Mon River: Perspectives From Those That Have to Use it

The Monongahela River is a 130-mile-long river that Morgantown tends to steer clear of. It is usually a shade a brown – green, and is always cloudy. It is nice to have a river right next to campus, but it is not one that many like to get near.

What about those that have to use the river for their club or their sport? It’s easy to get lost looking at the green slime on the river and forget about the people that actually have to get near that green slime.

I asked two previous members of the rowing team a few questions about their opinions on the Mon River. They shared some similar thoughts, but also had a few differences of opinion (they asked to remain anonymous since they are no longer on the team).

In general, what is your opinion of the Mon River?

1. I think the Mon River is a great place for rowing or just athletics in general. The only problem is it can be dirty some days.

2. The Mon River is beautiful to look at from a far. The closer you get the grosser the water looks.

Has the quality of the river ever effected team practices or competition?

1. The river is only un-rowable when it’s raining really hard due to the miniature waves in the boat, or if there are boats in the river then the boat wakes may make it difficult. A lot of debris also can impact rowing and cancel an event.

2. The only thing that has ever effected our practice is large logs or debris getting in the way of the boats. The stuff is sometimes hard to spots because of how dirty the water is

Would you use the river even if the sport didn’t require it?

1.I would use the river for my own personal activities like kayaking if I didn’t have to row on the water. It also is a great way to build up strength.

2. If I wasn’t on the rowing team then I would never use the river. I would only use it if there were kayak rentals along the river.

Were there alternatives you used in place of the river?

1. Alternatively, if there were days we couldn’t use the river we used the stationary rowing machines in the shell building for practice. They offer a higher resistance and great results. They also offer more data on the rowing session itself on a machine rather than in a boat.

2. There are no alternative places we use unless we are traveling to another school or state

In general, what was your teams overall opinion of the river?

1. My team loved being on the river for practice. Choppy waters just made practice that much more challenging and fun.

2. Everyone thought the river was gross and if we went in we would get a disease. The water is a gross greenish color an looks very unsanitary.

Anything else you’d like readers to know about the rowing team and using the river?

1.The rowing team would like more recognition from WVU and its students. A lot of people overlook the team because it’s not able to bring in as much publicity and money such as football and basketball, but we are still WVU athletes at the end of the day.

2. There is a lot of trash in the mom river that’s nasty. I would just ask people to keep in mind when they think of polluting the river, to think of those that have to use it.

So overall it comes down to perspective and what some people consider gross, others can manage. Always remember that people have to use the river, and it would be nice if it was a shade of blue once in awhile.

You can read more about water quality problems in Morgantown over at Ashley’s post. You can also learn about the tap water (that comes from the Mon River) quality in Morgantown in Shannon’s post.

 

100 Days of Trump

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Source: WV MetroNews

Saturday will mark the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. In just 100 days, Trump has passed or proposed several bills that will cut back on environmental regulations. Trump has called global warming a hoax and has vowed to abolish the EPA, so what does this all mean for the environment and West Virginia?

Many of Trumps policies were aimed to repeal the previous policies set up by his predecessor, Barack Obama. President Obama set up policies to regulate coal-mining, fracking, and greenhouse gas emissions. Trump is making it his ultimate goal to repeal these polices. He started by selecting global warming denier, Scott Pruitt.

Since then, the Trump administration has removed any mention of climate change from the White House website, approved controversial pipelines and repealed a law prohibiting coal companies from dumping mining waste in rivers and streams.

However, at the end of the day this all ties in to West Virginia. Donald Trump won the state of West Virginia by gaining almost 68 percent of votes on Election Day. Trump won West Virginia because he promised two things, coal revival and highway jobs.

Coal Country has lost over tens of thousand of jobs over the last few years, and this region believed Trumps rhetoric. He promised to put these people back to work by bringing back the coal industry. In order for these promises to become a reality, Trump will have to cut back on environmental regulations that could have a serious effect on the environment.

When Trump signed his executive order to roll the Clean Water rule, it fulfilled a promise he made to coal country at the cost of the environment. According to an article from Inside Climate, the roll back on the Clean Water rule will leave up to 170 species of fish with the possibility of becoming endangered.

The irony of this whole revival on coal puts West Virginia in a tough spot. Trump can say whatever he wants, but facts are facts, even if he believes other wise. The the U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released a report stating that coal was used to produce less than 30 percent of the United States’ energy. Coal is facing competition from natural gas and renewable energy, and unfortunately for West Virginia coal may never return to the height it once was.

The truth is, in order for coal to make a comeback in these regions, regulations set by the Obama administration will have to be rolled back. In that case, these roll backs would put an effect on the environment in one way or another.

March for Science: These Budget Cuts Matter to Morgantown

On April 22 Marchers took to the streets of Washington, D.C. in support of science. The march was broadcast over a multitude of social media sites and the news. In the spirit of Earth Day, many signs raised up in protest for creating awareness of climate change.

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Bill Nye

The March for Science in D.C. was led by Bill Nye (the science guy). It was estimated to have 40,000 protesters. The main reason for the march was to protest against budget cuts being made to the Environmental Protection Agency, National Institutes of Health, and NASA’s Earth research programs under President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal.

Morgantown was one of two locations in West Virginia, the other being Huntington, that hosted a science march in accordance with the D.C. march. Roughly 500 people attended the march in Morgantown, and protesters gathered in Woodburn circle. Science departments, professors and students partook in the event, and Fourteen of twenty organizations in the Morgantown March were affiliated with WVU.

The march for science was meant to show that scientists are not elitists and to help raise awareness for the possible budget cuts being made in 2018.

The President of DownstreamStrat, Evan Hansen,march2 spoke during the event about water quality and keeping it safe for the community.

In an article written by the D.A., it is mentioned that local scientists are the only reason trout supply has returned to Deckers Creek.  This was made possible through the development of a new filtration device that helped filter pollutants from the water that were introduced by acid mine drainage in the creek.

Engineering and agricultural departments also participated in the march. These are two march3fields of study that many forget to include when thinking of science, but engineering at WVU is one of the largest departments, if not the largest, and many students studying engineering are going to be entering the work field, this goes for many majors at the university (medical comes to mind), with budget cuts hindering their scientific advancements.

This march wasn’t for scientists that want more money. It was for science lovers that want to see a future worth living in—a world that isn’t suffering from climate change or lack of progress.

Shannon Stanley: This marks the end of my group blogging days, but I will still be around on Twitter. In your free time you can also check out my other blog about Video Games. Thanks for reading!

New WV state park fee sparks varying opinions

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By: Ashley Conley

WV MetroNews reported yesterday that the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is in the process of implementing a new user fee at seven state parks that would cost each car visiting one of the parks $2 per each entry or $12 for a yearly entry pass. This new implementation that will effect visitors to Babcock State Park, Blackwater Falls State Park, Coopers Rock State Forest, Little Beaver State Park, Pipestem Resort State Park and Valley Falls State Park, has sparked a multitude of public opinions and social media reactions.

Those on the “for” side of the fee argue that the revenue will help cleanup and protect the parks and forests while also playing a small part in aiding WV’s struggling budget.

Those on the “against” side of the fee argue that access to the great outdoors should remain free.

According to the WV Division of Natural Resources Director Steven McDaniel, over seven million people visited a state park in the Mountain State last year alone. His logic concludes that if each of those seven million visitors contributed just $2.75, the Division would no longer need state funding to upkeep the parks.

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Coopers Rock State Forest (Gabe Dewitt/wv-art.com)

Coopers Rock State Forest, which is only a short 20-minute drive from the campus of West Virginia University and is a popular attraction for students, being included on the list of parks that will inquire the new fee has some students up in arms.

Do you think the fee will actually deter student traffic away from local state parks and forests? Do you think the fee will deter general visitors from them? Comment below and let us know!

And remember, refrain from littering and/or destroying our state parks when you visit. Conservation is key and now your visit isn’t even free.

Ashley Conley is a senior journalism student at WVU. She aspires to become a writer or reporter in the sports industry upon graduation. You can follow her on Twitter @ashleyconleyyy

Fresh foods forgotten?

WVU Farmers Market is an initiative that serves to provide fresh, local produce to students with the goal of encouraging students to eat healthier. However, the WVU Farmers Market is only open during the fall semester, which means those fresh foods are forgotten among students during a peak season for clean eating.

