Experiencing a ‘parade’ of a different kind

    It’s likely that at some time or another, you’ve been a spectator at a parade — whether a circus parade, festival parade, patriotic parade or holiday parade. In the bigger ones, there are many features, such as high school marching bands, floats,  veterans organizations, queens and princesses, etc. What a lineup! What a variety!
    As a bystander, isn’t life a lot like a big parade? It can be a really happy time, with music, celebrities and flashy entries. A well-planned parade is a good time, but it ends all too soon.
    But then there’s the other kind of “parade” — the one that seems to be never-ending. It’s the “parade of woes” that everyone watches pass by (experiences) every now and then. While “viewing” this kind of parade, we can do just that — view it and formulate our own thoughts about what is marched before our eyes ... and our being. Or we can leave the sidelines at the sign of the first spectacle that turns us off.
    I can think of no euphemisms to soften the blow of the undesirable situation — nor do I care to try. Certainly it’s no joy to experience living on the heel of society like a discarded wad of bubble gum. Or feeling like a strip of elastic, stretched (if you’re fortunate enough to have a job) from payday to payday between the phone company and the insurance company and whoever else, each demanding its share of the pie — and more.
    Next in the lineup are the personal difficulties that are inevitable for most average people. The car breaks down, the sudden trip to the emergency room, the passing of a family member or dear friend, etc.
    Then there are the more lasting crises such as divorce, losing a job or suffering injuries or damages from an accident or a fire.
    Next in line come the smaller but nonetheless vexing situations such as traffic jams when you’re running late or waiting on the telephone while corporations play the “press one for ...” game.
    For those without adequate resources to circumvent these major and minor inconveniences, it has become a way of life.
Maybe there’s a different way to view this kind of parade from a calmer perspective. Maybe we can tell ourselves that we’re not being singled out for the tough time. All folks who lack the means to buy their way through life’s crises come to see that they’re indeed not alone.
    Come to think of it, when we encounter problems, unless we flat out give up, we’re a little bit better off ... a little bit stronger. As they say about physical exercise, “No pain, no gain!” I suppose it’s also true of mental and emotional endurance. Or spiritual trials.
    Can any of us dare say we’ve been thankful for actually having problems to solve? It may be a whole new, fresh approach.

    As I hope I’ve demonstrated in Bob’n’Along, if there’s something I’ve included that isn’t accurate, I try to emend the alleged miscue. The following one pertains to my column of Good Friday, April 2 — about Good Friday. It was basically a reprint of a column from Good Friday 1998, and concerned the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the Cross nearly 2,000 years ago.
    This letter was from Edwin P. Morrison of Route 1, Box 182 C, Jane Lew, WV 26378. He cited a portion of that column as it appeared, as follows: “And while the man was suffering and bleeding, upright and prone on the cross, one of the soldiers drew his sword and pierced it into the man’s side.”
    Mr. Morrison stated: “Please refer to St. John Chapter 19, Verses 30 through 34, in the King James Version of the Bible.
“I believe you will find that Jesus was already dead and it was a spear, not a sword, that  the soldier used.”
I appreciate Mr. Morrison’s ability to promptly point out to me this important oversight on my part.

State’s pay equity
law is just a first step

    Just as we are about to enter a new millennium, West Virginia, it seems, is ready to enter the 20th century. We’re just now getting around to the idea that women in the workplace are not paid enough. The state took a big step toward correcting that inequity on Thursday.
    Governor Underwood signed into law a bill that will boost salaries at the state’s largest agency. In all, $11.7 million will be used to increase pay at the Department of Health and Human Resources, which is 76 percent female.
    In West Virginia, women in the workplace only make 64 percent of what men earn. Nationwide, women average 74 percent.
    Health Secretary Joan Ohl, who attended the signing on Thursday, said for years pay hikes have had a low priority at the agency.  “The department often found itself in financial crises and any available money was used to fund programs instead of salary increases. This situation should never have been allowed to develop.”
    The raises at HHR will not only bring the female employees closer to the same salaries as that of their male counterparts, but it should also mean a better agency overall. There should be less turnover and the agency should be able to keep its better workers.
    Now that state government is doing something to erase the pay imbalance between men and women, it’s up to the private sector to do the same.  “We have a long way to go,” said Del. Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia. “Women work just as hard in the same kinds of jobs with the same families to support.”
    Gone are the days when women worked just to fulfill career goals. Women work today because families need two salaries in order to survive economically. They should be paid what they’re worth.

