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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
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May 15, 2012     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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May 15, 2012
 

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i oi PAGE "No government ought to be without /Z ::!i censors andwhere the press is free. ,t"  i! no one ever will." -- Thomas Jefferson Advocate pirit of JEFFERSON and FARMER'S ADVOCATE Wednesday, May16,2012 EDITORIALS Paying for a ticket to ride Passenger rail service for West Vuginia commuters has been unresolved since ear- ly this year when the Maryland Transit Ad- minislration rolled out a new plan that in- eluded the discontinuation of the Maryland Area Regional Commuter train service's final three westbound stops in Jefferson County and Martinsburg. While MTA has since abandoned that proposal, a meeting this weekend in Charles Town will give commuters the chance to review MARC's latest plan, one that offers bus service from Bnmswick for two of the evening trains. The plan finds no fan in rail advocate J. Charles Riecks, who volunteers for the Na- tional Association of Railroad Passengers, and has been invited by MARC to weigh in on it at the meeting this weekend. Riecks argues that it's time for West Vtr- ginia to consider a more permanent solu- tion to the problem of MARC ridership. He says it's time for the state to contribute funding to MARC. Currently, invidual riders pay a $2 a day surcharge coming and going that contributes $20 9(30 to MARC's budget. Given the economic benefits the state sees from residents who choose to make West Virginia their homes and who rely on MARC, we agree with Riecks that elected officials should strongly consider finding money in the state budget to help fund the service. Judd is mud in our eye Democratic candidate Keith Judd's strong showing in the West Vnginia prima- ry election last week, where he received al- most as many votes as presumptive nomi- nee and incumbent Barack Obama, has left pundits with plenty of explaining to do. The vote has cast the state in a bad light, and many voters have even acknowledged they weren't aware when they cast their ballot that Judd --who took more than 50 percent of the vote in a number of counties, including Hardy and Tucker -- was cur- rently serving time in a Texas correctional facility on extortion charges, that he Claims to be able to tell the future, and that for four years he counted himself among a select group of super heroes. On this page, columnist Tom Miller argues voters didn't need to know such stuff, that in tossing their one vote away they were sending a signal that they had no confidence in their president and would be voting for Republican Party candidate Mitt Romney come Novem- ber. The State Journal likewise argues that racism is too pat an answer for Judd's show- ing in the state, but then provides a pat an- swer of its own, that being the Obama ad- ministration's anti-coal stance as the reason for the president's poor showing. Although the timing of a recent decision, since aban- doned, by the Department of Labor to in- chde fanning in child labor protections, surely couldn't have been helpful, it's more likely the reason for the president's poor showing can be found in a gumbo of expla- nations -- the color of his skin and his ad- ministration's environmental agenda being just two among them. Expect Obama not to work too hard to try to secure West Virginia's five delegates. But that shouldn't be cause for state elec- tions officials to not consider working at re- forming its election code to keep characters like Judd off our ballot. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Hats off to parks and recreation I have had the pleasure of serving on the Board of Parks and Recreation with a group of great people for about twenty years. Personally I feel we have done a good job. You might call this bragging. That is okay by me. But there is more to this letter. Since the Charles Town Parks and Recreation, with the help of the Charles Town City Council, have taken over the park, it has never looked better. Mr. Fontaine Hosby, an employee of the city, is a workaholic as far as the park goes. He never stops. I would suggest that you thank our City officials and also drive by our Jefferson County Memorial Park and see for yourself how nice it is. W. Glenn'Ramsburg Charles Town ONe00 No surprises to)be had in primar)' lecti()n outcomes There were no surprising outcomes in last week's primary election in West Virginia. The biggest disappointment was that only one of every four regis- tered voters bothered to show up at the polls the iiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiiii!ii!i!i!. i ..................................................... !iiiii iiiiiiiii00 lowest turn- out for a pri- mary election for this state in 60 years. The previous worst turnout in more than half a centu- ry was a 39 percent voter turnout for the 2004 primary election. The two most