Page 1

Recycling Are we finally getting it right?

The Minor League Minor League Baseball just became a major deal.

The New Modern Green living means high-performing for one local builder.

Our guide to housing and neighborhoods in Morgantown and beyond


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Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

editor’s note


veryone is talking

about houses. In our office alone, at least three people are somewhere in the home-buying process—making offers, scheduling appraisals, or picking up the keys. There’s a lot of talk about counter offers, how much is too much, and finding the perfect place. If you’ve searched for a place to call home in Morgantown recently, then you know—housing in Morgantown does not come cheap. Our assistant editor, Katie Griffith, knows the trials of finding just the right place all too well. Not only did she write “The $250,000 Question” feature story (page 60) in this issue, but she’s also getting ever closer to closing the deal for her first house in First Ward. In research for her story, she uncovered a whole host of complex reasons why the housing market is the way it is in Morgantown. She even learned a new term—studentification—generally used to describe the effects a large college student population can have on nearby neighborhoods. It includes things like rising housing costs, a sharp increase in the number of rental housing units, and a decline in the condition of existing housing stock, according to Christopher Fletcher, director of development services with the City of Morgantown. But officials and locals alike are optimistic. As more high-rise student housing is developed—like


Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

University Place—experts expect to see that transient population start to leave the converted, formerly single-family homes in neighborhoods around campus, opening the local housing stock back up for owner-occupants to move in. Maybe the prices will even drop. (Maybe.) But sometimes a house just calls out to you, even through its palm tree wallpaper and lime green kitchen, or at least that’s what happened to me. “Buy me,” my South Park house said four years ago. “You can fix me. I’m nice and walkable to downtown.” My home-buying experience in Morgantown, I think, was similar to many in town. I established what I thought was a reasonable budget and set out on my search, only to find that budget would have to increase—by something like $100,000. Fortunately I didn’t have to go up that much. While I’ve been hearing a lot of buyer’s remorse from friends lately, I can honestly say I love where I live. I feel fortunate to be in a historic neighborhood with friendly neighbors, a place where people walk their dogs and have enormous yard sales. This issue of Morgantown is full of housing and neighborhood tidbits—especially in our “This is Home” cover story (page 43), complete with our favorite new places, secret spots, insider eats, and local lore. I hope this issue gives you the confidence to start your house search or, at the very least, inspires you to look at Morgantown in a new way. Welcome home.

lau r a w ilcox Rote,


Follow us at . . . morgantownmagazine

Letters to the Editor

Truly Wonderful I want to thank and compliment you on your wonderful article on Sycamore Lanes in the latest issue, The Best of Morgantown. My mother is Elizabeth Gutta and she was really touched by your article. She is 86 and her work ethic and life story are truly amazing ... This magazine is truly wonderful and I was not aware of its existence. Rebecca Gutta Miller, via email

Positive Reflection Morgantown magazine is very well done and I think it reflects positively on the region. When people come to Morgantown and see Morgantown magazine sitting in a hotel room, it probably makes people more inclined to move to the region. I think you guys are doing your part to make our region more attractive. John Deskins, WVU Unmasking Murals I always enjoy picking up the latest mag that is delivered to the WVU Foundation. I noted with interest the “Unmasking Murals” and wanted to mention what is probably the oldest mural on a Morgantown building. It is so very faint that it is almost unreadable, but as you cross the Westover bridge into Morgantown (looking to the right), you can still read the faint words in white: Mascioli Brothers Fruit. I believe that wholesale or other may have been in the line but not sure. Anyway, my grandfather and his six brothers came to Monongalia County in the late 1870s and started the fruit business in that building. The building remains owned by family members. Loreta Mascioli, via email



April/May 2015

Carla Witt Ford

In This Issue

This is Home

The New Modern

$250,000 Question

Our small city packs a big punch with plenty of places to explore across our varied neighborhoods.

Living sustainably doesn’t have to mean giving up modern amenities, and one Cheat Lake house proves it.

Morgantown real estate may be pricy, but there are complex reasons for the city’s house frenzy.






April/May 2015

In This Issue 66

34 69

24 20


This Matters


14 Who’s This The Messengers transform houses as part of Hardwood Interiors.

24 Shop This Morgantown Running goes the extra mile for customer service.

16 Buy This Spruce up your house this spring with home goods from local businesses.

26 This Matters To... Chef Marion Ohlinger talks Appalachian cuisine and the future of Morgantown.

17 Follow This Mountain People’s Co-op is moving to Pleasant Street.

27 Read This Gary Fincke asks hard questions in this thoughtful new book of short stories.

18 Know This Know your City Council candidates before you vote. 20 What’s This Outfit your home with finds from these architectural salvage and surplus stores. 22 Support This English as a Second Language instruction is changing for many in Mon County. 10

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015


27 Love This Naticakes pays it forward with a gift card wall. 28 Watch This Feel like you’re behind the scenes when I Love Lucy comes to the WVU Creative Arts Center.

6 Editor’s Note 30 Road Rage A Long Range Transportation Plan has dozens of projects to improve Morgantown—if only the county had funds. 32 Healthy Living Will Monongalia County ever get recycling right? 34 Dish It Out Café Bacchus continues to offer fine, creative dining in a historic house downtown. 38 Scoreboard Take a closer look at the minor league hierarchy in anticipation of the Black Bears’ opening day. 66 Across County Lines Joe N’ Throw brings people together over a love of coffee, pottery, and more in Fairmont.

69 The U The Cadet Program gives WVU students a glimpse of life in law enforcement. 75 Calendar 80 Then & Now America’s pastime has changed a lot over the years, and that goes for WVU Baseball, too.


Focus West Virginia

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A Magazine from New South Media, Inc., the publisher of WV Living, WV Weddings, & Morgantown magazines Subscribe online at or call 304.413.0104 | |



Eat / Love / Wear / Shop / Watch / know / Hear / read / Do / Who / what

Driving Slalom

Tired of the potholes? In addition to city paving projects everywhere this summer, the state Division of Highways plans to resurface some part of Beechurst Avenue—we hope soon! The stretch of Beechurst that takes the most heavy trucks—between downtown and the 6th Street turnoff to Greer’s barge loading facility—was full of holes before winter made them even worse; drivers on that stretch now treat it like an obstacle course. Expect paving delays on Beechurst from June through October. Upside: The DOH tells us the project will include a lot of new handicap access.

April 2015

Earth Day Carla Witt Ford

May 11 to 15 is

Bike to Work Week!

Plant a tree, haul your recycling, or take a hike—Earth Day is 45 years old on April 22, 2015.

Mark your calendar for May 4 and get your Star Wars on. This day like Yoda we speak all day.





Making Morgantown Feel Like Home Michele and Reg Messenger are a local power couple of luxury wood-based home renovations. ➼ Chances are you’ve heard their names. If you’ve remodeled, chances are they’ve been in your house. If there’s one couple helping Morgantown revamp and remodel its housing stock, it’s Michele and Reg Messenger of the local Hardwood Interiors, a power couple in the home design business. Their showroom has sat in the Northpointe Plaza off of Mileground Road for years, displaying custom woodwork and a dedication to customer service. Mostly you’ll find Michele there, the design hand of the duo. Reg is out and about, running between 14

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

the sites of ongoing renovation projects and I-68 heading to Oakland, Maryland, where the company mills all its own lumber under the direction of his brother, Jeff Messenger. “The lumber business started in 1938 with my grandfather,” Reg says. “I’ve got pictures of me back when I was 8 years old, handling lumber. I’ve always been involved in the family business.” Growing up in Oakland, where it all began, the high school sweethearts say they never imagined themselves running a custom design business growing up. After high

school the two left for WVU. Reg studied engineering while Michele started out in architecture and moved into business. “He came to college and I came to college, and we fell in love with Morgantown,” Michele says. When his time as a Mountaineer ended, though, Reg went to Westinghouse Electric as an engineer, thinking he wanted to try something different. “But I missed Morgantown and the lumber industry,” he says. “I came back after about four years.” Reg wasn’t a fan of the more structured corporate world, either. “I just like being my own boss,” he says. He enjoyed getting his hands into something new, too—part of the reason the family got into the millwork and cabinet industry in the 1990s and early 2000s, growing to employ more than 100 people between Maryland and West Virginia. The showroom was Reg’s idea, Michele will say, but her design. “We’ve been open since 2008,” she says. “He found the place and we came up with our own plan of


how we wanted this to make you feel— welcomed.” Walking into the store you’re walking into a warm but high-end kitchen, something you’d see featured on the home improvement Pinterest boards of dreamers young and old. Everything is hand-built and finished. An employee might offer you coffee as you step from the timeless kitchen displays into a living room area where you’re seated on plush leather chairs to await an appointment. You won’t want to leave. “When you come here, whether you buy or don’t buy we want you to have a good experience,” Michele says. “Even if you don’t need anything, your neighbor might. We have grown our business by word of mouth from the start.” After opening, the two hit the ground running, though a rocky economy made for a shaky beginning. “We started and the recession hit and it was like, ‘Oh my God, what have we done?’” Michele says. “We had signed the lease for three years and we just had to ride it out.” Reg had

an already established reputation around town as a quality contractor, so business wasn’t so hard to find. “We had our foot in the door in a lot of places,” she says. “We weren’t new in town—fly-by-night, coming in and setting up shop. We knew there was a need here.” The two recently finished a job on Riverview Drive in Morgantown, a 100-year-old house that needed a full remodel. “We tore most of the inside out and redid the kitchen and the bathroom, upstairs bedrooms, redid the wood floor. It turned out nice,” Reg says. “It’s more rewarding, the transformation of old houses, updating them but keeping them in that era.” When possible Michele and Reg keep the existing floors and match them to new flooring where needed. “It’s trying to keep what’s existing and still in good shape, but to add to it to make it look original,” Michele says. In other houses they’ve found hidden doorways, designed entire layouts to meet individual needs, gutted, and restored.

“Each project is totally different and has its own personality,” Michele says. “We go from a South Park 100-year-old home to a brand new construction. We’re in all different eras. It’s not like you do the same exact kitchen every day.” While finishing the Riverview Drive house, the two had their eye on a contemporary structure wallowing with a for sale sign out front waiting for someone to give it a chance. “We finally bought that house the other day and we’re going to fix it up, showcase our products,” Reg says. It’s a pet project, a living showroom of sorts, and a dabble in house flipping. “We will sell it,” Michele says, “but we’re going to use it for a few months as an open house where you can see from start to finish an entire house that we’ve gutted and redone. We’re going to turn it from a contemporary home to a cottage feel.” The couple is shooting to meet the town’s favorite aesthetic with this one. Morgantown doesn’t really seem to be into contemporary homes, instead loving the warm tones of more traditional construction. If all goes according to plan you’ll never know the house was built in the 1970s. “We’re refacing the whole thing and it’s not going to look contemporary at all,” Michele says. “We’re reroofing it, adding on to it, and when you walk in you’ll never know.” With so many projects in the works, the Messengers are all go-go-go. After-work begins at 8 p.m. “There’s no off time,” Michele says, but keeping busy and building relationships with customers is what keeps the business rewarding for the two. “It’s not like going in to buy a doughnut and walking out again,” she says. “We see people. They bring their children here. We end up with relationships with a lot of these people because they know we’ll take care of what needs done.” And get done it does. The Messengers are responsible for quite a few renovations and construction projects in town, from adding custom woodwork to Dana Holgorson’s luxuriously modern Cheat Lake home to full renovations throughout South Park and kitchen remodels in Suncrest. Going from planning to construction to arriving at a finished project is the best part. “We all take pride in walking in, when you have things all cleaned up. It could be a long project, a hard project, but it looks so great when it’s done,” Michele says. “It’s rewarding.” written by katie griffith photographed by Carla Witt Ford morgantownmag.Com



Think Spring BuyThis


Spruce up your house with these local favorites. 1. Haws nickel plated plant mister, $24.95  This plant mister has functionality and aesthetic. Its easy push plunger releases fine mist spray ideal for watering houseplants. This is a perfect gift for the serious gardener. Tathams, 41 South Robert Stone Way, Reedsville, 304.864.4333,

2. Bronze frog sculpture, $586 Bowing in tails with his top hat and standing on a birch veneer base, this dapper gentleman frog is sure to make your visitors smile. The fine verdigris finish on this sculpture makes it a handsome piece for your home. Classic Furniture, 1537 Sabraton Avenue, 304.284.8890 



3. Two-light table lamp, $230 Choose from a variety of colors and patterns and add timeless, elegant Tiffany style to your home decor. Various designs are hand-assembled using the copper foil technique developed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Cardello Lighting, 1279 University Avenue 304.292.8406,


4. Beatriz Ball petit garden leaf bowl with spoon, $60 Bring the leaves indoors with this decorative silver leaf bowl with a serving spoon, perfect for sauces, chutney, and garnishes. Elegant Alley Cat, 358 High Street, 304.292.4433

5. K & K Interiors 11” vase with mesh, $44.95 Enclosed in mesh wiring and flecked with gold paint, this brushed silver vase will be a chic accent for your home. Rustic By Design, The Seneca Center, 709 Beechurst Avenue, 304.284.8211


Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015



Moving On Up

Carla Witt Ford

Mountain People’s Co-op is moving to Pleasant Street.

➼ As if you didn’t love downtown and its eclectic shops and hip eateries enough. Now that Morgantown’s favorite community-owned grocery store has plans to move even closer to the action on Pleasant Street—next to music venue 123 Pleasant Street and Real Juice Bar & Café—you’ll probably want to stake out a campsite. Ashley Keane, the co-op’s general manager, says the move has been a long time coming. As more and more members reap the benefits of reduced prices and wider choices in food and grocery items, the store has quickly become tight. In 2013 the co-op also earned a USDA grant to further expand and eventually add a regional food hub. The vibrant shop on University Avenue near downtown has long been packed with organic and local produce, fair trade coffees and bulk foods, jewelry and crafts, and homeopathic remedies, but now it simply has no more space. And with quickly growing businesses like The Venerable Bean Bakery, a vegan and specialty bakery owned by Aaron Behnke, selling out of the shop, the co-op’s more than 750 member/owners felt it was the time to grow. “At first I was looking for a new food hub location, then my timeline switched. I had to relocate the satellite. But we will still find a hub in the future,” Ashley says.

The new space will boast tin ceilings and exposed brick walls. There will be a new kitchen for The Venerable Bean, more boutique items, extra room for produce and bulk food, and additional seating for a more café-style feel. The co-op may even get a beer and liquor license, and there are plans to add window displays to highlight other local businesses. “We’re hoping to give everyone a chance to get involved and make their imprint on their community store,” Ashley says. The co-op will rent the buildings from 123 Pleasant Street owner L.J. Giuliani. He says the space is a natural fit for the co-op with staples like Black Bear Burritos and the juice bar reeling in similar customers and other new businesses and organizations opening nearby. “I’ve been talking to Ashley the last couple years because I knew she was in need of space. We talked about all the different locations she could potentially go, but she kept saying she wanted to be downtown. I said we’d love to have you on Pleasant Street,” L.J. says. “Pleasant Street in the next couple of years is going to have a whole different feel.” The next step is raising the $35,000 needed to complete the move, get the space ready, and market the new location. Luckily Ashley already has an active support system among the members, many of whom have pledged their time. You can also get involved by attending two upcoming events—a sneak peek and art exhibit by 123 Pleasant Street on April 10, and a general assembly on April 16 at Krepps Park, where Ashley and the board will share floor plans and answer questions. “It’s everyone’s store, so we want to get as many people involved as possible,” she says. “This is going to give us the chance to display what we do and do it well.” The co-op hopes to move in early April and open by mid-June. written by Mikenna Pierotti photographed by Carla Witt Ford

Help Make it Happen! You don’t have to be a member to shop at the co-op or support the mission. Visit to read about the Come Grow With Us— A Capital Campaign fundraising effort. You can donate time, money, or labor to the project.


Terra Granola

Sweet, crunchy, and healthy, Terra Cafe’s granola bars are a meal unto themselves. And for $3.50 you can get a homemade bar big enough to satiate even the growliest morning hunger. ➼ Employees at Terra say

they don’t really follow a recipe per se, but each 6-plus-inch bar contains a variation of dried fruits, grains, and nuts like antioxidant-rich dried golden and brown raisins, oats, omega-3-boasting flaxseed, almonds, and pepita seeds mixed with loads of sweet honey and peanut butter. You can feel extra good about this treat if you pair it with one of Terra’s famous smoothies. Try the Funky Monkey, a blend of oats, spinach, avocado, peanut butter, and milk for about $5. 425 Industrial Avenue, 304.554.2233




Vote! KNOW This

We only get to reshape City Council every two years.

list their needs, wants, and dreams, and price those out so residents can see what running the city really costs. Ron serves on the boards of the Morgantown Utility Board and Mountain Line Transit Authority. He coaches lacrosse and soccer; his children are at Morgantown High and WVU and graduated from WVU.

Rachel Fetty (write-in) Lawyer and midwesterner Rachel Fetty moved to Morgantown in 2007 when her husband came to WVU’s dental school. Her private practice, mainly in family law, consists of difficult cases: “I enjoy representing the underdog.” She and her husband are raising children who attend Mountainview Elementary, South Middle, and Morgantown High schools. Rachel wants to increase the voice for children and families on council. She’s also concerned about safety in the city, including a stronger neighborhood police presence, and about transportation. “The traffic and potholes take a terrible toll on businesses and on folks who have to cross the city to take care of their children or elders or themselves.” She volunteers at her children’s schools and at her church.

George Papandreas

➼ April of odd-numbered years is Election Month. Each of the city’s seven wards has a seat on council. This time around, only 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 7th ward seats are contested—incumbents in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th are unopposed. No matter where in the city you live, you can vote on representatives from all wards. Morgantown City Council elections are non-partisan. It’s been a bit of a rancorous campaign season. Looking past all that, candidates in the contested wards are focusing mainly on public safety, roads, and tax and budget. Here’s a little about them. 18

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

1st Ward Ron Bane (six-term incumbent) Morgantown native Ron Bane is a longtime WVU Hospitals employee, currently working as manager of materials management. He prides himself on timely handling of constituent concerns. He wants to grow the city’s tax base. “We’ve brought taxes on the service industry—attorneys, physicians—closer to where they are in other communities, and that will help. But we need to do things to attract businesses.” He’d like to have neighborhood associations

Downtown commercial property owner and twice previous council candidate George Papandreas is in his seventh year on the Main Street Morgantown board; he previously served five years each on the Parking Authority and the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living board. George is concerned about the decline in city B&O revenues due to businesses locating just outside city boundaries. He feels council needs business expertise it does not have. Rather than raise sales taxes, he’d like to make city offices more service-oriented. “A lot of cities, if you want to make a change, they say, ‘How can we help?’ We don’t get that here. It’s a leadership issue. If employees are told those things are important, that’s how they’ll act.”

2nd Ward Al Bonner (write-in) Al Bonner has lived his entire life in 2nd Ward. Three-decade owner of Gene’s Beer Garden and sponsor for nearly as long of the Gene’s Run Special Olympics fundraiser, Al is also a school bus driver.

He says he has no specific agenda. “Everybody’s concerned about safety in Morgantown and I’m big on that,” he says. “I just want City Council to concentrate on issues and not worry about who said what.” As a longtime bartender, he says he’s a good listener. “I’m not real opinionated—I’m more along the lines of ‘know what’s wrong and do what’s right.’ I have grandchildren growing up here, and I want it to be as good a place for them as it has been for me.”

Bill Kawecki (one-term incumbent) Bill Kawecki retired in 2011 from a career as a graphic designer at WNPB and the National Energy Technology Laboratory; he served six years in the Marine Corps. Bill feels good about current council’s progress toward a pedestrian bridge to connect Greenmont with the Deckers Creek Trail and its collaboration with outside organizations such as the River Town Program. In a second term, he hopes to secure additional funding for planning, police, and roads, and to help community organizations combine their parallel efforts. Bill currently serves for council on Sunnyside Up and the Planning, Historic Landmarks, and Housing Advisory commissions, and he is an alternate for the MPO Policy Board. He volunteers with numerous organizations as an engaged resident.

Mylan Park. He notes that he brings broadbased experience to the council race. Noel Hoffman A Braxton County native, Noel Hoffman served in the Army for eight years and came to Morgantown in 2005 to attend WVU. He works as a professional technologist at WVU’s Health Sciences Center. Having been in Iraq during its first elections in 2005, Noel gained new appreciation for democracy. If elected, he would work to improve public safety and roads. He has a strong interest in efforts of cities like Huntington to modernize their tax structures. Noel attends most council meetings as well as meetings of the Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission. He participates in the Jerome Park Neighborhood Association and the Neighborhood Coordinating Council and volunteers at a soup kitchen. He and his wife are expecting twins.

7th Ward Nancy Ganz (one-term incumbent)

Following a career as recreation administrator for a large Maryland county, Nancy Ganz has lived in Morgantown for 17 years. She’s active in the Suncrest Neighborhood Association and the Neighborhood Coordinating Council; she serves on the Urban Landscape Commission and BOPARC’s board and is the elected Town and Gown neighborhood representative. Among current council’s accomplishments Nancy names new tax Jay Redmond Lifelong Morgantown resident Jay Redmond and administrative flexibility through the state home-rule pilot program; actions has worked in the public, private, and addressing heavy trucks downtown and nonprofit sectors, including starting four airport funding; backing legislation against successful small businesses. Although synthetic drugs; equipping police officers we were unable to reach Jay, his campaign with body cameras; and progress securing Facebook page notes that he founded the budget. In a second term, she hopes to the MountainFest Motorcycle Rally, the work on traffic and walkability; recreation Mountaineer Triathlon, and the Final Seconds Shootout held at home WVU men’s opportunities for families; and shifting basketball games. He recently served as event dependence on B&O taxes to a sales tax she describes as more reliable, along with coordinator for the 2014 World Whitewater other tax-structure changes. Championships, which brought athletes from 48 countries to western Maryland for four days of competition. He is affiliated Bill Graham (write-in) with Meals on Wheels, the Metropolitan A 27-year veteran of the Morgantown Fire Theatre Commission, the Morgantown Department, Pennsylvania native Bill GraHigh School Foundation, and the WVU ham rose through the ranks to, eventually, All-Time Team Committee; past affiliainterim chief, resigning in 2010. He now tions include Main Street Morgantown and works in the Environmental Health and

6th Ward


When? Where? Early voting is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at City Hall April 15 to 25, including Saturdays. Election Day is Tuesday, April 28. 1st Ward: Church of God, 664 Madigan Avenue 2nd Ward: MHS Auditorium Lobby, 109 Wilson Avenue 3rd Ward: BOPARC Senior Community Center, 287 Eureka Drive 4th Ward: CMA Church, 308 Elmhurst Drive 5th Ward: First Presbyterian Church, 456 Spruce Street 6th Ward: Sabraton Baptist Church, 1641 Sabraton Avenue 7th Ward: Suncrest United Methodist Church, 478 Van Voorhis Road http://www.morgantownwv. gov/quick-links/2015-electionmaterials/

Safety Department at WVU. He serves as property chairperson at Saint Paul Lutheran Church, overseeing the facility. Bill wants the city to get on a more solid financial footing. He wants to improve city services, “so when we say we’d like to annex an area, we have substantial services to offer.” And he likes the idea of sharing functions like bulk purchasing with neighboring cities. Bill ran for council in 2013. His wife is a nurse at Monongalia General Hospital and they have two daughters in West Virginia colleges. written by pam kasey morgantownmag.Com




New Splendor in Old Salvage Decorate your home with a mix of old and new from the architectural salvage and surplus stores around town. ➼ Fancy talk for reusing old building materials, architectural salvage is a perfect way to get on the recycle/ upcycle bandwagon when remodeling a home or building a new one. The concept is huge in larger cities. Across Washington, D.C., New York City, and even Pittsburgh, warehouses are packed full of fun oddities like crystal doorknobs and drawer pulls, art deco light fixtures, marble-topped fireplace mantels, or the 20-square-foot oak-framed mirrors that once adorned a socialite’s parlor. But for an 20

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

area rife with grand old homes, teetering and time-worn barns, and plenty of fixeruppers, the architectural salvage scene is only burgeoning in Morgantown. “It’s definitely getting more popular,” says Terry Gallentine, co-owner of Black Cat Emporium in Star City, an antiques and salvage hot spot that opened in September 2014. While many homeowners with old doors or windows still see something that needs to be replaced, she says more and more people are realizing that those interesting old pieces can be recycled and reused. “There are more

TV shows—HGTV favorites—and ideas everywhere,” she says. “And of course websites like Pinterest and other reclaiming sites have given more favor to this kind of thing.” But for Terry salvage isn’t just a home décor fad. “When I see houses being torn down for new construction, it saddens me,” she says. “If we can put some of that back into some of our homes in the community and keep some of West Virginia together, that would be great.” It’s amazing, she says, the kinds of things that get thrown out or sent to a burn pile. “I see a lot of stuff that gets trashed,” says Michael Carpenter, shift manager at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Despite the popularity of interior design styles like shabby chic, French country, primitive, and cottage-style decorating, few Morgantownians, Michael says, know that architectural salvage or even the Habitat ReStore exist. Tucked in a short strip off Don Knotts Boulevard near a thrift shop and Fabric on a Roll, the ReStore offers things like doors, windows, surplus tiles, old lighting, furniture, and appliances stretching far


More Salvage and Surplus Stores Surplus City Not salvage but just as fun. If you’re looking for cabinets, doors, vanities, windows, and the chance for a deep discount, check out Surplus City on Fourth Street. “We’ve been here 15 years and there’s still a lot of people who don’t know where we are because we’re here by the river,” says Ruth Miller, manager of the locally-owned store just off the rail-trail. “We carry doors, kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, electrical, lighting, tubs, and a lot of miscellaneous. We buy everything by the truckload.” When do the shipments come in? “You never know. I order when we get low on stuff and if I can find a good deal.” 101 4th Street, 304.296.7866

Goldstone Antiquery & Oddities This shop recently opened in Westover but has already made a splash with its assortment of antiques, oddities, and salvage. Store owner Randy Macoby just moved to town but has about five years under his belt as an antique picker. “As far as salvage, we take whatever we can get our hands on,” he says. “Old lamps, hardware, porch column posts— anything that’s been in a house that I can use or someone else can use, I’m getting it.” In March the store also had Victorian drawer handles, hinges, doors, windows, reclaimed lumber, and barn boards. 1 Fairmor Drive, Westover 304.284.0649,

along the store’s cavernous walls. “We are Habitat for Humanity,” Michael says. “Our main mission is to build homes. But once a Habitat branch gets so big, we open up a ReStore.” Its motto is ‘Reduce, reuse, restore.’ “All the money we raise in here goes to our greater Habitat for Humanity account and into our homes,” Michael says. Salvaging, like antique picking, requires patience and diligence. In the case of Black Cat Emporium, Terry and her husband, Jason, have done most of the hard work for you. The neat two-floor store beckons for your wallet with salvaged tin moldings, porch posts, and mantels strewn among mid-century modern and Victorian furniture. Across town, the ReStore doesn’t only stock the architectural gems you’d see in designer boutiques or on HGTV, it also carries surplus and more run-of-the-mill donations. “We take old stuff, new stuff, whatever,” Michael says. “If someone remodels their home and they’re going to throw a bunch of stuff away, we will go get the doors, the trim, floorboards—anything someone else could use we’ll take.” While sorting through a pile of laminate

counters or salvaged ceramic sinks from a 1950s bungalow, you may find a real treasure. “We’ve had some really cool old doors come through here,” Michael says. “A set of great big, old pocket doors— handmade, oak, probably more than 100 years old. They looked like they were new. They were beautiful.” Old light fixtures, brickwork, even hardwood flooring have passed through the ReStore. All can be reused. “As long as they take it out right, you can reuse it,” Michael says. Salvage items come from all over, from local businesses doing a remodel to homeowners looking to do a teardown. The Habitat ReStore will make on-site pickups around Morgantown and Monongalia County and sometimes as far as the Pennsylvania state line. Donors receive tax receipts in addition to a free pickup. Terry often travels as far as Charleston to stock Black Cat’s inventory, which she says rotates out almost weekly. “We go everywhere,” she says. “It seems like there are a lot of homes being demolished in Charleston. The city will give people the opportunity to go in and try to salvage some items before they bulldoze the homes.”

In early spring the ReStore warehouse sat half-full—Michael says winter is the slow season—but heading into spring and summer the donations start picking up and the trucks are rolling in. “By May we are in full swing,” he says, and home decorators, antiquers, DIYers, and even the average remodeler come by the carload. “People want old Victorian, that kind of stuff. The old salvage sells better than the new stuff. It’s unique and people jump on it,” he says. The story’s much the same at Black Cat. “It’s starting to warm up now. People can do projects outside and we can get our salvage products easier,” Terry says. “We’ll have a lot more of an inventory as it gets warmer. It’s the season. Spring’s the time to redo and revamp.” Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 251 Don Knotts Boulevard, 304.291.2991 Black Cat Emporium, 3329 University Avenue, 304.841.1207, groups/terrysjunk written and photographed by Katie Griffith morgantownmag.Com




The Welcome Wagon Serving a growing adult population in Monongalia County, English as a Second Language instruction is in a state of flux. ➼ In the basement of an old glass factory turned shopping center on Beechurst Avenue, Robert Klein is making tea. It’s almost 9 in the morning as his students arrive. A dozen or so grab cups of tea and coffee and chat as they take their seats. These aren’t quiet types, even 22

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in the morning. Most have been up for hours getting children ready for school or helping a spouse prepare for classes at WVU. They speak a mixture of English and their own native tongues—Chinese, Spanish, Arabic. They aren’t full-time students and most can’t yet hold employ-

ment because of their visa status. But they have family members already in the United States, and many have advanced degrees or were professionals in their countries. They’re a unique and often overlooked subgroup, even among the city’s substantial international population—and their numbers are growing. “Our clientele is basically the spouses of students, professors, and business professionals in the community,” Robert says. According to Norma Gaines, director of federal programs and elementary curriculum at Monongalia County Schools, there are about 500 school-age children in Monongalia County who receive English language instruction. Robert’s population often includes those children’s parents and older family members. Many of Robert’s students would choose to stay in the U.S. if given the opportunity. Offering this population a chance to become part of the community is one of his goals. “We’re like the welcome wagon here. We function to have class but also to build community and to integrate these people into the town. There’s a huge social aspect of adult basic education, especially in ESL.” Robert’s been teaching the free English as a Second Language course in the county for more than 20 years and has seen the class grow from a two-hour program in the ’80s at Monongalia County Technical Education Center (MTEC) to a part-time program in 1996 to a full-time program at the Seneca Center in 2010 after bouncing around the city. The program now boasts high test scores and excellent attendance—classes average 18 to 20 students. In February 2015 the Monongalia County Board of Education voted to dissolve the adult ESL program, merge it with Adult Basic Education (ABE), and reform it at MTEC again, though the program will now have more space in the improved facility. Officials from MTEC and Monongalia County Schools say the move will benefit everyone. Judy Pratt, curriculum specialist in charge of ABE at MTEC, says the changes will streamline ESL services. “It will also enhance and align with our career and technical education offerings, making it easier for English language learners to gain further education and, ultimately, employment.” Robert’s job has been cut, though the plan is to create a new position for him at MTEC. He says he’s more concerned about this special population, which often relies on public transportation or walking. He says


We’re like the welcome wagon here. We function to have class but also to build community and to integrate these people into the town. There’s a huge social aspect of adult basic education, especially in ESL.” robert Klein, ESL instructor

the program struggled when it was housed at MTEC before. “They’re moving it to a location that is not as accessible, no one is going to walk, and they’re not saying how much, how often, or if any of it will be ESL.” Both Robert and Monongalia County Schools officials say the change is largely about money. The funds keeping Robert’s rent paid come from a federal grant program called the Workforce Investment Act. Grant money is given to the state and then passed on to the counties to distribute. In 2014 the grant changed. “We all operate under an Adult Basic Education grant, and ESL is one aspect of that,” says Nancy Napolillo, principal and director at MTEC. “We now have a new set of guidelines.” Now called the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the new federal grant comes with unique challenges. “They want all our adult students to have basic education and beyond. That means not just passing the test. They want college and career

readiness,” Nancy says. The changes may also mean more competition for the grant from other institutions like universities and community colleges or nonprofits. Robert says the changes are nothing new. “When you’ve been around as long as I have and have seen things come and go—this is the third funding source change for me—you realize not that much changes. Things just get a little more focused and there’s more accountability, which is good.” But his fear is that, during the shuffle of moving ESL back to MTEC, his special population will be left out. “I get the feeling that my population isn’t typical. That’s why some people think they won’t fit the needs of the grant.” Nancy and Judy disagree. “This is a truly positive change,” Nancy says. “(MTEC) is the perfect place. We have a trade school, we have college-level instruction, and we have the ABE support staff.” Judy and Nancy also argue MTEC’s accessibility will not be an issue. “We have a complete parking lot behind the school. We have worked with the city bus line. And I think we can work with the students individually,” Judy says. In that basement classroom overlooking the rail-trail, the students share stories of what they’ve gained from the class. Juyu Wang and Qunli Shen, from Taiwan and China respectively, discuss learning to drive in Morgantown. Qunli is a visiting professor at WVU. Juyu is the wife of a visiting professor. They met in class and Juyu helped Qunli take his driver’s test. “We all work together here,” Qunli says. “Otherwise every day I stay by myself in

my apartment. If I come here I learn more. I want to know about American culture.” Two rows back, a Syrian man with salt and pepper hair, Mohamad Huzifa Salkini, is a physician who practiced in his native country for more than 40 years. He talks proudly about his sons—doctors in the U.S.—and is grateful to escape the war in his home country, though he would return to Syria if he could. “If the war stopped, we would return to our homes. If it does not stop, because the destruction is all over, we may not. Where I lived, in Homs, 85 percent of our buildings are destroyed.” A young woman in the back, Mariana Solis, is from Mexico. For her, coming to the States was daunting. But now she says she wouldn’t live anywhere else. “When I first came I didn’t know anyone,” she says. “Now I have good friends here.” These stories are what inspired Robert to pursue a career in ESL. “This is a community issue. We’re in a lovely town that’s growing, our international population is growing, and we have this program that works very well and helps these people integrate into the community.” Given the opportunity, he’d seek out another institution to sponsor his program or start his own nonprofit to ensure his special population gets the services needed. “These people are contributing members of society. They or their spouses do work here, they pay taxes here, and ultimately a lot of them are trying to stay here.” written by mikenna pierotti photographed by carla witt ford morgantownmag.Com




If the Shoe Fits For attentive service by running professionals, shop local, not big-box. ➼ The first thing you’ll notice as you round the corner in the lower level of the Seneca Center is the unmistakable smell of rubber. Follow your nose to Morgantown Running, Morgantown’s only specialty running store, located right off of the railtrail and next to Wamsley Cycles. While you can find the perfect shoe for running or walking, Morgantown Running’s real signature product is its incredible, experienced staff. This specialty store offers unmatched service—employees give advice and answer questions that most retail shoe stores or big-box sporting stores can’t. But it’s the employees’ backgrounds that really sprint this small shop in front of the competition. All employees are avid runners with 24

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backgrounds in coaching and athletics. Owner Heather McDaniel Cleary has been a cross-country and track coach for nearly a decade, most recently as a cross-country coach at Northwestern State University in Louisiana. Her colleague, Josh Simpson, has been to the Olympic trials, run for Reebok, was on the USA World Team, and coached privately for seven years. Dressed head to toe in apparel from the store, Heather helps a customer find shoes that are right for him. He can choose from eight brands, from big names like Brooks and Adidas to lesser known brands like Hoka and Altra. Heather asks the customer about his training plans and goals. Her mission is to “find advice for every person who walks in, no matter what their ability level.”

Morgantown Running is also the only store in the area that offers gait analysis. Customers hop on a treadmill so an employee can watch them walk—and then run—to see what their mechanics are like barefoot. “The gait analysis itself will show us what they’re doing currently and what type of category we can put them in to enhance what they’re doing or to correct some mechanical flaw we might see in their natural gait,” Josh says. A knowledgeable staff is the cornerstone of any local business, and the same is true for this running store. “Running shoes are put in to different categories depending on the mechanics of one’s foot. It’s not just, ‘I need a running shoe.’ It’s very dependent on people’s own mechanics, their ability levels, and body composition,” Josh says. Morgantown Running opened in its original location in August 2009 in Westover. It moved to the Seneca Center in November 2010 and was purchased by its current owner in January 2012. Before it was established, the closest specialty running store was near Pittsburgh. “Before we opened, people would usually


By being familiar with your local store, you feel good about recommending it to other people. People don’t have to come in and be unfamiliar with the employees,” says Josh Simpson, who works at Morgantown Running. The employees know who their customers are, what their problems have been, what they have helped them with.”

have to drive at least an hour to get to somewhere to talk to people who knew what they were doing when it came to functional mechanics,” Josh says. Aside from being a store where runners can come for a nice, comfortable shoe to fit his or her type of foot, Morgantown Running serves as a place for people to talk about their running and their accomplishments. “I like that for the community. I feel like they think of it as their store. That’s lost with big-box,” Josh says. Over the years customers began to ask more and more for a running group, so Morgantown Running provided them with a time and a place. “It was more of us trying to help the community meet one another and go for runs,” Josh says. The store hosts group runs every Monday at 5:15 p.m. in the fall and winter and at 5:30 p.m. during the spring and summer. Each group decides how far and the pace at which it will go. “We choose a direction on the trail and go out. It can range anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. We can have groups at a 37-minute mile pace up to 10- or 11-minute pace,” Heather says.

Participants have Morgantown Running an opportunity Seneca Center to do a wear 709 Beechurst Avenue test during these 304.241.5223 group runs, too. “It’s a good way to test a shoe if you are interested in that brand and a good way for us to get feedback,” she says. The community connection doesn’t stop there. Customers can email Morgantown Running’s resident dietitian Maria Dalzot for tips on personal nutrition. The shop also offers an indoor running club, WV Flyers, where young runners within 50 miles of Morgantown meet three days a week for training by certified coaches. It’s a way for students, ranging in age from elementary to high school, to have structure during winter months and to prepare them for the outdoor track season. Morgantown Running also hosts Spike Nights for local high schools, middle schools, and colleges. The store services one school at a time by staying open late, providing pizza, drinks, and desserts while trying to find the right shoe for each runner.

The shop makes it an event for the students and offers them bigger discounts on the running apparel they need. Morgantown Running also hosts a Fourth of July race and a “turkey trot,” as well as a program called Girls on the Run. The latter is held in the spring with high school girls who don’t run track. The program promotes confidence in young women. Morgantown Running wants to continue its community outreach by hosting more road and trail races as well as adding an additional day for group runs. The store also hopes to provide the option to buy online soon. “If you want to continue to shop local, but you live in Bridgeport and don’t want to make the 40-minute drive, it would be an option to buy from our inventory,” Heather says. Morgantown Running is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

written by jordan carter photographed by carla witt ford




Chef Marion Ohlinger ➼ It’s been a year-and-a-half since Morgantown’s culinary darling the Richwood Grill closed its doors. The creative mind behind offerings like wild boar chili with antelope sausage and the more recent smoked chocolate bruschetta, Chef Marion Ohlinger packed up his knives and his family to head West after 15 years running the Solera Cafe and then Richwood Grill in Morgantown. The family was ready for a much needed vacation. But after months away, traveling and researching America’s lost cuisines, the chef is back. Come summer his signature take on gastronomy, too, will be back in business as he works with a team renovating the Ramada Hotel & Conference Center’s restaurant and lounge. By the end of June 2015—tentatively—the restaurant will feature a whole new menu, décor, and name. We checked in with Chef Marion to talk about his travels, interests, and future plans. written by katie griffith photographed by carla witt ford

On his time spent traveling I was doing a lot of research. I spent several days going into the really small backwater towns in Mississippi, checking out the culture of the blues and barbecue—what soul food came out of. I spent quite a bit of time on the Texas coast searching for salt-grass beef, an obscure regional specialty. What I was looking for was those lost regional cuisines of America that you only find a few places.

On Morgantown’s food scene It’s kind of blown up and it’s about time. When we opened Solera there was the Glasshouse Grille, which did really good traditional fine dining, and there was Madeleine’s, which was tiny and really cool, and there was Café Bacchus, which did Asian influenced European cuisine, and there was nothing else. Our culinary scene in Morgantown now is great and it’s growing.

On Appalachian cuisine We used a lot of wild game. There was a lot of foraging going on. We had huge gardens and we raised things, a lot of that was heirloom. I think we’re really losing touch with our roots here and I very much want to reclaim that while at the same time moving us forward and progressing.

On his culinary thesis It’s the idea of pockets of America reclaiming their heritage, their history. I couldn’t be prouder of being a West Virginian, though it’s very frustrating sometimes. It’s time not only to claim our history and heritage but to really stand up and proclaim Appalachia and West Virginia as a viable and authentic culinary vernacular, up there with Creole, Cajun, Pacific Rim, and Tex-Mex.

On plans at Ramada They’ve been great. They’re giving me full creative control to do this. They’re trying to reimagine that old hotel. They’re going for a more boutique kind of feel, a classic feel, and they want me to do a Richwood up there—very West Virginia and very farm-to-table. I very much want to push this in the direction of doing an incredibly modern, creative Appalachian restaurant.


A Room of Rain Pay It LOVEThis

This Vandalia Press short story collection confronts strange, tragic, and often traumatic events through a unique vantage point.

➼ “My stories always begin with characters,” says Gary Fincke, multiaward-winning author and English and creative writing professor at Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna University. From the middle-aged schoolteacher who finds himself empathizing with a pedophile to the widower reporter who struggles to come to terms with his daughter’s love for a transgender man to the father who defends his murderous son, Gary delights in forcing readers to question the very characters he asks them to identify with. “Who’s telling the story? Why should anyone listen? And most important, when under some sort of pressure, what choices do they make and what do those choices reveal about who they are?” Gary’s latest short story collection, A Room of Rain, is no exception, joining more than 25 of his other published works in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Published by Vandalia Press, an imprint of WVU Press, the book is a gathering of seemingly

unrelated fictional narratives bound by a common vein of experience—the experience of events lived secondhand. Gary’s characters are forced to confront (or try desperately to avoid) traumas and tragedies occurring around them but never to them. These characters are conventionally the extras, the filler types, the supporting actors. Experienced through their eyes, the events are at once distilled and transformed, flipped upside down like through a fun house mirror. What is reflected can be startling. “Most of the stories begin in some sort of experience—not necessarily the entire story as something happened, but as how the story is located or jump-started. The rest is fiction as long as I know the characters well enough to give them room to become somebody on the page,” Gary says. Once the pressure is on his characters, Gary must make the ultimate decision— what will happen to them? That’s when things get interesting for him, though he says he doesn’t know how the stories will end until he gets to the final moment. “The joy of writing a story is the discovery I make.” Crafted in deceptively simple yet provocative prose, Gary dredges up the hard questions and lays them bare. The events happening just outside the periphery of the narrative might be newsworthy, but it’s the ripple effect within the characters, the bystanders and witnesses, that captures the imagination. “I’m most interested in creating stories that produce emotional resonance,” he says. “I’m all about getting under the surface of ordinary lives to discover the significance of those choices. And then I hope the stories engage the readers both emotionally and intellectually. I want my readers to feel something.” written by Mikenna Pierotti photographed by Carla Witt Ford

Forward Good deeds happen every day at Naticakes.

➼ Perhaps you’ve wandered into Naticakes at Suncrest Towne Centre itching for a tasty treat and noticed an unusual experiment in neighborly sentiment. In the back of the shabby chic frozen yogurt shop is something called the pay-it-forward board—a place where people in need, even for just a moment, can find relief from life’s stresses with a cup of yogurt. It’s not free, but the bill’s been paid. “The Pay-It-Forward Board is part of the culture we’re trying to build at Naticakes,” says General Manager Anna Jo Morris. “The help your neighbor kind of thing.” The wall functions as a gift card of sorts. Customers purchase a card and write a message for the gift’s intended recipient. Cards are for anything from parents whose children are being treated at WVU Children’s Hospital to returning veterans to people having a bad day. “It’s really an honor system for who redeems it,” Anna Jo says. Anna Jo says hundreds of dollars have passed through the board. “Most of the time when someone redeems one, they’ll buy another. One time a women came in with her three kids and forgot her wallet. There was one up there for someone having a bad day and it covered her yogurt.” written and photographed by katie griffith





Everyone Loves Lucy A new hit stage show comes to Morgantown as part of a nationwide tour. ➼ As you get settled in your seat, a charming host takes the stage and guides you through this newfangled 1950s filming process for a new thing called “television.” That’s right. You’ve turned back 28

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the clock and you’re now behind the scenes, watching live and in color two hilarious and familiar episodes of I Love Lucy. It’s all part of a nationally touring show. I Love Lucy On Stage comes to

the WVU Creative Arts Center on May 5, 2015, and there’s plenty of reason to be excited. The production unfolds as if it were a real taping of the I Love Lucy show. Brylcreem commercials “air” and the Crystal Tones sing. Award-winning actress Lori Hammel plays Ethel Mertz in this nationally touring production. “It’s as if we are making the show in front of you. It’s a really fun evening where you feel like you’re sort of back in time,” Lori says. The show is a feel-good production, perfect for all ages. “The whole show, our energy, what we put forward, is a Valentine to the creators of I Love Lucy, to their amazing accomplishments. They created this TV show that is still running today, that’s been on the air all this time, and that touches the hearts of people,” Lori says.


But how does one prepare for a role so iconic? Lori’s costumes—some actual vintage pieces—and wig certainly help her get in to character, but she concentrates on the little things, too, like Ethel’s mannerisms, that over time help define her as a character and how fans on I Love Lucy will remember her. “I feel a great deal of responsibility to someone coming to the theater and watching the show. I want to bring the Ethel that they remember. That’s really important to me. I do everything that I can to look at pictures and study the videos and really try to bring her to life,” she says. The actors aren’t the only ones getting into costume, though. Fans often dress up to see the play. Lori recounts an instance when fans dressed as Lucy and Ethel in the oh-so-familiar chocolate shop scene

and handed out chocolates before the show. Another sweet treat for audience members? A game show happens during the play that diehard fans of I Love Lucy will love. One lucky audience member will even be invited on stage. “It’s a great date evening. It’s a great place to bring somebody you care about because you know both of you are going to have a fun time. I see their faces. I see them smiling.” The show is packed with laughs, usually caused by some serious scheming and a misunderstanding or two. “You know there’s always some kind of crazy plan that Lucy comes up with, and most of the time Ethel doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Somehow Ethel always goes along with it,” Lori says. While many in the audience will get a heavy dose of nostalgia during the

show, the heart of the production comes down to happiness and friendship. “It’s definitely an appealing show that will take you away for an hour-and-a-half. You just really feel like you are a part of something you want to be a part of,” Lori says. Everyone can expect to leave with smiles on their faces—even the actors and production staff after another long day. “I know that when we go into a new theater, even the crew people are enjoying it. They’re trying to watch and to see what’s happening out there because they can feel the enthusiasm from the audience,” Lori says. I Love Lucy will come to life at WVU’s Creative Arts Center on May 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $28. written by jordan carter photos courtesy of wvu arts

& entertainment morgantownmag.Com



city-county Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). State Senator Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, introduced the bill. LOCAL died quietly in the Senate Finance Committee. But its supporters say it’s not dead—it’s just dormant.

What 1% Could Buy Us

Paving on Empty

With traffic growing and road funds dwindling, local leaders asked the state to allow counties to raise their own money for transportation. And they’ll try again next year. ➼


ired of the traffic? Take heart. Morgantown and Monongalia County have specific ideas for easing congestion in the county seat. Forty-six specific ideas, to be exact. They’re detailed in the 2013 Long-Range Transportation Plan that runs through 2040. Of course, planners believe only 14 of those projects can be covered by current funding streams. As we constantly hear, vehicle fuel efficiency improvements are cutting into the state and federal per-gallon gasoline tax revenues that pay for road projects. And it’s only getting worse. Our own community’s leaders have proposed a partial solution: Let counties pick up some of the tab for the road projects they consider most important. The Letting Our Counties Act Locally, or LOCAL, Act, 30

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introduced in the annual state legislative session that ended in March, amounted to a very limited kind of home rule for counties. “Simply, the county commission of any given county would have the ability to impose up to a 1 percent sales tax increase for road developments and improvements,” says Dan Kimble, president of the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce (MACOC). “Projects would have to meet the same criteria as any kind of highway development. But it’s the funding side we’re trying to address—saying, ‘Hey, the feds and the state aren’t sending us the monies they once did, so we’re asking for the power to address our own problem.’” The LOCAL Act was conceived by the MACOC’s Transportation Committee, which includes representatives from the city, county, business community, and

A 1 percent sales tax in Monongalia County could amount to $70 to $80 million over 10 years, according to the estimate of Tom Witt, a consulting economist retired from WVU. Used to leverage matching state and federal funds, Dan says, that could bring in $200 to $400 million for transportation improvements. That’s quite a bit more than the $136 million the top 14 priorities would cost, and it would probably flow faster, too. Few of the 14 projects are new roads or bigger roads—yet they’d all help, says MPO Executive Director Bill Austin. “A large part of Morgantown’s road network is old roads that were designed to carry much lower volumes of traffic than they carry,” Bill says. “Providing alternatives to the automobile, including transit, bicycles, and pedestrians, reduces congestion.” Morgantown residents take to alternative forms of transportation, he says—“The Census (Bureau) estimates that between 16 and 20 percent of all journey-towork traffic in Morgantown currently occurs by something besides automobile,” he says. “Nationally a lot of larger communities are happy to have 2 percent. Supporting other options would be important, to keep that number going and to get it higher.” These projects are not out in the county, but this would be a county tax. “We do have a strong understanding that the rural roads have maintenance needs,” Dan says. “But when you’re dealing with traffic development issues, your more congested areas are going to be your areas of greater need. Virtually all of my neighbors (outside city limits) have to drive in and work at the hospital or the Coliseum—fixing Beechurst, I believe, is as important to them as to the people who live in apartments along Beechurst.” And the proposal would free up state monies for rural road maintenance, he adds. Most important to understand is that these 14 projects, which are all the community can expect through 2040 from conventional funding sources, will only maintain current conditions. “Our population is slated to grow by 40,000 people by 2040,” Bill says. “If we were able to implement just these, in 2040 we would basically be treading water.” If road congestion is to improve at all, new funding sources have to be tapped.


Ultimately the legislature is going to realize there’s a great need for transportation improvements and that changes at the state and federal level won’t eliminate the need for local funding.” Bill Austin, MPO Executive Director

Dan sees the proposal as an investment in the future health of the community. “One of my board members said, ‘We all know that if the arteries of our bodies get clogged it’s only a matter of time until we have real serious issues. Our community is not a whole lot different.’ He’s right,” he says. “We enjoy great prosperity right now but if we allow the clogged arteries to continue much longer it’s probably not going to be good for our future health.” That economic health would be boosted by several thousand temporary road work jobs as well as by improvements in the environment for conducting business.

Future Prospects The LOCAL Act was languishing in the Senate Finance Committee when the legislative session ended in mid-March. Sponsor Senator Bob Beach noted the political and administrative realities: an anti-tax Republican legislature, a pending audit of the state Division of Highways, and the anticipated release of the recommendations of the governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways. Some opponents might have received the bill better if it mandated putting projects to county referendum, he says, but that’s a measure proponents feel would create needless delays. Still, he’s hopeful. “I think there’s an opportunity for this to be looked at again,” he said after the session. Bill, at the MPO, is hopeful, too. “This would create a bigger pie for all parts of the state,” he says. “Ultimately the legislature is going to realize there’s a great need for transportation improvements and that changes at the state and federal level won’t eliminate the need for local funding.” Big ideas can take a few years to develop, Dan says. “We were the only people down in Charleston this year proposing a real solution. So it’s a matter of continuing to educate people,” he says. “But I see this coming down to three things: Embrace our solution and join with us; tell us what other great idea exists that would provide all of this funding; or we all just resolve ourselves to live with it the way it is. And I don’t think that third one is really an option.”

