Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Archive list of "E"- Notes newsletters

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August 2009

Floods ... Again
OVEC Organizer Wins International Recognition with Green Nobel
JOBS and Energy Answers for Our WV Mountain Communities
Picnic for Green JOBS
MTR Mining Equipment Taken Off Gauley Mountain For Now
Board Adds Conditions to Disputed Fayette County Mine Permit
Lets Make Sure the Transition to a Clean, Green Energy Future in WV is a Peaceful One
Calling All Potential New OVEC Board of Directors Members!
Congress Doesnt Always Want to Come CLEAN
The CLEAN Citizens Leading For Energy Action Now
American Clean Energy Security Act: Coal Rewarded
Good Gosh, We Could Have Used That Money to Jump Start the Clean Energy Future in America!
Slurry Lawsuit Settlers Frustrated With Wait for Money
Mountains Aided With First-Ever Fundraising Concert in North Carolina
Sludge Safety Project Legislative Session Wrap-Up
DEPs Sludge Study Results: Agency Still Dont Know Nuthin
OVEC Organizer Testifies at Senate MTR Hearing
Thanks for All the Volunteers Who Helped After the Floods
Fighting For Our Ancestors Resting Places
Lobbying for Green Jobs in DC
Growing Movement Demands Protection for Mountains, Climate, Humanity
Environmental Groups Ask EPA to Take Over WV Pollution Permitting
Byrds Eye View: Staffers Get Close-Up Views of Mountain Range Removal
A Good Win in A Critical Federal Court Case Against MTR
Judicial Bill Pulled by Governor
Supreme Court Case Makes WV A National Laughingstock
Eating For OVEC Keeps Raising $$$
Photovoice Participants Capture their Communities in Images
Photovoice Exhibitions Well Covered By Local and Statewide Media
You Dont Have to Go to Copenhagen to Make a Difference
Obama and Mountaintop Removal Mining: The Roller Coaster Ride
New CD Celebrates Coalfield Resistance to Mountaintop Removal
Blair Mountain and the National Register of Historic Places
Ashford Yesterday, Today and Maybe Tomorrow?
Come Home to West Virginia? Buyer Beware!
Louv-ley Day in Charleston
Who Are They Kidding?
Web Extras:
Open Letter to Governor Manchin about Blair Mountain
Matewan, West Virginia

For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

Winds of Change Newsletter, August 2009     See sidebar for table of contents

Ashford Yesterday, Today and Maybe Tomorrow?

by Robin Blakeman

In Ashford, WV (northern Boone County), the beauty of the place and the pride of people who have lived there for generations will astound you, as will the serious problems they are facing as radical strip mining operations come ever closer to their homes and communities. There are at least three mining companies operating here, seemingly intent on dismantling much of the community.

Daily, blasts from mining operations shake homes, cracking the foundations of old and new houses alike. One resident reported coming home one day to find shelf contents scattered and broken all over her floors; she thought a robber had been in the house! It turned out to be damage from a mine blast. Her large home is less than a decade old and now has cracks in the foundation and walls.

Other people recount their grief over the loss of beautiful community landmarks, such as large rock formations that used to frame the town and provide hiking destinations for school groups and families.

These folks are so connected to their surroundings that any change to the landscape in the area saddens them greatly. Many worry about water pollution and streams that are being buried. Some people think far enough ahead to worry about the long-term effects to the entire Coal River; the river runs through this community and has shaped its identity in many ways throughout history.

Despite the challenges they now face, Ashford residents are quite proud of their place; they want to remain there and are trying desperately to defend their land and heritage.

A couple of people, both relatively new to OVEC networks, have taken some arresting photographs of the Ashford area. The serene beauty of the place they call home and the challenges it faces are represented in these images.

Teresa Perdues family has resided in the area for many generations; she has children and grandchildren who live nearby. Perdue has many jobs, and one of the most interesting is that of photographer. Shes well known in the Ashford area for the high school senior pictures she provides for area youth, as well as for her flowers. She has constructed an award-winning landscape design consisting of phlox and other flowers on the bank of the creek near her home.

Gary Epling (father of Christians For the Mountains Americorps volunteer Rebekah Epling) says that he rarely leaves the house without a camera. Although he now lives in the Ripley area, he grew up around Ashford, and he has returned to take some striking pictures of the Coal River. He is also terribly concerned about the radical strip mining and mountaintop removal mining going on there that will inevitably alter the landscape of the place where he was raised.

These two folks represent the fierce pride of place that Ive observed among Ashford residents. Their photographs remind us all of the beauty of this highly endangered place.


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