Bluefield Daily Telegraph (Newspaper) - July 3, 1989, Bluefield, West Virginia
A-4 Monday, July 3,1989Opinion
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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’'
The opinions expressed in the columns directly below are the consensus of the Daily Telegraph Editorial Board. Its members are:
Terry Horne, publisher Thomas A. Colley, executive editor Bob Pepalis, news editor Jim Terry, Princeton bureau chief Charles Boothe, city editor Barbara Hawkins, senior writer
Today’s Bible quote:
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Special songs can bring smiles or tears to faceCourt decision muddles age issue
The Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty may be imposed for murderers who committed crimes as young as 16 years of age, two years under the cutoff age for juveniles in normal court proceedings.
Supreme Court members, in a 5-4 vote, said the Constitution’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishment" does not prohibit execution of older juveniles or adults with the reasoning capacity of young children.
But, what about the other crimes — not as serious as murder but still classified* as felonies -that are not included in the ruling for adult punishment?
The court apparently is responding to growing concern over the increase and seriousness of violent crime and the society’s demand to hold youths who are mature enough to commit horrible crimes responsible for their acts.
There is inconsistency in the direction the court is taking regarding punishment procedures. The ruling ignores an important question in regard to juvenile cases — the equalizing of penalties for crimes, lf the court is going to make it possible for states to execute juveniles at ages 16 or 17, they should also be able to punish teenagers between 16 and 18 years with “adult" penalties for felony crimes when the case merits the stronger discipline.
Now is the time to consider reducing the juvenile cutoff age to 16 instead of 18 years for felony crimes.
West Virginia does not have the death penalty, so the execution of youths under 18 years is not an issue now. But, state judges frequently remove 16 and 17 year olds from the juvenile division and schedule them for trials as adults for murder cases.
The same responsibility should be placed on teen-agers between 16 and 18 who rob or commit other serious crimes.Highway safety priority
The National Safety Council has projected that between 570 and 670 people will be killed on the nation’s highways during the July 4 weekend.
By 9 p.m. Sunday, 193 had died, with at least four fatalities reported in West Virginia and nine in the Old Dominion.
During the first four months of this year, the number of people killed in car crashes rose 1.9 percent with a total of 9,790 deaths reported.
While these numbers are increasing, the U.S. Senate has introduced legislation for highway safety, including proposals to strengthen safety standards for minivans and light trucks, requirements for back-seat lap and shoulder belts and improvements of overhead and side protection. The bill also would require upgrading of standards for child booster seats and improve the crashworthiness of passenger cars. All federal passenger vehicles purchased beginning in 1991 would have to be equipped with air bags.
The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, and is now awaiting action on the Senate floor.
The bill is expected to be approved.
With the climbing death rate on our highways, support for the measure is obvious. All one has to do is look at the numbers.
While safer cars, safer roads and tough enforcement of laws help reduce highway deaths, we’d like to remind you that the best way to save lives, maybe your own, is to drive defensively, and cautiously. Be careful. Concentration is the best approach to reducing highway slaughter.
"Time hurries on; look, and it’s gone; the changing of the Autumn tide, the hopes that lived, the dreams that died...”
Those are lines from a Moody Blues song called "Running Water.” It’s about a dream that didn’t turn out the way the songwriter wanted, but it is too late to do anything about it. It is a sad and mournful tune.
As I suppose is true of just about everybody, I have special songs for special memories. There are songs that instantly bring a smile to my face, just as there are songs that cause me to shed a tear or two.
There are songs that remind me of my childhood, ones that magically transport me back to those younger days.
There are songs that take me to the future, and there are songs that help lift me higher.
Whenever I hear something from the Beatles’ album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” I think about a friend of mine who called from his home in Detroit, Mich., one day long ago to tell me he’d gotten the “Dr. Pepper’s Alexander Ragtime Band” album. He said he’d listened to it and
didn’t know what I saw in it.
After informing him that he’d made just a slight error in the title, I told him what I saw in the album. “’Photographs,” I said.
Janis Ian’s 1975 song "At Seventeen” - about an ugly duckling girl who always was last to be picked for just about anything, and who said, “I learned the truth at 17, that love was made for beauty queens” — always touches a dark and lonely place somewhere inside me.
