Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Feb. 20 letters to the editor

W.Va. 705 is a tragedy waiting to happen

The W.Va. 705 intersection of Chestnut Ridge Road at Pineview Drive is a dangerous and accident-prone intersection for motorists. For pedestrians, it is a tragedy waiting to happen.

In the past two weeks both of my adult children have came close to being hit by a motorist while crossing 705 from Pineview Drive. Each time, my son was in the crosswalk and had a walk indication to cross the road.

As a motorist, I don’t understand why the traffic light for vehicles turning off  Pineview Drive and out of the Sheetz parking lot would turn green at the same time that a pedestrian has a walk signal to cross 705 from the Pineview Drive side to the Sheetz side.

Yes, we are taught to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk and to yield to oncoming traffic, however, this is not happening. Most vehicles turning left or right out of Sheetz or Pineview do not yield to vehicles going straight across the road and view pedestrians as not having the right-of-way. We live in a time where everyone is hurriedly racing to and from and everyone wants to make the green light.

Something needs to be done to address this issue before someone gets hit — or worse, killed — at this crosswalk.

The Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office is aware the intersection is dangerous. Maybe the sheriff’s department should patrol this area more diligently. Maybe the WVDOH should reprogram the lights so that all lights remain red while pedestrians have a walk signal and are in the crosswalk.

Dawn Townsend

Kudos on finding good solution to pop tax

Kudos to the West Virginia state Senate for resolving what has been for decades a divisive issue. The “pop tax,” as it has been referred to since the 1950s, was put into place to “build and maintain” the WVU Hospital, where our WVU School of Medicine’s base of operation has been ever since.

Revenues from the pop tax have grown to approximately $14 million in recent years. The tax and its corresponding revenue have been under attack for more than 40 years. It is a complicated tax to administer and covers far more than just soft drinks. I recall an effort to remove the tax from the pint size cartons of chocolate milk being delivered to our school children and realized this was the “Holy Grail” to the WVU School of Medicine. Trying to change the tax could result in legislative maneuvers that might eliminate it all together or cause WVU’s revenue from it to be drastically reduced.

Nearly every year there were efforts to eliminate the tax or to amend that section of the state code. This presented a substantial risk to the viability of medical education in West Virginia. We are a small rural state that needs quality health care desperately. WVU leaders and others worked with the Senate to establish a much more stable source of funding for the medical school here in Morgantown and were able to create some dedicated funding for the Marshall Medical School and the Osteopathic School in Lewisburg, as well.

By eliminating the pop tax, our state will no longer be an outlier with a convoluted tax that doesn’t exist in other states. Our medical school administrators, faculty and staff can know that  funding will be stable in the future.

We simply need the House of Delegates and the governor to support Senate Bill 533 that easily passed the Senate 34-0.

Mike Oliverio

IOC decision to let Russian compete unfair

 In its latest of a long list of travesty decisions, the International Olympic Committee has ruled that even though a Russian team member previously tested positive for banned substances, they may continue to participate in the Olympic Winter Games being held in China. To underscore its long and storied history of letting Russia play by its own rules, the IOC has previously allowed Russian athletes to continue participating and medaling in the Games.

The verdict it came up with (for now) appears to be leaving everybody hanging in limbo. If the Russian skater finishes in one of the top three positions, nobody receives a medal until the IOC determines the Russian team member’s eligibility. Leave it to the IOC to take a matter which appears to be black or white (they either have used a banned substance or they haven’t) and find all other shades of gray. Instead of suspending the athlete, it concocted some sort of measure that leaves actual finishes in doubt and buys the Committee more time to come up with a final decision. This “solution” goes further and prohibits countries (especially the U.S.) from receiving a second- or third-place award until a final decision has been reached.

 A lot of people are perturbed and highly irritated by the IOC vacillating back and forth on whether it is going to enforce its own rules. If it can’t determine a set of rules that all athletes are to abide by, then maybe America shouldn’t participate until it does. It would have been fine with me if the U.S. team had packed its bags and come home.

If there is a rule on “banned substances,” then it needs to be unilaterally enforced and those who test positive should be immediately withdrawn from the competition and sent home. There is something more important than a medal involved here and that is the integrity of the sport and the Games as a whole.

Tom Talerico

Enforcing traffic laws may decrease accidents

I was recently driving 10 mph in stop-and-go traffic. Traffic stopped and — whamo — the car behind me didn’t stop.

I climbed out as the driver behind me ran up, crying, holding her cell phone, saying she was very sorry: “I didn’t see you stop. I was looking for my turn-off. I was not looking at my cell phone.”

Maybe not, but she was tailgating and unaware. We both were OK, so we exchanged insurance information.

Our cars were drive-able, but we were blocking traffic. I said if she reported the accident to her insurance, I saw no need to involve the police.  She agreed and off we went. Her insurance fixed my car for about $4,000.

This story shows that tailgating can cause serious rear-ending damage at 10 mph. Now consider Morgantown’s rush hour, or consider the madness on I-79 and I-68.

