Commencement Ceremony is May 06, 2017 at GSC

The Free Press WV

The 143rd Glenville State College Commencement Ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 6 beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the college’s Waco Center.

The GSC class of 2017 will walk across the graduation stage to receive their degrees in a variety of programs including business, education, land resources, criminal justice, science, music, and more. The grads hail from throughout West Virginia and eight other states including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Retiring Glenville State College President Dr. Peter Barr will deliver the keynote address to graduates and guests. Barr, who has been at the helm of the nearly 145 year old institution since 2006, announced his intention to retire at the beginning of the current academic year.

In recognition of an ongoing tradition at Glenville State College, alumni who graduated fifty years ago have been invited back to campus to join the current graduates at the ceremony. Members of the class of 1967 will be recognized as ‘50 Year Graduates’ during the event.

Graduates are permitted to bring as many guests with them as they like and no tickets are required. The GSC Bookstore will have a satellite location open at the Waco Center with a selection of items for sale before and after the ceremony.

For more information about the Commencement Ceremony, visit and click on the Commencement banner or contact 304.462.4115.

DNR Advises — Leave Young Wildlife Alone

West Virginia’s fields and forests are full of new life this time of year, but the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging people to exercise extreme caution and keep a safe distance when young wildlife is encountered.

“Spring provides an excellent opportunity to see all of the fawns, cubs and other young wildlife our great state has to offer,” said Tyler Evans, a wildlife biologist stationed at the West Virginia State Wildlife Center. “But, it is especially important for the public to understand the need to avoid touching or disturbing these animals.”

People who pick up wildlife or get too close greatly increase the chance of harm to themselves and/or the animal. By handling these animals, humans leave behind a scent that may attract a predator. Additionally, handling wildlife has the potential to expose humans to a variety of wildlife-related diseases and parasites, such as rabies, ticks and lice.

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While wildlife viewing is an enjoyable and perfectly acceptable activity, DNR personnel recommend doing so from a safe distance and with the aid of binoculars. “This ensures the welfare of the animal, and more importantly, the welfare of the viewer,” Evans said.

Each year, DNR offices around the state receive numerous calls about fawns and other young wildlife being picked up by well-meaning humans. Many people will mistakenly assume a bedded fawn is abandoned when no mother is in sight, but that is rarely the case. Young animals are hidden while adults search for food, and this separation can last for several hours. “This separation should not be mistaken for abandonment,” said Evans.

Hiding the fawn while the doe searches for food is an important survival tactic. A fawn’s coloration, spotted pattern and lack of scent afford protection to this young animal and makes detection difficult for predators. Removing a young animal from its natural environment will almost certainly lead to the death of that animal.

As a final caution, DNR would like to remind wildlife enthusiasts that state law prohibits the possession of wild animals without a permit. The fine for illegal possession of a fawn, bear cub, baby raccoon or any other species taken or possessed during the closed season ranges from $20 to a maximum of $1,000 and may result in up to 100 days in jail.

“We want everyone to enjoy our state’s wildlife,“ said Evans. “However, for your safety and the safety of the animal, please remember that young wildlife should always be left undisturbed and given the opportunity to remain wild.”

Study Finds No Groundwater Contamination From Fracking, But Industry Not Off The Hook

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Research  from a team at Duke University finds ground water contamination from fracking of gas wells is minimal in West Virginia.

“We did not find any evidence of groundwater contamination from shale gas development,” said Dr. Avner Vengosh who headed the eight year study.

The team conducted the comprehensive research across the country and included more than 100 water wells in Doddridge and Tyler Counties in West Virginia.   Speaking on MetroNews Talkline Wednesday, Vengosh explained they had a high degree of confidence in their findings.

“The fact we’re feeling confident it’s not coming from shale gas is that we conducted measurements at about 20 wells prior to any installation of shale gas wells,” he explained. “So we have really good baseline of information and we conducted really extensive analysis.”

The finds seem to back up the standard industry claim fracking posed no threat to well water contamination.  However, many still have the problem of methane or saline in their water wells.  Vengosh said they were able to come up with an explanation.

“One of our findings is naturally occurring and saline ground water is pretty prevalent in this area,” he said. “From the point  of view of a homeowner, you don’t care if it’s coming from fracking or naturally occurring, you have a problem with your well.”

But the same research which seemed to exonerate the industry’s use of fracking in natural gas production didn’t leave them blameless.   Management of fracking waste is identified in the same study as a serious problem and a repeated source of surface water contamination.

“We found there have been several spills causing surface water contamination,” he said. “We used this same assembly of chemical forensic tools to confirm those spills are indeed coming from frack water.”

Dr. Vengosh said it’s not uncommon for the industry to deny the spills were the source of contamination and often blamed it on the region’s long history of mining or conventional gas development.  However, the Duke survey was able to make the case without a question the spills are critical.

“The tools clearly showed several of the spills discovered in recent years are indeed from fracking wells and not from the legacy of previous activity,”  he explained.

The survey revealed the problems at all levels of the process.  Several spills happened at the well pad while others were from waste stored at injection well sites.

“Management of the waste water is the weakest part of shale gas development in the area,” Vengosh said. “Once the wastewater comes out managing them correctly is really a major challenge.  Even a small volume of that leaking into the environment could cause a huge impact.”

Hometowns Rising To Win Health Care For All

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Back in January, a victory on health care seemed a long way away. Today, we’re still in a big fight to protect the health care that we need and that everyone deserves.

It’s not just the Affordable Care Act that they’re going after. The right wing is going after Medicaid, Medicare, the Indian Health Service, veterans’ health services, and more.

In March, we stopped the first vote on repealing our health care. It was a huge victory. Because of you and your sharp organizing, we lit a wildfire of resistance. We spoke up in districts where no one expected people to fight for health care for all.

In February, during the congressional recess, we did 89 actions, 75 percent of them in Republican districts. Together, we drove a wedge right through the Republicans and deepened the division in the party, making the March vote impossible for them.

Why was that important? It saved health care for 24 million people. It discredited Trump and his agenda. It built our power and decreased theirs.

All of that lays the foundation for us to defeat the broader agenda of tax giveaways to billionaires, budget cuts to health care and Social Security – even going after Meals on Wheels.

