The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 12, 2013

Thumbs — Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013

— Thumbs up ... to a $300,000 U.S Department of Labor grant to help cleanup and recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy. WorkForce West Virginia will use the funds for temporary jobs for dislocated workers in 18 counties. From this region, Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh and Wyoming were declared eligible by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Thumbs up ... to Greenbrier County for being one of four counties awarded funds for the West Virginia Safe Routes to School Grant Program to improve the safety of children as they walk or bicycle to school. Of the four counties chosen, Greenbrier got $240,000 of the nearly $850,000. Rainelle Elementary School was awarded $130,000 for the Sumac Lane Sidewalk Corridor Project and Alderson Elementary School was awarded $110,000 for a Safe Routes to School Project.

Thumbs up ... to West Virginia having 61 new National Board Certified teachers, the highest credential attainable in the teaching profession. This increases the number of board certified teachers in West Virginia to 696. The following area teachers were named: Judy Ashton Burns and Carolyn A. Osborne, Greenbrier County; Ashley Nicole Shaw and Emily Browning Smith, Mercer County; Valeria Lynn Mullins, Nicholas County; and Julie Ann Midkiff and Cindi Renee Reeves, Raleigh County.

 Thumbs up ... to regional counties receiving federal transportation enhancement grants. A total of $7,036,864 was awarded to 36 projects across the state as a part of the 2012 Transportation Enhancement Grant Program. From this area, Fayette County received $80,000 for a sidewalk project. Fayette and Greenbrier counties got $250,000 for work on the Meadow River Rail Trail. Greenbrier County received $158,400 for a Main Street streetscape, $240,000 for a Kanawha Avenue streetscape, and $300,000 for a U.S. 219 sidewalk project in Lewisburg. Jointly, Greenbrier and Monroe counties received $360,000 for the Alderson Memorial Bridge understructure, and McDowell and Raleigh counties received $50,000 for a Coal Heritage survey.

 Thumbs up ... to counties receiving $1,190,241.90 in federal funds for 22 projects across the state as part of the 2012 Recreational Trails Program. From this area, the Lewisburg and Ronceverte Trail in Greenbrier County received $48,000; Meadow River Trail, Greenbrier and Fayette counties, $80,000; Hatfield-McCoy Indian Ridge Trail System, $40,000; Potts Valley Rail Trail Phase II, Monroe County, $41,760; Gateway Trail and Fork Mtn. Trail, Nicholas County, $70,500; Burning Rock Outdoor Adventure Park, Raleigh County, $80,000; and Hatfield-McCoy Pinnacle Creek Trail System, Wyoming County, $40,000.

Thumbs up ... to the Nicholas County Solid Waste Authority’s recycling program, already recognized on a national level, for receiving a special award from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Nicholas has the only self-sustaining recycling program in West Virginia. It also has the distinction of being the only county in the state with a countywide curbside recycling collection program, while having one of the smallest landfills in the state.

Thumbs up ... to Concord University’s McNair Scholars Program for receiving a five-year grant totaling $1.26 million from the U.S. Department of Education. Since its inception in 1995, Concord’s McNair Scholars Program has served more than 250 students. Twenty-three Scholars have earned doctoral degrees, including five who have earned a Ph.D., and 57 have earned master’s degrees. Four more Scholars are expected to earn a Ph.D. within the next two years.