News for Monday, June 28, 1999

State cites 13 medical waste incinerators

UHC on list of facilities that fail to meet federal emission standards

The Associated Press
CHARLESTON -- Thirteen medical waste incinerators in West Virginia emit more toxic pollution than federal rules allow, according to the state Division of Environmental Protection.
A state plan being drafted will require the incinerators to clean up their act or shut down.
"The effects will be substantial," said Jon McClung, an air quality permit engineer at DEP.
When medical waste is burned, toxic pollution such as dioxins, hydrogen chloride and heavy metals are emitted into the air. These emissions are linked to cancer, birth defects and reproductive disorders.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates its rules, which were handed down in 1997, will reduce emissions of mercury, dioxins, hydrogen chloride and particulate matter by more than 90 percent.
Officials of the federal agency say the cost for hospitals and labs in the United States to comply is between $60 million and $120 million. That's enough to force up to 80 percent of medical waste burners to close, EPA officials say.
Jim Kranz, spokesman for the West Virginia Hospital Association, said the costs of pollution control equipment are too high for smaller hospitals such as those that operate in West Virginia.
"It's just easier for them to hire a hauler to come in and take it away," Kranz said.
Facilities also may switch to other disposal methods such as sending waste to be burned elsewhere.
An incinerator operated by the Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston is one of three of the state's 16 incinerators that will meet the EPA emissions guidelines. The hospital equipped the incinerator with a pollution control scrubber and agreed to reduce burning plastic wastes that produce dioxins, the most toxic of incinerator emissions.
The other 13 incinerators do not meet federal emissions limits for several pollutants, according to the DEP.
The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, Wheeling Hospital and Raleigh General Hospital already have decided to close their waste burners, according to the DEP.
St. Francis Hospital in Charleston has closed its incinerator.
City Hospital of Martinsburg, Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale, Princeton Community Hospital, the WVU Medical Center and veterans facilities in Beckley and Huntington are considering closing their incinerators, according to DEP.
Even the state Department of Health and Human Resources, which regulates medical waste handling, operates an incinerator that does not comply with the rules, according to DEP.
Incinerator operators must comply with the federal emissions limits within three years from the date of EPA approval of the state plan.

Buckhannon Summer Garden Tour II is a bloomin' success

by Gail Marsh
BUCKHANNON -- Joyce Ann and Roy Law sit in the shade of their front porch and watch while yet another group of people meanders through their yard, visitors interested in looking at the plush garden beds located throughout their South Kanawha Street lawn.
The heat is sweltering on Sunday afternoon, but Roy Law leaves the comfort of the porch to talk about the wooly thyme that grows in a triangular flower bed  fashioned after the style of an English garden. In the meantime, Joyce Ann Law discusses the home's trees and shrubs and offers peach ice tea and cookies to any of the visitors who stop by the porch.
The Law home was just one stop on the Buckhannon Summer Garden Tour II, an Upshur County Chamber of Commerce project that allows the chamber to raise funds while giving visitors a chance to view some of the area's premier gardens.
The self-guided tour started at Jawbone Park in the downtown area and spread out to 10 homes located throughout the county, from Country Club Estates to Stony Run Road, Appalachian Acres and French Creek.
"This is the second year for the tour and it's been very well received. This year the chamber will use the proceeds to offer a free concert in August at Jawbone Park," said Jill Cable, president of the Upshur Chamber.
Debbie and Robert Kittle's fenced garden on Red Knob Road includes a flagstone-lined cement pond, complete with a cascading waterfall and a family of frogs among the pond's cattails, water hyacinths and lilies.
The Kittle's garden is filled with perennials in circular beds and is surrounded by maples, oaks and a Rose of Sharon for added privacy. Debbie Kittle plants pansies, marigolds and other annuals in her garden to lend the area a splash of color after the perennials have finished blooming.
Kittle said she doesn't really have a green thumb, but she does know how to add plenty of water and fertilizer to keep her garden green and healthy.
"It's a very relaxing place, just enjoying the beauty and listening to the sound of the waterfall. And my grandchildren enjoy the flowers and the fish in the pond," she said.
In Country Club Estates, Shari Phillips has managed to incorporate a memorial to her mother among the lush landscape and flower beds at her Circle Drive home.
A kidney-shaped flower bed at the rear of the Phillips' home sports a decorative garden bench covered with pansies, surrounded by a bed filled with orange day lilies.
"Mother lived with us for two years before she passed away at the age of 91. We brought these day lilies from her yard and transplanted them here as a way to remember her," Phillips said.
The novice gardener said she had some professional help with the landscaping of her yard, but she enjoying planting the inpatiens and other annuals that add color to the numerous beds. As she's gardened this year and worked to keep her plants alive during the heat and drought, she said she's noticed a lot of correlation between plants and life.
"Things that appear so ugly and dead will respond if they are give a lot of nourishment and care, and hurting people will respond with the right type of care, too. It takes a lot of patience with plants and with people to wait for their beauty to come out," she said.

