UP: To the people whose jobs kept them working outside during this stretch of brutally cold weather. From highway workers who have worked around the clock keeping roads passable to construction workers, it hasn't been an easy week. And since the forecast for next week is calling for more of the same, they won't get much of a break. We thank them and appreciate their efforts on our behalf.
DOWN: To Freedom Industries, the chemical storage company in Kanawha County whose Jan. 9 leak into the Elk River caused a water emergency that lasted for nearly two weeks in nine counties. The original leak of crude MCHM, a chemical used in the coal-cleaning process, was thought to have been the only chemical in the storage tank. However, this past Tuesday, company officials also said about 300 gallons of "PPH, stripped", a chemical that is added to crude MCHM, also leaked into the river. The company's late disclosure dumbfounded and angered the state Department of Environmental Protection where officials have asked the question that is still unanswered: why is this information just now being released?
UP: To Parkersburg High School graduate Mike McAllister who, along with his bandmates from the longtime New Orleans-based band J.J. Muggler Band, is being inducted into the Lousiana Music Hall of Fame today. J. J. Muggler is the longest-running southern rock and blues group and has played in the New Orleans area for 42 years. McCallister, a 1975 Parkersburg High School graduate, played with the band for 13 years. He was forced to leave New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and currently lives in Cummings, Ga. McCallister joins such illustrious New Orleans musicians such as Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Louis Prima and Louis Armstrong in the hall.
UP: To meetings this past week between Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, West Virginia lawmakers and officials of Brazil-based Odebrecht, the company discussing opening an ethane cracker plant in Wood County. Secretary of Commerce Keith Burdette said the meetings were part of "moving the project along." While Odebrecht has not yet committed to building the facility - named ASCENT, or Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise - Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise LLC bought the SABIC plant property on Dec. 31.