Has spring sprung?
It varies from calendar to calendar
by Paul Leakan
STAFF WRITER
    Many West Virginians want to put the March snowstorms behind them and embrace the coming of spring. Indeed, spring will arrive. But depending on your calendar, spring begins either tonight or Sunday. So just when will spring really spring?
Well, it depends on your calendar and your own interpretation.
    The 1999 “Pride of West Virginia” calendar made in Huntington, for example, lists the beginning of spring as March 20. So does the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram’s 1999 calendar.
    A 1999 Davis-Weaver Funeral Home Calendar lists March 21 as the beginning of spring. So does a 1999 “Labrador Retriever Calendar” made by Browntrout Publishing of San Francisco, Calif.
    The “real” date basically comes down to interpretation, according to Alan Rezek, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Charleston.
    The spring equinox, which is when the sun crosses the equator and the length of day and night are approximately equal, will occur at 8:46 p.m. today, Rezek said. That means it could be said that spring officially begins today.
    However, the first full day is often considered the beginning of spring, Rezek said. That means Sunday could be considered as the beginning of spring.
    Bruce Lloyd, agriculture agent at the West Virginia University Extension Agency of Lewis County, has heard the debate before. He’s also puzzled by the date. “I never really understood it,” Lloyd said. “I have a calendar here that says spring begins on the 20th.”
    Calendar-makers simply can choose either today or Sunday as the official beginning of spring, Rezek said. Then again, Rezek himself still has his doubts whether it would be “technically” right to call today the first day of spring. “The first day of spring, in my opinion, is the 21st.”


Live-on cop considered for Gore Middle
by Gail Marsh
STAFF WRITER
    A law enforcement officer to live free on high school property in exchange for a daily patrol may expand to a middle school complex in Harrison County.
    “We’ve seen great results since implementing the live-on program at South Harrison High School a number of years ago. I think the presence of an officer on the property can only enhance the school environment,” said Robert E. Kittle, superintendent of schools.
    The school board may consider a live-on arrangement for the property near Gore Middle School, the Transitional School, United Technical Center and the transportation garage and warehouse.
In addition to South Harrison, officers have live-on arrangements already at Liberty High School and Robert C. Byrd High School. At South Harrison, the officer lives in a house on the property the school board
bought to expand the school. The other officers bought modular homes that were placed on foundations furnished by the school system.
    Kittle said the City of Clarksburg recently annexed the area where the Gore complex is located, so city officers now patrol that area. “We’ve had some problems with vandalism out there in the past because it’s somewhat isolated, so I think the area would still benefit from a live-on officer’s presence,” Kittle said.
    Sgt. Ed Martin, a Harrison County Sheriff’s deputy, moved to the Robert C. Byrd High School property last fall. He provides night security, and incidences of vandalism have dropped to zero.
    “We have no gate on the property, so at first I had a number of kids come up spotlighting deer or just driving around. I’ve written a few warnings for trespassing, but by and large we haven’t had any real  problems,” he said.
    Martin said that before moving to the property, he heard comments that students were worried that he was coming up to the school to keep an eye on students or to look for troublemakers. But after months of living there, he’s seen the students warm up to his presence.
    “The school is a busy place with people walking the track at 5 a.m. and events going on almost every night. Now I have kids drop by to tell me something they may have seen or heard or just to talk. It’s worked out really well,” he said.
The only expense to the school board for the live-on program is putting in a foundation and then paying the monthly water, gas and electric bills. The occupants must keep up the immediate grounds and, except for South Harrison, the officers are responsible to pay for their own homes.
    Kittle said the program can pay for itself by avoiding the cost of cleanup and repairs to schools and athletic facilities if vandalism occurs.
 “We used to have kids trash the parking lot at South Harrison when they partied down there, and we had several incidences of break-ins at the school. Since the live-on program began there, we’ve had no more problems,” Kittle said.


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Copyright Clarksburg Publishing Company 1999