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Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center Students Win Medals

On April 09, 2015, the annual Skills USA Competition began with the welding competition at the Roane-Jackson Career and Technical Center.  On April 10th, the remaining competitions kicked off at Camp Dawson in Preston County. Students from career and technical schools from around West Virginia earned the opportunity to showcase their talents.

The Gilmer Free Press


Students who attended from the Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center were:

  •  Emily Krugman
  •  Bradley Cook
  •  Megan Thacker
  •  Mitchell McKown
  •  Haley France
  •  Sam Brady
  •  Jessica Welch
  •  Richard Mace
  •  Desirae Hickman
  •  Michael Fulks
  •  Dillion Self
  •  Steven Godfrey
  •  Anna Knotts
  •  Jesse Gillespie
  •  Cameron Jones
  •  Travis Vanhoose
  •  Clara Meadows
  •  Jorge Webster
  •  Jeffrey Pray

Students were accompanied by instructors:

  •  Carl Collins (Welding)
  •  Paul Parsons (Building Instruction)
  •  Jonathan McCormick (Net Tech)
  •  Annette Benson (Culinary Arts)
  •  Jim Snyder (Auto Mechanics)
  •  Shirley Hupp (Assistant Director)

Medal winners were:

  •  Emily Krugman
  •  Bradley Cook and Megan Thacker-post graduates (1st Place Crime Scene Investigation)
  •  Anna Knotts (2nd Place Commercial Baking)
  •  Travis Vanhoose (3rd Place Plumbing)
  •  Clara Meadows (3rd Place Extemporaneous Speaking)

The first place winning CSI team will be traveling to Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky during the week of June 22.

Please join us in congratulating these students for representing Calhoun and Gilmer counties.

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press
Emily Krugman, Bradley Cook, Megan Thacker

The CSI Team will be traveling to Louisville, KY to compete at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference this June.

If you would like to make a donation to help these students, please contact the Career Center at 304.462.6151.

~~  Victoria Church, C-GCC Senior ~~

Glenville to Kick Off Abandoned Building Revitalization Program With Community Meeting

The Gilmer Free Press

A community-wide informational meeting on April 28, 2015 to discuss a new effort to tackle vacant, abandoned, and dilapidated buildings throughout town.

The Gilmer County Economic Development Association and the City of Glenville received a $10,000 technical assistance grant through the Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center’s BAD (Brownfields, Abandoned, Dilapidated) Buildings to address barriers to the reuse and redevelopment of abandoned and dilapidated buildings in Glenville.

The meeting will be held at the Gilmer County Recreation Center Dining Hall on April 28, 2015 at 7:00 PM.

All members of the community are encouraged to attend and discuss the challenges and opportunities Glenville is facing due to problem properties.

The meeting will kick-off the larger BAD Buildings Project, which is a yearlong effort to identify, prioritize, and begin revitalizing these properties which have been abandoned and become severely dilapidated.
Luke Elser, BAD Buildings Program Manager says, “The BAD Buildings model provides an initial stepping stone for revitalization efforts by initiating redevelopment progress and spurring community involvement.  This community kick-off meeting is to get the word out about this program and start to build interest and involvement from local volunteers.  This kind of community development work relies, almost entirely, on a community working together to collaboratively solve the problem.”

Glenville was one of only 9 projects awarded statewide to receive a 2015 BAD Buildings Program technical assistance grant.

The BAD Buildings Program is funded through a grant from the Benedum Foundation through the WVU Foundation, a private non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for West Virginia University.

Information about the BAD Buildings Program can be found at www.wvbrownfields.org.

The Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center is a program of the West Virginia Water Research Institute, located at WVU’s National Research Center for Coal & Energy.

WV Education Official Receives CDC Recognition

The Gilmer Free Press

Rebecca King, a State School Nurse Consultant and Section 504 Coordinator of the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Special Programs, has been recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as Childhood Immunization Champion for her outstanding efforts to promote childhood immunization in West Virginia. King has been a charter member, chair and executive committee member of numerous professional organizations and partnerships that seek to improve immunization rates in West Virginia.

“I am very humbled and appreciative of this great honor, but accept it with the understanding that such work is only accomplished within a true team,” King said.  “Without this team, West Virginia would succumb to lower health standards and higher incidents of disease outbreaks which eventually lead to increased student and staff absenteeism, lower test scores and higher dropout rates. I am proud of the great people of West Virginia who continue to support our most valuable asset…our children.”

Each year during National Infant Immunization Week, CDC honors health professionals and community leaders from around the country with the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion awards. These awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts of those individuals who strive to ensure that children in their communities are fully immunized against 14 preventable diseases before the age of two.

“Ensuring that every child is vaccinated on schedule is particularly important given the current measles outbreak, which has affected more than 150 people across the country since the beginning of the year,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General for the United States Public Health Service and Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “We could not achieve our goal of protecting children without those committed individuals who are promoting immunizations at the state and local levels.”

CDC Childhood Immunization Champions were selected from a pool of health professionals, coalition members, community advocates, and other immunization leaders.

“Through the Childhood Immunization Champion awards, CDC and West Virginia proudly acknowledge Ms. King’s passion, hard work, and commitment to children’s health,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health. “She is an inspiration to all of us who work to improve the health of children in West Virginia.”

