How’s your garden?
Hope better than mine

How’d your garden do this year?

We always have a big garden, but this year we cut it to less than half. Then along came the ‘coons and the deer…might have got enough sweet corn for two “messes,” but the tomatoes…

A few years back my wife canned tomatoes. Lots of them. We gave them to neighbors, friends and family. This year however, deer ate the blossoms…most of the plants…then went to the hayfields and ate the alfalfa down to the ground so it can’t come back.

Middle of August and no tomatoes out of my own garden and no alfalfa in the hay.

Can’t do anything about it. Department of Natural Resources won’t let me.

According to the DNR website, deer damage costs a total of $100 million in agricultural crops, $750 million in forest regeneration and $1 billion in vehicle accidents. It also says deer generated $14 billion in economic and recreational benefits.

Phooey!!!

“A simple and economical one strand electric fence 3 foot high has proven effective” the website says. DNR doesn’t know the deer in Wayne County.

The varmints either go over the wire – or through it. Wire works well for horses and cattle, but not deer.

The DNR also suggests repellants. Ever bought any? How much would it take to spray a large patch of sweet corn? What would it cost?

And rain washes it away.

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Farm, agriculture knowledge benefits more than farmers

One late spring day nearly 20 years ago, after spending 10 or so hours at the office, I got on the tractor and plowed up the garden and worked it into planting condition.

Of course, the little guy (about four or five years old at the time) was there with me, watching, riding the tractor and asking questions.

After setting out a couple dozen tomato plants that we’d started from seed, and probably some peppers, I got the corn planter and filled it with seed and proceeded to take a break.

Sitting cross-legged at the end of the soon-to-be rows, I leaned back to rest a spell when the youngster plopped down on my left knee. Seems like only yesterday…

Looking up at my grimy face, with sweat running into aging eyes, the boy said matter-of-factly:

“Dad (he always started that way), when you get old, I’ll plant the garden for you.

“I’ll plow it, I’ll drag it, I’ll disc it, I’ll get it ready and I’ll plant the tomatoes and the peppers and the corn.

“And if you feel like it – you can help.”

Looking down into those blue eyes, my first thought was “How kind!”
But then…

“How many kids this young in Wayne County; in the state; or even the entire country know the procedure to plant a garden?”

That was in 1996-97, some 20 years after county schools quit offering vocational agriculture and gave up its Future Farmers of America chapters.

Today we would find even fewer.

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Somebody oughta tell Al –
there’s no global warming

Ever hear of John Coleman?

He’s a former broadcast meteorologist of the year for the American Meteorological Society (AMS) with 60 years experience.

He also founded and served as CEO of the Weather Channel.

He quit the AMS, he says, because “the politics had gotten in the way of the science.”

If evidence existed of man-made global warming, Coleman said he would dedicate his life to stopping it.

“I love our wonderful earth,” he said. “If I though it was threatened by global warming, I would devote my life to stopping it.”

These comments were made to American Prosperity News Network in March.

He told WHDT Channel 9 News in Boston global warming is a “fictional, manufactured crises” by certain scientists and politicians have “engaged in fraudulent activity based on bad science.”

“There’s been no warming for 17 years and six months,” Coleman told WHDT. “We have hit a plateau in the warming period.

“Is this the end of the interglacial warming period that’s been going on for 12,000 years? Are we going to start cooling off for the next Ice Age? Or is this just a pause in the gradual warmup that comes? Think about it,” he said.

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Not so common common
sense needed in Missouri

Once again our Golfer-In-Chief has inserted himself into a situation that should be left up to local authorities.

Just like in 2009, when he stuck his nose into a controversy between a black professor and the police in Cambridge, Mass., the President flew off the handle to criticize police and stirred up even more distrust between the people and those sworn to protect them.

In March 20012, he proclaimed, ”If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon (Martin)” during the dustup over that young man’s death.

The latest butt-in came as rioters protested the police shooting of a young black man in Ferguson, Mo., last weekend.

Rioters and looters burned and robbed stores in the suburb of Kansas City and local police, with military gear, tried to contain the unruly mob.

This week, the vacationing President told a press conference in Martha’s Vineyard,

“There’s…no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights,” the Huffington Post reported.

And of course, Al Sharpton showed up.

Thursday night however, with the Missouri state police taking control of the situation, the protests were more subdued and less destructive.

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Airport’s Maynard firing:
Absence of leadership?

Bob Maynard lost his job and his home recently due to what he says (and others agree) was a personal vendetta by his boss. Caught sleeping in his office, he was fired. The right to continue living in a home he had repaired and used for more than 37 years was also terminated.

Leadership, like people, comes in all different shapes and styles.

Liaises faire leaders ignore what happens beneath them until issues fester and then blow up, our current government is a good example.

Micromanagers must have their fingers in every detail and usually have a short leadership span before burning out or causing major problems to worker morale or production.

Dictators issue orders and expect them to be carried out, regardless or the outcome. They will not listen to worker suggestions or solutions to problems because the dictator is convinced he (or she) knows everything – they think.

Leaders are not necessarily the one in overall charge of a corporation, business or bureaucracy.

A board of directors, a committee, a city council, a board of education are examples of groups, although usually with a chairman or president or CEO, who lead an organization.

Those directors and members, along with their chosen head, lead.

These boards, councils or other governing bodies must shoulder the burden of responsibility for the actions of those they select, appoint or hire to carry out their wishes.

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Agriculture teaches youngsters to be responsible

Growing up on a farm until recent years was pretty much the norm.

Then came the war (WW II) and a post-war boom in manufacturing and technology which led many families to flee the often barely subsistent farm life and head to more populated areas for decent paying jobs.

Nowadays, most kids are raised in town or a subdivision and have no knowledge whatsoever about farming or what it is like.

A Wayne County farm kid like me learned a lot. We raised Hereford cattle (went to Angus after I took a fulltime job), hogs (Hampshires at first, then Landrace and Yorkshire mix) and always had horses or ponies, or both.

Bought most of my own clothes with “pig” and “cow” money, bought my first few cars and paid my college tuition.

Not bragging – that’s just how a lot of Wayne County kids did then.

But, as Richard Chadwick recently told the Wayne Board of Education, “most kids today don’t even know how to plant a tomato.”

Most schools in the area in the mid-1900s offered Vocational Agriculture (Vo-Ag). Coupled with the Future Farmers of America, classes alternated between beneficial farming techniques, a certain amount of “shop” class (at Buffalo we built gun cabinets and other simple items) and proper ways to manage a successful farming operation.

Members of the FFA learned Robert’s Rules of Order, how to keep farm records and how to judge farm animals – hogs, beef cattle, dairy cattle, chickens – and even prepared cured hams and bacon and inspected and classified eggs.

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Circle of life proving to be truly a circle

I once wrote that life is like a circle.

The Lakota Sioux believe that life is a sacred circle in which all things are connected.

Nature, animals and humans all intertwine.

Everything spiritual is inside that sacred circle which is broken into four parts, each having to do with a direction and stage of life: infancy – west, youth – north, adulthood – east and elder – south.

So it has been with this humble scribe (don’t qualify for the wordsmith description) as my life is completing its own circle.

As a child growing up there weren’t any neighborhood kids around, so making up imaginary playmates was the norm. I was usually the Lone Ranger taking on rustlers who were trying to steal our Hereford cattle.

But I was never alone – Tonto, that resplendent redskin was always close by to lend me a hand and get me out of trouble.

Wearing out broomstick after broomstick, we traveled through the west (made up of the front and backyards of the farmhouse on Sweet Run).

At six, a pony. Then at 12 a horse as maturity began to set in. Fewer and fewer outlaws to chase, but summertime horse shows became the norm.

The west – infancy.

In school, reading and writing took hold. Sixth-grade teacher Hazel Hutchinson bragged to the high school librarian, Evelyn Pyles, that I had read 66 books.

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Letters generate spin, maybe some action

Quite often newspapers, either through articles they print, comments made by columnists, or just the facts dug up by enterprising reporters…step on toes.

Sometimes an individual, sometimes a group, will take exception to what is printed.

Recently, The Wayne News has printed letters attributed to a “Jim Nasium,” who has taken it upon him (or her or them) self to articulate concerns by a number of people in the Tolsia High School area.

When we receive Letters to the Editor, we require the author give their correct full name and how they may be contacted. However, just like other rules, there can be exceptions.

The primary exception to this requirement is the fact that by making certain issues public; the “whistleblower” can be subject to retribution. In that case, we will make an exception.

Such is the case with Mr.(s). Nasium.

We know the identity of the writer (s). We have signature (s) on the letter, but due to possible retaliation, we kept the author (s) name secret.

Last Tuesday’s letter, the second from “Jim Nasium,” elicited a quick and snarky response.

William Rosenberger, well-known spin-doctor for the Wayne County Board of Education, and (as he likes to tell everyone) a former reporter for the Herald-Dispatch, got his Fruit of the Looms all in a knot over the latest letter.

In an email received at 8:01 Wednesday morning, he jumped off the handle and voiced his opinion, “We bit our tongue on the first one, but this second one is ridiculous. A real newspaper won’t print such scathing letters unless the author has the guts to sighn (sic) their name.

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New sheriff, deputies in town

A new superintendent and three new members highlight the latest education news in the county.

And for the present, it seems like an old Western. A new sheriff, new deputies and new attitude as the latest edition of the Wayne County Board of Education, at least at Monday night’s meeting, proved much different than previous boards.

From discussions about Robert’s Rules of Order to quicken the pace of meetings, to possibly limiting time for delegations, to publicizing jobs, to increasing transparency of school board actions, one thing was clear…

The three new members have brought a new energy to the panel, along with a passionate new superintendent.

From board President George (Trey) Morrone to Johnita Jackson to Lois Little, there were questions and suggestions about board finances, policies and ways the board can improve its closed-door image by keeping fewer secrets and making more things public.

A gust of fresh air from the hill.

But…

The naming of the new superintendent showed a marked division on the board, as all three new members voted for Sandra Pertee while the two leftovers, JoAnn Hurley and Vickie Boyd, voted against.

Pertee prevailed over nine other candidates, five of whom made the final cut for an interview with the board.

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Party affiliates now party addicts

“(Party politics) serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”
• George Washington, September 17, 1776

Newspapers have always, due to ownership and management, taken one side of a political argument, either liberal or conservative.

This should be done on the editorial – and opposite – pages of the newspaper where this column is always found. The rest of the paper should have news from both sides, balanced as much as possible. But sometimes, due to news availability, it is not practical.

The Wayne County News has recently offered news releases from Democrat Rep. Nick Joe Rahall, currently involved in possibly the toughest race of his career, with Republican candidate Evan Jenkins. These releases highlighted actions the Congressman has taken to benefit West Virginia, and usually are associated with the EPA and the coal industry.

We say “recently” because it seems that prior to about six months ago, all Rahall did is go along with the agenda set by the Democratic administration and ignore his constituents.

In today’s edition, readers will find several stories about Jenkins’ foray Thursday into Wayne County, long a hotbed of Democratic Rahall supporters.

We were told of Jenkins’ visit Wednesday, and due to the fact the other local paper refused to send any coverage; we decided to attend several of his planned visits.

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Superintendent decision and other challenges


The Wayne County Board of Education soon will select a new superintendent from the five finalists who made it to the interview stage.

Last night, the public was offered a chance for input into the pick, but could not use any names as those who chose to speak their mind offered up their choices.

Kinda like choosing which kind of cake for dessert, but not being able to say “chocolate” or “white” or “pineapple upside-down.” Well, we’ll try the same thing.

Out of the five, two come from the state Department of Education, usually where teachers who can’t teach and administrators who can’t administrate, go to retire. They become just another state employee in a bloated bureaucracy that instead of helping our students, become another expense on the state’s bottom line.

One has quite a number of acronyms after her (I can say her, right) name. If she was any good in all those roles, she might have a lot on the ball.

The other state employee, was a former principal at Lincoln County High School. While a teacher at Lincoln County High, he instituted a successful Career and Technical Education program.

But a 2012 audit by the state found secondary education was “deficient” in Lincoln County “in all indicators or assessment,” citing the challenge of having three principals in three years and two new assistant superintendents. The audit suggested more “stability and continuity at the high school.”

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Quit readin’ Quit learnin’


“I don’t read The Wayne County News any more, or the Herald-Dispatch.”

“I quit reading the newspapers.”

“I dropped my subscription. I didn’t like what was in the paper about me.”

That’s fine.

That’s your prerogative.

That’s also a very elitist attitude.

It’s also the attitude of the majority of voters in the last two presidential elections.

Uninformed.

How’s that workin’ out?

The delegate we most like to pick on said he’d quit reading this paper a while back. He didn’t like the responses to some of his responses.

His arguments were easily dissected into tiny, bite-sized pieces. His side of the debates were so often full of holes, or liberal talking points, they were easy to dismiss.

We also frequently questioned some of the bills he brings before the legislature…prescriptions for over-the-counter drugs, more tax on tobacco products, etc., etc…

So he doesn’t read us any more. Too bad, he could learn a few things.

Like what is important to his constituents…what they think about his stance on various issues before the legislature…what things they would like for him to bring up…what he should fight for…or against.

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A real look at crisis in Texas


We hear and see on TV every day how South Texas is being inundated with illegal immigrants, many of them children, in epic numbers.

According to reports 180,000 to more than 190,000 have crossed the border illegally in the Rio Grande Valley so far this year. Estimates range as high as 60,000 children.

Although not really a valley, but a floodplain, The Valley consists of only four counties, Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron. The largest city, Brownsville in Cameron County lies close to the Gulf of Mexico, while the next largest city, McAllen is 60 miles west in Hidalgo County.

With its palm trees and citrus groves, huge farms that provide melons, fruit and vegetables to America’s tables, The Valley could be mistaken for Florida or California.

But in the 2012 census, it was home to 1.3 million, mostly Hispanic Americans. McAllen, Pharr, San Juan, Weslaco, Donna, Edinburg, Mission and Alamo are separated much the same way as Ceredo and Kenova. The only way to know you’ve left one and entered the other is a city limit sign.

Just across the Rio Grande from Reynosa, Mexico, the area where my friend lives is 90 percent Hispanic, maybe more.

Today, The Valley is being overrun by thousands of Central American children who have no clothes, no food and in some instances, no parents. Many are sick.

It has become a humanitarian crisis and the U.S. government, the administration and the President don’t seem to care. The President has a visit planned, but to fund raise, not view the situation.

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To new Wayne BOE:
Perception is reality


Here’s a couple of observations and some questions about rumors and innuendos circulating throughout the area for the new Wayne County School board to think about:

A while back another elected entity came under scrutiny for conducting meetings without properly notifying local media.

In those meetings the members elected certain people to positions of authority, and in one case, conducted an election that was not on the agenda. In that instance, several members of the group who were told the election was not going to be conducted that day did not attend, therefore the absentees had no say in the election process – or the person elected.

In a later discussion with the chairman of that organization, we strongly suggested that whether actions taken were lawful, correct and done properly, the fact that the actions were taken out of the public eye gave the appearance of impropriety.

Whenever any board, commission, council or other elected committee or group takes action “behind closed doors,” the public feels that it is being hornswoggled.

This has been true from day one.

Perception becomes reality.

Whether actions taken in secret or in executive session are lawful or not, the perception is that something underhanded is going on. And historically, with the Wayne Board of Education, the public has been right too often.

Nepotism and favoritism, political posturing, infighting and paybacks have not been unusual – quite the opposite.

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Fan club continues to grow,
academic achievement slides


The fan club is growing.

Got a call the other day from someone who of course wouldn’t leave his name, but took exception to a comment made here last Wednesday when I wrote that threats made by “a slimy bunch of political hacks and union duds in Charleston…” had led to the closing and soon to be demolition of the venerated Ceredo-Kenova High School.

Objecting to the term “duds,” he asked, “What do you have against the working man?”

He then interrupted before I could answer that working people are what has made the country great…that I have nothing against “the working man”…that I consider myself a “working man” (anyone who has at least two jobs should rate that description)…and that he has the term “working man” confused with blind union loyalty.

Evidently, he’s not read many of the scribblings on this page, or he would know that there is no ill will her for private sector unions, only those that are part of, or influence government that prevent the proper actions of government.

He evidently didn’t want an explanation (I could have lied, saying it was a typo that should have read “dudes” but didn’t) as he then began a passionate tirade that soon showed a distinct lack of linguistic imagination.

What the newest fan club member failed to understand is that when the legislature passed the bill creating the state School Building Authority, it was to “facilitate and provide state funds for the construction and maintenance of school facilities to meet the educational needs of the people of the state in an efficient and economical manner (WV State Code 18-9D).

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Irresponsibility at the top: can’t get any better


A prominent state official who has been responsible for the displacement of thousands of students and the allocation of millions of dollars, if not a billion, in taxpayer money…

A person who has spent the past eight years bribing, wheedling, cajoling and threatening county agencies across the state…

A Charleston bigwig who has been a conduit for millions of dollars for special interest groups and selected businesses…

The director of a bureaucracy that controls school construction and consolidation throughout the state…

The man who has given so many speeches and so many interviews about how his agency has provided “help” for so many West Virginia students…

Another hack who’s made a career of nursing on the public teat and whose only qualification for many of his jobs is his family name…

Yep, our ole buddy Mark Manchin…

Lost his state car.

Yes, suspend reality for a few minutes and just let your mind go places it probably has never gone before – or will again.

Pretend you have a cushy job with maybe a state credit card or expense account and other perks. Imagine you are driving a car that belongs to someone else, in Manchin’s case, the State of West Virginia.

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Summertime, creek banks,
poison ivy and sweating


“You’ve worked yourself out a job,” my mentor and friend, Claude Crabtree, said late one summer day in 1967. “All the cars are clean, all the wrought-iron’s painted, you’ve got the garage cleaned up … I don’t have anything else.

“Unless,” he paused, “you’re not allergic to poison ivy.”

I had been working in Kenova at Bloss & Crabtree Inc. for more than a year. The primary job was washing and detailing cars for Crabtree’s car business (he generally kept 25-30 in inventory), but when needed would report to the business’ repair shop and work for his partner and brother-in-law, Doyle (Stoney) Bloss.

Hating to be idle at that age, I could wash every car on the lot and make sure they were standing tall in one day. Detailing, however, most often took at least a day per car.

He advertised the cleanest cars in the area and I was proud of that, ‘cause I kept’em that way.
But once in a while, maybe sales would be slow or some other reason there wouldn’t be anything for me to do. So he would look for something. He knew a college kid always needed cash and if he had a good worker, he’d find work for them.

“Poison ivy,” I said. “Don’t bother me at all. I can eat it.”

Fact. The late Kelly Eastham, a grade school pal, and I used to pick the plant out back of Central Grade School on Buffalo Creek. We’d smile as the girls screeched and we ate it.

“Well, if you want, I’ve got a creek bank that is nothing but poison ivy and it needs cleaned up,” Crabtree said. “I’ll take you there in the morning and you can look at it and see what you want to do.”

At that time, with no local dams, area creeks like Twelvepole, would often overflow their banks and get into low lying houses and over roads.

Crabtree had what he often referred to as a “camp,” just outside Ceredo on the banks of Twelvepole. He and his wife, Gladys, and son Butch, would go to the camp quite often on hot weekends.

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Amerika: one reason for the mess we’re in


We’re not the same country we were in 1960.

Just out of World War II, economy booming. The Interstate system under construction. Korea, in all its misery, was more or less over – if it will ever be.

America was influencing the whole world.

Immigrants were standing in line to come and be a part of the greatest country in history.
But now?

Our current leaders (and this is where it gets interesting), by pandering to political pressure from minority groups have curtailed growth, energy independence, military strength and economic stability.

Ah, but these people didn’t start the decline.

No. One of the most revered presidents (by many, especially dyed-in-the-wool Democrats) did something that, like numerous other well-intentioned ideas, got hijacked and became an albatross around the neck of the American people.

On Jan. 19, 1962, John F. Kennedy signed executive order 10988 establishing the premise: “Whereas participation of employees in the formulation and implementation of personnel policies affecting them contributes to effective conduct of public business…”

Unions in the public sector.

A simple little executive order, number 10988, allowed a fantastic growth of membership in The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Education Association.

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Where do these people
get their crazy ideas?


Skimming through the competition the other day and just happened to see what one of their resident columnists had to say…the one who says America was not founded on biblical principles and has not been blessed by divine power because of tragic events.

Billed as a retired minister and theologian, the columnist has made some pretty outlandish claims, but not many worse than the above – or the one made Friday.

Last week, he claimed the economy is humming much stronger now.

Hmmmm.

Just call me Rip van Winkle, ‘cause I must have been sleeping.

He claims the administration’s “financial bailouts saved the banking and automobile industries” and that U.S. unemployment rate has “eased” downward to 6.3 percent.

The “theologian” also said “only the lethargic job market raises eyebrows.”

How ‘bout a cup of coffee, please. I must have been out for a long, long time.

It’s okay to have different points of view, but if you voice them – get the facts straight.

Although the administration took credit for saving the banks, how many of the banks literally stole millions? Clients and customers lost big, but cronies of the administration came out of the debacle with bundles of cash.

As far as saving the automobile industry – nothing could be further from the truth (to use a Mark Manchin phrase).

The only ones saved were the unions.

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Administration nothing
but huge embarrassment


The liberal progressive administration that is in charge (not leading) of this country is nothing but a huge embarrassment to anyone who believes in the American way, American exceptionalism, and the American dream.

The recent trade of five terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay for a possible deserter was nothing more than a political ploy to divert attention from the multiple scandals racking the most corrupt administration in U.S. history. The idiots who came up with the idea thought Americans would be overjoyed at the release of a soldier from enemy hands.

But like everything else they touch…

It turned into that stinky brown stuff.

By making the swap, those in charge did nothing more than put a price tag on the head of all Americans, military of civilians, in country or overseas.

Five for one.

That’s what they will expect in return the next time – and there will be a next time.

One Taliban commander told TIME, “It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people. It has encouraged our people. Now everyone will work hard to capture such an important bird.”

Meanwhile, instead of praise and laurels for the idiots who released the baddest of the bad, more and more information is becoming available about the former captive.

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Failure fueled by ignorance


I don’t know and I don’t care.

Ignorance and apathy.

Those two traits have come to describe the American voter.

As a nation, we didn’t know the background of our current President and didn’t care to find out – or fell hook, line and sinker, for propaganda by national liberal media.

That’s worked out really well, hasn’t it?

In our last Primary Election a few weeks ago, voters again didn’t know and didn’t care to find out.

Only 20 percent of registered voters cared enough to vote – and most of them didn’t use information available to them, didn’t care enough to check out candidates or on the issue of the school bond, only voted for instant gratification and didn’t care about the future.

Those who voted for the bond didn’t think about the future. They gave no thought that new school buildings throughout the state have done nothing to improve education.

Their only thoughts were of immediate gratification: my kid gets a new school; I’ll get to end my career teaching in a new school; at least my town will get to keep a school; or some other “now” thing.

They never stopped to think about the lack of maintenance that led to problems with the schools being replaced, or that the Wayne County Board of Education is putting every penny it can find aside to pay for the new schools and that maintenance, like before, is going to be lackadaisical at best.

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More deaths in gun-free zones


Some people belong in institutions.

They’re nuts!

No, not nuts like I am.

Or your silly Uncle Louey (pull my finger).

But downright certifiably crazy. Loony bin. Nutso. Evil crazy.

Such was the case last week when a 22-year-old nutcase killed six people in Santa Barbara, Calif., before assuming room temperature himself.

Although he had stabbed three to death, two roommates and a visitor, prior to shooting three others before killing himself, the stabbings aren’t making the headlines – just the guns.

The father of one of the victims blamed the shootings on the National Rifle Association and “craven, irresponsible politicians.”

He wants more gun control.

However, more restrictions are not the answer.

In fact, fewer restrictions on where guns may be carried, or kept might be.
Almost every mass murder in which guns were used has taken place in what has come to be called a “gun free zone.”

The theater in Colorado, the Columbine incident, the Virginia Tech murders, the Sandy Hook school shooting, or the Santa Barbara killings – no guns were allowed in any of those places.

But a nutjob was there with a gun.

Could it be that it’s not the way we regulate guns, but the way we let crazy people roam the streets, hearing voices and all that other stuff they say they do?

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Insignificant tribute to
a very significant man


The world is a darker place today.

Reverend Robert James (Jim) Chenoweth passed away early Wednesday and the light that shone on his family and all who knew him is gone.

Few people in Wayne County knew him. He was a Methodist minister for 43 years before he and his wife Wilda, an elementary schoolteacher, retired in 1989 and moved to Ona.

Beginning his service at Durbin on Lost River in Pocahontas County, he served at Vienna, Pineville, Highlawn United Methodist in Huntington and retired from a double charge, Logan’s Nibert Memorial and Stollings.

Even though retired, he enjoyed being called upon by various churches throughout the area to fill in when the regular pastor had a conflict.

Met Jim, (or Preacher as I called him) in 1988 when he came to Ona for a visit.

He had a great sense of humor and mixed funny stories (all of them true) into his sermons that as a rule, were among the most entertaining of any denomination. Anyone who heard his sermons, knew that laughter is okay with God.

The son of a hellfire-and-brimstone Methodist minister, Jim married the school teaching daughter of a Methodist circuit rider while at his first church in Durbin. He and Dubbie, as we later called Wilda, raised five children, all of whom earned at least one college degree. The five include three teachers and a college administrator.

He lost Wilda April 11 last year.

“She didn’t want to outlive me,” he said at the time.

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A quick history lesson may explain school mess


Alright class, settle down.

You too, Charlie.

Time for a little history lesson.

Fella said Monday not to talk about the past. But if you don’t learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it, somebody important once said.

Anyway…back in 1988 our West Virginia legislature, in one of their many brainstorms, changed a law, according to Del. Don Perdue.

It’s just another example of a knee-jerk reaction and at the time, probably passed for all the right reasons, but changing this law provided the basis for the mess that education in this state has become.

Some calls last week, following the passage of the new school bond, said that the 56 percent majority was not enough.

Checking state legislative websites and that of Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, as well as others, 60 percent is required for any bond passage, school, municipal or county.

But 1988 changed that.

Calls to Wayne County Clerk Renick Booth and the secretary of state’s office confirmed, only 50 percent plus one (vote), a simple majority, is needed now to pass a school bond.

ALL other bonds still require 60 percent.

And the very next year, 1989, our legislature compounded that action by creating the West Virginia School Building Authority.

In passing the two bills, lobbyists duped Charleston lawmakers into turning over the keys to the cashbox to certain architectural and design firms and unions, which have reaped BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to close and consolidate schools and construct new buildings across the state, not all of which were needed – and many of which were unwanted.
Gilmer County in 2008-09 is an example.

When taxpayers voted down a bond and the school board wanted to repair and renovate schools there and even hired a new superintendent who agreed, the Building Authority sent a member who criticized the board in a public meeting for not going along with the SBA agenda.

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Bribery biggest tool for West Virginia bureaucracies


“The offering of money or other incentives to persuade somebody to do something,” the Encarta World English Dictionary describes the way the West Virginia School Building Authority forces its will on local school boards in the state.

Bribery.

“The acquiring of anything through the use of force or threats,” the same reference book uses to describe a word that probably fits the actual way the Authority operates.

Extortion.

Bribery or extortion have been the major reasons education in this state has reached the depths to which it has fallen.

Fifty years ago, students from West Virginia – and Wayne County – could, and did, accomplish as much as those from any other state, but with the creation of the School Building Authority in 1989, scores of state students are at, or very near the bottom of national achievement in virtually every key category.

“The Authority was empowered to facilitate and provide state funds for the construction and maintenance of school facilities…in an efficient and economical manner…” the bureaucracy’s own website says.

That statement is not correct.

By the SBA’s own admission in May 2012 to the Charleston Gazette, the agency’s mission has been to consolidate schools. Mark Manchin told just that to the paper only one month after “saying nothing could be further from the truth” in a Letter to the Editor of The Wayne County News.

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W/O the “k” and other
snarky comments…


First off, I’d like to apologize to the mayor of Kenova.

In last Saturday’s edition of The Wayne County News, we ran an op-ed piece the mayor wrote with his picture and name. Unfortunately, the person who creates that kind of byline is not familiar with all the local people and inadvertently stuck a “k” on the end of Ric Griffith’s first name.

