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Western Monongalia County

By Ciara Litchfield, Emilee Kessler, Cate Burgan and Ayah Mahana

A tan pickup truck sits in the parking lot of Mary’s Bar and Hot Spot facing Route 7 on a hot Friday afternoon in May. Allen “Cowboy” Hixenbaugh balances his ladder on the gravel as his wife, Beth, hands him the tools to install a new hot pink sign that reads Mary’s Bar.  
Monongalia County Ambulance in a garage with fire trucks in Blacksville, West Virginia

By Emilee Kessler

Dupont Circle is internationally known as a center of LGBTQ activity in the nation’s capital, but as the gay community enjoys broader acceptance across Washignton, D.C., the former “gayborhood” is becoming more and more diverse and less the queer-centric neighborhood it use to be.During her first week living in Wadestown, West Virginia, Lynn Keener saw a car drop off the shoulder of the road in front of her, hit a hole and blow a tire. The car ended its roll in a ditch. The driver asked her to call for help, but because she had no mobile phone service where they were, she had to drive to her home to call 9-1-1 for an ambulance. “I went home and called for him, and it took an hour,” Keener said.

By Ciara Litchfield

At the start of the 2021/2022 school year, Clay-Battelle Middle and Senior High School in Blacksville, West Virginia was listing three vacant teaching positions. One, a biology position, and two special education positions. 

By Julia Maltby

On a Tuesday afternoon in April, at the Senior Monongalians Senior Center in Morgantown, West Virginia, there are a few people in the cafe, sipping coffee and reading, and two men playing pool. One of them laments how the art classes must have damaged the pool table after he narrowly missed the corner pocket. The center, which reopened to the public in June of 2021, is the one place he can play for hours, undisturbed, without the alcohol-fueled bustle of a bar or pool hall.