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Mountain Messenger
Lewisburg, West Virginia
July 31, 1994     Mountain Messenger
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July 31, 1994

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4A The Mountain Messenger, Sunday, July 31, 1994 "1 ri dq S! Wost Virginia Stato Senator Randy Schoonovor State Workers: Senate Bill 18 states that a civil service manager who has performed work in a position with a higher classification the one in which he is employed may be promoted to a high classifica- Lion by passing a qualifying ex- amination. A manager can exer- cise this "bumping" authority only if his/her job has been ter- minated due to a reduction in the work force. Senate Bill 410 permits the protest of contested worker's compensation claims in the Of- fice of Judges. It also changes the method of determining a claimant's best average daily wage and prohibits the state minimum level of benefits from exceeding the federal minimum. House Bill 4505 establishes a leave donation program for em- ployees. An employee may volun- tarily donate hls/her unused leave time to another employee if there is an medical emergency that will require that employee to take a prolonged absence and that employee does not have enough of accumulated leave time. Unemployment compensation: Senate Bill 377 state that in order for a recipient to receive unemployment benefits the indi- vidual must participate in re- employment of services. The bill also updates the Benefit "Fable. Unemployed workers who earn no more than $60 a week are not subject to deductions. In 1974 the law read that if an unem- ployed individual earned $25.00 a week by doing odd jobs, then benefits would not be subject to deductions. Today, $25.00 is equivalent to $70.00 This bill al- lows for an individual to work at odd-jobs and earn no more the $60.00 before deductions are taken out. Pensions: House Bill 4205 requires that a person must be employed, or must have been employed 12 months by an employer partici- pailng in the Public Employees Retirement System and must meet other current law require- ments to receive disability retire- ment. This bill also prohibits the Consolidated Public Retirement Board from awarding disability retirement to a member of any retirement plan if the member is seeking to retire based on a preexisting disability at the time the member Joined the retire- ment plan. Senate Bill 237 provides sup- plemental benefits to certain re- tired public employees. Public employees who retired before December 31. 1992, will receive a supplement depending on the year they retired. ,I 66 t9 Tax me Mr. Taxman, but please don't tax a tree. My services should cost a fee. but the Forest should get by Free. I'm just an ignorant hillbilly it's true-- not much education and a two digit I.Q. My driveway is an old railroad bed without the rails. and my backyard is a network of old skid trails. And until Hillary pulled her prank, I thought that cattle Futures were in a sperm bank. But there's one Fact I know is true, and that's that trees benefit people and animals too. And I know that wood is wonderful and paper is good, so we harvest timber just as we should. It is the people that consume the wealth. and it's the trees that contribute to everyone's health. So please Mr. Taxman try to see that another tree tax doesn't pass. And tell Hechler and Harvey to--ah, go cut some grass. Nelson Boyce Renick, WV By Joyce Armentrout People who expect to receive more than one type of retirement pension should be sure they are familiar with how their Social Security benefits may be af- fected. There are several impor- tant rules to remember. If you have earned both Social Security and a military pension. your Social Security benefits are not affected. You should call Social Security and ask for the factsheet, Military Service and Social Security. However. if you are entitled to both Social Secu- rity and a government pension based on a civilian Job not cov- ered under Social Security, your Social Security benefit may be reduced. There are two rules that may reduce your benefits. One. called "government pension off- set" applies only if you receive a government pension and are eli- gible for Social Security benefits as a spouse or widower. This effects relatively few people and is a explained in our factsheet, Government Pension Q1fsei. The other, sometimes called the "windfall elimination provi- sion," affects the way your retire- ment or disability benefits are figured if your receive a pension from work not covered by Social Security. This rule affects the person who spent most of his/ her career working for a govern- ment agency but who also worked at other Jobs where they paid Social Security taxes long enough to qualify for retirement or disability benefits. People who worked in jobs where they didn't pay Social Security taxes, such as in a foreign country, may also be affected. Before the law was changed in 1983, people in these situations received the advantage of the higher percentage of Social Se- curity benefits payable to long- term, low wage workers under Social Security, A modified benefit formula now eliminates this windfall. Here's how the formula works. When we figure your benefits, we separate your ad- vantage earlngs in to three amounts and multiply the fig- ures