It may be difficult for Mountain State residents to hear, but according to a company called ASecureLife, West Virginia is the most dangerous state in the nation for those traveling on Memorial Day weekend.
Their report used statistics from 2013-17 to determine Memorial Day is the third-most dangerous holiday for traveling in general (after the Fourth of July and Labor Day). In other words, it is a holiday on which the weather makes it easier to host backyard parties at which guests might be consuming more adult beverages.
And here in West Virginia, that has meant 24 people died on the roads on Memorial Day weekend, during that time period. That gives us the highest rates of fatal accidents per 100,000 population in the country during that time period. Notice, of course that the list is meant to advise travelers — people who might be much more used to driving on straight, flat roads. The number of folks who make the poor decision to drive while impaired is likely the largest factor, but it is not the only one.
But there is some advice that should be taken by hosts, too. Don’t overserve your guests this weekend. Pay attention to who has had enough to warrant suggesting a ride home (or a spot on the couch). It will be easier to enjoy yourself if you are not worried about the guests you send away at the end of the evening, and anyone they might encounter on the roads.
Parkersburg News and Sentinel
Pursuing natural gas industries
For too many years West Virginia has allowed its natural treasures to be exploited, allowing for short-term economic growth but long-term economic struggles.
One only has to look at the coal industry to understand that for far too many years West Virginia allowed out-of-state corporations to prosper, only to see them leave — and take the economy with them.
While those mega-corporations were here, residents and state coffers were in great shape. When they left, not so much.
So it's important to learn from our past mistakes and to listen to the experts. And one of our own experts, West Virginia University's John Deskins, is saying West Virginia must aggressively pursue downstream industries related to the natural gas boom.
Deskins, who heads WVU's Bureau of Business and Economic Research, told NCWV Media Business Editor Conor Griffith that more needs to be done to attract those industries — and now.
… Natural gas and manufacturing advocates believe lawmakers need to address rules that continue to hurt those industries, including the lack of a ``pooling'' law, which makes it easier for companies to gain drilling rights, as well as taxation issues like the tax on inventory.
Exponent Telegram, Clarksburg
Statue dedicated to WWI soldiers
Members of American Legion Post No. 1 in Wheeling, celebrating the unit's 100th anniversary, have a new cause: restoring the statue of a World War I soldier at Wheeling Park.
Troops in the Great War sometimes were referred to as doughboys, and that is how the statue honoring them has come to be known. A fixture at the park for decades, it has fallen into disrepair and needs work.
No World War I soldiers remain among us. That does not mean our obligation to honor them has passed.
Good luck to American Legion Post No. 1 in its fund drive to restore the statue. Let us hope it is concluded swiftly and successfully.
Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register
Providing transportation for disabled veterans
The West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance is making the right move in rejoining the Disabled American Veterans program in which volunteers drive veterans with no other means of transportation to their medical appointments.
The program, as it pertains to the drivers, should never have come under state authority, but, in 2014, West Virginia decided to become the only state to pay drivers a stipend to do the work. Now, it has reached the point where the Department of Veterans Assistance can't both maintain a vehicle fleet and pay drivers on its budget, so re-integrating with the DAV program is a logical step.
Naturally, the decision has been unpopular with some drivers who would rather continue to be paid than provide their services on a volunteer basis. The switchover isn't until July 1, but officials who coordinate the driving schedules at Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics say they are already losing drivers.
Consider ‘drug house’ ordinances
Most of us have heard the terms “crack house” and “house of ill repute.” The former refers to buildings where illegal drug activity is frequent. The latter involves places where prostitution occurs.
Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger is asking city council for a “drug house ordinance” to deter use of buildings for such purposes. If enacted, it would allow police to seek “abatement orders” from municipal court. Continued use of buildings for illegal activities after 30 days could result in property owners being fined.
Other enforcement action could include eviction notices, orders to clean up a property or even requirements to hire night security personnel.
Similar ordinances exist in other West Virginia cities, including Clarksburg, Fairmont and Martinsburg.
Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register o