Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

The health insurance tax that took effect in January as part of the Affordable Care Act was originally intended for health insurance companies. The problem is, they are expected to pass the cost over to small business owners and the self-employed. Fortunately, the Jobs and Premium Protection Act has been introduced in both the House and the Senate, and, if enacted, will repeal this unfair, hidden tax.

We have run a bed and breakfast in Jerico for the past 25 years, and we know the struggles of small businesses, particularly those that are seasonal operations. Mild winters like we’ve had the past four years mean we don’t make enough to get through the off-season. Meanwhile, we’re trying to keep healthcare coverage for our employees while still attempting to keep up with the endless taxes and fees that the government imposes. There is no doubt that another tax will just put us under. We can only go so far before we cannot afford another thing. How does the government expect to squeeze money out of stones?

Our elected officials must be reminded of the importance of small businesses to this economy and the communities that rely on us. We need a healthy economic climate to help us grow and flourish, but more taxes just make it hard to keep our heads above water.

Join us in urging Congress to repeal the health insurance tax without delay.


Tom and Linda Moore


Dear Editor and all Senior Citizens:

Are you feeling the economic pressure as much as we are?

I have been retired and on Social Security for more than 10 years, and the cost of living has gone up drastically in the last five of those. The government says that there is no inflation but everything we are buying has gone up – some items by more than 200 percent. Things like food, auto fuel, utilities and taxes.

I just got a notice from the county Assessor that my property assessment will be increased by at least 10 percent. When questioning this decision I was told that the guidelines are set by the State Legislature and the county assessors have to follow them. I qualify for a Homestead Exemption on my home – it hasn’t been raised in more than 15 years.

I did a calculation on my Social Security and found it is equal to a person working 40 hours a week at McDonald’s making minimum wage. That is considered below the poverty line and eligible for food stamps. I never thought that I would be considered to be in the poverty range.

With the government seventeen trillion dollars – $17,000,000,000,000 – in debt and printing seventy-five billion dollars – $75,000,000,000 – every month, economists are saying that inflation will explode. One reported that in the the next five years the majority of people working at McDonald’s will be over 65 and drawing Social Security.

Don’t expect a large increase in your Social Security check. What we can do is tell our Representatives to decrease our taxes and substantially raise the Homestead Exemptions on our property, which we have worked most of our lives to pay for.

Seniors – let our voices be heard. I have talked with Delegate Bill Hartman and he indicated he would support a bill to raise the Homestead Exemption and ease the tax burden on our Seniors. I am encouraging our Senior Citizens to speak out or we will be working at McDonald’s just to keep what we have.

Does anyone remember when the state lottery was adopted and it was supposed to reduce our property taxes?

Doug Cooper

Valley Head


Dear Editor:

I’m writing in regard to the new bill going through West Virginia Senate about legalizing the sale of raw milk.

The FDA states that raw milk is “inherently dangerous” and should not be consumed because of the risk of possible food-borne illness. But evidence has shown that pasteurization does not necessarily mean safe and clean. Pasteurization also destroys essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes along with lactic-acid producing bacteria and other heat sensitive compounds that actually protect against the growth of pathogens. Without these helpful microorganisms, pasteurized milk putrefies as it ages instead of turning pleasantly sour. Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enigh, Ph.D, 1999.

There have been many outbreaks of salmonella from contaminated milk in recent decades and all have occurred in pasteurized milk. This includes a 1985 out break in Illinois that affected more than 1,400 people causing at least one death. According to The Milk Book, by William Campbell Douglass MD, 1994, the salmonella strain from that batch of milk was found to be genetically resistant to both penicillin and tetracycline.

A compilation of published reports of illness attributed to raw milk from 1999 to 2010 shows that during that period, illnesses attributed to raw milk averaged 42 per year. Wise Traditions, journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, 2011. According to the CDC FoodNet survey in 2007, 3.04 percent of the population consumes raw milk. We can take these numbers and find that the rate of illness from raw milk is about .00044 percent, hardly a basis for calling milk “inherently dangerous.”

There are about 48,000,000 cases of food-borne infections per year in the United States with a population of about 300,000,000. The rate of illness from all foods can be calculated at 16 percent. Therefore, one is at least 35,000 times more likely to contract illness from other foods that from raw milk.

Currently under the West Virginia law, farmers are considered criminals for selling raw milk. Yet the FDA allows the sale of tobacco- known to cause human cancer and causes about one in five deaths every year in the United States according to the CDC.

Shouldn’t we, as American citizens, have the right to purchase raw milk if we so choose?

