kpanek on August 18th, 2012

August 18, 2012: How was YOUR company picnic? Was it at another ho-hum park with food, a few games, and speeches afair? Step on up and find the best location to hold a company picnic where EVERYONE will have a great time. Come to Shinnston as WesBanco did!

It is said that a picture is worth 1000 words. So please come with me to the WesBanco Company Picnic in Shinnston, West Virginia…….                                                    

Welcome to the Park

Welcome to Ferguson Park! WesBanco employees follow the arrow

  At the large pavilion was registration, event schedule, and tables awaiting the food at 4:30.

Bouncy House and snow Cone truck

Bouncy House and Snow Cone truck


Activities for the kids beyond the inflatible were located at the small pavilion (where even adults were invited to create Sand Art) – duck pond, temporary tattoos, and crafts.             But if games and competition is what you enjoy, that is here also.   
Schedule of Events

Find YOUR Event!


Sand Art and other activities

Sand Art and other activities at this small pavilion

Bingo Pavilion

B 6 - BINGO!!!







Corn Hole Tournament

Play WesBanco Corn Hole


Trophies For Corn Hole

Trophies for the Corn Hole Winners!

Going to the Rail-Trail

A Ride on the Rail-Trail to work up an appetite!

Some went to the pool

Some chose to go for a swim

Casey's fires up the grill

Casey's Catering fires up the grill

Some took time out for a ride on the nearby West Fork River Rail-Trail.
Or go for a swim….
And a picnic is nothing without food, so Casey’s Catering fired up the grill to get ready for the appetites worked up during the day of FUN for all ages. A Company Picnic with something for everyone!!  

We hope to see YOU enjoying Ferguson Memorial Park.

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kpanek on August 4th, 2012

August 4, 2012: On Saturday, August 18, 2012 from 1:00 to 9:00 PM the walls of Lincoln High School Auditorium will reverberate with gospel music. The Lord’s Pantry Food Bank will hold the annual Gospel Music Fest fundraiser. Donation is $5 for Adults.



1:00 – 9:00 p.m.



$5.00 person

Children 12 and under admitted free with paid adult






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kpanek on August 2nd, 2012

August 2, 2012: On Friday, July 27 this innkeeper was introduced to a cheese maker from Accident, Maryland. On Saturday, July 28 I had the privilege of tasting 3 of his cheeses. Mike Koch of Firefly Farms, Inc at 107 South Main Street, Accident, Maryland 21520 makes wonderful goat cheeses.  

Firefly Farms, Inc

A customer buys a cheese sandwich and cheese

First of all, I must explain that my Mother raised a bunch of “rats” in more ways than one. Wave a hunk of cheese and we are following. The children of Marien Moran love cheese, especially GOOD cheese. This is GOOD CHEESE!

I tried the Merry Goat Round, Mountain Top Bleu, and the Cabra La Mancha. All were wonderful!!! I even liked the bleu cheese. (I will buy it next time.) 

Merry Goat Round

Merry Goat Round cheese with crackers

It took until Tuesday for me to be able to sit down with my cheeses and crackers. I also had a lemon drop melon to try so that was also on my menu for supper that night. Since my Tuesday night guest had arrived just before I tied into it (and I wanted a second opinion), she joined me. The lemon drop melon was a variety neither of us had had before. It had just a hint of tartness that went well with the cheeses and crackers. She liked both but had a slight preference for the Cambra La Mancha. I loved them both.

Cambra La Mancha cheese

The remains of the Cambra La Mancha


I can see now that it will not be an accident that I will be in Accident, Maryland soon.

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kpanek on August 1st, 2012

August 1, 2012: July 26 thru July 29 the First Annual Vintage Motorcycle event took place at McKee’s Sky Ranch in Terra Alta, West Virginia. Also at Sky Ranch that weekend were races, trials, and scenic rides.

Carver and Brown with Brough

Commissioner Carver & Gene Brown with Brough

Some of the best classic, vintage motorcycles were there on display.  Gene Brown of Denver, Colorado brought a 1961 BSA Gold Star Clubman. This motorcycle is original and has exactly 1 (yes, that is ONE) mile on the odometer. The original owner bought it and displayed it in his living room. Mr. Brown was pleased to show it to West Virginia Tourism Commissioner Betty Carver, as well as his 1932 Brough 80.

