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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:
October 4, 2018

This letter is intended to highlight the recent lack of service at the Slatyfork Post Office.

This is a burden to the citizens relevant to receiving, posting and answering mail on a timely basis. In addition, we continue to spend our time and money for this endeavor which would never be necessary if the matter in question had been promptly corrected.

I have been given information and have had experience of the problem – timeline, current situation and other background information are as follows:

1. Problem: snakes, of the small garden variety, were discovered on the premises, and mostly outside the post office.

2. Timeline: on August 29, Slatyfork Post Office and the outside drop box were shut down with a notice that our mail would be sent to Marlinton and service should resume within about a week.

3. Current Situation: As of today, the post office has been out of service for one month (30 working days). I have been told that this may continue for another three weeks. It should be noted that RFD is not available to my community; therefore, we are totally subject to the results of this problem.

4. Inconvenience /Cost, etc: My community is 20 miles from the Marlinton Post Office which translates to a daily round trip gas cost of $5 or $150 for the 30 working days (note: I did not include cost of wear and tear of the car). The trip to Marlinton and back is at least one hour and could translate to 30 hours of lost time which could be used at home.

5. Observation/Concerns: I pass the Slatyfork Post Office on an almost daily basis and, as such, have noticed only one time when someone was actually working on the snake problem.

6. Conclusion: In my opinion and the opinions of others who are aware of the situation, there is no SENSE OF URGENCY by the USPS and/or building OWNER to correct this problem on a timely basis.

It should be noted that the post office building/land is owned by a private citizen(s) whereas the USPS is the leasee or renter. Unfortunately, I have no idea which of the two parties has ultimate responsibility for this problem. Marlinton Post Office sent my phone number to someone in Charleston who has knowledge of responsibilities. After two weeks, I have not received that phone call.

Thanks for your attention to this matter.

Fairley Workman

Dear Editor:

I was born and raised in upstate New York, but for three beautiful years I was privileged to live and work in the mountains of Eastern West Virginia.

I first learned of the Cass Scenic Railroad in my early teens and begged my parents to take me there on a vacation. From the moment I first saw a Shay locomotive in action, I was hooked for life.

In 1971, during my senior year in college, I came down and talked to the Superintendent of the railroad who agreed to give me a job the summer after graduation. I was only able to stay for three summer seasons, but the friendships I made with my co-workers and countless other wonderful native West Virginians in and around Cass, have lasted for more than 40 years. It didn’t take long to realize that they all had one thing in common. They all cared deeply for their fellow human beings, native or not, and wouldn’t hesitate to give them the shirt off their backs if they thought it would help.

I have made many pilgrimages back to Cass over the years, and they have never failed to welcome me as if I had only been gone for a day.

The weekend of September 22 and 23, I was there to visit again, but I couldn’t have known that I was about to rediscover how caring the average, hardworking West Virginian could be.

My truck suddenly developed a damaged front wheel bearing.

Desperate and scheduled to leave for home the next day, I asked the first person I saw – one of the workers in the restaurant across the river from the depot in Cass – for advice. He instantly said, “You need to take it down to Eddie’s Service Center in Marlinton.”

He then proceeded to look up the number, dial it for me and hand me the phone. An extremely polite young gentleman named Robbie Ramsey, who I later learned was the owner, assured me that if I could have it there at 7 a.m. on Monday, he would be sure to get me right in and get it taken care of.

Then man was better than his word. He drove the truck into the shop at 7 a.m. sharp, diagnosed the problem, drove to the auto parts store in Marlinton, brought back and installed the new bearing, test drove the truck and brought it back, ready for me to depart for New York.

Total time: 40 minutes.

Total cost: less than half of what it would have cost up home.

To Robbie, and all of those like him in my adopted home, in your beautiful state, I can only say thank you for your honesty, your integrity, your strong work ethic, your sacrificial spirit and most of all, for your warm friendship.

Norm Wilcox
Elmira, NY

Dear Editor:

I’m writing this letter to our local citizenry to clarify why over fifty organizations in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina, and thousands of citizens are contesting some of the permits granted to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). As many of you know, court action has halted some of the construction of the ACP and the similar Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

Why are these permits being challenged? In essence, federal and state environmental regulatory agencies are waiving, changing, or ignoring regulations and rules in order to streamline the ACP and MVP projects. Political and corporate influences are pressuring agency decisions. This in itself is an assault on our democracy and laws, while exposing compromised agencies.

The October 4, 2018 edition of The Pocahontas Times reported that on September 24 The Fourth District Court of Appeals granted a stay on permits for construction on the Monongahela (MNF) and George Washington (GWNF) National forests.

On September 28, that same Court heard lawsuit arguments. In the Forest Service (NFS) case, the presiding judge noted that early on the Forest Service had been questioning ACP’s ability to prove it could build the pipeline across steep mountain terrain without causing serious erosion problems. He noted that the record of correspondence and emails preceding the NFS decision indicated that a satisfactory response from the company had not been forthcoming. Then, suddenly in July 2017, the NFS issued a draft amendment to the Forest Plans of the MNF and GWNF and proceeded to approve the requested Special Use Permit. The judge inquired repeatedly of the attorney representing the NFS what the circumstances were that caused the Forest Service to change course. The attorney responded evasively, prompting the judge re-ask the question repeatedly, finally to thundering: “Who’s running the train station? Is it the private company?”

Another egregious example involves the Army Corps of Engineers exempting in behalf of the MVP its 72-consecutive hour water body crossing regulation on the Gauley, Greenbrier, Meadow, and Elk rivers. The MVP claims it needs four to six weeks to construct pipeline across any of these rivers. The Fourth District Court of Appeals has stayed that permit.

Are these gas pipelines needed for “the good of our economy and environment” as ACP spokesperson Aaron Ruby says in his press release to The Pocahontas Times? Mr. Ruby did not mention that currently used gas pipelines in the target market already supply sufficient gas for present and projected needs. And of course, Mr. Ruby did not add that investors in the ACP stand to gain an almost guaranteed whopping 14% profit on their investment while ratepayers would pony up the now projected $5 billion cost for pipeline construction.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) charged with authorization of pipelines must examine true domestic need rather than streamlining big-moneyed corporate investment. These lawsuits are about protecting our homeland environment as well as ensuring honest, accountable government.

Allen Johnson

Dear Editor:

When I stopped by the office at The Pocahontas Times to make a payment for a new subscription, I had the pleasure of meeting the Editor. I asked her if she would entertain a “letter to the editor.” She replied, “yes.”

My name is Kenny Brooks, and I am a resident of Martinsburg in Berkeley County. This is located in the eastern panhandle. I had never been to Pocahontas County before.

I have been living here for 20 years. I love West Virginia. It is my home state.

But, I am not from West Virginia. I am from Maryland. I moved here in 2000. I have worked here, gone to school here, lived here, and I have essentially retired here as a young adult living with severe disability.

I remember when we lived in Maryland, Mom said when the hammers started hammering and machines start machining we are moving. Those hammers got louder and louder each day.

The population growth has been nothing but explosive in the eastern panhandle.

We have interstate widening with new commerce and much more traffic.

Traffic is calm here from about 2 to 4 a.m. Otherwise, cars are moving at 70 mph.

There were a lot of animals – deer, turkeys, blue herons, coyote – that we have seen, but we don’t hardly see them anymore.

When on a trip recently to Mill Point, it felt to me like I was in a place that I used to be. Its time had no numbers, at all. I miss those days.

Thank you for the warm and kind hospitality.
Kenny Brooks

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