OF CHANGE MEET OUR 2020 WONDER WOMEN
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VOLUME 13 ◆ ISSUE 3
Fall 2020 features
NoPlaceLikeHome Gary Bowling’s House of Art—where Appalachian artists reimagine and reclaim the Bluefield region. 90
West Virginia Wonder Women
The mothers, the millenials, and the mavens changing our communities.
VOLUME 13 ◆ ISSUE 3
40 Memorable Meals Drive-ins: The comfort food we love with COVID distancing built in. 43 This Bottoms up! Enjoy making these beer- infused recipes, just in time for fall. 47 Libations These two West Virginia shops are leaning into CBD. 48 Vittles Check out Pupuseria Emerita in Moorefield for an exotic treat. live 50 Creatively How Laurie Goldstein Warren went from styling hair in upstate New York to become one of West Virginia’s most successful painters. 52 In Lovely Spaces ZMM Architects & Engineers spearheads unique and meaningful school construction. 56 Away Head south to Appalachian Outpost and Rockfort Cabins, located on the doorstep of epic adventure. 58 Out Loud Year by year, with perseverance, Dave Saville has grown a towering tree-planting operation. 61 Outdoors The Monongahela National Forest holds some of West Virginia’s wildest and most wonderful parts. 65 Spaces A Philippi couple breathes new life into a new-to-them home with the help of Wells Home Furnishings.
discover 14 Carving Out Time Five pumpkin patches to visit this fall. 14 Handmade Fall is coming soon, and makers are channeling the season. 15 Town Spencer—Make plans to visit West Virginia’s “best hometown” this fall. 16 Lessons Libera harnesses the power of being heard to transform women’s lives. 17 Living Loves Show your love for the Mountain State with any of these great finds. 18 Mom & Pop Stops Locals love Roy and Betty Lou’s Ol’ Garage Café. 19 Fun Minigolf fun waiting all over the state. 20 Shop How SMART Centre Market in Wheeling encourages hands-on learning. 21 Made in WV Wild Nettle Apothecary creates earth-conscious, small-batch botanicals. 22 How We Did It Time and craftsmanship have put Paul Wissmach Glass Co. of Paden City in a class by itself. 24 Innovations West Virginia University’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute uses wearable smart technology to predict the onset of viral infections like COVID-19.
25 Something New The new Elk River Trail in Clay County is bringing business and recreation to an area that's running on steam. 26 Shop The Boone Magnolia Boutique blossoms to life. 27 Reads A memoir from a former WVU professor illuminates reproductive rights. 28 Power Partners Lori McKinney- Blankenship and Robert Blankenship provide a place of refuge for Princeton creatives at The RiffRaff Arts Collective. 30 Diversity Four Fairmont State students embrace diversity in a new park mural. 31 Sports There’s a shortage of sports officials across West Virginia and the U.S. taste 34 Maker Fritz Boettner believes in West Virginia’s ability to feed itself. 37 Restaurant Grazer’s Chop House raises its own cattle for high-end steaks.
ON THE COVER Beautiful bags of seeds of native tree species harvested by David Saville of Morgantown and photographed by Carla Witt Ford.
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by her entrepreneurial prowess. I was moved to tears after reading Fairmont State University President Mirta Martin’s story of fleeing Cuba as a child to live in a convent with her grandmother and sister
Thanks to some past wonder(ful) Women—Deb Hartshorn, Joan Browning, and Tricia Kingery—I’ve been appropriately suited up!
before immigrating to the United States. She says, “I will never forget my roots, nor where I came from, because the challenges of the journey have given me strength.” We may long for pre-pandemic days but, as President Martin so poignantly says, the challenges of the journey will give us strength. Strength to be better than before. We’ve been given an opportunity to shed the sometimes suffocating cloak of comfort that leads to complacency. I remember years ago when, as the editor of Mississippi Magazine I was interviewing shrimpers after Hurricane Katrina had decimated their economy and their town, and they said, “Are we upset? Sure. But this has also given us a great opportunity to rebuild a better town and a better life. There’s too much work to do to feel sorry for ourselves.” I think about that lesson often. We need to use this time to see our weaknesses and challenges for what they are and identify not just what we’d like to change, but what we must change. And then work together planting those seeds. This year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The effort that led to women’s right to vote didn’t happen overnight. The seeds were planted decades and decades before. It just took time and the right conditions to germinate. In fact the suffragist movement could have been derailed by a pandemic: the Spanish Flu. Instead, because the flu pandemic affected a disproportionate number of men because of World War I, it necessitated women joining the labor force— and with that came change. So a hundred years ago a pandemic led to social changes, health improvements, and better economic opportunities for women. I think we should find great comfort and opportunity in that lesson, knowing that the seeds we sow now will produce the fruit of the future.
