The Pocahontas Times readers' letters
Letter to the Editor
I was talking to my son last week about why he wasn't saying grace over his
lunch at school as much as he did. He said he is afraid he may get into trouble. He
also said they don't do the pledge anymore.
My husband and I were sickened at this as we said the pledge every morning at school and it sickened us to think he was scared to say grace over his meal. It made us both think really hard about things.
I pray that prayer and such is returned to schools. No one should have to be afraid to let
their faith shine through and I told him that. I believe that Jesus or God should not be denied
at any cost. We should let our love shine through every day as we go about life for Christ because children of Christ should have rights, as well as others who believe other things.
I think of Jesus the day they were persecuting him and putting him on that cross
and not a soul stood up for him in that crowd and it makes my heart cry. All the great miracles he did for people and he died for our sins that day so we all could be saved and our joy and love and faith could shine through each and every day of our lives. No one can take that away from you. As we get closer to Easter let's remember the sacrifice and love Jesus gave to us.
God bless you.
Letters to the Editor April 14, 2011
Where are our legislators in the State of West Virginia?
What a shame it is that they are not responding to the cry for help from Mom and Pop businesses that are being forced out of business because of the outdoor Advertising Regulations that they passed and revised in May 2010.
These regulations state that in order for a sign in a rural area to be legal it must be within 800 feet of an existing business on the same side of the road and the existing business must have a sign and be open to the public at least 25 hours per week.
Who wrote this regulation?
Our legislature passed this and the West Virginia Department of Transportation is adamant about enforcing it- with our tax money- on Mom and Pop businesses.
I will soon be the latest casualty, as my signs are adjacent to US Rt. 219 and are my front door. My business is located 7/10 mile from the road and my customers depend on the signs to let them know when I am open. According to this regulation, I cannot legally place signs within 660 feet of Rt. 219 since there is no business meeting the qualifications within 800 feet of my driveway.
I have been ordered by the WVDOT to remove my signs by May 6. This will shut down my business. Other Mom and Pop businesses have also been negatively affected by this regulation. Larger businesses seem to place signs wherever they like and the DOT is fine with it.
Making a living in rural Pocahontas County is not easy. In a county of fewer than 9,000 residents, a business must have tourist trade to survive. I have a very small store selling Amish-made cheeses and deli meats, bulk foods and some homemade specialty items and antiques. This store is on our farm.
We tried two other locations, but with the depressed economy, could not afford rent, so we moved home and built a 24x24 building for our kitchen and store. It was always our goal to provide a beautiful little place where people could come and find unique items to buy and to enjoy the hospitality of West Virginia people.
I wrote to several legislators asking that a "Stay" order be given so our signs could remain until the regulations are amended to allow us to have signage. We want to purchase permits, but the DOT will not allow it. I was also misled by DOT representatives who told me in February that they would return to discuss this with me. Instead, when they returned, they had an order for me to remove my signs in 30 days. Now that is some hospitality.
US Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin have responded to me and are inquiring about the problem.
Where is our State Legislature which caused the problem in the first place?
They can fix it.
Letters to the Editor
We elect our leaders not only because we believe they will be responsive to our daily demands, but also because we believe them capable of taking a larger, longer view. We elect our leaders because we believe them courageous enough to address today's pressing issue while they anticipate tomorrow's.
Regarding industrial wind power, where does the Pocahontas County Commission stand?
There are currently industrial wind projects in some stage of development in eight West Virginia counties, including Greenbrier, Webster, Randolph and Pendleton. Highland New Wind Development is located in Highland County, Virginia, adjacent to the Pocahontas County line.
In other words, Pocahontas County is surrounded by industrial wind. Logic would dictate that, given the height of our ridgelines, it is only a matter of time before Big Wind comes here. For a preview of views to come: Drive to Elkins.
Science shows that locating industrial wind turbines on forested ridgetops far removed from urban markets makes no economic sense. Local rates go up, not down, when Big Wind arrives, because local rate-payers have to shoulder the costs of grid upgrades to ship the electrons to faraway markets. Common sense indicates that short-term construction jobs are not worth the long-term destruction of our natural heritage, community identity, and ultimate, ever-more-valuable drawing card: our natural beauty.
Theoretical property tax revenues, if collected, are not adequate compensation for the environmental and social costs. There is no place in the US where property values have increased when industrial wind has come to town. Want a real-world, local view? Talk to a real estate agent in Elkins.
