Top-notch journalism showcased

Wow! The article on Amanda Underwood’s quest to get her children back from an arrogant and all powerful DHHR in Berkeley County (Spirit, March 21) was the best example of real journalism that I have ever seen in West Virginia. The investigative reporting by Bryan Clark was impeccable and the writing was outstanding. In addition, the editorial page column on the same topic was excellent.

Anyone who missed this compelling story should go to the Spirit’s web site and read it; you won’t be disappointed. Along with its revelations of an arrogant and power hungry DHHR, the article reinforces the need for an intermediate appellant court in West Virginia and a need for a Supreme Court that will do more than blindly accept the decisions of government bureaucrats instead of fully reviewing the cases they hear. From this article, it is apparent that Judge Yoder would be an outstanding addition to the Supreme Court.

My wife, a retired public school teacher has had several unpleasant experiences with state government social workers and believes that this is a field that could use even more investigative reporting, especially if it is done as professionally as in this case. Hopefully, the Spirit will continue to do this high quality journalism.

Gary Dungan
Harpers Ferry

Boober deserves to be sheriff

My purpose in writing concerns the fact that my former colleague in law enforcement, Ed Boober, has filed as a candidate for sheriff of Jefferson County.

My name is Thomas F. Burgoyne and after a thirty-three year career in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, I served eight years as the sheriff of Ohio County. in Wheeling. It was during these eight years that I became well acquainted with Sheriff Boober as we both served on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia Sheriff’s Association. I also came to know the caliber of this law enforcement professional who had previously served as a Metropolitan D.C. police officer and Chief of Police in Ranson. I had occasion to meet several members of his department when he was serving as the sheriff and knew of the respect his employees had for him. Ed stepped down in 2008 and I applaud him for making the decision to continue his passion for public safety in his home community.

I would like the citizens of Jefferson County to know of Ed Boober’s reputation throughout the state of West Virginia and I feel sure that they will remember his efforts during his previous tenure. He deserves your vote of confidence.

Thomas F. Burgoyne

Improvements are appreciated

I just want to commend you on a string of improvements to the Spirit. The quality of reporting, paper layout, and general service — including making the paper available on the Web — is outstanding. I really appreciate having not only a long-standing community newspaper in Charles Town but one that is growing with the times. I really appreciate your efforts. Thanks.

Rich Bringewatt
Charles Town

Thank you, APUS

I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank American Public University for the wonderful colloquium they held on Saturday, March 10: “History, Identity, and Heritage of West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle.” We couldn’t ask for a better community partner than this institution.

I found all of the presentations excellent and learned a lot more about this special place.

It was also very rewarding to learn that many of these efforts were possible because of the support from AHA and the Two Rivers Giving Circle, locally based philanthropic organizations.

I am a member of the Giving Circle and we are always happy to have others who might be interested in joining us. If you would like to learn more, please contact the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation.

Ellen May
Charles Town

Maxey will bring the community together

Our two-river district contains many bridges. Some afford a quicker route into town. Others provide a scenic route for hiking. Some are weathered. Others are newly built. But what they all have in common is their means of connecting people to their destination and to each other.

When my husband and I first moved from the hyper-developed area of Silver Spring, Md. to the verdant Shannondale subdivision, we experienced the importance of a community bridge, too. We witnessed the St. Andrews Mountain Community Center, for instance, transform from a sleepy, historical structure to a vibrant meeting place. Friends and neighbors now enjoy fitness classes, preschool activities, film screenings, music events and a fully stocked library. Nonprofit organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and the Blue Ridge Watershed Coalition meet regularly in the former 1900s orphanage.

Much thanks for the survival of our community center is owed to John Maxey, Board Chair for the Saint Andrews Community Center Project (SAMCCP) and candidate for 66th West Virginia House District delegate. When the building was being threatened by the promise of real estate sale, Maxey volunteered to help revitalize the center and keep it in community hands. He now helps organize activities and leads new projects along with a dedicated group of volunteers. But his willingness to clean a 100-year-old basement; fix floor boards; stand in 90-degree sun to greet yard sale folks; and fervently pursue grant funding for the building’s upkeep is what makes him so inspiring.

I have met and continue to meet so many of my neighbors at that community center. More importantly, I regularly witness folks of seemingly disparate interests unite under one roof to support a young musician; check out a book; or keep their toddler busy. Everybody who walks through the center’s doors has its continued success in mind.

And Maxey is the bridge that helps make that possible.

Vanessa Stolarski
The Locavore Project
Harpers Ferry

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