Larry Hypes

I love newspaper columns and writing stories of all kinds. One of the main reasons I enrolled at Bluefield State College was the opportunity to join forces with journalism. Louise Yates was the sponsor for both the yearbook and newspaper at BSC. She made it possible for me to take part in both, which was a deciding factor in my residence remaining here. That was a perfect segue, by the way, for what had already happened over at Bluefield College/University.

There it was that I became acquainted with the amazing Velma C. Jackson, whose brother was none other than “Stubby” Currence, the legendary sports editor and (at that time) vice president of the Daily Telegraph. Since I was already involved, sort of, in the news business, working over at BSC was perfect. Mrs. Yates, a very sweet lady, made it easy to do the writing and I even got started in broadcasting with public address announcing and radio preparation with quite a bit of assistance from Chuck Denham. All around, the preparation was handy and given with great encouragement.

However, the main job was teaching. Did I mention that? Furthermore, the “other” training truly helped with classroom work, as well. No student was ever able to say I made them write while I did not because they could see my stories in the paper. It was much easier to assign speeches or other oral participation since they could hear me on the p.a. or on the radio. So there. I cannot estimate the number of times in over 40 years that I have said, “I never ask you to do something that I have not done first.”

At any rate, I have made it a priority to be an encourager. While that may sound good, at various times as a column writer I have struggled trying to be a complainer. The negative is hard to wrap my flying fingers around. Yet, columnist are generally asked to be the conscience of the community or perhaps even the nation. A free press, as Jefferson said, is to be valued above government.

That statement strikes home as does another famous statement possibly uttered by Voltaire but first discovered in a work by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in 1906, “I dislike what you say but I defend to the death your right to say it.” That, my friends, is a tough one.

I cannot count the times in the past five years I have wanted to rail against certain politicians (one in particular) that I believe have done all they can to harm the country and take advantage of anyone and everyone for their own personal gain. On the other hand, there have been plenty of other critics to do that job for me.

Being positive is fun but not always what the job calls for, and there are plenty of things I don’t like. One of them is Facebook and I make no secret of that. From what I have heard it is mostly a gripe session. A good friend called me three weeks ago and let it be known that he had joined Facebook. He stayed on for two whole days and then left it. He said he had never seen so much negativity in his whole life and concluded that he was so depressed after about an hour of looking at posts that he has decided to never again use Facebook. Oh, yes, he added this to me, “As a Facebook critic, you will be pleased to know that a lot of people on it can’t spell!” Haha.

What else that is bad can I say about (anti) social media? I know the newspaper uses it, radio stations use it and TV, too. Business says “like us on Facebook.” I don’t like it. Not tweets. Not twitter. Too many arguments. Too many bad comments. Too many people getting mad. We have enough anger already to go around for about the next 200 years. Read the paper. We have a lot of good spellers.

There must be more. Oh, yes. I have said this before but I like doing it. Highway engineers should never have traffic lights on a four-lane highway. Those big roads were designed to facilitate the ease and speed of moving vehicles. How many accidents have we had on 460, for instance, at traffic lights right here in Four Seasons Country? Cars going 60 miles an hour having to stop or turn across lanes of traffic. Why on earth were exit and entry ramps not built to eliminate some of these health hazards? How many traffic lights are there on the “4-lane” in Princeton? How many in Richlands around Claypool Hill? It’s a nightmare. I shudder to think that some genius will soon get the idea we need traffic lights on the interstate. That would make the dangers around Camp Creek look like a Sunday School picnic.

Well, there you have it. I apologize in advance for being so critical. I realize that I am not very good at it and would much rather point out all the great and wonderful things which surround us. We are so blessed. But – at least for once I did what columnists are supposed to do now and then.

Have a nice day, everybody, and thanks for reading.

Larry Hypes, a teacher at Bluefield High School, is a Daily Telegraph columnist. Contact him at

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