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History Heroes To Be Cited Thursday

February 20, 2011

Eight Northern Panhandle residents are among the 44 people to be honored as West Virginia History Heroes at the state Culture Center in Charleston Thursday, Feb. 24.

A ceremony recognizing the latest group of heroes is planned as part of the observance of West Virginia History Day at the Legislature.

Former Northern Panhandle resident Joseph N. Geiger Jr., director of the West Virginia Archives and History Commission, said the new History Heroes include:

Area organizations scheduled to be represented at History Day include the Cockayne Farmstead preservation project in Glen Dale, Grave Creek Mound Archaelogical Complex in Moundsville, Ohio County Public Library, Tyler County Museum, Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, West Virginia Independence Hall and WVNCC Alumni Association

A fitting tribute to a Northern Panhandle native and public servant is one step closer to reality.

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., announced Friday, Feb. 18, that the Senate late Thursday night, Feb. 17, passed legislation to name the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Martinsburg in honor of the late Judge W. Craig Broadwater. The bill, introduced by Rockefeller, now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives, where Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., introduced companion legislation.

Broadwater served as a state circuit court judge in Ohio, Brooke and Hancock counties for 13 years, from 1983 to 1996, and as a federal judge for 10 years, from July 1996 until his untimely death from cancer in 2006.

A spokesman for the senator said Rockefeller spoke with Broadwater's family about the possibility of naming the courthouse after him last year and he has since pushed to make this naming a reality. Rockefeller and Capito introduced the legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.

"Judge Broadwater was a great friend and an incredible judge, soldier and public servant," Rockefeller said in a statement. "The naming of the courthouse would be a fitting tribute to his admirable life and incredible service and I will continue to work with Congresswoman Capito to push the legislation along to the President's desk."

Capito stated, "I am pleased that the bill naming the Federal Courthouse in Martinsburg in honor of Judge Broadwater passed the Senate. Any acknowledgement of Judge Broadwater's selfless service to his home state of West Virginia is well deserved. He was a humble public servant and fair-minded jurist."

Speaking at the Ohio County Public Library Tuesday, Feb. 15, Wheeling saxophonist and music educator Curtis Johnson noted that Wheeling native and legendary jazz musician Leon "Chu" Berry (1908-41) left a lasting musical legacy, both directly and indirectly. For instance, legendary jazz saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker named his son Leon in honor of Berry, Johnson pointed out.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at:

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