Whether or not we agree on the short-term benefits of industrial wind, I bet we can agree on this: When Big Wind sets up shop, we want them to obey the law.
Aren't we, all of us, sick and tired of watching Big Business get away with murder? Don't we, all of us, want to prevent yet another extractive energy industry from getting a Free Pass in West Virginia where safety and environmental compliance is concerned?
Don't we, all of us, want our elected leaders to protect our interests, not just today, but for the benefit of our children and grandchildren?
When industrial wind comes calling, with their sponsored community events, ice cream cones and hot dogs, is the County Commission prepared to ask hard questions? And, more important, does the Commission have the will to demand hard answers?
Dawn Baldwin Barrett
Brightside Acres, Bartow
Sometimes when people live their individual lives they are so bombarded with daily challenges, they cannot "see the forest for the trees," cannot look objectively at what is going on around them. Even chaos can be overlooked, or at least attributed to factors that are not the true cause.
For many years now, Pocahontas County and the people who live here have been struggling collectively with adverse living conditions, addictions, drug related crime, unemployment, child abuse, domestic violence - the list goes on and on. No long term solutions have been found.
One thing that is evident, however, is that our county is truly a spiritually dark place. It would be foolish and dangerous to discount the role Satan is playing in these circumstances. More importantly, it would be to our continued detriment not to seek out God and humbly ask for His intercession.
Christians from throughout Pocahontas County have formed a group called United in Prayer. They are joined together in sustained prayer, unity, and humility and their sole purpose is to pray down all the spiritual barriers that are binding the very lives of the people in this county. This is not a new age religion - these are earnest, solid, Bible -based Christians who are asking God to rid Pocahontas County of all barriers preventing its residents from moving forward. On Ash Wednesday, 15 of us held a prayer service at the gazebo in Marlinton. We did not despair about the rainy and cold weather conditions for we were warmed by the very presence of God. He is bending an ear to our petitions and His works are becoming evident.
Our next prayer activity will take place at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 16. That morning teams of two or more will go to each of the major highway entrance points in our county. In focused and united prayer to God, we will express our petitions in common cause; we will ask God to seal off our county and prevent any further encroachment of spiritual darkness; we will repent for past transgressions, from the time before the formation of the county to present day, and ask for corporate forgiveness; we will make heartfelt declarations to take back our land and we will ask God to provide us spiritual discernment and the knowledge of how and where we should present future petitions to Him. We will ask God to sharpen our swords and enter the spiritual battlefield with us.
Many of you reading this letter will feel uncomfortable with these words because most people in our educated world have been taught to discount the supernatural. The late writer Anais Nin once said, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."
We are praying to address the things "as they are." As Jesus tells us in John 15:7, "If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you." We ask those readers who want to join our efforts to participate in a Countywide Prayer Hour which has been set at the same time as the sealing off of the county, from 8 a.m. - 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 16. Our next meeting is planned for 6 p.m., Monday, April 18, in Green Bank; site to be announced in the church announcements section of the paper. If you would like more information, please email me at email@example.com.
Karen L. Bowers
Letters to the Editor
I am writing this letter in reply to the letter submitted by Donnelle Oxley last week.
First of all, I am Jamie Walker's mother so I won't deny I'm a little prejudiced, but setting that all aside I'd like to clarify some issues.
Anyone who knows Jamie, absolutely knows that he is anything but selfish, short-sighted and mean-spirited. Frankly, I'm surprised our county newspaper would even print such slanderous statements.
Jamie was raised with animals all his life and no one in this county or any other likes animals better than he does. His dad is a nationally known Plott Hound breeder. Jamie's childhood vacations consisted of Dog Shows. Undoubtedly, Ms. Oxley doesn't know much about this area, it's native people or life- style.
When Jamie decided to run for County Commission, we were quite surprised. But, I can truthfully say, he has spent many hours researching issues, talking to citizens and whatever he feels it takes to do this job to the best of his ability. He has Pocahontas County and it's citizens as his top priority.
We all know that overpopulation of animals is a problem, not only here but everywhere. Also, no one hates to see animals euthanized but it's totally impossible to save them all. We can only do the best we can with what budgets and help are available. There are many other monetary issues that the county has to support. Jamie just feels that we have to put job opportunities and welfare for Pocahontas County citizens above additional funding for animal control.