Typically, students are encouraged to go to the WVU Farmers Market if they’re seeking to transition into a healthier lifestyle. The market provides a farm-to-table experience that students aren’t able to get from the Mountain Lair or dining halls. Furthermore, local vendors participate in the market which aids in business for the small businesses of Morgantown. This is an opportunity for both student and small business because most students are unaware of where to go to buy local produce, so they go to Kroger or whichever grocery store is closest to them.

Image Credit: Nick Holstein/The Daily Athenaeum

However, students have expressed the need to have a WVU Farmers Markets year-round. Here are a select few Twitter comments regarding WVU Farmers Market:

Students’ who love the WVU Farmers market have mentioned that having one during the spring semester would be beneficial because it’s that time of the year clean eating trends.

In the meantime, where can students go for fresh local produce? It just so happens that a Morgantown Farmers Market exists! More than 40 vendors attend the market to sell their products to local residents of Morgantown. The reason most students are unaware of this market is due to the location.

However, this market is close and accessible from the Downtown campus. Students can still enjoy the purchasing of fresh local products even when WVU Farmers Market is closed. Please comment and share your thoughts on having WVU Farmers Market open year-round!

My name is Cayla R. Nolder and I’m a Writer/Editor for Conserve the Wild & Wonderful. Happy Summer! Follow our latest posts on Twitter @cayla_redlon. 

Celebrate WVU this Earth Day!

Saturday April 22 is Earth Day!

Many know West Virginia University for our Mountaineer Pride. The football team does pretty well (usually) and the basketball team goes pretty far in March Madness. Many do not realize the academic successes here at WVU.

With a relatively high acceptance rate, the school can be overlooked when it comes to academics. Most of the time when WVU makes national headlines, it’s for partying gone wrong.

So in honor of Earth Day, let’s take a look back at what WVU has accomplished in efforts to conserve the wild and wonderful state, as well as the nation as a whole.

One of the largest headlines WVU made recently has been their results of the study conducted by WVU’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions, or CAFEE. They found that nitrogen oxide emissions, one of the top 6 common air pollutants, from Volkswagen diesel engines exceeded the EPA’s standard. One vehicle exceeded the standard by a factor of 15 to 35 and the other by a factor of 5 to 20.

News broke that Volkswagen had admitted to using a “defeat device” in its diesel passenger cars. Investigations by the California Air Resources Board and U.S. EPA’s had revealed that the automaker changed code in the car’s central computer in order to cheat on emissions tests. (statler.wvu.edu)

Major media outlets were contacting WVU and it was out of the ordinary for the school to make major national headlines. News outlets including Motor Trend, Roadshow by CNET and Time magazine were all reporting on this story.

The CAFEE Team
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This is not the first time researchers at CAFEE have been involved in off-cycle emissions research. Back in the 1990s, CAFEE was chosen to conduct in-use emissions testing for heavy-duty engines.This led to the center developing the world’s first mobile on-board diesel emissions testing system. (statler.wvu.edu)

 

This success has led to the investment in WVU research and advancement. The United States Department of Energy donated $1.25 million dollars to the university for research on renewable energy. The university also  joined the newest branch of the United States Department of Energy’s National Network of Manufacturing Institutes. Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment institute, or RAPID. John Hu, Statler Chair in engineering

RAPID is fast-tracking research that will directly increase the productivity of industry manufacturing processes while simultaneously lowering energy costs, lowering capital equipment costs and making higher gains in overall efficiency. (wvutoday.wvu.edu)

WVU is in this program with the best of the best including,

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Georgia Tech
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Idaho National Laboratory
  • DuPont
and more!

Headlines and stories like this proves that WVU is a leader among advancement in new conservation technologies. However, the school still struggles to have the reputation that some other big name schools have for their research. The New York Times even wrote an article about how the researchers behind the Volkswagen emissions testing have received little reward for their findings.

Still, WVU pushes forward to gain the recognition they deserve. Dan Carder, director of the university’s Center for Alternative Fuels Engines and Emissions, was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in 2016. WVU is even honored to host the kickoff at the nations largest clean vehicle awareness event in Texas. You can learn more about the event here.

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On campus, the WVU Sierra Student Coalition is hosting an Earth Day Celebration on the downtown campus. There will be environmental speakers, music, activities, and food.

So this Earth Day we should celebrate and support the accomplishments the university has made in conserving the environment.

HIGH 5, Jim!

Today is 4/20 and what better way to honor this national holiday for the cannabis world than to discuss marijuana. For West Virginia, they are on track to become the latest state to legalize forms of cannabis for medial use as Governor Jim Justice has signed Senate Bill 386 into law on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 386 — the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act — would create a state cannabis commission that would be responsible for developing policies and regulations to make medical cannabis available to qualifying patients.

On Thursday, April 6th, lawmakers in West Virginia voted 28-6 in favor of passing Senate Bill 386 – the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act. The bill was then sent to Governor Jim Justice to be officially passed as a law, and on Wednesday Justice signed the bill into law.

What does this bill mean for West Virginia?

The passing of Senate Bill 386 does not mean that state residents can just walk around and smoke a joint. The bill is for medical purposes only. According to WV MetroNews, registered physicians would be allowed to prescribe marijuana for patients suffering from a list of conditions, including chronic diseases, muscle spasms and seizures. The bill doesn’t even allow for smoking.

The newly passed bill allows for consumption through pills, oils, topical treatments and mists. The bill does not allow for growing of marijuana, regardless of being certified.

The legalization of medical marijuana can become a factor for a state struggling from a serious opioid epidemic. According to US News, 818 people died in West Virginia due to drug overdose in 2016, up 13 percent from 2015.

A new report out from Drug and Alcohol Dependance found that medical marijuana policies lead to a 23% percent drop from opioid related hospitalizations. New Mexico is another state trying to actively find ways for medical marijuana to be used a way to cut back on opioid addiction.

Matt Simon, from the Marijuana Policy Project, had this to say about the bill in a quote from WV MetroNews, “For many patients, medical marijuana is a far safer alternative to opioids and other prescription drugs. Any delegates who are serious about addressing the opiate crisis in West Virginia need to consider the substantial benefits this law could have on that front.”

In addition to providing relief to the opioid epidemic, the bill also establishes a marijuana commission. This commission will have a fund appropriated by the legislature, and ten percent of funds will be directed towards education programs on marijuana as well as drug recovery programs.

West Virginia residents are expressing their satisfaction with the passing of this bill.

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Residents clearly feel there was a need for this legislation to be signed into law. There is still some time before this law becomes effective in July of 2018. There is time for the state to look at this bill and determine all the benefits that could come from this. Clearly the state feels that there is beneficial potential with medical marijuana and we can only hope that this bill can help the epidemic in this state.

 

Keeping West Virginia Clean and Green

The State of West Virginia has over 15,000 illegal dump sites and  spends more than $1 million every year to remove litter from state highways. According to the EPA, nationwide the cost of clean up is $115 million, but those are all dry ground sites.  Perhaps tougher to clean up, are sites where people dump their trash into streams and rivers. The New River Gorge is one state water site that is combating hundreds of illegal dumps and roadside trash sites that create both aesthetic and health and safety problems.

In 2009 The Monongalia County Litter Control collected close to 10,000 pounds of trash from illegal dumping sites like one on Martin Hollow Road in Morgantown. Couches, chairs, mattresses, box springs, commodes and televisions were cleaned up from the site. (GreenEcoServices)

What Is Illegal Dumping? In West Virginia illegal dumping is defined as:

  • Dumping waste on public or private property that is not licensed or permitted to receive waste
  • Dumping waste, without a license or permit, into sewers or waterways, or
  • Allowing another to dump waste on one’s land, without being licensed to receive such waste.

 Penalties for Littering and Illegal Dumping in West Virginia: 

  • Charged with Misdemeanor:
    • Any person who disposes of items weighing, but not exceeding, more than 100 lbs or 27 cubic feet in size is guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, he or she is subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, or in the discretion of the court, sentenced to perform community service by cleaning up litter from any public highway, road, street, alley or any other public park or public property, or waters of the state, as designated by the court, for not less than eight nor more than sixteen hours, or both.
    • Any person who disposes of items weighing more than 100 lbs  or 27 cubic feet in size, but less than five hundred pounds is guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction he or she is subject to a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,000, or in the discretion of the court, may be sentenced to perform community service by cleaning up litter from any public highway, road, street, alley or any other public park or public property, or waters of the state, as designated by the court, for not less than sixteen nor more than thirty-two hours, or both.
    • Any person who disposes of items weighing more than 500 lbs or 216 cubic feet in size is guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, the person is subject to a fine not less than $2,500 or not more than $25,000 or confinement in jail for not more than one year or both.
  • Fines. Courts impose fines to penalize defendants. These fines vary greatly, depending on the circumstances. For misdemeanors, the fine may be as little as for a traffic ticket, but for felonies, fines can be thousands of dollars. Some fines can accrue daily until the illegally dumped waste is cleaned up.
  • Probation. A person on probation regularly meets with a probation officer and fulfills other terms and conditions, such as maintaining employment and attending counseling.
  • Community service. Courts often include as a part of probation the requirement that the defendant work for a specified number of hours with court-approved organizations, such as charities.
  • Restitution. Courts often require defendants to pay for any damage they caused to someone’s property by their illegal dumping.
  • Remediation. Courts may require defendants to clean up and repair property damaged by their illegal dumping.

