Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Jan. 29 letters to the editor

OLLI offers wonderful learning opportunities

I loved my 35-year career teaching theater design and history at WVU. I retired in 2013.

In 2006, a friend in the English department suggested I teach a class for OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at WVU.

I put together a six-week class on five great American playwrights. The class went well, except that I realized I would have to have more time for discussion. The senior citizens loved to have an in-class conversation with the instructor. So, from then on, I taught about one playwright or book, showed films of some plays and had a continuous, wonderful conversation with a room full of happy, lifelong learners. Since 2006, I have taught 65 courses for OLLI. Why?

I realized I was having a lot more fun teaching senior citizens than 20-year-olds, because the older folks really wanted to know about the things I was teaching.

Quite simply, these years at OLLI have been the most fulfilling of my life. I have gotten to know a lot of former WVU colleagues, served on the OLLI board and served as president for two years.

In recent years, I took over hosting our Film Forum series that has become very popular. Last term, we devoted our eight-film series to a mini-festival of Mel Brooks and Woody Allen. Each summer, we focus on musicals, classic to new.

One of the most thrilling experiences I have had was in two parts: in part one, I taught about Russian theater and drama. Then a new translation of War and Peace was published, and I asked myself if people would turn out to read it and watch the seven-hour long Russian version of the film. Which led to part two: Believe it or not, I had a room-full of people that read the 1,000-page novel and watched about an hour a week of the film, one of the best movies ever made.

OLLI welcomes everyone to become members and enjoy the love of learning and fellowship as much as I do.

James Dylan Held

Personal property tax cut helps all drivers

This is in reply to Robert Shumaker’s letter in The Dominion Post on Sunday, Jan. 22, regarding the abolishment of our personal property tax.

While it is true that, if the personal property tax were eliminated, the taxpayers who would benefit greatly  belong to our wealthier class,  other drivers — who definitely don’t fall under that classification —  can less afford the exorbitant tax they must pay on their vehicles. It seems to me to be a no-brainer that removing the personal property tax would be very beneficial to them.

Many drivers also have families and are already struggling with the rising costs of groceries, gasoline, utilities, etc. I can imagine how relieved they would feel if they no longer had to be confronted with that tax.

Not long ago, I watched a very powerful movie — “Do the Right Thing.” I would like to think  our Legislature could, for once, come to an agreement that passing the bill to eliminate the personal property tax is the right thing to do.

We have come to the realization that our roads will never be fixed, so removing the tax would at least be something positive.

Charlotte Taylor

Stop scapegoating; make life better for everyone

What we’re seeing in the Legislature is a direct attack on an already marginalized group of individuals. Nobody, especially transgender people, should be denied medical care or access to society simply for existing.

If anything, these bills — including SB 252, SB 278, HB 2007 and HB 2972 — reflect the projection of internalized homophobia and transphobia the sponsors might have wrestled with their entire lives. The laser focused obsession on what is in other people’s pants, particularly minors’, is one of the most alarming points about these proposed bills. We should leave medical decisions out of the hands of ill-informed legislators and keep them between medical doctors (who have the years of education, knowledge and clinical and residency experiences) and patients.

Instead of introducing bills to improve the lives of West Virginians, the Republican supermajority is following the fascist playbook to frame minority groups as “others” and “subhuman” in order to justify persecuting them in the future.

As a trans man living and working in West Virginia, I have come across nothing but love and acceptance. In fact, transitioning vastly improved my mental and physical states.

Trans people are business owners, employees, taxpayers, students, neighbors, voters — the list goes on.

I implore our legislators to focus their energy on ways to improve the lives of all West Virginians. Let’s fix our roads, ensure our children get a quality public education and make our state a welcoming and accessible environment for our current and future residents.

Cal Shamberger

Campus carry a bad idea. Here’s an example why

Years ago, a WVU student walked into my office, and he was obviously quite angry. He asked me why he had received a grade of ‘F’ on a term paper he had submitted.

I told him that he had plagiarized the paper, and I provided the evidence.

He smashed my office door on his way out, almost breaking it off the hinges.

I shudder to think what might have happened if this student had a concealed gun.

Andrew Ostrow

Charleston must stop neglecting W.Va. 7

Why are there turnouts in southern West Virginia for trucks to pull over but not on W.Va. 7?

For example, between Greer Limestone and Cascade is a perfect place for one — a third lane on the Deckers Creek side. There is nothing there but rhododendron, rocks and trees. Even the utility lines would barely be disturbed.

Shooting off the end of a hill and moving the dirt to the other side of the road shouldn’t be that big of a deal. There are/were lots of places on Interstate 64 between Charleston and Huntington where it was done.

According to Gov. Justice, we had a $250 million surplus. I heard him say it twice on TV. Spend some of that money on W.Va. 7. It needs done.

However, it seems politics play a huge role on the upgrade.

I asked a former female West Virginia House of Delegates member years ago why this hasn’t happened. Her reply to me was every time they change politics in Charleston, W.Va. 7 goes to the back burner. I wasn’t impressed!

This is 2023. W.Va. 7 has become a highly used road for commuting. Just block it and you’ll find out. Not to mention all the truck traffic from Greer Limestone.

So, I wonder how many trucks use the King Coal Highway? I’ve heard not many. A proposed exit at Maben was moved to Mullins, which created an extra five miles of driving for people in the Pineville area. I have driven the King Coal Highway from Beckley to Slab Fork. I have driven W.Va. 97 from Slab Fork to Pineville. I know the roads.

Again, there are roads in northern West Virginia that need upgrades too!

Rick Felton