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December 31, 2017 - Jan. 1, 2018

THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS...

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TOP 20 LAZER STORIES OF 2017 

BY TANE' WOODS MOSLEY

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These are the Top 20 stories in 2017 that captured the most hits on Lazer stories with the highest being 43,000 plus (not counting FB page hits) and the last one just over 14,700 hits. It's been a great year for TheLevisaLazer.com when it comes to getting traffic on the site.

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TOP 20 2017

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(1.)  JIM BOOTH BUYS THUNDER RIDGE, WANTS TO PUT IN 'RETAIL BUSINESSES' ...9/20/2017

 

(2.)  LAWRENCE CO. ATTORNEY 'WARNS' THAT GAS BOOM IS COMING 2/11/17

 

(3.)  LOUISA MAN LOSES LIFE IN WEDNESDAY MORNING CRASH 11/1/17

 

(4.)  MISSING: LAWRENCE CO. SHERIFF'S OFFICE ASKING FOR PUBLIC'S HELP 9/15/17

 

(5)  TWO COUPLES REMAIN INCARCERATED AFTER INDICTMENTS FOR CHILD SEX ABUSE 3/13/17

 

(6.)   MARTIN CO. CLERK'S DAUGHTER ARRESTED; BEING HELD ON $167,000 BOND 8/28/17

 

(7.)    SUSPECT ARRESTED IN YELLOW CREEK DOUBLE MURDER 11/20/17

 

(8.)  FAMILY MEMBERS EXTRICATED FROM VEHICLE AFTER ACCIDENT 3/3/17

 

(9) THIRD MISSING TEEN IN A MONTH TRACED TO 'ONLINE RELATIONS 9/26/17

 

(10.)   EXTENDED SCHOOL SUMMER BREAK LEGISLATION SIGNED INTO LAW BY BEVIN

 

(11.)   HEROIN INCLUDED IN SIX DRUG RELATED ARRESTS IN PAST 3 DAYS IN WAYNE CO. 3/9/17

 

(12.)   2017-18 DEER HARVEST UPDATE; 38 EASTERN COUNTIES IMPACTED BY EHD OUTBREAK 12/15/2017

 

(13.)   BREAKING NEWS! STABBING IN LOUISA EARLY SUNDAY MORNING 5/14/17

 

(14.)    SHERIFF THOMPSON ACTIVE AGAINST BULLYING 3/17/17

 

(15.)    ROCKY ADKINS STILL CONSIDERING RUN FOR GOVERNOR 6/2/17

 

(16.)   UPDATE: LOUISA WOMAN DIES IN CRASH IN LOUISA DUE TO FIRST SNOW OF YEAR 1/5/17

 

(17.)   FACES OF HOPE - WE DO RECOVER...LCHS TEACHER BOBBY ALLEN, A STORY FROM THE OTHER SIDE 9-11/17

 

(18.)  NOTORIOUS JOHNSON COUNTY MAN IN TRAUMA CENTER AFTER HIGH SPEED CHASE 7/10/17

 

(19.)  FACES OF HOPE - WE DO RECOVER...LEISA SALYERS STORY 9/21/17

 

(20.)  THREE FROM LOUISA/FT. GAY, ONE FROM DAYTON CAUGHT IN KENOVA METH DEAL 12/10/17

 

 

GROWING UP IN LOUISA -- OUT WITH THE OLD!

Weekly feature . . . by Mike Coburn

By saying ‘out with the old, I am not advocating a general cleansing of old things. After all, I might qualify to be thrown out. That could have a profound effect on my happiness and health, and there’s an off-chance that someone might prefer to tolerate my character yet another year. Rather, it is the time we reflect over the salient events in our lives that arose in this ‘worn-out’ year and a time to refocus on making the next twelve months better than ever. That’s a resolve worth having and is common in our society. It is by the grace of God we can turn the pages of the past and purpose to do better in the future.

During my school years in Louisa the year-end seemed more about a simple change in the calendar. In fact, the first time I even heard about New Year’s celebrations, I asked my mom what that was about. Like any good parent she took a moment to explain that each year had twelve months. The party was to say good-by to the old year and to look forward to the new. January, my birth month, was the first month of the brand-new year, and December was the last. As of that moment I was a well-informed person, whatever age I may have been.

I have no doubt that kids who had school papers to turn in, and the many adults that were to fill out a check, or some other document, it took a month or two to break the habit of using the old-year designation. “Rats!” they would cry out, as they realized they had to start over. Back in the day it was fountain pens that were most unforgiving. Whiteout hadn’t been invented and nothing was digital except those small appendages at the ends of our hands. Mistakes meant it had to be done over.