The Difference Between Littering and Illegal Dumping:

  • The difference is determined by type and volume of waste. Disposing of typical waste and garbage, such as empty beverage bottles is littering.
  • Dumping a large amount of waste, such as bags full of garbage or an appliance, would be illegal dumping.
  • The type of waste is also important. Disposing of a toxic chemical or hazardous items such as a car battery may count as dumping. The size of these hazardous materials may be relatively small, but since they pose an immediate threat to the environment, size is not as relevant.

Land Dump Site In the Morgantown Area:

Illegal dump sites are often remote areas found at the most outer parts of residential areas. The sites are where people dump their garbage without paying someone else to take care of it.

Cathy Kinsly, a local Kindwood resident, lives near an illegal dump site on Mayfield Road. She says that the site has been there for over 50 years, but people continue to drop off their trash. “I think a lot of the same people return, yet there is always different cars going up the hill,” kinsly says, “…A lot of it is done at night. You don’t even see who does it. I believe a lot of it is out from other communities.”

This site, when I visited, primarily consisted of tires, mattresses and bags of trash, but Kinsly says that in the past it was mostly larger materials such as refrigerators and appliances. “They probably can get money now for the cars and appliances and they know it, so they take those to the recycling shop and the household garbage is still tossed,” Kinsly says, “It angers us because there are signs up. It just makes our properties look bad, but so far there is not much we can do about it, but try to clean it up.”

Reasons For Illegal Dumping:

In every city there are municipalities set up to take in the communities garbage. Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority is responsible for retrieving and transferring waste.  The Solid Waste Authority is owned by Republic Services. Signing up for services can be done on their website. However, you must sign up before receiving a quota for your trash pickup costs. This can turn a lot of potential customers away. The price is not plainly stated. Most people don’t want to deal with the hassle of taking their trash to a dump or transfer station and companies like Republic Services don’t provide the cost up front. Therefore, due to the reasons below, people decide to illegally dump.

  • Lack of convenient legal alternatives and presence of convenient illegal disposal sites
  • Increasing disposal costs
  • Lack of public awareness about the issue
  • Lack of judicial understanding of environmental laws, and therefore, low fines.

Morgantown’s Trash Facility:

Trash near and around the city of Morgantown is disposed of at a transfer station. Monongalia County does not have a landfill. The transfer station is located in Morgantown Industrial Park (3788 Morgantown Industrial Park, Morgantown, WV 26501)

People can also rent a dumpster from Republic Services to help with discarding larger garbage that they cannot take themselves.

Transfer Station Hours:

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Often people have materials in their homes that they don’t know how to properly dispose of. These common household items end up sitting in our garages or basements where they can be out of sight and out of mind, but below are proper ways to dispose of 5 common household items.

 5 Household items you may not know how to dispose of: 

There are many items that people possess, but sometimes they aren’t familiar with how to properly dispose of them. Live Science gives some suggestions on how to recycle hazardous materials.

  1. Motor Oil- To dispose of motor oil, place in a clear, sealed container and take it to a car service station or automotive store.
  2. Electronics- The EPA offers help with disposing of electronics.  Many places, such as Best Buy, will take old electronics and recycle them for you.
  3. Paint- 1-800-cleanup can be contacted for oil based paints. If paint is latex based then it must be dried out. For less than one inch of remaining paint it can be air dried. For larger amounts you can use cat litter by mixing it into the paint. Once the paint is dry it can be disposed of in the regular trash.
  4. Batteries- Call 1-800-batteries for information on disposal. Sometimes stores, like Walmart, take old car batteries and recycle them for you.
  5. Light-bulbs-Websites such as Earth911 can help find recycling locations near you. Stores such as Home Depot will also take fluorescent light bulbs and recycle them.

