Thanks for library turnout

Dear Friends:

Again, I would like to thank all the people who showed up at the Town Council meeting on Tuesday, June 12 to discuss the “proper location” of the new Shepherdstown Public Library.

Despite some differences of opinion, it is clear that the majority of people care very much about the library, and want to see it continue to thrive within the community. Many questions were answered and while all parties will never be completely satisfied, now that the facts are known, the suitability of the current location at the brownfield has become apparent to most. Yes, there will be development in that direction – there will be townhouses and stores and possibly even a medical clinic – but that need not detract from the quaint, original downtown of Shepherdstown.

The Library in the Market House will continue to thrive and serve the patrons who prefer to go there, and the new facility will serve the entire service population with a spacious building, programs and activities that meet their needs. We now need to join forces and work together as a community. We welcome your involvement as we move forward with this exciting project and hope to meet many new patrons along the way. If you would like to be involved, please contact anyone at the library.


Hali Taylor

Director, Shepherdstown Public Library


Rockefeller steps up to the plate

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, although a skilled politician, has never resorted to cajoling and catering to the populous for votes.

Even though he is a strong supporter of the coal industry, he has made it clear that the problems of pollution in the burning of coal must be addressed. Unlike the junior senator from West Virginia, Rockefeller wants to find solutions. Sen. Manchin has made millions as a coal broker and has spent most of his short tenure in Washington representing those interests.

Rockefeller stood tall last week when he bucked the GOP effort to undermine President Obama’s EPA rule to diminish mercury emissions from coal fired power plants.

Reminiscent of Sen. Robert Byrd’s position on coal vs. the environment in his final days, Rockefeller called Sen. Inhofe’s effort “foolish” and described the long term health effects of the rule “enormous.”

Since the 1990s, the Senate has heard testimony from scores of independent medical practitioners about the dire effect of mercury on human health, the cancer causing toxin which is emitted by coal fired power plants.

The senator was obviously referring to Manchin when he spoke, his voice reverberating, “This is a critical and contentious time in the mountain state. The dialog on coal, its impact and the federal government’s role has reached a fevered pitch. But my fear is that concerns are also being fueled by the narrow view of others with divergent motivations, one that denies the inevitability of change in the energy industry, and unfairly leaves coal miners in the dust. The reality is that many who run the coal industry today would rather attack false enemies and deny real problems than find solutions.”

Addressing the politics of the coal industry against the EPA, Rockefeller said, “Despite the barrage of ads, the EPA alone is not going to make or break coal.” Rockefeller, whose family also has a long history with the coal industry, continued, “There are many forces exerting pressure and that agency is just one of them. We need real world solutions to protect the future of coal … I oppose this resolution because I care so much about West Virginians.”

Sen. Boxer of California, who has long fought for energy independence and a healthy environment by using all our sources of energy in a clean and safe way said, “I believe when the next historian writes a book about leadership, courage, and integrity in the United States Senate, that this speech today will be featured in that book.”

Kelly Sparks

Retired UAW Legislative Rep.

Ronceverte, W.Va.


Doyle burns slowly on Civil War

 Regarding your June 20 column by John Doyle, may I, as a onetime Jefferson resident and once unsuccessful Doyle opponent, agree with Doyle for once?

Doyle is correct on Ken Burns’ Civil War film. Burns was unfair to West Virginia and dishonest to history by omitting our statehood as key war product. John cites historic/political issues. I’ll add some artistic/sports reasoning as fuel to Burns’ omissions.

Burns, while successful, is no commercial producer. He doesn’t tell dramatic stories, which allow shaded facts. Burns makes long documentaries on truth. He produces all his films for public broadcasting. And we know only truth is ever carried over national, commercial-free, public broadcasting.

Never forget Burns’ popular documentary on professional baseball. It reported the moves of Giants and Dodgers to the West Coast as well as changes vital to this region — namely St. Louis Browns to Baltimore and Washington to the Twin cities, while expansion team tried to resemble old Senators. Think how Burns baseball film could have jarred public sensibilities had he overlooked all baseball site changes as he did West Virginia.

Like Doyle, I cannot accept Burns claim he “loves West Virginia.” Indeed, the most important West Virginia key is loving our independence. Does anyone think the Civil War would have remained the same without West Virginia? One minor footnote: had Stonewall Jackson remained loyal to his native West Virginia and fought for the North, he would not been killed by accident and the war might have ended two years sooner.

How can any truthful, factual producer like Burns overlook such a vital aspect of his story as the ultimate result?

I salute my political victor Delegate Doyle. Ken Burns’ 608-minute TV documentary of the Civil War which first came on the airways in September 1990 was a “good show.” But far from “truth,” it omitted the most significant state. There should be a big asterisk added to Burns’ baseball film’s last reel noting many differences between balls used, parks played in, pitching and game rules — all of which translate to make Babe Ruth the greatest American hitter of home runs during the lion’s share of the sport known as professional American baseball.

Yet I suspect John and I agree our unnamed, under-publicized and overweight state remains in pretty good company sharing a reduced spotlight with Babe Ruth. After all, no player who came later but stayed longer, ever had a successful nationally known, 100-year-old candy bar named after him. While the candy firm claims their bar was named for President’s Cleveland’s daughter — born 39 years earlier, but already dead 20 — Baby Ruth came out year the Babe began his immortal climb as a home run hitter. Yet he never got any royalties — even from the ad on the Chicago ballpark fence where his “called shot” landed.

“So now Mr. Burns, how about that chocolate-covered candy bar you’re naming ‘West Virginia’?”

David L. Woods, Ph.D.

Former “radio voice for Middleway”

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