Winfield Resident Objects To Extra Expense
Kenneth T. "Buddy" Davidson, II, never thought he would have to buy flood insurance for his family's home. So you can imagine his surprise when he received a letter from FEMA, in the mail, advising him that he needs to purchase the extra coverage.
"I live above the locks, a block off the river, (on Dover Street) so lots of other people must be affected too," says Davidson. "Can’t imagine that with all the flood control above and below that the flood plain would be expanded. I would think that people would be removed from it."
Instead, Davidson is facing an extra expense-one that he does not want to pay.
As you can see from the Google Earth image, Davidson's home is off the Kanawha River from the locks, just east of Winfield High School.
Davidson is concerned that the government is forcing homeowners to purchase a service that they don't need, adding an expense during the recession that some cannot afford.
PutnamLIVE.com telephoned FEMA, but were told someone would call us back. No one has. If FEMA responds, that information will be added to this article.
Welfare Recipients Score Low In Reader Poll
When PutnamLIVE.com posted a reader survey asking who drug tests should be required of, it was expected that Welfare Recipients would top the poll.
That didn't happen.
Other than "All of the above" receiving 158 of the 465 votes, (34 percent) the highest score was for "Elected Officials," at 96 votes, (20.6 percent). Government employees came in next with 91 votes, (19.6 percent), followed by school teachers with 85 votes and 18.3 percent. Welfare recipients scored low with only 32 votes, (6.9 percent) with high school students scoring lowest in the class with only three votes, (0.6 percent).
This shows that PutnamLIVE.com readers don't have much trust in public officials.
Of course, this is a non-scientific poll which ran from January 31st, 2012 until March 18th, 2012.
Does Not Plan To Help Strugging Retail Center
When the Hurricane Marketplace opened in March of 2008, it was part of a deal involving the Putnam County Development Authority which sold the land and also developed the Walmart center.
Through the years, Hurricane Marketplace has struggled, filling up just more than half of its 13 storefronts. American Mattress, Alltel, Rocky Top Pizza, and Magic Nails have come and gone. Rent-A-Center replaced the mattress store, and Aria Nails recently opened in the Magic Nails location, but the pizza store and phone stores remain vacant along with four other spaces.
As recently as 2011, Edwards told PutnamLIVE.com that he "has a plan" for the Hurricane Marketplace. That plan didn't include his own business that opened in Teays Valley near Papa John's Pizza.
Now, Edwards admits that he doesn't have a plan, and despite being a PCDA Board of Directors member that used government power to develop the Hurricane Marketplace, he's flip-flopping and leaving the shopping center on its own.
When PutnamLIVE.com sent Edwards a text asking what his plans were to help the struggling strip mall, his reply was sarcastic and abrasive, sending a message to businesses that Hurricane is not a good place to invest.
"You must be drunk again, Mark," says Edwards in texts on February 20th, 2012. "I have no plans for it as it is a private business. This PRIVATE BUSINESS makes their own decisions on who they rent to, how much the rent is, etc. As the Mayor, I do what I am supposed to do. Why don't you buy it and rent it cheap or whatever you think they "should do to get it rented. Really, you should simply not worry about what the owners of Hurricane Marketplace do or how they conduct their business."
While the stores remain vacant, Edwards misses several important points:
1) PutnamLIVE.com's Publisher, Mark Hallburn has NEVER been drunk, so he could not have been "drunk again" as Edwards falsely alleged.
2) Hallburn has one drink every FEW YEARS to avoid the alcohol problem that plagued several of his ancestors.
3) The City of Hurricane needs jobs which would be provided by a fully-booked Hurricane Marketplace.
4) The City of Hurricane benefits from Business and Occupancy Taxes which would come with new businesses.
There are several things Edwards could to to help the Hurricane Marketplace:
1) Offer a tiered Business and Occupancy Tax structure which is used by the City of South Charleston which often has a waiting list for new businesses. Nitro has a similar system. Both have far less vacancies than Hurricane, which just recently filled the Gateway Center and still has Main Street vacancies-not to mention numerous vacant commercial lots.
2) Edwards could ask the PCDA to donate its paid-for land above Dollar Tree to use as a community park which would attract customers to the Hurricane Marketplace and attract new businesses as well as supporting the existing stores. This fits with the PCDA's mission of creating jobs. One look at the many businesses across from Hurricane City Park proves this point.
3) The city and PCDA could develop the prime commercial property belonging to the Walmart neighbors which blocks the Hurricane Marketplace from view from Hurricane Creek Road. With homestead (senior citizen) property tax exemptions, neither are bringing the city much revenue. As businesses, each jobs and far more revenue would be created.
Instead, Edwards and the PCDA continue to ignore the costly problem that they helped create, turning their backs on key retail devlopment that would create jobs and revenue during the recession.