Famed motorcycle racer, Dick Mann and Bob Sholly, a well-known motorcycle racer of the 1960s and 1970s laid out the race course for Tom McKee at McKee’s Sky Ranch. Today Dick Mann specializes in restoring and selling vintage race motorcycles. Bob Sholly now owns Good Old Boy Country Auction in York, PA. He showed Commissioner Carver and Heritage Marketing Coordinator Jane Bostic memorabilia of his days racing with the great Gary Nixon.  

Sholly shows memorabilia

McKee, Sholly, Carver, and Bostic view memorabilia

  Mr. Sholly shared many stories of his days as a racer with visitors and participants. Motorcycle artist John Panek was the owner/tuner of a BSA Gold Star racing motorcycle in the Midwest in the late 1950s- early 1960s. He shared memories of racers, tracks, and machines.

Among the vendors were the Christian Motorcycle Riders with a donation-based offering for lunch and a delicious chicken dinner for a mere $10 and a wonderful cheese maker from Maryland Firefly Farm. More on Fairfly Farm coming soon.

Racers Camp

Racers Camp early Friday

Across the landing strip from the Vintage encampment was the camp of the participants of the Trials and Racing and Dick Mann. Friday afternoon the racing contingent had begun to arrive. By Saturday morning it was a very crowded area! There were races all afternoon Saturday. At the lower end of the landing strip was a swap meet and a West Virginia Motorcycle Safety Program trailer and display.

It was a great weekend for both segments of the motorcycling sport. We look forward to the Second Annual being even bigger and better.

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kpanek on July 17th, 2012

July 17, 2012: What does an innkeeper do on a morning there is no breakfast to be served? Well this particular morning, this innkeeper indulged herself by checking out a new café in Shinnston. Someone else cooked and served breakfast to ME!!

David Minor at Beck's Cafe

Co-owner David Minor takes a break

  Beck’s Café has opened in the Shinnston Sports Center. It is no longer a dark “bar” atmosphere. It is bright and airy with tables and café area in the front by the door and three pool tables (or is that billiards) in the back area of the space. Becky and David Minor have made it an inviting place with a limited menu – but they are open 6 AM to about 1 PM and open again at 4 PM as the Sports Center – BUT the menu is available all day.

This time I had the biscuits and gravy – something the Gillum House does not serve (we do low-fat that tastes wonderful) – and a Cappuccino (my City Manager told me they were wonderful and she was correct). Next time I will try their bacon, egg, and cheese croissant.       

Pool Tables at the Sports Center

Pool tables at Beck's Cafe and Sports Center

For lunch or dinner, they offer DB’s Special Pepperoni Bun (3.50), hot dog (1.00), or hamburger (2.75). Beer is also available.

Come check out Shinnston’s new Café and Sports Center. The streets are no longer rolling up at 6 PM!!

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kpanek on July 1st, 2012

July1, 2012: The Shinnston Community Band Independence Concert scheduled to take place at Ferguson Park has been delayed due to an electrical problem. There is not enough power due to the storm to have the lights for the Park, the sound system, and the lights needed for the Band. Due to the safety issue of lighting – THE CONCERT SCHEDULED FOR THE fIRST OF JULY WILL TAKE PLACE ON THE SECOND OF JULY  I was not shouting, just trying to make the message stand out. See you at Ferguson Park on the Second of July. The music will start around 7 PM.

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kpanek on June 25th, 2012

June 25, 2012: Yesterday was the Shinnston Community Band Picnic. It was held at the Shinnston City Pool at Ferguson Memorial Park. July 1 the Park will be the location of the annual Shinnston Independence Concert.

Mike Cale and cohorts grill dogs and burgers

Director Cale and cohorts grill dogs and burgers

The weather was perfect – a bright, warm sunny day with a slight breeze. Mr. Mike Cale, Director of the Shinnston Community Band, Richard Herndon, and Evan Jones of Bandland were the chefs of record for the hot dogs and hamburgers. The rest of the bounteous spread was covered dish by band members. The food was plenteous and delicious.

