Letters to the Editor
I attended the public meeting with the Board of Education on Monday, February 3, at the Marlinton Middle School concerning the changes in the school calendar. I was extremely pleased to see a large number of attendees including staff from all the county schools and parents/guardians. Those staff members and parents/guardians in attendance were there to discuss the calendar in regards to their children for the upcoming school year. Many opinions, thoughts and concerns were brought to light and I do think the Board was able to get an idea on how the majority of those who attended felt about these changes.
Unfortunately, there was something that bothered and distracted me. Emery Grimes, the President of the Board, tapped his gavel, called the meeting to order, and handed the meeting over to Mr. Beam. Immediately, two board members that we, as the voters of Pocahontas County elected to oversee the educational concerns of our children, proceeded to get knitting items out of their bags and knit. Throughout the entire hour and a half that I was there they were knitting. Even though I was able to participate in the meeting and even voice my opinion on the matter I kept looking the way of those two board members.
Not only was it a distraction but most importantly, I feel it was extremely disrespectful and unprofessional. I have never been to a meeting of any caliber where a member seated on a board or panel immediately began doing something other than listening/participating in the discussion at hand.
We, as parents/guardians, were there for the concern of our children and for me, those two board members were not focused and showed no signs of concern. Now, they both may be very concerned with the calendar for next year, but they did not give that impression which again relates back to the unprofessionalism.
As I mentioned above, this was extremely bothersome to me. I want my elected officials of any office to participate, focus and be actively involved in that office whether it is at meetings, private offices or in public. In my opinion, both of the members could have shown professionalism and respect and waited until they were in their homes to complete their knitting projects.
Apparently our elected officials and those in power controlling our money have, once again, decided that raising dogs to run at the dog track is more important than feeding our home-bound seniors. The latest information is that $439,000 is slated to be taken out of the Senior Nutrition program and funneled into Parks and Recreation, which translates to subsidizing breeding and raising greyhounds for the dog track. The Bureau of Senior Services currently gets $42.8 million of the lottery money while dog rearing gets $87.6 million. Evidently this is not enough money for the dogs, and too many seniors are being fed.
Studies show that one year of meals for Seniors costs about the same as one week in the nursing home. You would think that our officials would catch on that it is cheaper and more desirable to have people remain at home as long as possible. The meal program is a vital part of this taking place, especially in rural areas.
Correct me if I am wrong, but when the lottery was voted on and approved in West Virginia, I remember that the proceeds were to be split between school, roads and the senior programs. I don’t remember voting to fund raising dogs.
If you are not an avid supporter of our senior population, you might want to check on the other programs that are being cut in favor of raising greyhounds. Our youngsters scholarship funds are taking a hit, too.
If you want to help, write or call our legislators and the governor. Also, watch for our fundraiser in Hillsboro in March. All profit goes to Meals-On-Wheels.
I read with interest both your front page article last week about the problems with Internet service in Pocahontas County and the front page second section article about the PCHS Lady Warriors with the photo of Lorena Rose shooting. This sparked a fond memory: John Hartford singing the old Civil War song “Lorena” at the depot 18 years ago, as Cara held baby Lorena in her arms. I turned on my computer and pulled up YouTube to watch John Hartford sing that song once again, but it buffered so badly that I gave up trying to watch. I then ran the Frontier speed test and learned that my download rate was 0.53 mega bits and upload was 0.11 megabits. This is way below the advertised rate for which we pay $50 per month, the same as people in Charleston who get much faster service.
Another note: Wednesday I offered a job to a very talented young woman writer and photographer, a summa cum laude graduate a of a major university. She wrote back Friday declining the offer, citing as one of her reasons:
“Having reliable phone and Internet service is particularly important to me, both during the work day and on a personal, day-to-day basis.”
Lake Reed Road
In 2012, Frontier promised (over the telephone) that the Internet speed problem I was encountering would be corrected in two months. Now, in 2014, the Internet is worse.
The world is going to 1 Gbps (1 Gigabit per second = 1000 Megabits per second = 1000 Mbps). 1 Gbps is the speed rural Iowa has installed; a faster speed which unexpectedly has increased my husband’s business. The Frontier Internet speed I have access to is less than 0.04 Mbps much of the time now. Comparably, the speed 0.02 Mbps = 0.00002 Gbps = 1/50000 of 1 Gbps. This is 1/100th of Frontier’s claim to provide 2 Mbps, which is still slow. I test my speed with http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ and select the closest city, Washington D.C. If it does not download, I suspect the speed is less than 0.04 Mbps.