Treading Water Of 46 projects in the city-county Long Range Transportation Plan, planners believe conventional funding sources can cover only these 14 through 2040. They would only keep congestion from getting worse. If the state granted counties the ability to impose a sales tax of up to 1 percent, more of the 46 would be within reach. Van Voorhis Rd. Bike and pedestrian connectivity; bus lanes, stops, and shelters; traffic lane improvements: $10 million Beechurst Ave. Sidewalk replacement; access management; bus stops and shelters; turning lane capacity: $7 million Greenbag Rd. Sidewalks; bike and pedestrian safety improvements; bus stops and shelters; traffic lane and intersection improvements; truck route signage: $15 million West Run Rd., west section Multi-use path; intersection and turning lane capacity improvements; layout improvements: $12 million Grant Ave. Multi-use path: $ 0.9 million White Park-Caperton Trail Trail connection: $50,000 Monongahela River Additional bridge: $45 million North side connector bus Road construction: $1 million West Run Rd., east section Multi-use path; bike passing improvements; bus lanes; turning lane improvements; layout improvements: $3 million Downtown Signal and street changes: $2 million Regional bikeway system $5 million Intersections Capacity and safety improvements, ongoing: $31 million Regional ADA compliance walkway Connection and accessibility, ongoing: $2 million School route improvements Safety and health, ongoing: $2 million

TOTAL: $136 million The next priority level includes projects on key arteries like University Avenue, Stewartstown Road, and Earl Core Road, along with everyone’s favorite project: a pedestrian overpass in front of the Mountainlair.

written by Pam Kasey morgantownmag.Com


healthy living

The state of recyling dropoff sites in mid-January

Reduce, Re-use … Store in Trunk? County residents ended up driving their recyclables around after the recycling system fell apart in January. But the new system may turn out to be better than the old one. ➼


he collapse of a recycling system, we now know, can be traumatizing. If you get curbside pickup as a resident of Morgantown or Westover, you were spared this trauma. But if you live in one of the 20,000-some households out in the county, or if you run a business in or out of town, your well-intentioned efforts after about Christmas encountered 32

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

a mess: drop-off sites roped off or, worse, bins overflowing, residents emptying their cars onto the surrounding piles. “You’d think one of the most progressive parts of this state could keep a recycling program going,” one resident said angrily in January between attempts to jam cardboard into a full recycling dumpster. The scene was traumatic in part because it was a shock. The Monongalia County

Solid Waste Authority’s recycling program has been self-sustaining and on the rise for years. After a recession-related dip a few years ago, the SWA processed around 5,500 tons in 2012, close to outgrowing its Community Recycling Center off River Road. The move in November 2013 to a three-times-larger facility at the nearby Morgantown Industrial Park was a big commitment—the SWA’s rent went from $0 to $11,000 a month—but so sure was the authority of continued growth that it planned at the same time to increase its drop-off sites around the county from 11 to 13 in 2014. But a year later, the economics had soured. “We’re going bankrupt,” SWA Board Chairman Hayward Helmick told The Dominion Post in December 2014. The SWA immediately stopped accepting glass, books, and #4 and #5 plastics. It fled its new Community Recycling Center. By mid-January, it was shutting down two and three drop-off sites a week and failing to keep up at the sites that were still open.

healthy living

We’re thrilled about this and we want to encourage people to come out and recycle.” Tom bloom, Monongalia County Commission president

Seeing recyclables blowing into the adjacent parking lots, conscientious residents drove away with trunks still full of newspapers, pizza boxes, and milk jugs. It’s hard to know just how histories and personalities contributed to the unraveling. Some people speak derisively about how the SWA got itself into this situation, and the SWA didn’t return a call to tell its side of the story. Helmick’s simple explanation in the newspaper at the time was that the adoption by Morgantown, Westover, and WVU of a new, more comprehensive recycling program with Republic Services in 2013 and 2014 diverted some $300,000 worth of materials that had been part of the authority’s revenues. Hayward didn’t mention the unfortunate timing with the SWA’s assumption of a pricey lease. Here’s the thing: Convenience is all when it comes to recycling. Back in 2011, Morgantown offered every-other-week curbside pickup of six materials. “We’d been meeting with the neighborhood associations to talk to them about trash, and their biggest problem was recycling,” says Tom Arnold, who serves as solid waste contract compliance officer for the city manager’s office. “Every other week was confusing, and the six items was not enough to really affect the waste stream.” Allied Waste Services—later bought by Republic Services—collected 195 tons in 2012 under that system. In an effort to address the neighborhood associations’ concerns, the city worked with Allied to truck many more types of materials up to Greenstar Recycling’s highly automated processing facility on Neville Island, north of Pittsburgh. After the every-week, 17-item system kicked in in 2013, the company picked up 846 tons— more than four times as much. In 2014 it rose to 897 tons, Arnold says.

The County Commission talked with the SWA about working with Republic, too, according to Commission President Tom Bloom, but the SWA balked. Its reason, he says, was that, while the old system had paid for itself, a new system with Republic would cost money. Ultimately, though, that old system couldn’t compete with Republic’s more convenient service. “We had to get the state Solid Waste Management Board to approve the county to come in and help out,” Bloom says. “That’s what we did.” Monongalia County is big. The County Commission’s new system, which started ramping up in February, addresses it in two parts. In the western part of the county, three drop-off sites are managed by the solid waste authority of neighboring Marion County, and those sites will operate much as before: fewer, sorted materials. Greater Morgantown, the county’s population center, has weekday and Saturday solutions that accept more materials without the need for sorting. It’s hard to compare the old and new systems. While the new system accepts more types of materials, it does that at fewer locations. And it does indeed cost money. Bloom figures it will cost the county $100,000 to $120,000 a year—probably a couple dollars per household. Still, he feels good about it. “We’re thrilled about this and we want to encourage people to come out and recycle, for two reasons,” he says. “Not only because it’s recycling and re-using materials but because, in the long run, it’s saving more space in the Meadowfill Landfill in Harrison County, where our solid waste goes.” written and photographed by pam kasey

When, Where, and What Arnettsville, Blacksville, Wadestown Sort: • • • • • • • •

#1 and #2 plastic aluminum and steel cans newspapers and inserts magazines and catalogs chipboard (food and tissue boxes, paper towel rolls) paper grocery bags phone books corrugated cardboard, flattened

Morgantown and Westover Weekdays 8 a.m.–3:30 p.m. DuPont Road beside Westover City Hall Every other Saturday, 7–11 a.m., until every Saturday beginning July 4 Hornbeck Road Walmart near I-68 exit 1 Place in any bin:

• #1-#7 plastics • aluminum, steel, and bimetal cans • newspapers and inserts • magazines and catalogs • chipboard (food and tissue boxes, paper towel rolls) • phonebooks • office paper, bagged if shredded • junk mail • paperback books • hardcover books with the covers removed • clear, amber, and green glass • clean pizza boxes, lids only • milk and juice boxes with gable tops • aseptic containers (juice and soy milk boxes) • corrugated cardboard, flattened



Taste of Love A tragic death, a flame kindled, and a passion turned profitable, High Street’s Café Bacchus has a fascinating past. ➼


he history of one of Morgantown’s finest restaurants, at 76 High Street, has its roots in a love story—or three— spanning more than a century. You can feel the weight of that history when you climb the stone steps, cross the sunny wraparound porch, and step through 34

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

richly colored curtains into the dimly lit foyer. From there you have your choice of three dining areas, each cast in romantic lighting with wide-plank wood floors, eclectic décor, crisp white tablecloths, and cozy seating. The menu is equally arresting from brunch to dinner with dishes like sweet and savory crepes, butternut squashtopped ravioli, and spicy jambalaya with

house-made andouille sausage. Chef Heath Finnell, a trained charcutier and one half of the dynamic couple responsible for Café Bacchus’ continued success, says the process of curing meat for his dishes is a bit like owning a successful restaurant or maintaining a good relationship. “It’s fun because it takes time and patience to perfect,” he says. Heath’s love for the culinary arts, as well as his love for co-owner Judy Spade, is just one of many amorous tales circulating in the home’s history. The first begins in the early 1900s, when Lucian Smith, then living in the house where Café Bacchus now operates, saw a photo of his future bride, a woman from Huntington named Mary Eloise Hughes, and was smitten. The two were married and embarked on

Dish it out

Chef Heath Finnell dishes it out

Victoria Wise Chorizo Sausage 2 ancho or dried New Mexico red chilies, stems and seeds removed 1 cup water 8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 6 ounces salt pork, finely chopped 2½ pounds ground pork 3 tablespoons finely ground chili powder, preferably ancho 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground 2½ teaspoons kosher salt

a whirlwind honeymoon. They climbed pyramids, dined in Paris, and bought a massive, flawless diamond in Amsterdam. Nearing the end of their trip, Eloise discovered she was pregnant, and the two chose the ill-fated Titanic for their ride home. When the ship struck an iceberg, Lucian made sure his young wife made it safely onto a lifeboat. “I never expected to ask you to obey, but this is one time you must,” he told her. He died in the icy waters, but Eloise lived, later remarrying several times before reverting back to the last name Smith and allegedly dying of a broken heart, still pining for Lucian at age 46. “In one year this woman had her coming out party, she met Lucian, she got engaged, she got married, she found out she was pregnant, and she became a widow—it’s a really sad story,” says Judy,

mixologist, co-owner, and manager at Café Bacchus, which has operated out of Lucian’s former residence since 2001. Long after Lucian’s tragic end, 76 High Street was sold to the Demanielis family. There they started beloved fine dining experience The Flame Steak House in the late 1960s. Favored stop for prom nights, romantic dates, and reunions, The Flame became brothers Bill and Gus Demanielis’ lifelong passion. Even after the two retired, they maintained ownership of the property and cherished their memories of it. For Bill, now 87, the restaurant was his dream. “When Bill looks at a photo of his old restaurant he holds it up and sighs. Like it’s a long lost lover,” Judy says. Those in the Morgantown community who remember The Flame keep a piece of it alive in their hearts. “People still come in talking about

1. In a small saucepan, combine chilies and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer until chilies are soft. Remove from heat and let cool. 2. In a food processor, combine chilies, ¼ cup cooking water, and garlic until smooth. Add salt pork and process until well combined. 3. In a large bowl, combine ground pork, chili mixture, chili powder, pepper, and all but ½ teaspoon of the salt. 4. Knead with hands until blended. Spoon out one small piece and cook until done in a small pan. Taste the sample and add in the remaining salt to raw batter only if needed. 5. Form into patties by hand as needed for your recipe or stuff into hog casings. Cover and refrigerate overnight to combine flavors.* *Keeps in the refrigerator up to five days, in the freezer up to six weeks. Yield: 2½ pounds



Dish It Out

The Flame and how it was the place they took their spouse on their first date or where they went before their first homecoming dance.” The third romantic tale is still unfolding. The mastermind responsible for Café Bacchus’ unique flavors, Chef Heath grew up in California next door to Victoria Wise, acclaimed first chef at Chez Panisse, who introduced him to the tradition of curing meats. He couldn’t help but catch the charcuterie fever and later attended culinary school to perfect it. In college Heath also met the future love of his life, Fayette County native Judy. At the time she was a business and marketing professional and his teacher, but the two bonded over a mutual love of great cuisine. Two years after Heath graduated they started dating. “He wooed me with peanut butter ice cream,” she says. When changes in Judy’s job brought the couple to Morgantown in 2001, Heath was quickly drawn to the newly created restaurant Café Bacchus on High Street 36

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

and became chef in 2003. The couple later became full owners of the business and slowly put their own stamp on both the space and the menu, keeping The Flame’s romantic flavor but adding a little spice— from the warm, low-lit barroom with glass block details, birdcage décor, and vintage European posters to the cool aquariumesque blue room with its geometric wall art to the intimate Asian-inspired room overlooking the front porch. The pair also added additional seating upstairs for wine tastings and special events. And once the couple learned of the home’s Titanic history, thanks to research done by the Morgantown Public Library’s Aull Center, they felt it was only right to pay homage to it with an annual dinner party. Now in its 10th year, Café Bacchus’ Titanic Dinner has become a Morgantown tradition among foodies, romantics, and former patrons of The Flame alike. This multi-course meal draws inspiration straight from Titanic’s own menus, including a revolving assortment of traditional

dishes like poached salmon with mousseline sauce and cream of barley soup. In the past the meal has been accompanied by a re-creation of Lucian and Eloise’s last conversation and a special cake in Lucian’s honor. “We do the dinner because we want to acknowledge him. It’s an old house. We’re trying to keep the spirits happy,” Judy says. She thinks Lucian would be honored by the gesture and the way his love continues to be celebrated with laughter, good food, and real conversation. She says that’s part of what she finds most fulfilling about the business. “I love the people and the conversation. There’s a strong sense of accomplishment when you know how happy and satisfied someone is at the end of their meal. When they stop you and say, ‘That was awesome. We’ll be back.’” The 2015 Titanic Dinner was held the weekend of April 10.

written by mikenna pierotti photographed by carla witt ford



The final touches were being put on the new Mon County Ballpark in mid-March.

The Minor League—A Major Deal

In a few weeks’ time, the Black Bears will throw their opening pitch at the Mon County Ballpark. ➼


sk any sports aficionado and you’ll hear varying degrees of excitement—a new summertime leisure; the great American pastime; beer, sun, and friends. Baseball. The minor leagues are coming to Morgantown, and it’s about time. “This is something I’ve wanted for the area since I was a kid,” says Ernie Galusky, assistant general manager of stadium operations. 38

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

But it was no small feat getting the New York-Penn League to announce a Morgantown franchise last August and the thenJamestown Jammers’ move from Jamestown, New York, to West Virginia. It took a local government/university partnership and a bit of political finagling on the part of the immediate-past WVU athletic director, Oliver Luck, to get both a minor league team and the new publicly funded Monongalia

County Ballpark. The unveiling of both came on the heels of hiring WVU Baseball Coach Randy Mazey and the WVU conference move to the Big 12. “Baseball was a sport where I thought WVU really needed to improve—our facility and our program,” Luck said in June 2014. “I was able to get our state economic development office, our state legislature, and the county all involved.” Together they worked to designate the ballpark a Tax-Increment Financing District, allowing project developers to use sales tax money collected in the district to pay for the construction of a $21 million, 2,500-seat ballpark. While WVU purchased the ballpark land to “have some skin in the game,” Luck said the stadium ultimately will be paid for by the state. “It means that WVU will open its season with a brand new ballpark comparable to what exists in Kansas and elsewhere,” he said. “It’s good economics because we’re sharing it with a minor league baseball team, so for the first time in the history of Morgantown, a professional sports franchise will move to Morgantown and call it home.”


Congr You m ats!

the Bi ade it to g Leag ues!

Great Work! You’re called up to Indianapolis early.

WV Power

Hey now, You’re an All-Star!

Whoops! You tore your rotator cuff :(

GCL Pirates


You’re a pretty good baseball player.

College Draft

Who wants you?

The Black Bears When Morgantown’s minor league team was announced in August 2014, team management held a community vote to choose the team name and mascot. The new name was declared in October after West Virginians submitted more than 2,000 nominations and contributed more than 10,000 votes solidifying the West Virginia Black Bears as the state’s newest professional team. While the ballpark nears completion in anticipation of WVU’s opening game, the Black Bears are finalizing team preparation. The logo is designed, season tickets are on sale, and T-shirts sit ready for fans in the franchise’s Chaplin Road office. But our guys aren’t here yet. Though the Black Bears staff is stationed in Morgantown year-round, the team is only here for the summer. The professional baseball draft is in early June. A few days later, on June 19, 2015, the Black Bears’ season will start. “In between that the guys get physicals, negotiate their deals, and then come on board with us,” says John Pogorzelski, assistant general

Yay! The Pirates!


DSL Pirates

manager of the Black Bears. They’ll have a couple of practices before opening day. “The Pirates’ minor league system is made up of a bunch of teams,” Pogorzelski says. “We are toward the bottom of that, but not all the way at the bottom.” In fact there are eight teams in the bunch. That’s eight levels a minor league player must pass through before getting called up to the majors and PNC Park. The Black Bears are a short-season Class A team and the fourth stop, right before the West Virginia Power in Charleston. “We get a lot of those high school international guys in their second year, and then primarily we’re filled up with guys out of the college draft,” Pogorzelski says. Team members will typically stay with the Black Bears for a season before moving up to Charleston, a long-season Class A team. After that they go to another long-season Class A team in Florida, then a Class AA team in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and then a Class AAA team in Indianapolis. “Baseball is unique in the development of players,” Pogorzelski says. “Guys are rarely just ready for the big

You had a great first summer season!

leagues. It takes a long time to fine tune your pitching, your hitting.” Three to four years, actually. Catchers might take a few more years to develop than a guy who is just playing first base, but even the best of the best will have a few stops before making the Pirates’ roster. “What you see in high school and college is a lot different than the major leagues. To develop your curve ball or to get used to hitting a curve ball—it takes a while for most people.” As baseball fans and community members follow the Pirates and the team’s feeders, they’ll see a player move up from the bottom. It’s what makes a town’s connection with a team that has a regularly rotating roster. “That guy played in Morgantown and now they see him in Charleston and then they see, three years later, he’s playing at PNC. That brings it all to life. It’ll take a few years ’til that first Black Bear will be up at PNC, but when that happens, that’ll be a big day. That’ll be a guy we’ll probably retire his number.”




West Virginia Baseball West Virginia has a long relationship with baseball, exemplified by the West Virginia Power in Charleston. The Power is opening its 11th season, but there’s been a team in Charleston for decades— beginning in 1910. While West Virginia’s population can’t support the majors, according to whatever algorithms determine “support,” there’s plenty of support for the minors, according to the Power’s general manager, Tim Mueller. Mueller came to the Power in 2012 after spending 11 years with a minor league club in North Carolina. “When I first started in North Carolina I had heard the story about Dave Parker’s famous coal car home run,” he says. In the 1970s Parker was a member of the Pirates’ AAA minor league team, the Charleston Charlies, when he hit a home run that landed on a coal car of a passing train. The ball was later picked up in Ohio, as the story goes, and Parker began a national championship career with the Pirates. “Charleston does have a long and storied history of 40

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

baseball,” Mueller says. Long West Virginia’s biggest minor league team—there are also the Bluefield Blue Jays and the Princeton Rays—the Power has been able to draw fans from across the region, much farther than most minor league markets. “We have fans coming from Huntington, Beckley, Parkersburg. We’re the only show in town, and we see it from our support with the local media, TV, print, radio. We see corporations large and small and church groups coming out to do picnics and parties from some distance,” Mueller says. The story could be similar in Morgantown, which now hosts the only professional baseball team in North Central West Virginia. That communityteam relationship will be further helped by the fact that the Black Bears are a Pirates feeder team. Morgantown’s professional team is Pittsburgh—for football and baseball. “The majority of fans I meet around town wear Pirates caps,” Pogorzelski says. The Monongalia County Ballpark’s

opening—a WVU home game—was pushed from March to April due to construction delays this winter, but WVU’s Mazey says the delay is a blessing in disguise. “Now at least there’s a little better of a chance for good weather,” he laughs. “And the opening game takes place on a Friday night instead of a Tuesday afternoon.” Come April 10, though, Morgantown’s baseball fans will catch their first glimpse of the new multimilliondollar ballpark with the WVU home opener and a new view of the city atop Granville’s hills. “It’s hugely important for the community,” Mazey says of the ballpark and of the Black Bears. “I’ve been pretty involved with the baseball community since I’ve been here, from youth baseball to the building of the stadium and WVU’s program having more success. Now we have a minor league in town, and Morgantown is slowly but surely turning into a real baseball community.” written by Katie Griffith photographed by Carla Witt Ford




Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

Written by Laura Wilcox Rote Photographed by Carla Witt Ford ome. The place where you live. The spot where, even toward the end of a glorious vacation, you long to return. It’s the place of your people, the locale of all your things; it’s where you come from or where you belong. Familiar land. The old stomping grounds. For most people reading this, it’s Morgantown, West Virginia, U.S.A. About 30,000 people officially call Morgantown home, according to the 2010 Census, but anyone who lives here knows it’s so much more. Cities like Granville, Star City, and Westover each have their

own small populations and personalities, but ask almost anyone living in Mon County and they’ll say those areas are every bit of Morgantown as neighborhoods like Suncrest and South Park. Our larger home, the Morgantown Metropolitan Statistical Area is home to roughly 117,000 people, including the approximately 30,000 WVU students on campus most of the year. We’ve got a lot of people, a lot of color, and a lot of quirks. This is home. And these are just some of the people, places, and things that make Morgantown a great place to live.




