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I must respond to the editorial printed in the Saturday, Sept. 2, morning paper regarding Weston and the closing of the Heilig-Meyers store. Yes, we really hate to see any business close, but Weston is hardly a dying town, as the tone of the editorial seemed. We have such an abundance of scenic wealth in Lewis County and a location that is second to nowhere else.

We hope to have something great in the old hospital, but should that not happen, we still have two of the greatest areas in West Virignia -- Stonewall Jackson Park and Lake, which is now undergoing the building of a first-class Arnold Palmer golf course with a first-class resort/lodge on the way into the park; and the Jackson's Mill Campus of West Virginia University. In addition, we have several fine fishing lakes, wonderful highway access north, south, east and west.

We have one of the best small hospitals I have ever had access to and a great span of medical staff, a beautiful nearly-new high school, a large elementary school opened in 1999, new water service to the Gilmer County line and in several other directions. The annual Arts & Crafts Jubilee held Labor Day weekend is considered a major event in the eastern half of the United States.

All of this is surpassed, however, by the people of Lewis County -- people who spend hours of their time working on community teams to improve the quality of life for our Lewis Countians, and I am proud to be part of those efforts.

I do know about these things: I am not a native of West Virginia and have no family ties here, but I have found a home in every way. After living in Oklahoma, New York, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri in corporate moves in the foundry business, my husband and I decided to open a small foundry in West Virginia -- not for any reason other than the understanding that West Virginia people have a great work ethic.

No one recruited us, offered any state loans, local loans, free buildings or tax breaks, and we didn't ask for any. We began in an empty building with three employees (from Lewis County) without any foundry experience in January 1990. Eleven years later, we have 40 West Virginia employees in the foundry operation and there are 22 people in a machining operation to machine our castings.

We are a $5 million a year company, make world-class castings for trains, large marine diesel engines, and rapid transit cars that go worldwide. This is being done here in Lewis County, using only Lewis County people who had no foundry background, but wanted a company they could be part of. I am so proud of this county and the people I know. Sure, our small town has had a setback, but with people like the West Virginians who live here, we will continue to make strong forward progress.

Sadly, my husband had a fatal heart attack in December, but I have chosen to continue our business and my West Virginia life -- all because this has become my home and I can't imagine being anywhere else. That is Weston and Lewis County, and I know for a fact that I am only one of the 17,000 people who live here who feel this way. Certainly we must help make Weston live. But we are a long, long way from dead.

Patricia Minehardt

Weston

Just a note that the recent column dealing with the lack of respect for a "funeral procession" was right on target.

'Sad that that action serves as only one indication of a whole list of the decays in our society of what were once "respected values."

John S. Wilson

Bridgeport

I'm writing to you about the Purple Heart memorials that have been put ip in this area. I'm a Purple Heart recipient and my name is not included.

I was shot and wounded twice in Viet Nam and just about lost my life at the age of 19. I am not the only person not listed on the memorial. I have spoken to City Councilman Sam Lopez, Delegate Frank Angotti and Senator Joe Minard.

At this time, Sen. Minard said it was the Chapter 418 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart who organized the names. Sen. Minard introduced the bill to the Legislature for funding to pay for monuments.

I, being a taxpayer, as well as many others, feel that this was an injustice to us. Could you please explain the reasoning behind this -- why only certain names, when funded with federal money?

If possible to make adjustments to this, I would certainly appreciate this, as ell as the rest of the Purple Heart recipients.

David A. Romano

Clarksburg

Eric Reeves' article, "Despite genocide, U.N. to welcome Sudan" (Aug. 22 Exponent) failed to mention the actual motivation for the atrocities being committed in southern Sudan. According to "The Voice of the

Martyrs," an organization that monitors and records perscution against the church, the National Islamic Front is responsible for the current atrocities.

Christians who refuse to deny their faith in Jesus Christ are the ones they are killing. The people in southern Sudan are not being killed simply because they live in the south or because they are of a certain ethnicity. Rather, they are being killed because they are Christians. Furthermore, atrocities are not only being committed from the air, but also from the ground.

Radical fundamentalist Muslims of northern Sudan are raiding villages in the south, invading homes, compelling Christian villagers to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, and murdering those villagers who refuse to renounce their faith and become Muslim.

The so-called "civil war" raging in Sudan is a war based on religious grounds, not political or ethnic grounds. The government of Khartoum is not committing genocide, but religious persecution. Too

bad for them that Jesus Christ takes personally any attack made against His disciples.

For more information, contact The Voice of the Martyrs at 1-800-75VOICE (1-800-758-6423).

Mark Smith

Bridgeport

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