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According to some of the "old-timers" around Logan, like former Logan City policeman and current Logan County Court part-time court martial Tom Fink, the town of Logan once had at least 10 bars, clubs or pool halls that sold alcoholic beverages. The beer joints or beer gardens, as they were often referred to, could legally only sale beer, but nearly every community within Logan County had a "watering hole" at some point in their local history. Private clubs, of course, were allowed to dispense liquors and wines.

For most of this year, Joe Manchin effectively prevented any other prominent Democrat from announcing his or her intentions to run for statewide office. As long as Manchin toyed with the idea of running for governor, no one else would jump into that ring.

On Wednesday, the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy released a report on wage theft in West Virginia. Wage theft can be defined in many ways. Some examples are minimum wage violations, overtime violations, illegal deductions, employee misclassification, and tipped minimum wage violations.

I'm currently working on a story concerning about five or six different places in Logan where local legend Aracoma - whom I hesitate to call an Indian Princess - was buried. So, I thought since I haven't completed that narrative yet, I would sort of set the table for it with the following related information.

Back in my hey-day with this newspaper, I often was assigned to cover different types of public meetings in which there frequently were disagreements among school board members, city officials, county commissioners and even political executive committee people - back when the Executive Committee was a key component to the outcome of many local elections.

Somewhere, I saw a small sign that read something like, "A Cluttered Desk is a Sign of Genius."

Trust me, when I say that I am a far cry from anywhere near being a genius, but I certainly have a cluttered desk, even though I promise it's not nearly as bad as Logan Chief Circuit Judge Eric O'Briant or court reporter Larry Coffindaffer's offices. With that remark, I must also concede that their ultra-cluttering must make those two fellows more like geniuses than myself.

For decades, Big Pharma has raised drug prices with impunity. Here in West Virginia, the average annual cost of brand name prescription drug treatment increased 58 percent between 2012 and 2017, while the annual income for West Virginians increased only 2.9 percent.

"I was six years old when my peg-legged father sold our two-room shack near Charleston, West Virginia, for thirty cans of Wilson's evaporated milk. He moved the family fifty miles away to Logan County where we continued to struggle with poverty. I stood beside him as he sat in front of dime stores and sold pencils at southern West Virginia towns."

Progression is defined as "the process of developing or moving gradually towards a more advanced state." As time barrels forward, each institution, industrial sector or culture must adapt to societal needs. Agriculture is no different.

Was it really that long ago that the national Republican Party claimed to be the party of fiscal restraint and prudence? You might not know it from the budget deal that passed through Congress earlier this month.

Whether or not you are a history buff, people - especially in Logan and Mingo counties - should know that Mingo County was formed from Logan County in 1895. However, I'd bet very few people know that an old mountain moonshiner is credited with being the "daddy" of the project that led to Mingo's creation. Here's the story.

Last week, the German auto company Volkswagen announced that its plant in Puebla, Mexico, would produce the company's very last Beetle. The famous slope-roofed, rear-engine air-cooled car's final journey from Mexico offers a road map for cars and international relations in the 20th century.

Have you ever felt like you've been fighting a losing battle?

After years of witnessing mostly a younger generation suffer and too many succumb to addiction due primarily to the combination of pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy greed fueled by some physicians' unjustifiable prescriptions, I have to now say thanks to those responsible for creating "zombies" throughout Logan County and beyond.

Our world has a surplus of major crises not limited to floods, wars and refugees. However, it seems that unless we are directly affected by these dreadful events, human nature leads us to just utter a few sympathetic words and then go on to daily personal concerns. One of those daily activities of American life is driving our vehicles; we do love our cars, trucks and SUVs.

A year ago, people driving the West Virginia Turnpike paid $6 in tolls to get from Charleston to Bluefield - three tolls of $2 each. This year the tolls have doubled, so the one-way trip now costs $12, or $24 for a round trip.

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."