PRAISE&nays

PRAISE for your momma, and for Mother’s Day. Inspired to highlight the work of mothers after her mother’s death in 1905, West Virginia-born Anna Jarvis worked for years to make the second Sunday in May a national holiday for mothers.

But she spent even longer fighting against Mother’s Day, saying it had become too commercial: “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother — and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment!”

Mother’s Day, she believed, ought to be a simple celebration: Write your mother a letter thanking her for all she’s done or, better yet, plan an in-person visit where you bring her her favorite cut flower.

PRAISE to Jefferson County’s Golden Horsehoe winners. Outstanding eighth-graders Avery Younis, Ally Ward, Jonathan Schattel, Matthew Moore, Patrick Rao and Bailey Price traveled to Charleston last week to accept the formal honor, a West Virginia tradition dating to 1931.

These students and other honorees from across the state deserve congratulations for demonstrating knowledge about West Virginia as well as an understanding of current events and insights into the Mountain State’s heritage.

PRAISE for Charles Town’s Frederick Mayer, who served as a German agent behind enemy lines in Austria during World War II.

Despite being captured and tortured, he helped negotiate the surrender of Innsbruck in 1945 and last week accepted a number of long-overdue medals from U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller during a ceremony here in Charles Town.

PRAISE for the “flipped classroom” concept. In a growing number of college and secondary classrooms, the traditional approach of lecture and homework get swapped.

They watch the instructor’s short presentation online at home (or at school if they lack Internet access) where they can take in information at their own pace, viewing elements of the talk again and again if they need to. They can jot down questions about anything they still don’t understand.

Once students are in the classroom, they can ask questions about the material and work on labs or interactive activities with their teacher so they better understand and retain concepts.

Said one teacher: “My goal is to be available to my students, like an ATM machine, 24/7.” We hope West Virginia educators take a look at the new idea and begin giving it a try.

NAY to equal-opportunity violence. It seems teenage girls are becoming as mindlessly brutal as their worst male counterparts.

The latest example: Sixteen-year-old Morgantown resident Rachel Shoaf, who last week agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder.

Federal prosecutors say she is responsible for the death of Skylar Neese, a 16-year-old honors student whose remains were found in Pennsylvania in January.

PRAISE for mowing less. Why shouldn’t West Virginia follow the example of states that are saving money by cutting grass along highways less often?

The Ohio Department of Transportation, for instance, estimates trimming its annual mowing schedule from four to three times will save some $7.4 million a year. Ten other states already get by with three mowings each year. Herbicide can be used to keep grass from growing so fast.

PRAISE to following up when lawmakers fail to do the right thing. Most Americans support the common-sense Manchin-Toomey bill, which would have extended background checks to gun shows and Internet sales. Nonetheless, the bipartisan measure failed in the Senate last month thanks to what essentially was a GOP filibuster.

Now Erika Soto Lamb of Mayors Against Illegal Guns is on a mission. “We are going to hold senators who voted ‘no’ on background checks accountable for their vote, particularly senators where we know their vote flew in the face of the overwhelming support of their own constituents.

“We are going to ask them to explain their vote. We will remind people, up until Election Day, that their senator does not stand with them on this issue.”

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