Feb. 18 letters to the editor

Proposed bills from a W.Va. resident

As usual, the West Virginia legislative session started, and I didn’t have my agenda of bills ready. Here’s an early draft for next year.

My Bill 1 (MB1) is the “I’m not driving too slow, you’re driving too fast” bill. This bill simply states that going the posted speed limit while overtaking another vehicle on an interstate highway is, in fact, legal. And that any vehicle driving up the tailpipe of the overtaking vehicle is, in fact, speeding.

MB2 is the “Truth in Political Advertising” bill. Due to First Amendment concerns, instead of limiting political advertising, this bill would require a warning stating “This Political Advertisement contains exaggerated and distorted facts. Readers are advised to take anything said here with a grain of salt.”

MB3 is the “Requires classroom and behind-the-wheel Driver’s Education to Obtain a Driver’s License” bill. MB3 will change driver’s ed from an option to a requirement for new drivers. Primary requirements include teaching the location of the turn signal and its proper use. Advanced studies include the difference between merge and yield and how to properly drive in traffic circles. A companion bill would require the Department of Transportation to properly design traffic circles.

MB4 is the “Sanctioning of Rifle Teams as a Co-ed Scholastic Sport” bill. MB4 would codify co-ed rifle teams at the high school level. So much justification for one’s Second Amendment right to bear arms is based on fear. This fear tactic instills an involuntary recoil among many at the simple mention of firearms. This bill would promote safe gun use in a controlled environment and awareness of ownership for sport vs. fear. It may be worth noting here that there are currently no West Virginians on the WVU Rifle Team.

That’s a start but there’s a long way to go to get the hundreds more I’ll need to keep up with the rest of them. The trappings of idle minds.

John Sofranko

Celebrating Monongalia County’s strings players

I am writing to celebrate the amazing K-12 violin, viola, cello and bass players in Monongalia County.

Our public schools have seen a remarkable surge in strings players recently. Since 2019, the number has increased from 52 to 134 in Suncrest and Mountaineer Middle schools. These kids are enthusiastic and want to play.

This year 60 students statewide were accepted into the West Virginia All-State Middle School Orchestra: of these, 16 hail from Suncrest Middle and four from Mountaineer Middle. These students auditioned and were chosen from 160 students. What an honor for them to represent our county! Additionally, this is the inaugural season of Monongalia Youth Symphony Orchestras, created in collaboration with Monongalia Symphony Orchestra. The MYSO has two ensembles, one for middle schoolers, another for high schoolers. WVASO and MYSO illustrate just some of the incredible things our kids are doing. Opportunities for youth strings players here are increasing, and these examples are not exhaustive.

While community ensembles enrich our offerings, school-based programs are the foundation and the fuel that get the kids involved. The value of a music education that is available to all K-12 students is indisputable. It fosters the love of music, discipline of practice, rewards of hard work and the amazing feeling of playing in a group with friends and peers. I applaud the adults who support Monongalia County youth strings: dedicated school teachers, principals and administrators, the board of education and community members. All are working to meet this growth and increase resources for these programs.

Our local youth strings players are talented and work hard. As with all youth activities, they deserve to be celebrated and supported. Let us consider how our community can provide support and even more resources to this growing pool of talent. These kids are the best of us!

Melina Flanagan

Climate change: To believe or not to believe

Dr. Lan’s (DP-01-13-24) front page assertion that climate change is merely a hypothesis is erroneous.

Climate change is supported by a body of confirmed facts, such as the greenhouse effect of CO2 observed almost two centuries ago. Multiple reputable organizations like NASA, NOAA and the World Meteorological Association, among others, have extensively researched and documented increases in average global temperatures, drawing from millions of observations worldwide. Despite the urban heat island effect, which causes urban areas to be warmer, it does not significantly skew overall global warming measurements, as scientists have adjusted for urban effects.

Global temperature anomaly estimates, on average, reveal an increase of about 1.44 degrees Celsius (2.6 degrees Fahrenheit) relative to the 1850-1900 average. This is not to say that urban heating isn’t something to consider. It definitely is and has been. However, that means you can expect even greater increases of temperature in urban areas, increases above the global average. Cities will get even hotter.

While Mr. Attfield, in his letter to the editor (DP-01-21-24), includes a critique of the questionable qualifications and biases of the Ceres-Science article on urban impacts noted by Lan, there are additional inaccuracies in the article that need to be addressed.

