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Will GOP measures ruin local VA clinic?


Regarding the trials and tribulations of veterans attempting to get their well-earned medical care from certain VA hospitals and clinics: I feel that I and other veterans in the Charleston area are extremely fortunate to have a VA clinic, operating in conjunction with the Huntington VA hospital, whose medical staff, nurses and service personnel have proven many times to have genuine interests in giving their patients the best possible and timely care.

The Charleston VA Clinic cares for a very large and diverse patient population, ranging from WWll through Afghanistan, and does so with pride, professionalism and humor. My VA doctor, Lisa Downham, M.D., even called me personally when one of my lab. tests concerned her; I don’t think too many private doctors would do likewise.

The call by Republican politicians to allow their input into how VA care is offered scares me; will they make it so expensive the country can’t afford it?

David G. Hofstetter


MTR will ruin post-leak tourism efforts


After the Jan. 9 chemical leak into Elk River, the Division of Tourism was awarded an additional $1.2 million of public funds — more than doubling the Division’s spring advertising campaign budget — in hope of offsetting negative publicity from the leak. This money might as well have been dumped into the Elk River along with poisonous MCHM now that the Department of Natural Resources has granted a permit for mountaintop removal mining adjacent to Kanawha State Forest.

The Division of Tourism markets West Virginia as a destination spot for outdoor activities and the state’s natural beauty, then the DNR destroys this image as effectively as MTR will be destroying a mountain, forest habitat, streams and the health of our community, not to mention our ability to access parts of the park for recreational activities such as hiking, biking and shooting when blasting is taking place.

Download the petition at and collect signatures to demand the DNR rescind the permit granted to Keystone Industries. Call the governor and DEP Secretary Randy Huffman to express your outrage for spoiling one of the state’s most important assets in Kanawha County. Connect with Kanawha Forest Coalition at or contact Bob Marshall 304-965-7675.

Rita Ray


Tip-based wages are outdated and unfair


Thank you for your article about tips and wages in the Sunday paper.

My opinion has always been: Why is it, that we the customer, are responsible for subsidizing the pay of the folks who hold jobs at food service establishments? Why doesn’t the price of the meal as listed on the menu reflect the actual cost incurred by the establishment — including the full cost of having an employee?

I own and operate a catering business and a food service establishment. I pay my help an hourly wage, not a “meant to be made up for by the customer” wage. I have had this discussion with my food service business counterparts and they all say, “Whoa, don’t start beating that drum. It will cost me more money.”

Hmm, yeah, well paying someone the minimum wage does that.

I don’t see why we still allow this form of worker pay to even exist in popular culture?

As I see it, it’s an outdated and an unfair burden on the customer. Say we have just paid $8.95 or 18.95 or 35.95 for a meal. I made my choice and am willing to pay the price. Now you are going to charge me 18 percent on top of my meal cost, just to have it brought to my table (and maybe get my water or iced tea refilled)? So now my $18.95 meal actually cost $22.36, not counting taxes.

As I said, this is an unfair burden on the customer and unfair treatment of a food establishment worker, and nothing but a way to decrease cost and increase savings to the establishments, which, in my opinion, do not return to the customer in some other form.

Joy Marr


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