UP: To the local organization Save-A-Future for its work sprucing up the community through several service projects. The group, which offers mentoring and guidance to troubled youths, has been removing graffiti at various locations around Parkersburg. Congratulations to the group and the young people taking part in the program.
To three area state troopers who were honored Friday in Charleston for exemplary service. Cpl. Andrew Pringle, with the Harrisville detachment, received the Purple Heart Award, and Trooper Gary Honaker, also with the Harrisville detachment, received the Medal for Lifesaving, and Cpl. Douglas Starcher, with the Elizabeth detachment, received the Meritorious Service Medal. Honaker and Pringle were injured by a drunken driver on W.Va. 47. Despite suffering a concussion, Honaker was able to call for help and is credited for saving the much-worse injured Pringle's life while waiting for assistance to arrive. Starcher is credited with saving the lives of citizens when he fatally shot a gunman during a hostage situation in Elizabeth. Congratulations to these officers for upholding the high standards set for the men and women in their profession.
DOWN: To Kanawha County Circuit Judge Louis "Duke" Bloom for his ruling that allows former state Sen. Walt Helmick to run for Commissioner of Agriculture. Helmick's opponent, L. Joe Starcher, a former veterinarian, had sought Helmick's removal from the ballot because the state Constitution requires the commissioner to be engaged in an agricultural-related business. Helmick says his bottled water business qualifies him for the office. Helmick is the too-often-seen example in West Virginia of a politician who has been on the public dole for many years wanting another taxpayer-funded position to retire from.
UP: To an agreement in principle between Century Aluminum Co. and the company's retirees that will restore those retirees' health-care benefits, which were lost in 2010. It is hoped this agreement will be the first step in Century restarting the Ravenswood plant, which has been closed since 2009. If reopened, it could mean hundreds of new jobs in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
DOWN: To the House of Delegates for a vote this week removing oversight of the state's deer farming operations from the Division of Natural Resources and moving it to the Department of Agriculture. We believe the DNR's position - that this move could endanger the state's deer herd and threaten the multi-million dollar hunting industry - is the correct one. We hope this bill will die in the Senate.