Gilmer County Schools September 2015 Newsletter

The Gilmer Free Press
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WVSBA Rejection of Fayette County’s Plan Brings Up Many Questions in Gilmer County

The Gilmer Free Press

Charleston excels at advising to let the past go when it blunders. That concept is inappropriate for State Government which is accountable to the people.

The WV Legislature is urged to commission a full investigation of what led to the decision for constructing the new grade school in Gilmer County.

The investigation should address the following CommunityConcerns™:

    •  Why did the WVBOE approve purchase of the Crooked Run site when it was begged not to pay the huge amount of money for it?

    •  Who signed checks for the site’s purchase and all other expenses associated with it until the project was abandoned?

    •  Who was responsible for the project’s budget tracking blunder from the time money began to be billed against the Crooked Run project?

    •  What is the full accounting for how each penny was spent leading up to the Crooked Run abandonment to include all recipients of money.

    •  How did the architect, CEFP committee, WVBOE and WVDOE officials fit in, and where are all the official records for all the CEFP committee’s meetings leading up to the decision for Crooked Run and the move to Hays City?

    •  How much more money will be required for the change to Hays City from the stopping point of Crooked Run when the WVDOE guaranteed that there would not be any extra costs for the site change with assurances that the Hays City school will be a world class faculty.

    •  Related to the concern immediately above why is it necessary for the WVDOE and the WVBOE to put the County in debt for borrowing $1,000,000 of QZAB funds as an example of taxation without representation?

    •  Why has the SBA failed to fund a professionally done and approved Emergency Preparedness Plan for the new school while there still may be time for precautionary alterations to ensure the safety of the County’s children should a sudden flash flood occur after the school is occupied?

    •  Did qualified and independent specialists conduct all pre-construction studies, including those to address the presence of dangerous substances, to ensure that technical shortchanging did not occur to affect the accuracy of conclusions?

    •  Who performed the technical studies, how much did they cost, who administered them, and why were the results not made available for timely peer and public review and comment?

• Who is responsible for assuring Gilmer County’s citizens that laws, regulations etc., will not be violated by the long to-and-from daily bus rides by the youngest children to the new school from outer reaches of the County?

Although it is unheard of in WV State government, after the full investigation is completed all individuals responsible for the fiasco, including those in the WVBOE, WVDOE and the WVSBA should be held fully accountable even if that should mean prosecution for crimes and any other appropriate punitive measures.

Nothing like this outrage should ever happen again against West Virginia’s children.

Each penny of money wasted by the WVBOE, WVDOE, and the WVSBA could have gone to improve their educations. 

Ryan Quinn(Education Reporter) Reported on Fayette County on September 28, 2015:

The Gilmer Free Press
School Building Authority shoots down Fayette consolidation plan

The state School Building Authority on Monday shot down Fayette County Schools’ latest plan to consolidate schools.

This attempt would’ve combined four high schools—Fayetteville, Meadow Bridge, Midland Trail and Oak Hill—into a new one, and allowed students in the dilapidated Collins Middle to move into the current Oak Hill High.

Monday’s divided voice vote to deny Fayette’s request to amend its current building plan, which would’ve allowed it to compete with other counties for SBA funding for the estimated over $50 million new high school, came after several SBA board members raised issues with the proposed consolidation.

The West Virginia Board of Education approved the amendment 6-3 earlier this month, despite attempts by some state school board members to stop the planned closure of Meadow Bridge High, which had the fewest high schoolers in the county last year, but has a loyal group of supporters who consistently travel to meetings in Charleston to speak against closing the school.

Peter Markham, the SBA board chairman and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s general counsel, said he only counted three people among the 11-member board who voted to approve Fayette’s requested amendment: State Schools Superintendent Michael Martirano; state school bo ard member Tina Combs, who joined Monday’s meeting by telephone; and Robert Holroyd. As chairman, Markham said, he votes only to break ties.

SBA members Steve Burton, Tom Campbell, Victor Gabriel, Tom Lange, Eric Lewis and Chris Morris voted against the Fayette plan. It was unclear how Wade Linger, who also joined the meeting by teleconference, voted. Like Combs, Linger is a state school board member who previously voted for the amended plan, but said it was the hardest vote in his seven years on the board, and he hoped there was still some way to save Meadow Bridge High.

SBA board members raised objections Monday over forcing Fayette schools to consolidate despite county voters rejecting a school building and renovation bond that would’ve consolidated schools differently but also closed Meadow Bridge High. That bond, which would’ve raised property taxes, received support from only 38 percent of the roughly 25 percent of registered Fayette voters who voted in June’s special election. Fayette voters haven’t approved a school bond in more than 40 years.

SBA board members expressed concern that neither Fayette’s residents nor its locally elected school board voted for the new consolidation plan.

“Nobody approved this. Not the local board, not the taxpayers. But wait a minute, the state board approved it,” said Gabriel, of Harrison County. “… This is not a dictator board, this is America and this is West Virginia, by gosh.”

“The folks in Fayette County, I don’t believe, are ever going to agree to a plan,” Combs said before the SBA vote.

The state school board took control of Fayette schools in 2010, after a state report said the local board was “unwilling to deal with the very small high schools and support a plan to combine some and improve severe facility deficiencies, limited curriculum, and poorly achieving schools.”

Terry George, Fayette’s new state-appointed superintendent, created the new consolidation plan in the wake of the June bond’s failure, and Martirano, who appointed George, signed off on it.

“There will be no decision, or any impact that is going to impact kids in a positive way in the near future,” Martirano said when asked about Monday’s vote. He said George and others in Fayette need to “regroup,” though he didn’t yet have specific details about how he plans to move forward.

“My chagrin is based upon the fact that the process stopped today,” Martirano said. “So I’m going to continue to be optimistic as the conversations occur, but the urgency was there to do something sooner than later, and I am disappointed that the process ended today.”

Martirano ordered the closure of Collins Middle’s seventh- and eighth-grade building in January because of structural issues, sending about 400 students to county high schools. With the SBA’s vote Monday, it’s unclear where those students will end up.

Monday’s vote only concerned whether to approve amending Fayette’s building plan to allow it to compete with other counties for SBA grants for its proposed consolidated high school. The SBA distributes dollars raised from both state general revenue and lottery funds.

Burton, of Wayne County, and Lewis, of Jefferson County, both suggested the board should vote against to plan so as not to give Fayette “false hope” that members would approve funding in December.

“I just think it behooves us to be honest and upfront with folks,” Burton said.

Campbell, a Greenbrier County resident and a state school board member who previously voted against the amended plan, got into a tense discussion with George about the plan, which he argued was rushed following George’s appointment as superintendent.

“This is too critical of an issue to rush something through like this,” Campbell said. “You’re changing kids’ lives for generations.”

Campbell also asked Martirano why the state Department of Education isn’t allowing Meadow Bridge High supporters to get a second opinion on the condemnation of the high school’s second floor. Martirano declined to discuss the issue, citing a lawsuit Meadow Bridge supporters have filed over the issue.

George has estimated the planned new high school—which would have about 1,500 to 1,600 students and be built next to New River Elementary, Oak Hill High and the Fayette Institute of Technology—would cost $52 million to $58 million. On Monday, he said Fayette would only need about $13 million annually from the SBA over the next three years, with the county providing about $17 million in local funding, including $11 million from a lease-purchase attempt.

“Our plans are to go back and re-evaluate our situation and begin doing the best we can for the students who are being educated in sub-par facilities,” George said after the vote.

He said it’s “too premature” to discuss whether the county will try passing another bond, though he said the SBA’s message Monday was that it wouldn’t fund any projects not supported by a bond. He said he thinks Fayette residents are “not going to tax themselves for anything.”

“It’s the students who lost here today,” he said.

Also Monday, SBA board members approved policy and job description changes meant to improve SBA employees’ oversight of funded projects, according to Scott Raines, the SBA’s architectural services director.

He said the personnel changes relate to something the SBA has already begun: getting staff involved in reviewing counties’ proposed projects before they submit them for possible funding, in order to ensure the projects meet the considerations, like student travel time, that state law requires the SBA to evaluate when deciding which projects to support. The SBA board voted to explore whether employees’ salaries need to be adjusted, and Raines said SBA staff plan to compare workers’ salaries with pay in other state agencies, and compensation for similar positions in other states, without using an outside firm.

He said a policy change approved Monday will also allow the SBA to hire construction management firms to oversee projects that are relatively complex or expensive or are located in counties where the local school system may not have the ability to adequately supervise the project.

Raines has said architects—paid directly by the counties, not the SBA—have in the past designed school buildings that are thousands of square feet larger than the SBA agreed to fund. He said the construction managers will look out for the SBA’s interests and be involved in projects from early in the design process through construction completion. They’ll work to ensure better coordination among contractors working on different issues, like plumbing and air conditioning, and keep projects within time and budget. Raines expects they’ll pay for their own fees through cost savings.


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That M Martirano would insist on going forward before the issue was resolved in court is so typical.He definitely consumed the manchin Kool-Aid Push it through, get it done, care about nothing and no one, get what we want. We are the State BOE.

By Move On Martirano  on  09.30.2015

Dr. Cindy Daniel who was unaware of the extent of the SBA’s, WVDOE’s and WVBOE’s scandal in Gilmer county will get her eyes opened from this information.

Chuck Hatfield, the superintendent from Putnam County who claims he is coming to Gilmer to help us out should learn some things too. We wonder what instructions his school board gave for his mission of mercy? Are they paying for his services to Gilmer County?

If Daniel and Hatfield were instructed to come to Gilmer to preach for citizens to simply get over abuses from the WVDOE, WVBOE, and the WVSBA they have more learning to do. The sleeping giant has awakened to become a bulldog until all the truth gets out.

Mr. Ryan Quinn deserves a medal for being courageous to begin to get the truth out to WV people. We must dig out of 47th place. Let us hope that he does not get a contract taken out on him.

The Gazette-Mail will increase its circulation with this new way of reporting. WV must be cleaned up and the way to get a start is to have informed citizens who will pressure timid politicians.

Key politicians up to Governor Tomblin knew about Gilmer’s intervention problems and not one of them came to our aid. The Governor presides over the WVSBA.

Once again thank you Mr. David Ramezan and the GFP.

By Ed. Combs  on  09.30.2015

According to Metro News this am WVBOE President Mike Green wants the Governor to stop the School Building Authority from denying Fayette County Superintendent George’s request for money to consolidate their High Schools.  The letter Mr. Green sent says in part that the SBA exceeded their authority by denying the request on merit, not procedure.  Merit being the key word.

The SBA receives requests for over 200 million dollars in projects each year.  Why is Fayette consolidation under intervention to be given top priority?  It can only be to get it done before their suit against the WVBOE can be tried in court. A suit brought forth to prevent condemnation of the entire Meadow Bridge building base on the condition of one room.

Given the SBA’s limited funding how can legal proceedings be ignored pushing aside other projects that are willing and ready to go? Governor are you really willing to openly deny Fayette County citizens their right to due process?

We can see that Mr. Green is operating under the Manchin rule.  Nothing has changed. How is it wrong to stop the process and send it back to the people? Is Mike Green saying the wants of the WVBOE are more important than the needs of the children of Fayette County?  So it would seem.

It is the same position they took on Gilmer County.

Governor Tomblin, if the WV School Building Authority under your leadership is simply there to follow the state board’s instruction then you have the opportunity to save a lot of money.  Eliminate the whole SBA as an entity and let the WVBOE handle it. Statistics prove how well they have handled the education of WV children thus far.  Based on that, how does Mr. Green’s position merit consideration?

By Stop Forced Intervention Tactics  on  09.30.2015

Why would you want to over rule the professional, knowledgeable, School Building Authority?
They are the ones who understand, hopefully, the financial situation, in place to be checks and balances to the State Board of Education.

The whole state knows the West Virginia Board of Education and the Department of Education is in DESPERATE need of checks and balances!
Look how their flawed decision making has taken West Virginia to 47th in education.

If there were proper checks and balances on the WVBOE maybe Leading Creek School would have used our abundant natural gas, have proper play grounds, and not be sitting on a played out coal mine.  You know, that Model School,  Bill Simmons talks about.

