The Pocahontas Times readers' letters
Letters to the Editor: October 21, 2010
The Pocahontas Times October 7 edition has a letter by Allen Johnson, of Dunmore-area, about King Coal and his problem with the health of people who use it, work with it or just being in the same area, so I would like to add to it.
As I remember the people who worked in the mines and around the moving operations had a lifestyle we used or were around it and that cycle added to our downfall. It has grown to a monster we face.
Mr. Tobacco was enjoyed by most coal miners, which added to a lot of their downfall. By smoking Mr. Camel or Lucky Strike, plus roll your owns, they consumed more dust which made their insides just as black as their faces and hands.
So to put all the blame on Mr. Coal is a shortcoming. Give the credit where it is due. You canﾒt wear a mask over your face with a cigarette in your mouth.
The Fourth Grade at Parker Elementary, located in southern Illinois, is learning about the United States and the different environments, climates, resources and highlights found in each region. The kids in the class think it would be fun to receive postcards, souvenirs, resources or any information about our great country from each of the 50 states.
We hope that people who read this letter will be interested in mailing items pertaining to their state to our class.
Fourth Grade at Aviston Elementary
350 South Hull St.
Aviston IL 62216
There were 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. Their occupations included merchants, scientists, ministers, landowners and lawyers. How many of these could you name? Adams, Jefferson, Franklin and Hancock may come to mind. But what about William Williams and Gerry Elbridge? These men are the ﾓfoundersﾔ of our nation. We call them statesmen and leaders. Yet their average age was less than 44, with only six of them in their 60s and two of them being in their 20s.
And now we are headed into an election to select individuals who will take an oath ﾓto preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.ﾔ While those who are currently in the position refer to themselves as members of Congress, the vast majority actually hold the title of ﾓRepresentative.ﾔ
The individuals you elect should represent you. When you enter your polling place, ask if the one who gets your vote will do that. Or will they be a part of some body that believes that they ﾓknow what is bestﾔ and that the general population is uneducated and incapable of making sound decisions? Is the person you vote for expecting you to cut back on your spending while they support constant increases in government spending? Is the individual going to support legislation that takes your rights and dictate how you run your home, job or business? Will your elected official meet with you, listen to you, look down on you? Do they want a big government that makes decisions for all?
I beg that you think before voting. Elect individuals for Senate, House of Representatives and for your local elected positions who will represent you. I do not believe that any of the signers of our greatest document believed that they were ﾓstatesmenﾔ at the time of the signing. We do not need to select great orators. We do not need an elite ruling class.
We need a government by and for the people.
Letters to the Editor: October 7, 2010
Pocahontas Memorial Hospital is working hard to continue providing quality healthcare. Quality healthcare is possible only if we can improve our financial viability, something that has been in trouble recently.ﾠ
The hospital cannot pay its bills if the people we serve do not pay theirs.ﾠ Since 2005, we have charged off to potential bad debt, 6,900 patient accounts totaling just over $4 million dollars.ﾠ
Starting this week, letters will be going out to these patients or their guarantor.ﾠ We are hoping that if you owe the hospital for services provided, you will contact us to make payment or to set up a payment plan. We want to work with you for our mutual benefit.
On behalf of the trustees and staff, we would like to thank you for your utilization of our county hospital.ﾠ The hospital and the healthcare services we supply are vital for this county, the people living here and the visitors who come to enjoy ﾓNatureﾒs Mountain Playground.ﾔﾠ
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate contacting our Business Office at 304-799-7400, extension 228.
Barbara Lay, Interim CEO
Board of Trustees and staff of PMH
We enjoyed the picture of the musicians performing at the Pocahontas County Fair. A correction needs to be made in one of the names.
Pictured third from the left is William W. Clutter, my dad, instead of Harry Lang.
Frances Clutter Kirchner
To Mayor Donald Peck:
Gloria and I both tender our resignations as of this date (September 6). We both feel that we can no longer have our names associated with a corrupt council that would knowingly and willingly go against town ordinances and laws. It is our hope that the good people of Durbin will correct this problem next year.
Gloria J. Ransom
Paul N. Ransom
I am formerly from Hillsboro and my brother, John, and I still have the family home there, which we visit quite often, along with other relatives in Pocahontas County.
