Commission + council = things getting done
It would be an act of kindness for anyone to suggest that the progress made by the present Congress is anything less than a disaster.
The members of the evenly divided Congress play to their base or their political party, forgetting about the rest of us.
The 2020 election was evenly split in Monongalia County. Former President Trump received 49.1% of the vote while President Biden received 47.7%. Trump won 23 precincts, primarily in the more rural areas of the county. Biden won 15 precincts, primarily inside the City of Morgantown or its close environs. Neither candidate received a majority in three precincts.
Our local officials could have gone in different directions by playing entirely to their base. But playing to the base doesn’t serve the residents well, for our elected officials serve us all, not just a small vocal minority of voters.
I am thankful that County Commissioner Tom Bloom and his fellow commissioners invited the Morgantown City Council to a sit-down to discuss nine items of mutual interest. And while we shouldn’t expect easy agreement on all nine items, the meetings will bring success. I do suggest that they add a 10th item — the pavilion at Hazel Ruby. The pavilion was grossly underutilized this summer, bordering on negligence, at a time when people in the community wanted to be up and around.
So the next time you see one of the three commissioners or seven council members, tell them that you greatly appreciate their efforts to reach a common ground. If the 10 see that the community is interested in the initiative, they are less likely to walk away from a difficult issue.
And say thanks to Tom Bloom the next time you see him.
Fantastic night at concert series kickoff
Last Saturday, I attended the initial concert of the Summit Chamber Music Concert Series held at St. Thomas à Becket Episcopal Church. It was splendid! The concert featured the founder of the series, violinist Sunmi Chang, together with harpist Bridget Kibbey. The program was richly varied with only one original composition by Camille Saint-Saëns — but it was a brilliant, colorful fantasy. The other works on the program were wonderfully made transcriptions. The performance level was at the virtuoso level for both artists in both technique and musicianship.
There were about 45 people in the audience, all suitably masked and socially distanced, and the applause was plentiful, with a standing ovation at the end. Ms. Chang is fairly new to Morgantown, having followed her husband to a WVU professorship in the Davis College. She’s been planning and working hard on the series for months now, and now it is here and seems to be a success. She plans three other concerts this season, one at St. Thomas à Becket Church (Feb. 3, 2022), and two at Suncrest United Methodist Church (Nov. 12 and April 9, 2022). Future concerts will bring to Morgantown some of her friends, such as clarinetist David Shifrin, and cellist Anne Martindale Williams, the Pittsburgh Symphony’s principal cellist.
The Dominion Post did not mention any of this, either by way of announcement or critical review. The new series promises to fill an important vacant spot in our cultural life: live chamber music for the city. I urge everyone who reads this letter to attend and support the Summit Chamber Music Series, especially The Dominion Post.
A plea to Sen. Manchin to support clean energy
I appreciate the good that Sen. Manchin has done for the state of West Virginia over his four decades of public service.
I had the privilege to serve with him in the West Virginia Legislature in the 1980s. He is a strong force in government. We are at a critical juncture for our state’s economy, our citizens’ health and climate change. The Clean Electricity Performance Program is up for consideration in the federal reconciliation package. Now is the time to promote clean, efficient electricity generation.
The incremental steps preferred by Sen. Manchin are too little. I ask that we not reduce the annual increase of clean energy from 4% to 3% and the amount of money that the utilities get for building clean energy. Rather, remove incentives for running existing and building new gas plants. Most importantly, maintain the penalty for utilities who do not build clean energy.
There is ample evidence that the Clean Electricity Performance Program will create 8 million new jobs nationwide, promote clean air and water and mitigate the negative impact of energy production on our climate.
The West Virginia economy needs those good, high-paying jobs. Coal and natural gas will always be part of energy production, but the reality is that the supplies are diminishing and their use is killing us financially. As an example, my daughter lives in a lovely Suncrest neighborhood, nowhere near the flood plain. But she experienced flood damages this summer well north of $10,000.
The Clean Electricity Performance Program will drive an affordable, cost-effective clean energy transitions, help utilities do more without impacting grid reliability, and help meet carbon-reduction goals.
The majority of Americans support these efforts. I ask Sen. Manchin to once again do what is right for West Virginians. Support the proposed Clean Electricity Performance Program.
Dr. Bill Reger-Nash