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Mountain Messenger
Lewisburg, West Virginia
August 25, 1987     Mountain Messenger
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August 25, 1987

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Mornin' Birthday Parties ii i~!~, i~ ~:~ii ill;i! J if! ~iiill~ i iiiiiiii!i By JOHN MANCHESTER "1 don't want a grown-up birthday party: I want a fun one," my youngest child informed me last week. She has spent a lot of time this summer preparing for her 5th birthday which we celebrated over the weekend. She had witnessed my birthday party a few weeks before which was far too boring for her. We had had a lot of things going on at the same time-- meeting, houseguests, and various interruptions--so that we celebrated my birthday o~(er a few days. We had cakeone night, a nice dinner on another and opened presents on a third. I thinkwe even pushed some insulation in the walls on the night of my birthday itself. Our daughter told us this wouldn't happen for her birthday. She wanted games, lots of kids ("no adults except morn andda~"), bunches of cake and ice cream and balloons. My wife tried to put me in charge of the party. I'm not a very good party organizer at all. My suggestion for the party was to buy a cake (or at most open a cake mix and spoon on some frosting), get the kids gathered up and let them go outside and devise their own games. It's the "critical mass" theory of kid's games--get enough ~i~ i!,i~; kids together and they'll create their own forms of entertainment. I was overruled. My daughter and wife come from the school of organized games--pin-the-tail-on the-donkey, bean bag toss and so on. But as it worked out, within the confines of the structured games their was some inventiveness. We had renditions of pin-the-tail-on- the-frog, -the daddy and- the other "kids. Balance the beanbag on your head and walk around the living room turned into a walk around the block and nearly walk around the county. One of the kids has a great "Butch" haircut that I'm sure he impaled the beanbag on. He could have hung upside down and that bag wouldn't have fallen off. He won the prize of course. Our daughter also wanted to play "find the fish" in which goldfish- shaped crackers are hidden around the house. The kids then look for them. The competition was a little biased because the hungry ate all their crackers before they were counted. More enterprising kids simply followed the ant trails to locate the food. I'm sure we'll be dealing with ants for quite sorge time. When everyone had gone home, our daughter asked me: "Wasn't that more fun than your birthday party, daddy?" I couldn't deny it. Acid rain fix? Federal Energy officials recently told U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D- WV., that Byrd's Clean Coal Technology Program can "fix rather than patch" the acid rain problem. Testifying before the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcom- mittee, J. Allen Wampler, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, said that clean coal technology is more effective and more economical than proposed acid rain control legi slation. "1 firmly believe that if Congress pases acid rain legislation today, you could write this country off as a technological leader in coal-based power generation for the rest of our lifetimes," Wampler said in response to questioning from Byrd. "If you sum up the differences between the Clean Coal Technology Program and the various acid rain legislation that has been proposed, I think that the Clean Coal Technology Program can fix the problem rather than just patch the problem," Wampoler said. Byrd, who is chairman of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, said the Presi- dent's decision to seek funding for the Clean Coal Technology Program after opposing the program for the past three years "underscores the seriousness of the Administration's commitment" to demonstrate ways to use coal in an environmentally acceptabte manner. At Byrd's urging, the Administra- tion is seeking $350 million in funding for the Clean Coal program in fiscal year 1988. "Clean coal technologies, if developed and deployed aggressively, can satisfactorily address the concerns of those ~n the Northeast and Canada," Byrd said. "It seems to me that acid rain control bills would only convert an environmental concern in the Northeast into a problem of lost jobs, increased utility bills, closed coal mines and the creation of ghost towns in Appalachia and the Midwest," Byrd said. "Conversely, it would appear that the Clean Coal approach can deliver a winning solution to both regions while helping the entire nation's economy and energy security," he said. Byrd also noted that although the Canadians are pressing the United States to increase the number of scrubbers on coal-fired powerplants, there are no scrubbers in Canada. Wampler told Byrd that there are approximately 150 scrubbers m the United States and zero in Canada. 