Ric is, and has been, a personal friend since Little League days at Ceredo-Kenova.

Sorry ‘bout the “k” Ric, and thanks and appreciation to you and your family for all the things you guys have done for me and my family for the past 100 years or so.

The lack of the “k” was brought to our attention Tuesday in a snarky little email from the shill of a local bureaucracy who called my Saturday’s column a “rant.” He also thought it would be a good idea to “let your readers know your qualifications for making the statements you do about how easy it would be to fix the old Kenova school or the current Crum facilities.

“I think we’d all like to know where you received your engineering or architectural degree and your commercial construction experience (including HVAC and electrical),” and was signed “respectfully.”

“Respectfully” my a…

We all know part of his job is to make anyone who disagrees with the status quo look bad and to put as much positive spin on his organization as possible. That’s public relations.

In response, I sent back a short resume, but since he thought my readers need to know…

I was raised on a small farm here in Wayne County and went through school at Central Grade School and Buffalo High (back when teachers were allowed to teach and discipline was a paddling). I was disciplined a few times.

Farm boys become adept at making things work, or repairing anything that needs fixed. Equipment and buildings must be maintained (kind of like schools).

I’ve operated a tractor for weeks on end from 7 a.m. past dark, plowing and preparing fields for other farmers, as well as my family’s, raised cattle and hogs (helping buy my clothes and other things since about the age of seven). I’ve been a carhop at Midway Drive-In, worked the dock at Corbin Ltd., made battery boxes at Gould National Battery, mowed rights-of-way for Tennessee Gas Pipeline (with a mowing scythe) and ran a Tenneco backhoe digging out 30-inch pipe holding natural gas pipe at hundreds of pounds pressure, detailed and sold cars, built fence for McNeil Fence Co., worked in the sports department of both the Herald-Dispatch and Huntington Advertiser (back when they were topnotch). I also steam-washed mining lubricant cans at Michael Walters Industries.

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Many questions about
Crum school location

Let’s see now…

$30,000 an acre…single-lane access road…railroad close by…floodplain.

Four reasons not to build anything at a particular location.

But according to the Wayne County School Board (and Crocodile Dundee), “No worries.”

Building a school in the floodplain seems kind of foolish, especially since the current location of the Crum facility, next to the mighty Tug Fork, has been criticized by those “in the know” about such things and is just one of the myriad reasons the BOE has given repeatedly for wanting to build a new one.

But how many times have classes been cancelled because the school flooded?

How much will it cost to raise the proposed site out of the floodplain?

Another gripe about the current location is the proximity to railroad tracks.

Hmmm.

The new location is also close to the same tracks, and the proposed location for the new Kenova Elementary is even closer to railway lines. Considering (after all is said and done) the number of railroads in and near populated areas of Wayne County, where in the county could a school location be found that is not in some way affected by a railroad?

As far as the single-lane access goes, according to Railstotrails.org, adding a lane to an existing rural roadway costs in the neighborhood of $1.6 million to $3.1 million per “lane mile” in 2006 dollars (no figure was available for 2014 bucks). These figures vary according to function and terrain.

Would additional rights-of-way be needed to widen the existing road?

Would the roadbed need to be strengthened?

No figures were available for construction in floodplain areas, but in “environmentally sensitive rural areas, the costs jump to $5.8 million to 9.9 million per lane-mile in rural areas.

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Style over substance again
as we’re told what’s best

Well…they did it again.

Our state education “leaders” have once again tried to show they know best. And once more, they’ve ignored the root of the problems in the West Virginia educational system.

A 26-year-old bureaucracy has determined the reason state students are behind in all the key disciplines, math, science and English, is old school buildings.

When the School Building Authority announced it would fund $18 million of a proposed $42.2 million construction project in Wayne County for new schools at Crum and Ceredo-Kenova, county Board of Education members and Superintendent Lynn Hurt were ecstatic. An additional $4.1 million will come from Wayne’s Permanent Improvement Fund, while Quality Zone Academy Bonds will kick in another $2 million.

Ah, but there’s catch, a caveat, if you please.

To get that money, county taxpayers must also approve another $18 million through a bond issue on the May 13 Primary ballot.

With these guys, there’s always a catch.

Two years ago, Mark Manchin, executive director of the Authority, in a letter to The Wayne County News said that gifts come with stipulations.

“…When was the last time someone gave you money without some type of expectation of how to spend it?” he asked.

Manchin, appointed to his current post by his cousin Joe, when Joe was governor, makes a big show of saying the SBA’s mission is to help school districts obtain needed funds for construction projects to improve education, but in reality – and going back into its history – it seems the only goal of that agency is to provide jobs for certain architectural firms and other pet groups. The SBA doesn’t give, it bribes.

Everyone knows both Crum and Kenova need help and in this space, we’re given the current board a pass on problems caused by previous administrations.

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Displaying Confederate flag
not a sign of racial bigotry

Couple of weeks ago, ran across a story from Waldron, Arkansas, that students at the local high school were being disciplined for flying Confederate flags from their pickup trucks.

Students were asked not to display the flags while on school property as there had been some complaints and some felt the flags are “offensive,” according to Superintendent Gary Wayman.

It was while researching this little item that your politically “incorrect” columnist stumbled upon quotes used in last week’s classroom lecture on the real cause of “The War for Southern Independence,” as one writer aptly put it.

Unjust taxation has brought much discord and cost many lives throughout history, and the so-called “Civil War” was just another case of greed in one area causing distress in another.

Even though the Morrill Tariff was the leading cause, slavery became the more popular reason that the fledgling nation lost so many of its youngest and finest men.

After all, with the North winning, it would seem too cold to acknowledge that 618,000, or more, casualties were caused by mere greed.

And if freeing the slaves was the purpose of the war, why did Lincoln, who was a leading supporter of the Morrill Tariff, wait until 1963 to issue the Emancipation Proclamation?

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A special day in the South

Happy Confederate Memorial Day!

Bet you didn’t know.

Me neither.

But it is.

Georgia, since its General Assembly enacted a law in 1874, and a few other Southern states observe this holiday of remembrance on April 26. Other states honor the role played by fallen Confederate soldiers in our nation’s history in May and June.

Okay, Class, let’s remember the real reason for the Civil War – not the one that’s been pounded into our brains the past 50 years or so.

The War Between the States was not fought over slavery. True, slavery played a part, but not the overwhelmingly dominant role some suggest.

It was TAXES!

Even though liberal media and those who have written textbooks during the past decades hammer on the slavery issue…some of us old guys remember being taught about the tariffs of the early 1800s. Remember?

Prior to the Civil War, there was no income tax so more than 90 percent of federal revenue came through tariffs on imported goods (coming from another country). An import tariff is used not only to raise money for the government, but to protect that nation’s own products, allowing industries to charge higher prices domestically than the price on imported goods. This causes consumers to pay higher prices and have a lower standard of living while industry makes profits.

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EDEP, BLM, EPA: It’s maddening

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

Nope. Not talking about that movie back in 1963 with a cast of what seemed to be thousands.

Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Jonathan Winters, Peter Falk, Jimmy Durante and more, many more…

No. Today’s world.

Amerika, 2014.

When the West Virginia legislature allows the Department of Environmental Protection to write its own rules and regulations to be attached to a bill that is already voted on and even signed by the governor; when the Bureau of Land Management with agents carrying M-16s tries to take over a Nevada rancher’s herd because he refused to pay grazing fees; when the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency continues to pass regulations that are laws without the consent of Congress…

It truly is a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

And that’s only a few of the insane, previously incomprehensible things that are going on at this time. Briefly ignore Benghazi, where four Americans died and a whole bunch of politicians lied; the Internal Revenue Service investigating conservative American groups; Fast and Furious with its hundreds of illegally exported guns and the dead Americans and hundreds of Mexicans killed by them; the “not so” Affordable Care Act; bailing out General Motors and the resulting millions of taxpayer dollars lost; the closing of national monuments and parks over a 10 percent decrease in the spending increase; the Department of Justice spying on the press; or the numerous million-dollar frauds in the President’s “green” energy grants.

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Electorate also to blame
for massive government

While digging into the Cliven Bundy-Bureau of Land Management-U.S. Forest Service standoff that eased last weekend, the primary take on the whole situation – and others like it – is the size and scope of a government that “we the people” should control.

But we don’t.

The electorate, whether uninformed voters in big cities or rural counties like Wayne, has allowed certain entities and groups to take over a federal system set up by our Founders to protect us – not control us.

Special interest groups, such as environmentalists (see Bundy-Government on opposite page), have infiltrated and assumed control over those we elected into office.

Just like Hillary Clinton said following the Benghazi slaughter of four Americans, many voters have the opinion, “What difference does it make?” when it comes to casting their ballot.

It makes a helluva difference!

Before the 2008 presidential election, that comment came when a voter was warned about the proven liar that currently sleeps in the White House.

Our county, our state, our country are in bad shape economically and politically.

And yet we somehow still refuse to look at the candidates in an unbiased light. We use name recognition (lots of signs in lots of places, TV ads, etc.) and party affiliation rather than looking at the candidate’s true self, who supports them or what possible motive they could have to seek office.

“He’s got to be smart, he’s a lawyer, or doctor” or “the union is behind him so he’s for the working man,” or “he’s a Republican so he’s against poor people” or “he’s a Democrat like me,” are just some of the criteria voters use.

It’s all baloney.

There are good candidates in both parties just as there are bad.

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Our overbearing big government

Most everyone knows that last week’s confrontation between ranchers, cowboys and state’s rights advocates in Nevada ended Saturday with the Bureau of Land Management and federal government agents withdrawing from what could have been a really bad situation.

The withdrawal drew many sighs of relief from many close to the scene, but Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the sneaky, lying Senate Majority leader has come forth, saying the impasse “is not over.

“We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over,” he mumbled to a local TV station.

He’s right.

What started as a disagreement over grazing rights in the desert, compounded by environmentalists’ influence (wanting to protect the “desert tortoise” from cows), and the takeover of land by the BLM from the state of Nevada, has become a focus of what is wrong with America today.

A top-heavy bureaucracy consisting of agencies that write their own regulations and rules, backed by a lackadaisical Congress made up of career politicians and lawyers intent on maintaining their own status quo – and saying “to hell” with “we the people” and ignoring the framework of the nation.

With the heavy-handed tactics seen last week by the BLM and National Park Service (same agency that shut down parks and monuments last fall during the so-called “sequester”) – alleged snipers stationed around a ranch and tasing demonstrators who happened to leave the conflict’s “First Amendment Zone” – what’s next?

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Lawyers, knee-jerk water bill, just another way to tax?

A number of people have asked what’s in the recently passed and signed – but not completed – West Virginia water protection bill, but the only answer is “I don’t know.”

Publicized as being a bill to prevent contamination of public water supplies by toxins housed in aboveground storage tanks and other possible scenarios, the bill went further – much further.

Passed in a frenzy of election-year fervor by a bunch of politicians trying to cash in on the votes of 300,000 “mad as hell voters,” the bill, what we can find of it, is peppered with favors to this and that lobbyist group in a feverish attempt to make everybody happy, happy, happy.

The only text of the bill, found by Googling WV SB 373, is a text of the bill’s introduction on Jan. 16, 2014. Then, by scanning down the page is a list of proposed amendments, some rejected, some withdrawn and some approved.

Some 54 amendments were suggested by legislators and another – at least eight, were made from one of the various committees the bill was sent to – and were either adopted or…there was no indication of their success or failure.

The most striking characteristic is the size and scope of this monstrosity!

One of the proposed amendments (rejected) mentioned “page 84” and suggested substituting “must” for “may.”

Others were pages long and referred to “page 58” or “page 83” and only added to the length and complexity of what should have been a very simple bill.

One caller, to whom I sent a copy of the bill’s introduction that is only some 20 pages long, commented “It makes my brain hurt trying to read the darn thing.”

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Legislature’s water bill proves plumbers’ rule

Got a phone call the other day from a “Snooze” reader who said he had contacted our favorite local delegate requesting a copy of the recently passed “water protection” bill and the bill providing the Wayne County Economic Development Authority funds to close the Prichard Landfill.

The caller, who did not have access to a computer, said the delegate couldn’t help – so he called me.

No problem, I said as I hit the appropriate keys on the computer…WV SB 373 final text.

A whole list of choices pertaining to the water bill appeared on the screen. Scrolling down however, none of them offered a text of the bill.

One offered “the most recent” text, but it had strikes through many of the words and phrases contained in the content that only proved that copy to be a bill in the process of being finalized.

No “final bill” text could be found.

So we moved on to WV HB 4339, simple; made the caller a copy and got his phone number and promised to continue looking for SB 373.

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Administration of doofusses
or leaders of destruction?

Since 2009 many American citizens have been trying to figure out just who the leaders of our country really are and just what goal, or goals, they have.

I’ve been one who has “pondered” this on more than one occasion – many as a matter of fact.

Are they just a bunch of unintelligent or thoughtless people, like the Encarta Dictionary explains “doofus,” or are they intelligent, sneaky and conniving.

From the so-called stimulus fund, set up to pick up the economy and put America back to work, to the Cash for Clunkers, the GM bailout, the emphasis on “green” energy, giving illegal aliens a pass, the National Security Agency’s spying on private citizens, the Fast and Furious gun-running scheme, the Internal Revenue fiasco, the Benghazi murders and down to his signature fraud, the “not so” Affordable Care Act, this administration has done nothing but tear down the social, economic and moral fabric of the entire country.

Many Presidents, or their administrations, have made mistakes but most learned from them.
This one hasn’t.

The stimulus failed, Cash for Clunkers took a large number of cars out of the market for no appreciable return (destroying many good, affordable cars), the GM bailout has cost taxpayers billions (only unions benefited), the millions and billions spent on “green” energy projects resulted in windfall incomes for company bigwigs who bankrupted the fraudulent enterprises they headed.

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It’s the same ole, same ole:
Time for a new school song

No doubt…

Spring is just around the corner.

It has to be…

It’s time…past time, as a matter of fact.

Sure, there may be a few more cool, maybe even a couple of cold, days ahead, but with robins hopping around and birds singing in the morning – it won’t be long.

The global warming activists will really have a field day when the weather warms up, just as it always has, and a little dry spell comes along, just as they always do.

Even with the long, cold winter just past, they continued with their narcissistic diatribe.
Narcissistic?

Yes. With the size of the earth and the number of its inhabitants and the really, really small area humans occupy, coupled with the size of the atmosphere surrounding this rock –miles and miles thick – it is very egotistical of man to think the species can affect weather as much as the alarmists say.

Weather always changes from year to year and decade to decade.

Us old folks remember the winter of 1977-78.

The Ohio River froze over!

This has been a bad winter in this area, but nothing like the winter of 77-78.

Away from here however, it was really cold.

Niagara Falls froze this year – TWICE!

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Redskins and my First World Problem

Back in January, my wife and I decided to cancel cable. I would like to tell you it’s because of some sort of noble (there’s nothing good on TV) reason but it’s not.

The move was strictly financial. Cable and internet packaged together through our local provider was running us about $100 a month and that was for what is the basic digital package offered by our provider at the time. So it wasn’t like were splurging on premium channels and DVR. It was the second-to-lowest bundle, plus our internet.

Ridiculous, right? That’s what we thought.

Now we have Netflix and a small digital antenna hanging on the wall next to the TV. It’s enough for me. The kids miss Spongebob Squarepants, but they can get their Spongebob fix when they visit their Granny and Papaw.

I miss NASCAR. Once it’s off FOX, I’m relegated to reading about the races instead of watching them. It’s honestly not bothering me that much. OK, maybe just a little.

But as football season gets ever closer, I’m starting to sympathize with my two Spongebob-addicted offspring. How will I watch football if all I get through my antenna are NBC, FOX and a few other channels that I know aren’t going to have football? That’ll leave me with two, maybe three games a week and there’s no guarantee teams I care about will be involved.

This is a First World Problem is there ever was one

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Lack of criticism for Putter-In-Chief

I used to play golf, when I could justify the cost of green fees and the occasional trip to the driving range.

But then the economy collapsed, I was laid off from two different jobs in four years and my annual income dropped by about $15K a year. Sort of hard to justify dropping $25 on a round of golf when the electric bill needs to be paid.

But a failed economy, a farce of a recovery and political and social fires haven’t kept Barack Obama off the golf course.

George W. Bush was roundly and justifiably criticized for his apparent lack of sympathy for the plight of the world when he spoke about terrorism while standing in the tee box on a golf course. After speaking about the evils of terrorism, he then told the reporters to “watch this drive.” Michael Moore played the clip in his “documentary” Fahrenheit 9/11 and used it as an example of how detached Bush was from the realities of war and governing a country.

Notice the lack of any noise from the media or celebrities about Obama’s love for the fairway.

According to the Website Obamagolfcounter.com, the Putter in Chief has hit the links 182 times since taking office. His first round as Putter in Chief was 22 days after his first day in office. In all, his longest span of not playing golf has been 98 days. Imagine the horror of not being able to get away from it all and relax on the golf course for 98 days.

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North Bend fest will be really ‘Wild’

It’s going to get wild at North Bend State Park in September.

The West Virginia Wild Food and Mushroom Enthusiasts join to present the 47th Annual Nature Wonder “Wild Foods” Weekend September 19 through 20.

Organizers are looking for favorite wild foods from all 55 counties in West Virginia. That burden would have to be left up to you, dear reader, because I wouldn’t know the difference between a good mushroom and a bad mushroom.

All I know about mushrooms is there are the kind that are delicious on a pizza or steak and there are the kind that help you taste the color orange, if you know what I mean.

Comedian and modern philosopher Bill Hicks once spoke about taking mushrooms. Here’s what he experienced:

“Three weeks ago two of my friends and I went to a ranch in Frederick, Texas, and took what Terence McKenzie calls “a heroic dose.” Five dried grams. Let me tell you, our third eye was squeegeed quite cleanly. Wow! And I’m glad they’re against the law, ‘cause you know what happened when I took ‘em? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours, going ‘My God, I love everything.’ The heavens parted, God looked down and rained gifts of forgiveness onto my being, healing me on every level, psychically, physically, emotionally.

And I realized our true nature is spirit, not body, that we are eternal beings, and God’s love is unconditional ‘n’ there’s nothing we can ever do to change that. It is only our illusion that we are separate from God, or that we are alone. In fact the reality is we are one with God and He loves us. Now, if that isn’t a hazard to this country...”

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Today’s country music: The de-evolution of a genre

Country music.

I hate it.

Today’s modern country music is nothing but noise for the lowest common denominator.

Now that I’ve offended most of you, can we talk about something?

A few nights ago I was channel surfing television at home when I stopped on Zuus Country. I stopped because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing.

Before I go on, let me tell you a story. When my wife and I were first married we went on a road trip. On this trip we started a conversation about how someday country music artists would cover power ballads from “hair” bands of the 1980s. So we both, with our most ridiculous and over the top country twang began singing power ballad staples like Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” and Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You Got.”

One of the songs we twanged up was Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home.” This is what caused me to stop, watch, listen, and throw up a little in my mouth at the sight of what was on my television.

Country artist Justin Moore is the offender. He, with the blessing of Motley Crue, has released a cover of Home Sweet Home. His voice is more twangy than I could ever hope to mock.
I thought it was a joke. Nobody, I mean nobody, can sing naturally with that much twang. But clearly I was wrong because there it was.

I let it go when the Scorpions’ “Rock you Like A Hurricane” was used in a Fiber One commercial. But this is just uncalled for. Is Nashville trying to take all my teenage musical memories out in the woods and shoot them in the back of the head?

To be fair, I used to like country music. I still like to settle down in a comfy chair, put on my headphones and listen to Hank Williams Junior’s album “The Pressure is on.” But what assaulted my ears and eyes wasn’t country music. It was an abomination before the Lord.

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The nonsense: I see dead people

“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” - Mark Twain

What would you do if someone who shared your name died, but the physician’s group to which your doctor belongs thought it was you and cancelled all future doctor’s appointments?

This is exactly what happened to my mother recently.

In this column, names have been changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent. For the purpose of this column and to head off any potential legal ramifications, my mom is named Jane M. Doe. Sorry mom.

For a few years now my parents have been (for lack of a better word), harassed by bill collectors and other telephone bounty hunters because a Jane M. Doe apparently failed to pay her bills.

So what’s a company looking to recoup money it’s owed to do? Look up Jane M. Doe in West Virginia on Internet people searches and begin calling her.

One problem with that strategy: They were calling the wrong Jane M. Doe.

My mom tried to convince the people on the other end of the line that she wasn’t the Jane M. Doe they were looking for. Some apologized and moved on. Others became indignant and smarmy. This is where the mother I know now – the doting grandmother, VA volunteer, active DAR member and Sunday school teacher, became the mother I remember from my youth. The mother who appeared when I sang The Devil went Down to Georgia with the line “I told you once you son of a ...” or when I spilled chocolate milk in her new kitchen.

So, kudos to those collection callers for bringing out the devil in Jane M. Doe. No, not the Jane M. Doe they were looking for – the other one.

But this incredible inconvenience came to a crescendo when mom, Jane M. Doe, was trying to confirm a doctor’s appointment with University Physicians only to discover all her appointments have been wiped from the books because, according to University Physicians, Jane M. Doe is dead.

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Back to school in August?

Back to school.

Those three words bring back horrible memories of failure, struggle and disappointment for this writer.

But at least when I was in school we didn’t have to go back until a few days before or after Labor Day.

Starting school the first week of August is ridiculous. Just one month ago my family and I were watching fireworks and celebrating July 4th. Now, I have to try and roust a surly, foul tempered, six-year-old from her slumber to get her on the bus by 7:15 a.m. This is after I have to roust a surly, foul tempered, 40-year-old from his slumber. Let me tell you, that six-year-old apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

I have yet to see a compelling reason to start the school year so early. I have been told it’s because, in order to reach the state-mandated number of education days, the schools must start early to account for potential snow days in the winter.

Allow me to destroy this logic. If the main roads are clear, school should be in session. If a child isn’t there, count them absent. It’s a good lesson for life.

In this column “Timmy” will be my generic student of any age. Mr. Moneysworth will be a generic boss. Here we go.

“When it snows, Timmy, your boss Mr. Moneysworth doesn’t care that there’s three inches of snow on the ground. He wants you at work.”

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Dangerous animal bill nothing but more laws

It seems public pressure, or maybe public shaming, has caused the state of West Virginia to amend their Dangerous Wild Animals Act.

In it’s original form, the Dangerous Wild Animal Act would have banned the ownership of animals like lions, tigers and elephants. It also banned owning rabbits, turtles, sugar gliders and tree frogs.

In a recent meeting, a board charged with coming up with the list removed some of the more laughable animals that were banned in the original list. Or, as they put it, clear up the confusion.

There were more than 200 public comments made on the proposed law. The West Virginia Department of Agriculture also received public comment on rabbits, alpacas, ferrets, and guinea pigs, although Jewell Plumley, state veterinarian/ director of the animal health division of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, said those animals are exempt from the law.

Here’s where I have to disagree. The original list has species broken down by category and by scientific name. The part where rabbits were included in the banned list is pretty clear. Under the mammals category there’s Lagomorpha. In parenthesis next to Lagomorpha are pikas, rabbits and hares. What follows this is pretty airtight when it comes to understanding – “all species prohibited.”

What part of “all species prohibited” am I, nor 200 other West Virginians not understanding?

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Social media: Now Tool and cesspool

Social media can be a powerful tool. It can help reunite friends and keep family in touch across the world.

It’s also a cesspool of self-indulgent celebrities, wannabe activists and a forum for complaining when actually doing something about a problem is too hard.

I’ve been a long-time participant on Facebook and recently joined Twitter. It hasn’t taken long to realize any sense of decorum or personal responsibility goes out the virtual window when it comes to either one of these.

The worst is the “hash-tag activism” that permeates Twitter. It’s where people who can’t, or won’t, do something about a problem in the world will voice their opinions on Twitter with a statement prefaced by a “hash tag” visually represented by the pound sign (#).

Even our very own first lady is guilty of hash tag activism. When 270 schoolgirls were kidnapped in Nigeria, the FLOTUS posted a picture to social media holding a hand-written sign with “# bring back our girls” written on it. FLOTUS looks sad in the picture, so her message looks sincere, and I’m sure it was. But as of July 14, the girls are still being held hostage, so clearly the kidnappers didn’t understand the importance of a hash tag on social media.

It’s a shame, if only FLOTUS knew someone who has an army and could actually help these girls. Nah, a picture on the Internet is good enough. #useless.

After the Supreme Court ruled a closely held company didn’t have to provide benefits the owners of the company view as offensive to deeply held personal beliefs, social media exploded.

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Michael Hupp

Positively impacting a community

So often the things I write are not…well, positive.

When I decide to opine on a topic it generally is a rant or scathing piece about something going wrong in Wayne County. It is not very often the opportunity presents itself to write about someone doing right.

Fortunately there are several people doing grass roots campaigns in Westmoreland this month, making this small community unique. What is making the events even more special are young adults under 40-years-old (or near) conducting the events.
It all started this month with Westmorlapalooza.

Charley Bailey and Daniel Wiles, along with friends, had a cookout three years ago at Wiles’ Westmoreland home where ideas were shared on how the younger generation could contribute to the community. Old-timers and youth alike that grew up in Westmoreland until Vinson High School closed have often spoken of the community’s glory years when numerous events centered on community enrichment.

Bailey and Wiles wanted to bring a piece of those memories back to Westmoreland and thus Westmorlapalooza was born. It has grown each year with more community members participating. The group recently sponsored a community cleanup that brought 60 volunteers to the streets of Westmoreland to pick up trash off the streets.

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Nepotism: Taxpayer money in action

There is a big misconception that this country is a Democracy.

In fact, it clearly states what this country is when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance…“and to the Republic….”

What is the difference?

A Republic is our government system in which we, as citizens, vote for individuals to represent us at different levels of bureaucracy. A true Democracy is when we all pile into a room while openly and directly vote on issues or topics which would lead to mob rule.

Think old Massachusetts township format or “town hall.”

Today we elect everyone from mayor to president in private voting booths with only ourselves really knowing whom we directly voted for.

That is freedom of choice – another wonderful facet of this country, but what about the elected officials themselves? Should their decisions be left to secrecy if they were elected by us to represent us?

I have a huge problem with the way personnel is handled by our school board. I understand that West Virginia law protects the hiring and firing process, but something inevitably creeps into the system time and again – nepotism – and in some cases favoritism.

Recently in the past two years there have been a few examples of this in our local school system. There is no issue if the person selected is the most qualified, but what about when the person is not as qualified as another and gets the job due only to a last name?

I wrote a column several weeks ago where following state law and the practices of our board I did not use names to put my point across. I will continue to do so.

Like the last column I am sure those familiar with the situation can fill in the blanks.

Here are the examples:

A new school is opening. Two administrators in the county bid on a job at the new school. Admin A is given the job.

Admin B files a grievance because the person believes they deserve the job.

Administrator A loses the grievance after being told Admin B had more experience and A has to bid on another job.

Meanwhile, Nepotism A is in the wings waiting to be put into the system. Nepotism A has no to minimal administrative experience and is from out of state, never had teaching experience in West Virginia – but has an ace in the hole.

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Saving us from ourselves, one rabbit at a time

By SCOTT PARSONS
Sports Writer

HUNTINGTON – Into every life a little rain must fall.

Lurking just outside your window is a threat you probably never imagined. Heck, you might even have one living with you. Your child might be holding one right now!

But don’t worry, the Department of Natural Resources and Bureau of Health, among others, have imagined them for you.

Back in the winter when the Legislature was in session, they took it upon themselves to pass a bill to clamp down on ownership of animals deemed too dangerous or exotic for the average citizen to own.

Animal rights proponents applauded the effort. After all, who wants to see a majestic lion or noble elephant caged in a single-wide trailer at the head of some holler, right?

But the celebration was short lived and the applause stopped in hilarious fashion when it came to light that the legislature had passed the bill without ever providing a list of the dangerous animals that would be banned.

The bill, now known as the West Virginia Dangerous Animals Act, required various agencies to determine which animals are dangerous and which are not. The list was devised by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, the state Department of Natural Resources and the Bureau of Public Health under the Department of Health and Human Resources.

