Boos and applause

– Applause to the Barbour County Board of Education for accepting a donation from the Barbour County All County Sports Organization this week and publicly stating that – thanks to the donated funds – the board will soon rescind their earlier vote to eliminate the county’s middle school sports coaches positions.

We argued against the BOE?eliminating the coaching positions, and we are very happy that the hard work of community volunteers has paid off, meaning middle school sports will continue in Barbour County next year.

We also applaud the BOE?for being wise enough to realize their mistake in voting earlier this month to take away employees’ optical and dental insurance benefits in the 2013-2014 school year budget. Faced with criticism this week by employees and union officials, the board voted to rescind the vote and reinstate the dental and vision benefits. Whether or not you agree with the board doing away with those benefits to save money, employees were not given enough notice before the vote was taken.

– Also in Barbour County, applause to Sheriff John Hawkins for letting the county’s high school seniors know that, if they find themselves in a situation after tonight’s Philip Barbour High School prom where they shouldn’t be driving, they can call 304-457-5167 and a deputy or city police officer will give them a safe ride home, no questions asked. This is a terrific policy and we salute Hawkins and the other law enforcement officials in the county for implementing it.

-Applause to West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares for working to keep an earlier vow to attend a meeting of every county school board in the state. On Tuesday he attended the Upshur County Board of Education’s meeting and was greeted by a huge crowd.

– Boo to the ever-escalating use and manufacture of methamphetamine in our community. A glance at our front pages over the last week reveal a pair of teen friends who discovered, and were burned by, a discarded meth lab along a running path, and a man who was arrested for allegedly dumping materials used to make meth near a local energy company’s well site. The ramifications of the scourge that is meth use continue to grow, and we’re all the worse for it.

Boos and applause

-Applause to Cpl. Andrew S. Loudin of the West Virginia State Police for being honored twice in the last week. On April 5 he was given the 2013 Champion for Children Professional Award by the Randolph-Tucker Children’s Advocacy Center. Then on Thursday, he was recognized during the Children’s Memorial Flag Day luncheon in Buckhannon.

Loudin spent part of last year recovering from the bullet he took in the chest while serving papers to a man in Elkins who was allegedly involved in a sexual assault case involving a 12-year-old child. Loudin also has worked on numerous child abuse and neglect cases over the past decade.

-Applause to the LAWS project, which brought the state Supreme Court of Appeals justices to Elkins Tuesday. Students from Elkins High School, Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Philip Barbour High School, Harman School, Tygarts Valley High School and Pickens School got to observe the justices hear oral arguments in the Randolph County Courthouse as part of the special project. For any students interested in the law as a career, this was a tremendous opportunity to watch professionals at the top of the field at work.

-Applause to all the individuals, businesses and agencies honored during the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce’s awards banquet Wednesday. The annual event celebrates what is great about our community while providing a fun-filled evening.

-Boo to the dark cloud of foreboding that’s hung over Elkins since the shooting at the Rich gas station on the Beverly Five-lane April 5. Such a brutal, seemingly unmotivated attack is unusual in our area, and upset or frightened many local residents. Law enforcement has been combing the area for clues, and are doing their best to bring the shooter to justice.