Patricia Stephenson

I am a single issue voter this year. Why? I care about many issues but this year my vote will be cast solely on the basis of whether a candidate will help us oppose Rockwool. They can believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy for all I care so long as they pledge to deliver us from evil. I live a mile from the Rockwool site.

I retired here 9 years ago and bought a farm that needed some serious fixing up. I super-insulated the house, used recycled, “green”, and “made in America” building materials, installed solar, installed a “cool” roof, an on-demand water heater, LED lighting, and energy star appliances. I installed a pellet stove so I could heat with biomass waste material instead of fossil fuel and made some modifications to the house to turn it into a passive solar design. How ironic. I’m a mile from the site.

I started a commercial garden. I got an organic certification. I grow my own organic food and contribute to the local food hub. In addition to selling at local farmers markets, groceries and restaurants I donate about 600 pounds of wholesome fresh organic produce to the food pantry every year. I’m a mile from the site.

I own a small spinning flock of sheep and alpaca and started a growing, thriving fiber arts business. Sheep and cattle have the same sensitivity to PM and VOCs as humans do. Lambs and calves are particularly sensitive. Their mortality mirrored that of humans during smog events. I’m a mile from the site.

Fortunately I do not have little kids or I would be even more upset. But I do have pristine WV land that is about to become polluted. I’m going to lose my organic certification for sure. I’ll never see even half the investment I made in building this place. I probably won’t have water for irrigation. My neighbors with COPD will suffer terribly (I have 3 nearby that I know have serious respiratory disease). I hear the heavy equipment all day long moving earth around in the orchard. If Rockwool builds their factory on my doorstep I’ll never again be able to see the stars because it will be all lit up 24/7. I’ll never hear the night sounds or experience the peace of this place because there will be trucks running in and out and all around all day and all night. If Rockwool wins, I lose – big time. I’ll leave my beloved farm rather than pay one cent more in taxes to Jefferson County. I’m a mile from the site.

I would like admin to add a section to the navigation bar called “tell your story”. If readers are so inclined, make it personal. Tell people, politicians, the media, and anyone who will listen why this is such a big deal for you. We are not paid to oppose Rockwool. We are not a bunch of hysterical soccer moms. We are being hurt badly and we need meaningful action by politicians who seek office this election year.

 

2018 CLIMATE WEEK

Stop greenwashing. Rockwool, as permitted, would be one of the most prolific toxic & hazardous air pollution emitters in WV.

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Jeff Hynes

Jeff Hynes, Resident Charles Town, WV

So folks ask “why do you fight when it is looks like Rockwool will win anyways…”

I moved to West Virginia in 2011 to start a family and buy my first home. Like many, when asked why i chose this state i pointed out the quick access to Winchester, Leesburg, Frederick, Martinsburg, and even Washington. I mentioned the low home prices and taxes. I mentioned the number of grocery stores and ease of running a household….All things mentioned were about the low cost and ease of living…..Those things have not changed in my mind but i have started adding more depth when i explain why i chose to move here.

The song goes “Almost Heaven, West Virginia..” and that is exactly what it is when driving over the Shenandoah River bridge on my way to work. The sun hits the water and a gold color pulls your eyes down towards the confluence with the Potomac where you see the Maryland Heights and the spires of Harpers Ferry….i am seriously tearing up thinking about these moments in my morning…. On the flip side i love the view coming over the Potomac River bridge in the afternoon. I look out over White Horse Rapid and up to the town of Harpers Ferry and i am excited i chose this place to live my life….the only thing that challenges these views are the views from the water looking up at it all whenever i am in my kayak….man…this place is Heaven. I love the water falls that form on the mountain side when driving between the rivers and the cannons staring me down out in a field when i head down the hill near the old flea market…..i miss that place…I love this place….i would never not fight…

My love for WV started young. My grandfather lived in a little place “up on the mountain” with a lake at the bottom of a stone road. I would visit him and run the woods, fish in the lake (i once found a huge fresh water mussel and spent hours imagining how the heck a huge clam got here) and taking trips to friends and the store in his old pick-up….man…you can’t replace the smell of an old pick-up…We would shop at the new Food Lion, Eggo waffles in the AM!, and head over to the video store that would become a mattress store in our times. No matter what we rented i found myself later that night watching “Pale Rider” on the Betamax while a crockpot of Great Northern beans cooked and my PaPa played solitaire with a deck of cards so worn the wax was sticky…He would be wearing his typical blue mechanics shirt with a name tag that read Bob….I would never not fight…

For so long i have been on the receiving end of jokes from friends in MD and VA about being West Virginian…..you all know the jokes. On the other hand friends from Morgantown and points west would laugh and claim we were from the Eastern Panhandle and therefore not “real” West Virginians. Well i am a West Virginian and this is our home. My babies are West Virginians and this is where i want them to grow-up. We are all West Virginians and we will not be beholden to a bunch of outdated politicians 5 hours away in Charleston pushing their heavy industry and unhealthy visions. We will fight. We will win and for those that vote against our interests (Here’s looking at you JCC, JCDA, Ranson City Council and any other local governing body) we are coming for you and your seats. Watch out outdated politicians in Charleston…we are taking the fight to you next….we won’t sit by as you ruin this state and turn away from a real, economically and environmentally sustainable future for our home….All in favor of lining your pockets…We are coming and we are teaching our babies to fight…your time is limited.

