Mendota Trail Washington County, Virginia railroad  trestle.
Fig. 1 Mendota Trail in Washington County, Virginia railroad trestle. Homepage

by Lewis Loflin

On the web since 1998.

I live in Washington County, Virginia just outside Bristol. We may not have jobs but lots of great natural beauty. There is a difference between conservationist and environmentalist. See Common Sense Environmentalism in Southwest Virginia.

The website and URL is based on a conflict I had with the Sullivan County Tennessee Commission over the Ten Commandments being hung in the County Courthouse in 1998. This is long settled and turned out well for everyone. See Sullivan County Tennessee Religious Wars 25 Years Later.

See my homepage covering religious topics surrounding Christianity, Deism, and related subjects.

Because of the Ten Commandments controversy and because I attended a Christian college as a non-Christian, I had to learn much more than some may have wished.

Also, Sullivan County went to war on strip bars; that was fun.

See Strip Club Regulations Upheld: Sullivan Sex Law Remains in Force

The real reason I went after Sullivan County and the Bible Thumpers, in general, was their utter indifference towards the working poor and the losses of thousands of jobs across the region in Virginia and Tennessee. The region's politicians were obsessed with social issues and would never address our abusive, low-paying business culture.

This is one example how public-private partnerships need to be outlawed:

Nicewonder Property Fiasco in Bristol, Virginia I warned them.

Quick navigation of this page:

Southwest Virginia Job loses 2010-2020.
Fig. 2 Southwest Virginia Job loses 2010-2020.


According to Zach Jackson, Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development, "The average full time worker in SWVA is paid $14,164/yr. less that the average full time worker in Virginia and $9,162/yr. less than the average full time worker in the United States."

The Chamber of Commerce is 2nd only to Jesus in this region. They vote millions in corporate welfare but begrudge a minimum wage worker $10 in food stamps.

The Woke Left today is the same obsessed with abstract cultural issues such as climate change (can't be controlled) while indifferent to the needless poverty and dislocation their ideology is causing. I revile both sides as they wage their culture war.

We will overcome all of this, but it will take time. Most Americans on both sides are not monsters. So let's have a conversation.

Besides my love of applied science and technology, that is the basis of this website.

Below is an archive of material going back to 2000 in regards to local politics and the local economy. My view is simply business must be severed from government. Government serves citizens, not the Chamber of Commerce.

Congratulations to our local politicians for spending 100s of millions in public money to create jobs! Southwest Virginia has a population of 313,499, a loss of about 29,000 since 2010. Perhaps over 40,000 since 2000.

I've documented for two decades the over-reliance of this region on government programs. Government grants and economic development funds totaling hundreds of millions are just gone.

To quote,

"Regional wages are not competitive with statewide and national wages. Turnover is high for low-wage jobs. SWVA residents disproportionately live in poverty; many workers cannot afford a basic standard of living."

I was asked to submit ideas and not just complaints. Fair enough. See Needed Political Reforms Ending Poverty Southwest Virginia

For one costly example see How Northrop Grumman Failed Russell County.

With growing inflation, costly climate nonsense, and the Federal Reserve threatening to destroy the labor market to control inflation, our community is in danger.

See Exploring Jonah Goldberg's Book 'Liberal Fascism'

So what Goldberg called liberal fascism would be appropriately called today Progressivism.

In 2022 the US Department of Justice and the FBI are taking on the characteristics of the East German Stasi. See 84% of Americans Fear the Government for Good Reason.

I'm not going into how most environmentalists are evil, they are not. But far too many extremists occupy government and academia. Their positions are incoherent and contradictory, even anti-human. And they hurt the environment.

See Ominous Parallels Environmentalism, Collectivism by Erich Veyhl.

Kelli O'Laughlin of Chicago.

Liberal Racism Promotes Crime

Another victim of a black criminal on parole. Yes - white lives matter too!

Update December 2019: One of the worst child abuse cases in Sullivan County is in the news again. See Baptist Preacher-Wife Sentenced to 179 Years

Also see 2007 Christian-Newsom Race Murders Rock Knoxville.

Female victims of black violence.

The press has created a hysterical circus when three white men were wrongly accused of raping a black prostitute. Yet virtually nothing on the brutal Knoxville carjacking, rape, and murder of two white kids. Even my local paper the Bristol Herald Courier wouldn't cover the killings 90 miles away while running reports on nonsense across the country. They were angry when I called them on it. They started carrying the reports.

Urals temperature 500 years from bore holes.
Fig. 5 Urals temperature 500 years from bore holes.

Present Global Warming Began Circa 1800

To quote 11/21/22, The Virginian-Pilot story "New emissions cuts not part of historic UN climate deal."

The new (UN) pact does retain language to keep alive the global goal of limiting warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The Egyptian presidency kept offering proposals that harkened back to language in the 2015 Paris accord that also mentioned a looser goal of 3.6 degrees. The world has already warmed 2 degrees since pre-industrial times.

Climate change is real and ongoing natural part of nature. It drove evolution, what is happening today started at the end of the Little Ice Age circa 1800-1850. Let's reduce waste and the use of fossil fuels for rational reasons.

Because we have severe cold and warm spells at differing times means little. In 2022 Europe is suffering through a drought the same as it did in 1920-21.

Another headline: "Dec 10, 2021 Historically frigid weather, tens of degrees below zero, has invaded northeast Russia, Scandinavia, Alaska and northern Canada in recent weeks."


This is illustrated in above. A series of borehole measurements in Russia allowed climatologists to reconstruct temperatures across Russia for the last 500 years.

This example is hysteresis, where climate change may take decades or centuries after the initial event to be measured. Or is a "slow motion" event taking many years. Scientists from the 1600s observed low sunspot activity, thus lower solar output.

About 1800 solar output increased, temperature increased in Russia by ~0.25 Deg. C from 1800-1900. It takes time to overcome changes in temperature, in the case cold oceans and ice cover slowed the process.

By 1900 to 2000 temperature increased another 0.75 Deg. C. Notice the many positive and negative spikes from 1800 to 2000. The overall average is positive.

Other factors can come into play. Many glaciers formed during the Little Ice Age were melting. This means less reflected sunlight. Soot and pollution from industry settling on ice and glaciers may have accelerated their melting. This is positive feedback.

But this kind of pollution can work both ways by reflecting sunlight.

The sun has grown brighter, perhaps since the 1800s. To quote NASA:

"Since the late 1970s, the amount of solar radiation the sun emits, during times of quiet sunspot activity, has increased by nearly 0.05 percent per decade, according to a NASA funded study. This trend is important because, if sustained over many decades, it could cause significant climate change. ... Historical records of solar activity indicate that solar radiation has been increasing since the late 19th century. If a trend, comparable to the one found in this study, persisted throughout the 20th century, it would have provided a significant component of the global warming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to have occurred over the past 100 years."


This precisely tracks the borehole data from Russia. This trend is NOT a linear relationship.

Let me be clear: this DOES NOT explain all of the observed warmings. Note these kinds of observations, before the 1970s, were not available.

There has been warming for over 200 years. Ice has been melting, and the oceans have been warming. As they gradually warm overall temperatures will increase.

So-called greenhouse gases certainly play a part; how great we don't know. As the oceans warm CO2 will be out gassed and less absorbed in addition to burning fossil fuels..

Sunspot activity measurements in the modern sense go back to 1755. Sunspots run in 11-year cycles, but their duration and intensity vary.

Present cycle 25 began in 2019 and "will increase until a peak sometime between 2023 and 2025." This trend means the atmosphere will heat up again and expand, putting a drag on satellites.

I'm guessing it will get warmer minus some form of negative feedback, such as a major volcanic eruption. See Climate Change and Volcanoes.

For example the Mt. Pinatubo eruption (western Luzon, Philippines) on June 15, 1991, (VEI-6) was "the second-largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century." Sulfur aerosols dropped global temperatures ~0.5 Deg. C (0.9 Deg. F) for at least two years. I think it buried Clark Air Base.

I'll do a subsection below how eruptions ~536 AD created the modern world later.

There should be a temperature rise by the sun pumping more energy into the system heralding a rise in global temperatures.. That happened in the late 1970s bringing down Skylab.

To quote,

The trouble was, the sun had other ideas. The very solar activity that Skylab had studied so fruitfully now turned against it. An unexpected rise in the number of CMEs and other radiation slamming into Earth heated our atmosphere so much that it expanded. This increased the drag on Skylab and began to pull it out of orbit faster than Nasa had reckoned.

"Skylab's orbit eventually decayed, and it disintegrated in the atmosphere on July 11, 1979, scattering debris across the Indian Ocean and Western Australia." WIKI.

Ref. The Guardian May 13, 2013. Skylab's 40th anniversary reminds us of the danger from space debris.

To further quote, "The first half of 2022 saw sunspot and solar flare activity on the sun increase significantly, including some of the most powerful flares seen in several years."

Ref. Sun's Upcoming Peak of Sunspot and Solar Flare Activity Could Set Records, Eric Mack August 5, 2022.

As I remember ice caps on Mars were shrinking at that time. NASA is quick to deny increased solar radiation is the cause.

Nowhere is religious garbage more proven than in Al Gore's book "Earth in the Balance." I own the book and have read it myself.

While published circa 1992, this cult integrates outright communism and racist social justice in 2022.

I challenge the reader to buy and read the book. See my webpage Dissecting Al Gore's Book Earth in the Balance. banner.

Electronics, Nuclear Reactors, Applied Science

The above banner is to my electronics projects website. My interest is applied science and technology. That is what I will cover moving forward.

In Southwest Virginia, there is a discussion of placing small modular nuclear reactors in the region. I have a section on Geiger counters and even built my own.

Virginia has one of the larger uranium reserves in the US. They have blocked mining it because of pollution concerns. I can't blame them. But we constantly offshore pollution in the name of climate change.

We need to replace most fossil fuels. We have the ability right now to replace all coal, natural gas, and bio-fuels today. Windmills and solar panels are a massive waste of resources, leaving millions of tons of toxic waste from manufacturing.

See Green Technology Highly Polluting, Environmentally Destructive (Off site)

I'll be exploring issues on nuclear reactors they could place in Southwest Virginia. I'll present the material in more layperson's terms. We have, I'd estimate, one million tons of potential nuclear fuel in storage we can use without creating more pollution mining it in developing countries.

The dangers of nuclear radiation are overblown. It occurs naturally in the environment, our blood is radioactive, and sites where nuclear testing and reactor meltdowns have become nature preserves. These areas are full of plants and animals.

Environmentalists oppose the only viable solution to reducing CO2 because CO2 has never been the issue. They want to remake society by promoting some Green Eden mythology or outright communism. Often a combination of both.

Too many consider any artificial substance dangerous to the natural world, so pristine nature is the intrinsic good. Some introduce spiritual and religious aspects into this. Some go as far as viewing humanity as evil, placing untouched nature above human welfare.

Artificial sources of radiation are no different than natural sources. The claim is any radiation exposure is deadly. This claim has been disproven.

It is provable because millions live in areas with high natural background radiation levels with no measurable ill effects. We are immune to low-level sources, natural or artificial.

I'm not going into how most environmentalists are evil. But far too many extremists occupy government and academia. Their positions are incoherent and contradictory, even anti-human. And they hurt the environment.

See Ominous Parallels Environmentalism, Collectivism by Erich Veyhl.

Let us explore real-world examples.

Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Saratoga leaking oil, sinking at Bikini Atoll
Fig. 4 Aircraft Carrier USS Saratoga leaking oil, sinking at Bikini Atoll

Nuclear Graveyards Abound with Life

The hysteria over nuclear waste is unfounded. We can dispose of it safely. Fears over radiation are groundless. I'll explain why in the coming days. Bikini Atoll was the site of 23 massive nuclear blasts in the 1940s-50s. Google Earth shows these colossal bomb craters.

Massive fallout levels, thousands of tons of spilled oil from target ships, should have left the atoll and lagoon a dead zone. Sorry to disappoint; the experts got it wrong again. Life flourishes in the bomb craters and on land.

