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Mountain Messenger
Lewisburg, West Virginia
March 13, 1990     Mountain Messenger
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March 13, 1990

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Vol. VI No. 1 March 13, 1990 From the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia nla teachers at Greenbrier East High School /i!~~i13/!i/: Locally... ght ~ue sight of teachers public schools be- ;ingly commonplace early this week as a of educators pro- ' State Legislature's cur- ion. linia Education Associa- affiliates in Monroe and COunties voted last week "extended work in the closing of and the ernst- of those schools open. for better sala- funding, insurance, verything im- as teachers, including said Beverly Ar- secretary for the Education Asso- Mrs Arbuckle is a librarian at Greenbrier East High School. All seven Monroe County schools remained open March 7, but educa- tion association members voted late that day to join the strike. Gap Mills Elementary/Junior High was the only school open March 8; all Monroe County schools were closed March 9. Pocahontas County was one of onty a handful of counties whose teachers voted not to strike. Sixty- four voted against an "extended work stoppage," and 23 voted in fa- vor of it. All Pocahontas schools re- mained opened and experienced no unusual absenteeism last week, ac- cording to Superintendent Dan Curry. GCEA members voted March 6 to begin their strike the morning of March 7. Six of Greenbrier County's See "Strike" pg. 3-A Empty playground at Ronceverte Elementary School Editorial West Virginia educators took an historic step when they went out on strike last week. Ostensibly the unprecedented strike came about when teachers were unable to obtain a guaranteed across-the-board wage hike from the powers that be in Charleston. Who knows what exactly transpired between the West Virginia Educa- tion Association and the politicos? Who knows who was the first to be- come intractable? What is known is that the strike action has brought about the most serious crisis to face our beloved state since its very inception. Families are pitted against one another as they have not been since the Civil War. Friends are experiencing enmity unlike anything they have ever experienced before. And out of it all comes a wondrous commonality --- a deep concern for our educational heritage and an awareness of the vital importance which must be placed upon education if we are to survive as a free and demo- cratic state. Should our teachers be paid more? Very simply -- they should be paid as much as we can afford to pay them, no more and no less. Because of the teacher's strike West Virginia has been turned into a classroom without walls. We are all students once again. Let us hope we learn our lesson well and that we use this experience to grow in knowl- edge, in understanding, and in compassion. --Charles A. Goddard know that an in- circus has its in Rupert. Hallnson and clowns, tra- lion trainers, side- and snake charmers in Rupert -- and stay in Swisher I cigar boxes! is a unique 3/4 scale model circus Hall who was c nce The Clown. and jolly bearded than 52 hand- an figures, dozens circus wagons, hand-sewn tents to ~circus. He has taken to the Green- in Fairlea ,where it h18. 1ally-Toured Side Show! Twenty- Featuring Zorena You will be Edu- Amazed. You wil , the tiny scale ban- circus model is nearly an acre of ~s presenting only in Fairlea this back to the Malt bigger and better said. 6-A ........ 6-A 7' ..... . .............. 2-A 7-B "" ...... ......... :..2-A .4-B ,.2-B 7-A ..... 4-A "~ ............ 2-B i"'"'", ............. 1 -B Top Comes Jocko, his daughter, wife, and son -- under the minature canvas. Circuses have been an ~mportant part of Mr Hall's life since he was five or six year old and saw the Hagenbeck and Wallace Circus in Parkersburg about 1933. "My father was working at American Viscose Corporation then. He bought re- served seat tickets which must have cost him a great deal. He and I went down to watch the circus unload at 5 a.m. When the show opened that night I saw them drive a Chevy over top of a man, I saw Clyde Beatty -- the famous lion trainer (you don't 'tame' them, you 1rain' them). I still have a program from that perform- ance." Show biz is old hat for David Hall. He began his career when he was in the second grade at Dunbar. "1 stood up on the stage and recited a poem 'Needles and pins. Needles and pins. When a man mames his trouble begin.' I brought down the house!" Later in life, Mr Hall was an announcer at Beckley Radio Station WJLS, WMON in Montgomery, and WKNA in Charleston. He worked in the display department at the old Diamond Department Store...and then he joined the circus. It was Hoxie-Tucker Circus out of Hugo, Oklahoma that Mr Hall joined and where Jocko the Clown was born "1 must have a little Gypsy in my blood. Every once inawhile I get the urge to hit the road --- to be un- dei" the canvas." Jocko's tattered suit, his huge feet, his battered hat all may be in an old trunk some place in Mr Hall's home, 'Tin not sure where his things are now. I re- tired Jocko about 1959." During Jocko's time, David Hall met and married his wife Barbara. They are the parents of two children -- David Junior and Melissa. Mrs Hall, a native of Rupert, and the two children also became clown charac- ters and often "hit the road" with Jocko. Today, in a circus-filled two- storeyed house on Rupert's main street, David Hall works hours on on his tiny figures. He also finds time to write a regular column for a national publication directed to builders of circus scale models. David Hall recently retired from his position as a history teacher at Greenbrier West High School. "1 now devote all my time to my circus work. I use jeweler's drills to create many of the figures," he says as he carefully opens a cigar box and takes a perfectly-modeled figure of an acrobat out of its wrappings. "If you were to go back in time, say to the 1920s or 1930s, on a circus lot, what would you expect to see? This is it, well at least part of it," Mr Hall says as he carefully, proudly and lovingly holds the tiny acrobat in his hand for all to admire. \ Picketing teachers at Rainelle Elementary/Junior High School Redctions... Amy Ingram Gresnbrler College Trainee The teacher's strike caused com- plications and some interruption of classes at area schools Wednesday, March 7. A few schools had to close completely or dismiss students early because of picketers or teacher ab- sences. The Mountain Messenger interviewed some area students by telephone to find out their views on the situation. Judy VanMetre, a senior at Greenbrier East High School, said, "They (teachers) do deserve a raise." She also felt teachers should be allowed to strike. When asked~;' why she thought the teachers were on strike "she replied, "They are on strike to try to get a five per cent raise without getting an insurance cut." Judy also expressed concern about effects the strike might have on her pending graduation. The Mountain Messenger also interviewed two sophomores at Greenbrier East, Michael McMitlion and Karen VanMetre. Karen stated, "1 think they should strike. I think they have a right to strike." She said the "teaChers were striking, "To get more money." Michael said, "if it will cause progress it's fine. If it seems hopeless they should give it up. They want to receive more money because their last raise was five per cent and with inflation at six per cent it was nearly nothing." He added teachers should be allowed to strike, but the situation should make a dif- ference. Dale McClung who is a junior at Greenbrier West High School also supported the striking teachers. '1 feel it's necessary. They ought to stick with it to get what they want." Dale, however, expressed concern See "Reactions" pg. 3-A Painted rock on River Road, Ronceverte Saint Patrick's Day takes on a bit of added significance in extreme southern Greenbrter County. The Irish Corner Tax District, between Ronceverte and Organ Cave south of the Greenbrler River, was named for the large number of of Scotch-Irish settlers who came to the area after the Revolutionary War, according to local historians. Since April 19, 1988, a now-familiar landmark has reminded River Road travelers where they are. A large shamrock and the name "Irish Corner" was painted on a rock outcrop on a mountainside near the Jiffy Foam Company plant by the late Gerard "Chick" Regimbal. Mr Regtmbal was a diamond-bit gold driller who was born in Burling- ton, Ontario, Canada. He married Roxanne Dunbar of Second Creek in 1982. After the couple married he continued to travel around the world gold prospecting. He had just returned to Ronceverte from a job in Geralton, Ontario, when he decided to paint the inscription on the rock near their home. "He was French-Irish and was very proud of his heritage," Mrs Reg- imbai said. "When he found out he was living in the Irish Corner Dis- trict, he was so thrilled--he said, Tm home at last! i think I'll just put my stamp of approval on It'" Mr Regimbal died in a drowning accident on the Greenbrler River April 20, the day after he painted the rock. He was 50. ADDITIONAL TEACHERS' STRIKE NEWS ~- Greenbrier County teachers who participated in the Strike held two weekend meetings at Lewisburg's Carnegie Hall. On March 10 the group voted in favor of a West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) proposal to go back to work if the governor would call a special session of the Leg- islature and agree there would be no lost pay or reprisals against striking teachers. Talks between the WVEA and the governor broke down Satur- day night, and Sunday the Greenbrier County Education Association voted to resume the strike Monday. T !