CHARLTON HEIGHTS

    When the rains began on Sunday morning, July 8, Paige Dalporto grabbed his camera and struck out to document the damage along the Kanawha River, where the storm cut a swath between Smithers and Gauley Bridge. Paige is a poet, professional photographer and staff photographer for The Register Herald in Beckley. As one of the few photographers living in a flooded areas, he could capture the damage as it happened. Some of his photos were put out on the Associated Press wire and appeared in newspapers across the country. All the photos on this page were taken by T. Paige Dalporto. Some of his other photographs and poems are in a new book, It's Still a Wonder Just Being Here (New Leaf Books, POB 96, Charlton Heights, WV  25040). The book is a delightful harmony of images and words.

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Storm water rushing over the road near Paige's mother's home in Falls View

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Digging out

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Cars washed into Scrabble Creek, photographed shortly after the flood. This image appeared in newspapers across the country.

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A washout along Route 60 before Charlton Heights. Notice the numerous cut logs on the tracks and nearby. This flooding came from the hillside, not from the Kanawha River. Paige had been photographing the timbering on the hill for a couple of years and the photos are below.

       As a child, Paige Dalporto spent many magical hours in the forest on the hill behind his home. The trees were approaching middle-age, grown again from the clear cutting at the beginning of the century. To the young boy, they were beautiful. To the out-of-state timber corporations they were dollar signs. When Paige returned from his wanderings years later and settled near where he grew up, the trees were not older, they were only stumps. His poem, "My Sapling Years," begins:

                                                                            "If human beings were trees                                                                               and they lined the paths I crossed                                                                               I would pray they not be cut down                                                                               before their time."

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Photos of the timbering in 1999. This timbering is on the hillside about two miles west of Charlton Heights.

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This photo was taken in mid-October 2001. It shows slides in the timbered areas that occurred during the floods. Paige showed this photo when he testified before the Legislature committee on timbering regulations.

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A pile of logs that washed out of a timbered area during the flood. This washout is right above Charlton Heights. The photo was taken in mid-October 2001.