Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

March 24 letters to the editor

Former ‘library kid’ will support levy in May

I was a library kid instead of a latchkey kid. There was a 30-minute difference between the end of my school day and the end of my mom’s shift. I spent that precious time at my local library every day. The librarians knew me by name. I loved discovering new music and books there and checked out handfuls of books by the week. My early love for books and libraries were cultivated by those wonderful workers.

Now, I’m a library grown-up. I take my kids to the Morgantown Public Library. When they were little, it was a place for them to explore and choose books. These days, my son is a graphic novel reader. His conversations with the librarians focus on their shared enthusiasm for reading, never shaming him for not reading “real” books. He can’t wait until he ages into the “teen” group so he can try his hand at their Mario Kart race parties.

My daughter loves the programming offered by the MPL. Last year, she was able to attempt some cheers with the WVU Competitive Cheer Squad. She loved the summer reading program where they had a weekly Squishmallow giveaway.

And me? I’m an avid Libby and Hoopla user, as I prefer to read on my Kindle these days or listen to an audiobook. I also love the MPL’s puzzle and games collections.

Libraries are so much more than books. They are a gathering place for people of all ages. They are a bright spot in someone’s day, when they might be seeking connection. They are a place to gather information from programs or via assistance. I am proud to be voting “yes” for the library levy on May 14, as the MPL is a vital resource in our community.

Christina Fattore Morgan

With existing shortages, how will RA be staffed?

I read with interest the article about the Renaissance Academy in the Sunday, March 3, edition of The Dominion Post. While it may be an excellent project in the future for the enhancement of our students’ education, I feel the public must be made aware of problems and situations facing our current students’ education.

Teachers and service personnel are being RIF’d (“reduction in force”). If present programs are being affected, how would additional programs be funded? I understand some service personnel positions have been eliminated. If funds are not available now, where would monies be found to cover extra service personnel for the academy?

There is a shortage of substitute teachers and bus drivers. Sometime classes are being covered by other school personnel, and some bus routes are not being run due to the shortage. How would the additional buses and teachers needed for the academy be implemented?

The site of said academy, which is located on an abandoned strip mine, would be a questionable foundation for the building. Would there be unforeseen additional construction costs and access roads costs due to the potential unstable site?

I am not for or against the Renaissance Academy, at this time. I did not attend the meeting. Therefore, some of my points and questions may have been addressed. I do feel a solution to our current problems should be considered. For example, find monetary solutions to keep our present staff and service personnel positions before extending our already stressed tax base.

Superintendent Campbell touched a nerve when he stated, “This is not an Eddie Campbell idea. It is an actual community of Morgantown idea.” Monongalia County extends beyond the city limits of Morgantown. I do not live in Morgantown, but I feel “all Monongalia County citizens value our students’ education.”

Willie Elliott

Right-wing culture wars stymied for now

The words “sine die” are music to the ears of West Virginians fighting to preserve some semblance of progress, as they signal the end of a legislative session where agents of national right-wing organizations continue to try to return us to the 50s or before.

Lawmakers who push bills originated by organizations such as The Heritage Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council or Americans for Prosperity, instead of their own constituents can’t do any more damage — at least for now.

West Virginia Coalition for Truth in History, founded in Morgantown to fight the whitewashing of history and now grown statewide, is proud to have been among those working — along with such groups as the West Virginia Association of Museums— to block these culture war initiatives.

Monongalia County is fortunate to be represented by Delegates Anitra Hamilton, Evan Hansen and John Williams and Sen. Mike Caputo. They are stalwarts in the suddenly uphill battle to make West Virginia a welcoming place.

Naturally, they had some help from across the aisle on some of the challenges, such as Mon County’s Delegate Joe Statler, since the Republican super-majority Legislature means cooperation with GOP legislators is crucial.

To be sure, several bad bills passed — taking rights away from injured employees comes to mind — but there were many that didn’t.

Some, such as one rolling back school vaccination requirements, did pass but were amended to somewhat mitigate the impact. It’s still a bad bill and could weaken herd immunity so integral to protecting the population at large from communicable diseases, as well as expose the growing number of private and parochial school students — and employees — to deadly diseases. (Although it will die if Gov. Jim Justice can be persuaded to veto it.)

Now to get ready for the next assault!

Ron Allen
John A. Bolt
W.Va. Coalition for Truth in History

DOH once again fails to anticipate bad weather

The time of this writing is 7:10 a.m. Tuesday, March 19. We just got home from trying to drive to Morgantown for a 7:45 a.m. doctor’s appointment. The temperature is 28 degrees and it snowed last night. Neither W.Va. 7, W.Va. 92, nor Gladesville Road were treated. We saw six accidents on Gladesville Road because the road is one solid sheet of ice, as was W.Va. 92.

Traffic is backed up around the turn to the Arthurdale Heritage Center from Reedsville on W.Va. 92, so we could not even try to go down W.Va. 7 or the Kingwood Pike.

Once again, West Virginia Division of Highways neglected to heed weather reports and did nothing to prepare roads to prevent early morning accidents. The DOH is consistent in not treating roads.

It does not treat our roads; it does not repair our roads or maintain them … What do our tax dollars pay for at the DOH?

When is the governor going to step in and do something about the DOH’s bungling and incompetence?

It would be an amusing comedy of errors if it were not so tragic. Maybe Charleston will finally hear the voices of West Virginians because this is an election year.

Brenda Bonnett

Thanking lawmakers for protecting libraries

I am writing to express my appreciation to Delegates Anitra Hamilton, Evan Hansen, John Williams and Joe Statler for their opposition to HB 4654: Removing bona fide schools, public libraries, and museums from the list of exemptions from criminal liability relating to distribution and display to minor of obscene matter. Delegate Statler was the only Republican to join Democrats Hamilton, Hansen, Williams and eight others in the House of Delegates in opposition. Fortunately the bill was never taken up in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and efforts to add it to another bill at the last minute failed.

If passed, it would have subjected these institutions to §61-8A-2 of the West Virginia Code: “Distribution and display to minor of obscene matter; penalties; defenses,” which says that “Any adult, with knowledge of the character of the matter, who knowingly and intentionally distributes, offers to distribute, or displays to a minor any obscene matter, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $25,000, or confined in a state correctional facility for not more than five years, or both.” §61-8A-1 attempts to define obscene matter with references to “contemporary adult community standards.” That sounds vague to me.

While I am part of the West Virginia Coalition for Truth in History (WVCTH) and a member of the West Virginia Association of Museums (WVAM), I am writing for myself, as a historian who has relied on librarians and worked with museum professionals around the state and country throughout my career. This bill would have had a chilling effect on their work, and I was glad to see the WVCTH, WVAM and West Virginia Library Association lobbying against it.

We all benefit from the resources they provide through books, exhibits, public programs, etc., and should trust them to work according to the standards of their professions.

Barb Howe