WV Native John Nash and Wife Killed in Crash

MONROE, NJ – West Virginia native and Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Nash and his wife Alicia were killed Saturday in an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike.

John Nash was 86 and Alicia Nash was 82. The couple, who had been married for nearly 60 years, lived in Princeton Junction, NJ. Nash, who was born in Bluefield, WV, in 1926, was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in 1994. He struggled with paranoid schizophrenia, a central theme of the 2001 film “A Beautiful Mind” starring Russell Crowe as Nash.

Crowe said he was “stunned” to hear the news. “My heart goes out to John and Alicia and family,” he said. “An amazing partnership, beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.”

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Alicia Nash cared for her husband while he battled mental illness and they both became advocates for treatment.

According to his biography, Nash’s mother, Margaret Virginia Martin, was born in Bluefield, studied at WVU and became a school teacher. His father, John Nash, Sr., was an electrical engineer who moved to Bluefield to work for Appalachian Electric Power Company.

The younger Nash attended public schools in Bluefield before starting his college studies at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh.

Nash described Bluefield during his youth as “a center of businessmen, lawyers, etc. that owed its existence to the railroad and the rich nearby coal fields of West Virginia and western Virginia. So, from an intellectual viewpoint, it offered the sort of challenge that one had to learn from the world’s knowledge rather than from the knowledge of the immediate community.”

His Nobel Prize was for a paper he wrote on the mathematics of decision-making. Nash spent his professional academic career at Princeton and MIT where he was a leader in the study of mathematics.

At the time of his death Nash was still on the faculty at Princeton as a senior research mathematician.

Multiple media outlets reported the two were thrown from a taxi when the vehicle crashed into a guard rail.

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West Virginia News   15052401

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PRUNTYTOWN, WV — Memorial Day weekend will bring thousands of people into Taylor County to honor some of our nation’s fallen soldiers at two separate Memorial Day events.

On Sunday at 3 PM, shuttle buses and golf carts will take people up to the WV National Cemetery to pay their respects to our nation’s fallen heroes in a ceremony featuring Fred Buchanan, the American Legion State Commander.

A second event will be held Monday. Starting at 10 AM, a Memorial Day parade will march through Grafton and conclude with a ceremony at the Grafton National Cemetery.

“Literally thousands of people involved,” said Keith Barnes, Director of the National Cemetery in Pruntytown on Thursday’s edition of “The Mike Queen Show” heard on the MetroNews affilated AJR News Network. “It’s actually a very short parade in terms of distance, but there’s so many people involved it takes two hours or so to make it’s way through.”

The Memorial Day remembrance in Taylor County continues to be one of the nation’s longest-running traditions.

“It’s the longest continuously running Memorial Day program,” said Barnes. “It started all the way as far back as 1868 or even 1867.”

On Monday, those paying respect will be joined by Kevin T. Hanretta, the Assistant Secretary for Operations, Security, and Preparedness for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.

“We’re honored to have him with us this year, and moving forward maybe we’ll try to get more of the speakers out of the D.C. area for us,” said Barnes.

He said preparations for Memorial Day are a year-round process.

“It’s almost year-round working as a committee organizing that.”

For those seeking to honor specific veterans, they can look up names in a database provided at the Kiosk located in the Administration building.

The West Virginia National Cemetery in Pruntytown is one of 131 national cemeteries in 40 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

There are approximately 5500 people interned at the West Virginia National Cemetery. It is made up of a combination of veterans, their spouses, and their children.


BRADSHAW, WV - A project that mentors high school students in McDowell County is seeing success.

Eighteen students from Mount View High in Welch and River View High in Bradshaw were chosen a year ago to participate.

Nearly all of them took their first plane trip last summer to Washington, D.C., where they visited college campuses, job sites and met members of Congress. Each student was assigned a mentor to regularly discuss school, life issues and choices.

Seventeen seniors in the program will graduate with their classmates. The other participant is a junior.

Some have had rough lives in broken homes. Most will be the first in their families to go to college.

They’re the first wave in the three-year Broader Horizons mentoring program funded by a $300,000 grant from AT&T, one of more than 120 partners in Reconnecting McDowell.

That project led by the American Federation of Teachers aims to improve opportunities in the county.


A look at some of the participants in the Broader Horizons high school mentoring program in McDowell County:


Rayven Bailey is pregnant, but it won’t hamper her plans to major in elementary education at Bluefield State College. She wants to remain in McDowell County after college. “There are kids here that have parents that have drug habits and they don’t have anybody to really look up to,“ Bailey said.

Rashawn Brooks played basketball in high school and plans to study sports management at West Virginia State. He splits time at his own home and with his grandmother, a big influence in his life. He said the mentoring program helped teach him to communicate better.

Toni Campbell’s mother died when she was young. She lives with a grandmother and cousin, and has siblings and step-siblings “too many to count.“ She plans to study biology at Concord University and wants to become an anesthesiologist.

Brandon Grubb plans to study forensic investigations at West Virginia University Tech. Early in life, floods forced his family to move to another part of the county. Due to his career path, he doesn’t anticipate working in McDowell County after college.

Emily Hicks will graduate third in her class with honors. The captain of the cheerleading team hopes to study elementary education at Davis & Elkins College but worries about finding enough available scholarships and grants. “It’s a lot of money coming where we come from,“ she said.

Marlin Marrs will study physical therapy at Bluefield College in Virginia. The son of a single mom played baseball, basketball and football. He said all youth in the county would benefit if officials built a recreation center.


Hannah Barnett will study communications at Concord on a service-based scholarship. During the mentoring program, she enjoyed a tour of the University of Maryland’s student-run broadcast studios..

Emmilea Hatfield has bounced from home to home and lives with a friend’s grandmother. She said her parents abused drugs and alcohol, had no jobs and didn’t go to college. “I decided that I wanted to be the complete opposite of them.“ She’ll study elementary education or social work at West Virginia State.

Christian Nealen is the only junior among the group. His father committed suicide a year ago. Nealen is involved in more than a dozen activities and clubs and takes advanced-placement classes. “I keep my head up,“ he said. “I have plenty of support. This community is a loving environment to be around and a great place to grow up in.“

Matt Thornsbury lives with his grandmother and unemployed father in a former coal camp. Thornsbury plans to study English and political science at West Virginia University. For Thornsbury, maintaining solid grades wasn’t the problem. Finding a way to pay for college was. “There’s not a lot of money floating around down here,“ said Thornsbury’s father, Rick. “He’s toughed it out.“


CHARLESTON, WV - Several West Virginia attractions are participating in the National Endowment for the Arts initiative to offer free admission to active-duty military members and their families.

The Blue Star Museums program includes more than 2,000 museums across the country offering the deal starting next week through Labor Day.

