Boos & Applause

Applause to the announcement that the new $37-million Elkins water plant has begun pumping water, although work remains to be done before the facility is fully operational, officials said. Bob Pingley, the city’s operations manager, said the new system appears to be working and “producing quality water.” The city’s plan is to keep the raw water intake building on Baron Avenue operational for a time as a precaution. “This is a brand new facility up there,” Pingley said. “If something major goes wrong, we won’t be left without a way to produce water. So we’re going to run that plant, the old plant, on weekends. Through the week, for five days a week, we’re going to be running the new plant, filling the tank. At some point, we’ll get comfortable with the new plant and then shut the old one down entirely and start the decommission process.”

Applause to another infrastructure water project, the completion of Buckhannon’s new water storage tank after months of work in cold temperatures. The new water tank cost $730,000 and was financed through municipal bonds, said city Finance Director Amby Jenkins. Water Department Superintendent Kelly Arnold explained the new water storage tank, atop Victoria Hill, is replacing the St. Joseph’s Hospital water tank, which was built in 1964.

Applause to the more than 30 Davis & Elkins College students who are displaying their creative works at the Randolph County Community Arts Center throughout February. The work is that of student art majors and minors, as well as those studying other fields and taking art as an elective course. The 83-piece exhibit includes paintings, prints, T-shirts, ceramics and 3-D sculptures.

Boo to Congress for allowing the budget impasse to lead to a second — albeit short — government shutdown this year before finally coming to an agreement early Friday morning. Our lawmakers must find a way to work together more effectively, before our country faces a crisis much more difficult to solve than simply agreeing on a budget.