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AG office representative to conduct mobile office visits
AG office representative to conduct mobile office visits

Andrea Lannom, a consumer representative from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office, will conduct mobile office hours throughout Kanawha, Putnam and Cabell counties through this month.

Adventure Advisory lists state getaways, Valentine’s Day packages in February
Adventure Advisory lists state getaways, Valentine’s Day packages in February

The Adventure Advisory, prepared and distributed by Wild, Wonderful West Virginia (GoToWV), highlights some of the many activities happening across the Mountain State. In February, these events include:

Library programs to augment Celtic Calling in March
Library programs to augment Celtic Calling in March

The Kanawha County Public Library is partnering with the organizers of the Celtic Calling to celebrate the rich and unique Irish and Scottish cultures.

Area schools to take part in WVU Honors Bands Invitational

Nine marching bands from Kanawha and Putnam county high schools will head northward to make beautiful music together at the 37th annual Invitational High School Honor Bands event next week on West Virginia University’s Evansdale Campus.

South Charleston native returns to Mountain State
South Charleston native returns to Mountain State

It seemed pre-ordained that the Rev. Dr. Kyle W. Key would leave a church in Harrisonburg, Virginia, to become the new pastor at Teays Valley Presbyterian Church.

Montgomery, Clendenin men named 2016 History Heroes

Two area men are among 50 individuals to be honored on Friday, Jan. 29, as West Virginia History Heroes during a History Day program and ceremony at the Culture Center in Charleston.

Christian’s Sports Beat: Monster Jam comes to town
Christian’s Sports Beat: Monster Jam comes to town

Most of the time when I write this column it’s about physical sports, like soccer, running, football and baseball.

Retired Putnam teacher pens book on investing
Retired Putnam teacher pens book on investing

It’s a small book, but it contains a strategy for investing in the stock market that its author, Bill Hollis, says has been successful for him.

Farmer’s Table: Thai Green Curry
Farmer’s Table: Thai Green Curry

I was introduced to Thai cuisine when I was a student at Glenville State College. The school had five international students at the time and they were all from Thailand.

KPCC providing free support group for family, friends of addicts
KPCC providing free support group for family, friends of addicts

Under the aegis of the Charleston-based Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center, Dr. Jack Stringfellow leads a support group -- for friends, family members and colleagues of drug addicts -- that began last week on the city’s East End.

Eric Douglas: Sleeping through the winter
Eric Douglas: Sleeping through the winter

You would think it would be easy to get enough sleep this time of year. The nights are long. It’s cold out. It’s easy to snuggle under a blanket or your favorite Afghan and get some solid rest.

Eric Douglas: Leave it better than we found it
Eric Douglas: Leave it better than we found it

Not that everyone follows it, but there is a saying among scuba divers that we should take only pictures and leave only bubbles. One of the most frustrating things to see on a dive is trash that someone carelessly dropped overboard from a boat.

St. Francis School to introduce Specialized Learning Program

Beginning next school year, St. Francis School in St. Albans will offer a Specialized Learning Program, taught by Maria Phillips.

GWHS student body president chosen for U.S. Senate Youth Program
GWHS student body president chosen for U.S. Senate Youth Program

Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have announced the names of the two students who have been selected as delegates to the 54th annual United States Senate Youth Program to be held March 5-12 in Washington, D.C.

Cross Lanes United Methodist Church’s community dinner brings out the crowds
Cross Lanes United Methodist Church’s community dinner brings out the crowds

It was cold outside, but in the kitchen at Cross Lanes United Methodist Church, things were heating up.

Farmer’s Table: Sautéed Baby Bok Choy
Farmer’s Table: Sautéed Baby Bok Choy

Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage that is comprised of a cluster of leaves that are not compact like regular cabbage. The bulb-like portion on the bottom stays crisp when cooked. The dark green, leafy portion on top wilts and has a soft, silky...

Youth hoopster a high-point shooter
Youth hoopster a high-point shooter

At the age of 4, Dylan Ferrell’s basketball career tipped off on a less-than-spectacular note.