I think Ms. Oxley needs to research her issues a little more.
Tobacco tax has been a hot topic in the legislature this year. Whiel the proposed increase of $1 per pack failed to pass the senate, it is important to remember that tobacco use is the number one preventible cause of death in America and around the world.
More than 6.3 million children under the age of 18 who are alive today will eventually die from smoking-related disease unless the current ausage rates are reversed. Research shows that tobacco prevention programs work to keep kids from smoking and to save lives, especially when they are funded at the minimum level recommended by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It's time to put our kids first by fully funding prevention at the CDC recommended level. If you are a parent or caregiver of a minor child, please talk to your children about the negative effects of tobacco usage.
Pocahontas County Family Resource Network
The West Virginia University Extension Service is sponsoring a series of seminars to educate the public and ﾑreassure' them about Marcellus Shale Drilling.
As a researcher and scientist who has attended many ﾑinformational' meetings, as well as read hundreds of scientific papers, the first thing I do is look at who is sponsoring the information. If it is a drug company telling me how wonderful their new drug is, I seriously question. I want a dispassionate scientific accounting of all the facts about that drug. (Remember all the recalls over the years? "Oops" doesn't really make up for the damage done by slanted advertising, twisted educational seminars that glossed over side effects and withheld pertinent facts and lobbying). I apply the same rule to most of my life and to the WV Extension Service ﾑtalks' about Marcellus Shale Drilling.
I note from the last sentence of their website that the funding for the ﾑeducational' programs is provided by Chesapeake Energy, EQT and Dominion.
In the past I have gratefully trusted the Extension Service as a source of education and aid that stood above politics and big business. I am woefully disappointed.
Cyla Allison, Ph.D.
Animal welfare has been a very complicated issue for the county and given the economic situation I would like to offer the following suggestion.
For all those concerned with the welfare of animals badly in need of a home or vet care, it's time we put aside our differences and join together to help the county commission solve the problem.
All groups, Humane Society, the PCSPCA and ARC claim to love and care about animals,that is the issue after all. The animals are well cared for in the ARC, however, vet care and adoptions are expenses the PCSPCA covers by fundraising. I urge everyone to attend the fundraiser Saturday, April 16, at the Cass Volunteer Fire and Rescue Building, enjoy good company, fine food and a chance to solve one of the county's more pressing issues.
Letter to the Editor
At the last County Commission meeting, I spoke on the dilemma of funding for the ARC, SPCA and Humane Society. It is a complicated situation, and I don't envy the commissioners having to decide what to do. I asked that the Commission consider reimbursing some of the expenses for the Humane Society volunteers who last year transported 225 animals to "no kill" rescue facilities. If they had not spent their own money and subjected their vehicles to wear and tear, most of those animals would have been euthanized. The people in the SPCA and the Humane Society who handle the adoptions are caring people who have the animals' welfare at heart. A simple "Thank You" would have been nice.
Instead, I was disheartened to hear Commissioner Jamie Walker speak as though he really doesn't care about the animals at all. I don't know if he thinks of all animals as livestock, but how far from the truth that is. To deny the worth of pets is wrong on many levels. And by pets, I don't mean dogs used only for hunting that are chained to a doghouse most of their lives. Animals have proven again and again to be a comfort to people and valuable in ways never anticipated. We often read about a family pet that has saved the lives of owners by warning of a fire or some other threat. My friend, Rick Kaplan, trains shelter dogs to be service dogs to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffering from PTSD. Studies show that pets help the elderly in nursing homes to have a sense of purpose. And they can bring joy to children in hospitals. These are just a few examples of the value of pets.
Mr. Walker seemed offended because most of the animals adopted were pretty or cute or young. That's true, but at least they were saved. If there is something wrong there, it is with the adopters, not the animals. Actually, I know people who specifically seek to help dogs and cats with missing legs or eyes or other disabilities.
Mr. Walker implied that anyone who is concerned about shelter animals cares more about animals than people. He seemed resentful when he said that people taking animals to rescue facilities were lucky they could afford the gas. How selfish, how short-sighted, how mean-spirited. I'm sure people who show compassion for animals show even more for humans. They are just able to spread their love and concern in a wider arc. I also believe these same people are some of the first to give to other needy organizations in the county-such as High Rocks, the libraries, the women's shelter, the senior citizens, the fire departments, etc.