Just maybe if the SBA checks and balances had been working, the Crooked Run State BOE Cabal, would not have resulted in landing the under construction, Hays City school on a landfill, in the 100 year flood plain.

Thank you School Building Authority Board for your stand!  You show leadership!

By need more checks & balances  on  09.30.2015

The Charleston Gazette with Ryan Quinn as education reporter is doing a wonderful job.

The very first sentence is correct.  Lets stop and elaborate on it a little though.

I quote “ Fayette County Schools’ latest plan to consolidate”.  This is very misleading.

That plan was created by the state appointed superintendent.  We in Fayette have had very little opportunity to give any input.  Basically that plan is right out of the State Board of Education.  It has been pushed now for years.  The prior state appointed superintendent pushed it, now Mr. George is as well.

Mrs. Combs says Fayette will ‘won’t accept any plan’.  Really.  Never had a plan presented that would include a high school in the Meadow Bridge area have we?

By Fayette Will Stand Firm  on  09.30.2015

“Nobody approved this. Not the local board, not the taxpayers. But wait a minute, the state board approved it,”

You could be talking about Gilmer County.  Too bad we didn’t have WVBE and SBA board members that would show any compassion for our children.

By We Are Glad For Fayette's Sake  on  10.01.2015

Everbody say flood it don’t flood there no dump I know what im talking about you say somebody told you hippies lie then they spit on you when you come back from Viet Nam then Rosedale takes up for them.

By The truth watcher  on  10.01.2015

The original picture of the Hays City School did NOT show a second floor.
Now we see a second floor added.  What gives?

Ask our local elected school board and the response goes something like….we have not been told anything.

Is it designed for high water/flood safe zone for students and staff alike?  A place to send rescue boats or helicopter?

Being there is not enough students to populate the Lewis County Leading Creek school, why has this school been enlarged?  Or is this just another state board of education error?

By whats happening?  on  10.01.2015

Not telling us about the changes at Hays City is one more example of the WVDOE’s arrogance and lack of consideration for Gilmer’s citizens.

You better bet that the local cabal gets briefed on everything on a split second basis.

We hear that the WVDOE fouled up by underestimating numbers of students for the Leading Creek school. What else was fouled up to add to the long list?

How the elected school board puts up with the WVDOE’s treatment is beyond comprehension.

By Murph  on  10.02.2015

It sounds as if Truth Watcher has had some experiences with no account hippies and back landers as well.

By Retired Ed  on  10.02.2015

To date any interaction from Charleston with intervention Boards of Ed has been disingenuous and contrived.

By Honest CHange is Doubted  on  10.02.2015

One benefit of the bloated WVDOE in Charleston is to confine its bureaucrats to one location during working hours to keep them from the general population.

What more can be said when the WVDOE’s botched brand of leadership plunged WV to the bottom for the quality of its k-12 education system while its spending is near the top?

Better get your rubrics out WVDOE to help reconcile the disparity. Was rubrics coined from Rubicon? WV certainly passed the point of no return with its WVDOE crew and house cleaning is essential.

By WVDOE Rubicon  on  10.02.2015

The upper echelon bureaucrats of Charleston use their positions as social stepping stones.  They have no interest in the effect their job performance has on West Virginia’s children. Evidence of the same attitude has been witnessed right here in Gilmer.

Just agree with Charleston to be considered important and relevant under intervention. Kids don’t matter.

Political posturing has hurt this county. When the BOE President starts publicly trashing members in the bank and post office who are known not to be on his go along page it’s time for new leadership.

By BS Has Failed Us  on  10.03.2015

Why doesn’t someone do a sophisticated study of your past and present intervened counties to determine results of the WVDOE and the WVBOE in running WV’s county school systems.

The single most factor to evaluate should be whether or not academic achievement of your students improved with use of before and after results.

It sounds as if success for the WVDOE and the WVBOE is defined by how much of the public’s money was spent to line pockets, the degree of usurping authority at local levels, and securing high paying jobs for hacks and cronies in the poorest state in America.

By D. Johnson---Iowa  on  10.03.2015

Would anything prevent a vote of confidence or no confidence for Gabe Devono and BS to settle the leadership question?

We see Cindy Daniels’ name more. Could she help you out on this or is her job to do what is necessary to gain “go along” support for everything the WVDOE and the WVBOE did to your county?

Let us know how Chuck Hatfield is working out for you. We still wonder why he became involved in your county when there is serious work to be done in Putnam.

By Putnam Watches  on  10.03.2015

Those of us who have suffered through intervention know that the WVDOE and WVBOE appointed superintendents are there for one reason and it is to protect the two organizations.

That is why there is strong resistance to being open with information and to do everything possible to sabotage what elected boards are supposed to do to work for better school systems.

Questions can be asked until board members are blue in the face to be confronted with them being totally ignored, pretending that questions are not understood, attacking those with questions, answering the wrong question and responding with political talking points, saying Charleston has not gotten back yet, saying that “we” are working on it, saying that a board is not entitled to receive the information, claiming that the answer was already provided and the questioner did not understand or does not remember, all the records were lost———-.

When government withholds information for schools or anything else, except for vital national security reasons, to purposely protect itself a democracy is in trouble.

WV is and has been in deep trouble in intervention counties with the WVDOE and the WVBOE in total control while local levels have been kept from having any say.

By Intervention Tyranny  on  10.03.2015

You think you’ve been BS’d?  Wait till you find out what a mess your governance board is in. Don’t believe what you’re told if the hand was put on a stack of Bibles. What a bunch of suckers we were.

By Lewis County Disgusted  on  10.03.2015

Ex-GSC Prez threatens to quit all the time.  Only one question, when will he find guts to do it and put us out of our misery?

By The Ville Is Waiting  on  10.03.2015

The WVDOE is taking a severe beating from all quarters. Citizens do not realize that most of us care about WV’s children just as much as any parent because the majority of us are parents too.

We cannot help it if there is incompetence at the top of the WVDOE and in the WVBOE, and that some of those who are there are out to protect themselves and their jobs instead of doing what is best for the State’s children.

We are just as angry as anyone that WV is down at the bottom for the quality of its education system. Everyone is justified to be angry!

There is something Gilmer County should know. The flap about you losing the little bit of authority you had for finances had nothing to do with the WVDOE.

The recommendation for your punishment came after your board asked financial questions about the MH move. The recommendation originated from the Office of Education Performance Audits (OEPA).

That is the same office from which the recommendation came for your intervention because of the claim that your school board was dysfunctional.

Two points to consider. Who communicated with the OEPA from Gilmer County to cause your punishment? Check it out. The other point is that the OEPA is a branch of the WVBOE headed by Mr. Green.

By WVDOE STAFFER  on  10.03.2015

All of the problems the WVBOE are dealing with, are self created.

They continue to look inside their small, closed circle for the solutions.  They find none.  It is because it does not exist in their small world.

The definition of insanity, as we all know.
Repeating the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome.

By Harrison County  on  10.03.2015

The OEPA Director works at the will and pleasure of the WVBOE.  Consideration will be given in due time to each and every person who kneels at their altar. Sitting silent and complicit with every illegal, unethical and immoral act against intervention counties.

Gilmer knows the appointed Superintendent and his in the pocket Board President went to see the BOE under Ms. Manchin’s leadership leading to the vote to usurp what little authority the board had. The yea votes are well documented.

Every intervention county and every county that gets a six month improvement plan finds their board accused of dysfunction.  It is the cookie cutter excuse of the OEPA.  Surely knees must be getting so tired some will crawl on their belly like a snake.

By But Not All  on  10.03.2015

Voted no confidence then, no confidence now.

By GSC Remembers  on  10.03.2015

Mere mea culpa from the WVDOE can resolve what the state has done using intervention as a tool of terrorism against our duly elected officials put in office to watch over our school system.

By Corrective Action, Not Words  on  10.03.2015

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Gazette-Mail: Alleged Arson Attempt in Gilmer School Spawns Controversy

The Gilmer Free Press

An alleged arson attempt at a Gilmer County elementary school has fed continuing disagreement between the county’s state-appointed superintendent and some members of its locally elected school board.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Jason Baltic said investigators with the state fire marshal’s office inspected an abandoned section of Normantown Elementary August 21. Principal Faye Chambers said the school’s roughly 130 students occupy trailer classrooms and buildings outside the mostly vacant main building, though they still use a gym attached to, but sealed off from, the abandoned portion. The students are set to move to a consolidated elementary school next school year.

Baltic said “ordinary combustibles,” defined as materials like paper that one could find in a home, “were placed in a manner throughout the building that would indicate that somebody was attempting to set fire to it.” He said investigators believe the materials had been in the building for some time before their discovery, though he didn’t know exactly how long. He declined to reveal much further information because the office is still investigating and he doesn’t want possible suspects — of which the office currently has none — to know how much info he already has.

Controversy has arisen over allegedly conflicting statements Gabe Devono has made about the building’s contents, which he said appeared more to be an act of vandalism than arson.

Devono — who last year was named superintendent of the Gilmer school district, which has the state’s lowest enrollment at about 900 students — told the Gazette-Mail on Monday that a custodian who wanted to get a desk from the abandoned section asked a local firefighter to go inside. Devono said the firefighter discovered “a bunch of paper” in the structure, and the superintendent said he was informed of the situation and called a local fire marshal the next day, August 14, a Friday. The following Tuesday, he and Gilmer County Schools Facilities Director Joe Frashure went through the building.

“It was just paper towels rolled around, there was no continuation of paper towels, some were thrown on the cement steps, some were wrapped around the banister, some of them were soaking wet, some of them had bat feces on them, so they’d been in there for a while,” Devono said. He said there were no fire accelerants, like lighter fluid, added to the paper and no evidence of attempts to actually ignite it.

After a school board meeting last month, Devono gave board members information about the situation and showed them pictures from inside the structure, but disagreement has followed over what, exactly, he told them. Dave Ramezan, editor of the Web-based Gilmer Free Press, said he was at the meeting and heard Devono’s conversation with board members. He said he emailed the superintendent with general questions about the alleged arson, but Devono never replied. Devono denies ever receiving such an email.

On Septtmber 03, after the meeting and sending the email, Ramezan published a post to his website titled “Why is the West Virginia Department of Education Keeping Intended Torching of the Normantown School Secret?” It included a list of questions about the incident that he said came from six people.

“Within past weeks a serious crime attempt was committed at Normantown,” the post began under the words “top secret” in red, all capital letters. “The old brick school was entered and elaborate preparations were made to burn it down. Based on reports from well placed sources the perpetrator(s) used an elaborate wicking system to go from the ground floor to locations throughout the building so a match could start a fast moving flash fire.”

The post also included allegations about other issues.

Devono accused Ramezan on Monday of never publishing a news release he wrote to rebut the post, though the release is on the site through a link in another post, dated Sept. 8.

“To be clear, we did not instruct anyone not to talk about this incident or to keep it secret,” reads the news release, which also announced an upcoming informational meeting on the issue to be held at the elementary school. “The incident was in no respect ‘top secret.’”

But during that September 10 meeting — according to a video of the meeting that Ramezan recorded — Devono said he had asked board members to keep the incident confidential. Board member Carl Armour, who sat in the small audience, said Devono had told the board that the building contained a “column” that was “so big that if he put his arms around it he probably couldn’t touch his fingers, and he had on his cell phones pictures of appendages going off of that column to different places in the building.”

Norma Hurley, a fellow board member, said she agreed with Armour.

“I felt very, very insulted when it was reported that no one had been told just not to say anything because I would have certainly answered any question any parent in this county asked me,” Hurley said in the meeting. “Let alone Normantown parents.”

Also during the meeting, Frashure, the facilities director, said the building contained a “single strand” of paper heading up a stairwell that was broken in several places but went “down the hallways of the different floors of the building.”

“The superintendent reported one thing that the pictures shown previously did not support,” Hurley told the Gazette-Mail. Baltic said he couldn’t provide photos to the Gazette-Mail, citing the investigation.

Hurley said board members have not been allowed to walk through school buildings, and have been denied other rights given to school boards that are free of state control. She said there’s a feeling of mistrust fed by the state’s handling of the county.

