www.wvgazettemail.com http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2016, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: May 28, 2016 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT01/305289985 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT01/305289985 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Adkins, Gloria A. 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Brown, Virginia 1 p.m., Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Charleston.

Bunner, James M. 1 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.

Coleman, Margaret E. 2 p.m., Cunningham Memorial Park Lower Mausoleum Chapel, St. Albans.

Comer, Tyler W. 11 a.m., Long & Fisher Funeral Home, Sissonville.

Cottrell, Frankie 1 p.m., Cannelton Union Hall of UMWA Local No. 8843, Cannelton.

Filbin, Charles J. 2 p.m., Casdorph & Curry Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Fullen, Margurite 11 a.m., St. John's United Methodist Church, Union.

Green, Chad D. 11 a.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Hannum, Sarah E. 1 p.m., Casto Funeral Home Chapel, Evans.

Hatfield, Bennett K. 1 p.m., Regional Church of God, Delbarton.

McCormick, John 3 p.m., Danville Memorial Park, Danville.

Metheney, Dale R. 4 p.m., Stump Funeral Home, Arnoldsburg.

Molina, Anthony V. Noon, Abundant Life Ministries, Charleston.

Mullins, Anthony K. Noon, Deal Funeral Home, Point Pleasant.

Racer, Genevieve C. 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Smith, Drema L. 11 a.m., Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston.

Stricklin, Clyde D. 2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Charlotte Champ http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289986 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289986 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Charlotte Faye (Hammons) Champ, 68, of Cottle, died Wed. May 26, 2016. Graveside service will be held 2 p.m. Sun. May 29, at Alex Williams Cemetery, Camden On Gauley. Adams-Reed Funeral Home, Cowen, is honored to be serving the Champ family.

Tyler William Comer http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289997 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289997 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Tyler William Comer, 19, of Sissonville, went to be with the Lord on May 24, 2016.

Tyler was a tower climber/technician with S&S Towers. He enjoyed riding his 4-wheeler in his spare time.

Tyler was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Granger Collins.

Left to cherish his memory are loving parents, Donald Comer (Misty) of Millwood and Ethel Jean Rucker (Chris) of Nitro; brothers, Harley Comer of Charleston and Jerry and Jaxon Comer, both of Millwood; stepsister, Elizabeth Rucker of Roanoke, Va.; and grandparents, Mitch and Fances Comer of Sissonville, Sandra and Jerry Wiseman of Ravenswood and Carol Dawson (Randy).

Service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, May 28, at Long & Fisher Funeral Home, Sissonville, with Pastor Matt Ash officiating. Burial will follow in Floral Hills Garden of Memories, Sissonville.

A gathering of family and friends will be one hour before the service at the funeral home.

Condolences may be sent at www.longfisherfuneralhome.com.

Gloria E. Copen http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289999 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289999 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Mrs. Gloria E. "Dodie" Copen, 91, of St. Albans, peacefully left this world on May 25, 2016, on her 91st birthday, surrounded by her loving family, and took her heavenly journey and is now safe in the arms of Jesus.

She was born May 25, 1925 in Clendenin to the late William H. Boley and Shirley L. Jarrett Elswick. She later moved and lived most of her life on Charleston's West Side until moving to St. Albans nine years ago.

She was a Christian and attended Charleston Mountain Mission for years, and most recently attended Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. She loved her church friends and Pastor Swor. She enjoyed some great trips with the Jolly Seniors at church. Mom will be remembered by her sweet smile, kind heart and the love she gave to her family and everyone she knew. Mom has been the foundation of our family, our solid rock. Our hearts are broken, but joyful in the fact of knowing we will meet her again one day in Heaven. She was employed by Holiday Inn Elk River for 40 years and worked at CAMC Memorial Hospital Coffee Shop for 10 years.

Those left to cherish her memory are children, Patty Wenger of Elkview, Sherry Copen of St. Albans, Terry Copen of St. Albans and Roger Copen and wife, Robin, of Hurricane; grandchildren, Donna Wenger Ayash and husband, Chris, of St. Albans, Mike Wenger of Elkview, Chris Deaton and wife, Una, of Houston, Texas, and Lincoln Ranson and Rhonda Ranson of Hurricane; great-grandchildren, Lindsey, Jessica, Cullen, Christina, Jake, Tessa, Noah, Conner and Lilly; one great-great-granddaughter, Sara; and also her precious grand-dog, Sam.

A tribute to the life of Mrs. Gloria Copen will be 2 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Elkview, with Pastor Lee Swor officiating. Burial will follow in Spring Hill Cemetery.

The family will receive friends 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be sent to Donna Wenger Ayash, P.O. Box 13306, Charleston, WV 25360. Money will be given to a charity that was close to Mom's heart.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.hardingfamilygroup.com.

Gatens-Harding Funeral Home, 147 Main St., Poca, is serving the Copen family.

Kenny Fields http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289994 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289994 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Kenny Clay Fields, 35, of Nettie, died Wed. May 25, 2016. Graveside service and viewing will be Sun. May 29, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Fields Cemetery at Nettie.

Cauley Harvey http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289993 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289993 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Cauley Guy Harvey, 84, of Tad, died May 26, 2016. A full obituary will be published on Mon. May 30, 2016. Fidler and Frame Funeral Home, Belle, is in charge of the arrangements.

Diana Kelley http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289987 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289987 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Diana Neal Kelley, died Fri. May 27, 2016. Service will be 1 p.m. Tues. May 31, at Rhema Christian Center, Lewisburg. The family will receive friends from noon until time of service on Tues. at the church. Wallace and Wallace Funeral Home in Lewisburg is in charge of arrangements.

John McCormick http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289992 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289992 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 John Dale McCormick, 75, of Danville, passed away May 27, 2016, at his home. He was born January 20, 1941, and was a son of the late Jack and Anna McCormick.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret; and son, John McCormick of Huntington.

Graveside service will be 3 p.m. Sat. May 28, at Danville Memorial Park, Danville with Pastor Mark Meeker officiating. Visitation is one hour prior to the service at Handley Funeral Home, Danville. You may express your condolences to the family at www.handleyfh.com.

John "J.C." Meadows http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289996 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289996 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 John C. "J.C." Meadows, 58, of Belle, died May 25, 2016. A full obituary will be published Tues. May 31. Fidler and Frame Funeral Home, Belle, is in charge of the arrangements.

Irene Messinger http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289988 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/OBIT/305289988 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Irene Hatfield Messinger, 96, of West Hamlin, died Fri. May 27, 2016. Service will be 2 p.m. Tues. May 31, at Center Point Baptist Church, West Hamlin. Visitation will be two hours prior to the funeral Tues. at the church. McGhee-Handley Funeral Home, West Hamlin is in charge of arrangements.

Herd staves off elimination, beats FIU 7-6 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/GZ02/160529547 GZ02 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/GZ02/160529547 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:13:23 -0400 From staff reports By From staff reports HATTIESBURG, Miss - Robert Fajardo scored the go-ahead run despite striking out, advancing on three wild pitches as Marshall defeated Florida International 7-6 Friday night in the Conference USA tournament.

The Thundering Herd (34-20) narrowly avoided elimination, and again faces host Southern Mississippi at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The 20th-ranked Golden Eagles (38-18) beat the Herd 9-3 Thursday.

To make it to Sunday's championship game, Marshall must beat Southern Miss twice in the double-elimination by bracket format. If the Herd wins the afternoon game, the two teams play again at 8:30 p.m.

With one out, Robby Kalaf struck out Fajardo, but the pitch was wild and Fajardo made it to first game. Fajardo stole second, then advance to third on another wild pitch.

Dominic LoBrutto relieved Kalaf with two outs, but he threw a wild pitch to allow Fajardo to break a 6-all tie.

Herd closer Burris Warner escaped a jam in the bottom of the eighth with a big defensive play. With runners on first and second, Zach Files beat out a throw from shortstop for an infield single that would have loaded the bases. But Kolby Follis took a chance and dashed for home, where he was thrown out by first baseman Tommy Lane.

Warner (3-1) coaxed a 3-6-1 double play and struck out Rodriguez in the ninth to pick up the win. The Herd's closer came on in the seventh inning with none out and a runner on second.

Marshall scored in the first four innings to take a 5-0 lead, then added a run in the sixth to make it 6-2. Aaron Bossi did the most damage, knocking in a run with hits in the first, third and sixth.

But FIU (29-29) got back in the game in the bottom of the sixth, when Austin Rodriguez hit a three-run homer to make it 6-5. The Panthers tied it at 6 in the seventh on an Irving Lopez single.

Guest editorial: Proposed debate will serve public and candidates http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/DM0402/160529567 DM0402 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/DM0402/160529567 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400

Reprinted from the Herald Dispatch, May 25, 2016

Three statewide organizations have stepped up to provide West Virginia voters an opportunity to hear what the two gubernatorial candidates say they will do to address the many big issues facing the Mountain State. Now, if the candidates will oblige, voters will have that opportunity.

The West Virginia Press Association, West Virginia Public Broadcasting and AARP West Virginia this week announced that they are willing to host a gubernatorial debate on Oct. 4 at the Clay Center in Charleston and provide the means for that event to be shared throughout the state via television broadcast and online streaming.

All three organizations are to be commended for taking the initiative. It's important to note that all three are nonpartisan, and their main goal is to inform the public about where Republican Bill Cole and Democrat Jim Justice stand on a variety of important issues.

It's safe to say that the event will treat both candidates equally, and advance work by those parties will help focus the debate on issues most important to West Virginians.

Toward that end, the organizers will team up with professionals, experts, members of the media and members of the public across the state to develop questions. Also consulted for potential questions will be educational, business, industry, social and civic leaders.

All too often in high-stakes political races, the candidates and their respective campaigns get so bogged down in debating the terms of any proposed debates that the events never happen.

In this case, most of the details are being ironed out by impartial groups so that voters can be better informed. That also should be the goal of the candidates in this contest, and we trust Cole and Justice will agree to participate.

Short takes on checking for ticks, STEM http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/DM0402/160529568 DM0402 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/DM0402/160529568 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 300,000 Americans become infected each year.

But Lyme disease, a bacterial infection spread by ticks, is a possibility throughout the warm months. The tick will get the bacteria off an animal and when the infected tick attaches itself to a human, it spreads the bacteria through the blood, according to a Herald Dispatch article quoting Dr. Mahmoud Shorman, associate professor of infectious diseases with the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

The article highlighted the saga of 27-year-old Ashland native Christina Kovacs, who had to return home from Los Angeles to move in with her parents after a mystery illness plaguing her for years had reached the point she could not live on her own.

It took five years and more than 50 doctors to finally figure out she had chronic Lyme disease.

The most common and known sign of Lyme disease is a bulls-eye shaped rash. Other symptoms that follow are flu-like muscle pain, joint aches, fever and enlarged glands.

As the disease progresses, symptoms intensify and can lead to meningitis, heart issues like irregular heart beat and joint swelling and pain. Shorman said if caught early, a person will begin feeling better with medication after three or four days.

The best way to prevent the disease is to avoid ticks, the doctor says, but that's hard for outdoor lovers to do.

In their case, perhaps it's best to consider the words from Brad Paisley's 2007 No. 1 song: "You never know where one might be," the song says of ticks. "There's lots of places that are hard to reach."

So according to Dr. Shorman, make sure to check for ticks in places like the groin, armpit, belly, bottom and hair. Or, as Paisley suggests, check someone else.

n n n

As science, technology, engineering and math become a larger presence in the classroom, educators are cultivating these skills more now among females students.

About 30 eighth-grade girls from the Fairmont area got a unique opportunity to sharpen their STEM skills at the Introduce a Girl To Engineering Day hosted by Pierpont and BridgeValley community and technical colleges, reports the Times West Virginian.

The program targets eighth graders because they are about to enter high school, where they'll start thinking about career paths. It also gives girls an opportunity to hear from women who have successful careers in STEM fields. Female engineers and technicians talked with the students, and students participated in hands-on activities, including building a roller coaster track for a marble and programming a robot.

Careers in the STEM field are still primarily male dominated, but events such as this help girls realize they, too, can pursue jobs in technology, science and engineering.