Mike and the Mechanics’ ‘The Living Years” is about a man who is saddened by his father’s untimely death — because of all the things the son did not say to him — and yet who is joyous in the birth of his own child. It gives us a simple truth. Far too many of us
don’t take the time to really tell each other what is in our hearts. But we surely ought to do so — while we can.
“Ruby Jean and Billie Lee” by Seals and Crofts — two young men who are singing their love for their wives — makes me sad that I did not write those beautiful and powerful lines, and yet glad that somebody did.
John Lennon’s “Imagine” helps me do just that.
Randy Van Warmer’s version of “Farther Along" tells me that in the face of sadness and sorrow, we all will know why one day. it says, “Cheer up, my brother, who sleeps with no mercy: we'll understand it, by and by...”
I cannot hear the song “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” without some wondrously happy — and sad — memories of my late lather-in-law.
Just about any version of “Amazing Grace” conjures up memories of the loss of some of my other loved ones — my father, one of my older brothers — and yet tells me that after all is said and done, there always is hope.
“Send In The Clowns” is appropriate when nothing seems to be going right and everything that can go wrong has
gone wrong — in the spirit of Murphy’s Law.
‘Tomorrow,’’ from Broadway’s “Annie,” tells me that no matter how dark the day may be, the sun will shine again.
Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up,” — assisted by Kate Bush, who has one of the most stirring singing voices anywhere — is about a man who wants to give up, and the woman who won t let him. The inspiration it brings is always there when I need it.
Amy Grant’s “It’s Not A Song”, ‘Thy Word.” "El Shaddai,” and "Everywhere I go” are four good examples of the power of music to help ease us through the worst of times — and to help us enjoy the best of times.
And last, but certainly far from least, Mike Oldfield’s “Island” album is loaded with the full range of human emotion. When I want a musical feel of what life is all about — what it is, and what it is not — I can’t do any better than this.
Jim Terry is the Daily Telegraph's Princeton bureau chief.
©1989 SEATTLE . I _
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I NO STUDENTS !yLetters to the editor
am not judging anyone, we judge ourselves by our actions.
Let’s not shove more dirt under the rug
In an editorial in the Beckley papers, I read that the family situation of the Capertons should be kept quiet, because it is no one’s business but theirs.
Boy, oh boy! We don’t only have a governor who is set up as a ‘Iring,’ but his lifestyles are untouchable!
Being a public official he should also be a public example.
How can a person who can’t hold four people together expect to make decisions that will bring hundreds of thousands together? He is still a big joke as governor in my opinion, regardless of how much the supporting papers, (does he own any of these papers?) write what a great man he is.
I am all the more curious about his business and lifestyles, as well as his appointees.
As long as God allows me I will try to keep the lies and deceit in the public’s eyes. People in West Virginia, please don’t forget what he hasn’t done for most of us except try to build a politi
cal power machine. Don’t forget the deceit of the Senate and House of which Chambers and Tucker are heading.
My question is — why the big coverup for the governor’s lifestyles? I hear money talks. Does it also close mouths and minds? I would like to know.
Mr. Hechler, Mr. More H. Harmon, Mr. Jay Wolfe, Mr. Cleve Benedict have been taken to task for their beliefs and there are probably a lot of others also.
I have been told to keep quiet and don’t embarrass West Virginia any more.
In my opinion, we the people, the press, radio, television or anyone will compound the condition of our state by shoving more dirt under the rug.
I am not judging anyone, we judge ourselves by our actions. This also means politicians.
Lewis Jones Hinton, W.Va.Looking back
5 years ago, 1984
Susie Jane Richardson, a Princeton Junior High School student who raised $1,105 in contributions for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, received awards of recognition from her sponsors, Sheriff Donald Hare and Mills Market. The amount is the highest ever raised by an individual in West Virginia and is believed to be a national record. Miss Richardson is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Richardson.
Army Pvt. Richard A. Combs, son oi Rose M. Baker of Rural Retreat Route 2, both of Bluefield, Va., has completed basic training at Fort Dix. N.J. During training, students received instruction in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, first aid, and Army history and traditions.
10 years ago, 1979
Officers of the Princeton Garden Club are Mrs. George “Snooks” Morton, corresponding secretary; Kay Curry, president: Margaret Sutphin, vice president and Oneta Jones, treasurer. Retiring president. Emilie Holroyd was the installing officer.
