Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To Wood County Sheriff’s Deputy R.A. George whose devotion to his job led to the arrest of a man wanted for stabbing two people. George, who was off duty at the time, noticed a stolen vehicle he had taken a report on the previous day. He followed the vehicle, a 2002 Ford Explorer. When the SUV turned into the parking lot of a golf club, George blocked the suspect and detained him until deputies arrived. The suspect turned out to be Ira Blair Hyde, who had been on the run since allegedly stabbing his neighbors the previous week. Congratulations to Deputy George.

UP: To Mountwood Park’s stunning new website that not only gives potential visitors a guide to what the park has to offer, but through some wonderful photography shows the beauty to be found within its borders. The website, www.mountwoodpark.org, was developed by Trevor Feight with Whitecaps Creative Group.

UP: To PDC Energy, a Colorado-based oil and natural gas drilling company moving into the area. The company recently donated $5,000 to upgrade the baseball field at Waterford High School. This was a generous gesture by the company.

UP: To Parkersburg City Council’s Financial Committee for its unanimous approval of a land swap that will give the city a piece of property at Point Park. The property, owned by businessman Jim McCutcheon, sits inside the floodwall near Point Park. Mayor Bob Newell says the property could be used to develop a market shop where space could be leased out to vendors, similar to Capitol Market in Charleston. If that happens, it would greatly add to the city’s riverfront area. City council will vote on the measure during Tuesday’s regular meeting.

UP: To Shalin Gandhi of Parkersburg High School, Matthew Zlatkind of Williamstown High School and Allison Walker of Parkersburg South High School. The three high school juniors were among 56 students from across the state who recently received U.S. Attorney’s Ambassadors for Justice. The award, presented by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, honors high school juniors who have shown outstanding leadership skills and a commitment to social justice.

DOWN: To the increasing incidence of drug activity in Wood County. This past Thursday, Parkersburg police officers wearing hazardous materials protection gear sorted through trash after being alerted by sanitation workers about some suspicious items that had been picked up. The items were later determined to be part of a mobile meth lab. Fortunately none of the sanitation workers or the police officers involved were injured; however, this activity is dangerous for everyone involved.