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January 14, 2016

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Page 2 CLINCH VALLEY TIMES St. Paul, Va. Thursday, January 14, 2016 ships..and wax.. Ann :Young Gregory Comfort food Reprinted from January 25, 2007 Since January has finally turned into winter, it's become a good time to discuss comfort food, although by the time you read this, considering I wrote it on Monday, the temperature may be 65 degrees and the sun .shining brightly. It's been that kind of a year, and it's a wonder we aren't all sick! But back to the subject at hand. Everybody has some comfort foods, even if they don't think of them as that. There are no hard and fast rules for determining what constitutes a comfort food. Whatever food each indi- vidual might seek 1out when feeling neglected, threat- ened, ill, uneasy or otherwise out of sorts, is what is comfort food to him or her. Take this weekend, for example. Allen and Peyton had tickets for the Kentucky-Vanderbilt basketball game in Lexington (too bad I didn't choose a different game when I was buying their Christmas present!) Since I didn't have a ticket, and since the weather in Lexington Sunday was supposed to be horrible (they ended up coming home late Saturday night to avoid the snow with freezing rain), and since I just felt that I needed a weekend of R&R rather than a 400-mile round trip and the busy-ness involved in just being somewhere other than home I persuaded them to go on and leave me to my own devices. Which really meant that I wanted a day at home. I got all the. grocery shopping done before they left Friday. I had decided that a good project or Saturday would be to make a big pot of my mother's vegetable soup. Up early Saturday, I put the meat (a little over two pounds of bite-size cubes of round tip roast), two and a half quarts of water and a tablespoon of salt in my stain- less steel two-gallon pot and set it to simmer. Around noon, I added two cans of diced tomatoes with juice; three large potatoes, cubed; a large onion, diced; and one-fourth of a head of cabbage, chopped fine, a two- pound bag of frozen mixed vegetables (carrotsl green beans, peas and corn); and about a third of a cup of ketchup (adds color and flavor). That continued to sim- mer until around 4:30 in the afternoon, when I cut off the "fire" and let the soup finish cooking on its own. Absolutely delicious, and it was even better when we had it for lunch on Sunday. The soup's what got me to thinking about comfort foods, because that particular soup is certainly one of mine! When I was a little girl and had a bad cold or some similar ailment, my mother always made me veg- etable soup, and of course it always made me better. I think that reaction was probably more psychological than medical, but whatever works! Another of her reme- dies for my blahs was her potato soup, which I still make and still love! (One of my daughter's best comfort foods, on the other hand, is good old Campbell's toma- to soup.) As 1 thought about comfort foods, I wondered if th ete:'are- any Universal ones, or if it's an each-to-his- own kind of thing. I consulted several websites---one of my favorites is "Wikipedia--the free encyclopedia", which is, incidentally, written by its readers--anyone may contribute, although I don't think all contributions are necessarily accepted. One of the apparently almost- universal comfort foods listed there is chicken noodle soup, also one of my favorites, but I choose the others first when I need comforting. The list of "universals" was very long and ranged (alphabetically) from apple pie to waffles. In between were such things as baked potatoes, biscuits, brownies (I made some of them this weekend, too), casseroles, chili (another of our favorites-I made a crock pot full of chili a couple of weeks ago and added something I don't normally include-about a tablespoon of chopped jalapeno pep- pers)--the resulting chili was so spicy hot that only David and Allen were able to eat it), chocolate--I sup- pose it provides comfort in any form--another website I found listed chocolate pudding as a favorite comfort :food, French fries, French toast, fried chicken, grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs, ice cream, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, onion rings, pan- cakes, pot roast, potato salad, rice pudding, roast beef, spaghetti, and turkey and dressing. Plus a bunch more. That particular list was just food. The list of comfort drinks which followed included almost everything from beer to hot chocolate. Interestingly, the Wikipedia sites also listed the com: fort foods and drinks of several other countries--I'd share them, except I recognized just a few of the words such as "rice" and "noodles". Sorry my grasp of some of the more exotic languages is non-existence. Along with the commentary on comfort foods was the information that an appreciable number of these foods "'are composed largely of simple and complex carbohydrates," with the explanation that these sub- stances induce an opiate-like effect on the brain, which may explain why they provide the comfort they do. On the website of HGTV (Home and Garden Television) is a special Comfort Food Favorites page. It lists what it considers, I suppose, to be the universal favorites (many are the same I found at the other web- site); except that these all have recipes to go with them. I noticed that may of these recipes are accompanied by adjectives such as "guiltless" and "healthy" and "low fat," so I doubt that these are the same old comfort foods we loved as children, filled as they all probably were with the ingredients that make food taste good- those would be salt, fat and sugar. That reminds me of one of my favorite desserts of childhood (also a comfort food)--my mother's baked custard, filled with healthful things like eggs and whole milk and sugar. Of course today these things aren't healthful at all---one should avoid egg yolks, use skim or 1% milk, and a sugar