Many of the kids (and grandkids) of the band members were in the pool having a great time until whistled in for the food. After eating it was back in the pool – faster for some than others who had to wait for Mommy & Daddy to be ready.

Little girl waits for Mommy to get in pool.

Come on, Mommy!!!








Finally shet gets in the pool

Thanks, Mom. Finally!!!




An added attraction was the wheeling in of a very special cart. Young and old had a great time with the age-old activity of blowing bubbles – with a twist. These bubbles were gigantic. It was fun watching the sizes and shapes the bubbles took on.

Blowing giant bubbles

Now THAT is a bubble!!

The Shinnston Community Band will perform July 1 at 8 PM with warm-up Kelsey Jefferies and then blue grass band BreakMountain at 7 PM. The Shinnston Community Band will also perform July 5 at the amphitheater at VA Park in Clarksburg and July 21 at the Shinnston Fire Department on Bridge Street after the Alumni Parade.

Don’t you wish you could have been there for the fun? Why don’t you dust off your instrument and join us this Fall as we start rehearsals for the Christmas Concert.

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kpanek on June 23rd, 2012

June 23, 2012: Are you a lover of vintage motorcycles? Do you have a vintage motorcycle you love to ride (and show off)? Are you looking for parts? I know just the place for you! McKee’s Sky Ranch July 26 thru 28, 2012.

For those who have not heard the news, MountainFest 2012 will NOT have a Vintage Motorcycle Show and will NOT have the Vintage Grand Prix. If the Vintage Motorcycles were your reason to go there just go east on I-68 a few more miles.

Take the Bruceton Mills Exit from I-68 and go South on WV Rte 26 to Kingwood and then east on WV Rte 7 to Terra Alta. Turn left on Sanders Road. This will take you to the right turn onto McKee’s Sky Ranch Road and a weekend of VINTAGE!!!

The activities planned are many.  Vintage Motorcycles will be on display July 26 thru July 29 with a Swap Meet all weekend. July 26 there will be a Dual Sport Ride and on July 27, a Road Rally. The Vintage Moto Cross (do you remember On Any Sunday???) will be held on July 28 and Vintage Trials on July 29.  

Jim Petty with his 1915 Indian.

Jim Petty w/1915 Indian he rode on 2010 Cannonball


There will be a “Vintage” AHRMA National on the 28th and 29th and Vintage Cross Country both days.

There will be a $10 per day or all 4 days for $30 admission. Swap Meet Vendors are required to pre-register.

Anyone needing more information should go to

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kpanek on June 12th, 2012

June 12, 2012: I have been AWL (Absent WITH Leave) for the last two weeks at rehearsals.  

May 29, I was blessed with a visit from my first cousin, Fred, who I have called Big Brother since his first tour of duty in Viet Nam and his lovely lady, Bruni. They live in Schweinfurt, Germany where Fred retired from the Army. 

Fred and Bruni at King Ludwig's Castle

Bruni and Fred

  I spent June 2011 in Germany thanks to him! Then on June 5, yours truly was performing her duties as City Clerk in charge of a municipal election instead of performing with a baritone sax. Tonight was rehearsal!! As much as I enjoyed the May visit, I did not realize how missing rehearsals had put me in the dumps! My spirits have been lifted!!

For those who have never been to Shinnston on or around July 1 – 4, the Shinnston Community Band takes the cement pad in front of the bath house at Ferguson Memorial Park to perform an Independence Concert. There are usually several local performers or groups who do a “warm-up” act. Kelsey Jeffers has performed and Chelsey Boyles has too. This year BreakMountain, a bluegrass band will be the warm-up. (They performed at the trailhead on National Trail Day and are VERY good!)

Sunday, July 1. 2012, approximately 4500 people will start arriving at the Park by 4 PM for the free Concert and Fireworks.

