Tag Archives: huntington

Mark Caserta: Huntington recognized as the 2nd poorest place in West Virginia.

9 Nov

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Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for Free State Patriot

November 9, 2019


 

Population decline is arguably the most prominent metric for determining the socio-economic stability of any state or city across America. And Huntington, West Virginia, once again, is being recognized for all the wrong reasons.

Per recent United States census estimates, Huntington, the 2nd largest city (based on 2017 estimates) in West Virginia is losing its population at an alarming rate. I will go further to speculate that if this metric could somehow be modified to reflect the ratio of people who left our community who were contributors to our economy versus the incoming ones who incessantly “make withdrawals” on our economy, the attrition rate would reveal a much greater negative impact to our city.

According to recent estimates, Huntington started the decade with an estimated 49, 153 people. By 2018, the number had fallen six percent to 46, 048.

Based on data from the American Community Survey, the average size of a household was around 2.21 persons with a median “household” income of around $30,359.

The survey went on to rate the top ten poorest places in the Mountain State for 2019. It’s not surprising to those paying attention or being impacted by our depraved economy, that Huntington is near the top of the list. Very near.

The survey analyzed the most recent data from cities in West Virginia with a population of 5,000 or more people. They arrived at these cities as the poorest places in West Virginia.

  1. Keyser
  2. Huntington
  3. Morgantown
  4. Buckhannon
  5. Grafton
  6. Martinsburg
  7. Moundsville
  8. Parkersburg
  9. Bluefield
  10. Oak Hill

The facts of the survey were very telling, indeed. (The survey is available for viewing at 2013-2017 American Community Survey) The information gathered to declare Huntington as being one of the poorest places in West Virginia, indirectly points to our city as being one of the poorest places in America!

The study examined the poverty level, median household income adjusted for the cost of living and the unemployment rate, as they explain below.

“The “median household income adjusted for the cost of living” attempts to gauge how expensive it is to live in a place and how that impacts the quality of life. For example, a town might have fewer people living below the official poverty line, but the cost of living is so high they’d still feel poor.

The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for improvement in the city or town. If more people are employed, the brighter the future looks and vice versa.

After we collected the data for all 27 places with more than 5,000 people in West Virginia, we ranked each place from 1 to 27 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the poorest.”

We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a “Poor Score” with the place having the lowest overall Poor Score, Keyser, crowned the “Poorest Place In West Virginia For 2019”.

And Huntington receives a “silver” medal for being the 2nd poorest place in West Virginia. Doesn’t that make you proud!

It should make you angry! Under the direction of our current city leaders, we have experienced a social and economic decline like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime!

At this point, I’m not certain which is happening more rapidly, the loss of economically productive people or the acquisition of people dependent upon our city and our tax dollars.

But I can say without hesitation, both are happening.   And that’s a recipe for disaster. And we appear to be working harder at attracting the dependent folks than we are at retaining those who contribute to a thriving economy.

In what world does that make sense? It seems the only business benefitting from this madness are those who receive government grants or subsidies to support their programs.

Yes, there is certainly a need for these sorts of supportive entities. But the rehab industry cannot and must not be considered a viable replacement for good, living wage paying jobs in manufacturing and infrastructure.

I’m convinced our city leaders are either clueless or unwilling in addressing the problem.

After all, they can simply vote themselves pay increases, while the poor remain poor and without hope.

Oh, you didn’t know? Why, yes! In October, Huntington City Council approved an ordinance to increase the mayor’s salary from $85,000 a year to $114,500 by 2021. That’s nearly a $30,000 increase in 2 years!

Additionally, Council members will be getting about $40 to $50 more each month.

I’m all for pay increases based on performance. But what have they done to deserve these increases? Most people producing their type of results wouldn’t be rewarded, they’d be terminated!

Look around you. It’s obvious our city leaders have been as feckless and ineffective in their duties. And unfortunately, as we continue to be recognized for all the wrong reasons, Huntington will continue to be avoided by businessmen and entrepreneurs like the plague.

Don’t be fooled by a sharp-tongued, political orator in 2020. Vote to return the Jewell City to greatness, before we pass the point of no return.

 

 

 

 

Mark Caserta: Huntington, WV. wasn’t always in this condition.

4 Oct

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The “Port of Huntington Tri-State” was one of the busiest inland ports in the United States.


