- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:

Oct. 2

The Intelligencer/Wheeling News Register on West Virginia’s racetracks:

Especially during the past few years, many businesses and industries have changed, some dramatically. Some have not made the cut. Look at steel and aluminum manufacturing in the Ohio Valley, once mainstays of our economy. Now they are all but gone.

Or consider coal and electric power industries, under fire from harsh new emissions rules.

When companies and workers in such industries complain, they are told that changed circumstances are too bad - but they will have to “adapt.”

Now, those in the horse and dog racing businesses in West Virginia, along with the racetrack-casinos where they operate, are looking at new realities. Competition from other states has hurt the casinos. State legislators have trimmed subsidies to dog and horse racers and breeders.

Owners of the racetrack-casinos - dogs in Wheeling and Cross Lanes, horses in Chester and Charles Town - are attempting to adapt.

One of the strategies envisioned by the horse tracks is reducing the number of days they offer racing. State law requires both tracks to hold 210 racing days each year. Reducing that would save the tracks some money.

Members of the state Racing Commission seem sympathetic to the tracks’ concerns. But state law ties the agency’s hands.

Commission members are thinking of asking the Legislature to reduce the required number of racing days to 185.

That has prompted warnings of dire consequences from some in the horse racing industry. Legislators already have sliced subsidies, they note. Fewer racing days would cut into their income even more.

At one time, that income made West Virginia a very attractive state for horse and dog racers and breeders. Subsidies for the two industries totaled about $92 million annually just a few years ago. Even after the minor cuts made by lawmakers, an enormous pot of money is shared among racers and breeders.

Many businesses in our state - and many families - have had to adapt to new economic realities. The horse and dog racing industries should not be immune. Racing commission members should ask for the reduction in racing day requirements, and legislators should approve it.

Online:

www.theintelligencer.net

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Oct. 2

Parkersburg News and Sentinel on fall in West Virginia:

West Virginia’s state parks are beautiful year-round. But in the fall, they are incredible. Anyone who has had their breath taken away by an October vista in the Mountain State’s wilder areas can attest to that. Too often, we take for granted this treasure in our backyards, forgetting to take advantage of the gift we have been given.

This month, West Virginia State Parks are celebrating their charms with “Park-tober,” designed to entice West Virginians and out-of-staters alike.

“October is when the temperatures become cooler, the leaves explode in color, and West Virginia’s state parks provide the types of fun outdoors opportunities that don’t happen at other times of the year,” said Sissie Summers, programming coordinator for West Virginia State Parks.

Ladies and gentlemen, do not find yourselves approaching winter without having basked in the natural wonders our state has to offer. Close to home we have facilities that range from the refinement of Blennerhassett Island to the untamed splendor of North Bend State Park.

Soon enough, we will be confined by cold and snow, and the trees will be bare against grayer skies. Take advantage of the opportunities available through our state parks to get in a bit of inoculation against cabin fever.

Get out your tents or at least hiking gear and spend an hour, or a weekend, remembering why we love the wild, wonderful state we call home.

Online:

www.newsandsentinel.com

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Oct. 2

The Journal on guns and children:

Responsible gun owners understand certain safety rules must be obeyed all the time. Perhaps highest on the list of imperatives is never, ever allowing a child to be endangered by a firearm.

That means ensuring youngsters not old enough to handle guns safely should not have access to them, except with adult supervision.

Sheriff’s deputies in Kanawha County are investigating a first-grade student who took a pistol onto a school bus. The gun was not loaded and the boy had no ammunition. He probably intended no harm.

By the time you read this, deputies probably will have learned where and how the boy obtained the gun. Charges may be filed in the case.

They should be pursued. Clearly, some adult was negligent in allowing the lad to take the pistol on a school bus. Had ammunition been available, a serious - perhaps fatal - accident might have occurred.

Again, responsible gun owners do whatever it takes to prevent children from handling guns unsafely.

No excuses are acceptable in a lapse such as the one in Kanawha County. Punishment should be meted out to the adult who let the situation occur.

Online:

www.journal-news.net

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