I participated in the second of the three required Adopt-A-Highway clean ups for 2014 in memory of Stephanie K. Ward Stahl. I missed the first clean-up which was held on April 13, 2014 due to a prior commitment. I did chat with my friend, Sandra Ward Miller, Stephanie's Mom, at the clean-up. She mentioned that the April clean up only took an hour because there were so many volunteers. That truly shows the devotion of all the volunteers who consisted of family, friends, etc. It makes me very proud of the people in our little corner of the world. I'm just sorry that the reason that brings them all together is because a young person was taken away from her family and friends way too soon. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason in our lives. What that reason is in this particular incident, I do not know.
West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
A little over five years ago, my world changed. Allison Jo McGraw was born on July 2, 2009. While she wasn't born on the 4th of July, she did come home from the hospital on Independence Day which is quite fitting. Allie, from early on, has been fiercely independent in her own thoughts and opinions. She is strong willed, beautiful and loving. Even though it is very cliché, I could never have imagined the effect she would have on my life. Allie was the first little girl born on my side of the McGraw family in 60 years. You can imagine the disbelief from my parents when we found out that she would be a girl. I will always remember my quiet and reserved mother screaming over the phone "MIKE, PICK UP THE PHONE," to get my Dad to hear the news. From that time forward our lives exploded into a blur of pinks and purples. We picked the name Allison very quickly and knew we wanted to call her Allie. Her middle name, Jo, was not selected so quickly. My wife wanted Allie's middle name to be Elizabeth and I preferred Jo. Jo is also Amanda's middle name. As we neared the due date Amanda told me I could go ahead and pick the middle name and whatever I chose would be fine. I now know, after telling the nurse to putAllison Jo on the birth certificate, that Amanda fully believed that I would pick Elizabeth after watching her go through labor.She was wrong. While Amanda has come around on the name Jo, I did not get the final choice for our second daughter, Lauren Elizabeth's name.
Over the past several months, a good deal has been written about the proposed Moundsville Power facility that is set to be constructed on the former Solvay site just south of Moundsville. Pretty much everyone agrees that construction of the facility is a positive thing for Marshall County, and it would be darn near impossible to argue otherwise. The debate has been over what happens once construction is complete.
The existing proposal calls for Marshall County to take ownership of the power plant under what is known as a PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) arrangement. PILOT programs generally provide that ownership of a particular facility is transferred to a tax-exempt entity in exchange for specified payments being made over a certain period of time. In its simplest terms, a PILOT arrangement provides a way for the company to avoid paying property taxes at the full rate. PILOT arrangements have been around for many, many years and are a means for attracting business and industry to a particular area. The CertainTeed Gypsum plant that opened south of Moundsville back in 2008 was the subject of a PILOT arrangement, as were many other major industrial projects in the state over the past 20 years or more. The proposed agreement for the Moundsville Power project calls for county ownership of the facility for 30 years, during which time the business would pay around $31 million in annual lease payments. According to the Marshall County Assessor, the PILOT agreement results in a tax break for the facility of approximately $13 million over 30 years.
When my husband's job brought us to Wheeling, I thought we would be starting a new chapter in our lives. Little did I know what a big chapter it would turn out to be. At the time of our move, my grandmother, who was 86 years old, hadfallendown her steps and was in a Pittsburgh hospital. While in the hospital, she was diagnosed with dementia, and I was told she could not be in her home alone. So we did what any loving family would do; we brought Grandma with us to live in West Virginia. I had no idea how hard and how much fun it would turn out to be.
Our two boys were eleven and six years old at the time, and having their great-grandma who was now acting like a child herself was very challenging. I'd be up half the night with her because she was very confused on where she was and would try to leave the house. When it was time to get the boys ready for school, and us ready for work in the morning, I would be a walking zombie. We tried to have people come to our home and stay with her, but they never worked out. I was blessed to find Family Service-Upper Ohio Valley in downtown Wheeling; a business that offered adult day care for dementia/alzheimer's adults. Now we all had to get up and get ready for work, school and adult day care. My mornings started at 3:30 a.m. to get everyone on the buses to their destinations and be at work by 7:30 a.m. This went on for nine years.