Crowd at the Park for Concert

Early arrivals for Concert

They will fill the grassy area with blankets and lawn chairs, buy food at the pool concession stand (or bring a picnic), buy baked goods from the Swim Team bake sale fundraiser, and settle in for a wonderful evening of music. Every house that rims the Park will have a yard full of family and friends for a cook-out and the music. At approximately 8:00 PM, the Shinnston Community Band with 60 or more musicians ranging from middle school to their 80s will file in and Mike Cale will raise his baton to start the concert. Many new numbers will be played. Some numbers are a standard – Armed Forces Salute to honor our current and former members of the military and of course, ending with Stars and Stripes Forever. As the last strains are played, the fireworks will start. Shinnston has one of the best fireworks in the area. In 2010 a couple came to the Gillum House from New York for the Concert. They said they enjoyed it immensely.

Reservations at the Gillum House for the Concert need to be made soon – July 1 is almost here. If you miss the July 1 concert in Shinnston, we are giving you a mulligan (a do-over) this year. Go to Veterans Park in Clarksburg on July 5 where the Shinnston Community Band will perform in the Ampitheater. For Gillum House reservations book online at or call 888-592-0177 for reservations.

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kpanek on June 11th, 2012

June 11, 2012:About 4 years ago, we decided to test the waters with Gillum House mugs. We are a distinctive bed & breakfast patronized by discerning guests who do not want to use or purchase “junk” or things that can be found “everywhere”. So we contacted Larry Riffle of Riffle Pottery in Cowen, West Virginia with a request. We wanted a mug big enough to be a  

First Gillum House mug

The original Gillum House mug

CUP OF COFFEE, not a teaser. The other parameters were a handle big enough for a MAN to grab and the Gillum House predominate color is burgundy.  They were such a hit that they “flew” off the shelf! Each mug is signed by Larry. By the time I re-ordered, Larry had pneumonia and family illnesses and deaths and had stopped potting for a while.

The while stretched into 3 years and I am so happy to say Larry is back!

Gillum House Bed & Breakfast got a new car!! We have had our 2011 Honda FIT for almost a month now. The other half of this operation is like a teenager with his first car!  So Saturday, June 9 a certain person in this house was ready for a Road Trip! “Call Larry and ask if the mugs are ready.” I did and they were. So away we went to Cowen in Webster County. South on I-79 to Exit # 57 (US Rte 19) to the Birch River Exit, turn left and drive 16 miles to the right turn into the Riffle Pottery driveway.

New Gillum House Mug

The new Gillum House Mug

What a collection of antiques and interesting items and photos decorating the walls and display areas of the showroom! And the wonderful pieces of pottery! All colors, designs, plates and platters, teapots, cups, and mugs, his Face Mugs, pitchers and bowls! The craftsmanship is awesome and the beauty of his designs entice you want one of everything, Although he has neglected to get a web site, Webster County native and well-known travel writer/photographer Thomas Fletcher wrote and posted an excellent article about Riffle Pottery. Larry also holds pottery classes.

Come to the Gillum House to use a Riffle Pottery Gillum House mug. Make your reservations online at or phone 888-592-0177.

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kpanek on May 19th, 2012

May 19, 2012: Today was the Harrison County United Way Bocce Tournament. I was playing on the WAJR-FM team at 9:00 AM. BUT I had to perform innkeeping duties before I could go. I love innkeeping and cooking but Reuben was counting on me.

I have in-house a lovely lady named Liz who is a vegetarian. It is interesting to make new things – and I tried out a new recipe in Liz this morning. I must admit, the second I put the platter on the table, telling her what it was, I was grabbing the car keys and heading to Ferguson Memorial Park. Our Park has 2 tournament grade bocce courts – under roof and with lights. Before I took the platter in to the dining room I grabbed my camera to take a photo of the new dish on the breakfast rotation.

Spinach Potato Hash

Spinach Potato Hash with Fennel Seeds

Liz is a vegetarian, not a Vegan, and I have enjoyed preparing breakfasts for her. So far she has had my sour cream & chives with 3-cheese egg bake with my herb bread and our baked oatmeal with vanilla yogurt. This morning was a brand new recipe that turned out VERY nicely. It is Spinach & Potatoes with fennel seeds Hash. Since I grabbed the camera just before taking the dish into the dining room, you do not see the honeydew and papaya fruit bowl with a sprig of mint from our herb garden. She also had herb bread toast.

