AND THEN AGAIN by Tamara Pettit, Publisher

……The infusion of funds from the American Rescue Act into our county and communities provides great opportunity. Seldom do you see funds that come from the Federal government go directly to local government without a stopping off point in Charleston where they often get diverted. An example is the CARE Act funds that Governor Justice wanted to use to shore up the budget. The County Commissioners have made a wise move in asking for input from citizens on their top three priorities for the use of the money. This is your chance to make your voice heard. How often have you learned money was being spent on a project only to say “but they needed to address this issue.”
…….I would encourage citizens of Chester and New Cumberland to also make their Mayors and City Councils aware of their vision for the money. Chester is slated to receive $990,000.00 and New Cumberland will receive $420,000.00
…..My top three priorities: infrastructure..infrastructure…infrastructure. Water, Sewer and broadband expansion. While we can talk of economic development projects, nothing happens without access to those three critical services. There is land in the northern part of Hancock County that is ripe for industry and business but that development has been stalled for years by the lack of water/sewage. The infusion of money into the county budget from video lottery revenue beginning in 1994 brought many opportunities. The next decade would see video lottery revenue grow by leaps and bounds until neighboring states legalized gaming. My one regret is that we didn’t specify in the legislation that the county had to dedicate that money solely to water/sewage projects. While very worthy projects were funded by that video lottery revenue, I think we would have been far better off had we dedicated the revenue solely to extending water/sewage to areas without it.
…….The importance of broadband access was driven home to us in the past month. While we do the newspaper from our homes, Shannon’s recent move meant she was without internet access for three weeks. Without that access she could not send the newspaper to our printer in Lisbon. What we had refined into a pretty smooth process we refined after seven years became a real challenge. A tree got trimmed; she got hooked up and we are good to go.
……And, then the printer broke down. Not something a quick trip to Walmart, Best Buy, Staples, Office Max couldn’t fix. Yep, there is also a nationwide shortage of printers? I was told that people working from home and the fact that most printers are made in China was the reason and I was met with empty shelves when I went in search of a printer. Again, it stalled us beyond belief and got us behind on sending legal invoices and affidavit not to mention the 1,000 labels I print each week. Needless to say, the perfect storm of lack of internet, broken computer and orchestrating a move to a new house for Shannon has been a challenge, but it’s one we’ve survived.
…..And then again, when Pele, one of Shannon’s two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, got lose Monday we really wondered if we would survive all this change. Credit Facebook, the Animal Shelter and a lovely woman who lived up the road near Virden’s Lane with coming to our rescue. Someone called the Animal Shelter to let them know a little white dog was running lose and within an hour Shannon received the news Pele was found and safe. My heart!
…..Please let us know if you have a week you don’t get your newspaper. I’ve had some newspaper come back with “no such address” from subscribers who have been getting the newspapers for years without an issue.
….Sine Die! The West Virginia Legislature has recessed without recall. That mean’s its all over, but there will be some shouting over those who are not happy with some legislation passed. Despite the last- minute shenanigans from Governor Justice, the budget passed. I’m surprised. That didn’t used to be the case. Back in the nineties we always went into Special Session for the budget because of the disagreeing versions from the House and the Senate. The Republican led legislature has prided itself on ending the session within the 60 days allocated and I think that’s great as long as a workable budget with no surprises is passed.
……What are some of the more notable bills passed? Senate Bill 12 now requires that the County Commissioners sign off on decisions by the local Board of Health. Senate Bill 270 imposes the Hotel/Motel Tax on Airbnb facilities. Senate Bill 358 removes the prohibition against ATMs in casinos while HB 2507 removes the prohibition on advertising and promotion by Limited Video Lottery facilities.
……The plans for Weirton take their hotel/motel tax revenue and start their own Convention & Visitors Bureau have been quashed for now by the passage of SB 488. The bill puts a moratorium on any new CVBs until 2004.
…..Madalynn Grace made her entrance into the world pretty much on schedule last week. At least it was on my Mom’s schedule, since Madalynn was born on Grandma Margaret’s birthday – April 5. There are no coincidences. She is tiny (6 lb.4 ounces) and precious and has already captured our hearts. Madalynn is sporting a bow in her hair each day instilling a strong sense of fashion already. I learned that some behavior may be multi-generational. When Abbi went into labor, before departing for the hospital she straightened her hair. Can you say pictures? “Who does that?” I asked Shannon who replied, “The granddaughter of a woman who made us stay in our room on Christmas morning until she had her hair done because we were going to take pictures!” Well, that was learned behavior by me because Grandma Margaret had that same rule only she put on her makeup first.