John Hughes, new superintendent of Mercer County schools, and Mrs. Hughes were honored Monday morning with a reception given by employees of the Mercer County Board of Education’s central office staff. More than I OO persons attended the event.
25 years ago, 1964
The new building in the City Park will be ready for tomorrow’s onslaught of picnickers, City Manager Randolph Whittle said today. The last sections of concrete were poured this morning and will be sectioned off tomorrow, but will be completely set by Sunday. The new building will accommodate 130 picnickers.
Mrs. C. Dean Coffey, member of Princeton Junior Woman’s Club, has been appointed state director of junior clubs. She has held almost every office of her own club, including a recent term as president, has also held positions on the executive staff of both the district and state federation of women’s clubs.
Compiled by Audrey Williams of the Daily Telegraph staff.
July 3, 1899
Bluefield city officials suspended the “Firecracker” ordinance until 11:59 p.m. on July 4th.
A real entertainer
Where else except America can a person or persons misplace $279 million and resign one day before he would most surely be impeached?
It will cost the taxpayers of West Virginia $24,000 per year retirement for the remainder of his life.
I regret that West Virginia lost such a clown. He was a real entertainer and well paid.
Hobart Beavers Tazewell, Va.
To our readers:
The Bluefield Daily Telegraph will publish letters on matters of public interest.
Letters should be as short as possible and must contain the signature, address and telephone number of the writer to be considered for publication.
The Daily Telegraph will not knowingly pubfish pen names, nor will anonymous letters be used under any circumstances.
Names will not be withheld. Letters will be edited and condensed to fit available space, if necessary.Rep. Bill Gray vs. the Washington Post
WASHINGTON — Over the years, during the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals, and the current mess at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Washington Post has served the nation magnificently. It has exposed crooks, thieves, scoundrels and violators of the Constitution, and been properly honored for its fearless journalism.
When I picked up my Post Thursday and saw a front page headline saying “’85 Housing Deal With Church Benefits Rep. Gray,” I sagged in the expectation that this newspaper had come up with; some egregious case of criminality or immorality by this black congressman from Philadelphia, who had served sol admirably as chairman of the House Budget Committee and only recently surmounted Justice Department dirtyn tricks to become the House majority* whip.
Then I read the article about the ’ church “deal” and wound up asking myself, “Has the Washington Post gone, scandal-crazy, or is this a case of report1 ters getting involved in what I know is a Justice Department crusade to get Bill ! Gray?”
The Post article was as close to a nonstory as I have seen in more than 40 years in this business. It spelled out in terrible length a couple of facts that discredit Gray in no way and honor him in many.
The Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia, where Gray’s father was minister and Rep. Gray still preaches' three Sundays a month, knew that the congressman’s father had died young, and his widow needed a place to live. Clearly, Bill Gray needed a home in the Washington, D.C., area that he could not afford. So the church bought his Philadelphia home and turned it into a parish where Gray’s mother could live the. rest of her life, and Gray could sleep when he returned to Philadelphia to preach, or for whatever reason.
The church thus made it possible for Bill Gray’s family to buy a house in Reston, Va., with a down payment of $72,750.
No crime, nothing unethical, in any of this, as far as any sane reader of the Post story might discern.
But the Post droned on and on about the fact that Gray gave speeches, as a House superstar, that earned honoraria beyond what House rules allowed him to keep. So Gray gave to his church, where he preaches 40 times a year without compensation, more than $30,000 of his honoraria over three years. I must disclose that he also gave honoraria from one speech to Project Excellence, helping one needy black high schooler to co to college. b
I have written several columns recently, not one printed in the Washington Post, making it clear that beyond any doubt Atty. Gen. Richard Thornburgh, former Pennsylvania governor, and some of his aides would like to discredit Gray, who is a rising political power in Pennsylvania. That "nothing story” on the front page of the Washington Post tells me that Thornburgh et al. have conned some Post reporters and editors.
I he article about Gray is a mishmash of nonsense that doesn’t even rise to the level of innuendo. It is character assassination by front-page placement. It is unbecoming of a great newspaper. Post readers are correct in saying, as many have to me, “Ifyou have information that Gray has behaved unethically, immorally or criminally, give us some facts. Otherwise apologize for this lapse into a front-page slander that makes even Gray’s Republican enemies sick of stomach.”
Carl T. Rowan writes for the North Amor can Syndicate.