Natural Gas Rates Lowered Across West Virginia

The Gilmer Free Press

The Public Service Commission of West Virginia has ordered natural gas utilities to lower the purchased gas portion of their rates for the upcoming heating season.

The lower interim rates go into effect November 01, 2015.  Final rates will be set in early 2016.

Customers of Mountaineer Gas Company will see the purchased gas portion of their bill drop from $6.293 per Mcf to $4.812 per Mcf, a decrease of 23.5%.  Customers of Hope Gas Company will see the purchased gas portion of their bill drop from $4.66 per Mcf to $3.252 per Mcf, a decrease of 30.21%.

The Commission does not regulate the price of natural gas; that price is determined by competitive markets.  The Commission does examine the gas purchasing practices of gas utilities and ensures the utility did everything possible to obtain a reliable gas supply at the lowest market price.

By law, gas utilities are permitted to recover their costs to purchase natural gas. The gas rates of customers are adjusted annually to account for the cost of gas in a process called a Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) proceeding before the Commission. The PGA is an estimate of expected prices utilities will have to pay for gas from their suppliers for the period of November 1 through October 31 of the following year, as well as a “true up” of actual costs for the previous year. The PGA does not include any profit for the utility.

More information is available on the PSC website:

City of Glenville Police Report - September 2015

The Gilmer Free Press
City of Glenville, WV Police Report - September 2015
Crime/Ordinance Violation
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked Kanawha Street
Speeding Huffman Cited for Speeding and Warning Issued for Unsigned Registration W. Main Street
No Seatbelt Huffman Cited Walnut Street
Stop Sign Violation Huffman Cited Mineral Road
Stop Sign Violation Huffman Cited for Stop Sign Violation and Warning Issued for No Proof of Insurance Mineral Road
No Seatbelt Huffman Cited N. Court Street
Motor vehicle crash Huffman Accident Report completed and citation issued for failure to yield N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Cited for Speeding and no Proof of Insurance Warning Issued for Unsigned registration W. Main Street
Communications Device Huffman Cited WV HWY 5 E
Speeding Garrett Cited W. Main Street
Disturbance Garrett Subject arrested for Disorderly Conduct and Obstructing an officer S. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Warning .N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Garrett Warning Mineral Road
Defective Equipment Garrett Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Garrett Warnings Issued for Speeding and Unsigned Registration N. Lewis Street
Driving while revoked Huffman Subject arrested Sunoco
Driving while revoked Huffman Subject arrested for Driving while revoked and Fleeing with disregard for public safety College Street
Defective Equipment Garrett Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Cited for Speeding and Failure to produce operators W. Main Street
Communications Device while driving Garrett Cited W. Main Street
Speeding Garrett Warning for Speeding and Cited for Communications Device while Driving W. Main Street
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked High School
Assist another agency with DUI Garrett Subject arrested Sycamore Road
Speeding Garrett Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Cited for Speeding and Failure to Show operators N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Garret Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Warnings Issued for Speeding and Unsigned Registration W. Main Street
Speeding Garrett Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Cited W. Main Street
Prowler Garrett Negative Contact with anyone Walnut Street
Assist another Agency Garrett Assisted WVSP with DUI College Street
Vehicle Unlock Garrett Vehicle Unlocked Foodland
Speeding Garrett Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Garrett Cited W. Main Street
Speeding Garrett Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Cited N. Lewis Street
Communications Device Huffman Cited N. Lewis Street
Sexual Assault Garrett CI started Mineral Road
Speeding Huffman Cited N. Lewis Street
No Seatbelt Huffman Cited Mineral Road
Driving without Headlights Garrett Warning Church Street
Shots Fired Huffman/Garrett Assisted WVSP with shots fired Rosedale Rd
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked High School
Speeding Huffman Warning College Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings Issued for Speeding and Unsigned Registration College Street
Motor Vehicle Crash Huffman Accident Report completed Warning Issued for Failure to Yield W. Main Street
Speeding Huffman Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings Issued for Speeding, Defective Equipment, and Unsigned Registration Cited for No Proof of Insurance N. Lewis Street
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked Go Mart
Snake in vehicle Huffman Unable to locate the snake advised the driver of the vehicle that due to not knowing the type of snake I wouldn’t tell her to get back in the vehicle she had to make that choice Nursing Home
911 Hang Up Call Huffman Everything ok having phone trouble Mountaineer Mart
Injured Deer Huffman Deer was deceased prior to my arrival W. Main
Courtesy Transport Huffman Female broke down transported her to DHHR W. Main Street
Motor Vehicle Crash Huffman Neither party wanted and accident report, they exchanged insurance information Mineral Road
911 Hang Up Call Garrett Everything ok having phone trouble Mountaineer Mart
911 Hang Up Call Garrett Everything ok having phone trouble Mountaineer Mart
Speeding Huffman Cited for Speeding and Expired MVI Warnings Issued for Improper Display and Unsigned Registration N. Lewis Street
Stop Sign Violation Garrett Cited Court Street
Defective Equipment Garrett Warning Mineral Road
Defective Equipment Garrett Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Garrett Cited College Street
Parking Complaint Garrett Subject moved vehicle Stadium Drive
Reckless Driver Garrett Unable to locate Sycamore Road
Assist another Agency Garrett Assisted WVSP with active B&E Indian Fork
Speeding Garrett Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Cited N. Lewis Street
Stop Sign Violation Garrett Cited High Street
Speeding Garrett Cited N. Lewis Street
911 Hang up Call Huffman Everything Ok Center Street
911 Hang up Call Huffman Having Phone trouble Center Street
Combative subject Huffman Got subject back inside everything ok Nursing Home
Speeding Garrett Cited Mineral Road
Motor Vehicle Accident Garrett Warning for Failure to Maintain Control of Vehicle and Accident Report Completed WV HWY 5E
Assist WVSP with shooting Huffman/Garrett WVSP investigating an attempted Murder Messenger Run
911 Hang Up Call Huffman Everything Ok having phone trouble Center Street
Assisted WVSP with Violation of DVPO Huffman WVSP investigating Foodland
Speak to an officer Reference threats Huffman Attempted to locate subject negative contact Sycamore Run Road

Year to Date Warnings # 604

Year to Date Citations # 177

Year to Date Traffic Stops # 558

Year to Date Calls # 218

Year to Date contacts# 776

West Virginia First Lady to Kick Off Fire Safety Effort

The Gilmer Free Press

State officials are launching a Read-Aloud campaign to educate children about fire safety.

The campaign features fire-safety themed books provided to county school systems and firefighters across the state by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Firefighters will visit schools and read the books to students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

West Virginia first lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin will help kick off the campaign by reading to students at Piedmont Elementary School in Charleston on Monday.

The campaign is part of Fire Safety Week, which began on Sunday.

In Many Counties Residents Choose To Raise Their Own Taxes‏

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV — A economics expert told members of the state legislature’s Select Committee on Tax Reform Monday that in many cases state residents have made choices to raise their own property taxes.

Dr. Cal Kent was on the agenda at the state capitol–the latest in more than a half dozen meetings the select committee has held in recent months.

On the subject of property taxes, Kent said only six of the state’s 55 counties are without a voter approved education excess levy. Other counties have school construction bonds, ambulance levies, library levies and fire protection levies approved by voters in elections.

