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March 20, 2014     Clinch Valley Times
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March 20, 2014

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Page 2 CLINCH VALLEY TIMES St. Paul, Va. Thursday, March 20, 2014 It g wax.. by Ann Young Gregory Reprinted from March 15, 2012 I'm one of the all time big fans of the Food Network and its population of cooks and chefs, but I don't assume that everybody else knows who they all are. One of my favorites is Mario Batali, who, sur- prise, cooks Italian stuff. He, with Michael Symon and several other people also appears on an ABC pro- gram at 1 p.m. called "The Chew" (one supposes that title's a take off of"The View," also an ABC program) Anyway, one of Mario's standard comments is some- thing about Italian food followed by "everybody" wants to be Italian. I mention that because, although the nationality is different, the sentiment is related to the mood of the Irish this week as St. Patrick's Day waits for us on Saturday. That's one holiday, I think, when everybody, at least almost everybody, claims either to be Irish outright, or at least to have Irish connections one way or another. Some cities which have a high percentage of pop- ulation with Irish ancestry celebrate St. Patrick's Day as a major holiday, serving green beer, hosting parades--and I believe I even read several years ago that a city beside a river actually dyed the river green for several miles! (I can't give you specifics on that-- I may even have made it up./But if nobody in an Irish dominated city beside a river has ever dyed the river green--maybe they should.) While it appears that green beer and other similar observances are traditional in the nation's Irish pubs, I doubt very much that Saint Patrick would recognize any of them. He is considered the patron saint of Ireland (although two others, Brigid of Kildare and Comcille, neither of whom I've heard previously, are also formally recognized as patron aints of Ireland). The star of the show, anyway, is Saint Patrick. He lived many centuries ago----one reference suggests that he lived from sometime in the fourth century until late in the fifth century, with his work as a missionary in Ireland beginning in 428 and stretching into the sec- ond half of that century. He was born in Britain, the son of a Romanized family. (The references I found were unclear about what that means, except that the family possibly lived in that section of the British Isles now known as Wales. The father was a minor official, evidently in the Roman bureaucracy.) When he was 16, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders and for the next six years was condemned to life as an enslaved herdsman in Ireland. He somehow escaped and returned to his family. He had a dream that the ship which would carry him back to his fami- ly in Britain was ready, and, inspired by that dream, he managed to escape. Two letters which are credited to Patrick survive. One, called the Declaration, is the more important, as it relates a brief account of his life and the mission he was given. It also outlines charges which were filed against Saint Patrick, evidently based on accusations that he was involved in some sort of financial impro- priety. In his letter, he said he returned gifts, did not accept payment for baptisms or for ordaining priests (neither was evidently an uncommon or unaccepted practice at the time), and paid for many gifts for kings and judges (the suggestion is that the church would normally have paid for these gifts). Insofar as his mission was concerned, he wrote in this same letter that he baptized "thousands of peo- ple." He also ordained priests, and converted wealthy women (must have been a lot, according to the refer- ence I used), many of whom eventually became nuns. Speaking of his works, in spite of the spirited legend that Saint Patrick banished all the snakes from Ireland, scientific evidence indicates that Ireland hasn't ever had any snakes. To give you an idea about how long ago Saint Patrick lived, one reference I found outlined some ways the Druids, hostile to Christians, argued against Saint Patrick. There's a work called "Two Patricks," describing a bishop named Palladius, sent by Pope Celestine I as the first bishop to Irish Christians in 431. Another cleric, Irish-born Saint Ciaran Saighir the Eider, was the first bishop assigned to one section of Ireland. He died early in the fifth century. Evidently, over the centuries, some of the works of these two Christians has been attributed to Saint Patrick. The date of Saint Patrick's death isn't known, although there are several theories. There seems to be no doubt that the specific date was March 17 ,although the year isn't certain. One source gives 461 AD, and an earlier estimate (announced in 1940) was 420. At this point in time, the precise date isn't particularly relevant, since we know that Saint Patrick died sometime during the fifth century, AD Patrick's formal education lacked either duration Spent in acquiring it or substance of the education itself, because he was originally hesitant to take the assignment in Ireland, evidently feeling that he wasn't adequately prepared. Once there, however, he set out to do the tasks he'd been assigned without concern for his earlier lack of confidence in what he was to do. Somehow, after all that, ordering green beer in a pub as a means of observing Saint Patrick's feast day just doesn't get it done! I'm certain that the Roman Catholic Church has a much more appropriate cele- Once back in Britain, he nearly starved, and was bration ritual for Saint Patrick. taken captive once again, although briefly this time, While some of us may have a religious ceremony before he managed to find his family, to attend to honor this man who lived almost 16 cen- Little more is known of his life until he returned to turies ago, most 9f us d little more than try to remem- north West of ireland as an ordained bishop. ' her t0 Weari 6mething green in his memory. Letter to the Editor .S thanks for To the Editor: On behalf of the staff and Friends Group of the J. Fred Memorial Library, I would like to thank those of you who attended the recent concert by Megan Clay & Charlie Engle and 49 Winchester at the St, Paul High School Auditorium. Thanks, also to the St. Paul Elementary School staff for their assistance. We certainly appreciate the continued support from the community for the Library. Proceeds from this fundraiser will be used to sup- port programs at the Library. Stop by and check us out! Kathy Stewart Friends of the Library LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Readers are invited to write letters on matters of gen- eral interest to the public. Letters do not necessarily reflect the philosophy or editorial policy of this newspa- per, which reserves the right to edit letters. The Clinch Valley Times will not print unsigned letters. Items of lnterest -- CLINCH ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION SYMPOSIUM The Second Annual Clinch Environmental Education Symposium will be held March 29, 2014 at the St. Paul Elementary School. Please see the website for more informa- tion including a schedule of events, presentation top- ics, and guest speakers: http://clinchriverva.corn/ev ents-and-resources/#Sym. VEGETABLE GARDENING 101 WORKSHOP Wise County Extension Agent Phil Meeks and Wise County Master Gardeners will hold a Vegetable Gardening 101 workshop on Saturday, April 5, from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon at the Tacoma Community Center. For a list of topics, to register, or for more information Contact Phil Meeks at or 276-328-6194. DANTE LIVES ON 10TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION Dante Lives On cordial- lY invites you to the 10th Annual Celebration of the Dante Coal and Railroad Museum April 19 at the Dante Community Center beginning at 5:00 p.m. with a hot dog supper, cake walk and live music with Bluegrass Circle. Jam session following. The Museum will be open for tours all week beginning Sunday, April 13. SPECIAL EDUCATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE There will be a meeting of the Russell County School System's Special Education Advisory Committee on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. at the Russell County School Board Office. All interested parents and citi- zens are cordially invited to attend. GENERAL ASSEMBLY REPORT Del. Ben Chafin It's Not Free Money As legislators, we've come to expect that each session will present lively debate around a range of challenging topics, but the 2014 General Assembly has been tasked with addressing a number of contentious issues. Chief among them is the pro- posed expansion of Obamacare and Medicaid in Virginia. As background infor- mation, Medicaid is a part- nership program between the federal government and the states. In Virginia, we evenly split the cost of Medicaid with the federal government. Under Obamacare the federal government has promised to pay 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion for a short period of time, but after that the burden would begin to shift back to Virginia taxpayers. About 1 million Virginians are already cov- ered by Medicaid and this program alone makes up nearly one quarter of the Commonwealth's budget. Each year, we see Medicaid growing around eight percent over the pre- vious year. And over the past 30 years, we've seen Medicaid in Virginia expand an unbelievable 1,600 percent. And now, we have been asked to consider yet another expansion. In evaluating this possi- bility, we believe there are several issues that must be fully examined, beginning with the fact that Medicaid is in need of serious reforms. Costs are out of control, patients are not receiving the quality care they deserve and the pro- gram is plagued by waste, fraud and abuse. Further, many physicians have stopped providing service to Medicaid recipients. It seems unwise to expand a program with so many flaws. A frequently-voiced concern is that Virginia hospitals are