Band and Choir Concerts; Honor Band/Choir Returning to GSC - Tonight

The Gilmer Free Press

GLENVILLE, WV—Students and faculty in the Glenville State College Department of Fine Arts are preparing for their annual Band and Choir Concerts on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 7:00 PM in the GSC Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

Additionally, the GSC Honor Band and Honor Choir weekend for high school students will take place the 24th and 25th, culminating with that event’s concert on Saturday at 7:00 PM also in the Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

The Friday concert will feature GSC’s Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Teresa Dody, and GSC’s Concert Band, under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music and Fine Arts Department Chair Lloyd Bone. The Seventh Annual GSC Honor Band and First Annual GSC Honor Choir will take place throughout Friday and Saturday. High school students from throughout the Mountain State will be in attendance vying for a performance spot in one of the honor groups.

“These two events over two days are a great opportunity to represent and recruit for GSC. Last year we had nearly 125 students from around the state on campus! Our concert is one of the main events of the weekend for the honor students,“ said Bone.

Both concerts are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Sheri Skidmore in the GSC Fine Arts Department at or 304.462.6340.

G-Eye™: Glenville Golf Course

Glenville Golf Club Clubhouse Construction
The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

GOP Congress Gets ‘F’ Grade From Conservationists So Far

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV – The Republican-led Congress has earned a failing grade from conservation and environmental groups for its first 100 days in office.

The League of Conservation Voters, The Wilderness Society and Clean Water Action – among others – have tallied a report card for Congress under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner.

Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, says the lawmakers have earned a failing grade on lands, water, wildlife, pollution and climate action.

“It’s an F from our perspective,” he states. “Polluters and their allies in Congress, who invested over $700 million in this new Congress, are doing all they can to try to wreck with our public health protections and destroy the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.“

Republicans in Congress say they are trying to promote growth by easing regulations. But critics charge what they’re really doing is helping the corporations that give campaign donations.

April 15 marked the 100th day of the 114th Congress.

The EPA is putting forward stronger protections for drinking water and limits on carbon pollution from power plants. But congressional Republicans have tried – unsuccessfully – to stop the agency.

Polls show strong national support for action to slow climate change, even among Republican voters.

Jim Kotcon, who chairs the energy committee of the West Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, says Senate Republicans under McConnell have even tried to stop the Defense Department from planning for the security issues caused by rising seas.

“When the anti-climate extremism – as exemplified by Sen. McConnell – gets to the point where it threatens America’s security, McConnell has gone too far,“ Kotcon asserts.

Karpinski adds congressional Republicans are even trying to undermine bedrock conservation laws – trying to dismantle protections for national parks, wildlife refuges, forests and wilderness.

But he says the president has worked to protect what Karpinski describes as the nation’s treasures.

“Back to Teddy Roosevelt days, presidents have the authority to protect our public lands and to create new monuments, and it’s been a very special process we’ve seen unfold for more than 100 years and hats of to President Obama to continue that legacy,“ Karpinski states.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Did You Know?  04.24.15

The Gilmer Free Press

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


OBAMA TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR AIRSTRIKE THAT KILLED AMERICAN, ITALIAN HOSTAGES

The president regretted the deaths in Pakistan and cast the incident as a tragic consequence of the fight against terrorism.


LORETTA LYNCH WINS CONFIRMATION AS THE NATION’S FIRST BLACK FEMALE ATTORNEY GENERAL

After a Senate vote, she is set to replace Eric Holder at the nation’s top law enforcement job.


HOSTAGE DEATHS A REMINDER OF RISK OF `DEADLY MISTAKES’

With the deaths of two Western captives in a CIA drone strike, Obama is brutally reminded of how civilians can be lost in wartime.


RARE, CUTE `POCKET SHARK’ FOUND DEEP IN WATERS OFF U.S. COAST

It’s a male, maybe a few weeks old, about 5.5 inches long and has two pockets next to its front fins; their purpose is not known.


WHAT IS HEIGHTENING TENSIONS IN BALTIMORE

Reports that Freddie Gray, who died of spinal injuries after being arrested, was not only handcuffed and put in leg irons, but deprived of a seat belt during his trip to the station.


FAMILY OF DAVE VUERSON WILL APPEAL SETTLEMENT

Relatives of the late late football player say it doesn’t include future awards for the brain decay diagnosed after his 2011 suicide.


ARIZONA SHERIFF ACKNOWLEDGES INVESTIGATION INTO JUDGE’S WIFE

Joe Arpaio admitted his former lawyer had hired a private investigator to look into the woman after she allegedly made comments against him.


EU TO SEND SHIPS, PLANES, HELICOPTERS TO END MIGRATION TRAGEDY IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

At a summit in Brussels, Europe’s leaders also agreed to lay the groundwork for military action against traffickers.


THE NASDAQ BREAKS RECORD

The tech index is now at 5,056 and it took fifteen years, one month and thirteen days for it to climb above its previous height.


WHICH IS THE SECOND ICE CREAM COMPANY TO SHUT DOWN PRODUCTION THIS WEEK DUE TO LISTERIA

Jeni’s said on its website it had recalled all its frozen products after the discovery.


WHAT THE PUNISHMENT WILL BE FOR DAVID PETRAEUS

The former CIA director was sentenced to two years’ probation and fined $100,000 for giving a woman classified material.


WHAT TERROR SUSPECTS PLOTTED

Islamic extremists suspected in a bomb attack in a Pakistani market had also planned to send a suicide bomber to the Vatican in 2010, a plot that was never carried out, an Italian prosecutor says.


WORLD LEADERS TO MARK ARMENIA MASSACRE

The presidents of Russia and France are among the dignitaries attending ceremonies commemorating the slaughter 100 years ago of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks.


