Keeping the promise
Recently I wrote a letter to the Editor entitled “Stop the Hate” and I have been so touched by all the responses. I wanted to take a moment to say thank you very much to everyone in the community who have responded with many positive cards, letters, Facebook posts, phone calls and texts. Those I would especially like to thank include Bill Wooten, Darrell Mahone, Dorothy Hunter, Susan Perry, Todd Fields, Karen Cook, Debra Shaw, Lisa Haddox-Heston and Diane O’Briant. My heart was overwhelmed!
Monday, March 24th, marked the second anniversary of my Dad’s death and I cannot think of any better way to honor him than by all of us “keeping the promise” and continuing to love one another!
I would like to leave you with another profound statement that Dad shared with us our entire life — “KINDNESS is not a learned behavior. It is something we are all born with. Unfortunately, it just takes some of us a little longer than others to discover it.”
Meg Jarvis Stidham
Bad politics and good science don’t mix
This is an open letter to the Honorable Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor of the State of West Virginia.
Dear Governor Tomblin:
Like oil and water, bad politics and good science don’t mix. As a retired scientist, it is disgusting to see a few members of the legislature think they are better qualified to make critical decisions on management of our State’s wildlife than hundreds of trained professionals hired to either make or recommend decisions that will have long term, wide spread, and potentially devastating results.
Bluntly speaking, the two major issues these legislators are pushing - stocking elk in Logan County and, in effect, relaxing regulations on “deer farms” - might make good local politics but you would have great difficulty finding one well qualified biologist who would recommend implementing either of those two proposals at this time.
Thirteen Senators and 26 Delegates have sent a letter to you requesting that you fire Frank Jezioro, Director of the Division of Natural Resources (DNR). Their letter complains of “—-continued effort by the Division’s leadership to undermine the desires of the Legislature——.” These politicians apparently think they do not have to make sound scientific arguments for their “pet projects”. Instead, they just attack anyone who does not agree with them. And they do not want to give the huge majority of West Virginia’s hunters any say on these two issues.
Although stocking elk anywhere in West Virginia is probably not advisable, if a decision is made to stock elk, the Logan County area certainly should not be the first choice area. The desires of a couple Senators and one Commissioner from the Logan area to stock elk there do not by fiat make it the best choice. Governor, don’t let local politics result in bad scientific decisions!
The “deer farm” issue is very similar to the elk stocking issue. Two or three legislators are trying to satisfy a handful of “deer farmers” by getting the regulations on “deer farms” relaxed. Again, maybe good politics for the local politician but very bad science because such a decision would further jeopardize our wild deer herd at a time we are trying to eradicate CWD in Hampshire and Hardy Counties. Surely we are wise enough to recognize the devastation CWD is causing in Wisconsin and their inability to stop the spread. The same thing could happen in West Virginia. Again Governor, don’t let local politics result in bad scientific decisions.
Governor, it is not the job of the Division of Natural Resources to cater to the whims of a few legislators and their “pet projects”. Instead, the DNR is officially assigned the responsibility to provide a comprehensive program for the exploration, conservation, development, protection, enjoyment and use of the natural resources of the State of West Virginia for the benefit of all the citizens of West Virginia. All the citizens includes the 400,000 West Virginia deer hunters.
I hesitate to provide the following information; however, I think it is needed to increase the probability of you, the Governor, giving much thought and consideration to my comments.
My credentials include:
College degrees from Virginia Tech and Penn State (Wildlife Management)
Former Supervisor of Game Research, WV DNR
Co-Author: Feasibility of Stocking Elk in West Virginia
Former Director U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Research Centers (14 years)
Former Chief of Wildlife Research, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Former Commissioner, WV DNR
Governor, the decisions made on the above two issues will be part of your legacy. I urge you to stand firm and let scientists, not politicians, guide the stewardship of West Virginia’s valuable wildlife resources.
Dawson, Greenbrier County