Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To those taking part in both the Wood and Washington counties annual Relays for Life, which wind up this morning at Parkersburg City Park and Civitan Park in Belpre. Since its inception in 1985, the relay has become the largest single fundraising event held by the American Cancer Society. It celebrates both those who have successfully battled this devastating disease, and remembers those whose lives were taken by it.

DOWN: To Calhoun County voters who decided against a very small school levy this week. Officials are now evaluating which cuts will be made in order to keep the school system operating in the black. Voters who will likely soon see the negative effects of their decision might get another chance in November.

UP: To the overwhelming passage Tuesday of the Mid-Ohio Valley’s Easy Rider bus levy. The levy won approval from 77.38 percent of voters, meaning public transportation will continue to operate in Parkersburg and Vienna for the next two years. For many residents, bus service is essential.

UP: To this past week’s National Police Week ceremony held at Parkersburg City Council chambers and at locations around the country. The annual event is held to honor law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, and to remind citizens that officers put their lives on the line every day just by doing their job. One of the speakers at the local event was Charleston Police Lt. Eric Johnson, who was shot and seriously wounded in the line of duty in 2006. While Johnson survived, it was noted that 100 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2013.

UP: To the winners of the Wood County Elementary Spelling Bee, held May 6 at the Blennerhassett School auditorium. Nearly 50 students from the county’s public and private schools competed in the event, with the top three winners in grades 2-3 and 4-5. Grade 2-3 winners were: First Place: Riley Oblisk, Williamstown Elementary School; Second Place: Josh Fruner, Vienna Elementary School; and Third Place: Bastet Zyla, Madison Elementary School. Grade 4-5 winners: First Place: Chloe Stump, North Christian Elementary School; Second Place: Eric Wang, Neale Elementary School, and Third Place: Teddy Turner, Greenmont Elementary School.

UP: To news that The Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise LLC (ASCENT), a subsidiary of Odebrecht, has submitted two environmental permit documents to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. While the permits are just two steps in a long path to construction of a long-anticipated ethane cracker plant in southern Wood County, it is a step in the right direction.