“The boards of education [in takeover counties] are totally at the mercy of state-appointed superintendents,” Hurley said.

Department of Education spokeswoman Kristin Anderson said the state took over the district in 2011 and still controls finance, personnel and facilities decisions there. Before the takeover, the state Office of Education Performance Audits had found that board members were in discord, meetings were unproductive and the board wasn’t following state law or state school board policy.

A video Ramezan posted of a June 01, 2015, board meeting shows dissension predates the alleged arson. Devono and board members Tom Ratliff and Bill Simmons wanted to enter a closed session to discuss property, but Hurley and Armour objected and Devono urged Simmons to move on, refusing to discuss the situation in open session. Members began raising voices.

“Carl, I’m tired of your inclinations towards me,” Devono eventually says to Armour, before the meeting adjourns as members still argue and Devono asks Ramezan to turn his camera off.

Devono said Monday he did tell board members that the firefighter had called it a “wicking system,” though he said the arson investigators haven’t called it such.

“If it looked professionally done, I wouldn’t have those kids over there, and if it was hazardous to my kids I wouldn’t have them over there, or my teachers or my staff,” he said. He said the building has been boarded up, and a local fire department is planning to remove the paper.

Simmons, a former president of Glenville State College, said the superintendent was “forthright” with board members about the situation. He also said the main building catching fire would’ve endangered the surrounding buildings where students are.

“This is not a political football,” Simmons said. “This is a serious business and we need to find out what actually the situation was and not run out and speculate. Because often people speculate — and they speculate wrong.”

Baltic said those with information can call the arson hot line at 1.800.233.3473; there’s a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of an arsonist.

~~  Ryan Quinn - Charleston Gazette-Mail  ~~

The Gilmer Free Press

This investigative report on a Gilmer County School District intervention, hot button issue from Charleston Gazette-Mail Reporter Ryan Queen has been a long time coming. The Gilmer Free Press (GFP)  never doubted the truths previously reported on the Normantown Elementary School arson attempt could stand the light of day. Obviously, the state employees position did not. (CommunityConcerns™: Normantown School CSI - 09.03.2015CommunityConcerns™: Response to WVDOE’s Press Release to Normantown CSI Issue - 09.08.2015, and Normantown Town Hall Meeting Report - 09.16.2015.

We find it odd that Superintendent Devono now speaks of “local fire marshal” involvement but never referred to as anyone other than a “local volunteer fireman” previously.

The question remains as to who that might be since Mr. Quinn verified the date of inspection given the Gazette by the State Fire Marshal Investigative Division to be the same reported by local Gilmer County Board of Education member Hurley as August 21, 2015 at the Normantown Town Hall meeting which was denied vehemently by Mr. Devono.  If you have followed the GFP report it becomes clear Mr. DeVano’s story changes with each passing day!

GFP readers, intelligent and informed will draw their own conclusion but we would be remiss in not pointing out one very important thing that Mr. Quinn’s article is lacking. It is proper investigation of the WVBOE excuse for the immediate intervention into the Gilmer County School System.  Oh the standard excuse is provided but it does not explain why Gilmer County was the ONLY intervention county that did not receive six months to improve or eliminate any of the state “reasons”. What he gives is the same paragraph you can read in every takeover county OEPA report. It is the SOP of the WVBOE.

No research is done to determine why every intervention county running a bond was permitted multiple attempts to get it passed.  Not Gilmer County, only one chance to fail and requests to rerun were ignored or denied.  In no other intervention county but Gilmer did the OEPA report they went on the street to get input from undisclosed sources. No other intervention county but Gilmer was given only a weekend to respond to allegations made by the OEPA.

The WVBOE and WVDE needs to understand that Gilmer County citizens are wise enough not to judge a book by its cover. If that were so, there is a plain black book with a single word title and no pictures that would never have been opened by billions.

~~  G. Dave Ramezan ~~

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Seems Gabe Devono can’t keep his story straight from one day to the next.  Charleston are you reading this?  Do you feel the pain of another big black eye your own man just inflicted on the state board?

Now he’s saying he brought the State Fire Marshal in to investigate vandalism after he brought a local fire marshal who must have thought it looked like arson or why call the State Fire Marshal at all???

Now Devono says he didn’t even go to the school to LOOK at what was there until the following Tuesday?  Five days later?  It’s plain our board members knew EXACTLY what they were talking about in that meeting. It’s plain there was a feeble attempt to cover up a crime.

There’s so much to pick apart here it’s hard to know where to start.  Pick a document, pick a video. You’ll find plenty of twists to the state’s story.

If not for the Gilmer Free Press people here would have had to take the State Superintendent’s word. That’s not worth much is it?  This Gazette article just supports what’s already known, Gilmer County is fortunate to have such an excellent web based news service as the GFP!

Only one question, Mike Martirano can you hear us now?

By Stop The Nonsense of Forced Intervention  on  09.24.2015

Is there any doubt that an arson prep crime was committed at Normantown? Are we dealing with a cover up crime to go all the way to the WVDOE in Charleston?

BS backs Gabe and the WVDOE all the way. That has not been secret for a long time.

Why not GFP to post copies of Gabe’s cell phone photos he showed board members with others standing around?

Even if the photos were erased they remain on a server. This is Gilmer’s version of hllary gate.

By Gilmer's Hillary Gate  on  09.24.2015

Bill you and your pocket vote didn’t even care enough to come to the meeting at the school so why would you put your fence riding two cents in?????
Nobody can say nothing about something better, we’ll give you that.Stay on the porch.

By Mike Martirano Are You Following This?  on  09.24.2015

Martirano, Daniel, O’Brien, Chuck Hatfield, Green and and O’Brien will back Devono all the way no matter what the evidence is.

To do other wise would an admission of severe WVBOE and WVDOE blunders in hiring Devono and renewing his contract.

Your only hope for justice is the power of the pen and use of the social media. The WVDOE’s bureaucrats are going crazy because they can’t control the social media.

There are some serious top level WVDOE meetings in Charleston to plot strategies for getting out of this major mess.

By WVDOE Mole  on  09.24.2015

The way I see it is Mr S feels that he alone IS the Board of Education.  Because he was mistakenly picked for the job of Superintendent, causing the takeover and subsequently fired, he acts as though he is Devono’s peer, not a Board member. Nobody cares what he did 20 years ago except the people who can not forget the reign of terror at GSC. 

Come May he’ll learn that corn meal won’t buy the vote of us down home peons and he can’t lubricate enough support with shine.

Next time Gilmer BOE, put somebody in as Board President that wants to work with you for the good of the kids as part of a team, not against you for personal glory to strut political friendships. Not a soul out here that hasn’t heard his opinion of us loud and clear. That can’t be erased or glossed over. We may be getting older but we are not deaf, blind or stupid.

By Center District Is Awake  on  09.24.2015

Did you see-read State Appointed Superintendent claim the Normantown Elementary Building was protected with a ‘fire suppression system’?  lmao

By need liar supression system  on  09.24.2015

Will the WV Board of Education blindly accept the embarrassment caused through the exposure of public deception on their behalf by its own appointee?

Unless Michael Martirano is cut from a different cloth the answer will be yes. It requires a man with courage enough to admit mistakes to do differently.  That isn’t the kind of man Charleston usually hires for high level positions.

By Wondering  on  09.24.2015

The easiest and fastest way for the negative social media comments about the Charleston WV Hillbilly Educators to cease….would for them to simply obey the laws and do their job right.

By clearn up their game  on  09.24.2015

On top of the intervention cabal, Gilmer County schools have a pair of individuals in charge, with serious god complex.

The school meeting videos are irrefutable proof.

By aah-2 shills-ahh-2 lyres  on  09.24.2015

Having a head administrator willing to play fast and loose with the truth must give Gilmer BOE members who take their position and duties seriously many a sleepless night.

Better be letting the state know where you stand before you are hung out to dry when all the layers of deceit are stripped away.

By Can You Say Pending Litigation?  on  09.24.2015

The way the WVDOE handled the Normantown arson issue is beyond comprehension. It changed stories, tried to back fit to make the WVDOE look good, attacked the press, attacked school board members, and it gave our false information.

What were the motives? Why didn’t the WVDOE get a proper investigation going immediately, simply report what happened, stick with that and to say that an investigation was underway for the facts to come out? That is all it needed to do.

Now, citizens do not know what to think including if a proper investigation is occurring with the proper timing and involvement of qualified arson experts and if the crime scene was tampered with to make it impossible to have a legitimate investigation.

With the way the issue was handled people who have been neutral or who supported the WVBOE have serious doubts about its honesty and they wonder how much more has been misreported and mismanaged in the County by the WVBOE.

One major development for the better is that the Gazette-Mail no longer has Gilmer County off limits for reporting and we hope that more of the WVDOE’s wrongdoing will be exposed.

By WVDOE's Motive?  on  09.25.2015

Under Item XII attachment Q-1 of the Current WVBOE Agenda Meeting 9 September 2015
Dr. Daniel reports to the State Board on Gilmer County: You will find the following excerpt is a quote from the meeting report with the Gilmer BOE, G Devono, C Daniel and C Hatfield in attendance:

…” A follow up workshop was held the evening of September 3 with the superintendent and board with the topic of trust and relationships as the focus.”…

We can not “trust” the WVDE under WVBOE guidance to properly appropriate our taxes to the school districts.  We can not “trust” oversight of a state appointed superintendent causing him to fully and correctly inform the parents, tax payers and all duly elected board members on any matter.

By How Do We Trust You Ms. Daniel?  on  09.25.2015

Webster:  cred-i-ble \kred-e-bel\ :capable of being believed : deserving of being believed

With all of the Normantown, arson, crime scene lies, by a person of trust or in high position, all credibility has vanished.

The individual that promotes, lives, dies by a lie, destroys their own credibility, as well as any credibility their employer may have.

The longer a liars employment continues, it becomes well understood then, that the act of lying is action, accepted, yea, condoned by the employer.

Therefore, one liar, can vanquish all credibility of their employer.

Any opportunity, any possibility, of regaining “credibility” by the employer, requires swift and immediate action by their management.

By Kanawha Watcher  on  09.25.2015

The difference with use of social media in full swing throughout WV is that Martirano, O’Brien, Daniel, Chuck Hatfield, and Green are in the public spotlight while they determine how to repair the WVDOE’s and VWBOE’s intervention mismanagement damage in Gilmer County.

Their most recent challenges is what to do about belief that WVDOE cover up occurred to worsen the Normantown CIS issue.

By Ball In VWDOE & WVBOE Court  on  09.25.2015

Finally located a video of the March 2015 “ambush” meeting and I called a Glenville school system employee for the skinny.

Was told that Devono put the item on the agenda and he and BS allegedly had prior knowledge of its contents and what was going to happen.

If that is not true does it make sense that Devono would simply list the principal’s name on the agenda without knowing what the topic was going to be?

Was Devono a party to a principal making a long personal attack against a sitting board member? That conduct in most places would be grounds for strong disciplinary action for both individuals.

If BS was involved too what are the implications of that for a board president who is supposed to work for board harmony?

This is another item for Ms. Daniel and Mr. Hatfield to review to determine if alleged misconduct of the type described is permissible under WVBOE intervention policy. Martirano should look at it too.

By Erick Waters  on  09.25.2015

Following is on video record by Gilmer Free Press.
Simmons admits to asking Dr. Armour for statistics.
The question was raised:  ‘who requested this info’?
Dr. Armour indicated Board President Simmons did.
Which Simmons reply confirmed.

Pretty much of the dissention in Gilmer County would settle down if Simmons stayed home and Devano got out of Gilmer.

Can you expect ‘board harmony’ to be had? Why the no confidence vote prior to Bill Simmons leaving Glenville State College.

If you watch the videos closely it is not difficult to see the BS by BS and I Gabriel Devano coordinated mission.  When they need and extra amen, one x-man will always toot a break in his silence.

Plainly there are only two board members really interested in working for the betterment of the children.

