I remember growing up in London after World War II when the city was not only noisy and crowded but dirty and drab. Salmon had not risen in the River Thames since Charles Dicken’s day, and otters along with most other animals were long extinct. Even the water from our faucet tasted bad, though Londoners joked it must be pure after passing through three bishops along the river before it was tapped for our borough.
Metropolitan life never appealed to me and, although it is now glitzier than in those days, I still feel anonymous there. It would never fulfill my yearning for space and a clean environment, and you will never be greeted in a London street by a complete stranger with the “West Virginia wave.”
But when my family moved to the suburbs I found a 200-acre parcel of woodland to roam and fire my imagination of the great forest that still covers much of Appalachia.
The chance to build a home in Pocahontas County a decade ago was the fulfilment of a dream I shared with my wife, who descends from pioneer stock. I found everything here I cherished – mountain panoramas, abundant wildlife and fisheries, pure water, and above all peace. I thought those jewels were too precious to squander, and lucky the folk who dwell here.
They are now threatened by the pipelines snaking across West Virginia which, judging by signboards along roads, are widely opposed, provide little benefit for the residents most affected, and have potentially irreversible impacts on the land and water supply. Moreover, some experts believe that overcapacity will soon render them redundant, but a pecuniary momentum seems unable to stop.
Even before chain-saws and diggers start to carve the forest and karst, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is bringing anxiety to our community, like a snake wiggling up to homes, farms, fisheries and businesses until the route is decided in some remote boardroom.
Well-meaning people have tried to reassure us, “It won’t be as bad as you imagine,” but can they know better than we who bought a home in Tidewater, Virginia, with a gasoline pipeline less than a stone’s throw away?
Everyone brings a personal perspective to this debate. Mine is that the joy of living in the county helped to launch my second career as a writer, and inspired a book celebrating the beauty of Appalachia and the sturdy character forged by a hard history. I wrote early drafts with mounting optimism for tourism and new settlers like us who came for scenic beauty, a pristine environment and outdoor activities.
But since the snake now coils alongside our property I don’t have the heart to finish it, and am waking from a dream to realize it may be time to move on.
But we don’t look for sympathy because that is mainly deserved by neighbors and friends for whom this Eden has always been their home and for generations their families thought they owned it.
Dry Branch Road
I am very concerned for our schools and the Transgender issue. According to our local Board of Education office on Friday, May 13, 2016 gave the indication that our school system will be participating in this. This is completely ridiculous! It allows boys or men to go into a girl’s bathroom/dressing room or anywhere else under the title of “I identify with being ______”. Our schools do not have to participate nor does our State Board of Education. President Obama is trying to use the Title 9 that was created in 1972 which stated “females and males will be treated equally” to push this through. It states nothing about transgender which many articles written by doctor’s in the psychology field, states that transgender is a mental disorder or ones perception, it is not real but to the person it affects.
Our local board members are elected and make the decisions for our county and have the right to say “No.”
Is the almighty dollar that important that they will risk our children’s safety. This whole thing opens the State Board of Education as well as our Local Board of Education up to legal action against them as it has in many other States.
Many States have filed suit against Obama for trying to force this issue and I believe West Virginia should join. We have already heard stories of women being attacked in bathrooms by men pretending to be so called transgender. In one case last week, there was an eight year old girl who was attacked in a public bathroom and her mom was coming behind her. A man choked the little girl until she was knocked out, when the mother tried to get her daughter the man assaulted her. Are we naïve enough to think that in our school system similar things will not occur, or rapes or just kids having sex using this as an excuse. In Randolph county, last week at school there was a 14 year old girl who was in the restroom and her brother was waiting outside. He stopped a guy from going into the girls’ bathroom because his sister was in there. The girl’s brother got in trouble for saying something to the boy. Are we going to have to start guarding the doors for safety in both the schools and any other public place?
By the way, it is my understanding that Randolph County Board of Education is not going to implement the memo from Obama. Good for them.
Obama has stated that he will withhold federal funding to any State that refuses to follow his latest example of dictatorship. I say he can keep it. Our children’s safety is more important. We will lose funds to the public schools when more parents start homeschooling or sending their children to private schools. There will not be a need for a levy when there are not enough kids in the school system. Home schooling is not a difficult thing, everything is on the computer through an accredited school.
Parents this is a serious issue. Please contact our Board of Education and the State Board of Education.