Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Nov. 27 letters to the editor

Nonpartisan forums important for voters

The League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia County is a nonpartisan organization, never endorsing any political party or candidate. The League’s primary mission is to educate voters and thereby increase voter turnout.

We are grateful for the following participants in our recent forums: candidates for Senate District 2 (Charles Clements and Eric Hayhurst), Senate District 13 (Barbara Evans Fleischauer and Mike Oliverio), and County Commission (Bob Beach and Sean Sikora).

To emphasize our commitment to impartiality, we adopted a policy to invite all candidates to participate in forums. However, under that policy, we would cancel “empty chair” events — those with only a single candidate in a race participating.

As a result, we were forced to cancel six forums for House of Delegates candidates. Candidates Ben Swanson, Jeffrey Budkey, Zach LeMaire, Justin White and Steven Harris did not respond at all to our invitations. Debbie Warner responded but declined due to scheduling conflicts.

As a result, voters were denied the opportunity to hear from House of Delegates candidates who did agree to participate:  Joe Statler, Geno Chiarelli, Evan Hansen, John Williams, Danielle Walker and Katie Fallon.

For the Congressional District 2 forum, Alex Mooney declined to participate. The forum did proceed with the participation of Barry Wendell and write-in candidate Susan Buchser-Lochocki.

Voter education is impossible when candidates remove themselves from public events. However, when this happens, we believe voters have the right to know which candidates agreed to participate and which refused.

We congratulate the candidates, regardless of party, who were successful in this election, and we extend our gratitude to all who were willing to compete for office.

Sarah Barnes
League of Women Voters Morgantown-Monongalia County

DOH must prepare for, not react to, bad weather

Where were the District 4 WVDOH trucks the night of Friday, Nov. 18, when we had that snow squall? I left work in Westover at 5 p.m. that evening. It took me two hours to get home. I-79, I-68, Grafton Road, Gladesville Road, W.Va. 92 and Rohr Road were treacherous and inaccessible. Masontown V.F.D. informed us that W.Va. 7 was closed for several hours around 7:30 p.m. and would be closed for several more hours.

It was obvious that these roads were not treated earlier in the day. Why?

The roads iced over very quickly when the sun went down and the temperature dropped. Road crews should have been out during the day treating the roads in anticipation of the inclement weather that was being predicted for the evening but they weren’t. Why?

I am angry because the whole situation was preventable but wasn’t handled appropriately. I shudder to think how many of the accidents that happened could have been prevented had the WVDOH acted proactively.

In 3½ hours of driving in Monongalia and Preston, I saw one WVDOH truck heading toward Masontown. I know, there’s a shortage of workers, but I would bet there wasn’t a shortage of WVDOH crews treating the roads in Charleston.

Does the WVDOH know the definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. The situation is critical; District 4 WVDOH has to get its act together and stop risking our lives.

Brenda Bonnett

Supporting Coach Brown may help performance

There were a number of people that were very happy when Neal Brown was hired as our football coach, including myself. A young, inspiring coach that had showed success on the college level.

He possesses good character and he’s a good role model. We also had those features in more recent coaches Bill Stewart and Don Nehlen. Yes, we only played in one national championship during that time, but we saw good football.

Rewind over 45 years ago. Now some will say times have changed — and they have. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn from our mistakes. We had a young football coach starting out and struggling at times: Bobby Bowden. Almost the exact scenario Neal Brown has.

Coach Brown has a few things that affected him though. COVID was one thing, and he didn’t inherit such players as Jim Braxton, Bob Gresham, Mike Sherwood, Oscar Patrick, Dale Farley or Leon Jenkins, to name just a few that were successful players for Coach Bowden.

That’s not to take away from Coach Bobby Bowden and his success. WVU more or less ran him off, the way he was treated. I was in school then and witnessed Coach Bowden being hung in effigy on campus. For those unaware, Coach Bowden went on to be the second most winning coach in Division I football.

I’m not saying I agree with all of Coach Brown’s decisions. A coach knows his team best from practices and previous situations. He needs to be trusted. Enough time hasn’t been given. Wins and losses can be looked at, but they don’t provide the complete picture. People don’t realize that the pressure they put on him doesn’t help the situation.

Support will help, and if he knows he has our support, I’m sure things can change to the better.

Bob Solly

Ways to embrace nature and help the environment

As a nature enthusiast, I want to help. Becoming a beekeeper has increased my knowledge in a wide range of topics, including flowers, such as needs, seasons and what zones they best bloom. Forage in the form of nectar and pollen in every season is important for honeybee nutrition and survival.

As a member of The Monongalia County and The West Virginia Beekeepers associations, I’ve learned there is much we can do to help the environment, which impacts us, as well as insects and animals that keep us fed and keep nature in balance.

We can all strive to do better, use less pesticides, put less in landfills by composting food waste and plant West Virginia native trees, plants and grasses, just to name a few. I’d like to share a couple programs that have inspired me, and that I’ve become involved in.

  • The Wild Yards Program through West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, www.wvdnr.gov. It encourages West Virginia residents to leave natural areas on urban property as wildlife habitat. This is a great help for wildlife displaced by human development and progress and gives the opportunity to appreciate mother nature’s beauty right in our own backyards.
  • The Bee City USA program, www.beecityusa.org. It requires membership and support from participating cities to provide education and outreach, encouraging less chemical use, more natural areas and increasing pollinator habitat.

We as individuals can all do something, even if it seems small, to benefit our environment and in turn, positively benefit our society. (See more at www.dep.wv.gov.)

Planning for the future also includes educating ourselves on candidate platforms regarding issues we care about and making sure our voices are heard through voting at every possible opportunity. Decide what you stand for, find out how to get involved and please make a difference where you can.

Shawna Cross