Boos & Applause

Applause to the hundreds of individuals who converged on downtown Elkins last Saturday to pay tribute to those affected by cancer. Despite torrents of rain, the annual American Cancer Society Randolph County Relay for Life event took place from noon to midnight in Elkins Town Square and included a “Survivor Reception” and a luminaria ceremony honoring the memories of loved ones affected by cancer. The event also featured music, dancing, an Elvis impersonator, good food and great fellowship.

Applause to the Rotary Club of Elkins, which made several thousand dollars worth of grant donations to area schools and libraries Monday. Rotary contributed $6,000 total in grants to five schools in Randolph County; in addition, the club contributed $4,000 total in grants to four area libraries. Rotarian Pat Schoonover said funds generated from the club’s biggest annual fundraiser help the club give back to area communities.

Applause to grant funding received from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and other community donations, which allowed Elkins Middle School to have three Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) on site in case of medical emergencies. EMS athletic director John Lawson said he believes it is important to have AEDs readily available in case of an emergency where an individual may go into cardiac arrest. Assistant principal Shanna Parlock noted teachers will receive training to become comfortable and confident when using the equipment. In addition, she said one of the AEDs will be portable so it can be used for outdoor events such as football, softball and soccer games. According to the American Heart Association, an AED is a portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart.

Boo to the West Virginia Turnpike for doubling tolls at all three Toll Booths on I-77 south of Charleston. While it is true there hasn’t been an increase in tolls for the past 10 years, doubling the fee is too extreme at one time for any motorists. Bill Seaver of Mercer County, a member of the Parkways Authority, said the tolls are being raised for road projects throughout southern West Virginia. The goal is to eventually sell $330 million of the bonds, starting with $170 million in July. One of the main projects would include completing a road linking the “bridge to nowhere,” located close to Route 460 near Bluefield. This bridge is part of the King Coal Highway (Interstate 73/74 corridor). If a new road is needed in this part of West Virginia, put up a toll there instead of upsetting motorists traveling north and south on I-77. This plan will get people thinking and looking for alternate routes — and that will cost the state in more ways than one.

Boo to the disturbing trend of local mine accident deaths. A Barbour County man succumbed to injuries he sustained Tuesday during an accident while working in a Randolph County coal mine. Ronald R. Taylor, of Belington, was pronounced dead during the evening hours Tuesday due to head injuries he sustained in the incident, which occurred at the Carter Roag Coal Company, Morgan Camp Mine in Randolph County. Taylor, 43, was a shuttle car operator at the mine. This tragic incident is not the first fatal mine accident in the area this year. A Randolph County man lost his life in February after an incident at a Barbour County coal mine. Leonard W. Griffith, 52, of Valley Bend, was an electrician at Wolf Run Mining LLC’s Sentinel mine, officials said.