PANHANDLE NEWS IN BRIEF

Artists’ reception set for Saturday

CHARLES TOWN – Works by artists Amy George, Sue Parker and Patricia Perry have gone on display at the Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative’s Fire Hall Gallery, and a free kickoff reception is set for this weekend.

Art fans can meet the artists at the opening reception for the cooperative’s new show, which happens from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the gallery at 108 N. George St.

The show, “What Delights the Eye,” also may be seen through Feb. 26 during the gallery’s regular hours, noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Judge wins seat vacated by Helmick

ROMNEY — Wrapping up his duties as 22nd Judicial Circuit judge is the current priority for Donald H. Cookman, who has been appointed by the governor to fill the 15th Senatorial District state Senate seat formerly held by Walt Helmick.

Helmick, a Democrat, was elected in November as the state’s Agriculture Commissioner.

Cookman said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called him with the news Wednesday evening. “I kind of feel like the dog that chased the car,” he said. “Now that I caught it, what do I do? That’s a big transition. I have a lot to learn about the legislative process, particularly in the Senate.”

Next up: Cookman will travel to Charleston to be sworn in and to find a place to live, and Tomblin will select a candidate to take over Cookman’s work as a judge.

The legislative session starts Feb. 13.

‘Cast Iron Cook-Off’ fundraiser Thursday

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION – A fundraiser happens Thursday at the Black Dog Coffee Co. here to help the first-ever Eastern Panhandle team selected to compete in next month’s Cast Iron Cook-Off at The Greenbrier.

The Panhandle team, led by chef Scott Cullinash of the Panorama at the Peak in Berkeley Springs, has three members from Jefferson County: Rob Losey of Bloomery Plantation distillery, Shep Ogden of the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Office and Jennifer Maghan of Black Dog.

They’ll travel to the White Sulphur Springs resort next weekend for the high energy, two-day competition that celebrates local foods and showcases West Virginia as a culinary tourism destination.

“We were really thrilled to have Jennifer selected,” said Brian Bircher, Black Dog founder.

“We want to do anything we can to help the team raise the money they need in order to represent the Panhandle.”

The daylong fundraiser will include raffles of local food and crafts while local musicians provide entertainment. The event wraps up at 6 p.m. with a by-donation potluck, a performance by Maghan, and the raffle drawings.

The Cast Iron Cook-Off is sponsored by the Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia, the West Virginia Department of Tourism, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and the West Virginia Hospitality and Tourism Association. Ten teams will compete for the grand prize.

PanTran planning Feb. 6 open house

CHARLES TOWN – Jefferson County residents can check out PanTran first-hand next month as the Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority hosts an open house.

Executive Director Cheryl Keyrouze says PanTran buses will pick up passengers at a number of locations, including the Jefferson County Courthouse.

The Feb. 6 event, happening from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will give the public the chance to ride PanTran for free; tour PanTran’s offices at 446 Novak Drive in Martinsburg; meet Keyrouze, bus drivers and other staff; and enjoy light refreshments.

Keyrouze notes that PanTran’s buses each month travel 27,000+ miles to deliver more than 14,000 passengers to jobs, shops, schools, medical centers, the MARC train station and other destinations.

For more information, call PanTran at 304-263-0876.

‘Spirit’ organizers seek nominations

CHARLES TOWN – Officials with the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation are looking for nominees for their “Unsung Heroes” award. The deadline is Feb. 20.

Three winners – one each from Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties – will be honored at the foundation’s biennial Spirit of the Panhandle Gala, “An Evening in Black & White and Red All Over,” April 12 in the Skyline Ballroom at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.

The award honors those who contribute time and talent to local nonprofit organizations.

Each winner also will decide which charity gets a $5,000 endowment fund contributed by the foundation’s Cornerstone Sponsors.

The foundation began in 1995 and the event dates to 2004. Dan VanBelleghem was the 2011 winner for his work with a number of Jefferson County charities.

To nominate an individual or a married couple, go to the foundation website at EWVCF.org or call 304-264-0353.

Fire company plans chili, craft event

MIDDLEWAY – Leaders of the Middleway Volunteer Fire Co. are seeking entries for a March 2 chili cookoff and craft fair.

Registration fee is $10 per chili entry or vendor table, and the deadline to register is Feb. 23.

Entries may be mailed to MVFC, P.O. Box 1, Summit Point 25446 and should include a check to cover the fee along with the entrant’s name, phone, email address and category (mild/traditional, hot/spicy, vegetarian or white).

The day of the event, doors open at 4 p.m. and entrants should bring their already-cooked chili as well as a list of the ingredients in the recipe. Tasting cups, spoons and napkins will be provided.

At the chili cookoff and craft fair, anyone may pay $5 to sample entries and vote on their favorites from 5 to 8 p.m. For details, call Mike Mood at 304-582-0204 or find the fire company on Facebook.

– Compiled by Christine Miller Ford and Marla Pisciotta

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