I findmyself craving positive stories. I want to disconnect and connect at the same time. I miss traveling. I miss hugging people. I miss common sense and kindness. I find myself not trusting what I hear, what I read, and what I even know. I long for a routine that doesn’t change weekly. I miss when red and orange were simply colors found in a box of crayons. I crave inspiration. And I crave chocolate. I bet you do, too. Well, this issue of WV Living magazine is the heaping serving of positivity I needed. Our annual West Virginia Wonder Women issue is packed with inspirational stories. Stories about women who left West Virginia but returned, bringing vision, passion, and dedication to building a better state. Stories about women who’ve moved away, but whose West Virginia upbringing gave them the strong foundation to live impactful lives on a national scale. We honor women who’ve never left the county in which they were born, who’ve worked tirelessly to champion their communities. And we share stories of women who’ve chosen to call West Virginia home, who’ve become vested in helping our state and our people be the best possible versions of themselves. All stand tall and proud—and they have made us healthier, smarter, more educated and better informed. 100-year old Mildred Fizer, the first woman in the nation to direct a state 4-H program, has positively impacted generations of children. Tammy Jordan’s company Fruits of Labor lifts up at-risk populations. And if you are lucky enough to know Diana Barnette, you never leave her presence without being mesmerized
NIKKI BOWMAN MILLS, Editor
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letters to the editor
From the community I wanted to reach out and tell you thank you all for printing the story about Woodlands Community Lenders in your Special Community Issue . It meant a lot to us, and we’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from it. I wanted to make sure my amazing colleagues got a little nod for all the work they’ve been doing to keep small businesses going in the region. It was an amazing issue. It definitely gave everyone some inspiration and smiles in hard times. Keep up the amazing work! emily wilson- hauger, Woodlands Development Group I just returned from a trip to Calhoun County this past weekend. I had seen the two brothers fromMorgantown in your publication and ordered four Eastern bluebird houses from them. Since we were just passing through, they agreed to meet us along I-68 and deliver the birdhouses to us. I gave them a tip and hope we have new families in our new houses soon! Thanks so much for your articles. brenda brasure, Bridgeville, Delaware
“I just wanted to say how inspiring and uplifting your all’s magazines have been since the pandemic hit. I mean, truly, they make an ENORMOUS difference.Thank you!” ann pancake, belovedwest virginia author
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letters to the editor
“A very well done magazine with great articles.” eric rinehart, via our WV Living Reader Survey Each issue I discover something about my state I never knew and I’m 62! I LOVE this magazine. kim stamm
Gratitude from our readers I just finished reading WV Living and, as always, very special information and features. Of course, I particularly enjoyed focusing on the road trip, but I wanted to congratulate you on the Special Community Issue . I read it from cover to cover and thought it was so incredibly celebratory and full of resilience. Thanks for sharing with all of us. e gordon gee, wvu president WV Living and Morgantown magazines are sincerely two of the best publications I have read, period. I am NEVER disappointed! janet nurkiewicz Having been a subscriber for over three years, there have been so many great stories I cannot pick just one. When the magazine arrives in the mail, nothing else is accomplished until I have read it from beginning to end. jeanne carter The magazine is quality published and a great table read for family and guests to see everything that West Virginia is all about. steven dorman
A Forking Fun Time: Love this story! candice roach As a non-native West Virginia resident, I enjoy all of the stories about my new home state. jessica deshler Beautiful portrayal of West Virginia and all that makes it a special place. margaret hambric I wanted to rave about your Summer 2020 issue of WV Living Return of the Road Trip. Last summer I brought a group of Ohio Ferrari drivers through the mountains of West Virginia to play for four days. Hopefully, in two summers I will bring them all back again. I can’t wait to show them WV Living magazine. It gave me many more ideas and places to take them. This issue just excites me to death for our next event and we can’t wait to visit again! karen dinby Colorful photos. Quality paper. Unique size. Local history. Beautiful people. Beautiful destinations. julie sayre
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Discover WEST VIRGINIA IS A PLACE OF BOUNDLESS DISCOVERY. HERE’S YOUR GUIDE.
HeadOut for Adventure Fall is on the way, and it’s the perfect time of year for exploring. Head to unfamiliar places, seek fresh spaces, and delight in discovering something new. PICTURED: WILD NETTLE APOTHECARY, PAGE 21.
Megan Ursic , the owner and founder of The Handcrafted Cooperative in Morgantown, introduces us to some of her favorite makers. f
CARVING OUT T IME
Handmade Home Updates for the Fall Fall is coming soon, and makers are channeling the season. every year, it seems retailers release their fall product lines way before nature cues a seasonal change. Some of us find ourselves annoyed as we walk the aisles, thinking “Isn’t it a little early?” On the other hand, fall fanatics have been pinning year ’round and eagerly anticipating a retail landscape of pumpkins, scarves, and fall foliage. It’s tempting to give in to those impulse buys. When it comes to purchasing seasonal items, I always look to my favorite makers and the small business community first. As we begin to spend more time indoors, choose to fill your surroundings with items that make you feel good and bring joy. These fall-inspired handmade pieces will beautify your home throughout the year—and especially the upcoming season. New seasons often necessitate
