only in west virginia

West Virginia just joined the growing list of states with only one abortion provider

  • Last week, West Virginia became the latest state with only one abortion provider when the Kanawha Surgicenter in Charleston closed up.
  • Now the Women’s Health Center, on Charleston’s West Side, is the only abortion clinic left in the entire state.
  • West Virginia is by no means the only state with one abortion provider. 
  • A study released this month by the Guttmacher Institute found that in 2014, there were five states with only one abortion clinic: Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Read more

Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the only Democratic Senator to vote YES for Jeff Sessions to be confirmed as our new Attorney General.

If you live in West Virginia, please call his office to make sure he knows how pissed you are. 

His office number is  (202) 224-3954.

Also, Manchin is up for re-election in 2018. Be sure to support primary candidates running against him! 

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Hey 😌Everyone calls me Makk, I’m 17 and I live in West By Hell aka West Virginia but only for the moment, I’ll take any chance I can go get out. I love driving in the middle of the nights with windows down and music playing, soccer and volleyball, and hiking. I’m 5'8 just trying to live before Trumps secret service takes me out in the purge for being a flaming homo😛 message me I don’t bite too hard unless you like it like that😉Tumblr @xxkae Snap @kae_xv

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Nestled in the pastures outside of Alberta, Virginia, the Bragg house is a beautiful piece of gilded age architecture built by a wealthy dentist and his wife, the heiress to a Canadian cigar company. Built in 1913, it was the first home in the area to have electricity, which ran off a hydraulics system. It’s also the sight of my father’s first and only paranormal encounter.

The heiress wife was often left at home with her dog, a large, white, iconic and vicious beast, while her husband traveled back and forth from West Virginia to Florida with his practice, only returning a couple months of the year. He began an affair with the maid and his wife was driven to suicide by the betrayal.

The husband proceeded to marry the maid, produce one child and die penniless. A tragic end all around.

The house shifted hands for gets and fell into near ruin until a considerable effort to restore it to its former glory began in the late 80s.

My father was a broke college student looking for any sort of income. So, in the summer of 1988 he began working with the repair group.

Many rumors circulated around the house, including one that the dog was shot and entombed in the basement after the wife died. My father was never a superstitious man so this did not sway him from his duties.

One particularly wet summer day, he was alone and working in the house alone, trying to sweep out the basement and find where the water was leaking in.

He glanced out one of the windows and saw a rather large and white canine-shaped entity make it’s way across the yard. My father, fearing it was a stray, went to the door to close it.

Glancing up, he noticed the dog had completely vanished in a matter of seconds.

My father is not a superstitious man, he blames heat exhaustion for the event. I like to believe differently. The Bragg house was successfully renovated and still stands today under (yet again) new ownership.

Appalachian Subculture: On being gay and Appalachian, by Jeff Mann

Jeff Mann is a widely published essayist and poet from West Virginia. This piece was published in Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, September/October 2003, Vol. 10 Issue 5, page 19. 

