News for Sunday, June 27, 1999
Air travelers seek improved service
by Troy Graham
Like many business travelers, Joyce Morris likes to be cautious with
her baggage. It simply wouldn't do to show up for a meeting while her briefcase
catches a flight to Hackensack, N.J.
Instead of even tempting fate, the Fairmont resident carries her essentials
on the airplane.
"One way or another, I lose a bag," she said. "I usually have things
that will tie me over for a business meeting."
It was complaints like Morris' that prompted Sen. Jay Rockefeller,
D-W.Va., to seek a way to improve airline service. As the senior member
of a subcommittee on aviation, he had the clout.
But passing a bill may have hurt the folks back home, said Rockefeller
Spokesman Don Marshall. If airlines were forced into making costly changes,
they may have cut flights from smaller, rural hubs, such as Bridgeport's
Benedum Airport, to make up the difference, he said.
So the senator reached an agreement with the airlines in which they
will voluntarily improve service.
"This commitment from airlines will help provide the best quality air
service to West Virginians," Rockefeller said in a statement.
However, it was an incident at one of the country's largest and busiest
airports, Chicago's O'Hare, that prompted congressional intervention. Several
months ago, a plane full of passengers was forced to sit on the tarmac
for eight hours. Bumped from the line to take off, the plane was also unable
to return to a congested terminal.
While problems like lost baggage are universal issues for air travelers,
it is unlikely that local travelers will face the same issues as passengers
There are a unique set of issues local travelers would like to see
addressed. Chief among those issues is the availability of flights.
Morris said she hates to leave her car in Pittsburgh or ask friends
to drive her and pick her up. Instead, she gets a connecting flight out
"And I don't mind the small flights," she said.
Although she made her reservations six weeks ago, her only options
were 5 a.m. or 10 a.m. Morris said she would have liked to have a third
option in between.
Ann Orlando of Fairmont made a reservation recently for the winter
holidays near the end of this year and got the last seat.
But flight availability is a matter of supply and demand, said U.S.
Airways Spokesman Rick Weintraub. U.S. Airways has three daily flights
to Pittsburgh from Benedum, he said.
"Your flights into Pittsburgh tie you into the entire U.S. Airways
system," he said.
When Rockefeller announced in February that he would be sitting on
the aviation subcommittee, he promised to fight for funding for small airports
and "develop new ways to attract more and better air service to West Virginia."
"Aviation and air service play a vital role in economic development
in West Virginia," he said.
New Tygart Flyer hopes to bring back the romance of rails
by Troy Graham
ABOARD THE NEW TYGART FLYER -- There's just something about the black
smoke billowing out of the engine, the churning wheels of the locomotive,
the click-clack of the rails.
But Ken Miller wonders if that something -- he calls it "the lore of
the railroad" -- has been lost in a society that values expedience over
While the railroad as a mode of transportation will probably never
regain its pre-World War II prominence, the romance can be preserved, Miller
His organization, the National Railway Historical Society, and a local
company have teamed up to offer those glory days to local residents.
The New Tygart Flyer, with a restored 40-year-old engine and vintage
cars, embarked on its inaugural run from Belington to Elkins Saturday.
The flyer is an excursion train operated by the Durbin & Greenbrier
Valley Railroad and staffed by volunteers from the historical society.
"The biggest part of the people doing this never worked for the railroads,"
said Bill Sherman, a car host. "They just like doing it."
Sherman, however, worked in the 1950s on a train that ran from Norfolk,
Va., to Williamson. His son later became a conductor.
A love of the railroad also runs in Miller's family. His father was
an engineer and Miller caught his first train ride when he was just a baby.
Now his mission with the historical society is to preserve the past that
he has known since birth.
"This is one of the prettiest and nicest trains in excursion service
anywhere," he said, surveying the flyer. "I find it hard for anyone to
be phenomenally enthused about airline travel."
