As a history buff, I have long believed that we should learn from the good and bad decisions of the men and women who preceded us. We have all known people who feel they can get another year out of their 30-year-old roof that s leaking, or a few more miles from a set of bald tires. Such decisions invite bad outcomes. The budget that legislators had proposed for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety is even more dangerous than placing a bucket under the leak or leaving bald tires on your daughter s car. Both need to be fixed or you risk facing expensive and dire consequences. The budget approved by the Senate and House of Delegates, which was then vetoed by Gov. Jim Justice, would have resulted in a $9.4 million reduction for Military Affairs and Public Safety, when compared to what the governor had introduced.
West Virginia s Division of Corrections would have been hit with $7.2 million of that budget cut, at a time when it struggles to recruit and keep employees and has hard-working, full-time employees who qualify for government assistance. Our correctional facilities, meanwhile, await a combined $100 million worth of repairs to roofs that should have been replaced or fixed years ago, among other structural issues. The Division of Corrections has shifted money meant for unfilled positions to pay its operating bills since 2010, to make up for the lack of funding in that part of its budget. This presents a danger to public safety and represents the worst scenario of kicking the can down the road. At the heart of this situation are the lives of correctional officers and inmates.
I have traveled the world and can declare with confidence that the West Virginia National Guard is the best of the best. The work they have performed, for example, in response to natural disasters speaks for itself. Rightfully, they are heroes to the flood victims in West Virginia. They need money to refit and repair and to prepare for the next disaster, but instead, would have received a $478,409 reduction in their budget. Just as lawmakers talked about helping our correctional officers only to cut their budget our legislators discussed giving our State Police enough money for a new cadet class, and then delivered to them a nearly $1 million budget reduction. Other offices and agencies within Military Affairs and Public Safety were to receive reductions totaling $660,572. These included the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center, which works with law enforcement here and across the country, and the Homeland Security State Administrative Agency that helps first responders throughout West Virginia obtain needed equipment and training. Both agencies were formed after 9/11 to prevent terrorist attacks and have been very successful. To cut the budgets of these agencies is very risky.
I submit to the citizens of West Virginia that a roof with holes in it is fine until it rains, but public safety does not have the luxury to place buckets under its problems and wait for the repairman. Public safety is the repairman. We cannot allow anything to hinder the repairman, because he or she needs to respond 24/7 and be at peak performance.
Jeff S. Sandy is secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
Marilyn Howells: Southwest WV is a sacrifice zone; comment deadline today (Gazette)
Robert Grossman: WV Legislature takes first step toward second chances (Gazette)
by Mike Carter-Conneen, ABC7 News
Holocaust Memorial Museum opens new archive facility in Md. (WJLA/Mike Carter-Conneen)
BOWIE, Md. (WJLA) – The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s extensive collection of artifacts has a permanent home in a new, state-of-the-art facility in Bowie, Maryland. Monday morning, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, a couple dozen survivors attended the ribbon-cutting event. Along with their families and various donors, they applauded the opening of the Shapell Family Collections, Conservation and Research Center.
With tight security and climate-controlled vaults, it is now home to thousands upon thousands of Holocaust artifacts, photos, documents and archival footage.
It’s terribly, terribly important for the world not to forget, said Holocaust survivor Ruth Cohen.
The 103,000-square-foot Shapell Center was built with the expectation that the Holocaust Museum’s collection will double in size over the next decade.
The numbers are very abstract but when you see the materials that we collect, each of them tell a story, said Director of Collections Michael Grunberger.
Graeme Reid, director of collections and exhibitions at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, grew up in Scotland and came to the U.S. in 1990. He became an American citizen in 2008, just days before the election. Video by Mark Hoffman Mark Hoffman
Graeme Reid, director of collections and exhibitions at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, grew up in Scotland and came to the U.S. in 1990. He became an American citizen in 2008.(Photo: Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo
As Americans, we are a diverse population. Historically, we have embraced that diversity as what brings us together and truly makes us one nation encouraging all to seek life, liberty and happiness. By sharing our individual differences and finding commonalities, we can work to unify the nation. One thing unites us: We are all Americans. Each week, this series will introduce you to an exceptional American who is making a difference to unite, rather than divide, our communities. Read more of their stories at onenation.usatoday.com.
West Bend – Art museums sometimes have reputations as lofty, elitist, even unapproachable institutions. Graeme Reid thinks art should be accessible to everyone. As director of collections and exhibitions at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, Reid trumpets the talent and dedication of artists in Wisconsin. He judges art competitions and gives tours of the gleaming four-year-old museum on the Milwaukee River.
He believes beauty, in the form of paintings, sculpture, drawings and other artwork, can bring people together.
“Art offers you a different view or a different take. Maybe it makes you change your mind,” said Reid, 55. “Museums tend to unite rather than divide. Museums elevate rather than denigrate. Museums are more relevant now than ever.”
Reid is an American by choice. His lilting accent betrays his origins he grew up in Scotland and was a student at the University of Glasgow when he was offered a scholarship and graduate assistantship at Indiana State University. He worked weekends as a security guard at Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, Ind., and began giving lectures and tours before eventually getting hired as a part-time curator. In 2001 he moved to Sheboygan, Wis., to work at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. Two years later was hired by the Museum of Wisconsin Art. The mission of the museum: to celebrate the value, diversity and uniqueness of art in Reid’s adopted home state. Reid believes in getting involved in his community and giving back. Though he curates professional art exhibitions and has judged competitions on the state and national level, Reid volunteers as a judge for an annual VFW patriotic art contest, home-schooled art competitions, a duck decoy decorating contest, and the Lakefront Festival of the Arts in Milwaukee.
After 18 years in America, Reid decided to become a citizen. America had become his country and he wanted to pledge his allegiance. He became a citizen on a Thursday and the following Tuesday he voted in the 2008 presidential election.
“Without sounding awfully cliched, America has been very good to me,” Reid said.
Location: West Bend, Wis.
Profession: Director of collections and exhibition, Museum of Wisconsin Art
Mission: To spread the joy of art to everyone
More info: wisconsinart.org
Q and A with Graeme Reid
What does it mean to you to be an American? To be an American means I am a citizen. Originally being from the U.K. I was a subject. But I m a citizen here and I get to participate in every facet of life, political life, and I can vote for the dog catcher to the president. Being a citizen was something that was very important to me.
What moment touched and motivated you to launch this effort? What motivated me to be part of the Museum of Wisconsin Art was to get in on the opportunity to give Wisconsin its own museum that focuses on the art and artists of Wisconsin. To be a part of bringing that to not just the people of Wisconsin but also to be part of bringing that to a national audience as well was just a tremendous opportunity.
What gives you hope or what concerns you? What concerns me I think is the political division and a coarsening of culture. But what gives me hope is the role an institution such as the Museum of Wisconsin Art can do. I think museums provide more unity than division. It also provides an elevation of culture rather than a coarsening of culture.
What do you hope to accomplish through your efforts? I hope that the art and artists of Wisconsin will appreciate what we do for them. But I think the public will hopefully appreciate what we do for them in terms of recognition of the talent within this state. Not just talent from the past, but current talent and future talent as well.
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