Frankly, I'm not sure what Mr. Walker does care about. He voted without explanation against the offer of free space for the One-Room University. Doesn't he want the people in the community to have a chance to take college courses here? Does he plan to vote against anything associated with Jay Miller, no matter the negative consequences? If the people of Pocahontas County agree with Mr. Walker on issues like these, how sad for the animals, how sad for the community, how sad about Mr. Walker.
Letter to the Editor
According to the Pocahontas County commissioners, county-owned land in Green Bank is available to new businesses that create new jobs at approximately $16,700 per acre on a lease-to-buy arrangement. The land can be paid for over a period of 99 years at no interest. You can make monthly payments of $50 per acre or pay the amount off at any time. Reason not to pay it off - no property tax since the owner of the business does not own the land.
Folks, this is a deal-ask Jacob Meck. He currently leases to buy three acres that became littered with trash over the past two years. Recently, he asked our county commission for nine more acres on which he wants to put an open 100,000 gallon storage tank that by regulation requires only five acres. This tank would be used to hold human sewage from septic tanks and portable toilets. Does this sound like something that would really make the town of Green Bank, or any of our county towns, a great place to live and raise a family?
How could anyone who can do basic math (0 jobs) be in favor of giving these nine acres to Mr. Meck's business enterprises when Mr. Meck has stated that installing this storage tank will not require him to hire even one more Pocahontas County citizen. If this sewage tank is placed on this land, it will depreciate the value of the land around it and discourage new businesses from locating there.
I personally would like to see more businesses in this area that will provide jobs for our citizens, but what new business would want to locate in close proximity to a company that imports and exports raw human sewage, creates a junkyard, crushes large appliances and cars in a way that litters the land that the Mecks have been leasing and also litters land around it and burns off piles of who knows what?
At the public meeting at the NRAO auditorium, (a meeting where the assembled citizens were told by a resident of Greenbrier County that they could not ask questions), speakers chosen by the Mecks said that the commission should lease this land to Mr. Meck because he is already a businessman, a nice guy, and we need to use this land that has been sitting unused - in their mind - way too long.
These people were at the same meeting as I and heard that no jobs would be created. Am I missing something? My understanding was that this land was supposed to be granted to businesses which would create more jobs for Pocahontas County citizens. See The Pocahontas Times, February 17, p.4, David Fleming states, "Bottom line: we want to provide you the same chance to create employment opportunities on county-owned land."
In closing, I would like to encourage the citizens in the Green Bank District and all other parts of the county to remind the elected county commissioners what happens when they go against the wishes of the county citizens. We definitely need some restrictions on this public land to protect the people of Green Bank and we all need to work together to keep our entire county safe and clean.
If anyone wants to speak on this, call David Fleming 304 456-4016, Jamie Walker 304 799-0864, or Martin Saffer 304 653-4418.
Letters to the Editor
The operation of the county animal shelter by the Allegheny Recreational Center (ARC) in the county-owned Hanover Shoe building was an agenda item at the recent county commission meeting.
Without itemizing the several problems involved in the relationship between the leaseholder, ARC, and the contracting service agency, the Pocahontas County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCSPCA), the bottom line is that the county commission needs to exercise its legal and civic responsibility in negotiating an acceptable management agreement between the two entities. To accomplish this, the county commission may need to modify its current lease contract with the personnel rights to the PCSPCA if this agency is to continue its involvement in this needed community service.
Hopefully, this can be accomplished in a timely manner prior to the expiration of the current PCSPCA contract on June 30.
A closer look into the article about The Snowshoe Foundation donating money to local schools unveiled some unsettling news about a valued teacher in Pocahontas County.
I was shocked to read how Christine Campbell's opportunity with AFT-WV had been reported with such negativity. Where is the positive side to this story? Is anyone on the board pulling for her? Was there anyone who stood up and talked about how positive this would be for our county; the benefits it would bring for the education that our children are receiving?
I believe AFT has everything to do with schools; they are in Charleston lobbying for the very laws that govern our school system. The board of education should be proud to have one of its own seeking opportunities to improve education at the state level. In this world, it is all about networking. We need someone to speak for our rural schools; someone to stand up for our kids in Pocahontas County. This is not a matter of "business." Teaching is not a 9-5 job. It is not the kind of job you clock out of at the end of the day; not if you are a quality teacher. Teaching comes home with you. It's comparable to being a parent. Comparing teaching to any other job is like comparing apples and oranges.
