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Politics, Government, Election

Analysis: Business Property-Tax Cut Wouldn’t Bring Jobs

The Free Press WV

The governor and legislative leaders again are considering repealing the personal property tax for businesses.

But according to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, it’s unlikely to bring job growth.

Last year, lawmakers looked at ending that tax on inventory, machinery and equipment.

Sean O’Leary, a senior policy analyst the center, says most states tax either inventory, or machinery and equipment, or both.

He says comparisons have found no real connection to growth no matter what states do.

The Free Press WV
The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy found no link between
states that do not tax companies’ inventory,
machinery or equipment and faster job growth.


“Since the end of the recession, there’s no real clear link between states that have this tax, states that don’t have this tax, and growth rates,” he points out. “And states that have neither of the taxes have actually grown less than the states that have both.“

Leaders at the Legislature say repealing the tax would get more businesses to locate in the state.

But O’Leary says the tax is just a “fraction of a fraction” of a company’s costs – not nearly enough to change anyone’s mind.

He says West Virginia is “fairly middle of the road” in the way it structures these taxes.

The state has a very low property tax rate overall.

O’Leary says part of that is because it applies the tax to a broad range of things.

He says states that do not tax inventory, machinery or equipment have to make up the income by raising other kinds of property taxes.

“So their land and buildings are getting taxed at a much higher rate than they are in West Virginia,” he explains. “So the savings that they would have doesn’t really add up to anything.“

Supporters say eliminating the tax would cost the state about $140 million a year, once it’s fully in place.

O’Leary says the real total price tag would be more than $300 million a year, with much of the cost landing first on county school systems.

He notes the state would have to reimburse the schools for the lost revenue, and that strong public education is much more likely to boost employment.

Human Trafficking Prevention Month

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has recognized January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month with multiple training events as part of his office’s continued effort to eradicate the growing criminal industry.

Human trafficking is defined as commercial sex or labor that is induced by force, fraud or coercion. It is considered the second largest criminal industry in the world today, second only to drug trafficking according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Human trafficking is a crime that victimizes men, women and children of all ages,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “West Virginia is particularly vulnerable due to the opioid epidemic, poverty and a large number of children in foster care. Awareness and prevention are vital, and the goal is to educate people in their communities.”

The Attorney General’s Office kicked off National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month with a training session Jan. 4 for medical personnel at Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg. Staff were educated about signs of human trafficking and the proper avenues to take when reporting suspected cases.

Another training session will be offered at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 16, at Heritage Baptist Church in Pinch. Similar events are set later in the month for school personnel in Braxton County and cadets at the West Virginia State Police Academy.

Since 2017, the Attorney General’s Office has offered the training to numerous groups including medical professionals, school personnel, social workers, law enforcement and communities. The ultimate goal is to establish greater awareness and increase overall reporting of the issue throughout the state.

Anyone who suspects someone may have been forced into human trafficking, should call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888.373.7888 and contact local law enforcement.

WIC Announces Change in Soy-Based Infant Formula

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Public Health today announced a change to the soy-based infant formula provided by the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Effective Tuesday, January 29, 2019, healthy infants prescribed a standard, soy-based infant formula will be provided Similac® Soy Isomil® (20 calories/oz.).

The rebate contract for milk-based infant formulas will continue to be with Abbott Nutrition, including Similac® Advance® OptiGRO™, Similac Sensitive®, Similac for Spit-Up® and Similac Total ComfortTM.

“West Virginia WIC is required by Federal Regulation 7 CFR 246.16a to competitively bid infant formula for a rebate contract,” said Denise Ferris, West Virginia WIC Director. “The WIC Program continues to promote breastfeeding as the preferred method of infant feeding for at least the infant’s first year, with a special emphasis on the health benefits derived from exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.”

