The Long, Storied History of the Greenbrier Resort

TheGreenbrier-North

The Greenbrier is a Forbes four-star and AAA Five Diamond Award winning luxury resort located just outside the town of White Sulphur Springs in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, United States.

For most of its history, the hotel was owned by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway and its successors, including the CSX Corporation. Before its most recent purchase and sale, the hotel was operated by CSX Hotels, Inc., a subsidiary of the CSX Corporation.

Following a year of heavy losses, CSX placed the hotel into bankruptcy in 2009. Justice Family Group, LLC, a company owned by local entrepreneur Jim Justice, subsequently bought the property and guaranteed all debts, resulting in dismissal of the bankruptcy. Justice has promised to return the hotel to its former status as a five-star resort and to introduce “tasteful” gambling for guests as a revenue enhancer. The Greenbrier Hotel Corp. today operates as a subsidiary of Justice’s company.

The last U.S. president to stay at The Greenbrier during his presidency was Dwight Eisenhower. A total of 26 presidents have stayed at The Greenbrier.

Bunker entrance

Bunker entrance


The Greenbrier is also the site of a massive underground bunker that was meant to serve as an emergency shelter for the United States Congress during the Cold War. It was code named “Project Greek Island” and Fritz Bugas was former onsite superintendent.

On March 20, 2009, the resort filed for bankruptcy, listing debt of up to $500 million and assets of $100 million. The resort lost $166 million in 2008. Pending court and regulatory approval, the resort was to be sold to the Marriott hotel chain (which has operated it), contingent upon significant concessions from the unions and approval of $50 million in financing from CSX.

On May 7, 2009, the Justice family of West Virginia publicly claimed that it had purchased the resort for $20 million. The Justice family, headed by patriarch James Justice, has extensive farm and milling operations in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina including 50,000 acres that it farms through its Justice Family Farms group headquartered in Beckley, West Virginia. In early 2009, it sold its Bluestone Coal Corporation network of West Virginia coal mines to Mechel.

The Marriott Corporation asserted that it had a valid contract to purchase the hotel, and expected to see that contract honored. However, Justice ultimately settled with Marriott, and the bankruptcy judge dismissed the case on May 19, 2009, clearing the way for Justice’s purchase of the property.

Bunker dormitory

Bunker dormitory

In the late 1950s, the U.S. government approached The Greenbrier for assistance in creating a secret emergency relocation center to house Congress in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. The classified, underground facility, named “Project Greek Island”, was built at the same time as the West Virginia Wing, an above-ground addition to the hotel, from 1959 to 1962.

Bunker rations

Bunker rations

Although the bunker was kept stocked with supplies for 30 years, it was never actually used as an emergency location, even during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The bunker’s existence was not acknowledged until Ted Gup of The Washington Post revealed it in a 1992 story; immediately after the Post story, the government decommissioned the bunker. The facility has since been renovated and is also used as a data storage facility for the private sector. It is featured as an attraction in which visitors can tour the now declassified facilities, known as The Bunker.

The Dirty Dozen

The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use this Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™ to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and choosing the least contaminated produce.

For the second year, there is an expanded Dirty Dozen with a Plus category to highlight two crops – domestically-grown summer squash and leafy greens, specifically kale and collards. These crops did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen criteria but were commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system.

Though the Environmental Protection Agency has been restricting the uses of the most toxic pesticides, they are still detected on some foods. For example, green beans were on last year’s Plus list because they were often contaminated with two highly toxic organophosphates. Those pesticides are being withdrawn from agriculture. But leafy greens still show residues of organophosphates and other risky pesticides. That’s why they are on the Plus list for 2013.

Tests in 2008 found that some domestically-grown summer squash – zucchini and yellow crookneck squash — contained residues of harmful organochlorine pesticides that were phased out of agriculture in the 1970s and 1980s but that linger on some farm fields.

Genetically modified plants, or GMOs, are not often found in the produce section of grocery stores. Field corn, nearly all of which is produced with genetically modified seeds, is used to make tortillas, chips, corn syrup, animal feed and biofuels. Because it is not sold as a fresh vegetable, it is not included in EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Nor is soy, another heavily GMO crop that makes its way into processed food.

The genetically modified crops likely to be found in produce aisles of American supermarkets are zucchini, Hawaiian papaya and some varieties of sweet corn. Most Hawaiian papaya is a GMO. Only a small fraction of zucchini and sweet corn are GMO. Since U.S. law does not require labeling of GMO produce, EWG advises people who want to avoid it to purchase the organically-grown versions of these items.

