Shall we play an escape game?

It has been an extremely tough week looking at the news concerning Appalachia and in particular, Southwestern Virginia, its future, and the dwindling population numbers for the region.

The headlines have been attention grabbing. The Roanoke Times with op-ed pieces entitled, “Should we just let Appalachia go?” and “Population loss in Virginia’s coalfields region projected to continue for decades”, have been enough to rattle me and plunge me into depressionary depths this week and for that matter anyone else when seeing headlines like that or diving into the figures.

It’s enough to make anyone put their hands to their head, start running and screaming to get me out of Appalachia.

After reading the articles, I decided to sit down and put a positive spin on the population loss from Virginia’s coalfields. One of my hobbies include designing logos and things for friends or projects, so I decided to develop a logo and a campaign for the Commonwealth of Virginia to use as their next big economic endeavor at, ahem, saving Southwest Virginia or better yet, pushing the entire region off the cliff.

And here it is:

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If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again

Roderick A. Mullins photo and artwork - 2017You can’t blame the Dickenson County Historical Society for trying. What’s the old saying? If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. 

Somewhere, Abraham Lincoln who did not succeed in a number of his attempts in life has to be smiling.

Smiling that the historical society is not only persistent but determined to reach their goal of getting DMHS and doing something with it.

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Letters from a Soviet Prison: An interview with Francis Gary Powers, Jr.


Francis Gary Powers, Jr. being interviewed talking about his new book, “Letters from a Soviet Prison”

You could say that Francis Gary Powers, Jr. is very much chained indirectly to Appalachia in the opposite of some of us living here in the mountains.

Living the majority of his life outside the Appalachian Mountains, the son of famed U-2 pilot still, finds a way to get back home to his unofficial roots of Appalachia. But unfortunately this year for Powers, he has made two unexpected trips to Pound to pay respects and honor the memory of his uncle and aunt who both passed away in the month of May.

Now on this last weekend in May, he is in Pound to visit and talk to people about his new book, “Letters from a Soviet Prison”.

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When does a memorial cease to become a memorial? When it involves money


Dickenson Memorial and Industrial High School in Clintwood, VA

(Previous blog post on DMHS and a recent podcast)

It’s Thursday, June 22nd, and I am preparing myself to head to my hometown of Clintwood, in the heart of economically depressed Appalachia, what was once “Coal Country” and the home of “King Coal”, to report on a county board of supervisors meeting.

Tonight, the agenda will discuss many topics, including taking a vote on a 2017-18 FY budget of 25 million dollars. A no-frills budget with room for very little spending in a county that has little or no economic growth or motivators at present, nothing going for it because either the people are so set in their ways or the political leaders that make decisions that don’t want change.

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Sunset in Appalachia


Taken on June 20, 2017 looking over the David A. Prior Convocation Center on the campus of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise and the town of Wise, VA.

One of the reasons I stay here in Appalachia; the painting and tapestry work of God’s hand as we come to the end of another day in Appalachia. Despite our issues and problems here in the mountains, He surrounds us in the beauty and light.