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Community Members:

A permit hearing for Justice Low Seam Mining (S400511) Big Creek Surface Mine, will be held at Big Creek People in Action on March 26, all residents are encouraged to attend.
This past summer a dozen residents attended the public meeting convened by WVDEP held at the Endwell Headstart in Squire, W.Va. With the exception of the mine company consultant, all spoke out opposed to at 500-acre surface mine proposed to be operated by Jim Justice within 1/2 mile of the Endwell Headstart Preschool.
WVDEP has made changes to the permit in response to some of the concerns, however the changes did not go far enough to afford the protections needed.

WHEN: Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 5pm

WHERE: Caretta, WV At Big Creek People in Action (map)

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Community Members:



The next McDowell County Community Initiatives events is planned for Thurs., Mar. 26, from 6-8pm in Bradshaw, W.Va. This ‘meet-and-greet’ will be held at the Bradshaw United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall.

The first two networking events–the first which was held at the historic, Elkhorn Inn–brought out a huge turnout of people, from community leaders, educators, and business owners that came to connect with each other. Active community member, Hobert Collins states, “I hope to see more growth, as we want to see positive changes for McDowell County and give hope to the people of the county. Whether it be 1 to 100 community members, by coming and meeting others face-to-face,we can work together to better the county for each other and our futures.”

The upcoming Bradshaw event began as a Facebook group entitled ‘McDowell County Community Initiatives’. This page was established by the Hollow documentary team in 2012 to provide a forum for current local events and concerns to be expressed. After many productive conversations were kept active by energetic Facebook members, such as Hobert Collins, Elisse Goldstein-Clark, and Alan ‘Cathead’ Johnston, the time to physically meet was inevitable. That is when Nathan Acosta teamed up with the owners of the Elkhorn Inn & Theater, Elisse Jo Goldstein-Clark and Dan Clark, to host the first successful event in December 2014.

Five Brothers Pizzeria, in War, W.Va. hosted the second ‘Initiatives’ meet-and-greet, organized by Erica Lucas and Debbie King. This positively energized event emphasized Erica’s historic wood restoration ‘upcycling’ projects and Debbie’s help in establishing the Thomas C. Hatcher Community Center in the former Big Creek High School Gymnasium. In fact, interest was so great, that within two days after this event, the next was planned.

With the proactive involvement of Brian Harrison, Bradshaw became the site of the next McDowell County Community Initiatives Networking Event. Along with the coordinating efforts of Hobert Collins, Brandy Richardson and Shelia Muncy, this event is sure to be a wonderful meeting of like-minded individuals, who have the bettering of our county’s community at heart.  Everyone brings experience and talent to these meetings and Brandy’s speciality is affordable housing. Brandy states,”I am looking forward to sharing information about OSLP (Onsite System Loan Program) and our War Cove Area homes for sale through Shed,Inc.”


Come with your ideas and energy! 



From Iaeger: Pass River View High School. Approximately 1/8 of a mile further, pass the Fire Department on the left. Take the next left at Roosevelt Road. There is a Methodist sign at the top of the alley.

From Welch or Jolo: at Bradshaw’s main intersection, cross Bradshaw Creek, and Roosevelt Road is on the right.

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Community Members:

5 Bros. Pizza in War is the next location to host McDowell County Community Initiatives Facebook Group Face-to-Face Networking on Saturday, February 7, 2015 from 2-4pm.

“Based upon the success of the Christmas party in Elkhorn, where everyday McDowell Countians came together to meet each other & share ideas, I’m delighted to see the Facebook Group continue to meet face-to-face, this time in War, West Virginia’s Southernmost City. I’m also more than happy to pass the baton onto Erica Lucas and Debbie King, who have gladly stepped up to take a lead role in this. One of the ideas we discussed as we broke bread together today was the possibility of using reclaimed wood to build owl roosts – what a wonderful way to honor the rich heritage and legacy of the Big Creek area!” said Nathan Acosta, lead organizer of the December 20 event at Elkhorn Inn in Eckman.

5 Bros. Pizza is located in the heart of downtown War. The event is free but the event organizers are requesting everyone to support the restaurant by purchasing food and refreshments. Guests are asked to RSVP using the official Facebook event page – search Facebook for “McDowell County Community Initatives” and click on the events tab at the top. (Or just click here).

“As a member of the Facebook Initiatives group, I want to thank everyone who came to the last event and definitely look forward to shaking hands with many of you over a slice of pizza in downtown War.”,” said Erica Lucas.

