Thumbs up ... to Woodrow Wilson High School senior Mihir Dave, the only National Merit Scholarship winner in southern West Virginia and one of only 13 in the state. Dave plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh, major in biology and eventually become a physician.
Thumbs up ... to a $155,252 grant for the Greenbrier County Housing Authority in Lewisburg to help the homeless get permanent and transitional aid, along with other services. Money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care Program lets housing agencies offer housing and services such as job training, health care, counseling, and child care.
Thumbs down ... to the growing evidence, detailed in a new scientific paper, that black lung is on the rise among Appalachian miners. Authored by leading black lung doctors, the research also details increasing evidence that modern mining generates huge amounts of dust that strangles miners’ respiratory systems when it is not properly contained.
Thumbs down ... to the growing plague of meth labs. West Virginia law enforcement officials are seizing methamphetamine labs at a record pace in 2013. They have seized 200 meth labs to date, and are approaching the 288 they shut down in all of last year.
Thumbs down ... to reports from West Virginia child-welfare officials that the number of active abuse and neglect cases has been climbing in the past two years. The state Department of Health and Human Resources says its workers took action in 1,569 cases in March 2013. That’s down from an average of 2,300 cases per month in 2007 — but even one child abuse case is too many.
Thumbs up ... to former Independence coach Tom Poe for being named the 2013 Retired Coach of the Year by the Secondary School Athletic Coaches Association. He was also named Coalfield Conference Coach of the Year seven times in softball and three times in golf.
Thumbs up ... to Lewisburg Volunteer Fire Department getting $97,584 in federal funds to help buy 23 new self-contained breathing apparatus. The money came as an Assistance to Firefighters Grant, a competitive program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.