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed Jaynell Grahamﾒs article ﾓOff we go into the wild blue yonderﾔ in the September 9 edition of The Pocahontas Times. My dad was always an airplane enthusiast and on several occasions he would take my sister and me to the airport near the county fairgrounds on Sunday afternoons, to see some of the locals fly their planes. Your article touched one of those memories when you mentioned the three U.S. Navy planes that did an emergency landing there in 1944 and their getting stuck in the mud.ﾠ I had told my children that story several times, but did not recall the date, which you stated was 1944. So I know now I would have been 10 or 11, depending on what month it was.
The following is another airplane story that I recall and thought you may want to go into the archives to research it more thoroughly. I am enclosing the only photo I took with my motherﾒs Brownie camera and somehow managed to keep. It is a P-51 Mustang fighter plane used in WWII.
One summer, about 1946 or 1947, there was a U.S. Army Air Corps fighter plane, a P-51 Mustang, that flew over Hillsboro a few times, apparently with an engine problem or low on fuel. Several of us boys watched as it appeared to go down just over the hill going out of Hillsboro on the Denmar Road. A friend of mine, Bobby Clowser, and I immediately got on our bicycles and raced over the hill to find the plane had crash landed on the L.V. Weatherholt farm. It had come in from the west over the Randall Price Farm and broke the left landing gear on a fence postﾠ between the properties, as it attempted to land. In addition, upon crash landing, it also bent the propellers and slightly damaged the left wing. Miraculously, the lone pilot pulled back the canopy and walked away unhurt.
Now, just being boys, we were full of excitement and some other town folks started to come by and see this rare spectacle. The pilot asked us boys if we would watch the plane a few days, probably in jest, but we took him seriously. Bobby and I went back to our respective houses, got permission from our parents, grabbed some snacks and our sleeping bags and went back to the plane. Being young, we thought we were really important as we staked off a perimeter around the plane with some stakes and rope and prepared toﾓguardﾔthe plane. From whatever, we probably didnﾒt even know, other than the fact that this was an important ﾓgovernment jobﾔ and we may get paid. We set up a blanket for ground cover for our sleeping bags under the right wing, which was elevated because of the left landing gear being broken. This gave us cover from the rain, sun or morning dew. We took turns riding back and forth to our homes for food, snacks, supplies, occasional changes of clothes and, of course, use the bathroom. Naturally, our parents would ﾓcheck inﾔ on us daily, on our big project.
As young kids back then, we doubly were excited as we had previously built models of planes during WWII, such as the P-38 Lightning, P-40 Warhawk and P-51 Mustang; and now, we were actually seeing one up close and the job of ﾓguardingﾔ or ﾓprotectingﾔ it. I mentioned earlier about this beingﾠ U.S. Army Air Corps plane, mainly because of the insignia on the wing. The U.S. Air Force as we know it today as not in existence then, but it was formed from the old Army Air Corps in late 1947 or early1948.
It was quite a coincidence, but I vaguely remember the pilotﾒs name had some initials similar to my dad, A. F. Walker. His name was either A. F. Barton or Barton F. Walker. It would be interesting to see if you obtain any additional information on this story, or whether it was a dream.
About three days after the crash, a large U.S. Army tractor trailer with a flatbed and crane came to pick up the plane. They disassembled the wings, used the crane to pick up the fuselage and wings, and placed them all on the flatbed. I believe it was from somewhere in Virginia.
How much money did we get paid? Never saw a dime or heard from anyone.
But the memories?
I am publicly, adamantly, fervently opposed to coal energy. Coal sickens and kills people, corrodes our civil government and threatens our climate.
I am told that coal keeps the lights on. Yes, of course. Indeed, more than 50 percent of our nationﾒs electricity comes from coal.ﾠ Including the electricity Iﾒm using right now as I write. Coal contributes substantially to the tax base of West Virginia. Coal employs hard working people with excellent incomes to support their families. Yes, yes, I agree.
Yes, I am complicit in my use of coal. My complaint smacks of hypocrisy. But cry out, I must. I rebel at King Coal, a master whose slave I am, but to whom I refuse to bow.
