September 05, 2015

Manchin addresses a full house at old-fashioned town hall meeting Friday, Discussion ranged from education to the Iran Nuclear Deal | Preston County News and Journal

KINGWOOD — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd of nearly 500 people at the Craig Civic Center in Kingwood Friday. Manchin was the special guest as part of the Preston County News & Journal’s first Old-Fashioned Town Hall Meeting.

More than 100 history students from Preston High attended the event, as did many residents from around the county and as far as Wheeling to hear Sen. Manchin’s thoughts on critical issues like the Iran nuclear deal.

“This is America,” Manchin said. “When I was asked, ‘Why did you come and do this?,’ I answered this is who we are as a country. This is how we basically function. It is through meetings and town hall meetings.”

Manchin spent a good part of his presentation speaking directly to the students in attendance. “Out of 27 industrialized countries, the United States is now number 22,” Manchin said. “We were number one. How do we get back to number one — education and a clean work force. “You have to be better, not equal to anyone,” Manchin said. “These other countries don’t think you can be in control enough of your own life. They will sit back and let us destroy ourselves from within. Do not let that happen.

“And to the rest of us if this happens, we will be the first generation to let another generation down,” Manchin continued. “We can’t let that happen.”

When Manchin opened up the program to questions from the audience, he generally got an ear-full on the Iran nuclear deal.

Those who did ask questions did not give their names.

“West Virginia residents are overwhelming not in favor of this deal. What will your vote be,” the first person asked.

“I have not made my decision on how I will vote on this deal,” Manchin shared. “But I have been listening to everyone I have come in contact with. I have also been to several meetings regarding this deal and have listened to classified and non-classified information.”

“As Congress debates this, tell us what reasons you have to accept the deal,” the second person asked.

“This will not be an easy decision, but I am praying on it in order to make an informed decision,” Manchin continued. “I can tell you this — the allies have ratified the deal.”

Manchin said he plans to announce his final decision as soon as next week.

Another issue brought up during the question and answer session was the about U.S. Department of Environmental Protection.

“Is there any way we can bring the EPA under control without shutting down the state,” asked Philip Gregg, Mastontown.

“We all want to protect the environment,” Manchin said. “But there has to be a balance. The current administration has overreached.”

A student at Preston High asked a question about the future of coal and if there will ever be a better source of energy for the future.

“I am wondering about your thoughts on the coal industry and your ideas on a better alternative, self-sustaining energy source,” asked the PHS student.

“You are not living in the real world if you think you can live without coal,” Manchin said. In the final moments of the meeting, Manchin addressed the PHS students again, talking about his grandmother.

“My grandmother said this to me once, and I leave you with this,” Manchin said. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

The event lasted for more than two hours in the crowded Kingwood facility. This is the last such event Senator Manchin will be participating until he announces his decision on the Iran nuclear deal.   Martinsburg park hosts 67th Labor Day Breakfast, Richard Belisle, Herald Mail September 7, 2015

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Crena Anderson, 91, of Maugansville and Anna Hess, 87, of Morgantown, W.Va., became the center of attention at the Rotary Club’s annual Labor Day Breakfast on Monday when it was discovered they had both worked as Rosie the Riveters during World War II.

Monday’s breakfast at Martinsburg’s War Memorial Park was the 67th since the first one held in 1948, said Bonn “Buzz” Poland, a veteran breakfast volunteer.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, W.Va., stopped by to say a few words and help the volunteers who were serving coffee to breakfast patrons.

He said Labor Day is a time to celebrate the tradition of the nation’s work ethic and honor the men and women who do the work.

“We all come from working people. I came from working people,” he said.

“Working men and women should be celebrated today for being the backbone of this great nation’s economy,” Jim Rogers of Martinsburg said in remarks to the patrons; Rogers represents the United Auto Workers. “We are family and community fighting to preserve the middle class.” Anderson was a riveter on airplane wings at Fairchild Aircraft in Hagerstown during the war. “I really was a Rosie the Riveter,” she said. “One day I was working on a wing when the whistle to stop work for the day sounded. I couldn’t crawl out of the wing. I was stuck until somebody came to help me. I pulled and he pushed and my pants came off.”

Anderson said her first husband, Marvin Spinster, was an Army survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack. When he died, she married another Pearl Harbor survivor, Amos Anderson. She met a third survivor after Anderson died.

“We didn’t get married but we were close friends,” she said, adding that she attended Pearl Harbor survivor reunions.

Anna Hess grew up on a farm in Roane County, W.Va., the youngest by 10 years of five siblings, she said. Her father and three older brothers moved to Akron, Ohio, for defense work. “After he found a place for us to live, he came back for my mother and me. I was 15,” she said. She talked her way into a job in a factory that made military truck tires.

“I worked on the bands that went around the rims,” she said. “They paid me 75 cents an hour. After a while I began to realize how important our jobs were.”

She said her mother got a job as a riveter at a Goodyear Aircraft factory where B-29 Superfortresses were made.

Hess said she married a returning GI.

According to Harold Catrow, vice president of the War Memorial Park Association, the Rotarians bought 200 slices of country ham, 300 steaks and 90 dozen eggs.

Poland said about 400 tickets are sold every year at $25 in advance and $30 at the door. The net proceeds go to the park every year, Poland said.

For the last three years, they went into the cost of building a replacement for a pavilion that was built around the time the park opened in 1948, said Steve Catlett, executive director of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation Board. The board manages the park for the city.

By:  Theresa Marthey