"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."

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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.

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.

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.

Should there ever be a Logan County Hall of Fame for softball, there are dozens of names I, personally, would submit for admission. At the top of that list would be Jack Baisden, a guy I've known nearly all of my life. He actually is going to receive a mighty high honor July 6 when he will join the ranks of people like former NBA great Jerry West and Logan's Willie Akers as an inductee into the Artie Museum in Raleigh County.

When The Logan Banner was started some 130 years ago, it was just one year after an indictment had been handed down for the arrest of Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield for selling whiskey, and it was six years prior to a huge portion of Logan County becoming in 1895 what is now Mingo County.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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."