“A lot of these property taxes that people complain about they’ve put on themselves with excess levies,” Kent said.

The numbers show West Virginia as the lowest in the nation when it comes to the owner-occupied residential property taxes, but the various levies increase those.

“That’s where you are getting your bump in property taxes and people think it’s all the responsibility of the state and it’s not,” Kent said.

The select committee also heard Monday from Tax Foundation Policy Analyst Jared Walczak on the subject of property tax reform.

The committee is expected to have some recommendations for the full legislature to consider during next year’s regular session.

~~  Jeff Jenkins - WVMN ~~


Roane Could Consolidate Reedy Longtime “Success” School

The Gilmer Free Press

Ritchie County’s school officials are exploring closing or consolidating Ellenboro Elementary School.

The consolidation includes possibly moving third, fourth, and fifth graders from the elementary school into the middle and high school building.

The other possibility is simply closing Ellenboro all together.

Parents say younger kids will not do well in an older student setting, and feel the Ritchie County School Board could be doing more to help their community.

“It is just not an environment for them to be in,” said Jane Wilson.

“And it’s just, the citizens of Ritchie County are fed up with the lies and deception,” she said.

School board members say Ritchie County cannot afford four elementary schools, which is why they are considering an Ellenboro closing.

Roane Schools is exploring the possibility of closing Reedy Elementary School, the county’s only longtime high achieving school. Students would be sent to Spencer Elementary.

Coming Budget Fights Could Reignite Shutdown Standoffs

CHARLESTON, WV - A government shutdown has been delayed at least until December, but a number of budget fights remain. A temporary agreement over funds for Planned Parenthood delayed the shutdown, but battles over automatic spending cuts and a federal debt limit are warming up.

Lindsay Koshgarian, research director with budget watchdog National Priorities Project, says those could turn into shutdown standoffs and the Planned Parenthood issue could return.

The Gilmer Free Press
Several looming Congressional budget battles
could turn into shutdown standoffs

“There are about 30 members of the House of Representatives who have said that it is so important to them to completely defund Planned Parenthood, that they would be willing to shut down the entire federal government to get that,“ she says.

Koshgarian says Planned Parenthood gets only a tiny sliver of the budget and isn’t the only issue where the budget deadlines have been used for leverage ... issues like immigration and healthcare reform.

Koshgarian says a two-year agreement over automatic spending cuts known as sequestration has expired. She says that threatens funding for the military, education, highway and bridge repair and she says if Congress doesn’t raise the federal debt limit, money for everything could dry up.

“But that’s expected to happen sometime over the next month or two,“ she says. “If that does happen, that would mean the federal government would be unable to borrow any more money, and that could also result in a shutdown of a lot of essential government services.“

Critics say using the budget for leverage creates a self-inflicted crisis. They say there are issues Congress should be dealing with, such as a highway trust fund that’s running out of money. Plus Koshgarian says West Virginia’s wobbly economy could be badly hurt by a shutdown. The state’s citizens get a lot from federal services to vets and the elderly. And she says about 32,000 federal employees actually live here.

“In West Virginia, they earn about seven percent of all of the wages paid in the state. So as you can imagine, it would affect not just those workers, it would also affect the state economy,“ says Koshgarian.

The tactic led to a 17-day shutdown in 2013. Standard and Poors says that shutdown cost the U.S. economy an estimated $24 billion.

~~  Dan Hayman ~~


The Gilmer Free Press

Did You Know?

The Gilmer Free Press


Dams overflowed, bridges collapsed and hundreds of roads were inundated as authorities evacuated homes.


Only one unidentified body in a survival suit was spotted, after engine failure left the ship adrift in the middle of a dangerous storm.


In a rambling manifesto, Christopher Harper-Mercer also insisted he was mentally sane and others around him were crazy.


Having hammered out the agreement with 11 Pacific Rim countries, the Obama administration now faces a potentially tougher task: selling it to a skeptical Congress.


The top commander of coalition forces says the Afghans requested the U.S. airstrike, correcting an initial statement that it had been because U.S. forces were threatened.


A Russian warplane linked to airstrikes in Syria entered airspace above Turkey, prompting the alliance to denounce the “irresponsible behavior.“


Benjamin Netanyahu sends thousands of soldiers to the West Bank and Jerusalem, and lifts restrictions on what security forces can do.


Chinese expert Tu Youyou, Japanese microbiologist Satoshi Omura and Irish-American William Campbell were rewarded for creating pioneering drugs against malaria and other devastating tropical diseases.


Doctors have discovered a potential problem involving implanted heart valves - they don’t always open and close properly, possibly because a blood clot has formed that could raise the risk of stroke.


The Yankees pitcher is checking into a rehab center and will miss the postseason.

West Virginia News

The Gilmer Free Press

WV State police charge 5 for bomb threats at Tug Valley, Pocahontas County high schools

NAUGATUCK, WV — West Virginia State Police want students to know the major consequences of threatening to bomb a school after they filed juvenile petitions against five students in the last week.

The five are connected to bomb threats made at Tug Valley High School in Mingo County and Pocahontas County High School. Police said both threats were hoaxes.

Lt. Michael Baylous told MetroNews Monday they’re taking what kids may think as a “practical joke” very seriously.

“For whatever reason they want out of school early and they call in these bomb threats or leave a message somewhere and we’re responding to them,” said Baylous. “We just want to make it clear that these kids understand that there’s some serious consequences for this and it will effect the rest of their lives.”

Baylous said these two bomb threats were not the only incidents they’ve been called in for.

“These are just the two that we happened to respond to last week. We’ve seen more than that since the school year started,” he said.

With social media on the rise, Baylous said it allows troopers to identify a suspect more efficiently.

“It makes it so much easier with the conversations that are going out there to find out who’s beyond some of these acts,” he said. “We’re getting plenty of evidence to support the charges out here.”

The five juveniles have been charged with making terrorist threats. According to West Virginia State Code, they face thousands of dollars in fines and up to three years at a juvenile detention center.

Pierpont Community and Technical College programs partner with American Medical Technologists

Pierpont Community & Technical College’s Laboratory Assistant Program (Certificate in Applied Science) and the Phlebotomy (Advanced Skill Set) Program announced a formal partnership with the American Medical Technologists October 5.

After a review of curriculum, laboratory experiences and clinical training, American Medical Technologists announced, “Pierpont Community & Technical College is formally recognized by American Medical Technologists (AMT), a national certification agency for allied health professionals. Students completing the Medical Laboratory Assistant and/or the Phlebotomy skill set program(s) at Pierpont are now eligible to sit for the appropriate AMT examination” upon successful completion of these programs.

Pierpont’s Medical Laboratory Technology program also received this program recognition. Pierpont’s Medical Laboratory Technology program also received this program recognition.

Michael Paul Waide, assistant professor and program coordinator for both programs, said earning a national certification will give students an edge in a competitive job market.

