Boos & Applause

Applause to the Tygart Valley Scottish Rite Masons for hosting their annual spring benefit pancake breakfast at Applebee’s in Elkins last Saturday. Elkins is blessed to have many great organizations that contribute hundreds of volunteer hours on their own time in the community for the benefit of others. The students and staff of the West Virginia Children’s Home also participated in the event. The Children’s Home is one of the groups that receive contributions from the Scottish Rite Masons.

Applause to the work our first responders did this week. On Tuesday, two separate blazes destroyed local homes in the same day. The Elkins Fire Department responded to a house fire on Kelly Mountain that resulted in the home being a total loss. Later in the day the Coalton VFD responded to a house fire in the Norton area. The house was engulfed in flames and three people were transported for medical treatment. Also assisting in the Norton fire were the Junior, Belington, Ellamore and Elkins Fire Departments. We applaud the brave staffs and volunteers of these local fire departments.

Applause to Elkins natives Trevor Kiess and April Kesling for their contributions at West Virginia University. Kiess celebrated his last full day in his role at WVU as the official Mountaineer mascot Thursday. WVU cheerleader April Kesling, an Elkins native who is also ending her time representing the school, and Kiess lead crowds at Elkins High School and Third Ward Elementary in the “Let’s go, Mountaineers” cheer, to the excitement of both students and faculty. Kiess and Kesling have represented our community with class and style and we appreciate the efforts they made to our area, our university and our state.

Boo to the city of Elkins, as its efforts to deal with dilapidated property issues pale in comparison to the success the city of Huntington is having with the same problem. Huntington has made dilapidated structures a top priority and is on the fast track to take down more than 100 vacant buildings before the end of this year. Huntington has already demolished 36 buildings since January as part of a plan to remove blighted structures from the city. So far in 2019 Huntington is averaging 12 demolished structures per month. Town Hall meetings began in Elkins three years ago in an effort to nudge city officials to address the blight problem. In response, city officials have largely ignored the Town Hall participants’ efforts, other than to criticize The Inter-Mountain for covering their meetings. The dilapidated structures in Elkins provide homes for snakes, rats and other vermin. Perhaps if Elkins city officials had to deal with dilapidated structures beside their homes they would be more proactive. Taking down a few dilapidated structures over the last three years hardly ranks as a success story for the city, and working together with the Town Hall participants could only help speed things along.