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Clinch Valley Times
St. Paul , Virginia
January 29, 2009     Clinch Valley Times
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January 29, 2009

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Page 2 CLINCH VALLEY TIMES, St. Paul, VA, Thursday, January 29, 2009 Of shoes.. and ships., and sealing wax.. by A.. Thirty-five years This week ushers in another of those occasions when it's okay, at least for me, to say, "I can't believe that much time has passed!" Of course, I say that more and more often these days, since the "longer ago" gets longer--and longer--ago! In this case, how- ever, it really doesn't seem possible that it's been thirty-five years since my mother, Allen and I published the Clinch Valley Times the first time under our ownership. Yet, the first issue of February, 1974, marked our entry into the world of the small Weekly newspaper, and we've been at it ever since. My mother was the only one among us who had previous experience with a weekly newspaper. She :had been the advertising manager of The Paintsville :Herald, a weekly newspaper in Paintsville, Kentucky, • ;vhere we lived for seven years before moving to Virginia. She was with us until September 17, 1987. I've missed her every single day since then. i Such a lot of things have happened to dramatically ~hange our environment since 1974! I remember the tong gas lines that were among the first national issues which made direct hits on every city and town in the nation--a totally different situation from the $4 per gallon of gasoline we had to face and try to comprehend last summer, yet that, too, was a national issue which impacted everyone in the country.. The St. Paul Redevelopment Project, which lasted a total of 18 long years just to get to the point where actual development could take place, was certainly among the biggest on-going news stories which we faced in those early days. That project, called Dr. George Cain's "Impossible Dream," was just getting underway during those early days of our involvement with the Clinch Valley Times. Because it's the nature of things, the face of the Redevelopment Project Area continues to change, and new and viable businesses to replace some that have pulled out (or perhaps have never located here in the first place) are still sought by officials who are eager to expand our economic deve- lopment opportunities. That's a worthy goal, of course, particularly in these extraordinarily troubling economic times. Right up there with the biggest stories of the thirty-five years that we've been doing this has to be the introduction of the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center into our lives. A dominating factor in the news, not only here in St. Paul, but also throughout this region, and, indeed, in the state and parts of the nation, the development of the power plant his been at the core of an enormous amount of activity and controversy. At issue are the economic advantages which accompany the stimulation of the coal industry, of Southwest Virginia and increased tax base for St. Paul and Wise County that the coal-fired plant will bring, as opposed to the environmental issues which plant detractors contend threaten the health of resi- dents as well as contribute to the haunting spectre of : global warming. Neither the boost to the economy nor~ the threats, to healt~ and environment are going to go ~ away. ~. Perhaps the newest, and close to being the most earth-shaking of all developing news stories, is the effort by the Wise County School Board to consoli- date schools. One of the results which has been Letters to the editor oo,~ 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. president. One man said-he had traveled in the foreign countries and people all over the world seemed to know him. And when his name was mentioned leaders from all over the world gave his thumbs up. However I am somewhat worried about the later part of his career. During the speech he gave when people made racial slurs you could tell by the look on his face it was not what he wanted to hear. For me that was another plus for him. I To the Editori Well the world knows by now we have a new president. I was stuck up north in a motel room and watched bits and pieces of would like to ask all of God's him being sworn in. I think he people to let us join together in delivered a very good speech and prayer for all of our leaders in I admired him the way he this criticalh°ur" ~ conducted his campaign and P.S. Read David's speech that through his speech for not he gave when he became King making racial slurs. I think for over Israel. It is written in the time that we are living in he Psalms 101. will do a wonderful .job as Pastor:Jessie Jones J. Tanner Dotson ence. Dotson is a graduate of Cas- tlewood High School and re- ceived his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2006. He is the son of Randall and Teresa Dotson, Castlewood. Russell County man earns Professional Engineer's license J. Tanner Dotson, Castle- wood, was notified earlier this month that he has fulfilled the requirements for a Virginia pro- £essional engineer's license. Dotson, 26, took the profes- sional engineer's licensing exa- 'mination on October 24 in Wytheville and passed the day- ilong test on his first try. Dotson was tested on his general know- ledge of his civil engineering discipline, which covered a wide variety of topics from structural and geo-technical en- gineering to water-resource and environmental engineering. "It was something I worked for. I was hoping to pass it the first time," said Dotson, who currently works as a construc- tion coordinator for Dominion Virginia Power in the compa- ny's Virginia City Hybrid Ener- gy Center in St. Pauk Prerequisites for taking the engineering licensure lest were the passage of an engineer-in- training examination, which he took during his senior year at Virginia Tech, and four years of on-the-job engineering experi- fought locally is the closing of our community schools, particularly St. Paul High School, which has an enviable record of producing very well prepared graduates. This story has not yet been resolved, since sites are under discussion, and no plans for individual schools (there are, at least at this point, to be three of them) are in place. Because of the lack of concrete plans at