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Congratulations on a job well done

I would like to congratulate Mr. Brown, principal at Norwood Elementary School, and his staff on the wonderful job they are doing with the kids who attend that school.

My son, Bryan, is a first grader there, and on a number of occasions, I have attended school functions that have demonstrated the dedication the Norwood staff has to its students.

Here are just a few examples. During the summer, Norwood sponsored a reading program for the children. Mr. Brown challenged the kids to read a number of books. For those who did, he invited them and their families to a cookout during which the faculty grilled and served food to the young readers and their guests.

Mr. Brown, Mrs. Shuttleworth and Mrs. Murray provided the kids with some hilarious entertainment as they pretended to be musicians and lip-synched Beach Boys' songs. The entire staff did a nice job showing the kids that learning can be fun. Recently one evening, the school sponsored a dance for the kids in the school gym. As I sat and watched everyone enjoy themselves that evening, I saw that yet another teacher, Mrs. Blackburn, was on the dance floor dancing with a few of the children.

Recently, during a parent-teacher conference, I told Mrs. Riffle, Bryan's teacher, that I would like to come to school one morning and observe class. Mrs. Riffle quickly responded that she thought that was a nice idea and went on to say that when I visited Bryan's class, she might find some way for me to participate in an activity while I was there.

Soon thereafter, I had the opportunity to observe Bryan's class and read the youngsters a story. During storytime, the kids were all very well-behaved and commented to me about their thoughts on the story and personal experiences they could relate to what we read.

While I observed the class that morning, Mrs. Riffle worked with the students and encouraged all of them to participate.

Additionally, she went above and beyond what I expected that morning when she rearranged the schedule so that I could observe and participate in class as much as possible.

As I prepared to leave, she told me that I was welcome to come back anytime, and that Mr. Brown was very supportive of parent participation.

Often, I see parents coming and going from the school and it is apparent that the school is an anchor in the community. The Norwood Elementary School staff routinely demonstrate their professionalism and dedication and should be commended for the service they provide.

Glenn Murphy

Quiet Dell

Working hard to defeat the

smoking ban

It is extremely disturbing that the anti-smoking zealots in Harrison County are trying to shape the debate to ban smoking in public places as "another invasion by the National Smokers Alliance (NSA)."

In his Nov. 12 letter to the editor, Dr. Imad Basha accuses the NSA of being a "phony group" sent into our county by Philip Morris to "spread misinformation about the clean indoor air policies." This is simply not true and is a shameless attempt by Dr. Basha to divert attention away from the overwhelming local opposition to the ban.

As county taxpayers, voters and, yes, some of us proud members of the NSA, we have spent hundreds of hours over the past several months working to defeat the smoking ban. We have sent letters and called the Board of Health and our county commissioners on numerous occasions -- all to no effect. And Dr. Basha wants to point the finger at the NSA?

Grow up, Dr. Basha! The NSA is not the "phony group" that you say it is. They are very real, and we will continue to seek their support until someone will actually listen to our concerns and come to their senses.

Any attack on the NSA is an attack on the dozens of business owners, citizens and more than 900 NSA members in Harrison County who are working day and night to defeat the smoking ban.

Travis Miller

Clarksburg

I would like to address the area restaurant owners with this letter.

I have dined at your restaurants throughout the years and always enjoy the delicious food and excellent service. I love to smell the wonderful aroma of the food as I walked in the door. It whets my appetite and makes my mouth water. Unfortunately, there's also the odor of cigarette smoke that accompanies the aroma of the food that just makes my eyes water.

I appreciate the efforts of the non-smoking sections, but smell and smoke don't obey rules. Nothing eliminates that smell in an enclosed area except to not have it in the first place.

I have heard the rumors that being totally smoke-free will be detrimental to your business, but I don't believe that. There have been numerous occasions where I have had to wait for a nonsmoking table and have seen several empty tables in the smoking section. This leads me to believe that the percentage of non-smokers is greater than smokers.

Every man, woman and child must eat to survive. Always. Can you honestly say this about smoking? The only thing detrimental to success is lack of commitment and caring, so as long as you strive to serve great food and have good service and a clean restaurant, business will not suffer.

So why not comply with the majority of customers? When you comply with a smoke-free restaurant, I know that my family, friends and I will breathe a lot easier.

Mary Hennessey

Clarksburg

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