But one of the pieces of good news is that we have won the battle of big ideas on health care. People all across this country believe that health care is a basic human right. Millions of people, many of whom had never been active before, have hit the streets to defend health care as a human right.

This is an uprising that is happening in communities that are blue, purple and red.

But President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are still at it. They will try again and again to pass this really bad bill.

Are we going to let them? No!

When we defeat the next vote, we’re not done. They’re going to come after our health care, our food, veterans services and our housing with a terrible budget. They’re want to cut all that to pay for tax giveaways to billionaires, corporations and the one percent.

Are we going to let them? No!

We are deeply committed to this fight because we have to be. Taking away our health care has a ripple effect across our communities. It is life and death for some of our family members, friends and neighbors. It will mean that health care bills will pile up even higher and impoverish us.

Lack of funding will mean cuts to hospitals and clinics. If they get their way, it will even mean cuts to health care for veterans. These cuts will pull money out of communities, hurt small businesses and devastate our home towns.

We are here today because many in Congress canceled town halls, turned their backs on to us and didn’t listen to what we had to say.

Today we are welcoming hometown leaders who are organizing in Republican districts. They come from small and mid-sized towns that will be deeply impacted by the proposed budget cuts. We are here to listen to their stories about the devastating impact that “Trump Care” would have on their families and hometowns and to identify next steps for all of us in the fight back.

Together, you and I, and millions across the United States, will continue to raise up this issue and make it central in the upcoming 2018 elections.

Our strategy is to hold strong where we are, show up in unexpected places and build new alliances in hometowns across this country. We know this means more organizing. This means stretching ourselves.

We are asking everyone to make four commitments.

●  Rise up by building our team, by reaching out to five friends and family members to have kitchen-table conversations highlighting why this fight is important to you and your hometown. If we each reach five people, we will bring thousands and thousands of new people into the fight.

●  Rise up during the May recess by organizing 50 “hometown actions” to highlight the impact of proposed budget cuts on our families and communities, and the ripple effect those cuts will have on hospitals, small businesses and schools.

●  Rise up to take the profit out of our health care system, by holding insurance and drug companies accountable and build the pathway to Medicare for all.

●  Rise up to make health care a pivotal issue in the 2018 elections and move us toward our goal of health care for all.

Are you with us?

~~  LeeAnn Hall ~~

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV


The Pentagon watchdog has joined lawmakers in probing the legality of payments to Donald Trump’s ousted national security adviser, Michael Flynn, from foreign sources, including a Russian state-sponsored TV network.


The plan could provide significant relief to the working-class voters who elected him, but the unknowns could end up hurting many of the president’s core supporters.


The same skills that helped Trump in the executive suite have hurt him in the Oval Office, management experts say.


U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that China has threatened to impose sanctions on North Korea if it conducts further nuclear tests.


The passenger who was dragged off a United flight after he refused to give up his seat to airline employees has settled with the airline for an undisclosed sum, an apparent attempt by the company to put the fiasco behind it as quickly as possible.


The last inmate set to die under Arkansas’ compressed execution timetable is looking to state and federal courts in final bids to save his life.


Hundreds gather peacefully for a rally at a park in Berkeley - home of the free speech movement - to protest a canceled appearance by conservative commentator Ann Coulter.


Demonstrators in Macedonia, many wearing masks, broke through a police cordon and entered Parliament, attacking lawmakers to protest the election of a new speaker.


They take a break, a new poll finds. Reasons include social media getting in the way or work or school, or teens getting tired of “the conflict and drama.“


No surprises at the top of the NFL draft: Roger Goodell got booed, then Myles Garrett was picked first overall by the Cleveland Browns.

The Free Press WV

Students, faculty, and staff in the Glenville State College Department of Language and Literature are celebrating the recent completion of the 2017 Trillium with the 14th Annual Trillium Reading to be held on Friday, April 28 at 4:00 p.m. in the Mollohan Campus Community Center Multipurpose Room (315A).

The reading, which will give the writers, poets, and artists a chance to bring their works to life in a spoken-word format, also will include an open microphone session to allow members of the audience to present poems, songs, or other literary works. The event is free and open to the public.

The Trillium, Glenville State College’s student literary magazine since 1979, contains poetry, fiction, photographs, and drawings from GSC students, faculty, staff, and the general public.

Free copies of the 2017 Trillium will be available at the reading, in the Department of Language and Literature located in the Heflin Administration Building, and other various locations around campus.

For more information about the Trillium reading, contact faculty advisor Dr. Jonathan Minton at or 304.462.6322.

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Planning is underway for the 19th Annual Glenville State College Department of Land Resources Golf Tournament to be held on Friday, April 28 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Proceeds from the event, which will take place at the Bel Meadow Golf Club in Clarksburg, West Virginia, will again be used to enhance student learning within GSC’s Natural Resource Management programs.

Funds received from the golf tournament will help provide extra tools and equipment for students studying environmental, forestry, land surveying, land management, and other natural resource management programs at GSC.

Multiple prizes are available, including two hole-in-one prizes of $10,000 cash and a STIHL Homeowner’s Package (package consists of a MS170 Chainsaw with 16-inch bar, BG 86 Handheld Blower, and FS70R Trimmer) and a closest second shot prize of a STIHL MS251 Chainsaw. The top three teams will receive cash awards and trophies including $400 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. Prizes also will be awarded for Closest to Pin, Log Driver Champion, Longest Putt, and Longest Drive.

Participants can enter the scramble golf outing for an entry fee of $80 per person or $320 per team of four. The entry fee includes green fees, cart rental, and lunch. Organizations and individuals are also welcome to sponsor a hole, starting at $100. Sponsors will be recognized in a GSC Department of Land Resources newsletter and will have the name of the person or organization displayed during the event. Checks can be made payable to GSC Land Resources Fundraiser and sent to Glenville State College Department of Land Resources, 200 High Street, Glenville, WV 26351.

For more information and to register, contact the Land Resources Department at 304.462.6370.


Check Out Events & Announcements for More

Amazon has launched a new Echo device that helps you decide what to wear

It’s called the Echo Look.

Taxi app Gett has acquired rival Juno for $200 million to help it compete with companies like Uber and Lyft

Juno is based in New York City.

Twitter’s revenue declined for the first time last quarter

However, it still managed to beat expectations across the board.

