Editor's note: Reporters are constantly surveying their surroundings, and in doing so often turn up many tidbits of news that don't make it into the daily newspaper.
This space serves as a spot to aggregate and publish those items that otherwise would stay locked away forever in the reporters' notebook.
Brownies From Strangers
Don't eat the brownies.
That's the message middle schoolers in Ohio County are receiving this month from the school resource officers as part of the anti-drug program.
The message primarily is intended for those eighth-graders who will be heading to high school next year.
The resource officers, of course, are talking about the possibility that someone could have placed an illegal substance into the treat before placing it in the oven. Is this really where we are at as a society?
Doobie Bros. Rock Arena
Speaking of substances in brownies, the Doobie Brothers, by all accounts, had a great performance this past week at WesBanco Arena.
The downtown streets bustled with activity that day, and it was good to see the act that opened the arena return to play nearly 40 years later.
Keeping the Dog Warm
While the calendar may say spring is here, commuters in Bridgeport and Brookside likely will still see a woman on National Road briskly walking her dachshund dressed in a brightly colored coat as long as the morning temperatures remain cold.
Kessler: Sign Flawed Bill
Let's pass the bill - or, in this case, sign it - so we can figure out what needs to be fixed.
That's the message Senate President Jeff Kessler had last week with the state's minimum wage bill, as he urged Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to sign it. The problem, though, is that the law has some unintended consequences for how overtime is paid. Kessler wants to go back during a special session and fix any problems.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi had a similar message with the Affordable Care Act when she said, in essence, "we have to pass the bill so we can find out what's in it."
Nailers Fan, 2.5 Million
It's very interesting to note that the Wheeling Nailers will be marking the 2.5 millionth fan through the turnstiles at WesBanco Arena in the coming week. The team has some interesting promotions planned for that lucky fan.
Political Family Pick 'Em
Sometimes you just can't pick your political family.
Belmont County Republican A. Kellie Conway of St. Clairsville received the county GOP's top honor this month when he was inducted into the Belmont County Republican Hall of Fame.
But it is unlikely he will celebrate the award with his brother-in-law, Gordie Longshaw, who serves as chairman and chief big-wig of the Belmont County Democratic Party.
Conway is married to Longshaw's sister, Claudine.
A Rather Expensive Plate
Also at the Belmont County GOP's Lincoln Day Dinner earlier this month, an autographed Homer Laughlin plate was provided by U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, to be auctioned off to raise money for the party.
The plate was won in the auction by Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas, who paid $750. Lucas also dressed to impress at the event, wearing his formal uniform.
It's been a rough week for Marshall County Commissioner Brian Schambach.
Schambach was absent from Tuesday's commission meeting after he fell about 10 feet from a ladder on Sunday, shattering his heel bone and tearing his rotator cuff in the process. He is scheduled to undergo surgery on the rotator cuff Monday and on the heel on April 7.
He expects to be out of action 3-4 weeks.
However, that stroke of bad luck didn't deter Schambach, who said doctor's indicated had he fallen backwards slightly more and hit his head, he may not have lived to tell the tale.
We wish Schambach the best in his recovery efforts.
A Governors' warrant to extradite Charles Severance from West Virginia to Virginia moved quickly through the judicial process this week.
Ohio County Prosecutor Scott Smith, Alexandria, Va. Mayor Bill Euille and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe have gone on record implicating Severance in three murders in Alexandria, but Ohio County Chief Public Defender Shayne Welling is holding his position that the extradition warrant is based upon a low-level gun charge contrived only to get Severance into custody.
The matter may be settled Monday before Circuit Judge James Mazzone.
Local Officers Honored
Police officers from up and down the Northern Panhandle were in Wheeling Thursday to be recognized for their efforts in keeping our roads safer.
During the Northern Regional Highway Safety Awards banquet at Straub Automobile's Nissan Building at The Highlands, Moundsville Police Department Lt. Jeff Murray received the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Officer of the Year Award and the Wheeling Police Department won the top DUI Agency Award.
Municipal police officers and sheriff's deputies were honored for work in protecting against drunk drivers and other traffic safety violations.
Community U. Packed
One reporter learned that the March 27 class of West Liberty University's Community University at the Highlands Center was standing room only.
Jeanne Finstein and Judi Hendrickson presented the class, called "Wow! Who Lived There: Virtual Tour of Some of Wheeling's Most Notable Homes." It offered an inside look at the many beautiful homes located in Wheeling, from old-style Victorians to more modern houses.
The Community University at West Liberty University offers a stimulating learning environment to people age 50 and older.
A Wonderful Sound
It's hard to argue that Ohio and Marshall counties don't have some of the best - if not the best - public school music programs in the state.
A number of those recently were on display during the West Virginia Music Educators Association annual conference at Oglebay Park. Students from John Marshall High School, Wheeling Middle School and others performed for the crowd.
Ohio Co.'s Got Talent
Speaking of talent, Ohio County Strings' recent performance at the J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center at Wheeling Park High School showcased just how strong the strings program is in the county, as students in sixth grade through high school showing off their skills.
Also, just last week, Ohio County Schools' Celebration of the Arts highlighted the talents of many youngsters in the county.
If you haven't been exposed to a musical performance at the new J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center, it's something you should see.
Wishing Downtown Well
Let's hope 2014 is the year in which something positive happens in downtown Wheeling. It's really becoming rather depressing to see a number of old buildings with the etched outline of staircases on the sides, and temporary fences littering the area.