THUMBS UP to the Southern West Virginia Regional Highway Safety Program’s recent awards banquet in Beckley that honored law enforcement. Several officers were noted; a few of those included:

● The Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office received the Outstanding Department Award and was the only sheriff’s office in the region to receive it.

● Deputy Bo Garrett received the Drug Recognition Expert Award for the completion of the DRE course to evaluate individuals driving under the influence of drugs.

● Deputy Will Ramey received the Enforcement Ace Award for his enforcement of DUI laws, red light violations and distracted driving violations.

● Lt. Jason Redden received the Occupant Protection Award, Enforcement Ace Award, MADD DUI Award and DRE Award. Lt. Redden was recognized as being one of the top 20 DRE officers in the nation for his arrests of drug-impaired drivers.

THUMBS UP to New River Community and Technical College Foundation for holding a dedication ceremony in honor of Jack and Barbara Bunzel at the campus in Lewisburg. Dr. Richard and Ann Kline chose to dedicate a plaque in memory of Mrs. Kline’s mother, Barbara, and her husband Jack Bunzel. Jack Bunzel served as president of San Jose State University and was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan to the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights in 1983.

THUMBS UP to the Susan Landis Youth Philanthropists of the Beckley Area Foundation that are working on their “Do Good December” Project. The group, SLYP, is comprised of high school students within Raleigh County. This year the project will help meet the needs of individuals who are in ResCare, nursing homes, and the VA. They are putting together toiletry bags which include shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, lotion, deodorant, etc. The Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary appreciates the youth involvement and has donated $200 to help these youth meet their goal.

THUMBS DOWN to a new Trump administration rule that will tighten work requirements for recipients of food stamps. Hundreds of thousands of Americans rely on the program to put food on the table. The Agriculture Department estimates the change would save roughly $5.5 billion over five years and cut benefits for roughly 688,000 SNAP recipients. That’s down from its original estimate that 750,000 people would lose benefits. The final rule will go into effect in April.

THUMBS DOWN to a cut to the tax coal companies pay to fund a trust for sick miners that will cost taxpayers at least $15 billion by 2050, according to a new report from a national watchdog group.

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