Residents wants commission support for youth sports

Last updated: August 19. 2014 12:38PM - 384 Views
By Ron Gregory ronjgregory@gmail.com

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The failure of the Boone County Commission to assist with the financial needs of youth athletic programs is still a sore point with many local residents.

Everyone realizes, of course, that coal revenues for companies, miners and local governments are not what they once were. Whether President Barack Obama really is waging a “war on coal” or not, the world economy simply is not supporting American coal as it once did. There are all sorts of political reasons for that, which we will not go into in this sports column. Suffice it say, though, that we know coalfield revenue is down.

Balancing all the needs of the public is a tough process and, overall, Boone County Commissioners deserve a pat on the back for doing a good job over the years. Still, recent actions call into question just how committed Commissioners are to young people and whether their priorities are where they should be.

The best recent cases in point are the basketball camp mentioned last week in this space and the Boone County Fair. Conservative observers think the fair, cancelled because nobody remembered to acquire liability insurance, may end up costing the county $30,000 to $40,000.

Commissioner Mickey Brown, a standup guy, explained that musical entertainment, vendors who were brought in, and other expenses will cost the county a pretty penny. He seemed amazingly satisfied, though, that the “excuse” for calling off the fair came because there was no insurance “because the director was on vacation and the chairman of the board was on vacation at the same time.”

One wonders if neither of these two – or anybody on the fair board or county commission staff – thought of looking into insurance coverage during the 50 weeks they were here. How on earth could such a logical requirement as liability insurance be overlooked by anyone with any special event experience?

So, the good taxpayers of Boone are out $40,000 and a youth basketball camp serving 100 kids got zero support from the County Commission” Somehow, that doesn’t make much sense to me.

Nor, I think, does it sit well with many others in Boone County.

Organized sports activities are designed to give youngsters a positive outlet for their energy and time. It is far better for youth to be in a basketball camp than out on the street. And out on the street was the only place they could have been when the fair was cancelled.

So, caring adults and community activists take the bulk of the work, raise funds from private enterprise, and help kids with a meaningful athletic camp. Meanwhile, the fair leadership “vacations.” It might be time to look at a permanent vacation for someone.

Meanwhile, Scott High’s arch Corridor G rival, Chapmanville Regional High, says help is needed for their football field. Tiger Coach and Athletic Director George Barker told Paul Adkins of The Logan Banner that every other school is getting modernized while Tiger Stadium lacks improvement. The veteran skipper told Adkins that a new locker room and concession stand were recently built at Logan High while Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field underwent a major renovation.

In Chapmanville, though, needs are not being met, Barker said. He told the sports editor that the current press box is inadequate and is too small to fit the team’s Double A program. Reporters who cram into the booth on rainy fall evenings to watch the games will confirm that there is no room to turn around, that’s for sure.

Barker also complained that there is no Internet service in the coach’s office. He said more bleachers are also needed.

“We ask and we get no response,” Barker told Adkins. The coach is worried that Tiger Stadium would not qualify if his team earned a home game in the post-season playoffs. Likewise, Barker would like to have an artificial turf on the field. Mingo Central, by contrast, has field turf funded by the late businessman Buck Harless.

So is there anyone who can help CRHS get what it wants. Adkins suggested Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, a Chapmanville High graduate. He and Barker are close friends. When Adkins pointed out that possibility to Barker, the coach said he thought “that’s what they’re expecting me to do.”

We’ll see.

On the other hand, there are still no signings of former Scott High star Jordan Roberts. The outstanding football athlete failed to make the cut last year with the Kansas City Chiefs and then was let go by Ottawa of the Canadian Football League before this year’s season began. He is still listed as a free agent at the CFL Website.

Next week, the 2014 football season predictions for Boone County schools.

As always, you comments, game scores, story ideas and rumors are always welcome. Use my email address or call my cell at 304-533-5185.

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