The New Tygart Flyer started with John Smith, the owner of the Durbin
& Greenbrier Valley Railroad. A former owner and operator of a trucking
company, he traded asphalt for rails when the town of Durbin proposed tearing
up a section of track destroyed by floods.
He and his wife, joined by some railroad enthusiasts, restored the
track and bought a tiny 208-horsepower 1936 Whitcomb engine, "put it on
the tracks and started a company."
"It's a real contraption," Smith said. "But when it runs right the
thing burns three gallons of gas on an 8-mile trip."
Smith hauled 1,700 passengers in three months in 1996 on that tiny
excursion train. Now his company has seven employees, hauls freight and
has a Cheat Mountain excursion trip.
The Cheat Mountain trip uses what Smith described as "a bus built for
His newest venture started when the state bought the abandoned track
running from Belington to Elkins. The state then solicited proposals on
what to do with the track.
"I haven't figured out yet how we won that contest," Smith said. "We're
truck drivers for God's sake."
With tourists seeking out West Virginia history, and nearby Cass Scenic
Railroad drawing railroad buffs, local officials also hope the lore will
translate into dollars.
"I'm not a railroad buff, I'm a believer that the railroad will help
make us a tourist destination," said Elkins Mayor Jim Hammond.
Ham radio operators lend a hand in times of disaster
by Troy Graham
In 1985, amateur radio operator Dick Bumgardner found himself in the
basement of a church in the flood-ravaged town of Parsons. With telephones
lines and conventional radios rendered useless, Bumgardner and other "ham"
radio operators were the only source of communication.
"It was heart-wrenching, but you got a lot of satisfaction being able
to get a lot of health and welfare information out to the families," he
In many disasters, federal, state and local emergency professionals
turn to these amateurs, whose everyday hobby can be the difference between
life and death in disastrous times.
Ham operators have been used by the professionals in earthquakes and
hurricanes, during the recent tornados in the Midwest and even the Columbine
High School shootings.
This weekend, the amateur radio buffs gathered over the airwaves for
their annual field day. On Friday, they have a certain amount of time to
set up their operations, and on Saturday and Sunday they have a competition
to see how many contacts they can make in the U.S. and Canada. To simulate
a real emergency, they power their radios with generators.
During the field day last year, ham operators in Charleston were called
out and rode in with the National Guard to a flood in Clendenin.
"The Charleston club had to shut down their field day and go into real
life," said Rick Brake, who hosted the Clarksburg field day at his home
Brake and others erected four antennas at his home this weekend to
compliment his seven permanent towers.
Although few hobbies have such practical and meaningful applications,
this is first and foremost a hobby.
"It's always good to see what you can do in an emergency, but it's
fun too," said Brake, who got interested in radios trying to catch foreign
broadcasts during the Gulf War.
"I thought, I want to get into the action too," he said.
Bumgardner, who was Brake's neighbor at the time, encouraged him to
continue the hobby. An amateur can get started on the radios for about
$500 worth of equipment.
"If you get into it it's like anything else, like cars or boats," Brake
Bumgardner became interested in the radios while stationed at an Air
Force base in Fairbanks, Alaska. A friend of his once contacted Jordan's
recently deceased King Hussein, who was also a ham operator.
It's possible to contact every continent in the world, and Bumgardner
even once talked to an astronaut in orbit on the space shuttle. After 20
years of toying with more and more sophisticated equipment, he can acquire
and bounce signals off satellites.
"A lot of times in the summer I'll end up bouncing signals off meteors
and making contacts," he said.
Amateur radio is appealing because it combines technical skill with
the romance of connecting with satellites and astronauts, Bumgardner said.
And, unlike more modern forms of communication like the Internet, there's
still the personal contact of hearing someone's voice.
"It's still the thrill of international communication at your fingertips,"
Doddridge man commands U.S. troops in Kosovo
by Paul Leakan
Jennifer Craddock can't help but be proud of her brother, someone she
jokingly says she "used to harass."
