Newspaper Archive of
Mountain Messenger
Lewisburg, West Virginia
June 28, 1990     Mountain Messenger
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June 28, 1990

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\ / Vol. VI No. 16 June 28, 1990 From the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia By Jonathan Wright Rainetle residents see it from a dtstance: a seven-acre long buildings sitting one north of U.S. Highway 60. Per- the only item out of the ordi- Is a collection of long sus- ropes from which numerous green sheets of beard-like hang tn the bright sun. say the majority of people in have never heard of us," Thomas says. "We keep a Y low profile." Thomas is owner of Appala- Root and Herb ComDany, a with over 1.000 accounts serving every state and several countries. The company has of the Targesi-r~the hess. he says The 69-year-old Bridge native established the company in 1972. It now 20 persons. sells a variety of to wholesale florists and most of which use it arran ements or sell it for ve purposes. ust yesterday we shipped Packages of green sheet to Wall Mart." Mr Thomas also sell a lot of grapevine Appalachian Root & Herb Co.-- Rainelle Roots And Shoots: Herbs Sold baskets and wreathes to wholesale craft suppliers and florists." At certain times of the year the company buys roots and herbs, which it supplies to pharmaceutical companies. Nearly 400 people in the surrounding area collect mosses, roots, herbs, and vines and sell them to Appalachian. "Several of mese people are able to substan- tially supplement their income w~th what riley make," Mr Thomas says. 1 believe we put more cash into the economy of Rainelle than nearly anyone--the kind that goes ngqt into our own local grocery stores " Much of the moss the company uses is collected off logs brought in by the local timber industry. Moss from nearly evei'y county n southern West Virginia comes to the Rainelle plant. Green sheet moss ~s usually hung outside on ropes to dry before being packaged for shipment. Other moss varieties handled by the com. F3any are club, mood, and reindeer mosses. Mayapple and Spanish moss are also sold. The Spanish moss ts shipped to Rainetle, mainly from Florida. "About ninety per cent of it goes back to Florida," Mr Thomas laughs. "Then our customers there ship it out to their own customers." Depending on the needs and re- quests of the buyers, packaging may display the name and location of the Rainetle firm, list thebuyer's name exclusively, or omit a busi- ness name altogether. The company also has facilities at two rented farms on nearby Bing- ham Road. Crews dry additional supplies of sheet moss at those lo- cations. As one of relatively few firms doing th~s type of business in the United States. Appalachian Root and Herb has supplied its products to some well-known customers. "Back when President Ronald Re- agan was leavmg-'olf~fvtl,"~T~. mas says. "we sold 180 ten-pound boxes of green sheet moss and shipped it to California to decorate the hall where they were having his homecoming celebration We've also sent lots of reindeer moss to Pasadena. California. where they use It on many of the floats for the Rose Bowl Parade" Appalachian Root and Herb Company is located at Hughart and Center streets near Sewell Creek. Jack Huffman s general manager. for Denmar Property Proposed private prison on the of Denmar State Hospital one step closer to reality last g a public meeting attended by private prison and over 500 Pocahon- residents. Informal bal- at the end of the meeting 513 residents for the project avon against it. officials of the Midland SOd Private Prisons of supporting entities an- Norman Alderman d questions from the crowd County Commission. Three of the group visited the ' site earlier in the day and it would be suitable for bJect, according to County ~SeOner Norman Alderman. plans call for the de- to renovate the main build- State Hospital, slated ClOsed by the state sometime SUmmer. Approximately 100 lets Would be moved to one of auxiliary buildings, as Unit Seven, while the roof is removed for extrac- asbestos, according to Mr AI- target dates have been this first phase, he said. Additional facilities would be budt and ultimately result ~n facilities for 2,280 prisoners and provide jobs for 600 persons, the developers claim. Construction of the mimmum-secu- rity prison would be financed by the