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Five Inducted into GSC Athletic Hall of Fame

Glenville, WV – Five individuals were inducted into the Glenville State College Curtis Elam Athletic Hall of Fame during the college’s annual Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

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The 2015 inductees, all graduates of Glenville State College, are Dick Barrett ’55, Tom Coates ’78, Leandis Hodges, Jr. ’79, Larry Taylor ’84 and Paul Grier, Jr. ’91.


Dick Barrett, a native of Glenville, excelled in football, basketball and baseball at Glenville High School where he played each sport for four years; also at Glenville State College where he lettered 13 times. He served as quarterback for the Pioneers; as point guard for the Pioneer basketball team where he was known as “sparkplug” for energizing his team; as short stop, second baseman, and outfielder for GSC’s baseball team and as a golfer.

Dick was a freshman on the 1950-51 WVIAC Basketball Championship team when they went to Kansas City for the NAIA Championship. His career total in basketball was 877 points, eighth highest in Pioneer hoop annals at the time. He tallied 33 points as a freshman, 301 as a sophomore, 361 in his junior season and 182 as a senior for an average of 10.8 points a game during his college career.

The diminutive Barrett always played his greatest in the crucial games, averaging better than 15 points a game in his last three basketball tourney appearances.

He began officiating in college and worked his way up to being one of the top ranked officials in Northern Virginia by 1965.  Over the next 16 years, Barrett worked finals of a district and regional tournament each year.  From 1970-81, he was selected to work in nine Virginia state high school tournaments before health issues forced him to give up refereeing.

Dick retired in July 1987 and returned to his native Glenville where he can be found on the golf course most every day.  He averages 200 rounds per year.


Tom Coates was a two year basketball transfer from Allegheny Community College in Pennsylvania.  He was inducted into that schools’ Hall of Fame in 2008.

He led the Pioneers in scoring and rebounding during the 1976-77 season, received 1977 Honorable Mention All-American status, First Team WVIAC ALL-Conference in 1977 and was a member of the 1977 WVIAC ALL-Tournament Team.

Coates scored 470 points in 1975-76 and 479 points in 1976-77. His 46 points in the 1977 Glenville vs Alderson Broaddus game was the highest single game point production at the time. He was the 1978 winner of Glenville State’s prestigious Montrose Award and was in a couple NBA camps until their final cut, specifically the New Orleans Jazz and the Detroit Pistons.

Coates continues to play in the American Old Timers League, Pittsburgh chapter and was named MVP when his Pittsburgh team captured the American Old Timers League Championship for the 2013 season. He works at Pressley Ridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as a Family Specialist.


Leandis Hodges Jr., a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was named WVIAC Offensive Player of the Week on numerous occasions throughout his college football career. He received All-American status as a Running Back in 1976 (NAIA), this selection placing him in a very elite group of GSC football players to have been recognized for this prestigious national honor.

He rushed for over 1,351 yards his junior year, making him the third leading single season rushing leader in Glenville State College history; a record that he still holds. Hodges also remains 6th on the Career Rushing Yardage Leader Chart with 1947 yards which he also accumulated in 1976. He scored the first touchdown at Pioneer Stadium (now known as Morris Stadium) against Gardner-Webb College in the opening game of the 1977 season.

Known as one of the friendliest students on campus, Hodges exhibited the character traits that are emblematic of a GSC student athletic and with his excellent leadership skills, served as co-captain of the 1977 Pioneer football team.

He is employed by the US Department of Treasury, Bureau of Printing and Engraving, located in Fort Worth.


Larry Taylor, a St. Mary’s High School Track and Cross Country standout, was a Four-Time ALL-Conference Cross Country Runner and Track Star earning Three-Time League MVP in Cross-Country and Two-Time High Point during the high school’s conference track meets.

He led the Pioneers to Three Cross Country Titles and received the Pioneers First-Ever Track Title in 1984. Taylor is especially remembered for his performance in the WVIAC Conference Track and Field events.  Specifically one year at the Conference, he requested to run the 800, 1500, 5000, and 10,000 meter events.  The first day he won the 5,000, the second day, he won the 800, 1500, and 10,000 meter events.  He went out extremely fast at the “bell lap” and the top 800 competitors could not catch him.

Taylor also went out hard and fast in the 10,000 and his top competitor couldn’t catch him. He enjoyed a very successful road-racing career up until three years ago, many times participating in meets that were 15 miles long.  He still runs competitively.


Paul Grier, Jr., a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, excelled in Pioneer Basketball.  He is 11th on Glenville State’s All-Time Career Scoring Leaders Chart with 1670 Points during his playing time, 1985-1989. As a Point Guard for the Pioneers under Hall of Famer Coach Gary Nottingham, he played in three WVIAC Tournament “Final Fours”, posting a record of 7-4 in tournament play. Grier drained last second field goals to secure wins in two successive tournament settings, helping the Pioneers advance in post season play.

He was named to the WVIAC Tournament Selection two times and made ALL-WVIAC Section in 1988 and 1989. Grier holds Glenville State’s record for the most 3 point field goals in one game (9).  He remains 4th on the Three Point Season Chart with 46.1 points in 1988-89 and 6th on the Three Point Goals Career Leaders Chart with 151 points in 1986-89. Grier is also ranked 3rd on the Three Point Career Leaders Chart at 43.1%, 1986-89 and received the college’s prestigious Montrose Award in 1991.

Paul played on 4 straight winning WVIAC season teams, the teams winning 63 over all games, 16 wins a year. He is remembered for his magnificent clutch shots.


Nine former Curtis Elam Hall of Fame inductees were in attendance at the banquet and induction ceremony to extend their welcome to the Class of 2015 inductees into the ranks of GSC’s Hall of Famers. They included: Matt Bullett, Steve Gandee, Coach Bill Hanlin, Bob Hardman II, Ralph Holder, Coach Gary Nottingham, Keith Pritt, Keith Smith and Bob Turner.


The Curtis Elam Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 2001 through the generosity of the late Curtis Elam, a 1949 GSC graduate. Hall of Fame member plaques are displayed in the lobby of the Physical Education Building.

