Bob-n-Along Monday, March 8, 1999
Johnstown's covered bridge on Rooting Creek cost $675 to build

    Former Harrison County resident Lincoln Davis, who now makes his home in Dalton, Ohio, has sent me another letter about life of yesteryear in smaller communities of the area.
    This time, Johnstown in southeast Harrison County is in the spotlight.
    Mr. Davis said the community, which is located on Rooting Creek about six miles east of Lost Creek, received its name from several citizens named John.
    Johnstown is approximately three miles from W.Va. Route 20 near Romines Mills. The name originated from a number of its early citizens: John Lewis, John McPherson, John Thrash and a few others.
    Said Mr. Davis: "The village was almost self-supporting during the 1900s. The stores sold most everything that wasn't raised on a farm. O.H. Davis had a barber shop. Shaves were ten cents and a haircut was 25 cents. Adjoining that building was a shoe and harness shop, plus a place where farmers brought  their broom corn and had it made into good, sturdy brooms.
    "O.H. Davis's father, Jasper Davis, had the broom and shoe shop. Both worked at the harness-making (shop). B.M. Queen and sons owned a flour and saw mill, where corn was ground on certain days and lumber was sawed on others. For horses to be shod, there were three blacksmith shops. The last one was operated by Rupert Longenette. It closed around 1960."
He continued, "There were two doctors in the area. The undertakers were William Davis and his son, Ray. The black hearse was pulled by two pairs of horses. There were two cemeteries in the community. These surrounded a brick church built in 1884. The village school stood close by. This was the only source of learning at that time. The threshing machine was owned by Ezra Queen, who traveled from farm to farm threshing wheat for the mill.
    "The fraternal organizations had a place to hold dinners and band practice. A brass band was formed in 1900. It dissolved in 1966. There was a covered bridge on Rooting Creek. The Rooting Creek Bridge in Elk District was built about 1887 by George C. Blair. On May 2, 1886, the county court entered an order appointing James M. Eibb (sic) to examine a bridge site across Rooting Creek near his residence and report to the court the kind of bridge to be built and the cost of erection. The bridge was built for the sum of $675."
    Mr. Davis concluded, "I don't know much about Johnstown today. I haven't been there in several years. "Hope everyone enjoys this brief history."
 
    In Holy Humor, a publication of Thomas Nelson Publishers, author Ronald E. Leese told the following brief story:
"On a very cold, snowy Sunday in February, only the pastor and one farmer arrived at the village church. The pastor said, "Well, I guess we won't have a service today."
    "The farmer replied: "Heck, if even one cow shows up at a feeding time, I feed it."
    "The pastor obliged and did the entire service. As the farmer was leaving, the pastor shook his hand and said, "How did I do?"
    "'It was OK,' the farmer replied. "But if only one cow shows up at feed time, I don't drop the full load on it.'"

Here's hoping your week will be a topper. Another column Wednesday.



Exponent Editorial, March 8, 1999
Cooperative effort needed to ensure public safety
    It could have been a bomb. Fortunately, it wasn't.
     But, let's hope last Monday's bomb scare at the Clarksburg Post Office sends a message- we need to be better prepared.
Last week's "bomb" proved to be a harmless package, but it uncovered the need for better trained and equipped police and fire officials.
     While Clarksburg police and fire units did an admirable job handling the evacuation of several downtown blocks, there were no trained units immediately available to remove the suspicious package.
 And when a bomb detonation unit from Parkersburg arrived, it had no proper disposal vehicle. Only after local officials rigged a Clarksburg Street Department dump truck with sand to absorb any potential blast could the "bomb" be removed.
 With the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Criminal Justice Identification System complex and the new federal building in downtown Clarksburg, the federal government has a major stake in the area.
 And it obviously has the expertise to spearhead efforts to safeguard against disaster.
With a cooperative effort involving the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, West Virginia State Police, the state Fire Marshal's office and local police and fire departments, the development of a local bomb detonation unit and emergency service team would seem to be worthwhile measures in today's age of high-tech terrorism.
    Local and state officials should lobby our representatives in Washington to supply supplemental funding to aid Clarksburg and Harrison County in its emergency planning and training efforts.
Last Monday, a lot of folks in downtown Clarksburg were inconvenienced for a few hours. It could have been much worse.
 Our local government officials need to ensure we have the resources to handle any catastrophe. And with the federal government's help, we could all rest a little bit easier.


Telegram Editorial, March 8, 1999
Potential federal budget surpluses need careful consideration
    Most Americans have a desire to see that their children are better off than they are. They want to see them get an excellent education, a good job and live a good lifestyle.
    That is why it is so mystifying that taxpayers are likely to stand by and watch the Clinton White House and the Congress ignore a rare opportunity to provide for all of our children to be better off in the future. The federal budget has been in red ink since 1969 and now projections are that it will be in balance by 2002.
    Beyond 2002 there are expected to actually be budget surpluses. Our nation finally has a chance to pay down the enormous federal debt so that the tax burden might be less for our children in the future. But instead, there is an eagerness by the president and both Democrats and Republicans in the Congress to boost programs to help them win votes in the next election rather than finish off the anti-deficit war.
    President Clinton and Democrats want to use three-fourths of the future surpluses to shore up Social Security and Medicare. Republicans postured early about deep tax cuts but have since agreed that about 62 percent of the surplus go to Social Security and Medicare. The balance they want to use to leverage a more modest tax cut.
    Some would argue the Social Security and Medicare extra contributions from the federal treasury are no-brainers because all the actuarial information available shows a shortfall in just a few years. But is pouring federal budget surplus money into these programs the answer?
    It is an answer, but it is not the right answer. The depressing thought is that the Republican party of Ronald Reagan had the answer, but today's Republicans in Washington have forgotten.
    Where is the cry from the Republican party for deep cuts in federal programs and deep cuts in federal taxes? When President Reagan was finally successful in getting tax cuts and reforming taxes, the federal government's revenues went up as quickly as a hot-air balloon. Allowing taxpayers to keep more of their money allowed them to invest more and spend more to spur the economy.
    If a spend-happy Democratic-controlled Congress in the 1980s hadn't let spending get out of control we would have been out of this budget deficit mess a lot sooner. Now with the talk we are hearing in Washington about new programs and increased spending (from both parties) it is doubtful that the balanced budget really will be realized by 2002. And surpluses are probably a dream.
    If Congress wants to put our country in a position to really fix Social Security and Medicare and reduce the national debt for the future it only has to take two actions. First, enact deep tax cuts. Second, keep a lid on new spending. The economy will prosper and government tax revenues will go through the roof. Money will be there in the near future to fix Social Security and Medicare. And money will be there to reduce the national debt. And the final result will be that all of our lives (but especially our children's lives) will be better in the future.

Terry Horne
Telegram Editorial Board member



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