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The Life Span of Commonly Thrown Away Items: 

Cigarette Butt:     1-5 years

Plastic Bag:           10-20 years

Aluminum Can:   200-500 years

Glass Bottle:         1 million years  

Residents of the state of West Virginia can help to alleviate the problem of illegal dumping in the state by practicing prevention and helping to clean up already existing sites. Apart from residential help, the state increased fines for illegal dumping in 2010. According to the Charleston Gazette, cities and counties  work with the DEP to step up enforcement in problem areas. Motion cameras are installed to catch violators in the act, but more can be done if West Virginians become more aware of the issue.

WVU transportation: helpful or just a hassle?

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By: Ashley Conley

Have you ever been late to class (or just skipped all together) because of unreliable transportation? The PRT suffers break downs, the busses are sometimes overcrowded, there’s a decent amount of traffic and there are plenty of hills and stairs that make it difficult to ride a bike or skateboard to class; this is what West Virginia University students deal with on a daily basis. But is transportation at WVU and around Morgantown really as bad as it’s made out to be?

WVU Public Transportation

Your thoughts on the matter likely depend on your personal experiences. According to an article on the Mountaineer News Service, the PRT is fully functional only about 93 percent of the time, which means seven percent of the time, you’ll be stuck waiting at the station or trapped in a PRT car for an unknown length of repair. The bus system, on the other hand, isn’t much better. One WVU parent (name has been omitted for privacy) took to Facebook to rant her frustrations about her daughters’ horrible experience.

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Although the transportation isn’t totally reliable and can be a real hassle, WVU students are at least lucky enough to have so many options right here on campus and even around the Morgantown area. The PRT can take you from Walnut, to Beechurst, to Towers or Engineering or even the Health Sciences campus; Busses travel to the Morgantown Mall, over to the University Town Centre (near Walmart) and to Suncrest, which is on the other end of town; and Uber, a popular taxi-like service, is now available in our area.

While all these options are helpful, they’re still not as convenient as having your own car on campus.

Having your own vehicle at WVU

I spoke to a handful of WVU seniors who each have had varying experiences with or without their own car on campus during their four-year collegiate career. Here’s what they had to say:

I didn’t have a car until my second semester of freshman year and I just felt more comfortable knowing that if I needed to go to the store or wanted to get food or anything I had a way to do it. And if something ever went wrong or I was in a bad situation, knowing I had my own transportation was nice.

– Seth Barbarow, who has had a car on campus for most of his tenure at WVU.

I think the transportation offered can be good, but with the new road work, especially around engineering, bus schedules can be unreliable . . . It’s harder for me to get to classes because my (apartment) shuttle doesn’t have a good schedule and WVU’s bus line doesn’t go near my apartment. Having a car and being able to park on campus has made driving to classes a much more reliable option.

– Corey Whitlatch, who has experienced both scenarios of having a car and not having a car on campus. He also has experience driving a motorcycle to and from classes.

I think Morgantown tries very hard to accommodate every student with their transportation needs and does a decent job for the most part, but I don’t think they take into account the amount of students that rely on it. (Not having your own car) makes it difficult, especially if you’re a freshman and don’t really have any friends with cars!

– Zachary Duff, who doesn’t have his license and has never had a car on campus.

(Having a car) made everything more convenient, especially with all the changes going on with the PRT and bus schedules changing on Engineering because of the new Crossing. It’s also convenient when it comes to job searches because I was able to go to interviews easily where if I didn’t have a car on campus I wouldn’t have a way to get there. I really didn’t mind not having one my first few years, but I probably couldn’t go back to not having one now.

– David Petrelle, who did not have a car on campus until his senior year.

Bringing your own car to campus just makes everything easier. There are two downsides, however: 1. Parking rates (and violation ticket prices) are through the roof and 2. The atrocious potholes in Morgantown can easily damage your vehicle. You can check out Cayla Nolder‘s post from yesterday for more information on Pothole Problems around WVU’s campus!

When deciding whether or not WVU is the place for you, make sure you take all of the transportation options into account so you’ll be prepared for every scenario!

