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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
April 14, 2005     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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April 14, 2005

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4 SPIRIT OF JEFFERSON farmer's ADVOCATE - Thursday, April 14, 2005 VOLUME 14 EDITORIAL A Promise Is a Promise! A few years ago, West Virginia began a very worthwhile pro- gram that would provide scholarships to deserving students who qualified for the money to go to college. They are called PROMISE Scholarships and over 8,000 young people have taken advantage of the state's generosity. We were extremely disappointed to hear that the House of Del- egates, in its version of next year's budget, left the program some $8 million short in the line item that would provide the scholar- ships next fall. Simply stated, that means that the possibility ex- ists that some deserving students will not be able to take advan- tage of the program. Former Gov. Bob Wise was extremely proud of the fact that the PROMISE Scholarship program was so successful and he touted the effort wherever he traveled. In fact, the program was so well ~eceived by West Virginia students that additional funding had to be added for our college-bound high school seniors. PROMISE is designed to provide in-state tuition regardless of family income to students who maintain a 3.0 grade point aver- age in high school and earn a composite score of 21 on the ACT college entrance exam and a minimum score of 20 in reading, math, science and English. Students who take the SAT must earn a combined score of 1,000, with at least a 490 in verbal and 480 in math. Without the $8 million in the state budget next year, program officials say they may be forced to cap awards with every recipient getting $3,000 or the cost of-tuition, whichever is lower. Officials may also raise the minimum grade point average of freshmen from 2.75 to 3.0 to help offset the loss of funds. While we are upset by this loss of funds, it is undoubtedly even more discouraging to those seeking degrees. We implore House members to find some way to restore these funds for our young people and for the future of our state. P Sc US5 ~J to the Farm Bureau shows a preference for back- er in relation to lot location and Speaks Out on room deals and discussions,requires that the maximum Jefferson County farm- amount of rocky and steep Zoning" '--tmanges ers have worked, for decades grounds be used for residential on their land; they have en- lots. This adds cost and time to On March 23 the Jefferson joyed good times and struggled the development process and County Commission voted to through bad, always hoping caps the lot size at three acres. adopt changes to the County's for the best. They know howIf a farmer wants to create a existing Zoning Ordinance. As a to fight through poor weather, subdivision consisting of ten- result, Jefferson County's farm- crop diseases, family crisis and acre lots, he does not get a den- ers and rural landowners have low prices. They plan for the sity of one unit per ten acres. seen their land down zoned from future the best way they know He will be forced to reduce his a by-right density of one house how with the only real asset density by one-third to one unit per ten acres to one house per they have, their land. Theyper fifteen acres. The County fifteen acres. The consequence have become the unfortunateCommission had dictated to the of this decision, for those un- pawns of the growth battle in farmers that a three-acre lot is tbrtunate enough to be depend- Jefferson County. There aretheir only option. Have they ing on the value of their proper- two facts of life when it comes considered the financial fact ty to retire, is that one third of to farming in Jefferson County. that the same farmer can sell the value of their land has been The first is that it has become a ten-acre parcel for more than taken away from them. harder and harder to make ahe could a three-acre parcel? The County Commissioners living on the farm. Many farm The sad irony of the situation is will hkely say that their actions families need second jobs to the fact that the County Com- were the result of public hear- support their children and to mission has made these chang- ings held to take input as the obtain health insurance. Noes to the Zoning Ordinance un- proposed changes to the Jeffer- revisions to the Zoning Ordi- der the guise of protecting the son County Zoning Ordinance. nance will change this fact for farmers. ' The Zoning Ordinance changes the majority of the farm fami- The input offered at the pub- presented to the public at these lies. The second is that fewer hc hearing on the Zoning Ordi- meetings made no mention of and fewer people choose or are nance focused on the difficulty reduced density in the Rural able to continue farming as an surrounding the existing LESA District and at no time were occupation. Many aging farm- system. As an acceptable al- by-right density reductions dis- ers are facing the dilemma of ternative to the current situa- cussed by anyone on the Coun- what to do with their land. Of- tion, many people spoke in fa- ty Commission. The changes ten their children choose a dif- vor of replacing this system made by the County Commis- ferent path or do not continue with a true cluster ordinance sion were not available for pub- the farming tradition wherethat would allow for one unit lic review prior to their adop- backbreaking work often per five-acre density in the Ru- tion and in no way can be con- yields less than a middle class ral District. This option would sidered a minor change to the income. As they grow older