ENGELKE 'HANGING IT UP" - He Says So Long, But Not Without His Opinions

He has been "one of a kind."

Alvin Engelke is "hanging it up" with his longtime post as road supervisor for the Department of Highways in Wirt County.

Engelke, beyond any doubt, put the tiny village of Creston on the map with his on-going "Creston News," published in the Wirt County Journal, the Calhoun Chronicle and the Hur Herald.

Engelke has often created controversy, writing personal items in his column and expounding his political views. Readers are irritated by some of his reporting, but they also go back next week to see what he writes again about life and liberty in his rural West Virginia community.

He presented this letter today to Wirt County residents:

An open letter to the Citizens & Tax Payers of Wirt County,

As many of you know, I have been the Wirt County road supervisor on and off since 1985. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then, in fact the bridge has been replaced.

When I started one could not drive through Goose Creek, Ground Hog was dry weather only and most traffic stopped on Oil Rock at Osbornes. We even got a grader hung up on Freeport (Dry) Ridge, Cecil Coe road wasn't passable and so it goes.

Wirt County was lucky to have a crew of dedicated employees over the years, many still working, some now retired and others maintaining the streets of gold. With these workers we were able to keep the roads open in winter and were able to upgrade the roads so that now there are very few roads in the county that are not "year round roads".

All this was not without some difficulty, but the men adjusted to getting chewed out by "big shots" that were upset that Wirt County made other operations look bad.

However, times change and things must go on.

The folks down at the Mouth of the Elk River have raised the weight limits so that, soon, 88,000 lb loads can be anywhere even though W. Va. 14 was built to only withstand 30,000 lb.

With the state's financial crisis there will not be the money to maintain the existing roadways and the picture looks bleak.

One gubernatorial candidate said it takes three state workers to do two jobs, another promised he would take the money from rich out of state owners and give "free" health care to the poor (his family's money obviously being off limits) and another noted that to avoid bankruptcy state payrolls will have to be cut very soon.

Too many in positions of authority have annelid backbones and others believe that venality is a virtue.

At the same time there is a big move to eliminate county government and all that is related to the same and this involves counties of all sizes.

During my tenure of being responsible for the roads I was lucky to meet many fine people who shared their lives with the local road crew.

For all this I am thankful. But the time has come that I should leave and place more emphasis on agriculture, oil and gas and general economic development.

We are responsible for our own situations and we should all work to make the local area a better place and a place where economic dreams can be realized.

Thank you,
Alvin Engelke