Voting against the Fayette County levy
We have paid this tax for almost 50 years. We are being asked to approve another $46,356,225 on Feb. 9, 2013.
$21,575,000 is for extra compensation for employees. You may say that you are willing to pay extra taxes for better educators and instruction for our children. If so, you are wrong, because it has not gotten any results so far.
West Virginia is ranked 49th out of 50 states. Even with this dismal report, the state took over our county’s school system. The basis was that Fayette County was ranked 53rd out of 55 counties. In short, our schools are among the worst in the United States.
You may still think that extra taxes will give us better educators and schools. If so, consider this fact. At least 11 counties have no excess school levy. All but one are ranked better than us. Their average ranking is 33 in the state. Some may blame our children, rather than the teachers. If so, consider this. The surrounding counties have an average ranking of 17.5, not our 53 of 55.
Low income children get free meals. The county now wants “free meals” for everyone. They are asking us to pay $3,250,000 for them. Parents, other than those classed as low income, have always paid for them. I can see no reason to change now. I have heard that Oak Hill High School has mold. If the board does not want to lower our taxes, how about using the money to fix this problem.
I encourage everyone to vote. As for me, I will vote “NO” for these extra taxes. I will change my vote only when our children get an average education. I will even accept West Virginia standards — ranking of 28.
Coming together to help those in need
“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” — Mother Teresa
This past weekend at the Lewis Center in Oak Hill, I observed Mother Teresa’s words coming to life. Spurred into action by a beautiful young girl’s need, Don Williams, lifetime resident of Fayette County and the owner of Café 110 in downtown Oak Hill, helped a community live out Mother Teresa’s message.
Don, along with many others, spent several weeks organizing a fundraiser to help Jamie Massey and her family cope with the onslaught of medical bills incurred by her recent cancer diagnosis.
I was fortunate enough to be part of a great number of people who volunteered to help with this event. People stayed up all night cooking; desserts by the dozens poured in from local folks and churches, boxes of pasta piled up in the kitchen and a sense of camaraderie filled the air.
The snow and ice kept coming all through the day and so did the volunteers. People walked in and just handed us money; they left without a dinner; they just wanted to do something. Men and women arrived in 4-wheel drive vehicles to help with delivery.
A community came together, and the day was a beautiful example of West Virginians at our best.
As Robert F. Kennedy said so beautifully, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope ... “
Thanks to Don and to our community of people for being a wonderful example of that ripple of hope.