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Middlebourne Council plans events

By Staff | Jun 12, 2013

Patty Cooper as Belle Boyd

Mayor Gayla Fisher reiterated the events for Middlebourne’s upcoming Bicentennial Celebration at Monday night’s council meeting.

The event is to take place June 21-23 and kicks off Friday, 4 p.m., with a dinner on the Tyler County Senior Center lawn. The dinner includes hamburgers, hot dogs, cobblers, and ice cream and is followed up with entertainment by Mountain State Bluegrass Express at 5 p.m. A quilt show will also take place at the Senior Center on both Friday and Saturday.

Saturday’s events begin at 11 a.m. with the brass quintet, Summertyme, playing at the town’s gazebo. Soup beans and corn bread will be for sale at the senior center, whereas those craving a hot dog or pepperoni roll can stop by the library where those food items will be for sale, along with other goodies.

A parade will begin at 1 p.m., with lineup for the event starting at 12:15 p.m. at the senior center. After the parade, Adams House Ministries will be hosting an ice cream social. The ministry will set up a collection site in front of the magistrate office where they will be accepting both hygiene and nonperishable food items. They will also be available to answer questions from the public.

Also on Saturday, Maria Isabella “Belle” Boyd (1844-1900), a confederate spy, will be portrayed by Patty Cooper of Parkersburg. The presentation is part of the History Alive! program of the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Belle Boyd was born in 1844 at Bunker Hill, W.Va., and spent her early years in Martinsburg. When Union troops entered Martinsburg during the Civil War, the 17-year-old Belle shot and killed a federal soldier who invaded her family home. Acquitted on self-defense, she turned her energies to collecting and smuggling military information to help the confederate cause. After going to England in 1864 to seek support for the Confederacy, she was unable to reenter the country until after the war, when she toured widely, speaking of her war time exploits.

Boyd is one of the many available character presentations offered through the West Virginia Humanities Council’s History Alive! program as a means of exploring history by interacting with noteworthy historical figures. These programs provide audiences with the opportunity to question those who have shaped our history. The West Virginia Humanities Council is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing educational programs in the humanities for all West Virginians. For over 30 years, the council has been providing educational programs in the humanities across the state.

Also on Saturday, from 2-6 p.m. there will be a variety of events available for kids held at both the CSTC lawn and Main Street. These events include inflatable activities, a rock wall, face painting, balloon animals, and bubbles.

Fisher stated there would also be a woman playing the bagpipe and a man would be strolling around playing the flute. Jeff Watson will also be at the fire hall with a slide presentation of Middlebourne’s history. An apple butter demonstration, as well as a birthday cake honoring Middlebourne’s birthday, will be available in the town, and Betty Tustin will be doing a weaving demonstration on Main Street.

The big event of the evening will take place at the Tyler County Fairgrounds where Landau Eugene Murphy will be performing from 7:30-9 p.m. Following this event, a fireworks show will be presented by Zambelli’s. During this time, the ladies of the fair board will have beverages, hot dogs, and chips and salsa for sale.

The fair board ladies will return on Monday where they will be serving a baked chicken dinner at the fairground’s log building from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This will be followed by a performance by Gold Wing Express at the fairground’s stage.

Fisher stated she had the opportunity to speak with both Gold Wing Express as well as the people connected with Landau Eugene Murphy and that they are all “very nice people.”

Middlebourne’s Bicentennial celebration is being strictly done through grants, specifically a $500 grant from Long Reach Credit Union, $500 from Stone Energy, $5,000 from West Virginia Culture and HIstory, and $50,000 from the Stealey Community Fund. “No town funding is involved,” Fisher stated, saying she wants to make sure everyone knows that the celebration is funded through grants.

In other matters, Mayor Fisher announced that plans of masonry work regarding pillars for the town’s sign had fallen through. The gentleman who was to perform the work was unable to meet the requirements advertised in the paper. Fisher stated that seeing as the bicentennial celebration was quickly approaching, she was going to have the sign temporarily held up by treated lumber or something similar.

Fisher also stated that three hydrants were going to be updated by the end of the month. She further notified council that she and Treasurer Tena Lemasters had worked though all the necessary paperwork with FEMA regarding the storms last June. She had received word that the city would receive $2,803.12 to go back into the water department funds.

As for an update concerning lots on Westchester Avenue, Fisher said she had spoken with Attorney Gary Rymer, who told her that research is still being conducted on the matter. Fisher added that Rymer stated he was following through with questions and would update council when he had additional information. Fisher said the situation concerns lots on Westchester Avenue that were left to the town, to benefit the library, by Hallie Swan Haught.

Also, Fisher said the sedimentation tank would be pumped out today. This is a procedure that needs to be done once a year, if not twice a year.

Finally, Fisher stated she had no other matters for council, because it would not be prudent to jump into new matters, considering a new mayor was about to be elected.

Council member Vera Henthorn requested that the definite plans for the sign’s pillars be written into the minutes so that the plans for the sign can be followed through. This way, the new mayor would have to approach council first before making any changes.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Mayor Fisher thanked the council for being so helpful during her time working with them, as well as past councils. “It’s been a learning experience,” she stated. Fisher added that there are always difficulties, but the difficulties do not “hamper the thought of ever wanting to do a job like this or wanting to work with everybody.”

“I’ve had a good time, and I appreciate everything you’ve done, the help you’ve rendered,” she added. “I really appreciate it . . . It’s the same way with past councils. They’ve done the same thing, and it’s how there is a lot of support in the community . . . It’s good for young people to see that people can work together. Not everybody agrees with everything, but you can always be friends and have differences of opinion. That’s where good ideas come from, and I really do appreciate it.”

Vera Henthorn then thanked Fisher on behalf of the council: “We want to thank you for all the good things you’ve done,” she stated with emotion in her voice. “We are going to miss you something terrible.” Fisher stated she would still be around, adding “I have a soft spot for Middlebourne . . . I just wish the best for the town, and I hope everything progresses. You find where towns sit idle and nothing happens. Hopefully Middlebourne can be progressive and continue to do a lot of things and think outside squares. Best wishes to everybody, and best wishes to council and the new mayor.”

Present at Monday night’s meeting were Doug Doak, Dave Myers, Dave Farhatt, Vera Henthorn, Treasurer Tena Lemasters, and Mayor Gayla Fisher. Also at Monday’s meeting, the minutes of the May 13 meeting were read by Henthorn and accepted by council.