The Times West Virginian


January 29, 2014

Safety of school kids takes top priority

We have kind of lost track of the number of snow days Marion County has had for the 2013-14 calendar year.

It feels very much like children from preschool to high school seniors haven’t spent an awful lot of time in the classroom since at least Christmas. And they haven’t. We had a terrible cold snap the first week of January and the past two weeks have been a terrible mix of snowfall, icy conditions and subfreezing temperatures.

It all leads to unsafe conditions.

It is not safe to place children on school buses when roads are covered in snow, slush and ice. It is not safe to expect children to stand outside and wait for buses with windchill factors far below zero. It is not safe to expect children to wait for those buses along streets where up to a foot of snow has been scraped from the roads and piled against sidewalks, forcing them to stand in roadways.

The safety of our children should be paramount.

Yes, it has been a frustrating time for school administrators. The month of January has been a frustrating time for educators, too, who have had to prepare lesson plans and then scrap them to make up for time missed.

It is been a very frustrating time for parents and guardians, as many of them have had to make childcare arrangements to continue to work while the children are out of school.

And, honestly, it’s been a pretty frustrating time for school children as well, especially student athletes who have been unable to play games because of school cancellations. It’s going to be quite difficult to reschedule some, if any, of those games as the season ends.

But there’s very little that can be done this school calendar year. The calendar is set, and instruction is to end on June 6. Administrators and teachers will have to do everything they can to make up for nearly a month of missed instruction time to prepare their students for upcoming statewide tests.

Who knew when the calendar was set last year that we would exceed the eight snow days planned for? But we have to live with the calendar the way that it is now.

There are changes that will be made available to local boards of education, and our own BOE will have that conversation next week.

No matter what Punxsutawney Phil says this weekend, we have six more weeks of winter to live with. And if that means keeping kids outside of school for the day to keep them safe, we have to support that. There’s certainly a hierarchy of importance when it comes to the school system, but again, the safety of our children and the staff of the schools has got to come first.

Let’s make it through this year but plan for the next in a way that will meet the educational needs of our children while planning for worst case scenario when it comes to inclement weather.


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    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

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    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
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    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

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    July 22, 2014

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    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

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    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

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    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
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    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

    The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
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    July 15, 2014

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