By WILSON BUTT
It sounds like Elliot E. “Spike” Maynard is pulling the gloves off in his bid for West Virginia’s Third Congressional District seat. Not only is he taking on incumbent Nick Joe Rahall and other challengers, he has also taken a jab or two toward President Obama and Congress. Maynard is asking Congress, “Where are the jobs?”
Noting that “President Obama and his advisors promised us this stimulus package would create 6,400 jobs in southern West Virginia,” Maynard noted, “Thousands of our friends and neighbors in southern West Virginia are unemployed because of the war on coal being waged by Obama and Pelosi. Now through the EPA, they want to abolish four out of 10 coal mining jobs by ending surface mining.” Maynard is seeking the Republican nomination for the 3rd Congressional District of West Virginia.
Mercer County Republican Chairman Roman Stauffer reported that Maynard is scheduled to visit Mercer County next Thursday. Maynard will be on Craig Hammond’s “RadioActive” program early Thursday morning, make several stops in Mercer County, and later in the evening will address Mercer County Republicans at their 7 p.m. gathering at Ryan’s Restaurant in Princeton. All Republicans and friends are invited to attend. Stauffer also mentioned that area folks will also have an opportunity to meet Phillip Stevens, one of the Republican candidates seeking the party’s nomination to represent the 10th Senate District, who will also speak at the meeting. The Republicans are also making preliminary plans to have a “Lincoln Day” dinner sometime this spring.
Some Tazewell County officials are considering proposing additional ordinances to regulate the erection of wind energy structures elsewhere in the county not covered by the recent ordinance to regulate construction of tall structures on certain ridgelines in Tazewell County. A subcommittee of the county’s Planning Commission may be considering an ordinance based on ordinances adopted by Ashe County, N.C., and Bath County, Va. There is also speculation that some county officials will soon propose a county-wide zoning ordinance. The planning commission will meet on April 12 and these items may appear on the agenda.
Gov. Joe Manchin is happy that West Virginia will receive more than $126.3 million in federal stimulus funds for the Statewide Broadband Infrastructure Project. In a press release issued Thursday, Manchin stated that, “More than three years ago, I announced that our goal is to have West Virginia wired for broadband access from border to border, and with today’s stimulus funding announcement, our dream is well on its way to reality. This project is not just about technology; it’s about providing better public safety, broadening our health care technology, and enhancing and delivering a better education system.” West Virginia was the only state in the nation to apply for a complete statewide grant.
An 1843 report of the Board of Works of the Common-wealth of Virginia listed the tolls for the Prices Turnpike and Cumberland Gap Road that passed through Mercer and Tazewell Counties. For every horse and rider the toll was 10 cents. A two wheeled riding carriage was charged 20 cents per gate. A four wheeled riding carriage drawn by four horses or more paid 50 cents per gate. That toll of 50 cents per gate in 1843 dollars would be the equivalent of about $15 today (consumer price index method) and those toll roads were primitive by today’s standards. We often complain about the present toll on the West Virginia Turnpike. In comparison to the tolls that were placed on the early turnpike, they are probably reasonable.
There you have it, a few comments on items of interest to the area. I am hoping that you have a blue sky day. And one more thing ... Senator Don Caruth has certainly earned the respect and admiration of many of his fellow West Virginians for his service to the state and to Mercer County. There is no doubt that the power of friendship is a force for healing. Senator Caruth has many friends and loved ones that are pulling for him to win this battle.
Wilson Butt, a resident of Bluefield, is a retired Department of Highways official.