West Virginia editorial roundup


Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:

July 15

The Register-Herald, Bleckley, West Virginia, on being willing to help:

Outsiders can say what they will about West Virginians — but they can't say we're stingy.

Time after time after time, we band together to help our neighbors out of a jam, aid someone down on their luck or otherwise in a bad way.

Is there a serious illness in the family? Watch for a bean dinner to help with expenses.

A family is burned out of their home? Pretty soon they will have all the clothes and household goods they need, courtesy of donations from around the community.

West Virginians want to help. It's our nature.

Opportunities to continue showing that generosity continue this week and all summer long.

Theatre West Virginia — itself just getting back on its feet after some financial difficulties — puts its own woes on the back burner as it offers up the first of three successive "Pay What You Wish Wednesdays."

Folks who attend "Hatfields and McCoys" on Wednesdays pay whatever price of admission they want. Half of that night's gate will benefit three local charities, in succession, Just For Kids Inc., Hospice of Southern West Virginia and the Raleigh County Humane Society.

Hospice will benefit from a different kind of event in August when Fayette County native and "Say Yes to the Dress — Atlanta's" Monte Durham hosts "Say Yes to Hospice" at Black Knight Country Club. A fashion show and auction will benefit Hospice, which serves the needs of individuals suffering from life-limiting illnesses and the individuals caring for them.

Just last Friday night, hundreds participated in Relay for Life to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

No matter the cause, we'll devise a way to raise money to fund it.

That's the wonderful thing about living in West Virginia.




July 15

Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail on VA health:

The recently exposed Veterans Administration health-care scandal has revealed the hardships many American veterans are facing to get the treatment they were promised for service to their country.

Besides the deaths of aging veterans awaiting access to the VA health care system, there are also too many deaths by suicide of young veterans who repeatedly get turned away because of one bureaucratic misstep after another.

Washington Post columnist Melinda Henneberger reported heartbreaking stories by parents of young veterans of their sons being deferred time and again for a variety of reasons. The phrase "comedy of errors" comes to mind, except there is nothing funny of the self-inflicted deaths of U.S. soldiers who risked their lives and experienced unspeakable trauma while serving their country in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere.

Many doctors have experience with the VA as well.

"The VA health-care system is a disaster," wrote Georgia M.D. Hal Scherz in the Wall Street Journal. "Throwing more money at the system, or demanding the scalps of top bureaucrats -- Washington's reflex response to any problem of this sort -- won't repair the mess.

"What's needed is a fundamental rethinking of how to provide medical care for America's veterans."

Meanwhile, the scandal gives more credence to those who want less, not more government involvement in health care at the local and national levels.

"For an example of how the private sector leaves government in the dust, look at FexEx or UPS, which can track a package in real time, in flight, and get that package anywhere in this country, affordably and within 24 hours," wrote Habib. "And a veteran can't get in to see a doctor in weeks or even months?"

Comparing package delivery to health care may be apples to oranges, yet successful private sector companies show how a quality service can be delivered on a national scale.

Before more young veterans take their own lives while awaiting to be seen by a VA doctor, it's time to fundamentally change the system.




July 14

Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, West Virginia, on rising skin cancer rates:

Shaun Hughes was a 26-year-old MBA student at Harvard University when he was diagnosed with skin cancer in the 1980s.

After surgery, he understandably was looking for ways to protect himself from the dangerous ultraviolet rays of the sun. In addition to sunscreen, he added layers of clothes for outdoor activities, but as researchers in Australia were finding about the same time, many types of traditional clothing actually provide less protection than you think.

For example, the simple cotton T-shirt that many of us use as a coverup at the beach or pool actually has less than a 15 Sun Protection Factor, comparable to the 15 SPF sunscreen you might purchase at the drug store, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. If the shirt gets wet, the protection is even less.

Hughes went on to found a company that helped develop new types of lightweight fabrics that are more comfortable and provide much more sun protection. Today, there are many new options for more protective shirts and clothing for adults and children.

But health experts warn that too many people still take too few precautions when it comes to sun exposure, leading to a steady rise in skin cancer rates.

Skin cancer has become the most common form of cancer in the United States with more than 2 million people diagnosed annually. Only a small percentage of those cases involve melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, but even the less dangerous forms can be disfiguring or cause other problems if they progress.

But melanoma rates are increasing, too, particularly among young people.

Especially during these summers months when many of us are getting more sun, it is important to remember that unprotected exposure to the sun can damage skin in just 15 minutes, according to the West Virginia Health Cooperative Inc., the Mountain State's new nonprofit health insurer.

Experts advise using sunscreens with at least an SPF of 30, and adults and children need to reapply after two hours, especially if you are swimming or sweating. It also makes sense to cover during extended periods in the sun with appropriate shirts, broad-brimmed hats and sunglasses.



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