Participating state attractions are the Huntington Museum of Art, the Children’s Discovery Museum in Morgantown, the Morgantown History Museum, the Watts Museum at West Virginia University, the Marion County Historical Society Museum in Fairmont, the Museums of Oglebay Institute in Wheeling, the Arthurdale Heritage museum, and the Mountaineer Military Museum in Weston.

The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston will begin offering free gallery admission to military families next Wednesday.


FAIRMONT, WV - A training seminar for people wanting to become production coordinators in the film industry is set for next month in Fairmont.

The West Virginia Film Office will hold the seminar June 19 and 20 at the I-79 Technology Park.

Skills training will be provided by the Atlanta-based Film Industry Training Seminars.

Those who complete the training will be eligible for listing in the film office’s online Crew and Vendor Directory.

The seminar is free for current military members, $40 for high school seniors and college students, and $50 for directory members.

The public can register for $60. After June 10 that cost increases to $75.

Film Office director Pam Haynes says more than 185 people have been trained in different skill sets at other seminars over the past two years.


CHARLESTON, WV - Coal giant Murray Energy expects to lay off more than 1,800 mine workers, most from West Virginia.

The St. Clairsville, Ohio-based company announced Friday it plans to lay off 1,417 West Virginia miners. Illinois would lose 162 jobs. Ohio would lose 249.

The Monongalia County mine would be hit hardest, with 588 layoffs. It was temporarily idled in March.

Murray attributed layoffs to natural gas competition and blasted the Obama administration, which is pushing climate change regulation targeting coal-fired power plants.

Media reports say CEO Robert Murray mentioned the layoffs Thursday at the North American Coalbed Methane Forum in Cecil, Pennsylvania.

Last month, Murray announced 214 layoffs, including 128 contractors, at three underground West Virginia mines.

Murray bought five underground northern West Virginia mines from CONSOL Energy in December 2013.

World News   15052401

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DETROIT, MI —Recently crowned as the oldest person in the world, Michigan resident Jeralean Talley turned 116 years old on Saturday.

Talley became the world’s oldest person last month after the death of Gertrude Weaver, who was also 116. Weaver held the title for less than a week, as she died just five days after Japan’s 117-year-old Misao Okawa.

Talley is one of three living members of the 19th century club, having been born on May 23, 1899 in Montrose, GA. In 1935, she moved to Michigan, where she married her husband, Alfred, who died at the age of 95 in 1988.

Relatives say she remains in good health, active and mentally astute. Until just a few years ago, she continued to bowl—a favorite pastime—and even mow her own lawn.

Two birthdays ago, Talley received a personally-written letter from President Barack Obama, congratulating her for being a part of an “extraordinary generation.“ This year, she received yet another well wish from her presidential pen pal.

“The breadth of your experiences and depth of your wisdom reflect the long path our Nation has traveled since 1899,“ Obama wrote. “During this time, there have been setbacks and breakthroughs, false starts and improbable victories, and through it all our country’s spirit has endured—strengthened and enriched by each generation.“

The world’s oldest woman also received a token of appreciation from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services this week—a check for $116.

Talley has never really offered a firm formula for living so long, saying simply, “It’s all in the good Lord’s hands. There’s nothing I can do about it.“

The Talleys had one child, 77-year-old Thelma Holloway, who now lives with her mother and cares for her. Jeralean also has three grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

Having lived in three different centuries, the supercentenarian has lived to see a lot. The first airplane was flown by the Wright Brothers when she was four. She was almost 13 when the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic. The automotive industry boomed when she was in her twenties. And television took off in her forties.

Talley has also witnessed all of the 20th century’s most historic events, including six American wars. She was 15 when World War I began, 40 at the start of World War II, 51 for the Korean conflict, 56 for the Vietnam War, 91 for the Gulf War and 102 for the September 11, 2001, attacks that initiated the ongoing War on Terror.

“You’re more likely to the win the lottery than to reach this age,“ said Robert D. Young, director of the Gerontology Research Group’s Supercentenarian Research and Database Division, which tracks the world’s foremost elders.

For a little more perspective, consider that William McKinley was in the White House the year Talley was born, which was also the birth year of actors Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney, gangster Al Capone, writer Ernest Hemingway, and filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock—all of whom died decades ago.

USA Today reported in March that just five people born during the 1800s were still alive. Now there are only three: Talley, Georgia resident Susannah Mushatt Jones (born July 6, 1899), and Italian citizen Emma Morano-Martinuzzi (born November 29, 1899).

Of the 47 supercentenarians alive today, according to the GRG, 45 are women. The oldest living male is 112-year-old Sakari Momoi, of Japan. The only other man on the list is 112-year-old Yasutaro Koide, also of Japan.

The oldest human being ever verified was French citizen Jeanne Calment, who lived 122 years and 164 days.


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CHARLESTON, WV  - In keeping with presidential proclamation, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today ordered all U.S. and State Flags on all state-owned facilities be lowered to half-staff from dawn until dusk, Monday, May 25, 2015 in observance of Memorial Day.

“Memorial Day is an opportunity for us to honor our family members, friends and fellow West Virginians who served in the nation’s armed forces and made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our freedom,“ Governor Tomblin said.  “As we pay tribute to our service men and women, it is also important we share the stories of their patriotism and valor. West Virginia’s military members and veterans have made significant contributions to our state’s enduring legacy of service, and we remain forever grateful for their service and sacrifice.“

Governor Tomblin asks all West Virginians to unite in prayer for permanent peace on Monday at 11 AM and to observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 PM to reflect upon the service and sacrifice of our military men and women.

AAA: Memorial Day Travel Volume Highest It Has Been in 10 Years

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MORGANTOWN, WV — If your Memorial Day weekend plans include a trip in the car, you’re certainly not alone.

According to AAA, the travel volume this weekend is expected to be the highest it’s been in a decade.

“A lot of people are looking at Memorial Day as the kickoff to summer. They’re driving to their destination and flying to spend time with family and friends. The weather forecasts in the area are supposed to be nice as well. People are taking advantage everything that has to offer,” according to Chelsea Pompeani, Public Affairs Director AAA East Central.

An estimated 37 million people will be traveling by airplane, car or bus.

Travelers will journey at least 50 miles from home.

Gas prices typically start going up this time of year. And, that’s true since January 2015.

“Going into the spring and summer time, the blends are more expensive for those months too. So, this is kind of typical,” Pompeani explained.

More than 88% of travelers, or 33 million, will travel by automobile, an increase of 5.3% over last Memorial Day.

“I think we were at $3.67 Memorial Day last year. Still we had a few million people driving as well. Now that the gas prices are lower, we see an increased population of people on the road,” she said.

Air travel prices are a bit down. Lodging and other prices may be on the rise.

“When people aren’t spending as much money on filling up their tanks, they’re using that extra cash to go and spend money on tourist destination or entertainment,” Pompeani predicted.