"I think it's cool because mostly guys do it and it's cool to be a girl and do the same thing," said Kayla Corley, an eighth grader at East Fairmont Middle School.

As these and other girls across the country prove, building bridges and programming computers isn't just a boy's game. Girls, too, can find success in STEM fields.

Margaret Sullivan: Obama keeps us in the dark (Daily Mail) http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/DM0403/160529569 DM0403 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/DM0403/160529569 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400

Some things just aren't cool. One of those, according to our no-drama president, is ignorance.

"It's not cool to not know what you're talking about," President Obama said during his recent Rutgers University commencement address. It was a swipe clearly intended for he-who-didn't-need-to-be-named: Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee for president.

Okay, no argument there.

But the Obama administration itself has been part of a different know-nothing problem. It has kept the news media - and therefore the public - in the dark far too much over the past 7 1/2 years.

After early promises to be the most transparent administration in history, this has been one of the most secretive.

And in certain ways, one of the most elusive. It's also been one of the most punitive toward whistleblowers and leakers who want to bring light to wrongdoing they have observed from inside powerful institutions.

That's why I'm skeptical about the notion that Americans will soon know what they need to know about drone strikes - the targeted killings that have become a major part of the administration's anti-terrorism effort in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.

How many of the dead were terrorists or militants? How many were civilians, killed as collateral damage? The administration's accounting - promised three years ago - will arrive when it hardly matters anymore for holding this administration accountable. But, it's also going to be incomplete, omitting what's happened in Pakistan, where hundreds of strikes have taken place.

Jennifer Gibson, an attorney for the international human rights organization known as Reprieve, made this pointed statement: "Excluding the vast majority of drone strikes from this assessment means that it will hardly be worth the paper it is printed on."

Reprieve and another British organization, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, have long challenged the administration's accounting of drone deaths, using their own research to insist that there are far more fatalities, and a higher percentage of civilian deaths, than the government admits.

Meanwhile, the most transparent administration in history continues doing transparency its own way.

Call it Transparency Lite. On Monday, during a visit to Vietnam, the president spent some quality time with the media - in the form of Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef. A couple of years ago, he did a heavily publicized interview with the comedian Zach Galifianakis on the faux-talk show, "Between Two Ferns," and last year he made a visit to podcaster Marc Maron's garage for a chat about fatherhood and overcoming fear.

But his on-the-record interviews with hard-news, government reporters have been relatively rare - and, rather than being wide-ranging, often limited to a single subject, such as the economy.

Remarkably, Washington Post news reporters haven't been able to interview the president since late 2009 - about 6 1/2 years. Think about that. The Post is, after all, perhaps the leading news outlet on national government and politics, with no in-depth, on-the-record access to the president of the United States for almost all of his two terms.

I couldn't get anyone in the White House press office to address this, despite repeated attempts by phone and email - which possibly proves my point.

But a thorough study from Martha Joynt Kumar, a retired Towson University professor, describes the administration's press strategy. The president does plenty of interviews, she writes - far more than any other president in recent history.

But these interviews are tightly controlled and targeted toward specific topics, and, it seems to me, often granted to soft questioners. (All of this is a major shift from a time when press conferences and short question-and-answer sessions allowed reporters to pursue news topics aggressively and in real time.)

More interviews; less accountability. Feet kept safe from the fire.

Meanwhile, on press rights generally, the Obama administration hasn't walked its talk. It has set new records for stonewalling or rejecting Freedom of Information requests.

And it has used an obscure federal act to prosecute leakers. It continued the punishing treatment of a National Security Agency whistleblower, Thomas Drake (dismaying new details have emerged recently in book excerpts by John Crane, a former Pentagon investigator), and threatened to send the New York Times investigative reporter, James Risen, to jail for his good-faith insistence on protecting his confidential source.

Promising transparency and criticizing ignorance, but delivering secrecy and opacity? That doesn't serve the public or the democracy. And that's deeply uncool.

Margaret Sullivan is The Washington Post's media columnist.

Al Schopp: Conservation makes for good business (Daily Mail) http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/DM0403/160529570 DM0403 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/DM0403/160529570 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400

While safety is my company's top priority, environmental stewardship is a close second.