1 3



Your New Favorite Places Finally, spring. You’ve been itching to get out of the house for months. You’ve been looking for a change—or at the very least a refresh button. Fortunately there’s always something new in this crazy mountain town, from eateries to niche stores to just plain increased services. In March 2015 students and locals alike were clamoring to get a look inside the first Sheetz restaurant/grocery store (image 4, 2151 University Avenue, Suite 220, University Place). Now anyone can get their milk and eggs downtown at the 15,000-square-foot grocery store and café— the first walkable grocery store in many years, though not long after Sheetz opened, word spread about a new produce store on High Street—TK’s Fruits and Produce, to open in 2015, too. 44

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

For new, unique shopping, check out Black Cat Emporium (image 5, 3329 University Avenue) from Thursday through Sunday to find all the things you never knew you needed for your home, from mantels and porch posts to mid-century furniture. Also new in town and beloved by hobbyists are Cartridges Galore, (40 High Street), downtown for buying, selling, or trading video games, and Comic Paradise Plus2 (183 Holland Avenue, in Westover. Morgantownians’ chores recently got a little easier, with the opening of The Laundry (image 3, 441 Brockway Avenue, The 24-hour Laundromat opened in 2014 with dozens of shiny, new machines, and you can even pay

by credit card or smartphone. There’s new food around every corner in Morgantown, too. Some of our favorite new places are Soul Brothers (image 1, 236 Walnut Street), for everything from cornbread to chicken or popcorn shrimp, and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit (image 2, 1111 Van Voorhis Road, Near Cheat Lake and Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa, folks can’t stop talking about the new Fat Angelo’s Pizzeria (503 Ashebrooke Square,, where you can get a “potato chip pizza” called the Mountaineer, with ranch sauce, mozzarella, kettle-cooked potato chips, diced chicken, and bacon.

clockwise: Carla Witt Ford (3); Nikki bowman; carla witt ford

Explore the city with fresh eyes and uncover new businesses you’ll soon love.


Great escapes, natural beauties, and manmade wonders, these are a few of our favorite off-the-beaten-path landmarks. It’s not uncommon for people driving down Tyrone Road to do a double take, turn around, and stop the car when they see the massive, hand-cut stone structure sitting just off the road. “There are probably 10 people a week who drive through the parking lot just to look at it and take pictures of it,” Pastor Shawn Frasher says of The Castle and former friary now known as Calvary Chapel Morgantown (image 4, 493 Tyrone Road, Three structures make up the property—the original stone castle completed in 1933, the chapel built in the 1950s, and a three-story dormitory built in the late 1960s to house the priests studying there. The Good Counsel Friary was open from 1949 until 2012, when Calvary Chapel Morgantown purchased the property. “That property has a long spiritual heritage in our community,” Shawn says. The castle itself has undergone extensive renovations for the past year-and-a-half, and Shawn says the architecture and craftsmanship are unlike anything else in Morgantown. “When you see the plasterwork in this house it’ll blow your mind. The plasterwork and the woodwork and the quality of the construction is just unbelievable.” But hidden wonders likes these are across all of our neighborhoods, from the old Cobun Creek Reservoir (image 1) in First Ward’s White Park to the surprising rock climbing spot Pioneer Rocks (image 2) on the outskirts of town. The vast reservoir is part of a 170acre area with more than three miles of trails. You can reach Pioneer Rocks by continuing out Earl L. Core Road past Sabraton toward Masontown. Multiple pulloff spots along the route offer views of Deckers Creek, complete with small waterfalls. Near Cheat Lake, Mont Chateau (image 3, 1 Mont Chateau Road) used to be a state park and is now home to the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey. Inside you’ll find a small geology museum, complete with the state’s only real dinosaur display.


3 4

Know Your Neighbor Travis Cadalzo “My wife, Staci, and I just love the rail-trail and often take walks with our two dogs.”

Travis Cadalzo grew up on the Jersey Shore, went to college in Pittsburgh, and worked in the film industry in New York City before making his home in the Jerome Park neighborhood of Morgantown. When he and his wife, Staci, a Harrison County native, began looking at West Virginia, they initially weren’t sure where they wanted to be. “We looked around at a lot of houses and were not too particular with neighborhoods. We fell in love with a house we loved that had a large yard, a big garden, and a lot of character,” Travis says, adding that they bought the house through J.S. Walker, where he now works as a Realtor in addition 46

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

to having his own photography company, Travis Scott Photography. Four years later, he says the Cadalzos are loving life in Morgantown. “Jerome Park is great because it is situated far enough away from the students, but close enough to access everything,” Travis says. “Our house is quiet and private, but in five to 10 minutes I can be anywhere in Morgantown. Marilla Park has a lot to offer, too, from tennis courts to the pool to just space to roam. We are expecting our first child this August and are excited to be in such an active area.”

Morgantown used to have a streetcar system, started in 1906 by the South Morgantown Traction Company, according to historical five-part series, The Monongalia Story. Eventually bus service on two lines, South Park and South Morgantown, replaced the trolley, which was officially abandoned in 1928. This giant pothole on Brockway Avenue was so deep in March that you could see the old rails below the asphalt. The Monongalia Story also tells of a place called Traction Park that the trolley line once had at the southern end of its lines, near the car barn. Local history buffs say the park was located where the current University Motors is, just off of Don Knotts Boulevard. Apparently the park had a baseball diamond and refreshment stands, and even occasional circus tents would set up there sometimes.



Answers: 1. Smitty’s Kountry Kreme, Sabraton 2. Painted ladies, South Park 3. Yarn tree, Evansdale campus 4. Cupola, Domino’s Pizza, South Park 5. Tugboat Depot Playground, Star City

6. Dorsey’s Knob Park 7. Table 9, The Wharf 8. Cow House, South Park 9. Scoreboard, Krepps Park, Suncrest

Test your knowledge of neighborhoods around town. Do you know where each of these can be found? 1









Know Your Neighbor

Pastor Shawn Frasher “Absolutely, unquestionably, this is home.” Shawn Frasher and his wife, Valerie, relocated to Morgantown from San Diego in 2002 to start Calvary Chapel Morgantown. “Unfortunately I was not born a West Virginian. It took me a long time to get here,” Shawn says. Shawn and Valerie most recently moved from an older house they renovated on Canyon Road into what’s known as The Castle, on the Calvary Chapel Morgantown property on Tyrone Road. Many folks know The Castle as the former Good Counsel Friary, a place of spiritual growth for many decades. Valerie grew up in the Cheat Lake area before moving to California at a young age, where she and Shawn eventually became high school sweethearts. 48

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

Shawn says leaving the hustle and bustle of millions of people in southern California was quite a change, but a welcome one. “I love the change of seasons. I love the proximity to the lake. I kayak every Monday yearround,” he says. “I love the access to hiking, the hemlock forests, and Coopers Rock. We love the people, and we love the pace of life here. God knew I needed to be here before I did. And I am very grateful to live here.” The Frashers have three sons—ages 25, 23, and 17—and two Australian Shepherds. “I love the fact that Morgantown is a safe place to raise our children and grandchildren.”

Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated a school—Monongalia High School—in Westover for African-American students in 1936. It was the county’s last segregated school and was located on West Park Street and Lane. Before Monongalia High School was built, African-Americans attended high school at locations on Beechurst, then later on White Avenue, according to comments made by Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) during a special ceremony to erect a historical marker at the school in 2014. Some students traveled from Preston County, had to stay overnight with black families in Morgantown, and then walk to Westover from Sabraton in order to get an education, Fleischauer has said. Delegate Charlene Marshall (D-Monongalia), a Monongalia High School alum herself, was also instrumental in honoring the old school.

elizabeth roth; carla witt ford

Whether you’re new to the area, thinking of relocating to Morgantown, or just want to see the city with fresh eyes, we recommend these stops for an authentic weekend in the Mountaineer city. Wake up at Waterfront Place Hotel (2 Waterfront Place,, Historic Clarion Hotel Morgan (127 High Street,, or The Chestnut Hotel (345 Chestnut Street, and be close to the action downtown. Get caffeinated at The Blue Moose Café (image 2, 248 Walnut Street, or The Grind WV (168 Willey Street) and, beginning in May, start your Saturday morning with a stroll to the Morgantown Farmers’ Market (image 3, 415 Spruce Street, Grab a window seat and have a smoothie and Avocado Smash at Real Juice Bar and Café (119 Pleasant Street,, or spend some time across the street at one of townies’ favorite restaurants, Black Bear Burritos (image 7, 132 Pleasant Street, You can easily spend a day shopping or exploring in Morgantown, too. Downtown has stores for everyone, from great vintage finds at Retro-tique (243 Walnut Street) to Vera Bradley at The Elegant Alley Cat (358 High Street, elegantalleycat. com). Or shop amidst history at Old Stone House Gift Shop (image 4, 313 Chestnut Street), in a building that dates back to 1795. Follow that with a walk around the Morgantown History Museum (175 Kirk Street, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a local expert, from knowing Morgantown’s favorite son, Don Knotts, to our industrial past. For more arts and culture, check out the Monongalia Arts Center (107 High Street, monartscenter.

com) and, on select weekends, The Metropolitan Theatre (373 High Street, On most evenings you’ll also find live music at 123 Pleasant Street ( downtown. Not afraid to get a little dirty? There’s no excuse not to play outside in Morgantown. Our neighborhoods have great open spaces for the whole family—like the sprawling Jack Roberts Park (First Ward), Krepps Park (Suncrest), and Marilla Park (Sabraton). Both Krepps and Marilla have outdoor pools, while Krepps also attracts visitors for its dog park and many picnic sites and Marilla is home to tennis courts and a skate park, among other amenities. Joggers and cyclists can also access the beloved Deckers Creek Trail from Marilla. But that’s still not all. Morgantown’s White Park offers up softball fields, an ice skating rink, and secluded trails through quiet woods, while not far from downtown and just off of Interstate 68, Dorsey’s Knob Park is a short trek to the top of the hill overlooking the city. In Star City you can take a walk on the Caperton Trail after a snack on the patio at Terra Café (image 6, 425 Industrial Avenue,, or stay close to downtown and hop on the trail by the Hazel Ruby McQuain Park and Amphitheater (image 5). The park is abuzz all spring and summer with joggers, families, and weekend concerts and movie nights. Continuing south, you’ll also find unique dining just steps from the trail, from wood-fired pizza and beer and live music at Mountain State Brewing Co. (54 Clay Street, to fine dining at Table 9 (40 Donley Street, dinetable9. com) overlooking the Mon River.

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Motowners have good taste. Choosing a place to eat isn’t always easy—especially if you have indecisive loved ones. One of the first things locals who’ve lived in Morgantown their whole lives say is, “Go to Wings Ole. Get the Fries and Bleu.” (image 4) Dip your fries in bleu cheese in one of two local locations—reminiscing about the good ol’ days on University Avenue on the deck overlooking the Mon River or in Suncrest off of Chestnut Ridge Road. Speaking of wings, locals and transplants alike swear by Kegler’s (image 2, 735 Chestnut Ridge Road, Townies have a few other favorites, too, like Boston Beanery (, with locations on High Street and on Patteson Drive. You’ll love the Reuben Sandwich, generous in size with grilled corned beef,

5 Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing on grilled marble rye with a side of Beanery Fries. In Westover, pizza (image 5) and other Italian specialties from Colasante’s Ristorante & Pub (416 Fairmont Road, are some of the best in town. Choose from family-friendly dining on the main floor or go upstairs to for a full bar. For a good story, visit the classic Ruby & Ketchy’s (2232 Cheat Road) in Cheat Lake, offering old-fashioned fare since 1958. Go for lunch or try a fresh pie (image 1) in flavors like coconut, meringue, blackberry, and more. Looking for flavor and mobility? Order takeout (image 3) from Lavender Café (247 Beechurst Avenue, 304.296.2266), one of locals’ most beloved spots for everything from lo mein to sushi.

carla witt ford; elizabeth roth (2); nikki bowman (2)

Just off of Interstate 79 and east on West Virginia 7 before the main thoroughfare becomes Beechurst Avenue, the WVU Core Arboretum ) image 1) provides respite just steps from the university’s Evansdale campus and the WVU Coliseum. The 91-acre forest has more than three miles of trails and is known for its plethora of spring wildflowers. For a slightly longer trip, get in the car and explore the West Virginia Botanic Garden (1061 Tyrone Road,, just seven miles from the heart of town. Walk the loop around the old reservoir or take a hike through the forest trails. If you’re lucky you might see a blue heron fly over the 80-plus acres. A treasured getaway for almost every local, Coopers Rock State Forest (www. is another must-see 20 minutes from town, with a jaw-dropping overlook of the Cheat River Gorge and miles and miles of trails with plenty of towering rocks to climb and flora and fauna to observe. Also about 20 minutes from Morgantown, you can canoe, swim, or boat at the vast Cheat Lake (image 8). Of course, many people know Morgantown for its active nightlife. Start out with a stellar view overlooking downtown at RockTop Bar & Grill (image 9, 341 Chestnut Street, For an upscale Old-Fashioned or a Sazerac in a sophisticated setting, Tin202 (202 High Street, is mandatory. Looking for dinner, drinks, and friendly service? Morgantown Brewing Company (1291 University Avenue, has a great menu and a deck. For a craft beer in an environment of young professionals, visit Apothecary Ale House & Café (227 Chestnut Street) or Iron Horse Tavern (140 High Street, ironhorsetvrn. com). Across the Walnut Street bridge in Greenmont, Gene’s Beer Garden (461 Wilson Avenue, genesbeergarden. com) is a dive bar in the best way, serving up cold brews since the 1940s. Back across town in the Woodburn neighborhood, Mario’s Fishbowl (704 Richwood Avenue, is another long mainstay, with supersized drafts and wings folks rave about.

Know Your Neighbor The scoop on why things are called what they’re called.

Betty Cross “I have had wonderful neighbors here.” Betty Cross, 87, and her late husband had their house built in Suncrest back when that area was called The Flats—in 1956, before it was part of the city and the thenneighborhood included Windsor all the way down to Van Voorhis. “We were very fortunate in getting in this area. It was close to the schools. The children could always walk. There were grocery stores. There was a drugstore,” she recalls. Betty had three sons who grew up in the house on Milford Street and about a dozen more neighbor kids grew up playing nearby. Three acres of land behind the house were not being used and so local families transformed them—with permission, of course—into a bit of a wonderland, complete with gardens, a treehouse, a baseball diamond, and a volleyball net. “We used that until the ’80s,” Betty says. “They all learned to drive back there.” Betty was a schoolteacher and librarian in Cheat Lake for more than 20 years and is still

active in the First Baptist Church downtown. Today she plays bridge with neighbors and friends regularly, loves to tell stories, and has a great sense of humor. She says Suncrest has always had quiet streets, but sometimes they’ve been too quiet—like in 2006 when she was unloading groceries and her vehicle got away from her. The car knocked her down and ran over her, and she was on the ground for 45 minutes before someone came by, having discovered her car crashed into a tree. “I lay there and laugh,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘This is the one time when I wish there was more traffic.’” Fortunately her injuries were minor and her spirit intact. Still, she’s grateful to have experienced the many things she has where she lives. “It was an ideal area to live in. We had access to all of the things we needed, and the children had a great time with the expansive land we had in the back,” she says. “And the neighbors enjoyed one another, very much so. Wonderful people.”

Grumbein’s Island The pedestrian oasis separating passing lanes of (usually stopped) traffic in front of the Mountainlair, Grumbein’s Island originally took shape in 1934, when the university saw the area as a traffic hazard and a concern for pedestrian safety. The island concept was proposed by John B. Grumbein during the Turner administration. Professor Grumbein was the department head of Steam, Gas, and Experimental Engineering in 1929 and superintendent of Building and Grounds from 1932 to 1945. The Hogback In geology, a long, narrow ridge, like a hog's back. In Morgantown, the ridge in Whitmore Park and the sharp turn in Route 7 around the ridge, between downtown and Marilla Park. The Toilet Bowl Another loving nickname for the WVU Creative Arts Center, considering its shape. Backwater This semi-secret swimming spot is in Cheat Lake, near the dam, past the parking lot for Cheat Lake Park on a gravel road. morgantownmag.Com


We contemplate the origins of some of our town’s names– from Willey to Van Voorhis. Ever had to correct a newcomer on how to say Patteson and stop to think, “Unless, does that road sign have a typo? Was it supposed to be Patterson?” Like anywhere, many streets in Morgantown were named after the area’s most respected families or businesses. They’re familiar, even if you can’t be certain of their origin. Not only do many of our streets bear the names of well-known past families, but many have undergone altogether interesting changes, while others are the subjects of comical controversy. University Avenue used to be called Front Street, and Morgantown once had two Front Streets—including part of present-day Wilson Avenue near Morgantown High School. Spruce Street used to be a twoway street. A lot has changed, according to Michael McClung, manager of the Aull Center, a haven of history on Spruce Street. “Sabraton used to be called Sturgiss City because a man named Sturgiss ran the tin mill over there,” he says. George Sturgiss’ wife was named Sabra, and the town was eventually renamed Sabraton. What about Fife Street? What’s its story? Michael says that’s a tough one, and no one really knows as the city doesn’t keep records of why streets are named what they’re named, though plenty of folks are happy to speculate. He has a hard time taking seriously the claims that Fife Street somehow coincides with Don Knotts’ character, Barney Fife, on The Andy Griffith Show. “I’ve had several people come in and say, ‘Isn’t that where Don Knotts got his character’s name for Andy Griffith?’ And I say, ‘I don’t think so.’ I think if there is any basis to any of this it’s that he may have gotten the name Barney Fife from Fife Street, but that’s really reaching,” Michael says. “I mean he was so happy to get 52

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An old book of maps at the Aull Center shows the transformation of areas throughout the county, like Sabraton, formerly known as Sturgiss City, with diverse blocks of hyphenated streets. “You don’t see too many streets named El-Jadid in this part of the country,” says Michael McClung, manager of the center for local history and genealogy research, pointing to the 1921 map.

work back then he wouldn’t care what his character’s name was.” On the flip side, Patteson Drive in Morgantown is one street we can be certain of. It was named for West Virginia Governor Okey L. Patteson, who served from 1949 to 1953. Why is he so important locally? Governor Patteson is the reason the state’s first medical center located in Morgantown instead of Charleston. The tale is told in part in Earl L. Core’s five-part historical series, The Monongalia Story: “After listening to all the arguments and evidence and carefully studying the voluminous data represented to me, as well as the independent research which I have made, together with the advice and counsel of leading out-of-state experts and many citizens of our state, I have reached the definite conclusion that the logical and best place for the location of the medical school is in Morgantown,” he said on the radio one night in 1951. The new medical center access road, a fourlane street from Monongahela Boulevard to University Avenue leading to WVU Hospitals, was completed and named Patteson Drive in honor of Okey in 1960. Van Voorhis is another family name in Morgantown. Isaac L. Van Voorhis sat on Monongalia County’s first board of

education, back when six school buses served the Morgantown area, transporting 1,500 students in 1933, according to The Monongalia Story. He also sat on one of the county’s two Selective Service boards in the early 1940s. The name Willey is perhaps more widely known, as Waitman T. Willey was one of West Virginia’s first two senators. He settled in Morgantown in 1833 and built the Waitman T. Willey House in the late 1830s on Wagner Road. Today Willey Street winds its way down U.S. 19 and into the heart of downtown Morgantown and WVU’s campus. Alternatively, at least one of Morgantown’s major arteries—Greenbag Road—seems to have been named not for a person, but a company. In the early 1960s the Green Bag Cement Company of Pittsburgh started a new limestone plant on Deckers Creek near Greer, according to The Monongalia Story. The cement company bought land in South Morgantown for a dock to load limestone in barges to ship to Pittsburgh and constructed a new shipping dock along the Monongahela River. By the end of that year work began on a four-and-a-half-mile bypass road from Sabraton to South Morgantown, paid for by Green Bag Cement Company, according to the Morgantown Post.



Premier Construction Services out of Fairmont built this green” home—nearly complete in February 2015—overlooking Cheat Lake. Architect Rentfrow Design designed the Colorado mountain-style house.

The New

Modern Today’s green living means building with high-performance products in myriad ways, from roof to floor. written by Laura Wilcox Rote | photographed by Carla Witt Ford




hen local doctors Vignesh and Pavrithra Ranganathan arrived in Morgantown from New York about three years ago, they knew they wanted a “green” house, one that minimized its energy and environmental footprint while being modern and forward thinking. Then they found Bob Riffle, owner of the Fairmont-based Premier Construction Services, the only nationally certified green builder in West Virginia. They moved into their amazingly efficient 7,000-square-foot house overlooking Cheat Lake in February 2015. “We’re very happy with the end product,” Vignesh says from the main living area—a minimalist space with 17-foot ceilings and lots of natural light streaming through Climate Zone 5 windows. The windows are just one of dozens of features that make the house high-performance. “These windows will save so much more energy. And they let less UV light in, which is degrading to the floors, the furniture, things like that,” Bob says. Everywhere you look in the house is something environmentally friendly. Faucets turn on with a touch and turn off automatically


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should the homeowner—or the homeowner’s small child—leave them running for more than a few minutes. Nearly every light is efficient LED. Solar hot water panels line the roof for the home’s hot water supply. There’s even a rainwater harvesting system in which rain travels from the roof through the gutters, downspouts, and French drains that run the perimeter of the house. “They’re all tied to a 1,200-gallon cistern, and that in turn is pumped back out for lawn irrigation,” Bob says. “So for all of the drip systems and anything that’s going to water the planting beds, we’re not using municipal sources. We’re using harvested rainwater. Plus it will go back into the water table when it dissipates into the ground. And then it’ll flow into the lake rather than being sheer runoff.” The position of the house in relation to the sun even saves energy. When all is said and done—the house was more than 75 percent complete in March—the house will meet the National Green Building Standard. “It’s a very strict set of standards,” Bob says. The house’s automated features—from sensors on garage doors to timed lights and blinds—were installed by Morgantown company Wise Guys Media. Owner Travis Lemon uses Control4, a

CLOCKWISE FROM OPPOSITE: The stairs were built by a Columbus, Ohio, Amish company. It took eight of us to get them off the truck but only two guys to put them up,” laughs Bob Riffle, general contractor for Premier Construction Services. The stairs are lit beneath by LEDs. The minimalist main living space has 17-foot ceilings with natural light streaming through Climate Zone 5 windows. A red couch adds a modern flair. An electronics cage behind the theater room controls all of the bells and whistles in one place, from satellite boxes to security cameras. Home automation system Control4 allows the homeowners to manage the lights, locks, heating and cooling, and more from phones, TVs, or this keypad.

home automation system that makes homes “smart.” A keypad that looks like an iPad can be found on each of the three floors. There you can control the lights, adjust the thermostat, turn up the heat, or do just about anything else you can imagine. Vignesh and his wife can also access Control4 from their phones or any of the home’s TVs. If someone comes to the front door and the family is downstairs in the home theater, the screen will show the visitors’ faces automatically when they ring the doorbell. “We can even make it send you an email if you want,” Travis says. “Or you can click a button and talk to them. It’s a smart intercom system.” Once inside, visitors can breathe easy. The four-bedroom, four-and-ahalf-bath house has plenty of room for guests, but having a lot of people over doesn’t equate an influx of carbon dioxide—at least not in this house with automatic carbon dioxide detectors that kick on fans to draw out the CO2. Bob says the detector keeps the CO2 levels at an acceptable range so the indoor air quality is not compromised and everyone is breathing fresh air. “It looks like a really high-tech gadget, but it’s pretty simple science.” There’s a similar gadget in the garage for carbon monoxide. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are another aspect to consider when building a new home, as VOCs can be found in everything from paint morgantownmag.Com


All of the countertops are quartz and made with 40 percent recycled material.

Vignesh and Pavrithra Ranganathan wanted to include a throwback to the loft-style apartments where they used to live in New York in their Morgantown home. This part of the house we wanted to give a more modern look with the brick and the tub,” Vignesh says.

to carpet. In this Cheat Lake home you’ll find not one VOC—or organic chemical like formaldehyde that can endanger humans and the environment. “The paints are all zero-VOC,” Bob says. “There are no formaldehydes, even in the carpeting. This is a Mohawk Greenguard carpet. Even the pad has no off-gassing.” Bob says these features are all part of improving indoor air quality, though most people don’t think about what VOC might exist when picking out items for their homes. “It’s there. It’s in your plywoods. It’s in your cabinets. Those are the types of things we really have to look at our vendor sources for,” he says. “They can’t sell me something that has any type of formaldehydes in the glues. They all have to be water-based.” Perhaps more obviously, the house is filled with Energy Star appliances, low voltage electronics, and locally sourced hardwoods. All of the wood comes from the region, and both the wood 58

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and stone inside the house is from West Virginia. “This is hickory that’s harvested in West Virginia and milled in a local company in Eleanor—Quality Woods,” Bob says from the master bedroom. Premier Construction Services strives to make sure anything coming into the house is from within a 500-mile radius to save on fuel consumption. “All of those types of things people don’t think about—they go into the costs of an item,” Bob says. Even the bathroom fixtures, from national company Delta, are U.S.-based. In some rooms you never even have to turn a light on, like in Vignesh’s young son’s bathroom, where there happens to be no natural light. Bob’s team installed a Velux Sun Tunnel that goes all the way up to the roof. “This is bringing in natural light from outside, so you come in here during the day and you don’t have to have the light on,” Bob says. “We try to incorporate those in any areas where you don’t have natural light—a lot of times in a corridor, closet, or interior bathroom.” Another Velux product, a skylight, can be found in the master bathroom with solar-powered blinds and a rain sensor. The inner workings of much of the house are in the basement,

It doesn’t look like much, but this is where the average consumer will spend the bulk of their energy dollars— heating and hot water,” Bob says. If you spend a little bit more on the equipment to get better stuff, you save in the long run. The payback is very quick. This is a little bit more forward-thinking.”

though. Three solar panels on the back of the house feed into a 120-gallon tank downstairs. “This water will come off the roof at about 180 degrees. We actually have to cool it down to put it back into circulation for the house,” Bob says. The water comes back out through a mixing valve at 120 degrees and then is heated to 140 to feed the house. “We’re only raising the temperature of the water 20 degrees at worst,” Bob says. He says water from the curb comes in at about 55 degrees. If they had to heat that water like most houses do to go back out to the faucet, they’d have to change it 85 or 90 degrees instead of the 10 or 20. “It is a huge energy savings.” In the same small basement room you’ll find a modulating boiler, one of the most efficient pieces of equipment money can buy. “This will take care of melting the snow in the driveway,” Bob says. These days Bob says Premier Construction Services does mostly residential projects, and about 15 percent commercial. Bob moved back home to West Virginia from North Carolina less than four years ago. “The reason I came back was to bring my green building prowess to this state,” he says. He says that while industry experts are getting away from using the word “green,” the commitment remains, with an emphasis on using the highest quality products, which are naturally better for the environment. “It’s a high-performance home,” he says. “And high-performing in all the ways.”

More on Green Building For green building resources, visit



Why is housing so expensive in Morgantown? Written by Katie Griffith


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he perfect patio, a fire pit, and open floor plans—the spring house hunt is a time when families begin to pursue the American dream of homeownership and two-car garages. The scent of freshly finished wooden floors wafts through the air across America where, since 2008, it’s been a buyer’s market. Home buyers have their pick of homes most everywhere, except, that is, in Morgantown. Here the season of excitement turns into one of frenzy. A frenzy that, according to experts, may be spiraling out of control. “I don’t think we knew for sure what we were getting ourselves into,” says Clint Nuzum, a government contractor at KeyLogic in Morgantown. He and his wife, first-time homebuyers, have been on the house hunt in Morgantown for about a year. “It has been a learning experience ever since we started,” he says. “I did think it would be easier to find what we were looking for around here, but Morgantown is an interesting market. The type of house you get in this area seems more expensive then neighboring cities like Fairmont.” The difference is usually tens of thousands of dollars. The cost of living in Morgantown is 1 percent above the national average, according to a study of 2013 data conducted by the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER). But digging into the figures that make up that 1 percent shows that, while the cost of things like health care is below the national average, the cost of housing is much higher—sitting at 14 percent above the national average at the beginning of 2014. “If you combine that with the fact that wages for many of the primary occupations in the area are at least a little bit below the national average, housing is even more expensive than what it may seem on the surface,” says John Deskins, director of the research bureau.

Skyrocketing Prices and Affordability While Nuzum is still renting, he hopes to find a house to call home by the end of summer. “I am not sure how many houses we have seen,” he says. “We have had bids on a few houses. Each time we ended up in a multiple offer situation and it ended with the other offer chosen.” Like many other home buyers in the area, Nuzum found himself upping his original price point to line up better with where Morgantown housing starts. So what is affordable, anyway? “That’s the $10,000 question,” says John Martys, director of the Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority (FMHA). Thirty percent of a person’s income is the traditional benchmark of affordability, preached by everyone from your local mortgage lender to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, but different areas use different measuring sticks. Thirty percent of a $100,000 New York income is different from 30 percent of a $25,000 Clay County income. “It’s a moving number,” Martys says. “Because the Morgantown market is relatively inflated, people find affordability could move higher—into 40 percent of their income.” He points to the example of a family—a husband and wife working in the service industry and bringing home $75,000. “Their affordability will be closer to $800 and $900 a month,” Martys says, and a monthly payment of $900, depending on interest rates, puts a buyer right around a $195,000 purchase price. “Take a look at what’s on the market for that. You won’t find a lot.” The median price in Morgantown for a three-bedroom home is $250,000, according to FMHA figures. “There’s obviously segments of the community where it is less and more. In Morgantown, poor quality will still cost a fortune.”

I don’t think we knew for sure what we were getting ourselves into. It has been a learning experience ever since we started. I did think it would be easier to find what we were looking for around here, but Morgantown is an interesting market.” Clint Nuzum, first-time homebuyer



Comprising the 130 acres stretching from 8th Street to Campus Drive and from University Avenue to the Mon River, Sunnyside is one of Morgantown’s oldest neighborhoods and, at one point, was entirely owner-occupied. But because of its proximity to the university and a rising demand for student housing, owners began renting to students, starting a trend that would later take over the district and bleed further into town. “When I was a student here in 1960, I rented a room for a dollar a day down on Willey Street near the Book Exchange—30 bucks a month,” says Frank Scafella, WVU alum, retired professor, 16-year city council member, past mayor, and current executive director of the Campus Neighborhoods Revitalization Corporation, or Sunnyside Up. His $30 per month was spent at a time that WVU tuition cost less than $400 a year, compared to the $7,000 to $8,000 in-state students pay now. But WVU was growing. Enrollment was growing by thousands of students every few years and new buildings and facilities were needed to meet the demand. “The university had plans in the ’60s to build student housing,” Scafella says. The Evansdale Residential Complex, colloquially Towers, was one of them, built in 1968 to house 1,800 students. “But the business guys in Morgantown had already begun to invest and went to the university and said, ‘What about us? You shouldn’t be concerning yourself with housing. We will provide the housing.’ And the university scuttled its plan.” What the business guys had in mind, though, weren’t dedicated units or new high-rises to accommodate rising enrollment. At that time you could buy a house in Wiles Hill for $16,000, Scafella says. Housing was cheap. Rental owners would buy the big old houses in Sunnyside—houses that, if you can look past the now muddy yards, dubious porches, and dilapidated siding, were once beautiful homes—for just higher than regular market prices. The price difference would easily be made up in student rent payments. “Every time a house went on the market, they bought it. And they could pay more than somebody else because they could put five, six, seven, 10 students inside. The city had no code that restricted occupancy. No requirements for parking. No requirements for trash,” Scafella says. “And so what happens to the people next door? They moved out.” The cycle continued across town, but particularly in the neighborhoods surrounding campus—Wiles Hill, Woodburn, Greenmont, South Park, and First Ward. In the late 1990s when Morgantown began looking to reverse the trend of Sunnyside, the neighborhood was a slum. “It became notorious for parties and rampages. It was a no-man’s land,” Scafella says. “The city had no real control over the thing, nor did they exercise any. The landlords wouldn’t put a hand forth to help until we put codes in place that forced them to. It got to the point where the university was getting complaints from parents about the conditions their sons and daughters were living in. Things had to start changing. And then the revitalization of Sunnyside began to take place.” Morgantown began conducting housing inspections in 1979 in response to safety concerns. In 1991 the town adopted a new zoning designation to stop the encroachment of students into existing neighborhood housing stock—the effects of which have been termed "studentification" by city planners worldwide. 62

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Sunnyside Up, a town and gown collaborative organization meant to spearhead the revitalization of those affected neighborhoods, was born in 2004 with a plan to create a balance between student rentals and residential housing for single families, retirees, and young professionals. “But what has happened is there is no balance,” Scafella says. While new building has occurred, it’s almost exclusively student-centric. Sunnyside Up commissioned a study, slated for release in April 2015, that takes an in-depth look at Morgantown’s housing situation. Conducted by Environmental Planning & Design, LLC, out of Pittsburgh, the study combs through a data set of all housing information in Monongalia County to determine what exactly Morgantown has in housing stock—when homes were built, where, when they sold, for how much, and with what specs. The cost of the study was $11,000, and $6,000 of that alone just went to getting the data. In a preliminary breakdown, researchers found that 1,800 residential units have been built in Morgantown since the economic downturn of 2008. “They’re largely condos, townhouses, and

Elizabeth Roth

The Loss of Single-Family Housing

connected units. Detached homes amount to only nine percent of the total units built,” Scafella says. “You have Beech View Place. You have University Place and a number of other lessor apartment buildings. Nothing for the owner-occupant.”

