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UP: To the support among area fire departments during emergencies. This cooperation was on display Tuesday when lightning started a fire at a home on Wyndemere Drive. Vienna and Williamstown volunteer firefighters responded to the scene to assist Parkersburg firefighters on the scene. Meanwhile, volunteer firefighters from the Waverly and Lubeck fire departments provided coverage in case an emergency happened in Vienna, while members of the Belpre and Reno volunteer fire departments crossed the Ohio River to safeguard Williamstown and Parkersburg. During this time Belpre firefighters responded to a report of smoke at R&J Recycling on Garfield Avenue. While it was not a fire, the cooperation among departments that reaches beyond state lines shows the dedication these people have to their responsibilities.
UP: To all of the Memorial Day celebrations held in the Mid-Ohio Valley honoring the men and women from our area who served their country.
UP: To West Virginia First Lady Joanne Tomblin for bringing Scholastic’s 2014 Summer Reading Challenge to our area. Mrs. Tomblin visited Doddridge County Elementary School to read to students and donate several books to the library. Her message to students is one that needs to be heard: Reading is not just something to be done during the school year. Students also need to read during the summer. A person without reading skills stands little chance of succeeding in today’s world.
DOWN: To the state law that prevents identifying juveniles involved in serious crime. Last week, two teens were arrested after they beat a 63-year-old off-duty Parkersburg police officer. Fortunately, the officer was not seriously injured. The two teens were later arrested and found to be intoxicated. They were ordered held in a secure juvenile detention center. This was not a harmless act of juvenile delinquency, but a serious physical assault in which one of the teens allegedly used a collapsible baton on the victim. There may be good reasons from shielding teens’ identities in some cases; however the public has a right to know the names of people – all people – who have been arrested and charged in violent incidents.
UP: To the W.P. Snyder’s return to its home at the Ohio River Museum along the Muskingum River. On May 8, the 96-year-old sternwheeler left a shipyard in Henderson, W.Va., where it had undergone approximately seven months of renovation. However, because of high water on the Ohio River the Snyder was forced to spend the next few weeks docked first at the Lafayette Hotel, and, later, in Vienna. It finally was able to return to the museum on Thursday where it will be ready for the upcoming summer tourist season.
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UP: To all of the Memorial Day celebrations this weekend in the Mid-Ohio Valley. While we hope everyone will enjoy the first holiday weekend of the summer, residents should take time to attend a ceremony for those who passed before us or pay respect to veterans who answered their country’s call of duty and never returned home.
UP: To the area’s high school and college graduates who have received their diplomas. We hope all of the grads have the opportunity to make their dreams come true.
UP: To Donna Davis who was named the 2014 Hero of Hope award winner in recognition of her volunteer service to the Wood County Juvenile Drug Court. Davis is a volunteer member of the drug court board, which helps youth who have had problems with the law and have been involved with drugs and alcohol. Davis, a former employee of the city of Parkersburg, received the award during the May 7 drug court graduation.
UP: To the Parkersburg High School Junior Engineering Technical Society Club for winning an opportunity to compete at the national championship tournament June 27-July 1 in Washington, D.C. The team advanced to the national tournament by winning the state title on Feb. 22 in Morgantown. Congratulations to the students for achieving this honor.
DOWN: To the person responsible for leaving an elderly Chihuahua in a dumpster at the Marietta Bantam Baseball League concession stand where it was found Wednesday morning. The animal’s health was determined to be so bad it was later euthanized. A Whipple woman and her father have been charged with animal cruelty.
UP: To 87-year-old Lowell native Bernard Engle who will receive his high school diploma during today’s graduation ceremonies at Fort Frye High School. Engle, who now resides in Vero Beach, Fla., graduated from the former Lowell High School in 1945 but didn’t receive his diploma because he left for the Navy before his graduation ceremonies. Through the efforts of his daughter Sharon and the Fort Frye High School administration, Engle will walk with the 2014 Fort Frye grads and finally be recognized for his efforts.
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UP: To those taking part in both the Wood and Washington counties annual Relays for Life, which wind up this morning at Parkersburg City Park and Civitan Park in Belpre. Since its inception in 1985, the relay has become the largest single fundraising event held by the American Cancer Society. It celebrates both those who have successfully battled this devastating disease, and remembers those whose lives were taken by it.
DOWN: To Calhoun County voters who decided against a very small school levy this week. Officials are now evaluating which cuts will be made in order to keep the school system operating in the black. Voters who will likely soon see the negative effects of their decision might get another chance in November.
UP: To the overwhelming passage Tuesday of the Mid-Ohio Valley’s Easy Rider bus levy. The levy won approval from 77.38 percent of voters, meaning public transportation will continue to operate in Parkersburg and Vienna for the next two years. For many residents, bus service is essential.
UP: To this past week’s National Police Week ceremony held at Parkersburg City Council chambers and at locations around the country. The annual event is held to honor law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, and to remind citizens that officers put their lives on the line every day just by doing their job. One of the speakers at the local event was Charleston Police Lt. Eric Johnson, who was shot and seriously wounded in the line of duty in 2006. While Johnson survived, it was noted that 100 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2013.
