Walk for Autism participants praised


Since 2009 the HI-Y club of Valley High School has hosted the Jerri Elliott Walk for Autism. This event takes place every April in Smithers. In its first five years all proceeds were donated to Autism Speaks. This year however, the club voted to keep the funds locally and donated them to Wild Spirit Ranch. Billy Pate uses this money to provide free horseback rides to special needs children, especially those with autism.

Valley High School, Gauley Bridge Elementary School and the surrounding communities from Montgomery to Ansted have embraced this event, opening their hearts to help HI-Y raise money for a worthwhile cause. No media outlets have ever graced us with their presence. Yet, each year thousands of dollars are raised for autism awareness. None of the sponsors, participants or organizers has ever asked for anything in return.

This year I have reached my limit. I will no longer be quietly proud of the hard work of 30 awesome high school students, many HI-Y alumni and a host of volunteers. This walk is more than just a way to raise money and awareness. It is a morning of uplifting music and a promise of hope.

Kindness in this modern world is sometimes hard to find. I saw the power of kindness and love on Saturday, April 5. I deeply appreciate each and every person who helped in any way to bring this event together as well as all who donated and attended. I hope to see everyone in 2015.

Diane Frisby Beard


Court’s ruling on rape is deplorable


The well-being of our prisoners is not a topic that generally garners much sympathy; however, the March 27 West Virginia Supreme Court Decision renouncing the states’ responsibility if prison or jail staff commit a sexual assault against an inmate is absurd. Prison staff are the very people responsible for keeping inmates safe and no state can credibly claim to be committed to law and order if its response to sexual assaults in prison is passive, at best.

Prisons around the country are rife with violence and rape at the hands of facility and staff who have total power over inmates. Rape, whether committed in the home, community or in prison has serious emotional consequences. Eventually, the vast majority of inmates are released, bringing their experiences, including trauma, back to their families and communities. Without help, victims of rape are at high risk of developing behaviors that harm themselves and may revert back to criminal behaviors.

The West Virginia Supreme Court needs to reconsider their decision which, as it stands, is a blatant violation of human rights. No matter what crime someone has committed, rape should not be a part of the penalty.

Joanne Shamblin


Gazette fanning the flames of war


When The Charleston Gazette runs anti-Putin, war-promoting editorial cartoons like the one today, what are you people thinking? You must know that Russia did not hold a gun to the head of Crimean voters. You must know that Crimeans overwhelmingly wanted to rejoin Russia. You must know that the U.S. encourages separatism and the right of various people to determine their own fate in other cases — the Baltic States, the Falklands, Kosovo, Scotland, etc. — and not always with the acquiescence of all involved. If you were a little sharper, you’d realize that the reason that Victoria Nuland spent $5 billion in Ukraine fomenting the recent illegal coup was to deprive Russia of its naval base in Crimea.

Are you consciously trying to make Americans hate Russia? Are you consciously trying to promote war? Are you just trying to run editorial cartoons that people will emotionally agree with? In other words, are you simply pandering to the lynch mob in order to sell more papers? Or are you even thinking at all, or just running whatever someone sends you? A little more thought and a little less neocon warmongering would be appreciated.

In other words, please stop lying.

“At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

David N. Ryan


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