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Mountain Messenger
Lewisburg, West Virginia
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December 20, 2008     Mountain Messenger
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December 20, 2008
 

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4A Dec. 20. 2008 Mountain Messenqe,- The Weekend Paper for the Greenbrier Valley .- www.mountainmessenqer.com , Hope Dies Last By Joan C. Browning My basically optimistic view of life is being challenged by news of crisis in the lives of people I know and in national institu- tions. Hope is harder to find. Studs Terkel's death two weeks ago prompted me to pull down his book. Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Difficult Times, His wife was a Freedom Rider and since I was also. he wanted to meet me. At 91, he said, he doesn't get around much. And so he gave me his autographed book. Hope, for Studs Terkel, is born of activism, commitment, and the steely determination to resist. Resist. especially, rather than passively accepting what is. Terkel asked dozens of people where they find hope. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith saw the Titanic :s a metaphor for modern big corpo- rations. Corporations like Enron. WorldCom. Tyco. They think they are invulnerable. Just like the Titanic hitting an iceberg, these mammoth corporations hit the rocks and sank. Now, giant cor- porations are falling every day: Lehman Brothers. Merrill Lynch, Wachovia Bank, and surely more to come. I've called on local entrepre- neurs for more than 30 years. Many were clients of my book- keeping service. They have given me money to support Little League Baseball and school bands and college scholarships. This past month. I've offered opportunities to pay part of their taxes as do- nations to Greenbrier County Committee on Aging and Well- spring of Greenbrier. Most local business folks have seen hard times before. They stayed in business through ups and downs of the local, state and national economy. They made it in spite of the coming of preda- tory box stores. I see brave people carrying on their business all around the county: in furniture stores and gift shops, in garages and real estate offices, even in budget- stretched churches. In the face of the national economic mess, our people are determined to keep eermng us. For example, the national cri- sis that threatens to close America's "big three" General Motors, Chrysler and Ford fil- ters down to our car dealers, Our local businesses have said "'come on in" in every way. They've advertised in print and radio and television. They put signs on their storefronts. Some have sent us cards in the mail. Check us out, they say. We may have what you're looking for. 'American workers deserve all the same rights as CEOs' Dear Editor: ing democracy into the workplace The American middle class worker is being squeezed. Major corporations give their CEOs con- tracts that protect their salaries, bonuses, and benefits, but they deny those same protections to hard working men and women. When those same hard working men and women try to come to- gether to form a union to gain those rights, they're often ha- rassed, intimidated, or simply fired by their superiors. Once upon a time we could count on the NLRB [National La- bor Relations Board] to prevent employers from bullying working people who want to organize a union, a secret ballot election could be held, and the result could empower workers by bring- and recognition of unions sup- ported by a majority of employ- ees. But now the NLRB can't be counted on to be impartial, so the Employee Free Choice Act needs support and passage, again, and Obama needs to sign it into law. Unionized workers are the backbone of a strong middle class. They're working harder than ever before, but they have less to show for it than at any other time. It's time we gave them the power to organize around is- sues like health care benefits, a pension plan, and safe working conditions, American workers deserve all-the same rights as CEOs. Lonnie Ward Neola By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd The Art of Giving A personal expression of love or gratitude is joyous to give, especially when the gift is met with a radiant smile from the recipient. Perhaps no other time of the year is more symbolic of the pleasure of gift-giving than Christmas. Each Christmas, many West Virginians recall the first gift of Christmas: God's love delivered to mankind as a newborn baby. Shepherds and Magi honored the Savior with gifts symbolizing Jesus' virtue, faith and empathy for human suffering. Centuries later. God's gift continues to bestow hope, respect, and purpose in our lives. In modern times gift-giving has become more complicated. There is endless advice about the "'perfect" gift. with plenty of opportunities to purchase it everywhere you turn. This