First W.Va. Bike Summit to highlight multiple upsides of cycling
First W.Va. Bike Summit to highlight multiple upsides of cycling

Promoting power to the people by way of pedals, West Virginia Connecting Communities will host the inaugural West Virginia Bike Summit on Sunday, Jan. 24 and Monday, Jan. 25 at the Marriott Town Center in downtown Charleston.

Gabby’s Sewing & More opens in Dunbar featuring sales, service, lessons
Gabby’s Sewing & More opens in Dunbar featuring sales, service, lessons

When it comes to needles and thread, sewing machines, quilts and alterations, Rebecca “Gabby” Chapman is in her element.

Farmer’s Table: Sautéed Pears with Bacon
Farmer’s Table: Sautéed Pears with Bacon

Pears are one of my favorite fall and winter fruits, and this is the time to take advantage of their availability at the supermarket.

Charleston artist’s work on display at Marshall’s South Charleston campus

Growing up, Charleston artist Larry Wolfe loved the classic stories spun by authors of their time -- “Treasure Island,” “Kidnapped” and James Fennimore Cooper’s “Leatherstocking” tales.

Eric Douglas: Living up to Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy
Eric Douglas: Living up to Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy

I was less than a year old on April 4, 1968, the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered.

Christian’s Sports Beat: West Virginia Power warming up for 2016 season
Christian’s Sports Beat: West Virginia Power warming up for 2016 season

As I was getting ready for to call it a night recently, I heard my favorite baseball song, “Centerfield” by John Fogerty, and it gave me an idea for this column, with the West Virginia Power’s first game of the season less than...

Kanawha County Public Library addes streaming music to its online offerings

Kanawha County Public Library is now offering patrons the ability to stream entire albums every day as part of its free, online music offering.

Sweet Charity dessert competition returns Tuesday
Sweet Charity dessert competition returns Tuesday

Faith in Action of the Greater Kanawha Valley will hold its second annual Sweet Charity fundraising event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, at the Columbia Pipeline Auditorium, 1700 MacCorkle Ave., Charleston.

Lil’ Bit of Everything thrifty, nifty, new North Charleston business
Lil’ Bit of Everything thrifty, nifty, new North Charleston business

If you’re looking for something different, diverse, distinct or distinguished, the place you might want to consider finding it first is Lil’ Bit of Everything in North Charleston.

Belle-Rand Lions contribute funds to area schools
Belle-Rand Lions contribute funds to area schools

The Belle-Rand Lions Club surprised Valerie Harper, principal of Riverside High School, recently with a donation to the Belle school’s clothing fund.

Cross Lanes United Methodist announces concert series

In an ongoing effort to bring the Cross Lanes community together, the Cross Lanes United Methodist Church, 5320 Frontier Drive, is presenting its 2016 Community Music Concert Series.

Cold Spot restaurant celebrates grand reopening in Dunbar
Cold Spot restaurant celebrates grand reopening in Dunbar

Bill Smeedy stood outside his new Cold Spot restaurant and convenience store in Dunbar and expressed gratitude for the support of the community and his loyal customers.

2016 W.Va. International Auto Show roars into Charleston this month
2016 W.Va. International Auto Show roars into Charleston this month

The West Virginia International Auto Show takes over Charleston with hundreds of new model vehicles Friday, Jan. 22 through Sunday, Jan. 24.

Upward Bound students explore ‘Mad Science’ experiments
Upward Bound students explore ‘Mad Science’ experiments

The Upward Bound program at WVU Tech in Montgomery, which celebrated its 50th year over the summer, brings area high school students to campus to prepare them for college and keep them academically engaged throughout the school year.

Eric Douglas: Peace be to you in 2016

One of my favorite bands, that you’ve probably never heard of, is called The Subdudes. Officially, The Subdudes are an American roots rock group from New Orleans. They play a blend of American folk, New Orleans rhythm and blues, cajun/zydeco,...

Farmer’s Table: Pistachios with Za’atar
Farmer’s Table: Pistachios with Za’atar

April Hamilton recently featured a za’atar chicken recipe in her weekly Gazette-Mail cooking column. This is a spice blend I keep on hand at all times, so I was delighted to find a new use for it.