“We are excited that this recognition allows our phlebotomy and our laboratory assistant students to pursue national certification in their respective fields,“ he said in a press release. “While we celebrate the continued success of our phlebotomy students in achieving success on their national certification exam, we are thrilled that this recognition will now afford our Laboratory Assistants to pursue a national certification and earn a marketable edge in a competitive job market in our north central WV region.“

American Medical Technologists is a nationally and internationally recognized nonprofit certification agency and professional membership association representing over 56,000 individuals in allied health professions. AMT is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

There are spaces available in the spring semester cohort.  Interested persons in applying to Pierpont Community & Technical College can go to

West Virginia Attorney General asks Kanawha County judge to enforce investigative subpoena against Jackson County wholesale company

The West Virginia Attorney General’s office wants a Kanawha County judge to enforce an investigation subpoena against Thaxton Wholesale Meats, LLC.

Thaxton, a Jackson County company, sells wholesale meats and other perishable food products door-to-door, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said.

The petition, filed in Kanawha County Circuit Court, alleges Thaxton Wholesale Meats, LLC and its owner, Steven Thaxton, failed to comply with a subpoena issued to investigate claims of unscrupulous business practices.

“The Attorney General’s Office has a responsibility to take consumer complaints seriously and to investigate companies accused of operating dishonestly,” Morrisey said in a release issued October 4. “This company has received a number of complaints through both our office and the Better Business Bureau.”

Morrisey said his office’s Consumer Protection Division began an investigation into Thaxton Wholesale Meats, LLC after receiving multiple complaints from consumers who said the company allegedly engaged in a scheme to fraudulently coerce elderly and vulnerable consumers to purchase food products at their homes.

He said the investigation also showed Thaxton failed to furnish consumers with notice of their unconditional right to cancel the sale within three business days as required by the Federal Trade Commission rule regarding door-to-door sales.

The Attorney General’s Office first issued a subpoena in July 2015 to investigate the full scope of these claims, Morrisey said. Since Thaxton failed to comply, his office has now filed a petition asking the Court to enforce the original subpoena, requiring the company to produce all requested documents so that they can complete a comprehensive investigation into the consumer complaints.

“My office will always take a no nonsense approach when we believe consumers have been unfairly treated in violation of state law,” Morrisey said. “We will take every action necessary to protect hardworking West Virginians.”

Consumers who believe they may have been taken advantage of by this or any other business should his office’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800.368.8808 or the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304.267.0239. Consumers can also file an online complaint at

Morrisey’s office files suit to protect West Virginian’s who purchased ‘clean-diesel’ Volkswagens

The West Virginia Attorney General’s office has taken steps to protect consumers in the Mountain State who may thought they purchased a “clean diesel” Volkswagen.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said October 5 his office filed a complaint in Kanawha County Circuit Court against Volkswagen of America, Inc., alleging the business violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit & Protection Act.

The complaint alleges Volkswagen fraudulently manufactured, advertised and sold a line of “clean diesel” vehicles with Turbo-charged Direct Injection (TDI) engines, he said.

A May 2014 study conducted by the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines & Emissions at West Virginia University found elevated levels of emissions on several Volkswagen cars. Their data was then turned over to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board.

“Volkswagen allegedly knowingly engineered certain vehicles to cheat U.S. emissions tests,” Morrisey said. “That is one reason why we have filed this complaint.”

Volkswagen allegedly engineered certain diesel vehicles to cheat U.S. emissions tests by equipping them with a “defeat device” that allows emissions to appear compliant when a vehicle is being tested, but suppresses emissions controls to increase performance and fuel economy when operating normally. The device allows these vehicles to emit up to 40 times the allowable levels of certain pollutants.

“West Virginia consumers responded to Volkswagen’s advertising by purchasing TDI clean diesel models, expecting that their vehicles would be environmentally friendly, fuel efficient, and high performance as advertised,” Morrisey said. “According to the complaint, Volkswagen will not be able to comply with the EPA order to make the affected vehicles comply with emissions standards without substantially degrading their performance and fuel efficiency to a level below what was advertised.”

The complaint asks for civil penalties of $5,000 per violation and all costs related to the investigation, litigation and administration of this matter.

It also asks the Court to require Volkswagen to provide West Virginia consumers full refunds of the premium paid for TDI clean diesel vehicles above comparable gasoline engine models; for the decrease in value of the affected vehicles; and for expected costs incurred as a result of the decreased performance following issue repairs.

According to the US EPA, affected Volkswagen diesel models and years are 2009-2015 VW Jetta; 2009-2015 VW Beetle; 2009-2015 VW Golf; 2014-2015 VW Passat; and 2009-2015 Audi A3.

Agency cites Contractor, Says Workers Exposed to Heat

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a Charleston roofing contractor for exposing workers to excessive heat.

The agency said Monday that one employee of Tri-State Roofing and Sheet Metal Co. was hospitalized for a heat-related illness on September 11 while the company was removing tile roofing from Building 3 at the Capitol Complex.

The agency says in a news release that the employee worked outdoors in direct sunlight for five hours. The peak heat index was 90 degrees.

Tri-State received one general duty clause citation for exposing workers to heat stress conditions. The federal agency also issued a serious citation for electrical hazards.

The agency proposed $6,552 in penalties.

Man Set Free After 8-Year Appeal

A West Virginia man who spent nearly eight years waiting for an appeal after being convicted of attempted murder has been set free.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that 27-year-old Brashan M. Beverly was released September 18.

Beverly was sentenced in 2007 to 38 years in prison after being found guilty of first-degree and second-degree attempted murder and two counts of malicious wounding for the shooting of two men in Amandaville.

Attorney John Carr had planned to ask the state Supreme Court on September 23 to throw out Beverly’s conviction and jail sentence and grant Beverly a new trial, arguing that Judge Tod Kaufman hadn’t given jurors proper instructions.

Instead, Kaufman vacated Beverly’s conviction and sentence. Beverly entered an Alford plea, not admitting guilt, to four battery misdemeanors and was released on time served.

Outreach and retention focuses of WVU state of the university address

MORGANTOWN, WV — A video presentation to begin the annual state of the university address at West Virginia University may have set the tone for the president’s speech ahead.

It featured a WVU project on the sociological and economic needs of Weirton.

“Weirton, we’re very focused on. Obviously the southern part of the state we’re focused on. Certain areas of Charleston we’re focused on in terms of urban community building.  So, we’re trying to create these modules,” explained President Dr. E. Gordon Gee following his second annual address.

Gee spent a great deal of his presentation to faculty, guests and the media on the university’s outreach beyond Morgantown.

When first returning to WVU after his presidency in the 1980s, Gee set out to visit each corner of the state covering all 55 counties.  A second state tour took him through 44 counties.

He is off the heels of a weekend visit to the most recently announced campus for both WVU-Beckley and WVU Tech.

“I was just in Beckley on Saturday.  I don’t know how many people thanked us for coming to Beckley but more importantly said we represent the future of that community and that part of the world.  I think clearly the impact of the university at large is undeniable and unbelievable,” Gee commented.

In September WVU announced the land grant institution’s intent to move WVU Tech programs from Montgomery to Beckley.  That announcement was followed by outcry from the WVU Tech community that relocating the campus would economically devastate Montgomery.

But, Monday, Gee continued his avid support for the Board of Governor approved measure.

“This Beckley campus is a remarkable opportunity for us to open up the doors of the university to the hearts and minds of the people of that part of the state,” Gee maintained.  “Very often they have not had access as they would like and as we should’ve provided.  Now we have a front door to that.”

Gee reflected on campus construction noting the opening of the WVU Art Museum, new student housing projects, a student center on the Evansdale campus and a spring opening of a new Agricultural Sciences Building.

