Thumbs up ... to Fayette County Schools for participating in the Community Eligibility Option Program, which will give students in 13 schools the opportunity to eat breakfast and lunch and have a snack at no cost. Throughout the state, 38 of 52 eligible county school systems have decided to participate, reaching nearly 110,000 public school kids.
Thumbs up ... to Raleigh County for letting every elementary school student qualify for a free lunch and breakfast, regardless of income. The Federal Community Eligibility Initiative — a voluntary program created by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 — helps support all students while removing any stigma. Studies show students who eat regular, healthy meals are likely to have fewer disciplinary problems and show better academic achievement.
Thumbs down ... to Kanawha County, which leads the state in per-capita sales of a common cold and allergy medication that’s used to make methamphetamine. Nicholas County had the second highest sales rate. Statewide, more than 300 meth labs have been seized since January.
Thumbs down ... to a report that many of West Virginia’s aging watershed dams don’t meet current design standards and need repair. Lawmakers learned from the State Conservation Agency that of the 170 watershed dams in the state, 100 don’t meet modern requirements and another 41 are more than 50 years old.
Thumbs up ... to a $600,000 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration grant to the West Virginia Highway Safety program. The funding supports programs like seat belt and child restraint inspections, traffic record improvements and distracted driving prevention.
Thumbs up ... to West Virginia University Institute of Technology for ranking No. 2 among the top five best colleges for your money statewide by College Factual. The ranking is based on average student loan debt, loan default rates, how the school retains and graduates students, as well as graduates’ starting salaries and earning potential.
Thumbs up ... to Beckley native Tom Susman, elected chairman of the West Virginia State University Board of Governors. Susman said his goal is to promote the university so residents understand how much the school has to offer not only as a traditional university, but as a land-grant university as well.