And Then Again by Tamara Pettit

…..December 7, 1940 was indeed a day of infamy as Pres. Franklin Roosevelt told the nation. Our country went to war and my mind travels back today to what it must have been like for those who faced Christmas that year and those war years that followed. It had to have been frightening as the enemies threatened life as they knew it and the United States morphed into a nation at war. Those who can tell me about it are gone, but I remember their stories. WW II separated my sister and me. She was born in 1940 and lived the early years without our Dad as my mother struggled to keep it together while her husband served overseas. I was a baby boomer, born after the GI’s returned and the years of hope and prosperity reigned. She and my Mom lived in 2-rooms on Chester Street, an 18-year-old and her baby. The checks from the government were slow in reaching her and my mom scrubbed floors and did ironing to feed her baby. She always gave thanks to Mrs. Sprague, her landlady, who would watch Marsha while she worked and a close-knit neighborhood in Upper Town who gave her their ration stamps for meat and chocolate. We were at war and those at home as well as those at war did what needed to be done to survive.
….We, too are at war again only this time the enemy is among us. There was a time back in March when I knew no one who had COVID. The threat was distant. We in small towns and rural areas seemed far, far away from the virus. That has changed. I now know many who have COVID. Last week, 824in Hancock County were tested. Of those 100 people were positive and we have nine deaths. The virus is wide spread in Northern Hancock. Those who continue to have family gatherings are burying their heads in the sand and putting their families, friends and community at risk. We cannot go on as if everything is normal. It’s not about you and your choice to take a risk. By failing to wear a mask or continuing to gather as if nothing is wrong, you are putting others at risk many of whom are unwilling victims of your failure to adhere to the guidelines.
……Of course, I would call upon my favorite Christmas movie for a quote: The Grinch. “Remember, Christmas comes without ribbons, packages, boxes and bags. Somehow or other it comes.” It can to us without those we love around us. Christmas came to those during WW II, without presents or family. Christmas will come to us even if we sit quietly by our tree knowing that we are keeping our family is safe in another location. Make it a quiet Christmas. The vaccine will soon be available.
…..I don’t think enough can be said about our health care workers. The nurses at CHANGE, Inc. worked through the inclement weather to test at both Newell and the Weirton location. The Hancock County Health Department, with five workers, is stretched to their limits as they struggle to keep up with the workload. Many, many thanks to them.
……While I’m told contact tracing is being done, it’s hard to keep up with as numbers grow. If you test positive, it’s your obligation to inform those with whom you have come in contact within your contagion period. If you don’t, they may continue to go out and inadvertently infect others.
….We’re changing our procedure on classified ads. We’ve always said subscribers had to send those classifieds through e-mail or U.S. mail, but I admit I’m a softy when readers called asking me to take them over the phone. That’s just not working. Some of those ads get very specific and I’m jotting them down on whatever piece of paper I can find and then can’t locate the paper or read my own writing. (Remember those calls are also coming in at odd hours of the day and night….you try to find a pen and pencil when you’re dripping wet from the shower before 8 a.m.) We are a small newspaper operating out of our homes and I think it’s much more efficient for readers to e-mail their ads to [email protected] or mail to P O Box 107, New Manchester WV 26056.
…..I think the unsung heroes of our small towns are our City Clerks. They are the ones who get the job done on a day-to-day basis. In the midst of COVID they have ensured that the CARES act funding is acquired to keep the communities going. Sara Hawkins in New Cumberland has made sure the City got CARES Act funds and ensured the City continues to operate through some difficult days. Mayor Ken Morris said Chester is in the home stretch in implementing home rule and he is quick to point out that Asst. City Clerk Tara Ayers was the one who put the application together and shepherded it through.
……And, about the Sammis emissions article. George Hines spotted the smoke and thought the plumes were off and let me know. I, in turn, followed up with the EPA. New Cumberland knows too well the health hazards of air pollution and we need to be vigilant in making sure the emissions are not harmful to those who live here. Small towns are good like that. There are people looking out for each other. We’ll let you know what we find out.
…..The changing of the guard will take place Dec. 14 as new County officials will be sworn in by Judge Ron Wilson. That will include Sheriff Scott Gittings, County Commissioner Eron Chek, Prosecutor Steven Dragisch and Magistrates Scott Hicks, Mike White and Ralph Fletcher. Assessor Joe Alongi will also be sworn in for another four-year term.
…..If you can’t be there with friends and family this Christmas, why not get them connected. Our online edition is $30/year and you can access it by going to Payment can be made by credit card (for print subscriptions as well) and you don’t have to leave the comfort of your couch to do your Christmas shopping.
…..We will publish our Dec. 17 edition and then we will take Christmas week off. Please think ahead for any news or notices you might need in the newspaper.