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DR. Joseph Murray began his medical career as a plastic surgeon, performing skin grafts on burn victims in World War II. When the patient did not have enough skin, he used skin from others to cover the wound.

"The slow rejection of the foreign skin graft fascinated me," he said in 1990. "How could the host

distinguish another person's skin from his own?"

He got his answer: genetics. And on Dec. 23, 1954, Murray led a team of surgeons to conduct the first successful kidney transplant from Ronald Herrick, 23, to his identical twin, Richard.

Later developments to suppress rejection led to more than 600,000 other people receiving successful organ transplants. In 1990, Murray received a Nobel Prize for that work, along with Dr. E. Donnall Thomas, a pioneer in bone-marrow transplants.

Murray died at 93 following a stroke on Thanksgiving.

Many people live on thanks to the contributions of this remarkable man, who asked a simple question and discovered a world-changing answer.

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FOR two decades now, West Virginians have been hearing that computers will bring world-class education to the rural reaches of the state.

Those predictions of distance learning finally are coming true thanks to three Estonian developers.

Raleigh County schools are gearing up to use Skype to bring schools into homes. Teachers and pupils can interact with a program that lets people from all over the world hold face-to-face meetings. It was developed in Estonia nine years ago.

This means school can continue even if a child is home due to bad weather or illness.

"Some children who do not perform well in

a traditional school environment may do well by

attending the class through Skype or by following the school work virtually," said Raleigh County Board of Education President Richard Snuffer.

Skypeing school. Who knew?

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EACH week, the Federal Register publishes about 1,000 pages of new federal regulations — bureaucrat-made law without bothering members of Congress.

At least one congressman wants to turn off the

automatic pilot on laws in at least one area. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., proposed a two-year ban on new laws, rules and regulation of the Internet.

"Together, we can make Washington take a break from messing with the Internet," Issa said in a post to Reddit, the social news site. He invited users to suggest changes to the proposed bill.

Here's one:

Could we simply make that a two-year moratorium on all new regulations from the bureaucracy?

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THE West Virginia Economic Outlook 2013 ranked the top eight destinations for exports from West Virginia. Topping the list was

Canada, with sales of $1.5 billion in 2011.

But the rest of the list was less predictable.

West Virginia's No. 2 trade customer was Brazil at $695 million, followed by the Netherlands at $692 million, India at $653 million, Italy at $614 million and Ukraine at $500 million.

All are ahead of the second and third largest economies in the world: Japan ($449 million) and China ($420 million).

The Ukraine is the state's No. 6 customer?

In a global market, customers can be found everywhere. West Virginia must be prepared for any opportunity to do business.

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HAZING? Really? In this day and age? That had to be the reaction of anyone above the age of reason to West Virginia University's expulsion of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

The fraternity crossed the line with an alcohol-

related hazing of new members in October.  

The "Animal House"-style initiation followed a temporary suspension of the local fraternity by the university and the national organization after similar complaints last year.

Insurance for the frat also became an issue following the illegal activity.

The university is helping students who live in the frat house find other lodgings.

Officials of the university and the national frater

nity deserve praise for cleaning up this modern Delta House situation.

It's time it ended.


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