No brainer: Correctional center
annex needs a security system installed

     It's an adjective that was used in describing the security situation in the correctional complex annex of the Harrison County Courthouse.
     Magistrate Mark Gorby was referring to a couple of incidents in which weapons were confiscated from individuals after they left magistrate hearings.
 Scary indeed.
    Our circuit court judges have the protection of armed sheriff's deputies and a metal detector for those entering the courtroom. But as for our magistrates; well, they seem to be pretty much on their own. Essentially, anyone off the street can pay a visit to one of them simply by walking up some steps or taking a ride on an elevator.
     Given the nature of their work, this situation seems particularly out of kilter. After all, the magistrates are the ones who often see individuals at their "freshest" following their arrests.
    That's especially true for those who work the night shifts and must frequently deal with domestic situations, protective orders and more, and with individuals who are often intoxicated. As Gorby pointed out, "We see people at their worst."
     Concern about our magistrates' safety isn't anything new; there's already been a fair share of waiting-room fights and attempts by individuals to get at the magistrates. But the whole safety issue was brought to light by a knife attack last month on a Morgan County magistrate.
     Let's hope we don't have to wait for that to happen here; a security system (however modest) needs to be put in place.
Those appearing before a magistrate aren't always the nicest and most understanding people in the world. And as for those who have had past, unpleasant experiences with magistrates, well, people have been known to hold grudges.
 It's a no-brainer.

This 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.

Telegram Editorial, Tuesday, March 9, 1999

Support small business; it's the backbone
of our country

    Small business has helped to make our nation great. Today, the future of small business is being threatened by corporate mergers, super store retailers and E-commerce (the Internet). For many cities and towns across the U.S., the decline in locally-owned "Mom and Pop" retailers is devastating.
    We believe the health of our region is tied to the health of small business. It is for our own good that each of us support local retailers so that they may prosper and, in turn, our communities will prosper as well.
We share the following analogy to demonstrate our point.
T    owns used to grow around sites of commerce, business opportunities, if you will. It doesn't matter what the commercial attraction was - agriculture, coal, industrial or manufacturing.
    With the commercial venture came many needs: the need for homes, thus the need for carpenters, masons, which meant there was a need for a lumber yard, which required some form of transportation to deliver the wood, to build the houses and other structures.
    As small towns grew, other needs became apparent the need for doctors and nurses, school teachers, ministers, grocers, and on and on.
    When towns were small they enjoyed some independence and survived on interdependence. A dollar spent at the grocery circulated to the shoemaker, the dentist, the drug store, Suzie the baby-sitter or to the local bank. The local bank, in turn, lent it back out to finance more homes and more cars, and to finance expansion at the lumberyard which created more jobs, and more dollars to circulate.
    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce still maintains that one dollar turns over seven times in any community- and that is healthy for the economy.
    But as small towns grew, things became more complex. Interstates and superhighways were built. As the population became more mobile, some of these dollars began to flutter out of small towns. Airports were built and suddenly our world became a much smaller place. Computers introduced new technologies like the Internet and now our town is in competition with the global economy.
    Something else occurred. With fewer dollars in circulation, small towns began experiencing cutbacks in employment and in spending and, like a garden without water, they began to wither.
    Some could compare this analogy to that of Clarksburg and north central West Virginia in the 1980s. However, due to strong leadership and dogged persistence of area residents, our region has remade itself in a manner that will allow it to prosper in this new high-tech economy of the new millennium.
    There is one area of our American dream that is still at risk. It can be found along any Main Street or downtown in the U.S.A., and that is the decline of locally-owned Mom and Pop stores. From grocers to hardware stores, from dress shops to shoe stores, from furniture stores to pet shops, from restaurants to drug stores, and so on.
    Consider this: A merchant wants to start a new business in a small town, but wonders if it would be a wise investment. The new business would create jobs and more dollars for circulation within the town. It would even support the local Little League team and school fund-raiser.
    The merchant's major concern is whether the townspeople will purchase his wares. Can he compete against the Wal-Marts of the world?
If you were the merchant, what would you do?
    The moral of the story is that we all need each other. The butchers, the bakers, the candlestick makers and so on.
This is why we all must support locally-owned small business. When we do, we are really helping ourselves and securing the future of our small towns.

Andy Kniceley
Telegram Editorial Board member


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