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West Virginia News

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►  West Virginia AG says election pamphlet law unconstitutional

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says a state law prohibiting anonymous election pamphlets is unconstitutional.

Morrisey issued the opinion Tuesday in response to a request by Secretary of State Mac Warner. Both are Republicans.

Morrisey says the state law “violates the First Amendment because it is overbroad and not narrowly tailored to a compelling state interest.” Morrisey says a federal court decision in West Virginia in 1996 found an older version of the same law about freedom of expression prohibitions concerning anonymous pamphlets was unconstitutional.

Secretary of State spokesman Steven Allen Adams says residents and political candidates had raised concerns about 2017 municipal election campaign materials such as yard signs, pamphlets and placards that didn’t indicate who paid for them.


►  King and Queen Announced during Wesleyan Homecoming

On Saturday, October 14, during halftime of West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Homecoming football game against UVA-Wise, Wesley Felton of Edray, WV and Natalie Parkins of Liberty, WV were crowned Homecoming King and Queen by President of the College Joel Thierstein, J.D., Ph.D.

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Felton and Parkins after being crowned King and Queen of Homecoming.


Felton is a senior geophysics major and is involved in the Physics Club and Theta Chi Fraternity, where he served as president.

Parkins is a senior biochemistry major.  She serves as coordinator of the WE LEAD Issue Teams and is a Service Scholar and participant in the Leap Certificate Program.  A member of the Benzene Ring Chemistry Club, she is a First Year Seminar Leader and serves as the New Member Coordinator of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority.  She is currently applying to veterinary school to pursue a career in zoological and aquarium medicine.

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Homecoming Court: (l-r) Kam Brooks, Chloe Sergent, Michael Winters, Madison Duvall, Hannah King, Logan Warner, Jeffrey McNeill, Leah Blend, King Wesley Felton, Queen Natalie Parkins, President Joel Thierstein, 2016 Queen Madison Ovies, Sam Brody, Joie Johnston, Matt Dearth, Sydney Pineault, John Antolini, and Hannah Jones.


Other senior King and Queen nominees were Sydney Pineault of Morgantown, WV and Matt Dearth of Bridgeport, WV; Hannah King of Charleston, WV and Logan Warner of Buckhannon; Leah Blend of Buckhannon and Jeffrey McNeill of Reading, PA; and Joie Johnston of Hurricane, WV and Sam Brody of Huntington, WV.

The royal court was completed with several underclassmen attendants.  Junior attendants were Madison Duvall of Smithsburg, MD and Michael Winters of Martinsburg, WV.  Sophomore attendants were Hannah Jones of Charleston, WV and John Antolini of Buckhannon.  Freshman attendants were Chloe Sergent of Hurricane, WV and Kam Brooks of Baltimore, MD.


►  West Virginia lawmakers pass military retiree exemption bill

The West Virginia Legislature has passed a bill to exempt military retirees from paying personal state income taxes.

The bill easily passed the House of Delegates and later the Senate on Tuesday during the Legislature’s special session. It would exempt from state income tax any federal retirement income from the regular armed services, reserves and National Guard.

Lawmakers also easily passed a bill to increase the credit allowed against personal and corporation net income taxes for spending on rehabilitating historic structures.

And both chambers approved a construction hiring bill after voters this month approved a $1.6 billion road bond package. It would strengthen penalties for violations of a law that requires 75 percent of the workforce on a state-contracted construction job be from the local labor market.


►  Agency urges committee to properly fund stream gauges

Members of the Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding have heard warnings that West Virginia needs more comprehensive funding for the stream gauges that help warn residents of impending high waters.

West Virginia Conservation Agency Executive Director Brian Farkas told the committee Monday that several state and federal agencies scramble annually to fund a network of stream gauges. The state should provide a “stable stream of funding to one state agency” to protect the program, Farkas added.

This year’s current stream gauge network cost is about $1.8 million, with over three-quarters of funding coming from the U.S. Geological Survey and other federal agencies.

Improving and providing stable funding for the state’s flood warning system has been an issue since the November 1985 floods claimed 47 lives in North Central and Eastern West Virginia. The stream gauges also were discussed in a later report by state and federal agencies charged with finding ways to protect West Virginians from the effects of flooding.

The Joint Committee on Flooding was formed under legislation passed earlier this year to revisit that flood-protection report. The committee was tasked with studying “all activities relating to flood protection” and making recommendations “to reduce the reality and threat of future loss of life and property damages associated with flooding.”

The legislation also created a State Resiliency Office within the Development Office at the Department of Commerce and a State Resiliency Office Board. The State Resiliency Office oversees all economic and community resilience planning along with implementation efforts including, but not limited to flood protection programs.

The State Resiliency Office Board held its first public meeting Monday, where Farkas was appointed to head a “special committee” to help organize the office and its work.

Did You Know?

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TOURISTS NOW QUESTIONING INVISIBLE ATTACKS IN CUBA

Chris Allen, visiting Havana from South Carolina, tells the AP exclusively he had similar neurological symptoms as a U.S. government worker when Allen stayed at the same hotel two years earlier.


TRUMP’S REMARKS ON KELLY’S SON CONTRAST WITH MESSY BRAWL THIS WEEK

The president’s political firefight over his role as consoler-in-chief is a remarkable contrast with his solemn Memorial Day tribute to U.S. personnel lost to war.


AS CATALAN DEADLINE PASSES, MADRID TAKES ACTION

Spain will hold a special Cabinet meeting on Saturday to trigger the process to take some or full control of Catalonia’s semi-autonomous powers.


WHY TRUMP IS AN ERRATIC TRADING PARTNER

The president often kicks thorny policy issues to Congress and then sends conflicting signals about what he really wants.


SWEEPING MULTISTATE MANHUNT ENDS

Police say they chased down on foot Radee Prince, 37, accused of shooting five co-workers at a granite company in Maryland, killing three.


UNCERTAINTY AS MIDDLE EAST DEFEATS MILITANTS IN RAQQA

The downfall of the Islamic State group could open up cracks in temporary alliances created to fight the extremists, and rivalries for influence are now likely to take center stage.


JIHADIST AMBUSH ON US FORCES SHOWS NEW DANGER IN SAHEL

Authorities believe the attack in Niger was carried out by a group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.


WHAT PHILIPPINE CITY IS IN RUINS FROM MILITANT SIEGE

A five-monthlong assault of Marawi reveals a devastated southern city with smoke smoldering from damaged houses.


DODGERS HAVE TO PUT BROOMS AWAY

Javier Baez snaps a long batting slump with two home runs and the Chicago Cubs avoid a sweep, holding off Los Angeles 3-2 in Game 4 of the NLCS.


COUNTRY STARS SHAKE UP AWARDS SHOW

Jason Aldean and other musicians honor the victims of a mass shooting in Las Vegas instead of accepting trophies at the CMT Artists of the Year show.

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GILMER COUNTY COMMISSION
AGENDA for REGULAR MEETING
October 20, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
Gilmer County Courthouse
Commission Office
10 Howard Street, Glenville, WV

I. CALL TO ORDER


II. PLEDGE of ALLEGIANCE TO THE U.S. FLAG


III. PUBLIC COMMENTS


IV. APPOINTMENTS

        9:15-Jeff Campbell-GCEDA-Resolution for Broadband

        9:30-Gary Wolfe


V. ROUTINE BUSINESS:

    Discussion and/or action on:

        1) Exonerations and/or Consolidations

        2) Approve Estate Qualifications and Estate Settlements

        3) Board Appointments and/or Resignations:

            a) Board Seats open on the:

        4) Budget Revisions

        5) Budget Control Report

        6) Approve Invoices for Payment

        7) Approve County Commission Minutes-None

    v8) Receipt of County Board Minutes:

            a) Gilmer County Public Service District

            b) Wes-Mon-Ty RC & D Board minutes-August 22, 2017


VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS


VII. NEW BUSINESS:

    Discussion and/or action on:

        a) Appoint Sheriff Larry Gerwig as Administrator for William Pal Conrad Estate

        b) Reimbursement for Election Expenses

        c) Certify Election Results-October 07, 2017 Special Election

        d) Record Preservation Management Grant Application


VIII. OTHER BUSINESS


IX. EXECUTIVE SESSION AS NEEDED


X. ADJOURNMENT


NEXT MEETING:
Regular Session on November 03, 2017

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On Friday, October 20, six Glenville State College alumni will be inducted into the Curtis Elam Athletic Hall of Fame, which was established in 2001 through the generosity of the late Curtis Elam, a 1949 graduate.

