Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Funeral arrangements for Skip Johnson

Skip Johnson, 1929-2011

Yesterday’s brief tribute to the late Skip Johnson didn’t include funeral arrangements. I received them a short time ago and pass them along here:

Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 26 at the Gassaway Baptist Church located at 400 Braxton Street in Gassaway, W.Va. Visitation will be 2 hours prior to the service. A brief graveside service will follow at the Johnson Cemetery on Keener’s Ridge in Braxton County. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Kanawha Hospice Care 1606 Kanawha Blvd East, Charleston, WV 25312. 

Skip’s passing leaves a void

Skip Johnson, 1929-2011

Skip Johnson, the man I consider the dean of all West Virginia outdoor writers, passed away yesterday.

I will miss him.

Skip’s “Woods & Waters” column, a fixture for 31 years in the Sunday Gazette-Mail, helped get me into hunting and fishing. His works, and those of Field & Stream writer Corey Ford, brought the outdoors to this skinny, bookish mama’s boy and convinced him to grab a fishing rod and play in the creek. For that gentle shove out the door, I’ll be forever in Skip’s debt.

When I became the Gazette’s outdoors writer, I wanted to pay homage to Skip. I asked him if he’d mind me using the Woods & Waters “brand” at the top of each week’s Gazette-Mail outdoors page. Skip, with typical humility, said he would be honored.

My column this week on that page will pay further tribute to a man I consider a giant.

Happy New Year — and thank you!

The year 2010 was good — no, make that great — to the Woods & Waters Blog.

Thanks to you fine folks, we had three times as many visitors as we did in 2009. And we had 36 times as many visitors as we did in 2008. I’m deeply grateful, and will do my best to keep the posts as relevant and interesting as possible.

Again, my most sincere thanks.

And Happy New Year! May you all prosper in 2011.

Christmas greetings to everyone

On this Christmas Day, may we all enjoy the blessings of the season. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Apologies for the past couple of days

I’ve spent the last 36 hours or so undergoing and recuperating from a minor medical procedure. I’m back in the saddle now and should have a new hunting-, fishing-, or wildlife-related post up soon.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I hope your day is filled with fun, family, feasting, football — and maybe a late afternoon in a tree stand. After all, it is deer season.

And please, don’t forget to give thanks.

Lawyer: Presume innocence in warden’s slaying

WCO David Grove (PGC photo)

I realize she had to say that, but the remarks of public defender Kristin Rice ring sort of hollow because her client, Christopher Johnson, has reportedly confessed.

From the Associated Press:

HARRISBURG – The lawyer for the man charged with shooting to death a Pennsylvania wildlife conservation officer wants people to reserve judgment in the case. Kristin Rice, an assistant public defender in Adams County, said in a statement Wednesday that Christopher Johnson deserved the presumption of innocence and a fair trial. Wildlife Conservation Officer David Grove was shot four times last Thursday outside Gettysburg while investigating poaching. Police say Johnson confessed to the shooting, saying he was a felon with a gun who didn’t want to go back to prison.

OK, I’ll reserve judgment while the justice system runs its course. But that won’t keep me from rooting for a conviction — and the death sentence the prosecutor intends to pursue.

Thank you, readers!

Just a quick note to say a giant THANK YOU for visiting this site. The number of visitors has taken a sharp rise lately, and this blog has passed “hit” milestones we didn’t realize we could reach.

We at the Gazette — and I personally — thank you for your continued readership.

On vacation, but check in anyway

I’m on vacation for the rest of the week, but I plan to post here at least once a day. It’s a stay-at-home vacation, I’m an inveterate news junkie and I do a lot of Web surfing. That combination almost ensures an abundance of fresh blog material. Stay tuned…

We’ve been having ‘technical difficulties’

If you’ve tried to access this blog within the past 20 hours or so, you’ve almost certainly recieved a “down for maintenance” notice.

That’s because the servers here at Charleston Newspapers aren’t designed to handle big-league traffic, and when Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report linked to  a post made by political blogger Don Surber (whose blog operates off the same servers as mine), the volume of hits clogged up the system big-time.

Things are back to normal now, thank goodness. But I certainly apologize for the inconvenience.