For this reason and many others, Antero Resources is proud to support The Nature Conservancy's work and its mission, which aligns squarely with our key corporate values: protect our people and the environment and be good corporate citizens.

Antero has come a long way in a few years thanks to the quality of West Virginia's resources as well as the talented, highly-skilled local workforce, along with a laser-focus on ensuring that we do things right.

Best practices and continuously advancing technologies are important tools that allow the company to execute in a way that balances common sense conservation alongside responsible natural gas development, which represents perhaps the single largest driver of environmental progress in America, particularly as it relates to air quality.

What, in my view, differentiates Antero is that our team is overwhelmingly made up of local hires. In fact, nearly 80 percent of our Antero's business unit employees and contractors are West Virginians.

West Virginians share a unique connection to the land and mountains. It's woven into the regional DNA to care deeply about conserving and protecting our land, water and air.

As the saying goes: "We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."

West Virginians' love of the land has been proven to me many times, and the recognition of this is paramount to being successful in the region. To disrespect the land is to disrespect the people.

Generations of West Virginians have biked, hiked and hunted the state's forests and fished and rafted its waterways. These experiences are near and dear - it's cultural, it's a way of life.

Our employees live here, too, after all - and we all want and are working toward a healthier environment and stronger economy for our kids and grandkids.

And we recognize that it's a privilege - not a right - to work in West Virginia. Put simply, protecting our environment and investing in nature and the communities where we operate is good for business.

But protecting the environment doesn't - and shouldn't - end at the well pad.

That's why responsible companies like Antero place a high value on encouraging and maintaining an open and constructive dialogue with a diverse set of stakeholders to improve the communities where we work and our employees and contractors live.

The Nature Conservancy has an especially long and clear record of building stakeholder consensus, particularly across our region. The Cheat Canyon Preservation project was one of these crown jewel type priorities for the organization.

For over a decade, The Nature Conservancy and key stakeholders - including the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others - worked diligently to preserve the canyon, laying foundational public-private partnerships needed to achieve shared and sustained success.

Antero, along with our private equity partner, Warburg Pincus, was pleased to support that project, which will ensure that generations of West Virginians to come will be able to pass along and create new experiences with their kids and grandkids.

Countless West Virginians - including our employees and their families - will enjoy this natural gem for years to come.

This project also reflects the fact that conservation is good for the environment and fosters economic growth through tourism, outdoor recreation and other activities.

Like shale development, it's not an either/or proposition. It's a balance.

Our 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt, who made conservation a top priority, said "Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us."

As a new grandfather, I agree with President Roosevelt.

Al Schopp is Antero Resources' regional senior vice president and chief administrative officer.

Dear Abby: My teen daughter wants to hang out with 51-year-old man http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/GZ0507/160529577 GZ0507 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/GZ0507/160529577 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Dear Abby: My 18-year-old daughter, a junior in high school, is still living at home. She has befriended a 51-year-old man at her first job (a burger place). We have told her that although she is kind to be friendly with him at work, we feel it's inappropriate to do things with him outside of work. She's now upset with us and claims we "don't understand," "nothing romantic is going on" and she thinks of him like a "second father."

Although they have not gotten together yet outside of work, she announced last weekend that she was going to meet him for lunch. We put our foot down and told her no way, and she was forbidden to borrow either of our vehicles to go. (She doesn't have her own car yet.) She relented, but how can we convince her that this is a bad idea with the world the way it is nowadays?

I have suggested to her father (with whom my daughter has a close relationship) that he speak to this man one on one. My husband feels this is something she has to learn for herself. She's very naive. What do you think? - Mom Of A Teen

Dear Mom: Frankly, I think your husband is right. While you may wish to protect your daughter, she's an adult now. People learn more life lessons from experience than they do from lectures.

Dear Abby: I am 11 years old and having some big bully blues. There is one girl in my class who steals friends. She's been taking mine. Any advice? - Bullied in Georgia

Dear Bullied: Yes, I do. This may not be bullying in the physical sense, but losing a friend can be painful.