This year’s inductees will be:

  • Dr. Carl Nichols ‘64
  • John Flint ‘68
  • Jim Garnett
  • Steve Buffington ‘75
  • Greg Del Price ‘80
  • Tammy Spence ‘03

Nichols will be inducted in the meritorious category and Garnett will be inducted posthumously.

A meet and greet social reception for banquet attendees will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Waco Center with the induction banquet following at 7:00 p.m.

The Hall of Fame induction banquet is being held in conjunction with homecoming weekend.

The inductees will also be recognized on Saturday, October 21 at the annual parade and during halftime of the football game.

The public is invited to attend. Contact GSC’s Alumni Office at 304.462.6116 for ticket information.

 

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Future Pioneers are invited to participate in Glenville State College’s annual Fall Open House on Saturday, October 21.

Visitors can begin arriving at 8:15 am. at the Waco Center; check-in is scheduled from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. (the Waco Center is located at 921 Mineral Road).

The day will begin with a welcome and information session that will provide an overview of student services, financial aid, housing, and more.

Campus tours will be held from 9:50 to 10:20 a.m., ending with a tour of the academic departments.

During this portion of the Open House, students will have an opportunity to visit the departments associated with their intended majors and meet some of their future faculty members.

The day will wrap up with a free lunch at 12:15 p.m.

The Fall Open House coincides with Homecoming Weekend 2017.

To sign up and for more information, visit www.glenville.edu/adm_events or call 800.924.2010 by Monday, October 16.

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Area High School Football Scoreboard
2017: Week 9 Games
Hannan (2-5)   #12 North Marion (5-2)  
Gilmer County (1-6)   #12 Braxton County (5-2)  
Calhoun County (0-8)   #11 Valley (Wetzel) (5-2)  
#6 Webster County (6-1)   #10 Doddridge County (6-2)  
Wirt County (3-4)   Williamstown (4-4)  
Ritchie County (2-6)   Parkersburg Catholic (0-6)  
#1 South Harrison (7-0)   Magnolia (2-6)  
#3 St. Marys (6-0)   Tyler Consolidated (4-3)  
Roane County (AA) (0-7)   Paden City (2-5)  
#14 Ravenswood (4-3)   Van (3-5)  
#4 Midland Trail (A) (8-0)   Beallsville, OH  
Nicholas County (5-2)   #8 Cameron (6-1)  
#4 Liberty Harrison (7-0)   Valley (Fayette) (3-5)  
Robert C. Byrd (4-3)   Richwood (4-3)  
#9 Keyser (5-2)   Elkins (3-4)  
#5 Bridgeport (7-1)   #11 Lincoln (5-2)  
Shady Spring (3-4)   #8 Hurricane (4-3)  
Clay County (5-2)   #12 Parkersburg (4-3)  
Philip Barbour (5-2)   Buckhannon-Upshur (3-4)  
Lewis County (1-7)   Brooke (1-6)  
Greenbrier East (1-6)      
Parkersburg South (2-5)      
BYE WEEK:  Notre Dame

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Amazon’s TV and movie boss has resigned after being accused of sexual harassment

Roy Price, the head of Amazon Studios, resigned from his position on Tuesday.


Augmented reality startup Magic Leap officially announced that it had raised $502 million in a round of funding

The round was led by Singapore’s Temasek.


Google’s parent company is spending $50 million to build a high-tech neighborhood in Toronto

The plan will prioritize “environmental sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity,“ according to Sidewalk Labs.


Microsoft unveiled the Surface Book 2

It has 17 hours battery life and more computing horsepower under the hood.


Microsoft also announced a huge new update for Windows 10

It includes a bunch of smaller and behind-the-scenes tweaks for PCs and tablets.


From advanced robotics to smart glasses

Epson is taking high performance technology to new levels.


One of Sony’s most beloved game studios is facing sexual harassment charges from a former employee

A former Naughty Dog employee has spoken out on Twitter.


Apple responded to a top senator’s privacy questions about the iPhone X’s face scanner

Senator Al Franken said that Apple was working with his office to answer any questions about Face ID.


Twitter will be tougher on “non-consensual” nudity, hate symbols, and violent tweets after a user backlash

Twitter is making the changes after used protested last week.


Microsoft didn’t tell the public one of its databases was hacked in 2013

Hackers broke into a secret internal database for tracking bugs in Microsoft’s software.


Three former Tesla factory workers are suing the company over claims of “racially motivated abuse”

Tesla said the workers didn’t file official complaints of racial discrimination during their employment.

Hurricane Victims Don’t Have the ‘Complexion for Protection’

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Millions of Puerto Ricans are still without water, food, electricity and shelter, four weeks after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island. With waterborne illnesses on the rise, a full-blown humanitarian crisis is on the horizon.

“Raw sewage continues to be released into waterways and is expected to continue until repairs can be made and power is restored,” the EPA warns in a memo.

When the agency issued this statement, eighty-four percent of Puerto Rico was without electricity, and sixty percent of water treatment plants out of service.

“Water contaminated with livestock waste, human sewage, chemicals, and other contaminants can lead to illness when used for drinking, bathing, and other hygiene activities,” the EPA says.

To make matters worse, Puerto Rico is home to 21 Superfund sites – the nation’s most deadly depositories of toxic chemicals. The island also has a five-story-high coal ash dump in Guayama that was hit by the storm.

Floodwaters have already mixed deadly toxins from these sites into nearby waterways, which residents are forced to use to bathe and drink. In a desperate attempt to save their own lives, some Puerto Ricans are drinking highly contaminated water from wells that were once sealed to avoid exposure to deadly toxins.

Families who have lost everything now must contend with the possibility that their groundwater is tainted with poison.


The Complexion for Protection

On the same day the EPA issued its warning, President Trump took to Twitter to complain, “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders… in P.R. forever!”

First, Mr. President, a reality check. The devastation caused by major storms takes years, not weeks, to repair. FEMA is still at work in New Orleans, twelve years after Hurricane Katrina, and in New Jersey and New York five years after Hurricane Sandy. EPA cleanup of contaminated sites takes even longer.

Second, a political check. Puerto Ricans are American citizens, and have been for more than a century. They serve in our Armed Forces and pay taxes, even if they weren’t allowed to vote for you – or any candidate – for President, and have no representation in Congress.

As Puerto Rico’s Governor, Roberto Roselló, wrote in his response to Trump’s Twitter tantrum, “The U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico are requesting the support that any of our fellow citizens would receive across our Nation.”

This is discrimination, plain and simple. When President Trump visited San Juan, he threw paper towels at a crowd of suffering people and scolded them for busting his budget. They weren’t amused by his theatrics.

They, like the Houston residents who live near waterways fouled by toxins from the San Jacinto Superfund site, are people of color – apparently not the right complexion for protection.


Dismissing the Victims

Dismissing victims is not unusual for this administration and for the EPA. The agency’s new chief, Scott Pruitt, spends his time on the road meeting privately with corporate CEOs responsible for these toxic waste sites. He then takes their wish-lists back to Washington so he can draft new ways to roll back the environmental protections they loathe.

But local community leaders, with few exceptions, have not been given the opportunity to talk with Pruitt.

Congress passed legislation in 1986 directing EPA to pursue permanent remedies or cleanups that conform to stringent standards. Although permanent cleanups cost more at the front end, they save money over the long term, as evident by the disruption of buried waste from storms like Harvey, Irma, Katrina and Sandy.

So, why won’t the EPA enforce the permanent cleanup of these sites to avoid future cleanup costs as well as protect the community?

Because the people who live around most Superfund sites are poor and of color and are considered not worth the investment.

This is even more the case in in Puerto Rico, since lawmakers in D.C. feel no accountability to the island’s citizens, who are separated from the mainland and denied the right to vote.


The EPA Told Me So

How do I know this?  An EPA regional representative recently told me they were not going to spend millions to clean up a site when the surrounding houses are worth $60,000. It doesn’t make cost-effective sense, he said; we’ll just try to contain the waste.

Yet these houses are people’s homes; inside are human beings raising their families, having backyard picnics and celebrating birthdays. The homes are their American Dream. How dare these government officials devalue their neighborhoods because they are not wealthy!