Last week, the list of banned animals was made public with the Department of Agriculture as the lead agency listed on the document.

Among the animals that fall under a total ban are all species of rabbits, hares and turtles.

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Most destructive force lives with me

By SCOTT PARSONS
Sports Writer

What’s the most destructive force on earth?

You may be thinking a tornado or earthquake. Maybe you even thought of a volcano. But you’re wrong.

The correct answer is a two-year-old boy. More specifically my two-year-old boy, Levi.

Don’t let Levi’s little Chiclets-like buck teeth and small stature fool you. His destructive powers could be the envy of even the most vengeful Greek god.

The marker on the walls of my house and the crushed cookie crumbs in the carpet speak to the destructive powers of his little hands. How can something that weighs less than 30 pounds create such havoc?

His big sister tried to play with him, and usually they play very well together, but there are some days when it just seems like chaos reigns supreme in our house.

Levi has a gift for getting under the skin of his big sister – maybe that’s just hardwired into the brains of little brothers. If Claire, my six-year-old, is having a bad day, Levi knows just how to make it even worse.

“Levi! Leave me alone!”

Levi will leave her alone for a few seconds. Then he gets a mischievous grin and will just reach out and touch her.

“Levi! Stop it!” Claire will yell. Levi giggles and walks away. Then he’ll walk back toward his sister and touch her again. I stress that he’s doing nothing more than touching her. He’s not hitting or slapping her; he’s merely pointing out his finger and touching her.

“Levi! Daddy, Levi is annoying!” Claire will yell. Then Levi runs away laughing.

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Your Christian denomination
may depend upon a comma

By SCOTT PARSONS
Sports Writer

With Easter weekend upon us, there has been a lot of talk about Heaven in the media this week.

The movie “Heaven is for Real” premiers this weekend. It’s based on a book in which a little boy says he went to heaven and describes to his parents what he saw.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was quoted as saying, “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

There’s not enough space in this newspaper for me to point out how wrong this statement is theologically. I’ll just say he’s clearly an idiot.

Also, this week, I stumbled upon an online debate about whether or not when one dies, we immediately go to heaven or hell or just go to sleep until the judgment.

For the sake of this column, let’s think about Christian theology regarding the afterlife.

The root of this debate is Luke 23:43 where Jesus tells the repentant thief who’s being crucified next to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Or is it “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.”

Do you see the difference? A simple comma. And that, as I told my wife, is why there are so many denominations of Protestants.

Of course there are dozens of English translations of the Bible. Your translation may vary.

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How to write a letter and get $6,000 from the Wayne County school board

On Tuesday, June 3rd, parents and students from Tolsia High School attended the Wayne County Board of Education meeting. For Tolsia parents, it was the apex of a problem the school has had for the past year, and enough is enough.

Basically the community has lost nearly all connection with the school, and Tolsia has been turned into a prison for our students. But, the principal recently received a $6,000 Superintendent recommended and Board approved raise just for requesting it. It’s time you know some of the magic that has been happening at Tolsia High School.

Last year, bids were issued for new high school basketball coaches, both the head coach and assistant coaches at Tolsia. In every instance in all three high schools of our county, a representative from the Athletic Boosters is part of the interview committee to select the coaches. Qualified persons did bid on the positions, but were not interviewed. A phone call was made and a person that did not even bid for the position, from outside the community, was appointed as head coach with only middle school experience. Not a single interview was made of those local community members who bid on the position, even though a highly qualified person had placed a bid. The Athletic Boosters were not allowed to be part of the process. It was all done by the new Tolsia high school administration and central office before the community members were even aware of it. The students suffered through the season last year with the inexperienced, appointed coach, but it was vowed not to allow it to repeat again. Tolsia students deserved better.

Even though Tolsia has only existed since 1988, it has a rich history and tradition with the communities in athletics, academics and after-school programs. Part of this comes from the desire for the communities to accept the consolidation of Crum and Fort Gay High Schools, and many of the traditions from those schools became part of Tolsia. Yet, Tolsia has been borne to suffer the past year from many poor decisions by the new high school administration and central office.

First, it is important to note that both administrators assigned to Tolsia High School this year had little to no high school administrative experience and are not from our community. In fact, Mr. Shayne Carey, the current principal of Tolsia, was not a resident of Wayne County and has never taught a single student in Wayne County. Sadly, because of many of the administrative decisions made throughout the year by Mr. Carey, attendance is down, teacher morale is the lowest ever, ties with the community are strained or severed, and he got a $6,000 raise for being a yes man to the central office.

Let me give you some examples of what has been going on at Tolsia over the past year:

One teacher took students on two occasions for college tryouts helping them to secure athletic scholarships for college. The teacher’s time was docked for doing this. Probably not a great motivator for helping students get scholarships for college. Another teacher was asked by a student to attend the funeral of a family member and he only missed a few class periods. This teacher’s time was docked too. What you have to understand is under normal circumstances teachers cover classes for each other when needed for special circumstances to help the students, so a substitute teacher was not required. For some students, the people at Tolsia are family, sometimes the only family they may have, and Tolsia, in turn, has always been there for them, but not anymore. Another teacher received a below standard evaluation from the principal because of his number of missed days attendance. Yes, the teacher missed 22 days, but his young child had been diagnosed with cancer and he had to travel with her out of state for cancer treatments.

Yet, every time there was some event at school that needed his attention, he and his students worked over and above the call of duty, but he still received a below standard evaluation. Another staff member had three deaths in the family over a short period and was informed because of the missed workdays during this time it was being considered to place her on a plan of improvement.

Teachers have been docked even when attending something related directly to student educational improvement, but later had their pay restored after complaints were made to the central office. Another teacher left early due to an injury at school, and rest assured the compassionate Mr. Carey instructed the office staff to dock the instructor.

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Bill Rosenburger

Wayne County students among the best and brightest

By BILL ROSENBURER Communications Officer for Wayne County Schools

Education is best served by data because numbers don’t lie. So, it’s true that West Virginia as a whole spends more on education than most states in the nation, yet collectively ranks near the bottom.

However, there are so many shining stars in Wayne County that its nearly 7,500 students might be more of an exception than the standard.

Last month, hundreds of students earned their high school diplomas, given in public graduation ceremonies. In the week leading up to commencement, though, many of those nearly graduates were recognized at senior award assemblies as scholarship recipients.

Of those 464 graduates, the scholarship money awarded is in the millions of dollars. And, 77 of those students received West Virginia’s PROMISE Scholarship—50 at Spring Valley, 12 at Tolsia and 15 at Wayne – representing 16.5 percent of the combined graduating classes. That’s about $1.5 million just for PROMISE Scholarship recipients.

Throughout the school year, students across the county rose to the high expectations our teachers set. Nicholas Caudill, who just received his diploma from Tolsia, earned the school’s first-ever medal in the state’s SkillsUSA carpentry competition – and it was a gold.

Spring Valley and Wayne high schools also had students place in the SkillsUSA competition, with several gold-medal winners qualifying for the national event this summer in Kansas City.

Students placed in the annual Marshall University SCORES Academic Festival, earned Golden Horseshoes, were recognized at local and state levels for their art and musical abilities, qualified for National Math Field Day, competed in the state History Bowl, earned invitations to the Fourth Brigade Best of the Best JROTC Raider Challenge and participated in West Virginia Young Writers Day.

Two of our school’s choral programs took part in 25th annual America Sings, and one, Wayne Elementary, performed the national anthem at the West Virginia Power baseball game.

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Happy “Sink-Hole De Mayo” Wayne County

Since Dr. Marple of the West Virginia Department of Education closed Kenova Elementary, after the sinkhole developed, I have heard and read elaborate conspiracy theories, all spoken with a sense of certainty. The comments remind me of a cartoon drawn by a young Charles Schultz, before he developed his “Peanuts” characters. It showed a young man reading the Bible, as his father walked into the room and commented, “Son, I’m glad to see you consulting the Holy Scriptures.”

The son replied, “Don’t get me wrong, Dad. I’m just looking up verses to back up my pre-conceived notions.” That is how many people have evaluated the current Wayne County Schools dilemma, but my appeal to you is to exercise your vote while considering the following realities.

• As Kenova’s Mayor, I contacted Tim Wetzel from KU Resources, an engineering company that assesses abandoned and dilapidated properties, and oversees building reclamation projects. Because the City had acquired Kenova Elementary in a property swap with the school board, I asked Tim to provide answers regarding safety and redevelopment issues of the site. The engineer confirmed that closing the school was the appropriate decision. The sinkhole outside the cafeteria building, which prompted the State’s action, was only part of the underground issues. A collapsed sewer line running under the floor of the cafeteria has created a large void, causing the floor to crack and rise from wall to wall, and the cinderblock outside wall is cracked from the ground to the roof. Asbestos is flaking off several walls, water is leaking through the block wall on the West side of the Oak Street building, and the roofs are leaking significantly in three of the buildings, including their connecting hallway. Metal frame windows dating from 1926 are rusting and falling apart and the Poplar Street building’s basement floods up to four feet deep with a storm/sanitary water mix. Another void was discovered under the basement floor of the 14th Street building. A pipe 6 feet long was inserted into the 4-inch crack, but did not reach bottom. The engineer could not believe closing the school was questioned.

• The State only provides money matches to replace schools, not repair them.

• Crum Elementary has similar issues and the State ranks Kenova and Crum numbers 1 and 3 on its list of schools in West Virginia most needing replacement.

• Ceredo Elementary is number six on that list, giving Wayne County three of the top six worst facilities in our State.

• Consolidating Ceredo and Kenova Elementary Schools will save the taxpayers money.

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Adventures with health insurance

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

Obamacare doesn’t seem to be in the news as much now, but it is still there.

I know this only too well as I have been attempting to sign up for it for the last month.

Something as simple as an online application for health insurance has taken me at least four weeks, and it isn’t completed. I still have to submit forms, or at least I think that is what I have to do.

It isn’t really that clear, considering that every time I log into the website to struggle with my application, I get told something different.

At first I couldn’t even complete it, but it might have been because I was trying to beat the March 31 deadline. All this because I didn’t want to be penalized for not being a good citizen.

The penalty is 95 dollars per adult or one percent of your taxable income.

Honestly, I can’t afford to take a hit like that. I barely make enough money to pay my bills, buy groceries, and gas to get back and forth to work. 

But I digress.

The first time I logged in to start the application process, it told me that I had to confirm the miniscule information I had entered via an email, but I never received the email.

So I called the customer service help center for my state, which is Kentucky, since I recently moved to Louisa.

After being on the phone for almost an hour, I was able to get things rolling to get an extension to April 15, but that was it – they didn’t help me do anything else nor did they explain why I never got the validation email.

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Prom night not that important in grand scheme of things

By SCOTT PARSONS
Staff Writer

Sitting at home one evening, my wife, Cassie, and I were talking.

Huntington had been abuzz that afternoon with teenagers dressed in tuxedos and expensive gowns and dresses – all looking their best for prom.

“Boy, they go all out for prom, don’t they?” I said.

“What are you going to do when Claire (our daughter) wants a $300 prom dress,” Cassie asked.

“Oh, geez, I don’t know.”

“Wrong answer,” Cassie said. “The correct answer is Claire will never have a $300 prom dress.”

Proms are getting a little out of control, to be honest.

Tuxedo rentals, dresses that cost more than the cheap seats at an Elton John concert, limousines – it’s enough to bankrupt even the savviest of financial planners.

So what’s it all for? What’s the end game? To have a memorable night with your friends or significant other? Well, trust me on this gang, in the end it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter who you went to prom with. It doesn’t matter how you looked or how much you spent on clothes or food. Want to know why?

Because in 20 years, no matter how good you think you look now, you’re going to look awkward in those prom pictures.

Take a look at the graphic I have with this column. That’s me 22 years ago. The kids fretting today about their dresses and tuxedos can look at that picture and make fun of it. Heck, I look at it and make fun of it.

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Dreams and the havoc they cause

By SCOTT PARSONS
Staff Writer

Dreams are a strange thing.

The earliest recorded mention of dreaming was 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. As a species, we have sought for ages to understand the meaning of the ideas that fly through our minds as we sleep.

Sigmund Freud wrote about dream interpretations. The Abrahamic religions believe that God can communicate through dreams. In fact, Jacob saw his famous ladder in a dream.

The other day my wife, Cassie, startled me with a question.

“Are you planning to divorce me?”

Apparently, my wife has been suffering from recurrent dreams in which I am divorcing her. So far these dreams haven’t explained why I’m leaving, just that I’m leaving.

I’m intrigued by psychology and the study of the human mind. So I had to know more about her dreams.

In her dreams, I’m really angry with her and won’t tell her why. The only thing she knows is I’m leaving her. I tried to assure her I wasn’t going anywhere.

“It’s just a dream. Dreams don’t mean anything,” I assured her.

Then I stood up from the couch as the kids yelled at each other. I took a step and slipped on a car left on the floor by one of the kids. When I regained my balance, I noticed the latest interpretive artwork my son had added to our living room wall with a permanent marker.

“Why would I want to leave this paradise?”

That probably wasn’t the best thing to say.

I told Cassie that, while I’m not leaving, if I were to leave I’d tell her why. I’d probably do it in a professional-looking PowerPoint presentation. I would expect the same from her.

“But what if Alyson Hannigan came to our door and said she wanted to take you away to Hollywood with her,” she wondered.

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Being in the dark shines a light on ourselves

By SCOTT PARSONS
Staff Writer

Many Wayne Countians, myself included, are descendants of hearty, pioneering people who blazed trails into the western frontier 200-some years ago in search of their own way. They fought wild animals, the elements and Native Americans to claim a slice of what would later be called the American Dream.

When the power went out for the majority of Wayne Countians on Wednesday, Facebook was flooded with statuses concerning how awful it was to be without power for a few hours.

What would our ancestors think of us?

Wednesday’s power outage wasn’t even the worst loss of modern conveniences we’ve seen in the past two years. The Derecho winds that hit our area in 2012 left some people without power for more than two weeks.

Back then I was working at a newspaper in Ashland, Ky. Ashland was swarmed by people looking for a meal. But the problem was, most of the restaurants were also without power. My boss at the time and friend, Adam Vankirk, went for his evening walk through the park and reported people standing on their porches and in their yards with blank, glazed expressions on their faces. They truly didn’t know what to do.

