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A great opportunity for area students

by John Miller

managing editor

Three weeks ago he was in Thailand playing his brand of music with the country's king. He had recently spent time in India, teaching music and performing for that country's children.

And on Thursday, jazz music legend Maynard Ferguson was in Clarksburg, West Virginia, doing what he does best -- sharing his love of music with aspiring musicians and adoring fans.

About 1,200 fans were on hand for his concert at Robert C. Byrd High School Thursday night. But Ferguson's best work came earlier in the day, when he and his 10-piece band, which included Clarksburg native Brian Wolfe on drums, performed and spoke to more than 400 students.

Having a world-renowned musician like Ferguson share his knowledge with you provides a practical experience few in the audience could have known.

And having a local musician right up there on stage with him, talking about his career and the dues he's paid, should have provided some inspiration.

What happened here on Thursday is exactly the type of practical experience many critics believe is missing from our school systems today.

Thanks to the efforts of co-coordinators Sharon Diaz and Phil Wyatt, the rest of the Harrison County schools administrative staff, Robert C. Byrd High School staff and corporate sponsors, our young musicians had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from the greatest trumpet player in the world.

Here's hoping there are more opportunities like that in the future.

n n n

The proposed amendment to the Harrison County Clean Air Policy seems to have a lot of folks fired up as we continue to receive letters daily about the proposal.

We've also drawn some heat from some anti-smoking proponents for being one-sided in favor of the smokers, and the Harrison County Commission staff for publishing an ad that included the commission's phone number.

Actually, the Exponent editorial board has come out in favor of the ordinance, while the Telegram board, in the past, has said that the implementation of the ordinance should not be allowed to have a negative effect on existing businesses.

On the news side, we've just reported the facts and opinions of those we've interviewed.

And as for the county commission's number in the ad, here's the way we look at it. Although the policy will be implemented solely by the Harrison-Clarksburg Board of Health, of which Commissioner Tom Keeley is a member, the other commissioners, Beth Taylor and Roger Diaz, don't have any say in the matter.

Still, the commission office's phone is a public number paid by taxpayer money, so we have every right to publish it in an ad or the newspaper at any time.

John G. Miller is managing editor of the Clarksburg Exponent and Telegram newspapers. He can be reached at 304-626-1473 or by e-mail at jmiller@exponent-telegram.com.

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