Hoppy’s Commentary Archives

FridayJuly 10, 2020

Scholar program will benefit state and students

Every school year, West Virginia has a hard time filling every classroom with a qualified teacher.  Too many classes end up being taught by a teacher not certified in that discipline One of the issues is pay, since college graduates can make more in other professions. Another is that fewer people are choosing to be

ThursdayJuly 9, 2020

Covid-19’s comeback in West Virginia

We are headed in the wrong direction. West Virginia did remarkably well for weeks in the early stages of the pandemic. The shutdown orders, social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing paid off in minimizing the spread of Covid-19. The spikes in the early stages were in places where the virus could quickly spread in

WednesdayJuly 8, 2020

Anti-carbon activists win, West Virginia loses on Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced last Sunday the companies were canceling their jointly-proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline that was supposed to deliver natural gas from Harrison County, West Virginia to North Carolina. The utilities threw in the towel after six years of planning and securing rights of way. But mostly the time was spent in

TuesdayJuly 7, 2020

Now it’s an order. Wear a mask.

West Virginia has joined the growing list of states mandating masks to try to reduce the spread of Covid-19.  Governor Jim Justice’s executive order that took effect at midnight last night requires all West Virginians age nine and above to wear face coverings at all indoor public places where social distancing cannot be maintained. The

MondayJuly 6, 2020

Rename Stonewall Jackson Middle School

The Kanawha County Board of Education is scheduled today to take up the question of whether to rename Stonewall Jackson Middle School. David Knox, School Improvement Council President at Stonewall and Capital High School, is among those who has been pushing for a name change for some time.  He has presented the board with a

FridayJuly 3, 2020

Happy Independence Day

(Editor’s note:  This is a commentary I wrote a few years ago and post every year at this time.) John Adams’s letter to his wife Abigail was filled with enthusiasm, but also carried a tone of foreboding.  It was July 1776 and revolution was in the air among the delegates at the meeting of the

ThursdayJuly 2, 2020

The Delusional Defunders

New York City is the latest municipality to join the “defund the police” movement. This week Mayor Bill de Blasio and city council agreed to a spending plan that reallocates approximately $1 billion from the police department to other spending.  That is one-sixth of the entire police budget. Even that is not enough for Democratic

WednesdayJuly 1, 2020

Removal of Confederate plaque from Charleston park triggers debate

This week, the City of Charleston removed a plaque from a monument at Ruffner Memorial Park that recognized members of the Confederacy. As MetroNews reported, “The plaque, dedicated in 1922 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s Kanawha Riflemen Chapter, listed multiple military officers as well as a “colored cook, faithful during the war.” A

TuesdayJune 30, 2020

West Virginia’s hidden flood threat

West Virginia is prone to flooding.  The mostly mountainous terrain means sudden and heavy downpours can turn normally placid creeks into torrents of mud and debris. Just last week West Virginia marked the four year anniversary of the catastrophic 2016 flash flooding that left 23 people dead and tens of millions of dollars in damages

SundayJune 28, 2020

West Virginians should be natural mask wearers

Generalizations are often not entirely true, so a word of caution here at the beginning.  I believe this to be true about most West Virginians: We have an independent streak and we are generous of spirit. These qualities are important when thinking about how West Virginians are responding as we continue to deal with the

FridayJune 26, 2020

Neal Brown’s biggest challenge

Neal Brown has had a series of challenges since he took over the WVU football program 18 months ago—recalibrating the culture left untended by his predecessor, rebounding after a humiliating week two loss to Missouri, and switching starting quarterbacks in midseason to name a few. But the second year head coach now faces his biggest

ThursdayJune 25, 2020

Early take on Justice vs. Salango

All the votes have now been counted from the West Virginia Primary Election over two weeks ago, and politics in our state will calm down for a few months. Be that as it may, here is a way-too-early take on the Governor’s race. There are two ways to look at Governor Jim Justice’s victory in

WednesdayJune 24, 2020

Study shows consumer spending bouncing back in WV

A state-by-state analysis finds that overall consumer spending in West Virginia has returned to pre-pandemic levels.  The analysis was done by the Harvard-based research group Opportunity Insights which looked at how consumers are behaving now compared with before the virus took hold. The research shows that total consumer spending this month in the state has

TuesdayJune 23, 2020

Bethany College bumps Byrd and misses the point

One of the offshoots of the Black Lives Matter movement is a rekindling of the debate about who should be venerated in our public spaces with statues and names on buildings, streets and institutions. This debate was inevitably going to lead to Robert C. Byrd, long-time Senator from West Virginia who died ten years ago

MondayJune 22, 2020

Observations during staycation on the pandemic

My staycation last week gave me an opportunity to see firsthand how we are doing on social distancing, good hygiene and mask wearing.  As you might expect, and as you may have seen for yourselves, the practices are varied. The few stores I went into—grocery store, big box store, a fast food restaurant—had practices in

MondayJune 15, 2020


On staycation this week. See you next Monday!   Hop

FridayJune 12, 2020

GREY2K helped Karnes, getting involved in WV politics

Republican Robert Karnes took the first step this week in his attempt to return to the state Senate.  Karnes, who was defeated in the 2018 Republican Primary in the 11th Senatorial District, won nomination Tuesday by knocking off incumbent John Pitsenbarger 54 percent to 46 percent. Karnes will face Democratic former House of Delegates member

ThursdayJune 11, 2020

Teacher unions now throwing support behind more Republicans

One of the biggest stories of West Virginia’s Primary Election was Amy Nicole Grady’s defeat of Senate President Mitch Carmichael for the Republican nomination in the 4th Senatorial District (Jackson, Mason, Putnam and Roane Counties). So big, in fact, that it made the New York Times.  “The West Virginia Senate president who was dogged by

TuesdayJune 9, 2020

‘A republic, if you can keep it.’

The story goes that, at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1789, Benjamin Franklin was walking out of Independence Hall in Philadelphia when a woman shouted to him, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin’s often quoted reply was, “A republic, if you can keep it.” It was an ominous

MondayJune 8, 2020

‘Defund the police’ movement has it all wrong

The controversy over the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police in Minneapolis has brought more attention to an idea that has been simmering in urban areas for years—defunding the police. Advocates say “defunding” means redirecting resources from arresting, prosecuting and jailing people to drug treatment, mental health, education, housing, and other