More than $3 billion has now been pledged to projects on Kickstarter

The company will celebrate its eighth birthday on Friday.

Samsung shrugged off the Galaxy Note 7 debacle and a corruption scandal to post its best quarterly profit in three years

Its January-March operating profit was 9.9 trillion won ($8.75 billion).

A mysterious pair of Google headphones have shown up in FCC filings

The headphones look pretty basic: over-the-ear cans with Bluetooth and an optional wired connection.

Spotify acquired blockchain startup Mediachain

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

Berlin has rejected Google’s new “Campus” building

Residents in Kreuzberg say the startup hub will be too loud, while the council is concerned about how high Google wants to make the building.

Billionaire venture capitalist Chris Sacca is retiring from startup investing

He’s also leaving the “Shark Tank” show.

Marc Benioff took a 60% cut to his $33 million pay package to appease Sales-force investors

Salesforce is also going to stop paying for Benioff’s personal security detail in the new fiscal year.

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►  State police investigating allegations of sexually explicit photos involving teacher

State police are investigating sexually explicit photos being shared among students at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, a Thursday news release from the agency said.

The Upshur County Prosecutor’s Office referred the case to troopers Wednesday.

According to the news release, “Allegedly, the photos being shared were of a teacher at the school.”

►  Capito sees “really good things” in Trump tax reform blueprint

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) is “intrigued” by the Trump Administration’s tax reform blueprint released this week, one that White House officials have indicated they’d like to see finalized before the end of 2017.

“I think it goes to a lot of what, I think, are big time weaknesses in the tax code and things that we’ve been talking about for 16 years,” Capito said during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”

“There’s a lot of really good things in here that could stimulate and would stimulate growth and we’re not going to have higher wages and broader employment until we have the certainty of our tax code, corporately and individually.”

In terms of effects on individuals, the outline proposes reducing the existing seven tax brackets to three at 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent; doubling the existing standard deduction and providing tax relief for families with child and dependent care expenses.

Currently, the ceiling for individual tax rates is set at 39.6 percent. Individuals can deduct $6,350 from their taxable income now, while married couples can deduct $12,700.

The tax reform outline calls for simplification of the tax code by eliminating targeted tax breaks that benefit wealthier taxpayers; protects the popular home ownership and charitable gift tax deductions; repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax; ends the death tax and pulls a 3.8 percent additional capital gains tax on small businesses and investment income implemented under former President Barack Obama to fund the Affordable Care Act.

For businesses, the Trump Administration is proposing taking corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 15 percent; utilizing a territorial tax system; implementing a one-time tax on trillions held overseas and eliminates tax breaks for special interests.

Few other details about the outline were immediately available.

Still, Capito saw reasons to be optimistic.

“I think the complexity in the tax code is enough to put everybody’s hair on fire, so the simplification that he gets to in this tax bill by moving to three rates, but also by eliminating a lot of deductions and loopholes is going to be welcomed by individual taxpayers,” said Capito.

In May, Trump Administration will be seeking input on the outline from stakeholders as part of overall work toward potential passage by both U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

►  Teacher, football coach arrested on drug charges

A teacher and football coach at Valley High School in Fayette County was arrested on drug charges Wednesday, Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley said.

It’s alleged Larry Macon McCommack, 38, of Boomer, sold drugs four times to an undercover informant working for the Central West Virginia Drug Task Force.

None of the buys were made at the school in Smithers, Fridley said.

McCommack was taken into custody without incident Wednesday afternoon. He was released after posting $50,000 bond.

►  Governor signs ‘Second Chance for Employment Act’

Governor Jim Justice has signed the West Virginia Second Chance for Employment Act, meant to help non-violent felons improve their job opportunities.

The bill passed the House of Delegates the evening of the 59th day of the 60-day legislative session and then needed to have the Senate concur with changes that had been made. That happened within the final hour of the legislative session.

The bill originally would have allowed non-violent offenders to petition the court to have their felonies expunged.

The House amended the bill to allow non-violent felons to petition to have their sentences reduced to misdemeanors. The idea was that employers wouldn’t immediately blow them off, but could see the full record in a background check.

Versions of the bill have been under consideration by the Legislature the past few years. Last year, the bill unanimously passed the Senate but died in the House.

►  Justice strikes down Tebow bill - Measure would have allow non-public schoolkids to play sports in public schools

Governor Jim Justice vetoed a bill that would have allowed home-schooled students to play sports at public schools in West Virginia.

The veto was posted Thursday on the legislature’s website without an accompanying message, though one was expected.

The original version of the HB 2196 only provided a path for home-schooled students to participate in public school athletics and extracurricular activities, but the Senate amended it to include kids from private or religious schools that don’t sponsor sports. That’s the version Justice considered and rejected.

The bill required all homeschooled and private school crossover athletes to meet academic progress standards, along with abiding by all West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission regulations for traditional students — including paying fees that are charged by some schools. The students could only play sports at a public school within their district.

The SSAC opposed to the bill.

“We just feel like it is going to create an opportunity for people to game the system,” SSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan told MetroNews.

Justice coaches girls and boys basketball at Greenbrier East High School.

The so-called “Tim Tebow Act” is named after the former Heisman Trophy winner, who was home-schooled in Jacksonville, Fla., but won the state’s Mr. Football award at Nease High School on his way to becoming one of the nation’s top recruits.

►  WV Bans Indoor Tanning by Those Under 18

West Virginia has outlawed indoor tanning by anyone under 18.

The law approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Jim Justice says tanning facility owners face a misdemeanor charge and $100 fine for a first offense.

That rises to a fine ranging from $250 to $500 for a second conviction and $500 to $1,000 for a third.

Under the old law, children younger than 14 were banned from tanning beds in West Virginia businesses. Those 14 to 17 needed parental permission or consent.

Sponsors say medical evidence shows an increased risk of skin cancers from indoor tanning.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 43 states regulate minors’ use of tanning facilities, and 15 other states and the District of Columbia ban them for people under 18.

►  State Enacts Abortion Notification Change

Governor Jim Justice has signed a law ending a doctor’s ability to waive the legal requirement to notify parents of an underage daughter’s abortion.

It allows only a judge to waive parental notification.

Under the old law, a physician other than the one performing an abortion can waive the requirement by finding that the minor is mature enough to decide independently or that notification wouldn’t be in her best interest.