substitute that's been approved by whoever does that sort of thing (I read while con- suiting all these websites that saccharin should no longer be used. It didn't say why. So I guess the. answer to all of this is that there isn't any answer. Comfort food is where you find it---or, more accurately, what you were given to eat when you were a child in an uneasy or uncomfortable situation. Anybody for macaroni and cheese? Senator Chafin General Assembly Session Update ) The 2016 General Assembly Session is fast approach- ing and is set to begin on Wednesday, January 13th. During the upcoming sixty-day session, the Senate and House will craft Virginia's two-year budget along with legislation covering a wide variety of issues. , Recently, Attorney General Herring and the Governor severed reciprocity agreements for concealed carry permit holders in twenty-five states. Therefore, fighting for gun rights will be a top issue of mine. Their blatant political attacks on the Second Amendment and law abiding gun owners will uniquely hurt Southwest Virginia due to our proximity to other states. My Republican colleagues and I will be sponsoring legislation to reverse these attacks on reciprocity and concealed carry permit holders. I will continue to be an advocate for the Second Amendment and lawful gun owners as we fight against the liberal gun control agenda of the Attorney General and the Governor. In preparation for the legislature to convene, it is my goal every year to patron legislation protecting and sup- porting the coal industry. The continued onslaught from the EPA with job-killing regulations has crippled the coal industry and the Southwest Virginia economy. In order to fight back against the EPA on a state level, I have intro- duced Senate Bill 21. It will require General Assembly approval of plans to comply with federal emissions stan- dards for power plants prior to submission by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to the EPA. Adding the buffer of the General Assembly between DEQ and the EPA will help protect the coal industry from con- tinued over-regulation. While helping constituents, it came to my attention that the real estate property tax exemption for 100% dis- abled veterans and spouses of soldiers killed in action did not apply tO many single and double-wide manufactured homes. Disabled veterans and spouses of fallen soldiers that have Sacrificed for this country and our freedom omy of Southwest Virginia. One piece of legislation I will be carrying will support funding of the Coalfield Expressway and Highway 460 projects. My legislation will remove these transportation projects from the slow, normal funding process in order to be funded separately and quickly. While the project still has many federal reg- ulation roadblocks before completion, this bill will ensure that we have the funding in place on time. The Coalfield Expressway will better connect Southwest Virginia and greatly improve our infrastructure, which will help in recruiting new business investment in the region. For the last several years, I have carried legislation to give localities the option to add county and municipality employees, along with teachers and school employees, to the state health insurance system. Adding local govern- ment employees and teachers to the state health insurance plan is a conservative policy that will save money for teachers, counties, and the state. Many county teachers will see healthcare savings and increases in take home pay. Supporting public education is essential for the future of Southwest Virginia. We must give our children the best possible education to prepare them for the future. Public education will continue to be a top priority of mine to pro- vide a strong foundation for the region. I will fight for increased funding for schools in the budget and an increase in teacher pay to retain the best teachers. Thank you for your continued support. It is an honor to represent Southwest Virginia in the General Assembly. I will continue to fight for our conservative Southwest Virginia values and stand up for our rural communities by supporting our schools and helping grow the economy. As your Senator, I work for you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with your questions and comments during session. Be on the lookout for my weekly update about what is going on during the General Assembly Session in deserve this'benefit no matter where they live. I have pre- your local paper and on my Facebook page. Please con- filed and wi~ patron legislation to fix this problem in tact our office by phone at 276-889-1044 or by email at order to supp(~ and honor veterans and their families, I am focused on job creation and revitalizing the econ- \ Slemp announces major policy change to save taxpayer money C.H. "Chuck" Slemp, III, Commonwealth's Attorney for Wise County & the City of Norton, set forth a major policy change in the prosecution of misdemeanor and ordinance offenses: In a letter delivered to Judges, Attorneys, and Law Enforcement Officers, Slemp announced that his office will prosecute all offenses, including ordinances and misdemeanors, brought across Wise County & the City of Norton. Previously, the Towns of Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, Coebum, Pound and the City of Norton were prosecuted by a separate, unelected, and independent attorney. The taxpayers of these respective towns were responsible for the costs of the attorney's fees for that particular prosecu- tor. Over a four year period of time, the costs savings for local residents is estimated to exceed $ 200,000. While Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, Coeburn, Pound, and Norton have previously employed their own prosecu- tor, the Commonwealth's Attorney's Officehas tradition- ally prosecuted cases from the Towns of Wise and St. Paul. The new policy will provide consistency across the region with a central point of contact for all cases from every municipality. Slemp said, "I view it to