NORMANTOWN NEWS - By Lisa Hayes-Minney

Have you taken time to enjoy spring? The first day of summer is just a few weeks away. All of our “summer tenants” (as I call them) have returned except the hummingbirds. I don’t feed hummingbirds (sugar water is hummingbird crack) but the do enjoy my lilies, which are yet to bloom. A deer chomped off several of the lily buds a few weeks ago, but I sprayed the rest with dish soap water the next day, and they look as if they will bloom within the week.

I feel as though I’ve been hiding here, in these West Virginia hills. Hiding from the virus, from election rhetoric, riots, bad news. I’ve quit counting the number of positive cases and deaths. I have started counting the number of box turtles I see crossing the road on my way to work--to see how many made it on my way home. I spend time watching my new hens pluck around the grass, the new ducks playing in their kiddie pool.

Sometimes I feel guilty. Far from the front lines of activism and/or revolution, I watch others protest on the television from the safety of my couch. I watch them demand rights that are long since gone or never really provided in the first place. When I’ve had enough (which doesn’t take long) I simply turn off the television and go watch the ducks and hens, or walk the dog around the garden, or mow the yard. They say your home is your castle, well I feel safe here in this tuck of the valley, surrounded on three sides by forested hills.

I remind myself, though I do live with this privilege of safety, the privilege of living immersed in nature’s beauty, (not to mention my white privilege, etc.) that I am contributing to change when I vote. Voting is a privilege I can use to improve our community, our country, our world. I am an activist when I vote; my vote can make a difference. I am a peaceful protestor when I spend my money locally or on products from companies that I trust. I am a revolutionary when I research current issues and events and educate others to protect them from misinformation. I am a contributing, responsible citizen when I research political candidates and support the ones who support my values.

West Virginia, historically, has low turnouts for elections. I think there is a lingering personal idea that votes can’t make a difference, that voices won’t be heard. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?” I find myself wondering lately how many protestors are also active voters who make their voices heard with their votes as well. I wonder sometimes if our leaders are even listening.

There is no excuse this year for any registered voter in our state not to vote. West Virginia, during these times of COVID-19, has offered more ways and opportunities to vote than many other states. In addition, our country has reached a point where younger voters outnumber the older generations who are the most active voters in our country. If you haven’t been an active voter in the past, this is your year. Step up. Participate. Are you listening to our fellow countrymen and women? Are you letting your voice be heard? We may be safer and feel more secure in our rural seclusion, but our country is in chaos and turmoil. Our votes here could lead this country to a better, brighter future. Let your votes, your voices, be counted.

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Normantown Historical Community Center will be seeing a different Food Pantry program the second Friday of June, the 12th, with more information out on social media as they get it. Mountaineer Food Bank is beginning an "In this Together Food Box" distribution. These are on a limited basis and the boxes will contain 10-12 food items. Local volunteers will be adding the NHCC box to the MFB box and are grateful for a second donation from Parkersburg Area Community Foundation for food distribution. Donations were also received from Mt. Caramel Church and Mescal Kuhl.

The contractor is to start putting a new roof on the little brick building this week. NHCC got a grant from the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation to cover most of the cost, with donations to make up the rest.

Donations to NHCC can be made online at   or mailed to NHCC, 3031 Hackers Creek Road, Jane Lew 26378, c/o Margaret. Donkey Basketball has been rescheduled for October 17th, 2020. If you have any 25267 area news you would like to share, send an email to or leave a message on our machine at 304-354-9132. I also have a seasonal email newsletter that includes links to this column online. You can subscribe at