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Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for Free State Patriot, a conservative blog.

October 4, 2019


 

The digital super-highway is laden with information about Huntington, WV’s rich heritage.  We haven’t always been a city nearly “last” in every measurable attribute.

Once described as a “historic and bustling city of commerce and heavy industry,” benefitting from its location on the Ohio River, it was home to the “Port of Huntington Tri-State,” one of the busiest inland ports in the United States, per online sources.

Birthed from the vision of Collis P. Huntington, a railroad capitalist, our fair city, once known as “Holderby’s Landing,” was incorporated in 1871 and renamed, Huntington, after its founder.

Growing around the railroad, which came through in 1873, the city began to prosper. During much of the 20th century it was a significant river and rail point for the nation’s business. Our resources, work ethic and geography enabled the city of Huntington to be manufacturing “rich and diverse”, producing railroad equipment, steel, coal, fabricated metal, mining equipment, rebuilt machinery, rubber products, chemicals and clothing.

Many “baby boomers” and those having grown up in Huntington recall industries such as, ACF Industries, Owens-Illinois, Fastenal and Kerr Glass. The list is as heartbreaking as it is seemingly endless. One by one, we’ve watched these opportunity outlets fade away, abiding in memory only.

Yes, there are many factors which have contributed to the demise of industry in our region, but none any more responsible than decades of failing, liberal Democrat policies.

Some things never change.

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With the eradication of good-paying jobs, “hope was sure to follow”. Hope is simply having a vision for the future and a purpose for one’s life. The Bible says that “without vision, the people perish.” I can think of no better way to describe our city. It is perishing a slow, painful death.

I’m resigned to believe our leaders are either incredibly ignorant of the situation, or they don’t care. Either way, it isn’t our city’s leadership that’s paying the price – it’s the citizens.

When all we hear are the “accolades” being bestowed upon our mayor for being on the “front lines” of the battle against opioid addiction, yet, the situation has never been worse, something doesn’t pass the smell test. Frankly, I’m tired of people “peeing” down my back and telling me it’s raining!

Again, this has nothing to do with a dislike of the mayor or city leaders. It also has nothing to do with a lack of compassion for those bound by addiction, entombed in poverty or impacted by crime. Anyone who uses this argument against simple reasoning, isn’t being intellectually honest with you!

And it’s sheer insanity to keep going down the same road and expecting different results.

It seems to me, the only results we’re seeing is the increasing number of people being “captured” in the nets of addiction recovery houses. I have heard from numerous, credible sources, some of these recovery institutions are now actively “soliciting” addicts from outside the state of WV. into our city for treatment.

Could this be possible? If they truly want to help these folks, support efforts in their states and cities, NOT OURS! THE CITIZENS OF HUNTINGTON HAVE ENOUGH ISSUES OF THEIR OWN WITHOUT TAKING ON OTHER STATE’S PROBLEMS!  THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE!

Yet, sadly, government subsidies follow these individuals right into these institutions. You be the judge as to who benefits the most. But, in no way, shape or form, could it be the citizens of Huntington.

Someone has got to “stop this wheel of absurdity!”

We must demand a third-party audit of not only the Cabell-Huntington Health Department’s needle exchange program, but the success rates of many of these rehabilitation institutions. Maybe, I’m just overly cautious, but based on what I see with my own eyes, I’m not willing to take anyone’s “word” on the success rate. Too often, perceived results can be skewed by emotion and personal investment in the project. Give us accurate data; not emotional responses!

Ultimately, the taxpayers own these programs and have a right to see where their hard-earned money is being spent! In the interest of transparency and good will, these rehab facilities, as well as the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, should willingly submit to ongoing audits. If for no other reason, to share learnings and make necessary adjustments that will make them even more successful!

No organization supported by taxpayer dollars should ever be allowed to “fly under the radar”.

The city of Huntington will never be able to return to a community filled with industry and solid work ethic until three things happen.

First, we must have leadership ready, willing and able to look beyond political aspirations, directly into the heart of the city and do what’s right for the people – not for their paycheck.

Secondly, we must change our mindset on how to effectively reduce the opioid epidemic, rather than expanding our nets of enablement.

And finally, the people of Huntington must take a stand and embrace a sense of urgency in making these changes.

Time is not an abundant asset in this fight. We may, already, be close to the point of no return.

Don’t accept lip service. Expect accurate, unbiased information.

And then use it to turn this city around.

 

Steven J. Davis: How do we truly address the plight of homelessness?

4 Jul

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Steven J. Davis is the founder of the League of Principled Citizens

July 4th, 2019 – Independence Day


 

How do we truly reduce the plight of homelessness?

Merriam-Webster has the definition of homeless as “having no home or permanent place of residence” and as too often seen, typically living on the streets.

One must ask the question why? How is it that our Nation has a homeless population that continues to increase?

How can it be that when there are not enough people to work in most industries, there is such a homeless population?

How is that possible?

Why have so many people taken to the streets and stayed there? Are they trapped in the consequences of a bad decision? Are they the victim of someone’s decision that affected their life and the mind of hopelessness has set in?
Are they mentally ill and need care that we are not able or willing to provide?
How is it that veterans from many wars, ranging from Vietnam to our war on terror, choose the streets?

I think until we look at the root of the problem and correct the root growth of all and many more potential issues dealing with why people are homeless, we will continue yielding fruit that “will not”, “cannot” or “shall not” participate in the workforce or contribute to society.

If you look at the homeless, most are male Caucasian and range from 20 to 60 years of age. I’m not saying there aren’t women, children and other ethnic groups who are homeless. There just seems to be many more white males living on the streets.

The breakdown in our healthcare system, I fear, has caused many to just stop trying. Those who suffer from PTSD, (not limited to war veterans), but those who suffer depression and other mental anxiety issues, have a very limited ability to truly reviving care. Closing most of the nation’s mental hospitals was clearly a mistake and one that needs re-visited.

We, as a nation, have allowed the pharmaceutical companies to convince doctors that the answers to all of life’s problems are in a pill. This has put states like West Virginia in absolute turmoil for over a decade. The escalating homeless population in our cities, as well as crime and illegal drug use, has plagued our streets and affected almost every family in our Nation.

Cities like Huntington, West Virginia have attempted to provide food, shelter and medical treatment for the addiction and homeless crisis – and it has all but put our city in ruin!

Vacant homes litter the city from one end to the other. Murder and shootings in Huntington, WV. are among the highest per capita in the nation. Children are left without parents and placed into another broken, poorly run system.

Our nation has the best economy in years – maybe ever. Yet, we are more broken, individually than ever.

What is the answer?

As my Grandfather used to tell me. Logic and common sense are always the answer. But getting those in power to understand that is almost impossible.

Every city must look for the remedy that best fits their situation.

If you enable the addicted, they will stay that way. If you provide shelter and food for the homeless, they will stay that way. The reality of this entitlement is they’re truly not homeless, but wards of the state.

My opinion comes from the Principle of the Word of God. Jesus said, “I would that you love everyone.” It isn’t easy, but I do. I love them enough to “just say no”.

I told my children “no” because it was best for them in that situation. “No” is the hardest word in the English language, but often times, it is the most compassionate word one can use.

The other Principle from the Word is to care for the “Widows and Orphans”.

These are the needy for whom God says we have an obligation to provide care. I would ask the city missions and community centers, one question. When the homeless come to you and you feed them, do you also go seek out the Widows and Orphans to insure they are fed?

Benjamin Franklin said it best.

The best way to help someone out of poverty is to make them uncomfortable in it.

I have, more than once, been completely down to nothing. I’ve slept in my car and hoped they would not repossess it with me in it. I’ve been out of work and out of money, with nowhere to turn. I felt the comfortable feeling that required me to put my pride aside to ask for help.

I have been there. I have empathy for the homeless of our Nation.

What I do not have is sympathy.

They don’t need to hear me tell them to go get a job. Most already know.
They don’t need to hear someone tell them to get counseling. Most already know.

What they do need is the truth. I love you enough to assist you and help you back to a place of confidence and self-esteem. I will applaud your progress and success!

Endlessly feeding and caring for them is not working.

If it were, we would be reducing the population of the homeless and our workforce would be in much better condition.

These are my thoughts on this Independence Day.

Steven J. Davis
Founder.