Lan includes exaggerated claims regarding the number of windmills required to replace power plants, as well as an unsubstantiated figure regarding surface area requirements through a source that could not be confirmed. Moreover, the article overlooks the combined uses of other energy sources such as solar and geothermal power. Attfield’s letter effectively rebuts significant errors, yet the constrained 300-word format limits the depth of a comprehensive rebuttal within the letter’s confines.

Climate change is not merely a hypothesis but a well-established fact supported by empirical evidence. The idea of “keeping an open mind” does not justify acceptance of questionable assertions regarding well-established scientific findings.

Tom Wilson

College students don’t need food hand-outs

I am, as a taxpayer and voter, opposed to funding any “hunger free campus” programs through SNAP or expansion of any other programs.

This will only encourage dependency and shelter students from understanding the consequences of poor decision making, which is part of the normal maturing process.

Perhaps WVU and Marshall should develop a financial management and budgeting course that is required during the freshman year.

James T. Delisi

Milk of human kindness runs dry in Legislature

One would think that hunger in West Virginia is a worthy subject for our Legislature to address in a thoughtful manner. But the milk of human kindness seems not to run in the veins of some of our legislators.

 One of them seems to believe that feeding the hungry is “nanny state stuff” (DP-02-14-24). His words sound more like Scrooge’s (“Are there no prisons or workhouses?”) than Jesus’ (“For I was hungry and you gave me food”). Although this legislator claims to have attended a Bible college, he seems to have forgotten the Bible’s many exhortations to feed the hungry without asking questions.

 Despite his claim that hunger can “build character,” hunger actually enfeebles it. When people say they are hungry, shouldn’t our legislators simply believe them and then offer to help?

Byron Nelson

Trump is antithesis of Christian values

Some Iowa evangelicals believe that Trump “exemplified what Jesus would do” (Orlando Sentinel 01-30-24; AP 01-07-24). Many believe Trump shares their values and God is using him to govern in godly principles. Does that mean lying to get your way is what God wants?

When advised that the 2020 polls were not looking good for him, Trump started distorting facts about the election process. When he lost, he repeatedly claimed there was massive fraud but has never presented any proof to the public or in court. His inability to accept the results led to many folks going to jail and him being charged with 91 counts of criminal misconduct.

Distorting the truth and disrespecting others is proper? If you do not bow down to him, his vitriol is rampant. Trump trash-talks those who honor their oath and tell the truth. Liz Cheney and others were primaried due to his disparaging comments. Astonishingly, he even mocks disabled Americans as well as veterans who were captured and spent years as prisoners of war.

What Trump does not have, the Democrats have accomplished: proposals that improve the lives of citizens (Infrastructure Act, the Affordable Care Act, lowered drug costs and more). Trump does not care about anything but himself, using constant distractions and empty promises to conceal that he has no real plans to improve our lives.

The Republicans in Congress are falling over themselves to avoid his wrath and keep his voters on their side. A bipartisan agreement was reached on immigration, but Trump said “no.” He did not want Biden to get credit. This is a godly principle?

Using “God” as one of his buzz words is part of his con game to please evangelical voters. How does lying, disrespecting, disparaging, coveting, distorting, bullying and conning exemplify what Jesus would do?

Mary Ann Liberatore

If the pen can remove rights, it can restore them

In 1839 Edward Bulwer Lytton wrote “the pen is mightier than the sword.”

In 2024, the West Virginia Legislature has sharpened their pens and are taking stabs the citizens of this state. From women, to the impoverished, to school children, to any non-heteronormative resident and their family members, we are rapidly losing basic human rights at the hands of these politicians. If you are a member of or care about any member of these populations, it’s time to sharpen your pens and protect your rights. Health care, guaranteed free public education, bodily autonomy and constitutionally protected rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are all things worth protecting.

These politicians are categorically attacking rights through legislation. That includes reducing assistance for our poorest citizens, like senior citizens residing in nursing facilities; codifying that “equal” does not mean “same” or “identical” with respect to equality of the sexes; threatening public health by removing vaccine mandates; vilifying literature and librarians; manufacturing culture wars that are simply not part of the daily reality in which most of us exist; systematically defunding public schools; and making referendums to send our tax dollars to another state, exonerate the Division of Highways from its obligations to maintain state roads and, most recently, remove candidates from ballots that don’t belong to their party for no other reason than to flex their super-majority muscle.

So in the words of Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Paine in 1792, I urge you to “go on then in doing with your pen what in other times was done with the sword.” Write to your representatives, speak to your neighbors and community and make sure your voice is heard as a citizen of this state and a member of the voting constituency.

Cynthia Nelson