NEWS IN BRIEF – 11/8/11

Published 10:49 am Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Marshall grad’s books headed to TV

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) – Marshall University alum Craig Johnson is the author of series of mystery novels that are New York Times best sellers and now being made into TV shows.

Johnson was born in Huntington in 1961 and attended Marshall where he obtained a degree in Fine Arts specializing in Theater.

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From there Johnson lived the life of a nomad, living in Louisville while working in theater, in Chicago, out west, in Philadelphia and eventually New York where he worked as a police officer in Central Park. From there he would eventually move to Wyoming where he lives now and bases his novels.

Johnson says he learned much of his story-telling technique while traveling, but also from telling stories with family on the porch in Huntington.

“I remember sitting on porches and snapping green beans and I remember sitting around camp fires on hunting and fishing trips and things like that and one of the things that you learn being from Appalachia is that you learn what a good story teller is and you know the worth of it and the value of it and I think for me it was just an easy transition to go from telling stories to writing stories,” Johnson said.

Johnson says his experiences in Wyoming aren’t unlike life in West Virginia.

“When you get into rural American there are an awful lot of things that are an awful lot a like you can sit down in the Busy Bee Café in Absaroka County in this fictitious county I have in Wyoming and you know what, it’ll sound surprisingly like a little café or diner out on Route 10 and I think that’s one of the things I try to look for in the books a universal quality,” Johnson said.

“The Cold Dish,” ‘’Death Without Company,” ‘’Kindness Goes Unpunished,” ‘’Another Man’s Moccasins,” ‘’Junkyard Dogs,” ‘’The Dark Horse” and “Hell is Empty” are Johnson’s most successful books and the ones that have earned him the title on the New York Times best-selling list. They all include a character who is a Wyoming sheriff named Walt Longmire.

The A&E TV network was so impressed it is basing a program on them.

“People keep asking, what was that like to write books about these characters for seven years and then to all of the sudden see them on the television screen and the only way I can describe it, is it’s kind of like having a potted plant in your house and getting up one morning and having it go ‘Hi, good morning, how are you.’ It’s very wonderful, but a little strange none the less,” Johnson said.

Johnson says the reason he thinks his novels were chosen for a television show is the characters he’s developed in them.

“It came as kind of a surprise, but I think what it was they were looking for, they were trying to find books that had really strong characters and I’ve always been more interested in people and more interested in relationships and more interested in place than I am in trying to find cute ways to kill people,” Johnson said.

The latest Walt Longmire novel, “Hell Is Empty,” was released June 2.


AARP Foundation to present Operation Scam Jam

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The AARP Foundation will present Operation Scam Jam, a free seminar on identity theft and scam prevention, on Monday, Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Center for Education, located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 29th Street in Huntington. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Participants will learn how to:

> Avoid becoming a victim of identity theft

> Safeguard their personal finances

> Get a free copy of their credit report

> Recognize the latest healthcare frauds

> Stay safe while using e-mail and social networking sites

Seating is limited, and registration is required by calling (800) 799-4638.

Operation Scam Jam is sponsored by West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw’s Office, Huntington Area AARP Chapter #5405 and St. Mary’s Medical Center.


Magic 97.9 becomes ‘The Christmas Music Station’

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Tri-State holiday tradition continues as radio station Magic 97.9 has changed its format from today’s lite rock to all Christmas music effective this past Monday morning.

“This is our fifth year of all Christmas music. It’s a Tri-State tradition” says Chris Reynolds, program director of Huntington radio station Magic 97.9. “Our annual switch to all Christmas music has proven to be incredibly popular with listeners and the business community alike.”

“The response is incredible. I’ve been getting asked since August, what day we were making the switch. It’s great for businesses that want to share the holiday spirit with their customers and employees. One of the reasons Christmas music is so popular is because it reminds people of family and tradition. No matter how tough the economy gets or what’s going on in your life, Christmas music helps cheer you up.”

Magic 97.9 is owned and operated by Connoisseur Media .and will continue as “The Christmas Music Station” through Dec. 25.


Artwork from young artists sought to brighten spirits

The Marines are looking for a few good young artists to participate in the Art for Wounded Warriors program.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is sponsoring the collection of children’s art, which will be distributed to hospitals throughout the world by the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment.

Artwork should be done on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper and should include a picture and supportive message on the front, and the artist’s name, hometown and grade level on the back.

All artwork must be submitted in a flat, rigid envelope postmarked by Dec. 10, 2011, addressed to The National Museum of the Marine Corps, Attn: Teacher in Residence, 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, VA 22172-1938. Artwork becomes the property of the Museum and cannot be returned.

For more information, visit the Museum website at, phone 703.221.8430, or e-mail


IIB changes its monthly meeting

IRONTON — Since the date of its usual monthly public meeting falls on Election Day, Ironton In Bloom will meet Tuesday, Nov. 15.

The time and place are the same as previous meetings: 5:30 p.m. at the City Center on Third Street.

Topics of discussion will include final plans for the Dec. 6 Tree Seminar at Ohio University Southern, choosing the types and colors of flowers to use for next summer’s downtown floral display, and the formation of the contract in preparation for that display.

Ironton In Bloom welcomes participation of citizens in these decisions, and extends an invitation to all those interested in the Ironton Beautification program.


Upgrades, holiday alter library hours

IRONTON — The patron internet computers at the Ironton Branch of Briggs Library will not be available to the public from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday as the library staff will be in training to use the upgrades to the library’s circulation and cataloging systems.  Patron internet computers will be available at the other library branches.

All branches of the Briggs Library will be closed Friday, Nov.11 for the Veterans Day holiday, and will also be closed Saturday, Nov.12 as the library’s circulation and cataloging systems will undergo a major upgrade that requires the automation system to be shut down.  All branches will reopen at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14.


Marshall accepting pharmacy doctoral applications

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Marshall University’s School of Pharmacy is accepting applications for its doctoral program.

The deadline for applications for the inaugural doctoral class is March 1.

The pharmacy program is scheduled to begin next fall and is pending approval by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

The program would be the third in West Virginia. Other pharmacy programs are offered by West Virginia University and the University of Charleston.


Votes loom on Ohio union law, health care overhaul

COLUMBUS (AP) — A nationally watched fight over the bargaining abilities of 350,000 unionized public workers tops a list of ballot questions that face Ohio voters in an unusually vigorous off-year election Tuesday.

Voters will also decide whether to allow the state to opt out of a federal health insurance mandate and whether judges should be allowed to sit on the bench through age 75. Two big Ohio cities, Akron and Columbus, are also electing mayors.

The effort to turn back Ohio’s collective bargaining law, Senate Bill 5, has garnered by far the most attention of the year’s issues. It’s pitted unions representing police, firefighters, teachers, prison guards and other government employees against Republicans at the Statehouse.

seeking to rein in the size and cost of government and limit labor’s reach.


Russell, Ky., man arrested for W.Va. robbery

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A Kentucky man was arrested Monday and charged with the Oct. 13 robbery of Little Caesar’s pizza at First Street and Seventh Avenue in Huntington, W.Va.

Brian T. Batey, 40, of Ashland, is in the Boyd County, Ky., Detention Center. He has reportedly confessed to that crime.

Video from the robbery was posted on the Huntington police website. Detectives from Russell saw the video and noticed similarities between the suspect in the Huntington robbery and a suspect they had in custody for a robbery in their jurisdiction.

The similarities were not only physical. The Russell detectives recognized the getaway car as being similar in style to the one driven by their suspect.