COMCAST DROPS BID TO BUY TIME WARNER CABLE

The deal, which faced heavy regulatory pushback, would have combined the top two cable companies and put 55% of broadband subscribers under one roof.


HIGH SCHOOL PRODUCTION TURNS DANGEROUS

More than a dozen people were injured after a stage filled with students collapsed during a musical performance at a central Indiana high school.


A BRIGHT SPOT IN A DARKENED CITY

In a city plagued by chronic power outages, poverty and shortages of construction materials, the rooftop restaurant “Level Up” in Gaza City defies all the rules.


MIGRANTS KILLED ON MACEDONIA TRACKS

At least 14 refugees, believed to be from Afghanistan and Somalia, are dead after being hit by a train as they walked along the railroad at night.


BYOB: IT’S BREW YOUR OWN BEER AT SOME COLLEGES

Two schools are teaching students how to make beer, giving students the skills to compete for jobs in a rapidly expanding section of the hospitality industry.


HOW TO USE YOUR LATEST APPLE GADGET

AP’s Anick Jesdanun has tips on setting up and using Apple Watch for the first time, as the first batch of smartwatches arrive in people’s homes.


WHO LED WARRIORS TO BIG COMEBACK WIN

Stephen Curry scored 40 points, and was the catalyst in a 20-point, fourth-quarter rally, as Golden State beat New Orleans 123-119 in overtime to take a 3-0 series lead.

West Virginia News   15042401

“FPWV”

ROCKET BOYS’ ALMA MATER IN MCDOWELL COUNTY TO BE DEMOLISHED

WAR, WV — A former high school that was the Rocket Boys’ alma mater is going to be torn down.McDowell County Schools Superintendent Nelson Spencer tells The Bluefield Daily Telegraph that the former Big Creek High School is expected to be demolished this summer. However, the gymnasium will remain.

Nelson says a playground will be constructed at the site.

Big Creek opened in 1932 and closed in 2010. It was the alma mater of author Homer Hickam Jr. and four friends who became national science fair champions in 1960. The school was a source of inspiration for Hickam’s book, “Rocket Boys: A Memoir.“ A movie based on the book, “October Sky,“ was released in 1999.


REPORT: SOUTHERN WV NATIONAL PARKS HELP LOCAL ECONOMY

GLEN JEAN, WV - A new report says southern West Virginia’s national parks contributed more than $60 million in economic benefits to the local economy in 2014.

Economists with the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed visitor spending at parks across the nation, including New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River and Gauley River National Recreation Area.

The report says people visiting the three West Virginia parks spent more than $53 million in nearby communities in 2014. That spending supported 808 jobs.

Together, the parks drew nearly 1.3 million visitors in 2014.

Nationwide, the report says about 30% of visitor spending was for lodging, followed by food and beverages at about 20%.


PIERPONT PRESIDENT NAMED HEAD OF EDISON COMMUNITY COLLEGE

FAIRMONT, WV - Pierpont Community and Technical College President Doreen Larson is leaving the West Virginia school to become president of Edison Community College in Ohio.

Edison announced Larson’s appointment on Wednesday in a news release.

Larson has served as Pierpont’s president since 2010. She previously served in administrative positions at Holyoke Community College in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio.


WEST LIBERTY HEAD SAYS NO DECISION YET ON BUILDING CLOSURES

WEST LIBERTY, WV - West Liberty University interim President John McCullough says no decision has been made on a proposal to close three buildings on campus.

McCullough says the university is studying other options to reduce costs.

He says the closure of the Annex, College Hall and Shotwell Hall was included in a recent budget discussion as a possible option.

McCullough’s comments came Wednesday during a faculty meeting. He gave a similar message to students and staff in a campus-wide email that the university released on Wednesday.

Media outlets report that dozens of students attended the faculty meeting to protest the proposed building closures.


HUNTINGTON LAWYER IS NEW PRESIDENT OF WV STATE BAR

CHARLESTON, WV - W. Michael Frazier of Huntington is the new president of the West Virginia State Bar.

The organization announced its officers for 2015-2016 on Wednesday.

John R. McGhee Jr. of Charleston is president-elect and Meshea L. Poore of Charleston is vice president.

Newly elected members of the bar’s Board of Governors are Courtney A. Kirtley of Summersville, J. Burton Hunter III of Buckhannon, William J. O’Brien of Bridgeport, Monica H. Haddad of Morgantown, Mark E. Gaydos of Kingwood, Floyd M. “Kin” Sayre III of Martinsburg, and Kameron T. Miller of Charleston.

West Virginia Arrests   15042401

“FPWV”

FCI GILMER INMATE CONVICTED, SENTENCED FOR UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF OPIOID MEDICATION

CLARKSBURG, WV – Jerry Gifford, 43, an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution, Gilmer was convicted and sentenced for unlawful possession of Buprenorphine, a narcotic medication, United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced.

An investigation revealed that Gifford arranged to have Suboxone, an opioid medication used to treat addiction and dependence, shipped into the prison in letters addressed to a fellow inmate. He pled guilty today to one count of “Attempted Possession of a Prohibited Object (Buprenorphine).” He was sentenced to an additional six months in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Morgan prosecuted the case on behalf of the government. The Federal Bureau of Prisons and the FCI Gilmer Special Investigative Services Unit investigated.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John S. Kaull presided.


WV MAN GETS PROBATION IN MINE KICKBACK SCHEME

CHARLESTON, WV — A Logan County man has been sentenced to three years’ probation for his role in a kickback scheme at a West Virginia coal mine.

