Driving around, it’s easy to see the agricultural activity that surrounds us in Jefferson County, but it often seems at a distance. As part of a planned series of articles looking at the activities that have defined Jefferson County across several centuries, The Observer recently visited one of these operations — the Blue Spruce Farm in Kearneysville WV.
When The Observer spoke with Greg Petersen of the Jefferson County Community Ministries (JCCM) for our July 2020 issue, the Food Pantry operated by JCCM in downtown Charles Town was in the early days of navigating the pandemic and the staff was anticipating a sharp increase in demand. We recently touched base with John Cloyd, Greg’s colleague at JCCM to see what they experienced over the summer and what they expect this winter.
Join The Observer and participate in this fun and free holiday activity! The Holiday Bear Art Hunt is brought to the community by The Observer with the support of Jefferson Security Bank.
In the spring of 2020, Bryan and Cathy were pondering the implications of the unfolding pandemic, and Cathy’s employer decided her days as a salesperson on the road were at an end. A friend called to tell them that the Thomas Shepherd Inn was coming on the market. Then another friend called. And another. They arranged to visit the property on the day it was first open for showing. Standing in the back yard after walking through, they had already decided to make an offer.
Arts & Entertainment
Aspiring writers may have a hard time finding responsive publishers and agents, but at least they have an entire industry that caters to them. Why then would there be a need for another book about writing fiction? Jon Sealy’s So You Want to Be a Novelist answers that question in its first few pages.
Tune in from the comfort of home to be informed, entertained, and perhaps discomfited by, Donna Washington’s performance of “The Chairs in the Trees” presented by Speak Storytelling.
With the COVID-19 pandemic dominating the news, it’s easy for other public health issues to drop out of sight. Shepherdstown-based Community Education Group (CEG) is pointedly focused on West Virginia’s ongoing substance-use disorder epidemic.
On November 16, Jefferson County schools shifted to remote learning for all students based on the WV State Department of Education guidelines. The WV Department of Health and Human Resources Education map (left) released the previous day showed Jefferson County at an “orange” level of risk (between 15 and 24.9 active cases per 100,000 population). The “Harvard” map (right), updated through the same day, November 15, indicated that Jefferson County (along with many other counties in WV) was already at the “red” level of risk (over 25 active cases per 100,000 population). No counties in West Virginia fell into the “Harvard” map’s “green” risk level.
Economy & Environment
After the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a notice on November 5, 2020 that it was authorizing the Rockwool stone wool insulation manufacturing facility in Ranson to operate under a general water pollution control permit, the Jefferson County Foundation noted that the source water protection area map submitted as part of the facility’s application process marked only 4 drinking water wells within the one mile buffer zone.
About a half hour after sunrise, the song of a white-throated sparrow came from our big forsythia bush. I look forward to these sparrows every year, but this time I was paying special attention.