Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

February 17, 2013

Road work, coyotes and gas prices

— U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., urged his colleagues to retain a strong federal role for development of critical, job-creating infrastructure. At a hearing before Rahall’s committee to examine the federal role in infrastructure, business and labor leaders offered testimony on the economic and job creation benefits that investment in modern infrastructure yields.  

To accomplish these goals, Rahall plans to introduce legislation that ensures that our transportation and infrastructure investments will be stamped “Made in America.” By closing critical loopholes in our buy America laws, we can ensure that these investments, financed by U.S. taxpayers, will be used to create and sustain good-paying jobs in our local communities — not outsourced overseas, according to Rahall.

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The late Diane Kelley was a pioneer. She was one of the first women to hold the position as project supervisor on a major construction project for the West Virginia Division of Highways. She was the project supervisor for a major construction project on the Coalfields Expressway. Kelly came up through division ranks and earned her position.

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Ouch — the gas prices are killing us. Did you notice that when gas prices were on the decline shortly before the election the decrease was only a penny or two per gallon every few days? Recently prices have accelerated upward at nearly a dime per gallon a day.  I paid $2.99 per gallon for gas in Wytheville, Va. last December 19. Gas is now approaching $4 per gallon.

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U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is the 2012 recipient of the Harry S. Truman Award by the National Guard Association of the United States in recognition of his legislative efforts in support of the men and women serving in the National Guard, specifically his bill to elevate the Chief of the National Guard to a position on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., held a roundtable discussion on the Violence Against Women Act that included participants on the front lines of domestic violence services, including people in the judicial system, law enforcement officials, advocates and counselors.

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I had an opportunity to talk to long-time friend John Linkous of War a few days ago. A lifelong resident of War and graduate of WV Tech, Linkous worked in several capacities for the McDowell County School Board including a stint as truant officer before he retired a few years ago. He still has his finger on the pulse of national, state and local politics.

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There is no excuse for Bluewell not having a post office. While the postal service is doing every thing that they can to close shop in many small communities, Bluewell has a good number of successful businesses and many homes. Yet there is no post office.

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Yes, downtown Bluefield is on the incline. I’m not sure whether the remark was about the elevation of the streets and sidewalks or potential development. I hope to see a revitalized downtown someday and I hope the effort is successful. It will certainly be an uphill climb from any viewpoint. Any goal worth attaining is always an uphill battle. I’m tired of decline.

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A few days ago I was passing through Vivian down in McDowell County when the strangest looking dog I had ever seen darted onto the roadway. He changed his mind and slipped back to the side of the roadway to await an opening in the traffic and I had an opportunity to get a close look at him. No kennel club would have that varmint. He was no dog.  Thanks to our own West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, coyotes are in the area.  

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There you have it, a few comments on items of interest to the area. We have got to find a better weatherman.  I hope you enjoyed the blues skies while they lasted.

Wilson Butt, a retired Department of Highways employee, is a Daily Telegraph columnist.

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