Forty-five-year-old Scott Ellis also was fined $3,000 Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston. He had faced up to five years in prison.

Ellis pleaded guilty last year to structuring a transaction in order to evade federal reporting requirements.

He was among 10 people accused of participating in the scheme at Arch Coal’s Mountain Laurel mining complex in Logan County. Federal prosecutors say companies had to pay kickbacks to Arch employees for business at Mountain Laurel.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says Ellis structured withdrawals of $10,000 or less from various accounts to generate cash to pay kickbacks.


MARTINSBURG WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO MORTGAGE FRAUD

MARTINSBURG, WV - A Martinsburg woman has pleaded guilty to falsifying documents after she fell behind on her mortgage payments.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld says 35-year-old Amanda Bishop faces up to five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.

Bishop pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of false declaration before court.

Ihlenfeld says an FBI investigation found that Bishop created and submitted fake bank statements during court proceedings. The statements falsely showed that Bishop had made more than $1,800 in mortgage payments in November 2010 and December 2010.

West Virginia Accidents   15042401

“FPWV”

CRASH CLOSES WESTBOUND LANES OF I-64

The westbound lanes of I-64 are closed due to a crash near the 16th Street exit, exit 11.

Three vehicles, a pick-up truck, a minivan and a cement truck, were involved in the crash, according to Huntington officials.

Four people have been transported to a hospital for treatment, but the extent of their injuries is unknown.

FD650xxx03F

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World News   15042401

“FPWV”

250,000 people have requested citizenship in a country that might not exist

About 250,000 people have applied for citizenship in Liberland in less than two weeks, Vit Jedlicka, president of Liberland, told the Czech news agency CTK on Tuesday.

However, some of these potential Liberlanders may be in for a shock. For one thing, it’s unclear at the time of writing whether the country they are applying for citizenship in really exists at all.

If it does, it would be Europe’s newest nation. Jedlicka proclaimed the Free Republic of Liberland a sovereign state April 13. The Czech politician – known for his Eurosceptic, libertarian views – claimed a disputed area between Croatia and Serbia to make up the state.

Realizing that the land was claimed by no one, Jedlicka claimed the approximately 3 square miles by the Danube river. He set up a Web site, created a flag, a coat of arms, a motto (“To live and let live”) and drew up laws and a constitution.

There’s even a (suspiciously cinematic sounding) national anthem.

The proposed country would be a libertarian paradise. Taxes would be optional in Liberland and government power severely restricted, Jedlicka told the international press. On the Web site, anyone could apply to be a citizen – providing they do not have a criminal record or a “communist, Nazi or other extremist past.“

This idea seems to have captured people’s imagination. Liberland and Jedlicka have become an international news story and 110,000 people have liked a Facebook page devoted to the new country.

“I’m coming soon, Liberland,“ one Facebook user wrote.

The Gilmer Free Press


Jedlicka is far from the first person to proclaim his own “micronation.“Just last year, a man from Virginia claimed an 800-square-mile patch along the border between Egypt and Sudan, and declared it the Kingdom of North Sudan. “I wanted to show my kids I will literally go to the ends of the earth to make their wishes and dreams come true,” self-proclaimed King Jeremiah Heaton told The Post at the time.

There’s the longstanding case of Sealand, set up on a World War II-era offshore platform in the North Sea which declared independence from the United Kingdom in 1967. No other sovereign state has ever recognized Sealand, but decades later, the country retains its own coins, stamps and identification documents – it even has its own soccer team.

With most of these self-proclaimed states, there’s an element of the absurd. Often, the states seem less of an attempt to make a functioning state than just an attempt at a provocative statement.

Sometimes, they simply seem to be a joke. British journalist Danny Wallace started his own country in his apartment in London in 2005. He named it “Lovely.“

Exactly how serious Liberland is is unclear right now. When one group of journalists tried to visit the new country last week, they were turned away by Croatian border police. They were told that a Liberland flag that had been planted at the site has been removed.

And so far, no other state has recognized Liberland. Croatia and Serbia have made no public announcements about their new neighbor. Politicians from further afield don’t seem to be taking it seriously. “I’ve never heard of it,“ Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman said this weekend when asked about Liberland.

Even if it’s not serious or recognized, some applicants for citizens seem hopeful that Liberland could prove an escape from the problems they face in their current countries. In the forums on the official Liberland Web site, users can ask questions in a variety of languages about their theoretical life in the theoretical state. Turkish, English and Arabic seem to be the most popular languages for potential Liberlanders.


KILLER KENYAN COW CAUGHT FEEDING ON FARMER’S SHEEP

MITI MINGI VILLAGE, Kenya—A Kenyan family said their cow has developed a a habit of killing and eating sheep and they fear it could move on to attacking humans.

Charles Mamboleo of Miti Mingi Village in Nakuru County said he woke up recently to discover the cow had gored a sheep to death and was feeding on the animal’s meat.

Mamboleo said increasing the cow’s rations of food and water did not quench its bloodthirst.

“After the first incident, we thought the cow was starving, so we increased the supply of fodder and water, but it still continued chasing after sheep,“ Mamboleo told The Daily Nation.

Mamboleo’s wife, Consepta Kerubo, said she feared the cow could move on to seeing the couple’s young children as a food source.

Albert Kabugi, an agricultural expert, said the cow may have turned carnivore because it is missing the nutrients and minerals normally found in green grass, which has become scarce as a result of recent drought.