using three factors. For example, for a worker who turns 65 in 1994. the first $370 of av- erage monthly earnings is multi- plied by 90 percent; the next $1,860 is multiplied by 32 per- cent; and the remainder by 15 percent. In the modified for- mula, the 90 percent factor is reduced. The reduction is phased in for workers who reached age 62 or became dis- abled between 1986 and 1989. For those who reach 62 or be- come disabled in 1990 or later, the 90 percent factor is reduced to 40 percent. There are some exceptions to this rules. For example if you have "substantial" earnings in a job where you paid Social Secu- rity taxes, the 90 percent factor" may not be reduced as much--to somewhere between 40 and 85 percent--depending on the num- ber of years of substantial earn- ings. The modified formula also does not apply to survivors benefits and in certain other cases. In any case, a guarantee is provided to protect workers with relatively low pensions, it provides that the reduction in the Social Security benefit under the modified formula cannot be more than one-half of that part of the pension attributable to earnings after 1956 not covered by Social Security. We also have a lhctsheet on this subject, call A Pension From Work Not Covered by Social Secu- rity, You may call 1-800-772- 1213 to get this and other factsheets on the Subjects I've* discussed here. Or you may call the office in Covinglon toll free by dialing 1-800-772-1686. The Mountain Messenger Michael Showell, lhabllsher Carol Hall, Editor Brenda Gherman, Associate Editor Leslie !/all, Reccptlonist Philip McLaughlin, Advertising Rep. Sherry Loudcrmilk, Advcrtlslng Rcp. Julie Sweet, Ad Desfgn Debbie McClung, Ad Design 122 N. Court Street Lewisburg, WV 24901 304/647-5724 I'ublishcd every Sunday If you would like to submit material for publication: Articles submitted to the Mountain Messenger should be typewritten or clearly written in order to be considered for publication, Please include your name and a phone number where you may be reached during business hours. The Moun- tain Messenger reserves the right to edit any material and regrets articles cannot be returned. Letters to the editor must include a full signature and ad- dress. If you would like a photograph returned, please provide a self-ad- dressed, stamped envelope. DEADLINE: News Items: Wednesday, Noon Display Advertising: Thursday, 1 p.m. Classified Advertising: Thursday, 11 a.m. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Delivery, $12.00, In-State, $15.90, Out-of-State, $23.50 "It's Him or Me" Women, children and the oc- casional man. are getting beat up wholesale nowadays. We have laws designed to protect women from being stalked and harassed. But as we know, sometimes the laws (not the lawmen} fail us, and we pick up a paper and read of yet another woman beaten/robbed/ raped/ and/or murdered. I read in the Washington Post that more and more women are arming themselves. Some are carrying knives, some "rape whistles" and/or *screamers" (cigarette lighter-like items that emit a loud shriek when a but- ton Is pressed). And some are buying the ultimate weapon--a gun. What klnd of a country is this where its female citizens (and lots of males, too) "won't leave home without It"--their gun? l've opined for years and finally heard a legislator on "IV say the same thlng--'there's nothing wrong with our present laws, and we don't need more laws, we just need to enforce the laws we have." Now that word--enforce-- means a lot of things. It's not just the police who need to en- force the laws, citizens can en- force laws by doing jury duty, but reporting a crime when they see it, etc., and judges and juries can enforce laws by handing down stiff sentences. If law breakers kl ew that a sentence of 10 years in jail means 10 years in jail--no early parole--it might make a difference. Women have been victims and have retaliated against their ag- gressors in various ways. Usu- ally deadly ways. But women don't have to be victims. I have always thought that if accosted, I would be a "dead duck." Fight? How? With what? I'm a helpless woman, boo hoo. Well, that attitude got an about- face when I took a Women's Self Defense Class and learned that, by golly, I can protect myself and/or defend myself to some extent. We were taught *who" are vic- tims, how not to be a victim, and things you can do if you are being victimized. We were not taught to be Judo/karate/tal kwan do experts. We were not taught to throw great big men over our shoulders, but we were taught how to loosen a strangle- hold. Learning the "holds" wasn't hard. The hard part for most women is the thought that you must hurt someone In order to get away from them and be safe. Our instructor, Bud Shappard said. "Women are by tradition, nurturers. You've been taught to take care of people; to be gentle and ladylike.