Experts predict growth for West Virginia’s economy.
That’s how the headline on the story read. And, if true, this is news that the Mountain State has been awaiting since 2008.
Most people have been living below their standards for far too long now. It’s been a long time since prosperity has reigned.
The State Journal, the business newspaper for West Virginia, pointed out that the state ranks third in the nation relative to the median age. And it ranks as the second oldest in terms of individuals aged 65 or older. And these figures are related to the manner in which West Virginia is expected to prosper.
The aging population — the senior citizens among us — demands certain things from the economy, such as health care and financial services, according to Paul Speaker, an associate professor of finance in West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics. And both of these sectors are expected to grow over the next five years.
Speaker points out that the state has had very steady growth in the health-care sector in terms of jobs, and that trend is expected to continue. The sector grows at about 2 percent annually.
Health-care jobs typically pay more than the minimum wage, and the wage scale is expected to climb. Speaker noted that health-care jobs are anticipated to take the gross state product from its current 9.12 percent to 9.66 percent by 2017.
Another way the state can help the aging population is by expanding the professional business services sector, primarily financial services. Workers need help in planning their retirement, and it stands to reason that seniors could use similar services.
State officials have long predicted a growth in Medicaid costs, and in anticipation of those rising costs, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin last year asked state agencies to cut 7.5 percent from their budgets. While West Virginia has closed the gap in terms of per capita income, this does affect how much federal money the state’s Medicaid program will receive.
Despite the rising costs in Medicaid, businesses that serve the senior population of the state are expected to prosper. If this helps the state economy grow, and it should, so be it. We’re still at the point where we need all the help we can get.
Experts predict growth for West Virginia’s economy.
Laws to keep mudslinging to minimum can stife free speech
By nature, and by profession, we do not like lies. As journalists, we’re truth tellers. Or at least we attempt to get at the truth through research, attribution, documents and comments from people on either side of an issue.
Sometimes it ends up with “telling lies from both sides,” as a crusty reporter once mused a handful of years ago.
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.
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