Editorial Roundup: West Virginia

The Intelligencer. July 6, 2022.

Editorial: Helping Farmers In West Virginia

West Virginia’s Department of Agriculture takes care of our state’s farmers and ranchers in ways many might not consider, as an announcement from the department recently shows. Three projects received a share of $401,834 in 2021 West Virginia Farmers and Ranchers Stress Assistance Network grants — a mouthful, but worth every penny if those who receive the money are able to use it to accomplish their goals.

Coalfield Development Corp. in Lincoln and Wayne counties received $197,616 for “From the Ground Up: Connecting Farmers and Ranchers with Community Supports for Stress Reduction.” West Virginia Military Authority received $102,040 for “Patriot Guardens: Merging Mental Health and Stress Assistance with Agriculture Production.” And West Virginia University Research Corp. received $101,554 for “West Virginia Network for Rural Mental Health and Farm Stress.”

“These are federal COVID relief dollars appropriated to states to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Given rising energy costs, inflation and supply chain issues, many farmers are feeling increased anxiety and stress,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “Ensuring we continue to keep our agricultural production high is essential to the economy of our state and the security of our citizens. These projects aim to improve the mental health outcomes of our producers.”

Farmers do more for us than many realize. The responsibility they bear — not just for their own families, but for all of us — weighs heavily in the best of times. It is encouraging to know there are efforts under way to help them carry that load in these difficult times, too.

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Bluefield Daily Telegraph. July 6, 2022.

Editorial: Summer safety: Be aware of Lyme Disease symptoms

The Mountain State recently saw a high profile case of Lyme Disease when Gov. Jim Justice was sickened by the illness in late May. Lyme Disease is a common, but serious ailment, caused by tick bites.

Justice recovered after about a week of treatment for the disease, which is common during the summer months here in the mountains.

Last year, health officials in Mercer County saw a noticeable increase in Lyme Disease cases. As a result, the county’s health department is once again encouraging area residents to be careful while outdoors in forests and fields.

An early symptom of Lyme Disease is a bull’s eye ring around a tick bite, according to health department director Bonnie Allen.

“If it’s caught early, it’s very treatable,” Allen said. “If it’s not caught early, it can have some long-term affects. They can vary, but it can be like joint pain, weakness and tiredness. Those would be the main ones.”

Allen says checking for ticks, either on one’s person or on children, from “head to toe” is important after being outdoors, particularly in wooded or high grass areas.

Unlike other diseases, cases of Lyme Disease are not being counted, meaning that doctors are not required to report cases to the health department. At this point, it is not known how many cases of Lyme Disease has been reported so far this summer in the Mountain State. The state also is not requiring doctors to report cases.

In order to safeguard yourself and your family from Lyme Disease, the Mercer County Health Department offers the following recommendations:

• Wear a good insect repellant while outside containing DEET.

• Spray clothes and boots with an insect spray containing Permethrin.

• Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.

Keep high grass and weeds cut back at home.

• Shower to remove insect spray and check yourself for ticks.

• Check pets for ticks. Ask veterinarians about flea and tick prevention.

If you spot a tick on your skin, the health department says you should use tweezers to grab the tick close to the skin where it is attached. Pull gently until the tick lets go. Don’t twist or turn the tweezers. If a piece of the tick remains, use tweezers to remove it and wash the affected area with soap and water. You should notify your doctor if a red ring appears around the bite or if you begin to feel ill.

Always check for ticks, especially on children, after being outdoors. As we saw with the case of West Virginia’s governor, anyone can catch Lyme Disease.

So it is something to take seriously, especially during the warm months of July, August and September.

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Parkersburg News and Sentinel. July 5, 2022.

Editorial: Regulations: EPA decision should not reverse progress

Federal officials received an important reprimand last week when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Environmental Protection Agency had, indeed, overstepped its bounds in attempting to work around Congress and regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

In a 6-3 ruling, the court said what we here in West Virginia have always known to be true.

“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, in his majority opinion.

Those who fought the executive overreach, including West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, did important work in giving the court the opportunity to (again) remind unelected bureaucrats they do not have the power they wish to wield, in this country.

But those who are doing a victory lap must not take the court’s ruling as encouragement to throw in reverse our state’s move toward diversifying and expanding our economy; nor ignore our responsibility to take reasonable steps to care for this wild, wonderful state in which we live.

“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’” Roberts, who was nominated to the court by President George W. Bush, wrote.

It was the means to which the court objected, not the hoped-for end.

Congress and many corporations may well stay on the path — perhaps more gradually. We must continue to seek funding for research. There is no reason West Virginia and its institutions of higher learning can’t be the epicenter of tackling this challenge.

Don’t celebrate too long. We’ve got work to do.

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