Academically, according to the president, WVU will recruit top researchers and faculty who will be committed to the college.

And, regarding students, Gee said his loftiest goal would be to reach a 90% retention rate.

“I want to have that happen in the next four or five years.  I think it will.  We can move that along very, very quickly.  And, we have programs in place now that should sustain that.”

WVU announced the hiring of the institution’s first dean of completion to help achieve that goal back in May.

After a year of repeating the mission to create a culture of change, Gee’s speech at the Erickson Alumni Center did not dwell on Greek life or student attitudes toward alcohol and community responsibility.

However, he did note no incidents at Fall Fest 2015 which was moved to a Sunday evening this fall instead of the first night of classes.

According to Gee student arrests in August were half that of the same month last year.

Governor Tomblin announces 4 percent budget cut for most government agencies

CHARLESTON, WV — Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced a 4 percent cut Monday for most state government agencies, largely due to unexpected drops in state severance tax collection.

State aid to public school systems, which have not been subject to budget cuts in recent years, will see a 1 percent reduction.

“This is a difficult decision that results from several factors beyond our control,” Tomblin said. “We are taking this action based on trends we see in the first three months of the fiscal year that we expect to continue throughout this budget cycle. While the cuts we’re enacting today will not be easy, we must maintain a balanced budget and this will help us do that.”

Tomblin administration Communications Director Chris Stadelman said that the drops in severance from coal and natural gas were more dramatic than anyone expected.

“It’s not only not gotten better, it’s gotten dramatically worse, and exceeded I think everyone’s expectations from Wall Street stock analysts to our own folks,” Stadelman said. “Our budget folks to a great job; historically been very accurate with their estimates. Nobody saw a decline like this coming.”

Governor Tomblin also announced that the the state hiring freeze will continue, nonessential travel for state employees will be eliminated, and the annual holiday parties will be canceled. Stadelman did not anticipate any job cuts.

“We think that agencies will be able to avoid any layoffs. We still do have a hiring freeze in place,” Stadelman said. “What it means in raw numbers is a little over $100 million in budget cuts between now and the end of this fiscal year.”

The projected deficit for the 2016 fiscal year is currently more than $250 million, in large part due to a $190 million shortfall in severance tax collections. As of the end of September, general revenues are more than $60 million behind estimates, a figure that was only $12 million at the end of August.

“Governor Tomblin wanted to do it early in the budget year. We don’t know exactly what the final number is going to end up. But this will let agencies know to start making cuts now, and frankly, he has already informed most cabinet secretaries that this was a possibility,” said Stadelman.

Coal production is down 15 percent compared to last year. Although natural gas sales are up roughly 30 percent early this fiscal year, natural gas severance tax revenues are expected to decrease for the year because of significantly lower prices. Stadelman said that even though that’s good news for people heating their homes this winter, it negatively impacted the budget.

“We hope the price of natural gas, at least from a state budget perspective, comes back up,” said Stadelman. “It’s historically low, and it’s causing folks to stop drilling. We need that natural gas revenue to come in and we need the jobs that are associated with it.”

Tomblin said that The Rainy Day Fund, created in 1994, could see an appropriation, but that figure would be kept as low as possible.

“We have been prudent in our use of the Rainy Day Fund, and adjustments prior to this budget year beginning resulted in us taking just $14.8 million from the fund rather than the $85 million initially expected,” said Tomblin. “We continue to have one of the best Rainy Day Funds in the country, and we created the fund for unexpected difficult times such as this.”

Governor Tomblin met with legislative leaders Monday afternoon to discuss the budget cut.


The Gilmer Free Press

U.S.A. News

The Gilmer Free Press

Feds Eye Colorado for Gitmo Transfers

The Unabomber may be about to get some new neighbors. Department of Defense officials plan to visit Colorado to assess whether facilities including a medium-security prison adjacent to the ADX Florence “Supermax” prison could hold prisoners now at Guantanamo Bay, which the administration wants to close, the Denver Post reports. The Colorado facility already holds terrorists including the 9/11 “20th hijacker” Zacarias Moussaoui, but state lawmakers from both parties are strongly opposed to having Guantanamo inmates join them, the Post reports. “The people of Colorado do not want the world’s worst terrorists housed in our own backyard,“ US Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican, said in a statement.

A Pentagon team investigating transfer possibilities has already visited Fort Leavenworth and a Navy brig in South Carolina, reports the Wall Street Journal, which notes that Congress will have to change the law before the inmates can be housed in a federal prison. Another potential site being eyed in Colorado is a vacant maximum-security prison about 10 miles away from Supermax that costs Colorado around $20 million a year, the Post reports. The facility has 948 cells but the Pentagon won’t need that many: Around 50 of the 114 current detainees are already earmarked for transfer to other countries and federal authorities say they are looking into ways to transfer most of the others abroad.

Tiny Animal May Solve a Big Pollution Problem

A bunch of tiny worms may have just solved a problem that’s plagued scientists and environmentalists for years: what to do with the 30 million tons of plastics that end up in US landfills annually. Researchers at Stanford University and China’s Beihang University fed Styrofoam—long assumed to be non-biodegradable—to 100 mealworms. Not only did the mealworms stay healthy on an all-plastic diet, their excretions were biodegradable and appeared safe to use as manure, Science Alert reports. “The findings are revolutionary,“ researcher Wei-Min Wu tells CNN. “This is one of the biggest breakthroughs in environmental science in the past 10 years.“ While other insects have been known to eat plastics, this is the first time an animal has been observed biodegrading it.

The mealworms’ secret is the bacteria living in their guts, Science Alert reports. Researchers hope further study could help develop new enzymes for breaking down plastics. “Our findings have opened a new door to solve the global plastic pollution problem,“ Wu says in a press release. That’s important because the mealworms ate less than 40 milligrams of Styrofoam per day, which would hardly put a dent in even just the 2.5 billion Styrofoam cups Americans throw away every year. Researchers are also hoping to find the marine equivalent of the mealworm since so many plastics end up in the ocean, Science Alert reports. “There’s a possibility of really important research coming out of bizarre places,“ research supervisor Craig Criddle says in the press release. “This is a shock.“

Oregon Sheriff Shared Sandy Hook Conspiracy Video

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting two years ago, Sheriff John Hanlin—who is in charge of investigating Thursday’s mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon—shared a conspiracy video that makes a number of outrageous claims about the massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead, CNN reports. Among those claims, according to the New York Times: the children were only “allegedly shot,“ their grieving parents were actually hired actors, and both the Sandy Hook shooting and the September 11 attacks were staged by the government to push for stricter gun control. “This makes me wonder who we can trust anymore,“ Hanlin wrote on his Facebook page. “Watch, listen, and keep an open mind.“

Hanlin is now distancing himself from the video. The Times reports he removed it from his Facebook page Friday. And he tells CNN, “That’s not a conspiracy theory that I have.“ In addition to removing the Sandy Hook video, Hanlin deleted other anti-gun control posts—including a meme from the Tea Party comparing Obama to famous dictators, Gawker reports. Hanlin has been a notable opponent of gun control in the past. According to the Times, he sent a letter to Vice President Biden following the Sandy Hook shooting stating any attempts at further gun control would be an “insult” to Americans and he wouldn’t permit his deputies or federal officers to enforce regulations passed by the Obama administration within his county. He tells CNN his position hasn’t changed.