The 4.7% increase over Memorial Day 2014 is the highest forecast growth rate for any of the holidays tracked by AAA since Independence Day 2012.

West Virginia News   15052301

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CHARLESTON, WV — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today announced that RadioShack has agreed to destroy nearly half of the customer data it had collected and planned to sell as part of its bankruptcy sale to General Wireless.

In March, West Virginia joined a bipartisan coalition of 38 states, led by Texas, to oppose RadioShack’s sale of consumer data. Under the terms of a settlement agreement reached May 20, much of RadioShack’s 117 million files of consumer data will be destroyed, and no credit or debit card account numbers, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, or phone numbers will be transferred.

“We were very concerned about RadioShack’s proposal to sell and share private customer information, especially when customers were told that the data would never be sold,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We believe companies should abide by the promises they make to consumers, including the promise to not divulge or sell personal information.”

Morrisey said RadioShack’s desire to sell customer data would have violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act’s provisions against unfair or deceptive acts. RadioShack has 27 stores in West Virginia, according to its corporate website.

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court has approved General Wireless’ purchase of RadioShack’s entire e-commerce business, intellectual property, and remaining assets, including data on about 67 million transactions made in the past five years. That data includes information about the products sold and how they were paid for, but does not include customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, or other personal information.

General Wireless also will be allowed to retain 8.5 million email addresses of customers who specifically requested product information in the past two years. General Wireless further agreed it will not sell or share any of this customer information in the future with any other entity, including its new co-branded business partner Sprint Communications.

“This settlement is a victory for the consumers of West Virginia and other states,” Morrisey said. “The fact that so many attorneys general came together with one voice shows that protecting citizens’ private information is and should be a top priority.”


MORGANTOWN, WV – More than 800 West Virginia miners face unemployment this Memorial Day weekend. Another nearly 600 could receive layoff notices later this summer.
Murray American Energy, Inc. eliminated 829 hourly and salary mining positions at the Marshall County Coal Company, Marion County Coal Company, Ohio Coal Company and Harrison County Coal Company.

A Friday afternoon release from the company said, “We regret that, due to the vastly increased use of natural gas in the Ohio Valley area to generate electricity, the ongoing destruction of the United States coal industry by President Barack Obama, and the excessive coal severance tax in the State of West Virginia, workforce reductions and operational changes have been forced upon the Company.”

The 589 workers at the Monongalia County Coal Company have been told some of them will be laid off indefinitely effective July 21, 2015. Corporate representatives did not indicate how many of those miners could be out of work.

Various reports, including one Friday in the Wall Street Journal, said Murray Energy would be announcing major layoffs sometime Friday afternoon.

According to Cecil Roberts, United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President, miners didn’t get the news from Murray American first.

“They have done everything asked of them, and more. The fact that they had to read about these layoffs on the internet before they heard about it from their employer does a disservice to their dedication and commitment to being among the best coal miners in America,” Roberts said.

Murray American had already furloughed several hundred workers earlier this year because of large stockpiles.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issued a statement following additional reports of layoffs in the coal industry.

“Additional layoffs and mine closures are heartbreaking for our miners, their families and the communities in which they live. These cutbacks affect more than just those directly employed – they affect suppliers, support services and retailers whose businesses depend on these companies and their employees,” said Tomblin.

Murray American said it created 400 jobs when it acquired operations in West Virginia in December 2013. More than 4,000 miners have been employed by the company in the Mountain State.

Murray American also announced the elimination of 249 jobs at facilities in Ohio and 162 in Illinois.


BRISTOL, VA — Alpha Natural Resources expects to idle a Wayne County coal mine that employs more than 400 workers.

In accordance with requirements of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, notices were given today to 439 employees at Rockspring Development’s Camp Creek underground mine and processing plant regarding the expected idling of those facilities based on Alpha’s assessment of market conditions, which the Bristol, Virginia-based company attributes to weak demand for coal, depressed prices and government regulations.

The total number of employees laid off by Alpha over the past few weeks is more than 500 after 71 jobs were eliminated at four mines in Kentucky and Virginia.

According to a press release, these actions are being triggered by persistent weakness in U.S. and overseas coal demand and depressed price levels, along with government regulations that are causing electric utilities to close existing coal-fired power plants and forego construction of new coal-fired capacity. Also, according to the release, excess coal supply worldwide has contributed to sustained price weakness.

Alpha chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield said in a press release the actions are “difficult but necessary.”

“This is an unprecedented time in the coal industry and Alpha continues to take difficult but necessary actions to ensure that our production is aligned with the reduced market demand we see today and anticipate in the future,” Crutchfield said. “These actions are consistent with steps we have taken in the past to build a smaller but more sustainable portfolio of mining assets across our operational footprint.”

In the press release, Keith Hainer, Alpha executive vice president of mining operations, echoed that today’s action is an indication that production and expenses continue to be carefully analyzed to meet current and expected future demand.

“We are working to maintain flexibility and our coal-producing affiliates are rationalizing their operations and cost structure to manage effectively through these challenged markets,” he said.  “These are hard decisions because they affect good people, but these changes are necessary to help address the challenges that Alpha is facing.”

Alpha Natural Resources is one of the largest coal suppliers in the United States. With affiliate mining operations in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Wyoming, Alpha supplies metallurgical coal to the steel industry and thermal coal to generate power to customers on five continents.


CHARLESTON, WV — A yearlong renovation of the West Virginia Veterans Memorial is expected to be completed in June.

Department of Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown tells the Charleston Daily Mail that any remaining work won’t prevent the memorial from being open on Monday for Memorial Day.

The $1.6 million project includes installation of a new water system, handrails, lights and paving stones.

An architectural and engineering review conducted in 2013 found electrical and drainage issues, cracked paving stones and failing joints.

The 20-year-old oval monument at the Capitol Complex was designed by West Virginia sculptor Joseph Mullins. It has four limestone monoliths surrounded by a reflecting pool. Black granite covering the inside walls is etched with the names of more than 10,000 West Virginians who died in 20th century wars.


MORGANTOWN, WV - Recreational boaters can travel the Upper Monongahela River without hindrance for the first time in several years.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agreed to reopen the Opekiska and Hildebrand locks for recreational use. The locks will be open from 7 AM to 4 PM on weekends for a total of 18 days during the summer.

The corps also has opened the Morgantown Lock on weekends.

The agreement between the corps, the Upper Monongahela River Association and the Monongalia County Commission will make the river more accessible.

The corps closed the Opekiska and Hildebrand locks to recreational use in 2012 because of budget cuts. The Morgantown Lock previously was closed on weekends.

West Virginia Accidents   15052301

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JANE LEW, WV — Authorities are investigating a logging accident that killed a worker in Lewis County.

