UP: To outgoing Homecoming President Randall Roberts for the excellent job he has done in this position since taking the job in 2009. Roberts, 70, announced he would step down as president of the festival board of directors during this past Tuesday's Parkersburg City Council meeting. During his tenure he has helped steer Homecoming to a solid financial footing after several years of losing money - and he has been able to do it by growing the event. This year, the festival spent $20,000 more than the previous year. Unlike previous years, Homecoming is free of debt, and is $8,000 in the black going forward. We wish Roberts well and are happy to hear he will remain as a member of the board. And we wish incoming board president Cyndie Wade the best going forward.
UP: To the West Virginia Division of Highway workers and contractors who were able to get a destroyed section of Interstate 77 between mile markers 111 and 113 and running less than 24 hours after Tuesday's gas line explosion had closed both lanes. Crews working overnight on the busy freeway to repair pavement that literally had been melted by the fire that erupted after the blast, which happened near Sissonville. Thankfully, no drivers were injured during the blast. Several people were taken to Charleston-area hospitals for smoke inhalation and at least five homes were destroyed.
DOWN: To former Ritchie County Superintendent Bob Daquilante for his actions that resulted in a conciliation agreement with the West Virginia Ethics Commission in November. According to the conciliation document Daquilante signed, he was fined $7,500 and agreed to a public reprimand for being "not completely forthcoming" during an investigation of his role into the hiring of a friend to be the schools athletic director at a salary of $50,000. For most people, "not completely forthcoming" is a legal way to say he didn't tell the truth. Daquilante is fortunate the state ethics commission is basically a toothless organization, because "not being forthcoming" could have led to criminal charges in the private sector.
DOWN: To Michael Lee Sharp and Amanda Marie Glendenning, who moments after being released from the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County, stole a jail employee's vehicle from the jail parking lot. During their escape, the couple rammed into a Ritchie County Sheriff's Department vehicle driven by Deputy Jim Asbury. Asbury and the department's canine Benji were shaken up, but escaped serious injury. As for Sharp and Glendenning, both are back in the regional jail - where we expect they will be for the foreseeable future.