Harrison 911 seeks to remap rural areas

by Troy Graham
A call comes to the 911 center in Harrison County for an ambulance or a police officer. But the caller lives on a rural route that does not have a name, in a house that does not have a number. The caller then has to give directions to the operator.
Or a call comes from someone in a city. But there are two streets in the city that have the same name as the one the caller lives on. Or the caller's house has the same number as another on the same street.
Not exactly ideal situations for emergency personnel.
These are problems that many counties face and are trying to fix. In Harrison County, officials are hoping to kick off a remapping and addressing program that will eliminate those problems.
"We've had some problems on some extended directions in some of the real rural areas," said 911 Director Fred Smart.
But a remapping and addressing program would give names to the rural routes, eliminate duplicate street names and numbers, and assign street numbers to houses that don't have them.
The program doesn't mean, though, that common street names in several towns, like Main Street, would have to be changed, Smart said.
The 911 center will look at presentations this summer from private firms that do this kind of remapping work, he said. The goal is to start the program next spring, when the company can take aerial photographs of the county, Smart said.
The problem is particularly glaring with rural routes, he said. According to the state Division of Highways, there are more than 1,000 miles of those roads in the county, he said.
Officials will have to decide exactly how to address those problems, such as whether actual street signs should be erected. Smart also said he wants to work with residents on those roads to select their names.
The process should take 12-24 months, he said, and cost between $300,000-$350,000. More than $100,000 has already been set aside out of the 911 budget, Smart said.
Once the project is completed, emergency personnel will be provided with a map book that outlines all the streets, he said.
"It simply is something that needs done," Smart said.

Heat wave has area residents looking for a big chill

Air-conditioner sales climbing; doctor's advice is to play it cool

by Gail Marsh
It's not too late to think about replacing that groaning air-conditioning unit -- the one that's been belching out a little smoke along with a dismal amount of cool air.
Though there may be some short-term relief in sight, North Central West Virginia's heat wave is expected to continue well into next week. And local appliance retailers say they have the sales to prove it.
Air conditioners have been selling like hotcakes, but store personnel say they still have an adequate supply.
"We have plenty of units in stock right now, but it seems like there's been a lot more interest in them lately," said John Spino at Rex TV and Appliances at Meadowbrook Mall.
A spokeswoman at Circuit City in Eastpointe said the electronics outlet has been selling air conditioners as fast as the store can get them in. Sales have been tremendous, but supplies continue to come in every week, she said.
John Victory, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, said the area can expect a little break in the heat with some clouds and a chance of showers later this afternoon. But the break will be short lived, he said.
"Things may cool off a little Tuesday and Wednesday with some rain moving in, but temperatures will go back up as we head toward the end of the week," he said.
With the rise in temperatures and humidity, it's always a good idea to limit outdoor activities to the cooler hours of the day. Dr. Kelly Nelson, a physician at Medbrook Medical Center in Bridgeport, cautioned that the elderly and the very young are the easiest targets of heat-related problems.
"Older people and children are especially prone to heat exposure, but anyone can be affected. Our bodies aren't equipped to handle the heat and the humidity, and that's the combination we've had lately," he said.
Nelson said people going out into the heat should wear light clothing and sunblock and drink "lots and lots of fluids." Anyone who has to work outside should do so in the more temperate parts of the day, he said.
Nelson said pre-planning is the best defense against the heat. Waiting for warning signs, such as lethargy and loss of coordination, can spell trouble, he said.
"By the time any warning signs occur, you're already experiencing an emergency medical situation," he said. "The person should be taken in to be evaluated and probably given intravenous fluids."

Blue Knights keep rolling in memory of Jessica

Motorcycle-riding policemen's club fund-raiser honors Summit Park girl

by James Fisher
Although it has been nearly eight years since Jessica Ramsey, a 5-year-old heart transplant recipient from Summit Park, died, a local motorcycle club still remembers the little girl.
The Blue Knights of West Virginia, Chapter II, held its ninth annual Jessica Ramsey Memorial Dice Run earlier this month and raised about $600 for two charities.
More than 200 people and about 120 riders, many from out of state, participated in the day's events, said Harrison County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Ed Martin, who is secretary for the Blue Knights.
All the money raised benefited the March of Dimes and the  Ronald McDonald House, he said.
"We get a real mixture of people from different places. We always get a real good turnout," Martin said of the run. "Eighty to 90 percent are the same people every year. They're very faithful supporters of this event."
The Blue Knights is a national motorcycle club of current and retired police officers who ride as a hobby.
The first run was held in 1991, Martin said, to help raise money for Jessica's heart transplant. The Blue Knights were able to raise about $1,200 that first year. Jessica got her new heart, but died that fall from other complications, he said.
"We talked to the family and asked to name the run after Jessica," Martin said. "They said yes, and we've been having it every year since then. They come every year. It's great that they've supported us like they have and it makes them feel good because the community is remembering their daughter."
Riders started at the Anmoore Fire Department and rode over to Stonewood, across Route 57, on U.S. 119 and U.S. 20 to Buckhannon. Riders then went to Weston, Jane Lew and took U.S. 19 past Rosebud Plaza and back to Anmoore.
Riders stopped at checkpoints along the way to roll dice in a  container.
The rider with the highest total score at the end of the run earned a prize, Martin said.
The Blue Knights sponsor several fund-raisers throughout the year, Martin said.
The Dice Run is the last fund-raiser of the year until December, when the Blue Knights sponsor a program that allows needy children to shop for Christmas presents.
Aside from fund-raising, the Knights participate in other events throughout the year.
Last weekend, Chapter II sponsored a weekend getaway at Canaan Valley Resort called Wild & Wonderful Knights.
Members of the Blue Knights from  across the country traveled hundreds of miles for the special weekend.
"It's just a nice weekend to visit with old friends, meet new friends, wind down, de-stress and share good camaraderie," Sgt. Martin said.

Local and area news briefs

Kanawha County rider critical after ATV accident

CHARLESTON (AP) -- An all-terrain vehicle rider was in critical condition at Charleston Area Medical Center Sunday following an accident in Campbells Creek, Kanawha County.
The 32-year-old man was riding closely behind another vehicle Saturday, the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department said. Dust clouded the rider's vision and contributed to the wreck, a department spokesman said. No additional details were immediately available. The sheriff's office would not release the man's name Sunday.
Emergency workers said as many as 50 riders were in the hills around Campbells Creek at the time of the accident.

Huntington, human relations agency face off in court

HUNTINGTON (AP) -- The Huntington Human Relations Commission has sued the city of Huntington, seeking to clarify who has authority over the agency's actions. The commission, which serves as an advocate for residents who claim discrimination, filed its lawsuit Friday in Cabell County Circuit Court in Huntington.
The civil case involves conflicts over how the agency's money is spent and the location of its office.
The commission has been homeless for more than two months following a fire at the City Hall annex. The city offered rent-free space in a former high school, but the commission rejected the offer because of concerns for safety and accessibility. The city also offered space in offices of the Sanitary Board, but Mark Hayes, a lawyer for the commission, said agency officials have reservations about the offer.

Stabbing leaves one dead in Huntington

CHARLESTON (AP) -- A stabbing in Huntington has left one victim dead.
Richard Lee Hatfield Jr., 37, of Huntington was arrested by Huntington police at the scene of a fatal stabbing at about 4 a.m. Saturday. He was  arraigned Saturday in Cabell County Magistrate Court, police said. The stabbing occurred at his house, police said.
Police did not release additional details, including the victim's identity, which was being withheld pending family notification. His body was to be taken to the state Medical Examiner's office in South Charleston.