0 I0 A welcome rain By JOHN MANCHESTER It was a long time coming, but it finally rained this weekend. Down deep, we knew it would; after all Fair Week had just begun. Hard downpours mixed with gentle rain., we'd almost forgotten what it felt like. I bet more people than not joined my family and me in walking out in the rain, getting soaked, just to feel rain again. it took 38 days to get that ~/~-1" of rain and it even took its time coming once you knew it was going to storm. The skies had darkened hours before dusk. The humidity had been building up. It had even started to smell like rain - - for those who could still remember what that smell was. The storm moved slowly with lots of lightning in the distance, but it seemed almost stalled before it hit. Then the wind picked up for quite a few minutes before the rain started. Boy, it felt goodl An inch of rain can't do much to overcome such a long drought. Hayfields, gardens and lawnes have all been hurt. The dry hot wind of the last week was wringing the final spots of moisture out of the soil. Where our garden plot managed to find enough water to put out good tomatoes still amazes me! But that little bit of rain did a lot to green things up and take away that dust all around us. Let's hope for some more soaking reins to perk up our crops and renew our spirits even more. The insurance industry By HARLEY STAGGERS JR. The U.S. insurance industry is a trillion dollar business. It insures every aspect of American life. It insures our homes, our cars, our businesses, our health, and our lives. It uses some $398 billion in consumer-paid premiums each year for investments, which have a substantial impact on our economy. There are many who believe that the modern insurance industry has become too well shielded from effective regulation. The threat that insurers will pull out of a state and withdraw coverage, such as West Virgima experienced last year, has prompted a call from consumers, state law enforcement officials, bankers, nurses, doctors, senior citizens, and others to do away with a 40-year-old law that largely excludes the insurance industry from federal antitrust laws. The insurance industry was granted limited i~.munity from federal antitrust law's,, with little debate in the Congress, as it was tucked away in a Senate-House compromise bill in 1945. The feeling was, it seems, that regulation by the states would take the place of the antitrust laws in providing the consumer with the best product at the lowest possible price. Critics of the antitrust exemption betieve~that most state insurance department are too understaffed and underfunded to regulate adequately huge insurance companies, which operate across state lines and even internationally. Moreover, the threat that insurers will pull out of the state should regulation become too vigorous may dampen the active and continuous state supervision needed to protect consumers. Insurance companies share information. Through insurance industry-sponsored bureaus, insurance providers receive cost and price information, which helps them determine rates. Consumers are not privy to this information. Critics charge that rates recommended~ by insurance bureaus, whether used or not by insurance companies, provide a sort of barometer that provides little incentive for insurance companies to review their costs and sell their product at the lowest possible price. The insurance industry argues that shared information is important to keep smaller companies in business, since they lack the expertise and resources to develop essential historical data. Critics agree that no company has enough information on which to base an accurate estimate of how much it will pay out in the future, making the pooling of past costs important, but they argue that the pooling of information to come up with industry-wide rates for the future works against the interests of consumers. The Fairness in Insurance Act of 1987, the focus of hearings in the House Judiciary Committee, would repeal the antitrust exemption for the insurance industry. The bill would not limit the states' ability to regulate the insurance industry operating within their jurisdiction. The measure would not prohibit insurance companies from pursuing essential joint activities, so long as it can be shown that collective activity, on balance, tends to promote competition. The outcome of the debates in Congress on the issue of antitrust exemption for the insurance industry is very important for West Virginia, and for all consumers. I am very interested in your views on this important matter. Please write to me at 1504 Longworth House Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. August 26, 1920 By MARY WALKER, VFW AUX, #4484 On August 26, 1920, the Secretary of State issued a proclamation which has had, as the years have passed, a far reaching effect on American democracy. For it was then that the secretary declared that the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution has been ratified. After a long and tedious fight to which many had devoted years of effort, women of age throughout the country were given the right to vote. The Amendment was simply stated, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." But it meant that the women of American had at least been given one of the treasured responsibilities of a free land. Dear Editor. The People of West Virginia join with me In my expression of sadness and loss at the passing of Gertrude Humphreys. She was a lighthouse in West Virginia, whose beacon touched the lives of people in every corner of our State. I worked with Gertrude