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January 14, 2010     Clinch Valley Times
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January 14, 2010
 

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/ ? 4age 2 ICUICH VALLEY TIMES, St. Paul, VA, Thursday, JanUa 14, 2010 Of shoes..and ships..and sealing wax..by Ah, G0000go,y Sometimes things make sense... Not that everything does, you understand. Not even close to everything, in fact. But every once in a while, you hear about something that's so sensible that you wonder how anyone possibly came up with the idea. I probably sound quite cynical, and I guess I am. Before I was as old as ! am now, I scorned cynics, and always thought everyone was determined to do the right thing--the sensible thing, in other words However, I grew to understand that any time the government, for example, comes up with something that it says is for my benefit, I'd better look out, because I'm sure to be in trouble before long. This sad fact was brought home to me again not too many weeks ago, in fact. Allen was with me for a doctor's appointment--he just went along to be sociable--and the doctor, who is also Allen's doctor, told us that he was going to prescribe shingles vaccine for each of us, since the illness can be terribly uncomfortable, and preventing it just makes good sense. We agreed, but when I saw the doctor actually writing a prescription for each of us, I asked him why he was doing that-- why didn't the clinic just go on and give us the shots as they do other kinds of shots that we get (for flu prevention, for example). He said that the govern- ment, in order for the expense of this shot to be covered by Medicare, requires the recipient to have the shot'at a pharmacy rather than a doctor's office. Huh? That was about as dumb a rule as I'd heard in a very long time, and, being me, I expressed my amaze- ment at its dumbness. The kind doctor listened to me, and while I think he agreed with me, he didn't say so, and just said that we needed to get the shot, So we went to our friendly pharmacist, who also happens to be a good friend, and presented the pre- scriptions. He looked at them, listened to my speech about the illogic of the whole thing, and then said, "But you all don't have Medicare Part D, do you." We don't, as we chose to remain with the prescription plan we had rather than change when that opportunity became available several years ago. Now whether or not that was a wise thing to do (I still don't know which plan is really better), the fact that we opted not to take the Part D meant that we're now being discriminated against insofar as the shingles vaccine is concerned. We can still have the shot, to be sure, but we have to pay for it ourselves--with our prescription plan possibly paying a portion of the cost. See--the government was doing us a favor in ar- ranging to pay for this shot; however, they failed to add the tag line that we had to take the prescription plan they offered in order for us to be eligible. And what's the deal. anyway? Medicare pays for flu shots and pneumonia shots and other routine preventive inoculations we are given at our doctors' offices-- what makes this stuff so different? We haven't had we weren't, after all, looking for anything else unbudgeted to pay for, especially at this time of year. (Which reminds me--have you opened your current ODP bill yet? If it's like ours, I hope you were sitting down when you looked at the bottom line! The new rate makes no sense, either.) Then there's the school situation. Talk about not making any sense! Whatever the rest of the county does, the school board seems to be totally determined to close St. Paul High School, in spite of the fact that SPHS is, arguably, the most productive school in the system. Frank Kilgore's great letter to the editor, printe d on last week's front page, stated that fact in a new way, and the story in this week's Clinch Valley Times about the multiple honors bewtowed upon Cindy Kilgore Jones because of her innovative teach- ing, is yet another example. Cindy is, of course, a graduate of SPHS. Of course there are productive graduates from all of Wise County's high schools, and perhaps it's just that the other communities don't celebrate those successes as much as we like to do here in St. Paul, or maybe we don't hear about them. But you can't get by the fact that a significant percentage of our graduates distinguish themselves in their chosen fields. That, taken with the achievements of the students while they're still students, makes it very difficult to understand why it makes any sense to close St. Paul High School and require its students to travel 15 or 20 miles, or go to another county. That's because itOOESN'T make any sense. One thing I've heard recently, however, that does make sense, is something that earned time on-national television. I'm sure you remember the huge, gor- geous, beautifully lit Christmas tree which was on display