Bluefield Daily Telegraph. May 3, 2022.
Editorial: Coalfields Expressway: more funding now in place
One of the unique aspects of the Coalfields Expressway project is that it winds through two states connecting the coal counties of southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia.
Although there has been some progress on the West Virginia side of the causeway in recent years, particularly in Raleigh and Wyoming counties, work on the future four-lane corridor has been largely stalled in Virginia.
That could soon change.
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., confirmed last month that nearly $2 million in federal funding has been earmarked for the pre-engineering of the Coalfields Highway from Grundy to the Virginia state line. -Western.
Federal funding of $1.9 million will allow pre-engineering work to begin, but Kaine said more money may be available through funding from the U.S. bailout as well as the bipartisan projects bill. infrastructure.
“It’s a necessary project,” Kaine, a former Virginia governor, said of the future four-lane corridor. “It’s not easy. It’s not cheap, but with the infrastructure bill, the American Rescue Act and the return of appropriations to the federal budget, there are resources there.
Kaine attended a Virginia Coalfields Expressways Authority (CFX) meeting in Grundy last month to discuss the project.
During that meeting, Board Member James Keen noted that on the Hawk’s Nest section of the project, coal mining during causeway construction saved the state $90 million. of dollars. The process of allowing coal companies to create a hard platform when extracting coal has in the past been called “coal synergy” agreements.
“We need to explore and encourage coal companies to identify sites of interest to them because through these synergies we can have a big impact,” Keen said.
Kaine did not disagree, adding that rather with the abundance of metallurgical coal in the southwestern Virginia region and the push at the federal level to encourage domestic steel production, additional synergies should be explored. .
CFX executive director Jonathan Belcher, who also serves as executive director/general counsel for the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, hopes to build momentum for the Virginia side of the project.
One way to do this, as Belcher correctly noted, is to keep the project at the forefront of federal lawmakers like Kaine, while working with Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration, state lawmakers and others. .
“We realize that time is running out in Southwest Virginia,” said Sen. Travis Hackworth, R-Tazewell. “It is very important that we act now and the sooner the better.”
Federal funding of $1.9 million for pre-engineering work is a good start.
In the meantime, the CFX Board of Directors and supporters of the regional project are right to push for the project to remain front and center with federal and state lawmakers, as their support will be critical to ensuring the availability of state and federal dollars. that will be needed to complete the highway.
The Smart. May 4, 2022.
Editorial: It’s time to diversify the economy of W.Va.
During the pandemic, entrepreneurs across the country have overcome financial challenges by starting their own business. In fact, 10% of American workers today are independent contractors. But here in West Virginia, that number is considerably lower. According to a Commodity.com report, only 6.8% of workers in Mountain State are self-employed — the fewest of any state.
As in so many other categories, we lag behind the rest of the country in this regard, but we are not alone. Other states left behind during our decades-long economic transition — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Indiana, for example — are also near the bottom in the self-employment category.
Here’s where we are: In 2020, there were 11,090 new business apps in West Virginia. That compares to an average of 85,428 per state in the rest of the country. The median annual income of full-time business owners here is $45,000. It’s $52,000 for the whole country.
Most new businesses created in the United States are either in retail or in professional, scientific and technical services. West Virginia officials have staunchly resisted transitioning our old economy in these directions for years. Now, only the bravest entrepreneurs feel confident enough to try something new in the Mountain State.
Public officials have a responsibility to institute regulatory reform and legislation that will foster entrepreneurship, not scare it away.
We’re used to looking down here, and that’s a shame. But despite the knowledge that there is still a long way to go, mountaineers are brave, smart, creative and hardworking enough to make it happen – if politicians and bureaucracy get out of their way.
Parkersburg News and Sentinel. May 4, 2022.
Editorial: Mental health resources available for children in crisis
In what may seem like an odd choice of words, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Behavioral Health has announced that it’s Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week. .
Acceptance. If we use the dictionary definitions of this word, we learn that the event concerns “the action of consenting to receive or undertake something that is offered”, or “the action or process of being received as adequate or appropriate, usually for admission to a group.”
By using these definitions, DHHR demonstrates a remarkable understanding of the challenges faced by people of all ages who have struggled with mental health issues in this condition for generations. If the idea is really to tear down these walls, congratulations!
“Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week comes at a critical time when the state and nation are responding to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth mental health,” said Christina Mullins, Commissioner of the Behavioral Health Office. “BBH and its partners want families to know they are not alone; everyone struggles sometimes and help is available. One of the easiest ways to access behavioral health services is to use the West Virginia Children’s Crisis and Referral Line.
This helpline, which families can access by phone or text, is 844-HELP4WV. A chat function is also available at www.help4wv.com/ccl.
In his proclamation declaring Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week, Governor Jim Justice reports that one in five children will experience a mental health crisis. Although much of the accompanying language involves the ongoing pandemic, we know that children have always struggled in ways that adults have too often ignored as the damage became permanent.
But maybe the tide is turning. Whatever the impulse, it’s important to use this week as an opportunity to accept your children’s challenges as worthy of attention and help, rather than ignoring them, assuming they’re getting away with it. will come out or criticize/punish them for behavior that they cannot understand or be able to control.
Take advantage of available resources. You and your children are not alone. There is help.
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