For more information regarding WIC benefits, please visit dhhr.wv.gov/wic

City of Glenville Police Report

The Gilmer Free Press
City of Glenville, WV Police Report
Crime/Ordinance Violation
Officer
Disposition
Location
MVC Huffman/Braniff Vehicles left the area prior to our arrival N. Lewis Street
Assist another agency Huffman/Braniff Assisted WVSP and CPS  on a removal Normantown
Dog Bite Huffman Dog was quarantined and owner was able to provide verification that the dog was up to date on shots Pine Street
Suicidal Threats Huffman Spoke to the subject she advised that she was in bed and made no threats and had no intentions of harming herself or anyone else College Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning Mineral Road
Speeding Jenkins Warning Mineral Road
Speeding Jenkins Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning Mineral Road
Defective Equipment Jenkins Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warnings for speeding and No Operators carried N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warnings for speeding and No Operators carried N. Lewis Street
Left of Center Jenkins Warning for Left of center and Cited for Possession of Marijuana  Mineral Road
Speeding Jenkins Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning for Speeding and Cited for Driving while Suspended  N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning for Speeding and cited for No Proof of Registration and No Proof of Insurance N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning for Speeding and Cited for No seatbelt  Mineral Road
Assist another agency Huffman/Braniff Assisted GCSD, WVSP,  and CPS on a child removal 4 subjects arrested Normantown
Football game Huffman/Braniff Provided extra security for High School football game Football field 
Fans throwing things Huffman/Braniff Students throwing bottles and candy at other fans principal dealing with the issue Football Field
Juvenile in Possession of Tobacco Huffman/Braniff Juvenile escorted from the game and turned over care custody and control to his mother juvenile petitions filed and 1 female cited for juvenile in possession of tobacco Football Field
Loud Party Huffman Called to a party that turned into several people fighting in the street, all subjects had left prior to my arrival Walnut Street
Speeding Huffman Cited for Speeding and No Insurance and warning for expired MVI W. Main Street
Stop Sign violation Huffman Warning x2 High Street
Suspicious Person Huffman/Braniff Subject was waiting on a ride I advised him that he had to stay off of other people’s property W. Main Street
Vehicle unlock Huffman Vehicle unlocked Go Mart
Speeding Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings for speeding and expired registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings for speeding and no proof of registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings for speeding, unsigned registration, and no proof of insurance N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings for speeding and unsigned registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings for speeding and unsigned registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings for speeding and no proof of insurance N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings for speeding and failure to change address N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warning for Speeding and cited for no Proof of insurance N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings for speeding, unsigned registration, and no proof of insurance W. Main Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning Mineral Road
Speeding Jenkins Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning Mineral Road
Speeding Jenkins Cited Mineral Road
Assist another agency Huffman/Braniff Assisted Drug Task force serve a search warrant E. Main Street
Custodial Transport Huffman/Braniff 1 male subject transported to DPS office E. Main Street
Courtesy Transport Huffman/Braniff Transported 1 female back to Glenville for WVSP WVSP office
Custodial transport Huffman/Braniff Transported 1 male subject to magistrate court then to CRJ Glenville
Assist another agency Huffman Assisted WVSP attempting to locate a vehicle negative contact US HWY 33 E
Suspicious person Huffman Attempted to locate a suspicious person on Walnut Street no one matching the description was given Walnut Street
Possible domestic Huffman Spoke to subjects in the home both parties advised there was no domestic Kanawha Street
Speeding Huffman Cited for Speeding and warnings issued for no proof of registration and failure to carry operators College Street
Speeding Huffman Cited  N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Cited for No Proof of insurance and warning for Speeding N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Cell phone violation Huffman Cited for Cell phone violation and No Proof of Insurance N. Lewis Street
Cell phone violation Huffman Cited for Cell phone violation and Defective Equipment N. Lewis Street
Leaving the scene of an accident Huffman/Braniff Stop Sign ran over by a tractor trailer unable to locate the vehicle, contacted DOH to repair the sign Hay city intersection
Speeding Jenkins Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Cited for speeding and warnings issued for no proof of registration and no proof of insurance W. Main Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings issued for speeding and unsigned registration W. Main Street
Speeding Huffman Warning W. Main Street
Defective equipment Huffman Warnings issued for Defective equipment x3 and unsigned registration N. Lewis Street
No taillights  Huffman Warnings issued for No Taillights and unsigned registration S. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Cited S. Lewis Street
Alarm investigation Huffman All the doors were secure unable to make contact with a key holder Advanced Auto
Neighbor dispute Huffman Both parties advised to leave each other alone W. Main Street
Welfare check Huffman Negative contact with that subject N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings for speeding and Unsigned registration W. Main Street
Speeding Huffman Cited for Speeding and Warning for Unsigned registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding  Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Huffman Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warning W. Main Street
Assist another agency Huffman Assisted GCSD and WVSP with an altercation with weapons one subject arrested Sliding Run
Animal cruelty Complaint Braniff Owner put a do box out for the dog River Street
Assist EMS Huffman Assisted EMS with lifting assistance Johnson Street
Drug Class Huffman/Braniff Taught a drug class at the high school Gilmer Co High
Juvenile in possession of tobacco Huffman/Braniff Cited for possession of tobacco High School
Speeding Jenkins Warnings for Speeding and No Proof of insurance Mineral  Road
Expired registration Jenkins Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning N. Lewis Street
Unsecure Load Jenkins  Warning for Unsecure load Cited for Driving while Suspended WV HWY 5 E
Permitting unlicensed Driver Jenkins Cited WV HWY 5 E
Defective equipment Jenkins Warning
Speeding Jenkins Warnings Issued for Speeding, No Proof of Insurance, no Proof of registration and expired Registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warning for Speeding and Cited for cell Phone violation N. Lewis Street
Left of center Jenkins Warning for Left of center and Cited for Possession of marijuana <15 Mineral Road
MVC Huffman Accident report completed Walnut Street
Speeding Huffman Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Huffman Cited N. Lewis Street
No Seatbelt Huffman Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Jenkins Warnings for Speeding, no Operators Carried, and no proof of insurance N. Lewis Street
MVC Huffman Accident report completed N. Lewis Street
Alarm investigation Huffman/Braniff All doors were secure Advanced Auto
Citizen Assist Huffman/Braniff Attempted to get a cat out of the engine block of a car W. Main Street
Assist another agency Huffman/Braniff Assisted GCSD 1 female arrested on multiple charges Dollar General
Speeding Huffman/Braniff Cited  N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman/Braniff Cited for Speeding and warning for unsigned registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Cited for Speeding and warning for no proof of registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Cited for Speeding and warning for unsigned registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Cited  N. Lewis Street
Improper backing Huffman Cited for improper backing and one way street violation E. Main Street.
Speeding Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings for speeding and no proof of insurance N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings for Speeding and unsigned registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Dog bite Huffman/Braniff Victim had left prior to our arrival and the owner was advised to keep the dog quarantined for 10 days  S. Lewis Street
Funeral detail Huffman Funeral detail for officer Gary Smarr Ellyson’s
Funeral detail Huffman/Braniff Funeral detail for Bill Cottrill Ellyson’s
Funeral detail Huffman/Braniff Funeral detail for Rose Ball Ellyson’s
Wrestling tournament Huffman Provided security for a wrestling tournament Waco Center
Speeding Huffman Warnings issued for speeding and failure to change address W. Main Street
Defective equipment Huffman Warnings issued for Defective equipment and unsigned registration S. Lewis Street
Defective equipment Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Defective equipment Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Defective equipment Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Possible intoxicated driver Huffman Made contact with vehicle.  Driver was not intoxicated N. Lewis Street
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle unlocked US HWY 33 E