Police tell media outlets that 24-year-old Jacob McClain of French Creek in Upshur County was killed on Tuesday while cutting down a tree.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department says the tree fell into another tree, causing it to fall on top of McClain.

McClain was an employee of Big Run Timber Company.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.

West Virginia Arrests   15052301

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MARTINSBURG, WV —A former Berkeley County sheriff’s deputy stands accused of assaulting and battering his wife multiple times and threatening to shoot her.

A Berkeley County Grand Jury indicted 43-year-old Robert Lippman on multiple counts including one count of malicious assault, two counts of domestic assault and six counts of domestic battery.

The indictment contains allegations dating to August 2013, when Lippman is accused of strangling Cheryle Lippman and jamming the barrel of a loaded handgun into her chest.

The indictment also states that in June 2014 Lippman allegedly smothered his estranged wife with a pillow, injuring her eye.

In July 2014, he is accused of pointing a handgun at her and pulling the trigger, as well as slamming her face into a piece of furniture and striking her with his fists and choking her.

Lippman resigned from the sheriff’s department May 05.


SPRINGFIELD, MO — A Harrison County man who failed to appear for sentencing on various charges May 07 was arrested Thursday in Missouri

Shinnston native Kevin Ford, 41, was apprehended at a Value Place Hotel.

He was wanted by Harrison County police on a warrant for a series of crimes. The charges stemmed from a series of altercations that involved battery, DUI, resisting arrest and obstruction. Ford had been involved in a vehicle pursuit in Clarksburg.

Ford entered a guilty plea to several charges March 05 and was on bail pending his sentencing. He will appear before a Missouri judge before returning to Harrison County for sentencing.


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U.S.A. News   15052301

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HOUSTON, TX—A home in a popular Houston neighborhood valued at nearly $400,000 has been put on the block for the sale price of $1 and one compelling essay.

Husband and wife Michael and Stephanie Wachs are moving to a home closer to their daughter’s preschool and want the owners of their old home to move in without being burdened by a mortgage.

They are asking hopeful buyers to submit a 200-word essay along with a $150 offer fee to bid on their 1,056-square-foot (98-square-metre), two-bedroom cottage.

It would take about 2,500 offer fees to collect the home’s appraised value. As of Friday morning, 300 essays had come in, but not all of the applicants had paid the offer fee.

The essayist chosen will be responsible for the taxes, title policy and $1 contract price.

“It’s not a contest. These are heartstring letters, which are common in real-estate transactions when you have multiple offers on a house,” Michael Wachs said.

They were inspired when they read about a Maine bed and breakfast being sold in a similar fashion.

The couple is asking close friends and family not to apply and for potential buyers not to include any identifying information in the essays, which are due by mid-June.

If they do not choose a buyer, they will refund all offer fees.

“My wife and I have the same tastes so we’ll probably split the reading work in half evenly and then each come back with our 20 favorites and narrow it down from there,” Michael Wachs said.


CHICAGO, IL—As a virulent avian influenza outbreak continues to spread across the Midwestern United States, some egg-dependent companies are contemplating drastic steps: importing eggs from overseas or looking to egg alternatives.

A spokeswoman for grain giant Archer Daniels Midland Co said that, as egg supplies have tightened and prices risen, the company has received numerous inquiries from manufacturers about the plant-based egg substitutes it makes.

And with a strong dollar bolstering the buying power of U.S. importers, some companies are scouting for egg supplies abroad.

“The U.S. has never imported any significant amount of eggs, because we’ve always been a very low-cost producer,“ said Tom Elam of FarmEcon, an agricultural consulting company. “Now, that’s no longer the case.“

Still, companies wanting to import eggs may have to look far afield.

“Canada is short on eggs and has been buying heavily from the U.S. for the last several years,“ said Rick Brown, a senior vice-president of Urner Barry, a commodity market analysis firm. “Mexico has been dealing with its own outbreaks of avian influenza, so they’re banned from importing into the U.S. The logical place people will be looking now would be Europe.“

Avril, a farmer-controlled agri-food group that owns France’s largest egg brand, Matines, said it has seen an increase recently in demand from the United States and elsewhere in the Americas and plans to start making shipments in June.


Meanwhile, companies sticking with egg suppliers closer to home are facing sharply higher prices as a result of the outbreak, which has so far affected some 39 million birds. Nearly one-quarter of the hens that lay “breaker eggs” - which include liquid, dried or frozen eggs used by food manufacturers - have either died or are slated to be euthanized.

The outbreak has led to a sharp uptick in the wholesale price of such eggs, from 63-cents a dozen in late April, when the first egg-laying flock was reported infected, to $1.83 a dozen this week, Brown said.

The wholesale price of “shell eggs,“ typically sold in cartons at grocery stores, has also risen, from $1.19 a dozen in late April to $2.03 a dozen this week, Brown said.

Nevertheless, some food makers are turning to the more expensive shell eggs to supplement supplies, although that means an additional cost to send the eggs to a breaking facility that will crack the shells, Elam said.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs predict consumers will ultimately spend an additional $7.5 billion to $8 billion because of the egg supply squeeze.

Nestlé SA - which uses eggs for some of its Dreyer’s, Edy’s and Häagen-Dazs ice cream products - said it is braced for shortages and working with suppliers to help protect hens.

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc told Reuters it will leave it up to franchisees to decide whether to swallow the cost hikes they’re seeing or pass them on to consumers.


For some companies, having an adequate supply of fertilized eggs can be a matter of life or death. Some vaccine makers, including Merck & Co Inc, maintain their own hen flocks to produce eggs used for incubating vaccines that protect against diseases such as measles and mumps.

Merck said it is taking no chances with its chicken flocks as avian influenza continues to spread: Security is tight around the birds, and the health of the hens is continuously monitored.

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, said it, too, is keeping close tabs on the outbreak – particularly with the state agriculture department in Pennsylvania, home to some of its suppliers and the U.S.‘s fourth largest egg-laying flock. So far, no avian influenza cases have been identified there.

“We continue to maintain preventive measures for our egg supply system, including biosecurity and physical security procedures, to provide our suppliers with protection from being affected by this or any avian outbreak,“ the company told Reuters in a statement.

And GlaxoSmithKline PLC told Reuters it is reinforcing biosafety standards at more than 30 Canadian egg-laying farms that are dedicated to producing eggs for the company’s human flu vaccines.

The company has more egg supplies than it needs for its flu vaccine production in Canada and Germany, a spokeswoman said.

But as the bird flu outbreak spreads in the U.S., she added, “we are monitoring the current situation closely and have alerted all of our supply farms.”

GCHS 2015 Graduation - Friday Night

At 7:30 PM tonight, Gilmer County High School’s Class of 2015 will take their next step into the journey to tomorrow as they receive their diplomas in the annual Commencement Ceremony.

This year’s Commencement Ceremony will be held at Glenville State College’s Waco Center on Mineral Road in Glenville, WV.

GCHS Graduation will begin at 7:30 PM, doors will open at 6:30 PM.

All parents and guests must enter through the front entrance of the WACO Center.

A reception honoring the Class of 2015 will be held following graduation.

The public is cordially invited to join the celebration to commemorate the achievement of this milestone in the lives of these students.

The following three students are graduating at the top of their class from Gilmer County High School in Glenville, West Virginia.

All three are Top Scholars and have earned a GPA of 4.00.

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Katie Benson is the daughter of Neal and Renita Benson of Glenville, West Virginia.

Katie is the President of the Student Council and Vice-President of the National Honor Society.

She played volleyball and runs track.

Katie has been accepted in the Honors Program at Glenville State College, where she plans to attend and to major in Elementary Education.

The Gilmer Free Press

Zachary Chapman is the son of Jim and Lora Chapman of Burnsville, West Virginia.

While in high school, Zach ran Cross Country and Track and was a member of the Varsity Boys Basketball team.

He was active in Student Council and the National Honor Society.

Upon graduation, Zach will attend West Virginia University where he has been accepted into the Honors Program and will dual major in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.


The Gilmer Free Press

Trevor Wright is the son of Willard and Michele Wright of Glenville.

He is a senior at Gilmer County High School who has participated in the National Honor Society as well as the school concert and marching band.

He plans on attending Glenville State College upon graduation and pursing a degree in education.

The following students are graduating with Highest Honors:

  •  Matthew Montgomery

  •  Cody Croasmun

  •  Jaylin Johnson

  •  Katelyn Miller

  •  Emerald Domas

The following students are graduating with High Honors:

  •  Linda Miller

  •  Carissa Wood

  •  Jordanne Pritt

  •  Wesley Self

  •  Dakota Prevatte

  •  Sebastian Morris

  •  Michaela Ferguson

  •  Terri Cottrill

  •  Shelby Wine

The following students are graduating with Honors:

  •  Markeem Morris

  •  Jenna Arden

  •  Kyle Collins

  •  Sharon McCumbers

  •  Latisha Riffle

  •  Clara Meadows

  •  Leslie Hickman

  •  Christina Carafelli

  •  Nicholas Persinger

The following students are also candidates for graduation this year:

  •  Taylor Ashley
  •  Sabrina Bailey
  •  Aubrey Blizzard
  •  Taylor Carder
  •  Austin Conrad
  •  Adam Cottrell
  •  Justen Crouch
  •  Tabatha Curry
  •  Ashley Davisson
  •  Anthony Dean
  •  Nicholas Fields
  •  Kristen Fisher
  •  Curtis Fisher
  •  Dakota Fox
  •  Jacob Frashure
  •  Brandi Frye
  •  Jesse Gillespie
  •  Steven Godfrey
  •  Cory Grogg
  •  William Hull
  •  Bradley Jenkins
  •  Tammy Jenkins
  •  Austin Johnson
  •  Gwendolyn Jones
  •  Ciara Junkins
  •  Tia LaGrone
  •  Devin Leahey
  •  Michaela Luzader
  •  Tyler McNemar
  •  Seka Miller
  •  Charles Moore
  •  Carmen Murphy
  •  Chelsea Oiler
  •  Austin Ratliff
  •  Kyle Sandy
  •  Isaac Sealey
  •  Dillon Self
  •  Kayla Stewart
  •  Valerie Smith
  •  Jessica Welch
  •  Hailey Wilson

The Gilmer Free Press

Success Varies in Improving Graduation Rates

The record high American graduation rate masks large gaps among low-income students and those with disabilities compared to their peers.

There are also wide disparities among states in how well they are tackling the issue. (~~  Associated Press, May 12, 2015 -  KIMBERLY HEFLING AP Education Writer ~~)

The Gilmer Free Press
States Vary in Success at Improving High School Grad Rates

The record high American graduation rate masks large gaps among low income students and those with disabilities compared to their peers.

There are also wide disparities among states in how well they are tackling the issue.

“This year, we need to sound a stronger alarm,“ said Gen. Colin Powell and his wife, Alma Powell, in a letter released Tuesday as part of an annual Grad Nation report produced in part by their America’s Promise Alliance organization. The report is based on 2013 rates using federal data, the most recent available.

The nation’s overall graduation rate has reached 81%, a figure frequently touted by Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Duncan said Tuesday in a statement that the gains are encouraging, but “we know that more hard work remains to truly prepare all — not just some — students for success in college.“

Here are five things to know about high school graduation rates:


More students are graduating from high school than ever before, with large gains among African-American and Hispanic students. Since 2006, the percentage of black students graduating has risen 9 percentage points to 71% and Hispanic students has risen 15 percentage points to 75%.

The improvement is due to a variety of factors, including greater consistency in comparing graduation rates from state to state and the development of systems to identify and target at-risk students. The increase in the graduation rate also has been accompanied by a decline in the number of “dropout factory” schools, where 60% or less of students graduate.

The report estimates that the U.S. is on track for a 90% high school graduation rate by 2020.


Graduation rates among the states vary, ranging from 90% in Iowa to 69% in Oregon.

Gains have been fueled, in part, by large growth in some of the nation’s largest states, including California, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. But 15% of the nation’s high school students attend school in New York, Illinois, Washington and Arizona, where rates are declining or stagnating.


Students with disabilities graduate at a rate of 62%, 20 points behind the national average. The rate is 2.9 percentage points higher than two years earlier.

These students include those with intellectual disabilities with significant limitations, but also a wide range of other disabilities such as autism and speech impairments.

It’s estimated that 85% of students with disabilities can do grade-level work, said Katy Neas, executive vice president for public affairs at Easter Seals. Neas said there have been improvements in the number of students with disabilities earning standard diplomas, but historically low expectations kept these students from getting the support they need.

“When these kids get the right services and support, they can be successful in grade level academic work,“ Neas said.


The graduation rate for low-income students was 73%. It’s moved up 3 points in the last two years, but is still 8 percentage points below the national overall rate.

In Kentucky and Texas, 85% of low-income students get a diploma. In contrast, 65% or less of low-income students do in Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Wyoming, New Mexico or Washington.

In Kentucky, where there’s about a 1 percentage-point difference between the graduation rate of low-income students and the overall population, Dale Winkler, a state education official, said there’s been a years-long effort to tackle the problem. The efforts include districts and later the state raising the compulsory attendance age to 18, changing the state’s standards and assessments system, required interventions for students off track, and incentivized early graduation, Winkler said.

“It’s a lot of work,“ Winkler said, adding that districts have school leaders who have been engaged in helping to make improvements.


Six states combined to educate more than 70% of Hispanic or Latino students, but Texas is the only one that has a graduation rate for these students above the national average of 81%.

Michigan, New York, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, California and Illinois are collectively home to more than 40% of African American students. These states graduate only about 6 out of 10 black students or have recently had declines.

“Minority students continue to face barriers in their academic success, including discipline disparities that push them off track for graduation, language barriers and lack of access to rigorous coursework that will enable them to be successful in college and career,“ the report said.


Online SOURCE.

TownePlace Suites Donates to UHC Pediatrics

Bridgeport, WV – The TownePlace Suites® by Marriott is giving the gift of warmth to children who need a little extra comfort. Continuing the success of its “Real Giving” program, the TownePlace Suites brand donated 50 fleece blankets to United Hospital Center’s pediatric unit; providing a sense of security, love and comfort to young patients.

The Gilmer Free Press
(L-R) Sharon Mitchell, RN, nurse manager of pediatrics at UHC; Sheila Bailey,
general manager, TownePlace Suites in Bridgeport and Kayla Grant,
sales manager, TownePlace Suites in Bridgeport

“Pediatrics at UHC is extremely appreciative for the donated blankets that were made with great care and love for the children of our region who need to be hospitalized,” said Mitchell. “For a young child a stay in the hospital can be a traumatic experience, these blankets help to calm that fear.” 

Through volunteer service and donation opportunities, the national “real giving” program engages TownePlace Suites service team members, owners, franchisees and customers to work together with local businesses and volunteers, establish partnerships with local hospitals, and benefit people in their local communities.

Celebrating 50 Years of Head Start

The Gilmer Free Press

Fifty years ago this week, Head Start was launched across the nation. At the announcement in the White House Rose Garden, President Johnson called it “one of the most constructive, and one of the most sensible, and also one of the most exciting programs that this Nation has ever undertaken.”

A few years later, a class was established in my home town of Hinton, West Virginia.

In a rural town like Hinton, Head Start was one of the only early educational opportunities available. It meant a lot to the families there and still does today. I know, because it meant a lot to my family.

That’s right; I’m a Head Start kid.

In that little classroom, I hatched chickens, listened to stories, and made lifelong friends. Thanks to Head Start, and an excellent teacher, Mrs. Rita Pack, I learned to love learning, and that passion has stayed with me my entire life.

I did get a head start, and that’s a foundation all children should have.

Head Start was founded on the principles that education is the door to opportunity, and that everyone, no matter their background, deserves a shot at a productive life.

Since it was founded in the summer of 1965, Head Start, along with Early Head Start, has served more than 32 million children. This year alone, those programs will help more than 1 million children prepare for school and build a foundation for a healthier, happier life. 

But this work doesn’t just help children; it strengthens families and our entire community.

Parents are powerful partners, and as the original multi-generation program, Head Start helps them create and implement family strategies and supports their ability to work.

It also has a long history of supporting the field of early learning. Using the best and latest developmental science and research, Head Start provides guidance on best-practices and promotes excellence in teaching.

Stronger students, families, and teachers have an impact on all of us. A Rand research brief found that high quality early childhood interventions generate a return to society ranging from $1.80 to $17.07 for each dollar spent.

And Head Start continues to grow and improve.

We recently awarded the last of the $500 million Congress budgeted for new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grants, adding up to 275 new grants. Those grants will serve over 30,000 new Early Head Start children.

In the coming month, we will issue the revised Head Start Performance Standards for public comment. These standards are rooted in evidence-based research and will improve classroom quality and program transparency. We also think they will make it a little easier to manage programs by eliminating out-of-date requirements.

As we look to the next 50 years and beyond, we can see that the need for Head Start is greater than ever.

Today, more than 16 million children in the United States – 22 percent of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. And that includes a disproportionate number of children of color: nearly 40 percent of black children and 35 percent of Hispanic children. With the struggles that families in poverty face, less than half of these children go to school prepared with the skills they need to be ready to learn and they are 10 times as likely to drop out of high school.

In light of these facts, and as we celebrate this historic milestone, now is the time to rededicate ourselves to ensuring all children have the resources they need and deserve.

Early education is a top priority for this administration. That’s why President Obama’s budget requests over $10 billion to provide more children with more intensive high-quality Head Start services. Unfortunately, the Republican budget resolution would cut funding, closing off access to these important services for tens of thousands of children. We believe that ensuring America’s children have a strong foundation no matter where they come from is essential to our nation’s future, and we will continue to push for services that give children opportunities for success.

President Kennedy said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” There is no better investment we can make than investing in the minds of our children, and with Head Start and Early Head Start, we know our returns will be great.

West Virginia News   15052201

The Gilmer Free Press


FAIRMONT, WV — Mon Power in West Virginia is using helicopters with giant saws attached to trim trees across the state.

The company said in a press release Wednesday they plan to use aerial saws to trim trees along 700 miles of transmission lines through the end of the year. The effort is meant to help lessen the frequency of weather-associated power outages.

Holly Kauffman, president of FirstEnergy’s West Virginia Operations, says the aerial saw doesn’t replace conventional tree trimming methods, but it is an efficient, cost-effective tool that can trim more vegetation in a day than a ground crew can clear in a week.

The highly-trained helicopter pilots can hover and maneuver the saw’s multiple, 24-inch rotary blades to cut cleanly and rapidly through tree limbs up to 10 inches in diameter.


CHARLESTON, WV — Both Huntington and Charleston show population loses since 2010, and Morgantown is now the state’s third-largest city, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Census estimates released Thursday show Charleston had 50,404 residents in 2014. That’s down about 1,000 from the 2010 Census.

The estimates show Huntington remains the second-largest city at 48,807, losing about 330 residents since the 2010 Census.

Morgantown is the third largest at 31,073 residents. The home of West Virginia University has grown by 4.7% in four years.

Parkersburg has seen a population drop of about 500 residents since the 2010 Census and slipped to fourth at 30,981 residents.

Despite a drop of 700, Wheeling remains fifth at 27,790 residents.

Rounding out the top 10 were Weirton (19,362), Fairmont (18,740), Martinsburg (17,743), Beckley (17,238) and Clarksburg (16,242).

Besides Morgantown, Fairmont and Martinsburg were the only other top 10 cities to gain residents since 2010, according to the Census estimates.

Among other cities to see gains were Bluefield, Bridgeport, Buckhannon, Charles Town, Elkins, Hurricane and Oak Hill.


BRIDGEPORT WV — It was all smiles during a light-hearted meeting of the Bridgeport Airport Authority Wednesday afternoon.

Airport Director Rick Rock reported that the North Central West Virginia Airport was in the midst of having it’s best financial year in history.

“Our net income is up 42 and a half%,” said Rock. “We’re on solid footing with our financials, and we’re very excited about the position we’re in.”

Rock aims to meet a growing demand, highlighting the airport’s trips to Myrtle Beach and Florida.

“I certainly want to see air service development for our community and the ability to meet the needs so we’re basically a gateway to the world from West Virginia,” he said Wednesday afternoon.

