- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:


May 2

The Charleston Daily Mail on motorcycle tourism in West Virginia:

The month of May signals the beginning of about six months of nice travel weather. That translates into a great opportunity for West Virginia to attract a unique group of tourists.

The West Virginia Division of Tourism last week introduced its new “Scenic Drives Guide” at a press conference overlooking the New River Gorge Bridge. Tourism officials hope motorcycle riders will see West Virginia’s highways, backroads, mountains and valleys as great places to ride.

“What motorcyclists want after they get a little bit of experience is the twisty, curvy roads and the mountains,” said Donnie Hale, program coordinator for the West Virginia Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Program. “That’s what they like to ride versus a straight interstate.”

In its 50 tips for riding a motorcycle across America, the Lost Adventure website says in tip number 6, “Interstates equal zero fun.” Yet, West Virginia has the interstate access to get motorcycle tourists to the Mountain State, where there are unlimited locations to get off the highway and onto scenic mountain roads.

Tourism in West Virginia accounts for about $4.5 billion annually in revenue. With National Travel and Tourism Week starting yesterday, Tourism Commissioner Amy Shuler Goodwin said she hopes that both individuals and families will give themselves a break and save money by vacationing locally, MetroNews reported.

Goodwin encourages all people from in and out of state to explore West Virginia, but motorcyclists are an especially good group.

“If you’re looking at the dollars and cents, we want everyone,” Goodwin said. “But motorcycle riders have a really unique benefit to West Virginia. They are spending more, and they are staying longer.”

“We have to eat,” motorcyclist Hale said. “We have to buy fuel. We have to buy whatever we need, we have to buy while we are on the road.”

Like any other industry, motorcycle touring is no magic way to restore West Virginia’s economy. There is not one single industry or activity that will do so.

But promoting motorcycle tourism, as well as other types of tourism will build on West Virginia’s unique natural beauty and attract visitors, and potentially investors and new residents.

West Virginians are encouraged to share the idea of touring West Virginia with their traveling friends and family from around the nation. See a list of scenic drives at gotowv.com/drives.




May 1

The Journal of Martinsburg on substance abuse:

West Virginian Jessie Grubb fought a long battle against opioid addiction. She nearly won. But the 30-year-old woman fell through one of the many cracks in how we Americans handle substance abuse, and it killed her.

During a town hall meeting on substance abuse last fall in Charleston, President Barack Obama heard Grubb’s story from her father. For seven years, the Charleston man explained, his daughter had battled addiction to opioids. By last fall she seemed to have made dramatic progress.

But then, earlier this year while living in Michigan, she suffered an injury. A doctor, unaware of her history of struggling with opioids, wrote her a prescription for 50 pills to help her with the pain. They were oxycodone, an opioid.

Jessie Grubb died of an oxycodone overdose.

This week, U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Capito, R-W.Va., related Grubb’s story in announcing they have introduced a bill, “Jessie’s Law,” that may save lives.

If enacted, the measure would require that if patients consent, their medical records would display prominent notices of their substance abuse histories.

Almost undoubtedly, the Michigan doctor would not have prescribed oxycodone had he seen such information on Grubb’s medical records. Her family had informed the hospital, but the word never filtered down to the doctor.

All too frequently, cracks such as this in how we handle substance abuse are discovered. Often they are simple things, correctible with relative ease.

“Jessie’s Law” ought to be enacted. We need to close that crack - then be diligent in looking for others to be sealed.

The fall through these cracks, after all, is a long one often ending in death.




April 26

The Inter-Mountain on state Supreme Court candidate Darrell McGraw:

Many West Virginians have not made up their minds how to vote in the state Supreme Court race to be decided May 10, to judge by public opinion polls.

While deciding which candidate is best may be difficult, determining who is worst is easy. Because of his unsavory reputation and his politically motivated judicial activism, Darrell McGraw ought to be out of the question for the Supreme Court.

For many years justices on the court too often issued rulings that had the effect of writing new laws - and McGraw was a leader in that.

Legislators, not the court, are supposed to make the laws in West Virginia. The role of the Supreme Court is intended to be one of interpreting laws and ensuring they do not conflict with the state constitution.

For the court to do otherwise, as it did for many years, sometimes meant the rules by which Mountain State residents live were not written by our 134 elected legislators but by as few as three justices.

McGraw has one thing going for him - name recognition. His name at least rings a bell with many West Virginians, and that can be an advantage in an election.

But McGraw is known for all the wrong reasons:

While serving as a Supreme Court justice in 1984, McGraw wrote a decision that benefited him. Legislators had to step in to prevent him from claiming credit for a judicial pension for time spent doing janitorial work while a college student.

As attorney general, McGraw hired outside lawyers without competitive bidding to handle some cases. Some of them reaped enormous fees - after having donated to McGraw’s political campaigns.

Often when the state won fat lawsuit settlements, McGraw kept the money in his office instead of turning it over to the state treasury.

That gave McGraw a multi-million-dollar slush fund to use for his political campaigns while maintaining the efforts were to educate Mountain State residents. Hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of refrigerator magnets, etc., were purchased with our money.

So yes, there are plenty of reasons to remember the name - and to not vote for McGraw on May 10.



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