 

WV Board of Education Approves Three Policies, Places Five on Public Comment Period

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) met today for its monthly routine business meeting. During the meeting, five policies were discussed and placed on a 30-day public comment period. A brief description of each policy can be found below.

Policy 2322, West Virginia System of Support and Accountability: The policy is recommended for repeal and replacement to better align with current research related to effective schools. It will also provide a clarified definition of the support and accountability system for schools and counties. The policy will also define school and county recognition programs for academic success and school quality.

Policy 4373, Expected Behavior in Safe and Supportive Schools: Policy 4373 is placed on public comment to gather feedback for the following proposed changes: behavior and consequences charts are moved to an Appendix to reinforce flexibility to schools when applying the four different levels of consequences and interventions depending on the severity of inappropriate student behaviors. The updated policy includes new requirements such as the reduction in time required by mandated reporters to report suspected abuse, and sexual abuse prevention education requirements for public school employees and students as required by West Virginia House Bill 4402. In addition, the policy will provide clarification for guns in vehicles on school property as outlined in W. Va. Code §61-7-11a.

Policy 5100, Approval of Educational Personnel Preparation Programs: Policy 5100 outlines the preparation of educators eligible for licensure to work in West Virginia public schools. The policy guides the institutions of higher education (IHEs) in the creation and revision of preparation programs and national accreditation. The revisions reflect the most updated assessments available and incorporate the following: adding and clarifying language regarding accreditation definitions, partnerships, program content requirements, and pilot program proposals.