Since Pocahontas County Internet is being installed or rebuilt, please plan for 1 Gbps fiber optics. Do not place in service something that is outdated, slower (copper slows and looses power, deteriorates, emits ground currents, even more with distance), both copper and wireless networks are slower and less secure. Fiber optics is more secure, does not deteriorate over distance, and has less noise – good for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
A side thought: could 1 Gbps Internet become an attraction or a draw for people visiting Snowshoe?
Internet speed minimums according to the FCC (Federal Communication Commission, 2013) are: Email 0.5, interactive pages and short educational videos 1, Internet radio or phone calls 0.5, quality video conferencing and tele-learning 4, quality Internet movie or university lecture 4, quality two-way gaming 4 Mbps.
Faster Internet could help us with so many closed days for school, with limited telephone use, with medical service either a distance or limited, with no quick access i.e. via interstate highway or airport, with no television, and with limited radio. A high speed Internet will help businesses and students as well as health providers and many other services.
According to Dr. Susan Crawford, a communication’s expert at Harvard University, Internet connection is the challenge of our age, like rural electrification was in the days of President Franklin Roosevelt.
Slow Internet will be putting the future, residents and businesses of Pocahontas County in a third-world position. Without Internet upgrade or improvement, those with slower Internet will fall way behind other areas.
How we treat animals other than humans is a measure of our humanity. Hopefully, theCounty Commission will continue its funding of the animal shelter as one of its highest budget priorities.
The following is in response to Mr. Philip Smith’s recent letter concerning my letter opposing the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument.
I’m real sorry my letter disappointed Mr. Smith of Trout Unlimited. Hopefully he will find comfort in the knowledge that I’ve disappointed others. This generally happened when I opposed something they supported.
Mr. Smith’s letter denied that TU has ever proposed a National Park in the Monongahela National Forest. As far as I know they never had, and my letter didn’t accuse them by name. His letter did indicate that TU was the main group behind the Monument proposal. Now I’m the one disappointed.
TU use to be a great sportsmen organization. It appears that the State and National TU leadership has been taken over by the elitists.
Mr. Smith limited his comments on my letter to the National Park issue. I can then only assume he agreed with the other issues raised. That included the lack of economic benefits from such areas and the increased restrictions on use of the areas. He even agreed that you couldn’t trust government – but for a different reason.
Mr. Smith and TU leadership have adopted the policy that no non-native trout species can be stocked in native trout streams. While this policy currently affects only TU chapters, there is an effort to get the State DNR to adopt this policy. If that happened, no hatchery brown or rainbow trout would be stocked in such streams as the WIlliams River, Cranberry River, Shavers Fork, Elk River or the North and South Folks of Cherry. I believe the DNR is too smart to adopt such a self-destructive policy.
Some State and National TU members strongly support this no stocking policy. In 2012, they planned a fishing derby on Laurel Fork of the North Fork in Pendleton County. The goal was to remove and kill as many brown trout as possible from this native brook trout stream.There were to be prizes for the angler that caught the largest and the most brown trout. This was planned by an organization that strongly advocates the no kill catch and release concept. Luckily the DNR denied the permit for the event and the majority of WV TU members learned of the proposal and opposed it. The event never occurred.
I worked for the WVDNR for 38 years. During the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s I worked closely with several environmental groups on various projects.This included such projects as Corridor H, Wilderness Areas and the Forest Service 10-year plan being prepared. During that time a National Park was frequently discussed and, at that time, I understood some members of Congress were contacted.
The area proposed for the National Monument is similar to that proposed for the National Park. That could be only coincidental. Also remember that about five years ago there was a strong push by environment groups to have Blackwater Canyon in Tucker County made a National Park.
I’ve talked to numerous sportsmen and citizens and have yet to find any support for it. I understand that the National Wild Turkey Federation strongly opposes it, as does the WVDNR. I assume the Bowhunters Association and Trappers Association also oppose it. Even the members of TU I’ve talked to oppose it. It appears that most citizens oppose additional government control.
I guess I’ve disappointed Mr. Smith again. However, it is time for the citizens in the area proposed for the National Monument to make their voices heard. Take the necessary action to stop it. Vote only for the candidates that oppose it from dogcatcher to governor.
Retired WVDNR Biologist