The teams scheduled to play today were:  WesBanco Bank, Fairmont Federal Credit Union, WYK Associates, WBOY-TV, WAJR-FM, Pepsi, City of Shinnston, and United Way.

Reuben Perdue of WAJR-FM usually manages to put his body through discomfort for charity but this time it was to be pure fun. Since the WAJR-FM staff  bailed on him, Reuben recruited Steve Hamilton, a member of Reuben’s Facebook Morning Edition Fan Club, Carla Hinerman, Municipal Judge for the City of Shinnston, and Kathleen Panek, innkeeper.


WesBanco's Joe Flynn plays bocce.

Joe Flynn of WesBanco plays bocce

In our first game, we were surprised to win over the WesBanco Team led by Joe Flynn who drove down from Pittsburgh to play. Thank you, Joe! Then we beat Fairmont Federal Credit Union in the second winners’ round. Then we lost to WBOY and to the City of Shinnston, placing third in the Tournament. Marie Battles of the United Way presented the Trophy to WBOY-TV who had a helping hand from one of the ladies from WKY Associates to replace one of their ladies who had to leave to cover a story. It was a fun day that raised money for a great Cause.

Bocce leagues in Shinnston start on Monday, May 21. The next scheduled Tournament is the Italian Heritage Festival Bocce Tournament on August 25. Come play in Shinnston!


Pssst!!! Tonight Liz told me the breakfast was VERY good!!

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kpanek on May 7th, 2012

May 6, 2012: Shop Shinnston is hosting an event GIRL’S NIGHT OUT! on Thursday, May 10 from 6 to 8 PM. Shops in Shinnston are offering specials and discounts. 

Shabby Chic Sisters are having FLASHBACK! Go back in time to the hats and gloves no respectable woman would go anywhere without. Try on the hats and gloves and BLING! Remember the costume jewelry of that time? They will be serving cupcake samples and discounts throughout the store.    

Wine Tasting at lambert's

The Girl's taste wine at Lambert's

Home Style will have discounts, surprises and Lambert’s Winery of Weston for a wine tasting. Treasure Chest will have a special Pink Tag Sale – items with a Pink Tag are 30% off. Godfrey Girls Consignment Shop will have specials and have invited herbal specialist Anne Romance of Green Heron Gardens to speak on Women’s Health. Godfrey Girls will also have a drawing for a basket valued at over $100. Visit our newest shop, Sacred Heart Christian Book and Gift Stoppe.

Get your entry card at the first shop you visit, get it stamped or signed at each participating shop, and qualify for a drawing of a wonderful basket of goodies.

Advance reservations are required at the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast to complete the Girl’s Night out. Say (or post in comments when booking online) Girl’s Night Out when booking a room and get the Girl’s special rate of $75 + tax, sumptuous breakfast included. Valid May 10, 2012 only. Cannot be combined with any other offers.

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kpanek on May 3rd, 2012

May 3, 2012: The Bice-Ferguson Memorial Museum has brought programs from the West Virginia Humanities Council to Shinnston, West Virginia in the past. I was able to attend the programs with presentations of Colonel Ruby Bradley and of Mother Jones.

Hallie Marie - Coal Camp Memories

A young Hallie Marie

 The Bice-Ferguson Museum is bringing a wonderful treat to Shinnston on May 17, 2012. Thursday, May 17 at 7:00 PM, Karen Vuranch will bring Hallie Marie to life in a performance of “Coal Camp Memories” appropriately at the UMW Hall on Charles Street in Shinnston. And admission is free, courtesy of the Bice-Ferguson Museum and the West Virginia Humanities Council. I have been fortunate to have seen Karen Vuranch as Mother Jones and Pearl Buck and to have seen “Coal Camp Memories” twice. I will be seeing it a third time on May 17!!

I sincerely hope folks from all over will take this opportunity to see this riveting performance.

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kpanek on May 2nd, 2012

May 2, 2012: Spring is almost sprung!!! The tulips, forsythia, daffodils are gone. But they bloomed early this year. Guests coming in May are in for a treat. Blooms are everywhere!!

