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Putting their worst foot forward

by John Miller

Managing editor

Thoughts from a busy week:

-- From the "Sometimes we're our own worst enemy" file, the town of Jefferson in Kanawha County, known for its X-rated bars, adult video stores and political squabbles, will be featured on Comedy Central network.

The Associated Press reports that producers from "The Daily Show with John Stewart" were in the town recently interviewing residents for an upcoming segment.

The town's government was actually disbanded by a vote of the Kanawha County Commission on Nov. 16, but not in time to save the state from further ridicule.

Nothing like putting your best foot forward.

-- Oh, and here's another tidbit sure to help label us further as uneducated rednecks. The state's higher education system received an F, a D, two D+'s and a C in different areas of importance, according to a study conducted by The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. The report studied preparation, participation, affordability, completion and economic benefits.

In case you missed the story, just 17 percent of state residents between the ages of 25 and 65 have at least a bachelor's degree and only 35 percent of those residents between the ages of 18 and 24 enroll in college.

The study also indicates that cost is a factor.

Gov.-elect Bob Wise has "promised" to make a difference with his scholarship program proposal. Let's hope it works.

We know we aren't the backwoods hillbillies as others portray us, but these numbers don't help our cause.

-- One has to wonder if the city of Huntington's recently imposed $2-per-week payroll tax passes state tax department and possible legal scrutiny, if other financially troubled cities will adopt the practice.

-- I don't need any national polls to tell me people are getting tired of this election mess. I was at a church service the other evening and the election was mentioned several times by various speakers. The congregation's reaction was enough to tell me that Al Gore and George W. Bush are testing our patience.

-- Wow, I almost made it through a column without mentioning the presidential election. There is hope. Maybe next week.

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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