This led us to theorize how long it would take for humanity to devolve into a state like what is seen on “The Walking Dead” or in the pages of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.”

The conclusion: 12 hours.

Within four hours of losing power to the Derecho, people had moved from rural areas to urban areas in search of food and supplies. Within five hours, food was scarce and supplies were all but non-existent. I appeased my own morbid curiosity and went to Walmart to see what the shelves looked like. You guessed it – they were bare. I even saw a tense exchange between two women for the last pack of D-cell batteries. All this within eight hours of losing power.

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Losing dish an end of an era

By SCOTT PARSONS
Staff Writer

It’s the end of an era on Bee Branch.

Please excuse me while I pause to wipe away a solemn tear.

A recent wind storm felled a mighty symbol of my youth and coming of age.
You see, in the ‘80s, my Mom and Dad installed a white fiberglass satellite dish in the front yard of their home. The dish stood as a beacon of late-20th century technology for 30 years.

My Dad is taking it pretty hard.

Not because the loss has somehow rendered their televisions inoperable. Far from it. The white dish hasn’t been used in more than 15 years. The reason my Dad is saddened by the loss is he now doesn’t have his go-to description when giving people directions to their house.

“Where do you live, Eugene?” someone would ask.

The directions would lead the person up the hollow and then Dad would always say “You can’t miss it. It’s the house with the big, white satellite dish in the front yard.”

The big, white satellite dish now lays in a crumpled heap in the front yard. A symbol of freedom in a pre-digital age has succumbed to the elements.

For me, it’s like losing an old friend.

The dish used to bring Disney Channel and HBO to our home. It also brought WGN which in turn helped make me a Chicago Cubs fan. In retrospect, I should be upset with the satellite dish for that, but why shoot the messenger?

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Back in the saddle, again

By SCOTT PARSONS
Staff Writer

Musicians and former drug enthusiasts Aerosmith performed the song Back in the Saddle Again. You’ll pardon me if that song has been playing in a continuous loop in my head for the past week.

It’s been about 12 and a half years since my thoughts and words have graced the pages on the Wayne County News. You’d be amazed at how things change, both personally and in the world around us, in more than a dozen years.

For me the changes have been huge. When I left in 2001 I did so with the idea of conquering the world of newspapers and journalism. However, the death of traditional media all but assured that world conquering wasn’t going to be on my list of life’s accomplishments. In fact, after losing two jobs in the past four years because of newspaper budget cuts, I’m lucky to have a job at all.

But things aren’t all doom and gloom from my adventures in journalism. I married a great girl whom I met when I was working for the newspaper in Chillicothe, Ohio. We have two wonderful kids, one five-years-old and the other two-years-old, and I’ve still got my health.

Coming back to the WCN is like trying on an old pair of fishing waders and discovering they still fit. Sure, the waders may be a little musty and need a few patches, but they will serve a purpose and it’s fun to go fishing.

So, in the interest of reintroducing myself to the readers of the Wayne County News, I would like to offer the following insights and personal beliefs to get you up to speed and take you on a walk through the rich, warm, gooey goodness of my mind.

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Misc.

That doesn’t cut it in Westmoreland

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

Been by Vinson Middle School recently?

If you have, then you have seen the awful condition the school’s grounds are in. The grass is up past your ankles. There is no life to the school building. There are not any inviting landscaping or spots of grass that resemble any pride at the place.

To me the fact it is just the third week of school and the grass is that high shows little interest in the school’s appearance by administration, and to an extent, the community.

My daughter cheers E-Team for the Vinson Tigers. As many in the Westmoreland community know, the girls have practiced for years on the grounds of the school as the boys practice on the field in different spots.
We showed up to practice this past Monday to find the grass up above my ankles, which meant to some of those little girls, the grass was almost to their knees. The grass is high, itchy, full of bugs and most importantly a disgraceful eyesore.

So me, being the awesome Dad I am, and what many other parents like myself have had to do in the past, went to my house and got my lawnmower. I proceeded to cut a space large enough for the team a spot to practice. I was even going to cut the rest of the grounds and try to pay it forward, which is something I preach to my kids all the time, ad nauseam.

Unfortunately, my little push mower could not cut through the tall grass. It was so high my poor little mower just stalled out and clogged every few feet.

I asked to see if a few people I knew possibly had access to the gym for the kids to use, only to be told for “unforeseen” circumstances, no key was available.

Frustrated and defeated I put the mower in the truck and went home stewing at the fact the center point of our community looks like an abandoned horror movie set. For months now, community groups such as Project Westmoreland and Westmorelapalooza have been preaching the importance of keeping our neighborhood clean and beautiful – the importance of pride. And yet here we all are – just letting the school appear as it does.

So me, being like every Gen X or Y’er, I went straight to social media to show my disgust when I got home. You know what bit of information I found out? Apparently, at least one of the above mentioned groups had asked if the school would like any help with mowing, only to be turned away.

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We need leaders who will try to get things done

On the way to checkout at Wal-Mart an old friend came into view. At his age of 82, I do mean old.

I was surprised by his praise of the columns I write. He told me. “I have to tell you I agree with what you write.”

I always thought him a liberal (Democrat) but working in politics means you sometimes keep your mouth shut.

Either all great minds are running the same channel or there are those who secretly read my prose to get fresh ideas for themselves. Rush Limbaugh calls this the echo effect.

I’ve written several times about West Virginia’s terrible education record. My last was about Ben Franklin’s quote, “the best investment is knowledge.’

I’m pleased to report the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce is going to address the same subject at its annual meeting. Too bad many attendees will be distracted by the grand jour of The Greenbrier instead of finally putting education first.

I wrote about Wayne County being in the middle of an agriculture desert (as described by the Department of Agriculture) about a year go). I spoke to our Economic Development Authority on the same subject, asking why they never consider farming as development.

I asked, how can Canada grow hot house tomatoes, ship and sell them here, yet Wayne County can’t?

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Best investment for state? Education, not buildings

I say this using different words; the absolute best investment West Virginia could do is to spend our taxes on educating our young people.

If our elected leaders truly want our state to be prosperous, then the first priority should be to provide the best education money can buy.

All the billions spent on buildings have so far done nothing to improve the quality of our education system.

I am in very good company because it was Ben Franklin who said the best investment is knowledge. My dad said it a different way. He told me often, “Get as much knowledge between your ears as you can and no man can take that away form you.”

I believe it was three sessions ago that our governor proposed a seven-year plan to get our education program out of being in last place every time we are compared to other states. I sure don’t see much happening yet. At the same time, Speaker of the House Rick Thompson promised us an overhaul of our education system.

Time and time again I have asked our Board of Education what is being done, or what do you propose to do that will improve those national evaluation test scores? The ones that ranked our kids Number 47 out of 50 in math and science.

It is not only West Virginia that is in the dumps. International Student Assessment has released the results of a report they do every three years about the condition of math, science and reading skills in 65 countries.

The United States showed zero improvement from the first evaluation done in 2003. In math we rank 29th between Slovakia and Lithuania.

Three excuses have been offered. Lack of investment – for Heaven’s sake, we are spending more then any other nation already, yet we can only manage 29th place in math?

Insufficient training for teachers – if that is so, then let’s get them up to speed and let’s administer testing to find out if they really know their stuff.

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Government mandates: just another word for ‘tax’

I’ve written several times about this subject, so finally at least one other scribe has joined the Fred Friar Club that points out these government imposed mandates without a provision to pay for them.

Government mandates are nothing new.

The conspicuous one that I like to point out is that multimillion dollar 911 building that was promised to not cost one million dollars (Bob Paisley and Don Perdue). No one even tried to contain costs. Specifications from on high inflated the building cost to well over $2 million and perhaps even three.

Bulletproof windows? Board of directors-type meeting room?

The Lavalette area is blessed with Northern Wayne County Public Service – the sewage collecting system. No one now is wiling to admit they had a hand in choosing the most expensive system in West Virginia.

A system befitting an upscale neighborhood in Connecticut. Fact is, the system was so expensive to construct some areas have never been included (Bowman Hill Road for example).

Huntington does not have a storm water collection system. The floodwalls that now protect Huntington from the mighty Ohio River include pumps that will assist in keeping the flood water out. Nobody bothered to maintain these pumps and it was reported not so long ago that they are now antiques.

Soon, if not already, government will demand new pumps or everyone will have to buy flood insurance.

Government mandates come in all sizes.

Don Perdue’s perpetual campaign is to force people to obtain a prescription to buy cold medicine that can also be used to cook Meth. Don never considered the cost of a doctor visit, the time, and gas to acquire such a prescription.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now mandating what “we the people” should feed our students at school (which whey won’t eat). Removing food vending machines and banning the maggot wagons is a violation of the interstate commerce clause.

In 1956 I believe, West Virginia came up with the mandate to have every vehicle inspected annually. First it was $2 which over the years became $6 and then doubled. The extra $6 goes to the state police retirement fund. Another mandate the government never bothered to pay for.

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Education: Just get
back to the basics

I started reading an article the other day about an “expert” lawyer in Charleston who has been writing and researching about education for 30 years.

He is holding seminars around the state wanting to change things again. Ever notice that lawyers believe they are the solution to everything?

What happened to “new math?” What about, “No Child Left Behind?”

The crackpot “common core” idea is the last thing this nation needs. We sure as heck do not need or want our kids to be taught using a “one size fits all.” Our widely diverse views and opinions are what makes our country so successful.

The more it is standardized the worse things become.

West Virginia is a great example of what you get when everyone thinks alike (Democrats).

For Heaven’s sake, babies are now required to start school (kindergarten) at age four and I think I heard Washington wants universal childcare starting at age three.

There is no solution for education, because there would be no problem if educators would return to what worked so well for the first 150 years and made our country the most successful in the world.

Everyone wanted to be educated here.

My grandson got his computer recently. I can’t help but wonder what the high-tech generation is going to do when their computer crashes and they have find the square root with a pencil and paper (make that chalk and a piece of slate). A computer is only as good as the person pushing the buttons.

Yes, iPads, computers and such have speeded up knowledge advancement thousands of times, but you have to know and understand some basics like the periodic table (of elements).

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Fast food joints and education

Have you noticed the “new” McDonald’s buildings?

The design is about as creative as the current crop of school buildings – cracker boxes with a lot of doodads plastered around. If that is a golden arch then tell me why it looks more like a gilded bow, less an arrow.

I don’t know about the interior because after trying one of their chicken wraps I just can’t bring myself to patronize Mickey D’s again. The wrap was nothing like the picture, instead if was half full and loaded with a lot of drippy goo.

Someone told me the other day to try Wendy’s pretzel burger.

For heaven’s sake, have the fast food joints forgot what a real hamburger is like?

The pretzel-like bun was stale, no taste – just like a pretzel without salt. Mine was supposed to have red onions but I did not get any. There was one piece of wilted green stuff. The advertised “generous” slice of tomato was lost in the mire of honey mustard.

Who ever heard of “honey mustard” on a hamburger?

Again the darn thing looked nothing like the stylized photos. I’m thinking of starting a trend, if the food served does not look as advertised, then I won’t bother to buy. Wendy’s has remodeled some of their outlets and the result reminds me of some sort of correctional facility, drab, cold, pale, gray floors. Flat, no color interior with dull furniture to match. Running the AC to the max tops off the atmosphere.

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Boy, that didn’t take very long!

 

Sandra’s words as she was chosen to be our new school superintendent were refreshing to me.

She said she wanted to get across to us (you know those who foot the bills) that she understands where the money comes from. I thought I heard that she was most interested in EDUCATION.

Now only a few weeks into her new job she wants an “administrative assistant.”

Good grief! The Superintendent already has three (count’em) executive secretaries; can’t one of these positions become the assistant. Try out each one for a few months to see who can do the best job.

I can’t find a single sentence concerning education in Michael Huff’s’ report. There is a $130,000 cut here laying on the table there; who is bidding on what job?

Ms. Pertree wants to spend another $6,000 bucks, she says that is being fiscally sound. It sure was not fiscally sound to hire a public relations guy as if our BOE is some sort of a Madison Avenue Corporation.

How much money and time was squandered going after land in a floodway at the ridiculous price of over $30,000 an acre?

I said that was stupid idea from the day it was announced.

Talk about fiscally responsible! The best PR Wayne County could ever ask for would be an improvement in those national test results – you know what I’m talking about – 47th place in math and science.

I’d like to hear directly from those who are our school system, instead of a guy who does not even live in our county. What became of journalism is taught at Wayne High; the program that won all those awards?

I bet they could do a much better job writing about our school system. You’d get the skinny – unvarnished and perhaps a bit embarrassing. Students would get real experience and you sure could not beat the price.

Pertee promised a transparent administration (again) so here is your chance, Sandra.

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Things heating up
for Rahall, Dems

 

Wow!

Things are starting to get desperate for our Congressman Nick Joe Rahall II.

His recent opinion piece in a Saturday edition of the Herald-Dispatch says Nick has single-handedly provided all the government pork in West Virginia for the last 30 years.

Nick says that highways, bridges, airports, river ports, water ways and transit systems all provide the strongest foundation on which we can grow jobs.
We have those things already, so when will the jobs start to grow Nick?

If this is so, how come we continue to lead the nation in our citizens being unemployed? Instead of gaining population we are losing.

One of our county commissioners told me today that because of a major coal producer closing down in southern Wayne County the commission has lost a lot of the coal tax revenue they were counting on.

Way to go Nick!

I don’t remember much out of Rahall when the Obama administration started this war on coal six years ago. Was it not Rahall who said we would be a lot better off once Obamacare is implemented?

Nick professes, “It is teamwork and experience that will fuel job growth.”

Whatever Rahall teamwork and experience there is, it has not worked in West Virginia. What teamwork is he talking about?

How has Nick Rahall’s experience benefited southern West Virginia?

The major population loss is in his back yard. Nick is the odd man out.

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Politics rule state
education business

 

Last Week Natalie Tennant (the Democrat who wants Jay Rockefeller’s senate seat) held a get together in Marshall’s student center to announce her education agenda.

