By Alvin Engelke

The Christmas and New Years Holidays came and went at Creston without any serious incident. The community made up fruit baskets for the elderly and shut ins and the baskets were much appreciated by the recipients thereof.

"Beanie" Veon was visiting her sister Juanita Bell. According to a legal notice in the paper neither could be found although Juanita has lived at Sanoma for many, many years and "Beanie" lives over in the next county. They were both calling on Mr. & Mrs. Ward O'Dell. Juanita has been church treasurer for many years, worked elections and has volunteered at the Hope Shop for a long time and her husband's name is in the telephone book.

Ray Cunningham is on the sick list and not doing well at all.

Bucky Arthur was on the sick list but is on the mend now.

Arizona McCord, age 80, passed away at Grantsville and she was buried at Ground Hog. The daughter of Bob Wise, she was known locally as Zona Wise.

As a routine matter horror scopes are left to other columns and writers but the one for Mr. Dexterity was just too good to pass up. It seems that he was described as a "love magnet" although it was noted that he might not be able to meet all the expectations. He is still looking for antlers to make up a potion.

The case of "mad cow" disease in the State of Washington has caused consternation in the local farming community. Cattle prices had been the best in years although since the news broke prices have fallen by about 25%. In Canada the prices fell 75%, which spelled ruin for many. While fingers have been pointed all around it should be clear that using waste animal parts as animal feed for normally vegetarian critters is not clever. This is one of the type of programs that was "researched and proved" by government studies that would be a good way to use waste products to "increase calcium and protein" in animal feeds. As matters now stand, the unlucky cow came from Canada and had been fed the "laced" feed. Of course, local meat is safe to eat.

Todd, Sarah, Michelle, Emily and Rebecca Rhodes were visiting family in Creston. They also visited cousins in Illinois. While in Peoria, the family took an airplane ride and Sarah got to pilot the plane for awhile. They also visited the American Girl Doll headquarters in Chicago. Todd is scheduled to attend leadership training with the National Guard.

Likely the biggest crowd ever was on hand for the Creston auction which was a big success. The next auction will be Saturday evening, January 31 starting at 6 P. M. Eric Buchanan and Amy Nicole Ferrell were the special helpers for the evening.

Also visiting at the Engelkes for the holidays were George and Cynthia Engelke of Tennessee, Anna and Fritz Engelke of Middletown, VA. Keith and Wilby Collins of Middleton and Jane Engelke and Scheny Schenerlein of Parkersburg.

Jennings Law, Mr. & Mrs. Lafe Marks, Mr. & Mrs. Joe Pennington, Virgil Maze and Casper Shuman were all attending to business in Creston. Virgil noted that he and Mae have been married for 62 years but that she is not doing very well.

Rumors were hot before Christmas as word was given to take Bob Wise's name off all the DOH signs but the meaning is still not clear. Sportsmen were in for a surprise when no 2004 hunting licenses were available because either 1)someone forgot or 2) the state printer was swamped making up paperwork for a gubernatorial candidate whose office oversees the elections. Finally stamped over licenses were made available but no one remembered to tell the game wardens that sportsmen couldn't buy licenses since none were available.

Dr. Doug McKinney, a Clarksburg physician who is running for W. Va.'s governor, was campaigning in the Creston area, Saturday. Dr. McKinney took the view that, for its size, Creston has a significant amount of influence. As director of the state medical association, Dr. McKinney was instrumental in making an improvement in the insurance climate of the state. He had attended the Farm Bureau and Forestry dinner and meeting Friday night at the 4H grounds in Wood County.

It was learned that the Preacherman (and his wife) have a new baby. They now have a boy and a girl.

While there was a little snow on the ground around Creston before Christmas, it has warmed up since with lots more rain. Slips and slides continue to move and many roads may be closed off at a moment's notice. Locally the road is going into the West Fork up from where Harley and Bertha Wells once lived and travelers should use caution.

Those who purchase domestic gas from Dominion (Mother Hope), Columbia (Mountaineer) and Allegheny (formerly Cabot) are finding out just how valuable West Virginia's resources really are. Natural gas, which just a few miles away fetched 20 cents suddenly becomes worth $9 or more. Of course there are lots of expenses maintaining big out of state offices, flying airplanes, advertising, influencing government officials, etc.

The part to repair Hastings Station in Wetzel county is scheduled to arrive at the Pittsburgh airport from Canada after being fetched there in a Russian airplane. While the stripping plant is down the wet gas is mixed and is being sold to customers in Ohio.

The price of local crude oil fell to $29.25 on New Year's Day.

John Little did some water well pump work for Rod Lynch.

Eddie Norman said it had been a wet year for running boats and barges up the presently maintained navigable streams. He said he wished it would get so low that they would have to put wheels on the barges. He did note that he was lucky and hadn't hit anything while piloting his boat through flooded streams. He noted that another fellow "found" a pipe boat dock, much to his dismay.

There was some excitement in Roane County when the flare on the deep well at Gandeeville was reported to 911. Although there has been some gas found, they still have a ways to drill.

Two fine bucks that still have their antlers are seen routinely on Ann's Run. The other evening, one vehicle stopped for an extended time to view the six point with the wide spread.