It is safe to live in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No two-headed Japanese. How many died of radiation at Fukushima? One perhaps seven years later. How many died at Chernobyl? 50, according to the UN. Spare me failed computer models about future events. Chernobyl was the result of complete human stupidity.

I'm not playing down the radiation hazard at the reactor site. Note that Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus suffer massive pollution problems to add to possible radiation problems. Healthcare is poor in these countries, in addition to pollution. To attribute every illness or cancer in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus to Chernobyl is nonsense.

To quote News Week March 8, 2022:

Over the years, wildlife has returned to the exclusion zone, which due to a lack of human disturbance, has become a thriving ecosystem. Scientists have observed brown bears, wolves, lynx, bison, moose, foxes, and many more wild animals in the area.

Sorry, no two-headed bison or bears or horses. Nature is resilient and we should strive to live within it. Because we evolved in an environment that is naturally radioactive, including the potassium in our blood, we have immunity from low-level radiation.

To quote The

33 years after the accident, the Chernobyl exclusion zone, which covers an area now in Ukraine and Belarus, is inhabited by brown bears, bison, wolves, lynxes, Przewalski horses, and more than 200 bird species, among other animals.

In March 2019, most of the main research groups working with Chernobyl wildlife met in Portsmouth, England. About 30 researchers from the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Belgium, Norway, Spain and Ukraine presented the latest results of our work. These studies included work on big mammals, nesting birds, amphibians, fish, bumblebees, earthworms, bacteria and leaf litter decomposition.

These studies showed that at present the area hosts great biodiversity. In addition, they confirmed the general lack of big negative effects of current radiation levels on the animal and plant populations living in Chernobyl. All the studied groups maintain stable and viable populations inside the exclusion zone.

They also note, "Tourism has flourished in Chernobyl, with more than 70,000 visitors in 2018."

Chernobyl, like Bikini Atoll, is a thriving nature preserve because of the lack of human activity.

Also see my page Bikini Atoll Recovery From Nuclear Blasts.

Cancer rates by state including Nevada Nuclear Test site.
Fig. 6 Cancer rates by state including Nevada Nuclear Test site.

What about humans and radiation?

OK, they say, plants and animals are not as sensitive to radiation as once believed. They can even thrive under low-level radiation, even if artificial. What about humans?

There is a mountain of empirical evidence that humans are immune to low-level radiation or there is no measurable increase in cancer rates.

They often present uranium miners as proof that radon and exposure to any radioactive material causes increased cancer rates.

Is it the uranium-radon, or is it the fact mining is an occupation has elevated health risks? Breathing toxic metal-laden dust in hard rock mining can lead to cancer or other lung problems.

Now let us observe workers in these blue-collar occupations, such as mining, are disproportionately heavy smokers. 2-3 packs a day is standard. My mother died from smoking. To quote one study:

We observed high rates of smoking (28.1%) and current use of any tobacco product (41.7%) in New Jersey quarry/mine workers, a subsector of the extraction industry. The prevalence of current cigarette smoking was consistent with that reported nationally among extraction and construction workers.

I grew up around coal miners who died from lung cancer and-or black lung. The same kind of damage comes from cotton and rock dust, etc.

Studies also show that diesel exhaust, smoke from wood stoves, campfires, etc., can cause lung cancer.

Let's throw in genetics. Thousands of things, both artificial and natural, can "potentially" cause cancer. Most simply don't or can't be proven.

Attributing everything to secondhand smoke, radon, or too many cookies is politics and propaganda.

Ref. Diesel Exhaust Exposure in Miners Linked to Lung Cancer July 25, 2012, by Victoria A. Fisher , M.P.H.

To quote part of the study:

For never smokers and light-to-moderate smokers, the risk of lung cancer death increased with more diesel exhaust exposure. Non-smokers with the highest level of diesel exposure were seven times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smokers in the lowest exposure category. In contrast, among miners who were heavy smokers, the risk of lung cancer death decreased with increasing levels of exposure...Heavy smokers might be more likely to clear diesel exhaust particulate matter from their lung than non-smokers, a phenomenon that has been reported previously among coal miners who smoke.

