The Times West Virginian


January 27, 2013

With ‘more’ as an obstacle, drug fight in county proceeds one case at a time

It’s been almost four months since we made a very bold statement ... Marion County is fighting back against drugs.

And we are.

Since the beginning of October, multi-media journalist Emily Gallagher has written a piece each Monday highlighting a group, a cause or an individual who is fighting that good fight.

Last week, the final in the series “Marion County Fights Back” appeared in the Times West Virginian. Two days later, Gallagher invited all of her sources to sit down in our offices one evening to talk about the issue of drugs in our community, the resources needed and where do we go from here.

The overwhelming answer given on how to fight back against drugs in our community is one simple word.


More prevention.

More intervention.

More treatment.

More recovery.

More resources.

More cooperation.

And it may be a simple word, but it is certainly an obstacle that keeps the warriors in the fight against drugs from being as successful as they could be.

But we don’t want to minimize the success there has been in this community. Within the past six months, two major drug busts involving city and federal and then county law enforcement have taken dealers and guns off the street. And those same law-enforcement officers say that for a period of time, large busts mean less crime.

But the time it takes to investigate, execute and then prosecute those cases takes more resources than we have in our police agencies and prosecuting attorney’s office.

The DARE program and having a prevention resource officer in the school system is a great thing. It builds relationships with students and police officers, who see them as role models, coaches and someone you can approach with a problem instead the negative attitude that unfortunately develops about police officers in the crime community.

But there are 22 schools in Marion County — seven in the city alone. And Fairmont has only one officer dedicated to that mission. Grants that could fund more officers would cover less than half the salary, benefits and retirement of an officer, and the city just doesn’t have the resources for more.

But no battle worth fighting is easily won. Obstacles cannot stop us from fighting the good fight.

And sometimes all of the effort is worth it, even if it only changes the lives of a few.

There’s no way to measure how successful our series of stories detailing the ones who are fighting back against drugs is. You can’t change the world in four months.

But one person’s world can change. And we hope that’s happened. We’ve had several phone calls from people who wanted help and didn’t know how to get it. We’ve had calls from people who asked where to attend a Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

When the word “more” becomes an obstacle, you win the war by winning one battle at a time.

And we congratulate the ones winning the battles, from police officers and attorneys to teachers and counselors to teens and parents.

And we congratulate the ones who have seen their own lives within these profiles, and who look in the mirror and say “today is the day drugs won’t control my life.”

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  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    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

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    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.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    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

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    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

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    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

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    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.
    The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.

    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.
    Let’s not do that again.

    July 15, 2014

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