sale of "Certificates of Participation." investments made by large corpora- tions. "The county pledges no credit and is not liable should the project fail," Mr Alderman stated in press re- lease earlier in the month. "No tax dollars are utilized. Yet the county receives a share of the revenue be- ginning the first year at $108,882. and going to $6 million per year En five years. At the end of the fifteenth year, the facility is turned over to the county. At that time it should have'a fair market value of more than $120 million." Several residents of Denmar and nearby Hiltsboro expressed positive feelings toward the project. Anne Baxter. who has lived with her family across from the hospital property since 1979, said, "It's OK with us-- the county needs jobs. We're not afraid to live near a prison. I worked at the hospital for 20 years, includ- ing a time when some prisoners were brought in from another area of the state. We're not afraid of the idea." Ronald Madison has ;ived on a ridge overlooking the hospital since 1982. "rd like to see it come in," he said. "It will open up a lot more jobs for the county. I have no fears about it, especially since ,t wilt be a mini- mum-security prison. The county is so bad-off economically that I think it would be a big help. I work at the See "Prison", Pg.3-A Stan Leist Gives Island Park Gift Stan Leist president of Green- brier Valley Aviation, Inc. recently gave $1000 to the Ronceverte Is- land Park Improvement Fund, Reminiscing about his youth in Ronceverte, Mr Leist recalled he was the first operator of the first pool at Island Park about 40 years ago. As Water Safety Director for the county ne held classes each sum- mer at Island Park. "However," Mr Leist said. "while the pool was great. I was always parhal to the River where I was headed when I was 4 years old and my father caught me. I feel the River and Island Park are Ronceverte's greatest assets I really appreciate the magnitude of Commissioner Lindy Hodges' supervision of an all- volunteer crew in the construction of an amphitheater on the banks of the Greenbrier." Mr Leist concluded. Inside Today About Herbs ................... 12A Agriculture ....................... 9A Brierfly ............................. 2A Classified ......................... 9B For the Record ............... 12A Garden Patch ................. 11A Hand In Hand ................. 12A Joy of Farming ................ 9A Obituaries ...................... 11A Opinion ............................ 4A Roberta ........................... 10A Saints ............................... 2B Sports ............................... 1 B Only two injuries were reported from a tornado which smashed through the Pickaway area June 22. The storm was one of two wolent wind storms which hit the area at different t~mes that day. The tornado, sighted by a num- ber of Pickaway residents, swept through the region at approximately 7:20 p.m. Among the two injured was Dr George Guy, who suffered chest injuries when his car struck a tree felled by the storm on U.S. Highway 219 near Sunnyside Tour- ist Home, He was admitted to AI- leghany Regional Hospital in Low Moor, Virginia, but was released early this week. Buford Dunbar, whose farm on Dorr Road, saw extensive damage from the tornado, suffered cuts on his arm from a broken storm door. The glass of the door shattered from apparent excessive air pressure when he and his wife attempted to go inside their house when the storm hit. "It came through when my wife and I were sitting on the porch," Mr Dunbar said. "We heard quite a racket, and I got up up to see what it was. It sounded as if someone was having engine trouble up the road. Just as I got to the end of the porch, it h~t. That's when we headed for the doo" to get inside." Mr and Mrs Dunbar lost a chicken house, barn. garage, a meat house and the roof from their wood shed. Part of their home's roof was damaged. Over two dozen neighbors helped cut fallen trees and remove debris during the week- end. One-fourth mile west of the Dun- bar farm on Dorr Road. the Hiltsdate Holiness Church was extensively damaged as ~,!