Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To the partnership between the Washington-Morgan Community Action and the U.S. Forest Service that has given nine Washington County teenagers summer jobs working in the Wayne National Forest. The high school students and two teens from Puerto Rico, have been working with the Youth Conservation Corps on forest projects, including making fire pits, mowing, replacing bridges, basic maintenance and upkeep of the parks/campgrounds in the forest. This is a wonderful first-job opportunity for these students that not only will give them an opportunity to earn money through hard work, but also will help them learn to work with others, and, hopefully, give them an appreciation for the outdoor opportunities in their own backyard.

UP: To a West Virginia Solid Waste Management agency grant totaling $20,000 that will help pay for recycling equipment at Hamilton and Jackson middle schools. The money will help pay for recycling bins and poppers – larger recycling containers – for the two middle schools. The total cost for the project is $24,000, with the remaining funds coming from the local solid waste authority board. The same program has already provided Parkersburg Catholic High School with recycling equipment. The goal is to eventually have this program in all Wood County schools.

UP: To the Parkersburg Downtown Facade Committee’s approval of the external plans for the former Uptowner Inn building on Seventh Street. The building has been purchased by Marriott, which plans a $7.5 million remodeling project that will eventually convert the building into an 84-room extended-stay hotel called the TownePlace Suites by Marriott. Approval by Marriott and the city is still required for many aspects of the project, but some work inside has already begun. Marriott hopes to have the facility open by March 31, 2015.

UP: To River City Farmers Market officials for allowing area food pantries to set up a table free of charge when the market is operating. People shopping at the farmers market can now, if they wish, donate items or cash to the pantries.

DOWN: To the serious problems meth labs have caused not only for law enforcement, but for neighborhood residents as well. On July 23, several Wood County residents vented their frustrations about this issue during a Wood County Commission meeting. At the meeting, Brandon Lewis, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Clandestine Drug Lab Remediation Program Coordinator explained the procedures related to meth lab cleanup cleanups. We don’t blame the residents for their frustrations and hope something can be done to slow this stain that is growing not only here, but in nearly every community in the state.

UP: To the volunteers who are repairing the damaged sections of brick at the Stepping Stones of Honor Veterans Memorial at City Park. Many of the bricks have been allegedly damaged by careless skateboarders and bicyclists, as well as by normal wear.