The Donut Hole of West Virginia
Gilmer, Calhoun, and portions of Wirt.
When I majored in Written English at Glenville State College (a degree no longer available there), I also minored in Journalism. I thought, at that time, I wanted to be a journalist. I worked three days in the customer service department at The Parkersburg News & Sentinel, apprenticed under a former newspaper editor/publisher, and by that association, landed a job as a reporter at The Calhoun Chronicle in Grantsville.
The Calhoun Chronicle was locally-owned then but has since been sold to WV Media, which provides full print and online subscriptions. In my opinion, it represents the county well, and in a slow-news region, still keeps the pages filled with great columns, historical information, etc. In other words, the perfect small-town newspaper.
At that time, the only competition for news and information in Calhoun County was The Hur Herald - one of the first online newspapers in the state. Bob covered events, news, etc. and with Dianne’s help, updated every night at midnight (barring power, internet, hacking, server, or health issues).
Bob has skills I do not. These include patience, political poise, and the ability to incorporate and maintain humor amongst small-town dramas. By the time I reached my fourth year as a reporter/columnist, I was done. Bob and Dianne (Weaver) kept at it 25 years, which is a testament to their dedication, tough skins, and tolerance. They ceased news updates in December 2021, but still maintain and feature pieces from their extensive archives.
Here in my county (Gilmer), the historical print source of local news is The Glenville Democrat/Pathfinder. They recently launched a new website to attempt to fill a void left when the publisher/creator of The Gilmer Free Press died in 2021. The site is clunky but does include many of the features of the print edition without a subscription.
For the last three years, I had been writing a column for both The Hur Herald and the Glenville newspapers. However, when The Hur Herald shifted to archival, I simply was no longer motivated to write just for The GDP. They don’t pay me, and I’m not comfortable with their journalistic standards. (I don’t support editorials on the front page, and had a difficult time garnering their support for the public library.)
The loss of The Gilmer Free Press and Hur Herald news updates has left a void of reliable, unbiased news here in the donut hole of West Virginia — where we are just outside the coverage of The Parkersburg News & Sentinel, The Charleston Gazette/Mail, and The Clarksburg Telegram.
This void might be one reason I started up this newsletter. But I’m not doing news. Lord, no. But I have created a space on this new site for local commentary. Local commentary (after this email) will NOT be included in your weekly emails but will be posted directly on the site 2lane4life.substack.com.
I have purchased digital subscriptions to The Calhoun Chronicle, The Glenville Democrat/Pathfinder, The Charleston Gazette, and The New York Times. I also found that The Ridgeview News launched in December, hoping to help fill the void. I read them all and sometimes feel a need to respond. But your email isn’t the place for that, so stop by the website if you want any of that.
But don’t worry! I know having access to your email is a privilege. I’m not going to junk it up with any political poo. At the end of future weekly emails, I may add a link to two to any new commentary pieces, but you don’t have to read them if you don’t want to.
Thanks again for reading along with me. I feel so blessed that you’re here!