Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., for having the political courage to risk the wrath of the National Rifle Association and offer a common-sense compromise on the gun bill. The bill, which failed to receive the 60 votes neccesary in the Senate, would have required background checks for gun buyers at gun shows and on the Internet. The NRA’s misleading statements helped defeat the bill, and Manchin and Toomey will undoubtedly take heat for their efforts. However, they should be congratulated for trying to do the right thing.

UP: To West Virginia University at Parkersburg for having former history and philosophy professor Bernard Allen speak as part of the college’s West Virginia sesquicentennial celebration. Allen, who is now teaching at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., also spoke on West Virginia history to several middle school students. It was nice to have Allen back in town to share his knowledge.

UP: To the participants in the Super Teens Achieving Regional Success (STARS) program, in which students from area middle schools completed service projects in their communities. Participating students, in grades 6-12, were from Blennerhassett Middle School, Calhoun County Middle/High School, Edison Middle School, Ripley High School, Ritchie County Middle/High School, Parkersburg High School, Parkersburg South High School, Tyler Consolidated Middle School, Tyler Consolidated High School and Williamstown High School. The students gathered at Parkersburg City Park for a luncheon and awards program to honor the work they have done and planting the possibility for more in the future.

UP: To the Wood County teachers who earned their National Board Certified Teachers certification in 2012. Wood County educators Ernest Wayne Clark, Tracy C. Fauber, Whitny Margaret Gesell, Joanna Theresa Mulligan, Jaime Seltzer and Brenda Lee Twyman were among the 61 teachers statewide who earned the NBCT certification this year. Former Gov. Bob Wise, now chairman of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, was the featured speaker Wednesday at the recognition dinner for the county’s newest certified teachers.