The 17-year locust: Coming this spring to a tree near you
by Bob Stealey

    A couple weeks ago, Joe Trupo — he’s a U.S. marshal, a former state police commander and an ex-Harrison County sheriff — called me, commenting that the 17-year locust will soon be appearing over a large part of the state.
    I contacted the state Division of Forestry in Fairmont, and received a short letter from District Forester Lowell McPherson and some accompanying information. So I thought I’d pass along some of the information, especially to farmers and those with a number of trees on their property.
    Sherry F. Hutchinson, forest entomologist, urges people to “go easy on pruning.” She pointed out that three separate species of periodical cicadas (Magicicada septendecim, M. cassini and M. septendecula) will appear this spring over most of the state during the scheduled Brood V emergence — the largest brood in West Virginia.
    The Brood V emergency includes the Northern Panhandle, north central West Virginia, parts of Western West Virginia, parts of Fayette, Nicholas, Webster, Pocahontas, Hampshire and Mineral counties, plus the northern portion of Mason County. The 17-year locusts are also known as periodical cicadas. Their life cycles take 17 years to complete.
    According to Ms. Hutchinson, “Damage occurs when the female cicada cuts two parallel slits in small twigs, where she lays 24-28 eggs. Sometimes a continuous slit 2-3 inches long is formed as she slowly makes her way up a twig.”
    She mentioned that the slits cause “flagging,” or breakage, to the tips of the branches. She  urged that in order to help reduce cicada damage, it was recommended that homeowners in the winter take it easy when pruning ornamentals and fruit trees. By light pruning then, the majority of damaged twigs may be pruned out next winter.
    Ms. Hutchinson says the best way to prevent damage is to cover young trees with cheesecloth, finely-woven netting or tobacco shade cloth. “This prevents female cicadas from laying eggs in the twigs,” she added.
    Persons interested can obtain a publication on the periodical cicada on request by writing the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Plant Industries Division, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston, WV 2i6305-1091, or by calling (304) 558-2212.

    At least three people have contacted me about the photo of the baseball team that appeared last Friday in “A Look Back in Time,” a feature that appears daily in the Telegram.
    Braden Swaney, Howard Smith and J.V. Johnson confirmed that the players were members of the Clarksburg Generals.
Mr. Johnson stated that it was possible the Clarksburg Generals belonged to the Mid-Atlantic League, which consisted of teams from Wheeling, Fairmont and Charlerois, Pa. They played their home games in Nutter Fort. Braden H. Swaney III said his grandfather, Braden H. “Doc” Swaney, played on the team.
    Mr. Smith said the photo that appeared on April 9 was probably taken after the 1930s. He said at one time the players wore the letter “C” on their caps and the letter “G” appeared on their uniforms.
    My thanks to these three folks who responded to my challenge in the caption beneath the photo.

    A reminder to members of the Washington Irving High School Classes of 1963 and 1964: There will be a reunion planning team meeting at Robert C. Byrd High School at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 25.

Next Bob’n’Along on Sunday, April 18. Have a great weekend.

Harrison emergency
services need more
cooperation, coordination

    When it comes to our problem-ridden emergency squad system, it seems like a logical concept. But given the distrust and ill feelings that apparently exist among several Harrison County squads, it’s one that we won’t be seeing anytime soon.
That’s too bad. Our emergency response system is pretty much a mess.
    Five non-profit ambulance services operate in Harrison County, along with three for-profit ones; the latter aren’t dispatched by the 911. A recent independent report on the non-profit services termed them as “inefficient” with “duplication of services, poor communication and coordination.”
    And what does this mean to the individual who may be desperately in need of emergency transportation? Simply put, the ambulance situated in the station nearby isn’t necessarily going to be the one to respond to that person’s call for help; he or she may have to wait for one to arrive from out-of-town.
    While the Harrison County Commission recently asked the EMS Authority to redraw several of the first-response lines to ensure that the closest ambulance responds in a given situation, more cooperation and coordination definitely need to come into play here.
    Squad officials cite a number of reasons for not wanting to merge. Some say there’s no reason to intervene as long as the squads are solvent. Others simply feel a sense of loyalty to their communities and don’t want to change their services. Those with the smaller squads see more loss than gain with consolidation. And so on and so on.
    We won’t argue with their reasons; some of them are undoubtedly valid. But we’d like to see a little more effort and communication among the squads as to consolidation. As individuals, paramedics and technicians from differing squads reportedly get along well with one another. Surely a few steps could be taken toward discussing the idea.
    After all, we’re not talking about a restaurant’s food-delivery area or a sanitation company’s pick-up route; we’re talking about people’s lives.
    And it’s a problem that has the potential to affect each and every one of us.

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 CecilJarvis.

Shifting attitudes
among today’s youth
a welcome change

Have you heard the news? Many of today’s young people are more conservative than their parents.
    An annual survey of 1998’s college freshmen found that a majority frown on casual sex, support capital punishment, and think there’s too much concern about criminal’s well-being.
According to the survey of college freshmen survey done by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute:
— 40 percent of 1998 freshmen said it’s OK for two people who like each other to have sex, down from 42 percent in 1997 and 52 percent in 1987.
— Less than 25 percent of freshmen said capital punishment should be abolished. That compares to 56 percent who expressed strong opposition to capital punishment in 1970.
— 72 percent of freshmen said there was too much concern for criminals. In the early 1970s, only about 50 percent said concern for criminals was too high.
    The survey of college freshmen has been done annually since 1966, so it provides a good, long-range view of the changes in young people’s attitudes.
    That the children of baby-boomer parents are turning traditional says something. It says that young people are beginning to lose faith in the permissiveness born in the ’60s and promoted since as the way to personal happiness and societal perfection. It says they’ve looked around, seen that permissiveness hasn’t fulfilled its promise — either socially or personally — and decided to try a different path.
    Wendy Shalit, 23-year-old author of a book titled “A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue,” put it this way: “Their parents are the ones who sort of believed in this liberation through promiscuity and experience.” But many young people don’t believe that anymore. They’re “embracing the codes of conduct that their own parents rejected.”
We at the Telegram believe that’s good news for America.

Tim Langer
Telegram Editorial Board member


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