Praise and nays

PRAISE for the Jefferson County Board of Education in its selection last week of Larry Togans to the vacancy created when Pete Dougherty left the board to become sheriff. While the board would have done well with either Alan Sturm or Laurie Ogden – the two others considered ahead of an April 13 deadline – clearly Togans is an experienced, thoughtful leader who also will add diversity to the school board.


PRAISE to The Washington Post’s Ian Shapira for continuing to dig into the odd tale of the 1879 Renoir a Virginia woman said she’d found in a $7 box of odds and ends at the Harpers Ferry Flea Market. The latest twist: A month before Martha Fuqua brought the Renoir to an Alexandria, Va., auction house wondering if the painting she’d purchased at the West Virginia flea market might be the real deal by the French master, Shapira reported over the weekend that she’d taken “On the Shore of the Seine” to Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Falls Church, Va., with a different story – that the work was a certified Renoir she’d acquired from an estate. It was Shapira whose reporting brought a halt to the auction of the painting, initially planned for September. He combed records at the Baltimore Museum of Art to disclose the painting had been stolen in 1951.


PRAISE for the Shepherdstown Public Library for continuing to move toward a right-sized facility to replace the charming but far-too-small site downtown. The West Virginia Library Commission just earmarked a $25,000 grant for Shepherdstown’s efforts to construct a larger library on the town’s onetime dump site just outside of downtown.


NAY to the recent bill to extend the home rule pilot program for several of the state’s municipalities. The main thrust of the bill, which became a Frankenlaw when it hit the House, is to increase the power of municipal governments. The House tacked on a measure to remove the power of municipalities participating in the program to regulate the carrying of firearms. Each of these bills should have gotten a vote on its own because, in this case, the whole is much less than the sum of the parts.


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