League of Principled Citizens

 

 

Mark Caserta: Drag Queen Story Hour: Promoting more than “acceptance”

17 Mar

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Drag Queen Story Hour working to expand its reading


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Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for Free State Patriot

March 17, 2019


 

Drag queens across America and around the world are reading to our children at libraries, schools, bookstores, museums, summer camps, afterschool programs, and other community spaces.

These “gender confused” individuals claim to be “spreading a message of acceptance”.

I submit they are intentionally targeting our young, impressionable kids with the progressive goal of redefining the Biblical definition of a man and a woman and God’s plan of creation.

Additionally, I firmly believe this will be an avenue for sex predators to prey upon our children under the guise of “acceptance”. In fact, I’ve no doubt, it’s already happening.

You may recall, in December 2018, a group known as “Huntington Pride” sponsored Drag Queen Story Time in the city of Huntington, WV. The event, planned to be held at Pullman Square, aligned with our mayor’s message of “tolerance” and “inclusiveness”.

I failed to notice any outrage or dissension at city hall over the event, so I must presume this event had their blessing. Seems like a unique way to celebrate the Christmas season, doesn’t it? Perhaps the timing intentionally represented a somewhat “different” message than the actual reason for the season. I have my suspicions.

This local event was advertised on the group’s Facebook page:

Join Jade & Giselle for a story hour for all ages. Cookies and Hot Chocolate provided. ‘Tango Makes Three’ and ‘Jacob’s New Dress’ celebrate acceptance and inclusion in a way that makes sense to kids and adults alike and read by two of Huntington’s finest drag entertainers. Please join us! 

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You may be unaware of what Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is all about.

Well, the group’s website candidly explains, “DQSH is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.”

Oh, but as with most liberal-slanted initiatives, DQSH has become so much more. It’s now reading — riddled with unintended consequences.

As reported last week by KHOU Channel 11 in Houston, TX, a Houston Public Library allowed a registered child sex offender to read to kids at a Drag Queen Storytime event.

A media spokesperson for the library confirmed one of the program’s drag queens, Tatiana Mala Nina, whose original name is Alberto Garza, a 32-year-old child sex offender, was near young children and allowed to read to them.

In 2008, Garza was convicted of assaulting an 8-year-old boy.

In a statement, the Houston Public Library admits they didn’t do a background check on Garza and said Garza will not be involved in any future library programs.

If, indeed, the DQSH members are simply promoting acceptance of the LGBTQ lifestyle, why advertise (what one can only assume to be “training” to be a drag queen) by offering a “Drag Queen Makeup Tutorial for Teens on their website?

If you desire to check out the group’s website for yourself, go ahead. It’s https://www.dragqueenstoryhour.org/

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Let me be frank. (no pun intended).

While I don’t condone this lifestyle, I couldn’t care less if these “men” want to play dress up and put on makeup. I’ll simply use the phrase Christians often hear from the left, “Don’t push your belief system on me!”

Progressives will read this column and swear it’s written from hatred. Nothing could be further from the truth. God commands us to love one another. But He also commands obedience to His Word.

Shame on any administration, including Huntington, WV, that would allow this abomination to occur within city limits. It’s dereliction of duty to the people at the highest level and certainly not in our city’s best interest.

How long will it be before we see men dressed as women entering women’s restrooms, claiming to identify as female? You’re foolishly naïve if you don’t believe this will be used as a ploy to exploit the innocent among us.

How would you feel if a man entered a restroom with your young daughter and you were prohibited by law to deal with it? That’s exactly the LGBTQ vision — No boundaries, with total acceptance and inclusion.

After all, we can trust everyone, right?

Finally, it may interest local readers to know Huntington is among a distinguished group of cities such as, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in allowing DQSH events.

Doesn’t that make you proud, Huntington?

 

 

Mark Caserta: Tensions mounting in Huntington, WV. – Concerned citizens wary of pending future

2 Mar

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Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and managing editor for Free State Patriot

March 3, 2019


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In my 45 years of following politics, presidential administrations and the “to and fro” power of Congress, I can honestly record I’ve never been as disgusted and unimpressed as I am now with liberal Democrats on Capitol Hill.

I’m convinced far-left-leaning Democrats are willing to “turn over” America’s multiple wins under President Donald J. Trump simply to foil his successes for the American people and discredit him as the man who soundly defeated their liberal queen, Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Not only is it childish, it’s borderline treasonous. As I’ve often alleged, the current nest of verminous Democrats in power, hate Donald Trump more than they love their country.

For representatives of the people, duly elected and hired to represent the interests of their constituents, to defy such a salient calling of servanthood to the people is simply despicable.

The irony behind these disloyal Americans calling for the impeachment or removal of a president who has in every way, put America first, is the epitome of hypocrisy and must cost them dearly at the polls.

Equally concerning is the fact most Republicans are sitting on the sidelines allowing Democrats and the liberal media to attack the very man, who may have helped seal their re-election in 2020.

Last week, Republicans successfully scored a rare victory in a Democrat-controlled House, passing legislation requiring authorities to notify U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) any time an illegal immigrant tries to purchase a gun.

Per ICE reporting, an average of more than 10 illegal immigrants attempt to purchase a gun every day in the U.S., ignoring yet, another law.

Earlier in the month of February, Democrats had approved legislation to require background checks for essentially all sales and firearm transfers, but rejected GOP-led efforts to amend the legislation to alert law enforcement when illegal immigrants failed those background checks.

Thank goodness, the Democrat suggestion for authorities to turn their heads on calling out illegal immigrants attempting to purchase guns was so outlandish, 26 Democrats (no doubt fearing “election retribution”) joined in support of the GOP amendment, with legislation ultimately passing on a 220-209 vote.

Now, I understand Washington, DC. Seems a long way from Huntington, WV. But folks, our city leaders and local media have the very same stench of liberalism as those progressives on Capitol Hill.

They are, indeed, cut from the very same bolt of cloth. The results of their policies support this conclusion.

The city of Huntington, WV., reportedly has a population of 48,735, yet only employs 19,494 people per Data USA, a free platform that allows users to collect, analyze and visualize shared U.S. government data. It is an ongoing partnership between Deloitte, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Macro Connections Group and Datawheel.

Both statistics are on the decline.

Our city’s primary employers include Healthcare and Social Assistance, Educational Services, and Accommodation and Food Service.

The Median Household Income is just under $30,000.00 with a poverty rate of 30.8 percent.

In comparison, the nation’s Median Household Income is $57,617.00 with a poverty rate of 14 percent.

With Huntington’s crime rate now among the highest per capita per U.S. cities, per Neighborhood Scout and our city leader’s apparently lacking any tangible plan of action, the lack of light at the end of the tunnel is troubling, to say the least.

Data shows that only 3 percent of cities across the nation are more dangerous than Huntington, WV. This is a far cry from the city in which I was born and raised.

We are now less than 5 months away from the end of the 18-month period during which Mayor Steve Williams promised, “We would be managing our way out of this…”, speaking of our fiscal mess resulting from the apparent mismanagement of funds.

It’s been my experience, politicians only understand the language of engaged voters. If Huntington’s citizens are to see any improvements in our crime rate, economy, jobs, and drug abuse, it isn’t going to happen with our current leadership.

This isn’t a personal attack on any individual. It’s a conservative assault on progressive polices that promote a self-centered approach to advancing political careers and liberal ideologies in a town spiraling downhill in nearly every single metric.

And don’t doubt me when I say, this effort to expose our local progressive leadership and their failing policies is just beginning. Conservatives are building their own movement and are determined to take our city back and return it to greatness.

Frankly, we’ve been backed into a corner, forced into taking matters into our own hands.

Our number one weapon? Our vote.

Get ready for a huge change in 2020.

 

 

 

Mark Caserta: Huntington, WV. is becoming a sanctuary for everything bad in the U.S.

29 Dec

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(City-Data.com shows Huntington, WV. crime index higher than 97.2% of other U.S. cities)


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Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor of Free State Patriot

December 29, 2018


It’s imperative to remember “fake news”, or “news designed to influence, rather than inform,” is real.  And it’s alive and well in Huntington, WV.

Now, fake news targeting political differences is one thing. But, when “fake news” begins to compromise the safety of citizens…it’s time to hold media accountable.

It became a “red flag” when various local news media began reporting certain aspects of crime were down in Huntington. Any intellectually honest person with a pulse and a TV, radio or mobile device can certainly see the apparent level of criminal activity within the city of Huntington does not support those conclusions.

Those engaged individuals would be the first to challenge the validity of these media claims. Free State Patriot, Huntington City Watch and concerned citizens decided to investigate the actual numbers.