Letters To The Editor
Give handicapped workers the chances they deserve

    Persons with disabilities in this state do not have the same opportunities as everyone else when it comes to obtaining and maintaining a job that would allow us to become economically self-sufficient in today’s society. Employers should evaluate a potential employee for what he can do and not his particular disability.
    If a person promises to alert that particular person whether or not he or she was hired, that person  should follow through on what was promised. There have been too many times that I have been told those very words and have not received any type of feedback. Just because we are people with disabilities, it dos not mean that we cannot handle rejection.
    We have had to handle rejection all of our lives when it comes to opportunities such as these. Employers need to handle us just like any other potential employee — with dignity and respect for our feelings. We do not want empty promises. We want the truth.
    There are many volunteer opportunities for people with disabilities. Unfortunately, this would not help me to afford a life of independence, something that I have wanted for quite a while. State legislators should sit up and take notice that we are residents of West Virginia and should be allowed to have the same opportunities as every other resident who resides in this state.
    There are many programs within this state that provide paying wages to the elderly. My question to you is: Why could there not be the same type of assistance to the handicapped population as well?
    I am sick and tired of all the talk that I have heard in the past. It is time for these people to quit talking and start acting. If they are supposed to be advocates for the handicapped, it is time that they start earning their paychecks. People should never take any opportunity that they have for granted.
    It is a shame that people with disabilities have to fight 10 times harder for every opportunity that they receive. Taking things for granted will never become a part of our vocabularies. Give us the chance that we deserve.
Junius Kimmel Musser IV

Let the ‘chips’ fall where they may

    In your Sunday, April 4 issue of the Exponent-Telegram, I was chagrined at Mr. Knoblock’s latest installment on the Y2K problem. He inferred that any electronic device that contains “chips” is susceptible to the Y2K problem. If Mr. Knoblock doesn’t know that the Y2K problem is a programming problem, not a “chip” problem, he shouldn’t be writing about it.
    Mr. Knoblock mentioned many electronic devices as possible victims of Y2K. Only devices that contain a built-in time and date clock and need the date for their operation are susceptible to Y2K. Unless your garage door opener, etc., has a built-in time and date clock, it will neither know nor care when Jan. 1, 2000 arrives.
     Mr. Knoblock suggests that you check with the manufacturers of your electronic devices just because it contains “chips” to determine if they are Y2K compliant. This is unnecessary unless the device has a built-in time and date clock.
    The real Y2K problem is the harm these suggestions may cause by playing on the fears of people who are not computer-literate. Causing people to believe that they are about to become innocent victims of an all-encompassing electronic disaster over which they have no control is irresponsible.
    To err on the side of caution is prudent, but it can be overdone. I suggest that you keep both my letter and Mr. Knoblock’s column and, next Jan. 2, see which one is right.
Rodney Applegate

We are caring people and would
never turn away the hungry

    We are concerned how you feel about Rosebud Foodland and our family after an article was printed in The Exponent and Telegram on Friday. The story focused on a woman being ticketed for eating an egg roll she didn’t pay for in our store.
    Shoplifting is a crime. Where do you draw the line on the amount a person takes? It is our job as owners of the business to protect the jobs of the 70 employees we have working and to protect our customers so they won’t have to pay higher prices.
Shoplifting costs the city, county and state millions of dollar each year (in the form of your taxes).
    We are caring people of this community and would never turn anyone away who was hungry. We have fed thousands of people in the past. We donate food daily to the Clarksburg Mission to help feed people in need. We don’t normally tell about the good things we do for our community, but we are forced to defend the reputation of our store and family.
    There is normally more to a story than can be told, but if you know us you already realized that.
 Danny and Debbie Thomas
Owners, Rosebud Foodland

Can West Virginia survive without coal as ‘king?’

