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St. Paul , Virginia
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February 9, 2017     Clinch Valley Times
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February 9, 2017
 

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VoL LIX, No. 6 576 EX/C Smalltown Papers 217 W. Cota Street Shelton WA 98584 b '" 'The time has come,' the walrus said, 'to talk of many things . . .' " Thursday, February 9, 2017 ' Saint Paul Virginia ,,;~,=LJLK,:t ~ i a PRESS AssQialio 50 cents cites public safety risk and insufficient vetting by McAuliffe's restoration of their civil rights did not offer sufficient individual scrutiny. Slemp said, "I am pleased to hear the ruling of the Circuit Court deny- ing these firearms peti- tions. The Court's decision confirms my view that the Governor rushed to judg- ment last year with the mass restoration of felons' rights and did not apply legally sufficiently scruti- ny. My office will continue to fight these petitions to keep guns out of the hands of violent felons and sex offenders." Hearings were held in Wise on January 30, 2017 in the cases of Jack Presto Tickles and Rebecca Ann Maine. Tickles was con- victed in 1998 of aggravat- Chuck Slemp, Commonwealth's Attorney for Wise County & the City of Norton, announced that the Wise County Circuit Court recently denied two petitions filed by convicted felons seeking the restora- tion of their right to possess a firearm. Slemp opposed the petitions, citing public safety risks and concerns that Governor Terry ed sexual battery and inde- cent liberties against a child by a custodian. His rights were restored by Governor McAuliffe in an executive order dated September 23, 2016. Maine was convicted in 1988 of unlawful shooting of a firearm at an occupied dwelling. Her rights were also restored by McAuliffe on October 14, 2016. Wise County Circuit Court Judge Chadwick S. Dotson issued court orders denying both petitions late last week. The Tickles decision cites to last year's Virginia Supreme Court decision which declared the Governor's restoration of over 200,000 felons to be unconstitutional. The Court order suggests that subsequent felon restora- tion orders issued Governor McAuliffe were likewise improper. According to the order, "Under the circumstances that exist inthe present case, the Court finds very little that would distinguish this matter from the blanket restoration deemed uncon- stitutional by the Supreme Court in Howell v. McAuliffe." It is illegal for a convict- ed felon to possess or trans- port a firearm. However, the law establishes a proce- dure for the court to issue a permit allowing a felon to possess and carry a firearm, ammunition for a firearm, or a stun weapon in Virginia. These petitions may not be filed unless and until "civil rights have been restored by the Governor." If the Governor has restored a felon's civil rights, a judge must con- duct a hearing and find there is good cause shown for the permit to be issued. Slemp said, "Governor McAuliffe's mass restora- tion orders were nothing more than a dangerous political stunt., These cases demonstrate the serious unintended consequences of the Governor's action and the resulting risk to public safety." Slemp con- tinued, "Previous Governors exercised sig- nificant scrutiny before restoring a felon's rights. This Governor has made it a policy to restore felon rights almost automatical- ly. That policy leaves us in doubt about whether these individuals are truly wor- thy of the privilege and thereby places the public in danger:" Slemp stressed, "To be clear, I strongly support the right of law-abiding citi- zens to keep and bear arms. I also support the idea of redemption, rehabilitation, and forgiveness for those who have paid their debt to society. However, I remain deeply troubled for the safety of our Commonwealth in light of the Governor's rush to judgment and the undue stress that cases like these place on victims." Oak Grove United Methodist Church St. Paul Elementary fundraising update Last week, LaDonna "Nursey" Cantrell of St. Paul Elementary School informed the Clinch Valley Times that primary funding for SPES students' Washington D. C. trip is now complete. The $18,000 needed to cover the tour company's fees for 21 students and 9 faculty chaperones has been raised thanks to individual contributions and special fundraising events. However, additional money is still needed for "incidentals," and fundraising efforts will be ongoing. If you haven't already done so, please consider sending a contribution to help support this worthy event. Donations can be mailed to St. Paul Elementary School at PO Box 1067 St. Paul VA 24283. uess AA-Sundays and Tuesdays: Big Stone Gap, 8 pm, Episcopal Church. Tuesdays: St. Paul, 6:00 pm St. Paul United Methodist