Governor touts economic future in McDowell County

BLUEFIELD  (AP) -- Gov. Cecil Underwood says that he wants to use his post as co-chairman of a federal-state economic development agency to target poverty in McDowell County.
"We'll put together an overall plan for the county," he said at a recent meeting of the Princeton Rotary Club at Concord College. "We believe if we can find a way to turn around McDowell County, we can turn around any depressed county in Appalachia."
He labeled McDowell the "worst economically depressed county in all Appalachia." Underwood is co-chairman this year of the Appalachian Regional Commission., a 13-state regional economic development agency.
The governor and officials of the agency, a federal-state program, met recently with McDowell County's mayors, county commissioners and board of education members to discuss economic development proposals
Underwood also said he and about 90 West Virginia bankers met in Raleigh County Wednesday and discussed establishing loan programs to help start small businesses.
Southern West Virginia can draw on the success of Homer Hickam's book, "Rocket Boys" and the film, "October Sky," Underwood said. Officials of Coalwood are developing the area where Hickam and high school friends staged rocket experiments in the 1950s, the governor said.
The governor said national publicity for the book and movie could attract tourists to McDowell County.
"We have to learn to build something on what's here," Underwood said.

Virginia man killed when car flips over

CHARLES TOWN (AP) -- A Virginia man was killed when the car he was riding in drove up an embankment and flipped on a Jefferson County highway.
David Allen Rinker, 23, of Middletown, Va, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The car was traveling west on state Route 9 just inside the state line when the accident occurred about 3:25 a.m. Thursday, Jefferson County Chief Deputy Jesse Jones said.
The other person in the car, Pete Colvin, 24, of Millville was taken to INOVA Fairfax Hospital in Virginia. Hospital officials did not immediately respond to telephone calls about his condition.
It's unclear who was driving the car, sheriff's deputies said.

Fun in the sun ...

State boasts many activities, from hiking to rafting, only a short drive away

by Jessica Laton
West Virginia's country roads can take the avid traveler to many interesting places, and one woman has tracked them all.
The state offers day and weekend trips unique to the country, according to a day-trip book  written for the state Division of Tourism. From mountain climbing to mineral baths, the state has a wide variety of activities to keep a traveler interested.
"For a relatively small state, it has so many diverse activities," said Matt Turner, a public information specialist for the West Virginia Division of Tourism.
"In each area of the state there is a different feel. Each area has it's own taste."
Colleen Anderson, author of ''The New West Virginia Day Trip Book,'' spent six months traveling around West Virginia and writing about what she found.
"I went to some favorite places, and I discovered a lot of new places," said Anderson.
One of the closest day trips to make is to the Morgantown area, best known as the home of West Virginia University. The Creative Arts Center offers concerts, plays and speakers.
While in the area, travelers can visit Coopers Rock State Forest, which spreads across two counties, Monongalia and Preston, and includes 12,000 acres.
Coopers Rock State Forest overlooks the Cheat River at an elevation of 1,200 feet. Camping, hiking, biking, hunting, fishing and rock climbing are all available at Coopers Rock.
West Virginia ski resorts also offer summer activities. Snowshoe Mountain has a summer program with the state's largest chili cookoff, the region's largest Fourth of July fireworks display, scenic lift rides, golf tournaments, mountain bike camps and races.
The resort also holds a Labor Day Jazz Festival, a Symphony Festival Weekend and an Outdoor Adventure program. The outdoor program includes mountain biking, sporting clay range, BMX racing, climbing, hiking, a skatepark, flyfishing school and guide service.
If you are sticking to parks, Canaan Valley offers an outdoor swimming pool and hiking trails. The ninth annual Celebration of the Arts will take place there July 3.
The "Revenge of the Rattlesnake" Race is at Canaan on July 18. The annual bike race goes from Blackwater Falls to Canaan Valley.
Summer Fest runs from Aug. 27 to 29 at Canaan and includes a Scottish/Irish heritage concert, along with Irish theme food tasting.
One outdoor activity that always comes to mind in West Virginia is whitewater rafting.
The New River Gorge, in the southern part of West Virginia, celebrated its 30th year of commercial rafting.
The gorge is 1,000 feet in depth and 53 miles of its course are designated as the New River Gorge National River.
Besides rafting trips, rafting outfits also offer canoe trips, kayaking and hiking.
"The rafting in West Virginia  is the best in the East," said Turner. "There is no stopping the excitement on the New River."
West Virginia's capital city, Charleston, also offers a different view of the state. The Capitol complex, Governor's Mansion and Cultural Center are a great tour, according to Anderson.
The Capitol Market, on Smith Street in Charleston, offers unique shopping to the area. Open seven days a week, the indoor/outdoor market offers shoppers fresh fruits and vegetables, plants and flowers, seafood and meat, arts and crafts, wine and food vendors.
Huntington is the antique capital of West Virginia, according to Turner. The Huntington Museum of Art is West Virginia's largest art museum. It has historic and art glass, a sculpture garden, an art library, a theater and concert hall and the state's only plant conservatory.
A unique area of the state in the Eastern Panhandle has shopping and spas for a relaxing weekend. Berkeley Springs, also known as Bath, has five spas and several outlet and antique shops that cater to the entire state.
"It is an easy weekend trip," said Turner.
Many people from the Washington, D.C., area and Maryland also travel to the Eastern Panhandle for its mineral baths and outlet malls.
Berkeley Springs has been named one of America's best small art towns because of its variety of art galleries, concerts and bed and breakfasts.
Anderson also suggests some non-traditional vacations spots in West Virginia.
Pike Knob in Pendleton County, about a half-mile southwest of U.S. Route 33 in the Potomac Range district, covers 1,000 acres and is filled with red wood pine trees.
"It is absolutely one of the best views anywhere," said Anderson.
Anderson also suggests Hampshire County as a nice vacation spot or place to visit.
"It is just about the best. It has ridges and rolling hills and  open vistas," said Anderson. "That is an absolutely gorgeous place."
Heritage tourism, which is historical and war sites, is the fastest growing tourism in America, according to a study sponsored by the Travel Industry Association of America.
"It's growing," said Turner. "It is something we are promoting because it is seen as something to market."
West Virginia has several historical sites that can be visited in a day. The Grafton National Cemetery in Taylor County contains the graves of three of the first Union soldiers killed by Confederate forces in the Civil War.
The Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park in Summersville is where a Union victory over Confederate troops helped West Virginia become a state. The park offers scenic views, hiking and picnicking.
At Blennerhassett Historical State Park, in Parkersburg, you can ride a sternwheeler to Harman Blennerhassett's 18th-century reconstructed mansion.
Oglebay Institute Mansion Museum in West Virginia's first capital city, Wheeling, has 18th-and 19th-century furniture, glass, china, guns and pewter sets in period rooms for touring.
The West Virginia State Museum in Charleston is in the lower level of the Cultural Center. The museum follows Indian migration during the 20th century.
For more information on trips and activities in West Virginia, call the state Division of Tourism at 1-800-CALLWVA.

