Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Jan. 22 letters to the editor

Thanks for making MLK Day event a success

On behalf of the Community Coalition for Social Justice, I want to thank everyone who made our 17th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event on Jan. 16 a success.

We could not do this without the financial support of the City of Morgantown. We also appreciate the publicity support from Amy Loomis of Main Street Morgantown, which has co-sponsored this event with us for many years. We held our event virtually this year with the support of Jascenna Haislet, Michelle Klishis and Diane Cale of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at West Virginia University.

Our theme this year was “Telling West Virginia’s Stories and Dreams,” so we want to thank all those who participated in the program: Jeremy Thomas, as master of ceremonies; Morgantown Mayor Jenny Selin; Al Anderson, Charlene Marshall and Sarah Little, who shared their stories of growing up in Osage and attending segregated schools; local musicians Al Anderson and Chris Haddox; the WVU Community Choir, under the direction of Kym Scott; and WVU music faculty member Hope Koehler.

The Morgantown-Kingwood Branch of the NAACP contributed to the program by inviting  Joseph Jones, visiting assistant professor at the WVU Reed College of Media, to speak on  “Communities of Care: West Virginia and a Civic Identity for the 21st Century.”

For more information on the Community Coalition for Social Justice, please go to www.ccswjwv.org or email ccsjwvv@gmail.com.

Barb Howe

Mon Power does not deserve recent criticism

Just for the record, I do not work for Mon Power, and I really don’t know anyone who does. But, somehow I feel I need to say something in response to the letter in last Sunday’s paper criticizing Mon Power’s lack of response to power outages the county experienced on Dec. 23.

I’m not sure how anyone could expect our first responders and utility service workers to be prepared for such a freak weather occurrence.

I live on Goshen Road, and our power was off for about six hours. An inconvenience, for sure, but I couldn’t help but feel for the service men and women out there in the 30-degree-below wind chill working to get service restored.

I do not agree with all of Mon Power’s policies and performances, but in this particular situation I think these workers should be commended and not criticized.

Ken Ryan

Fix high water problem on Van Voorhis Road

The flooding and freezing season is in full force.

Why does the DOH only place signs warning of high water instead of correcting the problem — clogged drains created by excessive garbage and damaged tile and other types of drainpipe clogged with soil?

 This particular location is near the U-Haul center on Van Voorhis Road, where there is excessive traffic daily.

The summer and fall would be the ideal time to clean the ditches and replace the damaged or deteriorated drainpipes.

I realize that merely placing signs warning of 6-12 inches of water is a lot less expensive, but a more permanent solution would be more desirable and a lot safer.

Ron Lemley

We need more opioid treatment programs

Finishing up my final semester at WVU for my Bachelor of Science in public health, I have come to learn of quite a few public health concerns that bring heavy burdens and high costs for West Virginia and across the country. However, the ongoing battle with the opioid epidemic has been one of the most important and complex issues I’ve encountered.

West Virginia leads the nation of overdose deaths at 81.4 per 100,000, with many of these deaths coming from opioids. However, with the introduction of HB 2196, which would no longer require opioid treatment programs (OTP) to have a certificate of need to operate, there’s hope to  help end the prevalence of addiction by increasing access to methadone.

While removing a barrier for something like this can seem counterintuitive, there has been evidence that OTPs can reduce deaths from overdoses. Some studies have seen 50% reduction in overdose-related deaths among users in these types of programs.

Helping West Virginians quit using drugs also decreases the spread of hepatitis and other infectious diseases via sharing/reusing syringes.

While OTPs in West Virginia already exist, there are only nine, leaving geographical gaps and long travel times for many, adding yet another barrier for those struggling to get help.

Since 2007, there has been an OTP moratorium (state code §16-5Y-12) preventing any new OTPs. With something that is as ever-changing as the drug epidemic, it doesn’t make sense to have such a ban still in effect when there is something as well-researched as medication-assisted treatment and methadone, offering treatment in controlled settings with medical professionals’ help and guidance to recovery.

Allowing new OTPs won’t magically solve the epidemic overnight. Such a multifaceted and complex issue will require a variety of programs and treatment options, as every person doesn’t benefit from the same type of treatment. However, it will help our communities become healthier and freer from the grips of addiction.

 I believe having treatment options is a much better solution than preventing people from accessing potentially lifesaving care through OTPs.

Patrick Landes

Correcting common grammar mistakes

Good grammar is on the decline. Here are a few common mistakes that people make, and the corrections.

The word “and” is a conjunction. As such, it connects two different words or phrases. I have seen sentences like the following that misuse the word.

  • “I will try and be there by five o’clock.”

There are not two goals in this sentence; only one —to be there by five o’clock. Let’s try it that way.

  • “I will try to be there by five o’clock.”

After a while, you won’t even notice it (a good thing).

Here’s another mistake that people make.

  • “I wish I could of seen the game.”

Sure, it sounds right but it isn’t. The actual sentence should read as:

  • “I wish I could’ve seen the game.”

“Could’ve” is the contraction of “could have.” “Could of” is just nonsensical. Obviously, the same goes for “should” and “would.”

Another anomaly that has come into vogue lately is starting off a sentence with the word “so” when asked to respond to a question.

