off plans to restore Coal River


ST. ALBANS, W.Va. — The state Department of Environmental Protection has committed $1 million to plan and begin a stream restoration project targeting the main stem of the Coal River from Alum Creek to its conflue...

Turning lemons into nuclear lemonade


Using spin strong enough to kick-start a decommissioned particle accelerator, movers and shakers in the state of Washington have made possible the introduction of a bill that would convert a portion of one of America...

Dominion fine worries opponents of future pipeline


In light of the consent order, opponents of Dominion’s planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline are already voicing their concerns about the company’s ability to protect the environment as the multi-state pipeline c...

Civil War soldiers buried as Confederate may actually be Union


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Towering over rows of neatly arranged headstones at Columbus Confederate Cemetery, a tarnished bronze statue of a Southern soldier stands watch atop a granite ar...

Ditch the Thanksgiving turkey? You’re pulling my leg of lamb!


When it comes to traditional holiday dinner main courses, in my humble opinion, it’s the battle of the blands -- roast turkey for Thanksgiving and another roast turkey or possibly a baked ham for Christmas.


TSA offers tips for travelers bearing gifts and guns


With big-game hunting and peak holiday travel seasons now upon us, the Transportation Security Administration has some tips to offer air travelers to streamline the airport checkpoint process.

Hunters can travel by...

Will “Normal Barbie” find a “Normal Ken”?


Now that a “Normal Barbie” doll has debuted, featuring realistic body dimensions with optional stretch marks and acne patch accessories, Barbie’s buff BFF Ken must be getting pretty nervous.


Nitro man hopes to make cypress trees at home in West Virginia hills


Steve Tyson’s fascination with the bald cypress began not with a visit to the bayous of Louisiana or the low country of South Carolina, where the tree is known to thrive, but during a business trip to Germany back...

Winter storms better left unnamed


When the weather outside gets frightful, it’s entirely possible that The Weather Channel has a name for it that you may or may not find delightful.

For a third consecutive year, the folks at TWC are ladling ...

Re-use plans ease economic fears over Navy base closure in W.Va.


A regional vocational training center for youths transitioning from foster care to adult independence and a state-run minimum-security prison are vying to be the new occupant of West Virginia’s sole active-duty mi...

McDowell native Alderman to be honored in Vets Day ceremony


A McDowell County native who enlisted in the Army after graduating from Big Creek High School in 1958 and was later named a Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment, also known as the Special Forces Regimental...

Enough cable to hang themselves?


Now that the recent bumper crop of political attack ads has been harvested and shipped off to whatever corner of hell may be running short of negative energy to burn, about the only promotional game in town still produci...

Bid to halt mine near Kanawha State Forest denied


Following a two-hour hearing Wednesday, Kanawha Circuit Judge James Stucky denied issuing a writ of prohibition sought by a group seeking to halt further operations at Keystone Development’s No. 2 surface mine, no...

Plans for Matewan mine wars museum to be viewed Saturday


A museum dedicated to telling the story of the West Virginia Mine Wars from the multiple viewpoints of the everyday people they affected is taking shape in a building scarred by bullets fired during one of the conflict&#...

Land for more parking, amenities acquired for Greenbrier River Trail


The sometimes-overcrowded southern trailhead parking lot of the Greenbrier River Trail is poised to become considerably more spacious, after the Greenbrier River Trail Association and the West Virginia Land Trust joined ...

Woman’s passion for Navy memorabilia becomes U.S. Navy Poster Museum


POINT PLEASANT -- It all started 14 years ago, when Kelly McCorry Fields, an active-duty Navy veteran who at that time continued to serve in the Navy Reserve, wanted to buy a Navy-themed Barbie doll.

“The on...

Building a consensus on Bigfoot and Atlantis


Thanks to the recent PBS series “The Roosevelts,” I was reminded again that despite its many challenges, America has “nothing to fear but fear itself,” as Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his fir...

Beckley lands new nonstop Charlotte service, aircraft maintenance facility


New nonstop air service between Beckley and Charlotte, North Carolina, will begin by December, under an agreement reached between Raleigh County Memorial Airport and ViaAir LLC, the operator of Via Airlines, airport offi...

DEP wants suit by foes of mine near state forest tossed


A lawyer for the state Department of Environmental Protection says opponents of a surface mine near Kanawha State Forest “failed to exhaust administrative remedies” before suing over the mine’s permi...

Durbin & Greenbrier Valley to take over Cass railroad


Following discussions that began last spring, the state Division of Natural Resources announced on Monday that rail operations at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park will be taken over by the State Rail Authority and the sta...

Confederate troops fought, died to take Winfield 150 years ago today


One hundred fifty years ago today, a force of about 400 Confederate soldiers, riding under the cover of darkness from the Mud River country of southwestern West Virginia, approached the Putnam County town of Winfield, wh...

Food: It’s what America’s ruining


On Friday, I was feeling kind of bad about taking a cannonball off my recently rejoined weight-watching wagon.

I’d given in to the siren call of free donuts, after a box magically appeared next to the newsro...

Community steps up to repair Randolph County’s Harman School


HARMAN — July 4, 2014, might always be remembered as the day the roof fell in at Harman School, threatening the permanent closure of the building that served the p...

Yeager board pulls plug on funds to promote grounded low-cost carrier


Yeager Airport Executive Director Rick Atkinson told members of the Charleston airport’s governing board on Wednesday that he has formally rescinded the use of funds from a federal air service grant to promote new...