Cool caves offer summer retreat

by Nora Edinger
Something to keep in mind as the summer progresses --whether the air temperature is a cool 70 or 105, the air in caves always remains in the mid-50s.
The exact temperature, "depends on how far under the ground you go," said Terry Barnett,  office manager of Smoke Hole Caverns in Seneca Rocks.
While the temperature at Smoke Hole is a constant 56 degrees, other West Virginia caves vary from 52 to 58 -- all plenty cool enough to provide a welcome retreat from the heat.
Once your crew is cooled off, there's plenty to do, as well. A  number of commercially operated caves are available for tours throughout central and southern West Virginia. In each of them, visitors will find dramatic geological features formed drip by drip over vast stretches of time.
Tours visit cave features such as Niagara Falls Frozen Over, the Fruit Chimney, the Crystal Cave Coral Pool and Snowy Chandelier -- offering "an inexpensive way to see something that's entertaining but still educational," Barnett said.
While tours are generally guided, prospective spelunkers should remember to wear secure and comfortable footwear for safety on the steps and walkways that are a part of most tours.  Consider bringing a sweater or jacket, as well.
Here is a sampling of West Virginia's underground vacation destinations:
-- Lost World Caverns -- A stream runs through these caverns, located 10 minutes outside Lewisburg. Self-guided tours are available 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. between Labor Day and Thanksgiving and by request thereafter. Picnic facilities and a gift shop are also available.
Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 5-13 and free for children 4 and younger.
Guided "wild" cave tours of more than four hours are available by request at $45 per person.
Special features include the Showcase, a massive series of subterranean rooms, and the Snowy Chandelier, a 30-ton compound stalactite formed of pure white calcite.
For more information, call 645-6677.
-- Organ Cave -- Located near Lewisburg, Organ Cave is named for an impressive geological formation that emits musical tones when struck with a rubber mallet. Other interesting notes: It has 40 miles of mapped passages, was used as a saltpeter mine by Confederate soldiers and yielded the skeleton of a prehistoric three-toed sloth to Thomas Jefferson.
Summer hours are 9 a.m. to  7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Winter hours begin Nov. 1. Tours leave every half hour. Admission is $10.60 for adults, $5.30 for children 6-12 and free for children 5 and younger. Group rates are available. Wild tours of two to eight hours are available by request. Charges vary.
Also offered is RV camping,  picnic and playground facilities, a snack bar and rodeo grounds. Weekend activities are offered throughout the summer months.
For more information, call 645-7600 or visit
-- Seneca Caverns -- Located 40 minutes southeast of Elkins, Seneca Caverns features a massive flowstone formation called Niagara Falls Frozen Over, the quartz-studded Candy Mountain and the Grand Ballroom, complete with a natural balcony. The cave also offers bags of sand from international gem-rich sites that "miners" can sift for potential rubies, diamonds and pyrite.
A modified tour is also available for limited mobility visitors by calling ahead.
Seneca Caverns is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. until Labor Day, with tours of 45 to 55 minutes leaving every 20 minutes. Winter hours vary. Admission is $8 for adults, $4.75 for children 6-12 and free for children 5 and younger. Senior, AAA and group rates are available.
Restaurant, picnic and grilling facilities are also on site.
For more information, call 567-2691 or visit
-- Smoke Hole Caverns --Located in Seneca Rocks, 45 minutes northeast of Elkins, Smoke Hole Caverns offers a full vacation facility. In addition to 45-minute tours that start every half hour between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily, the caverns are surrounded with log cabins and motels, a wildlife museum, a gift shop and a variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Smoke Hole Caverns -- named for the smoke that drifted out of cave openings when Seneca Indians used them as a venison-smoking site -- are best known for features such as the Crystal Cave Coral Pool, a natural feature found in only one other known location in the world, and the sparkling Room of a Million Stalactites, the second highest ceiling of any eastern U.S. cave.