Appalachia has a bad reputation, especially West Virginia, the only state whose borders lie entirely within anyone’s definition of the Appalachian Mountains. Moonshine swillers and feuding hicks—these are the images that most people hold. “Hillbillies,” despite today’s politically correct climate, are still regular objects of mockery. City dwellers have been alternately romanticizing and demonizing country dwellers since Greek and Roman times, and American popular culture’s relation to Appalachia is our version of it.
    Several summers ago, some friends and I walked into a Mexican restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The young man who escorted us to our table, noticing my West Virginia Writer’s Workshop T-shirt, asked if we still slept with our siblings back in the hollers. My Appalachian Studies students have heard many a thoughtless comment, to wit: “You’re from West Virginia? But you have teeth! You wear shoes?!” One young woman told me that an acquaintance had been so amazed by her accent that he asked permission to audiotape her speech for the amusement of friends!
    Queer folk and mountain folk have something very important in common: both are frequent objects of satire, hostility, and contempt. Both feel the pressure to assimilate, to blend in “for their own well-being.” Voices from the Hills: Selected Readings of Southern Appalachia (1975), edited by Robert Higgs and Ambrose Manning, is a seminal work in the field of Appalachian Studies, and a quick browse through that volume provides a neat historical overview of attitudes toward the region. The early travel narratives depict violence and hospitality, laziness and industriousness—but it’s the negative qualities that outsiders tend to linger over. From the “local color” writers of the late 19th century to the well-intentioned “War on Poverty” literature of the 1960’s, all the observers have emphasized the exoticism, the otherness of the Appalachian people, as if the region were almost a foreign country or some remnant of frontier society frozen in time. Today’s attitudes continue to be shaped by such media depictions as The Beverly Hillbillies or the infamous film Deliverance, with its inbred banjo-player and toothless rapists.
    ”Hillbilly” and “queer” are two words that oppressed groups have tried to reclaim. They are words that I may apply to myself but that outsiders had better not use to refer to me unless they want an argument. Being a member of both subcultures is often a double burden, one that many mountain people are eager to escape. Gay culture is still primarily an urban phenomenon, while Appalachia, despite its many cities, is primarily a rural region. Making a life as a gay man or lesbian in the countryside or in a small town can be tough; not surprisingly, many young Appalachian gays and lesbians hightail it to the nearest city as soon as possible.
    I certainly did. It was in 1976, when I was sixteen, that I read Patricia Nell Warren’s novel The Front Runner and realized that I was gay. Unlike gay and lesbian youths of today, who have the Internet with its many resources to inform them that they’re not the only ones with same-sex desires, my generation had books, and I devoured them during my high school days in the small town of Hinton, West Virginia, and later at West Virginia University, where I read novels by the Violet Quill writers and relished the luxury of college-town gay life. Appalachia was, at that point in my development, a place from which to flee. With delicious images of Greenwich Village and Fire Island in my head (but not ready for New York), I found part-time work in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1985 and prepared myself for a new life filled with romantic and erotic adventure.
    Misery is often the stimulus to self-awareness, and I was miserable during that long autumn in Washington. A polite Southerner who hadn’t mastered the fine arts of cruising, anonymous sex, and emotional manipulation, I found myself as unhappy and celibate in the big city as I’d been in West Virginia. I felt like Tantalus, surrounded by inaccessible savories. On top of that, I missed the mountains and my family, and I began to realize how many of my values were thoroughly shaped by rural living and out of step with urban life. For someone accustomed to forests, pastures, and vegetable gardens, D.C.’s traffic, noise, and urban pace were abrasive and often maddening. In the midst of the city I came to realize that I was, inescapably, a country boy.
    Proximity to gay bars and bookstores was not worth the price, I decided, and by year’s end I returned to West Virginia, filled with a new appreciation for my native region. By the time I began teaching Appalachian Studies at Virginia Tech in the early 1990’s, I had changed from a young gay man eager to escape the mountains to a not-so-young gay man proud to be a member of both the Appalachian and gay subcultures. Living in a liberal university town in the hills of southwest Virginia allowed me the best of both worlds.
    For many people, however, claiming and retaining both identities is almost impossible. It’s so much easier to choose one subculture over the other than to deal with the confusions and complexities of balancing both. Those who remain in the mountains often feel compelled to hide or minimize their gayness, while those who leave for the cities try to erase their accents and assimilate into urban culture. The latter escapees face a particular difficulty. In an essay in his book, Appalachian Values, Loyal Jones discusses mountain people’s fervent attachment to place and to family. Gay hill folk are like their straight brethren: they display an inordinate affection for their native places, and they often suffer a bitter homesickness when they flee to big cities.
    Rob is a good example. A bear buddy of mine who had spent all of his life in West Virginia, he recently moved to Washington for the same reasons that I did over fifteen years ago, yearning for a rich and varied gay culture that was hard to find in the mountains. He’s had better luck on the romantic front—his handsome face, friendly smile, and well-built body are useful currency—but whenever I talk to him, whenever he returns to the mountains for holidays, I can hear the wistfulness in his voice. Everything’s so expensive in D.C., he complains. The commutes are long, the apartments small, the sound of traffic ceaseless. Maybe he’ll return to West Virginia and enter a graduate school program.
