Watoga State Park was declared an International Dark Sky Park. In line with this, residents are encouraged to reduce light pollution to maintain and enhance this status.
So, what’s the big deal? I have a dusk-to-dawn light, and it’s my property so I can run as many lights at night as I want to.
Yup, you sure can, and I respect your right to do so, it is your property and your choice, but let me ask you a question. Would you pour used motor oil into your favorite fishing hole? My guess is probably not. In addition to living in an area with many freedoms including great hunting, property rights and fishing opportunities. We are also blessed with something that city slickers do not have and that is dark skies.
The average person living in a big east coast city or suburb can barely see a few bright stars and the moon, forget the Milky Way.
On a clear night we can experience sights from our own back yards that they never will. Their streams, like their degraded skies, are open drainage ditches and have not had fish in them for decades.
I grew up in Baltimore near a stream called Herring Run. It has not seen a herring in generations and the night sky was completely washed-out years ago.
I moved here, after being a regular visitor since the 80s, to get away from that mess and because I like the people and freedom.
So, I ask you to consider enhancing our dark skies by reducing outdoor lighting and using motion detector lights instead of dusk-to-dawn and other always on lighting. In addition to helping preserve our dark skies you will also save money, which these days is something most of us want to do.
When you get a chance, look up one dark and clear night and enjoy our unique skies. All you need is a lawn chair or blanket and your eyes or a pair of binoculars to get started. It takes the human eyes about 15 minutes of darkness to fully adapt. A lot of online info, to include smart phone apps, will show the location of the planets and when meteor showers take place.
One of the nice things is the price of admission to this ever-changing show is free.
If you want to run bright lights at night on your property, it’s your property, and your right, but please consider the other options.
The 16th Century Italian government official Niccolò Machiavelli is best known for arguing that people in power should use deception, force and manipulation if those means are necessary to achieve their ends.
The Pocahontas Times (6-29-2023, p. 2) published a press release from West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin announcing how proud he was to have recently secured approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in the recent debt ceiling legislation.
Whether or not one supports the MVP, responsible citizens should be alarmed at the Machiavellian tactics that Manchin maneuvered. Here is the backstory.
By spring 2022, MVP construction was stalled due to failure to meet environmental regulations and court decisions. Talk was that the MVP would give up just as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline did in 2020.
During the first half of 2022, President Joe Biden was stymied in his efforts to pass a major bill that would include significant provisions on energy, healthcare, and taxation. Sen. Manchin was the major obstacle to Biden’s initial proposals. However, in late July, Biden and Manchin came to an agreement that then paved the way to the passage and enactment of what is called the “Inflation Reduction Act” (IRA).
To gain his support of the IRA, Manchin behind closed doors made a handshake deal with Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate President Chuck Schumer to back his forthcoming bill to ensure the prompt construction of the MVP and fast track other fossil fuel infrastructure projects. By the way, Manchin is the largest recipient in Congress of campaign funds from fossil fuel industries.
In September and again in December Manchin tried to tack his 91-page “Energy Reform Permitting Bill” onto essential government budget bills. Included was a proviso requiring all federal regulatory agencies to approve the MVP, and to strip the court of jurisdiction. Outraged citizens rallied Congress to thwart Manchin’s attempts.
However, by May 2023, the nation was facing an economic crisis if borrowing capability over expiring current debt ceiling was not addressed. After contentious, politics-fueled maneuvering, Congress bipartisan-passed a debt-ceiling bill in early June. Manchin and his Republican counterpart, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, tacked onto the bill the unrelated expedited approval of the MVP. With the borrowing crisis imminent, an amendment to strip the provisions on the MVP was unsuccessful. Manchin got his way.
The problems will not go away. MVP construction had tacked on numerous violations. The coating on unused pipes exposed to the sun is many years past the recommended six-month timeframe to be installed and covered. And despite Manchin’s claim that MVP gas is needed to supply America’s energy, the MVP might operate at only 35 percent capacity once built since it would feed into the Transco pipeline that is already operating near full capacity.
I was one of the “17 angry citizens” who went to the County Commission over a year ago now, pleading for help with the problem of illegal drugs in the county. I thank the Sheriff for getting a drug dog, as that was some progress. However, in all that time, there seems to have been little more, presumably because those with the power to help are not helping and, of course, the tragic loss of our Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.
By all indications, the tax free illegal meth business in Pocahontas County is growing in leaps and bounds. How many more have to die before people with the power to stop it start trying to stop it? How many more Pocahontas sons and daughters have to become meth addicts? How many more community funerals do we have to hold before the local meth businesses are finally shut down for good?
Other West Virginia cities and counties are cleaning up their drug problems with interagency task forces. They are rounding up dozens of meth entrepreneurs, slapping dealers and illegal drug business big wigs with strong felony convictions, and sending them to actual prison for proper long terms, away from their drug business and druggie friends. They can confiscate land, homes, cars, and bank accounts used in the drug businesses. The interagency task forces don’t mess around.
So. When is our turn? When does the interagency cleaning crew start to work on Pocahontas County? You and your readers should hope it is soon. Meth addicts drive. Many of them drive. You drive, yes? Think about it. You are sharing roads with them and there is nothing more than a little yellow paint separating you from who knows how many flying-high meth heads rushing to make that next meth sale or purchase, or gearing up for or coming down from a weekend of meth parties. How long before another roadway tragedy hits and one of you becomes a road kill statistic, too? I hope you do think about it.
By the way, I am confident that God wants meth addicts to turn in their pushers and dealers and to get treatment before someone else dies. And I expect God wants anyone who knows who the dealers and pushers are to turn them in, even family. Putting meth dealers and pushers in prison is a Christian thing to do. WWJD?
If you aren’t moved to care one way or the other, then, my question for you is: How successful does the county-wide drug trade have to become before you all just give up and give over the remainder of the county and its children to the drug thugs? I assume you have somewhere else to live?
It is in your hands, people.