Rhododendron and azalea usually bloom the middle to the end of May. Our red azalea and white azalea are almost in full bloom (the purple azalea next door is in frll bloom). I went out and took some photos this morning of two of the bushes in our yard.  

The bush looked dead.

It looked dead last week

  Tucked into the corner of Walnut Street and Davis Court at the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast inside the hedge, is a bush I was certain was dead. It was just sticks reaching up to the sky. This morning as I came out of the kitchen, I looked over at it. To my wonder, it has buds all over it getting ready to burst into bloom! Going over for a closer look, I found one that has burst forth! 

Yellow flower bush

My yellow flowers

They are so lovely when blooming – but this bush does not bloom for long.

We have two very large rhododendrons, one on each side of the driveway. Both are the pinkish purple in color. We did have a white one at one time but I do not know if John’s penchant for burning yard waste at the end of the driveway – WAY too close to the poor white rhodo – or the large rhodo next to it overshadowing, but the poor thing gave up the ghost and was removed. One of them is taking its time but the one has been budding for a week and now looks as if it will be in full bloom in another week.  

The small rhododendron

The smaller rhododendron bush.


Visitors to Shinnston are in for a beautiful sight if they come to visit in May!

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kpanek on April 29th, 2012

42698 – Then end of the line! Today was the last time Engine 42698 left the Station. It was a tribute to the memory of Drexel Westfall and his wife Martha Jane who both passed away last month.

In 1998, Candy Fiorito and her “partner-in-crime” Lexie Barnes had an idea of a way to spread GOD’s message. They took their idea to Drexel Westfall with a paper cut-out and notes of what they needed. 

Candy Fiorito and Lexie Barnes

Candy and Lexie - Partners in "crime"

Drexel not only made it, but made it so the set disassembled into compact, easy to carry sections with carrying bags for each section plus put handles into the weght blocks to stablize the set because 6 women were going to be setting up and taking down. Then John Panek was enlisted to paint the Hallelujah Express 42698. That Easter, the Paneks and their friends had a picnic Easter dinner because the dining room table was otherwise occupied.

The Hallelujah Express

The Hallelujah Express

 The Hallelujah Express was blessed as the service the morning of 04-26-98 was the first performance of the Hallelujah Express ministry. Candy Fiorito, Lexie Barnes, Leigh Merrifield, Patty Vincent, Lexie’s daughter Dee, and Candy’s daughter Holly then took their puppet ministry on the road. They not only performed at their home Church, First United Methodist Church of Shinnston and churches in the area, but to surrounding states and as far away as Maine. People donated puppets in honor of and in memory of their friends and families. Each puppet became a person and was treasured.

John and Ed Westfall chat about Drexel and the Hallelujah Express.

John Panek and Ed, son of Drexel Westfall chat

The program starts with the conductor calling All Aboard! as the people with  tickets for good works, tithing, etc try to board the train to Heaven only to be told their ticket will not get them to Heaven. Only the person with Jesus in his heart can board the train. “Jerry Lee Lewis”. “Hank Williams Jr”, “Elvis” (“Elvis has left the building”), “Dolly Parton”, and many others perform.  

The Finale song

The Finale

  Life (including grandchildren, parents, schedules, and knees) has indicated it was time to bring the Hallelujah Express back to the Station for one last performance. And that would be the theme of the 2012 Mother/Daughter Celebration.

The ladies followed the tracks up to the Ticket Booth to receive their Boarding Pass (table assignment – Mama Lucille Anderson and I were seated at Wondrous Love) and then shown to the correct tables.  

Mama Lucille and the Mothers and Daughters

The Mother/Daughter Celebration

  The Railroaders and Hobos (men and boys of the Church) served Hobo Stew in tin cans, tea, lemonade, and water were served in pint Mason jars, and each person received a “Hobo Pack” with bun for “build your own sandwich”, chips, and cookies tied up inside.

The Hallelujah Express brought much joy to the audiences and I can say without equivocation, to the ladies and everyone involved with it. It was a day of joy and sadness – the joy of performing and the sadness that all good things must come to an end, on 42912 – 14 years later, almost to the day!.

Thank you Hallelujah Express!

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