UHC School of Radiologic Technology and Diagnostic Medical Sonography Graduation

Bridgeport, WV — United Hospital Center School of Radiologic Technology and Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program recently conducted Commencement Exercises for the 2015 graduates. Diplomas were presented to two sonography graduates following completion of the eighteen-month training program by Rosemary Trupo, M.B.A.-HA, RT, RDMS, Education Coordinator, and Sam Maynard, RT, RDMS, RDCS, RVT, Clinical Instructor, during a luncheon reception held at UHC on May 13, 2015. Additionally, ten students received their radiologic technology diplomas from Program Director Trupo and Clinical Instructors, Jane Bray, B.S., R.T. and Lisa Knight, R.T. on Saturday, May 16 at the Bridgeport High School Auditorium.

Tina Nicholson, R.T. (R), served as guest speaker for the Radiologic Technology commencement, while the class address was delivered by Ashley Vincent and Haley Sommerville. There were special presentations including Radiography Clinical Excellence Awards presented to graduates, Erin Zirkle and Haley Sommerville, the Radiography Academic Excellence Award presented to graduate Katelyn N. Duncan and the Laurie D’Anselmi Technologist of the Year award to Richard Simpson, R.T. (R), staff technologist at the Clarksburg VA Medical Center.

2015 UHC Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program Graduates
The Gilmer Free Press
(L-R) Kiley J. Morrone and Caitlin A. Barnette


Rising senior radiologic technology students were recognized during the commencement and the recipients of two scholarships were also announced. Bridget D. McClain of Shinnston received the Marsha K. Snively Memorial Scholarship from Ed Snively. Katy J. Brugnoli of Richwood, WV received the Robert M. Timmons Memorial Scholarship from the 2014 recipient, Hyre.

Members of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography graduating class included Caitlin Barnette, daughter of Randy and Debbie Orsburn Tallmansville, W.Va., and Kiley Morrone, daughter of Tom and Becky Morrone of Fairmont. Both of the sonography graduates will be employed by United Hospital Center.

2015 UHC Radiologic Technology Graduates
The Gilmer Free Press
(Seated L-R) Ashley Vincent, Kirbee Hannah, Brad Hamrick, Sarah Neff and Katelyn Duncan
(Standing (L-R) Whitney Mauller, Haley Sommerville, Kayleigh Buzzard, Carly Hyre and Erin Zirkle


Graduates of the School of Radiologic Technology included: Kayleigh M. Buzzard, daughter of Bonnie Buzzard and Steven Buzzard of Clarksburg and mother of Dresden and Cadence McCoy, who will be attending the MRI Training Program at WVU Hospitals; Katelyn N. Duncan, daughter of James and Tracy Duncan of Grafton, who will enter the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program at UHC; Brad G. Hamrick, son of Bruce and Brenda Hamrick of Fairmont, who will be attending the Radiation Therapy Technology Program of WVU Hospitals; Kirbee R. Hannah, daughter of Dave and Laurie Hannah of Fairmont, who will enter the Nuclear Medicine Technology Program at WVU Hospitals; Carly M. Hyre, daughter of Brent and Denise Hyre of Buckhannon, who will be employed by the office of Dr. Frank Swisher in Jane Lew; Whitney L. Mauller, daughter of Larry and Patti Mauller of Bridgeport, who will be attending the MRI Training Program at WVU Hospitals; Sarah Beall Neff, daughter of Gary and Lisa Beall and wife of Zachary Neff, all of Buckhannon, who will be employed by Dr. Ali Khan in Buckhannon; Haley N. Sommerville, daughter of Alison and Scott Sommerville of Clarksburg, who will be employed by St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon; Ashley N. Vincent, daughter of Matthew and Jerri Vincent of Grafton, who will be employed by UHC and Erin Zirkle, daughter of Susie Zirkle and Randy Zirkle, both of Mannington, will be working at WVU Hospital and UHC.

GILMER COUNTY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GROUNDBREAKING

The Gilmer Free Press
THE GILMER COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

cordially invites you to celebrate the groundbreaking of

GILMER COUNTY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

10:00 AM Saturday, June 06, 2015

99 Fairground Road, Glenville, West Virginia

Parking available on lot beside Pioneer Car Wash

Please RSVP via phone to 304.462.7386 x 8

COMPLETION OF NEW PHASE OF CORRIDOR H

Governor announces additional 7.5 mile section of road to go out for bid
The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV - Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced the completion of a 4.4-mile section of Corridor H and plans to put an additional 7.5-mile stretch of the Appalachian Corridor H project out for bid in the coming weeks. The new stretch of the four-lane highway will go from Kerens half way to Parsons.

“Completing Corridor H has been a work in progress for a number of years, and I’m pleased we are able to announce work on an additional stretch of roadway to bring this project one-step closer to completion,“ Governor Tomblin said. “These continued efforts are made possible through public-private partnerships that not only save taxpayers’ dollars, but help to speed up construction and spur economic growth. By investing in our infrastructure, we have the potential to impact both our state and local economies. I look forward to announcing the bidding process for this new stretch of road in a few weeks.“ 

Construction on the new phase of highway is anticipated to start in the spring of 2016.

Governor Tomblin joined local, state and federal representatives to cut the ribbon on a portion of the road that goes from Bismarck to the Tucker County line.

“Opening another 4.4 miles and beginning the process for a new section of roadway highlight years of aggressive work by many organizations to finish Corridor H as quickly as possible,“ said Secretary Paul Mattox of the West Virginia Department of Transportation. “The Corridor H project has been around for a long time, but we are continuing to make great progress and hope with this new momentum, we can continue to see good things happen as we bring the last of the unfinished corridor in West Virginia closer to completion.“

An additional 10-mile stretch leading into Davis, Tucker County, is under construction with a projected completion date of fall 2015. When this phase of the project completed, nearly 76% of Corridor H will be complete.

WV Prevention Advocate Recognized for Outstanding Community Engagement Efforts

WHEELING, WV – Jo Anne McNemar of the Harrison County Prevention Partnership was recently presented with the 2015 Community Outreach Award from United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, in recognition of her efforts to prevent substance abuse and promote overall wellness in Harrison County, West Virginia.

McNemar was honored by Ihlenfeld for her work with the Prevention Partnership, including her efforts to facilitate the Harrison County DREAM Team, known as “Teens Encouraging Advocacy and Motivation.” With McNemar’s leadership, ambitious student leaders are selected from each Harrison County high school to form the team. The group receives training on substance abuse and prevention and, in turn, the students serve as role models in their communities by designing and delivering drug education and prevention programs to younger students.