at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. Those who watch the Today Show, and perhaps some news shows, saw the enormous tree being trucked into the city from Connecticut, where it grew and was discov- ered and chosen to be the special tree which would be on exhibit for the entire country to enjoy. A special televisivn program was aired so that every-body could see the tree as its lights were turned on for the first time. In other words, that tree was a very big deal. On the flip side, however, once the tree was cut, it was gone, and that was a shame for a number of reasons, since trees provide oxygen, shade and, most of all. beauty in the places where they grow. Even though the tree was absolutely gorgeous, thinking that it was, in essence, being killed, added a bit of sadness. Of course, without knowing what would happen to it, most everyone would assume that its branches would be made into mulch, and the trunk into utility poles or lumber or something that would be used somehow, somewhere. That's where the good sense began to come into the shot yet, although we plan to have it. The cost is focus, On the day that the lights were removed from considerable, and we'll have to pay for it ourselves, the tree. the tree itself dismantled (they cut it into We heard on the news this week  that fraud against pieces before they took it away--it was much easier to MediCare imotmt'toorrthiffg;%p !:m per handle that way). On thatday, with some accom- year. The country apparently ca,t nianag;;{o have : panythg television shots, we were told that the trunk enough .seCurity n lace :to kep taxpayef' from of the tree was to be cut into 2x4s, and that lumber having that much money stolen from them, but can't would be contributed to a Habit for Humanity project figure out a way to pay for services the taxpayers in Connecticut. where the tree grew in the first place. should receive. The whole plan is far from sensible-- Now THAT makes sense! I Letters Readers are invited to write letters on matters of general interest to the public. Letters do not necessarily reflect the philosophy or editorial policy of this newspaper, which reserves the right to edit letters. The Clinch Valley Times will not print unsigned letters. To the Editor: Sheriff Oakes and Sheriff Noaks would like to thank all the dispatchers, firemen, rescue squads, law enforcement officers, "utility workers and repairmen, and volunteers who manned :! emergency shelters, cleared road- ,'.ways, delivered water, kerosene, -;fuel. food and conducted tran- ' sports for people needing , medical attention during the 2.recent snow storm and sub- i:sequent power, telephone and :water outage in Wise Count,/and -ithe City of Norton. Each of'them ;igraciously donated their time. ' money and efforts to assist others ,,in need. As a result, there were Yt no weather related deaths in Wise iCounty or the City of Norton. iAgaln. we are so proud of .everyone who participated or ',helped in some way to provide '. assistance to our citizens. Sincerely, R.D. Oakes, Sheriff Carlos Noaks. Sheriff I To the Editor: . Ashes to Beauty is .coming to your area! We are a group of women that will strive to meet the needs of other women in our area. Ashes to beauty is a Non- Denominational group of wo- men ministering to women. I They will strive to meet your Spiritual. Emotional and Physi- cal needs. Have you ever wished there was someplace you could go where you would be under- stood? Where you would be sate to share your needs and not be judged? Where you will find friends to help you with every- day problems? Where you can learn of the Bible among friends? to the editor... We will be having our first meeting on Saturday, January 16th. at 6:00 in the Celebration Center on Broad Street in St. Paul. Deborah Bryant of True Worship Radio Ministries will be ministering at the first meet- ing. She has a burden for the women in our area and has been ministering 25 years. Come join in Bible study! Baptist, Metho- dist. Lutheran. Pentecostal or Catholic. it doesn't matter. You are welcome. Don't join a gym or spa--join us[ There will be Praise and Worship, Spiritual Food and Ministry at every meeting. Come make friends! See you there! For more information, call me at 495-7879. (Isaiah 61:3: To appoint unto them that mourn m Zion. to give unto them Beauty for Ashes. the oil of joy for mourning, the gar- ment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness. the planting of the Lord. that he might be glor(fied ) Deborah Bryant Dante To the Editor: For the last two weeks. St. Paul and the surrounding area have experienced extremely bad winter weather, l want to public- ly commend our town mainte- nance crew that kept our streets and roads clean, passable and safe. I also want to commend our water and sewer depart- ments for insuring that the Town of St. Paul was never without these services, and that both departments were prepared to manage the severe weather con- ditions that occurred. The St. Paul Police Depart- ment is also commended for their long hours of diligence, patrolling and working with the Castlewood and Lebanon rescue and fire depamnents to transfer people to warmer and safer quarters. A very special thank you should be extended to all of the linemen and tree cutters who came to far southwest Virginia to assist Old Dominion Power and Appalachian Power in restoring electricity, water and communication lines. Even to- day, there are still localities without all of these services. Many of these workers spent their holidays away from home and worked long hours in extremely cold conditions to re- store our homes and businesses back to normal operations. 