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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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SPIRIT of JEFFERSON PAGE A7 and FARMER'S ADVOCATE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Wednesday, October 31, 2018 Ready to back any anti-Rockwool candidates I am a single issue voter this year. Why? I care about markets, groceries and restaurants I donate hundreds of many issues but this year my vote will be cast solely pounds of wholesome fresh organic produce to the food on the basis of whether a candidate will oppose Rock- pantry every year. wool. They can believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth I own a small spinning flock of sheep and alpaca and Fairy for all I care so long as they pledge to deliver us started a thriving fiber arts business. If I have a 21-sto- from heavy industry so out of character with the fabric ry smokestack pumping out the amounts of particulate of this county, matter and hazardous air pollutants allowed by the West I retired here nine years ago. I lived in the area when Virginia Department of Environmental Protection per- I was a kid and loved it. I worked all over the world but mit, I'm going to lose my organic certification for sure." I vacationed here and loved it. The productivity of my fruit trees and vegetables will I did my research before buying my farm. I looked at diminish from ground ozone. the county plan which emphasized tourism, agriculture I probably won't have adequate water for irrigation. and light industry. At the time there was a huge impact As it stands, when we have long dry spells my irrigation. fee to even build a house. The County Commission fa- clogs even though the well is 500 feet deep. What will vored smart and slow growth. Great things were hap- happen when Rockwool pumps out between 125,000 to pening in Ranson. Many strong voices and organiza- 500,000 gallons of water per day? My sheep will likely tions promoted environmental stewardship and preser- suffer. Sheep and cattle have the same sensitivity to par- vation of the region's historical heritage. My kind of ticulate matter and hazardous air pollutants as humans place? It was then. Now I'm a mile from the site. do and their mortality mirrors that of humans during I bought a farm that needed some serious fixing up. I smog events. super-insulated the house, used local builders, used re- If Rockwool builds their factory on my doorstep I'll cycled, "green" and "Made in America" building mate- never again be able to see the stars because it will be all rials, installed solar, a "cool" roof, an on-demand wa- lit up 24/7. I'll never hear the night sounds or experi- ter heater, LED lighting and energy star appliances, ence the peace of this place because there will be tracks I installed a pellet stove so I could heat with locally running in and out and all around all day and night. If sourced biomass waste material instead of fossil fuel Rockwool wins, I lose - big time. I'll leave my beloved and made some modifications to the house to turn it farm rather than pay one cent more in taxes to Jeffer- into a passive solar design, son County. I started a commercial garden. I got an organic certi- fication. I grow my own organic food and contribute to PATRICIA STEPHENSON the local food hub. In addition to selling at local farmers Shenandoah Junction Worried for students at North Jefferson Elementary Last year a new Kiwanis Club formed and immediate- is that the majority of the volatile organic compounds, ly sought to begin helping the kids of North Jefferson the ozone as well as particulate matter and the form- Elementary, a Title One school in Keameysville. Mem- aldehyde in the amounts of 250 tons/year are heavier bers became mentors for selected students and built than air and common sense tells us that these toxins will three raised gardens and planted vegetables. We also likely settle nearby the company stacks on non-windy assisted students to build and plant a way station for days. The same reasoning applies to the diesel toxins migrating butterflies, particularly Monarchs. Members from the semisthat will support the Rockwell factory. decided also to build and to gift an outdoor classroom And its also a known fact that all the toxins will finally to the teachers and the 300+ students at the school. By settle on land somewhere, and wherever they settle they immersing children in nature in the outdoor classroom, will very likely cause illness and perhaps disease. the new, fertile, exciting experiences will open new When we are dealing with the health of children if we paths that lead them into education and better lives, and err we must err on the sides of the safety for the chil- perhaps a lifelong appreciation of nature, dren. The barrage of toxins are known to penetrate into Then, without warning, in early July the Rockwool the respiratory systems of humans, animals and even bomb dropped! A letter from the Sierra Club to the state plants. Children are particularly vulnerable, and some- Department of Environmental Protection referenced a times it takes up. to 15 years for the toxins to manifest permit "for the Roxul/Rockwool planned mineral wool within human lungs and respiratory tissue. site in Ranson" across the old Route 9 from North Jef- The JCC's chambers badly need total cleansing, and ferson. The letter detailed omissions, mistakes and out- the Rockwell decision needs to be unanimously re- dated references within the permit. Few people, even versed. All of us need to speak up and speak out. those normally "in the know" were aware that such a manufacturing plant was already breaking ground ROGER ETHIER Shepherdstown in the county, yet the Jefferson County Commission- -Roger Ethier is the team leader for Kiwanis of the ers had already unanimously and quietly approved the Blue Ridge's outdoor classroom at North Jefferson project, as did the City of Ranson. Elementary and the director of West Virginia's No one really knows the volume of the toxins that Engineers without Borders International will settle within the county. However, what is known Judge Christopher Wilkes the best choice I am voting for the Honorable Christopher Wilkes to the Supreme Court in the state of West Virginia. I am so proud to say my brother-in-law, Chris, for the 34 years I have known him, has been a hard-working attorney, loyal to his family and to the people in the tri-county of the Eastern Panhandle serving Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties. He was elected to the Circuit Court in 1992 and has served as judge and chief judge for the largest circuit court division in the state of West V'trginia. I have seen him happy after presiding over an adoption or a wedding and anguish having to witness the devastation of a whole family when he has to convict a person for their crime. He is lenient when he thinks a person needs one chance to make a better decision for a change of life and strict when this chance is taken lightly. Judge Wilkes is fair in his decisions and is the best qualified to serve our people as judge in the Supreme Court in West Virginia. Judge Wilkes has 25 years of circuit judge experience and administers the largest court system in the state with efficiency and concern for the taxpayers' dollars. He is chairman of the West Virginia Business Court Division, past chairman of the Youth Services Committee of the Court Improvement Board, and a member of the Juvenile Justice Commission and the State Bar, and so much more. Please Google "Chris Wilkes for Supreme Court" for his full list of accomplishments. Please vote for Chris Wilkes for Supreme Court. He has more judicial experience than his nine opponents combined. MARY ALICE BOWERS Martinsburg 'Who's the gadfly now?' In response to the news article in the Oct. 24 edition of the Spirit, I would like to thank those who gave the public a history lesson about me. The Spirit has tried to do their best to discredit me for years. The fact is the government is worded that the residents/taxpayers are finding out the troth about, how the government controls every- thing including the media. Even Facebook is the new "Wild West." The truth is our government officials (elected) are scared of being ex- posed. The history lesson yet to be told is that I am still here. Where is the story about our West Virginia Supreme Court Justices? The same Su- preme Court Justices who made decisions about me. All the while, they were spending hundred of thousands of dollars of the taxpayers' money. So who's the gadfly now? Over the last 12 years I have challenged the government to protect everyone's constitutional right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. If we don't fight for our constitutional fights, they will be lost.History repeats itself. We are in a place now and a time that our government thinks they know what's better for us than we know for ourselves. I take the name calling and defamation of character as compliments. If you are cutting me down, you are leaving someone else alone that may not be able to defend themselves. I appreciate the kind words from those who are truly making a difference. The Jefferson County Commission meeting on Oct. 18 is a great example of the difference we've made by exercising our freedom of speech and to protest. Good job! DAVID TABB Harpers Ferry - David Tabb is the Mountain Party candidate for a seat on the Jef- ferson County Commission. He finished third in the GOP primary Amendment 1 would eliminate right to privacy The League of Women Voters of West sultation between a woman and her doctor, be realized if federal safeguards (provid- Virginia urges voters to vote against Con- The state constitution should protect this ed by Roe v. Wade) protecting a women's stitutional Amendment 1 on Nov. 6. right of privacy, right to privacy when making decisions re- If passed Amendment 1 would add the Amendment 1 provides no exceptions ingarding abortion are removed. Laws ap- following language to the West Virginia the case of rape, incest or when the wom- proved in years past by the state Legisla- Constitution: "Nothing in this Constitution an's life is in danger. The amendment de- ture made abortion a felony. Court injunc- secures or protects a right to abortion or nies the right of women to terminate any tions prevented their implementation but requires the funding of abortion." pregnancy under any circumstances, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, they could Amendment 1 eliminates a woman's This amendment also denies poor worn-easily resurface. If Roe is overturned, the right to privacy when making reproductive en access to government funds for abor- passage of Amendment 1 would mean the choices. The League of Women Voters be- tions, including instances of rape, incest or state constitution would provide no protec- lieves a decision to terminate a pregnancy to save the life of the woman, tion for West Virginia women. Desperate should be a private decision done in con- The full weight of Amendment 1 will women attempting to terminate their own pregnancies because medically safe proce- dures are unavailable would be subject to criminal prosecution. So would any medi- cal personnel who