Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To the Mid-Ohio Valley’s first babies of 2014. At 8:08 a.m. New Year’s Day at the Memorial Campus of Camden Clark Medical Center, Colton James Wolfe-Williams was welcomed by his parents, Dianna Wolfe and Brandon Williams. The family’s newest addition weighed in at a healthy 6 pounds 15 ounces and was 20 inches long. And a couple of hours later, at Marietta Memorial Hospital, 5 pounds, 9 ounce Brooklyn Ann Welsch was welcomed by her parents, Brielle Thomas and her fiance, Belpre Township resident Jeff Welsch. Congratulations to the families, and also a congratulations to the family of Cheyanne Elizabeth Cline, who was born at 1:16 p.m. New Year’s Eve, and was the last baby born in Washington County in 2013. Her parents are Dunham Township residents Roxanne and Dave Cline.

DOWN: To West Virginia’s rank as No. 1 in the U.S. in all-terrain vehicle deaths. The state averaged 105 deaths per 10 million people in 2011, according to statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Wyoming was second with 70 deaths per 10 million people. Ninety percent of all ATV deaths involved males ages 16 and older, and many could have been prevented by the rider slowing down and wearing a helmet. Perhaps it is time for the West Virginia Legislature to again take up this issue.

UP: To the highway workers who spent Thursday evening and Friday morning clearing the roads after the first snowfall of 2014. The snow, coupled with the extremely cold temperatures, made driving hazardous for commuters.

UP: To Parkersburg Development Director Ann Conageski, who retired Dec. 31 after being with the city since 2001. Conageski had announced her intention to retire in September. She has overseen some of the city’s largest development projects in recent years, including the Point Park project, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s downtown offices and West Virginia University at Parkersburg’s downtown campus, since becoming development director in 2005. She is being succeeded by city planner Rickie Yeager. We wish her and her husband well on their move to Florida to be closer to family.