After 120 years of a coal dominated economy, West Virginia is dead last in numerous quality-of-life state rankings. For example, an extensive Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index for 2009 places West Virginia at #50 in state rankings for Life Evaluation, Emotional Health, Physical Health, and Overall Well-Being. The Gallup folks break their study down by congressional districts as well. Our own Third District stretches from Cabell County through mountaintop-removal ravaged southern coal counties to swing up to Pocahontas and Webster counties. Out of all 435 U.S. districts, ours is ranked #434 or #435 in the above listed categories. To put it another way, our district is #1 or # 2 in ﾓmisery indices.ﾔﾠ
Impaired health? Studies such as by WVU Professor Michael Hendryx, and Nobel Prize-winning Physicians For Social Responsibility conclude that coal is brutal to human health. Mercury contaminants, mostly stemming from coal-powered power plants, cause one in six children to suffer lifelong loss of intelligence through neurological damage. The average lifespan of a woman in the heart of the coalfields is 10 years less than the national average. Air is polluted, wells for drinking are contaminated. Dr. Hendryx has calculated the coal industry generates $8 billion annually to the Appalachian economy. By using mortality figures correlated to the Value of Statistical Life (VSL), the value of premature deaths attributable to the mining industry across the Appalachian coalfields, conservatively, is at $42 billion annually.ﾠ A bad deal economically, a worse deal in sorrow.
The coal industry is a bully. To speak against it forcefully in the coalfields is to risk oneﾒs very life. I know this personally. And politicians and regulators know to not cross the coal industry. All must bow their knee to King Coal.ﾠ King Coal sometimes even threatens our right to peaceably assemble.
I could go on with stories, statistics and analyses. Iﾒm willing to listen and talk to anyone. For me itﾒs no longer just my opposition to the ongoing catastrophe of mountaintop removal. The coal cycle from mining to processing to power generation to waste disposal, along with its attendant sociological pathologies, is a structural malaise that must be throttled.
Letters to the Editor: August 25, 2010
For three and a half weeks this summer, I attended the National Youth Science Camp (NYSC) at Campﾠ Pocahontas near Bartow. This was a life-changing experience for me. While at camp, I had the chance to meet many nationally renowned scientists, as well as make 130 new friends from across the United States, South America and Germany.
During one of the Directed Studies, I had the opportunity to study Non-Euclidian Geometry. Initially, this was not one of my top three choices; however, it ended up being quite fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about geometry in different planes and drawing triangles with angles that didnﾒt add up to 180 degrees. In another Directed Study (The Physics of Medieval Siege Weapons) we had two competing teams each building a trebuchet out of limited building materials in only two days. Victory required teamwork, ingenuity, applying of engineering principles and a whole roll of Duct Tape.
During camp there was an outdoor program in addition to the academic focus. As part of that program, I went kayaking, something Iﾒve always wanted to do. Having the chance to escape into nature was a good balance to the academics. I had planned on learning how to kayak during college, but now that I know how (thanks to the NYSC) I can skip the beginnerﾒs lesson and attempt some more technical runs. I still need to work on flipping upright in a submerged kayak, however. I also thoroughly enjoyed mountain biking. Iﾒve done a lot of this at home, but it was still great to get away into the West Virginia wilderness where it was just me, my friends and the trees.
Another awesome aspect of camp was the trip to Washington, DC. Exploring the Smithsonian Institute with a small group of science-oriented friends made the experience even better. Seeing the Library of Congressﾗunfortunately there was no Nicholas Cageﾗand eating lunch in the Russell Senate Office Building hosted by Senior Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), were also very meaningful experiences to me.
This camp has helped me build my network with the top science students and professionals in the U.S. and across the world. I hope to maintain these friendships and share my passion and excitement to pursue my scientific studies as I enter college this fall.
Thanks to the opportunity to attend the NYSC, I now have many stories to tell my family, friends and anyone else who will listenﾗall beginning with ﾓSo this one time at Science Camp...ﾔ. As a Delegate from Colorado, Iﾒd like to thank all the benefactors of the National Youth Science Foundation for making this amazing opportunity a possibility for me, as well as the other delegates and I encourage contributions to make this opportunity available for more upcoming scientists and mathematicians.
Fort Collins, CO
I would like to thank the people of West Virginia for their support of the National Youth Science Camp, which I attended this summer as a delegate from Tennessee. This life-changing experience is undoubtedly worth much greater attention than it receives.