This study could suggest standard diesel, and auto exhaust could cause lung cancer in non-smokers. At the same time, before we get hysterical, cancer rates, particularly lung cancer, are falling.

The Nevada Nuclear Test Site lies 65 miles NW of Los Vegas with 928 nuclear detonations. The last was in 1992.

The fallout fell in large parts of Nevada and Utah. We should expect large numbers of cancer cases. In 2020 we found the opposite, according to CDC data.

Nevada has lower cancer rates than Iowa, Delaware, and Oregon and nearly the same as Rhode Island. Nevada has lower rates than most of the country.

Utah has almost the lowest rate in the nation. How can this be, screams environmentalists?

Nevada's rate per 100,000 in 2005 was 191, but it went down to 144 in 2020. Utah is nearly unchanged. The highest cancer rate state in 2005 was Kentucky at 219.1.

By 2020 cancer death rates in nearly every state had dropped by double digits in 15 years. The highest cancer rate state in 2020 was again Kentucky at 177.3, followed by West Virginia at 177.

Things continue to get better, to the dismay of environmental activists. As I said before, technology and reason is the key to solving problems, not socialism, green religion, or hysteria.

If low-level radiation causes all of this cancer, explain Nevada and Utah. The answer is simple: humans are not sensitive to low-level radiation. Radiation levels, even from nuclear weapons, levels rapidly decay.

Don't go to the Nevada Test site and eat a hand full of dirt. But tours are available to the public. This tour includes the 1,280-foot diameter by 320-foot deep Sedan Crater. Yes, it is a big hole in the ground among many.

Tours are to resume in 2022 after being closed three years over Covid.

More tour information at

Radiation Basics They Should Teach in High School

I know people hate science but here is some anyway. Note that every time I do this I learn something new. Learning is a constant process.

There are three general types of radiation and all originate in the atom nucleus:

Alpha particles are heavy and slow, consisting of two protons and two neutrons. They have a positive charge. They are very ionizing and can cause cell damage.

A few sheets of paper can stop these particles. They are common in smoke detectors. They become helium 4, the helium you breathe in the atmosphere.

Beta particles are high-speed electrons with a negative charge. Very penetrating and can do a lot of damage.

Gamma rays are electromagnetic radiation similar to microwaves but far more penetrating. It takes a few inches of lead or several feet of earth to stop.

Cosmic rays are not electromagnetic radiation but charges particle or ions. They are thrown out by the sun or from across the universe. Ions are atoms stripped of electrons carrying a positive charge. There are also electrons.

These consists of protons, helium 3 nucleus (stellar helium two protons, one neutron) and small numbers electrons, iron ions, etc.

These have different energy levels and can affect biological cells and tissue differently. A healthy immune system is an excellent defense against low-level natural or artificial radiation.

Cosmic rays create a real danger for human space travel. The earth's magnetic (think northern lights) and the atmosphere shield us from these charged particles.

Note, "The sievert (Sv) is the International System of Units (SI) derived unit of dose equivalent radiation that takes into account the relative biological effectiveness of different forms of ionizing radiation."

Note : 1 REM = 0.01 Sv. = 10 mSv;
0.4 REM = 0.004 Sv or 4 mSv is the background radiation for 1 year in Idaho;
0.3 REM = 0.003 Sv or 3 mSv = 1 Mammogram;
5 REM = 50 mSv maximum occupational dose nuclear workers per year.
Ref. Idaho National Laboratory.

What are "official" safe levels according to "In most countries the current maximum permissible dose to radiation workers is 20 mSv per year averaged over five years, with a maximum of 50 mSv in any one year."

According to reports, "Japanese government’s enforced 20 km exclusion zone around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is rated at 20 mSv per year."

To quote one source on Bikini Atoll, "In 1997, researchers found that the dose received from background radiation on the island was between 2.4 mSv/a—the same as natural background radiation." (There is still radioactive isotopes in the soil.)

