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CURRENT STORIES


An apology in order from Salem?

My husband and I attended the City of Salem's Apple Butter Festival on Saturday, Oct. 7. We arrived in town just past 11 a.m. and began searching for a parking place. We found that many prime parking spots in town had been roped off or bore signs that prohibited parking there.

When we saw a car backing out of a parking place at the edge of a lot just beyond the IGA parking lot, we pulled into it, only to be told by an "attendant" that we couldn't park there either, that it might block traffic, though traffic was flowing freely as we spoke.

We found a car wash that was closed down and thought that might afford us a parking place, but on closer inspection, a tiny sign informed us that we would be towed away should we park there. Many local businesses prohibited festival attendees from parking in their lots, though it seemed to me that providing parking would be an incentive for people to patronize that business.

We noted that all of the meters on Main Street had been covered, apparently to allow space for the scheduled parade to pass through, so we continued to the west end of Main street and found a portion of Main Street that was not metered and had no signs prohibiting parking, so we parked -- legally -- at the curb just beyond the post office, headed west.

We attended the festival for just over an hour, watching an excellent show at the Depot Stage. We grew tired and walked to the place where we'd parked our car, but lo and behold, it was no longer there. Since I do not leave keys in the ignition and left my car locked, we assumed that the police force had seen fit to have it towed. How very right we were. We discovered the car loaded onto a tow truck on the street where the city building and police department are located.

The driver of the tow truck was very helpful and courteous, so since we had no ticket or citation for illegal parking, we were able to pay the towing bill and retrieve our vehicle. We were told that a local policeman had ordered the towing firm to remove my vehicle from the street.

I would like to go on record as saying I think that the City of Salem should consider not holding any more festivals if they do not have the spirit of hospitality that should inspire such an undertaking. We certainly did not feel welcome and will not attend any further functions in Salem.

It has been my belief that small towns are traditionally friendly and demonstrate a spirit of helpfulness and friendly hospitality, particularly during celebrations such as festivals. Apparently the officer has not read the same books that I have.

If there had been a sign instructing us not to park or limiting the time for parking, we would not have parked there. Since there was not, we are angry and resentful at being treated like that when we came to Salem to enjoy its "hospitality." Instead, we were treated as lawbreakers and ended up spending our money on an undeserved towing fee.

I feel that we were treated unjustly and not given the consideration that should be shown to guests at a town festival. I feel that an apology from Salem city officials would be in order.

Billie A. Clevenger

Clarksburg

All restaurants should become smoke-free

My name is Susan Robertson and I am a sophomore at South Harrison High School. I believe that all restaurants should become smoke-free.

Restaurants becoming smoke-free would enable parents who are concerned about secondhand smoke to enjoy a smoke-free and healthy atmosphere. People with respiratory problems will also gain customers, could possibly make the local news, and will be listed in the American Lung Association of West Virginia Clean Indoor Air Honor Roll.

There are many positives that come from becoming a smoke-free restaurant. You could even be responsible for your customers living a longer, healthier life.

Susan Robertson

Clarksburg

Banning smoking from restaurants would help

business

I am writing concerning the Clean Indoor Air Regulations Act they are trying to pass in Harrison County. I am a junior at Bridgeport High School and a member of TATU (Teens Against Tobacco Use).

Every time I go to one of my favorite restaurants, I sit in the nonsmoking section, but still end up having to smell the smoke from the smoking section throughout my meal. When I leave, I usually smell like smoke also. This sometimes discourages me from going to these restaurants.

I know I am not alone, because statistics show that 75 percent of people in restaurants do not smoke and choose to sit in the nonsmoking section.

Many restaurants believe they would lose business by becoming smoke-free, but studies have shown there have been no negative effects to business when this choice is made. In fact, for every smoker they may lose, it has been shown they would actually gain two more nonsmokers, and more consumers with respiratory problems would eat at the restaurants.

I just wanted to write to let people know that even young people are concerned with this problem. we have to think about our future and hopefully, with programs like this, it can be one without secondhand smoke.

Amber Goodwin

Bridgeport

In support of Clean Indoor Air

Regulation

My name is Jennifer Johnston and I go to South Harrison High School. I am writing to say I support the Clean Indoor Air Regulation. I think it's a really great idea to keep smoking out of restaurants.

When non-smokers are in a restaurant, they don't want to be choked by the polluted air. Even if there is a separate section for smoking, the smoke still drifts into the non-smoking section.

Second-hand smoke is also very dangerous. I don't think it is fair for people who choose not to smoke to have to breathe it in and risk getting cancer or some other life-threatening diseases. It is their lives and they should be able to go into a restaurant without risking it.

Jennifer Johnston

West Milford

Outstanding artwork

Due to my work schedule, I have taken longer to write this than I planned. I am referring to the story several weeks past on the artwork and the artist at the YMCA. I know Mrs. (Sharon) Smith's art. She certainly has many talents.

I have a piece of slate that she painted for me a few years ago. It is a winter scene, however, I love it so much. It is kept out year round. This is one very hard-working person with whom I have had the honor of knowing for several years. We were neighbors for more than 20 years. She not only paints, she is a decorator, and I watched for several years when she would sit out in the hot sun, making quilts for her family and others. They were not fancy. She used any material she could get. She would sew them by hand most times until her hands bled. My husband bought a quilt from someone recently. As soon as I looked at it, I said Sharon made this. Well, in most of her quilts, she used old jeans, wool, corduroy, whatever was warm. And I want to let you know, we have had this quilt on our bed the past couple of weeks, and you need no other heat. I would not be afraid of getting cold under it if I were sleeping in snow.

She has always been a very hard worker, at whatever she does. On her previous employment, I have seen the lady black and blue, from head to foot, and wonder at times how she works. There would be times when I would not see her for a while, then I would hear her singing. She has a beautiful voice, and I believe she sings in her church. She and her husband have raised two daughters, whom anyone should be proud of. I just want to say, the YMCA was very lucky to have Sharon Smith to do the artwork in their facility. I have other pieces of things she has made for me that no one will ever get. Her sister Shirley was her inspiration. She was like her second mother. Congratulations to her on the fine work.

Jo Hamrick

Clarksburg

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