Advocates say waivers are needed sometimes, especially to protect girls raped in abusive or violent households.

Physician waivers were used four times in 2015, when 48 minors in West Virginia had abortions.

Another new law prohibits doctors from prescribing narcotics or drugs that induce abortion by telemedicine.

►  State Supreme Court Hears Argument in a Hate Crime Case

The state’s Supreme Court has heard arguments on whether a former Marshall University football player should be charged with a hate crime under West Virginia law.

The court heard arguments Tuesday to determine if Steward Butler should be charged with a hate crime in connection with a 2015 attack on two men seen kissing.

Cabell County assistant prosecuting attorney Lauren Plymale argued in court that sexual-orientation discrimination should fall under the West Virginia code banning sex discrimination. She says Butler was enraged because of his own gender expectation that men shouldn’t kiss each other.

Elbert Lin, solicitor general for the state Attorney General’s Office, argued sexual orientation and sex are distinct concepts that have differing meanings.

A ruling is expected later this year.

►  Wayne County Board of Education Cuts 84 Positions

The Wayne County Board of Education has decided to eliminate 84 jobs to balance the budget.

The board made the cuts at a special meeting Tuesday to account for a multi-million dollar shortfall. The cuts will consolidate and eliminate positions.

School Superintendent David Roach says that if the board hadn’t approved the changes, the state would have possibly made the cuts.

The school system hopes to have the budget approved by the State Board of Education in May.


The Free Press WV

  • Justice signs broadband bill:  West Virginians will soon have more options when it comes to getting a broadband connection.  Governor Jim Justice signed into law House Bill 3093, a bill designed to incentivize competition among ...    GAZETTE-MAIL

  • Despite Rumors, Trump Opts Against Dismantling NAFTA:    That bluff didn’t last long.  On Wednesday administration sources leaked that Donald Trump was considering an executive order to withdraw from NAFTA as early as Saturday. Later in the day, however, the White House said calls with Canada and Mexico had convinced Trump to renegotiate the pact instead. The two countries account for $1 trillion in trade with the United States. Many see the threat more as a play for approval than a serious policy option, as Trump approaches his 100th day in office without any significant legislative victories.    Reuters

  • No guarantees for middle-class help in Trump tax plan:    “Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin [said] he couldn’t say how Donald Trump’s sweeping tax overhaul plan would affect the president personally, while also declining to guarantee that middle-class families wouldn’t pay more under the proposal. ‘I can’t make any guarantees until this thing is done and it’s on the president’s desk. But I can tell you, that’s our number one objective in this,’ Mnuchin said…”    ABC News

  • U.S. Promises Tighter Sanctions on Pyongyang:    They’ve opted for diplomacy. After weeks of tension between North Korea and the U.S., the White House summoned the entire Senate for a briefing - and announced that instead of a military option, it’ll be using sanctions to pressure Pyongyang to step back from its nuclear program. The U.S. already bans all trade with North Korea, so it’s not clear how it could impose further sanctions. Meanwhile, a North Korean official said the country would “never stop” its nuclear tests as long as it considers the U.S. to be hostile.  The Guardian

  • Turkey Suspends 9,100 Police Officers:    He’s the law now. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently won a referendum expanding his authority, and yesterday his administration arrested 1,120 people allegedly connected to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan blames for an attempted coup in 2016. He’s also suspended 9,100 police officers and issued over 3,200 additional arrest warrants. More than 47,000 people have been arrested since the putsch last July. Meanwhile, Turkey’s opposition party says it’ll be challenging the referendum result in the European Court of Human Rights - though its not clear if Europe will step in to curb Erdogan.  LA Times

  • United to Offer $10,000 to Those Who Volunteer Seats:    Can you buy back public trust? Weeks after passenger David Dao, 69, suffered a concussion and lost his front teeth while being violently removed from a United flight after refusing to surrender his seat, the airline’s trying to make amends with a series of policy changes. Now customers who volunteer to be bumped from overbooked flights can be compensated up to $10,000, upping the ante over Delta, which said it’ll offer up to $9,950. Additionally, United has promised that law enforcement won’t be called to force passengers off planes.    CNBC

  • Lightning Rod.   Rod Rosenstein, the DOJ’s No. 2, believes the opioid epidemic is a public health crisis and that crime rates depend on police-community relations. Is a clash with his boss, Jeff Sessions, inevitable?    Vox

  • The 6 movies coming out in May that you can’t miss.    April showers have come and gone, and another Fast and Furious movie was released. Looking ahead, May has a ton of new releases for audiences heading to the theaters. From the long-awaited Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to Alien: Covenant. Here’s what you can look forward to in May.    MIC

In USA….

The Free Press WV


►  10 Best High Schools in the U.S.

BASIS Charter Schools will get a kick out of US News & World Report‘s 2017 list of the country’s top public and charter high schools. Five of the top 10 schools are BASIS Charter Schools, including the Scottsdale, Ariz., school that took the top spot. The list is based on enrollment, graduation rates, diversity, state assessments, and more, with particular focus on how well schools prepare students for college. The top 10:

  1. BASIS Scottsdale (Ariz.)
  2. BASIS Tucson North (Ariz.)
  3. BASIS Oro Valley (Ariz.)
  4. School for the Talented and Gifted (Texas)
  5. BASIS Peoria (Ariz.)
  6. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Va.)
  7. BASIS Chandler (Ariz.)
  8. Carnegie Vanguard High School (Texas)
  9. School of Science and Engineering (Texas)
  10. Pacific Collegiate Charter (Calif.)

Click for the FULL LIST.

►  Trump: national monuments a ‘massive federal land grab’

Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday directing his interior secretary to review the designation of dozens of national monuments on federal lands, calling the protection efforts “a massive federal land grab” by previous administrations.

It was yet another executive action from a president trying to rack up accomplishments before his first 100 days in office, with Saturday marking that milestone. And it could upend protections put in place in Utah and other states under a 1906 law that authorizes the president to declare federal lands as monuments and restrict their use.

During a signing ceremony at the Interior Department, Trump said the order would end “another egregious abuse of federal power” and “give that power back to the states and to the people where it belongs.“

Trump accused the Obama administration of using the Antiquities Act to “unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control” — a practice Trump derided as “a massive federal land grab.“

“Somewhere along the way the Act has become a tool of political advocacy rather than public interest,“ Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said. “And it’s easy to see why designations in some cases are viewed negatively by those local communities that are impacted the most.“

In December, shortly before leaving office, President Barack Obama infuriated Utah Republicans by creating the Bears Ears National Monument on more than 1 million acres of land that’s sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings.

Republicans in the state asked Trump to take the unusual step of reversing Obama’s decision. They said the designation will stymie growth by closing the area to new commercial and energy development. The Antiquities Act does not give the president explicit power to undo a designation and no president has ever taken such a step.

Trump’s order was one of a handful he intended to sign this week in a flurry of developments before his 100th day in office. The president has used executive orders aggressively over the past three months; as a candidate, Trump railed against Obama’s use of this power.

Wednesday’s order will cover several dozen monuments across the country designated since 1996. They total 100,000 acres or more and include the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bear Ears, both in Utah.

Zinke was directed to produce an interim report in 45 days and make a recommendation on Bears Ears, and then issue a final report within 120 days.

Zinke said that over the past 20 years, the designation of tens of millions of acres as national monuments have limited the lands’ use for farming, timber harvesting, mining and oil and gas exploration, and other commercial purposes.

While designations have done “a great service to the public,“ Zinke said the “local community affected should have a voice.“
Some, including Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, have hailed the order as the end of “land grabs” by presidents dating to Bill Clinton.

But Senator Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., said that if Trump truly wants to make America great again, he should use the law to protect and conserve America’s public lands. In New Mexico, Obama’s designation of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument have preserved important lands while boosting the economy, Heinrich said, and that story has repeated across the country.

“If this sweeping review is an excuse to cut out the public and scale back protections, I think this president is going to find a very resistant public,“ Heinrich said.

Members of a coalition of five Western tribes that pushed for the Bears Ears National Monument said they’re outraged the administration will review a decision they say was already carefully vetted by the Obama administration, including a multi-day visit last summer by then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

Davis Filfred, the Navajo Nation representative on the coalition, said it would be heart-breaking if the review leads to an attempt to strip the monument of designation.

“Once it’s designated, it’s designated. He should just honor our past leaders and those who were before him,“ Filfred said. “He’s disregarding the Native Americans, the first people of this nation. This is sacred land.“

Filfred said he and the coalition won’t stand by idly if Zinke tries to undo the designation. “He’s going to be in for a fight. We’re not going to let this down easy.“

►  Delta Boots Passenger for Using Bathroom

Passengers aboard the Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Milwaukee were told they were third in line for takeoff. Thirty minutes later, they were still waiting—and Kima Hamilton says he could wait no longer. Though passengers were to remain in their seats—and Hamilton had been told a bathroom visit would forfeit the plane’s position in line—Hamilton says he was forced to make an emergency run to pee. “We weren’t taking off. We were still,“ he tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of the incident on April 18. But when he returned to his seat, Hamilton heard the pilot announce that the plane would return to the gate so a passenger could be removed. As agents approached him, Hamilton initially refused to get out of his seat.

In a video from passenger Krista Rosolino, Hamilton can be heard calmly asking for an explanation. “I had to pee. I tried to hold it the first time … and now I’m being kicked off the plane,“ he says, per WISN. All passengers were eventually removed, but Hamilton, who was met by FBI agents, was not allowed to return. Instead, he says he got a partial refund from Delta but paid three times the price of his original ticket to take another flight. “It just felt really wrong,“ Rosolino tells CBS 58. In an open letter, she wonders if Hamilton’s race was a factor, noting passengers aboard another Delta flight reportedly used the bathroom during taxiing without repercussions. Says Delta, “it is imperative that passengers comply with crew instructions.“

►  United Making Big Changes After Chicago Incident

United Airlines says passengers will now be offered up to $10,000 to surrender their seats on overbooked flights—and those who still refuse won’t be hauled out of their seats by law enforcement. The airline issued a report Thursday detailing 10 changes it is making after the Chicago incident earlier this month, reports the Washington Post. United’s report says its mistakes on April 09, when 69-year-old David Dao was dragged out of his seat by aviation police, included trying to make space for off-duty crew members at the last minute by bumping passengers involuntarily, only offering $800 in compensation to try to persuade people to give up their seats, and calling police when Dao refused to get off the plane.

In a statement, United CEO Oscar Munoz described the incident as a “turning point” and the start of a shift toward becoming a “better, more customer-focused airline.“ Reuters reports that other changes announced by United include a “no questions asked” policy on bags it permanently loses, for which passengers will be paid $1,500 starting in June. The report also details how passengers are selected for involuntary bumping, the AP notes. Those without frequent flyer status who paid the least for their ticket are most at risk. No word on any policy changes involving falling scorpions or dead bunnies, though United says staff will receive annual training for the “most difficult situations.“

►  Bell Returned to University After 98 Years Is Blowing Minds

A nearly 500-pound bell has been returned to Colorado State University after being stolen a century ago. And it’s got quite the tale to tell. “The story of the bell really blew our minds,“ the president of Associated Students of CSU tells the Denver Post. The university got the bell in 1910—it was built in 1894—and installed it in Old Main, the oldest building on campus. Students would ring the bell for the start of classes and after football victories. The bell’s clapper was stolen—possibly by neighbors tired of students clanging it throughout the night—and resourceful students resorted to ringing it by sledgehammer, the Coloradoan reports. The bell itself was stolen by an unknown group of students in 1919 and buried at a nearby farm.

By the 1970s—the Rocky Mountain Collegian reports—Old Main had burned down during student protests, the bell had been dug up and relocated to an unknown fraternity, and most people had forgotten it even existed. At some point the bell was mysteriously moved out of Colorado. Last year, the executive director of the CSU alumni association received a call from a lawyer asking if the university would be interested in getting the bell back. She said yes, and the bell materialized outside her house while she was taking her kids to basketball practice. Whoever had the bell apparently thought the opening of a new CSU football stadium was the right time to return it. The restored bell will be installed at the university’s new alumni center and ring once again next year.