Teachers invited were from Cabell, Putnam, Mingo and Kanawha counties. Natalie is West Virginia’s Secretary of State, a lofty sounding figurehead job that like our agriculture commissioner, treasure, auditor and attorney general, are mainly ceremonial.

Former secretaries such as A. James “Jezebels of junkers” Manchin, Joe “media darling” Manchin, Ken Heckler, and Jay “do nothing “Rockefeller never had an education agenda. Is that a responsibility of her current job or of a U.S. senator?

No, just another excuse to get her name in the paper.

I wonder how come Wayne teachers were not invited?

Mostly, they talked about testing. You know, the tests that end up placing West Virginia students in last place. I’m glad someone is talking about the quality of our education instead of the total blank stare we get from the Wayne County Board of Education.

Those attending said that students don’t take these tests seriously. Are we to assume that our students are using the eenie, meenie, minie, moe method?

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Dermoth Bingham poses with a 380 pound Marlin caught in the Port Antonio International Marlin tournament in 2013. File photo

Loss of successful,
hard-working friend

 

The Democrat Party has rendered to “we the people” a terrible disservice that I do not believe we can ever overcome.

The Democrats elected as their “leader” a person who has no business being in a position to affect the life of a cockroach, much less this nation’s president.

“We the people” voted in favor of our current president hoping that his election would somehow make us feel better and grant us forgiveness for the sins of our fathers. It was believed that electing a man who appeared to be part of the so-called African-American minority would clear our collective conscience.

Yes, there are those who continue to persecute those who are different from others. Then there are the few who have made a career for themselves keeping those less fortunate than others in our society beholden to them or to a government.

My dear friend, Mr. Dermoth Bingham, a citizen of Jamaica, lost his fight with cancer Sunday, July13 at about 4:30 p.m.

Dermoth was everything most people would look upon as a successful human being. He was a part of a very large family. His father was a cattleman.

I asked him once as we drove past a shabbily dressed guy with no shoes pushing a rickety bicycle, “Why he and not you?”

“Because my parents insisted that I make something of myself,” he said. “They saw to it that I got a good education and instilled in me a work ethic that has served me well.” Dermoth hated those who choose to live a life depending on handouts from others.

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Energy, highways and education

 

The US Department of Energy was created for the sole purpose to minimize the import of crude oil in favor of domestic supplies.

Years later, the department has grown to more than 18,000 employees and we now import more oil then we produce. At the same time, the price for gasoline and diesel fuel continues to climb, now costing over $4 a gallon in some areas.

The high price of fuel caused the development of more fuel efficient cars and trucks. Now, instead of a pickup getting 10-12 miles per gallon, most of the half-ton models are getting better then 20 miles per gallon. So? You ask.

There is a tax levied on each gallon of fuel intended to provide money to build and maintain our highways. West Virginia receives about $425 million each year. Because many of our vehicles consume less fuel they are not providing enough money (we are told) to keep the highway trust fund in the black.

That is rubbish. The fund is just another figment of Washington’s imagination.
There is no fund any more than there is a Social Security trust fund. All the money goes into the treasury to be spent faster than it can be replaced.

Neal Cavuto rails about the so-called highway fund regularly, asking “how come we contribute so much money and yet we still can’t get ahead of highway and bridge maintenance?”

One good reason is that fund is another piggy bank to be dipped into for unrelated programs ¬– for example, the annual seat belt trap known as “click it or ticket.” And what about Senator D’Amato using the highway fund to remodel a railroad station in New York City?

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Government full of mismanagement

 

We all have known for a long time that government at any level is full of people who are not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Now we all can see as the Internal Revenue Service scandal unwinds that we have a bunch of nincompoops responsible for collecting taxes necessary to operate our nation. The IRS should be above politics and treat all equally. There is no need to review here what the IRS has been doing going back to at least Richard Nixon.

The Veterans Administration has been caught doctoring (forgive the pun) the books so that management can qualify for those fat bonuses we are reading about.

The Herald Dispatch has been running those anecdotal letters praising the local VA and reporting that “our” VA is as innocent as a new baby.

Bull Crap!!

Shortly after moving back to West Virginia, I went to the VA to seek treatment for my ears ringing – the result of no ear plugs on the rifle range. I was treated politely enough and given a brown envelop about half-inch thick of paperwork to fill out.

I never returned.

I did make one sales call at the boiler room only to learn that again you had to kiss someone’s fanny and fill out forms to get on the list of qualified vendors.

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Mediocre pay not improving education

 

The Supreme Court recently ruled public employees cannot be required to join a union or to support a union by being forced to pay union dues even if you are not a member.

This means that if our overworked and underpaid teachers wish, they can oppose unionism.

I believe we can expect new lawsuits and it could spell the end of organizing public employees or requiring them to join a union to gain employment or to pay union dues even if they are not a member.

The two teacher unions in our state have not represented their members well, as evidenced by the measly low pay raise granted during the legislative session.

One delegate told me that pay raise was all our teachers should expect, considering how poor West Virginia is.

I doubt it ever occurred to him that low teacher pay just might be a reason our students can’t score well on those national evaluation tests. I know many of our teachers are here and tolerate the low wage because this is home and their salary is a supplement to the total family income.

Unfortunately, there are other good teachers who are the sole family provider. Many teach for the sheer love of it.

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Notes from Lavalette
Treehouse master…
Hope they do it well

 

Found this from an educated commenter (apparently). Note that water is the principle greenhouse gas. The writer leaves out hydrogen sulfide (the rotten egg smell) and methane (natural gas). If he had figured them in, his argument would have been even stronger.

“There has been global warming, but the contribution of human-generated carbon dioxide is necessarily so minuscule as to be nearly undetectable. Here’s why:

Carbon dioxide, considered the main vector for human-caused global warming, is some 0.038% of the atmosphere - a trace gas. Water vapor varies from 0% to 4%, and should easily average 1% or more near the Earth’s surface, where the greenhouse effect would be most important, and is about three times more effective a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. So water vapor is at least 25 times more prevalent and three times more effective; that makes it at least 75 times more important to the greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide.

The TOTAL contribution of carbon dioxide to the greenhouse effect is therefore 0.013 or less. The total human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide since the start of the industrial revolution has been estimated at about 25%. So humans’ carbon dioxide greenhouse effect is a quarter of 0.013, which works out to about 0.00325. Total warming of the Earth by the greenhouse effect is widely accepted as about 33 degrees Centigrade, raising average temperature to 59 degrees Fahrenheit. So the contribution of anthropogenic carbon dioxide is less than 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, or under 0.1 degree Centigrade. Global warming over the last century is thought by many to be about 0.6 degrees Centigrade.

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What is job of BOE?
Hope they do it well

 

Just what specifically is a Board of Education member’s job?

I would like to know what specifically new members learned during orientation at Morgantown. I hope our new members were instructed to be good stewards of our (we the people) tax dollars.

Please share with us what you were told to expect.

Great, wonderful success, a lot of positives are nice sounding accolades, but exactly what are our new BOE members talking about?

The closing of Kenova Elementary was certainly not wonderful or positive and if that is success we are in more trouble then we already know. Actually Mr. Morrone, we do not know a lot of positives about our county.

No, people do not know what you are doing with the CTE program. What is that?

I for one, most certainly do not want you to continue with what has gone on before. I hope our new BOE members start off with a clean slate (make that a fresh empty hard drive) and make amends for what has gone before. It was clear to the voters that closing the Kenova grade school at the drop of a hat was an attempt to ramrod that bond issue filled with goodies (plastic grass) past us.

I do not want any more of our public school property to be given away. If real estate is surplus it should be sold at market value. This would return such real estate to the tax paying rolls.

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Tree House Masters
has nothing on me

 

During my childhood (back in the stone age) two buddies and I built tree houses and underground shelters.

We’d dig a big hole, then cover it with plywood, tree limbs, brush and whatever else we could find. Inside, we’d line the place with straw and leaves.

Fun?

Yes, but not all that great after a hard rain.

The real adventure was tree houses. Our construction was inspired by those Tarzan movies. Most of our material was saplings, binders twine and a coffee can full of bent nails.

The masterpiece was in a large maple tree. We built a very large platform, then covered it with straw – in the middle was the shelter.

Many times that summer we’d spend the night. For breakfast my Dad would fry up bacon on our campfire. He’d carry down (from our house) all the fix’ns for pancakes.

I wish I could do the same for him today.

Fast forward to 2014. Pete Nelson, the Tree House Master TV show, inspired me to build another. I resolved that at age 75, I can build one more tree house.

When I shared my idea with neighbors and friends, each of (the grown-up boys) said, “I want to be in on this, too.”

And so it goes. This time, with the benefit of watching those guys from out west build those magnificent tree houses, our tree house is underway.

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Getting elected not a
leadership guarantee

 

Getting elected to political office does not a leader make.

Despite me pointing this out several times, West Virginia voters (what there is left of them willing to take the time to vote) continue to put in office the “all talk and little action” politicians.

Democrats are over analyzing Eric Cantor’s loss. He simply ignored the people who put him in office.

Do you fell ignored? The only time we see our so-called leaders is at election time or when they feel threatened (Nick Rahall).

What we have in Wayne County, Charleston and Washington, D.C., is government full of people whose primary occupation is getting reelected.

There is no such thing as a public servant.

Over and over some elected official retires, then runs and wins another office. How do you like that?

Nationwide there is a populist movement afoot.

“We the people” are demanding that we be heard, instead of the other way around.

One glaring example of government run amuck is the business end of our education system. What happened to checks and balances?

Who is overseeing the BOE? What a cozy arrangement it is! A design firm estimates how much a new school building will cost. These numbers are taken as gospel to arrive at the dollar amount of the revenue bond. Once the bond passes, the very same firm is given the job of designing the new building without any completive bidding.

How can anyone know if it is the best design at the least cost?

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Secret place holds answers to many county problems

 

It was announced in the Herald-Disgrace the other day that the Wayne County Board of Education will auction off school buses that the board has retired.

Smart move, now if only they will recover residual value of other public property by offering it for sale instead of giving away valuable real estate or allowing it to rot on the vine.

The BOE speaker-in-chief wrote a very nice column about Wayne County students and their accomplishments. All stories are anecdotal in nature. and not one word about what our BOE is doing to improve national test scores.

Citing local accomplishments and great stories about our kids is commendable, but those stories mean nothing if it does not translate into better performance when measured against students in other states.

Marshall University likes to publish the fact that many new students are not ready for college work. They will also tell you that West Virginia kids are among the least prepared.

Marshall was founded to be a teachers college and continues today to have a very large teacher-training department.

If freshman students are not ready for college, then how come? Is it because Marshall teacher graduates can’t teach?

Marshall’s teacher graduates, especially those who can teach science and mathematics, are in demand by other state school systems. What is going on is other states are stealing our best leaving the “hardly-ables” for West Virginia.

It is public knowledge that West Virginia teachers are poorly paid, so I sure don’t blame them for seeking employment where the pay is much better.

There are many colleges who turn out excellent teachers. No doubt some are teaching in our state?

Therefore, if teachers are educating students who do well on these national evaluation tests, there must be something else going on.

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Secret place holds answers to many county problems

 

A few days ago was the grand opening event at a super secret place.

One station, TV 13, spent half the day there working out the right angles, doing interviews and relaxing on a porch.

The opening was the culmination of a yearlong effort to complete the project. I did not count the number of folks attending, but one guy said the place was full and guessed 200 people showed up.

All in all, the new facility represents more than 20 years of collecting, restoring and thinking how it should be.

This place, well hidden on a country road in Wayne County, now exceeds what you will find at Williamsburg, Virginia, and Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts.

Several people were there to show old time crafts.

I was honored to speak directly to Ben Franklin and his lovely wife. I was able to ask him what he thought about the current state of affairs when learned people and those elected to represent us do not understand what a republic is all about.

Ben was saddened, saying “remember Fred I told when asked, ‘we have a republic only if we can keep it.’”

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Me? A journalist? Most anybody can be one today

 

Seems to me that just about anybody can call themselves a journalist these days.

Peter Jennings reported the affairs of our country for a long time but never joined the club; instead he remained a Canadian.

Rush Limbaugh is a journalist of sorts and if accuracy is any mark of success, then his record of 99.7 percent being always right as a journalist, we should pay attention to him.

Fox News has many talking heads; most of them seem to be lawyers who discovered they could make more money living in your TV set.

The only “journalists” I can name on MSNBC is Mica Pick Handle and Joe Scarborough. Mika is the airhead newsreader and Joe thinks he is still a Congressman.

There are a lot of political aides that ended up calling themselves a journalist. Sniffy Bill Clinton’s press secretary and Chris “Tingle Leg” Matthews come to mind. Matthews seems to have studied economics at two or three schools. Economists are those guys who talk gibberish and can’t seem to come to a conclusion.

Dave Peyton did study journalism at Marshall University. He told me his job was only to report what other people say and it makes no matter if it is a lie. Dave lost his job at the Herald Dispatch because someone accused him of looking at dirty pictures on his company computer.

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Does ‘constitutional scholar’ really know our constitution?

If you ever had any doubt that the current occupier of the White House is against our form of government, his remarks to a small group of wealthy Hollywood types tells it all.

I’ve been trying to convince you for a long time that a democracy always ends up as a dictatorship and ultimately fails. Despite people talking about how wonderful a democracy is many decent people are ignorant of what a democracy is all about.

Our Founding Fathers understood the histories of a democracy and what would happen if we accepted it as our form of government. Before the ink was dry on our Constitution there were those working to destroy our Republic before it even got started. Ben Franklin was asked what do we have, and he said a Republic if we can keep it.

President Obama, described as a constitutional scholar said, “Obviously, the nature of the senate means that California has the same number of senate seats as Wyoming. That puts us (Democrats) at a disadvantage. The Founding Fathers decided in the ‘Great Compromise’ in 1787 to apportion House seats based on population and give each state two senate seats regardless of population. The solution was a compromise between large states and small states in a dispute that nearly dissolved the Constitutional Convention.”

I don’t read it that way and there was no great compromise. Instead it was the right thing to do.

Compromise has been a necessary part of our government since the Constitution was adopted. Nowadays however, compromise means do it my way or the highway. Of course the structure of our legislative branch of government puts the majority party at a disadvantage; that is the whole idea behind a Republic, to provide for equal representation instead of mob rule.

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Again: low turnout
leading to same ole

Salena Zito, of the Pittsburg Tribune writes good columns. I’ve paraphrased and copied her work here.

“Delvis Dutton shuts the door of his white-and-blue utility truck and walks up to the camera. The other guys are running for Congress,” he says.

“Well, me, I am running against Congress. If you want more of the same, I am not your guy. But if you want to send a message, I am your man.”

Delvis Dutton is a Georgia candidate for congress. What he and Salena have to say can also be said about Wayne County and Charleston, West Virginia.

“Rarely have 15 seconds so captured the sentiment of most of America beyond Washington. It doesn’t matter what team jacket you wear: this guy says what everyone else is thinking, that Washington is broken,” Zito says.

If Washington, D.C., is broken: what about West Virginia, Charleston, and Wayne County?

Only 20 percent of the voters bothered to cast a vote.

Not one clerk, commissioner, delegate, sheriff, senator, BOE member or judge expressed the slightest concern.

For a change, the Democrat executive committee chose a winner to replace Rick Thompson who quit. Tim however, does not fit the mold and was a bad boy during the 2014 session by voting against the establishment.

He has been replaced by yet another lawyer.

I know nothing about Ken Hicks, except he put out more yard signs and probably spent more money on billboards than Tim Kinsey.

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My love affair with Pintos and cornbread

The Heritage Farm open house just passed was one of the best, if you ask me.

The only part bad about it was the thousands of Wayne County citizens that never attend. They are down right ignorant about their ancestors who led us to the comfortable life we enjoy today. Nobody was counting, but I suppose Cabell County and the neighbors living in Ohio and Kentucky beat the pants off us attendance wise.

I saw only one politician, the rest were busy pounding in more yard signs, sucking up to the miserable number (20 percent) who turned out to vote and nursing a headache from trying to dream up one reason we should vote for them (sorry Mike, couldn’t help myself).

There were at least two venues at the farm serving pintos. My love for pintos came to be in Rainelle.

My mother and I spent several summers there. I didn’t understand why at the time, but my guess is my dad was not making enough to feed us, so we sponged off my grandparents.

I’m related to the McCoys on my mother’s side. My granddad McCoy ventured into West Virginia from Virginia searching for a wife and found GM, the nickname I gave my grandmother McCoy.

The Virginia McCoys were the loving McCoys, not the fighting bunch. GM had four sisters and all of them married a railroad men. The C&O railroad had a shop in Rainelle, complete with a turntable.

The shop is all gone now, replaced with a Wal-Mart.

My summer playmate was Don Smith, who lived across the road and across the double tracks. His dad was a railroad conductor.

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Just layin’ low and
other peoples’ money

Yesterday, my editor asked me what I was doing...”layin’ low until after the election?”

Well yeah, sorta. Everything that needed to be said was said.

I made a prediction that the Board of Education would return to their Scrooge McDuck ways, which is rolling in the money vault and continuing to squander other peoples’ money, instead of being a real steward of public funds.

The Wayne County News ran a few photos of school property in need of maintenance, only to have the maintenance “director” complain instead of thanking the paper.

For your information Mr. Maintenance Director, those burned out door lights at Spring Valley High are not there to be pretty, it is a national electric code and a serious safety violation when not working.

Ask your safety director, I’m sure he knows.

“It has been 25 years since this county has passed a bond.”

What is the superintendent saying?

Didn’t we just vote a few months ago to re-new a bond?

It was not a resounding approval, Charlie. The bond was approved by a mere 1.24 percent of the votes cast.

Seems everybody is all aglow that now we can build more new school buildings.
That is the measure of success in our state?

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To the Editor:
I have said for many years that the volunteer fire and EMS service is going to be destroyed by politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers and the National Fire Prevention Association. This group of well-wishers and do-gooders are making great progress and may be within 5-10 years of putting the fire departments, along with EMS in Wayne County, out of business.

The fire service is being bombarded with mandates and rules that continue to run up the cost of doing business while this same group seems to always find a way to avoid increasing our funding. The Emergency Medical Services are constantly under assault by an out-of-control State Office of Emergency Medical Services that constantly keeps changing the rules for certification and piling on costly requirements, while the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements keep being cut by the Federal and State Government.

Now it is an election year and our politically correct State leaders passed legislation, which by their own admission was flawed when they passed it, to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 next year and then to $8.75 in 2016. One of the flaws is they did not address the effects on emergency services pay schedules. The effect on part time volunteer EMS was not even on their radar.

This increase does not sound like much, but there is a snowball effect that the politicians never seem to think about. The increase does not only affect the minimum wage CPR driver, but it ripples down to the higher paid Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics. It is not right for the Driver to make more than the EMT’s and the EMT’s make more than the Paramedics. Then there is the increased cost for the department to match the Social Security and Medicare taxes and the increase in workers’ compensation premium. At Ceredo, the cost could be as high as $10,000.

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Friar… Sink-Hole de fraud-O

 

I read Ric Griffith’s column encouraging we Wayne County citizens to approve the upcoming school bond (price all together) will be $42.2 million, plus interest on the $18 million Wayne County property owners must contribute and counting).

Nobody yet knows how much it will cost to make the flood way land the BOE covets fit for a new Crum school.

Apparently Ric invited KU Resources to visit the Kenova grade school property the city acquired for FREE. KU Resources is a Pennsylvania engineering firm specializing in real estate redevelopment, brown fields, railroads and like every other engineering firm these days, shale natural gas development.

If all the issues itemized by Rick and Tim Wetzel are real, then is it any wonder Kenova could not get any takers when they tried to sell the place?

For those that don’t know there are all sorts of “engineers.” There are stationary engineers, railroad engineers, civil engineers, electrical, mechanical, chemical and aeronautical engineers. I think now they call themselves aerospace engineers.

Then there are professional engineers (PE) who have at least three years of experience working under other PEs in their chosen field, plus they have passed the engineer in training test (not an easy chore). They have to submit their credentials to a state engineering board to be registered that allows them to work in that state.

Once registered, a PE is considered expert whose testimony is accepted in a courtroom. Rick was right to call in an engineering firm, but Mr. Tim Wetzel is not an engineer, much less a PE. His job description at KU is a business development man, aka, a salesman. He graduated from Allegheny College, a liberal arts school that does not offer engineering.

Therefore, his opinion about the old grade school is not any better than mine.

If it is so as Rick says, “the state only provides money matching to replace schools not repair them.” Where pray tell does the School Building Authority and the BOE expect the maintenance dollars to come from, another levy? Whose fault is this?

Teaneck High School in New Jersey was in the news lately doing a copycat senior prank just like the Wayne High kids did a year ago. I wondered what that school looks like.

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Things heating up for Rahall, Democrats

Wow!

Things are starting to get desperate for our Congressman Nick Joe Rahall II.

His opinion piece in the recent Saturday edition of the Herald-Dispatch says Nick has single-handedly provided all the government pork in West Virginia for the last 30 years.

Nick says that highways, bridges, airports, river ports, water ways and transit systems all provide the strongest foundation on which we can grow jobs.
We have those things already, so when will the jobs start to grow Nick?

If this is so, how come we continue to lead the nation in our citizens being unemployed? Instead of gaining population we are losing.

One of our county commissioners told me that because of a major coal producer closing down in southern Wayne County the commission has lost a lot of the coal tax revenue they were counting on.

Way to go Nick!

I don’t remember much out of Rahall when the Obama administration started this war on coal six years ago. Was it not Rahall who said we would be a lot better off once Obamacare is implemented?

Nick professes, “It is teamwork and experience that will fuel job growth.”
Whatever Rahall teamwork and experience there is, it has not worked in West Virginia. What teamwork is he talking about?

How has Nick Rahall’s experience benefited southern West Virginia?

The major population loss is in his back yard. Nick is the odd man out.

He is the only West Virginia congressman left that is a Democrat. Experienced Democrats have been in charge for 80 years and West Virginia is still in last place almost every time.

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Election truths: lying in any form is a lie

 

Bill Rosenberger, the talking head for the Wayne County Board of Education, in a note to The Wayne County News, took me to task about the latest school bond issue, saying it is only $18 million instead of my $40-plus million.

I have been saying all along that when you add up all the money, it is well over $40 million.

Bill seems not get it that every dime comes out of the same taxpayer pocket, regardless of what you want to call it.

The Herald-Dispatch claims that the SBA will contribute $18 million of its “own money.” Actually, the $18 million will be paid off – plus interest – by Wayne County property owners only.

I can assure the citizens of Wayne County if the BOE goes through with the purchase of that 32 acres for a new school in Crum, the cost for the new school will be much higher then the BOE promises.

The land description says the price is “over” $30,000 per acre. That is only slightly less than a million. If the land is located in the floodway along the Tug River as it is, it is not fit to build on – period.

Who will pay to have the land filled and graded to meet FEMA requirements? Rosenberger says it is included in the proposal.

How can they do that?

They don’t yet know if the land has a clear deed. Certainly they do not know what the site preparation cost is going to be.

Did they do a WAG (wild a$$ed guess)?

Who must pay to have that narrow access road fixed? What about the leaky roof, the blocked railroad crossing, the backed up sewage gas and the overloaded electric at the old Crum school?

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Election truths: lying in any form is a lie

 

Bill Rosenberger, the talking head for the Wayne County Board of Education, in a note to The Wayne County News, took me to task about the latest school bond issue, saying it is only $18 million instead of my $40-plus million.

I have been saying all along that when you add up all the money, it is well over $40 million.

Bill seems not get it that every dime comes out of the same taxpayer pocket, regardless of what you want to call it.

The Herald-Dispatch claims that the SBA will contribute $18 million of its “own money.” Actually, the $18 million will be paid off – plus interest – by Wayne County property owners only.

I can assure the citizens of Wayne County if the BOE goes through with the purchase of that 32 acres for a new school in Crum, the cost for the new school will be much higher then the BOE promises.

The land description says the price is “over” $30,000 per acre. That is only slightly less than a million. If the land is located in the floodway along the Tug River as it is, it is not fit to build on – period.

Who will pay to have the land filled and graded to meet FEMA requirements? Rosenberger says it is included in the proposal.

How can they do that?

They don’t yet know if the land has a clear deed. Certainly they do not know what the site preparation cost is going to be.

Did they do a WAG (wild a$$ed guess)?

Who must pay to have that narrow access road fixed? What about the leaky roof, the blocked railroad crossing, the backed up sewage gas and the overloaded electric at the old Crum school?

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“War on Cold”

Another prize-winning column by Fred the wonderful, who is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

Name for me one liberal Democrat that can top that!!

In my column about the massive amount of CO2 liberals are pumping into our atmosphere, I told you that there is twice as much Argon in our air as CO2 and wondered what is the EPA going to do about that.

Wouldn’t you know there is a solution afoot.

The Obama administration has also noted the Argon and the increasingly warm winters we just experienced this past winter that was caused by all that .04 percent CO2, aka HOT AIR, released in Washington and Charleston, West Virginia.

Our globe is now .2-.3 degrees warmer then it was 500 years ago on average. I did not know that there were thermometers 500 years ago that were good enough to record .2 degrees but if the EPA says so and the New York Times reports it – it has to be true.

We are saved now by Obama & Company, pointy-headed intellectuals, and two hundred chisel-headed academics at Harvard, who have come up with a consensus for a solution.

You might not be aware of this, but Argon is a super good insulator. Those insulating windows we have now, those with double sheets of glass that have space in-between is filled with – you got it. Argon!!

So Obama and his merry band of liberal Washington lawyers turned scientists are going to borrow a few billion dollars from China and anyone else that will loan us a dime to create the “Obama war on COLD.”

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EPA and CO2 – a little Chemistry explanation

 

The federal Environmental Protection Agency continues to write regulations (without the input of our congress, sound familiar)?

The rules proposed are written in such a way as to make it impossible to burn coal to make electricity, unless you capture the carbon dioxide and then sequester it.

I’m sure not a genius about CO2 but I do apparently know more than the EPA and the congressmen who are questioning the director. I had to put up with the EPA often during my chemical company days.

First of all, to hear the global warming fanatics, our atmosphere is full of carbon dioxide because there are tons and tons released every day. What’s never reported is even though tons and tons are released (sounds like a lot doesn’t it), in fact the millions of tons released by human activity is minuscule as a part of the total atmosphere.

Last month CO2 was measured at the NOAA laboratory at Mauna Lea, Hawaii, the total amount of CO2 was almost 400 parts per million, that amounts to a whopping .04 percent.

Holy smokes, there is twice as much argon in the air than CO2!

About 78 percent of our atmosphere is nitrogen and 20 percent oxygen. The above measurement was done on air with zero water vapor. The ppm would have been a bit lower if they had not removed all the water vapor which, by the way, is the most important greenhouse gas, followed by hydrogen sulfide and methane. CO2 comes in fourth place.

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Gov’t a self-licking ice cream cone

 

Once upon a time (I’ve changed the names and places to protect the guilty) there was a one-horse town with a one-man police department, Officer Delmar.

Mrs. Swartz called him one night reporting that some men were breaking into the 7-11. Delmar parked his 10-year-old state police surplus cruiser a block or two away, pumped a round into his shotgun, then walked toward the store.

Sure enough three or four men were loading a pickup with stolen goods. Delmar hollered “Stop, police! Any of you run – I’ll shoot the nearest one.”

He then marched them to the two-cell town jail. Those men knew Delmar would do what he said, there was no doubt.

Our news reporters have started to notice how many government agencies have their own “security/law enforcement department.”

The Bureau of Land Management, complete with military style snipers, attempted to round up a man’s cattle grazing on public land in Nevada.

Reason? To protect a turtle.

Delmar meant business and he was all that was needed.

Nowadays, there never seems to be enough police. You have seen on TV police all over the place in a shootout and nobody can hit the target. It is quality that counts not quantity.

The FBI, ATF, CIA, IRS, NSA, BLM, TSA, GSA, DNR!

Yikes! I’m running out of letters,” carry guns, in addition to state police, city police, sheriff departments, railroads, customs officers, rent-a-cop services, truck inspectors, Secret Service, and only the Almighty knows who else!

Do we need police protection? Yes, but do we need a one-horse town equipped with an honest to goodness army surplus tank as was reported the other day?

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