The Pocahontas Times readers' letters
Letters to the Editor
Would like to let you know how much I miss your great county.
I was raised at Stony Bottom in the 30s, 40s and 50s. I went to grade school one year in Stony Bottom then to Cass grade school and at last to Green Bank High School where I played football with Bruce Bosley, Bub Sutton, the Cassels, and so on.
I spent 20 years in the Air Force, worked on the sawmill in Cass for a short time as well as in the coal mines near Marlinton.
I have lived in Troy, Ohio, since 1972, but I would like to wish all you fine folks a great Christmas and New Year.
I have been to at least seven countries and none of them compare to Pocahontas County.
Donald L. McLaughlin
A series of public meetings will be held in early 2013 to gain local citizen input and continue the collaborative Birthplace of Rivers National Monument initiative. As this process continues, it is so important that we have the correct information about what a National Monument would mean. While monument advocates are confident we can craft an inclusive proposal that works for everyone, there are several very legitimate concerns that must be addressed. Pocahontas County commissioners recently made a good move by asking for clarification about some questions and concerns that have surfaced.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency which houses the Forest Service, the commission took an important step in making sure we are working with the correct information and have necessary assurances that management does not transfer to the Park Service, and our rich outdoor traditions will continue in perpetuity. When the commission passed a resolution this summer, they did so, not as a blanket statement of support, but as a way to come to the table and have a say in what the monument would become if it were created. The questions in the commission’s letter reflect real, legitimate concerns, which were addressed in key provisions of the county’s resolution: Would a monument designated on Forest Service lands still be managed by the Forest Service? Would hunting, fishing, trout stocking and wildlife management continue? Would a public process be followed leading up to potential monument designation?
I hope the agency responds to the commission in a timely manner, and I hope this information will be helpful in creating a stronger sense of common ground as a more public process approaches. As Mountaineers, our outdoor traditions connect us, and the Birthplace of Rivers initiative focuses on preserving areas where these traditions can continue, not on limiting our access to hunting, fishing or trapping, which have sustained Appalachian people throughout history.
Like so many of my fellow West Virginians, I followed in my grandparent’s footsteps and became a sportsman on this very landscape, spending many weekends and countless hours on the Cranberry, Cherry and Williams Rivers. It’s a common story in the Mountain State, one I hope my children and grandchildren can one day share, as well. My connections to these lands are deep, and just like fellow advocates who see the potential Birthplace of Rivers National Monument as a local economic opportunity, a source of state pride and a chance to honor our strong cultural legacy, I understand the importance of maintaining the same sporting opportunities I once discovered here. In this ongoing process, it is vital that West Virginians from diverse backgrounds come together to define a vision for this landscape, so we can realize the diverse, lasting benefits monument advocates hope to achieve, while ensuring sporting traditions remain cornerstone activities in the area.
I urge everyone to keep an eye out for upcoming meeting times, and I invite everyone to participate in the process to help further refine the citizen proposal. In addition to the many unique features Birthplace of Rivers aims to serve as a tribute to, I hope our shared heritage, connection to the landscape and strong sense of community emerge from this process as characteristics West Virginians can be most proud of.
Letters to the Editor
Rodger Waldman was recently inducted in The Glen Burnie High School’s Wall of Honor.
The Wall was designed to recognize graduates that have distinguished themselves in their professional careers and through service in the community, as well as displaying their highest character and integrity.
The Wall is intended to motivate current students to strive for similar successes as they graduate and embark on their individual journeys.
Waldman, Class of 1961, was the founding president of the Chesapeake Audubon Society. The society was formed by a group of friends in 1974 as a provisional chapter of the National Audubon Society. By 1975, it was a formal tax-exempt organization with 319 members. For the past 15 years or so, it has had more than 2,000 members.
Waldman served as the Chesapeake Audubon Society’s president for more than 10 years while still working full-time for the federal government. During his tenure the society bought its first sanctuary in Dorchester County, which would eventually be expanded to about 750 acres. Included in the sanctuary were acres of marshlands that a Smithsonian study found to be a top priority for preservation.
In the 1980s, a 400-acre working farm in Talbot County with 40 acres of old growth forest and more than a mile of waterfront were donated to the society for use as a center for environment education. Currently, more than 13,000 program participants and visitors connect with the habitats, wildlife and rural character of the Pickering Creek Audubon Center each year.
Waldman is the recipient of the William Dutcher award in recognition of his contributions to the environment.
His connection to West Virginia is through his wife, Priscilla Shields Waldman. She was born in the Marlinton Hospital a daughter of Gaye Shields, of Stony Bottom and Cass, and the late James W. Shields, Sr.
The Waldmans often visit Pocahontas County, enjoying a place where the wild flowers grow in abundance, the air is crisp and the rivers run free.
Gaye E. Shields,
Stony Bottom and Cass
I was compelled to respond to the recent media articles about the WVU mascot, Jonathan Kimble.
I was unaware of this tradition, but apparently, each WVU mascot hunts with the musket during hunting season and harvests an animal or animals with it. This has been a tradition for some time if I’m not mistaken. So what is the big deal you ask? Well, Kimble, or someone close to him posted a video online of him killing a black bear with the musket during black bear season.
Soon after, those who are anti-hunting and anti-gun jumped out of their bean bag chairs and ran up the basement steps of their momma’s house to call all of their friends to get the word out. A blood thirsty lunatic from the hills of West Virginia was loose in the hollers, killing all of the Lord’s precious creatures that were unfortunate enough to walk by the barrel of his smoking gun.
In response to the uproar, WVU had a “conference” with Mr. Kimble about his actions. They say now, that he has been told not to use his musket for hunting and WVU has said that the tradition has been stopped.
Way to go WVU; way to back your guy. It’s good to know that people who disagree with our traditions and cultures in West Virginia don’t get away with telling us how to live.
Since WVU decided to go belly up like an ol’ opossum in the hen house, I’ll speak up for Mr. Kimble. There were no rules, regulations, policies, laws, or dinner table edicts broken on Kimble’s hunt.
Our right to have a gun is protected by the Constitution. We have a right to have it for multiple reasons besides hunting, self-protection being the top of the list. The outdoors—hunting, fishing, farming, logging, and coal mining—is a huge part of our culture here in West Virginia, and I, for one, am not the least bit ashamed of that fact. West Virginians are tough, hardworking people who do a lot with a lot less than most. Some of us still know the lost traditions such as harvesting your own gardens, butchering livestock and canning food for the winter.
I think people who don’t know where their eggs come from or where their hamburger and bacon comes from are seriously disconnected from reality. I believe you can live your life the way you want. If that means you wish not to own a firearm, or hunt an animal I’m cool with that. That is, of course, your right because you’re free; like me. You live your way, we will live ours. Don’t expect us to apologize for our traditions and lifestyles. Don’t expect me to turn in my guns. Don’t expect me to leave the hills and hollers anytime soon.
Letters to the Editor
The brutal effects of Hurricane Sandy claimed lives, destroyed property and disrupted life and commerce across much of the eastern United States, including West Virginia. The men and women of Frontier Communications have been involved in ongoing recovery efforts.
I thank our devoted employees, most of whom are represented by the Communication Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. They have worked around the clock to keep our facilities operating even during prolonged commercial power outages. Our technicians struggled through deep snow and debris to deploy generators and back-up batteries to keep telecommunication facilities functioning. They used chainsaws to gain access to our facilities to repair damaged and severed fiber and telecommunications lines. They risked their well-being and left their families to serve all of our customers, especially critical facilities such as 911 emergency centers and hospitals.
Our call center representatives have worked with customers to coordinate our response. They have heard our customers’ stories and truly understand the magnitude of this historic storm. They live in the communities Frontier serves and are feeling the effects of Sandy first-hand.
Most of all, I thank our customers for their understanding and patience during this difficult time. Our customers are our inspiration for innovation and the reason we constantly strive to provide services that meet their changing needs. Customers are at the center of all we do.
A storm of this magnitude creates unique and unpredictable conditions. Our crews have been and continue to be committed to work safely and quickly to restore your broadband, telephone and other communication services. No act of nature will change our commitment to you, so please let us know how we can help you. Our contact number is 1-877-854-1705.
President - East Region
Last evening I was at the Green Bank Library and a gentleman asked that the Durbin Library Building Committee remember him when the building project came to point of painting the inside walls. The construction companies and the builders of upper Pocahontas have surprised me with their unstinting generosity of time and talents for the good of the community.
