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Glenville, West Virginia
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August 13, 2009     The Glenville Democrat
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August 13, 2009
 

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Chasing the Snowshoe hare, then and now, in Pocahontas County The West Virginia Press Association's An- nual Convention took place this past weekend at Snowshoe. That name came from the Snow- shoe Hare, which I'd never heard of before the ski resort was constructed just off U.S. High- way 219, about 20 miles north of Marlinton, the county seat of Pocahontas County. Showshoe's resort seems to get better and better every year. With the shopping and family activities village in the center of the ski resort, the site provides a lively summer get-away spot to relax, amid some of the most beautiful moun- tains that you'll ever see in West Virginia. The mountain's fresh air is free, too. And, oh, those dramatic sunsets at dusk are truly breath-taking. Visitors just line up tak- ing photos of them in order to try to capture the colorful rapture that they invoke. They, of course, hope that when returning home, they'll be able relive those cherished moments through these mementoes. Unfortunately, though, photo technology hasn't advanced far enough to do these Snowshoe sunsets justice. At the kickoff of the convention Thurs. evening, Aug. 6, we-- the journalists from all over the state -- always gather for an opening reception, where the various vendors are in- troduced, along with the rest of us Board members. (I'm the association's treasurer now, not an enviable promotion, especially during a recession.) I was somewhat pleasantly surprised that the president and chief operating officer of Snowshoe, Mr. Bill Rock, took the time to connect with us at this reception. In fact, he gave a very good welcoming address. Snow- shoe, which is West Virginia's largest ski resort and one of the biggest in this region of the East Coast, is owned by Intrawest Corpo- ration, which is in the ski resort business all over this country and elsewhere. With the large amount of snowfall that West Virginia got last winter, Snowshoe had a pretty good ski season. They also sell con- dos, and that business seems to be growing rapidly, as well, in spite of the housing market's recession. (Now, I won't be buying any of /he Corcoran Column By David H. Corcoran Publisher-Editor their $200,000-to-$500,000 condos, unless I strike it rich in the lottery or lose some weight. In my Studio condo room, when putting down the bed, it only left about a foot between the bed and the wall. As a result, I was stumbling around all night and nicking my legs, in trying to get to the bathroom. Nevertheless, there was a large porch area that made it ideal for evening chats with family and friends, not to forget taking advantage of crisp evenings.) The temperature was probably about 50- degrees during the day, so it provided us journalists with a break from our sweltering 80-to-90-degree heat back home. In addition to the opportunity to do a lot of shopping at the many village stores, or eating at the numerous restaurants (including a Starbucks), several activities were available for young people. Kids could rent bicycles for the various riding trails, climb a high rock in the village's center, or bounce on the super trampoline. Children's movies were also avail- able at night in that same area. Also, the chair lift, which is used by the skiers during the winter season, gives a nifty conveyance for families going down to the lake area during the summer. There, more games, boating, and activity areas occupy the children's time, not to downplay all of the fishing that goes on, an especially enjoyable activity for the adults, I observed. It's catch and release, though, so you can't take your catch up to the condo and cook it. The whole lakeside atmosphere looked restful and like fun to me -- something the whole family could participate in. As for me, I just sat down on a dock chair, rested, and marvelled at the beautiful lake and mountain scenery. In fact, it reminded me of emerald green Ireland, where, in the Connemara Region, there are lakes beautifying every picturesque valley that one drives into. Then, back to the conven- tion I went, on the convenient chairlift. A bad beginning Back in October, t974, Snowshoe didn't get off to a very auspicious start, as I related to Mr. Rock. I took my family there on its Grand Open- ing Day in order to look things over and learn to ski. It was a pretty snowy and cold day, so the staff was busy just trying to keep up with the public's pace. There was only one building -- the ski center-- and it was about the size of Glenville's McDonald's restaurant. There were still 2-by- 4s laying in the middle of the floor, as the building had yet to be completed. Some tables and chairs were there at a small cafeteria, which offered only a very limited food selec- tion. It was so meager that we'd decided to take the kids back to Marlinton, the nearest town on U.S. 219, to eat. No staff was then available to teach us to ski, sowe never did learn, so we decided just to leave, but not before being impressed that it was truly a brilliantly white, snowy and winter wonderland. Not to brag, but this grand opening -- alter the expenditure of