during my tenure as State Director of the Farmers' Home Administration. She impressed me because she was always involved on so many fronts. Her dictum that "the home should be the center of life, but not the circumference" was a measuring stick by which she gauged her own life -- and the circumference of that life was beyond measure. Her contribu- tions to so many fields -- health, citizenship, safety, public and civic affairs, agricultural and international programs -- continue to be felt even today. West Virginia has lost a great leader. WVU and the Cooperative Extension Service have lost a great champion. And I have lost a dear friend. She will be missed. And being with sentiments of respect, I am A. James Manchin Treasurer of State Dear Editor, I am the mother of threechldren, a resident of Fairlea for the past ten years, a nurse for twelve years, and the wife of a private professional businessman. In considering our Fairlea traffic from this variety of aspects, I ha~e refrained ~om writing sooner~ allow a Deri~d of time "to become adjusted; to change habits" as we were repeatedly advised. Now I think I have refrained long enough; I feel obligated to voice several concerns. In a supposed effort to alleviate congestion on 219 through Fairlea's business area, the result is congestion in several new areas that are not capable of effectively handling this excess. Now in order to patronize our favorite businesses in Fairlea, we are often forced to encircle the entire town, wasting more time driving in circles than we used to wait for someone to turn left. Also, the congestion is complicated by high speed, freeway antics, last-second lane changes,non-existing birms on 219 as well as a poor understanding and non-compli- ance with traffic rules/ethics by drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. Many residents from surrounding towns have expressed reluctance to come to Fairlea and their intent to shop elsewhere. Another perspective is the innocent, unwarned residents who chose Fairlea's quiet residential areas as suitable environment for our families. Now we are over-run with noisy, fast, nonstop, uncontrollable traffic. My children can no longer play in their own front yard for fear an accident will hurl automobiles and large trucks offthe road, over the bank and into them. Heavy traffic, faster speeds and multi.lanes with no birms to school buses. Buses making frequent stops and halting traffic causes driqers to become even more impatient, taking more chances. Many of these stops are not highly visible in advance and many children have to cross two lanes of traffic making just one illegal passage of a bus a terrible tragedy. There is also the risk of rear-ending, a bus injuring children seated in the back because drivers are so pre- occupied with watching heavy traffic, changing lanes, and getting to their destinations on time that they miss seeing the bus stopped ahead. Consider twenty buses on Fairlea's highways about three o'clock five days a week. Now the postal service, in a sincere effort to protect their carriers, are insisting all mailboxes be on the right side of the road. This forces some of our residents to walk across a two-lane highway six days a week. This is no slight request without benefit of wings or an armored tank. I, too worry about the carriers being hit due~ to repeated stops and no area wide enough to get over on 219. The safety and medical risk~of~t ambulance drivers and tt~eir passengers and fire trucks during especially congested time is a prime concern as well. Please consider that many of those who state a preference for our dictated traffic pattern do not reside here but simply saunter into town for work, stay put all day then utilize for avoiding accidents make out in the evening. Some do not live this a distinct pOsibility, or work here. Those of us who do Another~serious threat is to our work and live here hav~ to a day, seven days a week. Lastly, I do not believe that the democratic process was upheld in this decision and implementation. The Fairlea Ruritan Club held open public meetings, during recent years to discuss our traffic problems and solutions. During the discussions, the existing one- way pattern was locally opposed by the majority of those present. They actively pursued and diligently work worked on this problem with sincere concern for our town and its people. Another solution was democratically adopted and implementation begun. Equip- merit was bought, utilities were moved when the project of stoplights and extra lanes halted without warning or discussion. Does this seem like a democratic process? Should a few "influen- tials" have the right to impose their opinions and selfish motives over the rest? It is time for us to target our concerns and complaints to the appropriate authorities in quanitity and in force. Perhaps the residents and businessmen of Fairlea should decide this dilemma. A necessary quality of responsible people and elected government officials is to be able to admit when they have made an incorrect decision and undo the damage.. "Fixing" Maplewood Avenue is ony scratching the surface of this multi-faceted problem. I urge Fairlea residents and busines- smen to pursue recourse before the problems result in a serious, if not tragic outcome. Mrs. Gay H, Sebert 4A II The Mountain Messenge;, Tuesday, By Roberta Patton Looking over the magazine and introduce me to book shelves right now August 18, mother (while in 1987, I see article upon article interpreting the telling the customers about what's German. A delightful best according to the proverbial lady, who Tom, Dick or Harry, in the money this flea market. A market - ! nationalities, and If we amateurs in the stock summerday, market, withthebrokersorwiththe selling and buying "Tried and True" experienced folk, goes: "One mans who have followed predictions mans treasures." from whomever, and have made Remembering money, bought nice houses, or mentioned to Maxi have sent children to college with fact we had those dividends, then we begin to prisoners of World wonder. What is the best farm:Theyhad investments? Talking about family. We still money, of course, making it rich cards from one fast, - tax free! That seems to be an listened intently escape of going to the government expressibn as Kate with what we have worked hard for, German language barely keeping our heads above Irons can vouch for water! conversation I told Do we invest our money "1 would love to go properly, do we invest our time Vickie (Kate's wisely, do we educate our prople joining in with, properly? Do we stand tall for daughter, was deligl freedom? Do we fight (in a sense of Maxi was going from the word), for those ideals and to Encino, California, traditions our forefathers shed had lived. blood for - freedom! Land of the Whether or not free and home of the brave! We the Germany, Maxi people of the United States of rememl America, a government of the in our free people, by the people and for the We know people! Freedom - let's watch it Republic of closely - ! America, but we Our best investment is in progressive ~yc freedom! Our best investment is in people and Gods our heritage to worship in a God every human being who believes and teaches love to new friends, and any race, creed, or color. A God one silver and the who gave us love, understanding A great investment and forgiveness! freedom was Just today, we attended a big flea Held from Gemany. market in Fairlea, W.Va. It was Instead of ima almost a family reunion, thoughts of love My greatest thrill was to be investments in the introduced by Kate Wilson (who world! Tax free! spent one year in Nurenberg, P.S. Katewasm Germany) with a truly German of a foreign family! Kate was so happy to conversation! Learning new l By Jonathan Wright For several days recently I visited a part of the country far removed from what I am used to. It was a real educatiom I flew out to New Mexico to visit several friends in Albu0uerque and Gallu p. Although I had been to the state in 1972 on a skiing trip during my freshman year in college, this was the first time I had a chance to spend a considerable amount of time sightseeing and getting acquainted with the area. Traditionally I haveturned up my nose at the terrain of the Southwest, seeing the lack of dense vegetation as bleak desolation. Dismayed by the bare rocks and skimpy plant life in so many movies and television programs, I saw very little to make me want to travel there. Westerns turned me off. My mind has been changed. There is a unique type of beauty in this terrain that had escaped my notice until this trip. it's hard to put my finger on the exact reason, but perhaps the experiance of finally personally seeing the sights that had so long been images on a screen or magazine page took me by surprise. At any rate, I found these sights intriguing: barren, rocky cliffs; miles of sagebrush; imposing, breathtaking mesas; gigantic rocks rising hundreds of feet into the sky; coyotes scurrying across the road; ancient Indi~ formations imagination. feasts occu pied for the five days I of what I too. I'll never forget contrast of the higher my hosts, Dave and~ took me across the Arizona. Though te~ on a dirt road elevation, we say Ponderosa pines grass that a planted for a park I thought spaces were from living in Florida, nothing compared expanses of the Southwest. I can have never uninterrupted, in my life, and I beauty and simply captivated I'll never look at United States quite anymore. I haY= delightfully, that Lord's creation, no desolate it may look has its own waiting to be grateful learned this lesson. Perhaps I'll be westerns now! The Mountain 122 N. Court Street Lewisburg, WV 24901 304/647-5724 Published weekly and distributed throughout the greater Greenbrier Valley. STAFF John Manchester, Dottie Brackenrich Troy Forren, Julie Windon, Ad Debbie McCtung, "Patti Carol Hall, If you would like to submit material for pul Articles submitted to the Mountain must be typewritten and double s margins in order to be considered for Please include your name and a phon where you can be reached during The Mountain Messenger reserves the any material and regrets that articles returned. Letters to the editor must include a and address. If you want a photograph returned, a self-addressed, stamped envelope office soon after you see the picture run in t Views expressed in editorials and necessarily those held by the Mountain or its~aff members. Plem observe the following deadlines: I~ws Items: Thursday, 12 noon Display advertising: Thursday, 5 PM Classified advertisinlP Friday, 9 AM