Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To Criss Elementary fifth-graders Rylee Harner and Madison Spears, who were recently recognized by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for their “Bracelets for a Cure” campaign which raised money for a local breast cancer program. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the two 11-year-olds made several hundred rubber-band bracelets and sold them to teachers, parents, friends and others for $2 each. Some people gave as much as $50 and $100. At the end of the month the girls had raised $820 which was given to the “Pink Mammogram Fund” at Camden Clark Medical Center. The money provided life-saving breast cancer screenings to eight individuals. Congratulations to these two caring young girls whose willingness to get involved may have saved someone’s life. Their recognition by the governor was well deserved.

UP: To the Our Community’s Foundation which recently launched its 51st year of community service. Our Community’s Foundation, the collective name for the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and its regional affiliate organizations in Doddridge, Jackson, Little Kanawha Area, Mason and Ritchie counties, has provided grants and donations to many groups to do the type of work that makes the Mid-Ohio Valley a special place.

UP: To Judith Winans, a chemistry teacher at Parkersburg High School, for her opportunity to witness President Barack Obama’s State of the Union message this past Tuesday. Winans, who has been an educator for 26 years and was a Wood County Teacher of the Year, was the guest of First District U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va.

UP: To Assistant Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park Superintendent Miles Evenson and his wife, Lindsey, who have been stuck on the island since Jan. 24 because of the frozen Ohio River. The Evensons say they and their two dogs are fine and have plenty of food. With the coming warmer temperatures, hopefully the Evensons can make it to Parkersburg for what will probably be a welcome escape.

DOWN: To the fact that area students will not be able to attend school for the number of days required by the state. While the weather has made the situation out of anyone’s control, this is something area boards of education will have to take in consideration when discussing the school calendar for the coming year.

UP: To Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Dustin Payne who was named the Jackson District Trooper of the Year in December and is now up for the State Trooper of the Year Award, which will be announced on Tuesday. Payne, a Waterford High School graduate who now resides in Beverly, has been a trooper since 2009.