Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To today’s Mid-Ohio Valley Easter parade, which kicks off at 2 p.m. on Market Street with Camden Clark Medical Center President/CEO Mike King as parade marshal. The parade is the brainchild of business owner Kiki Angelos. She said she hopes to have at least 100 floats and organizations participating today, up from 80 last year.

UP: And in keeping with Easter, a thumbs up to all of the Easter egg hunts and other Easter-related activities scheduled for the next two weekends. If a child can’t find a place to hunt Easter eggs, they are not trying very hard. For a comprehensive listing of all of the hunts in the area, check this past Friday’s Free Time entertainment guide that was published in the paper.

UP: To the Parkersburg Citizens Police Academy, which kicked off this past Thursday. The course, which will meet every Thursday for the next 10 weeks, is designed to give citizens a better understanding of how the police department works and situations officers face on a daily basis.

UP: To all of the area sportsmen and women who attended the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources public meeting to hear discussions of the agency’s proposed regulations and to voice their own suggestions. The DNR holds these annual meetings to receive feedback about any proposed changes to hunting and fishing regulations that are being considered. And sportsmen’s opinions are important. Comments and suggestions from the meetings are compiled and presented to DNR commissioners at their annual meeting to set rules for the upcoming hunting season.

DOWN: To Wood County Sheriff Ken Merritt and officials from his office for some of the budget requests made this past Monday. After taking office in January, Merritt generously raised the salaries of several employees, including Chief Tax Deputy Bob Tranquill, by more than $4,000, while cutting the pay for others. In addition, the sheriff transferred $32,000 from the deputies’ salary portion of the budget to purchase a new truck for his office use. Now, Merritt is seeking a $1,000 raise for sheriff’s department employees in the upcoming budget, while Tranquill says he needs more than $6,000 so his tax office can hire summer help to mail out tax statements. Only $1,500 was included in last year’s budget for this work, Tranquill said. There are excellent employees in the sheriff’s department, but money for that or any department does not grow on trees. The money spent by Merritt in January was money saved by former Sheriff Jeff Sandy. Is this an indication of how Merritt will treat his budget? The sherifff – and all elected officials – should remember this money is provided by the taxpayers of Wood County.