AND THEN AGAIN….by Tamara Pettit

 …….I appreciate good journalism and I cringe at bad journalism. The Freedom of Information Act is one of the most important tools a journalist can employ.  Enacted it 1966, FOIA as it is commonly known,  allows the public access to governmental records and those organizations that receive Federal or State Funds can also be petitioned for the part of governmental funding received.  For example, a  FOIA request was granted six years ago for the Top of West Virginia Convention & Visitors Bureau financial records and several years ago  I was able to uncover the amount the Board of Education was spending on attorney fees under a previous superintendent through using FOIA.

…..What FOIA can’t be used for, however, is to access records  of a private corporation.   That is why I cringed (as did others) when during a presentation recently on a book entitled “The Final Days of Weirton Steel” at the Weirton Area Museum, the author claimed a FOIA request had accessed information from National Steel on the ESOP.  Can’t be done.

…..Watched the presentation with my husband, who served as  Weirton Steel’s Vice-President of Legal for many, many years.  I was in one room and he was in another.  He kept saying “pause” and then would  elaborate on parts with which he had an issue.

..…My big fat ugly grass!    If I pay for a lawn treatment service shouldn’t my grass be pretty?  I think it should, but apparently I’m expecting way too much.  Had a not too fruitful conversation about my lawn with the TruGreen  tech who turned out to service it.  He told me he was applying the weed and seed application,  I pointed out that my lawn continued to have crabgrass.   “That’s not a weed, “ he said.  “We just take care of the weeds.   And, that is  just big fat ugly grass.”   Wait, for three years I’ve been paying every month to get big fat ugly grass.

……Bit the bullet and had bushes in the side yard taken out.  They had been planted over sixty years ago to keep the hillside from coming down every time it rained.  Of late, they had gotten totally out of control and it was time, but I must say as I watched the little Kubota tractor pull them up I marveled that something which took so much time and effort to grow could be taken out in such a short time.

…..I was absolutely delighted to learn that former resident Edwin Flowers now has a web page  Judge Flowers, 91, is a resident of Morgantown, but his ties to hometown have remained close.  A former State Welfare Commissioner and State Supreme Court Justice, Judge Flowers remembers his start as City Solicitor of New Cumberland and Assistant City Solicitor of Chester.    I greatly enjoyed the photos on the web page, especially one with my dad, John D. Herron, and local businessman Matt Phillips.   The three incorporated the Hancock Finance Corporation in New Cumberland.    I encourage you to visit the page.   I found it fascinating.

……We have a new 1st District Senator:  Owens Brown.  With very little fanfare, Governor Justice appointed him from a field of three Democratic candidates which included former Delegate Randy Swartzmiller and current Delegate Sean Fluharty.  Owens becomes the first black male to serve in the State Senate.  He currently is President of the West Virginia NAACP.   For many years Owens served in an administrative capacity with the West Virginia Education Association.

…..I had occasion to work with Owens for many years when I was in the House of Delegates.   He brings much to the Senate seat.  Just prior to Justice’s choice being announced I had occasion to discuss the seat with a knowledgeable Democrat from Brooke County.  What Justice doesn’t want is a Democrat in that seat when it comes up in 2022.    So, it’s likely that the Gov. appointed the weakest candidate when it comes to getting votes to retain the seat for the Democrats.   I would gather that Swartzmiller will make another run for the Senate and speculation is Fluharty will do so as well. 

….Sen. Joe Manchin is threatening to leave the Democratic party.  According to Mother Jones Manchin has a two-step strategy to get his way in the current reconciliation bill: He resigns his Democratic leadership vice-chair position (If you don’t give me what I want, I’m leaving;  and He changes his registration to “American Independent” (I’ve become a “not Democrat”, but I’m not a  Republican either.   Am I an independent?  Well, a special Independent…an American Independent.)

….  Couple of common-sense thoughts applying my State-limited political knowledge to the National scene:  Don’t threaten to do it if you’re not gonna do it.  That weakens your stance and destroys your creditability.    This isn’t  a game of Red Rover…Red Rover…I dare you to cross over, this our country! And, don’t underestimate the ability of the voters in our State to see past the BS.

……With the New Year waiting in the wings, I look for local political announcements to be forthcoming.   In the Clay District County Commission race I’ve heard of three possible contenders for the Republican nomination: current Commissioner Paul Cowey who has changed his registration from Democrat to Republican; Brett Lemley, who has already declared his intention to run for the seat; and Oak Glen Football Coach Ted Arneault, who has yet to declare.   I’ve heard of no Democratic candidates as yet.   The District starts at Smith Oil in New Cumberland and runs south to include Wyle Ridge, Swearingen Hill, and Hardins Run.  The district continues down County Road and then heads towards the River to take in Marland Heights.

……The Homecoming photos were great.  Thanks for posting on our Facebook page.  I think the adults enjoyed it as much as the kids!