A column by Mike Myer, executive editor of The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register
WHEELING, W.Va. — Radiator Springs, the imaginary near-ghost town featured in the movie “Cars,” probably feels familiar to millions of Americans, especially those of us in rural states such as West Virginia. Many of us grew up in towns just like it.
“Cars” is an animated movie that, I confess, I would never have watched if it was not a favorite of my two grandchildren. If you’ve never seen the film, I recommend it highly, even though there are parts of it that hurt badly.
Radiator Springs is a little town that thrived once, because of its location astride Route 66. Construction of an interstate highway made it a backwater, much as changes ranging from roads to energy have affected many other small towns.
Once, they thrived. Within a couple of blocks, you could buy groceries, medicine, clothing, hardware — anything you needed. Many had movie theaters and restaurants.
But we moved on, buying our groceries in mega-stores and seduced by big shopping malls. Now the item most commonly for sale in many small towns is real estate…