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“Jo Anne is relentless in her efforts to empower the youth of Harrison County, West Virginia to make healthy decisions and to have successful, fulfilling futures,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. “She has a ‘can’t stop, won’t stop’ attitude and puts everything she has into making Harrison County stronger and safer for all.”

McNemar, who currently serves as the Partnership for Success Coordinator with the Harrison

County Family Resource Network, Inc. in Clarksburg, is a certified Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist with a Master’s Degree in Community Health Education from the WVU School of Medicine.

The United States Attorney’s Awards ceremony was held at the United States Post Office and Federal Courthouse in Wheeling and included remarks from U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey and U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. A variety of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies were represented along with community leaders, volunteers, and advocates.

West Virginia News   15052901

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UNIVERSITY OF CHARLESTON SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH NATIONAL GUARD

CHARLESTON, WV — The University of Charleston in West Virginia has entered into an agreement with The Lavern E. Weber Professional Education Center at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two organizations that will create a partnership to improve the educational opportunities available to National Guard members. The university will have an on-site location at the facility for classes and meetings with prospective and current students.

The Lavern E. Weber Professional Education Center is the national training center for the Army National Guard.

The University of Charleston will offer classes including accounting, cyber security and strategic leadership at the center.


ATTORNEY GENERAL PATRICK MORRISEY ISSUES STATEMENT ON EPA, ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS RULE REGARDING ‘WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES’

CHARLESTON, WV — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued the following statement today on the final rule released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act.

“I am extremely disappointed with the rule.  I firmly believe that the states, not the federal government, are charged with protecting intrastate waters and land. The final rule subjects isolated West Virginia waters, such as ponds and drainage ditches, to oversight by federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., even if those waterways are connected to interstate navigable waters once every 100 years. This rule will harm West Virginia farmers and landowners, who will be forced to get expensive permits from federal bureaucrats before using their own lands.

“The rule is unlawful and yet another example of federal overreach. The EPA and the Corps are trying to usurp the states’ role in monitoring and protecting local waterways and lands.  My office will take prompt and forceful action to fight against this unlawful rule.”


WVU REPORT: STATE COAL PRODUCTION TO DROP 39% BY 2035

CHARLESTON, WV - West Virginia University researchers predict state coal production will drop 39% compared to the industry’s last high point in 2008.

The WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research released a report Thursday assessing coal production outlook over the next 20 years.

The forecast says production will fall from 115 million short tons in 2014, to 104 million short tons this year, to 98 million short tons in 2016.

Despite a moderate rebound from 2017 to 2020, production would drop to less than 96 million short tons in 2035. West Virginia produced 158 million short tons in 2008.

A 29-percent drop would hit the already struggling southern coalfields by 2035. Northern coalfields production would only drop somewhat.

The report attributes coal’s continued downfall to various economic, environmental and regulatory factors.


FAYETTE COUNTY TO REQUIRE PERMITS FOR INJECTION WELLS, PONDS

FAYETTEVILLE, WV - Operators of future underground injection wells in Fayette County will have to obtain a permit from the county.

Media outlets report that the County Commission on Wednesday amended the county’s development code to require county permits for injection wells and holding ponds.

A public hearing will be required before the county board of zoning on permit applications for wells in districts zoned for heavy industrial use. Three public hearings will be required before the zoning board, planning commission and County Commission for wells in other districts.

Injection wells pump oil and gas drilling waste underground for disposal.

Opponents of the practice say local permitting is a good step but doesn’t go far enough. Mary Rahall says the county should ban the disposal of such waste.


STUDENTS SAY REPLACEMENT FOR GED TEST MUCH MORE DIFFICULT

CHARLESTON, WV - About 20% of high school students fail to graduate in West Virginia and making up for those diplomas may now be a little harder. The WV Department of Education changed over to a new high school equivalency exam last year, replacing the GED with the newer Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC, exam.

Thirty-three years later, Steve Higginbotham is back in class working to get his high school diploma. But studying for the high school equivalency test is much harder than he anticipated.

“The math is incredible. I mean we are doing things now here that we didn’t even do when I was in high school,” said Higginbotham, a St. Albans resident.

Students say the transition from the old GED to the newer test has been extremely challenging. TASC is aligned with common core standards and requires a deeper understanding of all concepts, but especially math and science.

“We have students that are apprehensive,” said Leslie Humphreys, an instructor at the Garnet Career Center.

“There have been a couple people who have done that since we started, they came for a couple classes and never came back,” said Higginbotham.

Instructors at the Garnet Career Center in Charleston say it takes up to six months longer for students to prepare for the TASC compared to the old GED. Many times people are discouraged just looking at the exam.

“We try to prepare them not just educationally but emotionally as well, because they are going to see things that are strange to them,” said Humphreys.

TASC tests everything, from trigonometry to chemistry. Instructors say students should be prepared to put in more hours and sometimes have to learn how to become a better educated guesser.

“Get in and get started and get it done, because it’s like everything,” said Humphreys. “The longer you are away from it, the less you remember.”

Despite all the difficulties students who’ve successfully passed say it’s worth the sacrifice.

“Even when you feel like you can’t do it, you can do it, just don’t give up,” said Paula Landers, who recently passed her exam and is preparing to graduate.

Cities to Move To If You Want Good Pay and Good Housing

The Gilmer Free Press

Don’t move to New York if you’re looking for work. The city isn’t on a new list of good places to find jobs compiled by the employment Web site Glassdoor.

Glassdoor analysts tried to weigh all of the concerns that you might have on your mind if you’re moving to a new city to look for a job. One question is whether you’ll be able to afford to live wherever you’re moving. That rules out a place like New York, with its proverbially high cost of living.

But you have also make sure you’ll be able to find a job there, which for many workers rules out cities such as Portland. It’s a place where young people go to retire, not to work, to paraphrase the television show “Portlandia.“

Glassdoor combined a measure of the cost of living as well as the number of openings with data from their users in different cities about how satisfied they are with their job. Even if you can find a job that pays the rent, it helps if it’s a job you like.