Admission is $7.50 for adults, $5 for children 5-12 and free for children 4 and younger.
Call 1-800-828-8478 or visit for more information.

Fairs and festivals to be found across the region

by Jessica Laton
West Virginia is full of fairs and festivals in the summer, offering arts and crafts, music and cultural entertainment through the summer and into the fall.
"West Virginia is the heart of Appalachia and as Appalachians we enjoy our fairs and festivals," said Matt Turner, public information specialist for the West Virginia Division of Tourism. "It is just a down-home time."
Salem has several festivals throughout the summer.
The Old-Time Summertime Social runs all summer at Fort New Salem.
On July 10, 17 and 24, beginning at 7 p.m., there will be Front Porch Concerts at the Fort. Joe Dobbs, United Voices and the Appalachian Bass Quintet will perform. There will also be free sweets.
In August, Dulcimer Weekend will be held at the Fort to celebrate the unique musical instrument. Participants can learn how to play the dulcimer, listen to professionals play and even make one of their own.
"They (the festivals) are really family orientated," said Kyra Schlosser, assistant at Fort New Salem.
"We want to get people out here. It is a nice relaxing service."
For more information, contact Fort New Salem at 782-5245.
The fifth annual Benedum Festival in Bridgeport kicks off Sunday, July 11, with a reception after a service at Bridgeport United Methodist Church to honor Michael Benedum, founder of the Benedum program.
On Thursday, July 15, the annual Benedum Festival awards banquet with guest speaker Ken Hechler will be held. Awards will honor citizens for outstanding service and contribution to the community. On July 16, families are invited to a pool party from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Benedum Civic Center Pool in Bridgeport. There will be a disc jockey and games.
Saturday, July 17, is the Benedum Festival's big day, with a 5K run that begins at 8:30 a.m. at Bridgeport Middle School. A pet parade at 10 a.m. will also be held at the school. At 11:30 a.m., an in-line skate race will be held at the high school. A street fair will be at the school grounds all day, with food vendors, crafts, games and entertainment into the evening. For more information, call 842-8240.
The Battle of Laurel Hill Festival will be held at Laurel Hill in Belington from July 16 to 18. Historical entertainment is on the agenda for the weekend at the Civil War battlefield. The three-day event is open to the public. Opening ceremonies start at 7 p.m. on Friday. The weekend will consist of a re-enacted battle, a history tour of the cemetery and battlefield, a parade, a period church service, along with many other activities for history buffs. For more information, contact Aaron or Sharon Cross at 823-3123.
Beverly Days in Beverly will be July 26 to 31. All week the festival will have activities at the town square. Cake walks, a queen's pageant, square and modern dance, fireworks, chicken barbecue and a parade are all on the agenda.
For "free entertainment and family fun," head to Clarksburg City Park in Nutter Fort in August. On the weekend of Aug. 5-7, the 1999 West Virginia Blackberry Festival will have lots of food, crafts and novelties, a carnival and fireworks. Contact Dolores Terango at 623-2381 for more information.
The Augusta Heritage Center at Davis & Elkins College has a summer program that is unique to the area.
From June to August, the college hosts craft classes, dance classes, folklife and folklore and Elderhostel. Elderhostel is an international program for people over 55 that teaches folk culture. Week-long programs include swing week, old-time week, Irish week, Cajun/Creole week, blues week, bluegrass week and vocal week. Contact the college at 637-1209 for more information.
West Virginia is full of festivals this summer. County fairs and art festivals take place all over the state. These are just a few in the area. For a book of all of West Virginia's fairs and festivals, call the West Virginia Division of Tourism at 1-800-CALLWVA.

