GilmerFreePress.net

G-Fin™: U.S.A.: Economic Brief – 10.21.11

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Regional and State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly)

Jobless rates down in 25 states, up in 14 in September; payroll jobs down in 25, up in 24 states.

In September, 25 states reported over-the-month unemployment rate decreases, 14 had increases, and 11 and the District of Columbia had no change.

Nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 25 states, increased in 24 states and the district, and was unchanged in 1 state.


Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers

Full-time wage and salary workers have median weekly earnings of $753 in 3rd quarter 2011.

Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 101.4 million full-time wage and salary workers were $753 in the third quarter of 2011.

This was 1.8% higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 3.8% in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.


Consumer Price Index

CPI increases 0.3% in September as food and energy prices rise.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI-U increased 0.3% in September after increasing 0.4% in August.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1% in September after increasing 0.2% in August.


Real Earnings

Real average hourly earnings falls 0.1% in September.

Real average hourly earnings fell 0.1% from August to September, seasonally adjusted.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2%, offset by a 0.3% increase in the CPI-U.

Real average weekly earnings rose 0.2% over the month.


Producer Price Index

The PPI for finished goods increases 0.8% and finished core moves up 0.2%.

The Producer Price Index for finished goods rose 0.8% in September.

Finished goods prices were unchanged in August and increased 0.2% in July.

The index for finished goods less foods and energy moved up 0.2%.

GFP: Commenting Policy Reminder

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Once again, we have to remind the readers about the commenting rules:

1) We have to know who you are, even if you want to remain anonymous.

2) You have to complete the verification process in order to have your comment activated.

3) By providing fake e-mail address and fake information you are just wasting time and effort.

4) All comments are the opinion of the authors of the comments and not The Gilmer Free Press.

5) If you do not agree with someone’s opinion you have the same right to express your own. You may wish to set the record straight or ignore it.  A timely response may clear up misunderstandings quickly and avoid distortion of truth.

6) As long as the verification process is complete and the comment does not contain foul language, and is relative to the subject the comment will be activated.

Some people enjoy reading about others in the GFP, but when they become the subject of the discussion, GFP suddenly becomes bad.

It is interesting that those who complain about anonymous comments supply an anonymous signature instead of their real name.

When people commit criminal acts, it is the public’s right to know. If one holds a public office and/or paid by public funds, then it is the public’s right to question their actions.  Otherwise, news sources would be full of feel good stories, poetry, and philanthropy that no one wants to read.  What the public really wants is to be informed, forewarned, and alerted to potential problems that may affect them personally.

Once again, if you feel that any information published by The Gilmer Free Press is not accurate, you are invited to express your part.

WV County School Boards Sue over Retiree Coverage Liability

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County school boards are warning that West Virginia’s plan for tackling retiree health costs threatens to derail the state’s education system.

Defenders of the plan say the boards are overreacting and must share the burden of closing a significant liability.

All but six of West Virginia’s 55 county boards asked the Supreme Court last week to declare that the plan violates the state constitution’s mandate for a “thorough and efficient system of free schools.“

The boards have sued the Public Employees Insurance Agency over monthly billings for the future health-care coverage of their teachers and other employees, for when they retire.

Howard Seufer, a lawyer for the boards, told the justices that these monthly charges will total $200 million this budget year.

Amounts left unpaid become debts of the school systems.

“We have administrators and school boards that feel paralyzed. They don’t know what’s coming in the future,“ Seufer said. “They know their books show millions of dollars of liability, and they’ve been told that ultimately they’ll be responsible for it.“

The billings are part of a 2006 law targeting a funding shortfall for non-pension benefits promised to public workers once they retire.

PEIA recently estimated an $8 billion gap between on-hand assets and these future other post-employment benefits, or OPEB.

The legislation, proposed by then-Governor Joe Manchin, responded to a national accounting standard that called on government entities to start calculating the size of this unfunded liability.

The school boards have been covering the health coverage as employees retire.

That pay-as-you-go portion of the monthly billing equals $167 per employee, Seufer said. But PEIA has also begun charging the boards for the estimated future liability, and that portion equals $794 per employee, he said during last week’s argument hearing in the case.

“We have school boards that are reserving money that could be spent and should be spent to educate children,“ Seufer said.

Most states have stuck with the pay-as-you-go approach.

West Virginia went above and beyond the standard with the 2006 law, but failed to increase the state’s share of the funding for public schools accordingly, Seufer argued.

While other county and local government bodies face monthly billings for their PEIA-enrolled employees, they have options such as shopping for health coverage elsewhere, Seufer said.

When it comes to teachers, school boards must participate in PEIA, he told the justices.

“We’re just asking the court to declare that it is unconstitutional to place the liability upon the county boards of education in a situation where they’re not also given the funds with which to pay these hundreds of millions of dollars of liability for this unfunded OPEB benefit,“ Seufer said.

But lawyer Ned Rose, representing PEIA, told the justices that the boards have exaggerated the consequences of leaving OPEB billings unpaid.

The state’s elected auditor, for instance, can’t consider these liabilities when checking school boards for budget deficits, Rose said.

“I think it’s important and it’s vital for the court to appreciate that while the liability resides with the county school boards, they are never required to spend any money to pay off that liability,“ Rose said. “While the liability continues to be booked, they have no obligation to fund that liability.“

The threat to the constitution’s education mandate, Rose suggested, comes from boards overreacting to the OPEB legislation.

“It is arguable that if a school board in 2011 diverts funds from other classroom needs to reserve for this problem, I think that they’re violating the constitution because they’re not spending money in the classroom but rather for a contingent liability that is probably never going to cost them any money,“ he said.

Rose said the 2006 legislation sought to spread the burden of the OPEB funding gap so entities across government would have a stake in closing it.

The law also recognizes that county boards have always been liable for the benefits of their teachers and other employees, Rose said.

“The state has never, never adopted a position as the employer of schoolteachers,“ Rose said. “If it were to do that today, it would unleash any number of issues that go well beyond the question of this unfunded liability.“

The boards are appealing a Kanawha Circuit Court ruling that had dismissed their lawsuit as posing a political question better answered by the Legislature.

The county boards have been urging lawmakers to revisit their 2006 measure.

A special Senate panel has been pursuing a measure that would attack the OPEB liability while also easing the burden on school boards.

Some legislators have proposed taking the step that Rose warned against. Seufer argued last week that the justices could reach that conclusion without interfering with that branch’s powers.

“If the state of West Virginia acknowledges in the law that it is responsible for this OPEB liability, over and above the pay-go amount, then the county boards don’t have to show it on their books,“ Seufer said. “They are free of these apprehensions about the future, they don’t have to plan around this liability.“

WV High School Football Scoreboard - Week 9 - 2011

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AAA
Jefferson (1-7)  12
#1 Martinsburg (8-0)  65
#2 Bridgeport (8-0)   
BYE Week
#8 Capital (5-3)  29
#3 Geo. Washington (9-0)  39
 #4 Hurricane (7-1)  35
#13 Spring Valley (4-4)  14
 #5 Logan (7-1)  22
Mingo Cent. (3-5) AA  6
#6 Parkersburg (6-2)   
BYE Week
#10 Keyser (5-3) AA  6
#7 Musselman (7-2)  49
 #9 Elkins (7-2)  28
Lewis County (4-5)  20
John Marshall (0-8)  12
#10 Morgantown (6-2)  60
 #11 Cabell Midland (6-3)  27
Princeton (3-6)  3
#14 Robt. C. Byrd (5-4)  10
#12 Pksbg. South (5-3)  24
 #15 Huntington (5-3)  31
Greenbrier East (3-5)  0
 #16 North Marion (5-3)  24
Nicholas County (4-4)  3
Fairmont Sr. (4-4)  14
#16 Wheeling Park (5-3)  64
East Fairmont (3-6)  21
Buck. Upshur (1-8)  27
Hampshire (1-7)  12
Hedgesville (3-5)  56
 Lincoln County (2-6)  26
St. Albans (2-7)  21
Nitro (0-8)  22
Winfield (3-5)  41
Ripley (3-6)  20
So. Charleston (5-4)  27
 Riverside (4-4)  21
Woodrow Wilson (4-5)  18
 University (5-4)  55
Preston (1-7)  0
Washington (3-5)  20
Frankfort (2-6) AA  26 (OT)

AA

Wyoming East (3-5)  19
#1 Shady Spring (9-0)  48
#16 Scott (4-3) 
#2 Point Pleasant (8-0)  55
Liberty (R) (4-4)  8
#3 River View (8-0)  48
 #4 Roane County (7-1)  48
Herbert Hoover (2-6)  10
Liberty (H) (5-4)  7
#4 Lincoln (7-1)  20
#6 Westside (6-1)   
BYE Week
 #7 Greenbrier West (8-1)  34
Midland Trail (1-7) A  8
 #8 Chapmanville (7-1)  49
Tolsia (0-9)  20
 #9 Oak Glen (8-1)  35
Catholic Central, OH.  27
Berkeley Springs (2-7)  7
#11 Grafton (6-2)  40
Clay County (2-6)  6
#12 Ravenswood (6-2)  35
 #13 Wayne (6-2)  43
Poca (2-6)  23
Tyler Consol. (0-8)  12 
#14 Ritchie County (6-2)  40
 #15 Braxton County (6-3)  42
Webster County (3-5)  40
 Bluefield (3-4)  27
Oak Hill (3-5)  14
 Brooke (4-4) AAA  63
Weir (0-8)  7
 Independence (3-5)  20
Pikeview (1-7)  14
James Monroe (2-6)   
BYE Week
 Magnolia (4-4)  17
Barnesville, OH. (7-2)  13
 Sissonville (2-6)  22
Sherman (0-8)  13
Summers County (5-3)   
BYE Week
 Tug Valley (5-4)  32
Montcalm (0-8) A  0

A

Caldwell, OH (4-5)  13
#1 Wheeling Central (8-0)  34
Gilmer County (1-7) - Forfeit 
#2 Williamstown (8-0)  1
Cancelled
#9 Madonna (5-3)  0
#3 Wahama (8-0)  33
#4 East Hardy (7-0)   
BYE Week
 #4 Wirt County (7-1)  67
Calhoun County (1-8)  18
#7 Buffalo (6-2)  26 
#6 Fayetteville (7-1)  27 (OT)
 #8 Clay-Battelle (7-1)  53
Tygarts Valley (0-8)  0
 #9 Valley (F) (6-2)  26
Richwood (2-6)  20
 #11 Van (6-2)  42
Hannan (2-6)  6
 #12 Moorefield (5-3)  56
Petersburg (1-7) AA  13
Valley (W) (3-6)  14
#12 Bish. Donahue (6-2)  52
#14 Pksbg. Catholic (5-3)   
BYE Week
 #15 Pocahontas County (6-3)  15
Man (2-7)  7
Mount View (0-8) AA  12
#16 Meadow Bridge (5-3)  38
 Beallsville, OH (7-2)  47
Paden City (3-5)  14
 Cameron (5-4)  55
St. Johns, OH.  12
Doddridge County (3-6)  0
Tucker County (4-4)  26
Pendleton County (1-6)   
BYE Week
 Philip Barbour (3-5) AA  41
Notre Dame (2-6)  19
South Harrison (3-5)  14
St. Marys (4-4)  39
 Toronto, OH (6-3)  52
Hundred (0-9)  36

Mountaineer Monday: October 24, 2011

High School Cross Country: Official State Meet Qualifiers - 2011

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AA-A Boyss State Meet Qualifiers & Alternates

Comp#     Name                   Grade    School               
11        Doxzen, Casey            11     Berkeley Springs
12        Glass, Justin            12     Berkeley Springs
13        Osborne, Thad            11     Berkeley Springs
14        Peck, Patrick            12     Berkeley Springs
15        Reynolds, Dylan          10     Berkeley Springs
16        Robertson, Logan         10     Berkeley Springs
17        Shetler, Corey           11     Berkeley Springs
18        Simmons, Zac             10     Berkeley Springs
19        Spielman, Kirk           11     Berkeley Springs
3         Childers, Evan           12     Buffalo
21        Humphrey, Ryan           10     Buffalo
22        Kosa, Billy               9     Buffalo
23        Reedy, Dakota            11     Buffalo
24        Rich, Dylan              11     Buffalo
25        Torman, Tyler            11     Buffalo
26        Walker, Levi             10     Buffalo
10        Black, Marcus            11     Charleston Catholic
28        Casingal, Alex           12     Charleston Catholic
29        Fauss, John              12     Charleston Catholic
30        Hughes, Dylan            11     Charleston Catholic
31        McClellan, Graham        11     Charleston Catholic
32        Panero, Spencer          11     Charleston Catholic
33        Snyder, Justin            9     Charleston Catholic
34        Standish, Scott          11     Charleston Catholic
35        Witsberger, Paul         12     Charleston Catholic
36        Wroth, David              9     Charleston Catholic
37        Britton, Keith           11     Doddridge County
38        Eddy, Lane                9     Doddridge County
39        Jones, Anthony           10     Doddridge County
40        Leggett, Devin           11     Doddridge County
41        Moore, Caleb             11     Doddridge County
42        Mullan, Ryan             10     Doddridge County
43        Spencer, Ian             11     Doddridge County
44        Zorn, Matt               11     Doddridge County
45        Ickes, Shane             11     Frankfort
46        Miller, Trae             11     Frankfort
47        Louzy, PJ                11     Grafton
48        Moore, Tyler             10     Grafton
49        Mayes, Mike              11     Huntington St. Joe
50        Cales, Isaac             12     Independence
51        Wood, Sam                12     Independence
4         Feeney, Bill             12     Magnolia
53        Haught, James            11     Magnolia
54        Headley, Kenny           11     Magnolia
55        Hinerman, Alec           12     Magnolia
56        King, Dylan              12     Magnolia
57        Lancaster, Kyle          11     Magnolia
58        McIlvain, David           9     Magnolia
59        Raber, Mikal             11     Magnolia
60        Balsamo, Kristopher      10     Oak Hill
61        Gardner, Lucas           12     Oak Hill
62        Gillespie, Cody           9     Oak Hill
63        Heath, Christian         10     Oak Hill
64        Holliday, Matthew        12     Oak Hill
65        Long-Cook, Dylan         10     Oak Hill
66        Oxendale, Nick           10     Oak Hill
67        Pritt, Daniel            10     Oak Hill
6         Stowers, Wes             11     Oak Hill
69        Thomas, Hayden           12     Oak Hill
70        Anderson, Wes            12     Philip Barbour
71        Anglin, Joey              9     Philip Barbour
72        Baldwin, Tyler            9     Philip Barbour
73        Branka, Derek            11     Philip Barbour
74        Crickard, Matt           11     Philip Barbour
75        Furby, Trey              11     Philip Barbour
76        King, Matt               12     Philip Barbour
77        Nesland, Scott           10     Philip Barbour
78        Nuzum, Ian               10     Philip Barbour
79        Phillips, Andrew         11     Philip Barbour
80        Stockberger, Nick        11     Philip Barbour
81        Stuart, Bailey            9     Philip Barbour
82        Stuart, Josh              9     Philip Barbour
83        Williams, Dustin         10     Philip Barbour
84        Weitzel, Jason            9     PikeView
85        Ely, Andrew              11     Ravenswood
86        Hayman, Jon              10     Ravenswood
87        Jarrell, Chase            9     Ravenswood
88        Morriston, Damian        12     Ravenswood
89        Palmer, Adam             11     Ravenswood
90        Sadecky, Luke            11     Ravenswood
91        Schindler, Will          11     Ravenswood
1         Shaffer, Andrew          12     Richwood
93        Davis, Andrew            10     Ritchie County
94        Davis, Walker            10     Ritchie County
95        Hardman, Clinton         12     Ritchie County
5         Hogue, Johnny            10     Ritchie County
97        James, Joshua            12     Ritchie County
98        Mason, Jonathan          11     Ritchie County
99        Poling, Carson           12     Ritchie County
100       Skidmore, Dylan          10     Ritchie County
101       Adkins, Andrew           12     Scott
102       Dolin, Jackson           11     Scott
103       Golden, Jimmy            11     Scott
104       Honeycutt, Ryan          11     Scott
105       Paitsel, Zachary         12     Scott
106       Rankin, Jon              12     Scott
2         Shaffer, Will            11     Scott
108       Harper, Justin           10     Shady Spring
109       Kosut, Tyler             11     Shady Spring
110       McKinney, Michael        12     Shady Spring
111       Meadows, Chris           12     Shady Spring
112       Meadows, David           10     Shady Spring
113       Roseberry, Ryan          11     Shady Spring
114       Young, Jason             11     Shady Spring
135       Halstead, Aaron          12     Shady Spring
136       Jackson, Caleb            9     Shady Spring
137       Bennett, Jacob            9     Shady Spring
115       Perdue, Brandon          12     Sherman
116       Carpenter, Derek         10     St. Marys
117       Cottrill, Newt           11     St. Marys
118       Cottrill, Trevor          9     St. Marys
119       Delancey, Grant          12     St. Marys
8         Drazba, Charlie          12     St. Marys
121       Houser, Michael          10     St. Marys
122       Hupp, Dylan               9     St. Marys
9         Whitehair, Jordan        11     St. Marys
124       Reynolds, Dylan          10     Tyler Consolidated
125       Reed, Forrest            12     Wayne
126       Harris, Brettley          9     Webster County
127       Acord, Justin             9     Westside
128       Cochran, Brandon         11     Westside
7         Davis, Cameron           11     Westside
130       Fox, Will                 9     Westside
131       Gibson, Austin           11     Westside
132       Hicks, Mike               9     Westside
133       Walker, John             10     Westside
134       McMillan, Glenn           9     Wirt County


AA-A Girls State Meet Qualifiers & Alternates

Comp#     Name                   Grade    School               
11        Haynes, Danielle          9     Berkeley Springs
12        Houck, Macy              12     Berkeley Springs
13        McDaniel, Charla          9     Berkeley Springs
14        Miller, Mackenzie         9     Berkeley Springs
15        Mundey, Kayla            12     Berkeley Springs
16        Shetier, Keri             9     Berkeley Springs
17        Slusher, Madison          9     Berkeley Springs
18        Weimer, Paige            12     Berkeley Springs
19        Younker, Sara            11     Berkeley Springs
20        Smith, Sarah             12     Cameron
2         Harris, Sami             11     Charleston Catholic
22        Carroll, Bethany         12     Doddridge County
23        Frey, Nele               11     Doddridge County
3         Jan, Katie               11     Frankfort
25        Miller, Monica            9     Grafton
26        Biser, Beth              11     Keyser
27        Boddy, Sarah             12     Keyser
28        Engle, Anna              10     Keyser
29        Haupt, Katelyn           12     Keyser
30        Redman, Jasmine          12     Keyser
31        Roatch, Ruth             12     Keyser
32        Rohrbaugh, Kierra        12     Keyser
33        Peters, Ashley           12     Liberty Harrison
34        Baird, Casey             10     Oak Glen
10        Chambers, Kelsey         10     Oak Glen
36        Ferguson, Jennifer       12     Oak Glen
37        Pearson, Lacy            12     Oak Glen
38        Ramsey, Natali           11     Oak Glen
39        Swiger, Kayla            11     Oak Glen
40        Webster, Amy             12     Oak Glen
41        Striker, Kali            11     Oak Hill
42        Wynne, Morgan            12     Oak Hill
43        Abbott, Amber            12     Philip Barbour
44        Holliday, Nicole         11     Philip Barbour
45        Kaiser, Merida           10     Philip Barbour
8         Long, Marissa            10     Philip Barbour
47        Long, Mary Beth          12     Philip Barbour
4         Mahoney, Katie           10     Philip Barbour
49        Truman, Haley             9     Philip Barbour
50        Villers, Allison         10     Philip Barbour
5         Waybright, Brianna       11     Philip Barbour
52        Hatfield, Lauren          9     PikeView
53        Porter, Andrea           11     Point Pleasant
54        Bolinger, Emily          11     Ravenswood
55        Currey, Mariah           10     Ravenswood
56        Howard, Jasmine          10     Ravenswood
57        Miller, Hailey            9     Ravenswood
58        Murray, Hannah           11     Ravenswood
59        Titus, Meri              12     Ravenswood
60        Treadway, Taylor          9     Ravenswood
61        Mazzella, Breanna        11     Richwood
62        Blankenship, Jessy       11     Scott
63        Chambers, Sheena          9     Scott
64        Conway, Julie            10     Scott
65        Golden, Georgia          10     Scott
66        Goodwin, Courtney        10     Scott
67        Graffius, Samantha       10     Scott
68        Green, Brittany          11     Scott
69        Griffith, Lexi           11     Scott
70        Ingraham, Kaitlyn        12     Scott
71        Scott, Kelsey            12     Scott
72        Carter, Ally              9     Shady Spring
73        Cook, Courtney            9     Shady Spring
74        Hegele, Nicole           10     Shady Spring
75        Jackson, Taylor          11     Shady Spring
76        Mullins, Jackie           9     Shady Spring
6         Phillips, Sarah          12     Shady Spring
78        Young, Megan             10     Shady Spring
79        Murphy, Mikalyn          10     Sissonville
80        Bowe, Kristin            10     St. Marys
81        Brewer, Jenny            12     St. Marys
1         Drazba, Maggie           11     St. Marys
83        Gorrell, Alex             9     St. Marys
84        Johnson, Ali             12     St. Marys
85        Knight, Beverly          12     St. Marys
86        Moore, Dani                     St. Marys
87        Newland, Lindsey         12     St. Marys
88        Strickler, Emily         10     St. Marys
89        Taylor, Olivia            9     St. Marys
90        Cassidy, Ashley          11     Tucker County
91        Brown, Erin              11     Webster County
92        Clevenger, Allison       12     Webster County
93        Gum, Heidi               12     Webster County
94        Holliday, Misty          12     Webster County
95        McCoy, Ryleigh           10     Webster County
96        Sanson, Lindsey          12     Webster County
97        Stout, Destiny           12     Webster County
98        Jenkins, Shawnee         10     Weir
99        Jennings, Ella           10     Weir
100       Martin, Allyson          11     Weir
7         Mastrantoni, Kristen     11     Weir
9         Virtue, Alexis           11     Weir
103       Chidester, Andrea        10     Williamstown
104       Cornell, Kathleen        11     Williamstown
105       Fulks, Kaitlyn           10     Williamstown
106       Gray, Charlotte           9     Williamstown
107       Gray, Heather            12     Williamstown
108       Harlan, Carli             9     Williamstown
109       Mefford, Briana          11     Williamstown
110       Mossor, Shealee          10     Williamstown
111       Robinson, Allie           9     Williamstown
112       Settle, Sarah             9     Williamstown
113       Gaskins, Brittani        12     Wirt County

Community Halloween Party and Haunted House 2011

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Otterbein United Methodist Church: Marthas and Marys – Tuesday, 10.25.11

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Marthas and Marys will meet on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at the Otterbein United Methodist Church on WV Highway 5 E in Glenville.