Policy 5202, Minimum Requirements for the Licensure of Professional/ Paraprofessional Personnel and Advanced Salary Classification: This policy outlines the minimum requirements for the various licenses approved by the WVBE, and issued by the State Superintendent of Schools to educators, paraprofessionals and other school personnel who wish to work in West Virginia’s public schools. The policy also outlines the requirements for educators who wish to qualify for an advanced salary classification. In the revised version going out for public comment, important terminology is defined, governing principles are identified, and the criteria for issuance of each license and salary classification are established.

Policy 6200, Handbook on Planning School Facilities: Policy 6200 has been revised to expand and clarify the flexibility provided to counties in designing school facilities. The primary changes emphasize that the Handbook on Planning School Facilities is not intended to be so prescriptive that it preempts the judgement of curriculum specialists and design professionals. Proposed changes also clarify that economies of scale and program utilization shall not be the single determining factors in evaluating existing buildings or funding new building projects. 

The Board voted to approve Policy 2420, Adult Education Programs, which incorporates Policy 2420 (Adult Vocational Technical Programs and Funding Source) into Policy 2520.13 better aligns the Advance Career Education programs of study, formally known as Adult CTE programs, to the national accreditation requirements. The policy will be effective 30 days from the date of filing.

The Board also voted to approve two additional policies. Policy 2520.13, West Virginia College- and Career-Readiness Programs of Study/Standards for Career Technical Education, which was amended to include the repeal of Policy 2530.02 and Policy 4310; and Policy 2520.14, West Virginia College- and Career-Readiness Standards for Technology and Computer Science, amended to separate and clarify standards for technology and computer science. Both policies will go into effect July 1, 2019.

To review and comment on WVBE policies, visit: wvde.state.wv.us/policies/.

G-OpEd™: It’s Time to Invest in Agriculture

The Free Press WV

When you get to be my age, smart investments made decades ago start to pay off. Much like our personal finances, the State must make wise investments to ensure future generations can avoid tough budgetary decisions. We must avoid is intertwining the budget with the success of certain industries.

When the coal industry, the foundation of the State’s budget for decades, was suddenly subjected to crippling regulations, lawmakers were faced with an impossible dilemma; dip into the Rainy-Day fund or make tough cuts for a balanced budget. If previous lawmakers would have made solid investments during the height of the industry, present day lawmakers would have not been left to clean up the mess. To guarantee we do not fall into the same predicaments of recent years, the Governor and Legislature must start working towards a brighter future through diversification. Agriculture is one those investment opportunities we shouldn’t pass up.

It is time to invest in our children’s future by creating policies that reverse the atrocious health trends prevalent today. We know healthy eating habits are formed at an early age. We also know our school systems are crucial in the formation of these habits. Decades ago, cooks and fresh foods were replaced with heat-and-serve methods that prioritized efficiency and cost over quality and health. Yes, the switch saved money in the short term, but in the long term it has contributed to some of the unhealthiest citizens in the United States. As health care costs continue to consume the bulk of the state budget, we can now see that these short-term savings have led to unintended consequences.

It may be too late for those who have made their way through the primary education system, but we have a chance to positively affect the next crop of students. Let’s focus on policies that expand healthier, fresher options for our students. Let’s teach children how to how make better choices. Let’s allow our school cafeteria cooks to make healthy food from scratch.

Access to food is not a unique problem to our schools. When you hear about the rising number of “food deserts” in Appalachia, you might expect our landscape to be barren, lacking any vegetation. Despite having abundant, fresh water and lush river valleys, the number of West Virginians that reside in these food deserts continue to climb each year. As “big box stores” decided it’s not profitable to stay in our communities, their departure have put a strain on our citizens’ ability to find fresh, healthy foods. This is devastating to the quality of living for these folks. However, we can turn this bad situation into an opportunity.

West Virginia ranks 8th in apple production, 19th in broiler chickens and 39th in cattle. At the same time, West Virginians consume $7 billion more food than we produce. There is a clear economic opportunity before us. Sadly, very few of these raw products are processed here in the Mountain State. Why? The main reason is that we lack processing facilities. Without infrastructure enhancements, products are being shipped out of state, leading to potential job loss, not to mention increasing the chance of contamination.