Amtrak train hits rocks on track, derails in central Vermont

NORTHFIELD, VT — An Amtrak train headed from Vermont to Washington, D.C., on Monday hit rocks that had fallen onto the track from a ledge, spilling the locomotive and a passenger car down an embankment, derailing three other cars and injuring seven people, authorities said.

The Vermonter train, carrying 98 passengers and four crew members, derailed around 10:30 a.m. in Northfield, 20 miles southwest of Montpelier, they said.

“This was a freak of nature,“ Gov. Peter Shumlin said.

One of the injured people was airlifted to a New Hampshire hospital and was evaluated in its emergency room. The six others went to a local hospital with injuries including neck, back and shoulder pains and lightheadedness.

Amtrak said a crew member was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries but four other people were released by Monday evening.

Passenger Bob Redmond, of Bay City, Michigan, was taking a foliage tour and sitting in the front row of the third car when the train derailed. He looked outside the window and saw the car that had been ahead of his was now alongside him.

“It was just going the other way, and we started tipping sideways and down we went,“ he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating. It was sending a small team rather than the full-blown effort made for a fatal Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia in May.

The track where Monday’s crash occurred had been part of a $220 million upgrade of New England Central Railroad tracks. In early 2013, after the upgrade had been completed, the speed limit in the area was increased from 55 mph to 59 mph.

Shumlin said there was no reason to believe there was any negligence on anyone’s part.

“We don’t have all the details, but this track was rebuilt, it was state-of-the-art track,“ he said. “Ledge slides happen.“

Federal records show New England Central Railroad, which operates that stretch of tracks, has had four accidents since 2006 that could have involved track debris. The company was bought by Genesee and Wyoming Railroad in 2012, and of 54 total accidents that involved the railroad since 2006, six occurred under the new management, Genesee & Wyoming Inc. spokesman Michael Williams said. Of three people who died in accidents involving the railroad, two were trespassers and one was in a grade crossing accident.

Federal safety rules for tracks that carry passengers require at least two inspections every week, with at least one day between inspections.

State officials said a freight train passed over the tracks Sunday night with no problems.

When asked if there was technology available that could have detected the slide before the train went through, officials said no.

“There is not really anything that’s going to detect this kind of thing,“ said Vermont Agency of Transportation rail chief Dan Delabruere.

Numerous derailments worldwide have been caused by track debris, many linked to heavy rains that trigger slides or heavy winds that knock down trees. In 2010, a train in Beijing hit mounds of debris on the track following a landslide, killing 19 people.

The region near Monday’s derailment received 2.5 inches of rain between Thursday and Friday.

The Vermonter takes the route daily, beginning in northern Vermont. The 13-hour, 45-minute trip leaves St. Albans, Vermont, at 8:58 a.m. then passes through Springfield, Massachusetts, and New York, with D.C. as the destination.

Three cars that left the track Monday remained upright. Rail company officials confirmed details of the crash but did not immediately provide a comment.

Tracy Zaplitny, also of Bay City, said she and other passengers broke a window to get out of the train.

“It’s a huge wreck up there,“ she said.

At least several dozen passengers were loaded onto school buses to be taken to an armory at nearby Norwich University. Passengers helped each other after the crash.

The clearing of the track was to begin immediately, although officials did not know how long it would take before the section is reopened. Amtrak planned to bus passengers booked on the Vermonter to and from Springfield.

Malia Obama Is Applying to Colleges

High school seniors busily applying for college have a certain First Daughter among their ranks, and the New York Times takes a long look today at where Malia Obama might end up. Little is known about her preferences or her grades, but her personal life definitely makes her an attractive candidate, one expert tells the Times: “Without question, the places and people she has been exposed to would be fodder for a more curious mind and wider personal knowledge than her peers—and that can’t help but be apparent in her college entrance applications and interviews.“ What is known: where she’s toured so far, a mix of Ivy League, liberal arts, and public institutions.

The Ivies she’s visited are Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania; she’s also been to Stanford, New York University, Tufts, Barnard, Wesleyan, and the University of California, Berkeley. Her dad hasn’t come along on any visits, and sometimes even her mom has skipped out, allowing for a more low-key experience. (Slightly more low-key—she still gets shown around by prominent students with prominent parents.) Though neither Malia nor her parents are giving up many hints of where she might attend (she’s been spotted wearing Stanford gear before, though), she’ll probably listen to her dad’s recent advice to a group of high school students: “Keep your grades up until you get in, and after that, make sure you pass.“ (She had a pretty sweet summer internship.)

5 Quirky Restaurant Dishes Named After Famous People

Perhaps the true marker of celebrity is not a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but an unusual restaurant food dish named in your honor. Below are five celebrities you can literally order off a menu.

  • The “Martha Stewart” hot dog: A hot dog is not exactly the kind of haute cuisine you’d expect to be associated with the queen of homemaking, but for $6.95 at Pink’s Hot Dogs in Los Angeles, you can get a 9” inch dog topped with relish, onions, bacon, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, and sour cream. Martha has even stopped by to try it herself!
  • The “Lady Gaga” sushi roll: Various Japanese restaurants across the U.S. have named sushi rolls after the singer, including at least one that features BBQ eel. Considering Lady Gaga reportedly installed a $70K Japanese fish collection, it seems an appropriate homage.
  • The “Avril Lavigne” pizza: At La Pizzeria in the Canadian singer’s hometown of Napanee, Ontario, you can order a pepperoni, mushrooms, and green olive pie in honor of Avril, who, for the record, no longer eats those toppings.
  • The “Joaquin Phoenix” vegan sandwich: The actor has been a committed vegan since the age of 3, so it’s fitting that his sandwich at Two Beards Deli in Grand Rapids, MI contains “curry tofu salad” and veggies.
  • The “Alyssa Milano” chicken sandwich: At Lioni Italian Heroes in Brooklyn, NY, there are numerous sandwiches on the menu named after celebrities, but the “Alyssa Milano,“ a chicken cutlet hero with prosciutto, mozzarella, and basil, is a favorite among regulars. As one Yelp reviewer put it: “Let’s describe Alyssa Milano at Lioni’s… she’s beautiful in person, she has a nice tan, perfect size and packing quality meat. Most importantly, she satisfies my needs when I give her a bite. Oh how I love this sandwich!“

Click to read about 25 more sandwiches named after celebrities.

Oregon Gunman Gave ‘Lucky One’ a Message

Details are emerging on the grisly mass murder at an Oregon college—including reports that the shooter gave one “lucky” student a message for authorities before killing nine people and taking his own life, reports the AP. Gunman Christopher Harper-Mercer handed over an envelope and said that student “‘was going to be the lucky one,‘“ according to the mother of a student who was shot and wounded in the spree. A pastor whose 18-year-old daughter wasn’t injured told a similar story, with the gunman saying, “‘Don’t worry, you’re the one who is going to survive,‘“ while the grandmother of a survivor said the “lucky” student was told to stand in a corner with the package. Authorities haven’t confirmed, but one law enforcement source says a pages-long manifesto has been found.