“The dry season, which has just ended, has seen most animals lack minerals found in green grass,“ he said.

Kabugi said the cow was the first he knows of to develop a taste for live meat.

5K for Autism Awareness Raises Nearly $2,000

The Gilmer Free Press

GLENVILLE, WV - Glenville State College student organization Pioneers for a Cause held their ‘Color a World Without Autism’ 5K run/walk on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

Approximately 160 GSC students, faculty, staff, and community members of all ages were in attendance.

“Pioneers for a Cause was blown away by the support and encouragement of everyone who got involved - without them the success of the race wouldn’t have been possible. In total, we raised nearly $2,000 for autism research! My organization decided in the beginning that since we are the only group like this in West Virginia, we wanted the proceeds to stay in the state. With that idea taken into consideration, we will be donating the money to the Autism Society of WV,“ said GSC student Jade Spencer who served as one of the event coordinators.

The group teamed up with GSC’s Student Government Association for the color run/walk who helped cover some of the costs. Glenville Foodland and Smith Land Surveying also donated all of the bottled water for the race. “We would like to thank everyone who made donations, helped throw the color, and the law enforcement for keeping everyone safe throughout the race route. Overall, the race was a huge success and made a big impact on the GSC campus. We are already looking forward to planning another one for next year,“ continued Spencer.

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The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press
~~  Photos by GSC Student Quentin Murphy ~~

For more information about student organizations and activities at Glenville State College, contact Director of Student Activities Jodi Ocheltree at or 304.462.6416.

Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners from McDowell and Ritchie Counties

CHARLESTON, WV – West Virginia Division of Forestry officials announced two winners in the 2015 West Virginia Arbor Day Poster Contest. McKaylee Lynch, a homeschool student in Harrisville, Ritchie County, took top prize in the fourth-grade category. Jacob Adkins of Bradshaw Elementary in McDowell County won top honors in the fifth-grade category. This year’s contest theme was “Trees Are … Beneficial!”

The Gilmer Free Press


Contest Coordinator Andy Sheetz, the Division of Forestry’s partnership coordinator, said, “The Arbor Day Poster Contest is an excellent opportunity for students to showcase their artistic talents while learning about the importance of trees.”

An award ceremony will be conducted for each of the winners and trees will be planted in their honor. Each winner also will receive a $30 cash prize from the West Virginia Forestry Association.

The West Virginia Arbor Day Poster Contest is open to all public, private and home-schooled fourth-grade and fifth-grade students in the state. Information on the 2016 contest will be available in September 2015 at www.wvforestry.com.

Governor, Educators and Others Rally Around Reading in West Virginia

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV - Guaranteeing students across West Virginia are reading at grade level continues to gain momentum with lawmakers, Pre K - 12 educators, higher education staff and non-profit organizations. The West Virginia Leaders of Literacy: Campaign for Grade Level Reading was launched by the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) to ensure that all West Virginia children are proficient in reading by third grade. The campaign engages regional, state and local collaborations to elevate the awareness of and provide resources to assist local boards of education with the huge task of closing the literacy achievement gap by third grade.

“Ensuring West Virginia’s students can read early in life is a critical building block to the educational foundation we’ve worked hard to provide our students, and I’m proud we are investing significant dollars to uphold that promise,“ Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said. “We must ensure our students can establish solid skills in elementary, middle and high school, then choose the path that best meets their future career goals. Whether in the form of additional training, a two-year degree or a four-year degree, the investments we are making now will help lay the foundation for our future generations and create highly skilled workers for years to come.“

“We know that literacy proficiency by grade three is critical and lays the foundation not only for high school graduation, but also for lifelong learning,“ said Gayle Manchin, president of the WVBE.

Just recently, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin included 5.7 million dollars in the 2016 state budget to continue to support the innovative project. The majority of funding is being sent directly to county school systems and will be used to target factors associated with increasing third grade literacy proficiency specific to each county’s identified needs.

In addition, the National Governors Association (NGA) recently chose West Virginia to participate as a lead state in its upcoming collaborative initiative. The initiative will examine the critical relationship between early literacy achievement and early numeracy efforts.  Research clearly shows that early mathematics learning is a foundation for long-term student achievement. A team of educators from West Virginia will join other states to develop strategies to improve teaching and learning in early mathematics, from early childhood through third grade. 

Also, to support a comprehensive approach to early literacy in West Virginia, West Virginia University’s (WVU) College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) recently announced that the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation will fund a second year of a collaborative project that provides a cadre of 40 West Virginia Universal Pre K teachers with access to free graduate level early literacy coursework at WVU.  Between Benedum funding and university tuition waivers, a second group of 40 West Virginia Universal Pre K teachers will have the opportunity to complete six graduate credits in early reading free of charge. The focus of these special topic courses is early literacy, National Board Certification, and teacher leadership.

“As part of the One Voice. One Focus. All Students Achieving vision plan, we will provide a statewide early childhood focus where we teach every child to read, on grade level, by third grade and where pre-literacy development is essential to closing achievement gaps,“ said Michael Martirano, state superintendent of schools. “The WVDE is well-poised to move forward with the West Virginia Leaders of Literacy: Campaign for Grade Level Reading through a comprehensive approach to early literacy that includes an emphasis on all content areas of development in school, as well as strengthening school readiness efforts, promoting positive attendance patterns, and providing access to high-quality, sustained extended day and extended year learning opportunities.“

For more information about the West Virginia Leaders of Literacy: Campaign for Grade Level Reading visit https://wvde.state.wv.us/leaders-of-literacy/.