By E. Waters is 100% correct  on  09.25.2015

It will always be the easier path to take the money and don’t rock the boat. Anyone believing otherwise could never have experienced public office or known anyone who had. Whether by luck or good sense it seems we always manage to find one or two willing to stand up what’s right, especially so when it comes to our children. The kind of people who really don’t publish their presence unless it is important, but we, the people, know those names.

It took from August 13th until August 18th before, by self admission, the Superintendent of Gilmer County Schools took the time to personally investigate a situation with very serious implications. Yet all the state comes up with in Mr. Quinn’s article is well we took you over in 2011??? Oh, you had a disagreement at a meeting??? Really?? Do you speak English WVDE??? Do you suffer from poor reading comprehension??? What is the subject of the article you responded to??? What in the world does that have to do with taking chances and poor judgment when it came to the safety of GILMER COUNTY CHILDREN?!  Diversion is a political tactic.

There can be only one of two explanations as to why it would take from discovery on Thursday 8/13 until Tuesday 8/18, for Devono to go to NES. Either he was not in town before Monday night or he did not care. Which was it? We know the Board meeting was Monday night the 17th and the Board was shown email pictures after the meeting. If out of town and notified by phone, any dedicated Superintendent would have said, “Notify the parents and send the children home quietly, stay out of the building, call the Police and Fire Dept to take a look, I will be there as soon as possible.” THAT is what an in charge, professional, child focused leader would have calmly done. The children would have been more important than a vacation. It did not happen.  He did not find the time for personal inspection. He was not available.

Poor judgment with no remorse is not acceptable.  These are GILMER COUNTY’s CHILDREN.  We, the people, did not expect the last board nor the current to break the law in order to force consolidation using illegal transportation times to not meet the needs of our children.  We, the people, do not expect the WVBOE to find a complete lack of transparency, accountability and now dishonesty and irresponsibility from their own appointees acceptable to meet the needs of our children.

By Return Local Control, A Grandmother  on  09.25.2015

Check the WVDE website.  The September 8 current agenda of the WVBOE was posted on September 2nd.  The letter from Dr Daniel about the September 3rd meeting with the Gilmer BOE was already attached.

By Another Foregone Conclusion?  on  09.26.2015

When the community gets constant reports of BS making runs to Charleston to deal with school issues does he speak for the entire school board or himself?

He likes to drop names of high level WV politicians and WVDOE officials he speaks with to give the impression that he is the County’s official spokesperson for K-12 education.

Did BS go the the WVBOE meeting with Gabe when the final authority for finances was recently withdrawn by the WVBOE and did he speak with any officials in Charleston before the punitive action was taken?

The WVBOE’s decision for punishment occurred after school board members asked questions about how much money the MH move would cost and how the move would benefit the County’s children.

By Normantown Coalition  on  09.27.2015

Citizens hear that the WVDOE forbids the school board to get topics on monthly meeting agendas.

This is another State-sponsored way to impose tight censorship over Gilmer County.

For one example, for the early June meeting lawyers hired by Devono were there to report results of title searches for school property.

They did not give their report and nothing has been heard since. There is a video tape on which Devono said that the lawyers were not there although they were on video tape. Very strange.

This is a question for Dr. Daniel, Ms. O’Obrien,  Dr. Martirano, and Mr. Green. How much did Gilmer County pay the lawyers and what were the results of the title search?

This question does not seem unreasonable in what is supposed to be a democracy.

What motive does the WVDOE have by keeping the information secret other than to prove its power over Gilmer’s citizens?


When questioned as to why he does not contact other board members before going to outside meetings and does not notify them before attending such meetings, the response was he feels no need to communicate with the rest of the board. After all his years of experience in education he does not feel he would make any wrong decisions.

By Narcissism Does Not Serve  on  09.27.2015

The WVDOE does not want Gilmer’s citizens to know the full range of student achievement information so it can release selected material designed to make it look good. Secrecy applies across the board with the WVDOE’s intervention.

In the ambush video tape it was mentioned more ACT information would be provided. Where are the details Mr. Devono? 

If the full details were glowing the news would be plastered on the front page of the Democrat.

We smell a rat WVDOE. Daniel and Martirano and Governor Tomblin and Green this is another issue for you and more will be on the way.

By Tape Watcher  on  09.27.2015

Support for Gilmer grows daily as more of us learn about your mistreatment by the WVDOE and we inform others who inform others.

Do not be mislead by what the WVDOE says it will do for positive change. It has earned the same reputation as North Korea when it comes to believably.

By Fayette Parent  on  09.27.2015

Examine the list of WVBOE, cheated, underfunded counties.
There are some glaring coincidences.
We see counties, like us here in Fayette, that are, or have been under state intervention with building and facility problems.

Fayette could have used the over TWO million dollars we were shorted for building repairs.  But if you do not have the funds for repairs, and buildings fall into disrepair, not the WVBOE has the excuse to shove their consolidation agenda down our throat.

Next look at Gilmer.  They were cheated out of over $800,000. in order to keep buildings from being repaired, in order to force them into a combined-consolidated school with Lewis county.

This is not all coincidence.  This is careful, behind the scenes planning by a corrupt, politically appointed, board employees simply looking to feed at the government trough.

It is our hope that the our people of Fayette will stand together and stand strong.
We deserve better than what we have been handed.

By Fayette Will Stand Firm  on  09.27.2015

Leading Creek Elementary School a Failure?
Before Opening Day?  Seemingly.

Leading Creek Elementary has been touted over and over as a ‘model school’.  Model of what?  Model of mismanagement and failure? 

Model of poor playground layout?  Model of paying a bloated, potentially illegal price?  Maybe some kickback scheme. 

Allegedly built over a closed coal mine?  Model of how to build where the side hill behind it will slip?  Model building a total electric school in a natural gas laden location?

Something is truly amiss with the building of the Leading Creek Elementary School.

The state’s School Building Authority headed by Dr. Sneed, guidelines clearly state ‘no school shall be constructed with an occupancy rate of under of 85%‘.

The Leading Creek School in Lewis County was built to house 240 students, but first day enrollment was less than 160 students.  That is over 40% under the minimum of 85% required rate.

Who pulled what strings to make this happen?  Or is this just another of the state BOE blunders?  Something is really broken in our state education system.

If Leading Creek Elementary School is supposed to be a model school….what then the model?  Model of West Virginia Board of Education failure?  You decide.

By Leading Creek - Another WVBOE Failure?  on  09.27.2015

This is the job description for an ideal school board member in an intervened county as defined by the WVDOE. Does nothing except attend meetings to collect a pay check, does not exhibit evidence that the meeting packet was reviewed prior to board meetings, never takes issue with or asks penetrating questions about anything an appointed State super wants to do, votes yea on all controversial issues the WVDOE pushes without understanding or taking time and effort to learn consequences of an action, appears to always perform in a WVDOE pre programmed manner, always says that everything is perfect including how a State appointed super performs and how a school system functions under intervention, in tight with a county’s masters to serve as a dependable information conduit and puppet, gets special assignments from the State’s super because it is known in advance that the official party line will be protected, behind the scenes critical of other board members who think for themselves for not being cooperative with the WVDOE all the time,if requested to report on something complex he/she refuses to do it because it takes time and effort, prone to talk about selfless serving on the board to help children because someone has to do the job, and never takes initiative to do anything substantial which requires extra time and effort. Look around you. There may be one of these WVDOE beloved types in each WV county which was or is under intervention.

By Disgusted WVDOE MOLE 3  on  09.28.2015

Model schools can’t be forced.  They happen when there is community collaboration toward a common goal. It does not happen under state intervention. The Leading Creek school was not placed to meet the needs of more than a few Gilmer County students living in the region. Lewis County Superintendent replaced one elementary school he closed.

By We'll Stay In Gilmer  on  09.28.2015

An obvious lack at the WVDOE to cause successive rashes of blunders is that the department does not have a competent planning group staffed with qualified professionals.

When an issue arises they grasp onto ideas without applying modern and rigorous problem-solving approaches used in successful organizations.

When blunders occur afterwards the WVDOE’s standard procedure is to leap to the next problem to repeat the same mistakes over and over.

Professional planners disignate the WVDOE’s approach as limited successive or muddling through.

The WVDOE by dragging WV to bottom place and keeping it there is an unequaled world class muddling champion.

WV’s children cannot survive the WVDOE’s incompetency any longer. WV Legislators including Senator Robert Ashley where are you when WV needs you?

By Roane County Voter  on  09.28.2015

The June 1 meeting should be titled: 
“How Not to Conduct a BOE Meeting”

The September 10 meeting title would read:

By these are must watch  on  09.28.2015

American cousins, I stumbled onto the GFP’s Internet site to read what happened to your schools.

It is bloody bad that something like that happened in America.

When I saw world-wide representation by those who accessed the site I thought why not make an appeal for legal defense funds?

You would be swamped with funds if people everywhere would be informed where and how to send them.

A story would be necessary to explain what happened in a rural American state famous for its depressed economy because of over reliance on the coal mining industry.

By K. C. Miller  on  09.28.2015

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Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting - 09.21.15 - Today

The Gilmer Free Press
Gilmer County Board of Education
Gilmer County High School
Monday, September 21, 2015 – 6:00 PM

I. CALL TO ORDER - Roll Call by President




        A.  Minutes: August 17, 2015

        B.  Student Transfers

        C.  School Volunteers

        D.  Field Trips

        E.  Policies

        F.  Curriculum



        A.  CGCC-Dr. Carl Armour – August 25, 2015

        B. RESA 7- Dr. William Simmons


        A. Monthly Financial Report

        B. Financial Statement

        C. Accounts Payable

        D. Curriculum

        E. Reports

The next Regular Board Meeting is Monday, October 19, 2015.


Gilmer County Family Court Report

The Gilmer Free Press

•  One divorce was granted on August 31st with Nathaniel James (36) of Normantown, WV divorcing Ronda James (37) of Grantsville, WV.

On Wednesday, September 2nd:

•  1 domestic violence petition was granted, one modification was heard and a temporary order was entered in it.

•  One paternity case was continued.

Family Court Judge Larry Whited held Court in Gilmer County on Wednesday, September 9th.

He granted

•  One domestic violence petition

•  Continued 2 status hearings

•  Heard a preliminary hearing in a divorce case

•  One relocation hearing was held.

Gilmer County Clerk: Notice to Creditors and Beneficiaries - 09.16.15




The administration of the estates(s) of the following deceased is pending before the Clerk of the County Commission of Gilmer County, 10 Howard Street, Glenville WV 26351.

The names and addresses of the personal representative and the personal representative’s attorney are set forth below.

Notice is hereby given that the estate(s) of the following has been opened for probate. Any interested person objecting to the validity of the will, the qualifications of the personal representative or the venue or jurisdiction of the court, shall file notice of an objection with the County Commission within ninety days after the date of the first publication or within 30 days of service of notice, whichever is later. If an objection is not timely filed, the objection is forever barred.

All persons having claims against the estate(s) of the said following deceased, whether due or not, are notified to exhibit their claims, with the voucher thereof, legally verified, to the undersigned, at the County Clerk’s Office on or before November 16, 2015 otherwise they may by law be excluded from all benefit of said estate(s). All beneficiaries of said estate(s) may appear on or before said day to examine said claims and otherwise protect their interests.

Claims against the estate must be filed in accordance with West Virginia Code 44-1-14a.

Edna Conley Daisy Shiflet 2747 Rosedale Rd
Normantown, WV 25267
Helen M. Jones Gaylene Hacker 93 Butchers Run Rd
Cedarville, WV 26611
Jackie L. Pyles Crystal Perdu 1371 Clarence Ave Apt 103
Lakewood, OH 44107
Ida K. Day Robert Barton 114 South Christmas Hill Rd
Titusville, FL 32796
Robert B. Begley, Sr. Norma J. Begley 2662 Newberne Rd
Cox’s Mills, WV 26342

Clerk of Gilmer County Commission
Jean Butcher
10 Howard Street
Glenville, WV 26351

The date of the first publication of this Notice is : September 16, 2015


The Gilmer Free Press


Quoting press release from BOE Head Devono - - -
“I, Gabriel Devono, called the State Fire Marshall, which began a standard investigation.“

Reading the questions on Gilmer Free Press and comparing same with the “I, Gabriel Devano” press release, a body has to wonder if the author of the press release isn’t simply attempting to muddy the waters, brush this ‘candlewick’ attempted arson under the ‘rug-cover’ of the West Virginia Board of Education?