Craddock, a Morgantown resident, is reminded about how proud she is
nearly every time she picks up a newspaper. Or watches television. Or listens
to the radio. Or talks to her family, friends and co-workers.
Her brother, Army Brig. Gen. Bantz Johnson "John" Craddock, may make
more than a few West Virginians proud. Especially those in Doddridge County.
Bantz Craddock, who grew up in West Union, is the commander of the
U.S. forces in Kosovo. He is the leader of a group of about 7,000 U.S.
troops charged with keeping the peace in an area that has been anything
but peaceful lately.
"You don't think of him as a general," Jennifer Craddock said. "You
think of him as your brother."
Jennifer says her brother has always been driven to succeed, both in
his family life and his career.
"He's probably one of the hardest working men I've ever known," she
said. "My family's kind of in awe and are proud of him. We send each other
links (on the Internet) and news about him."
She says that much of her brother's success came from growing up in
West Union, a small town with equally small schools.
"We're from a little town," she said. "Obviously, his education was
good enough to propel him to where he is."
For several years, Bantz Craddock delivered newspapers for the Clarksburg
Exponent and Telegram.
He also hit the books, graduating from Doddridge County High School
with honors, as well as earning a bachelor's degree from West Virginia
University and master's of military arts and science from a military school
in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Craddock began to climb in military rank after his service in the Gulf
War. He fought on the front line against the "elite guard," the most-highly
trained force in Iraq President Saddam Hussein's military.
His heroism in fighting off the force, taking prisoners and avoiding
casualties earned him several military honors and recognition -- including
the Silver Star.
Craddock, 49, is now at the pinnacle of his career as a brigadier general
and a crucial part of NATO's massive peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.
With the ongoing crisis in Kosovo and his family stationed in Bamberg,
Germany, Jennifer Craddock said she doesn't get to talk with her brother
His face and his voice, however, are easily kept fresh in her mind.
CNN or any evening newscast is always a good place to jolt her memory.
When she does, she can not only be proud of her brother, she can be
proud of her state.
"I don't think a lot of people realize that we have probably much more
than John who are in the news," she said. "West Virginia has a lot to be
City native is spokesperson for G.W. Bush
by Shawn Gainer
A 28-year-old Clarksburg native has plunged into the whirlwind of presidential
politics and says she wouldn't have it any other way.
Janna Nuzum works as a press secretary for Texas Gov. George W. Bush,
helping to lay the groundwork for his path to the New Hampshire Republican
presidential primary. The primary, scheduled for Feb. 8, 2000, has traditionally
been the first of the primaries and is the political equivalent of the
starting gun in the 40-yard dash.
The process determining the Republican party's presidential candidate
will essentially be over by May 7, known as "Super Tuesday," when primary
elections are conducted through the entire South and much of New England
and the Midwest, as well. Candidates who do not make strong showings early
are almost always doomed to failure. This is the environment in which Nuzum
"You work around the clock and there's not much sleep," Nuzum said,
in a phone interview from New Hampshire. "He (Bush) was up here on the
14th and 15th and we had 200 media people with us. Moving everyone around
takes a lot of coordination.
"The days become crazy because the primary process is so front-loaded.
States keep moving up their primaries because they want to be relevant.
It's hard but it's a great job."
Nuzum is in charge of coordinating press contacts for the Bush campaign
in New Hampshire and New England. She said the unique importance and pressure
of the New Hampshire Primary are the reasons she loves working there.
"It's unique because you have all these people running for the most
important office in the Western Hemisphere and they have to go to New Hampshire
and meet people one-on-one and talk to them about what's in their hearts,"
This is far from Nuzum's first foray into high-powered politics. She
has served as press secretary to two congressmen before joining Bob Dole's
unsuccessful 1996 presidential campaign as a deputy press secretary.
"I always work for candidates I believe in," Nuzum said. "Defeat in
a campaign is tough because you put your heart and soul into it. You have
to go into it with high hopes but keep your feet on the ground."
