Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To Roane County students who collected more than 16,000 books during a “Book Flood” held Feb. 11-15. The books were donated by county residents and will go to school libraries. Congratulations to the students who worked so hard to collect this many books.

DOWN: To Wood County Commission President Wayne Dunn for his opposition to giving residents who wish to meet with the commission the option of having a time-specific appointment. Appointments make sense – especially for people who are forced to take off work to meet with the commissioners. For some reason the commission under Dunn’s leadership has continually made it more difficult for residents to conduct business with county officials.

UP: To former Marietta Municipal Court Judge Milt Nuzum for being named director of Judicial & Court Services for Ohio’s Supreme Court. Nuzum has been the temporary director since March 2011. The office works to create policies and coordinate services that affect all of the courts throughout the state.

UP: To all of the participants in the Feb. 16 Polar Plunge, held at Point Park’s new amphitheater. Because of a strong current in the Ohio River, an above-ground pool was installed for the event. The 41 participants were required to raise $50 to participate in the plunge, with the money going to the Special Olympics.

DOWN: To the continual problem of motorists texting and talking on hand-held cellphones while they drive.

UP: To United Bank for coming to the rescue of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport by getting the facility out from under a line of credit by providing a lower interest option for refinancing.

DOWN: To Congress and the president for continuing to play petty politics and Congress not adopting a federal budget.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To Wood County Habitat for Humanity for exceeding its $100,000 goal in the group’s recent four-month Caring Campaign. A final donation of $1,900 by Michael Tucker, president of the West Virginia Central Credit Union, who also gave $10,000 to open the campaign, pushed the total over the goal. The money will help the wonderful organization build more homes for deserving residents.

DOWN: To news that eight West Virginia county school systems – including Calhoun – have serious budget deficits. This past Wednesday, the state Board of Education approved plans by the counties to eliminate these deficits. If these deficits are not eliminated, the affected counties could possibly be taken over by the state.

DOWN: To New Matamoras resident Robert D. Armstrong, 54, who pleaded guilty to violation of the Clean Water Act by allowing oil and gas well wastewater to flow into a tributary of the Little Muskingum River three years ago. He also entered a guilty plea on behalf of his company, RCA Oil and Gas LLC. On June 19, 2010, Armstrong used a backhoe to breach a wall of the reservoir, releasing about 800,000 gallons of wastewater from several fracking operations into Rockcamp Run.

UP: To the Knights of Columbus and the local Catholic Charities for the “40 Cans for Lent” drive, which was announced this past week. The 40 Cans drive asks families to donate one can of non-perishable food for each day of Lent. The food will be collected on Sundays at St. Margaret Mary and St. Francis Xavier in Parkersburg and St. Monica in Lubeck. Boxes will be placed in the rear of the churches. The goal is to collect 2,500 pounds of canned goods, which will be used to restock food pantries in the area. This is a wonderful idea that possibly could be adopted by other churches in the area.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To Paul A. Borrelli, owner of Artcraft Studio, for being named as one of 48 West Virginia History Heroes. Borrelli, a longtime member of the Wood County Historical Society, has generously provided historical photographs of Parkersburg’s past from his vast collection for many area businesses and publications. Also receiving this honor from our area are Roy H. Copen of Elizabeth, James and Janet Lockhart of Coolville, Ohio, and Kathie Reed and Frances Weekley of Friendly. The recipients will be recognized during the History Day program and ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 21 in the theater of the Culture Center in Charleston. Congratulations to all of the honorees from our area for helping to preserve our past so it can be appreciated by future generations.

UP: To Roane County native Deborah Hersman who is being touted as a possible new Secretary of Transportation for President Barack Obama. Hersman, the current chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, has the backing of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D- W.Va., for the post. Hersman is extremely qualified and if nominated we wish her well.

UP: To Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell for his appointment to the National League of Cities 2013 Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Advocacy Committee. The committee helps the league develop federal policy positions on natural resource issues. Congratulations to the mayor for this appointment.

DOWN: To the recent KIDS COUNT Data Book showing one in seven teen girls in West Virginia will give birth. The state ranks 40th in births to teen mothers. With this rank, the state is among the 10 highest numbered states in the nation for teen births. According to KIDS COUNT Executive Director Maggie Hale, the report is alarming because pregnant teens are much more likely to drop out of school, live in poverty and have babies that are less healthy.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

DOWN: To Wood County Sheriff Ken Merritt and other West Virginia sheriffs for signing a petition stating they would not enforce any federal assault weapons ban if one is passed. The current gun debate in Washington has been divisive, but Merritt and the other sheriffs who signed this petition are elected officials who have taken an oath of office to enforce the law. They cannot pick and choose which laws to enforce – even if they do not agree with those laws.

DOWN: To Wood County Commissioner Steve Gainer for his unprofessional outburst at fellow Commissioner Blair Couch at this past Monday’s meeting. Gainer was upset that commissioners are meeting on Feb. 7 with Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton to ensure commission meeting agendas comply with the state Open Meeting Law. At a recent meeting, both commission President Wayne Dunn and Gainer had voted to approve several items that were not on the meeting’s agenda. Gainer has been on the county commission for two years. It is alarming that neither he nor, apparently, Dunn seem to understand the basics of how to legally conduct a meeting. At least Dunn sees the meeting with Wharton as an opportunity to learn. We suggest Gainer take that attitude instead of throwing a fit.

UP: Love the children’s hand-drawn and colored ads in The News & Sentinel this week. They’re just the breath of fresh air this newspaper needed. So many ads look the same week after week that we don’t even notice them anymore. Great idea, ad staff. And cheers to the children involved. Great work!

Submitted by Beatrice K. Corra, Parkersburg

UP: My name is Carol, from Morgantown. On Jan. 6, my husband and I were in a car wreck on 36th Street. It was about 1:30 a.m. when a girl crossed the line and hit us. Our car could not be driven. The police officers were so helpful. One especially. He took us to finish two deliveries, then took us to a hotel to get some rest before we headed home. I would like to let the people of Parkersburg know what fine and helpful police officers you have. Be proud of them.

Submitted by Carol Mills, Morgantown

UP: To IBEW Local Union 968 for allowing the Veterans Museum of the Mid-Ohio Valley to use the space on the upper floor of the building housing the museum for storage. Museum director Gary Farris had recently noted the museum is running out of space for artifacts and storage, and this will ease that problem for now. Congratulations to the electrical union for its generous offer.

UP: To the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for its generous $10,000 endowment to the Parkersburg High School rifle team. The endowment will provide $500 a year in perpetuity for the program.