I want to express my support of Christine Campbell. She has been a dedicated teacher in this county for many years. She is a graduate of PCHS; a true member of our community. Her ability to represent Pocahontas County is undeniably a job not many could do. I applaud her for seeking any opportunity to help our children obtain the best possible education. We should be proud of her accomplishments and support her efforts to represent Pocahontas County.
This opportunity could bring nothing but good to Pocahontas County Schools.
Please help continue library services for MES and HES until the end of this school year.
We are appreciative that the board of education was able to find funding for materials for Pocahontas County Free Libraries; we will spend it responsibly for the needs of all five libraries.
Our critical need is $6,200 for salaries to continue the school programs until the end of the year; we are reluctant to again tap our endowment fund for this purpose. Anonymous donors are willing to contribute up to $2,000 to help us get there, if you, our friends, patrons and supporters, can help us raise $4,200 before March 31. Donations of all sizes are welcome. Cash may be dropped off at any of the libraries, and checks, made payable to PCFL (marked "school library services"), can be mailed to McClintic Library, 500 Eighth Street, Marlinton, WV 24954.
Denise McNeel, Secretary
Board of Trustees
Pocahontas County Free Libraries
Letters to the Editor
Whom do they serve?
Every year eight billion dollars' worth of coal is mined in West Virginia (see WVU, BBER-2009-14). With that much cash, it's no surprise that coal companies have tens of millions available to influence local politics.
There's a new member of the family: Big Gas. In 2009, gas companies sucked $12 billion worth of natural gas from beneath our feet (WVU, BBER-2010-22). Of that amount, $2.3 billion came from Marcellus Shale. Some estimates put the value of West Virginia's Marcellus Shale formation, and the Utica formation below it, at $1.5 trillion dollars.
Not billion. Trillion. The best kept secret in Charleston is that Big Gas already has more economic power than King Coal. Within two or three years, added production from Marcellus Shale will give Big Gas twice-and soon 10 times-the political clout of King Coal.
With overwhelming influence over our legislators and regulators, Big Gas will be out of control. Whatever laws are passed this year are likely to be the best we will ever get. There has been a lot of talk about protecting our water and the rights of surface owners. Mostly talk. The bottom line, however, is that legislation currently being considered in Charleston does next to nothing to benefit the people of West Virginia.
Pro-gas legislators claim that natural gas will bring income and jobs. That's not very honest. Most industries spend about half of their income on labor costs. The WVU study discovered that only 10 percent of gas company income goes to labor. Most of the good jobs go to migrant drilling teams. Good, permanent, local jobs are few and far between.
What about taxes? Won't development of Marcellus Shale pay lots of state taxes?
The answer is no. In 2009 Marcellus Shale gas companies made more than $2.4 billion in income but paid only $15 million in taxes. To buy groceries we pay five times the gas company tax rate for the food we need to stay alive. Taxes paid by the gas companies barely pay to fix the roads damaged by their heavy equipment. We get no benefit whatsoever.
The Marcellus Shale gas deposit is the largest ever discovered in the US. It can't be moved to some other location. In order to drill here, they will pay whatever our political leaders have the courage to demand.
The people we elected to build a better future may, instead, be handing that future to foreign profiteers. If you don't think so, contact Walt Helmick 304- 357-7980 firstname.lastname@example.org or Bill Hartman 304-636-0400 email@example.com or Denise Campbell 304 636-1391 firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them a few simple questions:
1. Which is more important, gas company profits or food for your family? If it's food, what legislation are they sponsoring to bring gas company taxes in line with taxes we pay on essentials?
2. If Big Gas doesn't create good jobs, tax cuts for the rest of us will. What taxes will Helmick, Campbell and Hartman cut or eliminate when they apply a fair tax to gas companies?
3. Why the rush to encourage drilling? The longer we wait, the more our resources will be worth. And the more we'll know about how to drill safely. Why not spend the next year working with the public to get the law right?
4. If drilling into the Marcellus Shale contaminates our water supply, who will pay to provide the clean water we need to drink, wash, grow crops and attract tourists?
5. To help us judge their impartiality, ask them if they and/or members of their family own mineral rights. If so, how many acres?