Glenville State Annual Spring Football Game - Today

The Gilmer Free Press

Glenville, WV – For the now the fifth year in a row the Glenville State College Pioneer Football team is partnering with the Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department (GCVFD) for the Annual Blue vs. White Spring Football Game which will be played Thursday, April 23 at 6:00 PM at I.L. & Sue Morris Stadium.

The game will feature the 2015 GSC Pioneer Offense against the GSC Pioneer Defense.

“The Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department provides vital services to our community through the efforts of their volunteers. These members regularly risk their lives and take time away from their families for the benefit of our community. We wanted to take this opportunity to show them our appreciation for their dedication, and to help raise needed funds for them, over the last four years this has been a great event and we will for it to be even better this year for the GCVFD,” said GSC Head Football Coach David Hutchison.

“It’s a really great fundraiser, we really appreciate them raising money and donating to us. We are always excited about the event because it’s a lot of fun and it shows how close the college and athletics are to the community,” Martin Hess.

The spring game is free to the public, but the Glenville State College Football team will be collecting donations at the game which will benefit the Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department.

The spring game represents the culmination of spring practice. The Pioneers return 10 starters on offense and 5 on defense from last year’s squad. In 2015 the Pioneers look to improve on the 5-6 mark of a year ago.

The Pioneers will open preseason camp on Thursday, August 10th in preparation for the 2015 season. GSC opens the 2015 season on Saturday, September 5th when they travel to MEC Conference foe Urbana. Their first home contest of the 2015 season will be on Thursday, September 10th under the lights at I.L. & Sue Morris Stadium against West Virginia Wesleyan.

Anyone who cannot attend the spring game but would like to donate to the GCVFD may contact Coach Hutchison at or 304.462.6230.

West Virginia News   15042301

“FPWV”

PROPOSED CRACKER PLANT ON HOLD

CHARLESTON, WV — Brazilian petrochemical company Odebrecht and plastics maker Braskem say they will re-evaluate an ethane cracker they proposed to build in West Virginia.

In a statement to media outlets, the companies say a re-evaluation of the project’s configuration is needed under current energy scenarios.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s spokesman, Chris Stadelman, tells media outlets that the re-evaluation is understandable because of changes in worldwide energy markets and the magnitude of investment.

Cracker plants crack or convert ethane into ethylene, a widely used chemical compound. Ethane is a byproduct of natural gas drilling.

The proposed ASCENT project would include an ethane cracker, three polyethylene plants and associated infrastructure. The complex would be located in Wood County.

Stadelman says Tomblin and Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette will continue to work with the companies


FORMER WV REPRESENTATIVE NICK RAHALL JOINS WORLD AFFAIRS COUNCIL

CHARLESTON, WV — Former Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall has joined the board of directors for the World Affairs Council in Washington, D.C.

The council announced Rahall’s addition on Wednesday in a news release. The group also has added former Republican U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan group offers a variety of programs and services to teach people about global issues.

Rahall represented southern West Virginia for 19 terms in the U.S. House. He lost to Republican Congressman Evan Jenkins in the 2014 general election.

Rahall will serve on the International Affairs Committee, providing guidance on public programming, including students and teachers.


GOVERNOR TOMBLIN ENCOURAGES FAYETTE, MERCER AND TUCKER COUNTY BUSINESSES TO APPLY FOR SBA ASSISTANCE

CHARLESTON, WV - Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today announced the federal disaster declaration granted following Winter Storm Thor has been amended to include affected small businesses in Fayette, Mercer and Tucker counties. These counties are now eligible to apply for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans.

“These loans will provide much needed financial aid to small businesses in counties adversely affected by the flooding, landslides and mudslides brought on by Winter Storm Thor,“ Governor Tomblin said. “I’m grateful for the SBA’s decision to expand access to these low-interest loans to help local business owners rebuild and move forward.“

Available loans include business physical disaster loans and economic injury disaster loans. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

The filing deadline for applicants seeking loans for physical property damage is June 01, 2015. The filing deadline to submit economic injury applications is December 31, 2015.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s Secure Website.


SCHOOL SYSTEM COMPUTER NETWORK HACKED BY OHIO COUNTY STUDENT

WHEELING, WV — A Wheeling area high school student was recently able to invade the public education computer network and slow things down including standardized testing that was happening in some counties at the time.

West Virginia Department of Education Chief Technology Officer Sterling Beane said it happened last week when the student used botnet to impact WVNET.

“Sadly these things are on the rise and the level of technical expertise required to pull one of these off is extremely low. It’s disruption for hire,” Beane said on MetroNews Talkline. “Someone renting time on one of these botnet services did disrupt operation of the schools’ network.”

Beane said the slowdown of the system lasted for about 20 minutes. He said it didn’t take long for IT specialists with WVNET and the state Department of Education to isolate the computer where the botnet was coming from, but he said until that happened there were problems in the system.

“It overwhelms the bandwidth on the targeted system and that’s where the ‘denial of service’ comes into play. They are not trying to steal your information, but they are trying to be disruptive,” he said.

The student has been identified and the information turned over to the Ohio County school system for possible discipline.

Reports indicate botnet has been used in other states by opponents of the Common Core teaching standards to stop standardized testing. Beane said there’s no proof of that in West Virginia. He said Ohio County was not doing standardized testing at the time the problem occurred, but other counties were impacted.

“If there were testing going on in any part of the state that was being fed by that particular section of the network it would have been affected,” Beane said.