Glass factory tours a clear favorite in the summertime

by Nora Edinger
Editor's note: Now that summer is in full swing, tourists are flocking to the Mountain State to enjoy all kinds of activities. There are plenty of things for native West Virginians to do, too. More stories can be found on pages A8, A9, and A10.
Could watching lead turn into gold be any more interesting? Ordinary sand, lime, soda ash and a fiery blast combine to produce the extraordinary -- West Virginia glass.
Throughout the Mountain State, master craftsmen are producing glass, fine art and household items using techniques that have been handed down through centuries. And, you are invited to watch.
"He's right there," said Tracy Masuga, secretary and bookkeeper at Hinkles Dying Art Glassworks in Buckhannon, of craftsman Ron Hinkle. "We've had walk-ins all day. You just sit in a chair and watch him work."
Hinkle makes a wide variety of art pieces -- from plates to paperweights to vases -- that are sold in the adjacent showroom. Some parts of the day include shaping or blowing molten glass and other times are devoted to finishing pieces that have slowly cooled in the shop's kiln. That variety means every day's demonstration is a little different.
"It all depends on what he's making," Masuga said. "Like some vases, there are four layers of glass."
In addition to Hinkles, a number of local glass factories have special tour and demonstration programs that are available at no charge to visitors. Here is a sampling of what's available this summer:
-- Fenton Art Glass Co. -- Factory tours begin every 40 minutes 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 12:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays at this Williamstown business. The factory closes for a two-week vacation in early July. Groups larger than 20 should call ahead.
Children younger than 2 are not permitted in the factory area. Visitors are discouraged from wearing sandals or other non-sturdy footwear. Hot days are especially warm in the factory and employees caution heat-sensitive individuals to plan their visit accordingly.
For more information, call 304-375-7772 or visit
-- Gentile Glass Co. Inc. -- This Star City establishment specializes in colorful paperweights, which visitors can watch being made weekday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and afternoons from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The company takes a vacation at some point in the summer and requests visitors call ahead at 304-599-2750.
-- Hinkles Dying Art Glassworks -- Located on Route 9 in Buckhannon, Hinkles offers demonstrations 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in its gallery/factory. Groups larger than 15 should call ahead. Picnic/grilling areas and a playground are available on site.
For more information, call 304-472-7963 or visit
-- Masterpiece Crystal -- This Jane Lew factory and showroom specializes in hand-blown, lead-free crystal. Tours of the factory are conducted every half hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information, call 1-800-524-3114.
-- Mid-Atlantic of West Virginia Inc. -- Visitors can walk through the factory at this Ellenboro establishment. Glass is blown 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Mid-Atlantic is experienced in accommodating large groups and tour buses.
For more information, call 304-869-3351.

Clarksburg Publishing Company, P.O. Box 2000, Clarksburg, WV 26302 USA
Copyright © Clarksburg Publishing Company 1999