Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
UP: To the annual Washington County Fair, which begins today and runs through Tuesday at the Washington County Fairgrounds. The fair celebrates its 194th year and is the second-oldest fair in Ohio.
UP: To the return of busing at Warren Local Schools. Ohio doesn’t require a school system to provide busing and the Warren Local Board of Education eliminated the service two years ago because of funding issues. Parents who have been forced to drive their children to school during the past two years are certainly happy to see the buses rolling again. Good to the Warren BOE for returning this service.
UP: To the volunteers and other supports of the Salvation Army who were honored Tuesday during the organization’s first fundraising dinner to benefit area homeless youth at Grand Pointe Conference Center. Lt. Mechelle Henry and her husband, Erik Henry, co-officers of the local corps, thanked individuals, groups and churches that raised money and volunteered their time to the Salvation Army in the past year. The Salvation Army is more than just a thrift shop and a temporary shelter. It provides immeasurably valuable services – many to children. It would not be possible without these volunteers and supporters.
UP: To Wood County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Reed for finally putting an end to the long-running saga of former Parkersburg Police Officer Floyd Holliday. Holliday was fired in March 2010, but the firing was overturned by the Parkersburg Police Department Civil Service Commission. The issue has languished in court since that time with Holliday being on paid suspension. On Thursday, Reed issued the ruling upholding the firing, saying the commission “abused its discretion.”
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UP: To Marine Sgt. Chris Santiago and his family who received the keys to their new home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that was built through Homes for Our Troops. The house in Queen Anne, Md., was constructed with features that allow Santiago to move around easily inside. The 2002 graduate of Parkersburg High School was severely injured on Sept. 16, 2006, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while serving in Iraq. Santiago lost his legs below the knees and suffered major injuries to his left arm in the explosion. Santiago works in the Washington Navy Yard and is attending college.
DOWN: To the drivers who continue to ignore the signs and barricades on Farson Street, creating a dangerous situation. The project is being undertaken to help businesses and residents in that part of town. Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz said the issues with drivers not paying attention to the signage or barricades began almost the moment work started. He warns drivers who ignore the warning will face fines if caught.
UP: To a ceremony held Friday that renamed the DuPont Road Bridge, which carries West Virginia 68 over U.S. 50 on Corridor D, as the “Navy Chief Petty Officer Nicholas Heath Null Memorial Bridge.” Null, a Parkersburg South High School graduate, died during Operation Enduring Freedom on Aug 6, 2011, when the helicopter he was in crashed after being fired upon. Null, an EOD/Naval Special Warfare Development Group member, was awarded two Bronze Star Medals, one with Valor; two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with Valor; three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, one with Valor; the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; the Afghanistan Campaign Medal; two Iraq Campaign Medals; the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons; the Rifle Marksmanship Medal; the Pistol Marksmanship Medal; the Bronze Star Medal with Valor; and the Purple Heart.
UP: To the start of the 2013-14 school year. We hope it is a good year for students and their parents, and remind drivers to drive with caution when children and school buses are present.
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UP: To the Parkersburg Homecoming, the Homecoming Parade, the News and Sentinel Half Marathon, the fireworks, the free entertainment and all the fans, volunteers and participants today and Sunday.
UP: To a ceremony to honor the memory of former West Virginia University at Parkersburg President Eldon Miller. Miller, the college’s longest-serving president, died May 31 at the age of 77.
UP: To U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Booth Goodwin II for his talk this past week to a group of senior citizens in Wood County, warning them about potential scams. Goodwin said seniors, often targeted by scam artists, should never give personal or financial information and to use common sense when dealing with anyone seeking the information.
UP: To a tentative agreement between the Humane Society of Parkersburg and the Wood County Commission to resolve an issue involving $27,000 allocated by the county for the purchase of a truck. A question arose over what would happen to the truck in the event the two-year contract between the humane society and the county is not renewed after the first year. A new proposal over ownership was proposed by Wood County prosecutor, and, hopefully, agreed upon by the humane society’s board of directors. The commission will vote on the modified contract Monday.
UP: To Marilyn Plum, longtime owner of the Corner Cafe restaurant, for her return to work after undergoing surgery for a brain aneurysm. She had gone for an MRI on her pituitary when the issue was uncovered. Plum and restaurant employees had just opened the restaurant in its new location in the Matheny Motors complex in mid-July when the aneurysm was discovered. She had surgery a week later. It is a relief to see Plum once again serving her many customers from behind the counter of the Corner Cafe. We wish her continued health.
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UP: To the area bicyclists traveling to Columbus today to participate in Pelotonia 13, an annual bike ride aimed at raising funds for cancer research. All of the local riders have had their lives affected by cancer in some way and chose to participate in Pelotonia 13 as a way to raise funds and fight back against the disease. All the money raised by the riders goes directly for cancer research.
UP: To SW Resources 32nd annual Harvest of Opportunities Benefit Auction, slated tonight at the Parkersburg Country Club. The annual auction raises funds to help SW Resources maintain, improve and create programs for individuals with disabilities. The agency provides employment opportunities and vocational services to 250 client-employees, either at SW Resources or with companies in the community.
UP: To this weekend’s Brigade of the American Revolution Encampment, a living history event is being held at Marietta’a East Muskingum Park. The event part of on ongoing celebration of Marietta’s 225th birthday, will feature about 60 reenactors of the American Revolution demonstrating artillery and guns, music, clothing and uniforms, of life in a military encampment during the years of the American Revolution, 1775 to 1783.
DOWN: To the current disagreement between the Wood County Commission and the Humane Society of Parkersburg that is holding up signing a two-year contract for animal control services. The hurdle is the $27,000 the county agreed to give the humane society to purchase a truck. Since the county cannot legally enter a contract for more than one fiscal year at a time, Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton recommended revising the contract requiring the truck be returned to the county if the contract is not renewed for its last year. The humane society recommended if the contract is not renewed for its last year the truck be returned to the county for the Blue Book price of the vehicle. The two sides will meet Monday to discuss the issue, and we hope a suitable agreement can be found.
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UP: To the 81st Belpre Homecoming, which concludes today with several events. Belpre’s annual homecoming not only is a wonderful event in itself, it also kicks off the festival season in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Parkersburg’s Homecoming will be celebrated in two weeks, and concludes with Marietta’s Sternwheel Festival.
DOWN: To Wood County Assessor Rich Shaffer’s unilateral decision to give pay raises to employees of his office, including his brother. Shaffer can disburse his offices’s budget as he sees fit; however, by giving this raise without informing the Wood County Commission, he put the commissioners in an uncomfortable position. The commissioners are studying whether or not there is enough in the budget to give other county employees a raise, and Shaffer’s move will only cause discontent among other employees.
UP: To Community Resources Inc. for its annual distribution of backpacks for Wood County school children. CRI, one of several organizations to hold backpack giveaways before the start of the school year, distributed 350 packs this past Thursday. The backpacks are age appropriate for elementary, middle and high school children, containing markers, pens, coloring books, notebooks, rulers, highlighters and dental hygiene packs.