Preston County

Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy

As the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy continues to graduate more West Virginia teens than ever, its leaders say the program has reached its capacity for the existing facility at Camp Dawson.

Legislation from the most recent special session advocates not only for an expansion there in Preston County, but for a second location in Fayette County. Lawmakers didn’t specify in writing where they want the new academy to go, but many are confident it will end up being at the former WVU Tech campus in Montgomery. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Mountaineer Challenge Academy in Preston County wants to open a campus in southern West Virginia, but there’s some skepticism as to whether it will be possible. Reporter Dave Mistich also brings us the latest from the statehouse.

Oak Park, Preston County
WV & Regional History Center / WVU

Oak Park, an amusement park about a mile west of Masontown in Preston County, opened June 19, 1909.

The park was an easy train ride from Morgantown—as well as nearby Maryland and Pennsylvania—which helped fill up the park on weekends and holidays. On one day in that summer of 1909, 14 trains brought more than 4,000 people to Oak Park.

Jesse Wright

The tall, red brick building that was once home to Rowlesburg High School still stands after surviving the historic 1985 flood.

After the flood it was no longer used as a school, but today it remains the heart of the community of Rowlesburg – it's where people meet, festivities are held, weekly dinners are made, etc.

West Virginia Regional Jail Authority

An armed Missouri man accused of threatening President Donald Trump during a traffic stop in West Virginia was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in jail.

West Virginia Regional Jail Authority

A Missouri man who was arrested Wednesday on his way to the White House and Pentagon has been identified through a criminal complaint. The traffic stop shut down Interstate 68 in Preston County for hours.

A criminal complaint filed with the Preston County Magistrate Court states that 42-year-old Eric Charron of Kansas City, Missouri was traveling at 130 miles per hour before being stopped by Trooper First Class D.W. Satterfield of the West Virginia State Police.

February 8, 1915: Photographer Volkmar Wentzel Born in Germany

Feb 8, 2019
Volkmar Kurt Wentzel
e-West Virginia Encyclopedia / Peter Wentzel & Viola Wentzel

Photographer Volkmar Wentzel was born in Germany on February 8, 1915. He and his family immigrated to New York State when he was 11. He eventually ended up in Preston County, West Virginia, where he attended high school.

As a teenager, he joined up with some Washingtonians who’d formed an artists’ colony in the forests of Preston County. While working at the artists’ colony, Wentzel built a darkroom in a pump house and began shooting local scenery for postcards.

November 27, 1933: WVU President Daniel Purinton Dies

Nov 27, 2018
Purinton returned in 1901 as WVU’s president and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / West Virginia University, Daniel Purinton, Preston County, Dennison College

Daniel B. Purinton died in Morgantown on November 27, 1933. A native of Preston County, he was one of West Virginia University’s early graduates. He earned a bachelor of arts from the school in 1873 and a master of arts in 1876. He later received a doctorate from the University of Nashville.

November 13, 1879: Arthurdale Educator Elsie Clapp Born

Nov 13, 2018
Educator Elsie Clapp was born in Brooklyn Heights and influenced by progressive educator John Dewey.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / John Dewey, Elsie Clapp, Arthurdale, Preston County

Educator Elsie Clapp was born on November 13, 1879, in Brooklyn Heights. She was influenced by progressive educator John Dewey, who believed that schools should have a direct impact on the communities they serve.

In 1934, Clapp brought this philosophy with her to West Virginia as director of the community school at Arthurdale. The Preston County town was the first of the nation’s New Deal subsistence homesteads. A pet project of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Arthurdale was intended to give unemployed miners and their families a fresh start.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, for decades, the Cheat River and its tributaries were known for the tell-tale bright orange discoloration of acid mine drainage. Twenty-five years later, the river is on the verge of a nearly complete restoration. Much of the success is a result of a decision among regulators, scientists and a local conservation group to treat the pollution problem as an entire watershed, instead of mine by mine. Brittany Patterson takes us to Preston County to learn more.

Photo Courtesy of Nancy Abrams

Nancy Abrams is the author of a new memoir The climb from Salt Lick published by WVU press. The book is about her experience as a young photojournalist from the Midwest moving to Preston County to live and work. Abrams documents how she came to love West Virginia and the people who live here. Kara Lofton spoke with Abrams about the new book and what it means to write honestly about one's own life. 

Sarah Lowther Hensley / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A West Virginia county has declared a state of emergency over "deplorable" road conditions.

The Dominion Post cites a release from the Preston County Commission that says Thursday's proclamation asks the state to address several roads that "pose a danger for motorists, commercial traffic and first responders."

January 19, 1818: Virginia General Assembly Creates Preston County

Jan 19, 2018
Preston County
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV Humanities Council

On January 19, 1818, the Virginia General Assembly created Preston County from the eastern part of Monongalia County.

Industry in Preston County began to take off in the 1830s with the completion of the Northwestern Turnpike, which connected Winchester, Virginia, with the Ohio River. Over such roads, teamsters hauled away Preston’s agricultural products and brought back commercial goods. Today, U.S. 50 follows the route of the turnpike.

Hundred, WV, a week after flooding is still clearing and cleaning debris.
Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice is seeking a federal disaster declaration for a dozen counties in northern West Virginia hit by flooding in late July.

Justice sent a letter to the White House on August 10 requesting the disaster declaration, according to a news release from the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

West Virginia Governor's Office

Last weekend’s flash flooding in northern and north-central West Virginia has caused over $10 million dollars in damages.

