More than a week after the fact, thousands of West Virginians are still reeling from the effects of the toxic spill into the Elk River. Water supplies were cut off. Some were actually exposed to the contaminated water, resulting in nausea, vomiting and other symptoms requiring emergency treatment. More than that, there are still questions for the future. MCHM is a known carcinogen. Are those who were exposed to the contaminated water likely to develop cancer in the future? And what effect could exposure have on pregnant women and their unborn babies? I lived in Charleston for over four years, and I still have friends who live in the Charleston area. This was more than a news story to me. My heart ached for all of those who were affected. Like others, I'm proud of the way the people living in Charleston and the surrounding areas stood tall during this crisis. Like others, I'm also proud of the way people throughout West Virginia rallied to help--sending drinking water, food and paper supplies, or volunteering their time. It makes me proud to be a West Virginian.
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The day after the NFC championship I woke up to a world of highly opinionated sports enthusiasts giving their take on the public interview between Erin Andrews and Richard Sherman. I was browsing through my Facebook feed and realized that I had missed quite a controversial moment in sports history. Upon reading my Facebook friends' posts, I realized that there was a huge divide in the way people took the Andrews/Sherman interview. Some of my friends had statuses calling Sherman a "thug", some called him "classless", and most of the statuses seemed to feel that his breathless rant was highly inappropriate. I did have some friends that were defending his actions and saying that he is not a thug but in fact a Stanford-educated man. Some said he was an emotional athlete who was just minutes removed from the adrenaline high of having made the biggest play in his career.
It's hard to imagine a more compelling NFL Championship weekend. In the AFC, old rivals Tom Brady and Peyton Manning square off yet again when the Broncos host the Patriots. In the NFC, the new rivalry between the Seahawks and the 49ers takes center stage. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell couldn't have asked for a much better line-up. Not all is well in the world of the NFL, though. Earlier this week, Judge Anita Brody, the federal judge overseeing a lawsuit brought by more than 4,000 former players against the NFL, rejected a settlement proposed by the parties. As Judge Brody found, the settlement may not be enough to compensate the players for the injuries they suffered in the sport. The Judge ordered the parties to provide her with more information regarding the adequacy and fairness of the proposal.
From shows like Buckwild to offensive tweets about incest, West Virginia often takes a beating in the media. Bordas & Bordas is proud to have deep roots in the state, and knows that many of our readers are too. As native West Virginian Carrie Scanlon details below, there are many reasons we're happy to declare that we're from somewhere more specific than just "fifty miles south of Pittsburgh." What are your points of West Virginia pride? I'm proud to be from West Virginia. That wasn't always the case. For a span of about a decade and a half that started when I entered college and went well through most of graduate school, when people would ask where I was from I simply would answer "fifty miles south of Pittsburgh." It was simple enough, not a lie and yet not entirely the truth. Identifying myself with the city that I had grown to love was a lot easier than being attached to a state that had an image that was, well, less than flattering. Images of ignorance, stereotypical redneck behavior and social awkwardness were something that seemed to be widespread on the mainstream media when it came to the portrayal of my state and frankly I wanted nothing to do with it. I was a Steeler fan anyway, shopped in the South Hills, and had a membership to the Carnegie Museum so I figured the facts really didn't matter. People seemed to paint all West Virginians with quite a broad brush so I took the opportunity to skirt the issue entirely.
We all have memories, and we all undoubtedly have things that make them flare up from time to time. For some, it is the smell of fresh cut grass on a hot summer afternoon, for others it is the sound of crisp leaves crunching beneath cold feet on a brisk October evening. For me, snow- an early forecast, the beginning snowflakes of the season's first snowfall, the footprints left behind in the freshly fallen powder- holds some of my most cherished memories and just the sight of a small flake or two sends them flooding back in. I remember being young (younger) and watching the weather portion of the 11 o'clock news before bed. The weatherman's call for snow made it nearly impossible to fall asleep for the excitement surrounding a potential snow day was almost too much to handle. I would wake up the next morning, rush to the front window in my bedroom and look out at a snow-covered Watson Street, sending my praises to Mother Nature for coming through for me.
West Virginians are going to remember WVCHS8's iconic photo of Gary Southern swigging ice-cold bottled water as he walked away from reporters in Charleston, citing a "very long day" that he had after depriving hundreds of thousands of West Virginians of usable water. The "Freedom Industries" CEO is not all that different from British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward, who famously " wanted his life back " after questions from reporters put him out, just because BP had dumped over a 100,000,000 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. These men don't understand our lack of sympathy for their plights, when they are "unfortunately" caught red-handed doing the things they do every day. These lamentations from the multi-millionaire or even billionaire class are becoming more and more common. West Virginia's own Don Blankenship famously complained of the " indignity " he felt subjected to as his mines violated state and federal laws and safety standards, ultimately resulting in numerous unnecessary deaths of coal miners . Former Bloomberg CEO and billionaire mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg recently took time out from his busy schedule to tell us that homeless people are homeless because " that's how God works ."
My daughter is a freshman at St. Clairsville High School, and she recently brought home an order form for the yearbook. I noticed on the order form that you could donate a yearbook. Now this may not be a new thing, considering I haven't ordered a yearbook for 25 years (hard to believe I've been out of school that long!), but it was news to me. I didn't know you could donate a yearbook to someone else. This definitely sounded like something I wanted to do, but I needed more information. How would I know that the money I sent in to the yearbook company would actually be used to donate a yearbook to a student at St. Clairsville High School?
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WATER IN WEST VIRGINIA? A company called Freedom Industries spilled a large amount of a chemical called 4-methylcyclohexane into the Elk River in South Central West Virginia. Kanawha county and the counties surrounding it, as far north as Jackson and Roane conties, as far south as Boone county and as far west as Cabell county are directly affected. WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THE WATER IN WEST VIRGINIA? The water is unsuitable for anything except flushing toilets. Do not drink, cook, bathe, brush teeth or do anything else to come into contact with this water if at all possible. Do not give it to pets or other living things. A state of emergency has been declared by the President and supplies of usable water are being brought into these counties.
Don't miss the first episode of the Bordas & Bordas Legal Review for 2014 that deals with the political mess created for Chris Christie when it was recently learned that emails and text messages from his staff had were obtained by the New Jersey press. The emails and texts tended to show that the Governor's administration had deliberately tied up the George Washington Bridge creating traffic back-ups that were hours long, in both New York and New Jersey. Chris Regan and Jamie Bordas will dissect the scandal and the potential effect on Christie's 2016 presidential hopes.
Our modern world has seen goods and commodities transport on the once mighty and ubiquitous railroad system give way to transport by the private trucking industry, putting more than 11 million trucks on U.S. highways logging over 288 billion (with a "B") miles a year. The interstate these days seems like a trucking industry world that we're all just living (or more pointedly trying to survive) in. Road haulage is one of the most dangerous industries in America, and the danger is ever increasing. In 2009, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, reported that tractor-trailers and large trucks were involved in 286,000 crashes, which led to over 3,000 deaths and 74,000 injuries. By 2010, the number of tractor trailer collisions had doubled. Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation recorded 500,000 collisions in 2010 that resulted in more than 5,000 fatalities. Not surprisingly, a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 76 percent of these fatalities from tractor-trailer collisions were the occupants of the passenger vehicle.