READINGS: A DC Power Couple Flips the Switch on WV Town

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Donald Hitchcock and Paul Yandura at their Lost River Trading Post in Wardensville, W.Va. Photo by Douglas Imbrogno

READINGS: WestVirginiaVille Recommends
A Gay DC Power Couple Is Remaking a West Virginia Town. Not Everyone Is Happy About It.

This is a fabulous portrait of a gay DC duo that decided to relocate to sleepy little Wardnesville, W.Va., in eastern West Virginia and have helped  to energized, reinvent, revive, turbocharge and — for some long-time denizens of the historic town— upset the apple cart. It’s some crazy-ass reporting on two characters who have quite a history in DC activist and Democratic politics.

By Marisa M. Kashino | WASHINGTONIAN
In one of the most depressed states in the Union, you might assume that the economic jolt would be welcomed as great news. But as city folk turned country gentlemen learned long before the rise of Donald Trump—who, by the way, got 76 percent of the vote in Wardensville’s county—fitting in with the locals is rarely simple.

Yandura and Hitchcock have been screamed at, had their property vandalized, and, well, worse. “I mean, we got our gay people out here. But they’re not puttin’ it out in your face,” says lifelong resident Joshua Frye, whose family settled in the area in the 1700s. Frye runs a 600-acre farm and cutting-edge agricultural operation that turns chicken dung into fertilizer. “I don’t wanna see two guys holdin’ hands. I don’t wanna see a guy and a girl makin’ out, much less two guys or two girls.”

These days, Main Street might be brightening up. But turn onto the dirt back roads and you’ll still pass trailers hoisted on cinder blocks and Confederate flags planted in front yards. Spend five minutes in a town-council meeting for a taste of some seriously nasty local politics. A lot of it—directly or indirectly—involves Yandura and Hitchcock.

As Yandura puts it, there have been days when Wardensville felt like living in the nuttiest Facebook comments thread. “But it’s for real! It. Is. Real.”… | READ ON

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