Eleven counties are facing damage costs totaling $10,604,778, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

Underground Fires, Toxins in Unfunded Cleanup of Old Mines

Jan 28, 2017
Rob Rice, left, chief of the West Virginia Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation, and planner Jonathan Knight check on the smoldering underground fire at a long-abandoned coal mine in Preston County, W.Va.
Michael Virtanen / Associated Press

PRESTON COUNTY — An underground coal mine fire burns beneath a sprawling hillside in West Virginia, the pale, acrid smoke rising from gashes in the scarred, muddy earth only a stone's throw from some houses.

 

The fire, which may have started with arson, lightning or a forest fire, smoldered for several years before bursting into flames last July in rural Preston County. The growing blaze moved the mine to the top of a list of thousands of problem decades-old coal sites in West Virginia awaiting cleanup and vying for limited federal funds.

 

October 21, 1940: Gov. William Conley Dies at 74

Oct 21, 2016
William Conley, Preston Co., Kingwood, Tucker County, WV Attorney General, Republican, Arch Moore, Cecil Underwood
e-wv / The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On October 21, 1940, former West Virginia Governor William G. Conley died at the age of 74. The Republican started his career as a schoolteacher and became superintendent of Preston County schools at age 25. After earning his law degree, he opened a legal practice in Tucker County and founded the Parsons Advocate newspaper. He also served as mayor of Parsons and Kingwood before being appointed West Virginia attorney general in 1908.

Harriet Jones, MD
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Physician Harriet Jones was born in Pennsylvania on June 3, 1856, but grew up at Terra Alta in Preston County.

After attending Wheeling Female College, she graduated from the Women’s Medical College of Baltimore.

In 1886, Jones opened a private practice in Wheeling, becoming the first woman licensed to practice medicine in West Virginia. Her specialties were gynecology and abdominal surgery.

West Virginia National Guard, Army National Guard, National Guard, Camp Dawson, Preston County
West Virginia National Guard

The West Virginia National Guard’s Camp Dawson has been recognized for its environmental conservation efforts.

The military training facility in Preston County was one of nine winners from a total of 30 nominations for the 2016 Secretary of Defense Environmental award.

Preston Conty
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

Preston County Sheriff Dan Loughrie wants to put cameras in the department's cruisers.

The sheriff's office is seeking a grant totaling $65,000 to add the cameras to cruisers. The grant application is with Homeland Security.

Preston County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

A proposed expansion of Preston County's indoor smoking law will be discussed at a public hearing this week.

The Preston County Commission will hold the public hearing during its regular meeting on Tuesday. The hearing follows a 45-day public comment period that ended Nov. 2.

Preston Conty
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

Groomers and the Humane Society of the United States are stepping up to care for 60 dogs seized this month from a West Virginia breeder.

The Dominion Post reports that the Humane Society has donated $5,000 and assorted pet supplies to the Preston County Shelter to help care for the dogs.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., visited Preston County for a town hall meeting on Friday, Sept. 4. Manchin heard from residents about everything from education and Social Security to America’s debt problems, but much of the discussion revolved around the Iran nuclear deal.

B. Hockensmith Photography / All Good Festival, 2011

It’s been four years since the All Good Music Festival has been in West Virginia. After spending almost a decade in Preston County, then two years in Ohio, and taking a hiatus last year, the festival comes back to the Mountain State to Jefferson County. It begins Thursday and ends Sunday, July 11.

While the festival is loved by many because of its line-up of big-name bands and relaxed atmosphere, it’s also developed a reputation for heavy traffic and drugs.

Matt Tillett / creativecommons.org

The All Good Music Festival makes its return to West Virginia this summer after four years, but the Jefferson County’s Planning and Zoning departments are still waiting for the necessary paperwork.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A Preston County natural gas pipeline project that's expected to create 25 jobs is receiving a $250,000 state grant.

On Thursday, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin visited the Allegheny Wood Products site in Hazelton to announce the grant.

The money will help extend a natural gas pipeline to the company. It's expected to help increase lumber production there by 50 percent, from 20 million board feet annually to 30 million board feet.

Purinton returned in 1901 as WVU’s president and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / West Virginia University, Daniel Purinton, Preston County, Dennison College

Daniel B. Purinton died in Morgantown on November 27, 1933. A native of Preston County, he was one of West Virginia University’s early graduates. He earned a bachelor of arts from the school in 1873 and a master of arts in 1876. He later received a doctorate from the University of Nashville.

Educator Elsie Clapp was born in Brooklyn Heights and influenced by progressive educator John Dewey.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / John Dewey, Elsie Clapp, Arthurdale, Preston County

Educator Elsie Clapp was born on November 13, 1879, in Brooklyn Heights. She was influenced by progressive educator John Dewey, who believed that schools should have a direct impact on the communities they serve.

Bitmapped / wikimedia Commons

  The federal government has awarded a $24,000 grant to improve access to the Cheat River in Preston County.

Friends of the Cheat executive director Amanda Pitzer tells The Dominion Post that the funding will be used to design and build a river access at a railroad trestle in Rowlesburg.

Pitzer says the project is expected to be completed in about two years.

Energy Corporation of America

Energy Corporation of America says they won't be planning to put an underground injection well in Preston County, following months of investigation into the project by the company.

ECA was looking to turn an old natural gas well near Masontown into a Class II Underground Injection Well. That would have essentially taken water from hydraulic fracturing processes and injected it in the ground there.

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