St. Albans library to host author appearance Tuesday
St. Albans library to host author appearance Tuesday

The St. Albans Branch of the Kanawha County Public Library system will feature local author Dan Foster as the January speaker in its monthly “St. Albans Writes ...” series at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Area man suggests ancient mounds line up to reveal summer, winter solstice
Area man suggests ancient mounds line up to reveal summer, winter solstice

As a naturally curious man, Scott Blake likes to leave no stone unturned when his inquistive mind is teased with a mystery.

Community unites, plants garden beds at West Side school
Community unites, plants garden beds at West Side school

At J.E. Robins Elementary School in 2014, teacher Debby Edmonds witnessed police ​​​​climbing onto the Charleston West Side’s school’s roof to determine with laser whether a recent shooting was within 1,000...

Readers’ Forum: Once again, elected officials wasting their time, our money
Readers’ Forum: Once again, elected officials wasting their time, our money

It comes to my attention that our elected officials are trying to fix something that doesn’t need fixing once again.

Andrew Jackson Middle School teacher is finalist in Samsung contest
Andrew Jackson Middle School teacher is finalist in Samsung contest

A project to improve erosion control in the community has earned an Andrew Jackson Middle School teacher a state championship in a national contest sponsored by Samsung.

Eric Douglas: The years get faster -- focus on the now
Eric Douglas: The years get faster -- focus on the now

Talking to my youngest daughter a few days before Christmas, I asked her if she was ready. She said she was, but then said she was a little scared, too.

Farmer’s Table: Amaretto Spiced Cider
Farmer’s Table: Amaretto Spiced Cider

Apple cider is a seasonally produced, unfiltered, unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverage made from apples. It is more opaque and a bit tangier than apple juice. It is the state beverage of New Hampshire.

Marmet Tudor’s leads state’s Make-A-Wish Foundation fund drive
Marmet Tudor’s leads state’s Make-A-Wish Foundation fund drive

During October, Tudor’s Biscuit World employees and customers throughout the state worked together to raise over $45,000 in an effort to help grant more than 11 wishes of local West Virginia children diagnosed with life-threatening medical...

New classes on tap for 2016 at Elk River Community Center

Do you have a belt in karate but no dojo? Have you ever wanted to try yoga? How about watercolor painting? Do you have questions about your bonsai tree?

Brass, Bowie, barbershop harmony among GoodNight music selections New Year’s Eve
Brass, Bowie, barbershop harmony among GoodNight music selections New Year’s Eve

The family-friendly, free New Year’s Eve GoodNight celebration will continue to ring in the new year rhapsodically in 2015, at various sites throughout Charleston from 6 until 10 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31.

FOOTMAD hosting New Year’s Eve party

Ready for a new year? The Kanawha Valley Friends of Old Time Music and Dance is welcoming 2016 with “Good Rid-Dance 2015.”

Eric Douglas: Yes, West Virginia, there is...
Eric Douglas: Yes, West Virginia, there is...

Every writer I know (myself included), whether they admit it or not, thinks about their legacy. They hope to create something that will live forever, something that high school kids will have to diagram and analyze, learning to hate us forever…...

Bypass Pharmacy opens in South Charleston in former United Bank building
Bypass Pharmacy opens in South Charleston in former United Bank building

Opening a drug store in a former bank building has its advantages, not the least of which is a very secure, walk-in safe.

W.Va. Bike Summit bound for Charleston

Registration is open for the West Virginia Bike Summit, scheduled for Jan. 24 and 25 at the Charleston Marriott Town Center.

Farmer’s Table: Traditional Italian Christmas Eve Doughnuts
Farmer’s Table: Traditional Italian Christmas Eve Doughnuts

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Feast of the Seven Fishes celebration in Fairmont. The celebration is held annually on the second weekend in December.

Seven state parks hosting New Year’s Eve celebrations

West Virginia state parks have become popular places to bring in the New Year and they will offer a variety of dinners and dances and packaged options to close out 2015.

Area artists among 2015 W.Va. Juried Exhibition winners
Area artists among 2015 W.Va. Juried Exhibition winners

Artists from Huntington, Morgantown and Wheeling won the top prizes in the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s 19th West Virginia Juried Exhibition, which opened on Nov. 8 at Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia in Beckley.