First, understand, numbers can be manipulated. When dealing with double or even triple digits, percentages are easily impacted and skewed to influence rather than inform.

Some percentages may show a decrease, but when dealing with double or even triple digits, percentages are easily impacted. For example, if a city had 20 homicides in 2017, and incurred 3 less in 2018, the media could accurately report homicides were down 15 percent.

But for all intents and purposes, is there really much difference between 20 and 17 lives taken in a year? “15 percent” is just ambiguous enough to sound more impactful for the story and support a desired agenda. It simply cannot be construed as a trend, as some would have you believe.

Many engaged citizens are very concerned that our local media, both print and television, are in the back pocket of the local deep state and want you to believe our city leaders have Huntington headed in the right direction.

I submit nothing could be further from the truth.

Having lived in this area my entire life, I know we’ve prided ourselves in the Tri-State as having comparatively low crime rates compared to cities across the country. Contrary to reports, those days have passed us by. I’m going to offer some specific numbers relative to Huntington, WV. as compared to national averages.

According to City-Data.com, a website that tracks all things “crime-related” across the nation, Huntington, West Virginia has achieved, yet, another dubious recognition.

It has become one of the most dangerous cities in the country. In fact, per the website, Huntington’s crime index is higher than 97.2 percent of other cities in our nation!

There are currently 177 registered sex offenders living in Huntington, as of December 29, 2018. That’s a ratio of one sex offender per every 273 citizens.

The fact that in 2016, the violent crime rate in Huntington was exactly “double” that of the U.S. average should be extremely concerning for all of us.

The following are criminal statistics per 100,000 in population and have been mathematically adjusted to align with our current, reported city population:

    • Murders per 100,000 population – Huntington 6.2 vs. U.S. 5.7
    • Rapes per 100,000 population – Huntington 68 vs. U.S. 32
    • Robberies per 100,000 population – Huntington 258 vs. U.S. 110
    • Assaults per 100,000 population – Huntington 447 vs. U.S. 266
    • Thefts per 100,000 population – Huntington 3084 vs. U.S. 1869
    • Auto thefts per 100,000 population – Huntington 237 vs. U.S. 254
    • Arson per 100,000 population – Huntington 41.2 vs. U.S. 15.2
    • City-data.com crime index – Huntington 559 vs. U.S. 236

Read more: http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Huntington-West-Virginia.html#ixzz5b61qKjuw

Now, the role of mayor can vary significantly depending on the city in which they were elected. In the city of Huntington, the mayor and the city council work together on developing and approving legislation within the boundaries of our city charter. Both entities have their prescribed veto power and generally share responsibility of city business.

So, if you were responsible for a city facing this mounting criminal presence, how would you address it? How important would the peace and prosperity of your constituents be? How inclined would you be to reduce law enforcement simply to accommodate a budget?

Who is worthy to decide it was worth putting our citizens at risk?

Well, in 2017, as reported in a January, WSAZ News Channel 3 news release, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams authorized reductions reducing police department staffing by 17 officers and fire department staffing by seven. In a statement in the release by Mayor Williams, the cuts were made to reduce the city’s budget deficit which was apparently poorly managed.

“We have made every effort to save as many jobs as possible and continue providing essential services,” Williams said. “These actions will not resolve all of our budget issues. We know we will be managing our way out of this for the next 18 months with the primary objective of avoiding further reductions in force. Our residents expect and deserve world-class service, and as we continue to address these financial constraints, we will implement procedures to ensure this cannot happen again.”

“The fact is when we came down through the end of the fiscal year and knew that some things were tight, we asked for budgets as we were preparing for the coming year,” Mayor Steve Williams said Thursday on First Look at Four. “and the next thing, we look at where we are right now, and that’s when the overages in each department became extremely clear. This should’ve been seen sooner. This is nobody’s fault but mine.”

At the time, WSAZ spoke with members of the police and fire departments.

“For the first time in 23 years, this mayor came in and handed our chief a budget,” said Sgt. Brian Lucas, the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police. “Not a number to form a budget around – he said here’s your budget. That budget included 111 officers, but he only allowed enough money for 102 and we were mandated to hire up to 113 at one point.”

“This is just a horrible decision on the mayor’s part,” said Lucas. “I’m not a numbers guy, but there has to be a better way. I think this situation’s been totally mismanaged and he’s absolutely laid it on the backs of employees at this point, throwing those cuts out there and he’s putting the citizens at risk.”

And putting the citizens of Huntington at risk is EXACTLY what has happened.

We now face an overwhelming crisis of crime to the degree I’ve not witnessed in my lifetime in the area. Our crime rate is even much higher than any of our nearest cities, some exponentially! And adding “insult to injury” we have a local media that is attempting to convince us our city is headed in the right direction.

Is that the Huntington, WV you want for your family? Are we going to support local media that apparently has more concern for the perceived success of this administration than it does your safety?

We are 6 months away from the end of “18 month” period during which Mayor Williams said, “we would be managing our way out of this…” We should demand an increase in our city’s police presence, certainly by then or even sooner!

I highly recommend everyone visit Huntington City Watch on Facebook and submit your application for membership. It currently has over 20,000 members in a city hovering around 40,000 members. As we all know, there is strength in numbers.  It’s truly a great way to see through the fake news.

The city of Huntington is becoming a sanctuary for all that’s bad in our nation.

Intentionally?  You decide.  Nevertheless, it’s true.

Get informed, engaged and involved – before it’s too late.

 

Mark Caserta: Community is united by embracing “Hannah strong”

21 Nov

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(Hannah Caserta unites a community with her faith and determination)

November 21, 2018


 

God never ceases to amaze me in His infinite wisdom and ability to take what the devil meant for bad and turn it into good.

Over the past several weeks, the phrase, “Hannah Strong” has flooded social media. Certainly, the “strength” and “unity” associated with the phrase are attributes the city of Huntington has needed for some time.

My brother, Scott and his lovely wife, Cindi, adopted Hannah when she was 6 years old. Over the past 8 years, Hannah has become a resident “Angel” in their lives. Loving, caring, and “perky”, Hannah became everything they’d ever dreamed in a daughter. She was an answer to prayer, and one of God’s finest gifts ever!

In September, Scott and Cindy were devastated to learn their littlest angel had a rare form of bone cancer. Frankly, I can’t imagine fielding such a crushing blow, faith or not. I quickly learned both Scott and Cindy had been empowered by God’s Spirit of Grace and Love and through the knowledge of His Word, set out quickly to rally prayer warriors and those prepared to effectually and fervently pray on Hannah’s behalf.

The heart-warming response from the community has been nothing short of a miracle. Social media has exploded on Hannah’s behalf with business owners, community service organizations, and just plain loving people stepping up to walk with Hannah on her journey to recovery. The embodiment of “Hannah Strong” has been witnessed in the hearts of many supporting her as well as on T-shirts and even the colorful lighting of The West Virginia Building on her behalf.

Amid the extensive tests, hospital visits and chemotherapy, Hannah has had her share of struggles. Yet, her contagious smile always returns and her loving spirt always rises above any consideration of depression, revealing a determined young lady, who will simply not be beaten – period.

Hannah has even made herself available to those who may have questions about her journey and the battle she’s been facing. Here is a remarkable Facebook post revealing her faith and her quest for God’s purpose in this conflict.

hannah post

May we all come to embrace this “Hannah Strong”, unifying mentality. At 14 years of age, the easy route would have been for Hannah to remain secluded and wallow in depression for having been selected by the enemy – not God, for this affliction. But not Hannah.

Hannah and her parents understand the enemy attacks those who present a threat to his mission to steal, kill and destroy every good and perfect gift which comes from God.

Hannah’s decision to rise above the fray and do exactly the opposite of what the devil would have her do, proves she is an amazing young lady on a mission. And while this mission may yet be undetermined, it will be a mission to glorify God and His Kingdom.

I am confident Hannah will have a tremendous testimony of overcoming and faith in God when this is over.

hannah strong

May we all take a moment this Thanksgiving to embrace and share the “Hannah Strong” ideology of love and faith in God. May we not only be thankful for what God has given us, but may we learn to use it to bless others. That’s why God gave his only son – to bless us.

And may God continue to bless and totally restore Hannah. Praise God for faith-filled parents who prepared their beautiful little girl for even the toughest of battles. I’m in awe of these parents and this amazing family.

Truly, greater is He who is in us, than he that is in the world.

 

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