this point, there is no budget in place, and the location of resources which would be able to provide more than $100 million in low-interest loans to the Wise County Schools to build the schools is unclear in this worldwide economic downturn. Of course not all of the news that we've covered has been quite as earth-shaking, locally speaking, as the power plant or the loss of St. Paul High School. We've seen the emergence and development of the Clinch River Days Festival into a wonderful, well- attended celebration of the environmem of the Clinch River and our community. This year's Festival, the eleventh, will continue to showcase the beauty of our region and recreational benefits which can be enjoyed in conjunction with the Clinch River, and will highlight the culture and talent of our people. St. Paul High School never fails to provide news, as students continue to achieve wonderful heights. The Clinch Valley Times has been there to tell you about SPHS's two Jefferson Scholars, and about the seven Team Estonoa students who went to the White House to receive an environmental award for their project, and their many other victories and triumphs! So we've weathered thirty-five years, are certainly older, and, we fervently hope, might be a bit wiser. See you next week at the start of year thirty-six! (NOTE: One reader took great exception to com- ments which appeared in this space January 15 con- cerning the US. News & Worm Report's America's Best High Schools evaluation results. He was of- fended that I failed to discuss the four divisions,into which those schools were divided: gold, silver, bronze and honorable mention. All of the Southwest Virginia schools which were-named On the Best High Schools list were in the bronze category. Eighteen of the 45 Virginia schools on the list were in the gold and silver rank, with the vast majority of those rated silver. (Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, ranked first in the country, had a gold ranking, one of only 28 in the nation to achieve that status.) The difference, our cri- tic pointed out, is that the bronze rankings do not include schools which evaluators felt adequately pre- pare all their students for college. That conclusion was based on results of Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate exams. The bronze- ranked schools have met the other criteria, which are based on state requirements. Since our reader is not a proponent or supporter of Virginia's Standai'ds of Learning (SOLe,), he apparently--and this is my opinion--feels the US. News & World Report results do not have much significance in the first place, but also thinks I was quite unfair in failing to discuss the Best High School divisions. Such was certainly not my intention, and I apologize to those who feel they were misled by my commentary.) . o..:: AVOID GETTING SICK THIS FLU SEASON Flu seasons are unpredict- able, and although only a few states are currently reporting widespread flu outbreaks, it is important to take precautions to prevent getting sick this flu season. For healthy children and adults, influenza is typically a moderately severe illness. The flu virus usually strikes the lungs and .damages the lining of the respiratory tract. The tissues become swollen and inflamed, and the flu sufferer can develop a sore throat, dry cough, fever, weakness, loss of appetite and body aches. For people who are older or in poor health, the symptoms suffered by all flu victims can be much more severe. Each year in the United States 5%-20% of the popu- lation gets the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu complications. In ord- er to protect yourself from the flu this season, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests a three-step method for reducing your risk: vaccination, every day prevention and antiviral drugs. Vaccination: Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against three different types of flu viruses which vary from year to year. Because the flu season can last as late as May, getting a flu vaccination now might still protect you against the flu. Every Day Prevention: There are a number of common sense, good health habits that help prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu: 1. Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick, and when you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. Wise County The Wise County Sheriff's Office reports the following activities for the period of 1/12/2009 through 1/18/2009. Wise Central Dispatch received a total of 1,340 calls for this seven- day period. Of the total calls received 341 were dispatched to the Sheriff's Office. Tgtal num- ber of Domestic C~IIS 'for this period was 19. Crimi~aaL iSrgcess for the same period served 5 Felony Warrants, 22 Misdemean- or Warrants, issued 4 Traffic Summons and worked 0 Traffic Accidents. Civil process for this period served 539 Civil Papers. During this seven-day period 18 The Richmond Senator Phillip Pucker We have just completed our second full week here in Richmond at the 2009 General Assembly. I plan to submit a weekly report, or update, to inform you of the happenings of the 2009 Session. This is going to be quite a hectic session as we already have 2,168 bills and resolutions that have been filed for consideration and review during this Session. Last week was very busy and we were honored and pleased to have many groups from "back home" visiting the General Assembly. I enjoyed getting to .see so many friends and familiar faces that it almost felt like I was back in Southwest Virginia. Appalachian Power Company Rate Increases I have received numerous calls, e-mails, and letters from constituents who are greatly concerned about Appalachian Power Company's (AEP) recent significant rate increases and the effect it is having on our citizens in Southwest Virginia. I have written to the three Commiss- ioners of the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to express my full opposition to these rate increases and to express my significant concerns with their effect on the citizens of our region, t can assure everyone that we are closely monitoring this issue and that, as previously stated, I am solidly opposed to Appalachian Power Company's extreme rate increases and I am doing everything I can to help• address this increase. I am well aware of the significant impact that these