The project looked impossible at first because the Prevailing Wage Regulations apply to public authorities such as the public library. This provision, meant to prevent large public works projects from squeezing low bids from contractors who have limited project possibilities and putting a down pressure on wages, works differently for small communities and small projects. The prevailing wage is set by the union wage and opens up the job to contractors around the state. Competition is good but our small communities have a different natural wage rate that reflects what local people with the local income can reasonably pay for building services. To raise part of that equation without addressing the other creates discontent and loss of work, which was not the intent. The Pocahontas County Free Library Board has stated it wants to buy local and support our local economy and have the benefit of knowing the reputation of businesses to assure the quality of work. If the differential in the wages and benefits paid were a small percentage higher, and the state more fully supported our building costs we would see bids from local builders and be able to pay for services rendered and still stretch our donors’ dollars.
As it is, this drawback has turned to a benefit to the common good. Labor from many high skilled professions has been donated: building engineering, carpentry of all kinds, excavation, electrical, locks setting, heavy equipment operation, and now large scale painting. It must certainly be a matter for satisfaction to the people of the Durbin community and the wider upper end of the county to see the results in the new building.
The next generation of local builders and contractors is also sharpening its skills on the project. Under the direction of Duane Gibson, the construction instructor at Pocahontas High School, and Ed Phelps, of the local crew, as is seen in last week’s article, “PCHS carpentry class lends hammers to Durbin Library,” framed the interior walls. Duane said it does not seem like schoolwork to the students when they are outside of school.
Isn’t that the real test—the test of life? To find a place in the society of your community where your skills are needed?
There are many entities without which this work could not be done and they will be mentioned at other times. I just wanted to share with you what I see every day from the vantage point of the librarian who, at the beginning, had no history with construction projects. People ask me when the building will be done and I want to say don’t hurry this process. This is where the library becomes Durbin Public Library and the library and community center become a resource everyone feels welcome to use.
As we approach Veterans Day 2012, I would like to remind West Virginia veterans and current military members - from all eras, ages and services - to complete the 2012 West Virginia Military Survey.
The deadline for completing the survey, sponsored by the West Virginia Legislature, is November 30, 2012. The survey may be completed online or by calling 1-855-299-6605 for an interview.
From the survey, the Legislature hopes to obtain a comprehensive picture of how our veterans and military members are faring in areas relating to work, education, family, retirement, health and access to benefits for service members. Responses are confidential, and the information will not be published or released in any form that would identify an individual participant.
We hope that results from the survey will help our state improve services and resources for military heroes and their families and will lead to veteran-friendly changes in state legislation.
More than 8,000 postcard invitations to participate in this survey were mailed in late September. However, according to the 2010 census, more than 200,000 current or former members of the military reside in West Virginia. So we are concerned that many won’t have heard about the survey.
As a state with one of the highest per capita participation in the military, it is very important that we honor the sacrifices that have been made for us by being sure that members of the military are well taken care of when they are return home. Please spread the word and encourage all veterans and service members to complete the survey.
To thank those who assist in this effort, survey participants will be entered into a drawing for a VISA cash gift card (one $500 gift card, five $100 gift cards, and thirty $50 gift cards will be given away; military/veteran status of all gift card winners must be verified before prizes are awarded).
And don’t forget - Veterans Day and every day, thank veterans for their service to our country and our state.
Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, Co-Chair,
Select Interim Committee on Veterans Affairs
West Virginia Legislature
Letters to the Editor
I read the article about the barking dog in Durbin, and I sympathize with Mike Vance.
Where I live, most people have more than one dog. I hear barking - morning, noon and night. I don’t understand why people want to have dogs to put outside on a chain 24/7.
How do the owners not hear the constant barking?
Their neighbors sure do.
I wonder what would happen if the roles were reversed and the people were put outside on a chain and ignored the way they treat the dog?
Something to think about.
The other day a woman brought me an injured raven that she found at the landfill. The bird had been shot through the wing. I have treated it and hope that it will survive.
Ravens are among the most intelligent animals on earth. Volumes have been written about their abilities. If upon recovery this bird can fly I will release it. If not I will provide it with a permanent home.
Should this happen and I continually care for this raven I will establish many tasks for it to solve to keep its mind active.
Naturally, I feel that the person who shot this raven is somewhat depraved. The bird had to be flying and the gunner probably walking around with his high powered rifle quickly shouldered his gun and brought down this bird. The shooter’s negligence and lack of empathy continued when he decided to not even find the bird and inspect its injuries. Just another shooting by a person with a gun. Perhaps he/she feels that all critters are to be hunted by humans, perhaps he/she feels that God put all such critters on the earth for him/her to kill.
It is not as though ravens are hunted for their meat, hides or feathers. Perhaps a raven might eat an ear or two of corn over the summer, but the cost of a rifle shell is more valuable than an ear of corn. Besides the landfill is not a cornfield. This was nothing but a wanton shooting.
Now if indeed the bird remains under my care I want to extend an invitation to the shooter to pit his/her mental capacities against this bird. I will set up a series of tasks which require each to be able to think and respond appropriately.
Because I doubt the intelligence of the shooter I will place five to one odds that the bird can out-think this humanoid. And should this shooter overcome his/her cowardice and accept the challenge I will publish the results to include the name of this person.
I would like to take a moment to say how much I appreciate the staff at Marlinton Elementary School.
They have done a great job with the kids during the first quarter and I have no doubt that thier professionalism and hard work will keep things going well throughout the rest of the school year.
I would also like to urge other parents out there to get involved with their kids’ education. Your support and love is needed more than ever, not only for your kids, but all the kids in the school.
Please go talk to the school officials and your child’s teacher and ask to get involved.
I promise you that you will not regret it.
The Pocahontas Times
October 30, 2012
Despite reports in The Times and on WVMR I remain unenlightened about what the beef is over the Pocahontas School lunch (and breakfast?) program.
What does the adjective “subpar” in The Times lead point to?
Food tastes Bad? Unhealthy? Not unhealthy enough? Makes kids fat? Or just foisted on the system by pointy-headed bureaucrats?
I have to agree with Emery Grimes that the Department of Education and its army of regulations writers is not —and probably never has been — much of a factor in improving education in the USA. That’s what you get when ideological politicians fight over and enact one-size fits all “solutions” to problems they either know next to nothing about or which are the result of things they can’t really affect.
The Federal education money talks and we in the poorer states have to listen to its drivel. The Federal courts, on the other hand, have certainly been a key cause of increased justice and fairness in State education programs. It certainly does nothing for the students or for the reputation of the Board of Education to have its chairperson carry on about communist bureaucrats in Washington attempting to write school lunch menus.
It sure would please me to read or hear a clear presentation of what’s going on with food in the schools and why that matters at all.
Letter to the Editor
In your October 18th editorial titled “Education - Worth the Risk”, you wrote about Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban in her pursuit of education. You rightly condemned the Taliban’s terrorist tactics and repression of women, which hinder education opportunities. Absent from your piece was any mention of U.S. drone strike policies, which are also condemnable and also have negative impacts on education opportunities for young women and men in Pakistan. A Stanford/NYU report shows evidence that drone strikes have killed over 800 Pakistani civilians, including as many as 176 children. (See http://www.livingunderdrones.org) Many have been injured physically and psychologically to where they can’t attend school. Are those children any less deserving of the right to an education? Is the blood of children spilled by the Taliban somehow more valuable or newsworthy than the blood of children spilled in U.S. drone strikes?
Letters to the Editor
I moved to Pocahontas County for my health, and things are looking up. We have a hospital that is coming back from the brink and offering more and better services. Most notably they are offering prevention services. We have a wellness center under construction in Marlinton and a wellness committee working on a facility in the northern end. We have several young folks working on growing local foods that focus on fresh vegetables. Our air and water are (so far) free of toxins.
So it was with dismay that I heard about the attacks on attempts to provide better nutrition in our schools. It seems that people are as passionate about their food habits as their religion. So this letter will make some people angry, and I don’t expect they will pay attention. But I am writing it for those who are concerned about the rise of obesity and diabetes among our children, and who still have an open mind – especially if they have any leadership role.
Sugar is addictive.
