Since its creation in 1913 by the West Virginia Legislature, worker’s compensation has seen many changes. Once again, it is at a critical crossroads as it undergoes yet another major change — this one probably the most critical and important of all.
On Feb. 16, 2005, the West Virginia Legislature enacted Senate Bill 1004, which created a mechanism to transition the state’s monopolistic worker’s compensation into a private employers’ mutual insurance company — BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Co. — and at the same time, laid the foundation for an open, competitive market on July 1, 2008.
In a recent interview with BrickStreet President and CEO Gregory Burton, he said that one of, if not the greatest, problems he and his staff face at this crucial time in the transition is educating the state’s employers (some 36,000) about the new system.
In order to help Burton with this monumental task in our area, the Elkins Randolph County Chamber of Commerce has scheduled an “Eggs and Issues” breakfast and workshop on Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Express. Allegheny Insurance Services is sponsoring the event. There is no charge for chamber members and there is only a nominal $5 fee for non-members.
Ombudsman Kristi Rhule from BrickStreet will be the presenter.
This is an excellent opportunity for employers to gain an understanding of how the new system operates and how obtaining worker’s compensation insurance in an open, voluntary system will benefit their company, their employees and the state’s economy.
At long last, a Web site has been established that property owners can visit to check the history of renters. The National Tenant Reporting Company’s Web site, DoNotRentTo.com, was created to help landlords determine if a potential renter is a suitable candidate for their property.
Landlords are always taking risks when renting properties and these risks can now be minimized by allowing them to see if a potential renter has been added to the do-not-rent-to list of bad tenants.
Persons who use this Web site are cautioned, however, that the list of undesirables may not be all-inclusive. Literature furnished by Web site owners stipulates that each landlord should inform other landlords of the problems they have encountered when renting properties to undesirable tenants, but that doesn’t mean they are all on it. When using the Web site, you’ll find problems other landlords have experienced including late payments, non-payment of rent, destruction of property, theft, refusal to vacate premises and many other issues landlords may have encountered.
As a member, landlords have unlimited tenant postings and unlimited tenant searches. When posting tenant information, landlords are allowed to enter any comments they feel will best describe their experience with a certain renter. Members will be able to contact other members via e-mail to help verify certain tenant information, and this information will be useful to the landlord community using the Web site in determining if the potential renter is a suitable candidate for their property. Not all tenants are bad, of course, but rental property can be protected by using this Web site to ensure that a potential renter has not been posted to the list.
More information may be obtained by logging on to donotrentto.com, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 734-934-8001.
The Web site states that the reduced registration fee is $14.99 for the first year of membership.
Here is a brief reminder — again — about protecting yourself from identity theft including protected and non-protected information that identifies, or can be used to identify, locate, contact or impersonate you. Examples include an individual’s home address, phone and FAX numbers, credit and debit card numbers, home addresses, mother’s maiden name, Social Security number, finger-prints, driver’s license number, full-face photographic images, certificate numbers, medical record numbers or anything else that might identify you.
Many reports are in the news daily about “unintended” disclosure of confidential or sensitive information. Unintended information disclosures occur through a variety of means. Electronically, they can result from lost backup tapes, lost thumb drives, lost laptops, exposure via Web site attacks, e-mail exchanges, or from other electronic communications or data storage exposure. Disclosure can also occur from non-electronic means through paper files in trash or recycling bins. Some people mistakenly think that the recycler is responsible for shredding or burning these documents, but the reality is they are not. To ensure unintended disclosures of private information do not recycle documents containing such information, use appropriate shredding procedures instead.
I want to pass along the disgusting news about a miserable charitable organization called “Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes” and its sister organization “Help Hospitalized Veterans.” According to a New York Times editorial, these two — among dozens of other military-related charities — were given a grade of F in a study last December by the American Institute of Philanthropy, a non-profit watchdog group.
This only goes to show how low people will stoop to milk easy money from the suffering and heartache caused by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I prefer to call them the low-life scum of society, but that’s not politically correct so I’ll just call them disgusting.
If the organizer of these “charitable foundations,” Roger Chapin, wants to mismanage your money, he has great leeway in doing so. His veterans’ charities raised more than $168 million from 2004 to 2006, but spent only about 25 percent to help veterans, according to the AIP. The rest, nearly $125 million, went to fundraising, administrative expenses, fat salaries and perks. Chapin gave himself and his wife $1.5 million in salary, bonuses and pension contributions over those three years, including more than $560,000 in 2006. The charities also reimbursed the Chapins more than $340,000 for meals, hotels, entertainment and other expenses, and paid for a $440,000 condominium and a $17,000 golf-club membership.
What did the soldiers get? Try almost $18.8 million in “charitable” phone cards sent to troops overseas in 2006 — not to let them call their families, but rather to call up a stateside business that sells sports scores.
If you happen to get a mailing from either of these organizations requesting donations, open it and look over the contents — the glossy bunny greeting card, the earnest letter from the retired Brig. Gen. Chip Diehl — then shred or recycle it, or both. Then think of what Chapin told U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) whose House committee investigated his scam when asked what would happen if his charities ever told donors where the money went.
“If we disclose, which I’m more than happy to do,” he said, “we’d be out of business. Nobody would donate. It would dry up.”
Let’s hope he’s out of business.
Remember my mentioning two weeks ago that they wouldn’t let me take notes at the Downtown Merchant’s meeting? Well on Tuesday, they let me “put pencil to paper” as Robert Duvall said to Annette Bening in the movie “Open Range” when he was looking for something to write his last will and testament with and on. As always, they discussed many interesting subjects and I kept busy scribbling.
One of those subjects was the efforts that are under way to provide our visitors with AMT and Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad schedules so they will know how much time they have between their scheduled events for shopping and dining in downtown Elkins. This has been of great concern to everyone, and I’m sure that through the ingenuity of those involved, a suitable solution will be found.
Since I mentioned DGVRR, let me pass along to John Smith everyone’s best wishes for a speedy recovery from his recent surgery at Davis Memorial Hospital. Get well soon, John.
According to The Inter-Mountain’s Advertising Director Samantha Storch, her department is taking orders for advertising in a revised edition of the Elkins city map that met with so much success last year. This map is a great vehicle for exposure not only for downtown businesses, but in the outlying areas as well.
Talk to your Inter-Mountain advertising representative about getting on this bandwagon again this year. If you weren’t one of those on the map last year, don’t miss a great opportunity for the exposure that will bring more customers through your door. Contact Storch or a member of her staff at 636-2127 for more information.