Eric Douglas: Winter solstice a step in the right direction
Eric Douglas: Winter solstice a step in the right direction

Next week brings the most important day of the year for me. It is a holiday celebrated around the world.

Farmer’s Table: Polish Poppy Seed Rolls
Farmer’s Table: Polish Poppy Seed Rolls

After I married my husband, I looked forward to receiving packages from his parents at Easter and Christmas time. The contents were always the same: a walnut roll and a poppy seed roll made by the ladies at The Sacred Heart of Mary Parish in Weirton.

Kanawha, Putnam pooches reign at annual Reindog Parade

The Putnam County Parks and Recreation Commission would like to thank everyone who participated in the 14th annual Reindog Parade held at Valley Park on Dec. 5.

Calvary Baptist Church in Charleston selling new cookbooks
Calvary Baptist Church in Charleston selling new cookbooks

From rich desserts to healthy entrees to appetizers, a new cookbook of family recipes from Calvary Baptist Church in Charleston has something to please everyone.

Retired MU professor pens forensic psychology book
Retired MU professor pens forensic psychology book

A new book by a retired Marshall University psychology professor explores the darker side of human behavior, while also serving as a primer in the field of forensic psychology.

W.Va. Wild Sled Hockey team off and sliding at Memorial Ice Arena
W.Va. Wild Sled Hockey team off and sliding at Memorial Ice Arena

The air was chilly, the ice was cold and the excitement was building as members of the West Virginia Wild Sled Hockey team arrived for a Monday evening practice session at the South Charleston Memorial Ice Arena.

Holiday coat drive continues through Friday at auto dealerships, newspaper
Holiday coat drive continues through Friday at auto dealerships, newspaper

For approximately 15 years, the West Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers Association and Charleston Newspapers have partnered to sponsor a yearly holiday coat drive for those in need of warm, durable outerwear in winter.

Eric Douglas: Merry Christmas -- and watch your credit cards
Eric Douglas: Merry Christmas -- and watch your credit cards

On Black Friday, the supposed biggest shopping day of the year (which actually turned out to be Cyber Monday rather than Black Friday, making this even more relevant), I woke up to an email telling me that my credit card company noticed...

Goldenseal magazine subscriptions available for holiday shoppers
Goldenseal magazine subscriptions available for holiday shoppers

Looking for that perfect holiday gift?

Look no further. Goldenseal magazine is a great solution to your last-minute gift-giving needs and offers hours of reading enjoyment with stories about West Virginia traditional life.

South Charleston’s annual Christmas parade kicks off this Saturday

Santa Claus will have some competition again this year in South Charleston’s annual Christmas parade, which starts at noon Saturday, Dec. 12.

Young’s completes major renovation of its West Side headquarters
Young’s completes major renovation of its West Side headquarters

Customers at Young’s on Charleston’s West Side are giving rave reviews to the store’s modern, new look that took nearly a half-year to complete.

NO School Spirits PSA contest underway

The West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration is soliciting entries for the third annual NO School Spirits Public Service Announcement contest, open to high school students throughout the state.

‘Pop-n-Artie’ boutique opens in St. Albans
‘Pop-n-Artie’ boutique opens in St. Albans

When Jayme Burnsworth moved to St. Albans, she saw it as the perfect town for a big city-style boutique.

Nitro man’s book teaches life lessons in rhyme and illustrations
Nitro man’s book teaches life lessons in rhyme and illustrations

In a backyard treehouse filled with leaves, a grandfather found inspiration -- and his grandson learned a valuable life lesson.

Extension Service shares ATV safety tips
Extension Service shares ATV safety tips

As the use of all-terrain and utility-task vehicles reaches its yearly peak, so does the number of preventable ATV accidents and fatalities occurring in West Virginia, according to West Virginia University Extension Service Mingo County 4-H Agent Mark...

Montrose, Ruthlawn elementary students heading to Pittsburgh for NFL PP&K competition
Montrose, Ruthlawn elementary students heading to Pittsburgh for NFL PP&K competition

Three girls from Montrose Elementary School and a boy from Ruthlawn Elementary School will be packing their bags soon for a trip to Pittsburgh.

