So, I’m not from Marion County.
Heck, I’m not even from West Virginia.
I just happened to be college-aged when my father was stationed at West Virginia University’s ROTC department in his last assignment before retiring from the U.S. Army. And they just happened to buy a house in Fairmont a block away from Fairmont State. So I attended college here. And by chance I started a career here. And then I started a family here. And at some point during those years I started to fall in love with Marion County and West Virginia. And then I consciously chose to stay here and raise my family here.
But when it comes to “sides,” I missed the years where I was supposed to form alliances with a particular part of the county or a side of town because of sports and old rivalries.
Sure, I married an East Sider and bought a house on the East Side (at his insistence), and my kids attend East Side schools. I will root for the Hornets this football season because my kid is wearing a uniform. But I always root for the hometown team, meaning I wish the best for the Cubs and the Husky Pups, too. And that will go on when its Bees and Polar Bears and Huskies, too. So the word “consolidation” doesn’t evoke an emotional response from me. I wasn’t here in the 1970s when it happened in the North Marion area.
So, when the issue of combining East Fairmont and Fairmont Senior high schools comes up, as it usually does every few years or so, I’ve always looked at it from an outside point of view. Is it about money? Economy of scale? Is it about wanting to hold onto “community” schools when so many communities have lost theirs? Is it about Bears versus Bees?
I have to say, a recent explanation given by Gary Price, Marion’s superintendent of schools, was probably the most compelling I’ve heard against consolidation.
“We just hope that Marion County’s business outlook and the education outlook are both in the upturn for the future,” he said. “As more jobs are provided, more people will be able to stay here.”
Price added that community members have suggested at different times over the years that the county should consider consolidating the high schools, particularly East Fairmont and Fairmont Senior. But the decision has been made to keep each school open because of the potential for additional growth in Marion County.
“If we consolidated those schools at this point, wherever we put them, the building would be filled to the brim, and then you’re basically saying we’re not going to have any more growth,” he said. “But by giving yourself some cushion in both buildings, we could absorb several hundred students at the high school level and still have adequate facilities, and that’s certainly what we hope is going to happen.”
Hey, we’re all for growth. And it seemed like a very reasonable argument. But we wanted to hear from our readers on the issue, so we took it the poll. Our poll question can be found each week at www.timeswv.com.
Last week we asked, “Marion’s Superintendent Gary Price said that to consider consolidation of EFHS and FSHS would mean no room for attendance growth in area. What do your think?”
And here’s what the readers had to say:
• With attendance rates steady, now is not the time to debate it — 6.25 percent.
• Keep an open mind. Anti-consolidation has more to do with old-time rivalries than facts — 15.13 percent.
• Go for it. It saves money and will create a AAA powerhouse for Marion County — 23.36 percent.
• Completely against it. Communities suffer when you consolidate — 55.26 percent.
This community isn’t ready for that kind of decision either.
This week, let’s talk about the possibility of the U.S. becoming involved in the Syrian issue through a military strike. Is this something that you could support?
Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.
So, I’m not from Marion County.
‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia
Hopefully, the heavy snow and extremely cold weather of January, February and early March are in the past.
Remnants of the harsh winter, though, remain. They’re faced each day by the state’s drivers.
Potholes have West Virginia’s roads in their worst condition in years, and the damaging freeze-thaw cycle is not over.
‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.
But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.
“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
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- ‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia