Thumbs down ... to McDowell County ranking last for the fourth straight year in a health study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin. McDowell had a premature death rate nearly double the state average. It also has high rates of physical inactivity, adult smoking and obesity. Wyoming, Fayette and Summers also ranked poorly in the study.
Thumbs up ... to Beckley Newspapers publisher Frank Wood for winning the 2013 Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award. Wood was chosen for his dedication to improving Raleigh County through continued involvement with economic and transportation issues as well as the arts and nonprofit groups.
Thumbs up ... to Jerry Beasley, named executive director of the Hinton Area Foundation. The volunteer group manages scholarship funds and supports the community through funding for the library, Ruritan Club, Family Resource Center and many more organizations.
Thumbs up ... to Meadow Bridge High School, which has a 100 percent senior class voter registration, and for the third year has been invited by Sen. Joe Manchin’s office to visit Washington, D.C. This is the 12th year in a row MBHS has met the 100 percent challenge.
Thumbs up ... to the Brain Injury Group of Southern West Virginia and the Law Offices of Stephen New, which teamed up to distribute bike helmets to kids. More than 100 helmets were given away at Crossroads Mall recently.
Thumbs up ... to First Baptist Church of Montgomery, which recently celebrated its 135th anniversary. The church was established in 1878 on Fayette Pike in Montgomery.
Thumbs up ... to Independence Middle School, which won the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s play-in tournament for the 2013 West Virginia History Bowl. The state bowl features questions about the state’s history, culture, heritage, tourism and people.