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Boos & Applause

Applause to the Elkins Fire Department for their quick work in putting out a fatal fire in just over an hour Wednesday morning. Two individuals died in the fire in a River Street house that had been declared uninhabitable. The West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the incident.

Applause to the 43 years of service to the City of Elkins put in by Carman Metheny, the longtime Elkins City Councilman, who will take part in his last meeting as a current council member this Thursday. Metheny served on city council the past 16 years. Before that he worked for the City of Elkins for 28 years. We salute Metheny for his dedication to the city, and for his openness and honesty in his dealings with the public and the press.

Applause to public schools’ staff members for working hard to provide meals for students during the pandemic. As a team, teachers, administrators and staff employed by Randolph County Schools combined their efforts and creativity to come up with a plan that would ensure students’ needs were still being met, despite being away from school. Director of Child Nutrition and Pre-Kindergarten Services LaDonna Rosencrance — along with members of her department — spearheaded several initiatives and partnerships with community groups and organizations to provide meals to students. Between March 13, 2020 and Jan. 30, 2021, Rosencrance said 541,856 breakfasts and 545,678 lunches were served to students in Randolph County alone.

Boo to the announcement Tuesday that State Sen. Robert Karnes, R-Randolph, had resigned abruptly from all Senate committees. According to the letter submitted by Karnes to Senate President Craig Blair, he resigned from all his committees due to a business project that will take up most of his time. Karnes didn’t indicate which business of his would be taking up more of his time. The Helvetia resident lists three businesses on his financial disclosure report with the state Ethics Commission: IT services company FSIS and two real estate investment LLCs. Karnes just won election to the seat in November, and his resignation from all committees coming so quickly after being elected strikes a very sour note. Karnes’ constituents in the 11th District, here in Randolph County and also Upshur, Pocahontas, Pendleton, Webster and Nicholas counties, would be justified in demanding that he either serve on Senate committees or resign from office. Besides this week’s announcement, the biggest stir Karnes has made since taking office has been in his occasional refusal to wear face masks, as he has often been seen wearing a see-through mesh mask that provides no protection from water droplets. A Senate committee meeting was paused just last week after another senator protested Karnes’ not wearing a suitable mask. The residents of the 11th District deserve better representation than this.

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