I think it was either in late November or early, December when I annually helped pass out new calendars from the back of a pickup truck with a printed ad for Young’s Funeral Home. Thinking ahead, they had the new-year all clearly spelled out to remind folks of the date change. I would knock on doors, shove a new calendar into their hands and run back to catch the truck. Many of my friends, including Jimmy Young, I’m sure, worked all day in Louisa, High Bottom, and then part of another day in Fort Gay. In a way, I felt I was doing my part to bring the new-year to town.

In prior years, I have reminded readers of this column of the annual celebrations I happened to hear about, but as a kid, never really saw or attended. I could hear fireworks, but often that was from my bed. It was only in later years that I was allowed to stay up until midnight. I didn’t know much about the ‘big city’ celebrations, either, since TV was slow getting to my house. I guess it was the very late forties, or early fifties, when I first saw the fancy, lighted ball drop at the crowded Times Square building. I would discover over time that this location on Broadway was the focus of many different celebrations besides annual year-end gatherings. All I can say is that it must be more about the tradition and being able to say, ‘we were there.’ While I’ve been to the site, it has never been on the big night, nor do I ever intend to be there, at that time.

I guess Times Square has come to represent American celebrations. I remember that we saw crowds dancing in the streets at the end of WWII. We all saw the picture of a sailor bending the girl over backwards with a celebratory kiss. For some reason, I had the impression he didn’t even know the girl, but he planted a ‘big one,’ right there on the lips. Wow! Times Square surely must have been a ‘fun’ place, but it rang a little hollow to me. I guess I’m a fuddy-duddy. It was years later when I made several visits to Broadway at Times Square. I returned a couple of times and have seen the recent changes that greatly improved the neighborhood. When I first went, it was a rather shady area with adult entertainment. Now it is well-lit with huge TV screens advertising the latest products, plays in the surrounding theaters, or even the evening news.

As I’ve gotten older these kinds of celebrations are less important to me. Seeing them on TV is fine should I be forced by circumstance to stay up that late. Frankly, hearing the fireworks from bed is more attractive for these old bones. Symbolic moments that promise a bright new year are for the optimist, but I’ve seen enough in my lifetime to be unqualified to register as one of those. I’d like to think the world would learn from its past and improve, but forgive me for doubting.

Part of getting older is the acceptance that we tend to fall apart more each year. Even in our little town with its ‘turn-of-the-century’ (that other century) buildings and homes, many sag, or lean just a little. As with close friends, I note that several of the buildings I remember are missing. Some have been replaced, and other lots stand empty. Others have lost their usefulness, but continue to try to remain useful by adding yet another coat of paint. As with humans, makeup can do wonders. Ask Hollywood.

It is time for the newer generations to take up the gauntlet, fix what’s broken, and maybe create some new ‘state of the art’ traditions. Unfortunately, the gathering of revelers in one place nowadays is dangerous. It makes little sense to join the crowds given the number of crazies in this world. I don’t agree that not attending is giving in to terrorism. I think that using our brains and finding new outlets may be a safer, wiser choice. I figure that the old tradition can go out with the old year and new traditions can be created for happier, and safer times in the coming days. I don’t know what the new traditions will be, but millennials are known for their ability to think outside the box. Heck, we could even draw a new box, or do away with boxes altogether.

Times Square Times Square

Meanwhile, we can party as we will, remembering the perennial hope that better days may yet be ahead. Most people have their own special memories of certain Christmas holiday seasons that always ended about this time, right along with the old year. For you, it might be setting off fireworks, or the ringing of bells, perhaps a toast to fellow revelers, or maybe a romantic moment with that special someone. I hope this article helps you bring back the good times for a visit.

Before allowing yourself to drift off into those thoughts, I want to sign off with wishes for the best of New Years for you and for yours. Stay safe, my friends, and happy memories. 

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DECEMBER 29, 2017

Anyone remember rendering lard? What about mending a torn shirt? Making a quilt to keep your family warm? Did you know that these were community events?

My name is Tabitha Wallen and I am a Pike County native, currently living in Floyd County. I have been married for almost 8 years and have two boys, Austin and Lawrence. I have spent the last 15 years compiling my own family research and re-learning the old ways my grandmothers were unable to teach me. We farm pigs and chickens and try to live as close to how our ancestors did 150 years ago as we can. I have an extensive cookbook collection that I adore and love the history, culture and heritage of this region. My name is Tabitha Wallen and I am a Pike County native, currently living in Floyd County. I have been married for almost 8 years and have two boys, Austin and Lawrence. I have spent the last 15 years compiling my own family research and re-learning the old ways my grandmothers were unable to teach me. We farm pigs and chickens and try to live as close to how our ancestors did 150 years ago as we can. I have an extensive cookbook collection that I adore and love the history, culture and heritage of this region. Neighbors would gather to slaughter half dozen pigs, process the animals and share in the meat. A few women would get together to mend shirts and piece together quilts for the winter. Hunting parties would go out and all families involved would share in the hunt. I can remember shucking corn and shelling beans with my great grandmothers as a small child and helping make quilts.

