January 8, 2015 – Meeting Roundup – Martinsburg Journal Top Stories of 2014
We are meeting at noon at the Holiday Inn on Thursday. This is the first meeting of the year. It is also the first meeting in almost a month at our regular time and place.
Program Chair Brian was working on two possible programs for the next two weeks, but did not have them finalized as of press time. Since no one yells “Stop the presses” at the Grapevine, I’m going to go with the Top Ten Stories of 2014 which will be provided by the Journal. This is always one of the year’s better programs.
I don’t know what the stories are, but certainly one of the top stories is the Republican majority in both houses of the legislature. This was the first time in 80 years that this has happened. The Republicans were also able to win all the congressional seats and the senate seat that Jay Rockefeller had held since 1984.
A secondary offshoot of the West Virginia election was the national election where the Republicans took over the Senate to gain control of the House and Senate.
Another major story must be the heroin epidemic that has invaded the Eastern Panhandle. It has resulted in numerous overdoses and several deaths. As we learned last week, almost all of us know someone who is affected by this horrific drug.
Weather is always an interesting story. Last winter there were more snow days taken by the Board of Education than there have been in quite a while. It seemed like it snowed at least once a week from Christmas until Easter. A mild summer and fall helped make up for the long, cold winter.
Berkeley County’s continuing growth might be one of the stories. Once again, Manny Arvon spends a lot of time picking locations and names for new schools.
It had no negative effect on most of us, but the smoking ban in all public buildings including private clubs certainly had to be in the top ten. This health initiative was vehemently opposed by some members of the community, especially by bar owners. I suspect it will eventually become much ado about nothing since many other communities have done this. I live in Maryland where the entire state is smoke free and no one even thinks about it.
What else is in the Top Ten? You’ll have to come to our meeting to find out.
Captain George Swartwood and Detective Jared Luciano gave us a graphic presentation about the drug problems in Martinsburg. Crack cocaine is still a major problem, but heroin has now surpassed it and become the number one drug in the Martinsburg area.
They told us that probably all of us know someone who has been affected by heroin. Personally, I know one young man who is in prison and another who died from an overdose. It is affecting all classes and races.
The reason it is so nasty is because both drugs are highly addictive. Apparently, they give you an incredible high when you first try them and you spend the rest of your time trying to duplicate that first high.
Crack sells on the street for about $100 a gram and heroin is about $25. Addicts very seldom overdose on crack, but frequently do on heroin. This is because the strength of heroin varies from dose to dose.
Crack is almost always smoked, while heroin can be inhaled, swallowed, or injected. Most addicts prefer injection which leads to hepatitis or HIV infection. The reason is that needles are shared. The needles are a nightmare for law enforcement, because an officer can be accidently stabbed by the needle and become infected.
Unfortunately, the authorities know only of the problem, not the solution.
Answer to last week’s question:
The Rotary Foundation is supported by voluntary contributions from Rotary clubs, Rotarians and others. Further gifts, bequests, etc., are greatly needed to meet the continuing and expanding needs of the Foundation’s programs.
This week’s question:
What is a “Paul Harris Fellow”?
Walt Ridenour’s daughter, Anita Cooper, was our only guest.
Tim Harrison, who was proposed by Pete Mulford, will become a member of our club this week if there are no written objections.
The Taste of the Panhandle is this Saturday. As of December 31st, there were still 15 tickets available. Contact Sandy Hamilton if you would like a couple. Karen Spence and Doug Frye are still looking for items for the silent auction. They can be something as elaborate as a free weekend in a condo you have or as simple as a gift card.
The TOP committee is also looking for volunteers to help. If you volunteered last year or would like to help this year, contact Sandy Hamilton. Her email is: [email protected]
Clara Opdebeeck, our exchange student from Belgium, is settling in nicely with the Bartoldson family and has already seen Niagara Falls frozen (it’s quite a sight, if you haven’t seen it in winter). Apparently Clara has a bucket list for her year in America and seeing Niagara Falls was on it. I’m not sure what else might be on her list, but check with her, Craig, or Elaine if you think you might be able to help.
Just in case you missed in last week’s Grapevine, Sandy Hamilton and Maria Lorensen were elected to the board of directors. Their term will begin in July.
Speaking of the board of directors, all members are allowed to attend their meetings. You just aren’t allowed to vote. You ought to try it occasionally. It will give you a greater insight on the direction the club is trying to take. The club I joined in 1978 and the club I’m in now are very different. Just having women in the club has made a huge difference, and for the better, I might add.
Less than half the deck remains and the pot is over $350 is in the pot. Doug has even put the Queen of Hearts in the deck. With Christmas bills coming in, that could make a major dent in paying them. Now is the time to start buying multiple tickets (they double if you wear your Rotary pin or shirt). Charlene Gilliam is selling tickets this week.