Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To the Marietta College students participating in today’s Make a Difference Day, the largest day of community service in the nation. Student organizations have planned projects for today, including Alpha Tao Omega, Cross Country and the Psychology Club. Twelve of the 20 projects have been planned by members of the newest group of students in the McDonough Leadership Program through the LEAD 101 classes.

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UP: To the Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority for considering adding a bus route to the Kmart plazas in both south Parkersburg and Vienna. Adding these stops would be more convenient for riders, especially during the upcoming holiday season. It also could add more riders.

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UP: To the Belpre High School Alumni Association for its Shoe-In campaign. Now through Oct. 29, new and gently used children’s shoes-child sizes 10 through adult sizes 10 for boys and girls-can be dropped off at the elementary school on Rockland Avenue and the city building on Park Drive during business hours.

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UP: To the local foundations that were honored last weekend by Philanthropy West Virginia for their collaborative venture of the Civic Leaders Fellowship Program. The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and Bernard McDonough Foundation received 2013 Critical Impact Award in Morgantown during the annual Philanthropy West Virginia awards ceremony. The Civic Leaders Fellowship Program joins college students with area employers for summer employment in an effort to aid the community in keeping its young professionals.

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UP: To Vienna resident Jeff McDougle, 57, who was was chosen this week as the new manager of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport. He will officially take the job when manager Terry Moore retires in January.

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DOWN: To the tea party Republicans in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who during the government shutdown allowed their hatred for President Barack Obama’s health care law to threaten the economy. Only when faced with the possibility of going over the fiscal cliff, did reason seem to prevail. Even in Wednesday’s deadline vote, 144 Republicans in the House – including Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio – showed they were willing to put their agenda ahead of average Americans by voting no.

UP: To the U.S. senators on both sides of the aisle, including Joe Manchin, who worked tirelessly during the budget crisis to help craft a solution. While bipartisanship in Washington, D.C., may be on life support, these lawmakers proved it is not yet dead.

UP: To longtime firefighter James Reynolds, who was recognized this week by the Capt. James Neal chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution for his longtime service to his community. Reynolds has been a firefighter for more than three decades. He retired as a captain with the Parkersburg Fire Department in 2006, and promptly joined the Belpre Volunteer Fire Department the next year. Currently, he is a member of the Blennerhassett Volunteer Fire Department as well as serving as an EMT with the unit. He also is an instructor at West Virginia University at Parkersburg. As Capt. James Neal chapter said of Reynolds, “He knows everything, does everything.” Congratulations to Reynolds for a well-deserved honor.

UP: To the wives of area law enforcement officers who are holding a food drive to help needy families in the area. Between now and Nov. 14 the wives, whose group is called Law Enforcement Wives of Wood County, are asking people to donate food items with the goal of providing food for area families at Thanksgiving. Drop-off locations are located all around Wood County and include, all Parkersburg fire stations, the Parkersburg Police Department and substations, the Parkersburg City Building and Mayor Bob Newell’s office, the Williamstown City Building, Vienna City Building, Vienna Volunteer Fire Department station and Judge Black Courthouse Annex in the tax office.

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UP: To the third annual Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cookoff scheduled today from noon-3 p.m. at Point Park. The event, held by the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley and the Parkersburg Area Jaycees, will feature at least 39 chili cooks, many representing businesses and organizations in the Mid-Ohio Valley. The cost is $15 a person and is well worth the price.

DOWN: To members of the U.S. Congress who have proven to be unequal to the task of governing. Americans are tired of the petty squabbles that constantly keep the people’s business from getting done. There are signs the current budget crisis may come to an end, but we hope, in the future, Congress would work for the American people and not for a political party.

UP: To Parkersburg City Council for passing a resolution banning smoking within 15 feet of all playgrounds. It is not, as dissenting members of city council believe, a smokers’ right issue, but a safety and cleanliness issue. Congratulations to council for this vote.

UP: To Gene and Joyce Wharton for their longtime support of Ohio Valley University. In honor of that support, the university’s business school will be called the Gene and Joyce Wharton School of Business and Information Technology. According to the OVU board of trustees this was done to honor the Whartons in recognition of their gifts of time, labor, leadership, financial support and love.

UP: To the second phase of the W.P. Snyder Jr.’s multi-million dollar restoration project. The Snyder – the only remaining steam-powered sternwheel towboat in the United States – is on its way to Henderson, W.Va., for repairs to the pilot house, the repainting of the exterior and the replacement of metal plates on the main and boiler decks, as well as repairs to the electrical system. It is hoped the Snyder will be back at its familiar spot at the Ohio River Museum in time for its April opening.

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DOWN: To members of the U.S. Congress who allowed the federal government to shut down, causing numerous problems that threaten to become more than just a nuisance as the debt limit deadline is nearing. This is a total embarrassment and the American people deserve better than what has happened in Washington, D.C., this past week. Unfortunately, West Virginia’s two House members, Rep. David McKinley and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, have helped things reach this point.

UP: To the more than 800 people who turned out Thursday at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center to show their support for the center and to try to stop a proposal to close the 400-acre center. The center is the property of the West Virginia Department of Education. It is home to the annual Mountain State Art and Craft Festival and plays host to numerous programs for the Future Farmers of America, Future Homemakers of America and Future Business Leaders of America, as well as serving as host facility for many schools’ band camps in late summer. Cedar Lakes faces closure because of mandated 7.5 percent across-the-board state budget cuts.

UP: To the people who helped rescue two beagle pups who became trapped in a drainage pipe near the southside Wal-Mart Thursday afternoon. The pups, Maggie and Happy, were being trained by owner Jeff Barton in an adjacent field when the dogs apparently climbed into the drain through the access gate and could not get back out. Members of the Parkersburg Fire Department, the Humane Society of Parkersburg and store officials from Wal-Mart helped in the rescue.

UP: To Thursday’s ribbon “snipping” that marked the official opening to the Humane Society of Parkersburg’s long-awaited spay and neuter clinic. The S.P.O.T. Clinic (Stopping Pet Overpopulation Together) is located at 506 29th St. in Parkersburg, and will offer low-cost spay and neutering services to anyone in an effort to reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats.