That doesn’t have to be the way it is - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

That doesn’t have to be the way it is

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  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Tazewell County Man Busted for Growing Marijuana

    Tazewell County Man Busted for Growing Marijuana

    Monday, September 1 2014 8:04 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:04:51 GMT
    Roger Lee Sparks, Jr.Roger Lee Sparks, Jr.
    A Richlands man is in custody after Tazewell County Deputies find $350,000 worth of pot, including 115 plants and more than a pound of harvested marijuana, and guns in his home.
    A Richlands man is in custody after Tazewell County Deputies find $350,000 worth of pot, including 115 plants and more than a pound of harvested marijuana, and guns in his home.
  • Officers In Tazewell County Work To Keep Your Holiday Travel Safe

    Officers In Tazewell County Work To Keep Your Holiday Travel Safe

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:50 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:50:12 GMT
    Police patrolling the roads this Labor DayPolice patrolling the roads this Labor Day
    According to AAA, 34.7 million people are expected to hit the road this Labor Day. Many police officers are out in force to keep you safe.
    According to AAA, 34.7 million people are expected to hit the road this Labor Day. Many police officers are out in force to keep you safe.
  • After fatal McDowell County crash, Troopers caution against drinking and driving over Holiday Weekend

    After fatal McDowell County crash, Troopers caution against drinking and driving over Holiday Weekend

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:00 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:00:38 GMT
    While many are safely celebrating Labor Day, State Troopers want to caution everyone about the dangers of drinking and driving.The West Virginia Department of Transportation says over the last 5 years in the Mountain State, almost 800 people have been killed in a drink driving crash just during Labor Day Weekend. Troopers released these pictures from Sunday morning's fatal crash to show the consequences drinking and driving can have.Read full story on Sunday morning's fatal crash in McDowell ...
    While many are safely celebrating Labor Day, State Troopers want to caution everyone about the dangers of drinking and driving.The West Virginia Department of Transportation says over the last 5 years in the Mountain State, almost 800 people have been killed in a drink driving crash just during Labor Day Weekend. Troopers released these pictures from Sunday morning's fatal crash to show the consequences drinking and driving can have.Read full story on Sunday morning's fatal crash in McDowell ...
  • OPINIONState Journal EditorialsMore>>

  • Business community must raise a voice against status quo

    Business community must raise a voice against status quo

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-08-29 13:00:23 GMT
    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.
    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.
  • Lesson from Ferguson: Do not lose hope

    Lesson from Ferguson: Do not lose hope

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:00:24 GMT
    The images from Ferguson, Missouri, look like snapshots from a war zone. We still don't know why city police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, but we do know the fallout shines a glaring light on what happens when scores of people are disconnected from the American Dream.
    The images from Ferguson, Missouri, look like snapshots from a war zone. We still don't know why city police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, but we do know the fallout shines a glaring light on what happens when scores of people are disconnected from the American Dream.
  • Political bickering overshadows need for change

    Political bickering overshadows need for change

    Friday, August 15 2014 11:39 AM EDT2014-08-15 15:39:41 GMT
    New ideas and ways to move our state and nation forward are in short supply during this election season.
    New ideas and ways to move our state and nation forward are in short supply during this election season.
Sadly, poverty seems to be an accepted part of West Virginia.
So entrenched in many of our communities, we often take it for granted.
“That’s just the way it is” allows us to rationalize and move on. Sometimes it takes an outsider to shake us out of our complacency. A New York Times piece published early this week, details the crippling poverty that remains in McDowell County. Citing the 50th anniversary’s of the federal government’s War on Poverty, the author visits the hills and hollows around Welch to see what’s become of the people who were to be the direct beneficiaries of help from Washington.
Just a few of the more troubling statistics in the story include:
  • The median household income in is $22,000.
  • Nearly 47 percent of personal income in the county is from Social Security, disability insurance, food stamps and other federal programs.
  • Fewer than one in three county residents are in the labor force.
This is deeply troubling. The only bright spot on the economic horizon is road construction and two new prisons, but failed drug tests often prevent local residents from landing jobs. We can debate the benefits of the War on Poverty, but that won’t help. Nor can we ignore a history of exploitation that funneled out natural resources and did very little to reinvest in the community. What we know now is that times are hard. How do we change that? How do we give the people across this state a meaningful chance at the American Dream? The first thing we must do is change our mindset.
How bad does it have to get before those in power wake up? Politicians rarely work with any sense of urgency, but you have to wonder just how dire the circumstances have to be before they do something. What’s happening in McDowell County is happening in too many other places in our state. During the most recent legislative session, both houses mostly lamented their shrinking budget and many in the House of Delegates thought 2014 would be a fine time to grind political axes and stage closed-door shouting matches. Yet, did they do anything to make life better for those crippled by poverty or drug abuse? Did they do anything to attract new business, empower students and prepare them for life in the 21st Century or ensure fairness in our courts? The answer to all those questions is no.
And we wonder why McDowell County is in the shape it’s in.