Thumbs down ... to the tragic fact that the death toll from U.S. coal mine accidents was 21 during the past year. Six of those fatalities were in West Virginia. While that 21 was the second lowest annual count since the federal government began keeping records more than a century ago — even one death is one too many.

Thumbs up ... to Marsh Fork High School Alumni Association working to try to take ownership of the former Marsh Fork High School site in Montcoal. The alumni association plans to turn the land into a park with picnic areas and swings. They also hope to place a monument on the land to recognize those who attended the school before it closed in 2003 and its students were sent to Liberty High School.

Thumbs up ... to Raleigh General Hospital teaming with the Beckley Police Department to fight the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and prescription drug fraud. Hospital staff who suspect fraud can access the state pharmacy website to check for other narcotic prescriptions already prescribed.

Thumbs up ... to Richard and Beth Jarrell’s commitment to the economy of the area. The couple now owns Chick-fil-A at Crossroads Mall, in addition to the free-standing Chick-fil-A restaurant at The Galleria. Some $100,000 in remodeling is being planned for the store.

Thumbs up ... to Wyoming County Career and Technical Center’s electrical technology class, with assistance from the diesel technology group, which took its second consecutive first place prize of $1,000 for an animated Christmas tree during the eighth annual Cedar Lakes Winterfest Holiday Lights Competition. “The Making Of A Christmas Tree,” this year’s entry, includes a small tree growing into a full-grown tree, through the magic of lights directed by a programmable logic controller, or digital computer.

Thumbs up ... to Smooth Ambler Spirits, a locally owned and operated distillery in Greenbrier County. Smooth Ambler took a bronze medal in the gin category for its Greenbrier Gin and in the vodka category for its Whitewater Vodka in the New York International Spirits Competition.

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