Gilmer citizens are well aware of the lack of transparency,  outright lies, withheld information, lack of notice for what should be public meetings, secret meetings, (principled closed door meetings as the local president refers) disinformation, the pass-the-buck and I’ll get back to you responses.  Which then never happens.

We have almost five years of West Virginia State Board of Education intervention experience now, we know the standard play book responses.  The State Board needs to take note of Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.“  Mr. Green, Mr. Martirano, Mz. Daniel,  here in Gilmer we have been well aware of your game for years now.  You have educated us with the Manchins, McGraws, and Blankenships.

The arson attempt at the Normantown School required a FULL, FORENSIC INVESTIGATION.  Nothing less.

Those attending the spin response in Normantown,  to the arson situation, mentioned several minutes of mostly ‘aah’, ‘aah’, followed by more ‘ahh’, ‘ahh’, and then topped with a helping candy cotton.  Sweet but no substance.

It is important for Gilmer Free Press to publish the video of the meeting if there is one.

What we do know.  We have had a crime, breaking and entering, attempted arson, in a public building with children present.  Common sense would tell you there is an arsonist in our midst.  So what will be the next target?  Glenville Elementary?  Sand Fork Elementary?  Gilmer County High School?  When will the perpetrator strike again?

~~ author on file~~how many ‘aah’ and ‘ahhs’ does it take ~~

The Gilmer Free Press

CommunityGilmer CountyNormantownEducationEvents | AnnouncementsMeeting | Forum | Conference | WorkshopFeaturesCommunityConcerns™G-Eye™NewsRegionWest VirginiaOpinions | Commentary | G-LtE™ | G-Comm™ | G-OpEd™(54) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Devono keeps demanding for citizens to call him. Something akin to calling the WVDOE fox in the chicken coop?

You high paid WVDOE big shots should huddle to figure out why the calls are not rolling in. Maybe you could apply one of your rubrics you all like to talk about.

WVDOE why don’t you reassign Devono to do PR to bail you out of your school system money malfunction scandal and to sell your common core snake oil?

By WVDOE IS THE PROBLEM  on  09.16.2015

I could only stomach first 2 minutes of the video.
Went back and counted 25 aah’s in those 2 minutes.

By reader3  on  09.16.2015

Mr. Devano accuses both Calhoun’s Hur Herald and Gilmer Free Press of not printing his “response”??? That’s disturbing since both put his response out in an easily accessible hyperlink. Click and read. This man does not understand how to double click on a link but spend hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars on technology???

It’s obvious all that’s important is his story, not the truth.  The transportation director described something going up stairs and down the hall.  At least he didn’t lie to tell the pile of paper towel on the floor story.

Local Fire and Police not notified? They could have been in the superintendent’s office getting information, on their way to the scene and notifying the Fire Marshal 10 minutes from the time the call came in. 

It was the first day of school, Devono didn’t know what it was.  Not a soul brought in to check it that day and the kids stayed on sight. They have gym and music in that building. What if was toxic?? Didn’t he say somebody got sick when they went in there?

By No More Of Forced Intervention  on  09.16.2015

I just watched the video of the Sept. 10 meeting. They reported “a volunteer fireman went into the building to get something” then told who it was. Later, they said the fire department had NOT been notified.  If you were a volunteer fireman and found a wicking set up in a school building that looked like someone was planning arson, would you not notify your own fire department FIRST before even telling the superintendent of schools?? Not one person at that meeting asked how, if a fireman FOUND the problem, the fire department didn’t know about it!  What else don’t we know?? 
And why aren’t inspections made of closed buildings to be sure there aren’t squatters in them, damage, etc?  That seems very strange.

By Karen Pennebaker  on  09.16.2015

Oh yeah, here we go.  The standard Gilmer County tactic of starting an “investigation” that never gets investigate and never was.  They just keep it ‘open’ so the public can’t get information until the incident and ‘investigation’ is officially closed.  They’ll keep it ‘open’ till people forget… except, people Won’t forget.

I didn’t hear any to any real question get answered in this video, but if they are correct about body language speaking volumes… this video shows it.

By Buy a ticket  on  09.16.2015

WE are on YOUR side Mr. Ramezan!  Your site speaks for itself, documents exist.  You have done nothing but present truth to the people in all of the local counties, you’re a man of your word and you work with TRUE transparency and ability to let people talk, and we THANK YOU!

As the man said, show the people the PICTURES, we know they exist.

By Buy a ticket  on  09.16.2015

Where were the other Board Members?  Why only one from Center District and one from City? Are they too busy worrying about what goes on in Lewis County? Much easier to deal with what you have no say so about isn’t it. (Not that citizens hear anything about that either). What about Gilmer County schools?  Devano admits in a very low tone he didn’t want the Board to say anything after he showed them pictures but never apologized for publishing that across TWO COUNTIES he NEVER told ANYBODY to keep quiet about this?

By State Farce  on  09.16.2015

Watching this performance, hope this State appointed BOE Superintendent doesn’t apply for too many jobs.

By sad performance  on  09.16.2015

Guess that the lady at right foreground is the Daniel lady from state board of education in Charleston?

She attempts to give cover to state superintendent.  Wonder how long it will take her figure out she will have a full time job doing just that?

It appears she does not even understand the roll of a superintendent job to provide information to a wide variety of people, primarily the elected board.

By Beall Family  on  09.16.2015

Did I see this guy on SNL ?

By job opening  on  09.16.2015

This lady Mrs. Daniel is there to support the state superintendent from what this video shows.  It was good of her to let the public talk but is she going to do anything about the superintendent’s intentional secrecy?  Can she do anything to bring about transparency from any state appointed superintendent without Mr. Martirano’s say so? Exactly who is the head boss man in Charleston? Are the county superintendents running the show with no one to answer to when they do wrong?

By Terrell H.  on  09.16.2015

Why is the WVDOE behind Calhoun with using even the most basic of technology?

Why couldn’t the WVDOE have used the 107.7 radio station to announce the change of time for the Normantown meeting? Mr. Woodward who is Calhoun’s school superintendent did it today when there was a water problem.

I will tell you why. The WVDOE did not want many to know about the meeting time change so people who would come early would go home and not be heard!

The time switcheroo and scheduling the meeting at a time with a known conflict for families by the WVDOE shows the level of dishonesty we are up against.

Mr. Joe Frasure, you gained lots of admiration when you refused to lie about the wick. If retaliation for your honesty is hinted or if it occurs in the slightest way the WVDOE will have more blow back and it will not be held back.

By Frank George  on  09.16.2015

So the custodian’s son was in the building on the first day of school. Why? Not an employee and not a fireman.  Why was he even there?  Who was this so called fireman that didn’t report to his Chief?  Not one from Gilmer County and that’s for sure.
The Fire Marshal took pictures so why would he need Mr. Devono’s? Do the facts change according to who has the documents and who does the reporting? So it would seem.
Why is it under investigation if the evidence was too old and the police not called in?  Will the “investigation” stay open until somebody confesses?  More than likely that’s how long it will be until anyone gets to see those pictures.
When the Superintendent and his own employee’s story of what was there differ what do you belive.
It’s almost pathological how fast Mr Devono will change his story. I didn’t say keep a secret, I said not to say anything.  It was a fireman, it was the janitor’s son.

By Phooey  on  09.16.2015

Lowest blow yet to attack the GFP and David Ramezan after what this county has gone through with the lies, secrecy, mismanagement, waste, cover up, deceit, and treachery.

Were it not for the GFP the Normantown incident would have been swept under the rug which is exactly what the WVDOE intended.

How has all this worked out for you WVDOE? Someone wrote in that the WVDOE is its own worst enemy which is the truth.

By WVDOE Attacks GFP  on  09.16.2015

After this latest Normantown slap it is more evident that the WVDOE opposes all local level authority.

What a low blow not to involve our local fire fighters who risk their lives all the time or us. They would have known what to do and to do it right.

That is what the WVDOE did not want to happen——doing it right and in a timely way to try to catch the criminal.

The crime scene is contaminated, bats were added to the story, and the WVDOE’s spin machine is going full throttle.

By Rex Barnes  on  09.16.2015

Let us pray that the DOE’s rep applies for other jobs. If he will let us know each time he does, we will hold county-wide prayer vigils to ask for divine intervention for his career advancement.

By Career Advancement  on  09.16.2015

The comment about what can Dr. Daniel do is a good one. As a case in point the Clarksburg paper announced that Mr. Devono was selected as Blankenship’s replacement. That was in April or May of the year he arrived in Gilmer County.

The interesting point is that it was not until June of that year when it was on the WVBOE’s agenda to consider Devono’s move from RESA 7 to be the appointed superintendent.

How can that be explained? It does not seem that anyone, including Dr. Daniel, in the WVDOE or the WVBOE has authority to supervise intervention superintendents or to make decisions affecting them.

By Mystery  on  09.16.2015

There was no sense of urgency on the part of the Superintendent or it wouldn’t have been four days later before he even hinted of the problem to local BOE. He didn’t find it necessary to report it to local constabulary at all so what would make anyone believe he’d called the state any quicker? He has no track record of good faith action in Gilmer County. Don’t believe he has one in Charleston either.

By Bull Run Watcher  on  09.16.2015

Two of 5 local school board members attended.
Misty has much illness in her family.  Understand.
Dr. Armour and Mrs. Hurley appeared as responsible, concerned, and interested board members.
Bill Simmons and Tom Ratliff.  Where were you?
You both will be remembered come election time.

By Troy parent  on  09.16.2015

Just more of the same pandering and patronizing from Charleston.
The light at the end of the tunnel, when we are 47th, just cannot get much worse.

By A.E.  on  09.16.2015

The WVBOE and its operations branch the WVDE have shown no consideration for the taxpayer, the communities, the students, their parents or the schools.  They built free schools and did remodels for many counties with no local contribution until the SBA under Mark Manchin ran through the “free” federal money.  No intervention county saw any of that.

The dictatorial attitude of those acting as overseers of the public education system has gained West Virginia nothing but last place.

Those same people misappropriated millions and came back to the Legislative Oversight Commission Auditors saying well the counties we underpaid didn’t ask for the money???  We didn’t ask for intervention either but the WVBOE decided we should have it.

They say what they have done is in the name of the children but they break laws put in place to protect them from long transportation times. They will close well built buildings and substitute shoddy construction that will be gone and let the older but more substantial stand neglected because they were not shiny and new.

They spend our tax dollars like drunken sailors but cry foul when a political blood path forces them to fire old friends. Charleston politicos do not understand because they refuse to understand.

Any elected official from Governor to School Board who is just Ok with no bid contracts for buildings and equipment, textbooks or technology, who either publicly or privately supports those who ignore laws and policies put in place to protect the children should fear the ballot box.

By Fayette Knows  on  09.16.2015

Here is what Boone County Superintendent John Hudson told the Charleston Gazette reporting he is looking at consolidation.  The 200 student loss he speaks of happened over a period of five years.

“That loss of about 200 students, while seemingly small, has hit the county’s coffers hard, Hudson said. Because funding for schools is based on the number of students enrolled, the county has lost an additional $1 million in state money.
“We’ve lost about $6 million in two years,” Hudson said.“

By What Did Leading Creek Cost Gilmer County?  on  09.17.2015

The WVDOE used propaganda to try to convince citizens that any concerns they had about mismanagement, waste, corruption, and other serious problems with the WVDOE in charge were merely expressions of sour grapes against intervention and consolidation.

Most citizens regardless of whether or not they support intervention and consolidation see through the WVDOE’s ineptness as separate issues and they are disgusted about broken State government.

By K. F. Johnson  on  09.17.2015

When you send someone pictures from one IPAD to another the original copies are still on the senders IPAD (or computer).  Why would anybody delete those pictures since it shows you did your job?  You reported! 
Could it be the date of the original picture file doesn’t agree with a story told?

By Doesn't Add Up  on  09.17.2015

The WVDOE’s handling of the Normantown fire bug flap is a classical bureaucratic example of the way not to handle a controversy.

By not being up front with accurate information and always changing it to fit a contrived story line the situation worsens daily for the WVDOE.

Everything the WVDOE does with intervention turns to mud. There should be a huge house cleaning in Charleston starting with the top.

By E. C. Thompson  on  09.17.2015

According to D Corcoran editor of the local newspaper what was found in NES must have been a kids prank.

Seems now we are teaching the children to be professional arsonists!?!

Whitewash all you want David Corcoran.  You were at that meeting, on video.  When did anybody ever say such a thing???

Report another bomb threat won’t you?  Maybe we can teach kids to do that too.

By Don't Expect a Subscription!!!  on  09.17.2015

No mystery why WV does not trust the WVDOE and the WVBOE. This is a typical case of State government withholding truth at the beginning, applying spin, and to continue to make a bad situation worse.

Consider the flow. Devono reports a professionally done candle wick prepared for an arson job to several witnesses—-Devono shows pictures and discusses professionally done job in detail——Devono demands that County school board to remain silent—-WVDOE publishes that the candle wick was simply a few paper towels, insults county board, attacks GFP, and denies the secrecy lid, implicates bats—-WVDOE schedules a meeting at Normantown to conflict with other family events in the County to explain what happened and pulls a time switch to cut down on crowd size—-WVDOE dispatches Dr. Cynthia Daniel from Charleston to try to bail it out——Glenville Democrat bomb report comes out to worsen confusion—-at Normantown Devono spins paper towel story—-Mr. Frasure backs up original Devono story about the complicated wick,—-Glenville Democrat whitewashes to blame crime on a prank by kids and apologizes for bomb misreporting——WVDOE still will not admit that a crime occurred.

One thing the Democrat did was to verify that a crime occurred while blaming it on kids. Does anyone believe that Gilmer’s kids would do something like that?

The simplified flow sequence does not include all the WVDOE’s complex web of inconsistencies.

Governor Tomblin, Dr. Daniel, Dr. Martirano, and WV Legislature, Gilmer County deserves this mess of yours to be straightened out with full disclosure of the truth.

Several times it has been said that a person could not make this up. The statement applies to a host of the WVDOE’s and WVBOE’s blunders with intervention in Gilmer County. Take Cedar Creek as one of many examples.

By R. Pickens  on  09.17.2015

It’s been said the only news in that paper is what his advertisers want told, be it the Board of Ed, GSC, the City or the County Commission.

One thing for sure and two for certain, he won’t be hiring any of our kids for a paper-boy job and the print’s so small now you can’t read it without a magnifying glass.

The only honest journalistic attempt in Gilmer County comes to us via the Gilmer Free Press.  They print facts, show live video, and leave it up to the reader to form an opinion.

By Normantown Resident- Thanks GFP  on  09.17.2015

Anyone can tell Devano State Appointed Superintendent, *is* and *has* gone to great lengths to, cover, dismiss, hide, mishandle what is a clear attempt at arson.

Have to wonder too, who advised GD to not call any law enforcement for several days after the arson plot was discovered?

Apparently DC is riding in the same wagon.

Why?  Who is he covering?  What is he covering?  There is motive somewhere.  This work has been described as the efforts of likely 2 people.  Or more?

Does he know a lot more than he is telling? 
Whatever the answer, like the one comment stated.
We have an arsonist in the community.  Still free to do their deed.

By answer this one question  on  09.17.2015

Two words explain it all. Local cabal. It controls the local news similar to everything else in Gilmer County and it is where the WVDOE’s and the WVBOE’s orders originate.

Remember the Manchin fundraiser out along Mineral Road immediately prior to Gayle’s rank against the County and our intervention?

What is the Cubies stand on Normantown? Didn’t happen, it was a misunderstanding, an arson prep on school property is not a crime in WV, go along with the Democrat’s blaming the crime on our kids, the crime is unimportant because it happened in the Normantown/Rosedale area, the crime wasn’t reported to the fire department and other local officials because they are incompetent, Cubies back Devono and the rest of the WVDOE 100%?

Call in Cubies and let us know. Don’t you have a charter member on the County’s school board?

By Rexroad  on  09.18.2015

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Normantown Town Hall Meeting - 09.10.15 - Today

The Gilmer Free Press
Gilmer County Schools

Informational Meeting for Parents of Students

Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 4:30 PM

In the Normantown Elementary School Cafeteria

CommunityConcerns™: Response to WVDOE’s Press Release to Normantown CSI Issue

The Gilmer Free Press

The WVDOE’s attacks on The Free Press in their press release prompt far more questions to be asked than it does to clear up the arson mystery at the old Normantown grade school.

A response to the following questions by the WVDOE would be appreciated for clarification purposes.

Instead of naming persons the acronym WVDOE is used instead of referencing specific individuals.

The Gilmer Free Press

    •  Because of the serious nature of the Normantown CSI issue as originally reported by the GFP, who at the WVDOE approved public release of the WVDOE’s response to the original GFP CSI article? If none of the officials approved the release in advance was it not an example of inept management for the material to be published without prior official approval to give the distinct impression of inadequate WVDOE oversight during intervention?

The Gilmer Free Press

    •  When the Normantown CSI incident was first known about was the crime scene adequately and immediately secured to prevent unauthorized access as is always done with superior law enforcement investigative work?

The Gilmer Free Press

    •  When the crime incident was noticed the first time did the discoverer enter the building to get a personal look at what was there, and was that person interviewed by qualified law enforcement professionals to result in an official statement being available for public review?

The Gilmer Free Press

    •  Who took pictures of the interior of the building to obtain immediate proof of what had occurred, and where are the pictures now? Were any of the individuals associated with the WV Fire Marshal’s office, the NES, the prosecuting attorney, local or State law enforcement or any other official entity?

The Gilmer Free Press

    •  In the WVDOE’s reply to the GFP CSI article, paper towels were mentioned as the only visible evidence that could be interpreted as preparation work for arson. How can it be explained that at the last school board meeting, as seen and overheard by witnesses, the WVDOE representative showed pictures of the arson preparation described as exceptionally sophisticated, extensive, and indicative of work of a professional arsonist? Will the WVDOE project those same pictures on a screen at the Normantown town hall meeting on September 10, 2015, and will legally valid verification from all five Gilmer county school board members be submitted to prove that the same pictures were shown to them?

The Gilmer Free Press

    •  Although there is no present proof that the arson preparation qualified as terrorism under U. S. federal government criteria, was the U. S. Tobacco and Fire Arms agency called to investigate as a precaution?

The Gilmer Free Press

    •  Would the WVDOE explain why at the last board meeting its representative spoke about the elaborate professionally done preparation which had occurred for a devastating fire, and why it is claimed now that only a few incidental paper towels were observed at the crime scene? The WVDOE representative spoke of placement of a candle wick which is far more complicated and effective as an arson tool compared to a few scattered paper towels. WVDE in its press release mentions only paper towels. How did paper towels get tied into knots and made into a rope that goes upstairs and crisscrossed the ceiling? WVDE’s Superintendent even put his arms in a circle to show how big the candle base was with the “rope” going up the stairs coming out of it as a wick. furthermore, what investigation?  How can there be no threat to a building used every day by students? The observable fact is the Kindergarten and Pre-K classrooms are physically attached to that building.

The Gilmer Free Press

    •  There is reference to a volunteer member of the local fire department entering the building on August 13, 2015 to inspect the crime scene. Was this an official act with witnesses in compliance with prescribed investigative procedures to protect the integrity of the original crime scene? Was the individual certified to be professionally qualified to perform investigative work? Who was the individual and did he/she file an official report to include pictures for citizens to review? During that conversation WVDE’s Superintendent made reference to some fire fighters liking to watch fires burn.  The school board member from Normantown specifically said “NO Normantown volunteer would EVER do such a thing”.

The Gilmer Free Press

    •  Regarding the WVDOE’s pictures of the crime scene shown at the school board meeting, because they pertained to official school system business are they available as part of the official public record for citizens to review?

The Gilmer Free Press

    •  Early on was the crime scene thoroughly checked for hair, fiber, DNA and other evidence by qualified experts in compliance with standard procedures for professionally done crime scene investigation work?

The Gilmer Free Press

    •  Would all five members of our elected school board sign a notarized affidavit that they were not shown pictures of the complicated candle wick preparation work discussed by the WVDOE’s representative and they were not ordered to keep the arson planning incident quiet?

The Gilmer Free Press

    •  With all the confusion would the WVDOE explain why citizens are unreasonable to question if there was crime scene tampering to elevate the original arson preparation incident to a higher level of criminality?

The Gilmer Free Press

The purpose of this article is to attempt to get the truth to help ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the County’s children, and to keep citizens informed.

The building has no fire suppression system and no sprinklers. Fire drills used to be the order of the day.  If we pull one of the alarms in the buildings used is there guarantee an alarm would go off? The alarms from the cafeteria building were hooked in for the trailers.  If one pull one of those, does it work?

Since the school system has been under State intervention for the past five years has Board of Education been permitted to walk through a single school and check the condition of any building?

This article has nothing to do to intentionally belittle the reputation of any individual through inference or any other deliberate intent.

Instead, the WVDOE is being held accountable for answers for Gilmer County’s people.

CommunityGilmer CountyGlenvilleNormantownEducationFeaturesCommunityConcerns™NewsRegionWest Virginia(15) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

One tactic for dealing with errant bureaucracies when there is serious controversy is to wait and eventually someone up the line will make a blunder so outrageous that the bureaucracy can’t squirm out of what it did.

The Normantown issue is a perfect example. Why has the WVDOE permitted the controversy to happen and to worsen in seriousness? Is there an overt attempt to protect someone, is there an unwritten rule to never admit to a mistake, is an un diagnosed mental illness or behavioral problem the bottom of it, how can it be rationalized with any conclusion other than this latest bizarre WVDOE misstep is a worst case PR blunder?

The years of WVDOE’s intervention in Gilmer County came to three conclusions. 1. The WVDOE is the enemy and it cannot be trusted. 2. The County’s intervention situation worsens with time. 3. The WVDOE’s local agent must be replaced immediately!

When confronted with anything negative the standard mantra by the WVDOE is that what it did was always for the children. In anyone’s wildest imagination how can this Normantown case be passed off as being for the children?

Dr. Cynthia Daniel is in a very tough spot. She will be ordered to come to Gilmer County to try to get the WVDOE off Scott free. We feel sorry for the young professional new to the job.

Because Mr. “Chuck” Hatfield from Putnam County was thrust into the fray by the WVDOE how do citizens down there rationalize the reason for his involvement in Gilmer County?

Do those citizens know all the details about the intervention tragedy involving years of waste, secrecy, mismanagement, censorship, and subterfuge by the WVDOE?

Let us hope that Mr. Hatfield has the personal courage to set an example by convincing the WVDOE to do the right thing for Gilmer County. That would make him a deserving role model hero throughout WV.

Communications will flow to Putnam County to inform citizens of our situation. One spin off will be the WVDOE’s self inflicted wound of increasing WV’s knowledge base of what it did to Gilmer County to widen public contempt for that department.

By A. F. Rich  on  09.08.2015

We do not need an acronym. The WVDOE’s long standing key players in Charleston are Dr. Martirano and Mr. Green plus the other political appointees including Gayle Manchin on Green’s West Virginia Board of Education.

By Brent Stout  on  09.08.2015

No matter what crisis it is when times get tough there is a always a disproportionate representation of the “renegades” who always bail us out.

Say what you will about them, they know right from wrong and they have the personal courage to stand up for their convictions.

Let us get down to Normantown and Rosedale. The County is depending you to stand up to the WVDOE.

If you fail to do it the WVDOE will take great pride in saying that you approve what it did because nobody protested.

What the WVDOE fears most are mamma grizzlies who mount ferocious fights to protect their young.

This is not saying that males should not stand up too, but mamma grizzlies have always been the moral compass of our nation.

There is a saying that hands who rock the cradles are the nation’s bedrock protectors. So hear the SOS——Normantown and Rosedale.

By Grizzley Attack  on  09.08.2015

Dr. Cynthia Daniel is in a situation similar to a person designated to be in a big parade to shovel up messes behind an elephant troupe.

