Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:
I’m writing to thank Pocahontas County residents for their generosity in helping needy children worldwide this Christmas season. Together we were able to collect 12,128 shoeboxes – filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items – for Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. For many children, these shoeboxes will be the first gifts they have ever received.
Although our local drop-off locations in Randolph and surrounding counties are closed until November 2015, shoebox gifts can be packed any time. Operation Christmas Child is a project of the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, and gifts are received year-round at its North Carolina headquarters at 801 Bamboo Road, Boone, North Carolina 28607.
To learn about year-round volunteer opportunities to serve with Operation Christmas child, visit samaritanspurse.org or call 304-636-6367.
Thank you again to everyone who participated in this project. A simple gift, packed with love, can communicate hope and transform the lives of children worldwide.
Sincerely
Bob Cowgill
Community Relations Coordinator
Operation Christmas Child, Elkins

Dear Editor:
Pocahontas County’s Internet in remote Green Bank is very slow and sporadic. Last night, December 14, I investigated why computer files disappeared and other files were disappearing as I worked on them and the computer manufacturer tried accessing my computer so I could show them the problem and they guided me, in an attempt to diagnose and correct the problem. The Internet was very slow, quitting sporadically, therefore during the three-hour timespan of slow sporadic Internet access, they were unsuccessful. The Internet was so slow, I was unable to run a speed-test.
Saturday, my husband and I were invited to watch a live performance on the Internet. It was discouraging that we were unable to watch this, and the connection was lost many times. This reminded me of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on a Thursday when the Internet was not working, telephone conversations were garbled, and voices sounded like people talking into a tin can. Repair by Frontier was scheduled for Wednesday – in six days. There is still a problem. What about seeing the Rose Bowl – parade and game – on New Year’s Day?
We have had Frontier over to evaluate our home multiple times and they have commented the modem is running at full speed. Speed tests however do not agree that the bandwidth is available. If this problem is not at the house, this would then mean it is upstream.  A side effect of overloaded network lines at Frontier is random latency issues, such as what one can see by using tiny ping requests. These ping times are reported from the router to Amazon and during times in which we are not using the Internet at home.”
Orders for products online via the Internet often time-out, therefore orders are not completely processed. This is a problem preparing for Christmas when I telephone, companies have no record of my Internet order. A year ago, we had a problem ordering parts to repair our furnace – we were weeks without heat last winter.
I am curious if there are potential problems between medical devices and links to clinics, hospitals, etc. using the slow unreliable Internet.
Frontier is not providing “broadband” as it is now illegal for them to use that term for their DSL – “If it isn’t 10 MBPS then it isn’t broadband.”
Frontier continues to provide a slow service even when faster Internet connections are piped to the observatory and other businesses in the area. Either Frontier needs to have a push back from the residences (by a petition or along those lines) to remove their antiquated hardware and give the citizens real broadband or the city should take the lines and offer a service through a municipality.
Yesterday, when I telephoned about the Internet problem I was having, the Frontier person told me Pocahontas County’s remote Green Bank is supposed to have 0.320 MBPS. Let’s qualify for the federal rural funding initiative and step up to over 1 GBps fiber optic broadband is our suggestion now. Can it be explained when this can be done?
Diane Schou
Green Bank

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