Thumbs up ... to Natalie Coots, a sixth-grade teacher at Independence Middle School, named the 2013-14 Raleigh County Teacher of the Year. Coots, who has been teaching 29 years, is also a seven-time recipient of the Beckley Area Foundation Student First Mini-grants, an Arch Coal Classroom Teacher award winner, a Who’s Who in America award winner and a three-time nominee for the Disney Teacher of the Year.
Thumbs up ... to Mike Green, named a member of the Young Guns Class of 2014 by West Virginia Executive magazine. Green is president and CEO of Custom Business Solutions LLC, president of Premier Constriction Inc., and has been a West Virginia state senator since 2006. The magazine created the award in 1999 to honor business success and community involvement.
Thumbs up ... to everyone — public and participants alike — who took part in the United Way Wonderland of Trees. The event raised nearly $40,000. The highest tree sold was for $4,500 and was from R.W. Electric. The second highest was $3,300 and was from Greg and Terry Ann Skeens Family and Friends. The People’s Choice award winner was Foley Orthodontics.
Thumbs up ... to Wayne’s Supermarket in Mullens for again donating turkeys for the Community Thanksgiving dinner. The event was sponsored by the Mullens Ministerial Association and was free. It was held at the Wyoming County Council on Aging Center in Itmann.
Thumbs up ... to the Fayette Education Fund, awarded a grant through the West Virginia Tourism Commission’s Matching Advertising Partnership Program. The $4,590 grant, a state match for $1,530 already in place, will help promote the annual New River Building and Nature Festival. The event translates to more than $100,000 a year for the local economy.
Thumbs up ... to volunteers who took part in the spring and fall West Virginia Adopt-A-Highway cleanup programs. Close to 20,000 volunteers collected 1.1 million pounds of trash from the state’s landscape during the 2013 Adopt-A-Highway and Make it Shine cleanup campaigns.