interesting primary election contests were well established even before early voting got under way, Campaign advertising by candidates running for the two open 12-year terms on the Supreme Court of Appeals and the five-way race for the Democratic nomination for Commissioner of Ag- riculture captured the spotlight. State Sen. Walt Helmick, who has been in the state Senate for 22 years, won the Democrat party's nomination for commissioner of agriculture with some effective last-minute campaign advertising. He defeated second-place finisher Steve Miller, a veteran mem- ber of the team of retiring Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass. Despite Douglass' endorsement, Miller still finished more than 15,000 votes be- hind Helmick. The two biggest campaign spenders in the battle of six Democrats for the two Supreme Court nominations incumbent Robin Davis and newcom- er Tish Chafin -- emerged as the win- ners over the four men in the field by a sizable margin. State legislative races featured mostly incumbents from both parties seeking new terms and virtually all of them won with ease. With all 100 seats in the House of Delegates up for grabs as well as half of the 34 seats in the state Senate, only two current legislators seeking another term didn't make it. State Sen. Richard Browning, D-Wy- oming, who is the majority whip for Senate President Jeff Kessler's leader- ship team. lost a close race to Daniel J. Hall, currently a member of the House of Delegates representing the 22nd Del- egate District. The other incumbent leg- islator who lost was Delegate Joe Tal- bott, D-Webster, who represents the 36th Delegate District. In the three congressional races, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito received nearly 80 percent of the Republican vote to de- molish two GOP challengers in the 2nd District. Neither Rep. Nick J. Rahall, a longtime Democrat congressman repre- senting the 3rd District, or Rep. David See MILLER page A5 CVS, Charles Town were good pal'tners in retail store plan I had planned to write this after the new CVS retail store being built in Charles Town was fmished and the changes to the downtown streetscape were better under- stood. Folks would see the actual facade of the store and the context of how it all fit into downtown. Recent events in which a Charles Town city employee was verbally abused by a party unhappy with the CVS project compels me to write this now rath- er than wait. The city employee, whose only offense was doing her job, was ver- bally assaulted and then made to feel worse by the abusive letter being widely forwarded and published online. I was present and participated at all of the meetings in which decisions were made regarding the CVS project. Because I heard all the discussions, I am in a posi- tion to understand how many of the deci- sions were made. I remind all citizens that the West Virginia sunshine laws make all of these meetings public and sadly, more often than not, no citizens are present. I in- vite all those with an interest to attend City Council meetings on the first and third Monday of each month; Charles Town Historic Landmarks Commission meets the second Monday of every month; the Charles Town Planning Commission meets the fourth Monday of every month. It is important to remember that the real estate involved in the CVS project has been for sale off and on for many years and those with a desire to buy and restore the structures had ample opportunity to buy them at fair market value. The prop- erty owner made no secret of his desire to sell the real estate. Enter CVS. The CVS project required a number of city bodies to consider differ- ent aspects of the project. It is true that the first proposed building was the suburban- style structure that has been widely circu- lated. The facade selected, with the help of the Historic Landmarks Commission, bears no re- semblance to the original design. The final design is a two-story brick fagade with dentil cornice molding that is reminiscent of other stmc-  tures on Washington Street.  The second story is decora- tive only but makes the fa- fade more compatible with the rest of downtown. I have watched with interest as the brick and mortar masonry walls were be- ing built this week. I should point out that the walls are real brick and mortar con- stmction and not a brick veneer over less- er materials. Unfortunately, it appears that most of the people circulating the subur- ban-style store pictures either knew the picture was not representative of the final design or were uninformed regarding the design. I can only imagine their intentions if they were aware of th more appropriate compromise. The razing of the structures did require the Charles Town Historic Landmarks Commis- sion vote. It was not a decision made lightly and many factors were considered. The meeting was open t 9 the public and all discussion was conducted in public. The condition of structures and the fact that they were all highly modified from their original construction was a part of the decision to raze them. In the fi- nal vote, all