Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To West Virginia State Police Cpl. C.J. Weekley of the Parkersburg detachment whose quick action Tuesday prevented a Wood County resident from hanging himself. Weekley was called to a domestic incident in Walker about 11 p.m. According to Weekely’s report, when he arrived at the home, he found two women with visible injuries and in a near state of panic. One of the women told Weekley that her son was in a back bedroom and needed help. Weekley forced himself into the room and found a man hanging from a rod in a closet and near death. Weekley cut the two-inch wide military-style belt the man was using and was eventually able to revive the victim. Congratulations to Cpl. Weekley for his quick action and letting his training and professionalism pay off to save this man’s life.

DOWN: To a West Virginia State Police report showing that Wood County trails only Kanawha County in the number of meth lab seizures in 2013. The report says there were 36 meth lab busts last year, but Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin said the number is actually higher. Overall, the number of lab seizures in the state jumped 85 percent last year, with busts made in 45 of the 55 counties. Meth lab seizures have grown at such a high rate in the state that state lawmakers are considering requiring a prescription for the sale of medications containing pseudoephedrine, a key meth-making ingredient.

UP: To Marietta resident “Cobbler John” Bolen, for his longtime work in helping make the annual River City Blues Competition such a success. The blues festival, in its 22nd year and sponsored by the Mid-Ohio Valley Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society, concludes today at the Lafayette Hotel. Bolen, unfortunately, has been unable to take part in this year’s festival because of health issues. While his presence is missed, we are sure it also is felt in all he has helped accomplish.

UP: To Olivia Smith and Peter Welcker, two Wood County students who received recognition from a nationwide program that honors young people for their service projects in their communities. Smith, 14, an eighth-grader at Blennerhassett Middle School, was one of two West Virginia students earning The Prudential Spirit of Community Award, which recognizes her as one of the top two youth volunteers in the state. Smith is an advocate for youth and adults with disabilities. She volunteers much of her time helping them participate in various activities. Welcker, 17, a senior at Parkersburg South High School, was one of the two state students receiving a Distinguished Finalists award. Welcker received his honor for his research into finding a way to remove the chemical bisphenol (BPA) from food and water. Welcker now has a patent pending for his process. Both students come to their selflessness naturally. Smith’s mother is the director of The Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley, her sister has Down syndrome, and an aunt uses a wheelchair. Welcker’s nephew was born with health complications doctors think were linked to BPA exposure during pregnancy. Congratulations to both of these students.

UP: To Betsy Utt, sixth-grade language arts teacher at Jackson Middle School, for giving area students and adults a glimpse of history. Utt was instrumental in bringing in Holocaust survivor Marion Blumenthal Lazan for a series of highly inspirational and emotional talks in the Parkersburg area earlier this week. Lazan’s talk drew large crowds at Utt’s school and others and allowed many students the chance to hear from someone who experienced the horror of one of history’s darkest episodes. Utt is to be congratulated for her work in making this event possible.