Nuzum, an alumnus of Washington Irving High School, said she developed
an interest in politics while attending West Virginia University. After
obtaining a bachelor's degree in 1992, she moved straight to Washington,
D.C., eventually landing a job as a production assistant on conservative
commentator Mary Matalin's CNBC television show "Equal Time." She is currently
on a leave of absence from law school at Western New England College.
"As a little girl from West Virginia with no contacts, I had to do
everything on my own," Nuzum said. "I worked at it until I got a break,
and I've never regretted the decision."
Like any good campaign staffer, Nuzum can defend her candidate.
She readily fields questions that insinuate Gov. Bush's concept "compassionate
conservatism" is just an empty catch phrase.
"I think Gov. Bush has explained compassionate conservatism very well,"
she said. "For example, it's conservative to cut taxes but compassionate
to help people save and build."
Nor has the pressure of Presidential politics taken away her sense
"How many Republicans are there in West Virginia now that I've left,"
she asked. "Two?"
Maker of homemade soda pop shares recipes in new book
by Gaile Marsh
HODGESVILLE -- There's something brewing in the backwoods of Hodgesville
in Upshur County.
It's probably root beer soda, or lemon-lime, or maybe even a pumpkin
Stephen Cresswell, a West Virginia Wesleyan history professor, has
spent countless hours in the last few years concocting and brewing up batches
of homemade soda pop, something he enjoyed doing as a youth in Alexandria,
Cresswell's hobby eventually led to the publication of a book on the
subject, "Homemade Root Beer Soda & Pop," published last year by Storey
Books of Pownal, Vt.
"I think those of us who are baby boomers are trying to get back to
some of the childhood things we enjoyed, whether coin collecting or making
homemade drinks," he said from his country home off Hacker's Creek Road
on the outskirts of Hodgesville.
When he moved to West Virginia to teach, Cresswell noticed the large
number of sassafras trees growing wild in the state. He wondered if he
could recapture some of the fun he had trying to make root beer in his
basement when he was 12.
"Root beer is basically sassafras tea that has been sweetened and allowed
to ferment. The old cookbooks written by farmers' wives 100 years ago told
how to make root beer and ginger ale and Birch beer using bark and roots
for the ingredients," he said.
True to his background in history, Cresswell did research on the origins
of soda making, looking into old cookbooks and manuscripts dating back
to the early 1600s. He found a good selection of information at the University
of Virginia in Charlottesville, but did not find any definitive work on
the nearly lost art of soda making.
"After I got a collection of 20 or 30 favorite recipes, I thought it
would be nice to share them in book form," he said.
Cresswell said one of the first things he had to do when he began his
research was to change the way he thought about soft drinks and alcoholic
"Farm families in the 1800s had more of a continuum from heavy alcoholic
drinks to moderate amounts to almost no alcohol, and often the English
today still have it that way. Many of the drinks we would consider soft
drinks had trace amounts of alcohol back then because of the action of
the yeast and sugar," he said.
Along with some history on the origins of soda making, Cresswell's
book contains a number of root beer and other flavorful recipes. His personal
favorite is cherry soda.
"It was hard to come up with a recipe to get a cherry flavor that tasted
natural, like real cherries. I settled on using Juicy Juice as a base and
it worked well. You can add vanilla bean, cinnamon or lemon juice to give
it a more exotic taste," he said.
Cresswell said the colors of the homemade sodas are another reason
he enjoys the natural brews. The homemade root beer is actually a light
yellow color, while soda made from fresh oranges is not as dark as the
"American soft drink makers add caramel color to make pop the brown
shade that people expect, but homemade sodas come in a variety of shades,"
What would Cresswell recommend for the beginning brewer?
"I would start with ginger ale. It's just ginger root you buy at the
market, along with sugar, lemon, water and yeast. It takes a little time,
but the process makes a nice product," he said.
What about the strong yeast taste so common to homemade beverages?