Every morning I woke up among the countryﾒsﾗno, the worldsﾒﾗbest and brightest students, but we were not competing for grades. Yes, we were there to learn, but we learned in an environment of exploration, collaboration and openness. From Frisbee physicsﾗwhich was surprisingly complexﾗto dissecting hands, we all found ourselves pushed a bit outside our comfort zones, yet completely thrilled by the experience.
I cannot adequately express my thanks for the NYSC, theﾠ ﾓstaphﾔ members who work there and the contributors who made my 25-day stay in West Virginia possible. The National Youth Science Camp is a rare gem for the State of West Virginia and for the nation.
Letters to the Editor: August 19
A year ago, being concerned for my own physical safety, I showed our prosecutor, Donna Price, posts onﾠ an internet website based here in the county, where the poster, who lives in Green Bank, on several occasions threatened to beat me up. At first I simply sought a Protection Order, but was told that could not be issued.
Ms. Price then told Sheriff David Jonese that she wanted this person arrested since he violated a West Virginia criminal statute.ﾠ The sheriff then told me that he would go to this personﾒs residence.ﾠ When I later inquired as to what happened the sheriff told me he knew this man and that he, the sheriff, was not going to do anything.
I later filed a Peace Bond against the perpetrator and after a year the State Police finally filed criminal charges against him.ﾠ In so doing they simply gave him a citation and allowed him to come in on his own for arraignment.
Now, if we fast forward to this month, Norman Alderman has been posting on his website many questions about the residence of David Fleming, one of our county commissioners.
I should say at this point that I disagree with about 90% of what Mr. Alderman posts and I routinely counter his ramblings, but I support his right to put what he wants on this website.
Well, Mr. Fleming has taken not only to task what Mr. Alderman has said, but filed a criminal complaint against Mr. Alderman.ﾠ To the best of my knowledge Mr. Alderman has never threatened or even alluded to wanting to cause any bodily harm to Mr. Fleming.ﾠ In addition Mr. Fleming is a politician, a public official and therefore subject to much more scrutiny than the rest of us.
But, instead of simply giving Mr. Alderman a citation, the sheriff put together an army of deputies and others, arrived at Mr. Aldermanﾒs house at night, confiscated equipment, arrested Mr. Alderman and put him in jail.
All of this for a simple misdemeanor.
As a citizen of Pocahontas County I am startled and worried about this kind of selective power, favoritism toward a commissioner and what seems to me to be an abuse of office by the sheriff.
While Mr. Alderman is at best a polarizing figure in our community, he has lived here all his life, had a stroke in recent years and is absolutely no threat to flee. Treating him so much differently than anyone else brings into question the ability of David Jonese to live up to his duties in a fair and equal manner and to be honest to all of us.
I moved to Marlinton from Charleston.
I am very concerned about the lack of Veteran outpatient services in the Pocahontas County area. The travel distance to the nearest clinic is Sutton/Flatwoods area, followed by Beckley.
Living in Charleston, I had reasonable access to veteran services. Free transportation is provided to Veterans to and from the Outpatient Clinic and the Huntington VA Hospital. I do not see transporting Veterans in Pocahontas County or Randolph County as cost effective.
Access to preventive care, such as flu shots is essential. While access to Veteran Benefits is important to all Veterans, my primary concern is for our senior Veterans who find the distances difficult to travel. Many Veterans are entitled to low cost or no cost care and testing at Veteran Hospitals. In an emergency situation, it would be impractical to transport a Veteran who lives in Randolph or Pocahontas County.
Lewisburg fares a little better, being close to Beckley.
The short and skinny is that no one likes to pay for something that they would have otherwise been entitled to get for free, or for less.
According to U.S. Census estimates, within the general population of West Virginia, between 11 and 14 percent of the population are Veterans.
I could not find any statistics on the number of Veterans per county.
I do believe that Pocahontas, Randolph and Greenbrier counties are being underserved. The combined population of these three counties is estimated at more than 71,335. This makes this area larger than the population of Charleston, although far short of the 191,633 estimate for all of Kanawha County.
I urge all area Veterans to contact their congressman and state senator about this issue.