The pastor, Randy Scroggins, relayed other stories from his daughter—about how Harper-Mercer told one student to beg for her life but shot her anyway, and shot other students after telling them to crawl along the floor. Scroggins says his daughter only survived because another student’s blood and body was lying on top of her. “He saved my girl,“ he said after talking to that student’s mother. “I will forever call your son my hero.“ Other reports have Harper-Mercer targeting students in the writing class for being either Christian or religious. Meanwhile, the gunman’s family released a statement saying they were “shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific events,“ Time reports, and the father said a change in gun laws could prevent future tragedies, the New York Times reports.

Cops Called Over Monkey Gobbling Up People’s Mail

Residents of Sanford, Fla., were a little surprised to look outside this week and see a monkey perched on their mailbox—eating the mail. Turns out Zeek the monkey had escaped from his home Monday morning and was ready to play with police responding to a call, Mashable reports. “Zeek had a little fun with our patrol car,“ Sanford police posted on Facebook with a video of Zeek pulling molding off the vehicle. In an update, cops said they kept Zeek distracted with a bottle of water until the monkey’s owner came and picked him up, ABC News reports. According to Mashable, hunger was eating at the little guy. “Let Zeek’s outburst be a lesson to all of us: before you head out for the day, eat some breakfast,“ the site says.

Mocked Over Selfies, Sorority Students Bite Back

Baseball announcers mocked a group of sorority students in the crowd this week and got a slice of humble pie for their effort, Jezebel reports. As described by SB Nation and Sporting News, Arizona Diamondbacks announcers Bob Brenly and Steve Berthiaume mocked a group of female students from Alpha Chi Omega at Arizona State University for taking selfies during the game Wednesday. “That’s the best one of 300 pictures I took of myself today!“ says one, followed by this exchange: “Every girl in the picture is locked into her phone.“ “Oh, Lord.“ “Every single one is dialed in. Welcome to parenting in 2015.“ As it happens, the two minutes of shaming occurred during a T-Mobile Fan Photo promotion that was about getting fans to snap photos during the game and send them in for use during the broadcast. Lo and behold, the students were offered free tickets for the next game. Here’s an excerpt of their response on Facebook:

  • “We appreciate their generous offer of tickets to tonight’s game. However, instead of chapter members attending the game, we have asked the Diamondbacks and Fox Sports to provide tickets to a future game for families at A New Leaf, a local non-profit that helps support victims of domestic violence. Today, October 1, marks the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If everyone who viewed this statement took the time to make a donation in recognition of domestic violence awareness, which is Alpha Chi Omega’s national philanthropy, we would be so grateful!“


For more, see SB Nation’s rundown of reactions from people in the sports world who were outraged to see the announcers mock the students.

School Food Truck Serves Up Crickets

A food truck at the University of Connecticut is serving up roasted crickets. The Daily Campus reports the university’s dining services are advertising the insects as organic, not genetically modified, and earth friendly. The crickets are high in protein and low in fat. They’re a source of B vitamins, iron, and zinc. UConn says the farm that supplies the crickets uses carbon dioxide to kill them and then roasts them. The crickets are sold for 99 cents and come whole in small plastic containers. They’re sold as a snack or a taco topping. Dining services area assistant manager John Smith says they sell two or three containers of crickets per day at the truck.

Even Epic Charleston Flood Can’t Call Off This Wedding

After months of planning their destination wedding in Charleston, SC, Britney Mysinger and Jason Houdek of Kansas City ran straight into this weekend’s 1,000-year-flood standing between them and exchanging their vows. The photographers, make-up artists, groomsmen, marriage license, and officiant were all outside the peninsula when police shut off access, but the bride, groom, and bridesmaids were downtown at the Double Tree Inn. So Mysinger and Houdek went on ABC News 4 with their desperate plea for an officiant to marry them—and city councilman Mike Seekings, who happened to be touring the area and see the broadcast, offered to help. “There couldn’t be anything more exciting than being part of that,“ Seekings said.

Hannah Summer saw the coverage and tweeted an offer to photograph their big day free of charge. “It’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime experience,“ the photography student said. She also got her roommate to be the second photographer and a member of a local a capella group to DJ, and then the military stepped in and sent a Humvee to get the groomsmen, who were stranded on the Isle of Palms. The couple moved their outdoor wedding to a ballroom just in time to pull the whole thing off. Even the wedding attire, which the couple described as “dress to impress!“ on The Knot, managed to mostly stick to the script, with a few rain boots. “With everyone just putting everything together we appreciate it so much, and it feels great to finally call this man my husband,“ says the new Mrs. Houdek.

CEO Says His Own Airline Lost His Bag

Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden seems like an honest man—possibly more honest that his airline’s PR people would like. At an airline conference last week, Tilden told the audience that he arrived without his luggage, which his own airline had misplaced, reports the LA Times. “The media is here and I’m hoping that you don’t write this down and print it,“ he joked after telling the audience that the airlines also lost his bags after a flight 25 years ago.

He got his bag a day late and, under his airline’s policy, is due a $25 flight credit or 2,500 frequent-flyer miles since his bag wasn’t at baggage claim within 20 minutes of the plane’s arrival at the gate, the LA Times notes.

After 74 People Overdose, Chicago Cops Arrest 2

Chicago cops have arrested two alleged drug dealers who may be linked to a huge spike in heroin overdoses that nearly left the city littered with corpses. Alfonzo Sylvester, 24, and Mario Wofford, 26, both alleged members of the Unknown Lords gang, have been charged with possession of heroin with intent to deliver, the Chicago Tribune reports. Sylvester, who escaped police in a car chase only to be arrested the next day, has also been charged with “aggravated fleeing,“ the Tribune reports. Police believe a batch or batches of heroin laced with the painkiller fentanyl was the cause of at least 74 overdoses in a 72-hour period last week. Paramedics had to double or triple the dose of overdose antidote Narcan to save some of the overdose victims.

Former Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline tells the Chicago Sun-Times that the rash of overdoses reminds him of 2006, when fentanyl-laced heroin killed dozens of people—but still had some addicts seeking out a “powerful high.“ “Whatever it is that’s going around, you just hope they can find out whose putting this stuff out there and put a stop to it or else there’s going to be a lot of deaths,“ Cline says. “The addicts think they can handle it but they can’t.“ Officials haven’t released a figure for overdoses from the weekend, the Sun-Times reports, but they say the rate of hospital admissions has slowed down.

