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Now that a number of people have left the public dole as a result of welfare reform, we find that the caseloads have eased somewhat. Now social workers have more time to get to know their clients on a more human level, rather than just a number.
There's an opportunity for social workers to do more than paperwork.
To our knowledge, paperwork never helped an indigent client, never assisted in counseling individuals to aid them find jobs, never showed a person incentives for standing on their own two feet, etc. Yet many businesses and agencies seem to "thrive" on it.
Due to the huge number of cases evident not so long ago, welfare personnel were forced to move at a frantic pace simply to keep up with their work. There was little to no time for decision-making.
But we've seen that welfare reform has alleviated this, and instead of seeing their cases as just black and white, social workers are finding there's a lot more gray area. They have more chances to work with their clients toward workable solutions.
Just as a journalist can write a better story if he's had time to personally visit the scene, a welfare case worker will learn more about a client through a personal visit to his home than merely through an office interview.
In short, there's nothing like being there.
We have discovered that state social workers have done much to aid the cause of welfare reform by helping many people learn to live without depending upon government help.
Let's hope the trend continues.
--Robert F. Stealey
We know Tom Horacek's heart is in the right place. Now, we just hope he meets his goals.
As Grafton's new mayor, Horacek says he wants to see things done. He's confident that with the people currently on city council, "we're going to get the town where it needs to go."
The 49-year-old Horacek Ñ he served as vice-mayor for four years Ñ intends to see that the city and Taylor County work together to expand the Grafton area's economy.
He's aware there will be plenty of obstacles, but then, there have been quite a few economic roadblocks in the past. Grafton has lost railroad jobs, industry and much of the downtown.
But confidence can work wonders. Horacek is confident the community will turn around.
As we see it, though, for the area to grow economically in the future, it's going to take the confidence and support of more than one man Ñ in fact, the entire community. However, there are plenty of fine people in Taylor County who have what it takes to rise to the occasion. After all, Grafton is a town where young people can walk the street at night without fear of being attacked or molested.
Horacek and the other members of Grafton City Council are now busy working on Grafton's comprehensive plan, part of which is to renovate the B&O Railroad Station into a Railroad Museum, which he hopes will help downtown businesses and the tourist industry alike.
Grafton's budget is $1.4 million, and council members must work to restore the physical aspects of the city Ñ paving projects, water problems and other challenges before it.
We feel the city has all the pieces in place to at least partially solve the puzzle and move the city forward.
Robert F. Stealey
We congratulate Kenneth L. "Sarge" Gorby on having been honored by Meuse-Argonne Post 573, Veterans of Foreign Wars in Clarksburg, as All American Commander of the Year in West Virginia.
The honor is significant, as the award is presented in recognition of the excellence to the state post commander who holds the best record, as determined by a point system devised by the organization.
The state has only one All American Commander. Gorby was Post 573 commander from 1997 to 1998, and says he is "very proud" of having received the honor. He's been a member of Post 573 since 1968.
There are approximately 140 VFW posts in the Mountain State, with 18 commanders chosen to be considered for the All American Commander award.
In addition to having received the honor, Gorby will take an all-expenses-paid trip to the national convention in San Antonio, Texas, over the Labor Day weekend. All 50 states are represented at national conventions, and thousands of members from across the country attend.
Although he says it is not he who earned the All American Commander title, but the post members who "have earned it for me," it's our feeling that because of his service to his country and his accomplishments as post commander, the selection of Kenneth Gorby for the honor was a very good one.
--Robert F. Stealey