Repairs to parking garage long needed,
much appreciated

    Okay, okay, using the City of Clarksburg’s Hewes Avenue parking garage is going to be a little bit inconvenient for the next few months.
    The stairwell isn’t wide enough for more than one person. The elevator is going to be out for a few weeks. It’s dusty and some monthly parkers will be forced to switch floors temporarily while work crews continue making repairs to the 20-year-old structure.
    The city began upgrading the five-story parking facility in early March. The $900,000 improvement project is expected to take several months.
    But boy, once it’s finished, the city garage will be a nicer, safer and a better place to leave a vehicle while working or shopping downtown. And good, safe parking is something downtown Clarksburg definitely needs.
When all is said and done, the garage will be structurally sound and will:
-Have a better drainage system to handle snow melt in the winter.
- Have better lighting.
- Have a new security system.
- Have a dependable elevator to transport customers to the upper floors.
In our view, the inconvenience now is worth the end result.
    We just wish the city would have stayed on top of maintaining the building during the last 20 years. Perhaps then, all this work wouldn’t have had to have been done at once.
    Nevertheless, having safe, covered parking in downtown Clarksburg is a real plus for the city. And even with the increase in parking rates needed to pay for the improvements, fees to park there are still a bargain.
    So customers, be patient. The work being done on the city garage may be a pain now, but, we think you’ll all find it was worth it in the end.

Today’s editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial board, which includes William J. Sedivy, John G. Miller, Julie R. Cryser, James Logue, Kevin Courtney and Cecil Jarvis.

W.Va. was a state where people could enjoy life AND
prosper at one time

    West Virginia’s track record in keeping natives and long-time residents of the Mountain State is a sad commentary  indeed on its political, business and educational leaders.
    It is a virtual crime that those who were born in West Virginia or have lived here for a number of years find themselves in a position of having to leave the mountains and the natural beauty to which they have become so attached.
    But depart they must. Today’s expenses for housing, food and other needs are not as high as in, say, New York or New England. Still, West Virginia has become known as a state with exceptionally low income levels and exceptionally few employment and career opportunities. The latter “distinction” seems to more than overset the former.
    World War II has been partly to blame for the state’s first population decline in 40 years. West Virginia’s population grew steadily from nearly 960,000 to 1.9 million people from 1900 until 1940. Then from 1941 through 1944, state population totals declined by 201,000, U.S. Census figures have shown.
    Although coal has been one of the state’s few economic “aces in the hole,” it was in the 1950s when the coal industry mechanized that the state’s population began its steady drop. From 1950 through 1957 — during the period West Virginia lost 40,000 mining jobs — the population of West Virginia dropped from 2 million to 1.8 million, while the rest of the nation prospered.
    From the first drop of 116,000 people from 1960-70, the trend in the 10-year census figures has never been reversed. There were small spurts of recovery during the 1970s and early 1980s like a small roller-coaster, but not nearly enough to become a catalyst for an economic turnaround. By 1990, the state’s population was down to 1.79 million.
    Many native and long-time West Virginians “stuck it out” as long as they could and finally moved out of state, especially down the “Hillbilly Highway” to North and South Carolina.
    There are several points to ponder here. Obviously, those who live in West Virginia must earn a living. Many would like to do it in the state they love so well, rather than rushing to where the grass grows greener immediately after high school or college. Jobs are more plentiful in surrounding states, but the magnetism of the mountains and valleys have managed to keep a number of people in the state.
    The beauty of the mountains and valleys, however, does  very little to put bread on West Virginia families’ tables. That is where business and industry enter the picture. But for those businesses that have survived, the only movement — except for smaller businesses — has been toward mergers and acquisitions. And that’s after the brightest and best have already gone. This has generally led to smaller rather than larger workforces. And let us not leave out all those regressive taxes that burden state residents and small businesses.
    We could have printed a list of industries and businesses in West Virginia that have closed since 1970, and another list of business consolidations and takeovers, but why? The hard evidence is in the lines at unemployment offices and welfare departments and in empty stores and factories. Education systems in the state have failed to adequately prepare young people for the “jungle out there.” Computers may be the answer, but realistically, a relative few in the state can operate them.
    The American dream might have — indeed could have — been as real for West Virginians as New Yorkers, Texans and Californians, while still earning a decent living. But those who have had the power to make that happen have instead been too worried about lining their own pockets.
    Our state is still down, for sure. But we are not ready to concede that it’s out. Voters, the popularity contests will not get the job done. It is up to the real movers and shakers to make a difference. Remember that in 2000.
 Robert F. Stealey
Telegram editorial board chairman

