Rotten fruit in the Garden of Eden?

Buckhannon/Upshur County’s beauty and bureaucracy could reduce a grown man to tears. A string of failed administrations and a lack of public appetite for reform have made this gem in the mountains almost ungovernable.

The first tree I ever climbed was an apple tree. It was growing in our back yard just within sight of my mother’s kitchen window, in northern West Virginia, where I lived for many of my 70-plus years. One night, overcome with moonlight, happiness and the suppressed eroticism of too many dime store novels, I resolved to climb it, something my bookish nerdy approach to life had never dreamed of.

Briefly, I nestled in the bosom of paradise; it was a very old tree, and the view from its branches revealed the allure of rural West Virginia. Sitting on my branch and looking up, I thought: this is heaven, and I am in it.

Then I fell to earth, landing and slipping on the rotting apples I’d never got ’round to cleaning up as promised. Paradise often produces something rotten, as the smell and texture of decaying fruit made clear. Maybe you can’t have one without the other.

Paradise and its rotten fruit.

Have you ever met a government agency operating without oversight?

Many have recently witnessed one at the federal level and now I would like to introduce you to one at the local level. The Buckhannon/Upshur County Health Department.

With the recent announcement that the County Commission has no authority or oversight of the Buckhannon/Upshur County Health Department, it’s a chance to reconsider this agency’s mission, modernize it and impose some accountability on what is clearly becoming a zombie tax payer-funded program.

Is the Buckhannon/Upshur County Health Department just another feral government agency operating out of sight, and sometimes out of line?

I believe this agency has become an unlikeable villain with a bad temper and a sizable streak of self-delusion. They have no idea what evil this needle exchange program will do. This appointed board has become clueless.

How long will it take to dawn on our leadership that this city and county has become a haven for drug abuse. How long will it take before they are bothered with the sense that everybody’s community has changed for the worse and they have lost control of our future?

It should not be the goal of the health department to drive every addict away; that goal would be impossible given the scope of the drug crisis facing us today. They need to manage the growth of an industry that seemed to mushroom up out of nowhere, with few legal constraints.

Sure, Buckhannon/Upshur County has great facets worthy of postcards and travel books, but it also has a worsening underbelly that our leadership can no longer gloss over.

Impossible to govern or merely useless? Without some clear drive from the citizens for change, who would want to be the next generation’s leadership?

Robert Ware

French Creek