in trouble and need this money. However, much of the strain on Virginia hospitals can be attributed to federal cuts. Under Obamacare the fed- eral government has reduced Medicare reim- bursements to hospitals as well as targeted providers in the budget sequestration that started last year. Not only is this harmful to hos- pitals, but it translates into scary situations for seniors who are relying upon this program and have dimin- ishing confidence in its ability to provide consis- tent care. The bottom line is that expanding Medicaid will not right the wrongs of reduced Medicare reim- bursements for hospitals, and Virginia taxpayers should not be on the hook to correct such a costly mistake by the federal gov- ernment. When considering the financial possibilities, Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would have sig- nificant, long-term ramifi- cations on Virginia's budg- et process. We've been promised that an expansion would be affordable, but based on actions from the federal government, we're skepti- cal of their ability to keep these promises. Essentially, we believe Virginia would be left to absorb the costs, which would tremendously impact other core functions of government. That means fewer dollars funneled into schools to teach our chil- dren, smaller budgets available to build or main- tain bridges and roads, and reduced funding for State Police and other essential public safety personnel. It's just not responsible to coumt on such a lofty finan- cial ipromise from the fed- eral government. Feather basis for skepti- cism lies in the many citi- zens - several of our con- stituents - who are experi- encing frustration and a feeling of broken promises surrounding Obamacare, which has been disastrous. The website rollout was badly botched and perfect- ly good health care plans have been canceled with- out explanation. Individual premiums have skyrocket- ed as have taxes on Virginia employers. In fact, we frequently hear the claim that we need to "get our tax dollars back" from Washington by expanding Medicaid. But remember, these are new taxes created by Obarnacare. The majority of these new taxes fund subsidies in the federal exchange" and cover the administrative cost of Obamacare. Only a small fraction of those funds would actually come back to Virginia for Medicaid expansion. Many in Washington, including President Obama, are already look- ing for ways to shift the burden back to the states. Congressman Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, says "there's no way" Congress will be able to continue funding the federal match rate. Our federal government is already $17 trillion in debt. The money to expand Obamacare will ultimately have to either be printed at the Treasury Department or borrowed internationally. Medicaid expansion is not free money, and it Certainly does not come without sig- nificant strings attached. When Congress and the president finally ge around to dealing With our nation's fiscal crisis, it is reasonable to assume that one of the first items they will offioad to the states is the cost of Medicaid expansion. Virginia taxpayers will be left to pay this devastating bill. There's no way to know exactly how much it will cost, but conservative estimates put it well into the hundreds of millions dollars. As representatives for Virgmians, it is our respon- sibility to act in the best interest of the Commonwealth and its res- idents. Blindly rushing into an agreement with the fed- eral government to expand Medicaid without an understanding of the cost or the restrictions placed on the state is not the right answer. And given the serious flaws in the current Medicaid program, we could not support expan- sion without extensive reforms to make the pro- gram more efficient and effective. In our view, Virginia would be wise to avoid becoming ensnared in the tangled web of Obamacare, Medicaid expansion and fiscal irresponsibility. The Wise County Sheriff's Office reports the following activities for the period of 03/03/2014 through 03/09/2014. Wise Central Dispatch received a total of 1,510 calls for this seven-day period. Of the total calls received 314 were dis- patched to the Sheriff's Office Total number of Domestic calls for this period was 11. Criminal Process for this period: Served 33 Felony Warrants, 34 Misdemeanor Warrants, 0 DUI Arrests. Civil Process Served: 276 Civil Papers Traffic Accidents: 8 8 Additional Criminal DEADLINES: EDITORIAL copy (anniversaries, birthdays, wed- dings, calendar items, press releases, etc.) 4 p.m. Monday ADVERTISING (Classified and display) 12 noon Tuesday Investigations were initiat- ed and 35 Cleared by Arrest. Sheriff's Office provid- ed 188 man-hours of Court Room Security. Unlocked Vehicles: 23 Escorted Funerals: 7 The Sheriff's Office Transported: 1 Adult In State 0 Adults Out of State 0 Mental Patient 2 Juveniles Total Transports: 3 Total Transport Hours: 22.5 12 .,~ Cinch: :::: Times Pub~L~ ~w:&ly ~t SL P~,& 2:421L% ~.NN,~LA1, ,~l,.~iSCllft lIONS: chnn~ to: C~lid~ V:~h:y VA 212~ I V'