Boos & Applause

Applause to West Virginia’s legislative leaders at the federal level who have decided to defer or donate their salaries for the length of the government shutdown. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. have had their salary withheld or are donating it to charity. Manchin, the only Democrat in the West Virginia congressional delegation, is donating his salary to food banks in the state, spokesman Katey McCutcheon Tuesday said. Capito in previous shutdowns has donated her salary to charities and she plans to do the same this time, her office said. McKinley requested the withholding back on Dec. 22 when the shutdown began at midnight.

Applause to the mentor program being created for area students. The Randolph County Board of Education voted Tuesday to create a partnership with Appalachian Impact in hope of providing encouragement to students. Justin Bowers, founder of the organization, explained the mission of Appalachian Impact is to promote hope for at-risk students in the region. April Senic, director of special education for RCS, said the goal is to bring in student-athletes from Davis & Elkins College to act as “encouraging” mentors to younger students. Scott Goddard, vice president for student affairs at D&E, said he believes lives are being changed because of the connections being made between students.

Applause to the two Upshur County teachers honored as West Virginia art teachers of the year. Heidi Thompson teaches at Buckhannon-Upshur High School while Virginia Hicks teaches at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School. Each were named art teacher of the year at their programmatic levels by the West Virginia Art Education Association.

Applause to members of several local agencies who gathered at Elkins City Hall Wednesday as Elkins Mayor Van Broughton signed a proclamation designating January as National Stalking Awareness Month. January marks the 15th National Stalking Awareness Month, an annual call to action to recognize and respond to the serious crime of stalking.

Boo to the havoc being wreaked on the roof of the Upshur County Courthouse by pesky — and destructive — pigeons. Their acidic droppings are causing problems with the most iconic feature of the 1899 structure — its dome and cupola. Commissioner Terry Cutright said, “They are damaging the dome. The feces they are dropping is acidic and we are afraid that it is going to start eating holes in the dome.” To shoo away the pigeons, the commission has tried other measures such as a noise machine, but those measures have not worked. On Thursday, the Upshur County Commission approved a request for proposals to go out for a dome cleaning and pigeon spike installation project. All sealed bids must be received no later than 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12. Here’s hoping this work will eliminate the problem, and force the pigeons to find another — less historic — target.