Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To Volcano Days, Mountwood Park’s annual celebration of the area’s oil and gas history. The celebration, which runs through Sunday, will include antique engines, wagon rides to the historic Stiles Mansion, music, food, and many other forms of entertainment.

UP: To Warren High School junior Cole Wigal, a kicker on the school’s football team. His old-school, square-toed kicking style was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal. The Journal noticed that 98 percent of the California-based Wizard Sports Equipment’s old-style shoes are shipped to Ohio, and the newspaper picked Wigal to be the subject of a feature on the style of kicking that has largely given way to the more popular soccer-style.

UP: To Marietta’s Campus Martius and Ohio River museums which will offer free admission today in honor of National Museum Day. While Glenna Hoff, education and program director at Campus Martius, said nothing special is planned, the museum still has several popular exhibits, including “Imagining Marietta,” a collection of murals depicting life in the new settlement by artist William Mark Young, and “Touched By Conflict: Southeastern Ohio and the Civil War.”

UP: To the Parkersburg Police for the quick arrests made in the recent Erickson All-Sports Facility break-in and vandalism case. We do not understand why people would engage in this type of mindless vandalism.

UP: To the Wood County League of Women Voters for holding a public forum this past week on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. With enrollment in the new health care plans being offered beginning on Tuesday, there is still much confusion about the changes being brought about by this legislation. Forums like this are needed to help citizens find answers to questions they may have about their insurance before the act takes effect on Jan. 1.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To Friday evening’s reopening of the Parkersburg High School Stadium Field for the football game between PHS and Capital High School. Crews worked all this past week finishing up last minute items to get the home-side bleachers ready. And also a thumbs up to the PHS Stadium Committee for the stadium commemorative coins that sell for $20. The coins mark the first game played with fans in the new bleachers and also will be a fundraiser to help with the rest of the needed renovations.

UP: To the Campus Martius Museum for hosting the second Kid’s Archaeology Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. The children participating will learn about the work of an archaeologist and help with a special dig. They will talk about the artifacts they find, what is considered an artifact and how each object might have been used, said Glenna Hoff, education and program director at Campus Martius.

DOWN: To the two young men who allegedly broke into and vandalized the concession stand and outbuildings at the Erickson All-Sports Facility, causing $6,000 in damage to doors, windows, appliances, cabinets and fire extinguishers. We agree with Wood County Schools assistant superintendent Mike Fling that the act was despicable. Hopefully, with the act caught on camera and the video being shown on the newspaper website, the culprits of this mindless act will be caught soon and severely punished.

UP: To Mountain State College and its 125th anniversary celebration from 2-5 p.m. today at its Parkersburg campus at Spring and 16th streets. The celebration is open to the public and will feature Nashville-based musician and Parkersburg area native Matt Enik, who performs on stage during the event. Congratulations to Mountain State College for being such an important part of the Mid-Ohio Valley for 125 years.

UP: To the Harvest Moon Festival and the Belleville Homecoming this weekend at City Park and Belleville, respectively. These are the kind of things that make the Mid-Ohio Valley a nice place to live and work.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To West Virginia University at Parkersburg and area libraries for working together on a “Big Read” project to raise awareness of literature and encourage reading. WVU-Parkersburg received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host the project. The college is partnering with the Parkersburg-Wood County Public Library system, Vienna Public Library, Jackson County Public Library, Ritchie County Public Library, Roane County Public Library, Pleasants County Public Library, Sistersville Public Library and Dora B. Woodyard Memorial Library in Elizabeth to hold book discussions and other events throughout the region. It is hoped the Big Read will encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.

* * *

UP: To Marietta’s fourth annual Ashlee Scott Memorial Parade Your Paws Walk, scheduled this morning at Muskingum Park. The event is a fundraiser for the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley and will include a pet parade, costume contests and a raffle. Ashley Scott, who died at the age of 38, was a passionate animal lover. The past events have raised between $3,000 and $4,000 for the shelter.

* * *

UP: To this past Tuesday’s open house at the Marietta Memorial Health System’s second of four planned campus buildings at its Belpre location. The Memorial Health System is a nonprofit health system governed by a volunteer board of community members and is designed to provide needed services for residents of this region. It is comprised of a network of two hospitals, outpatient service sites, assisted and long-term care facilities and a retirement community.

* * *

DOWN: To new state requirements for hiring teachers could end up costing Wood County Schools thousands of dollars to pay teachers to attend interviews. The new policies were mandated by the West Virginia Legislature and allow for input from teachers and faculty senate groups. In some cases as many as 11 teachers could participate in the hiring process at a school. Those teachers are to be paid for as much as three hours per interview for their work. Considering that Wood County Schools had about 500 vacant professional and service positions to fill prior to the school year, had 169 applicants for just one position, this mandate could end up costing the school system taxpayers thousands of dollars.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To the 2013 Ohio River Sternwheel Festival, which runs this weekend at the Ohio River Levee in Marietta. The annual festival offers a glimpse of yesterday when the river was the main route and the sternwheelers were the main mode of transportation along that route. The festival continues through Sunday.

UP: To the Smoot Theatre’s Happy Birthday West Virginia program scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday. The program will feature author Mark Harshman, West Virginia’s Poet Laureate. Along with Harshman, who will read to children, the program also will include hammered dulcimer music by Scott Cain.

DOWN: To the $176,000 in taxpayer-financed salary and benefits paid to former Parkersburg Police Officer Floyd Holliday during the three years the case was in the court system. The city was obligated to pay Holliday after his 2010 firing was overturned by the Parkersburg Police Civil Service Commission. The city was even forced to include Holliday in a pay raise given to officers earlier in the year. Wood County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Reed ruled last week the police commission “abused its discretion” and upheld Holliday’s firing.

UP: To the kindergarten students at Emerson Elementary School in Parkersburg who have previously collected tabs for the past 12 years for the Ronald McDonald Houses in Charleston and Morgantown. This year, however, the money raised from recycling the aluminum tabs will be sent to help the Columbus Ronald McDonald House to show support for Ashley Skinner, a former Emerson kindergarten teacher, now teaching at Williamstown Elementary. Skinner’s 3-month-old daughter, Paisley, was recently treated for seizures at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Skinner and her husband were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House during Paisley’s treatment. The child has since been able to return home. To donate, people can drop off money at any area McDonald’s in the change dispensers by the cash registers, or can bring the tabs to Emerson Elementary where they will be placed in a large barrel and later recycled.