Thumbs up ... to the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department receiving funding from a Justice Assistance Grant though the Department of Justice. The more than $25,000 will be used to purchase a special Ford Explorer custom made for K-9 units.
Thumbs up ... to Hurricane resident and professional truck driver John Hodges being named Grand Champion of the West Virginia Trucking Association’s 57th annual Truck Driving Championship. This is the third time Hodges, a driver for UPS freight, has won. His first Grand Champion Award was in 2008, the second in 2010.
Thumbs up ... to $1.25 million in federal funding for identifying and preventing unsafe working conditions in and around coal mines. The money stems from the Brookwood - Sago Mine Safety grant program.
Thumbs down ... to a recent report showing West Virginia ranked No. 5 in terms of the worst states in the nation when it comes to toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants. As for the other states around Kentucky, which was ranked first, Ohio ranked 2nd, Indiana 4th, Tennessee 11th, Virginia 12th, Missouri 15th and Illinois 16th.
Thumbs down ... for disappointing conditions found by veterans from Raleigh, Summers, Monroe and Greenbrier counties at their annual picnic. The Vietnam veterans said Ronceverte’s Island Park picnic shelter and nearby toilet facilities were dirty and littered with trash and that grass was overgrown and there was no electricity.
Thumbs up ... to the Beckley Area Foundation’s receiving notification it has met the nation’s highest philanthropic standards. The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations program requires community foundations to document their policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking and administration.
Thumbs up ... to $616,000 from HUD for emergency shelter. The grants from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development will be used to create new or improve existing shelters for use during future emergencies.
Thumbs up ... to West Virginia being recognized as a national leader in child nutrition and wellness. This comes on the heels of the West Virginia Department of Education being selected as one of seven states to participate in the national program providing free meals to every student.