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The RidgeRunner

RidgeRunner - February 16, 2015
News Notes Of All Kinds With A Lighthearted Touch

 
I'd like to thank the many of you who read my first, brief column and I appreciate the input from several area citizens on a wide range of topics.

One fellow from Clifton Forge asked me if anything could be done about all the coal soot which CSX Transportation distributes along its rail lines and homes and businesses along its routes through the area.

"I go outside my house every morning, and my vehicle's hood has a small coating of coal dust," he told me. "I guess that means we're all breathing that stuff too."

I'm not in the business of environmental correction, but my best guess is that the level of coal dust that comes from the many long coal trains is relatively minor. And, I'm sure all of us are still breathing the result of papermaking at MeadWestvaco as well, despite ever-increasing, honest attempts of that company to cut down on its pollution.

I'm kind of a pro-business guy, I must admit. If there were a smell from the paper mill, I used to say that it "smells like jobs to me." So, with respect to the coal dust, I might add that the "dust" comes from the thousands of cars which pass through through all our local towns which are operated by men and women who have good incomes working with CSX. I want gradually better environmental controls and a cleaner environment here generally, but on balance, folks, I want more jobs and more local employment opportunities.

I can't think of any business which manufactures anything that doesn't somehow impact our environment. And nothing messes up our overall 'environment' like unemployment.

(I might add that I'm not happy with what recently happened to the hood of my vehicle as a result of following a chip truck too closely. Pieces of wood chips literally pelted my hood, nicking it in several places. The screen on the back of the truck wasn't doing much good. But I wasn't too bright following the truck so closely...a lesson I've now learned well).

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The town of Clifton Forge and the county of Alleghany still haven't settled their dispute with respect to some wastewater issues. That's too bad and I guess the local circuit court will have to decide who is right and who is wrong. I'll tell you in advance what definitely is wrong: having an agreement not written so well that it resulted in a very costly legal dispute. When two local governments have a disagreement to the point that legal action is necessary to resolve it, only the lawyers win for sure. Legal fees mount up and taxpayers are the losers. Let's all hope that common sense prevails and that local taxpayers are not fleeced to the point of tens of thousands of dollars in totally unnecessary costs...

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Who knows what happened to the Mor Convenience Store in Clifton Forge, now surrounded by caution tape? It used to be called the Morris Convenience Store, a 'home' for local coffee drinkers and local news of all types when Doodie Morris owned and ran it. A new owner, Jose Moran merely covered up the last three letters on the sign, leaving "Mor." Oh, well. One report reaching me indicated that a female driver apparently hit one of the plate glass sections and Moran has temporarily closed the business about ten days ago, putting up what looks like crime scene or caution tape. Hmmm

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If you haven't dropped by the Clifton Forge Dairy Queen in a while, you should do so. The upgrades to the restaurant have been substantial and the amount of parking looks like it has been more than doubled. I happened by there the other day to pay off a debt: a granddaughter of mine correctly identified some items for me, much to my amazement. It seems she may be a budding geologist, knowing the difference between marble and granite and other rock types. I told her I'd buy her a Blizzard (a Dairy Queen specialty) if she could correct ID several rocks I had and poof, she got 'em all correct. Nice job, Dairy Queen people. Nice job.

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WalMart employees must be happy at the announcement that the home office now has decided to give many of them a nice raise this year. Great. On the other hand, that action will probably mean higher prices there and some extra "squeezing" of all WalMart and Sam's Club suppliers, the employees of which might not be too happy. Oh, let's be positive here: when folks get more cash in their pockets, that normally brings a smile to their face. Our greeters, I guess, will be smiling more soon.

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An Alleghany County rural friend of mine just told me something very funny- seems he lost his watch in a rather weird place: the inside of one of his cows. Seems like he was performing a pregnancy test on one of his animals and somehow the wristband broke off. He had to re-enter that special place on his animal and after a bit of "searching," was able to locate it inside her. Uhhh! I guess this means that one doesn't really have to keep one's watch on ALL the time...

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Freezing pipes and all sorts of weather-related problems has been the order of the day the past 2-3 days. What a mess, with more snow coming. Take my word for it, despite what happens in the next couple of days, there DEFINITELY will be another significant snow event between March 20 and March 27. It almost always happens, just as the crocuses start to show up. I am NOT wrong about this, so prepare now! Will you please not fail to bring in your dogs and kitties when the temp drops below freezing? Isn't this the least we can do for all the love and companionship they supply us?

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The DOW just closed at an all-time high of 18,138.32. Great! The problem with this is not that DOW is not an indicator of great times, unless of course, you're an owner of a stock which not only has risen in price, but one which you're now ready to sell to take a capital gain upon. Other than that, it sounds like good news and it is for many 401K and IRA plans for the long run...that is, until it goes down and we all start to mumble.

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Note from a local grumpy gal: sheesh, she said, gas has gone up more than ten cents in the past week or so! But, I added, it has dropped big time since this time last year! Be happy, the cost of gasoline is way, way down, folks. Let's do some traveling while we can and enjoy the savings!

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News note: the Rev. Tom McHenry will be the parade marshall for this year's Clifton Forge St. Patrick's Day parade. Good! See ya there!

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I happened to drop by the Covington Verizon store the other day - and remembered that it had moved from the WalMart shopping center area. Got myself one of those small tablets and poof, was it speedy! Downloading for apps was amazingly fast, the screen is crystal clear and the price was right. I haven't used my laptop for a long, long time now and with this addition to my hoard of other electronic devices, I probably won't ever again.

For those of you with Iphones...all you millions, I have another tip: I recently bought a device which attaches to mine called a Mophie. This device vastly extends the battery life of my Iphone and also allows the use of a standard USB charging cord. I don't know about you, but the Apple charging cords are not high quality and for me, have failed far too often. The Mophie was expensive (I got it from Sam's Club), but it really works and it fits around the Iphone, adding not much weight. Just an idea here for those of you who simply cannot afford to have your Iphone battery run down on you.

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When you see something cool, weird, wrong, or pleasantly right, make sure to drop me a line at ridgerunner@alleghanyjournal.com. Don't always be negative! There are MANY neat things happening around here, many wonderful people doing MANY nice things. Let me know about them so I may pass the good word around. Then again, if you've got a good rumor or know somebody is up to no good, I want that news too. Your emails will remain confidential, make no mistake about it. Think of me as the former Shadow's "little brother." I like news of all types and this column eventually will grow in popularity, eventually exceeding many others. It's all about you and this wonderful place we call home, even if, from time to time, there might be an unpleasant tidbit or two to report.

See ya back here sometime soon, but in no case, later than each succeeding Friday!
 
 
 

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