How do "experts" determine safe radiation levels? Or cancer risk levels in general? It is called the Linear No-Threshold or LNT model. This model assumes a lifetime low dose is the same as a massive single, fatal dose.

We know "that high-level radiation could cause immediate physiological effects." But what of low-level doses, intermittent or even constant low-level doses over the years?

To quote, "The decision in the early 1950s was, for administrative simplicity, to assume that the harmful health effects of radiation decreased linearly with radiation dose, all the way down to zero health effect at zero radiation, with no radiation threshold below which we could say there was no significant hazard."

This is nonsense and has been proven so since the 1940s-50s. There are no lingering effects with Japanese nuclear survivors. No lingering problems with most people evacuated from Chernobyl. Ditto plant and animal life.

Studies of residents in regions of high natural radioactivity, including heavy exposure to radon, have shown no abnormal cancer rates, etc., even suggestions to the opposite.

The LNT model is nonsense and needs revision. It is not just radiation but numerous substances they claim "can" cause cancer. No level is ever considered safe.

For example, our blood contains radioactive Potassium 40. To quote, "According to various data, its content in the body of an adult person with body weight 70 kg ranges from 4,000 to 5,000 Bq." (One becquerel is the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second.)

That is 5,000 nuclear disintegrations per second. Your body emits gamma rays. In other words, gamma rays escaping your body could cause cancer in your baby when holding them.

The radioactive potassium in the banana one has for lunch can cause cancer! Flying across the Atlantic from America to Europe, exposure to cosmic rays can cause cancer! One silly calculation if every person on earth ate a brazil nut, one person would die of cancer from radiation.

Because natural uranium is in seawater, seawater can cause cancer! Others claim chlorinated drinking water "increased risk of colorectal cancers."

Total and utter nonsense. Explain how cancer deaths per 100,000 across the United States have fallen by double-digits.

Other Radioactive Places to Visit

There are other radioactive places to visit different than artificial sites such as Bikini Atoll (yes, there are tours to dive shipwrecks), Chernobyl, and the Nevada Test Site.

Banner is my other website. I'm a conservationist, I consider ecology a pseudo-religion. Some of the subjects covered:

Critical Look at Islam

While many individual Muslims are fine people, its culture and religious precepts are barbaric in public policy.

Religious Articles Index
Origins Christianity


Poverty rates Southwest Virginia.
Fig. 3 Poverty rates Southwest Virginia.

Relocating Companies is not Job Creation

VCEDA is the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority

Here is another all too often example of the government taking an active part in destroying American jobs and working to lower wages. Transferring jobs to another state is not job creation.

I will be clear VCEDA deserves praise for its efforts. And these companies are doing what is in their best interest.

Everything here is legal, but we must call into question a broken economic system that leaves poor communities scrambling to buy jobs in a labor-hostile, low-wage job culture.

Over thirty years of the same failed policies, now facing the third recession in thirty years, something must change.

Federal policies undermine their reasonable faith efforts. Spending millions in incentives and making business another branch of the government can't continue.

Note with following I have changed company names and other identifying information. This serves as an example, but is true. That is not true of eHealth below.

AJ Hubcaps, formally known as Pegasus Metals, fired its 42 workers in Pennsylvania May 20, 2022. They opened in Southwest Virginia June 14, 2022. Getting over $5 million new building, etc.

AJ Hubcaps according to VCEDA, "the company has grown to 41 full-time employees with an average annual full-time wage of $36,000." I don't believe that and want proof of the claim.

In the past their claims have proven overly optimistic, throwing in weasel words such as "projected", etc. Even if true it is still on the bottom end in the state even after paying $125,000 in corporate welfare (incentives) per job. That is just on the building alone. says,

"How much does a Production Worker make in Virginia? The average Production Worker salary in Virginia is $39,906 as of October 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $35,784 and $45,168. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession."

According to Zach Jackson, Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development, "The average full time worker in SWVA is paid $14,164/yr. less that the average full time worker in Virginia and $9,162/yr. less than the average full time worker in the United States." I'll go with $26,000 "annual full-time wage" until I get verifiable proof otherwise.