Cover Image: Ashley Conley

Ashley Conley is a senior journalism student at WVU. She aspires to become a writer or reporter in the sports industry upon graduation. You can follow her on Twitter @ashleyconleyyy

Pothole Problems

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The moment your tires meet the asphalt in the City of Morgantown, you know that ride will be rough and many will think you’re driving drunk.

Police with man pulled over

Image Credit: pbs.twimg.com

The roads in Morgantown, W. Va. are not a pleasant ride because they’re riddled with potholes. Some potholes you can bump right over with your vehicle while others cause you to swerve into the other lane. The sizes and depths of each vary drastically, and you often find yourself sucking in your breath if you hit one that you’ve misjudged to be small – the curse that comes to your lips is inevitable.

Image Credit: http://www.dominionpost.com | David Beard

Unfortunately, potholes are created thanks to the weather and since you can’t petition the weather to keep the roads from getting jacked up it’s the city’s responsibility to conduct maintenance on the roads. This isn’t always an easy task when you consider how potholes are made. In brief, the formation of potholes is caused by the “expansion and contraction of ground water after the water has entered into the ground under the pavement.” Take it back to your science 101 class in middle school: when the water freezes it expands – taking up space by pushing against the pavement material – cracking and bending the asphalt until it begins to break apart. Then when vehicles drive over the pavement, the weakened material deteriorates, even more, creating the pothole.

Now, as we enter the Spring season, the roads are getting worse! Why? Think about all that salt that was put onto the roads during the winter season.

Water will freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When salt is used, it lowers the temperature that water will freeze. This creates an artificial freeze-thaw cycle that permits more occurrences of the damaging cycle to occur. This happens more often in the spring because of the melting that takes place and because the temperatures fluctuating above and below the freezing point very frequently.

To put things into perspective, check out the graphic below provided by Summit County Engineer.

Morgantown roads have not improved since 2012. In a video produced by Ilyssa Miroshnik, Michael Ploger, and Ian Grimley back in 2012, Morgantown’s roads were still a prevalent issue. In the video you can see the horrendous state of the roads and let’s face it, not much has changed. In an interview with Terrence Moore, City Manager, he, “blames the sorry state of his city’s roads on the university’s explosive growth in recent years and the heavy traffic that results from such congestion. Since the 1960s, the university’s student population has grown from 12,000 to over 30,000.”

Here we are, 2017, and from the looks of that 2012 video not much has been done to change the tragic state of Morgantown’s roads. Of course, taxes plays a role in the maintenance of the roads. Moore mentions this briefly by stating,

The property tax rate for the city of Morgantown is listed at 2.5 percent. This is low when compared to other similarly sized university towns, such as Charlottesville, Virginia’s property tax rate, which is 4.5 percent.

Considering that students are nonresidents, they’re not required to pay taxes to the city, thus there are fewer funds being put toward fixing the roads. However, in an article written by Rachel McBride for the DA, in 2015, a solution was proposed in the form of “sin tax”. What’s a “sin tax”? The tax is “a proposal to fix Monongalia County’s roads by establishing a surcharge on alcohol and tobacco products.”

Essentially, “the sin tax would range from 10 to 25 cents per item, whether it’s a six-pack of beer, a glass of wine at a restaurant, a pack of cigarettes or a pint of liquor.” This tax seems like a probable solution due to the nature of West Virginia University being labeled as one of the top party schools. The sin tax would mean that nonresidents would be required to contribute toward fixing the roads in Morgantown or forfeit their partying habits (as if). Not surprisingly, the opposition against the sin tax was strong and the proposal died.

So where does that leave us? Frustrated for sure until we realize there’s possibly a new savior in town – Pothole Terminator

The story of Pothole Terminator broke on March 14, 2017, and this is what Kathryn Ghion had to report:

Check out this video

Hopefully, this new fix for potholes will pull through and make the roads better for Morgantown residents and students! The innovative Pothole terminator is cost efficient and is a solution to a permanent fix. Let’s hope it works for Morgantown, W. Va.

My name is Cayla R. Nolder and I’m a Writer/Editor for Conserve the Wild & Wonderful. Country backroads and trail riding are a few of my favorite things. Follow me on Twitter @cayla_redlon for the latest updates on Conserve the Wild & Wonderful