The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 15, 2014

Thumbs — Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014

— Thumbs up ... to West Virginia’s receiving $3.2 million in federal funding for continued efforts to help low-performing schools. The U.S. Department of Education announced more than $38 million in school improvement grants for West Virginia and five other states. Schools can use the funding for parent and community activities, consultants, hiring staff or professional development for staff to improve student achievement.


Thumbs down ... to a scam in which a caller impersonates an electric or gas company representative and threatens to disconnect the customer unless they immediately make a payment with a pre-paid debit card. They also may ask for personal information, such as a consumer’s Social Security number.

Thumbs down ... to West Virginia being among the worst states in the country in long-term budget planning, according to a major new report from the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. West Virginia should adopt a set of proven budget-planning tools that could help it weather difficult economic times, build an attractive business climate and make government more effective and efficient, the report finds.

Thumbs down ... to a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deny West Virginia’s request for emergency protective measures through the emergency declaration issued in response to the Kanawha Valley chemical spill that tainted the drinking water of some 300,000 people. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said he is appealing the decision.

Thumbs down ... to the 13 Raleigh County establishments charged with illegally selling alcohol to a person under the age of 21 during a recent underage alcohol sting. Law enforcement officers from the Beckley Police Department and Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department teamed up with Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration agents to conduct the sting.

Thumbs up ... to the 25 establishments that were in compliance during the underage alcohol sting coordinated by the West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program and Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration. The program is an ongoing effort with local law enforcement to make sure alcohol is not readily available to underage buyers.