    I understand. As much as I love to visit D.C.—the Lambda Rising bookstore, the leather and bear bars, the innumerable gayfriendly restaurants along 17th Street—I’m always glad to escape the Beltway chaos and begin my retreat down the Shenandoah Valley. When I exit truck-crowded Interstate 81 at Ironto, Virginia, and wend my way along the tortuous back roads between hillsides of redbud, tulip tree, and sugar maple, I’m always gripped by the peace and beauty of the landscape. It is a loveliness I never take for granted. Perhaps it’s because my father (another literate West Virginian) raised me to be a romantic in the tradition of Emerson and Thoreau. Perhaps it’s because I’m in my mid-forties, happily coupled, and no longer delighted by late-night gay bar culture. Whatever the reason, these days the company of trees, creeks, and hills feels just as necessary for my spiritual health as relationships with other human beings.
    Many gay people continue to migrate out of Appalachia, but more and more I meet gay men and lesbians who are determined to remain in the mountains. Some are natives, while some are urbanites who’ve had more than enough stress and have decided to try something new. Harry is an example of the latter phenomenon. Originally from Staten Island, he’s lived in my little hometown of Hinton for twenty years. How does he manage to live a full gay life in an isolated town of 3,500? He does occasionally make the hour-and-a-half drive to the bear bar in Charleston, and he also attends Radical Faerie gatherings several times a year in Virginia and Tennessee. He always talks up Hinton to the people he meets, telling them of its beautiful mountains and river, its incredibly cheap property. And his strategy has worked. At this point, so many gay men, both Appalachians and outsiders, have bought property in Harry’s neighborhood that it has come to be known as “Harry’s Heights.” I’ve met more gay men in Harry’s kitchen—smack dab in the middle of Summers County, West Virginia, an area rife with religious fundamentalism—than I have in any gay bar.
    One reason that gay mountaineers flee to cities is, of course, to avoid homophobia. Though hatred of homosexuals is found everywhere, it’s sometimes more vocal here in Appalachia, where fundamentalist Christians usually assume that they’re the majority. In the Charleston Gazette, West Virginia’s most prestigious newspaper, the letters to the editor are often lousy with biblical quotations. One Kanawha Valley minister regularly harps on the sinfulness of gays and their supposed predatory pedophilia.
    However, despite this hostility, gay life in West Virginia has expanded and deepened in the last two decades. I imagine many citizens of Greenwich Village, Dupont Circle, or the Castro would be surprised to hear that Charleston, West Virginia, hosts four gay bars, a Mountain State Bear Contest, a Pride Parade, a Mr. Leather Contest, and an assortment of political and social organizations for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. For those who live in the many tiny towns of Appalachia, fear and isolation are still likely to warp their lives, but in West Virginia cities like Charleston, Morgantown, and Huntington—and their equivalents in other Appalachian states—living a gay or lesbian existence is becoming in many cases much more comfortable than I could ever have imagined during my lonely high school days in Hinton in the mid-1970’s.
    My friendship with Alan reminds me, however, of the restrictions that can still make Appalachian gay and lesbian lives lonely and unfulfilling. Alan is very handsome, lean and muscular, sweet-tempered, intelligent, and gainfully employed. Despite this, he is unhappily single. Yes, Charleston has a gay community, but it’s too small. Only a few weeks in the bar scene and you know everyone, he complains. Disillusioned and bored by the social opportunities the Kanawha Valley offers, he spends his evenings renovating his house or going to the gym. He dreams of better romantic opportunities in Washington or New York or San Francisco, but he never quite seems to go. He reminds me of the many poverty-stricken inhabitants of the central Appalachian coalfields, whose attachment to place keeps them in a region where economic possibilities have dwindled along with the coal industry itself. (Alan also reminds me of how lucky I am to have my lover John. After years of romantic debacles, I’ve been in a healthy relationship for six years, and I’m no longer prowling for erotic outlets or looking for love. It’s easy for me, a homebody who can take or leave gay society, not to resent Appalachia’s restrictions.)
    Loneliness is everywhere, of course, from the Castro to the most isolated hillside hamlet. Much to my surprise, my D.C. friends sometimes register the same complaints that Alan does about Charleston: the gay social world is too hermetic; it’s hard to find someone interested in more than an overnight frolic. But for mountain gays and lesbians who are comfortably coupled, for those who have come to terms with solitude, or those who’ve resisted the media stereotypes that encourage “hillbillies” to hold their own heritage in contempt, Appalachia possesses a rich regional culture that remains distinctive even as many other sections of America have become blandly homogenized.
    The scholar Helen Lewis once claimed that most Appalachians are bicultural, able to operate in both mainstream American culture and their own mountain subculture. That would make “mountaineer queers” tricultural, I suppose, if they are strong enough to wrestle with the apparent contradictions in their identity. That there are tensions and contradictions I was reminded a few years ago when teaching courses on gay and lesbian literature and Appalachian Studies in the same semester. The gay and lesbian students at first regarded me as a “Bubba” or redneck (I drive a pickup truck, have a mountain accent, sport a beard, wear cowboy boots and jeans, and listen to country music), while the locals in my Appalachian Studies class regarded me as one of them until I came out as gay near semester’s end, giving rise to a good deal of cognitive dissonance. I was tempted to quote Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself?/Very well then I contradict myself,/ (I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
