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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
February 27, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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February 27, 2018

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F ADVOCATE A6 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 School shutdown signals a 'crisis' Across West Virginia, on and other public employees wage. Our high quality of life Thursday and Friday, educa- must stand up for ourselves in Jefferson County is in no tion personnel at multiple lev- and our families, and in doing small measure dependent on els will engage in a walkout so, stand up for our schools the work of these good people, in all 55 counties, and Jeffer- and all the children and fami- and enough is enough. son County schools will be lies of our community. We ask and need your pa- closed. This will be a major Teachers and school service tience and understanding. We inconvenience for many fami- personnel may be taking the hope you will support our ef- lies, including for service per- lead in this action but make forts by calling and writing sonnel and teachers who have no mistake: All West Virginia members of the Legislature, children in the system. Please public employees are affect- reminding them that the future know that this action is not tak- ed by the inaction of the Leg- of our children and our state en lightly, but we must bring islature and the governor. Ed- depend on having a first-rate attention to the crisis faced by ucators, bus drivers, cafeteria education system from pre-K our public employees, workers, local and state law through postsecondary and We know that you, the par- enforcement, highway work- excellent public services. ents and families of our stu- ers and many other skilled dents, have entrusted us with professionals deserve ade- GRANT PRILLAMAN an awesome responsibility, quate and affordable health Shepherdstown Because of that, we teachers insurance as well as a living People - not coal- are W.Va.'s best asset It's obvious many don't have a full under- and benefits. standing of the issues surrounding the teacher When is enough enough? The teachers and walkout planned for Thursday and Friday. service personnel are standing up for what's This is NOT just a teacher issue. It's a service fair and what's right. I, personally, teach my personnel issue. It's a state police issue. It's a kids to stand up for what they believe in, even correctional officer issue. It's a state roads is- if they're standing alone. sue. It's an issue for all state employees. Our teachers and service personnel aren't Do you want the correctional officers to standing alone because, if no one else does, I strike? The inmates will need a room. Any vol- will be standing with them. unteers? Our Legislature is only in session for 60 days Do you want the state police, fire and EMS to starting in January. These are only a few of the strike? When you call 911 for help and no one issues that our state employees and all of our answers, how will you feel? citizens are facing. I challenge each of you to When our roads need attention, whether it learn what is really going on in our state. The be bad weather or repairs, if they strike, it will greatest asset that we have in our state is not make it very difficult for you. coal. It's not natural gas. IT'S OUR PEOPLE. Let's get back to our teachers. Do you want Thank you Superintendent Bondy Shay Gib- the best, most highly qualified teacher for your son and the Jefferson County Board of Educa- child? The Legislature is attempting to low- tion for supporting your staff. er the qualification standards for teachers. Do you approve of that? Your kids will be affected. DAVE DINGES Kearneysville Take a look around our area and the numerous - Dave Dinges, a Democrat, great teachers who are teaching kids in Mary- is running for the state House of land and Virginia. The biggest reasons are pay Delegates in the 66th District Pay more to keep good teachers I recently wrote to my repre- cently heard State Sen. Eric tantly ignore the benefits of sentatives in the West Virginia Householder on the radio try- having a stable, viable, well- Legislature, telling them I am ing to say what a great thing performing, happy cadre of disappointed that they recent- PEIA is, but I am very, very public school teachers in our ly voted against giving West suspicious of his explanation, state? Virginia teachers a 3 percent Other actions taken by PEIA I get tired of Republicans pay raise, officials have significantly al- sticking their noses in health Public school teachers have tered cost-sharing, to the dis- care issues and women's re- great influence on children, advantage of most public em- productive rights and drug Yet we .pay them very little, ployees, testing while giving business- especially in this state. My wife has been teaching es huge tax breaks and churn- A new teacher with a start- for almost 27 years: Nine years ing out propaganda to the poor ing salary Of about $32,000 in Texas and 18 in Berkeley hard workers of West Virgin- needs a place to stay, a car, County. She earned a master's ia about how terrible it would decent clothes, !nternet and degree in 1984 and will retire be for them to try to organize phone access, food, gas, at the end of this year. Given in labor unions and have some utilities, and a little to have her accumulated balance in semblance of protection for some fun with once in a the teacher retirement system, their rights. while, she'll be lucky - very lucky - I urge lawmakers to' find the My daughter is an excel- to get $14,000 per year. She'll money to give West Virgin- lent teacher, teaching Spanish get a small Social Security ia teachers a decent pay raise, at a high school in Berkeley payment when she turns 65 to start the process of mak- County. She's been teaching to help with that. She's work- ing the teaching profession at- for three years now and can't ing another job to make ends tractive, to be able to recruit make it on her own on that meet. and retain well-qualified peo- salary. And I have known ex- So our state pays diddlypie. Pay professional teach- perienced teachers who can't squat to new teachers, then ers what they are worth, and either, having to share apart- diddly squat to teachers who provide them with health care ments with other teachers to stick it out and retire here. that doesn't reduce their mea- survive. There is something drasti- ger salaries every year and a There are a lot of other cally wrong with that picture, retirement system that isn't a young people in the same sit- How can state legislators joke. uation. And all teachers liter- spout off economic voodoo on ally lose salary every year due faith about the effects of low- MATTHEW B. COLE to the mess called PEIA. I re- ering business taxes, then bla- Falling Waters Onoszko weighs in on library funding I was amused by Robert Snyder's editorial Given the fact that the libraries serve as a vital cartoon in the Feb. 14 edition of the Spirit of adjunct to education there is something amiss Jefferson captioned "Budget Hawks." In point in the county commission/school board propor- of fact, we are "budget hawks" in that the Jef- tion of the total contribution to the libraries and ferson County Commission cannot exceed the I