Boos & Applause

Applause to school being back in session across West Virginia! The work stoppage ended as lawmakers voted Tuesday to give state employees a 5 percent raise, ending a nine-day walkout that closed schools across the state. Upshur County teachers and service personnel hastily put together a rally Tuesday afternoon thanking community members for their support throughout the statewide work stoppage. Their message was one of not only gratitude but also relief, as the strike and the resulting complications in scheduling had begun to fray on everyone’s nerves. We all can agree that it’s good for our students that classrooms are open once again, and that graduations will not be affected.

Applause to the Buckhannon-Upshur High School and Tucker County High School girls basketball teams for scoring opening round victories in the state tournament in Charleston this week. Applause also to the Philip Barbour High School boys team, which earned its ticket to the states with a regional championship win Thursday night. We wish all our local athletes the best in state tournament play.

Applause to “Our Town,” a local nonprofit group that is working to bring the Mountain State Street Machines Auto Extravaganza back to downtown Elkins. Tammy Dolly of the Delmonte Market said “Our Town” was “born out of necessity” to enable car enthusiasts, the Mountain State Street Machines car club and local businesses to keep the car show alive. Plans for the event include a cruise-in the evening of June 29 in downtown Elkins, a car show June 30 and July 1 at Elkins City Park including food, vendors and a 50/50 drawing, as well as a bonus cruise-in downtown the evening of June 30.

Applause to events Tuesday afternoon in Buckhannon and Elkins that took place as part of a worldwide effort to remember those who have passed away from an overdose, and to raise awareness of drug addiction. Officials from the city of Buckhannon, Opportunity House Inc. and the Upshur County Health Department participated in the Black Balloon Day event in Buckhannon. The movement is designed to remember overdose victims, as well as acknowledge their family and friends or those who are affected by the drug epidemic. Elkins Mayor Van Broughton and community member Sharell Harmon attached black balloons to the handrail outside of Elkins City Hall Tuesday afternoon in honor of Black Balloon Day to remember friends and loved ones who lost their lives to addiction. Harmon said the day was important to her because she lost her grandmother to addiction 22 years ago.

Applause to the Elkins Police Department for participating in special seat belt enforcement mobilization throughout the month of March. Chief Glenn Galloway said until March 18, EPD will be taking part in the Mini Blitz “Click it or Ticket” mobilization and will be cracking down on motorists who are not wearing seat belts. Galloway said law enforcement officers will be actively enforcing seat belt laws during March but will continue to encourage safety for motorists by enforcing these laws year-round. This year’s Click It or Ticket mini enforcement mobilization runs through March 18, and the next national mobilization will take place May 11 to May 28.

Boo to mischievous Mother Nature for sending us some powerful winter storms the same week that the teacher strike ended. Some counties in the state had to call off school due to the nasty conditions on Friday, which would have been just the third day back in classes after the work stoppage. Since county boards of education are already trying to juggle schedules to keep from having kids make up missed days in June, let’s hope Mother Nature has had her little joke and doesn’t send us more disrupting weather to make the situation worse.