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Local Columns

Distractions aplenty in the Legislature

Starting today there are three weeks left in the 2020 legislative session. After last week, this session can’t end soon enough for me. Last Tuesday was the last day for bills to be introduced in the House of Delegates. Today is the last day for new bills to be introduced in the Senate. ...

There is much growth in the Ohio Valley

Despite the naysayers, there is much to be celebrated in our Ohio Valley. There has been growth, even if it doesn’t seem that way to most of the people looking around. Hopefully, in recent weeks you have been picking up our newspaper. Through that, you will get a taste of exactly what has ...

Focus on both justice and righteousness

By THE REV. PHIL VAN DAM Brooke-Hancock Episcopal Ministries It seems that there is a major disagreement among Christians over time: some Christians believe that the gospel is only about what is outside of time, while others only apply the gospel to what is inside of time, or the here and ...

Capito Connect sees progress in Hampshire County

Can you hear me now? Good. In 2014, I met with community leaders in Capon Bridge about moving West Virginia forward. It quickly became clear that without proper broadband infrastructure, economic growth would slow and attracting businesses would be difficult. Broadband affects nearly ...

The difficulty of constitutional amendments

As you read this we are now on the 34th day of the 2020 legislative session and by the end of the week two-thirds of the session will be behind us. It’s kind of ironic then, given that one of the key pieces of legislation — Senate Joint Resolution 8, phasing out the business and inventory ...

A week that brings some extra sweating

Better Half sweats extra this time of year, not that the weather warrants it. It’s this thing called Valentine’s Day. February might be the shortest month of the year even during a Leap Year such as this with an extra day thrown in for good measure, but it generates the most angst, even ...

Tear down the walls that divide us

House Minority Leader Tim Miley, during Thursday’s Legislative Breakfast, I found interesting. He encouraged the state’s elected officials, and, in fact, all residents, to be honest about the condition of West Virginia and where we need to go in order to grow and thrive. “I think ...

West Virginia’s children must come first

As state legislators, we are often asked what can be done to stop people from leaving West Virginia, to keep our best and brightest at home. We hear about it on the news, in the grocery store, and in our church pews — people are leaving West Virginia at an alarming rate and they are not ...

History in the Hills: Our material culture

As you may have noticed throughout these recent articles, I am very focused on “place.” Our landscape, river, towns — the physical places we inhabit are very important and can tell our story in unique ways. But what of our material culture? The actual tangible object is often all that is ...

Transparency an important step forward for prescription prices

It should come as no surprise that many AARP members in the Mountain State and nationally tell us they can’t afford the medications they need, and are forced to make difficult choices as a result. In a recent survey of voters age 50 and older, four out of ten people responded that they did ...

It’s a mostly quiet legislative session

Thursday will mark the halfway point of the 2020 regular session of the West Virginia Legislature. As I predicted, it’s been a very quiet session. Case in point, as of this writing there are only four bills that have passed both the House of Delegates and Senate and are awaiting the ...

Happy Groundhog Day, Super Bowl Sunday

I can’t get too excited about today being a dual holiday of sorts, what with it being Groundhog Day and Super Bowl Sunday. What are the odds of that, huh? Even so, I’m not seeing any special reminders on my calendar. No gold stickers. No exclamation marks. No wild circles made with a ...

Stick to the issues, not the political theatrics

Thinking of ways to attract new residents has been a major talking point in our state in recent years. Most of the time, the topic is surrounded by discussion of economic incentives and job creation with the hope of attracting new jobs to West Virginia, and thus, people willing to move here ...

Christ’s presentation in the temple

Today, 40 days after the birth of Christ, Mary and Joseph take the young child to the temple as was required by the Law of Moses. They were to bring a young lamb as an offering but being poor they were unable and brought two turtle doves instead. However, they did offer a young lamb in the form ...

It’s time for a permanent ban on fentanyl analogues

In 2017, almost 50,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses. To put that number into perspective, the amount of American lives lost due to opioid overdoses is nearly three times the population of the city of Martinsburg. It is apparent that West Virginia has been particularly hard hit by ...

Taking a look at the primary ballot

As predicted, the legislative session has been quiet so far, though that might change now that the candidate filing period has closed. Saturday was the last day to file, and while there might still be some filings working their way through the mail (if they’re postmarked for Saturday, ...

Surprises make a bad week much better

Surprises make a bad week better. Not that it was an awful week, but there are those moments during most any work and extracurricular week when you’re inclined to think, great earth, the grass has got to be greener somewhere else. One sweet surprise arrived on the porch midweek, a box ...

Encourage reading, make an investment in the future

Being able to read is something many of us tend to take for granted, even though it is an integral part of our daily lives. Literacy is at the core of our world. Without it, we have difficulty communicating, learning, working, driving, shopping and other tasks and aspects of our everyday ...

History in the Hills: Our historic landscape

Over the years, I have been very fortunate to have worked at some fascinating places. One of my most exciting opportunities was being a seasonal park ranger with the Richmond National Battlefield Park in Richmond Va. I was responsible for interpreting Civil War battlefields around the city ...

Focusing on the campaign filings and drama

While the second week of the 2020 legislative session was going on upstairs on the second floor of the State Capitol Building in Charleston, on the first floor candidates were lining up to get on the May 12 primary ballot and the Nov. 3 general election ballot. According to the West Virginia ...