Five Pumpkin Patches to Visit this Fall Here’s the scoop on where to get a pumpkin this autumn. Orange you glad it’s autumn? Fall is finally here and that means one thing: It’s time to head out to the pumpkin patch for a seasonal haul. Here are five of our favorites, all located close to home. ORR’S FARMMARKET This family-owned farm is the perfect place to take your brood for pumpkin picking. Orr’s Spookley the Square Pumpkin Patch, corn maze, and hayride will be open through November 2. Call ahead or book online, as they currently cannot accept walk-ins. 682 Orr Drive, Martinsburg, 304.263.1168, orrsfarmmarket.com, “Orr’s FarmMarket” on Facebook OKES FAMILY FARMS Go big or gourd home. Located in Cool Ridge, Okes Family Farms offers pumpkin picking, a corn maze, yummy fall treats, and more. 614 Blue Jay Road, Cool Ridge, 304.673.3268, okesfamilyfarms.com, “Okes Family Farms” on Facebook CHERRY BROOK FARM For a picturesque pumpkin patch adventure, head to Mount Storm. This farm offers a fun fall experience for all ages. Don’t leave without trying the kettle corn. 2250 Cherry Ridge Road, Mount Storm, 304.813.2775, @cherrybrookfarmllc on Facebook COOPER FAMILY FARM Have a smashing good time at Cooper Family Farm. This corn maze and pumpkin patch is a family favorite you won’t want to miss. 1302 West Main Street, Milton, 304.634.6293, @Corn Maze at Cooper Family Farms on Facebook @miltoncornmaze on Facebook BYRNSIDE BRANCH FARM Pumpkin spice and everything nice is what Byrnside Branch Farm is made of. This farm offers traditional pumpkin picking, a corn maze, and entertaining autumn festivities. 170 Byrnside
changes in food and drink. Wouldn’t you love a warm cup of chai tea on a crisp morning courtesy of this teapot made by studio potter Jen Allen Ceramics ? $200 , jenniferallenceramics.com
Don’t forget to give your porch a fall-ready makeover. Learn how to make this “Hope You Brought Pepperoni Rolls” entry mat with a Handcrafted Cooperative DIY online workshop. Your guests will love it. $15-20 , thehandcraftedcooperative. com/tutorials
Embrace early nightfall and add more candlelight. Apartment Two Art offers a variety of soy wax candles scented to smell like sweater weather and your favorite fall desserts. $8-25 , etsy.com/shop/ apartmenttwoart
Fall is the time to revel in the comforts of home. Make it cozier by updating decorative pillows with soft neutrals and textures like this one from Hot Stove Fiber . Amanda hand-spins a blend of local wool, then weaves the naturally dyed fibers on a loom to create textiles for lounging, fashion, and dining. $208 , hotstovefiber.com
Fall decorating is all about adding warmth and expressing your style. Add a fun, colorful garland that invites shades of autumn into your space, like this one from JuneFolk Fibers . $22, etsy.com/shop/junefolkfibers
Branch Road, Union, 304.772.3131, @byrnsidebranchfarm on Facebook
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Sit a Spell in Spencer Make plans to visit West Virginia’s “best hometown” this fall. TOWN W SPENCER
spencer is a small townwitha bigpersonality. With just under 2,000 residents, it dubs itself West Virginia’s “best hometown.” No one knows that better than Terry Williams, the town’s mayor and lifelong resident. There are welcome developments in Spencer these days. They come after “two, three, and four decades of economic struggles,” Williams says. The hardships aren’t unlike those many rural West Virginia communities face. But Spencer has plenty going for it, including a $22 million expansion plan for the local hospital—the type of investment almost unheard of these days in rural healthcare. “Spencer is a great place to spend a day or a night,” Williams says. “The people really make it the best. It’s just wonderful when you get people investing in our community, opening small businesses, and keeping it a great place to live and raise children.” Things will look a little different in Spencer this fall. The crowd favorite West Virginia Black Walnut Festival is cancelled because of COVID-19. It draws thousands of visitors each year, the mayor says. But there’s still plenty to enjoy around the area, from the quaint shops and cafes downtown to the pristine banks of Charles Fork Lake and its “miles and miles” of trails. So hit
the road for a day trip—or a weekend away—to the state’s best hometown. written by holly leleux-thubron photographed by nikki bowman mills
Stay If you plan to stay the night, be sure to kick back and relax at the quaint bed and breakfast in town— The Arnott House . Guests have their pick of six rooms, each with a private bath. The innkeepers will whip up a delightful breakfast each morning to fuel your day of exploring Spencer.
Play There’s plenty to do in town, including taking in a show at the oldest continuously operating theatre in the state— Robey Theatre . You can enjoy a wine tasting at the Chestnut Ridge Winery or stop in for a little shopping at The Legacy Market . Be sure to check out its pay-it-forward wall towards the back. It will do your heart good.
Eat If you’re heading to Spencer for the day, be sure to plan a meal at The Front Porch . You’ll find fresh wraps, satisfying soups, decadent desserts, and plenty more to tempt your tastebuds. The restaurant also offers daily specials like pot pie, a hearty bowl of loaded baked potato soup, or a giant meatball sub.
LESSONS W MORGANTOWN
The Power of Being Heard Libera harnesses it to transform women’s lives.
Karen Haring shares Libera’s LESSONS LEARNED I don’t think most people feel they are really heard and understood. People need to be listened to, and we want to start a listening revolution in our state. The pandemic has taught us that we need to be able to do things in new ways, virtually , in order to be there for people when we can’t connect in person. We’re finding ways to do that. There is a vital role to be played by community members making themselves available as listeners, as resources, as connections to expert help. We can train community members to do this bridge work, connecting people to professional assistance. Our strategy is to build up this army of volunteers that can have a positive impact for social, emotional, and mental health in their communities.
