Bob Powell

Radio Operations Director

Bob is West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Radio Operations Director. He first worked for WV Public Radio in 1986 as a part-time announcer, and later returned to host jazz music programs and manage on-air operations in the 1990's.  A graduate of Alderson-Broaddus and Marshall Universities; he taught Speech, Broadcasting, and Rhetoric at Alderson-Broaddus University, West Virginia State University, and WV Institute of Technology of WVU. Bob served 21 years in the Army National Guard, and served oversea in Bosnia and Iraq.

Ways to Connect

Rabbi Samuel Cooper
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

Rabbi Samuel Cooper died in Florida on January 2, 2006, at age 97. The Toronto native visited Charleston in 1932 to lead the High Holiday services for the B’nai Jacob Synagogue. The congregation was so impressed that a delegation followed him on his return home, caught up with him in Baltimore, and hired him as full-time rabbi. Cooper returned to Charleston to begin nearly a half-century in the B’nai Jacob pulpit.

He was the synagogue’s first rabbi born in North America. He guided the congregation from old-style Orthodox Judaism to a more modern Orthodox perspective.

State Capitol burns.
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

On January 3, 1921, the West Virginia state capitol building in downtown Charleston was destroyed by fire. Originally dedicated in 1885 and completed in 1887, the 85-room Victorian structure was our state’s fourth capitol—and the second in Charleston.

Firefighters struggled to put out the blaze due to the intense heat, and rescue efforts were pulled back after one firefighter was killed by a collapsing masonry wall.

Congressman Ken Hechler paid to bring hundreds of miners and the widows of the Farmington miners to protest at the nation’s capitol.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

On December 30, 1969, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act.  Since the Monongah mine disaster in Marion County more than 60 years earlier, Congress had been passing laws to address coal mine safety. However, most were filled with loopholes or lacked funding for enforcement.

The tide turned after another Marion County disaster. The 1968 Farmington explosion killed 78 miners. Americans watched in horror as the drama unfolded on national TV. 

December 29, 1861: Sutton Burns

Dec 29, 2016
Suttonville, as it was known then, was strategically located on the Elk River, which ran south all the way to Charleston.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

The Braxton County seat of Sutton was nearly burned to the ground on December 29, 1861. During the first year of the Civil War, western Virginia was besieged by Union and Confederate troops vying for control of the region. Most fighting centered on important transportation routes.

Suttonville, as it was known then, was strategically located on the Elk River, which ran south all the way to Charleston. It was also located on the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike, which connected the town with other key roads.

Kilgore’s work can be found in a number of prestigious collections
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

Artist June Kilgore died on December 27, 2006, at age 79. The Huntington native was an expressionist painter who spent 30 years as an art professor at Marshall University. Kilgore’s modern and abstract work evokes intense emotion and a sense of the spiritual.

An eloquent communicator, she had a significant influence on her students at Marshall and inspired many accomplished West Virginia artists, including Dolly Hartman and Sally Romayne.

Hayslett continued making instruments well into his nineties.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

Harold Hayslett was born in Putnam County on December 26, 1917. After serving in France during World War II, he worked as a pipefitter for Union Carbide in South Charleston. He retired in 1980 after 33 years of service.

While working at Carbide, he started a side hobby—making violins, cellos, and other instruments. His reputation spread quickly—first locally, and then worldwide. The Violin Society of America honored Hayslett on several occasions.

Shepherdstown and Romney were both chartered on the same day, the big question still comes down to which one came first.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV Humanities Council

On December 23, 1762, the Virginia General Assembly chartered the towns of Romney and Shepherdstown, igniting one of the longest-lasting debates in West Virginia history. The question?  Is Romney or Shepherdstown West Virginia’s oldest incorporated town? 

In 1991, the station fell into bankruptcy and went off the air. It was resurrected a little more than a year later by Fantasia Broadcasting.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / e-WV

On December 22, 1928, Fairmont’s WMMN radio station went on the air. The call letters were based on the initials of popular Fairmont attorney and U.S. Senator Matthew M. Neely. Like many other radio stations in Appalachia, WMMN played an important role in the growth of country music.

In 1938, WMMN began hosting a live Saturday night show. The Sagebrush Roundup was broadcast from Fairmont’s National Guard.  It featured some of the bigger names in country music, including Buddy Starcher and Grandpa Jones, who would later become a beloved TV star on Hee-Haw.

Bradley and her fellow nurses cared for the sick and taught good hygiene to the prisoners.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / e-WV

Ruby Bradley was born near Spencer on December 19, 1907. As a member of the Army Nurse Corps, she would become one of the most decorated women in U.S. military history.

Bradley’s ordeal also is one of the most incredible stories of World War II. Just hours after attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Japan bombed American defenses in the Philippines, where Bradley was stationed as an Army nurse.

