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hats off for web

Editor's note: The combined editorial boards of the Clarksburg Exponent and Telegram newspapers devote Saturday's editorial to recognizing positive efforts from people throughout our readership area. We call this new feature, "Hats Off." To nominate a person or group for recognition, contact John Miller (626-1473), Bob Stealey (626-1438) or James Logue (626-1031).

We salute:

-- Noted author Elaine Blue, the featured speaker at this year's Black History Banquet. The poet, playwright, artist and author grew up in Clarksburg. Blue's life full of hard work and success makes her a role model for others.

-- The Bridgeport Middle School girls team and Washington Irving boys team, which recently won Harrison County middle school basketball championships.

-- Harrison County businessman Jim Smith, who has agreed to serve out the term of Tom Keeley on the Harrison County Commission once Keeley leaves to become head of the state Alcohol Beverage Control Administration. Smith has said he will donate his salary to charity, won't seek election in two years and wants to serve simply as a public servant.

-- The Bridgeport High School girls swim team that finished third in the state meet. Two swimmers, Kimberly Sickles and Michele Knicely, earned all-state honors

-- Area businessman Patrick Ford, a city development planning specialist, who has been named to the National Republican Congressional Committee's Business Advisory Council.

-- Robert C. Byrd's Chris Hagedorn, who continued his streak of being the dominant male high school swimmer in the state. Hagedorn won two individual state titles this year, giving him six in three years. He also set two meet records and earned all-state honors for the third straight year.

-- The Bridgeport High School girls basketball team that finished the regular season undefeated and ran its record to 22-0 before losing to Ritchie County in the regional finals.

-- Harrison County Realtor Mary Lou Jones, named the first female president of the local Chamber of Commerce.

-- The Ritchie County and Elkins girls basketball teams for winning their way into next week's state tournament in Charleston.

-- The Salem International University community, which has banded together to battle violence and hate on campus after several recent incidents.

-- Wrestlers Corey Auvil of Grafton and Drew Toth of South Harrison, who each finished second in their respective weight classes at the state championships.

-- Bridgeport voters, who overwhelmingly supported a special levy to help fund city parks, sidewalk repair, storm drainage work, the library and street repair.

-- Frank Oliverio, a Clarksburg native who returned 30 years ago to open a family business, Oliverio Italian Style Peppers, and has had the fortitude and work ethic to make it successful.

-- Harrison County Board of Education employees, the Division of Highways and local parents and landowners who worked to provide a safer bus stop for students in the Maple Lake area.

-- Doddridge County native Larry Swann, who has distinguished himself as one of the leading lobbyists in the state Capitol.

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