The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 28, 2013

Thumbs — Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013

— Thumbs up ... to everyone — dancers and the public — who took part in the recent United Way Dancing with the Stars. The popular event raised more than $80,000. Eric Thomas and Melanie McGraw won the Judge’s Choice and Dr. Brett Eckley and Lori Tabit won the People’s Choice. The United Way will use the proceeds to help 34 agencies throughout the region.

Thumbs up ... to two schools in West Virginia. Panther Creek Elementary in Nicholas County and Monongah Middle School in Marion County, were named 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. Begun in 1982, the program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either high performing or have raised student achievement to high levels.

Thumbs down ... to revelations from an audit of West Virginia’s $38 million expansion of a statewide microwave communications network that state purchasing laws apparently were ignored. The report says the state grant implementation team didn’t seek competitive bids for a tower project and state officials failed to stop the towers’ construction when advised to do so.

Thumbs up ... to  Velva Marie “Granny Jay” McVey Lusk, who turned 103 years old recently. A party was given in her honor by her children at the home of her son and daughter-in-law, Jack and Judy Lusk of Coal City Road, where family and friends attended. Married in 1929 to the late Curtis “Broad” Lusk, she has four children, six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

Thumbs up ... to a $25 million federal grant for Bridgemont Community and Technical College and to lead a 10-college, statewide consortium to develop and expand innovative career training for high-skilled, high-wage jobs in West Virginia. Bridgemont will use the grant to fund the West Virginia Bridging the Gap Consortium, which includes Mountwest Community and Technical College and New River Community and Technical College, to increase access to community and technical college programs designed to promote high-wage, high-skilled jobs in the state.

Thumbs up ... to two Community Partnership grants on behalf of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin given to Mullens. A $15,800 grant will be used for improvements to the municipal pool and city hall while a second grant in the amount of $5,000 will be used to purchase lawn maintenance equipment.

Thumbs up ... to the Greenbrier Day Report Center which recently earned statewide recognition when it received the Gaughan Award for Excellence. The award was named for First District Circuit Court Judge Martin J. Gaughan, who is hailed as one of the founders of community corrections in the state.