rate increases are having on our citizens and their financial ability to pay for necessities, like electricity, food, water and medicines. I have, communicated these concerns and my opposition to the State Corporation Commission, who is the independent body that is charged by law with making the decisions and ruling on the merits of Appalachian Power Company's rate increases. I would like to highlight a few legislative items of interest and importance that I have introduced during this Session: Senate Bill 1204 provides that property owners with an interest in oil or gas wells whose interest has been force-pooled shall receive a royalty payment of no less than one-eighth the value of production calculated at the point of the first arms-length sale. Such payment shall not be subject to reduction for operat- ing or other costs. I introduced this legislation on behalf of the citizens of Southwest Virginia who have expressed many concerns over the financial payments that property owners are receiving from the natural gas companies that operate in Southwest Virginia. Senate Bill 1460 requires the operator of any gas well, whe- ther a conventional or coalbed methane well, to replace any water supply .contaminated or interrupted by an operation that is within 750 feet of a water well. Surface owners must allow gas Well operators to sample water from such wells. Cur- rently, these requirements apply only to operators of coalbed methane wells and on to opera- tors of conventional gas wells. I introduced this legislation on behalf of the citizens of Southwest Virginia who have expressed several concerns to me over the actions of natural gas companies that operate in Southwest Virginia. Senate Bill 1336 establishes the Govemor's Broadband Advisory Council. The purpose of the Council shall be to advise the Governor on policy and funding priorities to expedite deployment and reduce the cost of broadband access in the Commonwealth. The council shall be staffed by the Office of Telework Promotion and Broad- band Assistance. In the coming days and weeks I will be providing additional updates on the legisla- tion and budget amendments that I have introduced this Session. If you would like to follow the legislation that I have introduced, or any other bill or resolutmn that is •being consid- ered I would welcome you to do so by directing you to the General Assembly's Legislative Information Website at http://leg ' I always enjoy seeing the many groups and individuals from "back-home" that come to Richmond to visit with us during the Session." It is always a pleasure to see familiar faces and to get an opportunity to visit with friends from home. If you~ are going to be in Richmond during the 2009 General Assem- bly Session please feel free to come by our offices in the 3rd Floor of the General Assembly Building. We will be in Richmond for the 2009 Session until Saturday, February 28 and I would enjoy hearing from the citizens of this district on any matters of interest..If I am in Session at the Capitol or in a committee meet- ing then please feel free to speak with my Legislative Assistant,, David Larimer II, who would be glad to assist you in any manner possible. Our Richmond number Is (804) 698-7538 and the mailing address is P.O. Box 396, Richmond, Virginia 23218. The toll-free number to express your views and opinions on issues before the General Assembly is 1-800-889-0229. ~ Stop 2. Stay home from work, when you are sick to preven() others from catching yours-I illness. 3. Cover your mouth an4'ii nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. 4. Wash your hands often with warm water and soag- for at least 20 seconds or use- alcohol-based hand sanitizer.S, 5. Avoid touching you~,. eyes, nose and mouth. Germs~ are often spread when as person touches somethirl&. that is contaminated wi~b- germs and then touches hi~? or her eyes, nose or mouth. - ,. 6. Drink at least 64 ouncesg of water each day. Healthy fluid levels aid in flushing, toxins, staying alert, burnin~ fat and regulating body temperature. 7. Keep your workspace clean even if you are the only user. Germs can live on your phone, keyboard and other items, and, you risk reinfect- ing yourself. 8. Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits and vege-, tables. 9. Take your daft, y; vitamins. 10. Use your vacation days., People who do not take vacations are more likely to: become ill. Antiviral Drugs: If you think you might have the flu or be at risk of being infected by the flu, visit your doctor t~ discuss antiviral drugs. Certaiia antiviral drugs can treat influem., za or prevent infection with flu; viruses. To effectively treat the flu, antiviral drugs must be: started within 48 hours of getting, sick. For prevention, antiviral drugs are 70%-90% effective in, preventing infection. MOTORISTS: t • for pedestrians in the Library Crosswalk... It's the law! Sheriff's Report additional Criminal Investiga, tions were initiated and 30 were cleared by arrest. The Sheriff's Office provided 234 man-hours of Court Room Security for the. three courts. The Sheriff's Office tran4 sported 5 adult in state, 1 aduR out of state, 3 mental patient, and 1 juveniles for a total of 10 transports, involving 42.5 hours., The Sheriff's Office unlocked 2 vehicles and escorted ,2 funerals during this seven-day period. Anup Agarwal to speak about India The Lebanon Library is pleased to host Anup Agarwal, native of India. Anup now lives; in Russell County. He will givea- presentation about life in India, on February 3, 2009 at 6:30 p.m., in the Lebanon Library Meeting Room. This program is free to: the public. For more information¢ contact Katie Britt at (276) 889- 8044. @ :i 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, 16541 Russell Street. Perio- dicals postage is paid at the Post Office in St. Paul, VA 24283. Ann Young Gregory Editor Allen Gregory Advertising Susan Trent Adv./Graphics ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS: In advance: $28.50 in Wise and Russell counties; $30.00 in other 24- zip codes; elsewhere, $32.50. POSTMASTER: send address changes to: Clinch Valley Times, 'P.O. Box 817, St. Paul, VA 24283 SINGLE COPY - 50c Classified Advertising: Minimum charge, $6.00 for up to 20 words, in advance; 25c per word after 20 words. Display Advertising rates on application. Periodicals publication Postal 1SSN: 767600