need. The listening itself is powerful, decreasing isolation and anxiety and increasing connection and hope. Beyond that, listeners also make referrals to professional resources for emotional, financial, and other needs. Among the group’s successes, Haring cites a young Monongalia County woman who came to trust Libera enough to confide that the man she lived with terrorized her nightly with a gun to her head. She was emboldened to leave the situation and today lives a healthier and happier life without him. Libera has about 70 trained listeners in a dozen West Virginia counties now as well as a bus that makes rounds to all 55. To receive Libera services or to become a Libera listener, call, text, or email, or visit
when karenharing had just a half-hour to connect with eight girls at Preston High School one day in 2018, she was direct: How many of you feel you are listened to? The answer surprised even her. “To a person, they each said, ‘I don’t feel like anyone listens to me.’ Family, boyfriend, teachers—no one,” she recalls. “I knew then that Libera was hitting on a critical need.” Haring started Libera in 2014 after several years’ personal exploration led her, with friends, to identify being listened to as powerful medicine that enables women to overcome barriers and live as their best selves. For her, a quote from the writer David Augsburger has since proven true over and over: “Being heard is so close to being loved that, for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” Libera trains women how to listen well and what to do when listening calls for action—when abuse must be reported, how to prevent suicide. And then it makes its trained listeners available to women and teens in
online. 304.319.0970, firstname.lastname@example.org, liberawv.com, @liberawv on Facebook written by pam kasey
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1. Lost River sign , $85 Lost River Trading Post, 295 East Main Street, Wardensville, lostrivertradingpost.com 2. Flannel patch West Virginia trucker hat , $15 Boone Magnolia Boutique, 61 Country Corner Circle, Danville, theboonemagnoliaboutique.com 3. West Virginia is my happy place tea towel , $10 Funky Flamingo, 368 Mall Road, Danville, thefunkyflamingo.shop 4. Madison, West Virginia, pillow , $30 Funky Flamingo, 368 Mall Road, Danville, thefunkyflamingo.shop 5. Country roads patch trucker hat , $30 Loving WV, lovingwv.com 6. State-shaped car air fresheners , $7 The RiffRaff Arts Collective, 865-869 Mercer Street, Princeton, theriffraff.net 7. Dolly Sods Wilderness wooden magnet , $8 Loving WV, lovingwv.com 8. New River Gorge note cards , $15 Ginger Danz, gingerdanz.com 9. West Virginia sign , $20 S erendipity Sign Co., “SerendipitySignCo” on etsy.com 10. West Virginia Life sign , $34.95, Funky Flamingo, 368 Mall Road, Danville, thefunkyflamingo.shop 11. Country roads cork coasters , $6 Loving WV, lovingwv.com
Location, Location, Location Show your love for the Mountain State with any of these great finds. LIVING LOVES W STATEWIDE
A Generations- Old Family Affair Locals love Roy and Betty Lou’s Ol’ Garage Café. MOM AND POP STOPS W BERKELEY SPRINGS
every small town needs a place for locals to share a cup of coffee and talk about the good old days. Thanks to its dedicated family of owners, Roy’s Service Center and Betty Lou’s Ol ’ Garage Café fills this role perfectly. In business for 55 years, Roy and Betty Lou Hovermale built the place up from a humble gas station on the corner to the gas station, auto service center, deli, convenience store, and cafe it is today. Roy and Betty Lou’s granddaughter Buffy Farris has grown up with the business, watching it grow and expand, with uncles, cousins, and Buffy’s own husband all playing a role in the day-to-day duties. Her mother, Cindy Hovermale, “pretty much
runs everything here,” Farris says with affection, and is always caring for the local community, donating deli food and surplus goods to anyone they hear might be in need. “It’s just something that has always been taught to us growing up,” she says. “You just help others out as much as you can.” That spirit shows that Roy and Betty Lou have built not just an enduring business, but also a place where locals feel safe and welcome. “You become like family with your customers because you see some of them every day,” Farris says. “We’re a very tight-knit community.” Even though they’ve passed most of the responsibilities on to their descendants, Roy and Betty Lou
themselves still make a habit of showing up from time to time. “My grandmother, up until a year or two ago, was here every morning baking 12 or 15 pies,” Farris says. “I’m hoping to continue that tradition.” So next time you’re in Berkeley Springs, stop by and say hello to the family. They’ll welcome you like one of their own. 205 South Washington Street, Berkeley Springs, 304.258.3559 written by taylor maple photographed by nikki bowman mills
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Pitch and Putt Minigolf fun waiting all over the state. FUN W STATEWIDE if you’re looking for somethingtee-rific to do while the days are still warm-ish, how about a round of minigolf? If you just gave a resounding “Yes!,” here are just a few courses waiting for you across the Mountain State. Whichever you choose, may the course be with you—no ifs, ands, or putts about it. written by holly leleux-thubron
Coal Country Miniature Golf This course casts an allure to drivers traveling on Interstate 79 near Fairmont. It’s hard to miss The giant pickax–wielding coal miner, makes this course hard to miss. 22 Coal Country Lane, Fairmont, coalcountrywv.com JayDee’s Family Fun Center A round of minigolf on this challenging course complete with water traps and rock obstacles. 2332 Henshaw Road, Inwood, jaydeesfun.com Miniature Golf Course at Brooke Hills Park A round of golf on this miniature course has been delighting golfers since 2003. 1295 Washington Pike, Wellsburg, brookehillspark.com Morgantown Miniature Golf Check out this new 18-hole course located right outside of town. 3002 Point Marion Road, Morgantown morgantown-miniature-golf-llc.business.site Mountain State Miniature Golf This minigolf course was ranked as one of the most interesting miniature golf courses in the country by USA Today . 181 Harper Road, Beckley, chocolatemoosewv.com Par Four Family Entertainment Did you know there are professional minigolf tournaments? Practice your putting at this tournament-style course. Mynes Road and Route 69, Hurricane, parfourbatterup.com Putt Putt Golf Schenk Lake There’s no shortage of things to do at Oglebay, and a round of minigolf should make the top of that list. 465 Lodge Drive, Wheeling, oglebay.com War Memorial Park Mini Golf At $4 per person per round of golf family entertainment doesn’t get much more budget-friendly than this. 500 North Tennessee Avenue, Martinsburg, mbcparks-rec.org
SHOP W WHEELING
wheeingresidentsmaynotice something strange looming over their town these days—a massive T-Rex smashing through the side of a building. But don’t panic— Gideon, a.k.a. T-Bone, is friendly. The new fiberglass addition to SMART Centre Market’s exterior was affectionately named by local elementary school students, and that’s just the beginning of how the community’s involvement flows through the beloved shop on 22nd street. The market, the name of which stands for “Science, Math, Art, Research & Technology,” is owned by Robert and Libby Strong, a duo of science educators who thrive on developing their customers’ enthusiasm for learning. The market grew naturally out of the workshops the couple has done with schools and students for years and gives locals a way to take educational entertainment home. Telescopes, fossils, STEM-related toys and games, and more are all available on their ever-changing shelves. And if that’s not enough to keep your attention, they also serve ice cream to snack on while you browse. “Do you love dinosaurs, space, or ice cream?” Libby says with a laugh. “Most people will enjoy at least one of the three.” SMART Centre Market’s doors are temporarily shuttered due to COVID-19, but they’ll be open again in time. And even so, the Strongs are seeing evidence of devoted customers enjoying the fruits of their labor. “We’ve done a few socially distant curbside pickups of telescopes,” Libby says, adding that they’ve done curbside lessons, too. “We’ve also had some folks regularly IceCreamand Outer Space How SMART Centre Market in Wheeling encourages hands-on learning.
uniquefinds Fossils If you want to see where some of Gideon’s pals ended up, SMART Centre Market’s fossil selection is for you. From small ammonites to real fossilized dinosaur bones and Megoladon teeth, the selection is vast. $1–$200 Gyroscope A gyroscope is a device used for measuring velocity, and it is quite a sight to see. The spinning tool— like most things in the SMART Centre Market—is wildly fun to view, while also offering educational lessons. Each one comes with a free lesson on how to use it. $9 Orion StarBlast Telescope Perfect for casual sky-gazing or in-depth analysis, this telescope can also be found at the SMART Centre Market. Like all of the market’s telescopes, it comes with free assembly and a complimentary lesson on how to get the most out of your purchase. $210
reporting their findings as they’ve been enjoying the telescopes with their families, and that’s really nice to see.” 30 22nd Street, Wheeling, 304.233.4667, smartcentremarket.com, @smartcentremarket on Facebook written by taylor maple
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deannamccaslandcallswildnettlehergatewayherb, so it’s only fitting she named her business after it. Wild Nettle Apothecary dispenses health and beauty products like Botanical Face Food, Hemp Lotion, Herbal Shampoo Bars, and Hippie Koolaid—a loose leaf tea made of wild nettle leaf, lemongrass, orange and lemon peel, and red hibiscus—online and in brick and mortar stores around the country. In 2014, McCasland and her family crossed the West Virginia state line in pursuit of a self-sufficient lifestyle inspired by her childhood on her great-grandparents’ farm. The McCaslands swapped city life in Fredericksburg, Virginia, for the mountains of Wardensville. With self-sufficiency in mind, McCasland planted a vegetable and herb garden and, from her harvests, she hand-crafted soaps and lotions to meet her growing family’s personal care needs. “As an artist, I always want to make things,” McCasland says. “The more I learned, I realized soapmaking was an art form in itself.” She kept creating and, in 2015, began selling her surplus at farmers markets and on Etsy. Three years later, Wild Nettle Apothecary expanded into a full-time business, imparting earth- conscious, botanical-based, small-batch goodness to the apothe- curious. If an ingredient isn’t grown or wildcrafted by McCasland herself, she sources sustainably from other herbalists. “I hope I bring MADE IN WV W WARDENSV I LLE Back to the Earth Wild Nettle Apothecary creates earth-conscious, small-batch botanicals.
more awareness of how we can connect to the earth, of what’s here, and how we can use it.” wildnettleapothecary.org, @wildnettleapothecary
on Facebook and Instagram. written by jordan carter
The process is a mixture of surprisingly low- and very high-tech: The ladle buggy looks like it’s straight from the Middle Ages, while the lehr is an instrument of precision electronics. “It’s not as automated as you’d think it would be,” Feldmeier says. “It’s best if it’s handmade. Stained glass is supposed to look like art—each sheet looks different.” How many types of glass does the world’s most diversified company make? Dozens of colors: cool teals and cobalts, warm coppers and ambers and wines, but also so many patterns—rippled and mottled and flowing in all different color combinations, transparent to opaque, and with more than a dozen surface textures. All combinations taken into account, it comes to about 3,000 varieties. Wissmach makes 6,000 square feet of stained glass a day and exports about half of it. Its glass graces beautiful structures across the U.S. and around the world, including the White House, the massive Santuario de Mártires de Cristo in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the innovative Minharot Olam underground cemetery in Jerusalem. Stained glass is a niche market with competitors Feldmeier can tick off on one hand—manufacturers in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Oregon as well as one in China and another in Mexico. But Wissmach’s long history gives it an edge. “We’ve got a head start on companies that came up in the last 30, 40 years,” Feldmeier says. He also credits Wissmach’s workforce of about 30. His own family has been part of it for nearly a century. His grandfather moved from Pittsburgh to work there in the 1920s and, in 1987, the company passed into the hands of Feldmeier’s father, who had long managed the plant. Feldmeier himself started working there part-time and summers in junior high in the 1970s, then full-time
A Touch of Glass Time and craftsmanship have put Paul Wissmach Glass Co. of Paden City in a class by itself. HOW WE DID I T W PADEN CI T Y
prized by artists and architects around the world, workers wheel a huge ladle of red-hot molten glass from the furnace and pour it onto rollers. It oozes out onto a platform in seconds, very slightly cooled and shaped into a nearly rectangular blob of even thickness. A moment later, another worker slides a spatula-like tool under its length to make sure it doesn’t stick, then pushes it into the lehr—that’s a kiln that anneals the glass, or cools it in a controlled way that makes it strong. Workers at the other end cut and finish the sheet.