year. I call to mind the guidance of the seventeenth-century author, Gracifin. who offered this advice: The great art of giving consists in this: the gift should cost very little and yet be greatly coveted. so that it may be the more highly appreciated. So many of us can find solace in this advice whenever we are feeling overwhelmed by commercial advertising and the pressure to spend, spend, spend this holiday season. Recently, I was deeply touched to learn about a Wheeling congregation whose good deeds truly embody the Christmas spirit. The congregation sought and found a way to give the gift of mobility - in the form of a wheelchair - to those who are poor and physically disabled in countries around the world. Members of the church, along with their community, have partnered with a national organization to supply very low-cost wheelchairs (under $50) to impoverished children and adults. For the recipients, a wheelchair means the end of their isolation, and the hope of renewed productivity and self-esteem. The caregivers of the disabled benefit as well. Many have spent a lifetime carrying and transporting their children, grandmothers and neighbors, and now have relief from this tremendous burden. It is estimated that more than 100 million people around the world - of all ages - are in need of a wheelchair but cann6t afford one. The need is great, so that is why the recipients of this gift greet their wheelchair with a radiant smile and the anticipation of a more mobile and free lifestyle. During this Christmas season, I encourage all West Virginians to seek other great stories of faith, compassion and humanity to guide us in our search for the "perfect" gift. May you share an abundance of God's blessing in this Holy Christmas season. / essen FIVE DAYS! That's the num- him to do so, to move somewhat ber of days until we once again to the middle of the political spec- celebrate the birthday of the trum, much to the chagrin of his Michael ShoweR, Editor & Publisher Jeanette Albaugh, Typesetter Christ child, Jesus of Nazareth. ultra-left wing supporters. Of David Cottrill, Writer Debbi MClung, Ad Design May t be the first one to wish you course, many of those appointees Kathy Hunter, Business Office Julie Sweet, Ad Design a Merry Christmas! Of course are Washington regulars and Tanya Sizemore, Front OfficeMarti Marshall, Customer Service Mgr. Christmas will be followed very former Clinton standard bearers and all-too quickly, by the 1 st day but many are not. Experience and of 2009. [ suppose it had to hap- wisdom is necessary for someone pen but why so suddenly. Time... new to the highest political office she is a passing, in the world to have around him Shortly after the New Year and some of his appointees seem MEMBER rings in, the 20th of January to to have both. The ultimate ques- be exact, we will be inaugurating tion. however, is will the experi- The Mountain Messenger is a weekly publication, our country's 44th President who enee and wisdom be heeded when Periodicals postage paid at Lewisburg, West Virginia. also happens to be our country's it is decision-making timE? The known office of publication is 1st Black President, former Sena- I have said, and will repeat, Box 429. Lewisburg, WV 24901 tor Barack Hussein Obama. It is Mr. Obama is going to be our next USPS 013784 truly a new day in the United President for at least four years, POSTMASTER: Send address changes to States of America and one thatso I am going to take him at his THE MOUNTAIN MESSENGER Box 429, Lewisburg, WV 24901 was a long time coming. Many word until he should revert to his Americans still cannot believeformer liberal leanings. Hope is that the electorate has put a man all we can do until he proves him- Subscribe the to Mountain IZ __ wiessenger of color into the White house and self one way or the other. It for those individuals I feel sad. If should not matter one iota SUBSCRIPTION RATES: it will make you feel any better whether there is a Republican, Carrier Delivery, where available, $15.00 about the matter, just rememberDemocrat, Libertarian, or Green Mailed, Groenbrier, Monroe, Pocahontas Counties, $20.00 that President-Elect Obama is 50 party candidate in the office of ' All Other States $29.00 Phone (304)647-5724 percent white, not that it should President as long as that person make all that much difference. As does everything in his, or her, we've stated before, it's not the power to make decisions that will Name color of a man's skin that should benefit the country and its citi- Address determine his qualifications but zens in their entirety. Our coun- his beliefs, his character and his try is hurting too much at this Phone Number integrity, time for any of us to be jumping Mr. Obama's political votes down the throat of our newly Total Amount Enclosed have stamped him as a liberal- elected leader. We should, and WE ACCEPT VISA OR MASTERCARD leaning socialist, but some of the must, support him.., unless he individuals he is appointing to his proves that he is not worthy of Account No. cabinet would appear he is try-our trust and support. ing, as difficult as it may be for Expiration Date The Mountain Messenger By Jonathan Wright Box 429, Lewisburg, WV 24901 It seems absolutely impossiblesions, and other celebrations of Visit us at httpi//www.mountainmessenger.com that Christmas is already lessthe season. While other school than a week away--again. It re- systems have bent over back- ally wasn't that long ago that we wards to avoid alienating anyone, were packing away decorations our local schools have done an from the last go-round, exemplary job of simply being No~I O But actually it's not that sur-reasonable and down-to-earth in By Lisa Stansell prising. The Christmas season is dealing with Christmas. slowly but surely expanding each3. People are buying less these year to take in a bigger and big- days for Christmas. And that's Humane: Not Just tot Humans Anymore get chunk of the year. For all in- good. The commercial aspects of Humane. Webster's defines Do we not demand millions of tents and purposes, we see deco- the holidays have gotten way, this as "marked by compassion, these mutated birds every year? rations from early November way out of hand, and children sympathy, or consideration for Do we not demand the same of (right after Halloween) to mid- or pick up on all this. It's good that other human beings or animals." the beef and pork industries? Do late-January--almost a full three many folks are opting out of all Huh, some would be really sur- we not also ask that those whomonths, or a quarter of the cat- the buying frenzy and are gently endar year. That's substantial,leading their children away from prised by the inclusion of animals work in these industries act at in this definition. There are some the very least like humans? ItSome other subtle and not-so- the "entitlement" mentality that that believe that humane behav- would seem that these demands subtle changes in Christmas ob-permeates today's society so bla- mer only encompasses behavior are in direct opposition to acting servances come to mind as I re-tantly. towards humans, and even then in a humane manner. How exactly fleet on this favorite of all holm- 4. Christmas goodies seem to don't really know what it means, can we reconcile our demands day seasons. I submit them herebe as plentiful as always. In of- On the contrary, it ts more about with humane behavior towards for your perusal, rice parties, church fellowships, what we give out as humans, It is the animals we want in our diet? 1. At last--the trendy all-white school receptions, and countless more about our behavior! Would How can we ask our fellow hu- lights are ever-so-slowly dimin- other holiday functions, tables that Aviagen Turkeys knew a mans to work in the meat indus- ishing in popularity in favor of the groan with elaborate, sugar- little about this concept. Would tries and also ask them to act in much-preferred multi-colored filled, fat-laden delights. I don't that Aviagen taught their employ- a compassionate manner towardslights. Oh, there are still plenty know about you, but I can eat ees, from the top down. just a the very.things we are asking of them around, and it tragically only so much of that stuff. It may little about compassion, syrups- them to breed and slaughter? seemed a few years ago that all look good, but after a fewbites thy or consideration towards any We, as a population, can be Christmas was hopelessly des- of some of this rich food. I'm about living thing. Perhaps Aviagen incredibly demanding when it tined tobecome nearly a 100-per- to burst. We might as well face isn't worried about their behav- comes to our wallets and our bel- cent all-white-light event, with it: such is life .from late Novem- ior. Perhaps Aviagen is okay with lies. We as a population can also only the bravest of undergroundbet to early January each year. the "Lord of the Flies'" behavior be incredibly demanding when it holiday traditionalists daring to Any semblance of a diet is thrown demonstrated by their employees, comes to behaviors. We certainly exhibit any bulbs with even a out the window early on in this Perhaps Aviagen thinks that by demand guidelines be met when semblance of color. But enough period. terminating the employment of it comes to foodstuffs entering the is enough. The washed-out, un- 5. Christmas comes but once those directly responsible for the United States from other coun-imaginative sameness of untold a year. to be sure. but oh--how recent sickening behavior at their tries, say China, for example. We thousands of nothing but white quickly those years come and gel Lewisburg farms, they have do not need to ask these indus- lights is beginning to wear on As alluded to above, the time be- taken care of the problem. Per- tries to act compassionately. We people, and fortunately some are tween Christmas celebrations haps we all have this mind set. need to demand it. We need to throwing the trendy overboard in from year to year seems to get But wait just a minute, demand it of the industries as a favor of what they know down alarmingly shorter and shorter as Shouldn't the blame be spread whole, not ask. We need to back deep is more pleasing to the eye-- time marches on. around a bit? What about the up the demands with our wallets lots of lots of different colors.Five more days until Christ- people at the top like the CEOs and not assume that "Pretty 2. Public schools in our local mas and then we start the and the supervisors and the man- please..." will suffice. We should area are not bowing to the pres- countdown all over again. For all sure seen in other areas of theyou folks (especially kids) who agers? On their website Aviagen not be content with letting orga- makes a huge deal about the nizations like PETA be our watch- country to make Christmas an will lament its being over for an- health of their birds with "A dogs when we ourselves can be all-encompassing, "holiday-only" other year, take heart. In what comprehensive and unprecedented vigilant in matters that are impor- observance. Although they do re- will seem like only a matter of a monitoring program.., ensures the tent to us. spect other traditions, they real- few weeks, we'll be right back highest health standards .., ex- I am saddened by the acts of ize the original meaning of Christ- here looking at the last days lead- ceeding the official health certifies- Aviagen--its employees and themas and are not hesitant to el-ing up to the big day. lion requirements." Really? I am organization as a whole, but I am low those recognitions in con- Merry Christmas! pretty sure that the birds in the also saddened by the support and certs, artwork, classroom discus- Lewisburg farms are not all that encouragement mixed with the healthy what with being terror- derision and punishment we of- 'Workman has done a lot for ized-literally to death in some fer those who are employed at the cases-by those who are supposed places we spurn. And while I do community' to be their caretakers!!! not want to coddle those employ- Which leads me to this...aren'tees involved in the abusive be- Dear Editor: vides, at no cost phvsical therapy we. as humans with the big haviors at Aviagen. I do want to I attended the Greenbrier to injured athletes. GVPT & HC brains, the reasoning skills and recognize my own part in the County Commission on Tuesday, treats 8-10 students for athletic the opposable thumbs, supposed scheme of things and at the very Dec. 16. and felt that I needed to injuries at no charge. to be the caretakers of the planet? least try to be more aware of what comment on Kevin Workman. Evi- He also provides the GVPT & How is it that we can barely be- I demand of my fellow humans. I dently, many people do not knowHC facility at no charge for all of gin to take care of ourselves, let can start by trying to be compas- what Kevin has done for this corn- the school kids to work out in in- alone take care of everything and sionate, sympathetic, and consid- munity since he returned to West clement weather. everyone else? Surely we. as a crate to them in the hopes that it Virginia in 1996. GVPT & HC also provides free population, have some share in will create a ripple effect towards Kevin or one of his staff from membership to members of our the blame of the behavior at all creatures that share this Greenbrier Valley Physical community who otherwise could Aviagen. Surely by accepting the lovely planet we call home. 1 can Therapy and Fitness Health Clubnot afford to join a fitness facil- termination of the employees atinvestigate those companies that attends and provides athletic ity. Aviagen as sufficient recompense I purchase food from to make sure trainer seivices for all of the foot- I just want the general public I am supporting the ongoing be-they are on the same page as Iball and basketball games (boysto be aware of Kevin's commit- havior of the industry at large, am when it comes to humane and girls) (Middle and High ment to the youth in our commu- Something I most definitely do not treatment to animals. I can buy school). He has a contract withnity. Kevin has told me many want to be a part of. Yet I am We from smaller, more local compa- the Greenbrier County Board of times, "I love helping the youth all are. nies that are more in line with Education to provide athletic and the kids' programs in our Do we not demand fat- nay thinking. With these steps I training and medical care. His community." breasted, moist and tender, bac- can begin to apply humane treat- out-of-pocket costs far exceed the Mardi McMillan teria-free turkeys for our tables? ment to all. value of this contract. He pro-Lewisburg 1 t