Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

August 12, 2012

Pinnacle Rock a local treat

Pinnacle Rock State Park near Bramwell is a local treasure that many of us take for granted. I enjoyed several outings and picnics in the park in my youth but confess that I have not actually spent much time in the park since.

Each time I pass the magnificent formation I find my self in awe of nature’s creation. Originally constructed on a 26-acre tract in 1938, the park has now expanded to nearly 400 acres in size and includes Turkey Road and Black Rock, two lesser known sandstone formations within the park’s boundaries. There are hiking trails, fishing in the Jimmy Lewis Lake and an abundance of flora and fauna for visitors to enjoy.

The park is a local treat. Sometimes we miss things that are in our own back yard.

444

There are lessons we should have learned from the New Deal about its successes and its failures. Today we have not a “New Deal” but a “Raw Deal.” Our dollar is severely inflated. Much of our manufacturing is outsourced to other nations.

Those brands that were once purely American are now being made in China. No longer is the “Made in America” label dominant. In fact you can hardly find anything made in America. On a recent trip to a store I purchased a small garden-type sprayer. The sprayer proudly displayed an American flag and these words: “Made in America from American and imported parts.”

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The Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, at the urging of member Mike Hymes, allocated funding to purchase a Child ID Unit. Hymes was given an opportunity to view one of the Bland County units at a recent gathering of Virginia Masons in Tazewell. School Board member David Woodard expressed his excitement about obtaining a unit and said, “If you see one of the Tazewell county Board members — take a second to thank them for helping the children of Tazewell County.”

We can also say thanks.

Our children are our most valuable resource.

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Congressman Nick Rahall recently praised a federal judge’s decision which found that the EPA had overstepped its authority by establishing new Clean Water Act criteria for mining in Appalachia. A U.S. District Judge ruled that that the EPA had usurped existing permitting responsibilities held by other state and federal agencies in order to block the issuance of new permits.

After the ruling, Rahall stated, “The court clearly understood the simple fact that the EPA has been running roughshod over the states and over other federal agencies on a tear to undercut the coal industry and eliminate coal mining jobs. I welcome this decision with a sense of satisfaction that the EPA’s tortured defense of its illegal actions was thoroughly knocked down. It’s long past time the EPA should have gotten the message that they are not above the law; it must be held accountable to the people for its actions, and, today, it was.”

Not exactly — Someone’s head needs to roll. If the EPA employed illegal actions then those responsible should be fired, fined and possibly imprisoned. These officials should not be able to hide in the eagle’s wings. Being accountable does not mean giving these individuals another chance to illegally stick it to somebody again.

444

In 1980 Ronald Reagan raised some pointed questions a few days before the general election. He simply asked, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

That same question is being raised again this election season. Much of America has not been better off for decades. One look at the decay in many once booming cities tells the story. But for some reason there always seems to be money available to build a new bank.

444

Speaking of banks, one of the most beautiful bank buildings in southern West Virginia houses the McDowell County National Bank in Welch.

A few days ago I had the opportunity to walk past the building and peer inside through the windows. The scene reminded me of New York City. Built in 1900 and located on Wyoming Street, it remains an imposing structure and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Last week, I noticed some folks making photos of the view of downtown Welch from the overlook. I asked if they were tourists, and, yes, they were. Hailing from Maryland and Pennsylvania, these tourists said family members had roots in the area and they were enjoying visiting the area. They also remarked about the beauty of the surrounding mountains.

444

So far the local political scene has remained quiet. It’s kind of like waiting for the pot to boil.

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For better or worse the future of Bluefield may be agriculture. If we tear down a few more buildings or let a few more fall, we can turn downtown into a field or garden. I hope something changes for the better. We can’t stand more “worse.”  

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There you have it, a few comments on items of interest to the area. So far this August has been wet. I hope you are having as blue sky day. Enjoy it.

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

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