LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Sheriffs not obligated to enforce federal laws

 

Once again Mr. Sean O’Leary (“The Land of 3,327 constitutions”) has failed to take cognizance of a seminal fact. In 1996, the United States Supreme Court (Printz v. United States) essentially ruled that county sheriffs are not obligated to enforce federal law. Thus the sheriffs of Raleigh, Boone, and Hardy counties are acting in accordance with the United States Constitution in stating that they will not enforce federal gun control laws. The constitutionality of the laws is not at issue. What the sheriffs are saying is, “We don’t have to enforce these laws, so we’re not going to.”

Would that our own Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Dougherty joined the three mentioned above.

Peter Onoszko

Charles Town

 

Walking to end the suffering

 

On the afternoon of Saturday, Relay For Life of Jefferson County will begin at 2 p.m. at Charles Town Middle School. The residents of Jefferson County will join forces to reach a goal: to eliminate the human suffering that is caused by cancer.

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature event. It is an overnight celebration of hope and survivorship. Teams camp out and take turns walking a track throughout the night, in honor of those who have fought cancer and in memory of those who are no longer with us.

Last year, more than 4,600 communities held Relay For Life events, raising $375 million. Funds raised through Relay For Life support the lifesaving work of the American Cancer Society through research, education, advocacy and patient-family services.

It is a community event in every sense of the word. When you arrive, you may be surprised to find that Relay For Life is not your typical fundraising walk: it’s a unique opportunity for all to make a serious difference in the fight against cancer, while having fun at the same time. It is a chance to remember and reflect on those who sadly lost their battle to cancer. Yet, at the same time, we honor and celebrate the lives of cancer survivors who continue to live and fight each day with this disease.

A cancer diagnosis can certainly make the affected individual feel as though they are really alone. One amazing part of the “Relay experience” is the Survivor Celebration Lap, which takes place during the opening ceremonies. Witnessing this is a genuinely uplifting experience — seeing hundreds of survivors, united in this cause, proudly walking around the track together. The best part of all is that each survivor, when in the company of such an astounding number of fellow survivors, will no longer feel alone.

The most moving part of the evening is the Luminaria Ceremony, which takes place at nightfall. During this emotional ceremony, volunteers and participants light hundreds (sometimes thousands) of candles. The candles illuminate the perimeter of the track and guide us though the darkness during a “silent lap.” We take this time to slow down for a moment in respect for the survivors walking among us and to reflect on the lives of those who did not win the battle. It’s amazing to see so many Luminaries burning bright – then realize that each and every single candle represents the life of someone close to home — a loved one, family member, neighbors, friends — right in our community who have been individually touched by cancer. The Luminaria Ceremony represents the hope that we all share, that the day will come when cancer is completely eliminated.

Everyone is welcome to participate in Relay For Life, but cancer survivors are our special guests. There is no registration fee for survivors (who are not on a team), but we ask that those who wish to participate in the Survivor Celebration Ceremony pre-register beforehand, if possible.

For more information on Relay For Life of Jefferson County please call 304-279-4309 or visit relayforlife.org/jeffersonwv.

 

Daniel and Linda Hart

Charles Town

— Daniel and Linda Hart are the

publicity chairpersons for Relay

For Life of Jefferson County Relay

 

 

 

Harpers Ferry intersection ‘most dangerous’ anywhere

 

It is with heavy heart that I write to you today knowing there will soon be another serious or fatal automobile collision at the at-grade intersection of Route 340 and Bakerton/Millville roads in Harpers Ferry.

After 27 years as a career firefighter and commercial driver I can safely say this is without question the most dangerous intersection I have experienced in the region, if not the entire East Coast.

The history of collisions here is extensive as the four-lane Route 340 is 60 mph down a very steep grade. At the bottom of the grade Bakerton Road and Millville Road intersect. They are both high-speed roads as well, and there is limited warning of the approaching intersection.

Everywhere else in the U.S., highway motorists are warned well in advance of a dangerous intersection by signage, flashing lights, rumble strips and a host of other cautionary/advisory signage prior to the intersection, including a traffic light – or, even better, an underpass.

However on 340 there is one sign in each direction and almost no warning on Bakerton Road/Millville Road other than the stop sign. Furthermore, the turning and yield lanes are so inadequate it often makes me wonder if traffic safety planning along 340 was left up to someone with very limited knowledge or ability.

And these inadequate turning lanes are not limited to this intersection alone — they are poorly designed all along 340 from Harpers Ferry to Route 9 and require a significant speed reduction — or acceleration in traffic travel lanes — in order to safely exit or enter.

Sometimes these turning lanes back up onto 340 – for example, when Shipley Elementary School is open. The entrance to Shipley has no turning lane whatsoever. A motorist just has to turn as fast as they can in the hopes they do not get rear-ended or begin braking well before the intersection in order to slow to 15 mph (on the 60-mph highway) in order to turn.

There is a flashing light traffic advisory sign for the Shipley Elementary School entrance, but it has not functioned in a decade.

Most locals know this 340 intersection well and proceed with caution. However the Eastern Panhandle is a tourist mecca and appeals to visiting crowds by the thousands; Route 340 is the gateway. Many of these people don’t realize the dangers of this intersection and proceed under the impression that a responsible municipality or state Highway Administration would correct any safety issues to alleviate the dangers of crossroad intersections, especially at 60 mph. Here they have not.

The Eastern Panhandle has experienced the highest population growth in West Virginia in recent years. Tourism numbers double our population throughout the week and weekends. It is time for West Virginia Department of Highways to step up to the plate and look at our “gateway highway” – Route 340 – and address these traffic safety concerns.

This region puts a very significant amount of tax dollars into the state, we deserve a safe place to live and drive.

Rich Schaffer

Charles Town

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