The Dirty Dozen

Apples

Apples

Celery

Celery

Cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Grapes

Grapes

Hot peppers

Hot peppers

Kale/Collard greens

Kale/Collard greens

Nectarines

Nectarines

Peaches

Peaches

Potatoes

Potatoes

Spinach

Spinach

Strawberries

Strawberries

Summer squash

Summer squash

Sweet bell peppers

Sweet bell peppers

Duck Dynasty Event Cancelled

duck-dynasty-merchandise-ftr

The “Duck Dynasty” clan isn’t the draw it used to be. Not even in the Bible Belt.

Promoters announced last month that members of the Robertson family would appear at a show titled “Faith, Family & Ducks” at an 11,000-seat arena in Springfield, Mo.

For $37, $50 or $58, fans could enjoy live music and hear the bayou millionaires talk about “living the American dream” while staying true to their “family values and modest lifestyle.”

But according to local media reports, the April 27 event has been canceled due to low ticket sales.

What? Nobody wants to pay money to watch a bunch of fake hillbillies talk about their faux religious faith, and how they bilked millions out of unsuspecting consumers?

What’s happened to this country?

Quotes

“A graceful taunt is worth a thousand insults.”
–Louis Nizer

“I feel so miserable without you. It’s almost like having you here.”
–Stephen Bishop

“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”
–John Bright

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”
–Winston Churchill

“A modest little person, with much to be modest about.”
–Winston Churchill

“I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.”
–Irvin S. Cobb

“I have never killed a man,
but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”
–Clarence Darrow

“He has never been known to use a word
that might send a reader to the dictionary.”
–William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

“Poor Faulkner.
Does he really think big emotions come from big words?
–Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

“He had delusions of adequacy.”
–Walter Kerr

“He can compress the most words
into the smallest idea of any man I know.”
–Abraham Lincoln

“You’ve got the brain of a four-year-old boy,
and I bet he was glad to get rid of it.”
–Groucho Marx

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.”
–Groucho Marx

“He has the attention span of a lightning bolt.”
–Robert Redford

“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.”
–Forrest Tucker

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”
–Mae West

“She is a peacock in everything but beauty.”
–Oscar Wilde

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”
–Oscar Wilde

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.”
–Oscar Wilde

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.”
–Billy Wilder

The Ludlow Miner’s Strike

Ludlow-strikers

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre in the coal mining region of Colorado. In the fall of 1913, 11,000 miners went on strike, protesting dangerous work conditions and low pay. Evicted from company housing, they set up a tent city for months. The mining company, CF&I, responded by patrolling with an armored car with a mounted machine gun, shooting at the strikers occasionally. There was violence on both sides, with company officials and strikebreakers also fired upon. The National Guard was called in, to the relief of the strikers. But instead of providing protection from violence, the Guard was used to escort scabs into the mines and confiscate striker’s firearms. Matters came to a head on April 20, 1914.

No one knows who fired the first shot. Some soldiers would later testify that the strikers’ bullets were already whizzing at them when an officer set off the three explosive charges that had been prepared as a signal for battle. Others would recall hearing the explosions before any shots. Witnesses on both sides remember a lone figure, Louis Tikas, waving a white handkerchief and running frantically back to the tents, trying to head off disaster.

It was already too late. The militia opened fire on the men in the railroad cut. Linderfelt arrived, and the machine gun was installed on a slight rise overlooking the colony. As the day wore on, shots issued from the tents, and the militia returned fire. Officers would later testify that they’d seen women fleeing earlier and didn’t know there were any noncombatants left in the colony, but it seems hard to believe that the soldiers weren’t aware that the flimsy tents contained scores of the defenseless and unarmed.

As troops tried to close in on the shooters in the railroad cut, Private Alfred Martin was shot in the neck — the first and only militia fatality of the day. A passerby, trying to negotiate the road between the colony and the militia, was killed instantly. Eleven-year-old Frank Snyder, who’d left the protection of a cellar during a lull in the shooting, caught a bullet in the head as he sat in his family’s tent.

That night, the tent city burned, and two women and eleven children were found dead of suffocation in a cellar. In response, the miners went on a ten-day rampage, dynamiting mine facilities and shooting. Six strikers and 24 mine employees were killed during this period before President Wilson sent in federal troops. Somewhere between 69 and 199 people were killed over the course of the strike.