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The Indy Issue from Friday March 12, 2021



Visions of the Development of Salem

By Kevin Zorn

An oil on canvas mural is displayed in the post office in Salem, West Virginia. It was painted by an artist named Berni Glasgow and its production was funded
through the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture. It is titled “Visions of the Development of Salem” and depicts a group of people
receiving mail, in the background is a village and cattle.


Berni Glasgow was one of more than 800 artists commissioned to paint 1371 murals, the majority of which are featured in post offices.
Often mistaken as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) initiative, these Treasury funded murals were created with the intent of fostering i
nspiration in the American people who were still feeling the devastating economic and social effects of the Great Depression.


It is a testament to the shift in the ideological landscape today that I cannot believe the US Government, in tandem with local governments,
was capable of doing what the WPA accomplished. Yet, here are just some of the facts: from 1935 to 1943 8.5 million unemployed men and
women were hired by the government to build over 10,000 bridges, 620,000 miles of streets and roads, 40,000 new and 85,000 renovated
buildings including thousands of schools, gymnasiums, auditoriums, playgrounds, parks, libraries, college dormitories, tennis courts, and skating rinks.


The WPA employed artists, writers, historians, and musicians whose work directly affected the lives of millions of Americans during some of the
country’s most painful years. Musicians hired under the Federal Music Project taught free lessons to 132,000 children and adults every week.
Those hired in the Federal Writers’ Project, in addition to their popular state tourism guidebooks, recorded over 2,300 slave narratives -
an invaluable collection for scholars and historians. Under the Federal Theatre Project 1,000 plays were performed across the country every month.
Incalculable is the number of children and adults inspired by this work.


Through the colossal endeavors of the WPA in both its pre-war effort and its public projects America achieved full employment by 1942,
the same year “Visions” was painted in Salem.


It is clear that the America many of us grew up in, the structures that supported our lives, the parks we enjoyed, the schools we attended,
the infrastructure we relied upon for travel, even the art classes that inspired the next generation of creators was largely built under the
auspices of the WPA and the New Deal.


This is a salient reminder that capital “H” History is not simply a collection of memorized facts and figures, dates and obscure names.
No, History is alive in the communities in which we live. It not only teaches us, it haunts us as well. It haunts us with what was
possible before and what is possible tomorrow.


Perhaps that is the greatest battle waged in the spectacle of media and politics today - the question of what is possible.
Our expectations are managed lower and lower. We learn that the climate crisis is inevitable, that homelesness is natural,
that workers are essential until they ask for a living wage. All to say that change is impossible. Visions of better futures recede from view.

But history haunts us with an alternative. By the time Berni Glasgow painted the mural in the Salem post office, the American
government had provided millions of meaningful jobs improving, with concrete and paintbrushes, nearly every community across the nation.


Nick Taylor, the author of “American Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA”, writes this: 


“These ordinary men and women proved to be extraordinary beyond all expectation.
They were golden threads woven in the national fabric. In this, they shamed the political philosophy
that discounted their value and rewarded the one that placed its faith in them,
thus fulfilling the founding vision of a government by and for its people. All its people.” 


This weeks front page:



Have you ever wondered if your land is a prime location for a Marcellus Well site?  How close to your home or land will a site be located?  Why not check for yourself if any of these permits that have been issued will effect your residence.

This site includes several layers of information and data that you may find interesting.  It not only provides new permitting information but includes Existing Horizontal Well Permits, Marcellus Wells, All Other Formations, Oil and Gas Permits by Permit Type, Other Types of Permits, Horizontal Wells, Horizontal 6A Well, Coal-bed Methane (all types), New Wells, Drilling deeper existing wells, Fracturing (all types), Re-Drill/Re-Work, Plugging Wells (all types), Horizontal laterals (simplified) and Other Oil and Gas Wells. 

Map indicates current Marcellus Permits and existing Marcellus & Horizontal Wells

Layers and data can be clicked off and on through the menu located on the top right portion of the site.  You can view the map as a Bing street map, a Bing aerial map, a topographical map or a simple hill- shade view.  These can help you visually in locating your property or seeing where and how close to creeks and streams.

Other options include aerial views from satellite photos from 1996, 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2011.  By default the view selected is the most current satellite picture.  Several other options views by permit type, by well status, well permits received in the past 60 days and other oil and gas wells.  You can view horizontal wells and laterals although the laterals will show up as a simplified drawing.

One of the most interesting views shows a colorized layer simulating the density of the Marcellus Shale Gas layer.  You will see the increase in drilling density around these “pockets” of shale gas.  Doddridge county sets on top of a very large pocket that almost encompasses the entire county.

The map to the left shows current Marcellus permits and Marcellus Wells with horizontal drilling (yellow lines).  The circular overlay indicated a high density Marcellus gas and oil pocket.  For a more accurate density map, visit the WVDEP website

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) makes Oil and gas permit information and production data available to the general public through their internet site free of charge.  This service is available at: 

These oil and gas related data are originated from the information reported to the Office of Oil and Gas at WVDEP by West Virginia oil and gas operators. This site is for general location and not to be used for any legal or engineering purposes.  The WVDEP does not guarantee accuracy, precision, or completeness.