assist in abortion pro- cedures. The League of Women Voters believes public policy must affirm the constitu- tional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices. We urge voters to vote No on Amendment 1. LYN WIDMYER Charles Town Jefferson County League of Women Voters Beware the Rockwool Kool-Aid The executives of Rockwool are the negative ways that they will im- trying to earn the trust of the resi- pact Jefferson County. The presi- dents of Jefferson County. Their op- dent of Rockwool North Ameri- portunity to earn trust disappeared ca refused to stop site work while in 2017 when they signed binding the Board of Education obtained a agreements with our officials with- health risk assessment of their tox- out widely publicizing public meet- ic emissions on the children. This ings and extensively advertising company cares nothing for the well their intention to build and oper- being of Jefferson County and its ate their industry. They anticipated citizens. opposition so kept it under the ra- The executives of Rockwool are dar with the JCDA and Ranson of- claiming to be transparent because ficials, they announced that they were cited The executives of Rockwool are for six building violations.Actually, trying to warm up to this commu- R0ckwool was covering up the vio- nity by doing things like sponsoring lations for two weeks and only be- the broadcasting of a football game. came "transparent" after the press They are running radio ads about found out. How are we supposed what great neighbors they are with, to trust anything that this company out giving any information about says when it says that what comes out of their 220-foot smokestacks is Races is displaying the signs of the like the air we breathe? The Rock- candidates who support Rockwool wool executives have lied about by either speaking out for it or not not having complaints from neigh- speaking against it - Peter Onosz- bors of their other industiies while ko, Patrick Morrisey, Paul Espino- one can easily find numerous com- sa, Jill Upson and Riley Moore. I plaints. They act like we are idiots! guess they are overlooking the fact One need only to follow the mon- that the chemicals that the plant ey to learn why several state and wil! discharge damages the lungs of local officials snuck this company horses. There are others in the com- into Jefferson County under the ra- munity who aren't as open about dar of the citizens. See the article, their support of Rockwool and have "Rockwool: Three Truths and a Lie been stealing anti-Rockwool signs About the Economic Development in the middle of the night. Game" by David Levine. A company that bullies its way Despite thousands of Jefferson into a community seems to attract County Citizens opposing Rock- the bullies who live there. Still, wool, there are those who apparent- there are others who don't think ly drank the Rockwool Kool-Aid. that this county is good enough to Hollywood Casino at Charles Town attract businesses that will provide jobs while enhancing our lives. There was a mixed use plan for the site where Rockwool proposes to build with light industry creating potentially thousands of jobs, resi- dential homes, parks and a MARC train station. Instead, our officials rejected that plan in favor of a glob- al scale insulation factory. The only thing that is transparent is that Rockwool does not belong in Jefferson County and you can trust that having this company here would negatively impact the land and the health and well being of its citizens. Just say no to the Rock- wool Kool-Aid! NANCY GREGORY Charles Town Rockwool exec's 'disappointing' stance Michael Zarin, vice president of the Rock- to withdraw from the PILOT agreement. If wool Group, disappoints in his letter last week Rockwool were to build a $150 million plant, in the Spirit. In the Oct. 24 letter, Rockwool their tax bill based on Ranson Corp. Class IV issued a veiled threat to all Jefferson County tax rate of $2.8496 per hundred would give residents with new fees and costs if the state Rockwool a real property tax bill of around does not meet their demands for sewer line two and a half million dollars a year. This es- funds. Setting aside the irony of a wealthy timate does not include inventory, personal multinational corporation demanding hand- property tax or any applicable B&O tax. Six- outs from one of the poorest states in the na- ty percent of this $2.5 million dollar figure tion, it is our hope Rockwool is forced to build could then go to the Jefferson County school and pay the $1.66 million sewer construction system to better educateour children. fee themselves, as follows W.Va. Code 24-2- Considering this Zarin letter and others, 2(b). Other ratepayers should not have to Rockwool is clearly not a good corporate fund it as it does not benefit them. partner. They are demanding and threaten- Further, we hope Jefferson County is able ing. Perhaps if their costs continue to mount, and the public continues pressure against the Rockwool plant by way of protests, letters and activism, and if Rockwool is unable to re- ceive pipelines full of gas, paved roads to their door, water and sewer service, etc Rockwool will at some point in the near future decide to cut their losses, seek an alternate location for their factory, and leave Jefferson County. We do not want them here, but if they must stay, they should be required to pay. ROBERT BARRAT and RALPH LORENZETH Candidates for Jefferson County Commission to us Send letters to editor@ We ask that you keep each one to 400 words or less. Include a phone number (just needed for verification) and town of residence.