It is important that you realize that people aren't inanimate objects that can be "owned" or "stolen." Much as we might wish it, relationships do not always stay the same. Friendships can be stronger at times and weaker at others, and people sometimes drift from one close friendship to another.

When this happens, regard it as an OPPORTUNITY, because that's what it is. It's a chance for you to get involved in activities that will expose you to new people and offer you a way to make NEW friends.

Dear Abby: A friend of mine and his wife invited me out to dinner and I graciously thanked them. They are both employed. I live strictly on Social Security and pay 30 percent of my income for rent, barely making ends meet.

I wanted to reciprocate, so I invited them over for a home-cooked meal. My friend came, but his wife is shy and didn't come. (I had a couple of other friends over.)

If someone wants to reciprocate being taken out for dinner, isn't it acceptable to invite them over for a home-cooked meal or must they be taken out? - Tentative Host in Massachusetts

Dear Tentative: No rule of etiquette dictates that you must take your guests out to dinner. Inviting them for a home-cooked meal was both gracious and appropriate.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Letter: WV should have abandoned coal years ago (Gazette) http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/GZ0406/160529579 GZ0406 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/GZ0406/160529579 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 West Virginia should have abandoned coal years ago


In his letter, "Tomblin is wrong to endorse Clinton," Chris Hamilton points out that members of the West Virginia Business & Industry Council are experiencing "one of the greatest economic slowdowns in [West Virginia's] history." Blaming the slowdown in part on President Obama's "overzealous" federal regulations, he uses the fact that Hillary Clinton would continue Obama's policies to justify the council's denouncement of Gov. Tomblin's endorsement of Clinton for president.

It is believable, now that natural gas is undercutting coal everywhere, that the council's members have finally recognized the need for West Virginia's economy to diversify. It is completely disingenuous, however, for Hamilton and his fellow council members to claim that EPA regulations that adversely affect coal are a case of "throwing the baby out with the bath water."

It's been known for decades that, if humankind is to avoid the worst effects of climate change, the global economy needs to decarbonize, starting with phasing out the most greenhouse gas-intensive fossil fuel, coal.

Rather than accept cold, hard scientific facts, the coal industry participated in the charade of calling climate science into question. The industry fought consideration of any regulations or other policies that might have stimulated research into carbon capture and sequestration and/or promoted a gradual unwinding of coal investments.

Now, after the combined impacts of market competition from natural gas and federal restrictions on coal, the industry finds itself in an abrupt and economically disruptive freefall.

Had West Virginia officeholders and coal interests listened to scientists, the "diversification" Hamilton talks of would have started years, if not decades, ago. Economic impacts to council members and West Virginians would have been gradual and manageable. Having missed that opportunity, West Virginia will need to adjust as best it can now. Its leaders let West Virginia down once. Will they again now, by continuing to ignore facts and casting blame where it doesn't belong?

Gary Rucinski

Citizens Climate Lobby Massachusetts state coordinator

Newton, Mass.

Christopher J. Regan: Campaigning is not the same as governing (Gazette) http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/GZ0405/160529583 GZ0405 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/GZ0405/160529583 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 By Christopher J. Regan By By Christopher J. Regan

Bill Cole and Tim Armstead rode proudly into power in 2014. After cutting a deal with Daniel Hall to become the undisputed leader of West Virginia Republicans, Cole set himself up behind velvet ropes, planned $100,000/plate fundraisers, and kicked off a run for governor. Nothing could stop the ascendant right wing - least of all its Democratic opposition.

They had a battle plan, too. Cripple unions with "right to work." Smother blue-collar workers making middle-class money with the repeal of prevailing wage. Empower their donors by repealing consumer protection laws under the euphemism "tort reform." Razor-thin partisan majorities made it all a reality.

The crown jewel of the right-wing agenda, though, is always tax cuts for the rich. Cole moved in that direction throughout 2015 with a traveling tax-study committee built to provide window-dressing for a massive shift of additional taxes onto working West Virginia families and off of Cole's (already-rich) friends. Republicans marched into Charleston, with the Koch Brothers, the Wal-Mart billionaires, and ol' Don Blankenship waving palm fronds all the way.

