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.
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.
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.
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.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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- Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial