Today - November 04, yyyy

Today is Friday, Nov. 04, the 308th day of 2011. There are 57 days left in the year.

Thought for Today: “A boy becomes an adult three years before his parents think he does, and about two years after he thinks he does.“ — Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, Selective Service director (1893-1977).

Today’s Highlight in History:


On Nov. 04, 1991, Ronald Reagan opened his presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif., with a dedication attended by President George H.W. Bush and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald R. Ford and Richard Nixon — the first-ever gathering of five past and present U.S. chief executives.

On this date:

In 1884, Democrat Grover Cleveland was elected to his first term as president, defeating Republican James G. Blaine.

In 1922, the entrance to King Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered in Egypt.

In 1924, Nellie T. Ross of Wyoming was elected the nation’s first female governor to serve out the remaining term of her late husband, William B. Ross.

In 1939, the United States modified its neutrality stance in World War II, allowing “cash and carry” purchases of arms by belligerents, a policy favoring Britain and France.

In 1942, during World War II, Axis forces retreated from El Alamein in North Africa in a major victory for British forces commanded by Lt. Gen. Bernard Montgomery.

In 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president, defeating Democrat Adlai Stevenson.

In 1979, the Iran hostage crisis began as militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran, seizing its occupants; for some, it was the start of 444 days of captivity.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan won the White House as he defeated President Jimmy Carter by a strong margin.

In 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli minutes after attending a festive peace rally.

In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the United States, defeating Republican John McCain.

Ten years ago:
•  Hurricane Michelle roared across Cuba, forcing the government to shut down power for much of the communist island and evacuate 750,000 people.

•  Enrique Bolanos (boh-LAN’-yohs) defeated former Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua’s presidential election.

•  The Arizona Diamondbacks won their first World Series by beating the New York Yankees 3-2 in Game 7.

•  Tesfaye Jifar (tes-FY’-ay jee-FAHR’) of Ethiopia and Margaret Okayo (oh-KY’-oh) of Kenya won the New York Marathon.

•  NBC’s “The West Wing” took eight honors at the twice-delayed Emmy Awards, including best dramatic series; HBO’s “Sex and the City” won best comedy series.

Five years ago:
•  Katharine Jefferts Schori (SHOHR’-ee) took office as the first female leader of the Episcopal Church and the first woman priest to head an Anglican province during a ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral.

•  A blackout hit parts of Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

•  Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, co-author of “Cheaper by the Dozen,“ died in Fresno, Calif., at age 98.

One year ago:
•  Australian airline Qantas grounded all six of its Airbus A380 superjumbo jets after one of them blew out an engine over Indonesia; the plane made a safe emergency return to Singapore with 469 people aboard.

•  An AeroCaribbean ATR 72 crashed in a mountainous area of Cuba, killing all 68 people on board.

•  Hall of Fame baseball team manager Sparky Anderson died in Thousand Oaks, Calif., at age 76.

Today’s Birthdays:
Actress Doris Roberts is 81
Actress Loretta Swit is 74
Rhythm-and-blues singer Harry Elston (Friends of Distinction) is 73
Blues singer Delbert McClinton is 71
Former First Lady Laura Bush is 65
Actress Markie Post is 61
Rock singer-musician Chris Difford (Squeeze) is 57
Country singer Kim Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 51
Actress-comedian Kathy Griffin is 51
Actor Ralph Macchio is 50
“Survivor” host Jeff Probst is 50
Rock singer-musician Wayne Static (Static-X) is 46
Actor Matthew McConaughey is 42
Rapper-producer Sean “Puffy” Combs is 42
Rhythm-and-blues singer Shawn Rivera (Az Yet) is 40
Actress Heather Tom is 36
Rhythm-and-blues/gospel singer George Huff is 31

FBI: $20,000 Reward Offered in Aliayah Lunsford Case


A reward is now being offered in connection with the disappearance of 3-year-old Aliayah Lunsford from her Lewis County home.

FBI Special Agent Jeff Killeen announced Thursday, November 02, 2011, a $20,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the young girl and information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for her disappearance.

Aliayah Lunsford was last seen on Saturday, September 24, 2011 in her family’s home in the community of Bendale south of Weston.

Dozens of volunteers and law enforcement have spent hundreds of hours looking for her without any success.

FBI has been leading most of the efforts in recent days.

Agent Killeen says investigators are also hopeful the upcoming deer rifle season will put more eyes in the woods.

He requests that if anyone sees anything suspicious they should mark their location, leave the evidence alone and then notify authorities.

NewsAccidentsArrestsLewis County

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WV Lottery - 11.03.11








Lady Titans Headed to Section Championship - All Fans Needed!!!


The Gilmer County Lady Titans soundly defeated Calhoun in 3 sets:  25-21, 25-18 and 25-18.

The entire Titan team played at their best, to remain undefeated in the sectional games.

Gilmer Scoring:

Mann: 12 points/5 aces, 5 sets, 3 kills, 2 digs

Bishop: 10 points/2 aces, 4 sets/1 assist, 6 kills, 1 block, 3 digs

Knicely:  8 points/1 ace, 2 sets, 6 kills, 1 block

Morris:  6 points/3 aces, 43 sets, 7 kills, 2 digs

Simmons: 5 points/ 2 aces, 7 sets, 1 assist, 7 kills, 3 digs

Pettit:  2 points/1 ace, 85 sets/31 assists

Somerville:  2 sets, 1 dig

Gordon:  2 kills

The Lady Titans, whose record is now 19-12 will advance to the Championship Game tonight at Doddridge County at 7:30 PM.

They will play the winner of the Calhoun/Doddridge game which begins at 6:00 PM.

The Titans remain undefeated at this point in the tournament.

Both Calhoun and Doddridge have each lost one game.

As the top two teams advance to the Regional playoffs, Gilmer County now has an automatic position.

However, if they would lose their 7:30 game, they will be forced to play the same team again at 9:00 to determine the champion and runner-up of Sectionals.

The Regional tournament will be held at Doddridge County on Saturday, November 05, 2011.

All GCHS Lady Titan fans are encouraged to come and support your Lady Titan Volleyball team.

The team will be leaving Gilmer County High School, Thursday, November 03, at 4:45 PM.

The coaches are asking anyone who can to arrive at the school at 4:30 PM and be there to see the girls off and also join the team as they travel to another victory!!!

Persinger Retires From GSC Financial Aid Office

After three decades of service to Glenville State College, Susie Persinger is saying farewell to the job she has truly enjoyed.

On September 30, 2011 Persinger officially retired from the GSC Financial Aid Department where she has worked for the last thirty years.

She originally started working at the college book store, but after six months, moved into the Business Department as a Financial Aid Assistant.

Susie Persinger retires from GSC after 30 years of service

“I have really enjoyed being able to work closely with the students and helping them find the funds they needed to attend GSC. It is satisfying to know that I had at least a small part in helping many of them complete their education so they can be successful in life. Many of the students I have worked with have stopped by to see me and say hi when they have returned to campus over the years, and that always makes me feel good that they thought of me,“ said Persinger.

Now she is looking forward to the ‘good life’ and has lots of plans that will keep her busy and enjoying retirement. “I will have more time now to ride our horses and go four wheeling on our farm. I love plants and have many of them, so I will spend a lot of time nurturing them. “Persinger says she also enjoys scrapbooking and will now have more time to dedicate to that as well.

Persinger lives on a farm in Little Ellis in Gilmer County with her husband Jacky, a 1983 graduate of GSC who is a semi-retired accountant. They have two children, Tina and John, and two grandchildren Jacob (11) and Lucas (6).

Tina received a Regents Bachelor of Arts Degree from GSC in1998 and is currently enrolled at GSC seeking a Bachelor of Arts in Education while working as a student worker in the GSC Registrar’s Office. John is a GSC junior majoring in History.

Persinger retirement party

“The GSC community really is like a family. I have had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people, and I have made a lot of friends. Though I am looking forward to retirement, I will miss being with all of them. I am glad that I will still be in the area and will have a chance to still see them.“ said Persinger.

The Financial Aid Department hosted a retirement reception on Thursday, September 29, 2011 for co-workers, family, and friends to congratulate Persinger and wish her well.

“Susie has been a loyal and dedicated employee. She has assisted students all these years with sincerity and dedication to her job. It will be difficult to replace thirty years of experience and knowledge. She will be missed,“ stated GSC Director of Financial Aid Karen Lay.

CommunityConcerns™: Increasing Number of Illnesses at GCHS! Why? Maybe Mold!


Gilmer County citizens have become increasingly concerned about health issues in local schools.

Reportedly, an unprecedented number of students and staff have become ill in the last few weeks.

Many of those cases are at Gilmer County High School.

Although upper respiratory infections generally occur this time of year, the number of pneumonia cases is unusual and many readers want to know if the questionable air quality at the high school has anything to do with it.

Following on the heels of widespread mold at Gilmer County High School and the difficulty in controlling it, some talk has developed among those who have fallen ill with Upper Respiratory Infection, Strep Throat, Pneumonia, and Urinary Tract Infections.

Pneumonia most often affects the elderly, cigarette smokers, alcoholics, and people suffering from other diseases such as the flu.

Healthy teenagers contracting pneumonia is not common, and as the majority of pneumonia cases were found at the high school, it is no wonder parents are worried that the mold may have something to do with it.

There is an ongoing debate on whether surface mold causes pneumonia, but one thing we know for sure is that mold can affect people with certain sensitivities or allergies.

Once weakened by a cold or allergy, the body is more susceptible to infections and illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia.

For the past two weeks The Gilmer Free Press has received multiple concerns about the increasing number of illnesses at the high school.

Our research shows many students have missed school because of Upper Respiratory Infection, Strep Throat, Pneumonia, and Urinary Tract Infections.

What we have learned as well is the issue does not exist in any of the elementary schools in Gilmer County as well as schools in surrounding counties. 

At that time Gilmer County School Superintendent Ron Blankenship assured the public the mold issue was taken care of.

What we have learned since is that there was not really an outside agency involved in checking and certifying the mold problem.

Research reveals to keep the mold from coming back, the school has been running the heat at high temperatures during the evening in an attempt to keep the place dry.

Other research has revealed that heating up the school in the evening is actually helping the mold to grow, except one cannot see it.

According to experts, exposure to mold can cause any of the above illnesses (Upper Respiratory Infection, Strep Throat, Pneumonia, and Urinary Tract Infections) if not directly, then indirectly.

We contacted the superintendent after the illnesses started and questioned the mold issue at the high school.

Mr. Blankenship responded he was not aware of any mold issue at the school.

The concerns are:

What are administrators doing to protect our students at GCHS?

Has anyone checked to see if the majority of sick students attend classrooms that had the highest level of mold?

West Virginia’s Math, Reading Scores below National Averages


West Virginia’s fourth- and eighth-graders are doing slightly better than they were two years ago in both reading and math, but their scores remain below the national averages.

That’s according to report cards released Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Overall, fourth-graders showed a 1% improvement in reading proficiency and a 3% improvement in math since 2009.

Eighth-graders showed about a 2% increase in both subjects.

State Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple says increases in the average math score for both grades signal the start of solid improvement under a revamped curriculum.

The report also says that in all four categories, black students scored 8-19 points lower than white students, while low-income students scored 17-21 points lower than those not receiving free or reduced lunch.

More than 3,600 Pounds of Unwanted Pills Collected


Officials say West Virginians turned in more than 3,600 pounds of unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs during a weekend drug take-back event.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Resident Agent in Charge Dennis Bolum say Saturday’s results surpassed April’s prescription drug collection total of more than 3,100 pounds.

It also exceeded the 2,400 pounds of pills collected during a similar event in September 2010.

Goodwin says 70% of people who use prescription drugs for non-medical purposes get the drugs from friends or a family member, and the events are a way to prevent that.

Residents were able to drop off unwanted medication at more than 100 sites throughout the state.

Aliayah’s Great Aunt Is Begging for Her Return


The Missing Lewis County 3-years old girl Aliayah Lunsford great aunt, Vickie Bowen, says Aliayah’s disappearance has resulted in many sleepless nights and they want to see her safely returned.

She is asking anyone with information to please call her, even if you don’t want to release your identity.

Bowen released the following statement:

“I am begging, if anyone knows anything at all about where this child is, please call me at 304.493.9549.  I will come and get her and I will ask no questions.  Please we just want her home!  You don’t even have to tell me who you are, just arrange for me to pick her up. You don’t have to be there.  Tell me where she is and leave her there, Just please keep her safe.  She is loved by so many. Please do this, we want her home!! If there is anyone out there with information and doesn’t feel comfortable with calling 911 or the authorities for whatever reason, call me please. You don’t have to tell me who you are. Please, if you know anything that will help, call me. 304.493.9549, you can call me collect from a pay phone if you feel more confident in doing that.“

Aliayah’s disappearance for over 40 days is still being investigated as a murder, a concealment or an abduction.

G-otcha™: Federal Inmate in Gilmer County Pleads to Assaulting Guard


An inmate at a federal prison in Gilmer County has pleaded guilty to assaulting a correctional officer.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II says 25-year-old David Williams admitted assaulting the officer while trying to dispose of contraband on January 14, 2011.

Williams entered his plea today. U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley sentenced Williams to a year in prison.

The sentence will be served consecutively with Williams’ existing 130-month sentence.

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Lewis County Resident Student Teaching for GSC

Lisa Shamblin Darby is completing her student teaching in Spanish (5-Adult) at Lewis County High School under cooperating teacher Janet Cutright. Dr. John Taylor and Megan Gibbons are Darby’s GSC supervisors.


She and her husband Andrew, who are expecting their first child, reside in Jane Lew.

Darby is scheduled to graduate in December 2011.

She will be eligible to participate in the 138th Glenville State College Commencement Ceremony scheduled for Saturday, May 05, 2012.

Public Notice: Emergency Alert System Test - 11.09.11


This is a message from the Gilmer County Health Department and the Center For Threat Preparedness.

As part of their ongoing efforts to keep our country and communities safe during emergencies, the Federal Communications commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.

The EAS test may last up to three and a half minutes, and will be transmitted via television and radio stations within the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii and the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the American Samoa. Similar to local emergency alert system, an audio message will interrupt television and radio programming indicating; “this is only a test.“ When the test is over, regular programming will resume.

for more information about the nationwide Emergency Alert System test, please visit  and

On Wednesday November 09, 2011 at 2:00 PM EDT, please remember:

Don’t stress; it is only a test

Patty Thrasher
SNS coordinator
Gilmer County Health Department

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