homepage logo

Cafe Society to discuss life in southern counties

By Staff | Feb 1, 2016

The Cafe Society did not meet earlier this week due to the snow storm so will pick up where it left off previously discussing possible approaches to resolving disparities between the Eastern Panhandle and southern parts of the state.

To help understand what life is like in “coal country” Dr. Jerry Thomas, recently retired after many years of teaching history at Shepherd will share his insight. He was born and raised in Wyoming and McDowell counties. The next session will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 2. The Cafe Society is a part of Shepherd University’s Life Long Learning Program. These informal weekly discussions are held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the Rumsey Room of the Shepherd University Student Center each Tuesday morning. Pre-registration is not required and there are no fees or charges.

Cafe facilitator Mike Austin commented, “It is presumptuous on our part to be talking about making changes in the economic, social and political structure of the southern part of West Virginian without making a concerted effort to understand what life is like down there. We are fortunate to have Dr. Thomas who is steeped in the history and lore of the region and can place it in a broader context to help us appreciate the contentious issues that our legislators are currently facing. It is a very dynamic situation. Key decisions are being made in Charleston which will prevent a “business as usual” approach to problem solving in our state. And of course they are working against the background of a very contentious national political campaign.”

Austin went on to say, “Our discussions are resulting in proactive exchanges of information between participants that continue throughout the week which makes our political process come alive. I am impressed with the wide variety of sources that people have from which to bring different perspectives to the table. It provides a new awareness and appreciation of the tremendous human resources that we have in our midst here in the Eastern Panhandle. We probably rely too much on having our political thinking on critical issues done for us by the news media. These discussions are much more fun and certainly enlightening.”

Those who have suggestions for future Cafe Society topics or want more information about the Cafe Society program contact Austin at 304-876-0598 or michael.austin@frontiernet.net.