Because many of these giveaways last 36 months, they paid their salaries of the company workers, at public expense, for three years. These figures are based on a similar deal with another company got part of a new building for $100 per month for three years.

VCEDA awarded nearly 100 "small businesses" an average of $10,000 each for no good reason. When I asked if VCEDA going to take credit for "job creation" they never answered the question. These names have not been changed.

Important job creators funded by VCEDA are The Happy Goat; Affordable Quality Lawn Care LLC; Ethic Hair Care; Far Fetched Grooming LLC; Sweet Links LLC; Lavish Hair Designs; Elite Motion Dance Company Inc.; Whistle Pig Country Store LLC; Huff Daddy BBQ LLC; 404 Cafe and Creamery LLC; The Coffee Station LLC; Engine 343 Brick Oven Pizza LLC; Big Stone Gap Miniature Golf LLC; Snuckle Butter LLC; Breads by Marla LLC; Weeping Willow Cafe Inc.; American Muscle Detailing LLC; Black Bear BBQ LLC; Craft Connection LLC; and it gets worse and worse.

And that was just part of page 4 of the list.

Some consulting firm named CHMURA claims VCEDA started in 1988 and as of Dec. 2018 "initiated 291 business attraction and expansion projects...VCEDA efforts helped attract a total of 23,052 jobs." I'll get to what "helped" means below.

This is nonsense. There is no evidence many of those jobs ever materialized.

A list of those companies they sent me circa 2012 most of the firms failed, few if any ever hired the workers promised. We find this out after the closing make it into the press. They clearly stated these were merely job projections and they DO NOT TRACK number of jobs or wages paid, which was supposed to pay at least $2 above minimum wage.

So how did CHMURA make these claims when under Virginia Law the State Employment Commission is barred from releasing this data? Even VCEDA has no access to this information. Nearly every company they partnered with that I checked on went out of business, a few within months. They still claim they "created" jobs.

Travelocity was one of their bigger fiascos that made nationwide press. They moved in at least 3-4 call centers into the same facility claiming the creation of nearly 1,500 jobs. There were never more than 200 jobs at any one time. The last time I checked they got a 100 jobs with a government contractor SI International.

When I asked in 2022 who was in the facility, they didn't answer.

VCEDA claims of those 23,052 "jobs" (as of 2018), 11,865 were manufacturing, 7,700 were call center jobs. 886 were government jobs. They claim "investment" in these projects was $2.8 billion.

They claim to have created 292 information jobs, but information related jobs across the region fell 45% from 2010-2020. Earlier claims (or the usual projections) of 700-1000 hi-tech information related jobs in Lebanon, Russell County, (Northrop-Grumman) was false.

Grumman received a $9 million local incentive package at least partly funded by VCEDA, so assuming all the information jobs were in Lebanon, was $31,000 per job just on that.

When I spoke to the Russell County IDA two years ago, they stated Grumman was down to ~20 jobs, never hired more than a few hundred at best. Those were mainly a customer service call center desk paying less than the local AT&T call center. Those were really not information jobs.

But as I read down the CHMURA report they wrote "economic impact" assumes the jobs are permanent, then stated "However, firm-specific data are not available to confirm if such is the case."

I know for a fact most of these deals have failed, some many decades ago. The entire CHMURA report is worthless. VCEDA was honest with my earlier inquiries these were merely "projected" not actual jobs.

It was mainly virtual job creation. Or high hopes. Stop claiming job "creation" when one doesn't know. I blame the press that doesn't look into these claims or asking the right questions.

Another study they sent me was, "Economic Impact Analysis of the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund" or the small business seed program. This is from Virginia Tech dated February, 2021. I believe this is the $10,000 grants to these cookie shops and BBQ shacks.

The study is worthless because on page 17 again "Number of employees projected." This does take into account their present employees full and part time. When I inquired if VCEDA was taking credit for present and future employees, they gave no answer.

If Dubuggles Lawn Care, with two employees goes out of business, will they still claim credit for creating two jobs? No answer.