We need better infrastructure beyond roads if we are to scale and expand our industries. It’s time we start investing in local producers. Let’s find ways to encourage state institutions to source from West Virginia farmers. We should promote businesses who show commitment to their fellow Mountaineers. It’s time we do a better job of connecting producers to the distribution chain. We must provide more tools to our small businesses and entrepreneurs, while ensuring regulations are fair and balanced. 

Our call to the Governor and the Legislature is we need to start looking towards the future. It’s time we start pursing policies that have long-term payoffs. Our economy must diversify. Why not start with the people who produce our food? West Virginia leads the nation in small, family-owned farms. We know we have people who are waiting to grow their businesses, but we must start treating agriculture like any other industrial sector.

If you believe agriculture should be part of our effort to diversify our state’s economy, lend us your voice. Tell your elected officials to join our cause. It’s time we invest in agriculture.

Kent A. Leonhardt
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture

WV Lawmakers Stall Toxic Water-Pollution Update at Industry Request

At industry request, a legislative rule-making committee has stalled new limits to nearly 100 toxic water pollutants, as state lawmakers prepare to update regulations.

Three years ago, federal agency experts handed down new recommendations for limiting toxins in state surface waters under the Clean Water Act. Since then, the state Department of Environmental Protection has worked to implement them.

The Free Press WV
Five years after the Elk River chemical spill prompted public protests,
a West Virginia legislative committee has stalled
a major update of health and safety related water-pollution rules.


But Angie Rosser, executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, said at the last minute, the West Virginia Manufacturers Association asked lawmakers to throw out the changes and keep rules based on research more than 30 years old.

“It’s past time to update these, but that was undone in a single vote,” Rosser said. “Now, we’re still back to science that protects our health, that protects our drinking water, conducted prior to 1985.“

During the committee hearing, the manufacturers’ association said it needed more time to study the three-year-old federal recommendations, but offered no argument against any specific proposal.

In 2014, a tank at Freedom Industries leaked chemicals into the Elk River, contaminating the drinking-water system used by a large segment of the state. Rosser said hospitals treated hundreds of people after that spill. She said she’s astonished to see lawmakers dismissing potentially serious drinking-water contamination issues.

“West Virginians know very well chemicals that shouldn’t be in our drinking water make us sick, they shut down businesses,” she said. “It’s mystifying to me why this legislative committee would not provide the best protections to the water we drink.“

The work of the rule-making committee is a regular part of preparations ahead of the legislative session starting this week. Rosser said she hopes people can convince lawmakers to reinstate the updated water-pollution limits for health and safety when DEP rule-making comes up during the session.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

First Lady Cathy Justice Seeks Entries in Valentines to West Virginia Contest

The Free Press WV

First Lady Cathy Justice and her Student Artist Series announced the new “Valentines to West Virginia” contest Friday. All students in the 6th grade are invited to submit a Valentine to West Virginia that shows or tells what they love most about the Mountain State.

“I look forward to seeing all the creative entries and learning more about what makes our state so special to the students,” First Lady Cathy Justice said.

Students may use writing, photography, painting, drawing, and other art mediums to describe a favorite place, memory, or moment in West Virginia. Valentines must be at least two-dimensional and no larger than 5x7 inches.

They can be created using a variety of materials. Students are encouraged to take their time and be creative!

This contest is the third installment of the First Lady’s Student Artist Series initiative.

On special holidays, she will host different art competitions or projects for students to participate in, encouraging creativity and promoting the importance of the arts within schools throughout West Virginia.  

Students may mail their Valentines to West Virginia to:
The Governor’s Mansion
1716 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV 25305.

With each submission, students MUST include their name, phone, email, county, school name, teacher name, and teacher email. Valentines will not be returned. Valentines must be received by February 1, 2019. Winners will be announced by Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2019.

Prizes will be awarded to winning valentines.

For questions, please contact the First Lady’s Special Assistant Katie Speece at 304.558.3588 or ‘kate.e.speece@wv.gov’.

With Congressional Inaction, Black-Lung Funding Gutted

Inaction by a stalemated Congress has gutted important black-lung funding, at a time when the number of cases in West Virginia is rising rapidly.