Adrienne Cedarleaf



Dear Editor:

Trout Unlimited is the state’s largest and most effective cold water fishing organization. With more than 1,600 volunteer members and a staff of more than a dozen professionals, we have restored hundreds of miles of cold water trout habitat in West Virginia.

The Pocahontas Times has done an outstanding job of covering some of these local efforts such as the partnership with United States Forest Service to restore the Greenbrier watershed. Our volunteers give up their vacation days and weekends to improve our trout streams. TU has and will continue to focus all its efforts to conserve, protect and restore our streams for all West Virginia’s anglers.

It’s such a shame to see our organization attacked for our efforts in recent letters.  West Virginia Trout Unlimited and our members are deeply connected to the streams in the proposed Birthplace of Rivers National Monument, so there was no way we were going to let a proposal move forward without the voice of sportsmen to make sure it preserved our outdoor traditions.  These are some of the best trout streams in our whole state, where anglers come from across the nation to experience Appalachia’s finest waters.  The Mountain State’s anglers are too concerned about rivers such as the Cranberry, Elk, Williams and Cherry to sit back and watch the federal government hand control of public land over to outside corporations and big-time development, as Congress has recently set out to do, over and over again.

Though we felt it was important to protect these streams, we made it clear we would not support any effort that compromised access of sportsmen, or reduced the management role of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR).  Additionally, our support required trout stocking be allowed, access for stream liming and restoration continue, and specifically spelled out our opposition to the National Park Service managing lands in the National Forest.

Here are some facts about what is actually being proposed in the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument:  Hunting and fishing are intended uses of the national monument, and the designation celebrates those uses, rather than restricting them.  Trapping and hunting with dogs would also be allowed.  Collecting wild edible plants, such as ramps and mushrooms has always been part of the vision of the monument proposal.  No currently-open roads would be closed.  Fish and wildlife management by WVDNR would not be restricted, but could be improved by the strong possibility of generating more revenue for important conservation projects.

Recent letters in The Pocahontas Times have accused the hardworking Trout Unlimited volunteers of being elitists, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  The proposal Trout Unlimited backs emphasizes preserved access to the best hunting and fishing in the Mountain State for everyone, as well as a strong management partnership with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

If we’re ever going to pull ourselves away from being near the bottom in every socio-economic category, we can’t just attack all new ideas, especially when those ideas are intentionally crafted to make the outcome work for everyone.  If folks want to be involved in the proposal and add their voice to the collaborative process, let’s talk.  Otherwise, at least refrain from launching character attacks against those addressing your concerns.  In this case, we have a lot to gain by coming together and doing something good for West Virginia.  But for our local economies and our sporting heritage, we can’t afford to sit back and do nothing.

Philip Smith, Chair

West Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited


Dear Editor:

I was glad to read in your paper last week about the Hillsboro School getting a long-deserved new cafeteria.

School lunches have greatly declined since I was in the school system. My great-grandchildren tell me about their lunches and ask me why I don’t come back and make some good hot rolls.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not the cooks of todays’ fault. It’ s the Federal Government. Like everything else in the U.S., the lunch program has gone to pot.

I could write a book about the faults of the lunch program today. Some day I will.

I get so downhearted when I hear stories about the food in the lunchroom. Its a terrible shame.

When I was buyer for the county, I know I was hard on my cooks in the schools when I made the menus – hot rolls, pot pie, Mexican pie, fried chicken, school-made hamburger and hotdog buns, our famous pizza, and so many more dishes.

It was wonderful to see those children come through the line. I can still see them smiling when we could give them seconds when they wanted seconds.

I’m not boasting, but I’m proud to say we still have two cafeteria managers who I trained at Marlinton – Mary Dilley and Doris Sharp.

Doris has long deserved a new cafeteria. She works so hard to feed the children at Hillsboro.

She and Mary are both wonderful cooks, but all cooks’ hands are tied today when it comes to feeding our children in Pocahontas County.

My little great-granddaughter, Allyson Alderman, was visiting me the other day and she told me that Miss Doris could make peanut butter crackers better than me, and I’ll bet she can.

I could write a lot more about school lunches of yesterday and today.

But I’ll just say thanks for Evelyn Beverage, Betty Gum, Naomi Miller, Grace Landis, Goldie Kellison, Corenia Jordan, Edith Triplett, Lottie McKenney and the rest of the cooks – there were so many – who did such a wonderful job at Green Bank, PCHS, Marlinton and Hillsboro, and thanks to the cooks today who work to feed our children, but do not have the freedom to cook good food like we did years ago.

Louise Barnisky


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