To the New River Gorge National River being redesignated as New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. The new name highlights the park’s features and other national park qualities as well as its traditional recreational opportunities. A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. The national park and preserve includes more than 70,000 acres of land along the river which showcase the cultural and natural history of the area.The new law also allows for the expansion of the park. The new designation should boost tourism across southern West Virginia and help put our beautiful little corner of the world on the map.

To the Greater Greenbrier Covid-19 Task Force, which was recently honored by Lewisburg as its Volunteer of the Year due to its community outreach and communications role throughout most of 2020. The multi-disciplinary task force has not only monitored the impact of the virus but has collected and disseminated information to help local people cope with the pandemic that has had an unprecedented worldwide and statewide disruption in lives of millions of individuals.

To Rupert Elementary School, which has been selected as one of only 20 sites in West Virginia to receive a $1,000 grant to support workplace wellness. With this award, Rupert Elementary will be better able to support the health and well-being of staffers through creative wellness initiatives such as team and staff challenges and by teaching employees how to stay active and healthy.

To creation and initiation of the Mary Anne Ketelsen STEM Scholarship Program to benefit Mountain State women seeking to further their education for careers in the oil and gas industry. The scholarship program has $22,500 available for distribution to qualified female candidates. Recipients will receive a nonrenewable award of either $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000.

Thumbs down to a lack of campaign finance laws. President Joe Biden benefited from a record-breaking amount of donations from anonymous donors to outside groups backing him, meaning the public will never have a full accounting of who helped him win the White House. Biden’s winning campaign was backed by $145 million in so-called dark money donations, a type of fundraising Democrats have decried for years. Those fundraising streams augmented Biden’s $1.5 billion haul, in itself a record for a challenger to an incumbent president.

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