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Dear Editor:
It was with dismay, disillusionment and disappointment, I read The Pocahontas Times article dated March 5, 2015 titled “Complaint Channel Available for Jet Noise.”
As a retired military and corporate pilot with over 40 years of aviation experience, I have lived in, flown in, flown over or served in nearly every country in the world.
As a child born and raised in Cross Lanes, West Virginia, I would often accompany my father on routine (10+ trips per year) camping, hunting, fishing and on various adventure trips to Pocahontas County. As the years progressed, I began spending more and more time in Pocahontas County. For all intents and purposes, it is where I truly grew up. It is where I learned to hunt, fish, drive an automobile and, over time, fell in love with her beauty and its people.
Although I have owned a home in Pocahontas County since 1995, I just recently retired from a long career as a Military Intelligence Officer and Military/Corporate Pilot and am now living my dream in the place with so many fond memories. My home is located along the low level military route near the Greenbrier River outlined by your article. In your article you spoke of a Hillsboro resident who felt anger every time she was startled by the sound of the low flying military aircraft near her home.
What a contrast in people and attitudes, every time I hear the sound of our military aircraft, I am filled with pride, excitement and a sense of honor. Those of us who have lived, fought and seen the sacrifices of our military first hand in foreign counties, do not take our freedom or our God Given Rights as an American lightly. One of these rights is for this lady in Hillsboro to complain, but I wonder how many citizens of communist and third world countries would love to have the opportunity to hear the sound of a low level military aircraft protecting their rights – oh, that’s right, they don’t have any rights.
The next time you hear the sound of the greatest military in the world performing “Real Life Low Level Training” at tree top level at 500 + mph, you should thank the Lord above that you are an American and you have just heard “The Sound of Freedom.”
Keith A. Wood
U.S. Army (Retired)
Dear Editor:
In response to the article in The Pocahontas Times, March 5, 2015, “Complaint channel available for jet noise.”
The sound that you hear is the “Sound of Freedom.”
These pilots are developing their flying skill to protect you.
If you don’t like that sound, maybe you will like the sound of ISIS or some other radical group when they occupy this great country.
Robert Patterson, PE
Viet Nam Veteran

Dear Editor:
To anyone complaining about the jet noise – be thankful that they are American.
Think – Jet Noise – Sound of Freedom.
Veronica Swink
Dear Editor:
I was taught to respect our elders – farmers who feed us, state road workers who make our passage possible, fireman who come to our aid, doctors who save us, law enforcement who protect us and our children, and the Armed Forces who defend our land.
What has happened to our society when it is more concerned about noise than what it takes to practice to learn to defend this country.
I am thankful it is jet noise and not bomb noise over my house.
Let the Red, White and Blue fly!
I love jet noise.
Beverly Eads
Dear Editor:
It was good to see our county get special attention at the first Pocahontas County Day at the State Capitol on Friday, February 27.
Several Pocahontas Coun-ty Artisan Co-op members – Jane Beverage, Cheryl Beverage, Kelsey Beverage and Marie Sharp – were also present at this special event with the goal of promoting the arts in Pocahontas County. I applaud these volunteers for their efforts and for driving to Charleston in the winter weather. They garnered a lot of attention at the event with their display of the fine arts and fine crafts that can be found here in Pocahontas County.
I appreciate the volunteer efforts of these fellow members. This type of Promotion of the Arts can assist in creating Pocahontas County as a final destination for visitors outside of the county who are looking for quality and unique fine arts and fine crafts.
David “Woody” Harman

Dear Editor:
I am a volunteer math tutor at two of the county’s elementary schools. I like the Common Core State Standards (known in West Virginia as Next Generation) because they provide a clear definition of the knowledge and demonstrated abilities students should achieve in each grade. I like knowing that third graders should start the year knowing basic addition and subtraction facts without counting on their fingers and should learn the multiplication tables through the 12s by the end of the school year. When I work with fourth graders, I like knowing that they need to master division by the end of the year based on a thorough knowledge of addition, subtraction and multiplication. Fifth grade standards build on the knowledge and skills that fifth graders should have mastered before entering fifth grade so that, among other things, they understand fractions before going to middle school. Because I know what the standards call for, I can recognize when students need help or reinforcement in certain conceptual or practical areas – and structure my tutoring to each child’s needs.
I am not a communist and the fact that I like the Common Core does not make me one, contrary to the view expressed in a letter in last week’s Times. Teachers and school administrators who are working to implement the Common Core are not communists, nor are they laboring “in denial and defiance of Natural Law.” To suggest that they are, as the writer did, shows a profound misunderstanding of Common Core Standards, communism, and Natural Law.
Unfortunately, there is not enough space available here to contradict or rebut all of the untruths and misrepresentations contained in that letter. To quote Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.”
And, while I’m at it, let me express outrage at the wrongheaded and counterproductive vote by the House of Delegates to repeal the Common Core as standards for primary and secondary education in the state. West Virginia was the second state to adopt the Common Core; it should not be among the first states to abandon it without allowing time for full implementation. Eleven Republicans sponsored the House bill, thus making it a partisan political issue; the fact that many Democrats also supported the bill only demonstrates their fickleness and failure to hold the courage of their (prior) convictions.
Our delegates, Denise Campbell and Bill Hartman, should be lauded for voting against repeal.
Amanda Pasdon, chair of the House Committee on Education, declaimed that “the overwhelming majority of West Virginians do not support the Common Core Standards” which probably means that most people she talked to (given that she is a known opponent of Common Core) said they are opposed to the whole idea – hardly a valid gauge of public opinion.
I suggest that most West Virginians do not have sufficient knowledge of the “true” facts about the Common Core to have an informed opinion one way or the other. Now that Republicans control the legislature, however, they have the luxury of being able to define truth consistent with their intellectually dishonest political rhetoric – and pass laws accordingly.
In that event, Governor Tomblin (nominally a Democrat) is the only hope for common sense to prevail. Heaven help us.
Jay Miller
Dear Editor:
Charter schools originally were conceived as teacher-led laboratories of education reform that would encourage innovative practice and deeper collaboration between educators, school administrators and parents. Unfortunately, corporate charter school operators—with their emphasis on expanding market share—have strayed far from that vision. The truth is, charter schools fall woefully short when it comes to providing a high-quality, equitable education.
As the West Virginia Legislature considers a proposal to expand charter schools in our state, I have to ask: How can we justify taking money away from our neighborhood public schools? Why not invest in public education as a way to fulfill our collective obligation to empower and educate all children?
Today, there is a school in Fayette County—Collins Middle School—that is under control of the West Virginia Board of Education. This school has been condemned and deemed unsafe for our students. Residents have been told the state does not have money to build a new facility.
While it’s true that there are problems with the current education system, we have an opportunity to develop real, community-driven solutions that improve educational outcomes for “all” students. Instead of closing schools and handing them over to charters and education profiteers, elected officials should work with local communities, parents and educators to transform public education.
By working together, we can make neighborhood public school a school where parents want to send their children and where teachers want to teach. We do this by ensuring that schools are safe, welcoming places where students have a rich, engaging curriculum; where teachers and school staff are respected, well-prepared and supported; and where students and educators are given the tools and resources they need to succeed.
It’s time to invest in West Virginia’s schools and the children who depend on them, instead of privatizing public education and abdicating our shared responsibility to those who would put profits ahead of what’s best for students.
 Andy Bird
Dear Editor:
In its zest to send a message to Washington the West Virginia Legislature has carelessly endorsed an amended HB 2201 which will penalize home and business owners who have made an investment in solar. Governor Tomblin can veto this legislation and ensure that West Virginia continues to lead the nation as a state whose Net Metering and Interconnection rules presently receive an “A” grade from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
The amended HB 2201 would allow power companies to charge extra fees to home and business owners that have solar panels. The legislation seeks to impose an expensive and unnecessary requirement for extra equipment at homes and businesses that use solar. Finally, the bill will limit the number of solar electric systems that can be connected to the power grid – thus limiting the expansion of this valuable technology.
Governor Tomblin has the opportunity to veto HB 2201 as a clear give-away to the power companies at the expense of West Virginians. Solar has an important place in the state’s energy mix. Animosity toward the technology is driven by entrenched power company interests that see solar as a threat. It is a threat; solar is a viable source of power generation that can be installed on a roof-top. No fuel except sunshine is needed to run these power plants. Since solar power is often produced where it is consumed the amount of line loss through transmission is negligible.
Reasonable Net Metering policies are the lynchpin to democratizing power production, becoming more energy independent and for engineering a more reliable grid. The Legislature’s attempt to upset Net Metering through HB 2201 is sad evidence of pandering to lobbyists while ignoring the interests of regular people. It is a transgression that the Governor can thwart through veto and it presents him with an opportunity to lead West Virginia toward a better energy future.
Matt Sherald
Dear Editor:
I am writing in regards to HB 2201 which is on Gov. Tomblin’s desk right now. Again.
We have had a solar net metering system installed on the roof of our house in Green Bank since 2012 and it is working great so far. The system has a life span of 30-plus years.
Net metering allows homeowners, farmers, businesses, and commercial entities to get a one-for-one credit for any surplus solar electricity they produce on their properties and which is then fed to the grid. It’s a policy that creates regulatory certainty and ensures that citizens receive a return on their 30-year investments in solar power systems.
We made this big investment with the expectation of regulatory certainty.
Earlier in this year’s legislative session, the West Virginia Legislature repealed the 2009 Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard law but wisely kept the part of the law that authorized the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) to regulate net metering for retail electric customers.
Unfortunately, legislators and power company lobbyists then introduced HB 2201. Although the bill started out as a good piece of legislation, it was subsequently amended to include more and more attacks on net metering. The bill includes vague and misleading language about “cross-subsidization” which could allow the Legislature or the PSC to change how solar power producers are paid for our excess electricity. It also puts into law a number of the PSC’s net metering regulations, which is unnecessary.
The meddling and manipulation of HB 2201 means the bill now casts a cloud of regulatory uncertainty over past and future investments in WV solar energy systems like ours. It seems the goal here is to end the solar boom in West Virginia before it even started.
We’re not alone in supporting solar in West Virginia, though. Since 2009, more than 600 residential and small business customers in West Virginia have invested millions of dollars in new electricity generation with the understanding that net metering would be there to help us pay off our investments in West Virginia’s energy future.
Solar installers in West Virginia are already seeing current orders being canceled or postponed as customers fear for the future of their investments. Large installed projects, such as those at American Public University in Jefferson County or the Morgantown Transit Authority, are now looking at much longer payoff periods on their investments of taxpayer funds. Most disturbing of all, Yeager Airport’s planned project to invest $15 million to $20 million in the largest solar power array in the state may not happen.
HB2201, vetoed once by Gov. Tomblin, is back on his desk a second time with only minimal changes. The bill is aimed straight at killing West Virginia’s small, but growing, solar power industry. This industry includes residential electric customers, installation companies and large institutions. HB2201 has already cost our state jobs and new business. Gov. Tomblin simply cannot allow FirstEnergy and AEP, through the West Virginia Legislature, to dictate the direction of West Virginia’s energy future. He needs to veto HB2201 a second time in order to honor his commitment to the solar community.
Baudler Family
Green Bank
Dear Editor:
I write this in the belief that the residents of Pocahontas County have the ability to find a path through the debate over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that will provide benefits to all parties.   So far, as we have been approached with the prospect of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline crossing our county, we have chosen to take up sides, pitting one faction, (often misconceived) against another. We have outsiders against insiders, environmentalists against non-environmentalists, farmers against tourism promotors, and on and on, ad infinitum.  No one, except Dominion, wins, given these divisions.
Instead, let me suggest that we should make a unified approach to the pipeline project and make it one in which everyone wins.  The fact is, we are about to be used by a monolithic corporate enterprise that is taking resources from West Virginia and using them to benefit residents of other states, if not other countries, at our expense.  As of now, we are not even going to be allowed to purchase natural gas from the pipeline that crosses our county.  If we are not going to oppose this invasion of our property rights, and our resources, let’s at least join forces in making Dominion cross our county on our terms, and not theirs.  Right now, they hold all the cards and seem to have all the power to use us and our resources as they please, at their beck and call.  
It’s time to unite and take charge of our resources and use them as we see fit.  We can only do this if we stand together, and avoid being divided by the factions that have already begun.  I’m sure that those divisions are in Dominion’s favor, and will allow them to proceed on their own terms instead of ours.  If we work together, at least maybe we can garner some return from Dominion, such as the local use of some of the gas that passes through the pipeline, or revenue that exceeds the property taxes that no one at this time is certain will be accrued from them.  Let’s work to prevent the establishment of eminent domain and the snatching away of our property rights without our approval.  Let’s at least gain revenue for the county from the right-of-way of the pipeline across our land.  Let us not give away what is rightfully ours so that someone outside our county, our state, and maybe even our country, can benefit, while we suffer losses to our property values and resources.  
I hope our Commissioners and the residents they represent can join forces and work for the good of everyone in the county.  We can do this by using our governmental institutions to write ordinances and laws that benefit the residents of the County.  I implore the County Commissioners, interest groups and other elected officials to take a unified stand and use the powers available to them to negotiate with Dominion to use our county lands and resources on our terms, not theirs.  Together we can arrive at benefits for all.  Let us not pass an opportunity to obtain just compensation for the encroachment of this project on our county and its natural resources.  Divided, we will be at the mercy of big petroleum enterprises that share little or none of their benefits with us. 
Yours for a unified Pocahontas County.
Thomas P. Epling

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