Sissonville residents were out in force for a town hall meeting Wednesday night to talk about what’s on their mind with local lawmakers.
House of Delegates member Ron Walters and Senator Chris Walters for the 8th Senatorial District ran the meeting at the Aldersgate United Methodist Church where residents raised their questions and concerns.
The discussion covered several topics but focused on two main areas.
One of the main concerns from people in the room was regarding the Sissonville natural gas pipeline explosion.
Shirley McMillion lost her home in the December explosion and she wanted lawmakers to hear about what she discovered on Tuesday from Columbia Gas.
“I found out that they had misrepresented some aspects of the settlement that she had agreed to and to be honest, it made me mad,” said McMillion.
She told both lawmakers that she and her husband are not looking for a lot of money, they just want to be able to move on with their life.
Both the Senator and the Delegate agreed to look into McMillion’s claim further.
Curtis Caldwell, of Sissonville, had worked in a chemical plant for many years and he brought up some suggestions for preventing future explosions.
“That they have automatic valves that slam shut if there’s a pressure drop and you can set that by standards,” said Caldwell.
Another suggestion Caldwell had was to have all pipes inspected every three years either with a PIG or some kind of internal or external X-Ray of it.
Delegate Walters said they are currently looking into having pipes checked every three years. He also mentioned that the company plans to replace three miles of pipe instead of just the mile that’s required by law.
Another big topic that was raised revolved around education.
Caldwell added that in order for change to happen in the education system, he believes parents need to do a better job of stressing education.
“In some places we are in the third generation of people on welfare. This is the life the kids know,” said Caldwell. “They don’t know what it is to get up to go get a job and they don’t know what responsibility is.”
Caldwell said parents need to be educated to the point they realize the importance of education.
Ron Bennett, of Pocatalico, said the problem is teachers are stressing the tests too much, such as the WESTEST.
“That’s all their teaching is the tests, they’re not teaching the subjects,” said Bennett. “These children don’t know the subject, they just know the test.”
Both lawmakers agreed with what people had to say about education and said they plan to find ways to address the problems.
Bennett was pleased with the meeting regarding the discussion on education.
“It was quit informative and I think that from what they were saying that they are going to work on that this year and it’s about time,” said Bennett.
Second Amendment rights was also discussed as well as making emergency shelters easier to find for residents during natural disasters.
The 90 minute meeting was deemed a success by both Delegate Walters and Senator Walters and they hope to have more in the future.