millions of dollars to build the road, construct the ski headquarters, clear off the slopes, and install the snowmaking equipment -- was pale in comparison with the grand opening of the Pearl Buck Birth- place Museum in May of that same year of 1974. The Birthplace Museum is located 30 miles south of Snowshoe on U.S. 219. In its restora- tion, I kept it on the $200,000 budget target, had it finished in mint condition on the first day for the tourists, and about 3,000 people showed up to take the historic tour and see the monumental ceremony. Former Governor Continued on page 5 Federal Funds a Possibility for Unemployed West Virginians By Brent Boggs, State Delegate (Gilmer-Braxton) Last week brought another week of cool temperatures - at least cool for the month of August - but the heat and humidity hit over the weekend. I'm working on a home im- provement project that we originally intended when we built our home 20 years ago. Every- thing is a mess, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Rodney Belknap's passing My condolences to the Belknap family on the passing of former House member, Rodney Bryan Belknap. I al- ways enjoyed and ap- preciated our many dis- cussions over the years. I also will greatly miss his sharing observations, insights and historical knowledge of state gov- ernment and the Legis- lature. He served cen- tral West Virginia for HON. BRENT five terms in the House BOGGS and helped many citi- zens over the years. The Interim Legislative Mtgs. Interim meetings began on Mon., Aug. 10, through Wed., Aug. 12. However, late last week, Governor Manchin informed legisla- tors he will be calling a special session begin- ning Tues., Aug. 11, at 5:30 p.m. to address unemployment compensation. In a statement from the Governor's office, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has funding available that would extend unem- ployment compensation benefits for those who have exhausted their existing benefits. The way West Virginia law is currently writ- ten, our state does not qualify for the addi- tional federal money. According to the Governor's office, this requires immediate action, so the citizens of West Virginia can take advantage of that additional extension to their unemployment benefits, which would be entirely federally-funded. Also, we have been advised that the Gover- nor may include the $500 "salary enhance- ment" for state employees. The proposed in- crease would apply to roughly 51,000 em- ployees, including teachers and school ser- vice personnel. Apparently, the code needs amended to pay this bonus. While I would rather roll any increase into the base pay, the call may be tightly-structured by the Gover- nor, and the position of the Senate on this issue is unclear. This is possible, as the state ended the fiscal year with a general revenue surplus of ap- proximately $20 million and an excess lottery budget surplus of about $57 million. By law, half of the General Revenue surplus must go to the Rainy Day Fund. There may be other items that the Governor places on the agenda, but we likely will not know before late Monday or early Tuesday. I will give you an overview of the agenda and legislative actions in next week's column. Healtheare fracas Finally, I want to share briefly regarding the uproar at meetings to discuss proposals to reform our nation's health care system. It is truly unfortunate when informational meet- ings are turning into shouting matches, or worse, around the country. While this is a Federal issue that our Congressional delega- tion will be addressing, I hope the on-going dialogue will be open, honest and factual in the days and weeks ahead. I always look forward to obtaining fact-based information and making judgments from that prospective. Accordingly, I hope all sides in this impor- tant national debate will stick to facts, instead of assumptions and rumors. It is much too important an issue for all our citizens and thereby deserves factual analysis. Apparently, many plans are being discussed in Congress, but I hope any changes will be beneficial to the delivery and availability of health care to rural areas of our state and nation. How to contact me! Please address your mail to my home office at PO Box 254, Gassaway, WV 26624. My phone number is 364-8411 and fax 364-8711. If you need immediate assistance, call the Capitol office at 340-3220 or Assistant to the Majority Leader, Mr. Tom Bennett, at 340- 3262 or fax to 340-3213. If you have an interest m any particular bill or a list of all bills that passed both the House and Senate, please let me know. For those with Internet access, my e-mail address is Boggs34@aol.com You also may obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and other information from the Legislature's web site at http:// www.legis.state.wv.us/ If you write orleave a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional informa- tion, including agency links and a state gov- ernment phone directory, may be found at www. wv. g ov Remember to thank a veteran for their ser- vice to our nation and continue to remember our troops -- at home and abroad-- and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Until next week, take care! i i!!i!! ii ii!i i iiiiiiii!ii!iiiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!i! iiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiii!il iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiii iiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiii!i iii!ilililili!iiiiiii!i!i!iiiiii!iiiiii!iiii!ililililiiiiiiiiiii!iil iiili iliii t Petition to have Geneva Conventions taught in schools ! Dear Editor, For the first ttme in my life. I am forwarding an online petitton for your consideration, and hopefully, your support. We all know the organization backing the petition. It is the American Red Cross. Carrie Santos and I have been colleagues and friends for many years. We discussed the petition belore she sent me the email. We worked together at the State Department on Red Cross and Geneva convention issues until she left to become the Senior Director of International Policy at the American Red Cross. The United States Government (during the Truman Administration) was the prime force in drafting, publicizing, and ratifying the Geneva Conventions after the horrors of World War II. We encouraged other nations to sign and ratify the Conventions. The Geneva con- ventions have guided our military doctrine since 1949. Every person serving in the US military is taught the main principles of the Conventions. Since we no longer have a military draft. considerably fewer Americans normally are Letter continued on page 5 f Attention Readers: Our 'Letters to the Editor' Policy We are in need of more letters to the editor. Feel free to send them in to us. Just remember our policy on the letters Local newspapers have long been the sounding boards for political, personal, and patriotic vtews and this paper is no exception! Relative to writing responses, please keep in mind our Editorial Policy: we will accept letters on a .space available basis only and they will be subject to the Editor's scrutiny as to content relative to libel, goo~l taste and timeliness. A good length is generally one to one-and-a-half standard typing pages, double-spaced. The decision of the Senior Editor will be final. Letters must be signed in order to be published - e- mailed letters must include a phone number where your identity can be verified, but you may still be required to sign the letter via snail mail. Deadlines for letters are Mondays at 10 a.m. for that week's paper. After 10 a.m., they can be accepted for that week as paid advertisements. However, it would appear for free in a future edition Also, for writers who consistently send in Letters week after week, these messages are constantly evaluated as to content and to purpose, so they may be considered as an advertisement, especially if they are weekly, lengthy, and repeats of previous letters. Nevertheless. you wilt be contacted if the latter is the case and will be charged only our regular advertising rate. For more information, contact either Dave Corcoran, Sr.. Charlene. or Cassandra at 304-462-7309. - Last Issue Before Election: News, Letters, & Ads - The hmg-standing policy of this newspaper has always been that if. in the issue before an election, one candidate or citizen makes allegations about another candidate or issue, that the other party be given the right of rebuttal. Readers of this newspaper know that we editors have had this policy in effect for the past 10 years in order to make certain that the journalistic and ethical principles of fairness and equality be assured on these pages relative to both the news and advertising side. Also. all political letters or news stories submitted inthe last month prior to an election are to be paid political adverstisement. except for biographical sketches in an Election Guide or section. . J ditorials Let light shine through - BOE keeps people updated with the lat- est schools' scheduling information On July 1 of this year when Superintendent John Bennett became Gilmer County's schools' head, he promised to keep the general public informed. Most importantly, he has remained true to his word. At the late July Gilmer County Board of Education meeting, he informed the public that the WVU engineering team had completed most of its site review work at Troy, as promised, except for the need to return to the school to clear up a couple of concerns. One of those concerns is significant: to determine the extent of asbestos abatement, if needed. Now being almost finished with the Troy School, the'WVU team will be preparing their final report. Next up for the WVU team will be the Sand Fork Elementary School. In the meantime the S uperintendent announced that the BOE did purchase two FEMA trailers for the school but a delay in their transport there is anticipated. Some good news about Sand Fork is that there are currently two FEMA trailers on the site, and the modular has arrived, with them now being almost completely set-up. Before any students can occupy them, however, they will have to be inspected by the state Fire Marshal. In another update, the state Fire Marshal's inspection of Sand Fork's building found only that the back exit needed a fire alarm pull station: That's also good news, in that it should be correctable soon. Then, at the Normantown School, the Gilmer BOE's Clerk-of-the-Works, Mr. Jess McVaney, reported that a crew is beginning to construct the required firewall between the gymnasium and adjacent building. That was a major concern brought out at the BOE's recent Town Meeting there, as the citizens would like for the gym to be ready for PE classes and athletic games this fall. Superintendent John Bennett also wrote up an amendment for the Emergency Plan for 2009-2010, and submitted it to the state. It covers contingency plans for transferring Sand Fork and Troy Elementary school students to Glenville Elementary, if the BOE needs the alternative accommodations in case the necessary upgrades can't be done prior to the beginning of this school year. FortunatelY, the Fire Marshal's check-up of GES showed no additional requirements were needed in order to accommodate the extra students. Although some transferring of elementary school students may be necessary for their health and safety, these temporary changes -- we have been told-- will not be permanent. in effect being only until the required tests and repairs can be made at their home schools. We editors would, therefore, ask any affected parents, teachers, schools, and principals to be cooperative with Mr. Bennett and the School Board. They are trying their best to make a safe and comfortable transition, if the state Board of Education requires it, due to any purported deficiencies at the Sand Fork or Troy schools. John Bennett wants to bring the people of Gilmer County back together once again, and that cooperative spirit will begin with the public's understanding ofthe gravity of the health and safety issues facing our county's aging school buildings. And, possibly, the necessity of transferring some students from one school to another, with as little discord or antagonism as possible -- all BOE decisions being necessary for the sake of the students. We editors are confident that by following Mr. Bennett's lead, all will come out okay in the 601ng-run'ta grant _ DHC, Sr.,Publisher-Editor The Recruitable Communities' initiative aids the downtown's revitalization Kudos to the Recruitable Communities' Program, which was initiated and carried out at Town Meetings in Glenville earlier this year! Ditto to Sheree Henderson, the local Recruitable Communi- ties' coordinator! We editors understand that through this program, the city of Glenville is receiving a grant for upgrading the signage throughout this community. By adding appropriate signs for travellers, this will correct the problem that the WVU's Extension Office's "First Impressions" team found here. In the main, they were disappointed that the town's greatest assets-- the college, the downtown area, and the Little Kanawha River-- were all "hidden from view" from the highways. In fact, one First Impressions' visitor felt the town has become situated so that it appears to have turned its back on the river, while adding that the presence of a river- side park would be a welcoming attraction to the concrete-dominated downtown commercial area. Most dramatically, however, the First Impressions team sensed a strong disconnect between the community and GSC, citing the lack of businesses geared toward college-aged residents and tlae way students spend the majority of their time on campus. While the team agreed that downtown street signs were both attractive and easy to read, they recommended new and better directional signs to point out places of interest, such as the downtown's historical landmarks, the library, river access, Cedar Creek State Park; and the College. Backgr0u nd: Initiated in 1998 at the West Virginia University Extension Services in Morgantown, the Recruitable Communitiesl grant's team is charged with improving the availability and quality of health care for those who live in rural areas by attracting providers to the small towns. The project works under the same premise as any other community recruitment initiative: forward-thinking people want to live and work in an area that is physically appealing, safe, engaging and capable of providing for most of their retail needs. The Recruitable Communities' Program works with two independent teams of professionals, both chosen by the WVU Extension office on a case-by-case basis. The team members are professionals, who are best suited to the specific community being helped. For Glenville's Street Gang, FRN, GSC, and other community improvement volunteers, the Recruitable Communities' recommendations were like "preaching to the choir." After all, the Street Gang, an all-volunteer downtown improvement group, swept the streets, started painting the buildings, and mobilizing other volunteers to attend the Recruitable Communities' meetings -- all of this being accomplished before the WVU Extension team came to town. Hence, all of this community improvement spirit and commitment, in spite of what the WVU team considered to be our "deficiencies," have placed Glenville way out in front of other similar communities, receiving the same state grant. As a result, Dave Millard, one of the many Street Gang volunteers, announced publicly at a recent public meeting that the WVU Team has designated Glenville as a model community in order to feature us in a future CNN presentation. In addition, he noted that Glenville would receive a grant for producing that better directional signage. Congratulations, Glenville Street Gang and all other city improvement volunteers and groups! Keep up the good work! These are certainly good "signs" of the times for Glenville's future revitalization. DHC, Sr. by George Harper (Whentlsing the :mail,:address :OUF: po. Boxiiplease.:i PHO:NE304~62~7309 ::::.:: :::. :.:.... .:. : :.i. :