Church. Wednesdays: Wise, 8 pm, Trinity United Methodist Church. Fridays: Clintwood, 7:30 pm, Clintwood United Methodist Church. ST. PAUL IDA BOARD-Fourth Mondays, 6 pm, St. Paul Town Hall. ST. PAUL TOWN COUNCIL-Third Mondays, 6 pm, Town Hail. CASTLEWOOD W& SA-The Castlewood Water & Sewage Authority Board of Directors, 6 pm second Mondays. ALZHEIMER'S SUPPORT-First Tuesday, 1 pm, Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens office, Claypool Hill. Free. NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS- Tuesdays and Saturdays, 8 pm Presbyterian Church, Norton. CASTLEWOOD LODGE #231-Stated meetings will be held the third Saturday of each month. The School of Instruction will be held on fourth Thursdays at 7. ST. PAUL LODGE #343-Second Thursdays, 7:30 pm, Stated Communication; First Thursday, 7 pm School of Instruction. VFW POST #8652, DAV CHAPTER 12- 4th Tuesday, 7 pm, VFW, Riverview, Coebum. RUSSELL -CO. BOARD OF SUPER- VISORS-First Monday, 6 pm, Lebanon. CLINCHFIELD LODGE #256-Stated Communication, 1 st HIUt!UIN)I!UUII!Ilill Thursdays, 7:30; School of Instruction third Thursdays, 7 pm RECOVERY GROUP-The Wise County Mental Health Center conducts a recovery group for sub- stance abusers and fam- ilies Fridays at 10 am Call 276-'679-0810. ACOA MEETING- Adult Children of Alcoholics meet Mondays, 7 pm, First Baptist Church, Coeburn. Call 762- 0016, 276-395-6588 or 276-679-7371. LITTLE LEAGUE- The Clinch River Little League Board meets at 3 pm third Sundays at Ma Whitenack Little League Field. All inter- ested persons are invit- ed to attend. H.O.P.E. HOUSE- H.O.P.E. House pro- vides emergency shel- ter for victims of domestic violence in Wise, Russell, Dickenson, Lee, Scott and Buchanan counties and the City of Norton. Volunteers needed- training available. Call 1-800-572-2278. SENIOR CITI- ZENS-The Castle- wood Senior Citizens meet at 10 am Wednesdays at the Castlewood Lions Den. Anyone 60 or over is invited. The Dante Senior Citizens meet each Monday and Tuesday at 10 am at the Dante Fire Department. Russell County residents 60 or older are invited. RUSSELL CO. LIBRARY-Hours at the Russell County Public Library, Lebanon, are Mon 10am-2pm; Tue & Thur 10am-dpm; Wed & Fri. 10am-5:30pm; Sat 10-3pm. MATTHEWS LIBRARY-Hours at the J. Fred Matthews Memorial Library, St. Paul, are: 9:30am- 6pm Monday; 10:30am-7pm Tuesday; Closed Wednesday; 9:30-6 pm Thursday and Friday. Saturday Closed. Sunday Closed. DICKENSON- BUNDY-The Dickenson-Bundy Log House is open weekly Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 to 4 and Sundays 1 to 3. SOCIAL SECURI- TY-The Wise Social Security Office is open Mondays-Fridays from 9am-4pm. Phone num- bers are 1-800-772- 1213 or 276-679-7633. LIBRARY FRIENDS-Friends of the J. Fred Matthews Memorial Library, St. Paul meet at the Library on first Tuesdays at 5:30 pm. VFW POST 9864- VFW Post 9864, Lebanon, welcomes new members. If you served overseas during any war, write VFW Post 9864, P.O. Box 1419," "Lebanon, VA 24266 and send name, address and phone number. Transfers wel- comed. HEALTH SER- VICES-The Wise County Health Department, Wise, is open from 8am-dpm first Thursdays. Clinics will be offered in family plan- ning, pediatrics, school and adult physicals, WIC, Paps and immu- nizations. Appointments are nec- essary for all but immu- nizations. For an appointmenL call 762- 328-8000. FACILITIES AVAILABLE-The Tacoma Community Center is available for reunions, birthdays and showers. All proceeds reha- bilitate the Tacoma School as a Community Center. For informa- tion, call 395-6398. 100TH BIRTH- DAY-Appalachian Agency for Senior Church and church-related activities Citizens recognizes persons in Russell, Dickenson, Buchanan and TazeweU counties who are 100 years old or older. Call Dana Collins, 1-800-656- 2272, to advise AASC of anY upcoming 100th birthday. SUPPORT GROUP-Women sur- vivors of sexual assault are invited to attend Clinch Valley Communication Action, Inc./Family Crisis Services' sup- port group meeting with victims of similar situations Mondays, 10:30 am-12 noon. For information call Rande Hackler, 276-988-5583 or Ranetta Davis, 276- 889-8206. FREE ADULT ED: Free adult education classes are available in Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the City of Norton. Daytime and evening classes for adults who want to improve their b~sic skills. Instructors also assist adults with job- related skills including resume, writing and interviewing. For details, call 1-800-422- 3433 or 276-386-2433. TRANSPORTA- TION- The Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens pro- vides disability trans- portation services in Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties to individuals with disabilities, regardless of age. Call 1-888-656-2272. GENEALOGY GROUP-The Russell County Genealogy Group meets 