MOUTH OF THE ELK - Love In Kanawha County, Feathers Fanning In Downtown Charleston


By Bob Weaver

TEACHER'S SALARIES - Nationally teacher's salaries average about $43,000, with West Virginia teachers averaging about $36,000, plus a recent average increase of $1,465. West Virginia has ranked 41st in the nation.

MENTAL ILLNESS RECEIVES PARITY - In 2002, people in West Virginia are supposedly entitled to the same health care benefits as people with physical illnesses. Opponents of the bill fear it will make insurance costs rise, but they do anyway. Overall costs of health care have been rising from 14-17% annually for years, like there is no end in sight. My personal health insurance costs (excluding any family members) over $6000 a year, with deductibles and managed care clauses that often have me paying several thousand dollars out-of-pocket when I access care.

POLITICOS FLOCK AND FEATHER IN CHARLESTON - It started with VP Dick Cheney coming to Charleston Friday for a $500 a plate fund raiser for Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito. He took a quick rest at the Marriot during his six hour visit and gave out patriotic pins to the desk clerks, cooks and housekeepers, and they were proudly wearing them while I was there to attend the $40 a plate Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner. The Democrats drew about 1000 party loyals and 300 attended the Capito dinner.

I was at the Jefferson-Jackson event as Democrat of the Year from Sunny Cal, and met with several of our elected officials, including Senator John D. Rockefeller, Congressmen Allan Mollohan and Nick Joe Rahall, and Governor Bob Wise. I am fascinated that our past and current governors know me as "The Hur Herald" guy, and are sometimes readers.

I certainly met a lot of devout Democrats, and a number of people with whom I have become acquainted over the years from around the state.

Having official pictures taken with the Democratic leaders was part of the deal, and I was assured my photo with a story would be sent to The Calhoun Chronicle. I went searching through my 1970's scrapbook to find pictures taken with then Gov. Rockefeller, Senators Jennings Randolph and Robert Byrd, and UMW President Arnold Miller, among others. I had a surge of political interest back then, don't you know.

I was deeply moved by Arnold Miller, who in 1972 became the first native West Virginian to head the United Mine Workers. Miller defeated W.A. Tony Boyle who was later convicted of having Joseph A. "Jock" Yablonski murdered. Yablonski had been a rival of Boyle's for the UMW presidency in 1969, Miller was a supporter of Yablonski. He was a humble man, former coal miner, and spoke well for those he tried to serve.

Randolph was a political legend, possibly one of the most highly skilled politicians I have met, to be followed by Sen. Byrd. But then, I shouldn't forget Arch Moore, having met him at a hospital event during one of his first terms, then returning to run a again several years later, we met on a Kingwood, West Virginia street and he said "How have you been doing Bob?" I can assure you, there were no compelling reasons he should have remembered me.

Back to the big dinner. Having a three-second introduction as "Democrat of the Year" brought a clap from at least two or three people, one being Don Yoak and my cousin Mrs. Ray Harris, both of Spencer. I'm not sure Calhoun Assessor Jason Nettles cheered or not, but I did share dinner with him.

The dinner was originally scheduled right after 9-11.

DEMOCRATS WILL STUDY OPEN PRIMARY - An official stand on looking at opening the primary for independent voters was made by the State Democratic Executive Committee Saturday. They will do a study.

The opening of the primary to independent voters is a push of Secretary of State Joe Manchin, who is expected to run against Gov. Wise the next go round.

LOVE ALONG THE ELK - Kanawha County officials have charged a Ripley man of having two wives. Darrell E. Wickline has been charged with bigamy, marrying two Kanawha County women. Wickline was reported to have said both of them were really cute. Earlier a Charleston man was also charged with bigamy, and he was sentenced to one-year home confinement, which allowed him some time to interview new applicants.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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