CJCC students help restore historic Virginia structure
CJCC students help restore historic Virginia structure

Five students from the Charleston Job Corps Center were selected to participate in the Long’s Chapel Restoration Project. Other students from Muhlenberg and Carl D. Perkins participated.

Nitro officials looking to renovate city park; plans include ball fields for travel teams
Nitro officials looking to renovate city park; plans include ball fields for travel teams

Looking to a future of increased tourism and recreational opportunities, Nitro city officials are pondering a major upgrade to Nitro City Park.

Christian’s Sports Beat: Grinding out a winter run
Christian’s Sports Beat: Grinding out a winter run

Runners throughout the area are getting ready for running in the cold winter as the temperature has started to drop. It’s a time of the year when runners have to convince themselves to train when the weather is a bit chilly.

Eric Douglas: Traditions signal the season
Eric Douglas: Traditions signal the season

One of my stronger Christmas memories comes from a time when I was alone.

Horace Mann Middle students win Lions’ peace poster contest

Lexi Bautista, an eighth-grade student at Horace Mann Middle School in Kanawha City, has taken the first step to becoming an internationally recognized artist.

John Cook Jewelers in Kanawha City celebrating 50th year in business
John Cook Jewelers in Kanawha City celebrating 50th year in business

Two years ago, when Shanon Thomas took over John Cook Jewelers from his father-in-law, John Cook III, he knew that trust and customer service are the keys to business success.

Farmer’s Table: Pistachio Cheesecake
Farmer’s Table: Pistachio Cheesecake

My hometown had a corner newsstand. I am among those who sentimentalize its closing. Local businessmen made it their first morning stop to pick up a copy of the East Liverpool Review or Pittsburgh Press.

UUC to host 13th annual River Arts Show and Sale

Featuring 25 West Virginia artists, the13th River Arts Show and Sale will take place this week at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Charleston’s West Side.

Award-winning, Cabin Creek-based dentist obtains elite training in St. Louis
Award-winning, Cabin Creek-based dentist obtains elite training in St. Louis

Cabin Creek Health Systems dentist Dr. Hillary J. Homburg was chosen as a 2015 Give Kids A Smile Community Leadership Development Institute ambassador and spent three days training in St. Louis earlier this fall.

Retired NYC firefighter presents Big Chimney firm with 9/11 tribute plaque
Retired NYC firefighter presents Big Chimney firm with 9/11 tribute plaque

Ray Thomas’ first visit to West Virginia left a lasting impression on the staff and customers of Smith’s Carpet One in Big Chimney.

Nitro Christmas parade, tree lighting set for Dec. 12

The Nitro Convention & Visitors Bureau invites businesses, schools, churches and and other organizations to sign up for the town’s annual Christmas parade, which is slated for Saturday, Dec. 12.

CLOG to present ‘A Christmas Story’
CLOG to present ‘A Christmas Story’

The Charleston Light Opera Guild will produce the musical version of a holiday favorite film, “A Christmas Story.”

Cabin Creek Health Center honors EMTs with pre-holiday luncheon
Cabin Creek Health Center honors EMTs with pre-holiday luncheon

As a show of gratitude occurring not only at Thanksgiving time but year round, the staff and management of the Cabin Creek Health Center treated several area emergency medical technicians and personnel to a sumptuous lunch on Nov. 12.

Foster care group seeks families
Foster care group seeks families

There are children throughout the area that come from homes riddled with drug and alcohol addiction, abuse and a number of other problems.

Best Christmas ever: Local couple opens home to foster children
Best Christmas ever: Local couple opens home to foster children

Josh and Chloe Loudermilk’s home in South Charleston is a lively place.

Farmer’s Table: Bloomin’ Apples
Farmer’s Table: Bloomin’ Apples

I grew up in West Virginia’s northernmost county. The area is well known for manufacturing steel and pottery, but there was a time when Hancock County, which is the state’s smallest county, was known for its apple production. The apples...

Eric Douglas: Take time to be thankful, in spite of the world
Eric Douglas: Take time to be thankful, in spite of the world

Recent events around the world, and at home, have made a lot of people bitter, confused and angry. There is violence and terror. It feels like evil is taking over and innocent people are dying at the hands of religious zealots. At a time like this, it...

Alum Creek artist designs 2015 Governor’s Mansion holiday ornament
Alum Creek artist designs 2015 Governor’s Mansion holiday ornament

First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin unveiled the 2015 West Virginia Governor’s Mansion limited-edition holiday ornament, the sixth in the series of her annual holiday ornament collection, on Nov. 4.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church hosting holiday dinner with St. Nicholas
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church hosting holiday dinner with St. Nicholas

Hey, folks, St. Nicholas is coming to St. Albans on Nov. 30.

Pinch hairstylist opens Kanawha City salon
Pinch hairstylist opens Kanawha City salon

Upon reaching 25 years as a professional hairstylist, Melinda McDerment decided on a “blow-out” for her landmark anniversary.

St. Andrew UMC group provides quilts for veterans
St. Andrew UMC group provides quilts for veterans

Every Tuesday at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in St. Albans, a group of women gather to sew quilt tops. They call themselves the St. Andrew Piece Makers.

Christian’s Sports Beat: Hard work pays off for pair of area soccer teams
Christian’s Sports Beat: Hard work pays off for pair of area soccer teams

To win one state championship is pretty tough, but to win two or four can be incredibly difficult.

Farmer’s Table: Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops
Farmer’s Table: Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

There are several great pork producers in the Metro area, so it is not difficult to obtain quality cuts of pork.

Eric Douglas: Taking an extra week to be thankful
Eric Douglas: Taking an extra week to be thankful

Maybe it’s just the political season or maybe it’s the encroachment of Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving, but I feel the need to be extra thankful this year.

Marshall theatre department to perform ‘A Christmas Carol’
Marshall theatre department to perform ‘A Christmas Carol’

Marshall University’s School of Music and Theatre continues its 2015-2016 theatre season with a production of the classic Charles Dickens work “A Christmas Carol” in the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center on Marshall’s...

KVRA hosting Christmas model train open house

The Kanawha Valley Railroad Association will present its 2015 Christmas Model Train Open House in November and December at Coonskin Park.

Area marching bands receive honors at Charleston invitational
Area marching bands receive honors at Charleston invitational

From Staff Reports

Nearly three dozen high school bands from around the Mountain State showcased their talents in the fourth annual West Virginia Marching Band Invitational Oct . 24 at the University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field.

State juried exhibition opens at Tamarack

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History opened its biennial exhibition, the West Virginia Juried Exhibition 2015, on Sunday, Nov. 8, at Tamarack The Best of West Virginia in Beckley.

Fair trade gift shop open in First Presbyterian Church of Charleston

Hope Village, a fair trade gift shop, has opened for the holidays inside First Presbyterian Church, Virginia Street and Leon Sullivan Way, Charleston.

Marmet Tire rolls into town with exceptional selection, personal service
Marmet Tire rolls into town with exceptional selection, personal service

Marmet Tire opened on Sept. 1 in Marmet and the business is rolling in, thanks to personal, professional service and positive word-of-mouth endorsements from satisfied customers.

Maria’s Italian eatery opens in Dunbar; serving pizzas, pastas
Maria’s Italian eatery opens in Dunbar; serving pizzas, pastas

After completely remodeling his new restaurant, Justin Browning was ready to do what he does best: cook.

WVU network seeks health-care solutions in Cabin Creek, throughout state

On a misty July morning at a community clinic, health-care workers gathered in a conference room to take a look at the big picture.

Exercise Challenge participants honored
Exercise Challenge participants honored

Cabin Creek Health Systems, in collaboration with the Kanawha Valley Village People, and the YMCA of Kanawha Valley, celebrated the Go4Life Exercise Challenge Sept. 26 at Hale House in Malden.

Farmer’s Table: Strozzapreti with Kale and Andouille
Farmer’s Table: Strozzapreti with Kale and Andouille

I do some of my grocery shopping at Putnam County discount stores. During October, I was able to stock up on German and Italian products. I found mustards, cookies, meats and assorted pastas that are often difficult to obtain locally.