be the duty of the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office to prosecute all cases within this jurisdiction. It is fiscally irresponsible and unnecessary for the citizens of Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, Coebum, Norton, or Pound~to spend taxpayer dollars to employ an attorney to prosecute cases in their respec- tive jurisdictions when the Commonwealth's Attorney's office can prosecute these cases capably and consistently without costing the municipalities a penny." The move will have significant benefits to the criminal justice system. Under Slemp's leadership, the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office will create an inte- grated system of case management, increased collabora- tion between the distinct local law enforcement agencies, uniform plea and discovery policies across these multiple jurisdictions, and more consistent case outcomes in our region. Government needs to work better by Lee H. Hamilton Whoever wins next November's presidential election, it's a sure bet that at some point he or she will vow to set the federal gov- ernment on the straight and narrow. Maybe the new President will even resort to the time-honored pledge' to create a government "as good as the people." It's a bracing sentiment. But you'll want to take it With a grain of salt. Our history is filled with remarkable govern- ment accomplishments. Our involvement in World War II and hands-on approach to the postwar reconstruction of Europe and Japan, our role in end- ing the Cold War, the inter- state highway system, extending the right to vote to all our citizens, federal research and support for ending diseases such as polio... There's a long list of crucially important efforts the federal govern- ment has executed well. Yet every American ought also to be alarmed by an expanding list of mis- steps and blunders. In a report last month for the highly capable and too-lit- tle-noticed Volcker Alliance -- whose goal is to improve government effectiveness -- NYU Professor Paul C. Light drew attention to what he calls "a shocking accelera- tion in the federal govern- ment's production of high- ly visible mistakes, miscal- culations, and maladminis- tration." He went on to say, "[T]he aging bureaucracy can no longer guarantee faithful execution of all the laws, and it has become increasingly unpredictable in where and how it will err." A moment's reflection will call to mind a sobering litany of failures: the inability to stop the 9/11 attacks; the confused, inad- equate response to Hurricane Katrina; the even more confused response to the 2008 finan- cial collapse; shortfalls in the care of our veterans; bridge collapses, mining accidents, and other fail- ures caused by inadequate funding for inspection and regulation; the breaches in white House security; the fact that we've now been fighting a war on terror for nearly 15 years with no end in sight... It's enough to make the staunchest cham- pion of government action lose hope. These failures can occur for many reasons: muddled policy, insufficient resources, poor organiza- tion, lack of leadership, lack of skills, sometimes even outfight misconduct. The question isn't really what or who is to blame. It's how we turn things arxmnd and reverse the accelerating pace of break- downs. To start, the executive and the legislative branch- es need to focus on the implementation of policy. A lot of hard work goes into its creation, both on Capitol Hill and in the agencies, but the sad truth is that much less attention goes to how it's going to be Subscribe to the Times! 276-762-7671 carried out. This is largely in the hands of the President, but Congress has a crucial role to play both in crafting the law to account for how it will be implemented, and then in pursuing oversight after- ward: Both branches need to pay attention to how they will assess effective- ness, anticipate problems, make sure that staffing is adequate, and provide nec- essary resources. Second, if making poli- cy today is complicated, so is implementing it. This means that we need skillful people within the govern- ment to carry it out. Let's be blunt. You don't want a second-rate lawyer negoti- ating arms control or trade agreements. You don't want third-rate scientists defining drinking-water requirements. Getting things right means hiring good people, retaining them, and then making sure they're held to account with well-con- ceived metrics. Finally, we have to put an end to the politics that so often stymies policy. Too often these days, the losers of a policy debate immediately turn to torpe- doing it. They block the filling of key positions, cut funding, twist the objec- tives, or impose hiring freezes. They block policy changes that would improve implementation, put unqualified executives in control, or tolerate mis- conduct and confusion. Some government failures aren't the result of mud- dled policy, lack of leader- ship, or incompetence; they're the result of what amounts to calculated sab- otage. - Most Americans want' government to work well. We want it to enhance the quality of our lives and our communities. Arguments over the appropriate size of government are important, but that's not the issue here. The issue is that when a policy is adopted, it needs to be executed effec- tively, whoever our next President turns out to be, let's hope he or she takes that charge seriously. Lee Hamilton is a Distinguished Scholar, Indiana University School of Global" and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. Clinch Valley Times MEMBER VIRGINIA PRESS ASSOCIATION Published weekly in St. Paul, VA Z4283. by the CLINCH VALLEY PUBLISHING CO., INC. The Clinch Valley Times serves the fotur-eotmty area of Wise, Russell, Dickcnson and Scou, with offices and plant located in the CLINCH VALLEY TLMES building, 16541 Russell Street. Periodicals postage is paid at the i~ost Office in St. Paul, VA 24283 Allen Gregory Editor/Adv. 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