These families pay taxes, contribute to society and deserve every protection available from our government, regardless of their wealth, language or the color of their skin.

I fear that families that have already lost so much in this summer’s severe hurricanes will suffer even more in coming months because of the color of their skin and the level of their income.

And as they try to clean up the mud and debris and rebuild their lives, families must also worry about how much chemical residue is in the mud they and their children have been exposed to.


They Don’t Care, So We Must

There is no question in my mind that the Trump Administration does not care for victims, whether in Houston, Miami or San Juan. So we have to take responsibility to compel the administration to act and hold them accountable.

We have to force the government to protect people living near Superfund sites by permanently cleaning them up, and to give Puerto Rico’s people the equal treatment they deserve.

~~  Lois Gibbs ~~

National News

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►  Family of slain sergeant says Trump showed disrespect

The mother of an Army sergeant killed in Niger said Wednesday that Donald Trump, in a call offering condolences, showed “disrespect” to the soldier’s loved ones as they drove to the airport to meet his body. Trump, engulfed in controversy over the appropriate way for presidents to show compassion for slain soldiers, strongly disputed that account.

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Sgt. La David Johnson was one of four American military personnel killed nearly two weeks ago whose families had not heard from Trump until Tuesday. Representative Frederica Wilson said that Trump told the widow that Johnson “knew what he signed up for.”

The Florida Democrat said she was in the car with the widow, Myeshia Johnson, on the way to Miami International Airport to meet the body when Trump called. La David Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Associated Press Wednesday that the congresswoman’s account was correct.

“Yes the statement is true,” Jones-Johnson said. “I was in the car and I heard the full conversation. Not only did he disrespect my son,” but he disrespected his wife and me and my husband.

That’s simply not so, Trump said Wednesday. He declared on Twitter: “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!”

But Wilson did not back down from her account, adding that Trump at one point could not remember the slain sergeant’s name.

“It’s disgraceful for him to even tweet about this,” she told CNN. She added a personal insult: “And as I say, this gentleman has a brain disorder and he needs to be checked out.”

Like presidents before him, Trump has made personal contact with some families of the fallen but not all. What’s different is that Trump, alone among them, has picked a political fight over who’s done better to honor the war dead and their families.

He placed himself at the top of the list, saying on Tuesday, “I think I’ve called every family of someone who’s died” while past presidents didn’t place such calls.

But The Associated Press found relatives of two soldiers who died overseas during Trump’s presidency who said they never received a call or a letter from him, as well as relatives of a third who did not get a call. And proof is plentiful that Barack Obama and George W. Bush — saddled with far more combat casualties than the roughly two dozen so far under Trump, took painstaking steps to write, call or meet bereaved military families.

After her Army son died in an armored vehicle rollover in Syria in May, Sheila Murphy says, she got no call or letter from Trump, even as she waited months for his condolences and wrote him that “some days I don’t want to live.”

In contrast, Trump called to comfort Eddie and Aldene Lee about 10 days after their Army son was killed in an explosion while on patrol in Iraq in April. “Lovely young man,” Trump said, according to Aldene. She thought that was a beautiful word to hear about her boy, “lovely.”

Trump’s delay in publicly discussing the men lost at Niger did not appear to be extraordinary, judging from past examples, but his politicization of the matter is. He went so far Tuesday as to cite the death of chief of staff John Kelly’s son in Afghanistan to question whether Obama had properly honored the war dead.

Kelly was a Marine general under Obama when his Marine son Robert died in 2010. “You could ask General Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?” Trump said on Fox News radio.

A White House official said later that Obama did not call Kelly but not respond to questions whether some other sort of outreach was made. Democrats and some former government officials were livid, accusing Trump of “inane cruelty” and a “sick game.”

Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Iraq veteran who lost both legs when her helicopter was attacked, said: “I just wish that this commander in chief would stop using Gold Star families as pawns in whatever sick game he’s trying to play here.”

For their part, Gold Star families, which have lost members in wartime, told AP of acts of intimate kindness from Obama and Bush when those commanders in chief consoled them.

Trump initially claimed that only he among presidents made sure to call families. Obama may have done so on occasion, he said, but “other presidents did not call.”

He equivocated Tuesday as the record made plain that his characterization was false. “I don’t know,” he said of past calls. But he said his own practice was to call all families of the war dead.

But that hasn’t happened.

No White House protocol demands that presidents speak or meet with the families of Americans killed in action — an impossible task in a war’s bloodiest stages. But they often do.

Altogether some 6,900 Americans have been killed in overseas wars since the September 11, 2001, attacks, the overwhelming majority under Bush and Obama.

Despite the much heavier toll on his watch — more than 800 dead each year from 2004 through 2007 — Bush wrote to all bereaved military families and met or spoke with hundreds if not thousands, said his spokesman, Freddy Ford.

Veterans groups said they had no quarrel with how presidents have recognized the fallen or their families.

“I don’t think there is any president I know of who hasn’t called families,” said Rick Weidman, co-founder and executive director of Vietnam Veterans of America. “President Obama called often and President Bush called often. They also made regular visits to Walter Reed and Bethesda Medical Center, going in the evenings and on Saturdays.”

Trump feuded with one Gold Star family during last year’s campaign, assailing the parents of slain Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in Iraq in 2004, after they criticized him from the stage at the Democratic National Convention.


►  For ornery shelter cats, 2nd chance is a job chasing mice

Gary wasn’t used to being around people. He didn’t like being touched, or even looked at. If anyone came too close, he’d lash out.

He was perfect for the job. Because at the “Working Cats” program, no manners is no problem.

Philadelphia’s Animal Care and Control Team established the program about four years ago to place unadoptable cats — the biters and the skittish, the swatters and the ones who won’t use a litter box — into jobs as mousers at barns or stables.

The shelter recently expanded the program to move cats that were less-than-ideal pets into urban jobs at places like factories and warehouses as a sort of green pest control. The animals are microchipped, vaccinated and free of charge.

“Part of the reason cats became domesticated was to get rid of the rodent population,” said Ame Dorminy, ACCT’s spokeswoman. “We took advantage of their natural propensity to hunt and made an official program out of it.”

Cats identified as a good match for the program are kept in a separate aisle at the shelter in a row called “TTA” — time to adjust. On a recent visit, a low growl could be heard from a cage housing a male named Spike, whose intake sheet listed his qualifications: hissing, swatting, spitting, can’t be picked up. A few doors down, Prince was standoffish at the rear of his cage.

Just because cats don’t want to be petted or snuggle on a lap doesn’t mean they can’t have good lives, Dorminy said.

“A lot of these cats feel more comfortable when they can be themselves and use natural behaviors,” she said. “Then they’re more open to human interaction because they feel more confident.”

At Bella Vista Beer Distributors, mice were gnawing on bags of chips overnight, leaving a mess and forcing staffers to throw out about 15 bags a day, said owner Jordan Fetfatzes.

They tried exterminators, but nothing worked. An employee found ACCT’s program online and Fetfatzes eventually decided on Gary, a white male with one blue eye and one green that had “behavioral issues.” Gary wasn’t accustomed to people and would hiss from the crate. At first, Gary would stay in the office and would only go into the warehouse after hours.

As the weeks passed, he warmed up to workers and customers, and has transformed into a sweet, playful mascot with free rein of the store.

“My only complaint is sometimes he gets in the way of a transaction,” said Fetfatzes, who describes himself as a “dog guy” who’s turned in to a cat lover thanks to Gary.

Neighborhood kids come in just to say hi to him, and he loves to play soccer with a worker who balls up cash register tape and kicks it around as Gary bats at it.

As for the mice, they vanished, seemingly repelled by Gary’s scent, Fetfatzes said.

“You’re not only saving your business money, you are helping save the life of an unwanted pet,” he said. “And in this case, we made a friend.”

A number of shelters around the country have working cat programs. One of the first, in Los Angeles, launched in 1999. Many focus on placing feral cats into barns and stables. Chicago’s Tree House Humane Society places feral cats at condos and suburban backyards. Pennsylvania’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals puts its feral cats to work in all kinds of jobs, from barns to breweries.

Todd Curry wasn’t exactly sure what was inside the dumpster next door to the Emerald Windows showroom, but it seemed like a free buffet for rats.

“It was almost comical,” he said, comparing it to a scene in the animated film “Ratatouille” with seemingly hundreds of rats streaming out of the dumpster.

Traps didn’t work, said Curry, the company’s vice president of sales, so they brought in Shelley from ACCT’s program.

Soon, dismembered rat carcasses started appearing. Now the rodents just stay away.

And Shelley, which was given to the shelter after biting her family’s kids, has come out of her shell, craving petting and attention, Curry said.

“The only reason she was here was for the rats, but it has turned into a lot more than that,” he said, adding she functions as a workplace stress reliever.

“It’s nice to see these cats put to use, not put down.”


►  Family of late ‘Crocodile Hunter’ back at Animal Planet

Crikey! The Irwin family is returning to television’s Animal Planet, 11 years after the death of “The Crocodile Hunter” star and family patriarch Steve Irwin.

The network said Wednesday that Irwin’s widow, Terri, and children Bindi and Robert will reappear on Animal Planet starting next year. The family has carried on Steve’s conservation work in Australia, running a zoo, a wildlife preserve and supporting projects that try to save endangered animals worldwide.

“It seemed like a really good time, since we do so many things together as a family,” said Terri Irwin, in an interview from Australia.

It’s still not clear what form their Animal Planet work will take. The family and network are discussing several ideas for television and digital products, said Patrice Andrews, the network’s general manager.

“The Crocodile Hunter” aired on Animal Planet from 1996 to 2007. Irwin’s colorful personality, seeming fearlessness in wrestling dangerous animals and his Australianisms — like the expression “crikey!” — made him a favorite.

“Steve was very much the face of our channel,” Andrews said. “People even today in focus groups bring up the impact of ‘The Crocodile Hunter.’”

Having such defining characters is becoming tougher and tougher for cable networks. Bringing back the Irwins is part of the network’s refocusing on animals, Andrews said. That may seem obvious for a network called Animal Planet, but in recent years the network drifted from that, even adopting the tagline, “Surprisingly Human.”

Currently, the network’s most popular series is “Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Vet,” with a new series focusing on animals at the Bronx Zoo also doing well.

Steve Irwin died at age 44 in September 2006 while filming an underwater scene for a television series, when a stingray’s stinging barbs pierced his heart.

Since Bindi was 8 and Robert was 3 when their father died, Terri Irwin said her first responsibility was raising them. Both grew up committed to the family business and haven’t been strangers to television: Bindi, now 19, won a “Dancing With the Stars” competition in 2015 and Robert, who is 14, has appeared on the “Tonight” show with Jimmy Fallon displaying animals.

“Grief is never something you get over,” she said. “You don’t wake up one morning and say, ‘I’ve conquered that, now I’m moving on.’ It’s something that walks beside you every day. And if you can learn how to manage it and honor the person that you miss, you can take something that is incredibly sad and have some form of positivity. That’s kind of what we decided to do with Steve.”

Irwin said she’s tried to channel some of the competitiveness that she and Steve had as a couple, trying to complete milestones on a 10-year business plan they wrote together shortly before he died.

Now they’re working on projects he hadn’t dreamed of, like making accommodations for camping at their zoo, she said.

“I have friends who have lost husbands and have gone off and tried different things,” she said. “Nothing wrong with that. ... For us, conservation work isn’t just what we do. It’s who we are. It’s really defined us that this is what we’ve dedicated our lives to.”

International News

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►  UN, U.S. failed to prevent ‘ethnic cleansing’ in South Sudan

Until the summer of 2016, South Sudan’s Yei region was a leafy oasis in the midst of the country’s civil war. But when a national peace deal broke down and government soldiers ransacked the area, a handful of U.N. and U.S. officials begged their leaders for help.

The United Nations must send peacekeepers to Yei to protect civilians from President Salva Kiir’s forces, who are burning villages and slaughtering men, women and children, they argued. And the U.S. needs to change its approach in the face of a potential genocide, they warned.

The pleas of officials and residents fell on deaf ears. The U.N. did not send peacekeeping troops to stay in Yei, and the U.S. continued to support South Sudan’s military, possibly in violation of U.S. law, an AP investigation found. The investigation is based on more than 30 internal or confidential documents from the U.N., White House or State Department, and dozens of interviews with current or former officials and civilians.

In a matter of weeks, Yei became the center of a nationwide campaign of what the U.N. calls “ethnic cleansing,” which has created the largest exodus of civilians in Africa since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. More than 1 million people have now fled to Uganda, mostly from the Yei region. And while there is no tally for how many people have died in South Sudan, estimates put the number in the tens or even hundreds of thousands.

Kate Almquist Knopf, director at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the U.S. Defense Department, compared the situation in South Sudan to Rwanda, where nearly a million people died in 100 days with little action from the U.S. or other world leaders.

“The reality is that Rwanda happened while the U.N. was there, while the international community was there, and they didn’t do anything. The same thing is happening now in South Sudan,” said Knopf. “It’s happening on Africa’s watch. It’s happening on America’s watch. It’s happening on the United Nations watch. It’s appening on everyone’s watch.”

More than a year later, the U.N. says it is still considering sending a permanent peacekeeping force to Yei if it gets more troops. The U.N. now has about 12,000 peacekeepers throughout South Sudan, but U.S. officials say it would take roughly 40,000 to secure the country. That leaves Yei and other major population centers — such as Bentiu, Malakal and Wau — vulnerable.

“There are always discussions,” said Daniel Dickinson, a spokesman for the U.N. mission in South Sudan. “It’s all about what resources the mission has available.”

For its part, the U.S. budgeted $30 million for technical training, non-lethal equipment and advisers to South Sudan’s military for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years. The State Department in July gave a further $2 million for a military and security operations center that supported the country’s security service and presidential guards.

The assistance appears to violate a U.S. law prohibiting support to any unit that has committed a gross violation of human rights — in this case including an attack on a popular hotel that targeted aid workers and American citizens, the AP found. South Sudanese soldiers have killed a journalist, gang-raped women, and conducted mock executions on civilians and aid workers.

A spokesperson for the State Department said military officials who received assistance “were vetted and not credibly implicated in the gross violation of human rights.” They added the U.S. has exerted pressure on both the government and the rebels to stop fighting.

However, the U.S. aid is a “red flag,” said Senator Patrick Leahy, who sponsored the law. “The South Sudanese security forces, like their rebel counterparts, are notorious for violating human rights without fear of being punished. We do not want the United States to be associated with such misconduct.”

__________

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, has received more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid every year from the U.S. and the U.N. It gained independence in 2011 with the strong support of the Bush and Obama administrations.

But in 2013, civil war broke out between forces loyal to Kiir and supporters of his former deputy, known as the rebels. While both sides have been accused of atrocities, the U.N. says a majority have been committed by government soldiers.

A peace deal brokered by the U.S. and the international community collapsed in July 2016. That month, government troops rampaged through the town of Nyori in the Yei region, according to a former local official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retribution. He ran into the bush to hide, and returned three days later to carnage.

“I witnessed with my own eyes, young children, they were slaughtered,” he said.

Rose Kiden fled from a town near Yei when the soldiers swarmed her house. In a hushed voice, Kiden recounted how she came back to find her sister on the floor, after being raped by eight soldiers. Kiden said she knew six other women who were raped by soldiers.

Her husband was killed by government troops when he went to collect food. But even as the violence near Yei spread, Kiden said, U.N. vehicles drove by without stopping.

“They didn’t do anything,” Kiden said, as she held her baby, who now has no father. “They just passed.”

When U.N. officials visited Yei in September 2016, they were horrified by stories of women gang-raped and a baby hacked with a machete.

“If the security situation is not rapidly stabilized, the protection crisis in Yei will swiftly become a multi-faceted humanitarian crisis,” said a U.N. report from September 15 obtained by AP to the top U.N. leader in South Sudan at the time, Ellen Loj.

After nearly two months, the U.N. started sending small, temporary patrols to the Yei region. But both residents and U.N. officials said the violence merely continued after the blue helmets left. In late October 2016, a U.N. patrol remained on the ground for only three days.

In November, the AP saw seven corpses inside a hut, where local officials said people had been arrested, trapped and burned alive. One charred body was slouched against a wall with its arms and legs missing, and another lacked a torso.

On November 11, special advisor Adama Dieng warned about “the potential for genocide” and highlighted the violence in Yei.

