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St. Paul , Virginia
February 28, 2008     Clinch Valley Times
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February 28, 2008

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7 Page 2 CLINCH VALLEY TIMES, St. Paul, VA, Thursday, February 28, 2008 and ships sealing wax by Ann Young Gregory It's really a shame when the passing of time and perhaps attention to more pressing matters, not to mention apathy on the part of some, allow cultural icons and the events for which they should be remembered to be swept out of the public mind. I thought of this when anticipating February 29, "Leap Day," the extra day we get every four years. Because traditions of "Leap Day" and Sadie Hawkins Day, the holiday which cartoonist A1 Capp invented in 1937, are similar, many people believed--and maybe some continue to believe, that Sadie Hawkins Day IS February 29, Not true. Maybe a bit of history is in order. A tradition 'which may go back as far as Saint Patrick in the fifth century allowed as to how leap years were the only times when it was permissible for a woman to propose marriage to a man. Some time later, probably in the thirteenth century, men apparently felt that an entire year was too long to subject them to such a radical rule, so the tradition gradually changed, and men became "at risk" only on February 29. So, jump ahead tot he twentieth century and A1 Capp's creation. I hope that everybody who was around then still remembers who Al Capp was, and what he did. He was the creator, of course, of Dogpatch, populated by Li'l Abner, Daisy Mae, Mammy and Pappy Yokum, Joe Bffsplk ("the world's worst jinx" who always had a dark cloud hanging over his head), Marryin' Sam, Moonbeam McSwine, Y enjoying watching the Sadie Hawkins Day race when I was a student at the University of Kentucky. The race, widely publicized ahead of time, was always held at halftime of a November football game, with the participating men getting a head start from the end zone, with the women soon after pursuing their "prey" to the other end of the field. The resulting couples attended that night's Sadie Hawkins Dance at the Student Union Building. (I don't remember that my high school ever staged a Sadie Hawkins event, but that may just be my senior memory!) Sadie Hawkins Day can almost be said to be an early expression of the Equal Rights Amendment (defeated but not forgotten), which sought to give women equality with men in the workplace. Another famous Capp creation--in Li'l Abner, of course, were the shmoon (the singular is shmoo). These delightful and lovable creatures, who lived only to please humans, resided in the Valley of the Shmoon. They were roughly pear-shaped, only with legs (no arms). If a human looks at a shmoo with anything approaching hunger, the shmoo throws himself into a frying pan (the results taste like chicken), or a roasting pan (tastes like beef), or produces milk, eggs and butter. Eaten raw, they taste like oysters. Their little beady eyes make perfect suspender buttons, and their whiskers, toothpicks. A perfect farm animal, in other words. Although Dogpatch loved the shmoon, corporate types who depended on more traditional Lena the Hyena, and many, many others. At the peak forms of farm products, destroyed most of the of its popularity; Li'l Abner was read daily by seventy million Americans, most of whom could recite just about every detail about Dogpatch and its residents One of Dogpatch's earliest and most prominent settlers was Hezekiah Hawkins, and he had a daughter named Sadie. When she remained a spinster at 35, he decided to do something about her marital status.Gathering the eligible bachelors of Dogpatch i together, he proclaimed the day to be "Sadie Hawkins Day." Hezekiah told the bachelors (and this is a direct quote from the Wikipedia" the free encyclopedia on the Intemet), "When ah fires (my gun), all o' yo' kin Dogpatch colony. Surviving shmoon returned to their Valley, where they never again were asked for help by humans. (I remember a piece of costume jewelry I had as a teenager--a little gold shmoo with black eyes and whiskers. It's probably still in an old jewelry box somewhere.) AI Capp, who retired in 1977, retired his memorable comic strip as well. The cartoonist won numerous awards during his career, appeared on the cover of Time Magazine (with Li'l Abner and Daisy Mae), but never got to see the United States Postage Stamp, issued in 1995, which featured Li'l Abner and start a-runnin[ When ah fires agin--after givin' yo' a Daisy Mac -T-he Broadway musical Which was fair start,-Sadie starts a runnin'. Th' one she adapted from the comic strip opened on November ketches'll be her husband." The first mention of this 15, 1956 (wonder if that was Sadie Hawkins' Day that earth-shaking event occurred in AI Capp's comic strip year), and ran for 693 performances. Li'l Abner on November 13 1937; with the actual Capp's politics, which were liberal in his early life Sadie Hawkins Day occurring later that month and later mined more conservative, were often Capp had no intention, evidently, of creating reflected in the comic strip as parodies of individuals anything