Boos & Applause

Applause to the Randolph County Technical Center students who partnered with the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living to present the 13th annual Friends First Christmas Party this week. The event is a party for roughly 35 attendees with disabilities. The students in the center’s Career and Work Skills Training class, instructed by Nicole McKisic, collected money that was used to purchase gifts and stockings for the attendees.

Applause to Elkins’ own Trevor Kiess, West Virginia University’s 65th Mountaineer mascot, who spoke to the Elkins Rotary Club on Monday, telling the membership about his experiences as the WVU student who wears the buckskin and carries the musket this year. He will take part in about 400 public events over his year as the Mountaineer, only about 150 of which are athletic events. WVU students are no longer allowed to serve as the Mountaineer for more than one year, so his tenure will end within months. The enthusiasm and good cheer Kiess has brought to the role, and the positive light he has shined on Elkins, has had effects which will last much longer, however.

Applause to local officials taking traffic problems seriously. Officials with the city of Elkins and the West Virginia Division of Highways discussed concerns regarding traffic patterns at a busy city intersection this week. West Virginia DOH District 8 District Engineer Jamie Rossi and Traffic Engineer John Monk were present during Monday’s city of Elkins Public Safety Committee meeting, where they raised concerns about traffic at the 11th Street and Randolph Avenue intersection. Officials will continue to look at possible solutions to the problem.

Applause to the improvements made to schools in Randolph County through grant funding from the West Virginia School Building Authority. Randolph County Schools Superintendent Gabe Devono said this week the county has received approximately $9.6 million since September 2017 for the completion of upgrades and additions to several schools. “These projects will allow our students to compete academically and athletically with other students in West Virginia,” Randolph BOE president Amanda Smith said.

Boo to the ugly public spectacle that the saga of Timberline resort has become. The West Virginia Public Service Commission presented evidence against Timberline Four Seasons Utilities Thursday in an all-day hearing in Tucker County. Unsafe water, a lack of electricity and confusing billing practices were among the complaints made by customers. Chief Administrative Law Judge Keith George facilitated the evidentiary hearing, announcing at the conclusion that initial briefs will be made by Jan. 14. Tracy Herz, wife of Timberline owner Frederick Herz, was present at the hearing. Frederick Herz was arrested Wednesday and charged with 12 misdemeanor counts of failure to pay hotel/motel taxes. He is incarcerated at Tygart Valley Regional Jail. The ski resort’s problems have snowballed — no pun intended — into an avalanche of headaches for its customers and creditors alike. Here’s hoping the state can straighten this mess out. Clearly, it will take time and tremendous effort.