“ themostdiversifiedglass company in the world.” That’s how Mark Feldmeier starts when he’s asked about Paul Wissmach Glass Co. “We make the largest variety of any glass manufacturer—mainly because we’ve been in business for 116 years.” This art glass maker in the Ohio River town of Paden City was established by Paul Wissmach, a German immigrant, in 1904. It started making stained glass soon after, and that’s been its claim to fame. To make one of the vibrant expanses
The Sands of Time Paul Wissmach Glass Co. goes with the flow.
1910 Wissmach realizes his dream of creating colored sheet glass to inspire stained glass work and renames the company for himself.
1927 A fire destroys vital manufacturing and
1904 Paul Wissmach founds the Ohio Valley Glass Company to manufacture raised glass letters, wire glass, and tubing.
warehouse facilities—but the company recovers with new and larger buildings.
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WINDOW INTO WISSMACH Company President Mark Feldmeier on staying relevant in a changing market. The stained glass market is no longer growing—there aren’t as many church windows being made, and the Tiffany lampshade business declined after the 1990s and 2000s . So we got into fusing around 2008, in order to enhance our business. We got a few experts to help develop formulas to make the fusing glass. We’re always trying to develop new colors and patterns, new textures. A lot of times the textures that we make were recommended to us by customers—or maybe they’re doing a historical project and they’re trying to match a certain type of glass. We’ve done that three or four times in the past 20 years. The market is constantly changing, and we have to stay right on top of it. We try to be a leader as far as developing new products. The retail part of the industry has declined, but we’re selling to a lot more manufacturers, like swimming pool and tile manufacturers. We stay on top of that by going to trade shows.
after college. Now he serves as the company’s president. A little over a decade ago, Wissmach introduced a separate line of kiln glass. “With kiln glass, or fusing glass, you’re taking two or more pieces and reheating them to make a piece of art,” Feldmeier explains. A growing market, kiln glass is used by everyone from crafters to fine artists. Wissmach sells its glass primarily through distributors to retailers, but always maintains ties directly with the artist community. “We keep in touch with artists who are using our
glass, because so many new techniques are being developed all the time,” Feldmeier says. “We’ve done that maybe more in the last 10 years, with the
fusing market, but we’ve always done it.” It’s a savvy move that may in part explain the company’s longevity. wissmachglass.com written by pam kasey photographed by carla witt ford
1960 The company drops its Neo-Flash and wire glass lines to concentrate on producing colored rolled sheet glass.
1980 Marguerite Vollmar, company president since 1938, dies, and longtime plant manager Paul Feldmeier, Sr., takes the helm.
2008 Wissmach complements its established stained glass with a new line of kiln glass to serve a growing artists’ market.
Going Viral West Virginia University’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute uses wearable smart technology to predict the onset of viral infections like COVID-19. INNOVAT IONS W MORGANTOWN for the past two years, the West
Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI), led by Dr. Ali Rezai, has used wearable smart technology to study human health and disease conditions such as addiction and chronic pain. In March, RNI expanded its research to viral infections, detecting signs and symptoms before they start. With a combination of the Oura Ring—a health-tracking wearable— the RNI Health app, and AI machine learning, RNI can predict viral symptoms three days before their onset with 90 percent accuracy. How? Holistically. The Oura Ring measures temperature, heart and respiratory rate, and sleep patterns in wearers, and the RNI Health app screens for cognitive fatigue and other physiological symptoms. The data is then analyzed and, if a user’s health index is low, the wearer will be warned of their potential pre-symptomatic status—a possible breakthrough in reducing the spread of viral infections like COVID-19. “Fundamentally, it serves as an early warning system that may facilitate triaging—who should get tested as a priority, given limited resources,” Dr. Rezai says. The four-month study has seen several thousand participants, everyone from frontline healthcare workers and dentists and dental hygienists to daycare and nursing home workers and first responders, fitted with what
is being called “digital PPE.” As the study continues, RNI hopes to predict symptoms further
top: Leslie Crossley, registered nurse, sizes providers in the WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital Medical Intensive Care Unit for their Oura Rings. bottom: T he Oura Ring tracker monitors an individual ’s body temperature, breathing, heart rate, and other vital signs.
