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Mountain Messenger
Lewisburg, West Virginia
March 1, 2014     Mountain Messenger
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March 1, 2014

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4A March 1. 2014 Mountain Messenger- The Weekend PaDer for the Greenbrier Valley I www.mountainmessenger.corrk I OPINION The Rahall Report News & Views From Capitol Hill Keeping the government's nose out of our private business I take very seriously my oath to support and defendthe Constitution of the United States, and I believe that Congress has a responsibility to serve as a check on the Executive Branch, regardless of the political party in power. We must vigorously guard against unwarranted govern- ment intrusion that violates the pri- vacy and civil liberty guarantees of our Constitution. I voted against the USA PATRI- OT Act of 2001, which broadened Executive authorities under the For- eign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Since then, I have consis- tently supported efforts to strengthen Congressional and Court oversight of our Nation's intelligence gather- ing programs, including measures that prohibit the government from using data obtained from the sale of firearms, tax records, and medical information without a warrant. As well, I have been an advocate of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent agency within the Executive Branch that is charged with reviewing the implementation of laws and regu- lations to help ensure the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. I cosponsored legislation to strengthen the Board's authority and independence and have supported several bills to increase its annual budget. Of particular concern is the Na- tional Security Agency's (NSA) intelligence gathering program in- volving the collection of metadata, where phone records are collected in bulk under the authority of Sec. 215 of the Patriot Act. In executing these programs, the Administration clearly has pushed the legal boundaries for government surveillance. That is why I voted in favor of the Amash Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense Appropriations bill. This measure would prohibit funding for programs that collect the personal data of American citi- zens not subject to investigation. A1- though this amendment failed by a small margin, it sent a clear message that additional reforms and oversight are necessary. Recently, a Federal judge ruled the NSA's metadata program is un- constitutional. As well, the President announced a series of reforms to in- crease privacy safeguards. However, I don't think the Congress should wait for the Courts or President to decide this matter alone; it needs to act. I believe that more must be done to narrow the collection by intelli- gence agencies of data not relevant to terrorist threats and to increase public disclosure of each Adminis- tration's interpretation of its FISA authorities. As well, procedural changes are necessary to ensure more stringent oversight by the For- eign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is responsible for authorizing and reviewing these programs. Presently, Congressional investi- gations into the NSA's surveillance programs are underway, and a num- ber of private organizations have filed lawsuits against the NSA. I am hopeful the findings will result in legislation and judicial actions that will hold this administration, and future administrations, accountable. I believe that the United States can have a strong national security without sacrificing our Constitution- al ideals, and I vehemently disagree with those who believe that strength- ening one means proportionally weakening the other. As Senator Byrd once said, "We have a responsibility to ourselves and to future generations to ensure that, in our zeal to build a fortress against terrorism, we are not dis- mantling the fortress of our organic law - our Constitution - our liberties, and our American way of life." His sentiments are truly timeless. I will continue to advocate poli- cies that strike a balance between protecting our national security and safeguarding our civil liberties. Commentary... 3 in 4 in WV want stronger water & air protections By Dan Heyman Three quarters of West Virginians said the state has not done enough to protect air and water, according to a poll taken after the Freedom chemi- cal spill. The poll was commissioned by the Sierra Club and conducted by nonpartisan Hart Research Associ- ates. Jay Campbell, senior vice presi- dent, Hart Research Associates, said they found the demand for stronger environmental protections running deep and wide across the state after the Elk River was contaminated. "The spill was a signal that things really have to change. This agree- ment crossed all income levels, all education levels, all age levels. And what this really underscores is this was a pretty big shock to the sys- tem," Campbell said. Nearly two-thirds of West Virgin- ians said they would support politi- cal candidates who favor tougher air and water i'egulations and enforce- ment. The pollster said that opinion was surprisingly strong, even among conservatives. "Majorities across the political spectrum," Campbell noted. "It's not just some 'left3" sentiment here. This spill really was a wake-up call, and something of a gut punch for the state." The poll found political indepen- dents favored pro-regulation candi- dates by more than two to one; and Republicans were evenly divided. Campbell said that was really strik- ing. "In polling, you don't often get Republicans explicitly favoring greater regulation," he said, "espe- cially Republicans in West Virginia, who are not anyone's idea of shrink- ing-violet, tree-hugging liberals." A separate report jus t released by environmental consultant Down- stream Strategies found more than 60 potential sources of contamina- tion to West Virginia American Wa- ter's Elk River intake. Campbell said West Virginians