Based on these factors, Raleigh, NC, came in at the top of the ranking. That’s no surprise. Employers are attracted to the area because they can draw talented workers from three major universities, without paying the high costs of doing business in the Northeast or Silicon Valley.

Kansas City, MO, Oklahoma City, Austin, TX and Seattle round out the top five. Washington, D.C. is in 10th place, and San Francisco is in in 12th, indicating that workers are finding they have a chance in these two cities, despite how costly it can be to live there.

The full list, in order:

    •  Raleigh, NC

    •  Kansas City, MO

    •  Oklahoma City, OK

    •  Austin, TX

    •  Seattle, WA

    •  Salt Lake City, UT

    •  San Jose, CA

    •  Louisville, KY

    •  San Antonio, TX

    •  Washington, D.C.

    •  St. Louis, MO

    •  San Francisco, CA

    •  Columbus, OH

    •  Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

    •  Boston, MA

    •  Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

    •  Memphis, TN

    •  Indianapolis, IN

    •  Chicago, IL

    •  Houston, TX

    •  Baltimore, MD

    •  Richmond, VA

    •  Pittsburgh, PA

    •  Nashville, TN

A few caveats about this list: First, it mainly relies on data from Glassdoor, which might not be representative of the labor market as a whole. Second, to calculate the cost of living, the authors simply divided median home values by median salaries reported to Glassdoor in each city. It’s a narrow measure of the cost of living, and other expenses, such as food and transportation, might be a larger share of a worker’s expenses in some areas.

A more important question is how many people will take advantage of a list like this one. It used to be that American workers would move frequently if they thought a new place would give them a better chance of finding a job. In recent decades, though, the work force has become less mobile, a shift that concerns some economists.

If the economy is creating new opportunities for work in some areas, but the people who are out of work live in others, it’s much harder for them to get ahead. The businesses looking for extra pairs of hands are out of luck, too.

U.S.A. News   15052901

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HUNDREDS OF STUDENTS MUST RETAKE SAT, TESTS LOST IN MAIL

ASHBURN, VA—Up to 300 students at a Loudoun County, VA, high school must retake the SAT after their tests got lost in the mail, officials said.

Schools spokesman Wayde Byard said students took the standardized test, used to assess college academic readiness on May 02 at Broad Run High School. The test proctors shipped the tests via UPS to Educational Testing Service, which administers and scores the exam, but the shipment never made it.

“The shipment containing SAT and SAT Subject Test answer sheets from the Broad Run High School test center for the May administration has not yet been received,“ ETS spokesman Jason Baran told the Washington Post. “We share the frustration of affected students and their families. Every effort is being made to locate the shipment.“

The May 02 tests scores should have been released on May 21. A retest is scheduled for June 20, but some students are disappointed about the turn of events.

“I think the worst part of this is College Board never officially told us our tests were lost,“ Chris Unger, 17, told ABC News. “Even an email would’ve been better than not hearing. I kept checking my online portal for scores and they never came.“

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World News   15052901

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U.S. SUPPORTS ISRAEL’S NUCLEAR ARSENAL

The United States continues to support the stockpiling of nuclear weapons by Israel because the Zionist regime is an “integral part” of Washington’s imperial system exerting hegemony in the Middle East, a geopolitical analyst in New York says.

“Israel knows that despite the fact that it won’t publically acknowledge or publicly recognize its own nuclear arsenal, but it is in fact quite dependent upon its nuclear arsenal,” said Eric Draitser, the founder of StopImperialism.com.

“The question really is why the United States continues to support Israel in that regard and I think the answer is almost self-evident because Israel is part and parcel of an imperial system that the United States has built over the last 70 years,” Draitser said.

“Israel as the colonial entity in the region, is a fundamental part of that, it is part of the way in which the empire exerts hegemony in the Middle East, it’s part of the way in which it attempts to have full spectrum dominance over that region,” he added.

Israel is widely believed to be the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East with more than 200 undeclared nuclear warheads.

Tel Aviv has rejected global calls to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and does not allow international inspectors to observe its controversial nuclear program.

Last Week, the United States rejected a United Nations document aimed at eradicating the world of nuclear weapons,following objections by Israel.

The U.S. said Egypt and other states “cynically manipulated” the process by trying to set a deadline for Israel on a Middle East zone free of such weapons.

Over 150 countries participated in the month-long conference reviewing the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

GSC Celebrates Alumni Day 2015

GLENVILLE, WV - Glenville State College graduates and friends gathered on campus for the 2015 Alumni Day on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

A day full of activities culminated with the annual Alumni Banquet in the Mollohan Campus Community Center Ballroom.

Those in attendance enjoyed a buffet dinner and the presentation of the 2015 GSC Alumni Association award recipients.

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The Alumnus of the Year Award is presented to Walt Turner (left) by Ralph Holder


The evening’s prestigious Alumnus of the Year Award was presented to Walter W. ‘Walt’ Turner. The award is given to a graduate of Glenville State College for outstanding contributions in their chosen field or for outstanding personal accomplishments. Right out of college Turner began his career at Koppers, a Fortune 500 company with worldwide facilities, as a production assistant and worked his way up to President and Chief Executive Officer, a position he would hold until his retirement in December 2014. Turner currently serves on the board of trustees for Carnegie Museums and the Junior Achievement Board. He is a native of Bedford County, Pennsylvania and graduated from Glenville State College in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He also attended Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College.

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Community Service Award recipient Mike Lieving (left) with Bob Marshall


The Community Service Award was presented to Mike Lieving ’76.  This award is given to an individual who has distinguished themselves in community service. After graduation Lieving began a career in banking in Mason County, West Virginia where he has resided with his family for the past 30 years. He is currently employed by the Farmers Bank and Savings Company where he is the President of the West Virginia Division and Chief Lending Officer. He is a past chairman and still serves on the Pleasant Valley Board of Trustees, past president and board member of the Mason County Chamber of Commerce, Mason County Community Foundation Board member, past chairman and current member of the Board of the West Virginia Bankers Association, and is involved with the St. Paul Lutheran Church in New Haven, West Virginia where he also served as past council president. Lieving is a native of West Columbia, West Virginia and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from Glenville State College where he majored in Economics with minors in Marketing and Retailing.

