The budget shortfall in Jefferson County
Over the last year and a half, the Jefferson County Commission has voiced their concerns about when, not if, there would be a budget shortfall. Even at the interview for the appointment for sheriff the question was asked, “How would you handle a budget shortfall?”
Now, remember several years ago when “table games” promised the prevention of any tax increases and would make our schools the best in the area. Yet, last year, the commission increased the rate charged on your assessments. Now, they have hired more county personnel, increased spending and upheld the increase in the “county modifier,” which increases your assessment again. At the same time, Berkeley County just announced the fourth straight year of property value decline.
In November of 2012, the Jefferson County Commission voted and implemented to decrease, by half, the amount of county commission meetings, which reduces when and how you can approach and voice any concerns you may have to the commissioners. At the same time, the commissioners have retained the same salary and benefits.
Question: How many residents of Jefferson County have had the pleasure of making someone else pay the bills they create, appoint others to do their work and cut the time they have to work in half?
Only you, “the residents of Jefferson County,” can fix this problem. The time is now to voice your concerns on the county budget before the commission wastes everything we have, including the future of your children!
David C. Tabb
Protect our kids from tanning beds
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Sadly, West Virginia’s melanoma rates are higher than the national average. As recent reports suggest, the rise in melanoma rates are due to tanning beds, especially among young women. Over 20 percent of all high school students report using tanning beds with the numbers increasing by age.
In the coming days, the West Virginia House of Delegates has an opportunity to save lives with an important piece of legislation. The bill passed out of the Senate recently with an overwhelming majority. The bill would protect West Virginia’s children from the dangers of indoor tanning by prohibiting the use of cancer-causing UV tanning devices by youth under the age of 18.
Ultra-violet tanning beds are classified as a Group 1 carcinogen to humans by the World Health Organization — the same class as tobacco and asbestos — and are considered to be “carcinogenic” to humans. We protect our minors from the dangers of cigarettes and alcohol by placing restrictions on access; we should do the same with indoor tanning. Those who tan before age 35 increase their risk of a deadly melanoma diagnosis by 75 percent.
While we would encourage everyone to stay out of tanning beds, our kids should not be given a choice. We urge our delegates to do as our Senate did and pass SB 464, the indoor tanning ban for children under the age of 18. Please contact your delegate to encourage them to support this bill banning tanning beds to minors. Contact information for delegates may be found at http://www.legis.state.wv.us/House/roster.cfm.
Dan and Linda Hart
American Cancer Society Cancer
Action Network Volunteers
Gun rights not the last word
This Easter season, after we have paused to reflect on the violent death of Jesus at the hands of weak politicians bowing to the will of a mob, I wonder why West Virginians are so intent on promoting less restriction on guns. Why would we threaten a dedicated intelligent senator like Herb Snyder always intent on respecting the lives of all West Virginians? Is it because he is not jumping into this gun craze frenzy?
If I asked any citizen if they thought the death of 20 small children and six educators in Newtown, Conn., was something “good,” they would become indignant. If I asked any citizen whether his or her freedom to carry assault weapons with high-capacity clips was needed for hunting, they’d think I was crazy. Yet a few groups of citizens and some politicians are clamoring to carry concealed weapons anywhere for guns of all types on our streets and in public buildings and promoting notorious “stand your ground laws” here in West Virginia.
They equate such gun obsessions with God-given rights. What paradox! Since Newtown, more than 3,000 people have been killed in gun violence. Is Christ the promoter of violence and murder? What’s happening are the laws of the land and Christian beliefs are becoming subjugated to an exaggeration of personal freedom! The real paradox is how so people willingly suppress their feelings of horror at blatant violence and become supporters of future slaughter through their silence or acquiescence.
If we restricted citizens’ use of assault weapons and large-magazine clips, could we turn the tragedies of murder into something good? If we no longer allow 154 shots to be fired at innocents in less than 5 minutes would more killings end? Would such restrictions really hinder your choice to hunt or to protect your property? Background checks alone will not stop mass murder but with a ban on assault weapon and large-capacity magazines we may say that the deaths of our children and other fellow Americans may have led us to doing something “good,” and in West Virginia, to not allow death and violence to have the final word.
Virginia Lynch Graf