Cresswell said there are a number of ways to avoid or lessen the bitter
"Using brewer's yeast instead of bread yeast makes the taste less strong,
and chilling the soda in the refrigerator for a few days lets the yeast
sink to the bottom and lessens that flavor."
The recipes in Cresswell's book make small batches of the sodas, and
most ingredients are easy to come by. He recommends the hobby to anyone
who enjoys working in the kitchen and enjoys experimentation.
"It's a chance to do something satisfying and at the same time make
a product that is much more healthful and enjoyable than what can be purchased
commercially," he said.
The book "Homemade Root Beer Soda & Pop" can be purchased through
Storey Books in Pownal, Vt., by calling 1-800-441-5700 or from its website
Century of change
State's depression began before the Crash of 1929
by Shawn Gainer
While many associate the beginning of the great depression with the
catastrophic stock market crash of Oct 29, 1929, economic decline in West
Virginia began early in the 1920s.
"The state had been pretty well cut out of timber by 1920 and sawmills
were shut down," said Marvin Carr, a professor of history and Appalachian
studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College. "The coal market had slipped
in 1927 and a lot of miners were out of work."
Carr added that conditions in the Mountain State reflected national
economic trends, where an economic slide was caused by the inability of
many Americans to buy goods.
"Goods had stopped moving in 1927 and it continued through 1929," he
said. "A lot of scholars think the stock market crash was a signal of the
Great Depression, not a cause, and I agree."
If the stock market crash was just an indicator of the depression that
ravaged American economic life for 10 years, it was a big one.
Despite signs of distress in the economy, many people of average means
purchased stocks on easy credit terms offered by brokerage firms, according
to "American History, A Survey" by Current, Williams, Freidel and Brinkley.
This "speculative mania" kept stock prices spiraling upward until Oct.
21, when overvalued shares dropped sharply. Large bankers such as J.P.
Morgan and Co. purchased heavily in an attempt to restore confidence in
the market. However, stocks bottomed out on the 29th, when the industrial
index lost 43 points.
Thomas J. Koon, president of the Marion County Historical Society,
said in a May interview that local coal barons lost their fortunes when
the market failed.
"They had invested heavily on credit in mines in Logan and McDowell
Counties. When the market crashed, loans were called in," Koon said. "Many
of them were worth millions on paper but could only scrounge $500 cash.
They had put up their holdings as security for the loans and their fortunes
were wiped out."
Few average West Virginians owned stock but were already struggling
because of a declining coal industry and labor strife, Carr said.
"After the 1921 coal mine wars in Logan County, everything shut down
and 50,000 miners were evicted from company towns. From 1924 to 1928, three
coal mines were blown up in labor strife in the Monongahela Valley. Those
were mean times," he said.
"In 1933 and 1934, Eleanor Roosevelt went to Osage, (Monongalia County)
where there were people living in coal camps. They didn't have places to
grow gardens and she saw children with distended stomachs," he said.
In North Central West Virginia, the declining demand for natural resources
led to a shutdown of oil and natural gas wells from Weston to Parkersburg.
West Virginians survived by moving back to their family farms, Carr said.
"Herbert Hoover tried to get people to go to local charities for help.
Churches stepped in but soon they were overwhelmed," he said. "A lot of
folks moved back to the home place to be with the family and got by on
Because of the "back to the farm" movement, West Virginia did not lose
population during the Great Depression. New Deal public works projects
such as road paving helped put people to work. Beginning in 1939, mobilization
for World War II caused an huge increase in demand for coal and the state's
economy began recovering, he said.
In fact, Carr contends the Great Depression may not have been the worst
episode in the state's economic history.
"The 1950's coal depression was when we really lost people," he said.
"The coal industry collapsed again and one-third of the miners, 200,000
to 300,000 people, left the state between 1950 and 1960. That was seven
percent of the state's population.
"In some ways 1950 was worse than 1930."
Clarksburg Publishing Company, P.O. Box 2000, Clarksburg,
WV 26302 USA
Copyright © Clarksburg Publishing Company 1999