“Unlike most college students, I attended no social events because my wife and I were busy with classes and taking care of our daughter. Sometimes it was very difficult for us to find a babysitter to watch our daughter when we both were in class, but my sister was in a sorority so we had 25 more ‘sisters’ to help watch her. She was known as the ‘Pioneer Football’ because she was watched by so many people,” Lieving recalled.

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Outstanding Young Alumna Karina Kendrick (left) with her former coach Dennis Fitzpatrick


The Outstanding Young Alumna Award was presented to Karina Kendrick ’08.  This award is presented to a female graduate who is less than thirty-six years old who has achieved early and remarkable success in their career. Kendrick received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology at Glenville State College where she graduated summa cum laude. She also was a member of the Lady Pioneer Basketball team where she earned honors from the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) all four years of her undergraduate career. Kendrick attended the West Virginia University College of Law where she graduated Order of Coif (top 10% of her graduating class) and earned her J.D. in 2011. She began her law career at Jackson Kelly PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia and recently relocated to Westlake, Ohio where she is working as an Associate with Jackson Lewis P.C., an AmLaw 100 and Global 100 ranked law firm.

“My time at Glenville State prepared not only me but my teammates on the Lady Pioneer Basketball team for all of the challenges that we would face and for all of the achievements in my life. It has helped me get through law school and I continue using what I learned at GSC in my practice today,” Kendrick said.

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Outstanding Young Alumnus Tony Minney (left) with Dennis Carpenter


The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award was presented to Tony Minney ’08.  This award is presented to a male graduate who is less than thirty-six years old who has achieved early and remarkable success in their career. Minney was involved in many different activities and organizations while at GSC and stated, “Glenville State College was a great experience for me, and I enjoyed every minute of it. During my time at Glenville I held many different leadership positions in the Student Government Association and a few other organizations. Being involved while in college has given me wonderful leadership skills that I use daily in my professional career.” After graduation, Minney has been the Technology Integration Specialist at Gilmer County High School, Principal at Pleasant Hill Elementary School, and is currently serving as Principal at Braxton County High School and is in the last year of his doctoral program. He resides in Coxs Mills, West Virginia with his wife Kyre-Anna (Bartz) Minney ’08 and their two children.

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Outstanding Teacher Award recipient Ressie Thomas (right) with Kyre-Anna Minney


The Outstanding Teacher Award was presented to Ressie (Brown) Thomas ’90.  This award is designated for public school teachers who have distinguished themselves during their careers. Thomas graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, Multi-Subjects K-8, and an Associate’s Degree in Sign Language Interpreting. Later on she received a Master’s Degree in Deaf Education pre-school-adult from Marshall University and is currently working on a dissertation for her Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from Liberty University. She has worked for seventeen years as the Nicholas County deaf and hard of hearing teacher and, since 2012, has served as the Regional Outreach Specialist for the WV Schools for the Deaf and Blind which covers fifteen counties in central and southeastern West Virginia. She also teaches sign language for New River Community and Technical College and is a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma honor society where she has served as the President of the Nu Chapter since 2014. She has also interpreted sign language for governors, senators, and former President Bill Clinton.

“I am so thankful for Glenville State for opening me up to so many great people who have become lifelong friends. I would never have made it through without them and their support,” said Thomas. She currently resides in Summersville, West Virginia.

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Alumni Achievement Award recipient Dr. Joe Evans (left) with Dr. Gary Morris


The Alumni Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Joe Evans ’63. This award is given to a graduate who has distinguished themselves in their chosen field. After graduation from GSC, Evans completed his Master of Science from Ohio State University and later received his Doctor of Education from West Virginia University. Except for a few early years in his career, Evans has been employed at his alma mater since 1970. While working at Glenville State College he has served the institution in many positions including: Provost and Senior Vice President, Dean of Teacher Education, and an instructor of Science Education, Earth Science, Physical Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Math. He has been the recipient of many awards throughout his career including: West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services Hall of Fame inductee, Outstanding Faculty Award from the GSC Alumni Association, Curtis Elam Professor for Teaching Excellence at GSC, Faculty Marshal, and many more. Evans resides in Glenville, West Virginia with his wife June.

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Alumni Service Award recipient Bill Deel (left) with John Hoover


Immediate past Alumni Association President Bill Deel was recognized with the Alumni Service Award at the banquet. The award is reserved for those who have and continue to give their all to the College. In addition to his continued support for the Alumni Council, he also serves on the GSC Board of Governors and the GSC Foundation Board. As part of the evening’s proceedings, Deel recognized eight special alumni and friends of the College who had passed away in the last year. Those recognized in memoriam included: Coach Earl ‘Whitey’ Adolfson, Dr. Billie M. Atkinson ‘56, Joyce (Georgalis) Geyh ‘53, Dr. Robert ‘Ted’ Hauman ‘65, Thomas McPherson ‘58, Ronnie Barker Peters ‘59, Frances ‘Fran’ (Myers) Schmetzer ‘43, and H. Laban White, Jr. ‘37.

For more information about alumni affairs at Glenville State College, contact Alumni Director Debbie Nagy via e-mail at , by phone locally at 304.462.4122, or toll-free at 866.239.0285.

Simple Question to WVBOE: Why?

The Gilmer Free Press
Editorial: Fayette’s School Crisis

For thousands of West Virginia children, education offers the main hope for a good future and a rewarding career. But Fayette County youngsters face severe obstacles.

In 2001, an overwhelming 86% of Fayette residents voted against a bond issue to upgrade dilapidated schools. In 2009, a strong 77% killed another improvement bond. Two of the county’s five school board members opposed the bond.

After the 2009 flop, the state Office of Education Performance Audits filed a 160-page report saying Fayette schools were substandard, with decrepit buildings, inadequate staffs, low test scores and a “contentious” county school board. The state Board of Education seized control of Fayette schools in 2010, on grounds that they were depriving children of an adequate education.

As reporter Ryan Quinn related, most of Collins Middle School in Oak Hill abruptly was condemned for safety reasons and closed in January, with pupils hastily transferred to other schools.

Meanwhile, an upper floor at Meadow Bridge High School likewise was condemned as unsafe for occupation. In the past, Geoff Heeter described how his fifth-grade daughter was hit in the head by falling concrete at a now-closed school.

