Citizens for Civility part 2

In part one of this pair of stories we heard from three Bath residents who spoke at a Rally to support their supervisors who had taken actions in September heavily impacting the local Office of Tourism. Little to nothing has been heard from board members since then, so residents, including those in favor of their actions, may still need some information. Mary Susan Blankenship spoke to the voting record of Stuart Hall and Richard Bird, both having served as supervisors during her time as County Treasurer. They were supportive of the Nursing Home, the Retirement Home, and the Senior Center. John Fisher described how he thinks the Homestead would like to see some “return” on its participation in the lodging tax. He estimated the amount of tax the hotel could owe.

“So the Homestead wants to see, be able to show its stockholders, its owner and its guests what they get for that million dollars that their collecting on behalf of the county.” In 2009, Homestead management, in addition to the Chamber of Commerce, was supportive of the lodging tax, when it was instated.

When he spoke next at the table, Carl Chestnut reflected on how voters should treat their representatives.

“And here’s our supervisors that’s trying to keep our taxes and stuff down. If they would just leave ‘em alone, and let ‘em run the county. They’ve been there before they know what they’re doing.”

After each of the panelists had shared their opinions, John Fisher re-emphasized the purpose of the rally was to support four of the supervisors, and not to exchange ideas. While we wait to learn more about what the supervisors are actually thinking, and what facts they used to make their decisions, residents will keep “agreeing to disagree”.

Just before the meeting dispersed, Pat Haynes, of Bacova Properties, and Warm Springs magisterial District spoke briefly.

“I’m a grown-up person, been in Bath County forty-four years, played a pretty important role in Bath County, and proud of it. When I leave this room, and this building, I’m going to make up my own opinion about both sides. And that’s the opportunity we want, and I think that’s the civil way to approach this.”

While factions around these issues, continue to read and listen, and develop different points of view, Carl Chestnut stated something with which many could agree.

“It’s all money; it’s all about money and power, and we got to put a stop to it.”

For previous news pieces on this topic and others, visit the news page on Allegheny Mountain Radio’s website.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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