I am unaware of any scientific studies that have proved it, but everything I have experienced and witnessed in my 73 years confirms it for me. 60 Minutes had a segment about it this year http://www.cbsnews. com/8301-18560_162-57407294/is-sugar-toxic/ and Psycology Today covered it http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/eating-mindfully/201204/sugar-addiction. Here are the earmarks of addiction:
The more you get, the more you want.
You build up tolerance; in other words, if you are used to high levels of sugar, lower levels don’t taste sweet.
Conversely, if you get used to lower levels of sugar, you find very sweet foods overwhelming.
When you go without, you crave it.
You will sneak it, hide it, lie about it, whatever it takes to satisfy your desire. (A little honesty here you readers out there. Even I have joked that I am completely trustworthy about money, but you better hide your chocolate).
Well-known addictives such as alcohol and pain medications can be used in small amounts or when necessary by most people without problems, but using them all day every day like we do with sugar leads to dependency.
By sugar, I don’t just mean those white crystals. The South Beach Diet correctly identified “high glycemic” foods as starchy foods that convert quickly to sugar in our bodies. High glycemic foods include processed snacks like chips, pasta, packaged cereal, cookies, cakes and other products made with white flour. Soda has been identified as the leading cause of obesity because of the high level of sugar it contains and the fact that it has become acceptable to drink it all day, at meals, even bedtime. The sodas with artificial sweeteners may not contribute the calories, but keep the craving for sweetness going.
A person can think they are hungry when what they really have is a craving for sugar. Or their body may be craving the nutrients – proteins and vitamins – they are not getting from the empty calories in processed foods. Foods made with whole grains, such as whole wheat bread, are better because the fiber slows the rate of digestion and the sugar enters the blood stream more slowly along with other nutrients. Fiber is also found in fresh fruits and vegetables, and there are other health benefits from eating fiber. Years ago when my daughter visited some school friends, where they seemed to exist primarily on macaroni and cheese, she reported that the whole family had a problem with constipation. When I cooked for the High Rocks summer camp one year, a number of girls and a few staff complained of stomach cramps after the first few days, so they had the water tested. It turned out that those with cramps were not used to a diet with whole grains and fresh vegetables, and their bowels were just adjusting. By the end of camp, they were fine and even feeling better with a smoother working system.
Some of the worst effects of a poor diet are not visible like obesity. What we eat affects the way we feel, but it’s amazing to me that many people don’t make the connection. Eating a lot of sugar generates emotional ups and downs. Crankiness, depression, hyperactivity, headaches and nausea can all be the result of consuming high levels of sugar or other high glycemic foods. Eating packaged cereal with more sugar dumped on it, or glazed donuts, and little or no protein for breakfast results in a mid-morning low. Hating school may just be the result of a bad breakfast. Sugary or starchy snacks before bedtime interfere with sleep. Our children would be better students and more pleasant to live with if they ate a healthy diet.
It is hard to break addictions. Finding healthy foods that children like takes patience and creativity. And of course it helps if adults set a good example. Speaking of adults, another high glycemic food is beer. Now I’m really stepping on dangerous ground, but we all recognize the unhealthy results of drinking lots of beer. There are some good tips for getting children to eat better in a publication from the Greenbrier Valley Medical Center called “Health Connection” that appeared in my mailbox recently, so I would assume others received it, too.
A common complaint is that health foods cost more. That may be somewhat true, but you don’t have to eat “health foods” to have a healthy diet. A box of Frosted Flakes and a dozen country eggs come out to about the same price per ounce, but an egg or two makes a much more beneficial breakfast. Most snacks seem cheap in small packages, but are more expensive than an apple, a banana, or a handful of nuts from a large container. In the long run, many medical bills are avoided by a healthy diet.
I wish a healthy happy life for everyone, and I would be pleased to answer questions or suggest ideas about healthier eating.
If I had to sum it up in two words or less, that would be my description of “The Mystery of Gauley Marsh” performed at Cranberry Glades on Saturday. Emily Newton has directed a wonderfully unique performance, showcasing many talented county residents. The audience is involved throughout, and although spread out at times, due to the fact that we’re on a two-foot wide boardwalk, the audience is kept up to speed by...I can’t say too much for risk of spoiling the fun.