    The longer I live in the mountains and the more Appalachian gays and lesbians I meet, the more I realize how fortunate are those who master the complex art of balancing several subcultures. I’m also beginning to believe that future generations will more easily work their way through the stigmas and contradictions and will not feel the need to renounce one identity in favor of another.
    My ex-student Kaye is a fine example of the new breed of queer youth. She was raised in a coal-mining family in the small town of Fayetteville, West Virginia. Entirely comfortable with her lesbian identity, she is happily coupled and has little interest in leaving the region. “I like Appalachian gay bars,” Kaye admits. “Folk are pretty friendly around here, and, unlike the bars in cities, which often cater to a specific group of queers, West Virginia’s gay bars, since they’re so few, combine all the gay subcultures: men and women, younger and older, leather guys, dykes-on-bikes, and drag queens. It’s a rich mix.” Kaye also tells an unforgettable story about her years living outside the region. When she and her girlfriend moved to Florida and began socializing in a nearby lesbian bar, they were shunned as soon as the locals found out that they were from West Virginia. It turns out the other patrons took mountain incest jokes very seriously. Since Kaye and her lover were both tall and dark-haired, it was assumed that they were sisters as well as lovers! Unlike many gay people of my generation, Kaye is deeply interested in the traditions of mountain culture. As a student in my Appalachian Studies class, she recognized a kindred soul and gave me such local treats as home-canned corn relish, wild ramps, and creecy greens. Kaye is also passionately involved in such Appalachian controversies as the environmental effects of mountaintop mining and acid mine drainage.
    Everett and Glenn also come to mind. This spring John and I visited the young couple in their log cabin in southwest Virginia, which is set so high on a mountain that it’s only accessible via four-wheel-drive vehicles. Everett grilled steaks, Glenn poured iced tea, and the four of us shared a late lunch on the front porch of the cabin. Far below, the north fork of the Roanoke River rushed along. Across the valley, the fog that forms after a spring rain rubbed its belly along the ridges. Just over the fence, a neighbor’s herd of fat cattle grazed amidst buttercups. A mockingbird chattered somewhere, the porch wind chimes sounded. The rest was countryside silence.
    Everett and Glenn are both Southwest Virginia locals, one from Patrick County, the other from Alleghany County. They like their native mountains, and they intend to stay. They’re part of a widely scattered circle of bear buddies who’ve met on the Internet, friends with whom they exchange infrequent visits. Their families have adopted a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and officially regard them as roommates. What cravings they have for big-city gay adventure they defuse with several yearly trips to bear or leather busts in Orlando, Atlanta, and New Orleans. In between those jaunts, they have that quiet mountainside to come home to. “One colleague says I have two lives,” joked Everett as he doled out slices of his homemade pie. “I’m equally comfortable at wine tastings and Wal-Mart.”
    It’s that juxtaposition of the popular and the sophisticated, the wild and the groomed, the country and the queer, that gives one the sense of living between two worlds. John is due home soon, and I’m about to mix martinis. Some collard greens have been simmering most of the afternoon, and the barbecued ribs are almost done. Tonight we’re going to check our calendar—we have trips to San Francisco, Key West, and Lost River to plan—then watch a DVD of Puccini’s Tosca. Right now, however, I’m peeved, because the radio has just announced that the country music star Tim McGraw is performing at the nearby civic center this coming Saturday, but the event is sold out. The mountaineer in me loves McGraw’s music; the gay man loves his broad shoulders, furry cleavage, and handsome goatee. This double vision is the greatest gift of straddling two subcultures: the world shimmers with twice the meaning, twice the beauty.

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The Lindner Breechloading Carbine,

Designed by Edward Lindner of New Hampshire in 1859, the Lindner carbine was a short and compact breechloading carbine that saw limited use during the American Civil War.  Based upon the M1819 Hall rifle and the Norwegian Kammerlader rifle, the Lindner feature a hinged breech which rose 180 degrees for loading, which was usually done with a combustible paper cartridge.  Being a percussion firearm, the Lindner required placement of a percussion cap on the nipple, which when struck drove a spark into the chamber which discharged the round.

Only 892 of the carbines were produced; 501 to the 8th West Virginia Mounted Infantry, and 391 to the 1st Michigan Cavalry.

California lawmakers proposed legislation Wednesday that would require parents to vaccinate all school children unless a child’s health is in danger, joining only two other states with such stringent restrictions.

Parents could no longer cite personal beliefs or religious reasons to send unvaccinated children to private and public schools under a proposal introduced after dozens of people have fallen ill from a measles outbreak that started at Disneyland. Mississippi and West Virginia are the only other states with such strict vaccine rules, though the California bill’s chief author said he would consider including a religious exemption.

Read more here.