~g~Q~.S ~:r~e broken, roofing fS~n off, and the steeple destroyed. David Deskins. pastor the congregahon said. "Several of Tornado damage at Hillsdale Holiness Church, near Pickaway us had just arrived at the church for a meehng that evening and were standing outside. We saw the funnel coming and quickly got in our cars and drove down the hill to my par- ents' house [across the road from the Dunbar farm]. It followed us all the way there--we were in front of it all the way." The home of George Deskins, Reverend Deskins' father, sustained relatively little damage. Documented proof that the storm was indeed a tornado was provided by Carol Beckett who lives on U.S. 219 at P~ckaway. "1 had no ~oea there was violent weather around." she said. "It was sunny. I had just arrived back at my house and was pulling into the driveway when I saw the funnel cloud. What was unusual was that it was white although as it picked up strength it got darker. "All I could think at the moment I first saw it was, '1 have to get my videoca~ra!' t went flying into the house, came out, and began filming. "The funnel lasted about three or four minutes, and as it ended there was even a rainbow." Mrs Beckett said a representative of the National Weather Serwce in Beckley came to her home to view the videotape in order to determine whether it was a tornado. "He saw it and said, "Yes, that's a tornado all right,'" Mrs Beckett added. Numerous area residents wit- nessed the storm. According to Mrs Beckett, her cousin Don-Sibold re- ported he and a farm hand were working in a field when they saw the funnel "picking up bales of hay and bouncing them around like ping pong balls. '" Earlier in the day, at approxi- mately 2:30 p.m., a strong storm destroyed a mobile home in Nickelrs Mobile Home Park, approx marcy one mile south of the tornado site. According the Monroe County Sher- iff Elmer Galford. a mobile home was completely destroyed. The owner Pearl Martin. and nor two ch~td~ren were not present when the storm hit. he said Mr Galford had no estimates of total storm dam ages. With two dozen buildings and 225 acres on the banks of the Greenbrier River at Caldwell. Camp Shaw-Mi-DeI-Eca is becoming an- other recreational destination for area residents and visitors. The resort opened to the public in early June Jn tne midst of exten- sive renovations, which will continue throughout the coming months. The new owners are Stewart and Tho- mas of Ahwahnee. California. The firm owns three recreational vehicle resorts in that state. Managing the Caldwell resort is Bill Watsh, a native of Cordon. Indi- ana. who moved here in 1986 from Gainesville Florida. Mr Walsn served as a counselor at Davis- Stuart near Lewisburg for three years before taking the position at Camp Shaw-Mi-DeI-Eca last sum- mer "We've come a long way," Mr Walsh said "We've spent many hours cutting grass, remodeling the dining room and kitchen, and reno- vating our other facilities. The swtm- m=ng pool hadn't been used in eight years. We've made improvements to it, and now It's open to the public.'" The resort also offers facilities for fishing, tennis, horseshoes, picnick- ing, basketball, croquet, volleyball, football, soccer, and softball. Fees apply for some activities. A rental/pro shop ~s available. housed m the same building with a video arcade. A number of hiking traits are located on the grounds, and the 74-mde Greenbrier River Trail begins a short distance away on the opoosite side of the river. Visitors may rent bicycles, ca- noes. john boats, paddleboats, rafts. ~n addition to equipment for tennis. volleyball, basketball, and horse* shoes The staff also offers guided canoe tn;3s with shuttle serwce, ac- cording to Mr Watsh. One of the most impress=ve and most-used facilities, according to Mr Wa sh, ~s the newly renovated 250~ seat dining room and krtcnen. "Groups such as the Woman's Club, Seneca Mental Health. and family reuntons have used rt so far," he said, "We already have at least t8 bookings for it this summer." The camp dates from 1929 and is best known by area natives as the summer camp for students of Lewisburg's Greenbrier Military School. Its name cons=sis of frag- ments of the names of four Indian tribes which once roamed the state: the Shawnee Mingo, Delaware. and Seneca. The military school closed n 1972, and since then the facilities have seen only partial, infrequent use Camp Shaw-Mi-OeI-Eca Stables, located on the northern side of the resort near the Interstate 64 bridge, are operated by Woody Cooke and his daughter Melissa. Here the visi- tor may rent horses and ride any of See "Resort", Pg. 2-A Bill Walsh at Camp Shaw-Mi-DeI-Eca O