Boos & Applause

Applause to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in our area this week. Falling snow and temperatures in the teens couldn’t deter a group of community residents from taking part in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and March Sunday afternoon in downtown Elkins. On Monday night, Davis & Elkins College hosted keynote speaker Sheila Coleman-Castells for the school’s MLK Day celebration at Harper-McNeely Auditorium. D&E students provided music during the celebration. A free Martin Luther King Jr. Day soul food lunch was offered Monday afternoon at the Common Ground Cafe in Woodford Memorial United Methodist Church in Elkins. The lunch was Americorps worker Sharell Harmon’s civic service project with Preserve WV AmeriCorps and the Preservation Alliance of WV.

Applause to the news announced this week by city of Parsons officials that BFS Companies has purchased the former location of Sheetz in the town and plans to open a gas station/convenience store later this year. BFS, a West Virginia-based company, has purchased the property from the previous owners and is now installing new gas tanks in the ground, officials said. The Sheetz 24-hour service station in Parsons closed its doors on Sept. 26, and has been sorely missed by the town’s residents. Construction on the building is scheduled to begin Feb. 6, officials said.

Applause to the local residents who attended Tuesday’s town hall meeting in Elkins, showing their interest and concern for the future of the city. At this meeting the town hall participants stressed that they would like to see the city start to make use of the “drug house” ordinance Elkins City Council passed in 2016. The ordinance, which became law in November 2016, is similar to laws passed in Martinsburg, Clarksburg and other West Virginia cities. The law states that if two felonies — including drug activity, prostitution or illegal gambling — take place on the same property within a 12-month span, the city can begin a process which can lead to an order of abatement.

Applause to Upshur County Schools paying tribute to a beloved custodian who spent 32 years working in the school system at this week’s board of education meeting. Kermit Pugh, who passed away unexpectedly Jan. 2, worked at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School. His family was presented with framed pictures of Pugh that noted his 32 years of service and a memorial from the school’s students. Pugh’s picture will also hang in B-UMS.

Boo to the impending closure of the Elkins Rite Aid store and pharmacy at 690 Beverly Pike. The pharmacy will shut down Feb. 18, with all patrons’ prescriptions to be transferred to the Walgreen’s location at 615 Randolph Ave. Liquidation sales are currently underway at the store. Rite Aid merged with Walgreens last year, with 1,932 Rite Aid stores and related assets being transferred to the Walgreens company. This is a decision that was made far away from our area, and there’s nothing to be done about it now, but it’s still a shame to see a strong local business shutting its doors.