Newspaper Archive of
The Glenville Democrat
Glenville, West Virginia
March 21, 1975     The Glenville Democrat
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March 21, 1975

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i: i 2 The Glenville Democrat/Pathfinder March ffl, 1975 i It appeared to be in the bag. According to a reputable source from the State Board of Education in Charleston, Gilmer County would get their money to renovate four elementary schools, the high school, and to build a new elementary school. Dr. Daniel Taylor, state schools superintendent. recommended that the state board grant Gilmer school officials their share of the state's Better Schools Amendment money for Phase I. Every step of submitting the local Schools Facilities Plan had been successfully carried through. Superintendent Welty and Gilmer County Board of Education members had made it abundantly clear that the likelihoodof another local school bond gaining voter approval was shm. The only way we can Upgrade our schools and education is to have the School Facilities Plan approved with the understanding that the state board provide $829,500 at the outset, it was explained. Once repairs and construction werd underway, financed by Better Schools Amendment money, local citizens would be more likely to support a forthcoming school bond issue, it was argued. The important point in requesting immediate funding in the School Facilities Plan was the fact that Gilmer County voters have not supported a school improvement bond issue since 1955. During the opening moments of discussion last Friday, it appeared as if the board might accept Dr. Taylor's recommendation and accept the Plan with immediate funding. But a discussion ensued and the board voted 4-3, with the chairperson abstaining, to accept the program without immediate funding. What the board said in it's final deliberation was: you pass a bond issue or you don't get a cent. It was a disappointing decision for local school officials and board members who worked so hard to get a precedent set for Gilmer County. It appeared. after the opening series of step-by-step approvals by state officials, that Gilmer's school improvement problems might be solved: We, too, are deeply disappointed that the state board chose not to set a funding precedent. We felt that an adjustment in thinking could be made in our case: that state money could have been received first, perhaps as a sign of confidence in the locally designed overall plan. But it may have proved too much to hope for. A bureaucratic snarl has been responsible for delaying black lung benefits to miners and miners' widows, according to studies prepared by the government's General Accounting Office [GAO] and the United Mine Workers. A number of officials are also concerned about 20 per cent rake-offs of black lung compensation by independent attorneys who represent petitioning miners. Many legal specialists in black lung compensation cases have grown rich while miners who can no longer work are still poor, it has been argued. The plight of coal miners is a rough one. It is hard work that is only recently paying off. But the risks are still extremely high. And the safety precautions still minimal, according to Arnold Miller, UMW president, and several congressmen. Miller told a House education and labor subcommittee that the shared iurisdiction for the federal black lung benefit program by the Labor Department and the Social Security Administration has turned the program into a nightmare. The GAO-- an independent investigative agency, of Congress- charged Social Security administra- tors with, in some cases, failing to provide "'even minimal" services to women whose husbands died of the occupational disease. They found that it was taking an average of four months for the SS people to process eligibility claims of affected widows. The probers laid blame on bureaucratic red tape. An additional nuisance is that while SS has a file pulled, the benefit checks simply quite coming. Miller recommended establish- ment of private allency to administer the entire program, or lodging it wholly under the Labor Department. He also urged a coal tax on production to fund the pgoram, d Miller also told the panel the SS administration has "abused the discretion" Congress gave it to set eligibility standards. by Jim lacobs Miller said SS has "turned its back on the very people they were supposed to help." He said that SS's own figures show that nearly 5,000 claims of miners or widows of miners who worked more than 35 years in the mines have been denied. Black lung, or pneumoconiosis, is a chronic respiratory disease that comes from prolonged inhalation of coal dust. It is, simply, a tragic occupational hazard. There appears to be great resentment in the coal fields to practice whereby X-rays of many miners diagnosed by their own doctors as having black lung are re-read by a Labor Department panel of "experts." "The re-reading of X-rays has contributed greatly to the distrust miners now feel for the black lung program," Miller testified. He also criticized the present funding of the program, which he claimed makes it "cheaper for a coal company to hire lawyers and doctors to fight the injured and diseased miners.., than to prevent the injury or disease in the first place." under this system, claims must be filed against individual coal opera- tors. In only 50 per cent of the claims has a "responsible coal operator" been found to proceed against, and of these "coal operators have contested an astonishing 97 per cent," Miller testified. And, Miller noted that whatever benefit program is ultimately established, "we speak from the grim knowledge that no compensation system has yet been devised which will make the mines safe." "Coal mining continues to be this country's most hazardous industry," Miller said, Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., reCeives more black lung complaints than any other congressional office,he recently revealed. It's apparent, then, that Congress must act promptly and fairly to gain protection for coal miners and their families. It seems the only humane move to make. . 'T Gilmer County Cabndnr econd Monday each month - GCHS Boosters meeting. 7:30 p.m. at high school. Third Mondays each month - ~S Band meeting, 7:30 p.m. at high school s band room. GSC pool use for community - Mondays, 3-4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, 7-8 p.m. Thursday, March 20 - Normantown PTA school cafeteria. Friday, March 21 - Concert, GSC Impressions, 8 p.m. Friday, March 21 - Horse llealth care Hall, 7:30 p.m. with Dr. Lewis P.Thomas, W.Va. Dept. of Agriculture. Friday, March 21 - Cancer public program, sponsored by Glenville Lions Club, Recreation Center. 7 p.m. Saturday, March 22 - Meeting. Gilmer Historical Society. Courthouse Annex. Room p.m. Public invited. Saturday, March 22 - Wild coon hunt and bench show', Gilmer County Recreation Center city fee. Show, 2 p.m. Hunt, 8 p.m. No beverages. Monday, March 24 - EMT ambulance meeting, 7:30 p.m. Gilmer County Medical Mineral Rd. Tuesday, March 25 - CAlmer Council of Demonstration C2ubs, Courthouse Annex, 7:30 Wednesday, March 26 - AAUW meetin$, Forestry. Prof. Ed Grafton presents program: Problems and Prospects," 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 26 - Meeting, West Folk Festival, City Hall, 7:30 p.m. wednesday. March 26 - Meeting of Gienville Chapter, Wesley Foundation business, 7 p.m. program, 8 p.m. Thursday, March 27 - Free blood Health Department, l~fmeral Road, 9-11:30 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 29 - Easter egg hunt. Olmm Chapel, Hazelgreen, Dry Run ff Spruce, 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, April 3-4 - Baler and repair course. GCHS Vo-Ag building, [April 3] all day [April 4]. Sponsored by Farm Bureau. Saturday. Monday. April 8-10 - City Hall, 7:30 p.m. Sponsored by Gflmer Co. Bureau. The Glenvlfle Pathfinder hbllsbed Every Friday By GILMER COUNTY PUBUSHING. INC. At tin E ~4~,$t. Glenville ~ ~'~" ~ ..... Second-Class postage paid at Glenville and at ;nailing offices. Subscription price ~.00 plus 15 cents sale' County: other West Virginia residents ~5.5U plus tax Out of state subscriptions $6.00. Can subscriptions for less than 6 months. JIM JACOBS .................................. JOAN LAYNE ......... " ........ CIRCULATION ] One of our staff, during a visit to the County Clerk's office, discovered an intriguing list of fatal maladies suffered by Gilmer County residents during the 19th century. We thought we'd reprint a list of some of these death-causing illnesses to prove that. at least in the field of health and medicine, we have progressed over time, Some causes of death from 1800 to 1903 were: croup, coniestion of bowels. "not right from birth." laryngitis, flu, consumption, bronchitis, hives. cramps, old age, sore throat, measles and. worms. To the Editor: After reading your editorial "Fuel Clause Dead" in your February 27 issue. I believe certain elements of this repor'ting deserves a public answer. You say .we have for nearly 18 months charged "astronomical service rates based on our "alleged'; increase in fuel expense. They are only astronomical to the extent that you would call our increased coal costs astronomical, for the fuel cost adjustment did pass on to our customers only our increases in fuel costs - without a penny of additional profit. In fact, in a 12 month period, the adiustment failed to recover more than $80,000 in increased fuel costs. The reference "M0nongahela lamely complains tl~at its coal costs are still climbing is not a fair or realistic appraisal of the coal purchasing problems our company continues to fact. We buy the Iowet priced usuable coal that we can find and the price is still going up. The only price drops we know about are in some spot-market high-sulfur coal that West Virginia utilities cannot burn because of overly stringent air pollution regulations. Much is being written about rising costs of electricity. Electric utilities suddenly have become the whipping boys for inflation. Butwe ard the same utilities that were able to achieve efficiencies that allowed rate reductions during all those years of slowly rising costs of everything else. Now we are victims of a runaway inflation rate. We either must be allowed to increase rates to pay all our bills or our business fails and everthing else grinds to a stop. Thank you for the opportunity to express this side of the story. Harold V. Ellis Manager, Southern Division Monongahela Power Company To the Editor: The recent article in your paper, Tons of Cresote Waste Dumped into Local Mine, has caused a disturbance totally uniustified by the facts of the matter. To review the facts of the case we go back to the Spring of 1974 when we drained a swampy area on the lower end of our plant property as part of our program to permanently control the pollution potential of our plant. The State was concerned about the possible contamination of the swamp water so we contracted wth F & F Trucking Company to haul it away. As the swamp was drained, frogs and turtles scattered in every direction which would indicate the water was relatively pure. During the Summer of 1974 we spent more than $50,000 in pollution preventive measures. We now recirculate all affluent connected with the treating plant so that there is no discharge of affluent. Also during the Summer season we constructed a pond in the middle of our property to serve two functions: First, in the event of a spill it would be captured in the pond; Second. the surface run-off from the treated storage area would flow into the pond. We felt the pond would be adequate. During the Winter season the level of the pond rose to the point we again needed F & F Trucking to haul out several loads. However, we have periodically monitgred the pond and find it to be very mildly contaminated and only slightly abm)e the level of permitted discharge directly into the river. We are now nearing completion of a system to evaporate water from the pond during the rainy seasons. To daye, all adverse criticism of our plant has been connected with projects intended to permanently resolve pollution problems. With completion of the evaporation system, we will have the most pollution free treating plant in the state and perhaps in the entire country. We invite you to visit our plant at Sutton and then write another article more nearly reflecting our current status. Harold G. Burke President Editor's Reply: The story referred to reported that thousands of gallons of United Wood wastewater, containing traces of arsenic, were pumped into the once-sealed O'Dennell #2 mine, owned by Eastern Associated Coal Co., by F.&F Trucking Co. That wastewater may be contaminating well drinking water in the Sand Fork area is still being tested by the State Environmental Health Services Laboratory. A chemist at the lab reported recently that the level of arsenic in one well sample reveals a rise in the last several weeks from .008 to .01 milligrams per quart. The so-called "normal" level of arsenic in drinking water might be .001, according to the chemist. The recommended limit for drinking water is .05 mgs./qt. The news value in reporting the story was not in unjustly criticizing United Wood's pollution control system at the Sutton plant. It had solely to do with the pumping of potentially contaminating wastewater into a sealed mine e~ private property over an eight month period. It was also reported that United Wood was charged last September for violating anti-pollution ordinances by allegedly allowly industrial affluent to flow into the Elk River without a permit. Aluminum Siding? Additions? New, - Roofing? up with HIGH Prices? YOU Auburn , Box 84 Auburn, W. Va. 26325 Pb. No Obligation RT. 5 NEARSAND FORK Let us design install a beautiful kitchen the you went it, to fit yOur Most people are not avmre that we also stock the lO to 20% below list price: Formica and Formica tops -- marble tops - Sinks of a// k/nds - Faucets, fancy or pl~'n Vent#ating hoods, al/ colors and sizes - Hinges - appliances. Open everdngs until 8 Tel. 482-7484 STOLE Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday - Wednesday, Saturday - 9 to 1 Come in for our Spring and Summer Plus chdty catalop. OWNED AND lit