June 19, 2014

It's not all bad, continued

These days, I'm making a conscious effort to remind myself of things that my beloved state of West Virginia is doing right. And there are several. Last time around, I mentioned how WV is a leader in school/child nutrition. And my old sparring partner, the WV Department of Health and Human Resources, has done a stellar job of signing people up for the expanded Medicaid health coverage. And the decision to expand it was another good step taken by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin last year.

Something else that WV has started to get right is addressing prison overcrowding. Since passing legislation in 2013 along the lines recommended by the Justice Reinvestment project of the Council of State Governments, overcrowding in regional jails has dropped by half and the population in the state's prison system is below projections. Other steps along that line have been taken as well.

The latest positive sign is the involvement of state leaders with the Pew Charitable Trust in looking for ways of addressing problems in the juvenile justice system. I'm hoping we can take positive steps in that arena as well.

June 17, 2014

Three for the road

An interesting study from Ohio State suggests that the decline of union strength is a major driver of inequality. Meanwhile, here are some suggestions from the SEIU health care union about how to counter that. Finally, this item suggests that the interests of low income and middle class people are lining up. Would that it were so. And that we could get somewhere.

June 16, 2014

It's not all bad

With all the negative numbers and news stories coming out of WV these days, not to mention the ruling class hissy fit regarding Obama, the EPA and the so-called "war on coal," it's good to be reminded that the state is doing some things really well.

One thing that WV gets right, and is getting better with, is child nutrition. When it comes to school breakfast, lunch, snack nutrition standards, and to innovative ways of increasing participation, the state is a national leader. Much of that is due to the leadership of my friend Rick Goff, who heads the state Office of Child Nutrition. Goff was just invited to the White House for an event promoting child health with Michelle Obama.

West Virginia also is a leader in participation in the Community Eligibility Provision, which allows free meals for all kids in schools with a high percentage of kids living in poverty.

SPEAKING OF FOOD, here are some interesting things folks in Wheeling are doing to promote local foods and help revive the local economy.