Random (but not really)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

You Want to Spend Money on WHAT?!

There are not words strong enough for me to describe how I feel about this: Three delegates want to divert $10 million from WV surplus to fund border wall.

I love West Virginia.

But this? This is despicable.

Idiot 1, R-Upshur, Idiot 2, R-Lewis, and Idiot 3, R-Webster

First of all, this is no more and no less a political game.

Second, WV is struggling so much, the idea of throwing away money on ANYTHING that doesn’t directly benefit the state enrages me.

Let’s take a look at just a couple of things the state could be spending money on.

Education

Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/

Here are the numbers for the five states at the bottom of that list.

Colorado 46,506
West Virginia 45,701
Oklahoma 45,245
Mississippi 42,925
South Dakota 42,668

Here we see how WV compares to the surrounding states:

Maryland 66,961
Pennsylvania 65,863
Ohio 57,000
Kentucky 52,339
Virginia 51,049
West Virginia 45,701

See also: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wv.htm#25-0000, https://www.wvea.org/content/goal-set-starting-teacher-salaries-west-virginia

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Let’s move on.

Broadband

Last year I ranted about high speed internet access .

These numbers are the percent citizens in the selected counties with access to broadband internet.
Pocahontas = 0%
Calhoun = 0%
Ritchie = 14.0%
Clay – 16.7%
Monroe = 17.9%
Barbour 21.4%

That’s right. We have two counties where there is NO ACCESS AT ALL to high speed internet.

You can go to my original post for the sources and data.

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Moving along again.

Food

You may remember I’ve also ranted about the number of food deserts in WV. The data in that post was from 2017, so it’s about two years out of date. Unfortunately, I can’t update it because of the government shutdown means much of my source data is currently inaccessible, but here’s what I found.

West Virginia has 14 counties that contain major food deserts [C]–cities are were more than 20 miles from “grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.” The entire county of Gilmer is a food desert. Nine (9) of those counties with food deserts are NOT along the state border, and nine (9) of those counties also have a mean yearly income less than $50,000.

Here’s a more recent articles about food deserts in WV:
In McDowell County ‘food desert,’ concerns about the future

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Let’s continue further.

Roads

One of the things I will go on about are the roads in WV.

Here are the “major” roads in WV. The heavy green and red lines are our interstates.

The rest of those highways are anything from four lane divided highways to two lane roads with 11% grades and hairpin turns. (Note the significant amounts of area without interstates or highways.)

Outside of those “major” roads?

Well, I’ve mentioned them before. The GPS Really Is Trying TO Kill Us, Traveling WV: The GPS Really Is Trying To Kill You

Also: ‘Enough is enough’ say advocates for better W.Va. road maintenance

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One final thing (for now).

Water

Lots of people heard about the crisis when the chemical spill in Charleston left more than 300,000 without usable water in 2015.

Thing is, in many areas of WV, lack of safe drinking water is a way of life, rather than a one time event.

Today, an estimated $17 billion is needed to correct water infrastructure challenges for all of West Virginia, per the Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council, a state agency that serves as a clearinghouse for funding on infrastructure projects. That figure is almost four times the state’s entire budget for 2018.

Stirring the Waters: In Southern WV, days without water are a way of life

$17 billion so all of WV can have access to clean drinking water.

Here’s an excerpt from a WV DEP report on streams and rivers in WV:

(There are currently) 1,142 impaired stream segments, covering approximately 5,091 stream miles that are impaired…

The most common criteria violations in West Virginia streams in order of total stream miles are:
Fecal coliform
Total iron (warmwater)
Biological impairment, as determined through application of the West Virginia Stream Condition Index
Dissolved Aluminum
pH
PCBs
Selenium

Why is stream and river health important? Because here in WV, that’s where our drinking water comes from. Here’s a bit from our water company on where my water comes from.

In 2016, MUB produced 3.67 billion gallons of drinking water, an average of 10.868 million gallons per day. The main source of drinking water for the Morgantown area is surface water from the Monongahela River, which supplied 75.7 percent of the area’s drinking water. The remaining 24.3 percent of our raw water supply was taken from the Cobun Creek reservoir.

And I’ll give you three guesses as to where our treated sewage goes.

Here’s another article on drinking water in WV:
Millions consumed potentially unsafe water in the past 10 years

So, here in WV we have underpaid teachers. Many areas WV lacks the roads for industry and manufacturing to be willing to move here. Significant stretches of the state are food deserts and lack access to safe tap water. And we didn’t even get to the opioid crisis.

All that? THAT’S why we lack jobs and economic growth.

You want to fix WV? Improve education. Build roads and infrastructure. Fix the water supply. Until those things happen, we’ll remain at the bottom. And with the ideas of the Republicans currently in power, that won’t be happening any time soon.

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