UP: To U.S. Army Pfc. Kyle Hockenberry, who is spending two weeks at home in Reno while recovering from injuries suffered in Afghanistan. The 20-year-old was on foot patrol last June when he lost both legs and his left arm in a roadside bomb explosion. Hockenberry was welcomed home by a large contingent of family and friends and 89 members of the West Virginia Patriot Guard Riders motorcycle club. Many of the people attending the welcoming ceremony did not know Hockenberry but turned out to show support for the young man. We wish him well in his continued recovery and hope he is soon able to return home for good.
DOWN: To President Barack Obama's energy policy, which has helped contribute to the rising price of gasoline. Prices at area pumps are nearing $3.70 a gallon and analysts are saying it could rise considerably higher. At a campaign stop Thursday in Florida, Obama, remarkably, warned Republicans not to try and make a campaign issue out of gas prices. As we said earlier, the current situation in the Middle East has played a large part in the current spike. However, Obama's reluctance to support any expansion of domestic oil production has contributed to our situation, and for him to insist this not be a campaign issue is laughable.
DOWN: To the closing of the Parkersburg distribution and sorting center, which was announced by the United States Postal Service officials on Thursday. The closing is one of 264 facilities nationwide that will close as part of a cost-cutting measure. Parkersburg's mail will now go to Charleston for sorting. While the number of jobs lost will be minimal, the loss of this service to a community this size is sad.
DOWN: To Parkersburg City Council for voting 7-2 in favor of a 20-cent-an-hour raise for city employees and then backtracking on statements the raise was to offset the user fee enacted last year. Last year, city finances were is such dire straits, council passed a $2.50-a-week user fee for anyone working within the city limits. Apparently, the city's finances are in better shape.