Community service members
I would like to give you thanks for everything you do for my community and any other place you might go to save lives. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin recently proclaimed Sept. 29, 2012, a state-wide day to serve.
This day acknowledges the astonishing men and women who give it their all every day of their lives and attend to promote the well being of the citizens in my community.
I strongly believe that my peers and I do not recognize people like you all the time and this day shows our appreciation. I have written this letter to show you that I truly care about the acts of kindness that you perform for my community.
To let you get to know me better, my name is Emily Triplett and I am a 7th grader at Chapmanville Middle School.
I specifically wrote this letter for the men and women who work at the hospital, and I think you guys are very important people every day, but especially on the Day to Serve.
Thank you for everything you do.
Education budget cuts
On January 2, 2013 schools throughout West Virginia will experience federal budget cuts of more than eight percent, affecting vital education programs beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, unless Congress intervenes.
The across-the-board cuts known as “sequestration” are the result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which mandates reductions in both defense and non-defense discretionary programs as a means of deficit reduction, with no consideration for vital investments in long-term economic growth. For school districts across the nation, it will mean more than $4 billion in cuts to public education, and while the cuts to programs like Title I and Special Education (IDEA) are across the board reductions, our highest-need schools and students will suffer the most, as their share of federal funding is higher.
We know that education is vital to long-term economic health….our community is working hard with much less to successfully educate college- and career-ready students. The success in our own community should not be jeopardized because our members in Congress are incapable of identifying a responsible, balanced, and bipartisan approach to deficit reduction that preserves investments in vital services for children and families.
For all schools throughout the state, sequestration will mean a loss in funding of vital programs, loss of after school and summer learning programs, less course offerings such as Advanced Placement courses, and possible reductions in services and employment of teachers and support staff. This will impact the overall quality of education for our students and the overall economic health of our entire community. Already, we’ve suffered cuts to educational programs and student supports Currently, many school districts throughout the state have to make hard decisions on a daily basis due to reduced funding. The time to correct these issues has passed and Congress must act now!
Now is not the time for thoughtless, blunt reductions. Now is the time for leadership in Washington, DC. Join West Virginia PTA in urging our own members of Congress; Representatives Capito, Rahall, and McKinley and Senators Rockefeller and Manchin to join with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to intervene and protect education. Deficit reduction is needed, but PTA is counting on Congress to sideline the bickering and reach consensus on a responsible approach that doesn’t place disproportionate burden on students by decimating our national investment in education and long-term competitiveness.
About West Virginia PTA:
West Virginia PTA, which is the largest child advocacy association in the state, includes 6,000 members from across the entire state. Founded in 1923, West Virginia PTA’s mission is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.
West Virginia PTA
W.Va. PTA President-Elect
As the season for Halloween approaches, it saddens me to witness how its popularity grows each year, though not surprisingly. It, along with Harry Potter, Hollywood, and the recent vampire trilogy, have done more to erase God from our lives than nearly anything. Even our schools promote it, yet, God isn’t allowed there.
We were warned by God, if we cared to read His ‘instruction manual’, to not learn the ways of heathen nations. Yet, we embrace them and do the opposite of His advice. If you care/dare, check the origin of Halloween and other manmade holidays.
I realize that ‘foolishness is bound in the heart of a child’ as the most wise man who ever lived wrote; but, now, more and more it has taken over the hearts of adults. If we taught our kids even one-half as much about God as we do about werewolves, vampires, wizards, zombies and witches, our nation would be so much better for it. The Apostle Paul wrote ‘when I was a child, I spake as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things’. Not so today! We have 60 year old children who focus on nothing but childish things.
There is a spirit world that opposes God at every turn, and we were urged not to ‘dabble’ in it. Still, there’s a popular TV show and several people who boast of contacting the dead. ‘The Walking Dead’ is another favorite show. I see ‘walking dead’ every day, without hope, addicted to something, eyes fixed and glazed over. But, anyone without God’s Spirit is dead, spiritually. Not my words — they’re from The New Testament.
The majority doesn’t know or even care what the Bible says on this subject. For now, Satan is the god of our world, from The Bible also. I am not saying that we go to hell for donning a costume, but whatever we ‘feed’ grows. Which are you feeding more — your spirit or your flesh? We either follow God or Satan; there is no ‘straddling the fence’!
God doesn’t tell us no to only diminish what we call fun. He wants to keep us from straying from Him and thus, self-destruction.
Volunteer fire departments across this state are currently losing the battle of recruiting and retaining good, young firefighters. Something as simple as free education in state colleges, universities, or vocational schools has the potential to attract qualified firefighters. Volunteer firefighters are, in my opinion, just as important at helping protect our homes, schools, and businesses as any other first responder. Police officers and EMS crews are paid to respond, volunteer firefighters are not. They do it because of an inherent desire to serve_ their community and protect the lives and property of their neighbors.
I am not writing this letter because I hear volunteer firefighters complaining about no incentives to serve. I am writing this letter because I see a trend developing where pride and service to the community are not enough to attract a cross section of the community into the volunteer firefighting service. Spending hours in classrooms, running calls at all hours and in all kinds of weather, being away from your family, and the added financial burden of operating your own vehicle are becoming too much for some firefighters.
Lately, when the tones drop for an emergency, one or more departments have to be called because there are just not enough firefighters available with one department to answer the call. This should be a warning sign, especially to our state legislators and county administrators to take some type of action. They cannot keep burying their heads in the sand and expect this problem to go away.
What are the ramifications if fire departments start shutting their doors? Higher insurance costs for homeowners is one, no one readily available to handle car wrecks, floods, downed trees in the roads, chemical spills, missing persons, and of course, fires in our homes. Volunteer fire departments are, in many instances, our first line of defense against many-disasters in our communities, both large and small. I think it is well past time to start treating these volunteers as you would anyone else who helps protect us.
Retirement benefits for over 20 years of service, free license plates, tax breaks, and of course, free tuition in state colleges, universities, or trade schools are some things legislators could consider. I wish the Governor would take a look at this also.
As more and more training and certification requirements are placed upon volunteer firefighters across the state, some firefighters are having a difficult time getting away from their jobs to accomplish this added training and are forced to step away from being a firefighter because they simply do not have the time to devote to training and spending extra time away from their families.
So, the next time you have to sit in traffic for an extended period at an automobile accident, it might possibly be because the responding fire department does not have an adequate amount of firefighters available to handle all aspects of the accident, including traffic control.
The active military and reserves offer young men and women financial incentives to enlist. I think volunteer fire departments should be able to offer something to these young men and women for volunteering their time helping protect communities against manmade and natural disasters. This, to me should be a no-brainer with respect to offering something to attract potential firefighters.
I do hope some of our state representatives have read this and agree that something needs to be done now, before it’s too late.
Thanks again for allowing me to express my opinion. Dosveedanya!