Republicans promised to cut wasteful government programs. They promised "hundreds of millions in savings" from the repeal of prevailing wage alone. They promised that the repeal of consumer protection laws would bring new industries to West Virginia. They told us that when workers left their unions, they would prosper. They said depriving landowners of their rights would create "thousands of jobs." Over and over again, they told us they'd run West Virginia "like a business."

Along came reality.

The most basic job Cole and Armstead have, while they're on top of the Legislature, is to pass a budget. Now that it's past time to do so, they are having trouble, raising some questions:

n Did they cut "hundreds of millions in government waste?"

n Did we save hundreds of millions by taking prevailing wages from workers?

n Have we benefited from taking legal rights from consumers, the injured, and the elderly?

n Have they created even one new job?

n Has any shared prosperity resulted from anything they've done?

The answer to all these questions is a resounding "no!" None of their policies have worked. None of their promises have been fulfilled. Nothing good that they predicted has occurred, and the danger others warned them of is now a wolf on West Virginia's doorstep. But Republican policies "work" exactly the way they are intended to: they benefit a small wealthy, out-of-state elite, and working people are left out in the end.

We have a front-row seat for what Republican control of the Legislature means. Faced with a budget deficit, are they cutting wasteful spending, developing new revenue, and putting the budget on a sustainable path? Not at all.

Republicans are trying to raid every piggy bank they can find, sweeping accounts where others saved money, plundering our desperately-needed infrastructure funds, and raiding our rainy day fund to the point where the credit of the state will be downgraded, costing us hundreds of millions more in the long run.

To the extent they have any budget plan, that's it: Steal enough of the state's hard-won savings to get them out of Charleston so they can go back to what they do best - expensive political campaigns.

The money will flow in million-dollar buys from out-of-state groups that see West Virginia as ripe for the picking. The three million dollars invested in the (supposedly) non-partisan Supreme Court campaign is just a hint of the bids Blankenships and Kochs are prepared to make to buy West Virginia for good this fall.

That kind of out-of-state money may be vicious, cruel, and undemocratic, but it's not dumb. They see an opportunity here, and if their investment pays off, every ordinary West Virginian will suffer the consequences. Families will lose wages and benefits. The unemployed will be cut off from what little benefits are left. Those most in need of health insurance stand to lose it. Those lucky enough to have a job will pay more and more taxes to support GOP giveaways to the wealthy.

If not for the chance to see them in action, all might really have been lost.

But this budget session shows every voter in West Virginia how complete a failure right-wing economic ideology really is.

None of the "waste" or "cuts" ever materialize. None of the "savings to taxpayers" they are always promising ever add to our bottom line. There's nothing even rational, let alone "businesslike," about their raids on all the money Democrats saved up to keep West Virginia solvent. Bill Cole and Tim Armstead are a fiscal train wreck.

These men rode proudly into Charleston 18 months ago. Their fiercest opponents turned out not to be the Democrats, but rather the simple economic realities that came riding down on them from all sides. Like General Custer at Little Bighorn, Republicans looked very good on paper, but the actual fighting tells a different story.

The West Virginia Republicans are great campaigners, but they cannot govern. Every successive day of this budget fiasco shows it. It's time to choose new leadership for West Virginia, before Cole and Armstead lead us into another massacre.

Let's hope the voters decide that this disastrous budget session is the West Virginia Republicans' last stand.

Christopher J. Regan is the vice chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party and an attorney at Bordas & Bordas, in Wheeling. He blogs at HomeYesterday.com.

Ed Rabel: A letter from Havana http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/GZ0405/160529584 GZ0405 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/GZ0405/160529584 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 By Ed Rabel By By Ed Rabel

The island nation of Cuba has one foot in history, its hands full of today and its fingers crossed for tomorrow. This is true for West Virginia, as well.

Although it may be far-fetched to compare and contrast the communist dictatorship which is Cuba to the sovereign, democratic state of West Virginia, there are some ironies to be considered. Consider this:

Cuba once was dominated by a mono-economy just as West Virginia is today. But Cuba's current leadership had the foresight to diversify its economy. No longer does it depend on sugar cane production to survive. Today, tourism is one of the mainstays garnering at least $1-billion in income from the more than 2-million tourists arriving each year.

