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A look back

March 27, 2014 - Craig Howell
Over the last several weeks I've been working to gather possible entries to represent The WDT in this year's Better Newspaper Contest from the West Virginia Press Association. As part of this, I was tasked with looking through copies of pretty much every edition we published in 2013, reviewing articles and photos, formatting the digital files and submitting them.

While it was a lot of extra work, it also was a nice refresher over some of the events of the last year. You see, as much information that comes across our newsroom desks, and then along the press, it becomes a little difficult to remember every detail of every article and photo we've put out there for public consumption. They sometimes get muddled up or forgotten.

I've personally covered tens of thousands of stories in my 12 plus years, so sometimes names, faces and phone numbers slip my mind after a while. Hopefully, people understand that and don't feel insulted if I don't immediately recognize them, especially if it's been a few years.

I found myself smiling a little while going through last year's files, recalling some of the events that have featured. You see, sometimes we tend to focus so much on the negative, we forget this valley has a lot of good points as well. We look at what we've lost and neglect what we've gained in the process. Some see the accomplishments of our more high-profile residents and figure it will come back to bite the "little guy" in the long run.

We have had some low moments. There's no denying that. Whether it be the sudden death of a prominent businessman or a gas explosion that left one family without a home or a daughter, they have left a mark on us all, and that's probably why they stick with us the most.

But, for every , long-felt negative there are many positives. It just takes a little time and effort to recall and put it into perspective.

Yes, we've had our share of disasters and heartache, but we've also had some major bright spots. While there was a region-dividing trial with focus on one community's football team, the team of another was bringing people together as it raced for a state championship. While a fire destroyed the remnants of a business connected to the childhood of generations of Ohio Valley residents, several new, locally owned businesses opened their doors.

There was the visit from "Lee the Horselogger" as he made his way across the country, doing odd jobs with only his horses and a wagon. There are the ongoing efforts to save and preserve a historic cemetery in Paris, Pa. Twenty of our local high school students traveled to a small town in southern West Virginia to lend-a-hand to those residents. Summer concert series continued to grow in many of our communities. Weirton saw the opening of a new art gallery through the efforts of the Hancock County Arts Council and the Top of WV CVB.

The list truly could go on.

It does us all some good to take a look back every now and then. It helps to give us perspective, recall some of what has happened, and, possibly, even help to recall some of those names and faces we haven't seen in a while.


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