By WVDOE's Mess  on  09.08.2015

The next “Press Release” will say that citizens must not believe the lying eyes and ears of any witness! No One was there.
What management class did Mr Devono attend and pass in which he learned it was best practice to attack members of the media? Especially those that record his sessions? Even the great WVBOE in all their wisdom, through all their blundering, has been smart enough not make a habit of that.
Tell us Mr Devono?  Which version do you think people will find believable? Do you have a record here of honesty and transparency? Have you donated years of your time, energy and resources to help Gilmer County free of charge? Have you been a contributing factor to anything here except working to keep unwanted and unnecessary intervention in place for a fat paycheck?  Do you even pay a dollar in taxes here? Now remember,your skill at manipulating and threatening employees working under your will and pleasure will not be given consideration.

By The Record Says No  on  09.08.2015

We can always count on you to do the right thing GFP.  Had this office received that piece of garbage masquerading as a “Press Release”, it would have hit the oval file PDQ.  It would be dumped faster than that given the state superintendent went so far as to send it out of county and will most likely have the local newspaper print it in retaliation.  That editor will likely call it a public service.

Not the GFP. You advertised the parent meeting on Sept 10, 4:30pm in the NES cafeteria. You put at least 2 easy click and open links to that personal attack, one in the first line of your response, plus an additional one to the meeting notice you already posted under events & announcements at the top of your site.

Mr. Ramezan, you are a gentleman and a scholar and caring citizens of this county should thank you.  As to the state appointed superintendent?  He should take lessons in public relations and communication.  Does the WVDE provide that for their employees?

By NT Pays Attention  on  09.08.2015

What about MIKE & MIKE (GREEN AND MARTIRANO). As President of the WVBOE and State Superintendent of Schools respectively did either or both of you have any knowledge of arson setup at NES?  Are you guilty of hiding information from Gilmer County families? 
In reality, we doubt you knew anything about it at all.
Mr Martirano, in what universe do you feel the actions of your appointee were appropriate? We hear he lays the blame for lack of leadership on anyone but himself. Is this a person capable of working with an intervention board?  How much could intervention be considered necessary when you put a mere Department Head in charge?

Mr. Green, you let the Devano and Simmons partnership have their say didn’t you? Must have as both bragged about it.  You let the OEPA lay fault on a board with no say so over anything and no voice in the conversation by your own directive.

Gentlemen, it’s time to stop the insanity. Read the history of the Gilmer County mess YOU wrote on the wall. If you are honest it is nothing to be proud of.

By Stop This Forced Intervention  on  09.08.2015

Someone said ‘liars have short memory.‘ You are right buddy.
In the original GFP CSI article it was said that perpetrator(S) used an elaborate wicking system to go from the ground floor to locations throughout the building so a match could start a fast moving flash fire.

In Mr. Devono’s response he stated “There was absolutely no flammable liquid present, and the paper towels were not soaked with any kind of fire starter.“

Where in GFP’s article was there a reference made to flammable liquid or paper towels soaked with any kind of fire starter which he refers to?

Mr. Devono can you answer that?

By liar liar pants on fire  on  09.08.2015

This in the flow. Arson planning at Normantown, WVDOE covers facts with pictures, VWDOE demands secrecy by local school board, WVDOE denies facts originally given, Gilmer County school board officials have their integrity attacked by the WVDOE, and now the issue has seemingly risen to the level of obstruction of justice. OJ is a serious crime.

Any higher up WVDOE official who knows about the case and they have not done anything to see that justice is served is legally implicated?

What are you doing Daniel, Martirano, Green and his State Board including Gayle Manchin, and Chuck Hatfield from Putnam County who was brought in by the WVDOE?

We need strong leaders to come forward to take the moral high road to clean up the mess.

Can you hear us now Charleston?

By IBRM  on  09.08.2015

That was the intention of the parenthetical “renegade” point TE. True Americans do not shirk their duty.

It makes no difference how much money they have, their religion or country of origin, the skin color, what kind of a house they live in, and any other feature assigned to them.

Our Nation is in deep trouble and if citizens refuse to stand up to help those in need we are doomed. Thank you fellow American.

By Bill Moore  on  09.08.2015

Who’s this “WE” in the Press Release who didn’t instruct anyone not to tell or keep it secret??? Mr. Devono why would you tell all your administrative employees before you talked to the Parents? Who in their right might would call them to ask about such an important matter?

What makes you believe Mr. Devono that it’s Ok for you to decide what information to withhold when it comes to the safety of our children? At this point we do not believe you spoke to anyone other than possibly a member of the fire dept. Where is a report of the problem at the official level of any kind? Why hasn’t that been published?

You fall very short in the accountability department Sir, but, in the words of Ms Freeland, that will be addressed.

By Methinks He Has a God Complex  on  09.08.2015

How does our Superintendent Hatfield manage to find the time for Gilmer and who is paying for his services there? It should not be Putnam County. Have not read a single report saying our schools are performing at mastery across the board. More than once we’ve had only temporary accreditation.

By Poca Concerned  on  09.08.2015

Is Hatfield being groomed by the WVDOE to slide into one of those good old boy intervention positions to jump up his high three for retirement purposes?

Why did he get involved in Gilmer and do Putnam’s citizens approve?

Is his report on the workshop part of the public record available for citizen access or was the record lost similar to other mysterious visual malfunctions in Gilmer?

Like lawyers who were not really there during an official meeting although their presence was captured on video tape?

By M. Brannon---Fayette  on  09.10.2015

Theodore Roosevelt said it best!
“To educate a man in mind and not in morals, is to educate a menace to society.“

Retired Ed.  Did you know that?

By Clowser  on  09.11.2015

With all the Super Hatfield and Ms. Daniels trips to GC….who pays???

Does Putnam pay for Hatfield?
Does WVDOE pay for Daniels?
Meals & travel?
The answer is probably the Gilmer taxpayers!

By who pays??  on  09.11.2015

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CommunityConcerns™: Normantown School CSI

Why is the West Virginia Department of Education Keeping
Intended Torching of the Normantown School Secret?

The Gilmer Free Press

Within past weeks a serious crime attempt was committed at Normantown. The old brick school was entered and elaborate preparations were made to burn it down. Based on reports from well placed sources the perpetrator(S) used an elaborate wicking system to go from the ground floor to locations throughout the building so a match could start a fast moving flash fire.

The Gilmer Free Press

There are several points related to the incident.

  • What was the act’s motive? Why would anyone want to burn down an old building that is a revered Normantown landmark?

  • Was the building insured and if it had burned down who would have collected the money?

  • Were officials with the County’s local fire department notified immediately about the incident and are they involved in any way now?

  • Was Mr. Jerry Hough, our prosecuting attorney, involved with investigating the incident and is he involved now?

  • How is the incident being investigated? It was reported that the WV Fire Marshall was called in.  Was a request made to get more able assistance from the FBI or did the WVDOE make a decision not to involve the agency?

  • Why the secrecy by the WVDOE? Mr. Gabriel Devono allegedly ordered members of Gilmer County’s School Board to maintain silence. One of them was asked about the crime and the individual gave a curt “can’t comment” answer before walking away.

  • Was the incident designed to destroy a building or was there a more sinister plan to harm school children too?

  • What is being done for real- time inspections of all active schools in Gilmer County to ensure that none are targeted for arson and other acts of terrorism to keep our children safe?

Concerns about the incident are justified. The secrecy meshes with everything else the WVDOE has done to keep citizens uninformed. School system finances, school personnel decisions, decisions made behind closed doors for new school sites, backroom deals of various types including no bid contracts, and the most recent MH disgrace of siphoning off school system money for political pandering with full WVDOE approval etc.

Citizens see hulks of burnt down buildings throughout the County to wonder if we have a cottage industry of fire setters.  Also, citizens can cite numerous examples of mysterious fires where cleanups occurred. One of them was the Church near the courthouse.

The Gilmer Free Press

There is no mystery about the intent for fire at Normantown, and crime scene features suggest involvement of highly skilled professionals. The tight secrecy by the WVDOE in keeping “the lid on” is senseless to cause public concern to fester.

Citizens are owed a full report on the planned arson and independent arson investigators from the outside must be engaged although considerable time has elapsed to allow crime scene tampering and contamination.

Could the way the incident is being handled be intentional to comply with business as usual practices in Gilmer County?

The County is not known for its track record in solving serious crimes, and the WVDOE is in total control of this one to determine how the disturbing case will be handled. Dr. Martirano and Dr. Daniel the next move is yours because you are at intervention’s helm with Charleston in charge.

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G-FYI™: ONE MILLION DOLLARS QZAB Debt for Gilmer County! Why?

The Gilmer Free Press

The following is on the West Virginia Board of Education Agenda for September 08-09, 2015:

C.  Resolution on Behalf of Gilmer County Board of Education Approving a Lease Purchase Agreement with United Bank as a Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) in the Amount of $1,000,000 - (Action) -
Heather Hutchens

The proceeds from the bond will be used to equip Gilmer County Elementary School.  United Bank will hold the title to the equipment.

It is recommended and a motion is requested that the West Virginia Board of Education, acting on behalf of the Gilmer County Board of Education, approve the Lease Purchase Agreement with United Bank, and the related issuance of the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB), and to authorize Dr. Michael J. Martirano to execute all documents hereafter.

The Gilmer Free Press


G-Eye™: Gilmer County Board of Education Monthly Meeting Report - 08.17.15

The Gilmer Free Press
Gilmer County Board of Education
Gilmer County High School
Monday, August 17, 2015 – 6:00 PM

I. CALL TO ORDER - Roll Call by President

Meeting was called to order by President. All Members Plus Superintendent were present


Pledge of Allegiance was led by the President


Mr. David Dennison and his wife Mrs. Dennison(teacher) express dissatisfaction about a board member inquiry [Video]


    A.  Minutes: July 20, 2015

The Board of Education of the County of Gilmer
Monday, July 20, 2015 - 6:00 p.m.
Gilmer County High School

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 pm by President, Dr. Williams Simmons.

Members present: Tom Ratliff, Dr. William Simmons, Carl Armour, Norma Hurley, Misty Pritt
and Gabriel J. Devono, Secretary.

Others Present: Nasia Butcher, Phyllis Starkey, David Dennison and David Ramezan.

Carl Armour led the Board in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Phyllis Starkey, David Dennison

A motion was made by Tom Ratliff and seconded by Misty Pritt to approve all items on the consent agenda. Motion passed 5-0.

There was no new business.

Superintendent distributed information concerning Monthly Financial Report, Financial Statement, Accounts Payable, Curriculum and 2015-2016 board Meeting dates.
The next regular meeting of the Gilmer County Board of Education will be August 17, 2015.

A motion was made by Norma Hurley and seconded by Misty Pritt to adjourn the meeting at 6:53 p.m. Motion passed 5-0.


    B.  Student Transfers

Question was asked about number of students in each school. Superintendent promised he would have them by September meeting.

2 Kindergarten Students from Sand Fork Elementary to Glenville Elementary

1 First(1) grade Student from Sand Fork Elementary to Glenville Elementary

1 First(1) grade Student from Troy Elementary to Glenville Elementary

1 Third(3) grade Student from Normantown Elementary to Sand Fork Elementary

1 Third(3) grade Student from Normantown Elementary to Glenville Elementary

1 Third(3) grade Student from Sand Fork Elementary to Glenville Elementary

1 Third(3) grade Student from Troy Elementary to Sand Fork Elementary

1 Fourth(4) grade Student from Normantown Elementary to Glenville Elementary

1 Fourth(4) grade Student from Sand Fork Elementary to Glenville Elementary

1 Fourth(4) grade Student from Troy Elementary to Glenville Elementary

1 Fourth(4) grade Student from Glenville Elementary to Sand Fork Elementary

1 Six(6) grade Student from Troy Elementary to Sand Fork Elementary

    C.  School Volunteers


    D.  Field Trips

1) Cedar Creek State Park (K-6) 08.14.15

2) Gilmer County Farm Show at Recreation Center in Glenville (FFA Students) 09.09.15

    E.  Policies


    F.  Curriculum





    A.  CGCC-Dr. Carl Armour – July 21, 2015

Dr. Armour reported on the Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center [Video]

Calhoun-Gilmer Administrative Council
Official Minutes July 21, 2015

Members Present:
Mr. Timothy Woodwarcj, Presiding
Mr. Jason Hughes, State Dept.
Mr. Gabriel Devono, GilmerSupt.
Dr. Carl Armour, Gilmer
Mr. Bryan P. Sterns, Secretary

Others Present:
Mrs. Lisa Moore

Mrs. Jenna Jett, Calhoun

ITEM I-Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Mr. Woodward at 10:52 a.m.

