Boos & Applause

Applause to two Elkins residents who returned to their former schools this week as hometown heroes. Trevor Kiess was named as the 65th WVU Mountaineer mascot on Feb. 24, and April Kesling is serving in her fifth year as a WVU cheerleader. The pair visited Thursday with students at four area schools and with community members at Elkins City Hall. The schools visited were Elkins High School, Third Ward Elementary School, Midland Elementary School and Jennings Randolph Elementary School. During the school visits, Kiess talked to the students about the five things it takes to be the Mountaineer — good grades, being nice to people, doing community service, having respect for one another and loving West Virginia. Kesling talked to students about the hard work and dedication required to be a member of the WVU cheerleading squad.

Applause to a former Elkins interim police chief who has been nominated to serve as a United States marshal for the second time in his illustrious career. J.C. Raffety, who spent much of 2017 serving as both interim chief and special investigator for the city of Elkins, has been nominated to serve in the position for the Northern District of West Virginia, which includes court locations in Elkins, Clarksburg, Martinsburg and Wheeling. Raffety’s nomination will now go to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee for review, and if recommended by the committee, his nomination will move on for full vote by the United States Senate. “I am both humbled and honored to have been nominated by President Donald J. Trump to serve as United States marshal for the Northern District of West Virginia,” Raffety said Tuesday.

Applause to the Upshur County Board of Education for addressing the county’s crisis and emergency response effort. During the Tuesday evening BOE meeting, the board went into a lengthy executive session with Jodie Akers, director of student services, and Jeff Harvey, Preparedness Division manager, to discuss school safety within the county schools. “I think as a board we’re very appreciative of being caught up to speed on current practices, doing drills and overall our emergency preparedness and school safety,” said board member Katie Loudin after returning from executive session. Upshur County schools have participated in a rigorous crisis and emergency response planning effort since 2006. The process is research-based and utilizes resources from national and state sources, as well as academia. To ensure adequate safety to students and staff, the program includes an emergency preparedness element, as well as a security element. The security element aims to enforce the county’s closed-campus policy and identify and address any issues related to physical security — perimeter and building.

Applause to area crown holders who assisted Catholic Charities in Randolph County as they took part in Miss America Serves Day. The national event serves as a day for “Miss America” contestants and volunteers to join forces with friends, families and members of the community to participate in community service activities including collecting food to stock food pantries, cleaning parks or neighborhoods, assisting youth and senior organizations, visiting nursing homes and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, collecting clothes or feeding the homeless. Locally, Miss Elkins Area Madeline Collins, Miss Tygart Valley Haley Geiger and Miss Tygart Valley’s Outstanding Teen Kaylee Halterman came together to collect food items at Shop ‘n Save in Elkins. All items collected will directly benefit the local Catholic Charities organization.