Every Saturday the Times-News editorial page features this Hits and Misses column. It is a look at the positive and negative news or events over the past week. Readers are invited to send their suggestions.
• A LIFETIME HIT for our old and valued friend, Harris LeFew, who died Jan. 12 at age 88. We remember him as the director of public relations at Westvaco’s Luke Mill (now owned by Verso Corporation), but to say that he lived a full life would be an understatement. An outstanding athlete, a bridge player, an Air Force veteran, a member of the Tri-Towns Lions Club and lay leader at Trinity United Methodist Church in Piedmont, W.Va., he served his community in so many ways that we wonder how he could find the time and energy to do what he did — but he did. (See his obituary on Page 5A of our Jan. 14 issue.) His good friend, our late sports editor J. Suter Kegg, justifiably called him “Harris LePlenty.”
• A HIT for Billie Neilson, certified nursing assistant, who was honored for her 30 years of service at Dawnview Center of Fort Ashby, W.Va. She also has served as a restorative aid, activities assistant and activities director.
• A HIT for Nic Larsen, the National Jet Co. employee of the year. He was chosen by his fellow employees for his dedication and outstanding performance as an operator of CNC Swiss lathes that are used to make small, complex parts.
• A DIDN’T HIT IT TOO OFTEN for John Blank of Zihlman, who won the Legends Division (for golfers age 70 and over) of the gateway Senior Invitational in Fort Meyers, Florida, one of five events that make up senior amateur golf’s January Swing. Slug Armstrong of Frostburg tied for sixth in the Super Senior Division (65 to 70).
• A HIT for local photographer Brian Breighner, whose photo of Bill Pancake’s takeoff from the Mexico Farms Airport was selected General Aviation News’ 2017 Best Photo of the Year. Pancake’s 1947 Aeronca 7AC Champ is itself an award winner. (See photo on Page 8A of our Jan. 13 issue.)
• A HIT for Jack and Ruby Riley, for whom the New Hope Road Trailhead in Frostburg has been renamed to the Riley Trailhead in honor of their years of commitment to the Great Allegheny Passage, the 150-mile-long hiking and biking trail that links Cumberland and Pittsburgh.
• A 6.8-MILE-HIGH CLUB MEMBERSHIP goes to Paula Podest and Carlos Ciuffardi, flight attendants who were married at 36,000 feet by Pope Francis in a ceremony aboard an airline flight from Santiago to Iquique in Brazil. They had told the pope they were married in a civil ceremony in 2010 but were unable to have a church wedding because of a massive earthquake that struck Chile. After hearing about this during a visit there, the pope offered to marry them during a flight. It’s believed that this is the first-ever airborne papal wedding.
• OUR DOLTS OF THE WEEK are two men from Dresden, Germany. One, age 49, was backing his car out of a parking place when he hit the other, age 72, slightly injuring him. They exchanged information for a police report. The older man got into his car and struck the younger man as he was backing out, slightly injuring him.