1 want to personally thank the citizens of St. Paul for their patience and understanding dur- ing this event. Very respectfully, Hubert Kyle Fletcher Mayor, Town of St. Paul Virginia offers local Protecting the value of your home is a key interest of home- owners, and it's because of this that the Virginia Homeowners Alliance (www.VaHomeownersAlliance.c ore) has re-launched its com- pletely revamped website to provide homeowners with up-to- the-minute local and statewide information. Smart homeowners under- stand that their property value and quality of life are deter- mined by the quality of local schools and transportation, zon- ing for commercml and other residential development, local real estate tax rates and an endless array of the factors affecting the real estate market. The Virginia Homeowners Al- liance Web site makes it easy to stay informed and get revolved with what's going on in your local community that affects your home's value. Some of the major improve- ments to the site include: Matthews Library plans busy month! Storytime for ages 3-5 will be held each Monday, Wednes- day and Friday from 10-11 a.m. Toddler Time is for two year olds. and will be held each Wednesday from 11:30-12 Homeowners Alliance information 1. Every county and in- corporated city has its own section, making it easy for homeowners to quickly "zero in' on their local area's information. 2. Content is front-and- center and much higher up the page, making it easier for visitors to tell at a glance what kinds of information they can expect to get from the site. 3. News stones and headlines provide focus and perspective for homeowners. making it easy to see how a local issue may impact their lives. 4. The site has an RSS feed for every locality, enabling Alliance members to subscribe to updates about only their chosen areas. 5. Membership in the Virginia Homeowners Alliance is free. and a service of the Virginia Association of REALTORS. Homeowners may view the site at www.VAHomeow0ersAlliance.c ore. These three programs for the younger children will feature Teen Scene. which will interest ages 12-17. is Thursday, 14. at 6:30 p.m. noon. (A parent must be present The Library is located on with his/her child for this Wise Street in St. Paul. Call program.) Mother Goose, which focuses on babies from 0-23 months, is planned for each Friday from 11:30-12 noon. (A parent must be present with his/her child for this program.) 762-9702 for more information. Winter Reading 2010--"Snuggle up with Peter Rabbit," through the month of January. Book Buddies for those in grades K-7 is from 4-4:45 p.m. Thursdays. Commen00-'ary PRESERVING OUR RIGHT TO KNOW Free Flow of Information Act Advances Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Free Flow of Information Act, legislation l authored which would protect reporters from being compelled to reveal their confidential sources in a federal criminal or civil matter. Last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved its version of the legislation, bringing us one step closer to enacting the measure. It now awaits con- sideration before the full Senate. Reporters rely on the ability to assure confidentiality to sources in order to deliver news to the public, and this ability is especially critical for the de- livery of news on highly contentious matters of broad public interest. Without the promise of confidentiality, many sources would not provide information to reporters, and the public would suffer from the resulting lack of information. Imagine a single mother who works at a factory and struggles to support her family on the hourly wage she is paid. Imagine she knows that there is a flaw in the product being made there a flaw which could potentially put the lives of those who use the product at risk. A reporter who has been tipped off about possible problems at the plant seeks to interview her for a story which, by exposing the situation, has the potential to save lives and enhance public safety. With- out a guarantee of confide- entiality, the woman is unlikely to risk her job by speaking with the reporter, whistleblower laws notwithstanding, and lives will continue to be endangered. As a result, free speech, the free press and public safety all suffer. It is because of scenarios like these that thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have existing laws