By WILSON BUTT
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Snakes alive! The Troop 82 Cub Scout meeting last Thursday was a hit. The Bluefield scouts were given an opportunity to see and learn about snakes. Roy Moose with the USDA U.S. Forest Service brought a number of the slithering reptiles to Bluefield for scouts and parents to see and touch.
Moose explained how to differentiate between poisonous and non-non poisonous snakes and explained that there are only two types of poisonous snakes found in West Virginia, the copperhead and the timber rattlesnake. The rest are non-poisonous. That does not mean that non-poisonous snakes will not bite. They will — if provoked.
The timber rattlesnake was adopted as the West Virginia State Reptile in 2008. The timber rattlesnake is peaceable and slow to anger, but will attack aggressively if provoked. The scouts learned a lot about snakes and so did I.
I have said that there are only four kinds of snakes I don’t like — big ones, little ones, live ones and dead ones. I now have more of an appreciation for these reptiles and have softened a little and so have the scouts. Thanks to Moose for the enlightenment. The black rat snake was pretty neat.
Mercer County Democrats had a large turnout for their “Meet the Candidates Night” at the Demo Headquarters in Princeton. State office candidates Glen Gainer, Tish Chafin, John Perdue and Robin Davis headlined the event. Gainer has served as State Auditor since 1992. Perdue has served as the state’s treasurer since 1996. Davis was appointed by Gov. Gaston Caperton to replace Justice Franklin Cleckley. In 1996, she was elected to fill the unexpired term and was re-elected to a full 12-year term in 2000. Chafin is seeking a first term on the high court bench
There are a number of folks in the War and Warriormines areas of McDowell County that want to see a trailhead constructed and a trail developed to connect that area and Berwind Lake to the Hatfield and McCoy Trails system. If developed, the connection would boost the local economy. The town could provide food, housing and necessities for trail riders.
Most of the folks I have talked with in the last few days watched the presidential debate. President Obama scored on some issues. However, general consensus gave the round to Mitt Romney. Romney’s comment, “... and by the way, I like coal” may have been the haymaker here in the coalfields. But apparently the statement also had impact nationwide.
Small- and mid-capitalization stocks climbed on Thursday, with coal shares jumping after positive comments by Romney in support of the coal industry. Shares of Arch Coal gained 7.9 percent to $6.69 while shares of Alpha Natural Resources were up 6.8 percent at $6.73.
A recent independent poll gives the edge in the State Supreme Court race to Justice Robin Davis and a close second place to Tish Chaffin. The Republican candidates are Judge John Yoder and Allen Loughry. This will be hot race to watch.
United States Congressman John Kee of Bluefield had his concerns about his re-election in the 1942 race. Kee expressed those concerns in a personal letter to Mr. E.L. Harris of Coopers (Bramwell): “At this time everything points to a concerted effort on the part of my personal and political enemies to destroy me, if that can possibly be done. I am, however, going into this fight with the courage that comes from a sense of having never yet failed my duty to my friends, my people, my President (Franklin D. Roosevelt) and my country, and, with that clear on the record, I have no fears as to the result. With my friends like you standing by me, I am looking confidently to the future ... But I understand a very violent attack is being made against me on the representation that I am a ‘dead man,’ so I thought, upon the advice of many friends, that I would come down (to District Five) and let my opponents see that I am (a) ‘very much alive’ corpse, still filled to overflowing with the old fighting spirit.”
Things have changed since John Kee served this area as a member of the United States Congress, but somehow I believe that his successors have inherited a bit of that spirit.
There you have it, a few comments on items of interest to the area. The weather may be turning cooler. Please plan to vote for your favorite candidate. I wish you another fantastic blue sky day.
Wilson Butt, a resident of Bluefield, is a retired Department of Highways official.