And Then Again by Tamara Pettit

…….I awoke to the sound of salt trucks Tuesday. Since I was little when I heard that sound I knew it had snowed overnight and the State Road was on the job. I live on Veterans Blvd less than ¼ mile north of the State Road Barn and looking down on the road from my perch in the house, I not only knew when the roads were bad, I knew when they were going to get bad. Sometimes, the rain hasn’t even turned to snow or the snowflakes haven’t even started falling when I know. I see the salt trucks heading north and I’ve always been told the trucks sit at the top of Rt 30 hill in Chester poised to keep that road cleared. I think the state road employees are the unsung heroes in keeping us all safe in inclement weather.
……I have a toboggan this year. That’s a knit hat not a sled. They are very much in fashion now so I needn’t worry about people making fun. They look cute on other people, but they do not do much for me. I figure if I wear my mask and don a toboggan no-one will ever even know it’s me when I’m out and about. I think that means I don’t have to worry about my makeup or my hair until spring.
……Remember long ago back in December 2019 when a snow day meant you stayed homes and kids and parents were happy. A lot has changed in 2020. Let’s hope a snow day and staying home is a rarity in by 2022.
….. I must tell you that living “out the highway” or “in the country” as a child with no neighbors afforded me a much different snow day experience than my own kids enjoyed living on 2nd Avenue in New Cumberland. I had a sled that was used once when I was 8-years-old. It was one of those plastic deals. The ground on the hill was still rough from the excavation when the house was built meaning I could not get the sled to go. I tried, but after many stops and starts I came to the decision that despite everything I saw in the movies and was led to believe, I was cold and wet and this was not a fun thing to do. I went inside where my Mom had made chili and read a book where it was warm and toasty. This may have been the story of my childhood and why I don’t ski; I don’t sled ride; and I am inside warm and toasty today.
My kids on the other hand enjoyed sledding at Kirpan’s Hill on 2nd Ave. with the neighborhood. It was a scene from Christmas Story!
…. When the lawsuit was filed about Governor Jim Justice establishing his residency at the Governor’s Mansion I agreed with the premise. Justice was the first governor of West Virginia who declined to move into the official residence beside the capitol and I thought he should be forced to do so. Since March and the COVID crisis, however, I have changed my mind. I don’t care where the governor lays his head at night. I just care whether he shows up at the capital to do his job. I really think that Gov. Justice has been diligent about communicating to West Virginians from the governor’s reception room on a daily basis.
…..Although it doesn’t seem like much is going on during the month of December, that is actually that when a lot of decisions get made. Legislative agendas are being set. Decisions about the speaker of the house and the president of the senate are being pondered by legislators. Lobbying groups are holding meetings throughout the state with advocates pitching the bills they would like passed or defeated. Because this a gubernatorial election year, the legislature does not go into session until February instead of January, but this “down” time is a good time to get yourself educated on what will come in a few months.
……The Congo Corporation on Collins Drive in Chester has filed for a permit to discharge untreated storm water into the Ohio River. Congo Corporation is listed as an oil and energy company. I saw the legal on November 24 announcing the application in the Weirton paper. Since the code specified that the legal run in the area affected by the action or permit being issued, my interest is always sparked when I see someone post a legal where local residents won’t see it. I always make sure that our readers are informed when it comes to air discharge, water emissions permits, etc. (As granddaughter Katie Pettit said “They need to know”.) Anyone wishing a public hearing on the issue needs to contact the Division of Water & Air Quality, at 601 5th St. Charleston, WV 25304 within 30 days. I find it interesting that if you want to view the permit you need to make an appointment to do so at the above address. It would seem that those permits could be made available online.
…..I mentioned last week that George Hines provided photos with the time taken notated on the emissions from the Sammis Plant. I forwarded the to Anthony Chenault, public information officer of the EPA, on November 20. I am told the entire EPA staff in that region is working from home which makes connecting a challenge if they don’t respond to e-mail. I’m persistent, however, and managed to track Chenault down December 1. He indicated he had not received photos so I sent the photos again and asked Chenault to confirm he received. He did receive them. I am told that a time stamped photo must be taken with a digital camera with the time stamped on the bottom. While I must go through Chenault….we are a newspaper…he is the public information person and it’s his job to deal with the media, a city council could contact the person in charge of air quality emissions directly. Chenault could not tell me the name of the number of the person private citizens or council could contact. I was a public relations person at a racetrack & casino and a college and it’s your job to know those things!
….We all waited with baited breath Saturday to learn the fate of the AA Football playoffs. When Oak Glen turned gold and Harrison County turned orange, the result was a heartbreaker. We immediately had a statement from Coach Ted Arneault to the community and to the players. In my limited football knowledge the WV SSAC rules don’t seem fair to me. The 2020 Oak Glen Football Team will go down in the school’s history for their giving ir heart and soul to the game. Coach Arneault and his coaching team did more than produce a championship team, they formed a team that came together as a family and captured the hearts of all of us who cheered them from afar as COVID took its toll on our spirit. They are our champs!