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

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October 2009

Major News: EPA May Do Its Job!
DEP Biologist: Agency Chief Huffmans Testimony to Congress Was Ill Informed

Thinking About Your Legacy: An Open Letter from Dr. Ken Hechler

Reflecting on EPAs Announcement
JOBS in the Coalfields, the Right Way
Families in Mingo Co. Sue Over Flooding
Asking the Highest Court in the Land to Hear Our Case
Dear Friends at OVEC
Lindytown - Threats, Dead Horses and Shattered Dreams As the Draglines Creep Ever Closer
Lindytown - From Nice Little Mountain Town to Virtual Ghost Town
EPA Moves to Block WVs Largest MTR Mining Permit
Corps Approves Controversial Permit Despite EPAs Objections
The Trail of Tears - History Is Repeating Itself in WV
Policy Efforts on Family Cemetery Protection Issues
Join the Cemetery Protection Group And Help Find Long-Term Solutions
Awareness is Where Its At
Please Pray for Webster County
Cook Family Cemeteries: Ancestors No Longer Rest In Peace Due to Mountaintop Removal Mining
Coal Slurry: New York Times Nails Clean Water Act Crimes (Many) and Punishment (None)
Victory! Public Water Lines Finally Coming to Prenter
Goodbye Patricia, Welcome Stephanie! - New Organizer Joins SSP Effort
WVU Studying Effects of Coal Slurry Injection on Health
Working to Reduce Coal Prep Plant Air Pollution
Six Southern WV Communities to Benefit from EPA Grant
Judge Thornsbury Disqualified from Presiding in Slurry Injection Case
Coal Country - the movie: Film Debuts To Packed Crowd After Concerns Almost Cancel Showing
Help End MTR and Help Coal Country Have a Party!
OVEC: Power With!
What Happens In Valleys Is As Important As What Happens On Mountain Peaks
Plundering Appalachia - The Book, Is Here!
Chemicals and Their Dangers Force People From Kanawha Valley
Clean Elections - Saving WV From Future Scandals
Why Manchin and Co. Dont Care About Health in the Coalfields
Eating For OVEC Keeps Raising $$$
Carbon Tax: Our ACES in the Hole for Real Change
Report: Global Warming Causes 300,000 Deaths A Year, Toll to Increase
Remembering Conley Branch - May It Always Be In My Heart
United Against MTR:
Red Bandanas, Dreadlocks, Clean-Cut, Old Folks and Young
TV News Fails to Cover Mountaintop Removal Well, Or At All
Nominations for OSM Chief
University Divesting of Massey Stock, Others May Follow
Toxic Legislation: Selenium at the Legislature; OVEC Appeal to EPA

For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

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

Remembering Conley Branch - May It Always Be In My Heart

by Marlene Adins Thames

I am a Mud River, WV, girl. More specifically, I am a Conley Branch girl. Although not born on Conley, most of my childhood was spent there, leaving me with many wonderful memories of that area alive within me.

There was so much to love. I loved the open fields that my great-grandfather, Lorenza Adkins, and my grandfather, Alfred, plus his siblings, cleared when they settled down on Conley. Being small at the time, I thought the mountains were the biggest in the whole world.

I loved the mountains that surrounded our little three-room house and Grandpa and Grandma Adkins four-room house. It was as if the mountains were there to protect us.

The mountain to the east of our house was my absolute favorite. Amongst all of the trees that are indigenous to the area stood a huge pine tree. It jutted out far beyond the top of the forest as if to say, "I am here. I will protect and shelter you from harm."

I made several trips a week up the mountain to that tree. Underneath the trees canopy was a solid bed of moss. Mountain Tea, with sweet, red berries, provided substance. This was my refuge; this was my solace.

One day, Daddy broke his back as he and I hauled coal down from the little abandoned mine on our property. I ran screaming to find my Mother, who sent me running to the only neighbor that had a vehicle.

After the neighbor came with his truck and lifted Daddy onto the bed on a makeshift stretcher, I ran up the hill to my tree, my solace. I was so scared. I found comfort there.

There were other sad times when I sought out the comfort of the mountain. I ran to my tree when my grandmother died. I ran there when I got into trouble with my parents. I ran there when my cat disappeared and when my grandmas dog died.

That tree and that mountain shared some of my darkest moments, but I always felt better because they provided me a place where I could grieve alone, be scared of what was happening, or to simply be happy on "my" mountain.

I wish I could run there today, but the mining companies came after I left. Neither Conley nor Mud River will ever be the same. In my heart, I know "my" mountain is gone.

Conley is now blocked off with a "No Trespassing" sign at what used to be the turn off to enter the hollow. I can no longer go up the hollow to enjoy the scenes from my childhood. The mining company wont let me.

The mountain at the turn into Conley is even gone. No trees. No wild flowers. No squirrels. Like a lot of places in the Appalachians, nothing is left except what the mining company did not want.

Even the oldest mountains in the world could not stand up to the power of money.

I pray that those of us who love this land are strong enough to stand up for the mountains that remain. They have provided strength, solace, protection, and even life, to us. It is now our turn to return the favor.


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