I hope that you will also e-mail me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters to the Editor: August 12, 2010
As many readers and citizens are already aware, I and my family have recently been through a divorce.ﾠ While this has been a mostly private and amicable process, it has among other things necessitated a change of living arrangements.ﾠ Specifically, I now temporarily reside on Sheets Road between Green Bank and Dunmore.
This is, of course, a private matter.ﾠ Yet there is a public aspect to it:ﾠ as the county commissioner representing the northern district, the law states that I must reside in the northern district.
The question of my residency was brought up recently on a local and popular website.ﾠ I wished to allay people's concerns, so I responded therein that I was in fact still residing in the northern district, and that due to divorce I was in the process of finding more permanent accommodations.ﾠ That should have been sufficient.
There are proper approaches for obtaining the answers to questions such as residency.ﾠ Given my and my family's circumstances, however, the approach that unfolded over time on the aforementioned website was not proper.ﾠ Subsequently, an attempt was made by the website's operator to address the county commission on the matter of my whereabouts.ﾠ I saw this as not only inappropriate, but also as a danger to the safety of myself and my family.ﾠ In the interest of defending both family and reasoned public discourse, I removed this item from the agenda.
As your county commissioner - northern district and beyond - I am driven by the need to nurture open, deliberate, and thorough discussion of all issues of concern to our people; to ensure that every reasoned voice has a seat at the table of the democratic process.ﾠ It is imperative that we as a county government safeguard this vision of discourse.ﾠ To this end, I cannot condone behavior that seeks to disrupt and destroy, and I will not tolerate tactics that are based on personal attack and the inciting of fear.ﾠ I don't accept such in my private life and personal being, and I won't allow such in our public process and professional dialog.
Lastly, I wish to express my gratitude to all those who have reached out to me and to Monica to express their support and well-wishes. Such has been most unexpected and appreciated.
David March Fleming
Pocahontas County Commissioner,
I recently participated in the National Youth Science Camp as an Ohio Delegate. I would like to thank the State of West Virginia for its contributions to the camp. I personally believe that the experience I had at camp could not be replicated in any other setting.
The other delegates and I were treated very well when we arrived at the Chuck Yeager Airport. We enjoyed sightseeing with our host families and our lecture at the Clay Center. We were welcomed, once again, to West Virginia at the Governorﾒs Mansion at the end of camp. When it was time to leave camp, we were all tearful. We were not leaving just friends; we were leaving our home.
We had many wonderful experiences in the great West Virginia outdoors. We were able to kayak, rock climb and mountain bike. We participated in three overnight trips in which we were able to enjoy the wilderness of West Virginia as we hiked in many location, including Seneca Creek, Cranberry Glades and Dolly Sods. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to sleep under the stars with a group of remarkable people who had become a group of life-long friends. We also participated in out-of-camp experiences that allowed us to experience more of West Virginia, such as picnics at Camp Allegheny and at Cass Scenic Railroad.
My time at the National Youth Science Camp was one of the best experiences in my life. West Virginia has made this camp a memorable opportunity for all delegates. From the unique history and scenery to the monetary contributions to the camp, the State of West Virginia has truly blessed my life with this opportunity, and I am extremely grateful.
NYSC Ohio Delegate
Letters to the Editor
As a resident of Pocahontas County, to whom coal mining and mineral rights feel like distant things I learned about in West Virginia history class in eighth grade, moving to Whitesburg, Kentucky, in the heart of the Eastern Kentucky coalfields, has been quite a shock.ﾠ First of all, the devastation that mountain-top removal coal mining has had on the landscape and communities of this region brought tears to my eyes.
But secondly, and most importantly, the coal and gas industries in Southeastern Kentucky have wreaked havoc on the water supply.ﾠ I enjoy swimming in the Greenbrier River in the summer, but I would never dream of swimming in the Kentucky River that runs through Whitesburg.ﾠ There are so many "boil water advisories" and instances of chemical run-off from the coal and gas industries getting into the drinking water that many residents of Whitesburg drink only bottled water to avoid consuming toxic chemicals.ﾠ I knew that there were places in the world where you couldn't drink the water, but I never imagined that I would be living in one, a mere six hours away from Pocahontas County.
