Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To Vienna teacher and writer Don Stansberry who was named the winner of the Wild Card category of the London Book Festival for his recent thriller, “Secret Blood,” in which Jesus was cloned by the CIA. Stansberry said he hasn’t decided if he will attend the Jan. 24 ceremony in London where winners and honorable mentions will be honored. He has been in the school system for 23 years and coached PHS girls basketball for 17 seasons before retiring in 2011. He led the Big Red girls to 263 wins and four state championships (1989,’91,’94 and ’96).

DOWN: To the Parkersburg High School social studies teacher for disciplining an unruly student with Asperger’s Syndrome by putting a box around his seat and writing “bad kid fort” on the outside of the box. Even taking into consideration how distracting the student may have been in class and how it may have affected the other students in the class, how this teacher could have believed this was a smart thing to do is beyond belief.

UP: To Carter Taylor, 12, of Ripley who played the lead role in the short film “Miracle Boy,” which premiered at the Venice (Italy) Film Festival in September. The film, shot in Greenbrier County, is about a boy who is injured in a farming accident and is a victim of bullying. Carter, a sixth-grader at Ripley Middle School, attended the December premier of the film in Lewisburg with his mother, Gina, who is a Jackson County extension agent.

UP: To outgoing Wood County Executive Committee Chairman Harold Brown. On Thursday, Brown announced he is stepping down as chairman but will remain on the executive committee. Brown, a retiree who took over the chairmanship in March 2011, has been an excellent advocate for area Democrats and has done this without resorting to mean-spirited partisanship so common in today’s politics. We wish him well in the future and will miss seeing him – and his Hawaiian shirt collection – in the newsroom.