Boos & Applause

Applause to the Elkins Planning Commission for asking Christy DeMuth, the land use planner from the West Virginia University Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic, to present information to the public Thursday at a special meeting about the efforts to update the decades-old Elkins zoning ordinance. DeMuth spoke at length to those in attendance and, with Planning Commission members, presented maps and handed out sheets of data to the audience. DeMuth also invited questions and comments from the crowd, and provided answers, as did the commission members. This was a refreshing change from several recent meetings, such as the public forum on the 1 percent sales tax held at the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA in November, which featured no public speakers and no way for the audience to speak, either. At those meetings, residents were herded like cattle past poster boards containing information, then asked to “voice their opinion” by applying color-coded stickers to the appropriate poster. So much simpler to just talk to the public, as DeMuth did Thursday, and let residents ask questions and voice their opinions. What’s to fear? Why shouldn’t people be allowed to speak? Updating the zoning ordinance is an important goal for the city, and it was a step in the right direction for city government to allow a free exchange of information, ideas and opinions on Thursday.

Applause to the Buckhannon Quilters at Heart, who in recent years have crafted a quilt to raffle off with the intent to donate ticket sales to a local organization or charity that will benefit Buckhannon. For 2017, the group’s raffle quilt project raised $854 from ticket sales, with funds being divided between the Pregnancy Center Central West Virginia Center for Pregnancy Care and to the Upshur County Senior Center.

Boo to pointless crimes such as the break-in at the Good Shepherd Ministries thrift store in Elkins discovered on Friday morning. The establishment offers very reasonably priced items, which raise money to help the needy in our community. Of all places, this is a business that should not be stolen from, or disrespected with vandalism. Here’s hoping the guilty parties are made to pay for what they’ve done, or escorted to the stateline.