“One person reported desperately to me, ‘Tonight I don’t know what will happen to me,’” Dieng said at the time.

That month, the U.N. decided not to send a permanent force to Yei. When asked why at her farewell press conference on November 28, Loj said the U.N. did not have enough troops. She said the Yei region would be the next to get peacekeepers.

“But I don’t know when it will be possible,” she added. “South Sudan is a big country and we cannot have a soldier behind each and every South Sudanese.”

In the meantime, South Sudan’s government blocked or harassed U.N. officials dozens of times per month, according to confidential U.N. documents. U.N. officials told the AP that the mission should have sent in peacekeepers to Yei anyway.

“This is what the peacekeepers were there for,” said Donatella Rovera, a crisis advisor at Amnesty International. “There was a failure to do what needed to be done at the time it needed to be done.”

During another U.N. visit in February this year, a community leader from the Yei area said he had begged for peacekeepers three times in the past few weeks.

“We need imminent protection before it’s too late,” he said, according to an internal report. “If we get killed because we told you the truth today so be it.”

Hours later the U.N. left.

The South Sudan government has denied “ethnic cleansing” and human rights violations.

“All these reports that go to the U.N. are written by individuals who are anti peace in South Sudan,” said Minister of Information Michael Makuei.

_______________

The U.S. also struggled to respond to the crisis in South Sudan, according to documents and interviews.

In July 2016, the South Sudanese military fired dozens of bullets into two U.S. embassy vehicles. The same month, government troops killed a journalist, gang-raped women and beat people, including Americans, as they rampaged through a hotel.

Still, the U.S. continued to believe it could fix South Sudan’s military. In September, President Barack Obama sought a “long-term military to military relationship” with South Sudan, according to a letter to Congress obtained by AP. The letter, which allowed military training and education for South Sudan’s army, circumvented a law blocking U.S. support for countries that use child soldiers.

“Once again in South Sudan, we have shown a pattern of having bad analysis, either ignoring the symptoms of the problem entirely, not seeing them, or analyzing them in the wrong way,” said Cameron Hudson, the director of African affairs at the National Security Council in the Bush administration.

One State Department official was blunt.

“We just don’t have a policy,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. “There is no game plan.”

The centerpiece of the U.S. response to South Sudan was a push for an additional 4,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force to protect civilians under attack. The U.S. got the force approved by the Security Council. At a press conference in South Sudan in September 2016, Samantha Power, then the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., described an agreement with President Kiir on the extra 4,000 peacekeepers, known as the Regional Protection Force.

“We came to get consent to the RPF, and that is a consent that has been given,” said Power, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of a book that details America’s failure to prevent genocide in Germany, Rwanda and the Balkans. “The details have to be worked through.” If the government didn’t accept the troops, Power warned, the Security Council would place an arms embargo on the country.

But in a stark reversal, as Power left the next morning, South Sudan’s government denied having ever accepted the extra 4,000 peacekeepers.

“I think the government won the game,” South Sudanese Cabinet Minister Martin Lomuro bragged to reporters.

One State Department official described Power’s visit as “supremely embarrassing” because of the public failure. Others doubted that she was fooled by South Sudan’s leaders. Power declined requests for comment.

In the fall, a dissent cable drafted within the State Department argued that the U.S. support for the peace deal and failure to act was fueling violence.

“Further calamity is likely; the risks of famine, continued mass atrocities, and genocide are among the highest in the world,” the draft cable said. The risks of not changing U.S. policy, it continued, “are immediate and unacceptably high.” The draft was never finalized because it did not gain enough support, two U.S. officials said.

Senior Obama administration officials said pulling out of the country’s peace deal would have created even more violence, and there was a limit to what the U.S. could accomplish without partners in the African Union.

Others disagree. The U.S. gave “tacit endorsement” to South Sudan’s government, according to Alan Boswell, a researcher on South Sudan.

U.S. policy “did not start the violence, but it meant that we were not going to try and stop it,” Boswell said.

____________

Today, more than 18,000 homes have been destroyed in the Yei region, U.N. satellite images show.

Yei is in danger of famine. Hundreds of people have died, and many more have fled, creating the world’s largest refugee camp in Uganda, Bidi Bidi. Government forces attacked some even as they tried to escape.

“When women went to collect food at farms, the soldiers raped people, raping everyone,” said Simon Nigo, a refugee at Bidi Bidi. “No protection for the civilians.”

A pastor from the Yei area, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from South Sudanese intelligence officials, came to Bidi Bidi after the military took over the orphanage he ran. He said the charred bodies the AP discovered in the burnt house on the outskirts of Yei were his relatives.

His bible is inscribed with the word “Redemption,” promising revenge. Like others at Bidi Bidi, he said he felt abandoned by the U.N. and the world.

“They could have protected people’s lives,” he said. “They could have saved us from coming to this camp.”


►  As congressional investigations wear on, some eye a finish

As congressional investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections wear on in the Capitol, some lawmakers are starting to wonder when — and how — the probes will end.

After months of clandestine interviews and a few public, partisan committee clashes, some Republicans on the House intelligence panel have privately been pushing for their probe to wrap up by the end of the year. And Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., is signaling he wants his more bipartisan investigation to finish in the next several months, before the 2018 elections get into full swing and the Russians have a chance to again interfere.

It’s still unclear whether the congressional committees looking into the interference will come to firm conclusions about whether Donald Trump’s campaign was involved, or if they have found any direct evidence of any collaboration with Russia. Those involved say it’s too early to know if they will be able to issue bipartisan reports, and whether those reports will have firm conclusions or just be a series of findings.

With no ability to do criminal investigations and difficulty in getting some witnesses to appear, the panels could leave some of the more controversial assessments to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is also investigating the meddling and the question of whether Trump’s campaign was involved. Mueller has the ability to prosecute, and Congress must refer any criminal findings to him.

“I think there are lots of Republicans who just want this to go away, and I think the White House very much wants it to go away,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said Tuesday. “So I don’t think it’s necessarily the easiest call in the world for our Republican colleagues.”

Trump made his views clear, again, at a Monday news conference, saying “the whole Russian thing” is an excuse for Democrats who lost the presidential election.

“So there has been absolutely no collusion,” Trump said. “It’s been stated that they have no collusion. They ought to get to the end of it, because I think the American public is sick of it.”

In the Senate, Burr has worked closely with the top Democrat on the intelligence panel, Virginia Senator Mark Warner. Burr said Tuesday that the committee “needs to have some conclusion in time to get ready for the 2018 elections ... that gives you a window of somewhere between the end of the year and maybe February.”

Burr said the panel’s timeline is unrelated to Mueller’s probe.

“They’re on a criminal investigation and we’re looking at Russian influence in the election,” Burr said, adding that he hopes his investigation will be done before Mueller’s.

At a news conference with Warner on October 4, Burr said the issue of collusion is “still open.” He has said repeatedly that the committee has continued to find new threads, and that a firm timeline isn’t possible. He said the committee has 25 interviews this month, including two public hearings related to the investigation. The panel has still yet to talk to Donald Trump Jr. and other witnesses who attended a June 2016 campaign meeting with Russians.

“We’ve still got a fairly long list of people to see, and it’s more of a mathematical equation now,” Burr said.

The head of the House intelligence probe, Republican Representative Mike Conaway of Texas, has similarly said the committee is continuing to follow leads and he has declined to set out a timeline. He took over the investigation after the GOP chairman of the intelligence committee, California Representative Devin Nunes, stepped back amid criticism that he was too close to Trump’s White House.

Some other Republicans on the House panel have questioned how long it should go on.

“It’s getting old,” said Republican Representative Tom Rooney of Florida, a member of the intelligence panel. He said the committee should not “prolong the investigation for the sake of prolonging it. Those days are going to come to an end here soon.”

Rooney said the panel should stick to witnesses that are directly related to the meddling and to the intelligence community, which is the committee’s jurisdiction. He said once the committee has interviewed enough pertinent witnesses he’d recommend to Conaway and House Speaker Ryan that the panel write a final report and conclude the probe.

Democrats on the House intelligence committee are trying to head off calls to end the investigations. California Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, said in a Washington Post op-ed over the weekend that some witnesses have been “rushed” before the committee amid White House calls to end the probe. Schiff said that the panel has much more work to do, and, unlike with Mueller’s probe, the point of the congressional investigations is to “tell the American people what happened or prescribe remedies.”

