|By Dave Peyton|
Has it been that long?
My how time flies and my, how The Hur Herald has been shaking up Calhoun County and vicinity with everything from news to history to commentary all that time.
I recall the first time I saw The Hur Herald online on that newfangled Worldwide Web. I had co-authored a couple of computer books and knew the Web was going to make a profound difference in the future.
I was a columnist and reporter for The Herald-Dispatch at the time and I suspected the Web was going to profoundly affect the way news was going to be transmitted. The folks at my newspaper and most other newspapers didn't agree. In fact, I heard the "computer guy" at the Herald-Dispatch at the time say he thought the Web was a fad and would soon disappear.
But Bob Weaver saw things differently. And he saw it from one of the most rural counties in central West Virginia.
I was impressed and knew I had to do a story on this newspaper that was published online only.
Weaver and I hit it off from the beginning. We discovered that we both had been in Man during the Buffalo Creek flood disaster, he as a mortician and I as a reporter. We talked a lot about Buffalo Creek. It affected both of us deeply.
I learned much about Calhoun County and central West Virginia from reading The Hur Herald, I learned that the state had virtually ignored the county as it slid toward decimation. I learned it was one of the poorest counties with one of the highest unemployment rates in the state and perhaps the nation and the state didn't care.
I figured Weaver had about a 10 percent chance of keeping The Herald alive for a year and a zero percent chance of keeping it going two years.
Boy, was I wrong.
It took 20 year for time and finances to do the online newspaper in. Twenty years of stories, local history, commentary and an outpouring of love for his birthplace by Weaver, a born journalist who published a newspaper that would have made Jim Comstock of The West Virginia Hillbilly proud.
Weave put his heart, soul and money into The Hur Herald and that's what has kept it alive all these years.
In fact, it may have kept Calhoun County alive as well.
With the demise of The Herald, I fear Calhoun will once again slip into anonymity since there appears no one in Charleston has any idea how to save Calhoun or anything else in Mountain Mama.
I hate to see The Hur Herald disappear but I understand why it's disappearing. Weaver can shut it down with the knowledge he kept the newspaper going years longer than anyone thought he could keep it going.
And he can be be proud of the fact that he saw the future before most city folk saw it.
But most of all, he can be proud of the fact he resurrected Calhoun County for two decades and told the world and the Worldwide Web that a place called Calhoun County still exists, despite rumors to the contrary.
- Dave Peyton is a columnist for The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, W. Va.