►  He Said a Fat Intruder Killed His Wife. Her Fitbit Said Otherwise

When Richard Dabate called 911 to report that his wife had been fatally shot inside the couple’s home in Ellington, Conn., he claimed the masked killer was a “tall, obese man” with a voice like Vin Diesel, who’d also tied up Dabate, according to police. Thanks in part to his wife’s Fitbit fitness tracker, that story has since unraveled. Police—who’ve charged Dabate with felony murder and other crimes 16 months after the December 23, 2015 murder—say Dabate claimed Connie Dabate was killed around 9am, when she returned home from the gym. But police say she used Facebook some 40 minutes later, before her Fitbit recorded her last movements around 10am, reports the Hartford Courant.

An investigation uncovered Dabate was carrying on a relationship with another woman whom he’d gotten pregnant, per the New York Daily News, while his apparently unsuspecting wife had penned a list of reasons why she wanted a divorce, including that Dabate took money from “accounts that don’t belong to him,“ police say. Her last text message to her husband read, “Merry [expletive] Christmas.“ According to police, Dabate checked his wife’s gym schedule before arriving home and shooting her with a recently purchased Magnum .357. Five days later, he unsuccessfully tried to cash in on her $475,000 life insurance policy, police say. Dabate has posted a $1 million bond and is due in court on Friday, per

►  2 U.S. Soldiers Killed in ISIS Fight

The Pentagon says two US service members were killed in Afghanistan overnight Wednesday, reports the AP. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis says they were killed during an operation against the Islamic State in Nangahar Province in the eastern part of the country, the same area in which the US dropped the “mother of all bombs” on an ISIS complex two weeks ago. That bomb killed several dozen militants just days after a US Army special forces soldier was killed in the region. Davis says the US is still gathering details on Wednesday’s incident. The US estimates that the group has about 800 fighters in Afghanistan.

In The World….

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►  Rumors Swirl as Gas Shortage Hits N. Korea

An acute shortage of gasoline in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang that has sparked price hikes and hoarding is raising fears of potentially crippling pain at the pumps if things don’t get better soon—and driving rumors that China is to blame. The shortage, which is extremely unusual if not unprecedented, began last week when signs went up at gas stations around the city informing customers that restrictions on sales would be put in place until further notice, the AP reports. With no indication as of Wednesday night of when the restrictions might be lifted—or why they’ve been imposed—drivers continue to scramble to fill up their tanks and whatever other containers they can find.

Prices, meanwhile, have shot up. They had been fairly stable, typically at about 70 to 80 cents a kilogram, but on Wednesday at least one station was charging $1.40, which works out to about $5.30 a gallon. China supplies most of North Korea’s fuel, and rumors are rife that Beijing is behind the shortage. Limiting the oil supply has been openly discussed in Beijing as one option for getting Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program. Two days after the restrictions were announced, North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency carried an unusually acerbic editorial, saying a “nearby country” would face “catastrophic consequences” in relations with North Korea if it kept applying economic sanctions.

►  Lost Trekker Survived on Ledge for 47 Days

A Taiwanese couple who disappeared while trekking in Nepal were found after 47 days—but it was three days too late for one of them. Liang Sheng-yueh, 21, is being treated in a Kathmandu hospital after being found on a ledge under a waterfall in the remote Dhading region, AFP reports. He told rescuers he had been trapped there for more than a month with 19-year-old girlfriend Liu Chen-chun, who died 44 days into their ordeal. Rescuers say the couple became lost during a snowstorm on the lightly traveled Ganesh Himal trail. They tried to find a village by following a river, but one of the rescuers tells the BBC the two may have “slid off a slippery trail while making an ascent ... and got trapped in a cave-like formation”; they were apparently unable to climb up or down.

After they vanished, the couple’s parents flew to Nepal, with Liang’s father engaging a helicopter and hiring Sherpa guides to search for them, Taiwan News reports. Local people eventually spotted the couple’s red tent. Liang told rescuers they had survived on the food in their backpacks, mostly potatoes and noodles, for two weeks before supplies ran out, leaving them only with salt and water. Liang lost more than 65 pounds and “was suffering from severe malnutrition,“ a doctor at Kathmandu’s Grande Hospital tells the AP. “His foot was covered with maggots and hair full of lice. Despite having to live like that for 47 days, he appears to be mostly normal.“

►  United’s Latest Headache Is a 3-Foot-Long One

United Airlines’ latest headache is a 3-foot-long one: A giant rabbit traveling from London Heathrow to Chicago’s O’Hare was found dead in the cargo hold upon arrival, though his owner tells the Sun a pre-flight vet’s check revealed Simon was “fit as a fiddle. Something very strange has happened and I want to know what,“ says Annette Edwards. “I’ve sent rabbits all around the world and nothing like this has happened before.“ Things like this do happen, though, but rarely, reports the BBC. It cites US Department of Transportation data that shows 35 animals died in the course of air transport in 2015. Of those, United was responsible for the most of any US airline: 14.

Edwards says Simon was bound for a “very famous” person’s home. Simon himself registered somewhere on the fame scale, being the son of the world’s largest rabbit, a 4-foot, 4-inch creature named Darius. Edwards says she expected the 10-month-old to ultimately take the title. TMZ reports Edwards sells the rabbits for $640 each, and spends 10 times that raising them. The airline said it was “saddened” in a statement. “We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter.“

►  Foreign Fighters Rethinking Their ISIS Allegiance

ISIS is steadily losing territory in Iraq and Syria, and a lot of foreign fighters are apparently having second thoughts about fighting to the death for it. The Guardian reports that officials in Turkey and Europe say large numbers of foreign fighters are abandoning the group and trying to flee, especially now that an offensive is closing in on Raqqa, Syria, where many foreigners who joined the “caliphate” were based. Officials believe those fleeing include foreign fighters who have renounced the group, people who weren’t fighters but found themselves living in ISIS territory, and hardcore militants suspected of planning terrorist attacks in their homelands.

Sources tell the Guardian that the latest foreigners to surrender to Turkish border police include a British couple and US citizen Kary Paul Kleman. A Turkish official confirmed to CNN that Kleman, a former Florida resident, was detained after arriving at the border with his Syrian wife and their three children. Authorities believe he “was compelled to escape the conflict zone following airstrikes and military operations against ISIS,“ the official says. Kleman’s family says he converted to Islam after moving to the Middle East in 2011. They say he went to Syria in 2015 to help with humanitarian efforts but soon realized it was a “scam” and started trying to escape the country.