Schiff notes that Congress also could serve as a conduit for some of Mueller’s findings, if he declines to issue his own report. But it’s unclear whether the Justice Department will share that information with Capitol Hill.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, believes that it’s too soon to wrap up. The Judiciary panel is also doing an investigation, but its probe has moved slowly amid negotiations over witnesses.

“I feel the pressure to move forward at a better pace, but not necessarily to finish,” Blumenthal said, adding: “The Russians are going to do it again ... unless they pay a price they will heighten their interference in our elections.”

2017 Glenville State College Homecoming Court Have Been Announced

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Members of the 2017 Glenville State College Homecoming Court have been announced.

  • Kaylee Howard of Hartsford, West Virginia is the 2017 Homecoming Queen. She is a Criminal Justice major, President of the sorority Delta Xi Rho, and a member of Sigma Pi Xi. Howard hopes to become a social worker or probation/parole officer and eventually work for the FBI. What she likes most about GSC is the small and cozy community where everyone knows one another and you get the opportunity to meet new people. Howard owns three pet goldfish and she is the first floor RA in Goodwin Hall. She is the daughter of James and Tracy Howard. Her nomination was sponsored by Delta Xi Rho.

  • Justin Rader of Craigsville, West Virginia is the 2017 Homecoming King. He is an early education and elementary education major. Justin is also the President of the GSC Early Education Student Group and Kappa Delta Pi. After graduation, Justin plans on moving back to Nicholas County to begin his teaching career. He likes Glenville State because the professors know you by name. Justin is a hardcore WVU fan and has two nieces who are 6 and 1 ½ years old. He is the son Rick Rader and Mary and Butch Fox. His nomination was sponsored by the GSC Early Education Student Group.

  • Kelsey Norris of Fayetteville, West Virginia is the senior princess. Norris is an Elementary and Science 5-9 education major. She actively participates in Pioneers for a Cause and is a member of Chi Zeta Pi. After graduation, her goal is to obtain employment teaching middle school science while working toward her master’s degree in school administration. Norris had the pleasure of being recognized in the Milestone Ceremony in August as one of the first students at GSC to receive her Associate’s Degree during this special ceremony. She is the daughter of Darrell and Regina Hypes.

  • Wiley Raines of Parsons, West Virginia is the senior prince. Raines is a Criminal Justice major and member of Sigma Pi Xi, GSC Student Veterans Association, Hidden Promise, and the American Legion. After completing his degree from GSC, he plans to go to West Virginia State University for a master’s degree in Criminal Justice and ROTC to be a commissioned officer in the United States Army Reserves. He graduated with honors as a Petroleum Supply Specialist last fall through the U.S. Army. In July he was awarded his associate degree in general studies with magna cum laude honors. He is the son of Herbert and Deborah Schoonover.

  • Erica Jones, junior princess, is the daughter of James and Shelvia Jones of Big Springs, West Virginia. She is an Early, Elementary, and Social Studies education major. Jones is active in a number of on campus activities in-cluding being a member and secretary of the sorority Chi Zeta Pi, a member of the educational honorary society Kappa Delta Pi, a Hidden Promise scholar and mentor, a Glenville State College Honors Pro-gram student, part of the Call Stars team, and an academic tutor. She is a member of the Prosperity Baptist Church. After graduating from Glenville, she would like to find a teaching job close to home. She plans on working toward receiving a masters in special education and then pursuing a doctorate in administration. Jones is sponsored by Chi Zeta Pi.

  • Faith Donze, sophomore princess, is the daughter of Brian and Debbie Donze of Saint Albans, West Virginia. She is a secondary math education major and her extra-curricular activities include the Pioneer Wall of Sound Marching Band and playing piano. Donze would like to teach high school math in West Virginia after graduation. What she appreciates most about GSC is the beautiful campus and that it feels like home.

  • Megan Stoffel, freshman princess, is the daughter of Jeremy and Rebecca Westfall of Sandyville, West Virginia. Stoffel is an early and elementary education major. She is also a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Guild, Marching Band (manager), and the High Adventure club. She also likes to write stories and poetry and enjoys drawing. She says that her favorite thing about GSC are the amazing and helpful faculty and staff. Stoffel was sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Guild.


Court Attendants

  • Jakobi Dye is the son of Stephen and Tia Dye of Glenville, West Virginia. Jakobi is currently in Pre-K and loves all things Scooby Doo. He enjoys playing with Lego’s and Scooby Doo toys. His father serves as Head Men’s Basketball Coach at GSC.

  • Charlotte Smarr is the daughter of Kenneth and Nicole Smarr and Chris and Carissa Queen. She is the granddaughter of Gary and Lisa K. Smarr and Dave and Deborah Hughes. Smarr is currently in kindergarten and participates in twirling and Girl Scouts. She likes to ride her bike, swim, and play with her other siblings. She has shown interest in becoming a teacher when she grows up. Her grandparents Gary and Lisa Smarr both work at GSC, in Public Safety and Dining Services, respectively.

  • Zander Henline is the son of Timothy and Meriah Henline of Glenville, West Virginia. He is in Pre-K, likes to play Minecraft, and enjoys swimming, playing outside, and going for walks with his dog, Luna. He wants to be a professor and daddy when he grows up. His father is an Assistant Professor of Business at GSC.

  • McKinley Henline is the daughter of Timothy and Meriah Henline of Glenville, West Virginia. McKinley is in kindergarten and loves to draw and paint, spend time with her friends, sing, and help her mom cook. She wants to be a chef when she grows up. Her father is an Assistant Professor of Business at GSC.

For more information about Homecoming Week, visit www.glenville.edu/homecoming or call 304.462.6116.

GSC to Host 70th Chi Beta Phi National Conference

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Glenville State College will be hosting the 70th annual Chi Beta Phi National Conference later this month. Chi Beta Phi is an interdisciplinary scientific honorary for undergraduate students and is an affiliate society of The American Association for the Advancement of Science. The organization aims to promote interest in science and to give recognition to scholarly attainment in science.

Chi Beta Phi LogoThe conference will take place in the Glenville State College Science Hall on Saturday, October 28. The schedule includes a greeting from the GSC chapter president, committee assignments, committee meetings, a guest speaker, presentations, and concludes with an awards presentation.

The guest speaker will be Dr. Ross Conover who will be discussing sparrows in the Colorado Rockies. Conover is an Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondack Mountain wilderness in upstate New York. He is currently conducting research out of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in the Colorado Rockies on high elevation sparrows and the semi-aquatic American Dipper.

Glenville State College’s Alpha lota Chapter of Chi Beta Phi has been active since 1964. Advisors include GSC Associate Professor of Physical Science Larry Baker and Associate Professor of Mathematics Paul Peck.

Visit www.chibetaphi.org for more information about the National Conference.

Justice Proclaims October as General Aviation Appreciation Month

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Governor Jim Justice proclaimed October 2017 as General Aviation Appreciation Month in the Mountain State.

In West Virginia, general aviation and local airports play a critical role in the lives of citizens, businesses, communities and the state of West Virginia, the proclamation stated.

General aviation supports 5,300 jobs, which results in $256 million in labor income, and contributes over $1 billion to the state’s total economic output annually.

General aviation also plays a vital role in the state’s response to natural disasters, medical emergencies, search and rescue operations, firefighting, public safety and law enforcement, as well as recreation and tourism, according to the proclamation.

It is directly tied to the future growth and prosperity of the Mountain State, which is why Justice said he is working to make sure West Virginia continues to support the vitality of general aviation, the aerospace industry, local airports, aircraft manufacturing and repair stations, and aviation education.

More Schools Receive Free Technology Through SecondLaunch Initiative

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The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) received an update on the SecondLaunch Initiative at its October board meeting. The initiative, which was created by the West Virginia Department of Education in June 2015, continues to expand its reach, providing much needed technology to students throughout the state. Now, in its third year, SecondLaunch has saved the state $3 million in technology costs and has provided more than 8,000 computers to students in 47 counties.

Computers and other technology equipment are donated to SecondLaunch from West Virginia government agencies as well as private industry. Equipment is then wiped, cleaned and upgraded to meet the requirements of the programs used in schools. Computers, monitors, keyboards and mice are packaged together for ease of use and assembly, and schools can pick the computers up at the SecondLaunch warehouse in Charleston.

“Through the SecondLaunch Initiative, we are working to ensure that all students have access to technology and resources they need” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “Our goal is to have the program in all 55 counties, and work with educators to make sure that a lack of resources is never an obstacle for educators to provide the best education possible for our students.”

In addition to state agencies, private industry has also joined in and donated equipment to SecondLaunch.

“The program’s success depends on the donations we receive,” said David Cartwright, who oversees the program. “We have been fortunate to form a partnership with Toyota Motor Manufacturing in West Virginia, who has become a generous and recurring participant. Our hope is to expand our private partnerships so we can continue to see the program grow.”

SecondLaunch helps students interact with the technology they will encounter in life after high school, whether it be college or the workforce. Some of the state’s earliest learners also have access to the SecondLaunch materials, allowing West Virginia students to utilize 21st century learning resources every day.

Learn more about the SecondLaunch initiative by visiting: http://wvde.state.wv.us/technology/showcase/

Those interested in donating equipment to SecondLaunch can email David Cartwright: .

Did You Know?

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HE ‘KNEW WHAT HE SIGNED UP FOR’

That’s what Florida Democratic Representative Frederica Wilson says she overheard Trump say to the widow of a U.S. soldier slain in Niger while the woman had the president on speakerphone.


WHERE ISLAMIC STATE MILITANTS MAY BE HEADED

The escape to al-Qaida-held Idlib province presents the opportunity to continue fighting alongside an extremist group that shares much of the decimated group’s ideology.


ANOTHER 11TH-HOUR SNAFU FOR TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN

A federal judge in Hawaii blocks the revised order, saying the policy has the same problems as a previous version.


WHY WINNING AMAZON HEADQUARTERS BID IS A BIG DEAL

Winning the tech giants’ second headquarters would likely launch a city into a “tech hub,” where high-skilled, high-paid workers spend freely and help fuel job growth beyond Amazon itself.


WHAT IS XI’S VISION FOR CHINA

The president urges his Communist Party to serve as the vanguard on everything from defending national security to providing moral guidance to ordinary Chinese.


TRUMP’S LAWYERS TO ASK FOR DISMISSAL OF LAWSUIT

The civil suit alleges that the president is violating the Constitution by letting his businesses accept money from foreign governments.


‘ETHNIC CLEANSING’ IN SOUTH SUDAN FELL ON DEAF EARS

An AP investigation shows that despite numerous warnings and pleas from both local officials and residents in Yei, the U.N. and the U.S. failed to prevent the bloodshed.


CALIFORNIA POT CROP GOES UP IN SMOKE

The same fires that destroyed Northern California wineries also took a toll on the region’s marijuana farms just months before the legal weed market is slated to open.


GENE TUMOR BOARDS GUIDE CANCER CARE

These experts study a patient’s cancer genes and match treatments to mutations that seem to drive the disease.


THIS TIME, TALKS WEREN’T ABOUT CONTRACTS

With anthem protests causing off-the-field distractions, NFL owners and players tackled social justice issues when they met in New York.

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AGENDA
WORKSESSION
Gilmer County Board of Education
Central Office
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 – 1:30 PM

I. CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL


II. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE


III. EXCESS LEVY


IV. ADJOURN

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Adult Education can do much more than prepare you for the new High School Equivalency test.

We can also help with job search, resume writing, typing, and computer literacy.

In addition, English as a Second Language and Literacy classes are offered upon demand.

Classes are available in both Gilmer and Calhoun Counties.

Calhoun County classes will be held at the Career Center on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 to 3:30 and on Wednesday by appointment.

Gilmer County classes will be held at St. Marks Church on Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 6.

Please call 304.354.6151 x106 for more information.

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There’s a massive flaw in a security protocol which protects Wi-Fi, researchers have found

The flaw, which affects most Wi-Fi enabled devices, could allow hackers to thieve information like photos, credit card details, and more.


Facebook has acquired an app called tbh which lets teens create polls for themselves and their friends

The app has been downloaded by more than 5 million people.


SoftBank’s multi-billion dollar investment in Uber will be finalized next week, according to Uber board member Arianna Huffington

SoftBank is planning to buy a 14% to 20% stake through its $93 billion Vision Fund.


Netflix beat its subscriber growth targets, adding 5.3 million during the third quarter

That’s despite a price hike which the firm needs to fund its massive $8 billion investment in programming next year.


Leaked figures show UberEats is a bright spot in Uber’s financials, bringing in $3 billion in gross sales this year

The food delivery service accounts for 8-10% of Uber’s bookings.


Microsoft’s fight with the U.S. Department of Justice over handing over customer emails will go to the Supreme Court

The court will review whether law enforcement can use search warrants on emails stored outside the US.


A former Uber executive, Emil Michael, has moved to dismiss a case alleging he mishandled a confidential medical file on a victim raped by an Uber driver in India

Michael said in the filing that the issue wasn’t his fault.


Facebook is testing out a CV feature that would put it into direct competition with LinkedIn

The trial feature lets you add your experience, education, and contact information in a CV-style format.


Google can now use facial recognition to identify your pets in photos

Google Photos can now specifically identify both individual pets and breeds by their faces, meaning you could now search your photos by your pet’s name.


Chinese smartphone makers have the worst environment impact, according to an annual Greenpeace report looking at the major manufacturers

Brands like Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi ranked bottom of the list, while Fairphone tops the rankings.

West Virginia News

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►  Water utility’s settlement would lower bill increases

A West Virginia water utility has filed a settlement with the state Public Service Commission that’d remove a $5 million proposal which upgrades infrastructure between two communities and raises bills.

The independent Commission staff argued in June that West Virginia American Water overreached by pursuing a project not immediately beneficial to current consumers. It’d replace the aging Webster Springs treatment plant with water delivered from one in Weston and raise monthly residential rates by an average $1.04 in 2018. If approved, customers’ average increase would be $0.98 instead.

The project wouldn’t end but the company would have to wait until after it’s complete to propose how it’ll pay for the cost.

The Commission will make its final decision after a public hearing on October 25.


►  DHHR receives 24 applications for Ryan Brown funding

Nearly two dozen parties have applied for substance abuse treatment funding through the Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention and Recovery Fund, according to state Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch.

Crouch told members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance Monday they have received 24 applications for additional treatment bed services. The DHHR will be making final decisions on applications within the next week.

“Those applications have been reviewed. They’ve been preliminary scored. They will then go, this week, to the Office of Drug Control Policy where we have a committee to make final decisions on those applications,” Crouch said.

The fund is currently below the anticipated $24 million, Crouch told lawmakers.

“We ended up out of the total of $39 million, after attorneys fees and other transfers, being at $21.6 million,” he said.

In April, the state Legislature passed a bill to create the Brown Fund to help with substance abuse recovery. The fund was named after Ryan Brown who died of a heroin overdose at the Charleston Town Center Mall in April 2014.

The new law will allow the state DHHR to collect grants and gifts from public and private sources.

Before Brown died, he went through three detox only programs and was on the waiting list for two long term programs. The law focuses on funding for people who may not have private insurance, Medicare or medicaid.

Some facilities will expand existing services through these funds and start working with private groups to start new facilities if necessary.


►  WV Attorney General Seeks More Than $49K From Unlawful Debt Negotiator

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a petition seeking more than $49,000 owed to consumers by a California-based law firm that unlawfully offered debt settlement and negotiation services in the Mountain State.

Matthews Law Firm Inc., based in Tustin, California, was offering debt settlement and negotiation services to consumers in West Virginia, a legal practice that is only permitted within the state by practicing lawyers licensed in West Virginia.

“My office will fight for the return of consumers’ hard-earned dollars,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Any business that violates state law will be held accountable.”

The petition argued the law firm and its owner, Arturo Matthews, Jr., failed to honor a settlement that required the firm to cease its debt settlement and negotiation practices in West Virginia and pay more than $62,000 in refunds to affected consumers.

To date, Matthews Law Firm has failed to meet the bulk of its financial obligation, making payments of just $12,500. That leaves a remaining balance of $49,548.99.

The petition seeks full payment to the state, including interest, costs and attorney’s fees, from Mr. Matthews, in his capacity as the sole owner and officer of the law firm.


►  New grant supports WVU recovery of rare earth elements

The National Energy Technology Laboratory has announced a $644,000 research grant to West Virginia University to continue its research on recovering rare earth elements from coal and its byproducts.

The West Virginia Water Research Institute at WVU has led research since February 2016 across four projects applying $4.46 million in federal and $1.13 million in industry funds.

It includes building a pilot scale processing plant on the WVU Evansdale campus.

According to the university, the new grant will allow the research team to develop processes for upstream extraction at the mine discharge point where coal operators are required to treat acid mine drainage, the most abundant pollutant in West Virginia waters.

The research is aimed at establishing a commercial process for recovering valuable rare earth elements from the drainage.


►  Audit: State’s computer system hampers payroll for employees

West Virginia’s new $150 million supercomputer lacks the payroll functions of prior state computers and has caused the Division of Personnel to hire additional employees to process payroll transactions, an audit has concluded.

The legislative audit, released Sunday, says the division cites nine areas of lost functionality with the new wvOasis computer system, requiring the division to hire three employees who have a combined salary of nearly $100,000.

The cited issues include the fact that accompanying documents and attachments have been automatically deleted when the system rejects a transaction. Also, if an employee transfers from one state agency to another, the prior agency can no longer access that employee’s work history or enter any outstanding payroll transactions.

“I’m so sick and tired of hearing about this Oasis thing,” said Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson. “The point of technology is to reduce the number of employees needed and gain efficiencies.”

State Auditor J.B. McCuskey told the Legislative Post-Audits Committee that no one from the Division of Personnel has notified his office or the Enterprise Resource Planning Board about any inefficiencies in payroll. The Enterprise Resource Planning Board oversees implementation of the wvOasis system. McCuskey also blamed aversion to change and “general bureaucratic nonsense” for issues with consolidating 158 legacy payroll systems into the wvOasis system.

McCuskey said the wvOasis system was sold to the Legislature on the premise that it could produce enough cost savings to pay for itself. He believes it can still produce that savings, as long as state agencies work together to implement the transition.

ETC.

The Free Press WV

  • Are Trump and AG Sessions about to install a “mole’ at the Justice Department to help track the Mueller probe?  The Senate Judiciary Committee late last month on a party-line vote approved the nomination of Brian Benczkowski, a former Sessions aide, to head the Criminal Division. There are Democratic concerns about his lack of experience as a prosecutor and his ability to gain access to confidential information about the pending Russia probe.    The New Republic


  • A knee in protest; one person with a view from both sides.  Meet Cameron Gordon, who inhabits a unique corner of the conflict between Trump and the NFL, and its players. Gordon played alongside Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who refused to stand for the anthem to protest police brutality. Gordon then retired and began a career in law enforcement; he’s expected to graduate next month from the Michigan State Police academy. His take on Kaepernick and company? “I like the discussion that it’s caused.”  Politico

  • The NFL now endorses the pending sentencing reform bill stalled on Capitol Hill.    The Washington Post


  • Federal lawmakers want more answers from DEA on opioid pill prescriptions in West Virginia.    Charleston Gazette-Mail

  • The Teamsters push one major drug manufacturer to get rid of its leader.  Charleston Gazette-Mail


  • Florida governor declares state of emergency in advance of Richard Spencer event:    “Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Monday in anticipation of a speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer at the University of Florida. Scott (R) warned in an executive order that a ‘threat of a potential emergency is imminent’ in Alachua County, where the public university is located… Spencer led hundreds of torch-bearing white supremacists, white nationalists and others on a march chanting, ‘You will not replace us’ and ‘Jews will not replace us’ at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in August. The group fought briefly with counterprotesters, and violence worsened the following day when a man drove a car into a crowd of people protesting a planned ‘Unite the Right’ rally, killing a woman and injuring others.”  THE WASHINGTON POST


  • Gregg Popovich Slams Trump as “a Soulless Coward” and “Pathological Liar”:  He is “unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it.“  ESQUIRE


  • Congressional Black Caucus Addresses NFL Protests:  It’s their play. Rep. Cedric Richmond, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, penned a 1,842-word letter to the NFL urging them to support kneeling athletes. The missive, which makes reference to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s defense of nonviolent protest, is a bid to return the debate over the demonstrations to their original focus: police brutality against African-Americans. “Peacefully protesting,” Richmond’s letter reads, “is one of the most American things any citizen can do.” NFL owners are expected to decide on a response to the anthem protests this week.  SB Nation

Jeanette Riffle: “Trick or Treatin” in the 50’s

The Free Press WV

We were shopping at the Spencer Walmart recently and the lady at the checkout was friendly and talkative and we struck up a conversation about the Halloween candy. She said that she grew up on a farm in a sparsely populated area and they never had any “trick or treaters.” She ever heard of such a thing until she grew up and moved to a city.  We didn’t get any “trick or treaters” either.  Mom bought us kids false faces at the Murphy’s 5 &10 cent store and that was he extent of our costumes unless we wanted to dress up in some sloppy clothes for disguise.

We didn’t have any store bought Halloween outfits, though. We kept it simple.

Dad would drive us around to the country stores and after we each had 3 or 4 bars of candy, he would bring us back home.  I think our car windows got soaped one time and after that Dad watched after dark and we always burned the outside lights. Mom stayed at the house while he drove us around.  I didn’t like the false faces. They burned my face. I must have been allergic to them. My brothers didn’t get a reaction like that. It was kind of fun watching the store owners trying to figure out who we were, though. Of course we knew all of them, but they acted like they didn’t know who we were.

After I married and left home, Duane and I got so many “trick or treaters” that we would run out of candy and had to shut the door and turn the lights off. We always lived in suburbs of a big city and the kids came in large numbers. Sometimes a whole van load at a time. By September it got cold and rainy in Michigan and really wintry by the end of October.  It worried me to see little children out in that kind of weather. You had to sit on a chair by the front door and it was opened so much that the cold air came right in the house. I couldn’t handle it and had to give it up. Duane had to take over that job but he enjoyed it. The mothers would bring the tiny ones around before dark and then the older ones would come.  Most of the time, it took about 3 ½ to 4 hours to get through all that and it was steady without much of a break.

Our son would go out with his little buddy next door and they took a pillow case and would come back and dump all their treats on my kitchen table to go through it. I think they got enough to last them until Christmas.

Until next time, stay warm on these chilly fall nights and mornings.

WV Ventures into Potatoes and Cow Breeding with Little Success

The Free Press WV

When Walt Helmick was State Agriculture Commissioner he wanted to encourage the expansion of the agri-food industry.  Helmick argued the state was underachieving in food production so he began pilot programs for beans and potatoes.

Helmick and his team envisioned creating and equipping various collection points around the state where farmers could bring their potatoes to be cleaned and prepared for market.  The state spent about $1 million of taxpayer money on a huge machine, crates and other materials and established the first potato aggregation point in Huntington.

West Virginia built it, but the potatoes never came.  Crescent Gallagher, spokesman for the state agriculture department, said the machine has only been used three or four times and it is now for sale. “We decided it’s not something we have the resources for any more,” he told MetroNews reporter Brad McElhinny.

The ag department’s abandonment of the potato business is also attributable to the change in administrations. Republican Kent Leonhardt defeated Helmick, a Democrat, last November.  Leonhart was critical during the campaign of Helmick’s potato plans.

Helmick’s ag department also made the controversial decision to use tax dollars to buy four breeding cows from Oklahoma and bring them to West Virginia with the intent of making available superior bloodlines.  That move upset the West Virginia Farm Bureau, which argued the state’s breeding cows created unfair competition for farmers.

Leonhardt’s administration is now stuck with the cows.  “There’s no reason to sell them because we wouldn’t get anywhere near what we bought them for,” Gallagher said.

In fairness, the state agriculture commissioner’s job description includes “implementing legislative enactments designed to advance the interests of agriculture, horticulture and similar industries in West Virginia.”  I remember interviewing Helmick about the project; he was just trying to jumpstart the state’s agriculture economy.

However, this turned into another example of the government using taxpayer dollars to pick economic winners and losers. Occasionally government planners will hit on a winner, but most of the time the result is wasted money and that was the case with the potato project and the bulls.

The private sector, through the tried and true method of market competition, weeds out bad ideas, while allowing for good ones to flourish. If a potato processing facility made economic sense for West Virginia, it’s likely that a hardworking entrepreneur would have figured that out long ago.

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