Jake rode all the way from Bedford, West Virginia to watch the power boat races Saturday, July 20 at Rocky Fork Lake. (HCP photo by Rory Ryan.)
Jake rode all the way from Bedford, West Virginia to watch the power boat races Saturday, July 20 at Rocky Fork Lake. (HCP photo by Rory Ryan.)
The passing of a longtime community leader and caring volunteer caught me by surprise this weekend.

Michael Bradford’s passing on Friday, July 19 at Highland District Hospital was far too early at his relatively young age of 62.

Michael is another one of those fine people I’ve been blessed to know through almost 30 years in the newspaper business. As it is with many others, I do not recall exactly when or where Michael and I met. My hunch is that it likely involved publicity for the Festival of the Bells. We certainly had a working relationship prior to Michael being named executive director of Bell Gardens Place.

I do recall this, however: Michael and I never exchanged a single harsh word with one another or about anyone else – and that is a tribute to Michael, and certainly not a reflection of my own disposition.

From my perspective, it just was not in Michael’s personal and professional makeup to become disrespectful toward others.

Instead, he was always about helping others, mostly with very little fanfare. His pleasant demeanor and willingness to help others will be missed in Highland County – and beyond. I know we will miss working with Michael in his professional capacity as well as through his considerable community service efforts. He was a good man. Godspeed.

Note: A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated 11 a.m. Thursday, July 25 at St. Mary Catholic Church in Hillsboro. Father Mike Paraniuk will be the celebrant. Burial – with military honors presented by the Highland County Honor Guard – will follow in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Turner & Son Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.turnerfuneralhomes.cc or visit https://highlandcountypress.com/Content/Obituaries/Obituaries/Article/Michael-Dean-Bradford/17/66/51603

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• This weekend provided what seems to have become an annual tradition in Greenfield – a gathering with friends, Rock and Linda Roosa from Newport, Tenn., and McClain High School Principal Jason Potts. This year’s gathering was at the Buckeye Hills Golf Course restaurant, where we enjoyed a great dinner as well as great company – Ron Coffey even stopped by!

Rock is a 1955 Edward Lee McClain High School graduate, and has made monetary contributions to the school for several years during the Greene Countrie Towne Festival.

Rock also is quite the storyteller. When we talk about catching fish, Rock likes to say that he’ll believe all of my stories, if I’ll believe all of his. So we compromise and believe about 50 percent of what the other claims to be the gospel truth about the five-pound bass that got away.

One thing that does not need to be exaggerated, though, is Rock’s passion for Edward Lee McClain High School. His contributions to the school are his way of giving back for his educational opportunities and thanking the staff, faculty and administration for their ongoing efforts. This year’s $1,000 donation will go toward art restoration at the venerable E.L. McClain High School.

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• After spending Friday at the Greene Countrie Towne Festival, I enjoyed watching some of this year’s Rumble in the Hills at Rocky Fork Lake on Saturday.

While the APBA’s pontoon rescue boat is probably more my speed, I’ll have to admit that the hydroplane racers sure seemed to be having a good time skimming across the water at impressive speeds.

There was a great crowd Saturday, and as I was taking photos on the east shore, I was nudged (“goosed,” if you will) by a beautiful dog. Its owner quickly apologized – without need. “Jake” from Bedford, West Virginia certainly seemed to enjoy the hydroplane races as much as anyone.

If only our three dogs were as well-groomed and well-mannered as Jake…That’ll be the day.

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• Lastly, The Highland County Press is happy to have a new neighbor just across our South High Street office in uptown Hillsboro.

Rachelle Trefz announced on Saturday, July 20 that her business, Merle Norman Cosmetics & Salon, is now open at 123 South High Street in the city’s historic uptown district.

Rachelle, a former president of the Hillsboro Uptown Business Association (HUBA), said the interior remodeling work continues, but the new studio is open for business.

She opened the studio in Hillsboro in 2003 at the corner of South High and East Walnut streets. Call (937) 840-0701 or email RachelleTrefz@merlenormanstudio.com for more information or an appointment.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press, Highland County’s only locally owned and operated newspaper.