5:30 pm first Thursdays, Russell County Public Library, Lebanon. Group purpose is "to learn, to share and to perpetuate family history." William T. Fuller, 276-623-3410 See CALENDAR, Page 8 calendar on page 3 by Jerry Couch They first began arriv- ing in the United States in large numbers during the late 19th century and early 20th century. They came here because their home- land had been mired in a series of overlapping con- flicts with neighboring countries since the mid- 1800's. With no strong central government, regional warfare also sim- mered and erupted. The result of this strife was a seamless carpet of endless war. Their coun- try's national economy declined and a generation of children grew to maturi- ty never having experi- enced anything but war and poverty. Many people faced the most difficult cir- ' cumstances. Worn out and discour- aged by a seemingly hope- less situation, some citi- zens of this county made the difficult decision to emigrate to the United States. In those days, the cheapest trans-Atlantic ticket cost about $30 expensive if you were poor. Steerage passengers found conditions aboard ship to be spartan at best, grim at worst. Passenger space had been converted from what had formerly been cargo holds. Unfortunately, new arrivals quickly discovered they had exchanged one set of negative circumstances for another. They found themselves vilified in newspapers as an undesir- able criminal element. Politicians heatedly claimed the immigrants' intent was subversive - that the violent overthrow of the United States would surely follow. Immigrants were denounced from pul- pits because, it was claimed, their allegiance to the laws of their religion was greater than their alle- giance to the laws of the United States. Some of the immigrants made their way to Appalachia where they worked in coal mines or building railroads. Most, howeVer, were relegated to foul slums in major north- ern Cities. There, multiple families often crowed into one or two rented rooms in tenements owned by wealthy and socially prominent slumlords. Ironically, these slumlords' luxurious lifestyle was financed by deepest mis- ery. Mortality was unusu- ally high among the old, the weak, and the very young. Epidemics were common. Six days each week, small children worked long hours alongside adults in sweatshops. Younger chil- dren did piecework at home. Predictably, wages were low. Many immi- grant workers were held in conditions of peonage - locked up by their employ- ers to keep them from walking off the job in vio- lation of shady "employ- ment contracts." Many who signed these contracts couldn't read them and did not realize they contained illegal, exploitative provi- sions. But even if they could have read their con- tracts, they had little choice but sign them. Peonage had been specifically outlawed by the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution. However, the fetid, linger- ing presence of "involun- tary servitude" seems to have caused little outrage - because it was profitable. Local government and law enforcement cooperated by arresting and returning immigrants to the custody of their employers. Socially and economi- cally, immigrants were treated as "less than.'" In what should have been a classless land of freedom, th'ey were treated as some- thing less than white. They were collectively referred to by disparaging ethnic slurs and epithets. Meanwhile, the king of the immigrants' native land lodged a formal diplomatic protest with the State Department. Nothing improved as a result and diplomatic relations with the United States were cut off for a time. Eventually, immigrants were able to improve their lot by becoming US Citizens. Through the most rigorous personal economies, they saved their wages and set up small businesses. Even so, they continued to be vic- tims of harassment and sometimes even assault in the streets. There were cases of homes and busi- nesses being vandalized. In New Orleans and Tampa (and presumably other places as well) there were documented cases of these people being lynched. Who were these people, you ask? They were ..... ITALIANS. NOTE: I began my research for this article a couple of years ago after examining local "Declarations of Intention," the first step in immigrants' path to citi- zenship. I also came across an oral account (unveri- fied) from my own family history describing immi- grant workers at Dante being locked inside a com- pound at night to prevent their escape. We owe a great deal to these immi- grants. They worked hard and earned the respect of our community. Their descendants are true Appalachians because their ancestors were pioneers, too. We are thankful for them, and for that reason, I will not italicize the word THEY in this final sen- tence. Today, that former "us vs. them" status no longer exists.