Of course, the blue skies and sunshine would have made any activity great on Saturday but I can’t help but believe that gray skies and the threat of rain would have made the performance equally delightful, and perhaps more mysterious.
I never would have guessed that I would experience the “theater” on a boardwalk. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to sit in a theater again. My hat’s off to all those involved.
Letters to the Editor
Just who invited the derecho storm volunteers to the barbecue held last week at PCHS? Your newspaper leads one to believe that volunteers from the whole county were included. Not true.
How many volunteers showed up from northern Pocahontas County?
Seems I saw lots of volunteers helping at NRAO the first week of July this summer. Several volunteers delivered meals and checked on people on many back roads and hollows. Many volunteers helped served the meals donated by the Red Cross. If you volunteered in any way, were you invited? I have asked several volunteers I saw that week and the answer is “no.”
I believe no one should have been rewarded, awarded or acknowledged. A generic thank you is all that should be necessary because invariably someone will be missed in a situation like this one—and apparently many were.
I really am not writing this for me. I am disappointed for the many others who were missed.
An overworked and forgotten volunteer no more
Thank you for Suzanne Stewart’s article about the newly renovated Green Bank Gallery. It is always good news when a community pulls together for a common goal.
Our Gallery is a co-operative effort in the old-fashioned sense. All our members participate in the work and the decisions. My title may be gallery “president,” but the Green Bank Gallery was built by, and belongs to, our local community of creative artisans.
As volunteers finish the remodeling and install our cozy new fireplace, the gallery is attracting new artists and displays every few days. All are welcome to stop by and enjoy some fine Appalachian arts and crafts.
Letter to the Editor
This letter is a follow-up to John Simmons’ letter in August urging us in Pocahontas County to develop an emergency plan for the next time we face a crisis like the recent derecho storm, and I was glad to hear about the meeting held about forming a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).
It was amazing how well workers and volunteers cleared up the fallen trees, but there must be many more trees and limbs that were weakened and are ready to cause more problems next time we get some wind or heavy snow and ice.
Having both the power and the phones out meant that the only communication available was the radio. Those of us who live outside of town needed to know if and where we could get water, ice and gas, instead of driving around wasting what gas we had looking in vain. In Hillsboro, we get Allegheny Mountain Radio through the Bath County station, but at first they didn’t have information for Pocahontas County, only their own Virginia information.
So my recommendation to add to the planning is to make sure the radio stations – both Pocahontas and Virginia stations – are included in any planning. All emergency services should make sure to keep the radio stations updated. And the radio stations need the equipment to communicate with each other when the phones are down.
Then the only thing the rest of us need to do is remember to have batteries.
Letters to the Editor
I, Barbara Sharp Smith, have been described in Russell Holt’s paid advertisement “history” of the sewage plant for Snowshoe as being a “willing seller” of a scenic meadow on Highway 219 for use as a sewage plant.
I’m a retired journalism teacher who spent years stressing the importance of facts. No one ever asked me if I wanted to sell. When I received a letter threatening eminent domain, I drove all the way from Arizona to Thrasher Engineering to try to find out if there were other sites that could be used. Their Laura McNeil told me that two other sites had problems. One would likely need an expensive bridge. The other was in the flood plain.
I also interviewed Snowshoe’s representative who showed me a video outlining a beautiful future for the resort, told me that two employees had become ill from e. coli and that the sewage plant was necessary.
As I mentioned to Editor Pam Pritt when I visited her in Marlinton, I never wanted to sell. I had assumed that what we learned in civics class about eminent domain meant that I had no choice.
Barbara Sharp Smith
The Woodlands, Texas
Well, for sure the National Science Foundation has put the National Radio Astronomy Observatory between a rock and a hard place with its announcement that it may not want to fund the observatory any more.
The newspaper and the radio are now filled with articles and items from politicians, county officials, NRAO administrators and citizens about the benefits NRAO brings to the science and astronomy communities, to the education of citizens and to the economy of the county and the state.
The bottom line though on the survival of the NRAO facility unfortunately will probably be political. And from this view the future might be dire no matter who becomes president in November.
The Republicans have a platform for cutting budgets and have demonstrated that they think “science” is nothing more than alchemy. Besides the large telescope at NRAO is named for Robert Byrd who was a Democrat and a thorn in the sides of Republicans.
The Democrats on the other hand are more interested in science, but West Virginia politically has moved to the right and has insulted President Obama by voting in the primary for a convicted felon over the president. By eliminating the funding for NRAO the Democrats could show that they, too, want to reduce the budget with no downside political risk.
Not only is West Virginia a throw away state politically, but its two Senators will have no leverage in these negotiations. And as far as Pocahontas County with its 9,000 residents is concerned we do not even show up when the largest moveable telescope in the world looks for us.
Yes, the county commissioners will rattle their sabers and political flags, but they have already shown that they are inept when requested by the citizens to protect us from the geologic intrusion by gas fracking companies. To think they will have any impact on preserving NRAO is at best wishful.
Funding of the NRAO facility by other agencies is the best possible hope, but all are under the gun to either cut their own budgets or will have their own funding slashed by the politicians.
I have been an amateur astronomer for more than 40 years and once had a 12-inch Newtonian telescope in an observatory on the roof of my house. I still marvel at the plethora of information gathered by world astronomers over this time and find it sad that any facility may no longer be able to operate. But I once visited Birr Castle in Ireland where the Earl of Rosse in the mid 1800s built the largest telescope in the world. His 72 inch speculum mirror was not eclipsed until the 20th century and now no longer exists.
It is unfortunate that astronomical facilities so easily fall by the wayside like they never existed. Our historic human interest and knowledge of the “heavens” is legendary at places like Stonehenge in England, Machu Picchu in Peru and Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. Even the great pyramids of Egypt are laid out in the pattern of the major stars in the belt of Orion and the list goes on and on..
At an operating rate of ten million dollars a year, NRAO is not even a pimple on the Federal budget, but if NRAO is sacrificed it will be because politicians will want to score points by its elimination.
For those of you who still think and believe that a levy will be built around Marlinton or that a dam will be constructed on the Greenbrier River, my thought is fight hard for NRAO, but don’t hold your breath.
Defunding of the Green Bank Telescope and sending jobs and money out of our country is not what we need at this time. The politicians from West Virginia should be screaming at the top of their voices to the national news media about sending jobs and money out of the U.S.
Perhaps they really don’t care, just want to get elected again. The news media of West Virginia should rally and start making a large noise about this. Forget about the coming national election, this is about jobs and money for West Virginia.
We do not live in West Virginia, but vacation in the Marlinton area and meet friends there. Like many who visit the telescope, we realize its value to science and the community. In crude terms, it’s time to raise hell. Enough is enough.
We have a ghost. He is a friendly ghost so this is not a scary story. You see, we live on Douthards Creek Road near Minnehaha Springs. A graveyard is on the hill just across the road from our house which sits directly in front of an old farmhouse. During the Civil War the farmhouse was the site of a log house where Timothy Alderman lived. The story is told that Mr. Alderman was a pacifist and would not fight in the war. One day when he went to the Springs to get mail and supplies a group of vigilantes caught and murdered him. Weeks later his body was found and placed to rest in the graveyard across the road.
Occasionally, while working in our computer room, I will catch a figure out of the corner of my eye and think that my husband Kenneth is going by the door on his way to the bedroom. A moment later, I will realize that Kenneth is mowing the yard and I go looking to see who just went by my door but find no one there. Sometimes, I may be reading in my family room and hear a door open and close in the other end of the house and think maybe the cat is jumping or bumping around but then realize the cat is asleep on the couch beside me.
I’ve decided that Mr. Alderman must be paying a visit to the old farm house perhaps to let his family know what happened to him or to say “goodbye.” As our house stands in direct line from the graveyard to the old farmhouse, it stands to reason that he should pass through our house. When I related these strange occurrences to others I have been encouraged to greet Mr. Alderman. So when next I hear or “see” these happenings, I shall say, “How are you today, Mr. Alderman?” Imagine my surprise should he answer.
