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Flooding seems a repeat expense

Couldn't the Schoenbaum Stage at Haddad Riverfront Park and the park's awning supports have been built so the metal bases wouldn't get flooded?

Surely someone could have asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers exactly how high the water could go and then built the stage and awning supports high enough to keep the metal out of the water.

In a Monday story by my associate Paul Fallon, John Charnock, Charleston's director of parks and recreation, and George Farley, construction project manager, made flooding of the stage seem routine.

Meanwhile, Fallon reported that it takes about one day for city employees to clean all of the debris and mud from the park and that, when needed, the city's Public Works Department uses a small end loader to remove large debris like trees and limbs.

That sounds to this Charleston taxpayer like a recurring expense that could have been avoided.

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After the lights went out during the Super Bowl, Peabody Energy CEO Gregory Boyce said in a prepared statement that the incident "offered a convincing visual demonstration to counter those who have envisioned a world without coal."

"Without coal, you might as well turn off half the lights not just for our favorite games but also for our cities, shops, factories and homes," Boyce said.

Peabody is the world's largest private-sector coal company.

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The South Charleston Chamber of Commerce 21st annual Groundhog Breakfast and Economic Forecast last Friday morning drew 125 people, said Amanda Ream, the chamber's executive director.

That's a great turnout considering the wintry weather that morning.

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A "Bourbon & Ice Wintry Night Soiree in New Orleans" benefit dinner is scheduled in the Mountain Lodge Ballroom at Snowshoe Mountain Resort on Feb. 22.

The event is a money-raiser for The Snowshoe Foundation, which financially supports organizations that provide benefits to the people of Pocahontas, Randolph and Webster counties.

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Bank robberies are down by almost 50 percent in the past decade, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Some experts attribute the decline to better security at banks, tougher sentencing of bank robbers and a shift to online thefts.

"The American Bankers Association estimates criminals netted $1.8 billion in check and debit-card fraud in 2010," the Journal reported on Tuesday.

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Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has revised its outlook on the Commonwealth of Kentucky from stable to negative.

John Sugden, Standard & Poor's credit analyst, said in a prepared statement, "The outlook revision reflects our concern over pension funded levels, which have declined and are likely to continue declining . . . and budgetary pressures associated with funding post-retirement benefits."


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