In desperation, another $39 million bond issue is being proposed to rescue Fayette schools. It would increase property taxes — but would take effect only if the state School Building Authority gives Fayette a $25 million matching grant. Early voting starts Saturday and continues until June 10, preceding a June 13 election.

Again, two members of the “contentious” county board oppose the bond issue. And “VOTE NO SCHOOL BOND” signs are posted by some residents who dislike property taxes or resent past school closures. At the state Board of Education, President Gayle Manchin won’t say whether she supports the Fayette bond.

In about three weeks, the election will decide the future of Fayette County schools — and the future of 6,800 Fayette students. Will voters show that there’s hope for improvement? What hope is there for West Virginia if the young get inferior education?

05.28.2015
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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Read about Fayette’s school mess with the State in today’s Gazette. There was reference to contentious school board members.

Contentious is defined as anyone who thinks for themselves to refuse to always fall in line with exactly what the State wants to do.

The rubber stampers are the ones who receive the State’s high praise for being the brightest and the best. There are always one or two of them in every intervened county and they are easy to spot.

By J. P. Hill  on  05.28.2015

GILMER needs to read the published budget carefully. (More than interesting it wasn’t put on the GFP) It would seem you are already obligated for 15 years to pay back a million in QZAB.  It has to be already approved to budget the expense. Find it under Capital Projects budget. It is listed under long term debt plus interest charges. When did Mr Devano ever tell your Board of Education??? Given the close to road land and access to gas for the new school why would you need it???

By JD  on  05.28.2015

WHEN DID BRICKS AND MORTAR EVER EDUCATE CHILDREN? WHAT THEY REALLY WANT TO DO IS FORCE CONSOLIDATION WITHOUT CARING ABOUT EFFECTS ON THE CHILDREN.

By FAYETTE  on  05.28.2015

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U.S. Schools Ramp up Use of Safety Drills, Security

The Gilmer Free Press

Safety drills, parent notification systems, and other safety measures in U.S. public schools grew in popularity in the years surrounding the massacre at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.

A government survey released Thursday shows the uptick came during a four-year span that saw an overall decrease in violent crime reported by schools, but one that included high-profile incidents such as the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings in December 2012 that left 20 children and six educators dead.

The findings, from the 2013-14 school year, come from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The survey found that 88% of public schools had a written plan of how to respond to an active shooter, and that 7 out of 10 had drills to practice the plan. About three-quarters of schools reported using security cameras, and 43% said they used security personnel at least once a week.

JoAnn Bartoletti, the executive director for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, said it’s encouraging to see school safety moving in a positive direction. She said one aspect the survey fails to measure is the efforts schools have undertaken to create a more nurturing environment.

“As the Secret Service, the FBI and numerous researchers have confirmed over the years, the most effective way to prevent acts of violence in schools is to build trusting relationships with students and others in the community, so threats come to light quickly — and more important, so threats are deterred,“ Bartoletti said in a statement.

Jayne Ellspermann, principal of the 2,600-student West Port High School in Ocala, Florida, said she thinks security cameras and safety drills are important, but a big piece of the puzzle is working with students so they understand they can go to educators with help and making sure all students know it’s their responsibility to help keep their school safe.

“We do have cameras, but I truly believe that students are doing the right thing because they feel safe on campus rather than they are doing the right thing because there may be cameras,“ Ellspermann said.

Even before the Newtown killings, schools had been working more closely with local law enforcement and ramping up other school security measures, said Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center.

“I think something like Sandy Hook certainly punctuates the need to engage additional security strategies, but I really see it as an ongoing trend,“ he said.

Stephens said he believes the work has been a factor in a decrease in overall school crime.

The survey showed 65% of public schools reporting one violent incident in school, such as a rape, fight, robbery or threat of physical attack. That’s down from 74% in the 2009-10 school year, when the survey was last administered.

The findings were based on a survey sent to school principals. Among the other results:

—About 8 in 10 schools reported having a parent notification system that automatically notifies parents in case of an emergency, compared with about 6 in 10 schools four years earlier.

—Slightly less than half — 47% — of schools reported having a system that allowed someone to report a crime anonymously, compared with 36% four years earlier.

~~  AP ~~

House For Sale   HFS550xxx001

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West Virginia News   15052801

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ATTORNEY GENERAL PATRICK MORRISEY FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST SIMPLE RECOVERY SOLUTIONS LLC

CHARLESTON, WV — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today announced the Office recently filed suit against Florida-based Simple Recovery Solutions, or SRS, and its owners for allegedly trying to collect unverified debt or debt which never really existed from West Virginia consumers.

The complaint alleges that SRS engaged in unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act by repeatedly contacting consumers to collect debt they didn’t owe. The complaint also alleges the organization was operating without a valid business license in West Virginia. The complaint was filed in the Kanawha County Circuit Court.

“This complaint seeks to protect West Virginia consumers from paying out money they do not owe,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Our Office believes SRS and its owners have collected, or attempted to collect, unverified debts from at least 125 West Virginia consumers so far.”

SRS contacts consumers by telephone and by mail. Consumers often don’t recognize the names of the original creditors, who claimed to be selling credit card interest rate reduction services. The few consumers who may have been contacted by a credit card interest rate reduction service never had their credit card interest rates reduced.

The Attorney General’s Office alleges the defendants harmed consumers by creating confusion and misunderstanding about debts SRS was attempting to collect. The complaint asks a judge to enjoin and restrain SRS and all of its officers and employees from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in collection services of any kind.

“We want to make consumers aware of the potentially fraudulent debt collection efforts affecting our state. Our office will always work to protect consumers from unscrupulous business practices,” Morrisey said.


PSC SETS NEW RATES FOR APCO AND WPCO

CHARLESTON, WV—The Public Service Commission of West Virginia Commission today issued an order granting AEP subsidiaries, Appalachian Power Company and Wheeling Power Company a $123.457 million or 9.0% increase in rates to become effective on May 26, 2015.  The Companies had originally requested an increase of $226.040 million or 16.48%.

The increase allocated to each customer tariff classification will vary on a percentage basis using the Class Cost of Service presented in the case as a guideline, including adjustments recommended by the intervening parties to the case.  The Commission has ordered a one year phase-in of the rate increase for residential customers.  Without the phase-in, the average residential customer would have seen an increase of approximately $19.50 or 16.1% per month.  With the phase-in ordered by the Commission the immediate increase for an average residential customer will be $14.30, or 11.8% per month.

The total increase in customer rates consists of two parts, an increase in base rates and an increase for recovery of the costs for a Vegetation Management Program (VMP) through a VMP Surcharge.  The authorized increase in base rates of approximately $79 million, or 5.76% above current rates, represents 43.5% of the $181.426 million base rate increase requested by the Companies.

The increase in base rates is driven by increased investment of $407 million in the Companies’ utility plants required to meet increased environmental regulations and service requirements, and increased operation and maintenance expenses.  Those increased costs were partially offset by increased customer revenue after the Companies’ 2010 rate case and lower capital costs, including a decrease in the return on equity from the level authorized in the 2010 rate case.

Following the Derecho and Super Storm Sandy that occurred in 2012, the Commission held a general investigation into the practices, responses and plans for future storm events of the electric utilities operating in the State.  Much of the public comment during the General Investigation focused on the adequacy of right-of-way maintenance, including right-of-way tree trimming and brush control.  The Commission ordered each electric utility to develop and file with the Commission a comprehensive, end-to-end, cycle-based right-of-way vegetation control program, including a proposed rate recovery method.

The Commi ssion authorized the Companies to undertake the VMP by Commission Order of March 08, 2014, in Case No. 13-0577-E-P, but deferred the rate impact of the VMP until conclusion of this base rate case.  The Companies’ base rates include all costs of the Companies except for the fuel and fuel-related costs that are included in the Expanded Net Energy Cost (ENEC) rate that is adjusted annually and the VMP costs to be recovered in the VMP Surcharge.  The ongoing, cycle-based VMP will initially clear all transmission and distribution line rights-of-way on a six-year cycle and then move to an ongoing four-year cycle.

Recovery of the VMP costs will be permitted through a VMP Surcharge that produces an increase of $44.472 million or 3.24% above current rates.  Under the VMP Surcharge the customers will only pay for prudent VMP costs actually incurred, and the Companies will perform the VMP as required by the Commission in order to mitigate the impact and duration of future service interruptions related to vegetation intrusion on the Companies’ transmission and distribution lines.

AEP serves more than 476,000 customers in 24 West Virginia counties.


WV LAW ALLOWING LIFE-SAVING HEROIN TREATMENT TAKES EFFECT

CHARLESTON, WV — A law is taking effect to let first responders, friends and family administer potentially life-saving medication to people overdosing on opioids, including heroin.

The law opening up access to opioid antagonists became effective Wednesday.

Known by the brand name Narcan, naloxone can save people who have overdosed on heroin, prescription drugs or other opioids.

In the law, first responders, police, firefighters, people at risk of overdosing and their family, friends and caretakers could carry the treatment. Health providers would have to offer educational resources on how to use it.

Opioid antagonists are usually in shot form.

Family and friends would be required to take the patient to a medical facility after administering the drug.


WV TURNPIKE TOLL TRANSACTIONS UP DURING HOLIDAY WEEKEND

CHARLESTON, WV — Toll transactions on the West Virginia Turnpike rose 5% during the Memorial Day weekend compared to the same period a year ago.

West Virginia Parkways Authority General Manager Greg Barr says nearly 589,000 transactions were made over the five-day period ending Monday.

He says lower gas prices and good weather were factors for the increase.

Media outlets report that Friday was the busiest day with 154,000 toll transactions.

Barr says that through April, turnpike traffic was up about 4% compared to the first four months of 2014.

The 88-mile toll road runs from Charleston to Princeton.


SUNCREST STUDENTS BREAK GROUND ON NEW SCHOOL

MORGANTOWN, WV — Students manned the shovels at the ceremonial groundbreaking for Monongalia County’s newest school project.

Suncrest Primary School principal Joanne Hines has high expectations for Suncrest Elementary School.

“I can’t tell you how excited we are. It’s going to be the most amazing school ever,” she exclaimed.

The new Suncrest Elementary School will be built to serve 550 students along Collins Ferry Road.

It will include a 5,000 square foot media center for students to do research and collaborate on group projects.

While the school will carry over some energy savings and conversation ideas incorporated at Eastwood Elementary, Hines said Suncrest Elementary is designed to strengthen the study of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

“It’s really meeting the needs of those skills they’re going to need when they get out in the workforce.”

The school will be a PreK through 5th grade facility which allows Suncrest’s 4th and 5th grade classes to be taken back from North Elementary School.

Dr. Frank Devono, Monongalia County Schools Superintendent, said local and state support makes new construction possible.

“Through the bond which allowed us to build a lot of our schools. As we move forward with some of the growth money that we’ve been able to recapture into the county because of the growth of our students and then now the SBA and their support of these last few projects have been very helpful.”

Hines said educators were anxious to get approval for the construction.

“We were hopeful and we thought it was going to be fantastic. Now, it just seems like the hard work is coming so we can see it in action,” she explained.

An 18-month construction period is anticipated. Suncrest Elementary School could open in the 2016-2017 school year.


PARKERSBURG MAYOR SEEKS DISMISSAL OF REMOVAL PETITIONS

PARKERSBURG, WV - Parkersburg Mayor Robert Newell has asked a court to dismiss two petitions seeking his removal from office.

A motion filed in Wood County Circuit Court says neither petition complies with state law regarding removing an official from office.

Newell’s attorney, Harry Dietzler, says in the motion that one petition lacks the required number of signatures. He says the other doesn’t give specifics of the charges to which the mayor is expected to respond.

Wood County Republican Party chairman Rob Cornelius filed one petition. Dietzler says the second petition was filed by Parkersburg City Council member Karen Coram and others.

A three-judge panel is scheduled to hear the petitions June 4-5.

Cornelius filed a motion seeking Deitzler’s disqualification from the case.


WEST FORK RIVER DAM REMOVAL MAKING PROGRESS

CLARKSBURG, WV —In March, the Clarksburg Water Board voted to remove and do work on four dams along the West Fork River. That project is progressing and Tuesday the Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was in Clarksburg to check on what’s been done.

“I had read quite a bit about the project, but it’s always best to see it first hand,” said Northeast Regional Director Wendi Weber. “So it was really nice to be able to come down and see the structure itself.”

