Listen up! Here’s a list of
things we need year-round
    I have, from time to time, used lists in Bob’n’Along. Some have been lists of people, places and things that used to be in north central West Virginia. Or, at Christmas time, I’ve used “wish lists for Santa Claus.”
Now I’d like to try something different — a list of things that are needed year-long — and now. Here goes:
-A better way to let grocery and department store shoppers know what the price of a product on the shelf is.
- An express lane at the local Department of Motor Vehicles office.
- A safer interchange for U.S. 50 and I-79, and also at I-79 and U.S. 33 near Weston.
- More incentive for people  to stop in downtown Clarksburg and fewer parking tickets.
- More places where a real  person answers the telephone at a business or agency. (We realize that this, of course, might mean having to rehire a telephone receptionist or two.)
- Courses in public and private schools that teach students  better study habits, positive incentives, etc. (so they’ll do well in other classes, e.g., in math classes without having to use a calculator).
- A truly unified emergency medical response system that’s more interested in adequate care and transport of patients without so much squabbling and politics.
- When it comes to agencies serving people’s needs, less politics period.
- More bosses who sincerely care about their employees — present and past, too.
- More interested people who are willing to write their congressmen, delegates and U.S. and state senators with their concerns. (That way, we can tell if they’re really representative of the views of the voters who put them in office to begin with, or if they’re just money- and power-hungry.)
- For telemarketers to realize that not all people are as gullible as they’d like.
- More kindness toward animals. They’re living creatures, too.
- For some to realize that people have a legitimate right to defend themselves — even if it comes to having to carry a gun to defend against an armed assailant.
- More people who have the  intestinal fortitude to be forthright and honest with others.
- Fewer lengthy, frivolous Academy Awards shows.
- Love — the caring kind.

    Rod Rogers of Clarksburg brought me a list of what was titled “The Leading Houses of Clarksburg, W.Va.” I’m not certain what publication this may have appeared in and what year it first appeared, but the list included a few local businesses.
They were: J.W. Parker, the  tailor; The Blue Front, H.G. Post, proprietor, staple and fancy grocer, East Pike Street; Clarksburg Cigar Works, A.B. Rule, manager, blue line seed stogies a specialty, samples free, Pike Street; A.C. Seaton, dealer in agricultural implements, Studebaker wagons a specialty; Clarksburg Marble Works; Rhul Koblegard & Co., wholesale grocers.
    Nutter Hotel, C.L. Nutter, proprietor, near B&O depot; Clarksburg Planing Mill Co., manufacturers of and dealers in lumber flooring, ceiling sash, doors, moulding, brackets, shutters, lathe, glass, etc.; H.L. Davis & Brothers, dealers in staple and fancy groceries, foreign and domestic fruits in season, glassware, queensware, etc.; Stuart Brothers, livery, feed and sale stables, dealer in all kinds of livestock, McCormick mowers, reapers, binders and buggies and turnbull wagons; A.G. Fordyce, manufacturer of carriages, buggies, phaetons, and all kinds of spring wagons and buckboards, all kinds of repairing neatly and promptly done, satisfaction guaranteed, one door east of government building; South Side Planing Mill, Silas Dawson, proprietor, manufacturer of flooring, ceiling, moulding, siding, weatherboarding, doors and window frames, sash, mantles, stairing; Lowndes & Corpening Co., incorporated 1892, dealers in wheat, corn, rye and oats, manufacturers of full roller flour, bolted corn meal, mill feed and custom grist work a specialty, satisfaction guaranteed.

Thanks, Rod. That’ll challenge a few memories.

Another Bob’n’Along Friday. Take care.



