Boos and applause

– Applause to the hundreds of volunteers who have worked for the past year to bring us the 77th Mountain State Forest Festival, which kicks off with its opening ceremonies and a full slate of events today. We and the entire community are grateful for all the time you put in to bring us this annual celebration of the best of what West Virginia has to offer.

– Applause to all the law enforcement officials who continue to search for the truth in the Aliayah Lunsford case, and for those community members who refuse to let her be forgotten. Many tears were shed at Tuesday’s vigil at the Lewis County Courthouse on the second anniversary of the little girl’s disappearance, but this kind of event that keeps the case in the public eye provide the best hope for finding Aliayah one day.

– Applause to all the emergency workers and law enforcement personnel who took part in rescue operations in two missing persons cases this week, one involving a missing hunter in Randolph County and another searching for a missing woman in Barbour County. In both cases the missing person was returned home unharmed, which is the best possible outcome. We appreciate all the hard work that was put into the searches.

– Boo to whoever made the threat that prompted the evacuation of Philip Barbour High School Tuesday. Barbour County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Super said, “If it was up to me, I’d be seeking full restitution to those agencies that had to pull their resources from their day-to-day responsibility to concentrate them on an act such as this … I would seek full restitution, and we’d prosecute (whoever made the threat) to the fullest extent.” We agree whole-heatedly. This destructive behavior must stop.

Boos and applause

– Applause to the Federal Communications Commission for awarding $24 million to help expand high-speed Internet access in rural areas. There are many locations in our coverage area without high-speed Internet, and with access so important in today’s society – students are now even given homework via and involving the Internet – we sincerely hope some of that funding will be applied to our communities.

– Applause to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for thinking outside the box and not blindly following his party’s leadership. Manchin co-sponsored a Senate resolution that provided an alternative to President Barack Obama’s plan to bomb Syria. “I do not believe there is a threat to America. I do not believe a military strike is necessary,” Manchin said. We appreciate his insistence on listening to his constituents, and on doing what his conscience dictates, not what his party dictates.

– Applause to Davis & Elkins College for being named to the Military Friendly Schools list. D&E?was honored as one of the colleges doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as students. This is the fourth year D&E has received the prestigious designation.

– Boo, once again, to anyone who decides to make a bomb threat at a school. Petersburg High School’s students and staff had to suffer through bomb threats on three – count ’em, three – days in a row this week. These stupid acts rob children of their class time and cost the school system money to bring in bomb-sniffing dogs. Perhaps the worst thing about bomb threats is that they have the potential to make officials complacent; after so many false alarms, it would be a true tragedy if a real emergency occurred and proper decisions were not made.

Boos and applause

– Applause to Buckhannon City Council for encouraging citizens to use an anonymous tip line after one citizen publicly reported witnessing questionable activities on Park Street. More people should come to City Council with their concerns. We applaud resident Elissa Mills for bringing the situation to public attention. The tip line number is 304-473-1001.

– Applause to the organizers and many volunteers who helped bring all the fun, food and music of the Randolph County Fair to life this week. Many events are scheduled today and Sunday, so take the family to Camp Pioneer in Beverly and enjoy what is predicted to be great weather.

– Applause to Elkins Police Chief H.R. White, who this week announced his retirement, effective Oct. 7. White has served with the Elkins Police Department for 25 years, and has been chief since 2010. We salute his dedication to the community, and wish him the best of luck in the future.

– Applause to all the area schools that received positive designations when the state’s new student performance results were unveiled this week. Local school system officials seemed mostly pleased this week when asked about the results, which demonstrate the hard work put in by teachers and school personnel, along with the students themselves.

– Boo to whoever made the bomb threat that caused Philip Barbour High School to be placed on lockdown Wednesday. The threat was the first of the school year in our coverage area, and here’s hoping it doesn’t spawn copy-cat incidents. These situations rob students of time in class and cost taxpayers money in the form of police and canine unit searches. Any student tempted to make such a threat should be aware that getting caught would likely result in harsh penalties, including the possibility of jail time. Isn’t it easier to just go to class?