“It is indeed a pleasure to collaborate with Nathan and Erica in an attempt to pull together people, especially younger people, in the County.  I am greatly impressed with their enthusiasm, dreams, and visions for McDowell County’s future.  I look forward to seeing how we more seasoned veterans can connect them to various people and resources and hopefully, come up with a plan to take advantage of the many cultural, career/job-related, recreational, and educational opportunities that are here if the people are willing to work not necessarily harder, but smarter,” said Debbie King.

For more info on the February 7 networking event, contact Erica Lucas at A 1 page PDF version of this announcement is also available. Continue reading Networking Comes to War February 7

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Community Members:

As for an introduction I am Erica Lucas and anyone can contact my mobile phone at 304-887-8540. I have lived in Welch for over ten years and last year ran for Welch City Council. McDowell County is one of a kind but it can be better.

Here is one idea I would like to share about how to take something ugly and turn into something beautiful. McDowell County is littered with many abandoned homes that have not had human inhabitants in many years. This is very obvious to see when one drives through the county. Recently my family restored a ceiling in our home using reclaimed wood from a house on Hobart Street in Welch. We pulled the wood from the studs in the abandoned home, loaded it in a truck, washed the wood and removed the nails, cut it to size, and put it up!

I’ve got tons of compliments from how beautiful this project turned out. It has encouraged me to think about all of the possibilities and ways these old abandoned structures can be used in a positive way to create jobs and put money and resources back into the communities they are in. Please help us facilitate a discussion about this topic by leaving a comment below the photos and don’t forget to send a link to this page to a friend!

PS: If you’re in or close to McDowell County please come to the event I’m leading to organize – Networking in War on behalf of the McDowell County Community Initiatives / Holler Home Facebook Group from 2-4 pm on Saturday, February 7 at 5 Bros. Pizza in War. More info can be obtained by visiting the Facebook Group at this link (see the events tab at the top).


Here are the results:







The finished room – using reclaimed wood from an old home. The light fixture is made from piping materials and mason jars – a DIY project!




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Community Members:

To help tell my story, I’ve included 12 videos featuring or about country music in this post. Click on the upper left of the video window to select “Playlist” to toggle between videos.

People often ask me two questions. The first is, are you artistic like your father? My response to answer that question is the quote often attributed to Pablo Picasso and William Shakespeare “The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give it away.” I believe I was blessed with a number of gifts, like us all, and for me creativity and courage are two of them. So with that in mind, here’s my stab at making one of the first new posts on the Holler Home website by telling Part 1 of my story.

“This is real, this is your life, in a song. Just like a road that takes you home, yeah this is right where you belong; this is country music,” sung Brad Paisley as I meandered along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the closest mountaintop country road from my first hometown, Mount Airy NC.

It was the summer of 2012. I was twenty-five years old, and in search of a new wind. I was taking the day to leisurely make my way up to West Virginia to visit my father. I had recently resigned from my job in Raleigh, NC, ended a relationship, and wasn’t sure where life was taking me next, so I welcomed the opportunity to take a detour off the iconic I-77, to drive fast with the windows down and let the high 80 degree temperatures thaw my spirits while I snapped a few photos and got a good bite to eat.

I got my answer a few days later, when back at my mother’s, my Uncle David sent me a text: “Go where God leads you.” That was all it took, and shortly I found myself living, for the first time as a permanent resident in the state they call almost heaven: West Virginia.

Except my corner of West Virginia is McDowell County. It’s a place that gets real, real fast. Despite the many people who have already worked for years on trying to solve McDowell County’s problems, it is still the poster child for what’s wrong in America. One comes here to face the truth. The mountains here have almost cut it off from the rest of the world entirely, at least at first glance. Nashville songwriters must know places like this, when they produce hits like Tim McGraw’s “Drugs or Jesus,” or Eric Church’s “Give Me Back My Hometown.” For those of you that aren’t already in the know, McDowell County leads the state in nearly every measurable quality of life indicator, and this info is constantly soaked up and engrained into the minds of national journalists. It is also home to four generations of my family.

For the next few months, I spent most of the time riding along with my father, Tom Acosta, an accomplished artist who’s more than 40-year career has produced countless works of art to inspire and make people think.

Then, I got the call I’d been waiting on from someone at West Virginia University.

I will post Part 2 of my story when there are at least 10 other posts from others on the Holler Home website. Until then, follow me on Twitter at @Natey87.