in advance and develop technology specific for identifying COVID-19. written by jordan carter
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SOMETHING NEW W CLAY COUNT Y
Walk the Line The new Elk River Trail in Clay County is bringing business and recreation to an area that’s running on steam. state parks arewelcoming a recordnumber of guests this year, and now, Clay County lays claim to its very own, the West Virginia State Parks–managed Elk River Trail. At the Braxton–Clay county line, you’ll find Duck, a quiet community along the Elk River, and the easternmost trailhead of the new Elk River Trail. Until 1985, the Elk River Coal and Lumber Company operated a railroad line through Duck, and the Elk River Trail is made from its remnants. Bright Enterprises is pulling up tracks and laying down limestone along the river between Duck and Clendenin. Today, 28 miles of the 74- mile trail is complete, from Duck to the Middle Creek spur, just beyond Hartland. Put the river on your left and trek through the heavily forested mountains of Clay County. The Elk River Trail’s combination of rail and water trails creates an array of recreational opportunities easily accessible off of Interstate 79 such as hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and boating. At Clay, one of the trail’s four access points, you’ll find Clay YakRentals , which offers tube and kayak rentals on the Elk. 276 Procious Maysel Road, Clay, 304.619.8047, clayyakrentals.org, @clayyakrentals on Facebook Or, head east along Buffalo Creek, where you’ll find BuffaloCreek Rail Rides . Pedal rail bikes or ride in an open railcar along the first six miles of the scenic Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad line. Stops include The Devil’s Sawmill Waterfall, the former rail town of Adair, and a crystal-clear swimming hole. 867 Buffalo Creek Road, Clay, 304.618.7992, buffalocreektrail.com, @buffalocreekrailrides on Facebook On Main Street, you’ll find Clay’s only grocery store, Small Town Market , where Debbie Samples, owner of Elk River Baking Company, sells her fresh-baked bread and sweets. “My hope and prayer is that the trail will revitalize our community and bring lots of new businesses and visitors,” Samples says. For those who are looking for a new area to explore and peace and quiet away from other hikers and bikers, the Elk River Trail makes the grade. 1 12 Main Street, Clay, 304.444.3939 written by jordan carter
“Almost Heaven” Crewneck Bring out the wild side of “Wild and Wonderful” with this leopard print and glitter bleach- dyed design, For the love of WV Some of our faves from Boone Magnolia Boutique. This comfy crewneck is made from a polyester and cotton blend for a fleece-y feel that’s sure to feel heavenly this fall season. Sizes S to XL. $35 Customizable “Home” Wall Set Country Roads Woodworking hand makes these customizable handmade by Reese & Roo Designs .
wall sets that spell
out “Home.” Choose from barnwood, walnut, cherry, oak, or stained oak cutouts of the state,
loriwhitedbeganbuildingrustic signs and furniture in 2016, selling her stock online and at craft fairs where she met like-minded makers. In August 2019, she openedThe Boone Magnolia Boutique, where she showcases the work of other Danville-area artisans. The Boone Magnolia gets its name fromThe Magnolia Market, a collection of handpicked home decor and lifestyle goods featured on the HGTV show Fixer Upper. It was the show’s Joanna Gaines who inspired Whited to dream big and bring new business to her home in Boone County. “I loved the idea of highlighting my hometown artisans,” Whited says. “They’re incredibly talented, and I want to give people SHOP W DANV I LLE A Unique Boutique The Boone Magnolia Boutique blossoms to life.
the opportunity to appreciate the amount of work that can be done with two hands.” The Boutique features 20 artisans in-store and online,
paired with white or black lettering. $30 for a 12-inch set, $50 for 18-inch, and $75 for 24-inch Pepperoni Roll T-Shirt Parties and Peonies is the designer of the official Pepperoni Roll logo, personalized with the shape of the
including Whited’s own sign-making side hustle, The Boone Magnolia. You’ll also find Country Roads Woodworking’s quirky jewelry boxes and shelf sitters and Reese & Roo Designs’ West Virginia–themed hats, T-shirts, and stickers. “I feel like we really are the most unique boutique in the surrounding area,” Whited says. “I’ve never walked into another store with the same energy and love or soul behind their products.” 61 Country Corner Circle, Danville, 304.369.1611,
state to reflect the pepperoni roll’s Mountain State birthplace. As seen on CBS Sunday Morning , these T-shirts
are 100 percent cotton and 100 percent classic. Available in unisex sizes S to XL. $18
theboonemagnoliaboutique.com, @theboonemagnolia on Facebook written by jordan carter
26 wvl • fall 2020
Women’s Options A memoir from a former WVU professor illuminates reproductive rights. twin girls playing with the oven while their exhausted mother catches a moment’s rest—Christa Parravani’s memoir Loved and Wanted starts with a painful and empathetic snapshot of women’s worlds and doesn’t let up. Parravani was still nursing a second child and teaching writing at West Virginia University when, in October 2017, she learned she was pregnant again. The family was already stressed for money and time, and her husband wasn't holding up his end. She felt her professional life slipping away. The narrative places Parravani’s ultimately failed search for an abortion in a complex context: a setting that didn’t easily support that choice and personal pressures—ambivalence, social isolation, financial challenges—that kept her from making it a priority. It’s a window into the ways that women, overwhelmed by circumstance, make decisions they pay for in the long run and the way lack of access to health care choices can contribute. Find it on bookshelves in November 2020. written by pam kasey
POWER PARTNERS W PRINCETON
Creating in an Unlikely Place
Lori McKinney-Blankenship and Robert Blankenship provide a place of refuge for Princeton creatives at The RiffRaff Arts Collective. written by jordan carter photographed by nikki bowman mills