Rock cited one of the area’s top resources, the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center, as part of the airport’s continued success.

“Without the opportunity to creat the labor force, we wouldn’t be able to grow and have the healthy numbers that we do have in our local aerospace industry.”

Demand at the airport has created a need for eight additional TSA agents in the future. Rock said he’s seen people apply to work at this airport from all over the country, including Alaska.

“It’s very rewarding to us,” he said. “We’re proud of that. We feel like that we are creating a good hub for aerospace and aviation, and we want to see that grow.”

The airport begins seasonal flights to Myrtle Beach next month.


CHARLESTON, WV – The Vandalia Award, West Virginia’s highest folklife honor, will be presented to Ken Sullivan of Charleston, Kanawha County, on Friday, May 22, at the 39th annual Vandalia Gathering. Sullivan will receive the award during a 7 PM ceremony and concert in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater in the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston.

Sullivan has been the executive director of the West Virginia Humanities Council since 1997. While there, he pitched his dream project, the publication of a West Virginia encyclopedia, to the board of directors, which endorsed it. The project took nearly a decade to complete and resulted in a 927-page book that has earned accolades. The publication now has an award-winning online version available at

Another project Sullivan spearheaded was the restoration of the 1836 MacFarland-Hubbard House. He signed papers for the property in 1999, and the building became the Humanities Council’s headquarters in 2000.

Prior to the Humanities Council, Sullivan worked as editor of Goldenseal, the magazine of West Virginia traditional life, serving concurrently as folklife director for the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. He founded the West Virginia State Liars Contest, held annually during the Vandalia Gathering at the Culture Center and State Capitol grounds, and has hosted the popular event for more than 30 years.

Sullivan is a native of the Virginia mountains, with Appalachian roots reaching back more than 200 years. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, all in the field of American history. He moved to West Virginia in 1976.

The Vandalia Award is presented annually in a ceremony in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Culture Center. The individuals who receive the award embody the spirit of the state’s folk heritage and are recognized for their lifetime contributions to West Virginia and its traditional culture.


YOKOHAMA, JAPAN  – Governor Tomblin today continued to field video questions from students in the Mountain State as he traveled to Yokohama to represent West Virginia at Japan’s largest automotive trade show. In a special twist, today’s questions came from Japanese students who now live in West Virginia, where their parents work for Japanese companies that have invested in the state.

In 1997, to serve the growing number of Japanese families living and working in West Virginia, the state Department of Education, in conjunction with Marshall University, opened the West Virginia International School. Many Japanese companies with operations in the state send employees to West Virginia for three- to five-year rotations, after which the employees and their families return to Japan. The International School, which meets on Saturdays, allows those employees’ children to supplement their regular schooling with instruction in Japanese language arts, math and social studies, to avoid gaps in their Japanese educations.

The West Virginia International School is one of only 100 schools in the country for Japanese students living in the United States.

Today’s questions for Governor Tomblin came from a second-grader and a seventh-grader enrolled at the International School. The first student asked the governor about his favorite place during this trade mission. His answer was Nagoya, the Japanese automotive hub where the mission began—which happens to be the delighted student’s hometown. The other student asked Governor Tomblin his favorite food he has eaten in Japan (answer: tempura, a dish of fried fish or vegetables).

“I’ve truly enjoyed being able to connect with folks back home and share a few of my experiences during this trade mission,” Governor Tomblin said.  “I’d like to give special thanks to all those who submitted questions and shared an interest in West Virginia’s growing relationship with Japan. We are headed back to West Virginia after a very productive and successful 10 days in Nagoya, Tokyo and Yokohama.”

The West Virginia International School serves more than 30 Japanese students and is hosted at Scott Teays Elementary School in Scott Depot.  The school uses materials from the Japanese Ministry of Education.

Did You Know?  05.22.15

The Gilmer Free Press

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


An ex-con accused in the slayings of a wealthy Washington family and their housekeeper is arrested, a week after authorities say the family was killed and their mansion was set on fire.


As first lady, she endorsed planned tax breaks for private foundations and wealthy donors at the same time her husband’s foundation was soliciting donations for his presidential library.


After months of debate, Ireland votes on whether to permit gay marriage despite Catholic Church opposition.


Senate supporters of Obama’s trade agenda hope to fend off hostile amendments and send a major trade bill to the House.


Attention turns to the ocean off Southeast Asia’s west coast as naval vessels search for stranded boat people- and Myanmar’s navy rescues more than 200 - as the U.S. military prepares air patrols.


The operator of a broken oil pipeline that fouled a California shoreline says it could take months before investigators are able to determine what caused the incident.


Farmers expect to get an answer on their offer to give up a quarter of their water this year in exchange for being spared deeper mandatory cutbacks.


A South Korean court suspends the prison term of the former Korean Air executive whose onboard tantrum delayed a flight last year.


A strong fan base pushed the land Down Under into Europe’s favorite songfest for the first time in its six decade history.


Stephen Curry scores 33 points to turn back another spectacular performance by James Harden, and Golden State holds off Houston 99-98 to take a 2-0 lead in the West finals.


The decision allows the state’s attorney to press ahead despite criticism she’s part of an “overzealous prosecution” in the Baltimore man’s death.


The takeover of the historic desert town of Palmyra means the extremists now control more territory in Syria than anyone else.


The extremists’ offensive in Ramadi included about 30 suicide vehicle bombs, including 10 with great explosive power, the U.S. says.


Final Senate passage of legislation to strengthen the administration’s hand in global trade talks would clear the way for a fierce struggle in the House.


The organization’s president raises the possibility of allowing local Scout chapters to decide on their own whether to allow gays as adult volunteers and paid staff.


Some motorcyclists have complained that police acted too hastily in making arrests and scooped up riders who had nothing to do with the violence.


Students in 11 states and the District of Columbia will spend less time next year taking tests based on the Common Core standards.


The last time the late-night TV host had so many viewers was in February 1994, when his show aired after CBS’ telecast of the Winter Olympics.


Hawaii’s Waimanalo Bay, featuring powdery white coral sand, heads the annual top 10 list compiled by a professor known as Dr. Beach.


This month, Washington’s right fielder hit six home runs in a span of three games - but was ejected twice in a span of seven games.

U.S.A. News   15052201

The Gilmer Free Press


NEW YORK, NY—Some 18,000 species, great and small, were discovered in 2014, adding to the 2 million already known, scientists said on Thursday, as they released a “Top 10” list that highlights the diversity of life.

The 10 are “a reminder of the wonders awaiting us,“ said Quentin Wheeler, president of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, which issues the list. An estimated 10 million species are still unknown to science.

But researchers have to move fast: development, poaching, and climate change are driving plants and animals to extinction faster than science can discover them.

Two animals made the list because of unusual parenting.

