Boos & Applause

Applause to all the voters who cast ballots in Tuesday’s Elkins municipal election and in today’s Randolph County Schools excess levy special election. A total of 2,500 early voters made their choice in the levy election, while in the Elkins election, voter turnout was smaller, with many uncontested races. In voting by wards, a total of 234 voters went to the polls in First Ward, which has 1,189 registered voters; 110 ballots were cast in Second Ward, which has 868 registered voters; 14 votes were cast in Third Ward, which has 631 registered voters; 39 ballots were cast in Fourth Ward, which has 1,171 registered voters; and 75 were cast in Fifth Ward, which has 844 registered voters. We applaud everyone who did their part as citizens and took part in democracy.

Applause to this week’s announcement of Facebook’s new effort to expand broadband access across West Virginia. Representatives from Facebook joined Gov. Jim Justice and U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., at a press conference Monday morning in the Governor’s Reception Room. Facebook plans to build a 275-mile fiber optic cable across West Virginia to connect its data centers. Construction should take place this year and take between 18 and 24 months to complete. The project will start in Ashburn, Va., and end in Columbus. Broadband providers will be able to tap into the fiber line, giving the state an opportunity to expand middle-mile internet access to rural parts of West Virginia.

Applause to the award winners at the Delphia Rebekah Lodge No. 62 and the Randolph Lodge No. 116 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows annual dinner. The annual Humanitarian Award was presented to Dave Whittaker, and the Good Samaritan Award to Frank Santmyer. In addition, special guest Sovereign Grand Master of Alberta Brother Wesley Nelson and Patty Heighton, Vice President of the International Association of Rebekah Assemblies, received keys to the city of Elkins from City Councilwoman Linda Vest.

Applause also to the award winners at the Southern Upshur Business Association annual dinner Wednesday. The SUBA Citizen of the Year Award was presented to Clyde Campbell, who retired from the Division of Natural Resources. Campbell had been a state trapper and later a supervisor at the West Virginia State Wildlife Center. The SUBA Business of the Year Award was presented by president Glen Hawkins to Gaines Diner, which will celebrate nine years of business in July.

Applause to the use that the Elkins-Randolph County Library has put a $1,500 grant it received last year from the Elkins Rotary Club. Stephanie Murphy, the library’s director, displayed the “launchpads” the library has purchased at this week’s Rotary meeting. “They are pre-programmed tablets that have apps already on them,” Murphy said. “They’re virtually indestructible. They’re made for children and adults … they cannot access the internet and they cannot be altered. Each of the apps on there has to deal with a specific subject and age group or grade.” The devices are part of a push to upgrade the library’s technology.