Thumbs up ... to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin assembling a council of education and industry leaders to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics opportunities in West Virginia. The council will include a variety of state education and economic development officials, along with representatives from oil and gas, petrochemical, technology, manufacturing, logistics, aerospace and chemical industries.
Thumbs up ... to West Virginia receiving an additional $5.6 million in federal grants to help coal workers affected by mine closures and layoffs. WorkForce West Virginia will receive National Emergency grants through 2016 for displaced miners. The state received $1.8 million in 2012. The Department of Labor assistance will provide re-employment services and job training for 700 mine workers.
Thumbs up ... to AT&T for donating $300,000 to help McDowell County high school students participate in a mentoring and career training program. The initiative offers mentorships, college campus visits and job shadowing for 20 students a year over three years. The program is part of Reconnecting McDowell, which aims to improve educational, economic and social opportunities.
Thumbs up ... to Greater Beckley Christian School, which won the “Battle of the Belts” high school seat-belt competition for 2014, according to Lt. Paul Blume, coordinator of the West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program. Greater Beckley Christian averaged a seat-belt usage rate of 88.95 percent.
Thumbs up ... to everyone that took part in Applebees’ recent shamrock campaign. Restaurants in Beckley, Summersville, Lewisburg and Princeton raised $46,000 for the second year in a row. Funds will help fight muscular dystrophy and related diseases.
Thumbs up ... to University of Charleston - Beckley students for embracing the community. UC - Beckley’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program students collected well over 13,000 pounds of pet food and delivered it to the Raleigh County Animal Shelter.
Thumbs up ... to the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, West Virginia State University and National Capital Investment Fund for supporting area farmers. The group plans a luncheon to help local farmers and agricultural producer expand their business.
Thumbs up ... to Beckley Police Department’s Cpl. Jamie Blume and his K-9 partner Ciro, who won the 2013-14 Officer and K-9 of the Year from the West Virginia Police Canine Association. Beckley is the only one in the state to have three active K-9 handlers as winners. Previously named were Cpl. Will Reynolds and Merlin, who has since died, and Cpl. J.W. Legursky and Artie.