Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

October 21, 2012

The fun of small-town traffic jams

We don’t often see a L.A. traffic jam in this neck of the woods. However, last Wednesday there was a traffic jam in downtown Montcalm. The Montcalm Generals — both schools — were having a parade to kick off their homecoming football game and honor the homecoming king and queen.

The main highway through town was jammed with floats, convertibles, decorated trucks, the band, and a number of other participants. Even those of us who may have been held up for a few minutes enjoyed the pageantry. Both the kids and the adults were excited. They did not hide that General pride.

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Then on Thursday downtown Bradshaw had a couple of traffic jams. This time the culprits were contractors putting the finishing touches on the town’s news bridge to have it open to traffic for Riverview’s homecoming parade and, later that afternoon, the parade.

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Bradshaw has been waiting for years for a new bridge to replace the old one at the corner at the intersection of Route 80 and Route 83. Bilco Construction Company of Saint Albans opened the new bridge to traffic shortly after West Virginia Paving of Princeton completed paving the approaches. The new bridge has a pedestrian walk that is tied to the downtown walk. The $1.4 million project will also provide a better route to the new schools for busses, students and staff.

Kent Jenkins of Bramwell is the WVDOH project supervisor and Chester Boggs is Bilco’s project superintendent. Mayor Lawrence Crigger was very excited to see the new bridge open. The mayor is also hopeful that the town may now attract some new businesses including a Family Dollar Store.    

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Don’t trust the rhetoric or the political campaign handouts. Politicians often speak in generalities and leave out the beef. Seasoned politicians use fact-filled brochures to educate voters on key points. However beware of those politicians that make general statements such as “I will focus on aspects of our community that need improvement” without outlining the areas considered deficient. Anything can be improved, but promising to fix something that doesn’t need fixing is questionable.

Some politicians, especially in local elections, promise to continue services. Unless someone has suggested that services need to be cut this type of rhetoric is only a hollow promise. Any elected official worth his salt will always listen to his constituents and, in most cases, will champion those causes for improvement that are truly needed.

Beware of politicians that promise to consider input to achieve “our” goals. Many of us have different goals and view things differently. Don’t fall for shallow promises designed to make you think someone shares your goals. They may not. If goals are not clearly stated ask what are the goals? If the promises are vague or the goals are not clearly stated, you might not want to cast your vote for that individual.  Vote for those candidates that promote the best interest of the people — those who want to improve our communities, our counties, our state, and our nation — those that want all of us to have a better and brighter future. Vote for those that actually have a good plan.            

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Politicians often deal in the sublime. Some might call it trickery. I recently noted that a paper place mat in a restaurant contained advertisements, including political advertisements. That may not be particularly unusual. Most of use can separate the chafe from the wheat. However, the clever placing of the advertisement in that place of business could easily lead or mislead someone to the conclusion that the business may be endorsing a particular candidate.

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There you have it, a few comments on items of interest to the area. Please plan to vote, and I hope you are enjoying another blue sky day.    

Wilson Butt, a resident of Bluefield, is a retired Department of Highways official.

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