In addition weasel terms such as "average full time wages" can't be confirmed because the Commonwealth of Virginia only releases state wide averages.

On page 19 the VT report states, "Note that we did not model the impacts of the one-time monetary investments of up to $10,000..."

Again note the weasel term "modeling." Computer modeling proves nothing. These reports without verified specifics are computer model garbage. Their only purpose is to leverage State and Federal money. If one can't prove it, don't make claims as fact.

As CHMURA noted VCEDA "helped" generate over 23,000 mostly (my opinion) virtual jobs. They are one of five other similar state economic development agencies all over lapping each other. This is in addition to each county having its own individual industrial development authority.

Industrial-economic development in itself is an industry. This shocking but honest statement from Washington County, Virginia states the real goal is outside money:

"Economic development does not necessarily mean growth, although the growth of both population and revenue may be a result. Economic development means strengthening the community's economic base or the part of the local economy that brings in money from outside the county."

In one case ~$5.5 million in grants created three jobs. At least those three jobs are still here after 10 years.

VCEDA covers the following counties: Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Scott, Russell, Tazewell, Wise, and the City of Norton. These are among the most destitute counties in the state.

LENOWISCO covers Lee, Wise, and Scott Counties and City of Norton.

Virginia Tobacco Commission covers the same counties as above plus all of Southwest and Southside Virginia. They have spent ~$800 million in the same way VCEDA has, producing little.

Sorry I don't consider public funding of horse camps or hiking trails a job development.

Two newest economic development whatever are "Go Virginia!" and InvestSWVA. Let's throw in the money "invested" from the Virginia Governor Opportunity Fund.

These are the most popular pages on this site as of November 2022.

eHealth stock falling like a rock.
Fig. 4 eHealth stock falling like a rock.

eHealth Another Troubled Call Center

The system works like this. Multiple agencies will fund parts of the same "job creation" effort then they all claim to have "created" new jobs-the projected new jobs.

A good example is something called eHealth, another call center. Hundreds of new jobs are "projected", underwritten by unknown amounts of money from the Scott County IDA, who knows how many others. They get a shiny new office building and tons of other free stuff. This deal was announced around 2020 according to press reports.

The only problem is their stock selling at $133 per share May 2020 has tanked to $3.27 November 2022. In 2018 eHealth closed its Massachusetts office, dumped 79 workers. To quote, "eHealth reported a loss of $25.4 million for 2017, compared with a loss of $4.9 million the year before."

Ref. Boston Business Journal Mar. 6, 2018. Note eHealth is also embroiled in a lawsuit I won't go into.

To quote Oct. 22, 2020:

Loss from Operations - Loss from operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 was $26.1 million compared to loss from operations of $41.7 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019.

Pre-Tax Loss - Pre-tax loss for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 was $25.3 million compared to pre-tax loss of $39.9 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019.

Net Loss - Net loss for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 was $14.4 million, or $0.56 net loss per diluted share, compared to net loss of $21.9 million, or $0.96 net loss per diluted share, for the nine months ended September 30, 2019.

So eHealth was losing millions at the same time they got involved with Virginia. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (another agency) December 10, 2020 states:

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Scott County, InvestSWVA, Mountain Empire Community College, and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a New Company Incentive Program grant of $626,500, which will be provided by the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund (COF). ... The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $94,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project, and eHealth Technologies is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development.

So eHealth is putting in a whopping $375,000. This is "projected" to create 160 jobs. Another unstable call center. All of these government organizations will claim 160 jobs created. Virginia public dollars are bailing out a troubled call center company.

Again I will repeat the main marketing ploy this gaggle of government agencies use to lure in business: "The average full time worker in SWVA is paid $14,164/yr. less that the average full time worker in Virginia and $9,162/yr. less than the average full time worker in the United States."

To further quote,

"Regional wages are not competitive with statewide and national wages. Turnover is high for low-wage jobs. SWVA residents disproportionately live in poverty; many workers cannot afford a basic standard of living."

I was asked to submit ideas and not just complaints. Fair enough. See Needed Political Reforms Ending Poverty Southwest Virginia

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