Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To the Rails, Trails and Ales Festival today and Sunday in Marietta. The event is a celebration of the outdoor recreation opportunities in the area during the day, followed by live music and craft beer during the evening. About 2,000 kayakers, canoers, bicyclists and hikers are taking part in the activities, the majority of which are free.

UP: To the continuing improvement in the health of Wood County Sheriff Ken Merritt. Merritt was admitted to Camden Clark Medical Center on Aug. 3. He was listed in stable condition, but is said to be improving. Hopefully, the sheriff will make a quick recovery and be back on the job soon. Chief Deputy M.K. Smith is acting sheriff until Merritt’s return.

DOWN: To Sen. Joe Manchin’s public haranguing this week of the Kroger supermarket chain for refusing to follow the lead of other drug store chains in West Virginia by not selling cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine as the only active ingredient. CVS, Rite Aid, Fruth Pharmacy and Walgreens earlier this year agreed to stop selling these products. Pseudoephedrine, as everyone knows, is one of the main ingredients in the manufacture of meth. Meth is a serious problem in West Virginia and one of the biggest reasons for the increase in crime. The drug stores that have banned the sale of pseudoephedrine products are to be commended for their efforts. But Kroger’s limit of 3.6 grams per month per customer – about one or two boxes depending on the brand – is still well below the state’s own limit of 7.2 grams allowed for purchase per month. The West Virginia Legislature – for the past two years – has refused to pass a bill that would make these products available only by prescription. Possibly the senator’s ire should be aimed at state lawmakers, and not scold a private business for its sincere and balanced attempt to help with this problem.

UP: To the Wings of Freedom Tour, an exhibit of World War II vintage airplanes, that will be at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport Monday through Wednesday. The planes – a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber, a consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bomber and a P-51 Mustang fighter plane – will be available for tours from noon to 5 p.m. Monday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday.

UP: To the anonymous individual who purchased the property along Washington Boulevard in Belpre that will allow the youth soccer leagues to continue to use the fields through the fall and, hopefully, for the foreseeable future.