Our politicians are behaving like beggars instead of like managers. It's time that they acted in the long-term interest of the people who elected them. Copies of this letter have been sent to Senator Helmick and Representatives Campbell and Hartman. Look for their answers in next week's Times.
What they say will show us where they stand and whom they serve.
Do you know what "K2" is?
K2 is brand name for synthetic cannabis, a psychoactive herbal and chemical product being marketed as ﾑfake pot." In 2010 a 28-year-old Indiana mother died from smoking K2. Paramedics recently responded to a call in St. Albans and found a teen delirious and confused, with his heart pounding at more than 200 beats a minute and his blood pressure up past 200/120.
He admitted that he had smoked K2, a form of potpourri/ incense sold legally in many West Virginia stores including some in Pocahontas County. Unlike Marijuana, K2 can lead to a large increase in blood pressure and heart rate, plus bringing on anxiety and severe aggravation, hallucinations and even death. Kanawha County now reports one-to-two K2 related ambulance calls a week.
The West Virginia Legislation is working on bills to make K2 illegal, but for now it remains a deadly risk to anyone fooled into trying it. Please take a moment to write your West Virginia Representatives and ask them to outlaw K2. If your local store sells K2, please express your concern over the sale of the product, before someone in Pocahontas County dies from trying it.
From Energy Drinks, to 5 Hour Energy, to caffeinated beer, to K2, marketers have no concern for what products they sell, as long as they make money. It is our job as parents and adults to monitor what products are being pushed onto our kids and talk to them about it, and do what we can to keep our "Invincible Teens" safe.
Greetings to all residents of our county from the Pocahontas County Farmland Protection Board. As we move into a new year with two new board members, as well as a new administrative assistant, we are anxious to move forward with past and current applications for conservation easements.
Once the County Commission has created a local FPB, the board's operations are governed by a complicated set of rules and guidelines shaped by the state program. The board has some flexibility in creating applications and rankings that reflect the county, but the model deed approved at state and federal levels must be followed rather closely. The board's job is to assist county farmers and others with the program, the deed and the paperwork associated with voluntarily obtaining an easement to protect their property forever from development.
At the February meeting the board faced a full agenda with focus on a new direction and some major decisions on how we could handle the application process more efficiently, reduce the cost to the Board and eliminate frustration to the landowners. The board decision in November 2009 to outsource our work to Greenbrier County has had problems. The inconvenient distance made for a slow process, the expense of two attorneys and the lack of communication and involvement of the board left us with only three out of six applications closed in well over a year. We cannot blame Greenbrier County, they did not come to us, we hired them. We have learned much from our experience.
At this time I am recommending to the board that we stand on our own two feet, alongside local legal council and a competent administrative assistant to go forward with the seven new applications on the desk. We can seek advice when needed from state and federal professionals who really understand the program. If "we grow where we were planted" we can keep the work and the money in Pocahontas County and do our job efficiently. Our meetings are open to the public and we welcome anyone interested in the program to join us March 8, 6 p.m. second floor of the City National Bank.
Letters to the Editor
What happens after we close the outhouse door or flush the toilets in our homes?
Most think "glad that's over." Actually, this is near the beginning of a very important process.
The only time most people give it a thought is when the flush does not work. What now? Get out the shovel? Call the plumber? What did little Johnny put down the toilet? We've all experienced some sort of incident such as this.
Do you have any idea what happens to the sewage after the outhouse, a septic tank or cistern? Probably not, because then it has become someone else's problem.
Sometimes the solution is very simple. Haul it to a sewage treatment plant. Fine. Good idea, but there is no sewage treatment plant in Pocahontas County. No, not the one in Marlinton or Durbin, or Snowshoe. They do not allow outside sludge. Haul it to Elkins? No, they also do not accept it. Sometimes it can go to Rainelle, but not always. This depends on their schedule and regulations. The next choice would be Staunton, Virginia. Realize, now, the mileage this endeavor incurs, (either side of $2 per mile), plus dumping fees per gallon of waste.
But what happens when road conditions in Pocahontas County prevent the trucks from transporting? Remember, sewage knows nothing about schedules, road conditions, regulations or site availability.
When your system is fouled, you expect the service provider to accommodate your needs. Suppose for a moment that several families in the community require disposal, and conditions and schedules do not allow transport to legal sewage disposal sites outside the county.
Would it not make sense to have temporary facilities available?