princeton-born lori mckinney- blankenship met Summers County native Robert Blankenship at an open mic in Hinton in 2003. What connected them was their joint recognition of the importance of creative spaces for people in the community. So in 2004, they created Culturefest, a weekend-long multicultural arts and music festival in Mercer County. “There was something so special about bringing together people from different backgrounds through music and the arts,” McKinney- Blankenship says. “We recognized we wanted to do that not only at Culturefest, but year ’round.” They were holding events in coffee shops and city parks when they realized they wanted a space of their own. They, along with other artists, dreamed up The RiffRaff Arts Collective in 2006 and bought a 10,000-square-foot multi- story building on Mercer Street in Princeton. The headquarters of The RiffRaff houses a 40-artist gallery. Below that, artists get creative—and messy—working on projects like T-shirt printing. Above the gallery are office spaces and six artist studios, and that’s where the Blankenships live—among it all. The top floor, a ballroom with pressed tin ceilings plus a stage and recording studio, is referred to as “The Room Upstairs.” McKinney-Blankenship calls it The RiffRaff’s creative epicenter because all sorts of gatherings have taken place there over 16 years, from open mics to meetings and yoga classes. She also calls it a place of “mudita,” the Sanskrit word meaning vicarious joy. Next door is Stages Music School, which serves more than 200 students. Blankenship is the yin to McKinney- Blankenship’s yang. He provides technical and logistical support for her lofty visions, to hold the whole operation together. “Nothing Robert does is something I’m capable of,” she says. “He builds and creates things in this fascinating way.”
What is the concept behind the name “The RiffRaff Arts Collective”? LORI MCKINNEY: If you look up “riffraff” in Merriam-Webster , it says “considered by some to be worthless and low.” If you don't look beyond what's on the surface, you might miss out on something extraordinary. Down here on Mercer Street, it was pretty much abandoned, but we were an economic development engine waiting to be tapped. What do you bring to the Princeton area? LM: When I met Robert, I realized I was brought to this earth to do something with my creative gifts. We’re creating this space so that people can have joyous experiences, with the hope that they'll take that and go out into the world and create more of it. Why Princeton? ROBERT BLANKENSHIP : Growing up, I didn’t have outlets to express my creativity, so that’s a big driving force for me—providing a place where young creatives can come and be themselves. LM: A lot of people say there’s nothing around here, but what there is is opportunity. If you’re from a place, consider returning there, because you can make a big difference. What kind of change do you hope to inspire? LM: I want to see a more connected and joyous society where people are more empowered to express themselves freely and in creative ways. Even if it’s just being able to bring one other person joy through allowing them to experience your creativity, that inspires them to experience their own. What’s next? RB: With the Create Your State Tour, we’ve worked with 25 towns throughout the state and been able to guide them through the rough patches that come along with community development. LM: We have plans for telling stories of the communities and sharing knowledge so we can help each other grow.
Their partnership functions as a symbiotic organism, each element just as important as any other.
students Chloe Barber, Madison Mayle, and Michaela Riffle on researching, designing, and painting the mural under the instruction of Professor Joel Dugan, chair of FSU’s Department of Architecture, Art, and Design. We tried to reimagine the lives, struggles, and identities of the people of Marion County, and we chose luminaries—people who shine bright—who initiated change in our county. The mural features symbolism in a cross- stitched rhododendron, a map of the park, and a luminary design. The cross-stitching represents the sewing trade that many women took part in, and the luminary design depicts the art of punching holes in materials to shine light through in a decorative fashion. The map highlights the location of the mural as a frame of reference. All of the imagery lies atop three organic color waves that reference the movement of the Monongahela River as it flows by the park and the natural shades found in West Virginia. “As someone who ended up with a suitcase full of pictures when my elders died, I found myself putting together the pieces and trying to reimagine the life, the struggles, and the identity of these people, and I think that probably is true to what we attempted here,” Dugan says.
“While our focus was on history, diversity, and art, the collective focus was unity through all of them,” Barber says. “We tried really hard to dig deeper than skin, and I think that’s what’s really important, that all of these characters are portrayed in black and white,” Dugan says. The grayscale used to render the figures creates a unity between races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds. “We are taught that diversity is valuable because, like us artists, not all of us have the same style or medium. Yet when we put a gallery show together, it fills a space in a collectively unique way,” Barber says. Our group hopes the piece will serve to unify the citizens of Marion County. “When somebody can come to the wall, they can ask questions about the icons that are infused into the piece, and that will spur more research and more active investigation into those people,” Dugan says. We completed the mural
DIVERSI T Y W FAIRMONT Unity Through Public Art Four Fairmont State students embrace diversity in a new park mural. five historical fairmont residents now gracing a wall in the city’s Palatine Park celebrate the diversity that has made West Virginia what it is today. Famed musician Johnnie Johnson stands alongside Tuskegee Airman Colonel George “Spanky” Roberts, abolitionist Julia Pierpont, and the city’s last surviving slave, Harriet “Aunt Hat” WilsonWhitely. An anonymous coal miner representing the roots of so many West Virginians rounds out the group. The 28-by-80-foot mural is the work of four Fairmont State University students, including me—I had the fun of working with my fellow
over the summer, and it’s now free to be enjoyed by visitors to Palatine Park. written by maralisa marra photographed by carla witt ford
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