Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To all residents who became Secret Santas to help children who otherwise would not have received Christmas gifts. As always, your generosity will put smiles on many faces on Christmas morning. In addition, a thumbs up to all those who have generously put money in the Salvation Army kettles and donated in other ways to helping others this season.

UP: To the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society for the group’s work in securing a grant for 41 headstones on gravesites of those interred in the newer section of the Wood County Poor Farm Cemetery. The county-owned cemetery, next to West Virginia University at Parkersburg, has been a place for burial of the indigent since the 1860s. The headstone project was completed with the aid of a $1,000 grant from the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation. Kudos to the historical and preservation society and the foundation for getting involved in this project to help us all remember an important part of the county’s past.

UP: To the Wood County Commission for issuing a 30-day cease-and-desist order for the Sundowner Gun Range. Homeowners who live near the gun range on Gihon Road have long complained about the closeness of the range to their homes, which, in some cases involved homes being hit by bullets. County commissions have authority under state code to implement provisions when it is determined there is a need to eliminate “hazards to public health and safety.” Until a permanent solution can be found, this was the right move for the commissioners to make.

UP: To outgoing Belpre Board of Education member Rod Hineman, who will step down at the end of December. Hineman, a member of the board for 14 years, was honored this past Monday for his years of service with many of his family, friends and colleagues in attendance.

DOWN: To an apparent phone scam by crooks claiming to be the Internal Revenue Service collecting back taxes via pre-paid card or wire transfer. These scammers threaten customers will lose their driver’s license through the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles if they do not meet them somewhere with a pre-paid card or wire the money directly. These scammers may appear legitimate by having the last 4 digits of the victim’s Social Security number, having caller ID show DMV, a DMV phone number, or an IRS phone number, or sending emails that have the IRS logo in them. The IRS contacts people by mail, not phone calls, and never asks for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfers. Anyone receiving these type calls should call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and also report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.