I'm sure some people don't care, but surely most do. A plan for when all else fails certainly should be at hand.
This service is presently available in Pocahontas County by The Outhouse LLC; however, increasing demand calls for expansion in a safe and acceptable manner. This business-no pun intended-is as important to the community as any other.
Supporter of community participation everywhere,
The Sheriff's Auxiliary has served the department well, particularly in the area of transporting arrestees from Marlinton to the Tygarts Valley Regional Jail and patients to Pocahontas Memorial Hospital and other facilities.
The transport function currently represents 95 percent of the workload of the auxiliary. The original intent was for the organization to give equal time to community activities. We are now engaged in an effort to increase the size of the auxiliary so we can reach that original goal.
Adding volunteers is but one part of this new endeavor. Another part of remodeling the auxiliary is to make the group a stand-alone organization, which manages its own affairs. They will establish their own identity with internally elected officers, and a regular meeting schedule of their own choosing. They will also apportion their time to projects designed to better serve the county and the sheriff's department.
As sheriff, I will continue to approve all candidates and hold the authority to terminate. I will be there for them, but the ball is in their hands.
First step goal is to double the ranks from 15, more or less, to 30. Next is to train the new additions and provide higher levels of training to existing members. Our deputies will conduct training, but it will be the responsibility of the auxiliary to make sure the individual members meet all training requirements.
There are numerous projects being considered. The list is not an either/or, but rather an issue of priorities. Here is a sample:
GoMarlinton is currently having discussions about re-establishing the Neighborhood Watch Program. Our auxiliary can help. Each member pledges 10 hours minimum per month in volunteer time. They could fill their obligation by working with Neighborhood Watch.
The sheriff needs to have visibility in our schools. As part of that, we want to grow the junior deputy program.
A similar goal is to have an on-going presence at the courthouse.
Another personal project of mine is an outreach program to establish a data bank of people within the county who are vulnerable because of their ages or handicaps. The auxiliary can compile information, and also reach out in times of potential emergencies like floods or extreme winter weather.
This auxiliary needs guidance, not just from the sheriff's department, but also from community leaders. I will meet with the auxiliary, when required, but to reach our community involvement goals, we need an outside, unattached citizen advisory board.
We are currently going out into the community seeking individuals who will provide leadership for the new auxiliary. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and we will soon announce the names of those who have agreed to serve on the board.
Sheriff of Pocahontas County
Letters to the Editor: February 3, 2011
RE: December 23, 2010 article, "PCFL to discontinue services to schools"
It is my understanding that effective March 11, 2011 - unless funding is resolved - all the special weekly classes held at the library for the Marlinton Elementary children will end.
I encourage the families of these children to speak up on behalf of their children's education. Reading is taught as a required course at the school, but for years and years MES has also partnered with the library to provide the children with a reading experience that is focused on growing a ﾑlove of reading' and teaching them the life-long skill of discovering how to find books of interest.
We should not take our children's reading for granted. Even in our high tech world, recent studies still indicate that passive activities such as watching a learning show on TV are not transferring as much knowledge as children will obtain when they read!
A good name for Mrs. Johnson's library class might be "Books ALIVE'! Here are a few of my personal observations:
The children arrive with their teacher and are welcomed into their special ﾑStory Room'. Mrs. Johnson knows each child by name and they feel at home. She has spent many behind the scenes hours and has selected a special story to read... Ah, but there is much more. She begins to hand out items to the children: a small suitcase, a bunny, a straw hat, flowers, etc. Each child is included. As she reads the story, the children listen for their item to be mentioned and they bring their item to a gathering place. In this way, the children become part of the story.
Stories are rotated with seasons and are brought to life with engaging art and frogs, butterflies, lizards and baby bunnies - just to name a few. Recently, the children had an environmental story and actually sorted items into recycle bins and filled up a compost bin. On another occasion, they volunteered for character roles and reenacted the story with costumes and props - it was amazing! I loved the one about the life cycle for a Sunflower. The children estimated how many seeds were in a real Sunflower and as a team they counted them. And, did anyone's child tell you about the Sea Turtle Story, which included holding a real Sea Turtle's shell?
Families, please don't miss the opportunity to talk to your children and give feedback to the BOE members. Perhaps they will even agree to come to Mrs. Johnson's library class and see first hand the seeds that are being sown in our community - in your children's garden of life.