Unlike West Virginia, still in the thrall of coal mining, Cuba reduced sugar-cane production dramatically and closed sugar refineries throughout the island when the commodity was no longer viable in the international market. Rum from sugar is marketed still. But, as most experts agree, Cuba and sugar got a divorce just in time. In West Virginia, the leadership won't even admit that the state's marriage with coal is in deep trouble.

Another topic to consider is education. While West Virginia is at the bottom of the barrel nationwide, Cuba's educational system is ranked among the very best worldwide. Havana plows enormous amounts of money into educating its populace, providing free education from pre-school through graduate and post-graduate years. Maybe West Virginia could learn something from Cuba about how to educate our people. Illiteracy is a thing of the past down here. Can we say the same thing about the Mountain State?

And then there is Cuba's much-vaunted health care. There's good reason it is much-vaunted. Life expectancy in Cuba is much greater than in West Virginia. And the infant-mortality rate is much lower. A doctor and nurse are located in small clinics in every neighborhood in Cuba, 24-hours-a-day. No matter the ailment, Cuban citizens can walk right in and get treated, all free. Bernie Sanders would be envious.

What is more, Cuba has developed a cure for lung cancer. We could certainly use the Cuban cure in Appalachia, where there are 60,000 additional cases of cancer directly related to federally sanctioned strip mining.

Still, Cuba, just as West Virginia, has its shortcomings. Both Cuba and West Virginia are losing many of the best and brightest. For lack of opportunity and miserable living conditions, hundreds-of-thousands of West Virginians have left - and are leaving - our state for greener pastures elsewhere. We are losing population faster than any other state. And, despite all its efforts to foster egalitarianism and justice, Cuba is seeing hundreds of thousands of its people fleeing to America for lack of opportunity and the suppression of the freedoms of expression and individual liberty. Isn't it ironic?

Ed Rabel is an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist from West Virginia who is visiting Cuba on one of about 150 of his tours of the island since 1975.

Gazette editorial: Budget consequences starting to look real http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/GZ0404/160529585 GZ0404 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160528/GZ0404/160529585 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Teachers who help West Virginia prison inmates to earn GED high school diplomas and train for self-supporting jobs after release were warned this week that all their posts may be terminated.

Previously, West Virginia high school counselors were warned that Promise scholarships may not be available for bright teens this year.

On Thursday, a proposal to wipe out funding for Fairmont State University and WVU-Tech (which is moving to Beckley) was introduced by Delegate Ron Walters, R-Kanawha. It caused an uproar of protest in the House of Delegates.

These examples are a mere taste of what West Virginia may suffer if the Republican-controlled Legislature cannot raise enough revenue to support the state government.

"Come July 1, if a budget isn't passed, 760,000 West Virginians will lose their health insurance," Walters warned. "On July 1, the State Police don't work. Public employees quit working ... . The result will be so catastrophic, we will never recover."

Fellow Delegate Jim Morgan, D-Cabell, added: "It's just a shame 100 grown people can't get together" and solve the budget crisis.

The state's nightmare is real. It happened because previous legislators wiped out $300 million of state taxes - then income from the coal and gas industries sagged.

The sole inescapable duty of the Legislature is to fund the state government. But the GOP wasted the 2016 regular session on shallow clamoring about gays and pistols - while failing to meet the basic obligation of providing revenue. So far, the special budget session has cost state taxpayers around $400,000.

Ever since President Reagan, Republicans have sneered that "government is the problem." But highways and bridges aren't a problem - they're crucial for modern society. Public schools and prison rehabilitation aren't problems - they're essential. It's absurd to think that government can be slashed blindly without consequence.

As Statehouse correspondent Phil Kabler reported, $98.6 million has been bled from the state emergency Rainy Day Fund, just to operate the government through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. And a potential $270 million hole looms in the next budget.

Part of this mess could be cured if legislators added a dollar-per-pack to the state cigarette tax - which also would save thousands of youths from hurtful nicotine addiction. And part could be cured by a plan by Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, to legalize marijuana-growing and reap large revenue from it.

So far, the GOP-controlled Legislature is a dismal failure that is damaging West Virginia.