The meeting time is 4:00 PM.

All women are welcome to attend.

Gilmer County Cancer Fund Salad Luncheon - Wednesday, 10.26.11

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The Salad Luncheon will be held at the Trinity United Methodist Church, Glenville, WV, Wednesday, October 26, 2011 .

Lunches will be served from 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM.

You may eat in or get a take out.

Businesses and schools will be called for how many lunches and what kind of sandwiches you need delivered.

The price of the lunches is $4.00.

You may contact Betty White, or Rosa Belle Cunningham, Mescal Kuhl, Marge Stalnaker, Doris Norman, Melvin Jenkins, Helen James, Lenita Reale and Linda Bailey if you want a ticket or you can pay at the door or when they are delivered.

If anyone is interested in helping at the church to prepare the lunches, your help would be greatly appreciated.

We will begin making sandwiches at 7:00 AM.

Delegate David Walker - October 2011

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During two meetings conducted by the Select Committee on Veterans Affairs in October, lawmakers were updated on efforts being conducted to assist returning veterans of the state’s National Guard and other military personnel.  Presentations were provided by the Adjutant General of West Virginia’s National Guard, a US Department of Defense volunteer liasion and persons representing the state’s Division of Veterans Affairs.  Collectively, we hope to provide true support and assistance to all returning warriors and ensure they are welcomed home appropriately.

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Territory Chairman provided an update on the workings of that program. The ESGR on the national level has a mission to serve nationwide employment and West Virginia’s participation leads the nation.  The state has won five key national awards for people who support ESGR.

It is basically a volunteer organization.  While the federal government acts in its own manner in addressing veterans’ issues, community support has the greatest impact on returning troops.  According to the territorial chairman, people from all walks of life volunteer at ESGR with some being employment experts.  Presently the working group is putting together a memorandum of understanding to pull together and identify available services.

Returning guardsmen and women who do not have jobs is a significant problem we were told by the territory chairman and the state’s Adjutant General.  An estimated 172 are returning home and the volunteer organization is working feverishly with prospective employers.  While the numbers are an estimate, we are seeking accurate figures so we may have a better glimpse of the proportions of the problem.

A new website, WV Military Connection is also being developed and will be continually enhanced to serve as a portal for service personnel support.  While the WV site is presently at its initiation stage, the web designer said it is a work in progress and will soon offer a large range of assistance.

As lawmakers, we in the last year or so have passed legislation that ensured absentee voting for military members and their families and the appropriate disposition of remains.  Other ideas being presented before us include proposals to:

•  clarify retirement credit to erase the ambiguity being experienced by retirees and the state retirement board.  State employees who also serve in the National Guard may be deployed for a year or more but Air Guard service personnel see smaller lengths of time but have to wrestle for proper service credit. Several air trips throughout the year but not continual deployment still take a state employee out of the workplace and into a defense environment.  A year could be broken up multiple times but state employee/national guardsmen and women are not credited services to a homeland security event.

•  exempt private landowners from liability when their land is in use for military training exercises.

•  consider accrediting service members licensure and academic credit for military education, training and experience.

•  provide unemployment compensation for a spouse who follows a transferred soldier.  If a wife or husband, quits her or his job and follows their spouse then s/he is penalized because s/he voluntarily quit and is not eligible for unemployment.  The numbers of these people are to be calculated and provided to us in the coming months.

While significant changes have been introduced for helping wounded warriors, private support is also gaining ground.  I would like to praise the efforts of Spencer native Andrew Miller who raised $21,205 for the Wounded Warrior Project by doing a cross country run and Miss West Virginia who is taking up the fund raising cause in Martinsburg. Collectively, we can get things done.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns that you feel need addressed. You can reach me by calling 304.340.3135, by e-mailing “dwalker@mail.wvnet.edu” or writing to my office address: Room 210W, Building 1, State Capitol Complex Charleston, WV 25305.

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