Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Opinion

March 20, 2010

Tazewell County summer agenda includes fun, festival and focus on youth

Those Lions over in Pocahontas are at it again. In just a few weeks, the area-wide flea market is scheduled along with the cruz-in car show down at Laurel Meadows Park. That event always helps to signal the true beginning of spring, just days before the annual Mountain Festival here in Bluefield. Club president John Barbour sends along the information that Bobby Baker and his fellow Lions have plans in place for another fun-filled weekend over in the old coalfield capital. Cars, trucks and motorcycles are welcome. The first 50 cars to show up will each receive a dash plaque. There will be all types of trophies, a 50-50 split, concessions and several items from the Lions Club for sale, too. Although the flea market itself will begin at around 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, set-up on the evening of May 7 is permitted. It might be a good idea because those premium spaces don’t last long. It is only the beginning for the local activities co-hosted by the Lions. For the fourth straight year, the big Bluegrass Festival show is being coordinated. That is scheduled for Friday, June 25, at the Gaza Kovach Auditorium in the Pocahontas High School building now operated by the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority. The board members, along with country administrator Jim Spencer, are eager to help the town grow and looking for ways to help. The festival is one way to bring home the crowds. Friday, June 25, is the date for this year’s bluegrass festival. Not long after, up on Peel Chestnut Mountain, Russell Synan will have his yearly Fourth of July celebration. He does not charge for that. The town of Pocahontas will observe the Fourth, I believe, with yet another outstanding town fair and fireworks show. It is really impressive as the many who attend each year already know. Sounds like the revitalization being cooperated on by local, county and state planners is on course. lll Another Tazewell County effort being organized now is the “IMPACT Tazewell County 2010” for middle and high school youth. It is going to be a week-long comprehensive effort by a group of local individuals and churches in a Christian celebration to put these young folks on the right path. Three organizers from my area include Greg Carter, Jill O’Quinn Rhudy and Kim Calfee. They are among the people planning a fundraiser for April 11 at the Main Street Methodist Church in Tazewell from noon to 3 p.m. Jill told me it is a spaghetti feast — likely knowing my weakness for pasta. Greg is eager to get started, beginning with the fundraiser and is working on plans for speakers, activities and a concert as a grand finale for the effort later this summer. It will be a fun activity and a positive way to help our next generation of employees, parents and citizens take great care of not only this life but the next one. As a teacher, my focus is always trying to get the boys to do the right thing. This certainly seems to be a wonderful extension of that effort. All of us are always hoping to do good things for the children. Four Seasons Country has been here for a long time because of the fine people in our mountains. We have yet another opportunity with the IMPACT Tazewell County 2010 program to ensure that the future will remain in capable hands, no matter where our young ’ins may travel. lll Schools, including those in Tazewell County, are getting closer to a budget for the next session. As usual, money is tight. In Virginia, another year of not having any additional taxes has helped to force cuts, combined with a sluggish economy and thousands of lost jobs. Public agencies are in the unenviable position of having to spread less butter over the same amount of bread. The vicious cycle of those needing more help and fewer resources to give is becoming an increasingly common problem. Here in Four Seasons Country, from local food pantries to the Salvation Army, we see the same problem. In good times, more help is available but fewer people need it. In bad times, more search for help that just isn’t there. Few of us seem to have a good answer as to how to repair the budget, although many of us criticize just about every program or suggestion presented. Rick Taylor, a key member of the Pocahontas Coal Association, provided a good insight to a local concern when he said that the idea to remove coal from the energy equation was not accompanied by a viable alternative. Rick had it right — we seem to want to tear down without having a plan to build back. As the old umpire said, “It takes years for a person to learn a trade but critics come ready made.” Larry Hypes is a teacher at Tazewell High School and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph.

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