The project, which involves the West Milford, Highland, Two Lick and Hartland Dams sparked concern from the community. As the work comes closer to beginning, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is doing it’s best to ensure the public the removal is beneficial.

“What I do think is important is that we’re here working with the town, as a partner, helping understand the information, and the facts, and the science behind it, and the benefits,” said Weber.

The focus of the visit was the Hartland Dam, which won’t be removed, because it’s needed for the water supply in Clarksburg.

“We were planning to put in just a fish structure, to move fish up and down, but since the Water Trail idea came to being we’re considering how we can pass boats as well,” said Field Supervisor John Schmidt.

The necessary funds have been raised to being the project. Now the removal is waiting on permits, which should be secured by the end of summer. Once the removal is completed, it will benefit the wildlife population in the area.

“Having more riffles and pools will create more fish habitats for the fish that are supposed to be abundant here,” said Schmidt.

“It helps with water quality, and so it’s good. It’s a win-win for the communities as well as um the wildlife,” said Weber.

Once all of the permits have been secured the actual removal process will begin with the West Milford Dam upstream.

Did You Know?  15052801

The Gilmer Free Press

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:


FIFA PRESIDENT REMAINS ABOVE THE FRAY

Scandals and rumors of corruption have dogged soccer’s governing body throughout Sepp Blatter’s 17-year reign - but he was not named in a pair of investigations that led to the arrests of several of his fellow executives.


WHAT ARMY FACILITY IN UTAH MAILED BY MISTAKE

Live anthrax spores were inadvertently shipped to several laboratories that expected to receive dead spores, the Pentagon says.


RICK SANTORUM ANNOUNCES WHITE HOUSE BID

The conservative culture warrior opens this political season as a heavy underdog in a race expected to feature more than a dozen high-profile Republicans.


WHERE IRS BELIEVES IDENTITY THIEVES WERE BASED

The criminals who stole the personal information of more than 100,000 taxpayers from an IRS website are part of a sophisticated theft ring based in Russia, two officials tell the AP.


NEBRASKA ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY

The move gets unusual backing from conservatives who oppose capital punishment for religious, financial or practical reasons.


DROWNINGS IN OKLAHOMA, TEXAS HIGHLIGHT DANGER OF STORM DRAINS

The drains help protect neighborhoods during flash flooding - but can suck in unsuspecting residents and rescue workers.


WHICH UPGRADE IS COMING TO VEHICLE NEAR YOU

Nearly every major automaker will soon begin offering technology that effectively turns a car’s dashboard screen into a smartphone.


VATICAN TO WEIGH IN ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Pope Francis will soon issue an authoritative church document laying out the moral justification for fighting global warming.


TRACY MORGAN SETTLES SUIT AGAINST WAL-MART

The actor-comedian was badly injured when a Wal-Mart truck slammed into a limo van carrying him and other passengers back from a show in Delaware last June.


WHO’S MARKING END OF A TV ERA

Bob Schieffer will host CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday for the last time after 24 years.

West Virginia Arrests   15052801

The Gilmer Free Press

FORMER HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER ARRAIGNED ON SEX ABUSE CHARGE

CHARLESTON, WV — A former Spanish teacher at Capital High School denied allegations she had a sexual relationship with an underage male student in 2013 in the Kanawha County Courthouse.

The Charleston Gazette reports 31-year-old Michelle Elaine Ball pleaded not guilty to Kanawha Circuit Judge James Stucky Tuesday. Ball was suspended without pay from her job two years ago when police charged her.

Prosecutors say Ball began smoking marijuana with the teenager and would take him to the movies and on trips. The relationship eventually turned sexual.

Ball is charged with sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust. An initial charge was dropped on a technicality, but Ball was indicted earlier this month on a new charge.


OHIO MAN ARRESTED FOR DUI AFTER GILMER COUNTY ATV ACCIDENT

GLENVILLE, WV —An Ohio man was arrested in Gilmer County Wednesday after an ATV crash Sunday evening.

Leo Hoerig was arrested and charged with aggravated DUI, after he wrecked while operating an ATV under the influence of alcohol, said the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Department.

Hoerig also had a female passenger, who is also from Ohio, riding on the ATV, deputies said.

Both Hoerig and the female were flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital due to the seriousness of their injuries. Hoerig was released Wednesday prior to his arrest, and the female is still in the hospital. There is no word on her condition.

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U.S.A. News   15052801

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DATA THIEVES GAIN ACCESS TO 100,000 U.S. TAXPAYERS’ INFORMATION

Tax return information for about 100,000 U.S. taxpayers was illegally accessed by cyber criminals over the past four months, U.S. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of data thefts that have alarmed American consumers.

From February to May, attackers sought to gain access to personal tax information 200,000 times through the agency’s “Get Transcript” online application, which calls up information from previous returns, he told a news conference. About half of those attempts were successful.

The breach did not affect any IRS data outside the “Get Transcript” application, and the agency said it would strengthen its security measures.

Koskinen said he could not comment on who the attackers might be, and a criminal investigation was ongoing.

“We’re confident these are not amateurs. These are actually organized crime syndicates that not only we but everyone in the financial industry are dealing with,“ Koskinen said.

The data theft was largely intended to steal taxpayers’ information to submit fraudulent returns next year, he said.

The agency currently believes that fewer than 15,000 fraudulent returns were processed as a result of the breach, likely resulting in refunds of less than $50 million.

The IRS security problem is the latest in a string of breaches. JPMorgan Chase as well as mega-retailers Target and Home Depot have all suffered cyber attacks.

The IRS data theft differs in that it did not involve a computer hack. Criminals used information they had gathered about individuals to access the system as it was designed to be used, the IRS said.

The agency, which will begin to send notification letters to affected taxpayers this week, will provide free credit monitoring and protection for the victims.

Koskinen said the attackers must have had a significant amount of information already about the taxpayers.

In addition to names, addresses and Social Security numbers, the attackers would have needed so-called “out of wallet” data, personal information such as a person’s first car or high school mascot, he said.

Koskinen said it was possible that identity thieves could get answers to these questions from individuals’ social media accounts and compile them into searchable databases.

Koskinen said the tax agency was originally alerted to the problem by unusual activity in mid-April, which marks the end of the annual tax-filing season.

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