In spite of promises by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others, a temporary increase in the per-ton tax on coal is set to expire, cutting that tax by more than half. That leaves the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund that Gary Hairston relies on in debt and underfunded.

Hairston has disabling black lung disease, but the mine company he last worked for went bankrupt, ending its legal responsibility. He said politicians talk about supporting miners — until they have to pay for it.

“It almost makes you feel like a soldier sometimes,” Hairston said. “After you go over and fight, then you come back and they say how much they love you, but then everything that you need to get, you have to fight to get.“

The Free Press WV
Black lung is an incurable progressive disease among
coal miners that ultimately can make it impossible to breathe.


About 25,000 sick miners and their dependents receive benefits from the fund, averaging less than $600 a month. The industry has said the higher tax is hard for already struggling mine companies. And this summer an officer of the National Mining Association told Reuters the fund has been strained by “previous or current smokers.“

But doctors countered it’s easy to tell black lung from the effects of smoking. Occupational medicine doctor Carl Werntz said the real issue in Appalachian mines is thinner coal seams, which put more damaging silica in the dust the miners breathe.

Research has found rates of black lung disease are higher than in decades past, and Werntz said he’s seeing it in the lungs of his patients every day.

“I was originally taught that black lung was mostly a disease of people at the end of their career or in retirement,” Werntz said. “We’re seeing people with pretty advanced black lung who are in their upper 20s and low 30s. They haven’t been coal mining for more than 10 years, and we’re seeing them already with really advanced disease.“

The tax on deep mined coal will fall from $1.10 per ton to 50 cents per ton. According to federal figures, central Appalachian coal now is selling for about $80 a ton.

Senator Joe Manchin, D- WV, said he had been promised the cuts would be stopped. He called the failure to do so “embarrassing,“ a sign of poor leadership and “a sad day in America.“

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Attorney General Morrisey Highlights 2018 Achievements with Year-In-Review

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey debuted a task force to more aggressively root out elder abuse, forced sweeping national reform to eradicate the opioid epidemic and fought to protect farmers, coal miners and countless others in his office’s continued push against federal overreach – all just a sample of the office’s significant accomplishments in 2018.

“This year has been full of tremendous achievements,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “By stopping elder abuse, eradicating senseless death associated with opioid abuse and pushing back against federal overreach, we can help West Virginia reach her full potential. We will continue to press onward in the coming year with the same vigor that made for so many victories.”

The Attorney General formed an elder abuse litigation and prevention unit to better connect seniors with the office’s robust capabilities and hold accountable anyone who exploits, abuses or neglects the state’s senior citizens. This effort led to the establishment of an elder abuse hotline, a scam alert database and regional councils of experts.

The team approach yielded a statewide initiative that partnered with senior meal delivery programs to raise awareness as to the red flags of financial abuse. The task force also partnered with community and technical colleges to offer computer literacy and cybersecurity training.

The Attorney General scored a major victory in the fight against opioid abuse when his lawsuit with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration locked in sweeping reform to national drug policy. Attorney General Morrisey’s unilateral action convinced DEA to embrace his call for greater input and consideration of illegal diversion in its determination of how many opioid pills can be manufactured each year.

The Attorney General affected change on the state level in reaching a $550,000 settlement against an accused pill mill in Boone County. He also convinced legislators to adopt an anti-retaliation law that alleviates negative consequences for doctors who refuse to prescribe deadly, addictive painkillers.

Those victories complement the year’s effort to raise wide awareness as to the dangers of prescription opioid abuse, whether by way of the office’s elementary and middle school design contest, its expanded partnership with in-state colleges to reach eighth grade students or its collaboration with high schools to reach student athletes and their communities.

On the regulatory front, Attorney General Morrisey remained a national leader in efforts to unwind and replace the so-called Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule – both Obama-era regulations that, if enacted, would have devastated farmers, coal miners and land owners across West Virginia.

The Attorney General attended the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s unveiling of its proposed WOTUS replacement, months after his office succeeded in continuing to block enforcement of the Obama-era regulation.

The Attorney General led a 21-state coalition in expressing support for President Trump’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule, a replacement rule made possible by Attorney General Morrisey’s historic victory at the U.S. Supreme Court that blocked the Obama-era Power Plan.

Other accomplishments include the following:

  • Reaching a $2.65 million settlement with Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi to resolve allegations linked to its emissions cheating scandal.