The ways of our ancestors are being forgotten or lost every day with the death of someone’s grandparents. Rendering lard, cooking from scratch, mending or making your own clothes and communicating face to face are a dying art.

Old men would tell stories to the kids, old women would shoo mischievous boys out of the kitchen and away from the food while showing little girls how to cook without a recipe using dashes and pinches.

Family histories were shared over dinner and many of us found out that we had outlaws and famous people related to us! My husband’s great-great-great grandmother shot and killed two men at age 17. The men had come to arrest her father for bootlegging, shot her brother and had beaten her mother with the butt of a gun. She grabbed her father’s gun, shot and killed both men. She was later acquitted because the judge couldn’t believe that a woman who cried during the entire trial could be possible of murder. My own great-great-great grandfather, while a Union soldier during the War Between the States, was a poker buddy of Confederate and Logan Wildcat leader, Devil Anse Hatfield. His brother swore in Garfield as Brigadier General of the Union Army at Pikeville.

This column will focus on Appalachian cooking and history and I am open to any and all suggestions. Remember your grandmothers making something, but don’t have a recipe? Let me know, I may just have it. Want to learn how to quilt or mend a sock? Just wait, it’s coming. Ready to learn little known histories of this area? That’s coming too.


How to render lardHow to render lardRENDERING LARD...

Rendering lard has been around for centuries. Pigs are a cheap and easy animal to raise. They will eat anything, reproduce prolifically, and mature quickly.

Once processed, one animal could supplement a family’s food larder for an entire year when coupled with other domesticated animals and wild game.

My family has been raising hogs for almost 5 years now. Breeds most common to this area are Red Duroc, similar to strawberry blond or red hair, Yorkshire, the big white pigs, Elisted, the black pigs with white bands and most recently, Hereford, cinnamon-red like the Duroc but with a white face and temperament similar to a Labrador Retriever. Yorkshire’s have a reputation of having more fat overall but it all really depends on their living conditions. Many people feed their animals anything and everything including dog food, cereal, table scraps and while they will eat it, it isn’t what’s best for the animal. You get out of the pig what you put into them; if it’s junk, you will get fatty meat that isn’t the best. Feed them good quality feed, veggie scraps and give them lots of attention for the best tasting pork you will ever have. Same as Wagu beef; there is a reason it’s the most expensive meat on the market.

To render lard, you must first process the animal. Some people only use the leaf fat attached to the kidneys but when lard is all you use, you will process all the fat from the animal. When we process an animal, we typically get about 30 pounds of fat from one pig with a hanging weight of 350 pounds. The old timey way to render was to toss every bit of fat into a pot as soon as it’s cut from the animal. Now, when you pick up the animal from the slaughterhouse, all the fat is frozen so cutting it up is a must. A butcher knife is needed to cut chunks off the big piece and then a small paring knife to cut the chunk into nickel sized pieces. Fill a pot with about 2 cups of water and set your heat to low. Add the pieces to the pot and stir frequently. Do not over fill the pot as the pieces will stick and the solids will settle to the bottom.

As the lard renders down, the solids will separate and need to be strained. Scoop the solids into a cheesecloth lined strainer and squeeze out all the liquid. There may be remaining pieces of fat that can be placed back in the pot to continue rendering. The solids are now called cracklins and are a great treat on their own or baked into cornbread. This is an all-day process and is best done when the weather isn’t hot as having your stove on all day will make your house hotter, that’s one of the reasons why animals are slaughtered in late fall.

The beginningThe beginning

Once you have all your fat melted down and cracklins separated, spread the cracklins on a baking sheet and bake at 200° to dry out. Eat them alone or mix into cornbread batter for a real treat. Let the liquid lard cool to just warm and pour into clean mason jars. Place lid on and let cool completely. It will solidify to a nice, creamy white color with no odor. While it may look solid, it actually has a soft, spreadable texture and can be melted and used in place of oil or butter in any recipe. Many bakers swear by it for the flakiest pie crust and I can attest that it makes the best fried chicken. If you cook with cast iron cookware, lard is the go-to for seasoning. Clean your pots and pans well and place 2 heaping tablespoons in the pan. Place in a moderate oven until melted and tilt the pan to coat. Let cool until warm enough to handle and use a paper towel to spread the oil over the entire pan. Return to the cooling oven and leave it overnight. If there is a white film in the bottom of the pan, slowly heat the pan over low heat and swirl the pan until fully coated.

Lard has many household uses as well. Squeaky door hinge? Smear on with your fingers and work the hinge until it no longer squeaks. Gum in your kids hair? Work a small amount into the gum and the oil will break up the gum. Want to seal wooden cutting boards? Rub the board with your fingers until a thin coat is applied. Let try and then wipe with a damp cloth.