are strongly aware of and paying attention to the issue of tap-water contamination, even if they live outside of the area. "We found that nine out of 10 peo- ple said that they are either pretty concerned or very concerned," he said. "And concern was even high in areas of the state that weren't di- rectly affected." For years, state industries and their political allies have argued that clean air and water rules amounted to an excessive burden imposed by outsid- ers. Campbell said the poll shows a strong majority want tougher action by the EPA and state regulators. The full Hart Research Associates report is available at Deadline for LETTERS is Wednesday Noon Your Ooinion is Valuable Visit us at Send letters and comments to: Mountain Messenger, P.O. Box 429 Lewisburg, WV 24901 Call (304) 647-5724 or Fax (304) 647-5767 essenger Michael Showell, Editor & Publisher Peggy Mackenzie, Managing Editor Kathy Hunter, Business Office Lisa Stansell, Advertising Jim Montgomery, Advertising Jonathan Collins, Tech Support Chris Kincaid, Production Layout Amanda Workman, Production Layout Jeanette Albaugh, Typesetter Julie Sweet, Ad Design Marti Marshall, Customer Service Mgr. Anna Workman, Office Manager The Mountain Messenger is a weekly publication. Periodicals postage paid at Lewisburg, West Virginia. The known otce of publication is Box 429, Lewisburg, WV 24901 USPS 013784 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE MOUNTAIN MESSENGER Box 429, Lewisburg, WV 24901 Subscribe to the Mountain Messenger SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Mailed to Greenbrier and Monroe Counties, $18.95 Mailed, in State (WV) $31.00; Mailed, out of State $39.00 Phone (304) 647-5724 Nalne Address Phone Number Email Address Total Amount Enclosed WE ACCEPT VISA OR MASTERCARD Account No. Expiration Date Signaawe "l-he Mountain Messenger Box 429, Lewisburg, WV 24901 Visit us at http' Letter to the Editor... Endless delay in the courts Dear Editor: ' following elay and that Not long after Kitty Hawk, a law- suit was filed by the Wright Bros, claiming that a new company, Curtis Aviation, had infringed on their pat- ent in the design for the wing flap as- sembly used in landings and takeoffs of the newly developed flying ma- chine. This lawsuit is still making its way through the courts without any settlement in sight. Charles Dickens' famous novel "Bleak House" re- volves around a court case that con- tinued for so long, the origina! ques- tion had been forgotten and it had become a battle of proper procedures to be followed prior to trial. As strange as these may be in the annals of the practice of law, the good citizens of Greenbrier County are about to join this group with the recent announcement that a schedule has been arranged towards a settle- ment of the $1 million grant to the New River College by the Greenbri- er County Comrission. Just in case anyone has been living under a rock and is unfamiliar with the details, briefly, a court ruling was that the grant of $1 million was the result of some behind the scene machinations by a Board member that were unknown until the grant was made. New River says they re- ceived the funds, fair and square, not knowing of any back door prob- lem and have offered to return some of the grant, but not all, for which Greenbrier County requests a trial. County Commissioner Mike Mc- Clung has said that the initial trial date of Oct. 27 allowing for the wit- ness statements, expert witness state- ments, discovery deadlines and pre- trial hearings is a long time for the County to even hope for a decision in their favor. A suggested solution may be found in a statement in the West Virginia Daily News of Feb. 21, " attempt to have $1 million returned to the Commission that was illegally dis- persed to build a pool at NRCTC." New River accepted the money in good faith and began work on the project. New River did not disburse the funds illegally, as a court has ruled, but the finger points to the ac- tions and failure of oversight by the Greenbrier County Commission. It appears to this resident of Green- brier Valley that there is a marked reluctance to settle this entire matter in a fashion other than one of delay even when all of the time-consuming steps have been accomplished, it will still in up in court for a final decision. There are those who believe that resolution is best saved until after the elections as so many are involved in the results, which may very well be true or per- haps not, as there may well be others of interest. Submitted is that this is a good time for a call to the Grand Jury to determine if an elected member of the Greenbrier County Commission knowingly committed an illegal act while in a position of authority and does New River College have any responsibility by accepting the grant presumed proper at the time, as the agreement had been reviewed and approved by Greenbrier County Counsel. Jack D. Ballard Lewisburg P.S. As a follow up, subject to State approval, effective July 1, 2014, the Greenbrier County Prosecuting Attorney, with the approval of the Greenbrier County Commissioners, will receive a 12% salary increase. What's that expression - "Don't bite the hand...?" Wright to the Point By Jonathan Wright It's something with which nearly everyone can identify, and we all talk about it from time to time when we have the privilege of revisiting our childhood. Ah, yes---our childhood: those years of relatively carefree living when all our needs, and often our wants, were generously supplied by our parents or guardians. Although our childhood surround- ings vary by the billions--when you take into account the masses of hu- mans who inhabit this planet, each with different histories---one com- mon observation seems to permeate all recollections of childhood set- tings compared with the same places today. The size. You know what I'm talking about. You go back to visit the street and the house where you spent some or most of your growing-up years, and you're