  • “When did you notice something was wrong?” … “So …”

It is unnecessary, distracting and frankly, irritating.

Hopefully, this will help anyone who takes writing seriously. Happy writing.

Donald Stump
Terra Alta

Might be time to move on from Coach Huggins

Why was the assistant basketball coach for WVU fired and not the head coach? Is WVU putting off the inevitable? How many assistant coaches does a Division I basketball program have to have to be successful?

Hire a West Virginia high school coach for $60,000 with benefits and retirement, and teach the players how to shoot foul shots. Many high school teams in north-central West Virginia are better at the foul line than Huggins’ team. 

As a fan of WVU men’s basketball since the days of Fred Schaus and Jerry West, it’s pretty obvious to me that Coach Huggins has lost his ability to oversee the program and coach effectively. Too much browbeating, negativity and embarrassing players in front of family and fans, TV audiences and coaching staff appears to have taken its toll on overall team performance and attitude.

Huggins may have once been able to recruit players like Oscar Tshiebwe and Teddy “Buckets” Allen, who scored over 30 points each for Kentucky and New Mexico State, respectively, in a past NCAA tournament on the same night. Perhaps they felt they were leaving a sinking ship.

Maybe WVU cannot offer players of that quality a car and a house to play here, but just imagine our success if our head coach had the ability, personality and demeanor of a Bill Self to keep such talented players on board.

WVU is also losing the sixth man — capacity, enthusiastic crowds — because of the difficulty getting to the Coliseum, reduced parking, having to pay to park, high ticket prices for a poor fan experience, limiting student section involvement and, among other things, the lack of good, positive coaching.

WVU men’s basketball needs a shot in the arm. It’s distressing to watch teams get worse as the season progresses. The athletic director needs to show Huggins the door. Let him resign or be fired. Huggins has been given enough time to produce a winner again. If allowed to continue coaching here, he could wind up like Gale Catlett in the “Hall of Shame.”

Edward E. Knotts

Morgantown must treat the homeless better

A trip on the bumpy streets of Morgantown to the Morgantown Public Library is a test of one’s humanity most days when there are people with backpacks and paraphernalia, dogs and sometimes kids standing and sitting, not on benches, but on concrete. In winter, cold concrete. In rain, if it’s raining.

It is perfectly reasonable and logical that they are able to use the public library, these ostensibly homeless people, because they are the public. Almost any of them who use the restroom are respectful and clean. They sit at library tables usually not reading, just resting, sometimes sleeping in not very comfortable chairs but better than concrete.

Probably this cohort of citizens have been at a homeless shelter and taken the bus to town, where I have heard a church provides meals.

To be honest, I have not talked to anyone about this or even tried to find out where the meals are provided or any other details. What I know is hearsay and I haven’t asked any of the backpackers any questions.

I am sorry that Morgantown attracts people who are seeking food and shelter, then ignores them. Lets them sit on concrete and be loiterers that draw negative thoughts in their direction from disapproving people, of which I’m pretty sure there are quite a few.

Personally, I do not disapprove of the backpackers. I disapprove of Morgantown’s failure to recognize their need and to provide a comfortable place where they can wait for whatever comes next: wait for the bus, wait for the rain to stop, take a nap.

Morgantown needs to provide a building with seating, privacy, restrooms, storage lockers, television and a pool table for people who need to get off the street in the hours when no shelter is available elsewhere. The space needs supervision too, and someone to hold the keys. And a coffeepot that is always full and free. It’s a test of humanity.

Betty L. Wiley

Why cut taxes with so many problems to fix?

The legislators and the governor are celebrating this year’s fiscal surplus with tax-cut proposals.

The general public elects the governor (or senator, in the next election), so he wants his electing public to benefit. Legislators get their support from a narrower clientele, company and group contributors. Thus they want a more specific tax that affects their constituents.

So the battle begins.

The governor’s broad tax is regressive. It disproportionately benefits the wealthy, those who, if they pay any tax, get a far bigger check than you or me.

In contrast, legislators suggest doing away with the personal property tax. This also benefits the wealthy individuals and corporations who are their supporters. I pay very little personal property tax because I drive an old car, but a wealthy individual with two or three expensive cars or a company with a fleet of cars pays far more.

Make no mistake, both proposals benefit the wealthy! We still pay the state’s bill while not solving our many, many problems.

While these tax reduction proposals are being bandied around in Charleston, the news broke that Kroger would not accept PEIA. Most public employees and all of Charleston have known PEIA is broken.

A month ago, the worry was about our state’s low standing in educational tests. We don’t have enough teachers. Our foster care problems are widely known. We all see the potholes on county roads. We all know of the drug problems in our state. We know there will be fewer local doctors as rural hospitals close.

The federal government will be extending Corridor H and fixing our bridges. The money for this assistance is largely a gift from wealthier states like California and New York. The feds are investing money in environmental and Wi-Fi projects all over the state.

Why don’t we do the same — invest the surplus at 5% or 6%? Fifty to 60 million dollars plus the projected $1 billion surplus each year would go a long way toward solving our shared problems. Let all West Virginians benefit!

Robert Shumaker