control density and allow for revisions presented at the pub- and farming becomes more dif- the County to plan its growth. lic hearings. The mere fact that ficult, what are their options? Instead of hstening to the res- a County Commission would Is a reduction of the allowable idents of Jefferson County impose these changes on the density (read value) on their who spoke at the public hear- landowners of Jefferson County land the County Commission's ing, the County Commissioners without first informing them is solution to this problem? The have chosen to hsten to a select astounding. It shows a cavalier few will say that many people group who will stop at nothing disregard for the opinions and are choosing agriculture as a to destroy the prosperity of our welfare of the farming commu- way of life through speciahzed County. The County Commis- nity and other long-term resi- farm operations and the pro- sion has gutted the LESA sys- dents of the County. duction of finished products, tern so that it is of no use to the It has long been common The fallacy in this statement farmers, they have taken away knowledge that an anti-growth is that specialized farming re- the value of their land by re- faction in Jefferson County quires relatively httle land and ducing the density in the Ru- would like to limit or stop res- that. a two hundred acre corn- ral District and have offered idential growth entirely and it field cannot be reinvented as a the worthless consolation of a can only be suggested that the specialty farm on a regular ba- cluster ordinance' that is poor- Commissioners actions were sis. ly written and will likely be ap- the result of direct lobbying The County Commission will pealed by those who wish to outside of the public process by. state they have not impacted stop growth. For all those who this group. Recent actions by the value of farmland due to own land in the Rural District certain County Commissioners the fact that a con~using sec- of Jefferson County this is both have made it clear that a select tion of the Zoning Ordinance an insult and a wake-up call. few in Jefferson County have allows for the creation of clus- Douglas Stohpher special rights when it comes to ter subdivisions, which now al- President, Jefferson County the formulation of public policy, lows for a density of one unit Farm Bureau Whether they feel it is payback per ten acres. What this sec- for support during the recent tion of the Zoning Ordinance elections or it is part of the long- truly allows is for the Planning Disat)t)ointed term agenda of the few to stop Commission to impose their ~juu'~ver'-"~ Use growth in Jefferson County, it subjective opinion on the own- For Office Space (USPS 510-960) ESTABLISHED 1844 Published Weekly on Thursday by The Jefferson Publishing Company, Inc. 210 North George Street Charles Town, West Virginia Telephone: (304) 725-2046 Mail Address: P.O. Box 966 Periodicals paid at Charles Town, W. Va. 25414 Charles Town and additional Periodicals Postage Paid mailing offices To Jefferson County addresses $23.00(Including tax) To all other West Virginia addresses $25.00(InCluding lax) To all other USA addresses $26.00(no lax requirod) EDITOR & PUBLISHER Edward "Pat" Dockeney POSTMASTER: Please send address change to The Spirit of Jefferson-Farmer's Advocate, P.O. Box 9~, Charles Town, WV 25414. The Jefferson County Com- mission has voted to hire an his- toric architect to work on jail- house renovation plans. That's good news. Thank goodness for elections that finally made this possible (and an Historic Re- view that requires it). The bad news is that the comments are about the need for office space. That's disappointing, especial- ly from a Commissioner who got elected some years ago talk- ing a lot about heritage. That's more than walls and a facade. Of course we need govern- ment office space-it's all we've heard about for years. If fact, we citizens fighting for four years to save the building and downtown talked years ago about an impressive Commis- sion meeting room on the jail- house's top floor for example, or the sell section for documents. But we thought by now we also could hear: "It's a Nation- al Register building attached to our Courthouse in the heart of the historic efforts by the City. But we still miss a "center," as other historic towns have. The National Register jail- house-with lovely rooms with fireplaces, winding stairway, etc.-is the best location for a multi-use center that compli- ments to Courthouse, benefits the community by displaying its own history, brings money into our stores from visitors, and does justice to the archi- tecture and coal miners trea- son trial story. The historic ar- chitect should be thus direct- ed. This is the county's chance to live up to its potential. Anyway, since the jailhouse wasn't part of the county's big building plan in that block, destined to be replaced by a parking deck, why now is it suddenly a space solution? If the old Commission had re- vised its grandiose plan years ago instead of fighting in court to tear down an histor- ic structure, by now we'd have some building underway. I've hved a long while. I know that communities, like people, have values, and that is what keeps them strong. So when I hear Commission- ers speak only about "coun- ty business in county build- ings" I want to remind them that they are not business, but government, elected by the people to represent their views and reflect our values. And besides, heritage is 'q usi- ness" in an historic communi- ty. Sincerely, Cassie M. Barrow Weat Seat Belts Dear Editor: Many people-especially teenagers and young adults- still don't take one of the sim- plest and most effective steps to stay safe: buckling up. Ac- cording