Cheers and congratulations to the entire Marion County Class of 2019. Good luck in your future endeavors!

Cheers to Rivesville Middle School’s Chris Malnick for addressing the opioid epidemic in his social studies / health classes, and cheers to his students, seven of whom were chosen as regional winners in the Attorney General’s “Kids Kick Opioids” design contest. With the epidemic sweeping across the state, we think it’s incredibly important to educate today’s youth about the dangers of drugs and even more important for that youth to understand the damage drug abuse can cause.

Cheers to the Three Rivers Festival and Project Graduation for continuing to provide safe and fun environments for the citizens of Marion County. The festival has continued to be a joy for families both in and out of the area, and Project Graduation allows our newly-minted high school graduates a place to safely celebrate their milestone.

Cheers to West Virginia University for opening the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Innovation Center, which will be entirely devoted to the study of brain diseases and disorders. In addition to continuing research on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, the center will also be studying the opioid crisis and working to fight it.

We think this center will do great things, and we think it’s important to have this kind of innovation occurring in the Mountain State.

Cheers to Fairmont State University for hiring new coach Chris Freije to rebuild the Falcons wrestling program. Freije has a history of getting collegiate wrestling programs off the ground and guiding them to success, and we think it’s a great idea to have someone like that here in Fairmont to continue to contribute to the athletic success of the community.

We wish you good luck and we look forward to seeing what you will do.

Jeers to the state government for not funding the antismoking initiative. Multiple states have banned smoking in private workplaces, restaurants, bars, casinos and gaming establishments, retail stores and recreational and cultural facilities, but not here in West Virginia where 26 percent of the population uses tobacco products and where — each year — more than 4,300 citizens die of tobacco-related causes.

We think the cutting of the entire anti-smoking budget in 2017 was a huge error, and we urge you to reconsider to help save the lives of your constituents.

Jeers to the West Virginia Senate Republicans on shelving the proposed education bills submitted by the Democrats at the special session last week. Education needs to be reformed here in the Mountain State, and if the Republicans aren’t willing to devote time and energy to writing a bill, they can at least acknowledge the eight bills written by those that were willing to do so.

Since the special session was supposed to be devoted to the “betterment of education,” the Republicans should focus on trying to better education.

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