Letters to the Editor
As if the fire wasn’t bad enough there is more bad news if your house is in the flood zone in Marlinton. As of the first of October 2013, a new law kicked in that will surely cause more economic hardship to our already hard hit town. It wasn’t in the newspaper, or on the news. No one called us up to say watch out you’re about to be kicked in the backside.
No. It just slipped up and bit us.
You see, if you are about to apply for flood insurance, after the October 1 date, you will be subject to greatly increased premiums, and the expense of obtaining an elevation certificate.
How much more?
I can tell you my experience. I’m paying more than twice as much in premium for half as much coverage. In round figures I was paying $1,000 per year, for $100,000 in coverage. Now, I’m paying $2,300 per year for $58,000 in coverage.
Oh, and that elevation certificate?
That cost $350.
Will everyone be subject to these increases?
I’m not sure of the answer to that.
I’ve been told that if you already have insurance you could be grandfathered into the old rates, but I can’t get a good answer to the question. What I do know with a great degree of certainty is that anyone seeking flood insurance now will pay the higher premiums, and be required to get an elevation certificate.
Think about what this does to property values in Marlinton. Assume you have a house here and want to sell it. A buyer will be subject to the much higher flood insurance rates, and if that buyer seeks a mortgage he/she will be required to have flood insurance.
I was pleased to be able to get a new mortgage on a 30-year fixed rate of 3 ¾ percent.
The monthly payment on the principal was about $300, but when the flood insurance is factored in, my payment jumps almost $200 more per month.
Silly me, I thought Obamacare was bad.
Hamilton Hill never looked so good.
We at the Hillsboro Senior Center would like to recognize the importance of volunteers in our community. Being a Senior in a rural area such as ours, we often find ourselves dependent on the services of others to maintain our independent living. Organizations, like our Senior Centers, in our community are vital to our well-being as well as the individuals who unselfishly volunteer their time and resources.
We appreciate the pastors who come and lead our Bible study, those individuals who come and do our blood work, the members of our volunteer fire department, the members of our rescue squad, those who come and do crafts with us, those who help with our fundraisers, those who donate food or craft items, and those who assist us with the many small tasks and things we need.
Your work does not go unnoticed. These people, especially those in the fire department and rescue squad, spend their own money to buy gas to go to the stations to volunteer their time to help all of us in the community.
The next time you see a volunteer, take the time to say, “thanks.”
Betty Kershner, President
Hillsboro Senior Center
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I was thinking about all of the blessings in my life and realized that among the many reasons that I am grateful this year, I am especially thankful to be a part of such an exceptional community. Over the 14 years that I have lived in the Greenbrier Valley, I have been continuously impressed by the way the residents of this area all work to ensure that the Greenbrier Valley maintains a beautiful, healthy, and cultural environment. We are truly fortunate to have a wealth of caring, talented and diligent individuals who work to improve our quality of life. In my current position with the Greenbrier Valley Community Foundation, I have been able to travel throughout Greenbrier, Monroe and Pocahontas counties, and every new person I meet adds to my appreciation for this area. I would like to say “thank you,” to my fellow citizens. I truly value your hard work and compassion.
As a boy in the 1960s, Marlinton was a thriving, vibrant community and I loved visiting the People’s Store.
Seeing the photos of the recent fire on Main Street was sad. With the floods of ‘85 and ‘96, the derecho and Super Storm Sandy it seems like the county recovers a little slower each time it gets knocked down. After the 2008 economic downturn the impacts are beginning to show themselves. As I drove to Marlinton from Boyer in 2010, my wife and I counted 15 properties along Rt. 28 for sale, from Bartow south – the Hermitage closed, the Boyer Motel and RR Restaurant are for sale, Ryder’s Restaurant and gas station are for sale and small businesses are scrambling to recover.
That is why I found it curious while reading Chuck Workman’s letter to the Editor in the November 14th edition of The Pocahontas Times that he was so concerned about the loss of commercial timbering in the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument. The 2010 US Census reports that Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Hunting and Mining only account for a 4.6 percent input to the economy in the county. Since there is no longer any mining we can assume the remaining activities account for this small input. This means that each commercial activity only provides approximately 1.1 percent where most of the forestry contribution is likely coming from Beckwith Lumber at Slaty Fork. These anemic numbers are why many businesses are struggling in the county. The 2012 population estimates are 8,692 – the county is bleeding its young people. Without a sufficient job base and livable wages they have to move to sustain their families.
Another curious comment was the unsupported statement that the study performed by Downstream Strategies (a stellar organization) presented highly exaggerated numbers. I have to ask why? What gain would they have to manufacture numbers? In fact the opposite is true their future business depends on the reliability of their product. The projections of 143 jobs, total income of $5,211,300, State and local taxes of $801,000 and an economic output of $14,531,700 seems a little conservative to me. The monument designation will be unique east of the Mississippi River and it will generate interest and bring people in to visit Pocahontas County.
Since Mr. Workman does not want the Birthplace of Rivers compared to other monument areas it would be appropriate to look at a similar proposal west of Pocahontas County. Several years ago a proposal was made to make the New River Gorge a National Park and it received similar blind, emotional opposition. Like the Birthplace of Rivers the New River Gorge National Park was unique being the only national park in West Virginia. Travel now from Summersville to Beckley and try to find someone who wants to change it back. At present the Boy Scouts of America are setting up camp in Fayette County and the regional economy has the power to fuel rockets to the moon. It took leaders with courage, vision and a desire to take bold steps, leaders looking through the windshield not the rear view mirror.
In northern Pocahontas County you have the Durbin and Greenbrier Railroad, Cass Scenic Railroad, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory connected by the Greenbrier River Trail to the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument in the south and with proper promotion there is an economic stimulus to make Pocahontas County soar once again.
Shared letter to Alice Arbuckle from Senator Manchin
Dear Ms. Arbuckle,
Thank you for contacting my office and sharing your thoughts about the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument proposal. Hearing from West Virginians is important to me, and I appreciate your input on this issue.
I understand there are current efforts to designate part of West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest as a National Monument, called Birthplace of Rivers. The potential monument would include the Cranberry Wilderness Area and roughly 75,000 acres of surrounding Appalachian terrain, which is home to some of Appalachia’s best hunting and fishing waters.
The project is a collaborative process involving an array of individuals, organizations and businesses, but a final citizen proposal has not been finalized. As you know, my top priority regarding public lands is protecting these areas for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation opportunities. It is vital that any proposal have the support of sportsmen and local communities.
Currently, this process is at the local and state level. However, if relevant legislation would come before the Senate please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind.
More information about this proposal can be found at www.birthplaceofrivers.org. You can also send your thoughts about the proposal at this site.
Again, thank you for taking the time to add your voice to this important discussion. If I may be of further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.
With warmest regards,
Joe Manchin III
United States Senator