FBI Warns of Threat to Philly Universities

Monday was a jittery day at universities in the Philadelphia area. The University of Philadelphia, Drexel University, and Temple University warned students and faculty of a threat of violence at 2pm Eastern at an “unspecified university near Philadelphia,“ USA Today reports. The universities say they were informed of the threat of violence by the ATF and the FBI. The FBI says students and faculty should follow the “guidance of their campus security officials.“ Police say patrols will be stepped up and students have been asked to look out for anything suspicious on Monday, ABC 6 reports

The FBI says the threat was made in a social media post, which appears to be this post from the 4chan website, made in the same forum where a poster warned against going to school in the Northwest the night before last week’s mass shooting in Oregon, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. “The first of our kind has struck fear into the hearts of America,“ says the latest post, vowing that a “fellow robot will take up arms” Monday. The universities will operate normally, but some students are pretty worried. “Just because all of the recent things have been going on, it’s just scary to think it’s possibly going to happen on our campus,“ a Drexel student tells ABC 6. “So I’m scared to actually leave my dorm tomorrow.“

Medicine Nobel Goes to 3 for Work on Malaria, Parasites

Three scientists from Ireland, Japan, and China won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for discoveries that helped doctors fight malaria and infections caused by roundworm parasites. The Nobel judges in Stockholm awarded the prestigious prize to Irish-born William Campbell, Satoshi Omura of Japan, and Tu Youyou—the first ever Chinese medicine laureate. Campbell and Omura were cited for discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites, while Tu was rewarded for discoveries concerning a novel therapy against malaria. “The two discoveries have provided humankind with powerful new means to combat these debilitating diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people annually,“ the committee said. “The consequences in terms of improved human health and reduced suffering are immeasurable.“

Nobel Prize committee member Hans Forssberg says Tu’s discovery has “markedly reduced the death toll during the last decade” from malaria, while the discoveries by Campbell and Omura have contributed to dramatically reducing the number of individuals affected each year from “the stigmatizing and disabling symptoms” of river blindness and elphentiasis. Forssberg says the discoveries represent a paradigm shift in medicine that also has a positive effect on society as a whole. The medicine award was the first Nobel announced. The winners of the physics, chemistry, and peace prizes are set to be announced later this week. The economics prize will be announced next Monday. No date has been set yet for the literature prize, but it is expected to be announced on Thursday.


The Gilmer Free Press

World News

The Gilmer Free Press

Pope uses popularity to chart new direction for church, U.S.

In Congress and at a parish school, at the United Nations and a city jail, Pope Francis spent a whirlwind U.S. visit bridging the realms of the disadvantaged and elite, trying to turn the attention of the mightiest nation on earth away from ideological battles and toward a world he said desperately needs help.

From his very first appearance, he wove together issues that are rarely linked in American public life.

At the White House with President Barack Obama, he upheld religious freedom while seeking urgent action to ease climate change. Addressing Congress, he sought mercy for refugees, while proclaiming a duty “to defend human life at every stage of its development,“ a challenge to abortion rights. Standing on altars before the nation’s bishops, he acknowledged the difficulties of ministering amid “unprecedented changes taking place in contemporary society,“ a recognition of gay marriage.

But he urged American Catholic leaders to create a church with the warmth of a “family fire,“ avoiding “harsh and divisive” language and a “narrow” vision of Catholicism that he called a “perversion of faith.“

The statements amounted to a dramatic reframing of issues within the church and a hope for less polarization overall in the United States.

“Recalibration and reorientation are good words to describe it,“ said John Green, a specialist in religion at the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron in Ohio. “The pope is very adept politically. Even people who ended up disagreeing with him on certain points find him a very attractive and persuasive man. I thought he was quite inspiring.“

So did many others. Tens of thousands of cheering, flag-waving people lined the streets in Washington, New York and Philadelphia to greet Francis, some waiting for hours to catch a glimpse of the wildly popular pope.

On a highly scripted, six-day visit that ended September 27, and despite unprecedented security, Francis managed to inject spontaneity – kissing babies, adding a last-minute event to honor Catholic-Jewish relations and going off text in Philadelphia for a heartfelt meditation on family life.

“The atmosphere was electric,“ said Auxiliary Bishop John O’Hara of New York, after Francis celebrated Mass for 18,000 people at Madison Square Garden.

Amid all the official ceremonies and the crowds, he made the deeply personal gestures of compassion that have become emblematic of his papacy. He bowed in prayer over a disabled child as the sobbing father looked on in New York. He gave a bear hug to an inmate during a visit to a Philadelphia jail.

The Argentine pope on his first visit ever to the United States introduced himself as a fellow American and quoted from the country’s founding documents. He answered critics who said he was overly focused on the poor to the exclusion of the middle class, and wrong on economics, given his critique of the excesses of capitalism. In Congress, he praised the “thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work” and noted “how much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty.“

But on every occasion he transformed these compliments into a call for the church and the country to do better.

His moral challenge could be seen in the complex heroes he held up in his speech to Congress: Abraham Lincoln; the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.; Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk who condemned war and advocated interfaith cooperation; and Dorothy Day, founder of the pacifist Catholic Worker Movement that helped and advocated for the homeless.

Commentators quickly dubbed the group the pope’s Mount Rushmore.

“The history of this nation,“ Francis said at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, is “the tale of a constant effort, lasting to our own day, to embody those lofty principles in social and political life.“

By his very presence, as a Spanish-speaking son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, Francis gave the growing Latino Catholic community a moment like no other, putting them at the heart of the U.S church, where they are eventually expected to be the majority. He canonized the Franciscan missionary Junipero Serra of Spain, who brought Catholicism to the West Coast, spoke about immigrants in nearly every public appearance and told Latinos “do not be ashamed of what is part of you.“

Gonzalo Mercado, director of the Staten Island Community Job Center in New York, a nonprofit that works with day laborers and domestic workers, many of them in the country illegally, said Francis’ message on immigration was particularly needed amid the hardline rhetoric on border control and deportation from several GOP presidential candidates, including Donald Trump.

“To have an amazing figure like the pope take a stand with the least among us and recognize the contributions of immigrant workers is a breath of fresh air,“ he said at the Harlem parish school Francis visited in New York.

Mercado gestured to the gymnasium, where the immigrants and refugees were seated at long tables in front of the stage while city politicians, donors and community representatives were on the sidelines: “Workers here have center stage. That speaks volumes.“

Francis had already upended the American church before he arrived.

Just months after his 2013 election, he had said the church should put compassion over rules, unsettling American bishops who had been taking a harder line on church teaching in the face of increasing acceptance of gay relationships and other societal changes they found immoral. The pope did not suggest they drop any specific activity, but he pressed for a different tone.

John Carr, who served for more than two decades as the social justice director for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, summarized the pope’s message on issues such as abortion and the family, as “no obsession, no retreat.“

“He said he came not to lecture the bishops, but what he did was to show them how to be pastors in challenging and promising times in the church,“ Carr said.

It’s unclear what lasting changes will come from the pope’s trip. He broke a barrier in the U.S.: He became the first pope to ever address Congress, an appearance that provided a robust endorsement for the role of faith in public life at a time when about a quarter of Americans say they have no particular faith.

Within the church, the impact of papal visits can only be measured after years or decades. Pope John Paul II, over his more than two-decade pontificate, visited the U.S. seven times, inspiring a generation of American clergy who call themselves “John Paul II priests.“

Monsignor Raymond Kupke, a church historian at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, said, “There certainly could be a half century wave or ripple from a visit like this,“ because of Francis’ clear, familiar way of speaking and his gestures big and small that captured so much attention, including his use of an economy car, a Fiat, a humbler choice that stood out amid the hulking SUVs of his security detail.

