The Observer focuses on the stories of Jefferson County and West Virginia, looking beyond the headlines to inform the public discusssion on important topics relevant to the community, including the local economy, environment, education, politics, and public health. We also spotlight local artisans, artists, musicians, businesses & community organizations.
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.
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.
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.
The Observer is encouraged to see that our local communities are keeping the festive spirit of the holiday season alive by continuing activities that can be enjoyed at a distance. We encourage our readers to find joy in these events and add our voice to the many who are encouraging patience and perseverance until we […]
The large A&P grocery store ad on page A-5 of the December 2 issue of The Spirit of Jefferson-Farmers Advocate from 1971 brings back memories. Four loaves of bread for a dollar, pork chops at $1.09 per pound, but also a note from the grocer apologizing for having been out of stock on so many […]
A juried event featuring only hand-crafted items produced by local artisans and artists. Organized by Heavenly Treasures Pottery Studio and Rock Fusion Studio, this show and sale presents dozens of individuals selling a variety of items suitable for gifts, including pottery, candles, prints, jewelry and other unique items. For this indoor event, masks and social […]
Local merchant Two Rivers Treads (400 S Mildred Street, Ranson) showcases the spirit of the holidays with its community coat rack in front of its store. Anyone in need of something to keep warm this winter is welcome to a jacket from the rack. They accept donations too — if you have any spare winter […]
Our signature specialty, Holiday Stollen, dates back to 14th-century Germany. We make our stollen entirely by hand in small batches. Our unique recipe uses rum-soaked raisins, dates, and pecans added to a dough of sweet butter and specially spiced flour. The mix is cut into rough loaves, hand-shaped, and wrapped around a marzipan center, then […]
Shop local vendors for local produce, apples, plants, flowers, breads & baked goods, cheeses, yogurt, grass-fed beef, eggs, chicken, pork, local honey, beeswax candles, body care, bulbs, mushrooms, salsas & dips, maple syrup, vinegars, teas, spices and so much more! As the holidays approach, you’ll be wowed and delighted with the variety of gift-able offerings […]
“KimoPics” Gallery opens on Veterans Day 2020 in a new location, 129 East German St. in Shepherdstown. The exhibit, “Counties of The Potomac River – Series One”, features images by Vietnam Veteran photographer/composer Kimo Williams. The “Counties of The Potomac River” series is inspired by Kimo’s observation of the Potomac and how its banks meld […]
Stop by Honor D Fine Shoes & Hats today. Ladies shoes featuring the brands Vaneli, Bernardo, and FrenchSole. Hats for the whole family: Harris Tweed caps, Brixton, and Eric Javits fine headwear. Hand knitted baby hats and booties. Interesting costume and vintage jewelry. Authorized dealer of Claire Burke room scent and potpourri. Hours: Wed-Sun 10:30-5:30 […]
The Shepherdstown Community Club hosts local and regional artists, artisans and designers for a charming shopping experience at the War Memorial Building in historic downtown Shepherdstown. Discover handmade artful items, including fine art, pottery, wood, stained and fused glass, home & garden decor, specialty foods, jewelry, wearables and accessories. The vendor selection will each weekend. […]
Speak Story Series hosts storyteller Elizabeth Rose in an on-line performance. Elizabeth’s stories include a blend of traditional southern folklore, Appalachian tales, mountain ballads, ghost stories, songs and her own personal stories of growing up in small town East Tennessee. She is an educator, workshop leader, presenter, and professional storyteller.December 8, 2020, 7:30 pm Pre-registration […]
Shop now for Historic Shepherdstown 6th in a series of Holiday Ornaments. This year features the Shepherdstown Opera House. The ornaments can be purchased in the HSC office by calling 304-876-0910 to make an appointment or they can be purchased on their website.
Shepherdstown Liquors is honoring the memory of Mohsen Sadeghzadeh and continuing a tradition of offering a rare bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Straight Bourbon Whiskey in a holiday raffle with all proceeds to support the Shepherdstown Public Library. This 20 year-old bottle is valued at over $2,000. Tickets available until drawing to be held at […]
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.
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.
Health experts around the globe have been warning of the risk of a pandemic like COVID-19 for years — and they tell us that we can expect similar viruses to break out in the future. Dr. Mark Cucuzzella suggests that our current approach has focused on hiding from this virus and he makes the case that it’s just as important to strengthen our resistance to COVID-19 and future viruses — in other words, healthier lifestyles for healthier immune systems.
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.
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.