WV Board of Educaton Tells Rock Wool “Not So Fast”

Rockwool_protest

The Jefferson County Board of Education (BOE) has announced its intent to seize the Ranson, WV land where the Rockwool Plant broke ground, so that it may build a student center instead; in response, Rockwool has filed a civil rights action in federal court last Friday to stop the seizure so that it may remain where it is and open shop sooner rather than later.

From Ranson, WV to Maryland to Loudoun County, citizens have been concerned about the fallout from the Rockwool plant in Ranson, WV; there are estimates that there may be as much as 392 tons of pollution headed east to Loudoun from Ranson, WV when (and if) the plant is up and running.

392 tons of pollution from WV’s Rockwool “coming our way.”

392 tons of pollution from WV’s Rockwool “coming our way.”

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The Board of Supervisors Favors More Development Over Math and Science

A simple Algebra problem

A simple Algebra problem

I was in the Lovettsville Library the other day, looking at a 3 D pair of plastic glasses made on a state of the art printer at the Leesburg library, and a library patron asked if I’d heard that the County had killed a state of the art math and science library for the County.

It’s true, they have.

Our elected leaders almost always favor development that covers and destroys open fields and trees and wild life so developers can build more roads and small artificial parks where once were rolling fields and trees.

In this dystopic world of excess development, one tragic irony is that our Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has decided to steal funds dedicated to a science and tech library and to spend it instead on roads and parks!

Could we possibly make worse choices in this County, that passes itself off as a high tech community, and among the wealthiest in the nation, than to disfavor advancement in science and math?

America has been steadily sliding in global education rankings for decades. Continue reading

Some Questions About That Walkway in the Flood Plain

Segment of Walkway – West side of Berlin Turnpike – South of Lovettsville

Segment of Walkway – West side of Berlin Turnpike – South of Lovettsville

There have been questions about the extension of Lovettsville’s walking trail into moving waters in a flood plain, and building a walkway in that flood plain and altering the flow and direction of a watercourse.

That’s not to say there aren’t answers.

A flood plain is an area of low-lying ground adjacent to a river, formed mainly of river sediments and subject to flooding.

The trail extending south from Lovettsville has taken a path through a flood plain and running waters. Continue reading

The Irish Spirit!

Catherine McCoy and Edward Applegate, her American husband

Catherine McCoy and Edward Applegate, her American husband

The Irish found their way to America, especially in 1846 with the Potato Famine.

My maternal grandmother, Catherine McCoy, was born in Ireland on May 9, 1897 and was baptized according to the Rites of the Catholic Church in the Church of St. Patrick, Crossmaglen, in the County of Armagh.

Catherine came to America.

Even in her sixties, you were certain that Grandma Catherine must have just breezed in from Ireland the day before because, what this delicate lady described, with her slight brogue, and her blazing blue eyes, was a vivid word picture of honest hard working folk, in Irish villages and towns, helping each other and trusting in their faith to make it all right.  Continue reading

It Takes a Fool to Destroy a Tree

The Trump golf course Potomac shoreline

The Trump golf course Potomac shoreline

While Joyce Kilmer said, “only God can make a tree,” he did not consider those fools who destroy these trees with glee.

Briana N. Edelman said, “Why does everyone feel the need to cut down trees?  Trees provide shade, cooling, prevent erosion, hold sentimental and historical value, clean the air, house birds, insects, animals….among so many other things.”

Trees also produce the oxygen we breathe.  Some think that’s important.

When trees abut a stream or river, their root system holds the bank together, reducing erosion, and curtails the runoff of the killing chemicals, pesticides and herbicides, acting as a natural system of filters restraining pollutants.

But there are many who will cut down a tree without a second thought. Continue reading

A Step Forward to End LGBTQ Discrimination

Ayala Sherbow

Ayala Sherbow

Several years ago, Lovettsville’s Ayala Sherbow said she “made a commitment to [herself] and to [her] children (one of whom is gay and one of whom is transgender) to work toward tolerance and understanding.”

Ayala has been part of a coalition of parents and teachers and community leaders to make that difference in our school system where teachers must conceal who they are if LGBTQ persons and students who may be bullied for the same reason.

Ayala is the first to say that many people from Lovettsville and across the County have been pulling and pushing to favor tolerance and understanding.

At the outset of this push to recognize and protect LGBTQ teachers and students, Holly Patterson came before the School Board, waved her iPad, and said her 16-year-old transgender student tried to commit suicide, because the School Board did nothing to protect him from bullying.

The highly regarded “Journal of Adolescent Health,” after a survey of almost 32,000 students, concluded the failure to include LGBTQ persons in an anti-bullying school policy meant a 225% increase in the likelihood that they would attempt suicide.

Another study found that LGBTQ students hear derogatory slurs, on the average, 26 times a day.  Some of this happens in front of school staff who stand by doing nothing. These children therefore can’t trust the staff to protect them.

Finally, last week the Loudoun County School Board approved a new policy – in a 5 to 4 vote – to protect LGBTQ persons as follows:

“The Loudoun County School Board is committed to providing for an equitable, safe and inclusive learning and working environment.

“The Loudoun County School Board affirms a commitment to this principle for all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, age, or genetic information.

“It is the intent of the School Board of Loudoun County that every policy, practice, and procedure shall reflect this commitment. Behavior that is not unlawful may nevertheless be unacceptable for the educational environment or the workplace. Demeaning or otherwise harmful actions are prohibited, particularly if directed at personal characteristics, including, but not limited to socioeconomic level, sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Ayala said, “It’s a pretty complete victory, hard fought, and will have to be played out in policy.  But it’s a big step.”