which protect reporters from the compelled disclosure of confidential sour- ces of information. Such over- whelming support for assuring the confidentiality of journalists' sources at the state level lays bare the glaring lack of similar protections at the federal level. The absence of federal legis- lation protecting reporters' sources limits the public's access to information which is vital to the functioning of a democratic society. The press allows citi- zens to serve as watchdogs, speaking out about and exposing what are often illegal, corrupt, or dangerous activities by both private and government actors. But in certain situations, in- dividuals will be unwilling or unable to come forward and share vital information without a promise of confidentiality from a reporter. During the past few years, more than thirty reporters have been subpoenaed or questioned' in federal court proceedings about confidential sources, and several have been handed or threatened with jail sentences. Such actions inevitably have a chilling effect on the willingness of reporters to rely on con- fidential sources and on the willingness of sources to speak to reporters. It is for this reason that I have introduced the Free Flow of Information Act. This bi-partisan legislation sets criteria which must be met before information can be subpoenaed from re- porters in any federal criminal or civil matter. The standards set forth in the legislation carefully balance the public interest in the free flow of information against the public interest in compelled testimony. Only when a strong public interest compels the dis- closure, such as when national security is at risk or where im- minent bodily harm is threat- ened, will there be a compelled disclosure by a reporter of the source of confidential informa- tion. This measure makes these standards mandatory in all federal judicial, legislative and administrative proceedings, with heightened protection for the identities of confidential sources. It is essential to bring matters to light about which only those on the inside have substantial knowledge. I am pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee has approved its version of the Free Flow of Information Act, and I am optimistic that the full senate will approve the measure as well. Enactment of the Free Flow of Information Act will assure a stronger underpinning of both freedom of the press and free speech in future years. January G00E; test dates in Wise County are announced The Regional Adult Educa- tion Program will offer the Official Practice GED Test on Friday, January 22, at 9 a.m. at the Wise Adult Learning Center. This is a free test. Call 1-800- 422-3433 to sign up for the practice test. The GED Exam will be given on Saturday, January 16 at the Education Center. Building C., Wise. Testing will begin at 8 a.m. Registration must be done Wise County Sheriff' s Report The Wise County Sheriff's Office reports the following activines for the period of 12/28/2009 through 1/03/2010. Wise Central Dispatch received a total of 1.315 calls for this seven- day period. Of the total calls received 284 were dispatched to the Sheriff's Office. Total number of Domestic calls for this period was 11. Criminal.Process for the same period served 29 Felony Warrants, 87 Misde- meanor Warrants, 0 DUI Arrest and worked 1 Traffic Accident. Civil process for this period served 278 Civil Papers. During this seven-day period 26 additional Criminal Investi- gations were initiated and 35 were cleared by arrest. The Sheriff's Office provided 120 man-hours of Court Room Security for the three courts and the courthouse. The Sheriff's Office tran- sported 1 adult in state, 2 adult out of state. 5 mental patient, and 4 juveniles for a total of 12 transports, involving 47.5 hours The Sheriff's Office unlocked 4 vehicles and escorted 3 funeral during this seven-day period. A VDOT Tip for Driving in Snowy Weather Don't abandon your ve- hicle unless it's absolute- ly necessary. However, if you must, leave it as far off the roadway as pos- sible. Abandoned cars can greatly hamper snow-removal opera- tions. no later than two days prior to the exam. Call Karen Whirr at 276-328-8612 for more infor- mation or to register. St. Paul Volunteer Fire Department The St. Paul Volunteer Fire Department has logged seven calls for the month of December 2009. That includes 1 vehicle fire, 2 car crashes, 1 fire alarm call, 1 utility building fire, and 2 downed power lines as a result of the heavy snow. We logged 37 man hours during the month. [ .... Clinch .... Valley Times MEMBER VIRGINIA PRESS ASSOCIATION Published weekly in St. Paul, VA 24283, by the CLINCH VALLEY PUBLISHING CO., INC. The Clinch Valley Times serves the four-county area of Wise, Russell, Dickenson and- Scott, with offices and plant located in the CLINCH VALLEY TIMES building, ! 6541 Russell Street. Perio- dicals postage is paid at the Post Office in St. Paul, VA 24283. 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