With all of the talk about drilling for gas in Marcellus Shale, I urge Pocahontas County land owners and residents to guard their land, their water supply and their mineral rights against any sort of industry that could damage their drinking water.ﾠ It is physically possible to survive without fossil fuels, but physically impossible to survive without water.ﾠ Even if it seems like gas drilling might bring an economic boost, money cannot easily buy back a clean water supply after it has been damaged.ﾠ I've seen it in Kentucky, and I hope I never have to see it in my home county.
and Green Bank
I had the pleasure to visit your fair city in June for the memorial service for Mrs. Helen Dilley Davis. This was an occasion for family, relatives and friends to gather in the all American town of Marlinton to pay homage to a remarkable lady. Mrs. Davis was a life long resident and a large number of people gathered for this event. Activities started on Friday, June 11, with a delicious chili and cornbread supper at the Davis residence on 10th Avenue. Mrs. Davisﾒs son, Jim, introduced the Rev. Gene Pierce, retired minister of Marlinton Presbyterian Church, to give the blessing. As part of his introduction, Jim mentioned that Gene used super glue when he preformed the nuptial ceremony for him and his wife Gunda because in September they will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. During and after the serving of the food, the guests were able to renew their friendships of many years and in fact some of the discussions lasted until the wee small hours of Saturday morning.
On Saturday, June 12, the memorial service was held at Marlinton Presbyterian Church with the Revs. Larry Gamble and Gene Pierce presiding. Rev Pierce traced many of the four score and fourteen years, mentioning both the good times and periods of sorrow. The personal salutes to Mrs. Davis were continued with her two surviving sons, Jim and Bill, providing words of reflection ofﾠ life in the Davis family. There were a number of good times cited as well as the times of sorrow in the deaths of her teenage son, Larry, and her daughter, Sybil, and then the death of her husband, Layman. Chuck Dilley gave reflections of life with the Davis family where he was treated as a son. The church was filled to capacity. After the service, those attending journeyed over to the social room for a lunch featuring ham biscuits and several side dishes. Jim introduced a number of the attendees including friends from the mid-west and throughout both West Virginia and other states.
At the conclusion of the social hour, Jim announced that there would be a picnic that evening at his Momﾒs homeplace at the Dilley farm located on Gordon Dilley Road. The picnic was well attended and guests feasted on bratwursts, hamburgers, and hot dogs expertly grilled by David Dilley and Steve Critapoe. One of the many outstanding side dishes was delicious scalloped potatoes prepared by the hostess Pam Dilley Sharpes.
Family and friends journeyed from all over the country to attend this event. Such an attendance can not be duplicated in modern urban/suburban communities because of the transitory nature of the citizens. Only in a wonderful little town like Marlinton with such a picturesque setting could this memorable memorial service unfold in such a friendly and nostalgic way.
Your loyal, humble and obedient servant,
Paul C. Farmer
Letters to the Editor: July 29, 2010
From statehood in 1863 through 1972 Pocahontas County always had a member in the House of Delegates. From Benoni Griffin (1863-64) through Tom Edgar (1961-72) we always had one of our own in Charleston. The 1964 "one man, one vote" Supreme Court decision mandated that state legislative seats be allocated on a population basis, not just by political units. Since Tom Edgar died in Spring 1972 (his wife, Betsy, was appointed to fill the last few months of his term), Pocahontas County has only had a delegate for one two-year term. Walt Helmick was elected in 1988; when he was appointed to the state Senate in 1989, Jane Price Sharp was named to serve the remainder of his term, but she was not re-elected.
For 38 of the last 40 years Pocahontas County has had no direct representation in the House of Delegates. Why? Because we have been included in a two-member district with Randolph County, which has almost three times as many people. Under this setup itﾒs virtually impossible for a Pocahontas County resident to win.
The Legislature is redistricted every 10 years to reflect population shifts shown in the census. In the 1991 redistricting bill the House created a number of new single member districts in order to give small counties better representation. In the original draft of that bill our two-county district was split in half, with one district being entirely within Randolph County and the other containing Pocahontas County and Western Randolph, from Mingo to Coalton. In that district Pocahontas County had 46% of the population, giving us at least a fair shot at electing one of our own to the Legislature.
But the Elkins people lobbied hard against the proposal, while our county commission sat on its hands. The result: Pocahontas County came out of the process as the only small county in eastern West Virginia lumped into a two-member district with a larger county - and no one from here has been elected to the House in the 20 years since. But once again we have an opportuntiy to fight for better respresentation: In 2011 the legislature will be redistricting again based on the results of the 2010 census.
Senator Helmick has been a strong voice for Pocahontas County, butﾠ he won't stay in the State Senate forever. Now is the time for our county's leaders to work together across party lines to correct this injustice, so that after the 2011 redistricting Pocahontas County will be in a single member district with a real chance to be directly represented in Charleston by one of our own people.
In writing thisﾠ I am not criticizing the folks from Randolph County who have represented us in the House of Delegates over theﾠ past generation. It just stands to reason that someone from our county, who sees us daily and shares our problems, will be easier for us to talk to and will be more motivated to take a Pocahontas County view of issues coming before the legislature.
Letters to the Editor: July 22, 2010
The July 15 PSD meeting was a sham designed to ensure that the Thrasher sewage treatment plan is sent to the DEP despite its higher cost, inherent risks and the fact that a better, cheaper, safer plan is available.ﾠ Thrasher was asked to analyze the Rigby plan by board members Amon Tracey and Mark Smith, even though Tracey said that he did not expect an impartial evaluation.ﾠ To no oneﾒs surprise, the Thrasher engineer determined that, despite being submitted at a cost many millions less than the Thrasher plan, the Rigby plan magically ended up being about a million dollars more than Thrasherﾒsﾗjust enough to support a claim that their plan was cheaper.ﾠ
Tracey, who is not the PSD Chairman, conducted the meeting much like earlier meetings when Scott Millican ran the show. No one was allowed to ask questions or respond to anything Smith and Tracey said.ﾠ Each person commenting was timed (while Tracey paid attention only to the clock), and then summarily dismissed.
Despite the reasonable protestations and requests for discussion by Shipleyﾗthe only board member who seems to care about the ratepayersﾗthis obviously staged meeting was quickly brought to a close by Tracey. He ﾠrudely and perhaps illegally interrupted Shipley in mid-sentence, and called for a vote.
Tracey recommended that the incomplete, inaccurate draft of Thrasherﾒs report on Rigbyﾒs plan be sent to the DEP for action.ﾠ No one but the board was allowed to read it; Rigby was not given a chance to refute itﾗas he well could have done. Tracey and Smith, who looked embarrassed by the proceedings, voted as they had no doubt been coached to do and rushed out without any further regard for the ratepayers in attendance. Thus they avoided the many legitimate questions left unanswered.
The only people present who were not outraged, who apparently knew beforehand what was coming, then congregated on the porch, probably to congratulate themselves on having stuck it to the ratepayers. If these people get their way, the ratepayers, of course, will have to foot the bill for the developers in the valley and pay for Snowshoeﾒs expansion plans.
Thrasher engineer Dayton Carpenter, PSD lawyer Tom Michael, Tracey, Smith, a few developers like Russell Holt, and Snowshoe General Manager Bill Rock apparently orchestrated this meeting that showed total disregard for what is fair, reasonableﾠand right. Snowshoe dumped a flawed plant on the former inept, gullible PSD. Two members of the current board have now compounded the fiasco through their actions.
While we all knew where the others stood from the beginning, Tracey, in particular, violated his sworn oath to represent the people in his voting.ﾠ He was told directly by the county commissioners who appointed him that in this matter his duty was to the ratepayers.ﾠ He spoke grandly in several meetings of how he cares what we think and what is right. He doesnﾒt. In the end he gave in to pressure and became just another sad puppet of the special interest groups.ﾠ His behavior and voting (and Smithﾒs) was shameful, dishonest and cowardly -- and a total betrayal of the ratepayers, who will pay for the consequences.ﾠ Ask the people from the valley who were there for the first time--not to mention the current ratepayers--what a disgrace their behavior was.
It is a sad day when the people of the county are represented by these men who lack the courage or desire to do the right thing. They surely dishonored themselves and the people they swore to represent.
From my frame of reference, Durbin Days 2010 was very successful. Director Donald Peck, his Committee, and workers are to be congratulated for their efforts in making it so.
The Saturday Old Time Music Jam was its most successful to date. During the event, I was reminded of the verse in ﾓKeep On The Sunny Sideﾔ that went: ﾓthe storm and its fury broke today.ﾔ
As I looked over the group, lightening flashed, the wind blew and the rain fell in torrents. The musicians kept playing, the singers didnﾒt miss a note and for the most part the audience stayed in place. At one point I thought we were going to lose the pavilion as it was both lifted from its supports, and when the wind shifted, almost blew over.
At this point I recalled the Post Office Motto of ﾓneither rain, nor storm, nor dark of night shall stay the currier from his appointed rounds.ﾔ In our case, the Old Time Music Jam. However, as in the old song, ﾓthe storm and clouds passed away and the sun again shined bright and clear.ﾔ
Letters to the Editor: July 15, 2010
My daughter, Tatiana, who is on active duty and an Iraq War veteran, came home to visit during the Fourth of July holiday.
She was surprised that there were no plans to celebrate this holiday in Marlinton.
My question to the mayor and town council is, ﾓWhy?ﾔ
Why didnﾒt we show our patriotism and honor our veterans who helped make Independence Day a day to celebrate our freedom?
I feel you should wake up and set your priorities.
Honoring your nation, home, freedoms we have earned and those veterans who helped make this country free and the holidays to celebrate them should never be forgotten.
I understand that times are tough and money is hard to come by, but Iﾒm sure community groups, as well as the folks in Marlinton, will be interested in helping celebrate the Fourth of July.
Letters to the Editor: June 24, 2010
County Commission president Martin Saffer on his web-site states, ﾓAll property rights are first derived from the power of the federal and state government. Without original government grants, lawful deeds, county and state records, statutes and laws extending back to Magna Carta, private property would not exist as we enjoy it today. It exists because government creates, protects and defines it. ﾓ
I applaud him for stating clearly his own principles, such as they are.
However, his notion that rights, including property rights, are the gift, by implication perhaps even merely the loan, of Government, is logically absurd, historically false and deadly dangerous to every reader.
As stated in our Declaration of Independence, one of the foundational documents upon which the law which Saffer affects to practice is based, it is to secure these rights that governments are instituted among men. Government is not the grantor of rights, but is a mere tool, created to beﾠ their defender. Government may have enumerated and limited powers, granted to it by the People, for the execution of its purposes, but Rights by definition belong to People, and derive from our relationship with our Creator.
Now, although it was considered in early drafts, the Declaration finally adopted does not specify the Right to Property, which is perhaps a good thing since such a right could be misconstrued to mean that everyone should have property, rather than that possessors of property should be secure in that possession.
But historically, Government is never the originator of any right to property. When land is seized by conquest, the soldiers paid for it with their blood and toil, and often soldiers were rewarded by their commands, whose power derived solely from their consent, with land.
Our own country's Homestead Act bestowed title to land on the condition of, and in implied compensation for, the settler's labor upon that land. Government administers the acquisition, and documents and defends the title, but the land homesteaded was clearly never in a proper sense the property of the government, because the government never occupied nor improved it. The very criteria set up by the Government under which settlers could acquire title, proved that Government had none, and was merely documenting and defending the lawful process of acquisition by occupancy and improvement..
The land patents of the 17th and 18th centuries were in no real sense gifts of land from a sovereign who had never seen the land, but offers to secure a title to be earned by the patentee's surveying, occupancy and improvement of that land.
Magna Carta documented the security of landowners in their persons and property, but did nothing to reinforce the polite fiction that the King had original title to anything which he could hand out or revoke. The feudal holding of land "of the King" was most often a grant by the original landowner to the King, and signified that the King and his other allies would defend the landowner's title, if the landowner would participate in mutual defense of other similar titles and the king's throne.
The root of the word ﾓfeudalﾔ is the same as that of the word, ﾓfaith,ﾔ and the essence of the Feudal System was mutual obligation, the king, lords, and peasants bound in mutual obligations of mutual support and defense. That greedy and faithless Lords sometimes accepted more support and provided less defense than they ought, does not change the fundamental legal nature of the relationship, any more than shoplifting alters the nature of retailing.
Our own Martin Saffer was elected to administer an institution whose sole legitimate purpose is the defense of the rights of us citizens. That he now advances a contrahistorical theory and promotes an agenda which would make us slaves, with no rights but only the privileges offered or revoked at his whim, should earn him every man's opprobrium, and swift removal from the office which he dishonors.