Cheers to Pierpont Community and Technical College and its Veterinary Tech Program for achieving national reaccreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association. That means the college had to jump through some pretty stringent hoops to show why it is worthy of that organization’s seal of approval.

Cheers to the families, companies and other organizations that have stepped forward to fund the 2021 Marion County Christmas Toy Shop. Now, let’s focus our efforts on the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, which still has about 200 kids whose angels need to adopted so they can have a good Christmas. Angel Tree is not as focused on toys as other programs. Instead, it focuses on providing such basic needs as socks, coats, clothing and personal hygiene items.

Jeers to the circumstances that have forced the Rider family to make a tough decision to close Rider’s Cards, Gifts and More on Dec. 30. The growth in online shopping, stiff competition from big box retailers and a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic were all cited as reasons behind Jonathan Rider’s decision to close the store on Merchant Street. We wish him and his family the best of luck in future endeavors.

Cheers to the fall 2021 graduates of Fairmont State University who were lauded for their resiliency during Saturday’s commencement exercises by President Mirta Martin and guest speaker JB McCuskey, the West Virginia State Auditor. McCuskey challenged the newly-minted alumni to step up and become leaders in their next chapter of life.

Cheers to Jayenne Elementary School kindergarten teacher Morgan Hostutler for his creativity and enthusiasm in teaching reading to his students. Last week, students read the picture book biography “Balloons Over Broadway” by author Melissa Sweet where they learned a history lesson about how the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began using helium-filled balloons thanks to the talents of Tony Sarg and Bill Blair. The students then decorated balloons and held their own Thanksgiving parade. Keep up the creative work, teachers!

Cheers to all of the donors who are stepping forward to donate to the Tygart River United Way Annual Campaign. You are halfway there — you can do it!

Cheers to Barrackville artist Graham Curry for lending his creative talents to the Barrackville Covered Bridge Preservation Society and its efforts to restore the town’s historic bridge. This is and example of passion meets passion. It’s rather powerful stuff when a community can rally together to save something so romantic as a covered bridge. Barrackville and Marion County should be rather proud to have such a gift of a landmark to preserve for future generations.

Cheers to the entrepreneurial spirit displayed by Larry Sisler, his wife Rhonda and their daughter Ky who are — in the midst of a global pandemic — opening PetWorks in Middletown Commons next month. We salute your small business spirit and applaud your courage to expand to Marion County while continuing to run your other two stores in Morgantown and Westover.

Cheers to the staff at the Marion County Health Department for taking the lead and offering the COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5-11, now that federal regulators have found it safe and reliable at protecting us from the coronavirus. The more people who get vaccinated, the safer we will all be throughout these uncertain winter months ahead.

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