Playing little league football for the Malcolm Springs Mustangs was humbling to say the least. We barely had enough players, and practices consisted of running plays with just half of the line of scrimmage. Due to lack of players on the B team one year, it was fairly routine for some of us to finish our C team game and then also play in the next B team game with the older and bigger boys. Naturally we were routed every game, in fact we didn’t even score that year. However, things later changed when the neighboring community of Cox Landing was allowed to join us. We now had enough players and within two years our B Team went undefeated and won the championship. We went to the Dixie Bowl in Knoxville, Tennessee, and won that game too, 22-0. That was, and remains, the greatest sports moment in my life.
My greatest sports moment and my worst sports moment took place the same day. As our Greyhound bus traveled from Knoxville back to Huntington the night of Nov. 14, 1970, we learned of the Marshall plane crash. For a 12-year-old, it was inconceivable the heroes I cheered for were gone, and the devastation laid upon the families was incomprehensible.
During the past 50 years, the Huntington community, the Tri-State area and the state of West Virginia have never forgotten. I still recall with pride seeing the Marshall football team on the field several years ago awaiting the kickoff in one of the I-AA championship games, reflecting on how far we all have come. It is comforting and inspiring to hear someone say they still remember. It means so much to see the Marshall teams pay tribute every year to those 75 individuals and to the Huntington community.
Saturated market killed
the Brooke power plant
The decision by Energy Solutions Consortium (ESC) to cancel the Brooke County natural gas power plant had more to do with a lack of demand and investor fear than with the coal industry or actions by Gov. Jim Justice. While the $5.5 million loan from the Economic Development Authority caused an uproar, it represented less than 1% of the $884 million in estimated project costs.
The plant was canceled because ESC couldn’t persuade investors who are justifiably skittish about entering an already oversupplied market that currently has twice as much reserve power as any other in the nation. The new plant would also be subject to future natural gas price swings and would be a major emitter of greenhouse gases, making it vulnerable to measures that might be taken to combat global warming.
The Brooke County project isn’t alone in facing these headwinds. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis notes that at least 11 other proposed gas plants in the region have been delayed or canceled, including one in Marshall County. Meanwhile, we wait to learn the fate of another gas-fired power plant proposed for Harrison County.
Cancelation of the Brooke County plants hurts in terms of the loss of construction jobs. But, contrary to the grandiose claims the developers made to the Public Service Commission, the plant’s long-term economic impact would have been minimal. After completion, the plant would have employed only 30 people and, based on standard assumptions about employment multipliers and operating rates, it would have contributed to few upstream and downstream jobs in the Northern Panhandle. Meanwhile, it would have pushed out other kinds of development.
It also might have led to increased fracking and a reduced quality of life in the panhandle. And, thanks to a property tax waiver that was only partly offset by an “in lieu of” payment, a significant portion of the taxes it should have paid, would have been shifted to working families.
Too many projects like the Brooke County power plant have been sold to West Virginians with claims of economic development and jobs only to produce little of either. It’s time we stopped being fooled.
Ohio River Valley Institute.
Despite how leaders act, the United States is still a republic
Don’t bother trying to call your congressman or senator. It’s now is a matter of don’t call us, we will call you. I tried to call Shelley Moore Capito in Washington, Beckley and Charleston. “Leave a message, and we’ll get back to you” was the recorded message.
What has happened to our republic? Nobody seems willing to speak up for it. We are now on the verge of losing what little of our republic we have left. All you hear out of Washington and here at home is democracy this and that. Ask any school kid or the teacher what sort of government do we have, and they will say “democracy.” Most anyone you ask on a Huntington downtown street this question will say democracy. What have we done to ourselves?