I recently came into possession of a poem about Mr. Alderman and I will share it here with you. Handwritten above the poem are the remarks, “Mary Ann Alderman who composed this poem was the wife of John Alderman, son of Dan(iel) Alderman, brother of Timothy Alderman who was murdered as you will see below mentioned. Mary Ann before marriage was a Bird. She died on North Fork (Greenbrier County) with TB.” (parentheses added)
Attend dear friends, while we relate
A sad and solemn story;
How treacherous fiends and bloody men
With hearts and hand gory,
Three years ago, now past and gone,
Here in this neighborhood,
Murdered a Christian Union man,
And called it all for good.
He was a pious, harmless man,
All wicked men did shun:
He told them that secessionists
Was anything but fun.
But oh! my heart, it bleeds to think,
what sorrow did divide;
The murderers came at close of day,
And took this man aside.
They took him from his happy home,
And those he loved so dear.
No more to see their smiling faces,
Nor their sweet voices hear.
The took him just three miles from home,
Along the darksome way,
And there the murderers murdered him;
Down in a field he lay.
For three long weeks in hopeless woe,
Friends searched for him in vain;
When lo! one stormy winter’s eve,
They him beheld again.
Yes, there the loving father lay,
The murdered man was found;
His face was buried in the snow,
And frozen to the ground.
But soon he was removed home,
And there laid to rest;
No more to be with those he loved,
But he was with the blest.
What tongue can tell, what heart conceive,
The sorrow of their mind;
Their only friend was passed away,
And they were left behind.
The widow and the orphans left,
To mourn their wretched lot;
Comforted like Rachel, they refused,
Because their friend is not.
But God has said that He will be
A husband and a friend,
A father to the orphan child,
And aid and comfort lend.
Then weep no more, ye mourning friends,
But ask to be forgiven;
That you may meet the one you love
In that bright home called heaven.
The rosebud now is bursting forth,
Around that peaceful spot;
Where slumbereth his mouldering frame,
But, he is not forgot.
Oh! may the God of heaven and earth
Those murderers yet reward;
And bless the ones that mourn for him
For oh! their lot was hard.
Perhaps the learner of this song
His name would like to see;
Timothy Alderman it was,
While he on earth did be.
There are many of us that support opening existing roads in theMonongahela National Forest for Off Highway Vehicle access. Some of us are senior citizens who are not able to hike any longer; some are disabled veterans with the same concern.
Last year, the West Virginia Open Trails Association was formed to work with the Monongahela National Forest management to open areas of the forest to OHV access.
In a recent meeting, we proposed that all existing Forest Service roads that are accessible to motor vehicles be open as soon as possible for OHV access—for senior citizens and disabled veterans only at this time. A second proposal is that we begin the process to revise the Motor Vehicle usage Map to allow OHV use for all citizens on existing Forest Service roads. We requested that the West Virginia Open Trails Association be included in the revision process.
The Monongahela National Forest Management is concerned that they will incur legal action from opposition groups including the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Coalition. We appreciate the support received from Mike Taylor, president of the Randolph County Commission, and from the office of Senator Joe Manchin.
If you support what we are working toward, please call Senator Manchin’s office at 304-264-4626 to speak with Keith Macintosh. Tell him that seniors and disabled veterans need access to the National Forest that we all own.
Most, if not all, other National Forests have areas for Off Highway Vehicle use and it is time for the Monongahela National Forest do the same.
Letter to the Editor
My husband and I have been vacationing in West Virginia almost annually for the last 25 years. Our three kids have grown to love it as much as we do.
We first found Knapps Creek in 2005, when we stayed in a cabin in Watoga State Park and attended our first livestock show!
Knapps Creek has become one of our favorite swimming holes.
When we went there this year, on August 22, we were a bit put off by all the litter. Some of it had been bagged up, but the bag was left there and some wildlife must have broken into it. Ed and our 17-year-old son, Liam, drove to that gas station-store nearby, bought some big black trash bags, and, with the help of our 13-year-old daughter, Hope, we filled four bags and took them to the nearby recycling center on Rt. 28.
Our travels this year also took us from our rented house in Beverly to Audra State Park, Sutton Lake and the Doddridge County Fair, where we all loved our very first demolition derby.
Hope and I rode the Durbin Greenbrier Valley Railroad to the High Falls and Cheat Bridge, while Liam climbed to the summit of Seneca Rocks, his very first technical climb. And because I can’t resist a back road, we spent lots of time just driving aimlessly.
We love Wild West Virginia and can’t wait to come back next year.