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A few good things from the Legislature

The Legislature adjourned its 2021 Regular Session on April 10. I wasn’t pleased with the results overall, but there were a few bright spots. We passed a bill aimed at bringing workable broadband to the entire state. In the past, the Legislature’s attempts have failed, but this time I ...

‘You Are the Sunshine’

This is the story of a how a painting evolved over several months in my efforts to deal with politics and the long lasting pandemic. Sometime in early Aug. 2020, I wanted to paint a large painting, and a 48” x 60” linen canvas was primed and ready. After screwing eye hooks on and hanging ...

Mother Earth seeping into the mainstream

Even though half of all freshwater fish are now extinct and we have lost three billion birds in the last 50 years (National Audubon Society), there is some hopeful news in this week of Earth Day observances. One hopeful sign is how human interdependence with nature is seeping into the ...

Hardscape for the landscape

The effect of an attractive landscape with fetching plants on the perceived value of a home has often been documented at 15 percent or more, even for non-gardening lookie-loos. According to one survey, the preferred landscape includes a sophisticated design with large deciduous, evergreen and ...

The personal income tax: More drama

In my last column, I reported that Governor Jim Justice had unveiled a plan to eliminate the personal income tax immediately and rely on serious budget cuts to K-12 and higher education, law enforcement, health care, environmental protection and other public services to make up the gap in our ...

Minds blown, hearts on fire

This month I want to tell you a story. No matter your religious allegiance, this story has universal appeal. It’s about a young itinerant carpenter from a Jewish family who felt a fire inside himself and found the courage to express it, out on the road, in a boat on the sea and on the country ...

Garden inspirations: Winter’s blooming branches

We’ve seen our fair share of winter weather, just as Punxsutawney Phil predicted when he saw his Pennsylvanian shadow earlier this year. And we may still experience more before the arrival of spring. If you can’t wait for the gardening hustle-and-bustle to begin, here’s the solution to ...

Eliminate the income tax? Sure, to seriously damage schools and a lot more

Governor Jim Justice proposed cutting the state income tax in half this year, with the idea of eventually eliminating it. I think that idea is preposterous. The income tax brings in slightly more than $2 billion to the state treasury each year, which is just a bit less than half of the ...

‘Decluttering’ for Lent

It’s Lent in the world of Christendom. The word “Lent” means “springtime,” which in turn is a very yearned for, upbeat season, so let’s see if we can transform this usually morose 40 days of beating up on ourselves into a time of liberation! I do not guarantee that this will be pain ...

Karst: It’s where we live

Jefferson County sits on a block of “karst.” That’s terrain constituted mostly of porous, soluble rock (in our case largely limestone), and is marked by sinkholes and caves. Much of eastern West Virginia is karst, although the nature of that karst varies from region to region. Karst ...