but one member of the com- mission agreed to raze the subject struc- tures. The structure built by Revolution- ary War Capt. William Cherry was one of the structures that gave me the most pause. Ultimately, because of its very poor con- dition and highly modified state, I voted with the majority. I should note that Cap- tain Cherry's log home still stands nearby in the shadow of the new construction. The placement of the CVS building back from the street was one that involved a great deal of deliberation both at the Plan- ning Commission and City Council levels. What has been lost in all of the discussions is the fact that the comer property was a former gas station whose tanks had leaked toxins into the soil. While the tanks were empty, the removal of them required En- vironmental Protection Agency oversight and mitigation of the hazardous material. CVS is removing the tanks and complying with all EPA requirements. One of the rea- sons for the setback was to allow outgas- sing of the hydrocarbons. The outgassing prevented the store from being located di- rectly above the plume. This alone is some- thing that most potential buyers would not have had the funds to address. This invest- ment by CVS speaks volumes to me. Because the setback and front parking lot was generally considered visually less desirable, the architects agreed to a dec- orative hedge to conceal it. CVS made many concessions to the city. I wish that very resident in our city had the opportu- nity to have heard all of the discussions. Them would be far less misinformation had every person had this oppommity. This brings me to the unfortunate abuse of the city employee.Attached to the caus- tic letter was a photo of the log structure. What was missing was a photo of the fiat bed track on which the logs were being loaded'. The logs were all preserved to be rebuilt on a different site. In fact, the log structure was preserved, a fact that was lost on the serf-appointed expert who dis- tributed the photo. The evidence that what Captain Cherry built was a tiny single sto- ry structure that was now highly modi- fied. Clearly visible in the photo were the modifications. First visible was where the original cook hearth hadbeen, long ago removed when the original 1785 struc- ture received its fLrSt of many significant modifications. The second story and rear portions were all later additions, all made likely between 1810-1820. The masonry extant was added in the 1810 period mod- ification, the original cooking hearth ap- parently was removed at that time. The original mantels were long gone. The win- dows were all from the second half of the 19th century. The exterior doors date from the.20th century. So when one looks at this highly modified house, just what was it that these folks were seeking to preserve? The current building owner preserved the logs and they will be rebuilt. If I had a wish, it would be that the en- ergy of these "well-meaning" folks would be spent on preserving the structures that can be preserved in our fair city. Within one block of the new construction is a va- cant log structure that begs for attention. Far less known are two other homes ex- tremely close to the site, which still have magnificent interior woodwork from their original construction. These are wonder- ful examples of our earliest architecture. One has a mantle and matching built- in fluted pilasters and decorative medal- lions, as fine as anything shown in john Allen's book "Uncommon Vernacular." I am in awe when I see appointments of this caliber that have survived more than 200 years. Let's make this energy and focus on structures that really do enhance the his- toric nature of Charles Town. In closing, I ask but one thing. Please do not direct frustration at city employees. They are doing their jobs. Feel free to vent to elected officials, like me. I am Mark Reinhart, City Councilman, Ward 1. LETt'ERS POLICY Letters to the Editor must be signed and include a phone number and address for verification. Limit 400 words, once a month. Letters are sub- ject to editing. We will not publish personal attacks. Letters do not repre- sent opinions of the Spirit of Jefferson. Letters of Appreciation are for nonprofit groups to thankother groups, businesses or individuals who help make our community a better #ace. Limit: 200 words, once a month. :):::::::::::: ::::::::::::::::?: ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ::::::::::::::::::::::::: ::;:: :.::::i ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: i:::::::::::::::: :Z:::':: ................................................. !!::':!!:.:i:!:i!:;::i::: : :::::: ::::::::i :::::::::::::::::::::: i .: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :::::::::::::::::::::::: i ::::::::' i( ::: : :::::::::::i :: ::::: i:::::;iii::i: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: i:::i!:::: : ......................... .................................................. ............. : ..................... :`::::iii:ii.i;.i.::iii:ii:i:i.i:i!iiiiiii:.:;:::::`:+.:`.:.::::::i:iiiiii!ii!:iii?i!i!i!:i:::i: ....