AND THEN AGAIN… Tamara Pettit

…..Where’s Bill?   A lot of readers have missed Bill Kiefer’s column “Our History….Our Heritage” in past weeks and have asked when it will return.    On the day of the massive snow storm we were heading to Morgantown and stopped at the rest stop.    In the midst of torrential rain, Bill failed to see the curb and the result was a broken left humerus.  The break did not require surgery and is healing well, but it will be a while before his two-handed  keyboarding skills return.  In the interim, however,  he may resort to dictating his column to me of the super- fast keyboarding skills.

…..Former Weirton resident Jane Kraina, whom many of you may remember from the Weirton Library, has been in touch with Bill.  She’s writing a book on Brown’s Island and has now included some of the information he has written about the explosion  in her soon-to-be published book. 

……What questions do you want to ask candidates for running for office?  I think I’m going to tackle the Board of Education election first.  Questions on my mind will include.  1)Why are you running for the Board;  2)What qualifications would you bring to the position?  3)If funding is limited, are you in favor of funding academic classes before the Weir High baseball field; and 4)Do you think the Board should use the services of the Hancock County Prosecutor’s office rather than outside legal counsel? And, one more: Will you represent the students in the entire county, not just one area?   While I think the mandatory mask in school issue is behind us, I think it still may be a pertinent question.   What do you think?

…….I don’t impress easy.  Years of service in our government and years of covering government have made me pretty oblivious to presentations.   I’m more inclined to think “blah…blah….blah” when a presentation is done.  That’s why when I tell you that I was very impressed with School Nurse Director Kathy Dray’s presentation to the Board on the how Hancock County will handle COVID as the mask mandate is removed Feb.22,  it’s meaningful.    Dray clearly is a director who has been down in the trenches with the school nurses and the students and the procedure outlined is well thought out.  She explained that procedure succinctly and sequentially.  (Sometimes in a stupor when legislative meetings would draw out, I would start to count extraneous words and I worried that someday I would jump up and shout “too many words, you all don’t need all those words.”)   I walked out of the meeting understanding the process and feeling like the Board had done what it needed to do: hand the problem over to the professionals and let them do their work.  Good job!

……Right now there are no  Democratic candidates running on the County level, but that can change.  The Democratic Executive Committee has the power to appoint a candidate to fill a vacancy if no candidate has filed after the filing period has closed. The Committee has until Feb. 28 to fill that spot on the ballot.  If the Executive Committee does not take action as a body, then County Democratic Chair Donna Gialucco would have until March 2 to appoint a candidate.   Three races will be decided in the primary if no Democrat is appointed:  County Commission; County Clerk; and Circuit Clerk. 

…….The Legislative session will soon be wrapping up.  Some good bills have already passed and are on the Governor’s desk.  A bill to require educators to have training in eating and self-harm disorders may cause some teenagers to have their disorder recognized or prevented…..and perhaps even save a life.  Requiring WVU to begin a Parkinson’s registry for the State which will provide valuable information for researchers.    The pay raise for teachers and state employees has passed the Senate and is now before House Finance.  I think you will see it move out quickly in the next few days. 

…….House Bill, 2910  which allocates magistrates, not on case loads, but on population, made it to a second reading on the House floor when it was pulled from the Special Calendar and  moved to the House Calendar. If the Rules Committee doesn’t move it back to the Special Calendar the bill could sit and never surface.   I’m sure delegates are hearing from irate magistrates in counties which will see a reduction.  Although each county will be allocated one magistrate per 15,500 population, the proviso that “no county shall have less than two magistrates” would ensure Hancock retains two beginning with the 2024 election. Or, that proviso could be amended out in which case Hancock County would be reduced to one magistrate.   An interesting bill to watch.

….. The House bill which would split the 2 % net terminal revenue the county gets from racetrack video lottery with municipalities within the county has never moved.  As the clock ticks down to the final day a bill must emerge from committee in the originating house, prospects look dim for its passage.