How could i not fight…

 

Georgia DuBose

Statement to the City of Charles Town Council About the Planned Rockwool Plant

My name is Georgia DuBose. I live in Cavalier Estates near Harpers Ferry with my husband, Bob DuBose, and have lived in Jefferson County most of the time since 1976. I came here when I was 29. I raised my two children here. I am here tonight to voice my opposition to the planned Rockwool plant in Ranson, West Virginia

My first job in Jefferson County, in 1977, was as an information specialist for the Jefferson County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau when John van Tol was head of that organization; the information office was located in the house at the bottom of High Street in the National Park. My job was to answer questions from visitors—in 1976, our visitors logs indicated that approximately 12,000 people came to Jefferson County as historic and outdoor sports visitors (This year, there have been 470,000.) Comments to me, and those written in our logs, indicated that the natural beauty of Jefferson County, and the opportunity to visit Harpers Ferry, and to participate in outdoor activities on the Potomac and the Shenandoah, in the National Historical Park, and on the Canal Towpath across the river, were what brought people here.

At the time, Jefferson County was beginning its transition from being a largely agricultural county to being an exurb of the Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan region. People who came as tourists tended to stay as residents, and the early subdivisions like Tuscawilla Hills were soon joined by other developments that confirmed that Jefferson County was on its way as a more residential environment. Fifteen years of working on the weekends in WestWind Potters, Jeffrey Kabatznick’s pottery shop in Harpers Ferry confirmed my impression that the beauty and the outdoor amenities of Jefferson County, as well as its history, manifest in the Washington homes, Charles Town and Shepherdstown and, of course, the National Historical Park, were attracting more and more people to the county. Many federal employees were starting to retire in our county.

Later, as a regional newspaper and magazine writer, I worked for two business newspapers, Quad State Business Journal out of Winchester, and State Journal out of Charleston, so I had a news-eye view of the kind of development that was taking place in the Eastern Panhandle, and particularly Jefferson County. An interview in 1996 with Jane Peters, then director of the Jefferson County Development Authority, led to discussion about industry development in the county, particularly in relation to Burr Industrial Park. Jane said that the park would see continuing growth, especially when Route 9 was made into a limited access four lane highway. I asked her if that growth would change the rural/residential nature of the county on Route 9 in the direction of Martinsburg. She said that the industrial park was zoned for light industries, and that it was unlikely that that part of the county would be used for anything other than new residential and continuing agricultural purposes.

That was before the huge growth in the city of Ranson, and the “imaginative” use of county land known as stem annexation, which made the area immediately beyond the industrial park a part of the city of Ranson.

Things have changed. Certainly, the aims of the Jefferson County Development Authority seem to have changed. Change happens. However, the changes demanded by the potential development of the land beyond the industrial park as the site of the Rockwool plant, and the gas pipeline required for that use, directly impinge on what I have had the chance to live in, to observe up close, to promote, and to write about for nearly 28 years—Jefferson County as an agricultural center, as an attractor for outdoor and historical tourism and hospitality-connected businesses, as a residential center for a regional metropolitan area, and as a regional higher education center with the presence of American Public University and the growing influence and longtime presence of Shepherd University.

The placement of the Rockwool plant would radically change the nature of this county, impact its visible profile in the middle of the lower Shenandoah Valley, and, of greatest concern, change the air quality and appearance of a rural/residential county.

I am glad to see the organized resistance to the planned plant, and I hope, for the sake of the people living, breathing, working, playing and learning here that it will never be built.

Thank you.
Rev. Georgia Caldwell DuBose
gdubose@gmail.com

TOXICAgriculture

TOXIC Agriculture – Focus on farm life and all it entiles with a special section deducated to: wine production, horses, and bees.

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West Virginia will pay Maryland $1.5 million to keep MARC service for a year. Then what?

April 28, 2018: The future of MARC is uncertain. Maryland, which operates the MARC system, threatened to end West Virginia service in Summer of 2018, unless WV paid $3.2 million to continue it (the cost to provide service).  MTA CEO Kevin Quinn says WV has never subsidized the service. In May – the Governor negotiated a $1.5 million compromise to keep service one more year. Rather than sign another 5-year memorandum of understanding, they moved to a month-to-month deal. WV Del. Riley Moore says West Virginia needs to find a way to boost ridership. “When you take the totality of all the riders from WV that ride the train, including the ones that drive to Brunswick, it’s over 800 passengers,” Moore said. “I am absolutely committed to finding a long-term solution.”

West Virginia & Maryland MARC Train 5-year Agreement Ends

February 1, 2018: MARC has been operating trains in West Virginia since the 1970s under a series of intergovernmental agreements between the  states. WV and MD have been in negotiations since October when the 5 year agreement between the 2 states ended. MTA has tried over the years, including when the agreement was last negotiated 6 years ago, to get WV to accept responsibility for funding its share of the program.In 2012, West Virginia’s Legislature appropriated $300,000 a year to fund the service into the state, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, WV Secretary of Transportation is quoted “We are looking at enhancing ridership, and we’ll probably have to partner with local folks, counties and cities. We probably will be asking for monetary support.”