Thumbs down ... to the tragic number of mining deaths in the nation, 42 in 2013, which is up six from the previous year. The Mine Safety and Health Administration reports the 20 coal mining deaths last year were unchanged from 2012, but deaths at other mining operations were up by six, to 22. The agency says mining death and injury rates have been on a downward trend. Record lows in both categories were marked in 2011, and dipped further in 2012.
Thumbs up ... to Lisa Collins, the technology teacher at Baileysville Elementary and Middle School, who was named the Wyoming County Teacher of the Year. Her husband Bobby is McDowell County’s Teacher of the Year.
Thumbs up ... to the Wyoming County Commission, in conjunction with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, which has been working to clean up an illegal dump site near Oceana. The selling of recycled items helps fund the work on a second major dump site on Basin Mountain.
Thumbs up ... to Cliffs Natural Resources and its commitment to the state. The company gives $181,000 to organizations in the state. The main focus of the donations is education, health and human resources, cultural resources and civic-related projects.
Thumbs up ... to a study showing West Virginia electricity rates are among the lowest in the nation. At the sixth-lowest residential rates in the country for 2013, the Public Service Commission said the Mountain State rates were lower than any of the surrounding states.
Thumbs up ... to the Beckley Concert Association, which presented its final concert of the season featuring the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. BCA admitted the public to the concert at no charge to thank the community for its ongoing support of the organization’s mission as it closes an exciting and successful 75th anniversary season.
Thumbs up ... to West Virginia University’s College of Law not only being ranked in the top 100 law schools in the nation, but also having one of the lowest tuition rates in the country, according to U.S. News rankings. According to another U.S. News report, graduates from WVU’s 2013 class also have a relatively low average of law school debt at graduation.