Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

July 29, 2012

King Coal Highway vital to region

— — The King Coal Highway Authority met last Wednesday at Twin fall State Park in Wyoming County to elect officers for the year. The group is making tentative plans to return Washington D.C. in September to meet with key elected officials.

On another note, the national association is now the National I-73/I-74/I-75 Corridor Association. Local leaders have been pushing for a modern road since 1978 when the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce sponsored a survey to determine the projects most needed to bring economic growth to southern West Virginia. The survey showed that the replacement of U.S. Route 52 from Bluefield to Huntington was the most important.

In 1989 K.A. Ammar Jr. was selected by the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce to lead the campaign for the improvement of Route 52. The completion of the highway is long overdue.

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I-75 was included in the National I-73/I-74/I-75 Corridor Association in 2010. Chairman of the association Alan Clemmons said at that time that since I-75 lies within the I-73/74 corridor, and given its excitement in Michigan and Ohio, its inclusion into the I-73/74 association was a “perfect fit” and would help re-energize allies in those states.

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While traveling north on Route 52 last week to Welch the traffic was moving slowly. The truck in front of me had a sticker on the back that read “We need I-73/I-74 now.” A van lumbering along the road at a snail’s pace had a sign that read, “This vehicle does not exceed 70 miles per hour.” Where?

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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has praised Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. and the organizers of the State Fair of West Virginia for their efforts to help restock the state food banks’ shelves following the recent storms. The “Landau Buy One Get One Free” promotion encourages concert-goers to purchase one concert ticket and receive a second ticket for free by donating five or more non-perishable food items.

Murphy will perform at 7 p.m. on Aug. 12 at the State Fair. Tickets range from $12 to $18 each. The “Landau Buy One Get One Free” promotion will continue while supplies last. Concert-goers can bring non-perishable food items to the State Fair box office in Fairlea from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Gas prices are back on the uptick. Some industry watchers do not expect any relief on the down side until September, a few weeks before the national election. Sen. Jay Rockefeller is concerned that the rate of cable is outpacing the rate of inflation. No kidding. I hope he takes a look at the price of gas and quite a few other items.

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The U.S. government is a proponent of inflation. In 1834, the United States fixed the price of gold at $20.67 per ounce, where it remained until the Great Depression when the price of gold was pushed to $29.01 per ounce. Then in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a move to devalue the dollar, directed the Reconstruction Finance Committee (RFC) to purchase gold at $2.35 above the dollar parity price. In one stroke of the pen Roosevelt devalued the dollar by 8.1 percent.

Roosevelt was enamored by a “Commodity Dollar” theory that was the brainchild of Cornell University farm management expert George Frederick Warren. His theory ran in the opposite direction of the traditional economists of that period. Roosevelt succeeded in removing the dollar from the gold standard. The gold standard protected the wealth of bankers and bondholders but was said to impoverish the farmer and the laborer.

Roosevelt ultimately made it illegal for U.S. citizens to own gold coins or bullion. Today our dollar is seriously devalued. However in order to pay off the nation’s debt with cheaper dollars, the government is not likely to choose to be the villain that devalues the dollar — not as long as they have the oil industry and oil traders to do that deed for them.

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San Diego, Arlington, Roanoke, Greenbrier. No, these places are not in California, Virginia or near White Sulphur Springs. They are not too far away. These little places may be found along county road 17 in Northfork Hollow. It would be interesting to know how these names came about.

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The McDowell County Chamber of Commerce has a successful Lunch and Learn program. These sessions are open to the public and the format is on the informal side. The program provides an opportunity for the general public to meet and greet a speaker and learn about civic, educational, economic development matters pertinent to the area.

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There you have it, a few comments on items of interest to the area. The grass is again green and I hope that you are having a great blue sky day. Don’t miss the Downtown Merchants Association Street Fair next week in Bluefield.

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

 

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