About three weeks later, she was captured and imprisoned in an internment camp in Manila. Conditions in the camp were brutal and kept deteriorating as the war dragged on.

Some 5,000 spectators poured into the Jackson County seat. Many were drunk, and some even sold souvenirs.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / e-WV

On December 16, 1897, John F. Morgan was hanged in Ripley for the murder of Chloe Greene and two of her sons. It was the last public execution in West Virginia history.

Some 5,000 spectators poured into the Jackson County seat. Many were drunk, and some even sold souvenirs. The rowdy scene prompted West Virginia lawmakers to take action.

A faulty eyebar eventually cracked and began to corrode, out of sight from the public or bridge inspectors. At about 5 p.m. on December 15, the eyebar failed, setting off a series of other failures that caused the bridge to collapse.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online

  

December 15, 1967, was one of the darkest days in West Virginia history. Sadly, it was only the first of many tragic days that West Virginians would suffer.

The Silver Bridge, which connected Point Pleasant with Gallipolis, Ohio, had opened to traffic in 1928. It was the first bridge in the nation to use an innovative eyebar-link suspension system rather than a traditional wire-cable suspension.

Shoneys
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online

On December 12, 1975, the original Shoney’s Restaurant closed down for good in Charleston. The Shoney’s chain grew from the original Parkette Drive-In and Bowling Alley, which had opened on the city’s West Side in 1947.

The restaurant was the brainchild of Alex Schoenbaum, a former All-American football player at Ohio State. He moved to Charleston in 1943 and opened the Parkette four years later.

Over the years, the performers who have recorded Wheeler’s songs read like a Who’s Who of country music.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

On December 9, 1932, songwriter, musician, playwright, humorist, and poet Billy Edd Wheeler was born in Boone County. He started writing and performing songs when he was just a teenager.

Wheeler got his first check in the music business when Pat Boone recorded his song “Rock Boll Weevil.” He would go on to write more than 500 other songs, including the country classics “Jackson,” “The Reverend Mister Black,” and “Coward of the County.”

Blenko Glass also manufactures trophies for the annual Country Music Awards.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

Glassmaker William Blenko was born in England on December 8, 1854. In his late thirties, he immigrated to the United States and tried to produce stained glass for a living. Unfortunately, business after business failed—until he wound up in the Cabell County town of Milton in 1921.

His first plows sold for between $150 and $175.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

On December 5, 1916, Benjamin Franklin Gravely of South Charleston received a patent for his Gravely Motor Plow.

He had first started working on the invention five years earlier.  Gravely’s first crude attempt had combined a push plow, a tractor wheel, and a two-and-a-half-horsepower motorcycle engine. From this simple start, he kept adapting the plow until he perfected it.

Charles Town Race Track Opens: December 2, 1933

Dec 2, 2016
The Charles Town Race Track opened in Jefferson County on December 2, 1933.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

The Charles Town Race Track opened in Jefferson County on December 2, 1933.  It was the first track in West Virginia to open after the state legalized racing and parimutuel betting. The sprawling complex featured a 3,000-seat, steam-heated grandstand and a 200-seat restaurant.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

Legendary political consultant Matthew Reese died on December 1, 1998, at the age of 71. His political career started in 1948, when he helped Huntington’s Maurice “Bernie” Burnside get elected to Congress.

During I.C. White's lifetime, he revolutionized the use of geology to uncover oil and gas reserves.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Israel Charles White, anticlines, WV oil and gas industry, Monongalia County,

Geologist Israel Charles White died on November 25, 1927, at the age of 79.  During his lifetime, he revolutionized the use of geology to uncover oil and gas reserves.  He later published an article suggesting that the folds in rock formations, known as anticlines, could predict the locations of oil and gas deposits.

Izetta Jewell Kenny Born: November 24, 1883

Nov 24, 2016
got involved with farm women’s groups, attended the first farm women’s camp at Jackson’s Mill, and served on a committee to improve wool production.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Izetta Jewell Brown, US Senate, William Gay Brown, Preston County

Izetta Jewell Kenny was born in New Jersey on November 24, 1883. In 1914, she moved to West Virginia with her husband, William Gay Brown, a congressman from Kingwood.

In 1920—the year women got the right to vote nationally—Brown attended the National Democratic Convention. She seconded the presidential nomination of West Virginia’s John W. Davis, a first for a woman in U.S. history.

November 17, 1766: Pioneer Morgan Morgan Died

Nov 17, 2016
Pioneer Morgan Morgan was an influential member of the Bunker Hill community and helped found Christ Episcopal Church. Today, his grave is part of the church’s cemetery, and a log cabin he built stands nearby.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Morgan Morgan, Bunker Hill, Berkeley County, Christ Church Episcopal Church, Potomoke

Pioneer Morgan Morgan died on November 17, 1766. Generations of schoolchildren grew up being taught that Morgan was the first permanent white settler in present West Virginia. Now, though, we know that others came before him.

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