The Ohio Valley is filled with a variety of different people, all of whom have unique personalities. We all have different careers, stories and experiences. Although many of us may not know each other, there is one thing that we may have in common; a love for animals. Last year, an announcement was made that the city of Wheeling had formed an association with hopes to open a dog park. Sure there are plenty of parks throughout the valley, but not all dogs like being on a leash, and the bigger the dog the more they want to run.
People may wonder what the difference is between a park, like Oglebay, and a dog park. Although our local parks are all dog friendly, the dog park will have a different set of rules. At the Wheeling Dog Park, pets will be allowed to run and play in an environment where they will be allowed off of the leash. The park will have an area for both large and small dogs to sniff and play. Pets need to socialize just like humans and at the dog park, both pets and humans can associate with one another. The canine park not only benefits our four legged friends, but it is also good for the elderly and disabled citizens who need a service dog by their side when exercising. It also builds tourism for people driving through the area and allows for the community to be more open to animals.
October 19, 2014, will mark the second time that I will be running in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon/Half Marathon. When I decided to run the half marathon last year, I knew it was going to be both a physical and mental challenge. To be honest, I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to accomplish it. My only goal for the 2013 race was to cross the finish line on my own two feet, which I managed to do in a time of 2:19:46.
This year, I thought I should make my goal a little more challenging. Of course I want to beat my previous time, but I also wanted to make my run meaningful.
Hearing the news yesterday about Robin Williams (who, to me, will always be Mork) hit me right square in the face hard. Some of you may never understand what it is like to fight addictions or depression, and thank your lucky stars for that, but if you have ever watched someone go through these events you can understand how lonely one can be, even when they are not alone.
Robin fought hard to stay on the right path, getting cleaned up, staying in programs throughout his life. With mental illness, it's one day at a time and you take each and every day minute by minute. I'm not going to go into all of Robin's accomplishments, because the news has done this and, by God, the list is way too long for a very short blog.
Sunday, August 10, 2014, marks the annual Mahrajan, an event held at Oglebay Park's Site One. The Mahrajan celebrates the heritage and tradition of the members of Wheeling's Our Lady of Lebanon Church. Now in its eighty-first year, the Wheeling Mahrajan began in 1933 as an effort to raise funds to rebuild the church which had burned to the ground in 1932. Though the major restoration efforts were completed years ago, the church's steeple was not replaced until 2013, more than eighty years after it was destroyed by the fire. Today, the Mahrajan continues as a major fund raising event for the church and is an event anticipated by many throughout West Virginia and its surrounding states. More importantly, it's a way for families to come together and celebrate their heritage.
When I was a child, I would go to the Mahrajan with my grandfather. Back then, most, if not all, of the food was prepared by the ladies of the church and was simply amazing. While you are still able to partake in traditional dishes like kibbee, tabbouli, laham mishwee (lamb shish kabobs), falafel, rice, stuffed grape leaves, baklava and other lebanese pastries, the majority of the food is no longer made by church members and their families as age has slowed and reduced the numbers of cooks and the popularity of the festival requires ever increasing amounts of food. You will, however, still be able to see several generations of families, including mine, working to preserve the church which has been so important in the lives of our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
The Intelligencer recently reported on a poll finding that many Americans do not know how to tell if their doctor will provide high-quality care. Unfortunately, the article does not provide many solutions to help its readers discover the information that they need when it comes to making an informed decision on selecting a health care provider. Obviously, choosing the right doctor is very important. Some studies estimate that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die each year from preventable harm in our health care institutions. Unlike nursing homes, where safety data is relatively more accessible, it can be difficult to determine whether or not your doctor is the type of physician who is likely to provide high-quality care.
Having represented the victims of medical malpractice and having gained some experience in finding and retaining expert witnesses in such cases, I can tell you some of the things that I look for when trying to determine whether or not I am dealing with a physician who puts his or her patient's safety at the forefront. Perhaps asking some of these questions in advance of treatment could help patients make an informed decision about which doctor to choose. One of the things that I look for is a list of hospitals where the physician is credentialed to practice medicine. All hospitals have a legal and ethical obligation to make sure that the physicians who practice at that facility are not putting their patients in danger. This process, called the credentialing process, has its own flaws, but it can be a useful starting point. It may be worth asking whether your doctor has privileges at any healthcare facilities. If a reputable hospital has granted privileges to your doctor in his or her area of expertise, you may at least assume that the hospital has satisfied itself concerning the basic competency of the physician.