While opening some ‘fan’ mail, it made me feel cool
by Bob Stealy

    Remember Dailey’s Coffee Kitchen in Wilsonburg, known as the home of the Boston cream pie? I recently received on loan, from Doris Hustead of West Milford, a cardboard fan bearing the name Dailey’s Coffee Kitchen, “on National Highway, four miles from Clarksburg.”
    The slogan also printed on the back of the fan was “Eat Boston cream pie daily at Dailey’s  — None superior and few equal.”
Also included was some verse, as follows:
“Just fan away the stagnant air
Let cool refreshing breezes share
But please remember all the while
Our service always brings a satisfying smile.”
Also printed on the fan:
“We give you this fan for three reasons:
“1. To keep our good friends cool.
“To inform you we are always ready to give you the best in our line.
“3. On July 13th, 1928 is our anniversary of six years in business.”
Thanks, Mrs. Amos, for the real “fan mail.”

    An e-mail came my way from my friend Steve Griffith, whom I saw last week for the first time in some time. He mentioned that last week, in the Telegram photo feature series “A Look Back in Time,” there was a picture from the old “Trader’s Barber Shop.”
    He wrote, “Some of the men I remember, and some I don’t, but the one for whom you had no name, the white-haired gentleman, could have been Arley Fletcher. I remember him from there, and later he worked at the little barbershop that used to be at the end of the Main Street Bridge across Elk Creek, where Monti-Mart is today.
    “Arley Fletcher was the best man at my grandfather’s wedding. I didn’t know that when I met him, but I do remember my dad telling me that later. He was a nice man.
    “I remember one time when Arley cut my hair, he brought out an electric clipper that looked like it had come over on “the Mayflower.” He seemed to be proud of the clipper, and said he had worked it over and wanted to try it out on me. My hair was thicker than today, and it actually stalled. He was lucky, or, more likely, I was lucky that he got it out without taking any hair with it.”
    Thanks, Steve, and it was good seein’ you again.

    The item about the barber reminded me of some barbers who used to cut hair in Stealey, including: Shorty Frame, whose shop was on Euclid Avenue, directly next door to what was then Ridenours Store (later Wagner Brothers, but now an empty building); Ernie Meyers (or Myers, I don’t remember which), in the 200 block of Milford Street, and Dana F. Miller, on North Avenue. All were pretty good barbers.

    Bob Wagner, a member of the Washington Irving High School Class of 1965 and now president of the Allegheny Region Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers’ Club, e-mailed me earlier this week to say that in Monday’s “A Look Back in Time” in the Telegram there was a picture of the Budweiser hitch.
    “Most everyone knows that the horses, of course, are Clydesdales, but how many readers know that the wagon is a Studebaker?”
    He continued, “Studebaker started making wagons in the 1850s and continued to do so until the early 1900s. Car and truck production continued in the United States until December 1963. They not only made general purpose wagons, bug buggies and coaches. Some of the coaches were used as presidential transportation, and several are on display at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana.”
    Bob, I remember you from WI and I thank you for this information. Being a Studebaker enthusiast, I’m sure you remember the Avanti. I just always thought it continued to be made into the latter ’60s. You might clear me up on that.


Clarksburg Publishing Company, P.O. Box 2000, Clarksburg, WV 26302 USA
Copyright Clarksburg Publishing Company 1999