Botnets are a common problem. Beane said there are more than 2,000 attacks a day nationwide. He said it’s a constant battle for the state Department of Education.

“It’s an arms-race,” Beane concluded. “The equipment to block it and deal with it gets more sophisticated and then the hackers themselves find ways around that. It’s just a constant loop that you’re in to try and stay ahead of one another.”


TWO WV MEN WIN LAWSUIT AGAINST ASSISTANT POLICE CHIEF

CHARLESTON, WV — A federal jury has ordered an assistant police chief in Gilbert to pay $7,500 in medical bills apiece for two Mingo County men who claimed their civil rights were violated when they were beaten by officers in 2011.

The Charleston Gazette reports the jury in Charleston also ordered assistant police chief Nathan Glanden to pay $2,500 apiece in compensatory damages and $2,500 in punitive damages to Bobby Lester and Jimmy West.

Lester and West filed a lawsuit in 2013 against Glanden, the town of Gilbert, another officer, the West Virginia State Police and one of its troopers. The jury ruled against Glanden.

The newspaper reports the lawsuit alleged Glanden accused the men of stealing his gun, then brought other officers to the men’s home.


HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE CHAIR ON COMMON CORE: “WE ARE FAILING OUR STUDENTS”

MORGANTOWN, WV — This weekend, Morgantown will host a town hall forum on Common Core education standards.

Educators are expected to raise questions about the transparency of the standards, how they’re implemented and their impact on students and teachers.

Schools in our region will begin, or have already begun, administering the Smarter Balanced Assessments, as some families in other parts of the state are attempting to opt out of those standardized exams.

Monongalia County Delegate Amanda Pasdon (R), chairwoman of the House Education Committee, is adamant that what she calls “nationalized education” is not benefiting West Virginia students.

“They are essentially a re-make of what we’ve had in WV in previous years. My question to the state board and department of education is ‘Why would you want to rehash a set of standards this is obviously not working for our students?‘”, Pasdon remarked Tuesday on The Mike Queen Show on WAJR FM.

The standards, designed to improve education and compare student learning from state to state, require online testing. Statewide, teachers have said they don’t have the resources to administer the test. Pasdon questions the payoff of taking time out of the regular curriculum for testing.

“You know we talk about holding ourselves to a 180 calendar where students come in and out of the door 180 days. But, we’re losing quality instructional time when we’re taking weeks to test students, “argued Pasdon.

According to Pasdon, there are no state laws that force parents to allow their children to be tested. She said state board of education policies say schools systems must test annually.

“I think drawing a line in the sand and saying ‘Well if you don’t take the test, you’re suspended,’ is not the way to go,” Pasdon commented. “That is just more evidence of how we are failing our students in public education in the state of West Virginia.”

This is the first year of the Smarter Balanced Assessments. Next year, results are expected to be measured.

That Common Core Morgantown Town Hall Forum is Saturday April 25. It’s from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at the Marilla Center.


IN WV GOVERNOR’S RACE, HOPEFULS LIKELY RISK LOSING THEIR JOBS

CHARLESTON, WV - With U.S. Senator Joe Manchin out of the mix, possible contenders in a still-blurry field for governor would lose their current jobs by running.

The elected officials mulling a run are up for re-election next year, and couldn’t seek both offices.

That’s the issue facing state Senate President Bill Cole, Congressman David McKinley and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, all Republicans.

Democratic state Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler is considering the same variable.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, a Democrat, would lose his job even sooner. Under federal law, Goodwin would have to resign before he starts any sort of campaign, including fundraising.

Manchin announced Sunday he would stay in the Senate. The Democrat’s next re-election is in 2018.

Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is hitting his term limits.

West Virginia Arrests   15042301

“FPWV”

GILMER MAN BEHIND BARS ON SEXUAL CHARGES

GLENVILLE, WV—Keith Owen Arbogast, age 40, from Gilmer County has been arrested on sexual abuse charges.

He is charged with sexual abuse 1st degree and child abuse creating risk of injury.

Arbogast is in Central Regional Jail with bond set at $50,000.


ROANE COUNTY WOMAN BEHIND BARS

SPENCER, WV —Kristen Nicole Tanner, age 33, from Roane County has been charged with DUI and controlled substance.

Tanner is in Central Regional Jail.


OPERATIONS VIOLENCE REDUCTION 7 AND TIDAL WAVE RESULTED IN 51 ARRESTS, WITH OTHERS PENDING

CLARKSBURG, WV – As a result of two Marshals-led operations, numerous individuals were arrested in the Northern District of West Virginia.

On Wednesday, representatives from multiple law enforcement agencies provided the results of Operation Violence Reduction 7, a nationwide effort to crack down on crime by targeting and arresting the most violent wanted felony fugitives.

From March 02 and April 10, 7,127 individuals with warrants for murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, robbery, aggravated assault, arson, abduction/kidnapping, sexual assault and child molestation were captured through cooperation between multiple agencies, 383 firearms were seized and 69 kilograms of illegal narcotics were confiscated.

With the Northern District’s focused on Monongalia, Berkley and Mineral Counties, 48 arrests were made and 54 open warrants were cleared.

“I just want to thank the Marshals Service for all of their assistance with our warrants in Monongalia County and I think the results of this operation were outstanding,” Monongalia County Sheriff Al Kisner said. “Everybody that was involved should be applauded for their efforts.”

Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Alex Neville highlighted two cases from the operation during Wednesday’s press conference.

