I thought I'd take the opportunity to dip into our mailbag to share a couple of thoughts from readers:
n Joe Bartlett, a retired United States Marine Corps brigadier general, wrote recently he enjoyed one of my columns on comic strips.
"Most people my age will recall when comic strips provided exciting adventures, and we could hardly wait for the next edition," he wrote.
Bartlett, who now resides in McLean, Va., said he had also read about the passing of Warren Burnside, who at one time had been Bartlett's newspaper delivery boy.
"We remember Warren for much more than delivering our paper. He was a dear friend and a splendid neighbor. He was honorable and industrious, a fine example for other youths. I was so happy to see life return to him some richly deserved rewards. I will keep his memory."
I believe many others felt the same way about Burnside, a successful businessman who established a scholarship foundation to reward local students and give them the opportunity for higher education.
n A recent e-mail from an old teacher of mine carried an interesting message.
John Branham, my former seventh-grade math teacher, praised the article written by Regional Editor Nora Edinger on West Virginia's battle to improve its image.
Branham wrote that some businesses don't help our image when they rely on advertising gimmicks that portray West Virginians as hillbillies.
He also wondered why the state's economy hasn't bounced back as fast as the rest of the nation's.
"The problems with our state economy have always been perplexing to me. ... The opportunity is there but we have to make substantial changes in the infrastructure of our taxing procedures and find a way to ease the tax burden on the loyal businesses that are here. Do we have a braintrust in this state somewhere to come up with a master plan?"
Branham's letter went on to point out two-thirds of the nation's population lives within 500 miles of the Mountain State. He believes tourism is an excellent avenue to improve our economic situation, but also stresses the need to push high technology and the need to nurture our fledgling aeronautics programs at Benedum Airport.
Now there's a teacher who's doing some heavy thinking over his summer break.
But you have to admit he has some good ideas.
And he made writing this column a breeze. I always was the teacher's pet.
John G. Miller is managing editor of the Clarksburg Exponent & Telegram newspapers. He can be reached at 626-1473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.