Newspaper Column

Dave Hurst, the principal of HMW, writes a syndicated weekly newspaper column that some papers publish under his name and others publish under the name, Westsylvania.

Never heard of Westsylvania? Were it not for the politics of 1776, you could be living or working or visiting in Westsylvania! Settlers in the upper Ohio River Valley petitioned the Continental Congress to create the free territory of Westsylvania. Congress, worried that the proposal would cause in-fighting between Pennsylvania and Virginia (both of which claimed portions of the territory) at a time when the colonies were revolting against Great Britain, buried the petition in committee.

Westsylvania, the column, explores the ways in which the region’s pioneering spirit and sense of independence continue to exist today. The column identifies the natural and cultural qualities that make this region unique. And the column offers travel and activity ideas that will enable you to experience this special place for yourself.

To write to Dave Hurst about the column, e-mail

Currently, Westsylvania is published in these newspapers:

Huntingdon Daily News,
Kittanning Leader Times,
Latrobe Bulletin,
Somerset Daily American
Tyrone Daily Herald

To read columns published during the past year, click on the links to the right.


Some of the earlier columns are in PDF format. If you don't have Adobe Reader, click here: Adobe Reader. The more recent columns are in Microsoft Word. If you don't have Microsoft Word, download the MS Word Viewer: MS Word 2003 Viewer

12/1/21  The Confluence of a Special Place and Time

11/24/21  Reasons to Gather Family this Thanksgiving

11/17/21  How God Can Guide on a Sunny Day

11/10/21  Our Region is ready to host the 9/11 Trail

11/3/21  The Arts are needed in a mountain town

10/27/21  It's time to enjoy a season of rest

10/20/21  Picking Up Washington's Trail

10/13/21  Forging a Heritage Into a Future

10/6/21  Refugees will need our help to resettle here

9/28/21  When Somerset Lives Up to Its Brand

9/22/21  Oven Run's colorful history has turned green

9/15/21  In an emergency, turn off social media

9/8/21  What We've Lost Since 9/11

9/1/21  Fresh thinking is needed to thrive

8/25/21  When Locals Get Together and Give

8/18/21  In Tokyo and Johnstown: Women are leading

8/11/21  The Rejuvenating Tonic of a Rail-Trail

8/4/21  After the Pandemic: Imagine

7/28/21  Celebrating the Joy of Gathering

7/21/21  It's woods time for those wary of ticks

7/14/21  Finding Ways to Fight the Pandemic

7/7/21  At Transportation's Intersections

6/30/21  A Collaboration Celebrating Local History

6/23/21  Our cultural heritage events are coming back

6/16/21  Celebrating the News of Freedom

6/9/21  We need the reminders of Memorial Day

6/2/21  Florida Wildlife: An Interesting, sobering Show

5/26/21  Recreational events are emerging again

5/19/21  The Meeting of Writer and Preservationist

5/12/21  In Praise of the Month of May

5/5/21  The World's Best Herp-Hunting Grounds

4/28/21  Spring's Risk: Cold-water Immersion

4/21/21  Starting Small: The Lessons of Oven Run

4/14/21  The Return of the Heritage Hunt

4/7/21  A Time of New Life and Bright Hope

3/31/21  A New Website for a New Outdoor Season

3/24/21  Spring is here -- and getting closer

3/17/21  Investigative Journalism: Rooted in the Alleghenies

3/10/21  Help historic restaurants stay at the table

3/3/21  Virtual Events Preparing Us for Real Life

2/24/21  The pandemic can't stop maple season

2/17/21  Pittsburgh's Place in Performing Arts

2/10/21  Celebrating Winter on Groundhog Day

2/3/21  The survey says: Get a Boat

1/27/21  Fight Demagoguery with Forgiveness

1/20/21  The GAP is the Great American Rail-Trail

1/13/21  Perhaps our past can heal our present

1/6/21  At least we agree: Good riddance to 2020

12/30/20  The Gifts of the Nor'easter

12/23/20  There's light at this dark time

12/16/20  Good Stories for Our Period of Isolation

12/9/20  Chill out the pandemic this winter

12/2/20  The best of theatre-past hints at what's to come

11/25/20  Giving Thanks When Others Cannot

11/18/20  Music can keep spirit in this Season

11/11/20  Smelting New Hope from Old Sources

11/4/20  Exploring Our Literary Landscape

10/28/20  Thinking of Winter on an Autumn Walk

10/21/20  The Alleghenies' time is now

10/14/20  To survive this winter stay outdoors

10/7/20  The Escape of Fall in the Alleghenies

9/30/20  50 Years of Environmental Advocacy

9/23/20  Fall: A Season for this Season

9/16/20  Forty Years at Lake Quemahoning

9/9/20  Opportunities in this Pandemic Economy

9/2/20  Hiking While the Ticks Are Hiding

8/26/20  Brothers Who Are Different Breeds of Boaters

8/19/20  Some Good News for the Great Outdoors

8/12/20  Getting Sloppy at Sunday on the Square

8/5/20  Life and times can change perspectives

7/29/20  Change: It's all about us

7/22/20  Cautious Ways to Enjoy our Summer

7/15/20  Portraits provide fascinating images of our place

7/8/20  A Declaration of Dependence

7/1/20  People turned to trails during the shutdown

6/24/20  Getting Reacquainted with an Old Friend

6/17/20  Going Green in the Alleghenies

6/10/20  Entering Green with Fresh Thinking

6/3/20  Wildflowers give yard-weeds a good name

5/27/20  Historic Preservation: The Bane of Parking Lots

5/20/20  Let's be cautious out there

5/13/20  There are different shades of red

5/6/20  Trails offer ways to shed bad days

4/29/20  It could be worse; let's not make it so

4/22/20  The Positives of Our COVID-19 Response

4/15/20  The Arts: Offering Other Lifelines

4/8/20  There are signs of hope amid this crisis

4/1/20  Trails: An Important Resource in This Crisis

3/25/20  A Good Season Amid a Challenging Time

3/18/20  New Identities for Old Appalachian Towns

3/11/20  Growing Efforts to Distinguish Who We Are

3/4/20  Somerset tourism is drawing residents

2/26/20  Celebrating a Day that Should Be a Season

2/19/20  Lessons of Baseball and Black History

2/12/20  How to Find Spring in Mid-winter

2/5/20  Art can be a refuge from a mild winter

1/29/20  More to Enjoy About Rail-Trails in 2020

1/22/20  Classical performing arts take the stage

1/15/20  Easy Ways to Steal a Winter Outing

1/8/20  Praying for Another Good Year

1/1/20  On a May Day in January