“Over the long haul, there are connections,“ Kupke said, “and with Francis, in so many ways, he’s saying things that people here like.“

N. Korea Frees NYU Student After 5 Months

Five months after he was detained for allegedly entering North Korea illegally, 21-year-old Joo Won-moon, 21, has put the hermit nation behind him. Seoul says the South Korean citizen and permanent resident of the US was handed to South Korean officials at the border on Monday after he was initially detained in April, reports Yonhap News. “It’s a relief that North Korea has decided to repatriate our national, Joo,“ a Unification Ministry official says. But while Yonhap notes the move could be a conciliatory gesture by the North, the official appeared unmoved, noting North Korea still holds three other South Koreans sentenced to hard labor for life on charges of spying.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service tells CNN it will now investigate whether Joo violated its own security laws to enter the North. Joo, a New York University student who’d been living in New Jersey, told CNN in May that he “wanted to be arrested” after crossing barbed wire fences to enter the country through China. “I thought that by my entrance to the DPRK—illegally, I acknowledge—I thought that some great event could happen and hopefully that event could have a good effect on the relations” between the two Koreas, he said, adding he decided to enter North Korea when he couldn’t find a job in California while taking a semester off to travel.

ISIS Destroys Ancient ‘Arch of Triumph’

Syrian activists say ISIS militants have destroyed a nearly 2,000-year-old arch in the ancient city of Palmyra, the latest victim in the group’s campaign to destroy historic sites across the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria. The Arch of Triumph was one of the most recognizable sites in Palmyra, the central city affectionately known by Syrians as the “Bride of the Desert,“ which ISIS seized in May. The monumental arch sat atop the famed colonnaded streets of the ancient city, which linked the Roman Empire to Persia and the East. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says ISIS blew up the arch but left the colonnades in place.

Palmyra’s sprawling ancient complex, which also includes remains of temples to local gods and goddesses, has been under attack from ISIS, which claims such ancient relics promote idolatry, but is also believed to sell off looted antiquities, bringing in significant sums of cash. “It’s as though there is a curse that has befallen this city and I expect only news that will shock us. If the city remains in their hands the city is doomed,“ Syria’s antiquities chief tells Reuters. “It is now wanton destruction,“ he says. “Their acts of vengeance are no longer ideologically driven because they are now blowing up buildings with no religious meaning.“ (The ancient city’s most important temple was blown up at the end of August, not long after ISIS beheaded one of Syria’s leading antiquities scholars

Nazis Turned Candy Bars Into Secret Weapon

First, force the British to endure food shortages—then make them eat exploding candy bars. That was at least part of the Nazi plan to destroy Britain during World War II, according to drawings of German weapons recently seen for the first time, the Smithsonian reports. Among the drawings: a bomb hidden in a motor-oil can, a 21-day timer that used a rotating disc, and a timer in a test tube of peas that went off when water made two contacts come together, per the BBC. Then there’s the chocolate bar (viewable in this tweet) which was designed to detonate when the chocolate was broken. The Nazis hoped to assassinate Winston Churchill with such a bar by placing it amid items going into the War Cabinet’s dining room, according to a letter discovered in 2009, the Telegraph reported three years ago.

That 1943 letter was written by Lord Rothschild to artist Laurence Fish, who also made the drawings of various Nazi booby-traps. Rothschild—“a larger-than-life character, a scientist and self-appointed expert on many things,“ the BBC says—was also one third of MI5’s counter-espionage unit, along with his secretary (and future wife) and police inspector Donald Fish. Rothschild wanted someone to draw the devices, and Fish recommended his son, Laurence, a draughtsman and low-ranked member of the Royal Air Force, the Gloucestershire Echo reports. Long thought lost, the drawings turned up in the home of Rothschild’s daughter a few weeks ago. Rothschild and Laurence were “an amazing combination,“ says Laurence’s widow, Jean. “Rothschild had very great respect for Laurence—I don’t know why, but it worked well.“

Refugee Crisis Over? Nope, Far From It

One month after the body of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach—and a week after the European Union agreed to secure its borders—the migrant crisis has largely fallen off the front pages and reporters are going home. But the human tide keeps rolling northward and westward, and a politician in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party tells Reuters that 1.5 million refugees could arrive in their country this year even though many federal states “are at their limit.“ In other words, this may only get worse: “One thing is clear, the movement is not going to die down,“ said Babar Baloch, the UN refugee agency’s representative in the Balkans. One thing is clear, the movement is not going to die down,“

While over a half million people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, more than double the figure for all of 2014, that is only a fraction of the people who are on the move. Some 4 million have fled Syria after more than four years of civil war, and 8 million have been displaced inside the country. And it’s not just Syrians. It’s Iraqis and Iranians, Afghans and Eritreans. The EU acknowledged the scale of the problem last week, even after it approved a plan to toughen border controls and provide at least $1.1 billion to help Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan care for refugees living in their countries. The first new border measures won’t take effect until November, and a proposal for strengthening the EU border agency is due in December.

BASE Jumper Killed in Alps Leap

It’s been a deadly year for those who jump from extreme heights in nothing more than a wingsuit, a grim trend that continued last week with the death of Johnny Strange, an American adventurer who plunged to his death while BASE jumping in the Swiss Alps. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the 23-year-old Malibu native died seconds after leaping off Mt. Gitschen on Thursday amid reported high winds in the area. Strange’s death was mourned by model Gigi Hadid, who said they attended Malibu High together. “RIP my friend, # JohnnyStrange — one of the most loving & adventurous spirits I’ve ever known. Bigger mountains to climb in heaven,“ she tweeted.

Strange was acutely aware of the dangers of his sport, having BASE jumped with Dean Potter, who died during a jump at Yosemite earlier this year. “I’m sorry to hear you died flying,“ Strange wrote of Potter’s death. “See you on the other side.“ Strange first achieved fame by becoming the youngest person to scale the world’s seven tallest peaks at age 17. He climbed his first at 12, notes TMZ. A police investigation into his death is underway.

Sand Fork Elementary School Awards for August/September 2015



Citizenship Winners

The Gilmer Free Press
(l-r) Jobe Loudin, Ryan Idleman, Brycon Hess, Leland McCullough,
Rodney McCord, Owen Butcher, Seanna McCord, Elijah Facemire

Most Improved

The Gilmer Free Press
Front (l-r) Cody Smith, Ariana White
Back (l-r) Wyatt Hardman, Isaiah Stewart, Dalton Yoho, Dakota Ball, Carissa Thorne

Character Winner

The Gilmer Free Press
Seanna McCord

Student of the Month

The Gilmer Free Press
Front (l-r) Drayden Idleman, Troy Woodford, Meadow Marks
Back (l-r) Alex Conrad, Seth Robinson, Angel Hess, Morgan Putnam, Seanna McCord

Best Class Attendance

The Gilmer Free Press
(l-r) (l-r) Troy Woodford and Evin Shackleford

Class Attendance & Box Top Winners

The Gilmer Free Press
Front (l-r) Abigail Curtis, Victoria Harman, Hunter Donaldson, Camero n Sturms,
Noland Yeager, Seth Stewart, Savanna Smith, Jerec Loudin, Reese Woodford, Kenley Hartshorn
Middle (l-r) Ariana White, Ethan Godfrey, Troy Woodford, Casey Isenhart,
Ryan Idleman, Bristol Woodford, Hayden Large, Colton Bush, Christopher Peters
Back (l-r) Mrs. Reed and Ms. Mann

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Breast Cancer Awareness Month Proclamation

The Gilmer Free Press

Click Below for additional Articles...

Page 1 of 3471 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »

The Gilmer Free Press

Copyright MMVIII-MMXV The Gilmer Free Press. All Rights Reserved