* How many times have you heard your Mother say, "Don't fight?" However, he said, in a situation where a large male person ls intent on doing you great bodily harm. you have to make a commitment io your- selves. He said we do have a right to be free in our persons; that we do have the right and the duty to protect ourselves. even~If that means hurting someone. If my Morn were looking down and I was in a bad situation, I believe she'd not only approve; she would probably say, "Hit him again!!" -CH Imagination Turns Lewisburgs' Vacancy Into Occupancy By Cissie Morgan The historical city of Lewis- burg doesn't seem quite the same after losing some of it's businesses. l was very excited of the news that Kmart would be coming to our area, not realizing the toll it would have in our town. As a child growing up in Le- wisburg, I frequently patronized the now defunet stores, not thinking for a minute that some- day they would be gone. Now, there's talk of Walmart coming to our area. I hesitate to be anxious, as l wonder how it will affect local merchants. It would be great if we could have our cake and eat it too, (get a Walmart without it affecting the remaining businesses}. When I drive through Lewis- burg, I can't help but wonder, what will become of the vacant buildings? Even though. I realize the beautiful city of Lewisburg will always be a preferred tourist at- traction. 1 would like to see something productive become of the empty buildings. So, with my imagination I pic- ture these possibililtes: A 7-11 (convience store} at the former Farmer Mac's; and a Blockbuster Video at the old Wyatt Home center, wouldn't that be great? And how about Taco Bell at the former Happy's Restaurant? The old Rexall Drugstore wotdd be an excellent location for TCBY, (the country's best yo- gurt), perhaps a Fashionbug at the lbrmer Yarld's bulkilng, J.C. Penny in the place of I.eggetts, and picture with me, a Country Kitchen restaurant (buffet style dining), in the Ibrmer Carriage Hill Shop. l feel it's inevitable for any town to grow and it's business area to expand, after all. popula- tion multiples everyday and the human lifespan is much longer than it used to be. There's no changing the inevi- table, if Wahnart doesn't come now. eventually there will be something else. I l~el something can be clone to fill theses vacant buildings with prominent businesses, and this will, in return, help Lewis- burg to prosper. Our Policy On Letters We welcome letters from our readers and will consider each one carefully for publication. Please Ibl]ow these directions. 1. We appreciate typed letters, but please double space and use both upper and lower case. Ilandwritten letters arc acceptable as long as they are readable. 2. We do not print anonymous letters. You must include an original signature. "~. Include your name, full address and phone number. 4. All letter are subject to standard editing procedures. 5. Letters containing libelous statements, personal attacks or fac- tual errors will not be published. . . . . 6. All opinions expressed are those of the writer; and not that ot the Mountain Messenger Newspaper. Send your letters to Mountain Messenger, ]22 N. Court St., l.~w~Isburg, WV 24901 tters to Dear Editor: State Senatorial District I I Caperton Cronies must be find- ing the "Political Kitchen Heat" rather intense in the Caperton Capers Kitchen. "IXvo out of the last three [peoples] he has named from the I Ith got out of the kitchen kinds quick like. State Government shenani- gans has to have hit an all time low. The Charleston Gazette lead Editorial of 7/24 last para- graph says--'Voters should vent their wrath on everyone who ap- proved this unconscionable raise, from the legislators them- selves to the Supreme Court Justices who gave it approval even though it was clearly un- constitutional." Strong comment about the Capital Gang for the Charleston Gazette. The out-cry of property own- ers receiving their tax tickets for "94" indicates they bought the School Bond Sale rhetoric of "93" and the Incumbent Rhetoric in the May Primary election, and no doubt will be suckered in again by the same scheming pro- tax pro-special interest anti-Citi- zens Rights Incumbents come November. A recent article by Fanny Seller quotes Bob Kiss as saying he Is "comfortable we at least have a fair formulas re-the Coal Tax Property Wrangling" ??? The same article say's he promises to "fix" possible Inequi- ties. SO Tax Payers beware, es- pecially the 212,864 elderly that claim the $20,000 Homestead Exemption. This Is the same guy that marled me a letter dated March 15, 1994 (about Lime the big pay raise vote} ex- plaining to me reasons for per- mlttlng the Homestead Exemp- tion Amendment passed by the Senate to done In the House. Sites two reasons in the letter {a. It would be very expensive (b. It would be a tax shelter for the rlch.l No mentions was made pertaining to the cost of the pay raise, or the millions of dollars of un-funded Political Obligations. A review of the 400,000 plus Dear Editor: The. U.S. Senate will soon consider the annual appropria- tion for Amtrak Amtrak is lead- Ing the effort to bring the United State passenger rail system into the twenty-first century through the use of state-of-the-art, high- speed passenger rail service. Al- though Amtrak generates about 80 percent of Its budgetary needs from ticket sales and other revenue. Congressional funding Is a vital importance. The United States rail system is an important component of our nation's infrastructure, and Congressional funding of the rail system is not unlike public sup- port for highways and airports. Amtrak's commitment to a fu- ture that includes high speed passenger trains makes this year's appropriation especially important. American companies (including ABB) are ready to build these trains now at a price that makes sense. Passengers, tired on congested highways and crowded airports, are ready for the convenience of interclty high speed train travel. All that is needed is a national policy that supports investment in the country's rail Infrastructure. Our failure to Invest in the fu- ture of the U.S. rail system could result in a tragic loss of competi- tiveness at a time when Amtrak Is poised to move American rail transportation In to a new era. U.S. Senator Byrd and Rockefeller's vote In favor of Am- trak funding would support a fiscally responsible and environ- mentally necessary national pol- icy. It will also help create a new American industry with the po- tential for thousands of manu- facturing Jobs, including jobs right here In West Virginia. Sincerely, Gall G. Wagaman Dear Editor: I am the parent of a child with a developmental disability. Time and again I hear about or talk to another parent whose child is re- ferred to special education, but they had been unaware that there was any problem or that there was any help available for their child prior to school. Early Intervention was a great help to me, my son and family. This program has so much to offer, yet so few parents have heard about it or what it can do. I am hoping that your paper can help me to spread this news to every "holler" in our state. Could you please print the at- tached letter In your paper, as Elderly citizens income status will reveal that the greater per- centage skimp by on far less than the $8,5000 Legislative pay increase. So how do we trust this guy to fix anything'? Any problem must first be recognized before it can be fixed, and his letter of March 15 is a dead give away that he sure has no con- cept of senior citizen problems vs needs of state politicians. De- linquent Tax Sales of Home- steads will soar in 1995. Many senior citizens are just making It on Social Security income alone and cannot pay the added tax burden. The State Tax Commis- sion, the Department of Educa- tion, the County Commissions, the State legislature and just about anyone who commented on the Property Re-Appraisal "Fax increases that would be forth- coming as a result of the 1994 Re-Appraisal categorically claimed the procedure would be revenue neutral due to levy rate adjustments. Now we hear there Is a 29.5 percent increase over the year prior to reappraisal with the largest increase hltting the homeowner. How many people lied to you, and what are you going to do about it? Constitutional and legal rights double standards for West Virginia citizens received the State Supreme Courts endorse- ment by It's 3-2 opinion In favor of the pay raise. They agreed to look the other way and utter "oops" to the Legislative Com- pensation Commissions failure to comply with Constitutional Law. The message 1 get as a tax payer Is that the Constitution regulates only the payer and not the payee. Is thts government of the People and "by the People?" Thank God we do have at least one elected Official who places Principal, Constitutional Law, and Citizens Rights above self aggrandizement and per- sonal monetary gain. Chief Jus- tice Brotherntons commentary in his minority opinion state- ment was right on target. J.W. Pennington Fairlea, WV an informational notice or letter to the editor?. [Letter foUows] To: All parents of babies and young children; their friends, families and neighbors. From: A concerned parent. Did your child have any diffi- culties at birth or serious medi- cal problems at any time? Do you have a little feeling that your child may not be grow- Ing and learning like other chil- dren of the same age? Do you think your child may not be seeing, hearing or talking as well as he should? Does your child seem to be more clumsy, floppy or stiffer than other children when she moves? Did you talk to your doctor about this concern, and he said *Let's wait and see." or 'q'hey'll grow out of it?" Did he take your concerns seriously? Did he check it out? Or did he leave you felling foolish or dissatis- fied? Have you been afraid to say anything, hoping that you child would "grow out of it" or "surely your doctor would notice" and say something?. ]f you can answer yes to two or more of these questions, your child may be at risk for some se- rious learning problems by the time he reaches school. By then it will be very late and much harder to teach hlm the skills needed to do his best at school. Don't we all want our children to be able to do the best they can? There is a program called Early Intervention. available eve- rywhere in our state for children at risk of learning problems. Early Intervention will help chil- dren to learn the best they can, from birth to school age, at no cost. This program can do many things to help you, your child and your family. You, the par- ent, count. Your concerns about your child will be listened to re- spectfully and your ideas, needs, wants, and desires Ibr your child will be considered. You will be part of the planning team for your child. All it takes is a free phone call to find the office in your area. Then It is up to you to as the "parent part" of your child's team, to plan appointments that you can keep, to be there wll|l you child at the right time. and to help your child with learning actlvllles at home. Please. If your child may be at "Letters" con't 5A II P L a C, e P t] a t: 13 B Ii Y S tl O $ S C t r f