Tim Hornick’s impassionate remarks covered six parameters of the solid waste “industry” in Randolph County. Believe me, it is an industry when you serve more than 4,000 households that generate an estimated 4.5 pounds of waste each day.
First, he addressed the issue of stealing. It’s hard to believe that stealing in the trash business could be a problem, isn’t it? But every time someone puts his garbage with someone else’s for pickup or disposal, that person is stealing from both the person who has garbage service and the Tygart Valley Sanitation Corp. — or anyone else who is in the garbage disposal business.
According to Hornick, there’s a lot of this happening. Fortunately, he has devised ways of determining who these thieves are, so beware those of you who use this method of disposing of your garbage.
The second issue of concern that Hornick addressed was that of illegal disposition of garbage — other than placing it with a paying customer for pickup. “We see signs of it every day along our highways and, more so, along the roads that traverse the scenic backcountry of our county,” he said.
My drive across Laurel Mountain the other day confirms his concerns. What I saw was appalling. There was everything imaginable along the road, from discarded tires (whose life expectancy after being discarded is eternity plus forever), discarded appliances, bags of garbage, animal carcasses (mostly deer), used building supplies including scrap lumber and drywall, and hundreds of plastic bottles of all shapes and sizes.
One area that appeared to be used for loading logs for one of the many timber operations was polluted with plastic bottles of all descriptions imaginable. Plastic bottles were probably the most prolific item lying along the road with beer cans and beer cartons running a close second.
Hornick suggested that the rising price of gasoline is putting a pinch on everyone’s budget these days, especially the working poor. To most of the households served by solid waste disposal businesses, the fee for that service is not a budget-busting expense. To those who struggle every day to make it, however, it is an expense that can, and unfortunately is, being avoided by discarding their trash in some form other than what is legal.
According to Hornick, those who are on welfare receive some help with their garbage disposal fees. “The working poor need help, too,” he said.
I would agree that some form of assistance would probably help a lot toward cleaning up our roadsides. But like all assistance programs, where do we get the money to help them? Hornick did say, however, that if everyone paid for the disposition of their trash as they should, the monthly rates might be reduced.
The fourth issue Hornick touched on was law enforcement. From what I understand, the governor’s office issued instructions some time ago stating that each county would have a 12-step program in effect within three years of the issuance of the letter (I don’t know when the letter was issued). That included a law enforcement agent on the solid waste authority. I don’t have a lot of information on this program yet, so please don’t read something into what I’ve said that isn’t there. I’ll get more information in time.
Hornick’s fifth issue is the impression that our trash-strewn highways and backroads leave with those who visit our county. “It goes without saying that those impressions aren’t what we’d like them to be,” he said.
It appears that the Hornicks are as proud of their community as the rest of us. Their contributions to keeping it beautiful, albeit for the most part one of business, certainly does not diminish their pride and efforts to keep it one in which all of us are proud to live, work and relax.
Finally, it appears that the Hornicks are not standing idly by waiting for someone else to remedy the problem. It is my understanding that they have created an educational program for students in our middle schools that teach children the benefits of the proper disposal of solid waste including recycling in hopes they will influence their parents to practice good garbage disposal measures.
How effective it will be remains to be seen. Let’s hope that our younger generations do a better job of keeping our countryside clean than we are now doing. We can’t afford to sit around and wait on them, however. We must start doing a better job ourselves — now.
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I had the pleasure of attending United Way’s annual spring fundraising dance on April 12. As they used to say in the early days of newspaper scribbling, “A good time was had by all” — or so it appeared anyway.
A lot of folks left a lot of shoe leather on the floor dancing to the music of the Encore Band from Roanoke, Va. I did make a major goof that evening, however. My editor asked me to take photos at the dance and, yeah, you guessed it, I forgot. I let having fun get in the way of responsibility. I had one of those serious senior moments, I suppose. Anyway, I offer my sincerest apologies to all those who expected to see a photo or two of the event in our newspaper. I’ll try to do a better job next time.
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Last week I mentioned in this column that our national economic situation is not in the best condition and that if we are not already in a recession most indicators point to the fact that we soon will be. At press time last week, West Virginia’s economic data for March was not yet available, but now it is. While our state’s economy is not setting any records, it’s better than some.
According to WORKFORCE West Virginia, the state’s unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point to 5.4 percent in March. The number of unemployed fell 3,000 to 43,200. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose 8,300, with gains of 1,700 in the goods-producing sector and 6,600 in the service-providing sector.
Within the goods-producing sector gains of 1,800 in construction and 100 in natural resources and mining, the state had a decline of 200 manufacturing jobs. The service-providing sector contained a number of gains including 1,700 in leisure and hospitality, 1,500 in government, 100 in trade, transportation and utilities, 900 in professional and business services, 500 in educational and health services, 500 in other services and 100 in financial activities. Information employment was unchanged over the month.
Since March 2007, total non-farm payroll employment has risen 1,600, with a gain of 4,900 in the service-providing sector versus a decline of 3,300 in the goods-producing sector.
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Finally, I have a question for everyone. We drive on the right side of the road, and for the most part, walk on the right side of the sidewalk, right? Why is it that when we go to Wal-Mart or Kroger or Kmart and a few other stores around, we enter and exit through the door on the left?