A wasp from China is the first animal found to use chemical weapons to thwart predators that might have designs on its offspring. Mothers fill part of their nest with dead ants, which give off volatile chemicals that mask the scent of larvae, throwing off would-be predators.

A frog from Indonesia breaks the rule of anuran reproduction. Rather than laying eggs, as almost all the world’s 6,455 species of frogs do, or giving birth to froglets, it deposits tadpoles into shallow pools.

One of the top 10, dubbed “the chicken from hell,“ is extinct. The feathered dinosaur whose partial skeletons were unearthed in the Dakotas was a contemporary of T. rex and Triceratops.

Two species caught the list-makers’ attention for their performance art.

A spider from the sand dunes of Morocco cartwheels to thwart predators, moving twice as fast as when it runs, while a pufferfish from Japan turns out to be the creator of intricate circles on the sea floor which had mystified scientists for 20 years. Males construct the circles, meant to attract females, by swimming and wriggling in the sand.

Since no top-10 list would be complete without an entry that made it on looks, SUNY included a photogenic blue, red, and gold sea slug from Japan. More than a pretty face, it could shed light on how algae in a sea slug’s gut produce nutrients for the slug out of corals it eats.

The release of the top 10 is timed around the May 23 birthday of Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), the Swedish botanist and zoologist who founded modern taxonomy.

The full list, with photographs, is H E R E.


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The IRS is refunding a total of $10 million to thousands of tax preparers who paid to take a competency test, the agency announced Thursday.

A federal court struck down IRS regulations in 2013 that sought to require some tax preparers to get training and take a test. An appellate court upheld the ruling last year, saying the IRS lacked the legal authority to mandate the testing.

The IRS said about 89,000 tax preparers paid $116 apiece to take the test. The agency said it is issuing refunds to those preparers.

Letters will be mailed to those getting refunds on May 28 and checks will be mailed on June 02, the IRS said. Return preparers took the test between November 2011 and January 2013.

The Obama administration has proposed giving the IRS the authority to regulate paid tax return preparers. As it now stands, there are no federal rules governing who can charge clients to prepare their tax returns.

“The IRS remains committed to the principle that all persons who prepare federal tax returns for compensation should be required to pass a test of minimal competency and take annual continuing education training,“ the IRS said in a statement. “Taxpayers deserve top-quality and ethical service from all tax professionals. As part of this commitment, the IRS launched an interim annual filing season program in 2014 to promote voluntary continuing education by noncredentialed tax return preparers.“


The Gilmer Free Press

World News   15052201

The Gilmer Free Press


Genetic information from a 35,000-year-old wolf bone found below a frozen cliff in Siberia is shedding new light on humankind’s long relationship with dogs, showing canine domestication may have occurred earlier than previously thought.

Today’s dogs, from the Chihuahua to the Great Dane, are believed to have descended from wild wolves domesticated by humans in prehistoric times, but when this took place has been a matter of debate.

Scientists said on Thursday they pieced together the genome of the wolf that lived on Russia’s Taimyr Peninsula and found that it belonged to a population that likely represented the most recent common ancestor between dogs and wolves.

Using this genetic information, they estimated that dog domestication occurred between 27,000 and 40,000 years ago.

Previous research based on genetic data from modern-day wolves and dogs had estimated that dogs were first domesticated 11,000 to 16,000 years ago based on an estimate of how quickly mutations occurred across the genome.

Swedish Museum of Natural History geneticist Love Dalén said the Taimyr wolf genome showed that the rate of mutation was only about half of what previously had been assumed, indicating domestication occurred much earlier.

“The difference between the earlier genetic studies and ours is that we can calibrate the rate of evolutionary change in dog and wolf genomes directly, and we find that the first separation of dog ancestors must have been in the older range,“ Harvard Medical School geneticist Pontus Skoglund added.

Dalén found the wolf bone fragment, likely a part of a rib, in the Siberian permafrost. The wolf likely belonged to a population that roamed the Eurasian steppe tundra during the last Ice Age, hunting large prey like bison, musk ox and horses, Dalén said.

“I think one of the simplest explanations is that hunter-gatherers may have caught wolf pups, which is extremely easy to do, and kept them in captivity as sentinels against the large predators that roamed the landscapes of the last Ice Age - bears, cave lions, etc. as well as other dangerous mammals - mammoths, woolly rhinos, other humans,“ Dalén said.

Skoglund said Siberian Huskies and Greenland sled dogs share a large number of genes with the Taimyr wolf.

“The most likely explanation is that the Siberian domestic dog populations interbred with local wolves when they followed early human groups into northern latitudes,“ Skoglund said.

The research was published in the journal Current Biology.


The old order changeth, yielding place to new
And God fulfills himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Morte d’Arthur

The Gilmer Free Press

By statute H.B. 3160 and H.B. 2755, Leading Creek Elementary School is a pilot initiative managed by a Joint governance Committee consisting of the county Superintendents from Gilmer and Lewis, two Board Members and a representative of the State Board of Education. This pilot designation is for a five-year period with the option to extend such designation for additional five-year periods.

Since the Leading Creek Elementary School has already been given pilot or “special” designation, I would propose that the school further expand upon its special mission by creating a framework for a model curricular and teaching methodology to improve student outcomes and increase parental and community involvement. One goal could be to utilize both new and time-tested approaches to increase student outcomes at all grade levels.

This new school, shared by two counties, offers challenges and opportunities to the counties and the state to step forward in focusing on the needs of students as determined by the teachers, administrators, retired teachers and professionals from higher education. A wealth of valuable experience rests with many retired elementary teachers in the area whose success in the classroom is beyond question. Additionally, there are three institutions of higher education nearby with professional expertise that could be drawn upon for the benefit of the new school.

As a member of the Joint governance Board, I would ask the State Board of Education and our Legislative body to designate Leading Creek Elementary School as a model for change and allow the teachers, principal, retired teachers, professional educators and parents to design and implement approaches to teaching subjects at the school which would reflect proven methodologies from the past, and current innovations to make for improved student outcomes and generate increased public confidence in our schools. At all times it is necessary to freely communicate with the public, parents and the education community.

Should the school be given the flexibilities and opportunity to break the mold and change some patterns, I sincerely believe that the school will gain regional support, make the case for success of inter county and multi-county schools and demonstrate that the State is willing to entrust educators to use their best to move educational performance forward and off dead center. At the end of the first five-year pilot designation, i predict that the State Board, taxpayers, legislators and parents will be proud of the new school on the banks of Leading Creek in Gilmer and Lewis Counties.

Challenge the two county School Boards, the Inter County Governance committee, parents, and the professional educators to deliver a quality educational experience at all grade levels at West Virginia’s first inter county school.

Oh but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp
Or what’s a heaven for.
Robert Browning “Andrea del Sarto”

~~  William K. Simmons, Ph.D.  ~~

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