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I know that when it comes to history, the names of Don Chafin and the Devil Anse Hatfield family standout for their distinguished contributions to true American history: Chafin for his renowned 1921 stance against marching miners at Blair Mountain. And, of course, the Hatfields for their role in the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud that lasted for many years following the Civil War.

Amid the ongoing trade tensions, the White House recently issued a proclamation with the stunning conclusion that Toyota and other international automaker contributions to the economy have reduced the market share of "American-owned" companies and thereby are a national security threat.

Last Thursday's fireworks display in Logan got me to thinking about how congested things must have been prior to the completion of the Logan Boulevard. What a tremendous difference it must have made for those travelers of yesteryear when the only way to Stollings and beyond was through the heart of Logan. Things sure have changed with a population decline of at least 24,827 people when 59 years ago the Logan Boulevard was opened as maybe the single best highway change ever in county history, prior to the new road opening from Man to Logan.

Developers of the Heartland Gateway Intermodal facility at Prichard promised a lot as they took the project from concept to completion. The 100-acre site that was supposed to open southern West Virginia, southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky to the world market didn't quite accomplish that.

Cautious optimism. Those two words best describe how people in Mason County and elsewhere should approach last week's announcement that Domestic Synthetic Fuels plans to build a coal-to-liquid fuels plant along the Ohio River north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

To paraphrase a friend's message on Facebook:

"Summertime and the menu is sublime."

I had a vivid dream a few nights ago. Susie and I were in Florida slurping super sweet, overripe oranges as the juice dripped from our chins.

Abortion is currently a sizzling-hot topic on our political landscape - and I expect it will continue to be straight through the 2020 elections. The question is often framed: Should the U.S. Supreme Court uphold or overturn Roe v. Wade, an established precedent that says a woman's right to privacy includes her right to have an abortion?

According to current census calculations, the population of our planet is rapidly approaching eight billion people. Along with this massive number, we know there has never been a time in history when this many individuals occupied the earth at the same time, but we can also agree that we have more philosophies, opinions and worldviews than ever before.

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, West Virginia's two biggest cities - Huntington and Charleston - have lost population each year since the 2010 census. In fact, only 32 of West Virginia's incorporated cities and towns saw their populations increase in the eight years between the 2010 census and 2018.

Mark 4:45 finds Jesus and his disciples traveling by boat when a severe storm hits and its waves cause the vessel to begin to take on water. For fear of death, the disciples panic and wake Christ, who was sleeping, saying don't you care if we drown! Jesus gets up and rebukes and calms the storm and then asks his disciples "Why are you still afraid? Do you still have faith?"

Thursday marked the 156th year that this wonderful place we call home became the state of West Virginia - the only state born during the great Civil War; it being created mostly by the wishes of northerners from what is now our mountain state, but was then, of course, Virginia.

"Going, going - gone! It's a home run."

That baseball scenario basically sums up my feelings regarding the demolition of the old "Super-S," aka Midelburg Theater, building that started crumbling down onto Dingess Street in Logan just a few weeks ago.

My dear sweet mother, Berenice O'Keefe, spent her last year or so (in her 90s) in a nursing home, less and less able to leave her bed or her wheelchair. In that final trot down the backstretch heading for home, she turned frequently to a patched-together notebook of prayers.

Education has been a major topic in our state. While almost everyone agrees that West Virginia's schools need improvement, proposed methods to do so vary greatly. One of the comments made regarding education is that today's young people just don't put forth enough energy to be successful academically and that "anyone can do anything well if they just try hard enough."

Cabell County has the only known cluster of HIV cases in West Virginia. It is isolated to intravenous drug users, and more than half are homeless. At last count, the Cabell County cluster consisted of 49 people infected with HIV.

It's the economy, stupid.

Perhaps you have heard that slogan. If not, where have you been?

It's a slight variation of the phrase "The economy, stupid," which James Carville coined when he was a campaign strategist for Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign against sitting president George H.W. Bush. It has popped up in nearly every presidential campaign since.

I'm sure you will agree that most of us humans have very peculiar and quirky personalities. It's strange how we are easily influenced and persuaded in certain things, and stubborn as a mule about others. When it comes to admitting we are wrong in our views or that we are heading in the wrong direction, it doesn't take long for us to reveal our contrary and rebellious attitudes.

The West Virginia State Senate has passed its latest attempt at a comprehensive education reform bill. It replaces the omnibus bill the Senate approved during the regular session earlier this year but which died in a House of Delegates committee.

At various points in my life, from childhood to adulthood, the phrase "the good old days" has been used by persons referring to various times in their pasts when things just seemed to be a little better than they were in actuality. Still, for those of us who are fortunate to be a part of what I shall term - well, simply as "the good old days" - there are times that I believe we just may have been better off than are those unfortunate lost and drugged souls of today's society.

In Matthew 13, Jesus teaches us about the Kingdom Principle of seed time and harvest. "The Kingdom of God is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tare (weeds) among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the tare also appeared. The owners servants asked, "Sir didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from? Any enemy did this he replied."

Economic growth in West Virginia has been a long, difficult struggle for many decades. The state has long relied on the coal industry as the backbone of its economy, but even that pillar has been weakened as a job creator because of mechanization, competition from other fuel sources, and added regulations on burning of coal brought about by concerns over global warming.

This past Monday I was honored to speak to students at Man High School on what was designated statewide as "Constitution Day." As part of a judicial civic education program of the West Virginia Supreme Court, active and retired Supreme Court justices, circuit judges, family court judges and magistrates volunteered to visit various schools across West Virginia as part of what is called the "Robes to Schools" program.

The sagging West Virginia economy has become a political football, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Last week cable TV business channel CNBC released its annual state-by-state assessments on the "Top States for Business," and West Virginia came in dead last. Of course, the Mountain State has typically ranked near the bottom in a host of similar surveys, especially in recent years with the declines in coal and natural gas.

For those of us who prefer to have a newspaper in our hands as compared to reading it online, allow this 'ole newsprint veteran to say a few words about the new look and feel of The Logan Banner since HD Media's recent purchase of Henry Clay Ragland's newspaper that has served parts of southern West Virginia since Ragland's first edition in 1889. The words that first came to my mind when the "new look" Banner hit the streets last Sunday morning while I was having breakfast were simply: "Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits."

Many of West Virginia's lawmakers, after passing a bare-bones budget last month, spoke much about how they held the line on spending and avoided any significant tax increases. Indeed, that was the outcome of their budget work, which Gov. Jim Justice allowed to become law without his signature because he could neither endorse the Legislature's spending plan but also could not risk having a government shutdown for lack of a budget.

I love bread. I love it. All shapes-squares, circles, triangles. All kinds of bread-biscuits, cornbread, Mexican cornbread, banana bread, bagels and every other kind, except rye. (I’ve never liked rye.) Croissants are my favorite-this week.