A "trash blog" that some say is funded by Edwards calls the empty storefronts a "national problem" caused by the recession. This isn't true. In Ashland, Kentucky, Barboursville, Nitro, Princeton, South Point, Ohio, and South Ridge, retail stores next to Walmarts have filled the shopping centers and are doing great levels of business. Hurricane stands alone with this problem.
Haynes' Seven Years Of Stalling Cost Thousands Of Lives
When Putnam County Commissioner Raymond "Joe" Haynes voted to move forward with the new Putnam County Animal Shelter, he made a point of saying that when he took office-seven years ago-that he became aware of the terrible condition of the current Putnam Animal Relief Center.
Except that "relief" is hardly a proper word to describe a "temporary" shelter that is nearly 30 years old, is falling apart, lacks disease-prevention structure, and is overcrowded with animals-many of which are euthanized due to lack of space.
During Haynes' February 14th, 2012 comments, he tried to make it appear that replacing the shelter is his priority. However, priorities don't take seven years to happen.
PutnamLIVE.com filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out how many animals were put to death at the PARC during Haynes' seven years as commissioner.
We can't give you the answer because records are only kept three years, according to PARK Director Jon Davis.
Still the numbers are troubling, and, according to what Davis revealed, are trending upward, meaning that more animals are losing their lives each year.
The new Putnam County Animal Shelter will be able to hold about twice as many animals as the PARC, meaning euthanizations will not be necessary as soon or as often.
The new shelter, near Eleanor, will not be built until 2013, meaning that while Commissioner Haynes refused to vote to spend the money on the new shelter-during his first seven years on the board, about 10,000 animals were put to death.
Continue To Allow Lengthy Reimbursement Times
It has been more than a year since PutnamLIVE.com first started making West Virginia's elected officials aware of the problems with the state Court of Claims. This is the legislative's agency that takes up to 18 months to reimburse victims of money lost due to state negligence or other issues.
In early 2011, PutnamLIVE.com informed 4th District Senator W. "Mike" Hall, (R) of the problem. He was familiar with the issue and said that his son once considered filing a claim. Hall promised to introduce a bill to deal with faster reimbursement.
At the 2011 Critter Dinner, in Dunbar, PutnamLIVE.com spoke with then acting-Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, (D). Rather than take action, Tomblin rambled about "the process" and looked like a "deer stuck in the headlights." Tomblin has also failed to help the many citizens of West Virginia with this important issue.
So the claimants continue to wait more than a year for their money-while the state has more than $600 million in its "rainy day fund."
PutnamLIVE.com sent letters to West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Richard "Rick" Thompson and then acting-Senate President Jeff Kessler about the Court of Claims. Neither responded to the letters and both refuse to take telephone calls about the issue.
Instead of fixing the problem, both ran unsuccessfully for governor.
Apparently they are perfectly fine with West Virginians not getting their money back-for up to 18 months. Which may be why voters did not elect them as governor.
At the Bill Maloney fund-raising dinner at the Hurricane Valley Community Center, PutnamLIVE.com spoke with Delegate Brian Savilla, (R-14th). Savilla was not aware of the Court of Claims but promised to "look into the matter."
Now, Savilla is not returning calls about the issue. He also has not introduced a bill to fix the problem.
In February, PutnamLIVE.com spoke with Delegate Doug Skaff, Jr., (D-30th) on the 58 LIVE radio program-with Michael Agnello and Rick Johnson. With thousands of people listening, Skaff reported that his finance committee was looking into the issue.
However, nothing has happened, and Skaff is not returning calls about the Court of Claims.
Meanwhile, hard-working West Virginians, who need their money back, continue to wait up to 18 months to receive their money-without interest.
So PutnamLIVE.com took the issue to Senate Finance Committee Chair Roman Prezioso, (D-13th). He took our call. Then, incredibly, he says, "Government is inefficient, son. Have you ever filed a lawsuit? It takes up to two years to get a hearing date."
Not for small claims issues, Senator, which is the level of the Court of Claims reimbursement. When told that, he rudely hung up the telephone.
While the politicians sit on your Court of Claims money, PutnamLIVE.com will continue to make them aware of this issue. West Virginians deserve prompt reimbursement and they deserve politicians that deliver prompt reimbursement.
This is the second-straight legislative session that has failed to fix the delays in Court of Claims reimbursement. We can't say how many more failures there will be.
Despite not helping solve the Court of Claims problem, Hall is running for West Virginia Treasurer. Savilla is running for Secretary of State. Tomblin wants to be re-elected as governor. Thompson, and Skaff are running for re-election.
Will you vote for people that refuse to return money to citizens in a timely manner?
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