Cheers to the community leaders who turned out Tuesday to meet with U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-1, to discuss the issues they believe are most important to North Central West Virginia. Jeers to the fact that the opioid epidemic are words we still have to utter in the Mountain State. Like McKinley asked Tuesday, “What’s the cause?”

Cheers to Marion County Communities of Shalom Inc. and its planned publication of a book that will showcase the work artists created during the pandemic. Using the theme, “Inspiration Through Tough Times,” the nonprofit wants to show what resiliency looks like in times of trouble. Deadline to submit is November 30.

Cheers to the City of Fairmont and Marion County for naming Raymond Alvarez, a professor at Fairmont State University, as city and county historian, a position that had not been filled in a number of years as reported by Lori L. Riley. Alvarez recently reprinted columns written by the late C.E. “Ned” Smith, former editor of The Fairmont Times, into book format to help raise funds for Woodlawn Cemetery where Alvarez is on the board of directors.

Cheers to brothers Tyler and Michael McCutchan, for bringing their late father’s idea to life. before he died, John McCutchan wanted to host a car show in Pleasant Valley to raise money for the East Fairmont High Foundation. Last Saturday, the two brothers made that happen.

Cheers to Fairmont State University and West Virginia University for stepping up their programs to address student mental health as the COVID-19 pandemic slogs along. Fairmont State’s program will involve such components as wellness fairs, yoga classes, educational programming in the dorms and support groups.

Cheers to the board of directors at historic Woodlawn Cemetery for unearthing the history of the Jan. 21, 1886 Newburg Mine disaster in Preston County that killed 39 men and boys. Among the dead were six members of one family, including two teenagers, who lived here in Fairmont after immigrating from England. The cemetery dedicated a headstone memorial to the local mine victims last week.

Cheers to all of the UMWA members, family and supporters who took time this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the tragic Battle of Blair Mountain. We study history so we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. The gains made in today’s modern workplace are all a credit to the success of the modern labor movement.

Cheers to Debra Conaway, the newest member of CASA of Marion County. Conaway, a retired nurse, recently went through training to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate to help child who have been subjected to abuse or neglect and may have been removed from their traditional family setting. Keep up the good work for the kids.

Jeers to the fact that the numbers of Marion County residents who have been fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 have barely budged in the last week. What are you waiting for? Along with the original stepped-up cleanliness guidelines, two things have proven to slow, prevent or end the spread of the coronavirus — wearing masks and getting the vaccination. If you’re not going to wear a mask, get the vaccination. At this writing, Marion County remains in the red on the state alert map and only 52 percent of residents have been fully-vaccinated.

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