James Davis was wanted by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department for failure to register as a sex offender after being convicted of sexually assaulting a minor. Through the nationwide effort, Davis was tracked down and arrested in East Liverpool, Ohio before being extradited back to West Virginia to face his charges.

Quinton James was wanted by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department for multiple counts of distributing heroin after previously being arrested on drug and other charges. Through investigation into James’ ties to Baltimore, Maryland and a collateral lead, the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force was able to track him down in Columbia, MD to be extradited back to Harrison County.

In Monongalia County, U.S. Marshal Gary Gaskins said they looked at eight warrants. Out of those warrants, they were able to make five arrests and three others are pending.

“The Marshals Service, along with the other law enforcement family, they are relentless,” Gaskins said. “It’s just a matter of time before these other three either turn themselves in or we find them and bring them in.”

The second operation the Marshals Service provided the results of Wednesday combined the Marshals and the State Police resources to conduct sex offender compliance checks in Harrison, Marion and Monongalia Counties.

Operation Tidal Wave began April 12 and ended April 19, looking at the three counties’ approximately 570 offenders required to register.

According to John Hare, Sex Offender Investigations Coordinator, the operation provided $20,000 in overtime funds to the State Police, which would then work through their database for those who are non-compliant.

“That might mean he might of moved from one county to another county, or maybe one side of town to the other side of town,” he said. “The State Police doesn’t know where he’s at, they’ll ask us to assist in locating that individual and determining his status, if he’s actually a fugitive or just a non-compliant type of individual.”

According to Hare, 609 compliance checks were conducted. Of those checks, 490 offenders were found in compliance. Out of those not in compliance, four have been arrested and two arrests are pending, with one as possibly violating the Sex Offender and Registration Notification Act by leaving the state.

The success of the two operations was dependent upon the ability to communication and cooperate between agencies, according to Gaskins.

That ability remains important in the day-to-day operations as well.

“There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that there’s not an arrest made somewhere in North Central West Virginia from fugitives and warrants that are out there that people just apparently want to ignore,” said. “It’s very beneficial to have everybody working together and we have great communication.”


BRAXTON COUNTY MAN BEHIND BARS

SUTTON, WV—Frank Jeffery Venton, age 48 from Braxton County has been charged with contempt of family court.

Venton is in Central Regional Jail.


BRAXTON COUNTY MAN BEHIND BARD ON CHILD ABUSE CHARGES

SUTTON, WV—Dale Avery Ball, age 34, from Braxton County has been arrested for child abuse with injury by a parent or guardian.

Ball is in Central Regional Jail without bond.

U.S.A. News   15042301

“FPWV”


MANCHIN, BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS REINTRODUCE ALTERNATIVE FUELS BILL

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and others reintroduced the bipartisan North American Alternative Fuels Act. The bill would repeal section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 which prohibits the federal government, including the U.S. military, from purchasing fuel produced from coal, oil shale and oil sands.

“Achieving domestic energy independence and reducing our vulnerability to foreign oil imports is vital to our national security and our economic stability,” Senator Manchin said. “This bill takes a large step in the right direction by allowing the federal government—including our military – to use alternative and synthetic fuels like coal-to-liquid. Relying on our nation’s coal supply, coal-to-liquid fuel can be delivered through existing pipelines and is readily useable today in existing markets, including in the military. It is just common sense to establish all-of-the-above energy strategies that include fuels created from our abundant American energy resources.”

“Our nation’s military should have access to any and all fuel sources it needs to achieve its mission,” said Senator Barrasso. “Instead of giving preference to oil imported from overseas, Washington should look to North American coal, oil shale and oil sands, all of which provide an affordable, abundant and alternative source of fuel. In addition to increasing cost effectiveness options for the government, it will also increase America’s energy security.”

“There is no reason why America should have an energy policy that explicitly discriminates against its own abundant natural resources while also restricting our military from using all available energy options,” said Senator Heitkamp. “Instead, we need policies that support American coal and shale oil, instead of foreign oil, so that we can reach our long term goal of North American energy security and independence. This bipartisan bill will help establish confidence in America’s energy sector by overturning policies prohibiting sound investments in alternative fuels like coal-to-liquids, and instead bring us closer to an all-of-the-above energy strategy that will make us stronger, safer, and more independent for generations to come.”

In addition to Senators Manchin, Barrasso and Heitkamp, the North American Alternative Fuels Act is co-sponsored by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and John Hoeven (R-ND).


Background

The North American Alternative Fuels Act would repeal section 526 of EISA. Section 526 prohibits federal agencies from contracting for alternative transportation fuels unless the contract specifies that the alternative fuel emits an amount of greenhouse gas that is less than or equal to greenhouse gas emitted from fuel produced from conventional petroleum sources. By its terms, section 526 prohibits the federal government, including the U.S. military, from purchasing transportation fuel produced from coal, oil shale, and oil sands.


HEALTH LAW BRINGS GROWTH IN FOOD STAMPS IN SOME STATES

CHICAGO, IL - President Barack Obama’s health care law has had a surprising side effect: In some states, it appears to be enticing more Americans to apply for food stamps, even as the economy improves.

New, streamlined application systems built for the health care overhaul seem to be making it easier for people to enroll in government benefit programs, including insurance coverage and food stamps.

An Associated Press analysis finds unforeseen enrollment increases over two years in 11 states, including Illinois, California, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

It’s happening as Republicans try to cut the costs of the food-benefits program and at a time when food-stamp usage would be expected to decline.

The impact on food stamps could grow. More states are planning to upgrade their application systems for social programs.

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