The magic number is 270.
In many cases, it doesn’t matter whether your next-door neighbor or your cousin support a presidential candidate. It doesn’t matter if husband and wife are on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to political viewpoints. All that matters is that one presidential candidate gets to 270 electoral votes. That means that a majority of voters could support one candidate, but the other guy gets to hang out in the Oval Office for four years.
Of course, it’s only happened four times in the history of the United States — John Quincy Adams in 1824; Rutheford B. Hayes in 1876; Benjamin Harrison in 1888; and George W. Bush in 2000. As of Saturday afternoon, according to Rassmussen Reports, President Barack Obama and GOP contender Mitt Romney were in a dead heat with 48 percent of the popular vote.
But who’s counting that? If so, we’d have a lot more presidential and potential presidential visits in West Virginia. Sadly, we’ve had none, leaving our voters a little disenchanted and feeling like the red-headed stepchild with all of the attention going to our western neighbor Ohio.
Why? It’s a toss-up state. And West Virginia isn’t. Our five electoral vote are most certainly going to Mitt Romney. So that means the Obama campaign isn’t going to put people on the ground here and try to collect support. And the Romney camp isn’t going to bother fostering the support they already know they have.
It just depends on which poll you use to guess where those electoral votes are going to go. According to Rassmussen Reports, Obama has 237 toward the 170 needed, while Romney has 206. That leave 95 toss-up votes from eight states.
But if you click over to Huffington Post, they’re reporting that Obama already has 281 votes with really only four undecided states.
Who can say ... it’s all about as reliable as astrology. We’ll find out come Tuesday.
But in the meantime, we asked our readers to vote in our “election” — our weekly poll question which can be found online each week at www.timeswv.com. Last week we asked “Who is getting your vote as you head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6?”
And here are our returns:
• I’m still undecided 1.67 percent.
• Is there a “none of the above” option on the ballot? 7.67 percent.
• Barack Obama 38.33 percent.
• Mitt Romney 52.33 percent
Just for the record, the Huffington Post has voters in West Virginia leaning toward Romney 56 percent and Obama 39 percent. Not too far off from our own.
This week, let’s move far away from the election and back to our own backard ... literally. Do you think that an urban deer hunt would help with overpopulation?
Log on. Vote. Email me or respond directly online.
The magic number is 270.
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.
Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region
Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.
COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community
There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.
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- Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated