|By Bob Weaver|
In 2005, a Hur Herald story reported that a Calhoun man had invented a solar powered ATV.
In an exclusive interview, Bevus Fellhinder told the Herald he uses his solar-powered ATV to ride to his job at WalMart, West Virginia's largest employer, but admitted there was a problem.
It would travel only 25 miles an hour.
"I got sick and tired of listening to all that whining about high energy prices," he said about his invention.
Fellhinder had been scouting for investors to produce the solar-powered machine and sought help from the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, but got little support.
At the time, the state economic development people told Fellhinder they were all out of money building access roads to WalMarts and developing clean coal technology.
A West Virginia coal group took out full page ads against his solar machine, and increased lobbying efforts in the WV Legislature against alternative energy.
One lobbyist told state media that researchers were working on an efficient coal-driven ATV.
Fellhinder was unrelenting, predicting the production of the machine would create at least 5,000 new jobs. "We may even have to import workers from Mexico," he said.
WV's governor declared Fellhinder's solar-powered ATV was part of a War on Coal, and downplayed the importance of technological advances and a diversified economy in the Mountain State.
"Hell, I suppose West Virginian's will start screaming for broadband for their puter."
"This kind of tree huggin' crap needs to be put to rest, and all those hippies need to go back to where they come from," the governor told Channel 8.
"We rely on what God gave us here in our beautiful state."
"I'm thoroughly convinced this kind of fake science threatens the very soul of all Mountaineers," he concluded.
The Herald caught up with Fellhinder last week in McDowell County, living in a tent on a strip mine abandoned in 1963.
He admitted his health had declined and he was struggling to make do, but he seemed enlightened by his life experience.
Fellhinder had become a Fox News aficionado on a tiny TV in his tent, and had not only caved-in on his solar powered ATV, but his mind about energy and energy corporations had changed.
He said we should quit grumbling about energy company CEOs making those $100 million salaries. "They're part of the American Dream too." he said, "and besides, it will trickle down."
"That whining about tax breaks to billionaires who put their money out on those Cayman Islands is just plain old jealousy. We'd have no jobs without them," alluding to the US Tax Code which is thicker than the Holy Bible.
"We need to trust the government, I know they globalized millions of jobs to our friends abroad."
"I use to work at a Kinny shoe plant for minimum wage, but they sent those jobs to China because my co-workers wanted health insurance. How stupid do you think we got?"
"I heard a guy on TV say we need to return to those old fashioned family-values, re-new our spirit in the work ethic and trust those big corporations. They're people too."
"I'll compete against any Mexican for $6 a day," he exclaimed, finishing off a can of Bud Lite, tossing it down a large abandoned mine hole that could swallow a car.
Ending the interview, Fellhinder said, "I know I drink a little too much, but I need those carbs...It's pretty nice down here. Sorta hard to sleep during the day, those coal guys blowin' up the mountain."
"I've got my gun and I love God."
"They sure to have some good people working at the food bank."
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