►  India Kicks Entire Region Off Social Media

India has ordered internet service providers in Indian-controlled Kashmir to immediately block Facebook, Twitter, and 20 other social media sites and online applications for one month, after several videos and photos depicting alleged abuses of Kashmiris by Indian security forces sparked outrage and fueled protests. The government said the restrictions were ordered “in the interest of maintenance of public order.“ But Pranesh Prakash, policy director for the Indian advocacy group the Center for internet and Society, called it a “blow to freedom of speech” and “legally unprecedented in India,“ the AP reports. “It not only violates the Indian constitution but also violates international law,“ he said.

The government has halted internet service before in an attempt to prevent anti-India demonstrations from being organized. But this is the first time authorities have shut down social media following the circulation of videos of alleged abuse by Indian soldiers. Several recent clips, captured in the days surrounding a violence-plagued local election April 9, have proven to be especially powerful and have helped to intensify anti-India protests. The video that drew the most outrage was of young shawl weaver Farooq Ahmed Dar tied to the hood of an army jeep as it patrolled villages on voting day. A soldier can be heard saying over a loudspeaker, “Stone throwers will meet a similar fate,“ as residents look on aghast.


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The Free Press WV    I recently reconnected with an old girlfriend. We had not spoken, texted or seen each other in almost five years. She broke my heart about five years ago, and my mother was killed shortly after that. I’ve not dated or wanted to have a serious relationship since.

About three months ago, I told my daughter that I was ready to meet someone. So she brought up and signed me up, just so I could browse. The very first profile I saw was my ex-girlfriend’s! My daughter said, “Text her, Dad. It’s a sign.‘’ After debating it, I did. And I came to find out that she really had not dated anyone in five years, either, and that she had stopped browsing more than a year and a half ago.

Well, we started texting and then meeting for lunch and then dinner, and next thing I know, we are spending almost all our time together. I was not the best boyfriend years ago, but I changed so much after my mother’s death. And this woman really noticed a huge change in me. She even got emotional about how well I treat her and how much I spoil her and how amazingly sweet I am now. She said, “No one has ever treated me as well as you do now!‘’ That’s exactly how I promised myself I would try to behave.

I’ve fallen in love with her. I’m so scared to tell her, and I’m so scared to lose her. But I want her to know I’ve fallen for her now much differently than I did in the past. I always ask her now, “Were you like this before – funny, smart, witty?‘’ She says, “Yes, but you were blind to it before!‘’ And I was. I was going through a very bad divorce and losing a business, just to name a couple of things.

How do I convince her of this? I always tell her I’m insanely crazy about her. She tells me she feels the same. We are almost 50, and I’m not sure I can go through another heartbreak. — Lost Love

The Free Press WV    Dear Lost: Anything worthwhile comes with some risk. To win big, you have to bet big, and from the sound of this love affair so far, I’m betting on you. Just tell her you love her. Even if she doesn’t say it back, telling people you love them is great for their soul and yours.

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The Free Press WV    My wife and I are in our mid-80s and don’t eat nearly so much as we did in our younger years. When we go out to eat, we usually share a meal. If we take guests out, we expect to pay for their meal. We try to allow the guests to order first, as it can make for an awkward situation if they order a full meal each and then we split a meal. I think this makes them feel uncomfortable. What is your take on this? — W.C.

The Free Press WV    Dear W.C.: My take is that you’re very considerate, generous people. Based on that fact, I’m sure that however you’re handling the situation now is the correct way to do so. Insisting that your guests order first is a good tactic to ensure that they don’t downgrade their order after seeing that you two are splitting one entree. But don’t feel bashful about politely explaining, “We simply don’t have the appetites we used to, and we enjoy sharing a plate. But please, order whatever you’d like. Our treat.‘’ Such a warm statement, said with a smile, will surely melt away any awkwardness.

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The Free Press WV    My wife and I were married 17 years ago, and although we did divorce, we still remained on friendly terms.

Recently, however, she made the mistake of accidentally letting me know she had called her ex-husband (whom she married before me) for advice on something. Then she admitted that through all these years, she has remained in contact with her ex-husband – calling him and, when visiting her daughter’s home, meeting up with him. She said she maintains this for the sake of her kids (the youngest is in his early 30s) and she doesn’t see the big deal of it or why it should bother me. If I don’t like it, too bad.

She saw him again this Christmas, and once again, I got to spend it alone. It bothers me that she betrayed me, keeping their relationship a total secret all these years and then telling me it was none of my business, even when we were married. She has always done what she wants and gotten whatever she wants, and I have had to accept it because I loved her so.

Am I wrong to feel the way I do? Should I just ignore the pain I feel inside and go on as if nothing happened? I’m ready to wash my hands of her entirely. Please, I need some type of answer. — Betrayal

The Free Press WV    Dear Betrayal: There’s no use crying over spilled milk, especially if it’s milk that’s long been sour. Why torture yourself thinking about things your ex-wife may have done? Yes, there should be no secrets between spouses, and she should have disclosed her contact with her previous husband to you back then. I’ll grant you that.

But she is your ex-wife now, and clinging to anger at her is about as useful as shooting yourself in the foot. You’re holding yourself hostage to bitterness and pain. Set yourself free. And when you’re ready to start dating again, find a partner who is happy to spend the holidays with you.

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The Free Press WV    You were right to urge “Krissy Kringle’‘ to go to her new boyfriend’s office party even though his lawyer colleagues are “serious, rude and unpleasant.‘’ You might have suggested that she think about some topics of conversation in advance. Her boyfriend could have given her some basic information about the people who were going to be there. Nothing creepily private – she doesn’t want to come across as a stalker – just some basics. By cheerfully saying some simple things, she could have mildly flattered them and opened avenues of conversation. For example, “Oh, you are one of the firm’s founders? What was it like in the beginning?‘’ “Oh, you and your wife are from Minnesota? My father’s family is from there.‘’

You also might have suggested that she keep her appearance and voice low-key and her comments brief. In situations such as this, it’s wise to open a conversation and then listen. Lawyers love to tell stories and are usually highly entertaining. And finally, people in similar situations should remember that they and everyone else there are human beings, with pasts and stories, with needs and hopes. I’m sure she was a welcome addition to the party, as her boyfriend knew in advance; that’s why he invited her, which is a good sign. — Friendly Lawyer

Parkersburg Couple Form Scholarships to Support GSC Pioneer, Education Students

Ronald V. and Kathryn J. Stoops, of Parkersburg, West Virginia, have recently funded a dual scholarship program that will allow for $1,000 awards to be made annually to the Glenville State College Pioneer Mascot as well as an upperclassman education major from Wood County, WV who graduated from Parkersburg High School, Parkersburg South High School, Williamstown High School, or Parkersburg Catholic High School.

