The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 4, 2014

Thumbs - Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Register-Herald

— Thumbs down ... to the tragic fact that West Virginia has the nation’s highest rate of fatal all-terrain vehicle accidents. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at rider deaths on public roads from 2007 to 2011. In that time, 1,701 riders died in crashes on public roads throughout the nation. West Virginia ranked third in the number of deaths with 96; however, its death rate of 105 per 10 million people was the country’s highest. Wyoming was a distant second with 70.

Thumbs up ... to the West Virginia Courtesy Patrol, which is marking 15 years of helping motorists on more than 800 miles of state roadways. The program has logged about 68 million miles, helped more than 280,000 motorists, removed about 17,000 items of debris and answered about 2 million phone calls.

Thumbs up ... to an eighth-generation family-run farm in Jefferson County honored for its conservation efforts and best-management practices. Meadow Green Farms in Kearneysville is the third consecutive Eastern Panhandle farm, and the fourth in six years, to be named Conservation Farm of the Year by the West Virginia Conservation Awards Council. Bill W. Grantham took over managing the farm from his parents in 1990. He raises cattle, hay and trout on about 200 acres.

Thumbs up ... to  the AP Government & Politics class at Shady Spring High School, recognized for its outstanding performance in the “We The People Competition” state championship competition in Charleston. The achievement marked the first time Shady Spring, or any Raleigh County school, has won the state championship.

Thumbs up ... to West Virginia for working to make signs on interstate and U.S. highway routes more legible and visible. During regular sign replacements, the Department of Transportation is installing signs that feature a font called Clearview. Research has shown Clearview increases legibility and visibility. New reflectivity technologies are expected to further increase visibility.

Thumbs up ... to a successful deer hunting season. In West Virginia, hunters harvested 56,333 bucks during the two-week buck firearms season. The 2012 harvest was 56,276. The top 10 counties for buck harvest were Jackson, Ritchie, Roane, Preston, Lewis, Hampshire, Braxton, Wood, Wetzel and Greenbrier.

Thumbs up ... to the West Virginia University Foundation’s successful fundraising campaign. At present trends, the foundation should reach its $750 million mark well ahead of the December 2015 deadline. So far, the foundation has received 75 gifts of $1 million or more.