Boos & Applause

Applause to everyone who took the opportunity to vote early, and everyone who plans to cast a ballot today on the state road bond referendum. The referendum seeks voter approval of a $1.6 billion bond issue for highway and bridge repairs and improvements throughout the state. If approved, the measure would allow state officials to sell $1.6 billion in bonds that would be augmented by nearly $300 million in other funds, including federal money. A list of 35 individual road projects to be undertaken has been circulated, including the most vital of those projects for our area, completing new Corridor H construction. We urge all eligible voters to go to the polls today and make your voices heard.

Applause to the army of hard-working volunteers it takes to put on the annual Mountain State Forest Festival. Their efforts have been evident this week as thousands of people have enjoyed the many MSFF activities, parades and concerts. The fun continues today, with events including the Lumberjack Contest beginning at 8 a.m. on the Outdoor Amphitheatre at Davis & Elkins College, the MSFF Grand Feature Parade beginning at 1:30 p.m., the Band Field Show beginning at 5 p.m. at Wimer Stadium, and the Grand Ole Opry Country Music Show featuring Ricky Skaggs at 7:30 p.m. at the Myles Center for the Arts/Harper-McNeeley Auditorium at D&E. The weather forecast is calling for sunshine and warm weather, so come on out and enjoy all our area’s biggest annual festival has to offer.

Applause to the city of Elkins employees for cleaning up downtown every night this week after the MSFF activities concluded. Hosting so many people all week long can be a messy undertaking, but the city workers have kept the town looking good, and we know that doesn’t happen without a tremendous amount of effort.

Applause to Elkins and Randolph County law enforcement officers for patrolling the Elkins area this week, putting in extra effort to make sure the thousands of people coming out for the Forest Festival each day were safe.

Boo to the state of the world that has brought us to a point where one man can take the lives of so many so quickly. Sixty-four-year-old Stephen Paddock, of Mesquite, Nevada, allegedly opened fire on a concert audience of about 22,000 from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, killing at least 58 people and wounding more than 500 Sunday. Authorities are still investigating what Paddock’s motives might have been, but they won’t be able to come up with an explanation for how any person could heartlessly decide to take so much away from so many. Even in our desensitized modern society, this tragedy was shocking.