Boos & Applause

Applause to the Randolph County Commission approving funding this week for this year’s Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs event. Commissioners unanimously voted to award HOFNOD $4,500 in funding from the county hotel/motel tax in addition to the $500 previously given to the organization from the general account budget. Chris Lee, facility manager of the Phil Gainer Community Center in Elkins, said HOFNOD went back to its roots at last year’s event, emphasizing experiential education as opposed to community expo aspects. The annual event takes place at the Community Center.

Applause to the Elkins Lions Club for presenting check donations to the Phil Gainer Community Center and Third Ward Elementary School. John and Mary Vallelonga provided access to a benefit fund in the name of Michael A., who passed in 1992 from pancreatic cancer. That fund was used to give Third Ward Elementary School $1,000 to help buy a handicapped swing, and to give the Phil Gainer Community Center $200 for new art supplies.

Applause to French Creek Freddie for not seeing his shadow last Sunday at the West Virginia Wildlife Center, which means that an early spring could be on the way locally. French Creek Freddie’s prediction also matched that of his groundhog counterpart to the north, Punxsutawney Phil. Each year since 1978, the wildlife center has hosted a Groundhog Day Celebration with a prognosticating groundhog.

Applause to Eleanor Mailloux, the subject of a new documentary film, “Born in a Ballroom,” which had its West Virginia premiere in Charleston Wednesday after already playing in California. Mailloux taught, worked for Red Cross, traveled the world and co-founded The Hutte restaurant in Helvetia, all while raising a family of five, and eventually helping with her grandchildren as well. She’s been recognized in news articles and features on many television shows and films that visited her village, including the show “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.” Mailloux passed away in 2011, just before her 94th birthday. In making the new documentary, Mailloux’s granddaughter, Clara Lehmann, hunted down raw footage of her “Mutter,” in addition to interviewing close friends and family with memories of her to create the film.