By Alvin Engelke

Nancy and Jane Engelke met Anna Engelke and Keith Collins in Cumberland Maryland over the weekend for business, as Jane was a judge for the 2004 Miss Allegany County America Scholarship pageant and for pleasure as Nancy, Anna and Keith shopped, ate and went to the movies. Nancy attended the pageant Saturday evening and the highlight of the event was seeing in person Miss Maryland 2003, Marina Harrison. Marina was third runner-up in the national Miss America Scholarship Pageant and won the program's first ever casual wear competition. She received more that $27,000.00 in scholarship money at the national level. Her talent, clothing and persona were over the top. A real example of what our young people today are made of.

Keith and Anna reported the opening of a new restaurant in Middletown, VA. Keith is working there part-time as he loves people and the ambience of the pub/restaurant, which serves traditional Irish food and provides live traditional music, complete with fiddles and tin whistles. The owners are Brian and Philomena Coughlan from Limerick, Ireland. Anna and Keith visited Ireland last year. The FUNchester crowd, as Anna and Keith's group of friends are known, attended on opening night and reported an exceptional evening. They invite their friends to come for a visit.

It was reported that Keith Collins has received fan mail and phone calls after his recent write up over his New York City antics.

Fritzina Katz was in a real dilemma Sunday as she was accidentally locked in the coat closet. Loud yowls and scratching finally summoned her owner to the rescue.

"Mug" Parks is a patient in the hospital. Also hospitalized is Ronnie Waters who fell and broke his hip.

Rev. Juanita Lockhart filled her regular appointment at the Burning Springs M. E. church.

Jack Nutter and Fred Bish repaired the broken water line at the Creston Community building. They also worked on a stove and put up some shelves in a closet.

The Creston area had both snow and high water with several area roads closed. Then a power line broke up near Cabot Station and since there was water around the power pole the repair crew could not restore service for several hours. C. Glen Arthur had some problems since he needed electric to keep his breathing machine going. Those calling on Glen included Mr. & Ms. Glennie Edward Arthur and Mr. & Mrs. Carl Ferrell.

Richard Enoch was attending to business in Creston over the weekend.

Greg Carder who works for Universal Well Service noted that his great grandfather Joe Smith ran Godfrey L. Cabot's lampblack factory at Creston. He noted that "grandma" who is 91 remembers when things were fetched to Creston on the boats. Ronnie Wyers currently resides in the factory superintendent's residence.

The folks down at the Mouth of the Elk River continue to stir the waters. One fellow running for governor promised to tax the out of state rich folks who, as he said clip coupons and collect royalties. Of course, being from a wealthy family himself he knows that "clipping coupons" [from bonds] went out of style before the middle of the last century. Another politician wanted roll bars on four wheelers although they are not available and so it goes. Wonder how they will tax out of state owners and spare in state residents? It was recently reported that 50% of the babies born in West Virginia are borne to welfare mothers so it should be clear that Rome has been burning for quite some time while the perfumed princes who rule the state strut and preen leaving no one to "mind the store".

It was somewhat scary when it was reported that the current governor actually believes Albert Gore Junior's global warming hoax and plans to have laws enacted based on the pseudo science that resulted in the popular folly. Speaking of Gore, Howard Dean noted that things started to go wrong for him when Junior Gore came out and endorsed him.

The Oil & Gas Museum and the park at Burning Springs received a $1,000 donation from the Independent Oil & Gas Association.

Gas produced from the Clover field in Roane County fetched $8.78/MCF while gas royalties paid by Columbia Natural Resources were only $3.25, much less than market in the area. A study was made of the decline curves of Devonian Shale wells near the big deep Trenton/Black River wells and it was noted that production was off as much as 75% while similar wells away from the deep holes did not decline a significant amount. Many have thought that the shallow gas pays are fed through lineaments from the deep pays. The price of local crude oil fell to $29.25/bbl.

The Wirt County Farm Bureau will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday February 17 at 7 P. M. at the road garage in Elizabeth. Scheduled is a discussion of the new insurance carrier, Nationwide, and the annual trip to watch the Legislature in session as well as the legislative reception, "A Taste of West Virginia" on Feb. 25.