Thumbs up ... to an increase in voter turnout in the last election. About 55 percent of West Virginia’s registered voters cast ballots during the 2012 general election, an improvement from the 2010 general election when turnout was 44 percent. That number includes 163,206 voters who cast early in-person or absentee ballots.
Thumbs up ... to fewer Raleigh County high school students having dropped out thus far this school year. Attendance director Millard Francis reported 49 kids had left school, compared to the 60 who had quit by this time last year. In the past, Raleigh County’s rates have been lower than the state average.
Thumbs up ... to Beckley Police Department’s Sgt. Frankie Shelton, named 2012 Officer of the Year for the 14th consecutive year at the recent Southern Regional Highway Safety Awards Banquet at the Moose Lodge in Beckley. In the past year on highway safety patrols alone, Shelton recorded 163 DUI arrests, 92 driving suspended/revoked charges, and more than 370 seatbelt violation charges and averaged a DUI arrest for every 3.14 hours he patrolled. Many other awards were also given.
Thumbs up ... to a West Virginia drug task force commander who has received a national award. Charleston’s Metro Drug Unit Lt. Chad Napier was named the 2012 National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area’s top drug task force commander. U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says Napier is the state’s first police officer to receive the honor, which is given annually by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Thumbs up ... to a robotics team from West Virginia University selected to participate in the Robo-Ops competition for the second consecutive year. The team will take part in the event scheduled for June at NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s Rock Yard in Houston. This year’s team also is partnering with students from Bluefield State College.
Thumbs up ... to Microsoft Corp. for giving the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics $245,000 worth of accounting software and annual support. The software will be used initially in accounting systems courses, but it won’t stop there. Students will later be able to use it to learn concepts related to internal controls, fraud and error detection.