Current Housing Stock Census Bureau information compiled by the BBER shows that the median home value for all housing in Morgantown is $132,000—well within an affordability range for Morgantown’s earners. But the areas where you’ll find a home going for $130,000 or even $150,000 tend to be student housing spots. In preliminary reports from the Sunnyside Up study, Scafella says his group asked about housing for junior faculty at WVU. A $40,000 annual income would give buyers a purchase price of about $120,000, using a ballpark estimation that multiplies income by three to arrive at purchase price. “There are about 4,400 units of housing in that range,” he says. “Where are they? They’re

right around the university campus. What are they? By and large they’re student rentals. And are you going to buy a student rental for $120,000? It’s going to be chopped up, probably significantly damaged.” Of those 4,400 units, more than half were built before 1955. In the last 20 years, not one freestanding home has been built in the $120,000 price range. Here we get into the issue of property values exceeding the existing home value, particularly in neighborhoods surrounding the downtown and the university campus. “A lot of our neighborhood housing has gone to student rentals, and even though they would sell for around $120,000 or $130,000, landlords don’t want to sell them because they’re making $1,200 and $1,500 a month off of those,” Scafella says. It’s an issue WVU struggles with, too, as the area’s largest employer and the catalyst for most of the area’s growth. The university pays around the national average for a given position, Deskins says, but if people see the cost of living here is more than the national average, it’s hard for the university to attract employees. “When I came here morgantownmag.Com


If you combine [cost of living] with the fact that wages for many of the primary occupations in the area are at least a little bit below the national average, housing is even more expensive than what it may seem on the surface.” John Deskins, director of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Overall Cost of Living Composite Index, 2013 Ames, IA

Finding Solutions

Charlottesville, VA Manhattan, KS Morgantown, WV



6 10















Stillwater, OK

Source: Council for Community and Economic Research Cost of Living Index Note: An index value greater than 100 indicates that a region’s overall cost of living is higher than the national average.

Average Rental Rate, Two Bedroom Apartment Ames, IA Charlottesville, VA Manhattan, KS Morgantown, WV Stillwater, OK $0






Source: US Census Bureau (

Information compiled by the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research for a study of similar college towns. 64

I was offered a raise,” he says of his move from Omaha, Nebraska, to Morgantown two years ago. But when he started looking at housing in Morgantown, he realized the house he had in Omaha would cost an extra $100,000 here. “So I really had to compare,” he says. “OK, they’re offering me this much of a raise, but if a house is going to cost me an extra $100,000, I really have to do the math to see if that will work out.” The demand for Morgantown housing is simply outpacing the supply. Prices are compounded by a topography that makes building difficult and a lack of infrastructure that makes it more so. “Housing is one of our most daunting concerns,” Deskins says. “I think we might have a hard time continuing to enjoy the strong growth that we’ve seen unless we find ways to make housing more affordable. We need healthy, growing, medium-sized cities for West Virginia to thrive, and we have to make sure Morgantown is that—that it’s affordable and people want to move here.”

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015


While Morgantown continues to study what may soon become a real housing crisis, the FairmontMorgantown Housing Authority has been combating the issue of rising living costs in Morgantown for years. “When the 2000 Census came out we realized we just didn’t have a lot of data on the Morgantown market,” says director Martys. “One thing we wanted to know was what was going on in the neighborhoods. We had seen a large transformation in the neighborhood from owner-occupancy to student rentals just because of the demand for students to live there.” After conducting focus groups and surveys near campus communities like Woodburn, Greenmont, Wiles Hill, and First Ward, the organization found that the majority of people surveyed wanted to maintain the integrity of neighborhoods but were finding it difficult. “In Greenmont in particular housing costs were really low,” Martys says of prices in the 1980s and ’90s. “Investors would buy property for $60,000 and convert to student rentals.” That study was in 2002. In 2005 FMHA received a federal grant to create a lease-to-own program to help low- to moderate-income families buy homes. “We’d build or buy an existing home, rehab it, and lease it to a family who had gone through homeownership counseling. Then, after a period of time when they were mortgage-ready, we’d sell the unit to the family.” Martys says 50 families found homes through the program, which the housing authority continues to use on a selected basis, among other assistance programs like down payment assistance and housing vouchers. Now the housing authority is in the midst of expanding what’s known as the Morgantown Homecoming project from Greenmont, Woodburn, First Ward, and Wiles


Hill to a more citywide effort. Since the mid-2000s, FMHA has been quietly buying up property and homes in the Morgantown area, converting properties to single-family homes and adding deed restrictions to keep them owner-occupied. The organization then sells those homes to families for prices commonly between $112,000 and $200,000. Frances Hall, who moved to Morgantown in 2000, had been living in a rented two-bedroom house in Star City when her landlord sold the building and she was left unsure of her housing future. She began looking for a new place in February 2014. “It seemed to me that rents had gone up a couple hundred dollars for the same size of place I was looking for: a two-bedroom house or apartment. They were $600-plus a month and I couldn’t do that,” she says. “I was getting pretty freaked out.” She contacted FMHA looking for help and, with the organization’s financial and informational assistance, closed on a home several months later. “More people need to know about it,” she says of the housing authority. “The option is out there, if you think you can’t do this—I didn’t think I could do this—you don’t make enough money, you don’t this, you don’t that. My mortgage payment for a three-bedroom house is only $90 more a month than I was paying for a one-and-a-half bedroom rental.” She lives now by the football stadium in one of the FMHA target neighborhoods. “This program is not income restricted like lease-to-own was,” Martys says. “It was designed to encourage

people to live in our neighborhoods and to bring back a higher percentage of owner occupancy. And we’ve seen a significant change in our neighborhoods.” Part of that change has been helped by the construction of highrise student housing. Martys says the hope is that as students find the newly constructed buildings like University Place and Beech View Place—now, according to talk among developers and officials, only half-full—they will start leaving the converted, formerly single-family homes in the neighborhoods around campus, opening Morgantown’s housing stock for owner-occupants to move back in. “We continue to partner with WVU,” Martys says. “A few years ago we received a substantial Benedum grant and the university matched it. They’re concerned about our neighborhoods as well. We need a healthy community to attract staff and faculty.” Residents like Hall are, in many ways, re-pioneering singlefamily life in Morgantown’s neighborhoods and say it’s all about collaboration. While some might consider her neighborhood near the football stadium as party central, she sees it in a different light. “It’s close to where I work, it’s close to shopping, and I’m in the middle of everything,” she says. While she lives near students, she says that doesn’t bother her. “I’ve always had good student neighbors. It’s not an ‘us against them’ thing for me.” Now, she says, she has a small front porch and a nice backyard that she’ll spend the spring getting to know. morgantownmag.Com


Coffee, Craft Beer, and Clay Fairmont’s Joe N’ Throw Co-op provides a unique hangout spot and all the goods. ➼


Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015


t’s a popular joke among regulars that you can’t just stop in at the Joe N’ Throw Co-op in Fairmont for 15 minutes. “You end up staying for three hours—talking, laughing, and enjoying good drinks with some of your favorite people,” says coowner Bob Layne. “You can come for local lunch, drink beer with your friends, or grab a cup of joe and read a good book in the afternoon. You can take a pottery class. You can buy gifts for your friends. You may come for one reason, but end up staying for another.” Bob opened the business in downtown Fairmont with Mike Ray in June 2014

across county lines CLOCKWISE FROM OPPOSITE: Mike Ray opened the Fairmont business focused on coffee and pottery in June 2014. You can take six-week pottery classes to make your own clay creations or shop for one-of-akind finds in the store. Joe N’Throw has become quite the gathering spot for live music and craft brews. A Monday through Friday lunch menu offers soups, sandwiches, and more as well as freshly baked pastries.

after eight months of construction. It’s a combination of Bob and Mike’s businesses—Stone Tower Joe and West Fork Pottery—as well as a bar, music venue, and more. It’s a place to hang out that’s unlike any other in town. “We’re committed to making Fairmont a better place,” Bob says. “Joe N’ Throw exists to provide a place for meaningful community gathering, local one-of-a-kind products, and a consistently quality experience.” Paintings, photography, and other works by local artists decorate the space. You can pull up a seat at the counter, have a pint of a West Virginia beer or a mug of pour-over coffee, and strike up a conversation with

friendly staff and patrons. Folk, blues, indie rock, and bluegrass musicians perform at Joe N’ Throw two to four times a month. Pottery classes are offered in a studio neighboring the coffee shop through two glass doors. Joe N’ Throw offers a large selection of espresso drinks and fair trade organic coffee. A Monday through Friday lunch menu offers sandwiches, wraps, salads, and soups as well as cupcakes and other pastries made in-house. There’s a rotating selection of West Virginia craft beers on tap from breweries like Big Timber Brewing in Elkins and Bridge Brew Works in Fayetteville as well as a diverse mix of bottles. On any given

day you’ll find Joe N’ Throw everything from 323½ Adams Street Southern Tier to Fairmont, WV 26554 Finch’s. “I am a craft beer advocate and lover. I drink every style and want to share the great beers I drink with the people of Fairmont,” Bob says. Before Joe N’ Throw set up shop, the local area was lacking, Bob says. “There was no place in downtown Fairmont for good coffee, craft beer, pottery classes, and live music to be experienced all under one roof. This is the kind of place where you can come any time of day.” Bob and Mike first met when an idea morgantownmag.Com


across county lines

At any given time you can come to the Joe N’ Throw and you’ll see people working on their latest projects.” Mike Ray, co-owner

sparked between the two while working at a local farmers’ market. Bob was selling fresh roasted coffee and Mike was selling his clay mug creations. “I loved his work, and we struck up a good conversation,” Bob says. “We thought what we were selling individually worked perfectly together. There’s nothing like good coffee in a nice, hand-crafted mug.” Then the building owner, Tom Lane, approached Kate Greene, the executive director of Main Street Fairmont, about investing in a young entrepreneur who may want to open a coffee shop in the space. “Kate sent Tom my way, I got Mike on board, and together with a lot of help from friends and family, we restored a dilapidated building and created the Joe N’ Throw,” Bob says. “As far as the building itself goes, we had the opportunity to really make this place our own. Long nights and creativity crafted the environment that people now love.” Jeremy Batten, of Fairmont, often goes to Joe N’ Throw for coffee in the morning, lunch once a week, and a pint some evenings. “I love the coffee Bob roasts himself and the local vibe and commitment to partnering with local farmers’ markets. I love that the drafts are rotating West Virginia craft beers. They are people who know great coffee, craft beer, good food, and they tend to tell a great story, too,” Jeremy says. Beautiful pottery is another big draw. Joe 68

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

N’ Throw’s studio hosts small hand-built and wheel-thrown pottery classes for beginners, and Mike also teaches glazing and decorating techniques. “We have many regular students who have really come to enjoy the clay arts,” Mike says. “Our customers are also able to rent studio space at a monthly rate. People enjoy that service. At any given time you can come to the Joe N’ Throw and you’ll see people working on their latest projects.” Mike offers six-week pottery classes on Mondays or Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for $220, including tools and materials. Single-session classes are held Thursdays at 7 p.m. “This is great for beginners, and at $25 per student, you can’t beat it,” he says. The first Thursday of the month a pints and pots class is offered for $30, and students 21 years old or older get to make a beer mug and have a craft beer. “For the future I’d like to offer more classes, kids’ camps, and host visiting artists for workshops,” Mike says. “If you have not been in

before, don’t be afraid. Everyone gets a little messy their first time making pots.” Bob and Mike have no plans to slow down. “Business is great. We have an amazing group of regulars who make the vibe welcoming and fun. We also see dozens of new faces every day,” Bob says. The team is also working to set up a coffee roastery at 314 Washington Street, hopes to offer roasting tours, and wants to expand the pottery studio. “It’s an exciting time to be in Fairmont. We love being here and providing an experience that residents previously could not find in this area,” Bob says. “The Fairmont community has been incredibly welcoming to us and we’re grateful for that.” The Joe N’ Throw Co-op is currently open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. written by Danielle Conaway photographed by Carla Witt Ford

The U

Eyes and Ears The WVU Cadet Program benefits the entire community as students patrol campus after dark. ➼


aylor Nicholson puts on her orange fluorescent vest and walks to the corner of North High and Prospect streets. It’s around 10:30 p.m., and her night is only beginning. For the next five hours, she will handle situations ranging from small altercations to all-out fights. She’ll help students who’ve had one too many drinks get home safely. As a WVU Cadet, she’s ready for anything. The WVU Cadet program began in 2007 as an initiative between the University Police Department (UPD) and the Student Government Association as a way to help on-campus police and further protect morgantownmag.Com


The U

students after dark. “Our cadets are used for preventative patrol activity. They’re visible, and people are always more cautious when they see a person in uniform. They’re our extra pairs of eyes and ears,” says WVU Police Chief Bob Roberts. Cadets are assigned in pairs or in threes to different areas of campus, and they typically report seeing a mix of intoxicated students, underage drinking, and physical altercations. They’re on the ground, and sometimes they handle situations that other officers wouldn’t be able to see from their cars. “It’s hard to judge their effectiveness, but the crime has gone down in the past calendar 70

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

year,” Roberts says. More than two dozen cadets work 20 hours a week, Thursdays through the weekends. They get paid $10 an hour, while the lead cadet gets paid $12. To apply to be a cadet, students need a 2.5 GPA in any major and must pass a background check. Students are in the cadet program for all kinds of reasons, Roberts says—from economic needs to wanting experience in law enforcement to wanting to help other students. Cadet training takes a few weeks. The trainees begin by going into the UPD to discuss rules and regulations. Future

cadets must also take a defensive tactic course and learn CPR. After that they are sent out into the field with experienced cadets for on-the-job training for multiple shifts. UPD officers check in to make sure their shifts are going smoothly, and cadets use radios to communicate back and forth. Taylor, lead cadet, heard about the program from the WVU Office of Student Services when she was looking for parttime work. “It’s a great way to gain field experience,” she says. “My major is criminology with a minor in forensics, so this was perfect for my future career in law enforcement and for making some extra

The U

Our cadets are used for preventative patrol activity. They’re visible, and people are always more cautious when they see a person in uniform. They’re our extra pairs of eyes and ears.” Bob Roberts, WVU Police Chief

money.” Taylor says the position has also given her the confidence to talk to all kinds of people, whether peers or officers, in all types of situations. Her role as lead cadet is to supervise other cadets and ensure they’re effectively monitoring campus during their nightly patrol. She also helps with traffic control, communications, and scheduling. Cadet shifts begin at 10:30 p.m. The young officers walk around their assigned spots, making conversation with people in the area to see if anyone needs help. The most common encounters are intoxicated students. “If they seem to need help we see if a friend can take them home.

If that’s not possible we usually have a police officer come to the area,” Taylor says. Sometimes a citation is issued or an ambulance called. “Overall we report any suspicious activity to assure campus safety,” she says. While crazy nights do occur from time to time, Taylor says the most difficult parts of being lead cadet are the long hours plus schoolwork. “I’m taking 18 credits this semester, so it’s a really busy time for me. But I love being a cadet and the people I work with, so that makes it worthwhile.” University Police say the cadet program is a great way to spread the message

that WVU officers are there to help at any time. Sergeant Jefferie Wright, community policing sergeant, has served the WVU community for six years and has been in charge of the cadets for two-anda-half. “The Cadet Program is one of our most helpful crime prevention programs,” he says, adding that their brightly colored vests can be seen all over campus on weekends. “It is difficult to walk around downtown and not see them.” The future of the program is bright as WVU Police hopes to expand the program even more. “We currently have two cadets that work at the law lchool each night of the week. Those cadets are responsible for patrolling the law school areas until the Law Library closes,” Jefferie says. “The Cadet Program will continue to be enhanced as we expand through the other areas of campus.” Roberts also hopes to hire more cadets to patrol the Sunnyside area, too. written by tessa bonnstetter photographed by carla witt ford morgantownmag.Com


out & about in the mountain city


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Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

out & about in the mountain city

Feb 10 • Apothecary Ale House


Best of Morgantown Party Apothecary Ale House & Café was packed for a private party in early February as local business owners and supporters came out to celebrate the fourth annual Best of Morgantown awards, as chosen by popular vote. More than 40,000 votes were cast in this year’s contest. Some winners stayed the same—Black Bear Burritos again winning best vegetarianfriendly restaurant, for example— while some others were a surprise. Others still were highly contested. The celebration at Apothecary included awards, drink specials, and free refreshments from Pizza Al’s, Black Bear Burritos, The Cupcakerie, and Mountain State Brewing Co.




1 Apothecary owner Grace Hutchens and Jason Coleman accept the award for Best Beer Selection. 2 Stick Tattoo Company wins for Best Tattoo Artist. 3 Owen Schmitt and Vladimir R. LarutaDavalos represent the popular Schmitt’s Saloon and Davisson Brothers Music Hall, the winner of Best Music Venue. 4 Janet Williams and Anna Carrier are all smiles as The Cupcakerie is again named Best Sweet Indulgence. 5 Carol Ramsburg of The Finery takes home Best Place to Buy Women’s Apparel. 6 Steve and Laura Walker represent JS Walker for Best Real Estate Agency. 7 Eric Deal of Forks of Cheat Winery picks up the award for Best Winery. 8 Amanda Love of Power Yoga Morgantown, Jason Coffman of Black Bear Burritos, and Brook Verbosky of Mario’s Fishbowl are all big winners. 9 Hollee Temple and Ashley Evans are excited to represent The Beauty Bar for Best Mani/Pedi and Best Day Spa. 10 Nicholas Romanoli gives a thumbs up as Nico Spalon wins another award for Best Hair Salon. 11 Julie Jordan and Kim Jordan take home Best Place to Buy Shoes for the fourth year in a row. morgantownmag.Com


out & about in the mountain city

Mar 29 • Morgantown Ice Arena



Jeff Johnson Memorial Hockey Game


Friends, family, and hockey fans from across the area came out to the fifth annual Jeff Johnson Hockey Benefit in March at the Morgantown Ice Arena. The benefit serves in part to honor the memory of Jeff Johnson-Cooke, who died of a stroke in 2009 at the age of 38. Ryan Petrucci and Jeff Anderson started the benefit game in Jeff’s memory in 2010, and Gordy Shilling and Larry Casteel have also been instrumental to the event, according to Jeff Johnson’s mother, Patti O’Neill. Donations to the benefit go into a trust fund for Jeff’s daughters for their educational fund.


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1 Family, friends, and members of the BOPARC adult hockey league pose for a photo. 2 Kyle Richards and Cullen Gookin battle on the ice. 3 Jeff Anderson, Todd Gookin, and Chris Brown, Sr., play in the hockey game. 4 Ryan Petrucci, along with Jeff Anderson, initiated the hockey benefit in Jeff’s memory in 2010. 5 Zach Taylor takes the ice at Morgantown Ice Arena. 6 Robert Rockis and Kenn Nyga fight for the score. 7 Family members, including Katie O’Neill, and Patti O’Neill look on.


Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

Your local guide to life, art, culture, & more Apr/May 2015

April April 9 Mathemagics: An Evening with Arthur Benjamin WVU Downtown Campus, Life Sciences Building, Room G15, Thurs., 7–8:30 p.m. 304.293.2011, Watch Arthur Benjamin take the stage to perform high-speed mental calculations, memorizations, and other astounding math stunts. April 10 Monongalia County Schools Visual Art Exhibition Monongalia Arts Center, 107 High Street, Fri. 5–7 p.m., 304.292.3325, Students countywide will unveil works of art at this public opening reception. The South Middle School Jazz Ensemble will perform in the Tanner Theatre at 6 p.m. during the reception. The exhibit will be on display at the MAC through May 2, 2015. Free

Rus Ruppert at Table 9 Table 9, 40 Donley Street, Fri., 7–10 p.m. 304.554.2050, Enjoy live music at Table 9 on the riverfront as musician Rus Ruppert blends elements of Appalachian, Celtic, jazz, and blues. Morgantown’s First Annual Stand Against Walk Monongalia County Courthouse, 243 High Street, Fri., 8 p.m., This event, formerly known as Slut Walk, is a community event to stand against sexual violence. The march against victim blaming begins in front of the Monongalia County Courthouse and moves up High Street toward the Mountainlair Green, where several keynote speakers will discuss the origins and meanings of Stand Against, victim blaming, and other issues. APRIL 10 & 11, 16–18 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead M.T. Pockets Theatre Company, 1390½ University Avenue, Thurs.–Sat., 8 p.m. 304.284.0049, A Tony-award-winning farce, this fast-paced and

Elizabeth Roth

WVU Baseball vs. Butler Hawley Field, 3450 Monongahela Boulevard Fri., 6 p.m., Play ball! The WVU baseball team’s home opener is scheduled to take place at the new Monongalia County Ballpark as the Mountaineers begin a three-game series against Butler, beginning on Friday.

April 11 Watch your Morgantown Roller Vixens open their 2015 season with a bout against Key City Roller Derby from Frederick, Maryland. Children under 12 get in free. Proceeds benefit Relay for Life. $10 and up BOPARC Ice Arena, 1001 Mississippi Street, Sat., 7 p.m.,

funny show turns Shakespeare’s Hamlet upside down as two clowns awake to find they are minor characters in one of the greatest tragedies ever written. $15 for general admission, $13 for seniors, and $10 for students APRIL 11 NEARBY April Fools hosted by the Fearless Fools The Uptown Event Center, 305 Washington Avenue, Clarksburg, Sat., 6:45 p.m.

Enjoy dinner and a show with this comedy troupe. $20 per person or $125 to reserve a table for seven APRIL 11 & 12 Snow White The Metropolitan Theatre, 369 High Street Sat. & Sun., 2:30 & 7:30 p.m. Join Morgantown Dance Studio as the dancers perform Snow White. $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, $10 for children ages 6-12, $5 for children 5 and under



WVU Arts and Entertainment

April 30 Experience Camelot, the Tony Award-winning musical, on a local stage. On national tour, this Broadway show recounts the time-honored legend of King Arthur, Lancelot, and the Knights of the Round Table. $28 and up WVU Creative Arts Center, Thurs., 7:30 p.m., 304.293.SHOW,

APRIL 12 Café Bacchus Sunday Brunch Café Bacchus, 76 High Street Sun., 11 a.m.–2 p.m., 304.296.9234 What’s for brunch? Enjoy freshly made omelets, sweet or savory crepes, salads, and soups every Sunday. Traditional cocktails served at 1 p.m.

Fri., 6 p.m.–midnight, 304.983.1014 Celebrate the colorful history of Las Vegas. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m. and continue until dinner and comedy at 7 p.m. The casino opens at 8 p.m. and closes at 10, when a DJ will play all the hits to make you dance the night away. Dress as your favorite vintage or modern Vegas character. Reservations required. Proceeds go to Operation Welcome Home.

April 14 Paris is Burning WVU Gluck Theatre, Mountainlair 1550 University Avenue, Tues. 7–9 p.m., 304.293.0890 WVU’s Multicultural Program presents a screening of the American documentary film chronicling the drag ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved. Presented by Morgantown’s own Robin Hearts-Love as part of the Cecilia Rollins Film and Discussion Series. April 17 Viva! Las Vegas Casino Night Waterfront Place Hotel, Two Waterfront Place 76

Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

APRIL 17–19 Mother Courage and Her Children WVU Creative Arts Center, Gladys G. Davis Theatre, Fri.–Sun., 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. 304.293.SHOW, Follow one woman’s journey for survival in this School of Theatre & Dance production. Mother Courage hauls her cart through a battle zone and traverses a world of suspicious characters and dangerous situations. Bertolt Brecht’s darkly comic masterpiece has been adapted to contemporary American English by renowned playwright Erik Ehn. Showings will take place on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m.

APRIL 18 Chocolate Lovers’ Day Downtown and Wharf District, Sat., 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Indulge in tasty treats at Morgantown’s Annual Chocolate Lovers’ Day. Visit area businesses and accumulate points toward a grand prize drawing along the way. Registration will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Monongalia Arts Center at 107 High Street. $5 NEARBY Arthurdale Heritage Cabin Fever Craft Show Center Hall, Q & A Road, West Virginia 92, Arthurdale, Sat., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. 304.864.3959, Celebrate spring’s arrival with a craft show full of local artists’ and crafters’ goods.

Second Annual Green Households Fair Wesley United Methodist Church, 503 North High Street, Sat., 11 a.m.–1 p.m. 703.463.7643, Join your neighbors at the last Winter Farmers’ Market. Local experts will be available to answer questions on how to live green in your own home. Almost Blue Album Release Party Monongalia Arts Center, 107 High Street

Sat., 8 p.m., 304.292.3325 Morgantown’s own Almost Blue will host an album release party for its debut work, A la Carte. The band will perform songs from the album and sign copies of the release while engaging with fans. Admission includes a copy of the album. $10 Hungry Poets Night The Blue Moose Cafe, 248 Walnut Street, Sat. 8 p.m., 304.292.8999, Enjoy an evening of poetry. Finalists for the Hungry Poets Contest will read their poems as a panel of judges deliberates and selects a winner.

Join an existing team or create your own to honor survivors and remember loved ones lost. APRIL 25 Big Green Egg Cook-Off Rustic By Design, 709 Beechurst Ave. Sat., 10 a.m.,304.284.8211 Tasting begins at 11 a.m. Competition includes people competing in two categories—chicken and dessert. Suggested $5 donations will benefit the Rosenbaum Family House. Arthurdale Heritage Raffle & Elimination Dinner Masontown Fire Hall, Sat., 5 p.m. Enjoy a delicious buffet dinner, raffles, games of chance, and live auctions. $35 NEARBY

APRIL 21–26 Mother Courage and Her Children WVU Creative Arts Center, Gladys G. Davis Theatre, Tues.–Sun., 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Follow one woman’s journey for survival in this School of Theatre & Dance production. Mother Courage hauls her cart through a battle zone and traverses a world of suspicious characters and dangerous situations. Bertolt Brecht’s darkly comic masterpiece has been adapted to contemporary American English by renowned playwright Erik Ehn. Showings will take place at 7:30 p.m. except on the 26th, when the show starts at 2 p.m. $13 and up APRIL 23 Calliope Reading WVU Downtown Campus, 130 Colson Hall Thurs., 7:30–9:30 p.m. Winners of this WVU undergraduate creative writing competition will read selections of their works to be published in the 2015 issue of Calliope, WVU’s undergraduate literary journal. Spend an evening listening to the best submissions in the areas of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Miss Zelda: Reflections of a Southern Belle Monongalia Arts Center, 107 High Street Thurs., 8 p.m., 304.292.3325 Join the MAC for a staged reading of Miss Zelda: Reflections of a Southern Belle, a play by Koula Hartnett, author of Zelda Fitzgerald and the Failure of the American Dream for Women. This play takes a look at the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, an artist, dancer, and writer as well as the wife and muse of legendary author F. Scott Fitzgerald. APRIL 24 Pure Prairie League & Poco WVU Creative Arts Center, Fri., 7:30 p.m. 304.293.SHOW, See two great country-rock bands on one local stage. $28 and up Relay for Life of West Virginia University WVU Shell Building, 1501 University Avenue Fri. & Sat., 6 p.m.–6 a.m., 304.296.8155 Participate in this overnight fundraising event that fights back against cancer.

Walk MS and Run MS Morgantown 5K Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park Sat., 9 a.m.–noon, 304.413.0100 This event connects people living with multiple sclerosis and those who care for them. For the first time, participants will be able to choose between the regular walking route and an alternate route for runners. Register online. Proceeds benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Gold-Blue Spring Football Game Milan Puskar Stadium, Sat., 1–3 p.m., 800.WVU.GAME It’s time for the annual spring football game, where the Mountaineers take on each other, offense versus defense. Proceeds benefit the WVU Children’s Hospital. $10 in advance, free with valid WVU student ID Scott Alexander Table 9, 40 Donley Street, Sat., 7–10 p.m. 304.554.2050 Come to Table 9 for a night of live music, as Scott Alexander will perform a wide variety of cover tunes ranging from the 1950s to more contemporary hits. April 25 & 26 NEARBY Tea Social Prickett’s Fort State Park, 106 Overfort Lane Fairmont, Sat. & Sun, noon Prickett’s Fort hosts tea and refreshments at the Job Prickett House. The event depicts the 19th century revival of the afternoon tea, a ladies’ social event made popular by the time period’s obsession with English life. Seating is limited. Call to RSVP.

APRIL 26 Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Beauty & the Beast WVU Creative Arts Center, Sun., 3:30 p.m. 304.293.SHOW, Watch as this classic tale of inner beauty is presented in a vivid new story ballet. $28 and up

WVU Graduate Wind Quintet Monongalia Arts Center, 107 High Street Sun., 6 p.m., 304.292.3325 The MAC hosts a classical concert performed by the WVU Graduate Wind Quintet. The show will be simultaneously radio cast on WWVU FM, 91.7 FM. Free

May MAY 2 Irish Road Bowling Coopers Rock State Park, 61 County Line Drive Bruceton Mills, Sat., noon, 304.698.9065 Coopers Rock is a great location for Irish Road Bowling. Competitors will face a fun challenge while attempting to take the fewest throws to propel a metal ball along a predetermined course. Fourth Annual Just Desserts Fundraiser St. John University Parish, 1481 University Avenue, Sat., All day, 304.276.0284 Have a sweet time with desserts from local eateries, plus raffles, door prizes, and silent auctions. Hosted by the Let the Journey Begin Fund Committee at the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, this fundraiser benefits brain cancer research and patient comfort at WVU.   NEARBY Cheat River Festival Cheat River Festival Fair Grounds, Route 26, Albright, Sat., 11:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m. 304.329.3621, The festival fairgrounds will transform into a haven for boaters, music lovers, and families alike. Enjoy live music all day, shop the Art Market, buy a variety of food from vendors, or take part in a silent auction. Test your athletic ability with a 5K or a downriver race. Kids can choose from a host of hands-on activities, including a climbing wall. Cheat Fest is Friend of Cheat’s main annual fundraiser. Kids under 12 get in free. $15.

The Furr, Goodwolf, Bishops 123 Pleasant Street, Sat., 10 p.m. Local art-rock band The Furr takes the stage with other local favorites, Goodwolf and Bishops. MAY 3 Nat King Cole Tribute WVU Creative Arts Center, Sun., 7:30 p.m. 304.293.SHOW, Nat King Cole, pop figure and jazz performer at heart, will be honored in the high-energy Straighten Up & Fly Right, featuring Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli, two award-winning artists who knew him well. $28 and up MAY 5 I Love Lucy Live on Stage WVU Creative Arts Center, Tues., 7:30 p.m. 304.293.SHOW,



Rachel White

May 28 Support local music as Morgantown’s The Furr returns to the 123 stage with its garage-psych/art-rock sound. Local favorite Culture Thief will also perform, as well as State Champion, out of Louisville and Chicago. 123 Pleasant Street, Thurs., 10 p.m.,

Don’t miss this new hit stage show adapted from the iconic television series. Watch live and in-color hilarious and familiar I Love Lucy episodes all while going “behind the scenes” and into the filming process of this new thing called television. $28 and up MAY 9 Ron White: Nutcracker WVU Creative Arts Center, Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre, Sat., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. 304.293.SHOW, See this comedian’s cigar-smoking, scotchdrinking stand-up show. Prepare for nonstop laughter. Mature audiences only. $45 and up Third Eye Blind Tribute Show featuring The Comeback Year Schmitt’s Saloon & Davisson Brothers Music Hall, 245 Cheat Road, Sat. , 9:30 p.m. 304.391.9001, The Comeback Year is a Third Eye Blind tribute band that will play favorites like “Jumper” and “Semi-Charmed Life” from the popular late ’90s band’s collection. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door


Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

May 10 NEARBY Mother’s Day Lunch and Tour Prickett’s Fort State Park, 106 Overfort Lane, Fairmont, Sun., 11 a.m.–4 p.m. 304.363.3030, www.prickettsfortstatepark. com Celebrate Mother’s Day with a light lunch and refreshments followed by a tour of the 18th century reconstructed fort and the 19th century Job Prickett House. Lunch will be served at 11 a.m. and seating is limited. Registration required. $20

May ceremonies. Check for commencement times and locations. May 16 NEARBY Heirloom Plant Sale Prickett’s Fort State Park, 106 Overfort Lane Fairmont, Sat., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. The Marion County Master Gardeners will sell heirloom plants from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Prickett’s Fort State Park’s visitor center. All proceeds go to maintaining the gardens at Prickett’s Fort State Park.

May 14 WVU Baseball vs. Texas Tech Hawley Field, 3450 Monongahela Boulevard Thurs., 6 p.m., The WVU baseball team faces Big 12 Texas Tech in this three-game series. MAY 15–17 WVU Commencement Ceremonies Fri.–Sun., All day, 304.293.7132 Support your grads at one or more of these

MAY 21–24 11th Annual Blue and Gold Mine Sale East Concourse, Milan Puskar Stadium Sat., 7 a.m.–noon, 304.296.7525 This sale offers great bargains on student and community donated goods, all in good and usable condition. All proceeds benefit United Way. $4 admission for the Early Bird Sale at 7 a.m., general admission at 8:30 a.m. is free NEARBY

West Virginia Three Rivers Festival

Palatine Park, Fairmont, Wed.–Sat. 304.366.5084, This festival offers three days of fun-filled events for the whole family. Enjoy music, a carnival, parade, food, and fireworks. MAY 23 The Sgt. Michael Todd May Emergency Responders Fair Walmart parking lot, 6051 University Towne Center Drive Granville, Sat., 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Meet and thank the community’s emergency responders. Watch live demonstrations of canine searches and see fire trucks and other emergency response vehicles up close and personal. All children in attendance will receive free bicycle helmets. MAY 29 Wine Tasting Café Bacchus, 76 High Street, Fri., 6–8 p.m. 304.296.9234, Enjoy generous tastings of wine, paired with heavy appetizers. Reservations recommended. $25 MAY 30 Girls on the Run 5K Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park, Sat. 10 a.m., This fifth annual 5K is open to Girls on the Run program participants, their families, friends, and community members.

Upcoming JUNE 6 15th Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon Deckers Creek Trail, Sat., 6:30 a.m.–noon Experience a challenging and enjoyable half marathon on the downhill course of Deckers Creek Trail. The race begins in Masontown and finishes at the Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park. $55 before May 1 June 13 Bark in the Park 5K Run/Walk Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park Sat., 7 a.m. This fundraiser hosted by Pet Helpers Inc. invites everyone to participate. Human runners can compete in a timed race at 8 a.m., followed by a timed race for runners and walkers and their furry friends at 9 a.m. Awards will be given in every category. $20 in advance or $25 on the day

Got a hot date? Send your events for consideration in our calendar to: with the subject line “Calendar.”



Then & Now

The WVU baseball team in 1896

The 2015 WVU baseball team (courtesy of WVU Athletic Communications)

For more photos

of Morgantown’s past, check out

WVU Men’s Baseball From uniforms to ballparks, a lot has changed in WVU baseball since the team sat down for a photo in the mid-1890s. At that time WVU played fewer than 10 games all season. The 2015 team started its season of more than 50 games ranked sixth in the Big 12’s preseason poll. It’s WVU Baseball Coach Randy Mazey’s third year at WVU after his breakout season in 2013 that took the Mountaineers all the way to the Big 12 Tournament to finish third overall. Mazey has brought a new shine to the team, long relegated to the shadows of WVU’s basketball and football behemoths. Before Mazey it had been years since the team registered on most national or even local

minds. “The team is doing great,” he says of this year’s roster. “They’re exceeding my expectations. We went in knowing they’d be young and inexperienced, especially from a pitching standpoint. Right now we’ve played really well.” The team will unveil its new digs at the Monongalia County Ballpark during its April 10 home opener among festivities and fanfare. “I really look forward to getting everyone in the community involved in the program,” Mazey says. Then & Now is published in partnership with WVU Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center.

written by katie griffith


Morgantown • Apr/MAy 2015

Morgantown Magazine - April/May 2015  

In our annual Neighborhoods issue, we reveal a behind-the-scenes guide to what makes Morgantown home: where to eat, play, and live.

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