lasting when he thought up "Sadie Hawkins and groups (such as Joanie Phoanie/Joan Baez and Dm " y, but like so many things, the idea took on a life SWINE-Students Wildly Indignant about Nearly of its own Just two years later, in 1939, Sadie Everything/SDS--Students for a Democratic Society). Hawkins Day was observed by students in at least 201 He also created Lower Slobbovia, a miserable frozen colleges in the United States as girls invited boys to land which vaguely resembled Siberia. He was a the "Sadie Hawkins Dance," a campus fixture in regular on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show for years, many places for nearly 40 years. High school students, until his increasingly conservative jabs at the peace too, took to the idea" and November dances in Sadie movement and culture-of-the-day in speeches on Hawkins' honor popped up at high schools all over college campuses outraged a few too many people. the country. A1 Capp, realizing that he had a winner, Although it's now another time altogether, and had the young women of Dogpatch announce that even though Sadie Hawkins Day isn't until Sadie Hawkins Day would be an annual event. It was November, you girls who remain traditionalists might held the Saturday on or just after November 9. want to remember that February 29, which is this Although I never participated, I remember week, offers the same opportunities! Letters to the editor, year because, besides the fact I ask the school board that there were over 175 girls members to look into your hearts trying out, the increased and fully understand the impact 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: Preserving Our Small Community Schools By way of introduction, my name is Gloria Meade Annarelli. I am a proud graduate of St. Paul High School, a graduate of Rad- ford College, a former high school teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a mem- ber of the Board of Directors in the St. Paul High School Alumni Association, the current website manager for spdeacs.org and voiceforcommunityschoOls.org, and as of a few years ago, a returning resident of St. Paul. I am also a person who embraces excellence in all things. Allow me to tell you my story. I Was born in St. Paul and lived there until 1 was three years old. Because the mines were on strike more often than not, my father took our family to northern Virginia to find work and begin a new life. While ! cannot tell you that my experience as a learner in the Fairfax County School System was lacking in terms of high academic standards, I can tell you this: We lived in the same house during all of my school days and during that time I attended three elementary schools, one junior high school, and three different high schools. As many of you know, the Virginia suburbs of DC have had nothing short of incredible growth since the end of World War II. To manage all of us baby boomers, new schools were thrown up all over the counties We were promised new state-of- the-art school buildings and facilities, a utopia of academic arid athletic opportunities and a plethora of school activities from which to choose. We did get many of the things money could buy - new schools, new sports facilities, new books - but we lost the things that money can't buy - an atmosphere of family, an environment where everyone belongs, a setting where the sh2 est or softest- spoken or most troubled is included as much as, if not more than, the star student. We got greater opportunities for the few standout athletes, but fewer opportunities for the average student. We had the hope of getting into a college prep class, but the despair of too many students fighting for too few slots. We had dreams of participating in extra-curriculum activities, but the reality of exclusion due to longer bus rides, lack of transportation, and the simple problem of distance. Among other things, we gained new safety and security concerns. More importantly, eve began to experience a sort of slow sociological erosion. We began to lose our identity. We lost our sense of belonging. At an age when it was already difficult to stand out from the crowd, it became easier for many to just go with the flow - "good enough" became good enough. And as we all know, "good enough" is NEVER ogg d eno n 0 u ghh. We lost our community. The kids that I started school with in the first grade were my community - my small school buddies. In this grand consolidation plan, we were re- zoned, re-tagged, blended in with children from other schools, bused for many more miles, shuffled, divided, and briefly reunited, just to be divided again. Basically, we were thrown hither and yon all over the county. So, even though these changes were not due to the deterioration or neglect of our school buildings, I cari tell you with certainty that I have real life experience with the consolidation of schools. But I was one of the lucky ones. Although somewhat shy, I loved to learn. I did well in school academically and socially. I was a well-rounded student and even made the girls' basketball team my sophomore year. As much as I wanted to try, however, I chose not to go out for cheerleading the following DISTANCE to travel back and forth for practice made the TOTAL COST to cheer prohibitive for me and my family. Still, I repeat, I was one of the lucky ones. Sadly, I watched many of my good friends fall into a pit of erosion. As classes were now larger, many struggled to keep up. The teachers no longer had the extra time to devote to every single student. Some of my classmates felt isolated. Some chose paths of self destruction. Some dropped out. Some who were once above average, silently blended into the masses. They lost their sense of community and belonging. They became just a number in a big fancy school complex. My ties to southwestern Virginia were always intact. As fate would have it, I was able to attend St. Paul High School my senior year. For this, I feel truly blessed. What I gained in that one year has lasted a lifetime. Quite-un---l-ike" wha-( my high school experience had become in northern Virginia, I observed that EVERYONE had the opportunity to participate in ALL activities. Excellence and involvement was highly encouraged- almost required! Everyone knew everyone. Teachers knew when a student was having problems and those teachers HAD THE TIME and CARED ENOUGH to get involved. Coaches encouraged participation from everyone and, in the process, taught a number of kids that they could do things they didn't believe were possible. When I go to high school reunions in northern Virginia, there is an obvious separation into three groups Each group represents the three high schools that merged into one large school. By choice and not by direction, they sit separated from one another I say a polite hello to the kids who merged in with my. school, but I sit and remmmce with the smaller group of close friends and classmates that I knew when we were still a small community. When l'go to reunions in St. Paul, I am AT HOME. that yo.u will have on the lives of our students in all six of our count.y schools. Our school experiences count in more ways than just what appears to look good on paper. You may think that the numbers justify the plan, but do you really want to be responsible for the increase in students who, in one way or another, fall through the cracks? When these larger schools fail the children, and they WILL, do you really want to be the one who says, I voted for that? Do you really want it on your conscience that you made the decision that changed the path of learning forever for even ONE child in Wise County? Be current in your decision- making--study after study shows the failings of larger consolidated schools and the value of small community schools. Consolidation is not the panacea it was once believed to be. Intangible excellence can NOT be measured in tax dollars and cost effectiveness. 1 ask you to remember this axiom- "Large and mediocre is NEVER better than small and excellent." Sincerely, Gloria Meade Annarelli St. Paul VA and Lawrenceville, GA To the Editor: One of the most serious issues to ever face St. Paul is the possible closing of St. Paul High School. Many St. Paul alumni and concerned citizens faced this threat head-on in the November school board election by supporting Kyle Fletcher over the consolidation candidate Vanessa Perry. Though Mr. Fletcher was not elected, his supporters knew that their vote was a vote for St. Paul High School and a vote for the future of St. Paul itself. With the upcoming town election, many candidates will be asking for your vote. All will tell you they want the best for St. Paul. I urge all citizens to ask the candidates where they stood during the recent school board election. Did they care enough about the town then to support a friend to St. Paul High School or did they support Mrs. Capitol Commentary AVOID GETTING dKThiS FLu sEASON Flu seasons are Unpredict- 2. Stay home from work able, and as of February 16, when you are sick to preve nt 2008, forty-nine states and the others from catching your District of Columbia were re- illness. f porting widespread flu out-. Cover your mouth and breaks. For healthy children and nose with a tissue when cough- adults, influenza is typically a ing or sneezing. 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 4. Wash your hands often with warm water and soap for least 20 seconds or use alcohol- based hand sanitizer. ' 5. Avoid touching yot r eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are a sore .throat, dry cough, fever, often spread when a person weakness, loss of appetite and touches something that 'is body aches. For people who are contaminated with germs and older or in poor health, the them touches his or her eyes, symptoms suffered by all flu victims can be much more severe. Each year in the United States 5%-20% of the population gets the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu complications. In order 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. no ,se or mouth. 6. Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. Healthy fluid lewels aid in flushing toxins, sta .ying alert, burning fat, and regulating body temperature. 7. Keep your work space cle:an even if you are the only user. Germs can live on your phone, keyboard and other items, and you risk reinfecting yourself. 8. Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. 9. Take your daily vitamins. 10. Use your vacation days. People who do not take vacations are more likely t9= become ill. Antiviral Drugs: If you think you might have the flu or be at risk of being infected the flu, visit your doctor to discuss antiviral drugs. Certain antiviral drugs can treat influenza or prevent infection: with flu viruses. To effectively treat the flu, antiviral drugs must be started within 48 hours geeing sick. For prevention,/ ant:iviral drugs are 70%-90% effective in preventing infection of flu. Perry who is willing to send our kids across Pine Mountain every day to school? I an tell you now that Jim Short, Steve Stewart, Ann Worley and Kyle Fletcher worked hard before the November election and are still working to see that St. Paul High remains open. Other candidates will have to answer for themselves nity, here, and I am beginning to beliieve it. 3) If they take our school" away fi'om us, what benefits will we receive from being a part of Wise County? (Other than, of course, the big deal of the county's relatively low tax rate.) 4) Any community, whether a church community, a town com munity, or a county community is based upon giving and taking. Ann Worley " iis "based on listening and St. Paul learming and compromising with: one another. Wise CountyI School Board and Wise County Board of Supervisors are going: to take (our school and a better education from our children), but what are they willing to give (fewer teachers employed, larg,: er classrooms, longer travel tim : and longer bus rides for child- ren, inferior fewei: education, opl:mrtunities for our children to parlticipator in athletic .and aca- dermic extracurricular activir tiesiO? They are apparently not willling nor do they want tO comsider the smaller communi: ties in this county, nor seriously, comsider that larger schools that hawe been proven to provide fi wemker education. In my opi niom, the Wise County School Boaird has ceased being an (continued on page 2) i ~/' i ( I'G!inch ! t[ alley ,[i Times MEMBER VIRGINIA PRESS ASSOCIATION Puiblished weekly in St. Paul, VA 24283, by the CLINCH VALLEY PUBLISHING :: co, c ]; Thte Clinch Valley Times li serrves the four-county area of Russell, Dickenson and Sc ott, with offices and plant located in the CLINCHI VALLEY TIMES building, '16:541 Russell Street. Perio-. dicals postage is paid at the Po,st Office in St. Paul, VA: 242283. Anm Young Gregory Editor AlUen Gregory Advertising Su,san Trent Adv./Graphics: Miichael Robinson Production ; ANINUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS: In ~advance: $25.00 in Wise and I[ Rmssell counties; $27.50 in other 1! 24-- zip codes; elsewhere, $30'00 Ii I PO~STMAsTER: send address |~ chamges to: Clinch Valley Times, P.O). Box 817, St. Paul, VA 242283 SINGLE COPY - 50c Clmssified Advertising: Minimum chmrge, $6.00 for up to 20 words, :in advance; 25c per word after 20 words. Display Advertising rates on application. Periodicals publication ' Postal ISSN: 767600 To the Editor: I have been the Pastor of First Baptist Church in St. Paul now for over 20 years. During that time, all three of my children have had the privilege of growing up in one of the best towns and communities (Castle- wood included) in Southwest Virginia. Living here has taught me a great deal about being a part of a small community and what it means to have the relationships that we have here, As far as I am concerned there is no better place to attend church, raise children, and educate them than the St. Paul- Castlewood area. I know that we have had and probably will continue to have more than our share of problems, but I still believe that it is a wonderful place to live. Yet our commu- nity in St. Paul is in danger of being severely weakened by the consolidation of Wise County Schools. If you will bear with me for a moment, I want to remind you of something that you all pro- bably know--any community stands or falls on the family, the churches and the schools. To- gether these become the basis for our relationships, neighbor- hoods, businesses, jobs and go- vernment. In addition to know- ing this about our community, you may also know that the third leg of this triad is now in deadly peril because we are about to lose St. Paul High School, and possibly some day St. Paul Elementary. I would like to give you my opinion on this matter. (It's not necessarily that of First Baptist Church--1 am its Pastor, but I cannot speak for its members on this matter). However, it is an opinion that I think many people share in our community, but no one is making it public at this time. I think the people of the town of St. Paul need to contact their Mayor and Town Council and ask them to start talking to our elected state officials and the Board of Supervisors from Rus- sell County about becoming a part of Russell County. The reasons I say that are: 1) All the talk about how good St. Paul High School is and how good an education our children are getting is falling on deaf ears. They don't care; the elected School Board wants to consolidate, period! 2) I've always heard that Wise County couldn't care less about St Paul and its commu- d 1 i