    The West Virginia coal industry is facing a grim future unless state residents rally around coal industry executives and United Mine Workers alike. Our coalfield economy is at risk due to environmentalists’ efforts to lobby for an international clean-air policy and to restrict mountaintop mining. If we don’t fight back, we are at risk of losing coal as West Virginia’s most valued industry.
    Another risk comes from cheap Western coal mined in the Powder River basin that has replaced Appalachian coal as our nation’s top energy producer.
    If the environmentalists are successful in their efforts, the remaining miners’ jobs in our state are likely to disappear. We’re talking about an industry where the average miner earns more than $50,000 annually plus benefits, not to mention the millions of dollars that will be eliminated from state and local taxes.
    The question is: Can West Virginia survive without coal as king? We believe the option shouldn’t even exist. Rather, our political and business leaders should actively embrace and promote coal to ensure our own economic future.
    Certainly our state is wise to diversify its economic base. Successful efforts to develop high-tech and aerospace jobs have helped to reduce our dependence on coal. But that doesn’t mean we should turn our backs on the coal industry altogether. We should continue to develop other opportunities for good-paying jobs while, at the same, time protect the remaining coal industry jobs that we have. Having Wal-Mart as our state’s largest employer is simply not acceptable.
    UMW President Cecil Roberts warned those in attendance at a memorial service to dead miners, held this past week in Fairmont, that the nation’s public policy is turning against the use of coal and could cost miners their jobs.
    The best example of the impact of these policies can be exhibited by the layoff of 250 miners at Consolidation Coal’s No. 95 Robinson’s Run Mine near Lumberport and about 250 miners at Loveridge No. 22 mine near Fairview earlier this year.
    Unless we embrace coal once again and actively lobby for the preservation of coal as an integral part of our national energy policy, our children will be forced to leave the state in order to have a secure future. In West Virginia, coal is king. Long live the king!
Andy Kniceley
Telegram editorial board member

So long to Executive Editor Bill Sedivy

    Bill Sedivy is a consummate journalist, a good coach and trainer and loyal to the people who work with him. Those are among many attributes that have made him so valuable as the top news executive of The Exponent and the Telegram.
    However, Bill is leaving his post as executive editor of our newspapers. His last day is Thursday and if you’ve been lucky enough to meet him during his short term here then we hope you’ll call and wish him well.
    Sedivy has had a distinguished career as a newspaper editor at newspapers in Mansfield and Warren in Ohio and also worked at the Indianapolis Star. Newspapers that he edited won national and state awards. He was teaching journalism at Utah State University when we talked him into returning to the daily newspaper grind.
    While here a little less than two years, he has led our news department to a higher level of professionalism. His steady hand and leadership have brought new and bright talent to our newspapers as well as further developing the ample talent that was here on his arrival.
    One result was that our newspapers won the General Excellence top award in the 1998 West Virginia Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. Although Bill will be long gone by the time the 1999 contest results are announced in August, we’re sure his efforts and those of his staff will pay off with more awards.
    When Bill arrived here in August of 1997, he was told our company’s goal is to become known among our readers and peers as the best newspapers in West Virginia. We all realize we still have much work to do to realize that goal but Bill can feel good about moving us in that direction during his tenure here.
    There were two reasons why Clarksburg Publishing Company was able to attract Bill and Maryl Sedivy to West Virginia. One was the fact that these newspapers are locally owned. He had a strong taste of corporate-owned newspapers (85 percent of all the daily newspapers in the country are now corporate owned) and didn’t care much for it. He wanted ownership that cared about the communities the newspaper served.
    The second factor bringing him here was our community’s proximity to some of the finest whitewater rafting in the world. The Sedivys have spent many weekends rafting the New River and Gauley River. Often, they would stay at campsites to share time with other river lovers from around the country who traveled to West Virginia to enjoy its pristine waters.
    This river thing is not just a passing fancy. Bill has been a professional guide and is highly accomplished at getting a boat full of novices safely down a raging river. There is no doubt that he loved working at newspapers but it is also clear he loves rivers even more.
    That makes the new direction he has chosen for his life make perfect sense. He is once again leaving the daily newspaper business. He has accepted the position as executive director of Idaho Rivers United. This is one of the largest state river conservation organizations in the country.
    This will allow him to combine his work and pleasure in a very natural way. We are very happy for him but will miss his influence on our newspapers. We’re happy we had him in Clarksburg even for the short time he was here.
    As for the future of our newspapers, Bill has left a pretty solid team behind. Managing Editor John Miller will manage all day-to-day operations of our news department for both The Exponent and the Telegram. Julie Cryser, assistant managing editor and city editor, will continue in her role. Also staying on in key management roles are Sports Editor Matt Harvey, Lifestyles Editor Pam Marra and Chief Photographer Bob Shaw. And Bob Stealey, editor, will continue to focus on his popular Bob ’N’ Along column as well as his duties as chairman of the Telegram’s editorial board.
    As publisher, I’ll take a more active role in helping editors through this transition. We plan to build on what Bill accomplished and continue toward our goal of being the best newspapers in West Virginia.

Terry Horne is publisher of The Exponent and the Telegram. 
His column appears weekly in the Sunday Exponent-Telegram.


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