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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
October 31, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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October 31, 2018

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A6 Wednesday, October 31, 2018 VIEWS Area residents gathered in downtown Shep- herdstown Monday night for a solemn vigil organized in memory of the 11 lives ended Saturday morning in the nation's latest mass shooting. An antisemitic gunman opened fire on the Tree of Life synagogue, the center of a quiet Jewish enclave in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill, the neighborhood where the famously kind, gentle Fred Rogers of "Mr. Rogers' Neigh- borhood" fame raised his family and lived un- til his death in 2003. Earlier on Monday, NBC reported that Flor- ida resident Cesar Sayoc Jr the man accused of sending pipe bombs to prominent Demo- crats and CNN last week, had a long list of planned targets - more than 100 people in- cluding politicians, entertainers and members of the media. Sayoc, a registered Republican and Don- aid Trump superfan, was charged Friday with mailing the crude pipe bombs to more than a dozen homes and offices, all of them critics of the president, and including President Ba- rack and Michelle Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN. But though these are incredibly dark times, our country has made it through similar dis- couraging periods including the ugliness of the 1950s when civil rights protesters were beaten viciously and even killed in the Deep South and more than a century ago when the nation spent four long years in civil war. The decency and generosity of Americans always shines through - and that is true to- day. Besides rallies right in Jefferson Coun- ty and all over the country to offer support for the victims and their families, a Muslim organization in Pittsburgh launched a fund- raising campaign, quickly raising more than $100,000. We are reminded of the words of Martin Lu- ther King: "Darkness cannot drive out dark- ness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." A caring Spirit reader wrote to us on Mon- da), to offer a reminder of a notable letter that then President Washington sent to a Jewish congregation on Aug. 21, 1790. In the fall of 1789, Washington had toured all the New England states - but skipped over Rhode Island, which had not then ratified the new Constitution. Pittsburgh residents hug one another at Shady Avenue and Northumberland Street after multiple people tlon synagogue Saturday, Oct, 27, 2018, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS were shot at The Tree of Life Congrega- When Rhode Island did finally ratify the ly moved by Seixas's words. Washington re- Anti-Semitic attacks have more than dou- document, Washington made a goodwill visit sponded with his own letter, one in which he bled since 2016, according to the Anti-Def- to the state, taking with him then-Secretary of assured the Hebrew congregation that "every amation League. The group's leaders say State Thomas Jefferson and George Clinton, one shall sit in safety under his own vine and that Saturday's attack was the deadliest ever the govemor 9f New York. The trio sailed fig tree, and there shall be none to make him against Jews in the history of the United from New York City - D.C. was not yet the afraid." He added that ours would be a coun- States. nation's capital - and spent the night of Aug. try which "gives to bigotry no sanction." Sadly, our country also has seen a rise in 17, 1790, in Newport. Washington's famous letter promised not hatred for people with color- with white men The next morning, seaport city leaders in- only tolerance, but the full liberty of con- and women calling the police and otherwise cluding Moses Seixas and other representa- science whatever one's religious beliefs - harassing African-Americans for hanging out tives from religious groups read the president paving the way for the First Amendment. by pools in apartment complexes where they letters of welcome. "May the father of all mercies scatter light, live, for gardening, for barbecuing, for going Seixas's statement overflowed with grati- and not darkness, upon our paths," Washing- door to door to campaign for public office, tude for Washington for his leadership in the ton wrote, and so many other mundane activities. new government and his hope that the United As Washington indicated then, our coun- We hope that all of us in the United States, States would assure respect and tolerance for try's diversity is an asset to cherish. We long a beacon of hope to oppressed people all its citizens, whatever their background and can remember our national motto, adopted here and the world over, make it a priority to religious beliefs, in 1782, E Pluribus Unum, "Out of Many, embrace love and compassion. The hatred on President Washington found himself great- One." display in recent days cannot be who we are. Charles Town leaders will soon have to At the Charles Town City Council on Oct. attention now, and they are vocal and com- Should Rockwool have to finance the decide on how to finance the sewer line to 15, representatives from the Charles Town mitted to finding any way possible to keep sewer line in another way, the city will not the former Jefferson Orchards site where Utility Board clearly laid out the reality Rockwool from opening its plant as sched- get to offset operation and maintenance Rockwool plans to build its second U.S. that CTUB cannot legally deny service to uled in 2020. costs and would end up making up for those factory. Rockwool. But despite the uproar, leaders iri Charles costs by charging higher rates to Rockwool If Charles Town issues a bond to finance Many in our community do not want Town should not ignore CTUB's advice and every other customer. City leaders who the construction of the sewer line, it will Rockwool in Jefferson County. More than and vote against the West Virginia Infra- have been won over by the anti-Rockwool do see with zero-interest financing fromthe six months passed between November of structure and Jobs Development Council's arguments made by Jefferson County Vi- state of West Virginia. last year, when local leaders and Rock- offer of zero-interest financing, sion and others are, of course, free to op- If the city rejects that plan in an attempt wool officials announced the selection of If the city rejects the money, it will re- pose the factory but voting against a legally to mollify those in the ToxicRockwoolthe Ranson site for a stonewool manufac- main on the hook to construct the sewer mandated infrastructure project couldbring movement, the sewer line still will be put turing site, and July when opposition sud- line - just without being able to offset the a consequence no one wants - higher sew- in - but the cost will be higher, an increase denly erupted - clearly many in the move- anticipated operation and maintenance ex- er rates for households here for decades to that will be borne by all the ratepayers in ment were not paying attention to local penses of some $1.66 million against sewer come. We urge those in positions of power the system, news at all - but the opposition is paying revenues, to exercise great care in this decision. What about a chemical spill at Rockwool? Rockwool is not transparent. The first responder goes into the area and lack of transparency is a danger our stops the leak. If the levels are high community. Although the law says the evacuation remains in place until that all Material Safety Data Sheets the ammonia has dissipated into the must be disclosed, Rockwool was atmosphere.Ammonia leaks are more not legally required to do so when it common than school shootings and submitted its application because the evacuations may be as large as an en- Trump Administration had overrid- tire town (e.g. Aurelia; Iowa). Imag- den the law at the time. ine trying to evacuate 1,000 elemen- These sheets contain informa- tary school children who are com- tion that helps first responders know plaining of stingy eyes, scratchy skin how to prepare to approach a spill or and a stinky smell. School bus opera- emergency at the factory. Without tors need to leave wherever they are knowledge of what is present on site, go to get their buses and then get to our first responders' lives could be the school. A mandatory evacuation in danger. In the event of a spill, the zone will mean that parents will not first responders must know whether be allowed to enter the area to pick or not they need gas masks and what up their children at the school. With- type of filter the gas mask should out a careful plan, it will be a chaotic use. and dangerous scene, especially for The Material Safety Sheets also let the children. What other chemical the public know what chemicals are spills might require emergency evac- likely to be spilled near our schools, uation of the schools are unknown For example, Rockwool will use am- because Rockwool is not transparent monia. Standard procedure for am- and is a danger to our community. monia spills starts with mandatory evacuation of the area and then if the COLIN STINE ammonia levels are low enough, a Shenandoah Junction Standing together in love Editor's note: Poet Stewart Acuff submitted this the sun of a glorious morning we were connected in work after attending an Oct. 24 state Public Service the bond of solidarity. Commission hearing in Shepherdstown on a proposed The scientists amongst us spoke of the geology be- gas pipeline that would serve the new Rockwoolfac- neath our feet and the coming pollution from 200-foot tory slated for Ranson. smokestacks. The farmers from families here for up to four centuries spoke of generations of veneration for The love of our land and one another rose in each this place and its land. connecting one to the other till we weren't alone Parents and teachers almost pleading for the health but part of a holy oneness consuming the 300 in the of children and for peace in this valley. All of us con- rally against Rockwool at a Halloween costume of a nected, all of us one in spirit determined together to formal hearing. Again I knew the power and beauty of defend our home and one another wholly and holy in human dignity, our unity to stop the fracked gas pipeline and the fac- When young Morgan Sell, baby on her back, began tory that threatens us all. to sing and we all stood and sang with her of our love of this home and one another just as beautifully as the STEWART ACUFF Martinsburg Potomac and Shenandoah rivers running over rocks in Why didn't Rockwool opponents object earlier? The opinion column from Christine Snyder in the time to object. Waiting until the organization has in- Oct. 17 issue of the Spirit of Jefferson makes a point vested millions in our county is not fair - nor is claim- that the anti-Rockwool group keeps ignoring. The ing ignorance aboutRockwool coming. Journal published an article about Rockwool coming There are many people watching the performance of in 2017. I don't subscribe to The Journal, but I read Rockwool. If the company planned to harm the envi- the article online, ronment, it would be detected. But because of Rock- Anyone who took even a minor interest in what's wool's large investment, this is highly unlikely. happening in Jefferson County would have known about Rockwool's arrival. That would have been the LOUIS CIRONI Hamilton, Va.