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Ronald and Kathryn Stoops

Ronald, who graduated in 1962 from Glenville State, served as the Pioneer for the 1961-1962 school year. In making the Pioneer award, he fondly remembers the hours of work and dedication he put in to make sure that school spirit was fostered by his example. GSC junior Matthew Roush of Beverly, Ohio was recently selected as the Pioneer Mascot for the 2017-18 year.

The education awardee will be selected by the Chair of the Education Department in concert with the teaching staff of the department and will be awarded to an upperclassman with financial need who also shows strong academic success. Both Ronald and Kathryn spent their careers in education in Wood County in faculty and administrative capacities.

“These awards are another example of alumni of the college recognizing the unique niche that Glenville State College occupies in central West Virginia and paying back for the opportunities their education here has rendered,” says Dennis J. Pounds, Vice President for College Advancement and Executive Director of the GSC Foundation.

Health Officials Celebrate National Infant Immunization Week

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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today celebrated National Infant Immunization Week at My Family Preschool and Child Care Center in Hurricane to encourage parents of infants to schedule an immunization check-up for their child.

“National Infant Immunization Week provides a valuable opportunity to inform parents and the health care community about the importance of ensuring our children are timely and age-appropriately vaccinated,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, West Virginia State Health Officer and Commissioner for DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health.  “Childhood immunization is the best way for parents to protect their children against serious vaccine-preventable diseases.“

Immunizations offer security to others in the community including protection to vulnerable populations such as young children, immunocompromised individuals, and the elderly through herd immunity. The more people that are vaccinated, the more protection there is from preventable, and sometimes fatal, diseases.  Scientists estimate that vaccines given to infants and young children in the U.S. over the past 20 years will prevent more than 300 million illnesses over the course of their lifetime.

There are 14 vaccine preventable diseases that children can be protected from before the age of two: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Influenza, Measles, Rotavirus, Haemophilus Influenzae type B, Tetanus (Lockjaw), Mumps, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Pneumococcal Disease, Polio, Rubella (German Measles) and Varicella (Chickenpox).

This year’s theme, “Immunization - Power to Protect,” reminds parents of their ability to protect their child from disease by getting their children vaccinated.  Dr. Gupta touted the importance of the role of health care providers in helping keep infants up-to-date on their immunization by using patient reminder recall systems.

“There remains more work to be done to help ensure more of West Virginia’s most vulnerable residents amongst us are vaccinated on time,” Gupta encouraged.  “The recent resurgence of whooping cough, measles, hepatitis B and other vaccine preventable diseases is proof that we are not vaccinating enough young children, adolescents and adults.” 

For more information on how vaccinations can protect your family, please contact the West Virginia Division of Immunization Services at 304.558.2188. You can also find immunization information and vaccine schedules online at

Shrine Clubs to Sponsor Orthopaedic Screening for Children at UHC

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The Central WV Shrine Club, the Lewis County Shrine Club and United Hospital Center are sponsoring the 21st Annual Shriners Hospital local Orthopaedic Screening Clinic on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

The purpose for the clinic is to identify any child who might benefit from treatment in a Shriners Hospital. 

Approximately 1,000 children have been treated from past clinics.

Shriners Hospitals for Children® is a health care system of 22 hospitals providing high quality pediatric and other specialty care to thousands of kids each year. 

All care is provided without any financial obligation to the patient or their family.

Shriners Hospitals treat problems such as:  club feet, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, scoliosis, hand and back problems, bowed legs, rickets, dislocated hips, spinal cord injuries, burns, and cleft lip and palate.  The age range for children who may be assisted includes newborns to age 18.

The Saturday, April 29, clinic will be held in the Family Medicine Center, 5th floor of the Physicians Office Building, on the campus of UHC, I-79 at the Jerry Dove exit. 

To schedule an appointment, call 681.342.3646, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Walk-ins will also be welcomed.

May 01 Deadline Approaching for West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program Applications

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Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Community and Technical College System (CTCS) today reminded students that May 1 is the deadline to apply for the Higher Education Grant Program (HEGP), the state’s need-based financial aid program. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the only application required to be considered for the grant, can be completed at

“We always encourage students to complete the FAFSA to see if they are eligible for this grant program, which helps cover the cost of tuition and fees at two- and four-year colleges and universities across the state,” said Paul Hill, HEPC Chancellor. “And if students qualify for both the Higher Education Grant and the PROMISE Scholarship Program, they are in a strong position to have their tuition covered in full – and perhaps leave college with no debt at all.”

The West Virginia Higher Education Grant is designed to ensure West Virginia students with financial need are given an opportunity to pursue postsecondary education. This year, HEGP will provide up to $2,700 per year to help eligible students attend approved two-year or four-year colleges.

“The Higher Education Grant is a lifeline for many of our students,” Dr. Sarah Tucker, CTCS Chancellor, said. “Anyone planning to enroll in college within the next 12 months should apply — and that includes older first-time students or adults returning to college to retrain.”

This year, HEPC and CTCS have extended the deadline for HEGP from April 15 to May 1 in response to a technical issue with the federal FAFSA form. Last month, the U.S. Department of Education and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced an outage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows students and parents to electronically access, review and transfer tax information required for the FAFSA. Federal officials are working to correct the issue but estimate the tool will be unavailable until at least next fall.

Like in previous years when the IRS Data Retrieval Tool was not an option, students and parents can estimate their income information on the FAFSA and correct the information later, if necessary, in order to meet financial aid deadlines.

If students or their parents do not have a paper or electronic copy of the necessary tax form available – which for this year is the 2015 tax return – they can access it online at A hard copy can be requested by calling 1-800-908-9946 and a transcript will be delivered to the address on record within 5-10 days.

For help completing the FAFSA or applying for financial aid, West Virginia students and families can call the HEPC and CTCS financial aid office at 888.825.5707 or visit the agencies’ free college-planning website at

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