Environmentalists
not to blame for
coal industry’s woes
 It’s amazing how much people can blame on environmentalists.
     The latest conservative complaint is that environmentalists are destroying what some have called “West Virginia’s most valued industry,” the coal industry.
     Environmentalists are getting blamed for clean air regulations that conservatives say are causing a reduction in the use of coal. And they are getting blamed for the declining number of coal mining jobs because of mountaintop removal.
     Environmentalists aren’t killing the coal industry. And we believe they are getting a bad reputation for pure business practices that they have little to do with.
     First, the Clean Air Act. What many people don’t want to talk about when they are bashing environmentalists these days is that the people pushing more stringent air regulations are big businesses in the Northeast, especially big electricity companies.
     Just ask some of the electric company gurus in the area. They believe that their competitors in the upper region of the country are trying to stick them with higher operating costs to drive up the price of electricity produced in places like West Virginia.
     That way, when electricity deregulation actually becomes a reality, the plants in the Northeast will be on a more level playing field. It’s all about playing around with big business.
     Second, people are finding cleaner ways, that also happen to be cheaper ways, to create electricity. The No. 1 way is with natural gas. “It has become very inexpensive to build new gas-fired capacity in small increments near the loads,” according to a report written by the West Virginia University Electric Industry Restructuring Research Group.
     And if you ask some of those electricity gurus, they’ll tell you that in the next 10 to 15 years, they have no plans to build any new coal-fired generation in this state, even though they anticipate electric deregulation to occur within the next five years or so.
     Third, more than anything else, the basic business practice of efficiency has cost this state more in coal mining jobs than anything else. Just talk to the West Virginia Coal Association. Its executives will tell you that the state is mining more coal than it has ever before with the fewest number of miners. It’s called technology.
     And lastly, St. Albans can hardly get enough water from the Coal River to serve its residents, let alone potential businesses coming into the area. Why? Because coal companies have dumped the tops of mountains into the streams that feed the Coal River. That’s not environmentalists squawking, that’s the head of the city’s utility commission.
     We think our children would prefer to work in an environmentally sound state that has a diversified economy. Coal, an industry that rises and falls with the temperature and the national economy, will only play a smaller and smaller role.
 But that’s not something you can blame on environmentalists.
     Our residents and state leaders need to be finding ways to bring in the Toyota manufacturing companies of the world and the high-tech companies, rather than spending themselves trying to save an industry that has a muddled future at best and blaming one faction that really has minimal power.
 
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.


Smoking marijuana the wrong answer
for patients wracked by pain

     Marijuana as a drug? Not a good idea, we say, because “medical marijuana” is merely a subterfuge for “recreational” pot smoking.
     Those driving the big push for laws to allow marijuana for medicinal purposes — do they really expect, or want, their campaign to stop there? Hardly.
 Since doctors already have safe and effective medicines for all the symptoms that smoked marijuana is purported to relieve, it somewhat cuts off at the pass the argument for legalizing pot smoking.
     They must have only been reading the portion of the Institute of Medicine report that interested them rather than all of it. They must have been looking at the confirmation that marijuana’s compounds provide modest relief for some patients suffering from various agonizing diseases.
     But what the medical marijuana pushers may have missed — possibly because they just were not looking for it — was the portion that confirms that marijuana is a dangerous drug.
     We are quite aware that there are many diseases that cause excruciating pain and severe discomfort, including terminal illnesses. However, the active ingredient in smoked marijuana is available in pill form. Even faster ways of delivering relief may be available in the not-too-distant future. We would have no real problem, if taken in those forms.
     But with so many other means of alleviating pain or discomfort, to legalize the smoking of marijuana for the ailing would inevitably be the next step before legalizing it for the recreational marijuana smokers, including teen-agers. And where would things go from there?
     One of the most avid agencies hoping for the legalization of smoked marijuana is the Marijuana Policy Project, which has gained the support of liberal congressmen like Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who introduced House Bill 1782 two years ago. It would have allowed states to establish their own policies regarding medicinal marijuana.
     According to MPP Director of Government Relations Robert Kampia, “State governments that want to make marijuana medicinally available have been blocked by the federal government. ... State governments support changing federal law. The American people support changing federal law. Soon we’ll see if states’ rights advocates in Congress have the integrity to let states create their own medicinal marijuana policies.”
 We question whether “integrity” was the right choice of words.
     Given that doctors have drugs as safe and effective as marijuana — for all the symptoms it is said to alleviate — and the dangers of smoking pot, clearly our recommendation is to ban marijuana as a medicine. Because for its proponents, unfortunately, that is merely the engine that pulls a very long train.
 
Robert F. Stealey
Telegram Editorial Board chairman



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Copyright Clarksburg Publishing Company 1999