immediately struck by how miniscule everything seems com- pared to how you remember it. It happens every time I drive by my first childhood home in Hunting- ton, on South Jefferson Drive in the Spring Valley portion of town. Sev- eral details strike me immediately. The houses are much closer to- gether than I remember. The houses, including ours, seem incredibly smaller. The driveway in front of our old house is way, way shorter than I re- call. The distance from the houses on the north side of the street across to those on the south side of the street has shrunk amazingly. Additionally, the trees are not nearly is tall as I remember. I suppose everything looms larger in a child's eyes, and then as he or she grows up, things are more close- ly aligned to their tr0e sizes, and they see them for what they really are. Sounds a lot like many other de- tails regarding "maturity." As we get older we tend to lose the wonder arid fascination with everyday items- and begin seeing them for what they "really" are. That sounds cynical. And it really is. To tell you the absolute truth, it's worth fighting. Although, of course, we need to keep a true perspective on things as we face the cruel reali- ties of life, what kind of life is it if we finally surrender ourselves to grim realism? When I look in to the night sky, iI want to see it with the same wide- eyed wonder I knew as a child. When I see the first lightning bugs of summer, I want to feel the same thrill and other emotions they elic- ited in me as a youngster. I might even want to watch an old Popeye cartoon and re-live some of the same fun-loving abandon I experienced as a child watching those classic seg- ments. I can't help how much smaller things look in the old neighborhoods of my youth. I can, however, choose to continue reveling in the match- less beauty and joy of the wonderful world and amazing life that God has blessed me with. May I never outgrow those. One Day At A Time: :i One Woman's Journey r' By Tanya Hazelwood Today I Won the Battle It's been 30 days since I've been living in the hospital in Roanoke. The walls began closing in on me and today was an absolute gor- geous day, so I thought I would take a walk. I ended up at a strip mall. I had money in my pocket and my ID. Wouldn't you know it, one of the first shops I came upon was an ABC store. At first I walked right past it and tried not to give it any attention. But as I continued to walk I swear it was like it was calling 'my name. I finished up my window shopping and turned around. Of course I had to once again pass by this stupid liquor store. As I approached it I started looking in the window. Every stinking liquor I like was right up front on big displays. I started to get hot, my palms started to sweat. Over and over my mind was saying "go on in, no one will know, you're alone, no one knows you here." Honestly, I thought about it. I thought it wouldn't hurt to get a couple airplane bottles and no one would ever know. But then my daughter laying in the hospital bed on life support came racing into my thoughts. The ONE thing that upset her most about me and there she was laying in that bed fighting for her life and I was contemplating drinking?b What is wrong with me? I'll tell you what is wrong with me. I am an alcoholic. Even with close to 9 months sober I am still and will always be an alcoholic. It doesn't magically go away and to- day was complete proof of that. I didn't stop at that ABC store, I kept on trucking and I made it back to the hospital, sober. I don't know wilt tomorrow holds for my daughter, granddaughter or even me but today I won that battle. I Visit us at Commentary... WV Medical Institute advocates for improved colorectal cancer screening rates March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month In February 2000, President Clin- ton officially dedicated March as Na- tional Colorectal Cancer Awareness 'Month. Since then, it has grown to be a true rallying point for the colon cancer community. Every year, thou- sands of patients, survivors, caregiv- ers and advocates throughout the country join together to spread colon Cancer awareness by participating in National Dress in Blue Day, as well as hosting fundraising and educa- tion events, and talking to friends and family about the importance of colorectal cancer screenings. This year, National Dress in Blue Day is Friday, Mar. 7. To learn how you can get involved, please visit the Colon Cancer Awareness Alliance's Web site. According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, colon cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, and is most often found in people 50 years or older. The Ameri- can Cancer Society ranks colorectal cancer as the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when men and women are considered separately. It is the sec- ond leading cause when both gen- ders are combined. It is expected to cause about 50,310 deaths during 2014. Medical experts at the West Vir- ginia Medical Institute (WVMI) agree that early detection of colorec- tal cancer can save lives and that it is important for patients to follow through on getting screened. It is equally important for pi'oviders to remind their patients to get regular cancer screenings. As the Medicare Quality Improve- ment Organization for West Virginia, WVMI works with physician offices across the state to provide them with tools and resources needed to spread the word to their patients about tlfis highly preventable disease. With regular screening, colon can- cer can be found early, when treat- ment is most effective. In many cases, screening can prevent colon cancer by finding and removing pol, yps before they become cancer. And if cancer is present, earlier detection means a chance at a longer life. This March, use all of the tools available to help you stay healthy. Visit to help you get started. -" Send letters & comments to Mountain Messenger00 P.O. Box 429, " Lewisburg, WV 24901 Call 304-647-5724 " or fax 304-647-5767 "