What is going on — road rage? Maybe, but obviously too many drivers are speeding excessively, too closely together. Weren’t we taught to stay back a car length for every 10 mph we are traveling? That means stay back seven car-lengths from the car in front of you on interstates at the 70 mph speed limit. But, who drives the speed limit? Many drive faster than 80 mph, often weaving from lane to lane to maintain a faster speed. I can hear ambulances and police sirens on the interstate daily  from my kitchen window in Westover.

I notice dangerous traffic violations all the time: speeding on city and county streets, looking at and talking on cell phones, tailgating, running red lights and stop signs, not using turn signals, not lowering high beams at night, not using lights at dusk, or driving with only one front headlight and so on.

We used to see police ticketing violators periodically, but now it seems we only see cops when there is an accident or whenever the Mountaineers are playing football or basketball.

Ticketing violators sends a message of “drive safely” to all of us.

Bill Weiss

Why won’t city work with The Shack on child care?

Throughout our time raising our children in Mon County, we have always struggled to find child care. We have made due because of privately owned programs and non-profit organizations that have provided us peace of mind every day we go to work.

The Mountaineer Girls and Boys Club provided   before and after school programs at Ridgedale Elementary and other elementary schools, and also provided a summer camp for kids of any socioeconomic status to have fun activities and good meals throughout the summer. This summer program was hosted at the Woodburn School, which is owned by the City of Morgantown. This gets us to the much larger issue I’d like to assist in solving.

In mid-July 2019, 150 children learned the facility would not be open the rest of the week — without any explanation. This closure in 2019 lead to the complete closure of the MBGC. This closure was due to updates that were deemed required by the Boys and Girls Club Foundation. The building itself (Woodburn School) held this opportunity back.

Throughout, the rest of 2019 and into 2020, the county commission approved the purchase a new van for the facility, and the city invested upwards $500,000 and is still investing money into the facility, according to the minutes from the Woodburn School Redevelopment Commission.

In the meantime, The Shack, a nonprofit, has taken over the before and after school programs through Mon County. This program has been a blessing to working parents. As of the agenda from the Woodburn School Redevelopment Commission dated Feb. 3, 2022, The Shack terminated its lease for the Woodburn School.

Why is the City of Morgantown unwilling to work with this amazing community organization to provide more options for child care in our community? This is a great location and an asset to Mon County families. I hope that this letter finds those who have the power to reconsider this decision and fate of The Shack’s usage of Woodburn and consider the effect this has on so many throughout our community.

Taryn Moser

‘The people’s will reign supreme in all endeavors’

We live in a world permeated by lies constantly uttered by respected people from all walks of life.

Anti-vaxx groups’ proclamations and protests add to the average person’s confusion. No one can be faulted for the emergence of this novel virus. Remedies such as vaccination are solidly based on science. The ever-changing nature of virus dictates the adjustments in scientific measures adopted. This is not the first time — or the last — humankind has seen new vaccinations.

Partisan politics have crossed their boundaries and now affect our educational systems.  States trying to enforce what can and cannot be taught is really infringing on the rights of society, the entitlement to freedom of thinking, which is the tenet of democracy.

Democracy works best with a two-party system, but only if the party’s elected officials stay true to the principles and policies. Bipartisan support is the solution to steer the country in the right direction. One or two senators cannot hold the future of the country and the people in their hands.

Voting rights legislation that is languishing in the Senate is a place to start. Last month, we saw before our eyes a bridge collapsing in Pittsburgh. Thank God the infrastructure bill has been passed and money and workforce are on the way to rebuild bridges in all 50 states. The Build Back Better economic bill is a sure win with the people. Another momentous decision coming up is the Supreme Court nominee befitting the position. America needs to be the leader on the world stage now faced with tension and turmoil.

The average person faced with confusion and chaos tends to be apathetic and in a state of complacency. Rules of democracy are in the hands of people, to discern and dissect and arrive at the right conclusion to safeguard the Constitution and the country.

Professional will, political will and, most importantly, the people’s will reign supreme in all endeavors.

Syamala Jagannathan

Cops seem confused on medical cannabis laws

There seems to be a detachment between law enforcement and knowledge of the laws they enforce.

West Virginia legalized medical cannabis in 2017. The results of a recent survey of patients of medical cannabis in West Virginia indicate that some officers are not conscious of the now 4-year-old law.

According to the survey, at least one respondent has been arrested for medical cannabis. Five respondents said that officers were unaware of the law’s existence or were confused about the details of the law. One respondent, whose responses had to be disregarded, indicated that they would like to apply for the medical cannabis program, but are too afraid to do so for fear of law enforcement. Most patients reported no police interaction.

This survey emphasizes the duplicity of the laws surrounding medical cannabis in West Virginia. Having multiple systems of cannabis revenue generation is preposterous. If cannabis were legal for more than a few, it would abolish these issues. Drug criminalization does not keep the citizens of this state any safer. It does not meaningfully combat addiction in any way. Cannabis, on the other hand, can help fight the urge to use drugs like alcohol or heroin.

The results of the survey can be viewed here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/stories/g_2FqkQV7kWvTaJA37IoLqUCTL_2BY8_2B_2FliLIjEhTgVGblA_3D

Brier Schrout