Ayala said, “When I started to work toward this outcome, I had a transgender daughter who was in school system.  The principle that concerned us, however, remains.  What this policy does is affirm the dignity and humanity of LGBTQ persons and guarantee to them the same rights and protections as everyone else.  Without this policy, you could have been fired as a gay teacher.  There have been plenty of Loudoun students who have testified over the years who had heard homophobic statements from faculty as well as students.  Now, with this policy, you can hold people responsible and accountable for any inappropriate remarks.”

As for the objection to such a policy, Ayala said, “It’s mostly fear and misinformation.”

Dave LaRock spreads fear, misinformation

Dave LaRock spreads fear, misinformation

Among the most prominent elected official to object to this policy reform was the Delegate from the 33rd Delegate District, David LaRock.

In 2016, Mr. LaRock introduced legislation against the designation, transgender, in HB 431 and HB 397, insisting a person’s sexual designation was restricted to what a birth certificate said, and the only discrimination, including what a transgender person might suffer, could only be based on that same certificate.

Last year, Mr. LaRock said, “If you create a right for people on the basis of their sexual behaviors, then you are taking away the right of someone like me  … to say, ‘I choose not to rent the place that I have to homosexuals…”  Mr. LaRock added that he thought transgender people have a mental disorder and should not hold “role-model positions” in schools.  Mr. LaRock fears “social contagion.”

This year, anticipating the School Board’s new policy, Mr. LaRock circulated a petition against any change to what was the current policy.

Dave LaRock's petition

Dave LaRock’s petition

Ayala said, “Mr. LaRock has made no effort to hide the disdain he has for LGBTQ persons.”

Dave LaRock at the School Board meeting

Dave LaRock at the School Board meeting

On his FB page, Mr. LaRock objected that the new school policy recognizes “homosexual and transgender behavior as normal and healthy.”

Ayala said, “But it is normal and healthy for LGBTQ persons.”

Candidate Mavis Taintor, hoping to challenge Mr. LaRock in the General Election, has objected that he has “spoke[n] … gainst equity, dignity, and inclusion for all in Loudoun schools.”

Mr. Trump – His Accidencey – The Republic at Risk

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms – lost to Americans?

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms – lost to Americans?

Mr. Donald Trump is obsessed with fear of immigration in a nation of immigrants.

Mr. Trump would ban the religions he finds offensive and isolate us from the world with a wall – a symbol of his contempt and hate.

Mr. Trump calls troops to our southern border – as if we are under siege from a foreign force – when the true enemy is within and spends his days in the West Wing.

Mr. Trump suffers from a too sensitive egg-shell-thin temperament, of anorexic character, that motivates his itchy thumbs to tweet lies and slander on those who would object to his incompetent and corrupt stewardship of this still young nation.

Mr. Trump rattles sabers he’d turn on Iran, even as he threatens to withdraw from the mid-East, and, as this comment is drafted, he scurries off to embarrass our nation in another meeting with a North Korean despot who ate his lunch in their last tete a tete.

Mr. Trump is an immoral man. Continue reading

A Tea Toast to the Vets

Denise Berg, the owner of Lovettsville’s ‘Painted Pig,’ with the tea that helps vets

Denise Berg, the owner of Lovettsville’s ‘Painted Pig,’ with the tea that helps vets

Lovettsville’s Peter and Sarah Roussos are nationally recognized and trained Tea specialists.

Sarah was a contributing business and trend columnist for Tea Room Magazine where she got to meet and interview tea cognoscenti and celebrities including top chefs.

“This was a great help,” Sarah said, “so I could understand what made the difference.”

Legend has it that tea drinking started with the Chinese Emperor, Shan Nong, in 2737 BC.

When boiling his drinking water, as was the Emperor’s custom, tea leaves fell into his boiling water, resulting in a pleasing aroma, and the resulting brew the Emperor found refreshing and energizing.

This historic leaf has recently become a means to ease the troubled way of the retired warrior, of our veterans.  But this takes more than the tea.  It takes some TLC and business sense. Continue reading

Lovettsville Adds Its Voice To Rockwool Opposition

392 tons of pollution from WV’s Rockwool “coming our way.”

392 tons of pollution from WV’s Rockwool “coming our way.”

This past Thursday “Loudoun Against Rockwool” made a presentation to the Lovettsville Town Council, in support of a resolution opposing Rockwool.

The citizens of Ranson, WV, where the factory is to be located, following a June 2018 ground-breaking, are up in arms protesting what this could mean to the health and well-being of their children attending nearby schools and daycare facilities.

The plant is scheduled to run 24/7, and is located directly across Route 9 from North Jefferson Elementary School, and within 10,000 feet of T.A. Lowery Elementary, Jefferson High School and Wildwood Middle School.  These four schools have about 2,744 students.  Parents are talking about removing their children from school and moving. Continue reading

RUSSELL BAKER – gone for now!

A past conversation with Russell Baker

A past conversation with Russell Baker

Russell Baker never thought he was eternal, and may not have appreciated how much pleasure he gave us all as a reporter, humorist and columnist, but surely he’d rather we thought of him – as just “gone for now.”

In truth, Russell Baker left us on January 22, 2019, at 93 years of age, after a fall, after a lifetime of having written barrels of ink on almost anything you can imagine, talking more hours than many people live, and hosting Masterpiece theater.

Russell was the local boy who made good as he was from nearby Morrisonville.

Russell won the Pulitzer Prize for his writing, commentary and his own biography, “Growing Up,” about how three strong women helped him “amount to something.” Continue reading