We all love rags-to-riches stories.
Oprah Winfrey was the child of an unwed teenage mother and rose from a hard-scrabble Mississippi farm to become one of the richest women in the world.
Andrew Carnegie began 12-hour shifts in a Pennsylvania cotton mill at age 13 and through tireless hard work built a steel empire. Eventually, he became one of the world’s great philanthropists, funding libraries across the country, including one in Huntington.
Those stories inspire us, and they give us hope that drive and determination can overcome any economic obstacle. It can happen, but most of the time it does not.
Too many people born in poverty never break through to success, and their children are caught in the same cycle. There are a host of issues involved, from opportunity to entitlement and from education to well being. But whatever the factors, the outcome is at the root of many of society’s problems — drug abuse, crime, poor health — that drive up government costs and limit economic growth.
Changing that pattern will require more than just hoping for more Oprahs, and a group working to reduce child poverty in West Virginia is drilling into what specific strategies can help.
Our Children, Our Future is a statewide coalition of more than 160 groups, and social workers, law enforcement, educators, policymakers, members of the faith community and others gathered recently at Enslow Park Presbyterian Church in Huntington to talk about objectives.
For example, the group has advocated for expansion of Medicaid to more families, funding more domestic violence prevention efforts, promoting healthy foods in school and addressing prison overcrowding. The good news is that important steps were taken in all of those areas last year.
The group is now working on its targets for the 2014 legislative year and presented 18 possible statewide proposals, covering issues affecting education, health, jobs, families and the justice system. The ideas range from more recess and physical activity in school to removing soft drinks from food stamp benefits to reforming foster care and more than a dozen other ideas.
While no one legislative change is going to eliminate child poverty, it is in everyone’s interest to look for tangible actions that can make a difference.
— The (Huntington) Herald-Dispatch
This editorial does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Times West Virginian editorial board.
We all love rags-to-riches stories.
COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay
Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.
The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings
During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
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