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Judge’s Quarters to Be Showcased During Open House

January 5, 2008
By Wayne Sheets, Contributing Business Writer

    The Randolph County Courthouse will host an open house from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to showcase Circuit Judge John Henning’s newly remodeled offices. Following the open house, a Chamber of Commerce “Business After Hours” will take place in the courthouse from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

    The after hours event is being sponsored by Henning,  the Randolph County Commission, Elkins Historical Landmarks Commission and the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce.


    Entries are being accepted for the DuPont Challenge 2008 Science Essay Competition, which is open to all seventh- through 12th-grade students in the U.S. and Canada, including family members of DuPont employees. Entering its 22nd year, the DuPont Challenge is a leading student-science and technology program in the United States and Canada, attracting more than 10,000 entries per year and inspiring students to excel and pursue careers in science.

    The challenge offers students an opportunity to write a 700- to 1,000-word essay about a scientific discovery, theory, event or technological application that has captured their interest. The range of possible essay topics is as broad as science itself. The challenge is sponsored by DuPont in collaboration with Walt Disney World Resort, NASA and the National Science Teachers Association.  It offers more than $25,000 in cash awards and expenses-paid trips to Walt Disney World and the Kennedy Space Center. More importantly, the challenge offers young students the opportunity to explore science, develop new skills and gain confidence in communicating scientific ideas.

    The DuPont Challenge honors the heroes who died in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster.  In a broader sense, it honors all who labor to understand and improve the world through the use of the scientific method, and it strives to encourage the next generation to explore the frontiers of science.

    West Virginia is proudly represented in the science field by men like Coalwood native Homer Hickman, who, along with his brother and some close friends, began studying and launching rockets on abandoned strip mines in southern West Virginia, and Gen. Charles “Chuck” Yeager, who, as a young Air Force test pilot, was the first to break the sound barrier. Hickman went on to become a NASA engineer and New York Times best-selling author.

    The call for entries will be open until Jan. 28. For more information about the DuPont Challenge 2008 Science Essay Competition, including a copy of the rules, regulations and entry forms, parents, students and teachers are encouraged to visit The DuPont Challenge Web site at


    Gov. Joe Manchin will give his State of the State address Wednesday, which will, I’m sure, contain many positive things about our state. There are, however, many issues that will require serious consideration and a great deal of effort from our legislators to make things better. One of those issues that will be considered is where West Virginia ranks as a state in which to do business. According to the latest data furnished in the July issue of Forbes Magazine, West Virginia dropped from 49th to 50th on the “Best States for Business” list in 2006. The top five in descending order are, Virginia, Utah, North Carolina, Texas and Washington. The least best place to do business starting at the 46th place and in descending order are Michigan, Alaska, Maine, Louisiana, and of course, the Mountain State.  This situation should command the attention of all business owners and employers.


    One of the many beautiful things about Christmas is the countless light arrangements and displays at private homes and many of our business establishments. I am sure everyone took a few minutes to enjoy the many and varied arrangements in our neighborhood.  One of the most elaborate and beautiful displays, however, was not in front of anyone’s home, or business, but in the building between Beander’s restaurant and Huntington Bank’s drive through plaza.

    The arrangements in this display were the handiwork of Deborah Tenney, her husband, Peter, and their daughter, Jessica Isner. “We spent over a week putting the display together,” Deborah said.

    “The displays depicted villages covering the cultural and physical setting of a New England harbor with a lighthouse, to a contemporary small town — complete with railroad and automobiles — to the old world Christmas setting, and many others. I’ve been collecting the miniatures used in the displays for over 30 years,” she said.  “Many of them lived through a fire that destroyed our home a few years ago.”

    Tenney said she didn’t know whether she and her family would have the display next year or not because they plan to start remodeling the building for business soon. Those who didn’t take time to stop and enjoy the display missed a great opportunity to view some of the best Christmas artistic work in town. Many thanks to a very talented family for helping us enjoy the Christmas season.


    At this time of year, our media outlets always compile a list of the rich and famous that departed this life during the past year.  This is fine and good, but the sadness in this is the fact that I have not once seen a reference to our military men and women who gave their life protecting our rights and opportunities to become rich and famous — regardless of how those riches were gained or how fame might have been acquired. I think and suspect that many will agree with me, that a few of those who were not around to witness the coming of the new year did not deserve the media attention they received, nor in fact, would they have attracted fame at all without the “fuss” their unlimited source of riches permitted them to create. I personally think it a shame for our media to make so much “to do about nothing” as in the case of Anna Nichole Smith, to mention only one. What did she ever do for the benefit of humankind that deserved even a few seconds of media coverage, when the sad news of the death of our comrades-in-arms is buried in the bowels of newspapers and not mentioned at all in the other two prime media sources? I, for one, Anna Nichole, will not miss you or your sleazy lifestyle beyond placing the period at the end of this sentence.


    The other sordid mess that will not be long remembered with any seriousness is the departure of Rich Rodriquez as head football coach at West Virginia University. The team said it all in that regard when they brought home the win of the Fiesta Bowl, and a new head football coach in the person of Bill Stewart.

    Stewart said when given the task of being an interim coach that he would love to be WVU’s “main man” but he would not politic for the job.  As everyone now knows, he didn’t have to; he earned it the hard way — he worked for it.  Way to go Bill.

    Not only did Stewart and “his” team win a ball game that an entire nation was watching because of the hype of the pundits about the confusion surrounding the coaching situation, they proved that we are a state with a Gibraltar-pride that cannot be humbled or defeated by the selfishness of one individual. They showed the nation that we are a fun-loving, caring people who put enjoying life and working together during adversity above all else.

    Interesting to watch, also, was Stewart’s command of presence when he told the press that he was in Phoenix to have a good time with his players, and to do all he could to ensure that they, too, had a good time. While others sat blank-faced in front of the media cameras quoting statistics as to why they should, and would win, Stewart and his players were having fun, while at the same time mentally preparing themselves for a victory that, to use another trite phrase, was well deserved.  We’re proud of you, our greatest representation in the sports world; we will always be behind you, win or lose.



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