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Tornado Damage at Cove Creek

by Lewis Loflin

Click any thumbnail above for a larger picture. Shown above is the tornado damage to my property from the April 2011 tornados that tore through much of the South and left 14 people dead in the Tri-Cities region. We got off lucky with minor vehicle and roof damage, and a large number of smashed trees that missed my house. The pile of timber behind my car is what VDOT removed from the road that tore down phone lines.

I live in Washington County, Virginia and we were lucky, the Glad Spring section along I-81 was devastated. The destruction included a truck stop, a number of houses, several other businesses. A company called Utility Trailer had recently recalled 200 laid off workers only to see the facility heavily damaged. The workers are unemployed again and the factory might reopen in January.

In this a new controversy arose when FEMA refused assistance to Washington County. Yet political vultures waited in the woodwork to blame Congressman Morgan Griffith and the local Tea Party for the actions of FEMA. Go figure. FEMA is a Federal agency and is not operated from the House of Representatives. That included the unfounded attack below which I responded to in the local press.

Aid rejection in line with what tea party wants

May 13, 2011 Bristol Herald Courier

Many citizens in Washington County, VA., were surprised when FEMA decided that Glade Spring did not qualify for disaster relief. But if you look at how our country spends our money it really is no surprise. So much of our financial resources are draining to the war efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya.

Then, of course, we are exempting the wealthiest Americans and it appears many corporations from paying taxes that they used to pay and are perfectly capable of paying.

Add our Wall Street fiasco with many losing their savings, houses and jobs and we are in a situation of having little to take care of the needs of struggling Americans who need help.

This is how the tea party and many Republicans want it. They want to keep government out of our lives (code words for keep your hands off my money) and now we are getting what they want.

Finally, many with whom I have talked wonder had this disaster happened under Rick Boucher's watch would there have been a different outcome? I, for one, felt that we were not the forgotten part of Virginia when he was representing us.

Laurel Flaccavento Abingdon, VA.

Laurel Flaccavento and her husband operated Appalachian Sustainable Development which received and wasted millions of our tax dollars from Mr. Boucher and the Virginia Tobacco Commission. Like all of these "Greenism" government scams it produced nothing I can document and has mostly shut down. A few people sure weren't forgotten as most of the millions in government spending went to special interests and the politically connected and not the general public.

Also note the Tea Party has been protesting Congressman Griffith. Another thought, perhaps we were denied aid by the Obama people in retaliation for the election defeat of Mr. Boucher?

Political Vultures

I'm taking a strong exception to Mrs. Flaccavento's ignorant attack on the Tea Party. For her information FEMA as a Federal agency is under the control of President "Hope and Change" who by the way has not gotten us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, then starts another war with Libya. Tennessee didn't get FEMA merely because of East Tennessee, but widespread damage across the state.

President "Hope and Change" has continued the same destructive Wall Street policies of President Bush. Where's the prosecutions for fraud? Where's an end to unregulated derivatives and hedge fund trading? Where's a new Glass-Steagall Act? Two years of Democrat rule has produced zero.

Let's discuss the 28 years of Slick Rick Boucher's fraud and waste policies. According to Virginia Department of Social Services poverty increased across the region from 1997 to 2007 even here in Washington County before the latest Wall Street debacle.

According to data from Kiplinger's Best Cities Washington County/Bristol has the highest cost of living relative to the lowest median family income in Virginia and Tennessee. The region in regards to jobs, healthcare etc. still ranks in the bottom 10% in the nation. What an accomplishment after 28 years; we lost another House seat in Richmond.

As for Mr. Boucher's economic legacy: $6 million wasted on the Bristol Train Station. Where's the jobs? The 1000 new high tech jobs we were promised in Lebanon, no proof they ever materialized (the State is suppressing the data) and Russell County lost 4.7 percent of its population as a reward. Why does an IT job in this region pay 60 percent less than the rest of Virginia? Why are the people of Southwest Virginia worth less for the same jobs than anywhere else in the state? That's just wrong.

$228 million wasted in Grundy ($228,000 per resident) resulted in a 10.7 percent population drop for Buchanan County. They did get some high paying Walmart jobs. They're wasting another $3 billion on the Coalfields "pork barrel" Expressway that will produce nothing (except big profits for Halliburton) while VDOT is starved for funding and can't fix our roads.

What about the wrongful diversion of highway funds for a library in Damascus? How many jobs did the millions wasted at Appalachian (Un)Sustainable Development produce? Let's see a list of those jobs Mrs. Flaccavento.

It's about time we rely on each other and end the dependence on government welfare in all forms. Yes my property is damaged too from storms and as a veteran, yes cut the military and get our troops home. I hope Glade Spring gets the aid, but end these ignorant and unfounded attacks on the Tea Party that I'm proud to be a part of.

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