Thumbs up … to the Raleigh County Firefighters Association, which has established a “duty crew” three days a week to provide better assistance countywide. Members from each department across the county assist the duty crew when they are available, from 6 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The duty crew will serve as a support function. They will assist other departments on calls throughout the county.
Thumbs down … to West Virginia’s educational system ranking fourth-worst in the nation for the second straight year. Child-welfare advocates say lack of quality pre-kindergarten programs for 3-year-olds is partly to blame. The annual KIDS COUNT report says nearly two-thirds of the state’s 3- and 4-year-olds weren’t enrolled in preschool programs in 2011. It also says that 73 percent of fourth-graders weren’t proficient in reading, while 79 percent of eighth-graders weren’t proficient in math. And 22 percent of students didn’t graduate from high school on time in the 2009-10 school year.
Thumbs up … to Summers County getting $345,000 from the Department of Agriculture Rural Development to complete the Wiggins and Browning water extension project. The funding being provided to the Big Bend Public Service District is to help provide water to about 74 more households and businesses along W.Va. 3. The grant comes in addition to $1.8 million in rural development funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The overall project cost $2.8 million. For now, customers in that area of Summers County are dependent on wells and springs, which often run dry in times of drought and, at times, are vulnerable to contamination when the Greenbrier River floods.