to the National High- way Traffic Safety Adminis- tration (NHTSA), 59 percent of the passenger vehicle oc- cupants killed in crashes in 2002-35,598 men, women and children-weren't wear- ing safety belts. Teenagers and young adults are particularly at risk. Motor vehicle crashes are the lead- ing cause of death for teens and young adults in the Unit- ed States from age 16 through 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Pre- vention. Yet, 64 percent of 16 to 20 year old (and 68 percent of 18 to 34 year old) passenger vehicle occupants killed or se- riously injured in crashes in 2002 were not wearing a safe- ty belt, according to NHTSA. Sometimes the fear of get- ting a traffic ticket is the only reason that someone will wear a safety belt. That's why State and local law enforce- ment officers across the coun- try are joining the National Click It or Ticket Operation ABC (America Buckles Up Children) May 2005 Mobih- zation that runs from May 13 through May 30, 2005. Offi- cers will aggressively ticket unbelted drivers and passen- gers. High-visibility- enforce- ment has proven effective in- Creasing safety belt use. A similar Mobilization held this past year in May 2004 helped convert an unprece- dented 17 percent of safety non-users into users, increas- ing the nationaI belt use rate to 79 percent from 75 percent the year before. The combination of active law enforcement, high- profile publicity, and the advoca- cy and promotion by pubhc and private groups continues to be an extremely effective means for increasing safety use and saving lives across the country. Bottom hne--law enforcement officers would rather write some- Bill Theriault Bakerton is a village that is quietly approaching its ll5th birthday and, like most folks who are senior citizens, it cuts a much different figure than it did in its youth. It is still pretty healthy, although the more lei- surely pace of a bedroom com- munity has replaced the activity of the company town. Its memo- ry is failing, though. A few years ago, the mere mention of a name like Knott, Moler, Engle, Fla- nagan, or Baker was enough to evoke memories of long-forged alliances or arguments. Today, places like Duke's Woods, Carter Road, Oak Grove, and the Old Furnace exist only in the minds of a dwindhng few. Landmarks like the Grange Hall' and the pot kilns are disappear- ing brick by brick, transformed into garden walks and barbecue pits. Places have been renamed, perhaps with the hope that they will grow to resemble their new appellations. Old timers will tell you that places like Crystal Lake and Timber Lane have a long way to grow. what you see in Bakerton is change rather than death, al- though something very vital may still be lost. If history is made up of what people remember to save or forget to throw away, then Bakerton is in danger of losing much of its history. It's not gone yet. You can still discover some of its character on a trip to Bak- erton, but come soon, before the leaves and new grass have cov- ered up the scars and wrinkles. If you start from Uvilla, Harp- ers Ferry, or Shepherdstown and try to reach Bakerton, you will quickly discover that the roads were not laid out to get you there with any degree of speed, com- fort, or safety. Don't blame the highway department. The cause is much older than that. Many of the roads trace the boundaries of the original land grants, some of them more than 250 years old, and decisions made long in the past still influence the routes we take to our future. The road running south out from Moler's Cross Roads is a good example. Follow the road as it passes the barns and houses and snakes through the canopy of trees to- ward River Bend. Stop for a mo- ment when you reach the ruins of a red brick building sitting on a whitewashed stone founda- tion. This is the remains of For- rest Grange No. 29, and the grist mill operated by Grangemaster C.H. Knott lies only a few hun- dred feet southeast of this spot. The Grange Hall is httle more than a hundred years old. The establishment of the mill can be traced back to the beginning of the 19th century. These are rela- tively recent remains. This area also marks the northern bound- cry of one of the earhest settlers one a ticket than find person dead or jured because he or restrained in a your safety belt every ery time-and agers and young the same. Or risk et-especially Ea Community ] in Jefferson county. was Israel Friend. This Quaker to America from Switzerland whatever his original Friend became with the lands and tribes along the to be sent in 1725 by Calvert, to negotiate with the' the Five Nations. His must have been two years later the of"naturall love and for their 'q)rother ind," gave him a of land at the mouth ie turn Creek'" as well land at its mouth. As l seven years later, fused to grant man the same honor. tietam Creek property site and the island is now Knott's Island. During the next Friend must have spot where you have as he explored the of the river. The fog out of the spring the area an eerie ticularly if an Indian ion showed him the graves that surround Perhaps Friend an Indian burial site of a battle, but for the large graves has been lon Friend obtained the on which you Governor Gooch of October of 1734, at time that 1 as Shepherd grants. His grant was! in size shape was unusual. If! to continue on Harpers Ferry, you to travel about 5 Friend's western bou before you reached his property, Engle meets what was importan~ about this area to buy 5 miles of ore and limestone. If: tinue your resources. The road bottoms er Bend and then climb. When you left, you have and Flanagan's stone The3 of the 19th building stone to the Potomac. The the White House is made from blocks spot. Continued