ITEM II Agenda Adjustments

ITEM III-Delegations
Mr. Gene Coulson, Executive Director of Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education was present to inform council of an opportunity they might be interested in pursuing. Schools can be recognized if they prove they provided entrepreneurship education to every student in the building within one school year. Funding from the grant will be expended helping distressed counties implement the program. Calhoun and Gilmer have been identified as such counties by ARC. The award is intended to make all students aware of entrepreneurial career opportunities.

ITEM IV- Re-Organization of Administrative Council
Mr. Devono called for nominations for Administrative Council President and Vice-President. Mr. Hughes moved President and Vice-President stay the same, seconded by Dr. Armour. Motion carried and vote was unanimous. Mr. Woodward remains President and Mr. Devono Vice President by vote of acclamation.

ITEM V - Approval of Minutes
The minutes of June 16, 2015 were presented for approval. Mr. Devono moved to approve the minutes as presented; second by Dr. Armour. Motion carried. Vote: Unanimous.

ITEM VI - Reports
1.  Entrepreneurial Opportunities - See Delegations
2. Skilled and Professional Pathway
Mr. Sterns presented council a handout from Donna Burge-Tetrick regarding the discontinuation of the skilled and professional Pathway.

3. Acceptable Use Policy and Cyber Safety Training
Mr. Sterns let Council know that two CGCC Instructors would like to do the cyber safety training especially for all day Career Center Students. He felt that both schools would be supportive of this effort.

ITEM V- New Business
ABCD: Financial Matters: The list of bills, an additional list of bills, the financial statement, budget supplements, and the CGCC Individual School Financial Report for June were presented for approval.  Mr. Hughes moved to approve all financial items A through D, Seconded by Mr. Devono. Motion carried and vote was unanimous.

E. Personnel:

Employment:  Adult Basic Education Instructor - Linda Jones
Mr. Devono moved to approve the employment as recommended by Mr. Sterns; seconded by Mr. Hughes. Motion carried. Vote: Unanimous

Math Instructor-
Mr. Sterns informed council he had 4 applicants with two top choices. He stated that only one applicant was High School certified. He then discussed references with the council. After much discussion in regards to said applicant Dr. Armour moved to employ Kari Hamric as Math Instructor. Seconded by Mr. Hughes. Motion carried. Vote: Unanimous.

Substitute Lists Calhoun and Gilmer Counties
Mr. Hughes made a motion to allow CGCC to use the substitute lists from both counties for the 2015-16 School year. Seconded by Dr. Armour. Motion carried. Vote: Unanimous. (The lists are unavailable at this time)
Postings: Mr. Sterns presented Council with Postings for Substitute Custodian and Evening ALC Instructor. (See Attachment 7 and 8) Dr. Armour moved to approve the postings as recommended; seconded by Mr. Devono. Motion carried. Vote: Unanimous
Council also had before them postings for Building Construction Night Class Instructor, Welding night class Instructor, and Small Engine Repair Night Class Instructor. After some discussion, motion was made by Mr. Devono to post, pending adequate enrollment, at $18.00/hr. Motion carried. Vote: Unanimous.

F. General Discussion
Simulated Workplace Drug Testing Policy - The two Superintendents informed those present that they did not have a presentation from Dr. D’Antoni at their Superintendent’s Conference, nor did they have a chance to speak with her regarding the simulated drug place policy. After discussion, both felt they could get further information from other Superintendents with a policy already in place.

ALC Summer Support - Mr. Sterns mentioned the possibility of next summer employing an ALC Summer Support Instructor at an hourly rate to monitor those students working online throughout the summer.
Commercial Baking - Prostart Instructor, Annette Benson, is in the process of developing a new CTE Commercial Baking Program here at Calhoun Gilmer Career Center. Mr. Sterns informed Council members that this would be offered for 2nd year students.

NRM Modifications -Mr. Sterns discussed the SAE requirement and additional days for the Natural Resource Management Instructor. Five additional days were mentioned for the supervision and to monitor summer projects.

ITEM VI - Adjournment and Scheduling of Next Meeting

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Administrative Council will be Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. With no further business occurring, the meeting was adjourned.
Mr. Tim Woodward, Presiding
Mr. Bryan P. Sterns, Secretary


    B. RESA 7- Dr. William Simmons


    A. Monthly Financial Report

    B. Financial Statement

    C. Accounts Payable

    D. Curriculum & Summer School

    E. Strategic Plan Meeting

The next Regular Board Meeting is Monday, September 21, 2015.


Gilmer County Board of Education Monthly Meeting - 08.17.15 - Today

The Gilmer Free Press
Gilmer County Board of Education
Gilmer County High School
Monday, August 17, 2015 – 6:00 PM

I. CALL TO ORDER - Roll Call by President




    A.  Minutes: July 20, 2015

    B.  Student Transfers

    C.  School Volunteers

    D.  Field Trips

    E.  Policies

    F.  Curriculum



    A.  CGCC-Dr. Carl Armour – July 21, 2015

    B. RESA 7- Dr. William Simmons


    A. Monthly Financial Report

    B. Financial Statement

    C. Accounts Payable

    D. Curriculum & Summer School

    E. Strategic Plan Meeting

The next Regular Board Meeting is Monday, September 21, 2015.


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G-Eye™: Gilmer County Board of Education Monthly Meeting Report - 07.20.15

The Gilmer Free Press
Gilmer County Board of Education
Gilmer County High School
Monday, July 20, 2015 – 6:00 PM

I. CALL TO ORDER - Roll Call by President




        A.  Minutes: June 01, 2015 (Special Meeting)


The meeting was called to order at 6:00 pm by President, Dr. Williams Simmons.


Members present: Tom Ratliff, Dr. William Simmons, Carl Armour, Norma Hurley, Misty Pritt and Gabriel J. Devono, Secretary.

Others Present: Nasia Butcher, Phyllis Starkey and David Ramezan


Carl Armour led the Board in the Pledge of Allegiance.


Phyllis Starkey


A motion was made by Norma Hurley and seconded by Tom Ratliff to approve items A, B, C, D, E, and G. Motion passed 3-2 with Carl Armour and Norma Hurley voting against. There were no Volunteers listed for approval under item F.


Legal counsel was unable to attend to discuss the real estate matter.


Joe Frashure, Maintenance Director provided an in-service to board members on the subject of Preventive Maintenance.


Carl Armour reported on the Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center meeting of May 19, 2015.

Dr. William Simmons reported on RESA 7.


A motion was made by Norma Hurley and seconded by Misty Pritt to adjourn the meeting at 7:10 p.m.

Motion passed 5-0.

        B.  Student Transfers

        C.  School Volunteers

        D.  Field Trips

        E.  Policies

        F.  Curriculum



        A.  CGCC-Dr. Carl Armour – June 16, 2015

Calhoun-Gilmer Administrative Council Official Minutes June 16, 2015

Members Present:

Mr. Timothy Woodward, Presiding

Mr. Rick Gillman, State Dept.

Mrs. Jenna Jett, Calhoun

Dr. Carl Armour, Gilmer Absent: Mr. Devono

Mr. Bryan P. Sterns, Secretary

Mrs. Darlene Smithson, Proxy for Mr. Devono

Others Present:

Mrs. Lisa Moore

ITEMS-Call to Order

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Woodward at 11:02 a.m. ITEM II Agenda Adjustments

Mr. Sterns presented Council with a copy of CGCC student handbook that is being prepared for print for the 2015-16 School Year.

ITEM II-Delegations


ITEM III - Approval of Minutes

The minutes of May 19, 2015 were presented for approval. Mrs. Jett moved to approve the minutes as presented; second by Mr. Gillman. Motion carried. Vote: Unanimous.

ITEM IV-Reports

1. Option Pathway Final Report - Mr. Sterns presented council members with a final statistical report of the Option Pathway program. All members were very complimentary of the program and its apparent success for our students.

2. Articulated Credit Opportunity with WVU-P (Robotics) - Council members were made aware that representatives from WVU-P had visited the CGCC and met with Mr. Sterns and Mr. McCormick about being able to offer our students possible college credits. No final agreement was available at the time of this meeting, but Mr. Sterns assured council that it would be forthcoming and he would keep them updated.

3. CTE Performance Review - Mr. Sterns informed Council of the findings of a CTE Performance Review. The letter outlined findings of Best Practices, Commendations, and Deficiencies.

ITEM V- New Business

ABC&D Financial Matters: The list of bills, an additional list of bills, the financial statement, budget supplements and transfers, and a request for approval of budget supplements/transfers and payment of additional bills through June 30th were presented for approval, . Dr. Armour moved to approve all financial items A through D. Seconded by Jenna Jett. Motion carried and vote was unanimous.

E. CGCC Individual School Financial Report: The May report was presented.  Mr. Gillman moved to approve as presented, seconded by Dr. Armour. Motion carried, vote unanimous.

F. Contract for Calhoun CSBO for preparation of CGCC Annual Financial Statement: The council moved to approve the agreement with Mr. Dan Minney and CGCC for the preparation of the annual financial
statement for fiscal year 2014-2015 for $3,000 annually.  Motion made by Jenna Jett, seconded by Dr. Armour. Motion carried and vote was unanimous.

G. Personnel: Mr. Sterns asked for council’s approval to post the Adult Basic Education Instruction Part-time position.  Mrs. Jett made the motion to approve such posting, seconded by Mr. Gillman. Motion passed with a unanimous vote. Mr. Sterns informed council that he will repost for the Math position. He only had one resume turned in from the previous posting and no applications.

H. General Discussion: Special Education Services: Mr. Sterns informed Council that Gilmer will continue to provide services by sending Mrs. Smithson one day a week. He asked that if Calhoun could provide the same opportunity for students that they consider it. Mr. Woodward stated that he had a discussion with the new High School Principal about such service. If it can be worked out in the schedule, they will be more than willing to send someone. Simulated Workplace Drug Testing Policy: In regards to the Superintendent’s’ questions about legal ramifications of the drug testing policy of Simulated Workplace, Mr. Sterns informed council that he had addressed those concerns with the State Department. In response, Dr. D’Antoni will be speaking at the Superintendents’ Conference the latter part of this month. Mr. Sterns is in hopes that all questions can be addressed at that time. Substitute Custodian: Mr. Sterns asked council for direction on hiring a substitute custodian in the event of an extended absence of one of CGCC’s current custodians. Council advised that Mr. Sterns could prepare a posting for a substitute custodian for the facility and bring it before council.

ITEM VI - Adjournment and Scheduling of Next Meeting

With no further business occurring, the meeting was adjourned at 12:05 p.m. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Administrative Council will be Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.

        B. RESA 7- Dr. William Simmons

        C. Clarification of Assignments, Roles & Responsibilities of individual board members - request by Carl Armour

        D. Truancy-request by Carl Armour


        A. Monthly Financial Report

        B. Financial Statement

        C. Accounts Payable

        D. Curriculum

        E. 2015-2016 Board Meeting dates

The next Regular Board Meeting is Monday, August 17, 2015


“Every School Day Matters!!”

The Gilmer Free Press

As kindergarten through 12th grade students return to the classrooms on Thursday, August 13, 2015, we want to welcome our students, parents, and school staff members to a great year.

There are plans being made throughout our community to add more support for our students’ success, including the need to attend school because “every school day matters!!”

Community team efforts are being set in place to encourage school attendance, parent engagement activities, Title I countywide events, team building activities and student leadership initiatives.

We want our students to know that they are important and their education is important; therefore “every school day matters!”

Welcome back to school Gilmer County!

Gilmer County Schools

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