Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Sept. 19 letters to the editor

Protestors shouldn’t get front-page photos

It has happened again! I opened the paper Saturday, Sept. 4, to find a photo of mothers in Preston County protesting the mandating of mask-wearing. The Sunday, Aug. 29, front-page photo of healthcare workers protesting mandating COVID-19 vaccinations was nothing more than giving publicity to individuals who have no other means of getting their pictures on the front page. I wonder if they will be as proud of their pictures gracing the front page of the paper as they attend the funeral of a loved one who has died of COVID.

I pray that if these individuals or their loved ones need medical attention due to an accident, heart attack or stroke that there will be a nurse, doctor or hospital  bed available to meet their needs.

 I feel that the public would be better served if that space in the paper was used to compare the number of deaths due to COVID-19 and the common yearly flu. What about the cost of COVID hospitalizations? Cost of caring for people ill from taking horse de-wormers?

I hope that their children will forgive their parents if they contract COVID. Remember, we do not know what the long-term effects of this disease will be in the years to come.

Stop the spread: Wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid large crowds and get the vaccine. The life you save may be your own, a family member’s or a dear friend’s!

Charlotte R. Pyles

BOE sends mixed signals on COVID attendance

I have been pleased with the actions of the Mon County Board of Education pertaining to their cooperation with the health department regarding universal masking policies in our schools.

Our county has been proactive about protecting our children, especially those who are ineligible for the COVID vaccine. However, I was baffled to receive a thick sheet about attendance rewards in my children’s take-home folders. This paper shared that each elementary school has a classroom incentive program for best monthly attendance, and  students with no absences will get an award for each grading period. In the middle of a pandemic, should we be rewarding students for showing up, no matter what?

The board of education is sending mixed signals with their messaging. My family has been lucky, so far, that we haven’t received the dreaded Sunday night “your child has been exposed” call. While parents are told the child does not have to quarantine if everyone involved was wearing a mask, some of these children have COVID-like symptoms. By encouraging “perfect” attendance, are we asking parents to write off symptoms that could be COVID? Not take their children for a COVID test after exposure?

We also need to consider what type of adult we are cultivating in our Mon County schools. Are we teaching students to be good little neo-liberal workers who place their output above their mental and physical health? Do we want our children to experience burnout as adults? Is a perfect-attendance award little more than an acknowledgement that a student was lucky enough not to get sick over the past semester?

I implore the Mon County BOE to reconsider their messaging. There has to be a better way to balance encouraging attendance and discouraging truancy without the mind games of perfect attendance awards.

Christina Fattore Morgan

American families are finally catching a break

On July 15, most families started to receive the new Child Tax Credit  as a monthly payment. An extra $250-300 each month will help families succeed, from working families struggling to pay for food, rent and bills, to middle-class families that need help with childcare and college savings. Go to www.childtaxcredit.gov to make sure you’re getting it. And spread the word.

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy reports that improvements to the CTC this year could reduce child poverty by 43% in West Virginia, which would make 346,000 West Virginia children eligible to receive the first monthly child tax credit payment. Federal anti-poverty and COVID relief programs reduced poverty by an estimated 71% in West Virginia in 2021, showing the incredible power of federal policy to address the needs of families in our state. But the CTC improvements, along with much-needed changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit  for low-wage workers, will expire after 2021, forcing millions of younger workers and families with children back into poverty. Congress must not let that happen.

Aside from West Virginia, the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia shows that the monthly poverty rate for children fell from 15.8% in June to 11.9% in July 2021, representing a decline of 3 million children living in poverty nationwide. This drop in child poverty is primarily due to the first payment of the expanded Child Tax Credit. The first CTC payment also reduced food hardship among low-income families by approximately 30%.

I urge our members of Congress to make the 2021 CTC and EITC changes permanent in recovery legislation this year — and pay for it by making the rich and corporations pay their fair share. We appreciate that Sen. Manchin wants to see that the caregivers, whether grandparents or parents, are getting the CTC to help keep the children of West Virginia out of poverty. We hope that Sen. Capito will join him in supporting these anti-poverty policies.

Jacque Visyak

It’s time to get dark money out of politics

West Virginia is losing jobs from multinational corporations, we are losing valued members of our community to the opioid epidemic, and young people are fleeing the state due to a lack of opportunities.

All of these issues stem from our broken political system and the dark money that influences it. According to Open Secrets, a campaign finance resource, the 2020 election cycle saw $1 billion in dark money spending, largely benefiting Democrats. This problem isn’t a partisan issue, as both of our political parties have been bought by elites and special interests. Something must be done to combat the corruption plaguing our political system.

The Freedom to Vote Act must be passed into law to address this corruption head-on. I’m fighting for this bill to pass because I feel empowered fighting back against the biggest behemoth in our country: money in politics. I have spoken to many West Virginians across the political spectrum who agree that political corruption is one of the biggest issues in our state. The passage of the Freedom to Vote Act will ensure that elections are truly free and fair rather than guided by dark money and lobbyists.

I ask Sens. Capito and Manchin to do what’s right for our country and West Virginia and pass the Freedom to Vote Act into law. Passing this landmark piece of legislation will be a tremendous step in the right direction for working Americans to take back their democracy. I urge our senators to consider the impact passing this bill could have on Appalachia.

Dominic DiChiacchio

TWEET @DominionPostWV