think it is high time that theschool board con- amount of expected revenue when formulating tribute more to public library operations than the budget. Unfortunately the funding requests the county commission contributes. from all departments, component units and oth- I ask that in addition to lobbying the coun- er activities exceed the anticipated county rev- ty commission for support, the dedicated Citi- enues by around $2.1 million so not everybody zens who have done so should also zealously will get everything they have requested. The approach the school board as well. county commission's duty is to figure out who The county commission does support librar- is going to get what. ies but we also support everything else involved Last year the libraries received around in county government. Sadly, we only have fi- $330,000 from the county commission and nite resources to do it all. around $90,000 from the school board. Now by state code, approximately 80 cents out of ev- PETER ONOSZKO Charles Town ery property tax dollar goes to the school board - Republican Peter Onoszko was appointed leaving about 20 cents for the county govern- to the Jefferson County Commission in 2016 ment. and is running for election this year A veteran's take on Trump's grand military parade proposal This is not North Korea, nor is it Chinadeferments from military service - includ- or Russia. France celebrates Bastille Day ing one for bone spurs, though he was play- with a military parade. We have no such ing college sports during the same time pe- tradition. We do however, have a tradition riod - has the unmitigated gall to suck up to of celebrating the return of our troops from the military and call for a military parade. campaigns and war. This was done during The person occupying the office of the the war for independence, and all the wars presidency has never served in the military, fought since. We do not have a tradition of has no idea what military service entails parading our military in vulgar displays of and frankly probably does not care about martial power in this country, and for that those things in spite of his statements in re- I am grateful, gard to the people that serve this country. There has been a reluctance going back to Soldiers have better things to do than the founding fathers to embrace this symp- spend days preparing to march in what we tom of course nationalism, and as a nation used to refer to as a "dog and pony show." we are better off for the exercise of this re- Soldiers, Air Force personnel, Marines, luctance. We do not hold military parades to sailors and members of the Coast Guard inflate the ego of the person that leads this have duties to attend to and training to con- country in the office of the presidency, duct, to say nothing of the real-world mis- The president has not traditionally exer- sions they are tasked with. A parade of this cised the power to call for a military pa- nature is a waste of time, energy and mon- rade to display military prowess and there ey. If the current occupant of the office of has never been a holder of that office that the presidency wants to demonstrate his required a display of military power in the love and appreciation for members of the form of a parade in order to puff up the rep- U.S. military, let him lead the way in call- utation of the president or that of this na- ing for pay raises so that married lower en- tion. We "walk softly but carry a big stick." listed members no longer need SNAP ben- The toughest don't have to stick out their efits in order to feed their families. chests to try to prove they are tough. And yes, I am a veteran. There is a certain disgusting irony that an individual who received no less than five RON HOLLAENDER Charles Town 'Radical,' 'racial'- still disrespected / I wanted to thank Mr. Gary Dungan, who wrote a letter to the editor pointing out an er- ror in a letter from me published earlier this month by the Spirit of Jefferson. I would not want a false statement to stand. In my original letter, I neglected to recheck the original source. Then-Commission President Peter Onoszko's phrase about a group of local African-American women ask- ing for a Confederate memorial to come down from the public courthouse entrance was indeed "radical minorities," not "racial minorities." As noted in an Oct. 27 story in The Journal under the headline "Jefferson County re- visits courthouse plaque debate," Linda Ballard and Gloria Lindsey both are quoted as feeling not respected by the Jefferson County Commission. The women said they were particularly upset by being called a "radical minority." I apologize to Ms. Ballard and Ms. Lindsey for misquoting them in my previous letter. My feelings still stand in regard to the evidence of racism in this county. I remember when visiting South Carolina in the late 1960s, we met a couple who talked about how they "took care" of the blacks who worked for them -taking them to the doc- tor, giving them clothes, etc. They couldn't see the basic truth - that they weren't paying these workers enough to live on. I swore at that time I'd never live in South Carolina. The racism on display over this Confederate plaque makes me question whether I was wrong to return to this part of my home state. CHERYL PULLEN Shepherdstown Rucker aims to impose her faith I would like to share a message I recent- cense, and that you are imposing your reli- ly sent to state Sen. Patricia Rucker: In a gious beliefs on your constituents. Town, Hall in Martinsburg, shortly after Your response was on the "I did not!" your election, you responded to questions level of a stubborn and ill-behaved child, about your position on women's reproduc- with clear coaching in political obfuscation tive rights to their own bodies with a per- of the issues: "I am not imposing, my be- sonal position based on your Roman Cath- liefs on others and this resolution does not olic faith, invade women's rights, does not take away You made no mention of research into de- healthcare rights, nor does it change any velopmental science, only that you would part of our state code. This resolution clad- create and support policy based on your Ro- fies our Constitution and allows our elect- man Catholic faith. You made no mention ed body to do its job of representing the of research into when and why women, es- pecially women in your district, choose to people who elected them." terminate pregnancies. You made no men- SJR12 is the worst sort of legislation, tion of having earned any sort of medical based in a personal religious bias, with no degree, gynecological, psychiatric or other, connection to scientific or circumstantial re- alities, and couched in the hyperbolic lan- You only, and repeatedly, brought up your personal religious beliefs, guage of pure propaganda. You have helped When I wrote you to express my vehe- craft legislation that will, indeed, damage ment opposition to the bill you helped write innocent lives: the lives of the women of to strip women of all say in how and when West Virginia who have lost the right to say they will bear a child, you showed a clear whether and when they will change their inability to understand that you are out of lives by bringing a pregnancy to full term. touch with science, that you are claiming the right to practice medicine without a li- MELANIE BATIN Shepherdstown I