UP: To the winners of the Wood County Elementary Spelling Bee, held May 6 at the Blennerhassett School auditorium. Nearly 50 students from the county’s public and private schools competed in the event, with the top three winners in grades 2-3 and 4-5. Grade 2-3 winners were: First Place: Riley Oblisk, Williamstown Elementary School; Second Place: Josh Fruner, Vienna Elementary School; and Third Place: Bastet Zyla, Madison Elementary School. Grade 4-5 winners: First Place: Chloe Stump, North Christian Elementary School; Second Place: Eric Wang, Neale Elementary School, and Third Place: Teddy Turner, Greenmont Elementary School.
UP: To news that The Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise LLC (ASCENT), a subsidiary of Odebrecht, has submitted two environmental permit documents to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. While the permits are just two steps in a long path to construction of a long-anticipated ethane cracker plant in southern Wood County, it is a step in the right direction.
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UP: To the 125th anniversary of the Blennerhassett Hotel. The hotel, which opened on May 6, 1889, and is now locally owned by the Ross family, will hold several events in the coming weeks to commemorate the anniversary. The downtown landmark is one of the city’s tourism foundations.
DOWN: To the Wood County Board of Education, for its craven performance during Tuesday’s meeting. In a heated discussion about the highly charged Parkersburg South wrestling team’s controversial T-shirts, board members were quick to either point the finger of blame at Superintendent Pat Law, or kowtow to some of the misinformed parents who spoke out during the meeting. These board members have shown themselves quick to backpedal and blame others when something goes wrong – the Parkersburg High School Stadium Field funding situation, for instance. It is true, it was Law who made the correct decision on the matter. Here is a question for board members: Had Law made the incorrect decision and fought the Freedom From Religion group – maybe even in court – and brought the issue before the board for a vote to proceed, how would the board have voted, knowing the school would lose a costly court battle? In an election year, we fear we already know the answer.
DOWN: To the low voter turnout for Tuesday’s Ohio primary election. Despite the number of candidates and issues on the ballot, according to the Washington County Board of Elections, out of 41,804 registered voters in Washington County, only 6,818 turned out to vote, either by absentee ballot or on election day.
UP: To voters in both the Warren and Belpre school districts for passing renewal levies that were on the ballot during Tuesday’s primary election. While the levies are not new, passage does mean the schools can continue to operate at their current levels without cuts.
UP: To the three honorees recognized this past Tuesday for their contributions to their community at the Ohio Valley University Evening of Honors. Felice Jorgeson, director of the Smoot Theatre, was honored as the 2014 Mid-Ohio Valley Citizen of the Year. Richard Adams, chairman and chief executive officer of United Bankshares Inc., and his wife Liza Adams were honored as the 2014 Mid-Ohio Valley Business Leaders of the Year. OVU’s night of honors takes place every other year to recognize leaders in the local community.
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UP: To the late Bob Zide, innovator and founder of Zide’s Sport Shop in Marietta, for his induction into the National Sporting Goods Association Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame. Zide, who founded his business in 1948, spent 45 years, not just selling athletic gear, but making sure athletes-especially the ones on the high school level-had equipment that kept them as safe as possible. Among his many innovations, he was the first dealer in the country to individually fit helmets and shoulder pads on players for football teams in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, something that is now common practice. This was a well-deserved honor and we are happy members of his family were able to attend the ceremony held Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, Calif.
UP: To residents taking advantage of the early voting opportunity underway for the May 13 primary election. Between now through May 10, residents can vote between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and next Saturday, in the Fort Boreman public meeting room of the Judge Black Courthouse Annex, 315 Market St., or at any of four satellite polling locations. Early voting is sometimes called “no excuse” voting, because registered voters can cast a ballot at their convenience before election day, meaning there is no excuse for not voting.
UP: To Cole Smith and Michael Hicks, students at the Mid-Ohio Valley Technical Institute, for competing this past week in the statewide competition of the 2014 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Quality Care Challenge in Bridgeport. The pair, who also attend St. Marys High School, earned the opportunity to compete by placing in the top 10 scoring teams in West Virginia on the online written portion of the challenge hosted by Ford Motors and AAA.
DOWN: To those responsible for a series of car break-ins April 25 during a track meet at Erickson Field. Police were called to the stadium after receiving a report of vehicle damage. Once they arrived, police found several vehicles that had their windows broken and items stolen from inside. This type of crime is becoming too commonplace in the area. However, people should take precautions and not leave valuables in their vehicles where they, apparently, are too much of a temptation to thieves.
UP: To area American Red Cross volunteer Susan Hughes who left this week to help out in the tornado-ravaged areas of the Southern U.S. Tornadoes in Mississippi and Alabama earlier in the week killed at least two dozen people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. Hughes, who is making her 70th volunteer mission for the Red Cross, will interview victims and assess their needs. More volunteers from the area are expected to travel to the area at a later date.