  • Fought to stop or reduce the number of annoying and harmful robocalls to consumers.

  • Finished 2018 on pace to exceed $13 million in total projected savings through a partnership to root out disability fraud with the Social Security Administration.

  • Led a broad, bipartisan effort to protect memorials that include religious symbols.

  • Filed suit against Equifax alleging its 2017 data breach exposed more than 730,000 West Virginia consumers to the risk of identity theft.

  • Expanded the office’s involvement in DEA’s Drug Take Back Day by partnering with law enforcement and substance abuse groups at six sites across West Virginia.

  • Took multiple stands against sanctuary cities and the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the fight against illegal immigration.

  • Secured concealed carry recognition with Minnesota for the first time ever, while bolstering mutual recognition with Montana and maintaining recognition with Pennsylvania, despite its discontinuing of an agreement with another state.

  • Defended the tradition of legislative prayer in supporting the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • Protected the free speech rights of pro-life pregnancy centers in a victory before the U.S. Supreme Court and supported laws that prohibit certain types of abortion and require abortion providers to offer an ultrasound image of the unborn child.

  • Expanded efforts to target and reduce human trafficking beyond law enforcement with training sessions for school personnel, medical professionals, social service and child protective service workers, prosecuting attorneys and the community at large.

  • Successfully supported a wedding cake baker in defending his religious decision to refuse to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.

  • Engaged the faith-based community in fighting opioid abuse as part of the Attorney General’s “Combating Addiction With Grace” initiative.

Commissioner Leonhardt Applauds Signing of 2018 Farm Bill

The Free Press WV

Following President Donald Trump’s signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt released the following statement:

“Farmers everywhere finally have certainty with the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill. We know vital programs will now remain funded and our farmers can continue to focus on feeding the world,” Commissioner Leonhardt said. “I thank Congress and the President for finally getting this across the finish line.”

The 2018 Farm Bill maintains funding for several vital initiatives, including conservation programs, Specialty Crop Block Grants, and food and agriculture research. The bill also included a provision to legalize the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp at the federal level by removing it from the list of federally controlled substances. Oversight to regulate this cultivation will continue to rest with individual state department of agricultures upon approval by United States Department of Agriculture.

“Senator Mitch McConnell has proven to be a true friend to farmers. Through his effort, our growers will have access to a new cash crop. We hope to see tremendous growth within our own industry now that the path for regulation of these products has been firmly established,” Leonhardt said.

In 2018, West Virginia licensed 46 industrial hemp growers who grew roughly 155 acres of crop. For the 2019 season, WVDA has received applications for 199 permits thus far. The increased interest is largely due to a bill that was passed by the West Virginia Legislature in 2017 which allow cultivation of industrial hemp for commercial purposes.

“Changes in the 2018 Farm Bill will allow the transport of raw industrial hemp products across state lines. We hope our farmers will take full advantage of this revision to the federal law,” Leonhardt said.

Simulated Workplace Students Present Ideas for Innovative Community Projects

The Free Press WV

Five Simulated Workplace companies from across the state presented their winning ideas for developing, designing and constructing innovative community projects to the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) this week. These five projects, which represent plans for public, private, commercial, or residential use, were chosen out of dozens submitted for the inaugural Economic Projects Impacting Communities (EPIC) competition.

The WVDE Division of Technical Education and Governor’s Economic Initiatives challenged Simulated Workplace companies to participate in an innovative community impact project competition that will positively affect local economies. The EPIC projects will be completed throughout the next two school years and will require partnering with local businesses and other community organizations. The goal of the competition is to enhance students’ technical skills and creativity while making an impact within their local communities.

“West Virginia’s greatest resource is her students,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “The selected EPIC projects showcase the creativity and technical abilities of the participating students while serving local communities. Our students should be very proud of the work they are doing in their Simulated Workplace companies to benefit our state.”

The selected Simulated Workplace projects were from Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center, Hundred High School, Moorfield High School, Putnam Career & Technical Center and Roane-Jackson Technical Center.

The projects include a Star Gazing Cabin for Calhoun County Parks, community partnerships for post-flood beautification in Hundred, a micro-business complex in Moorefield, energy efficient cabins in Eleanor Park and park upgrades throughout Roane and Jackson counties.

“We are so proud of the five schools’ Simulated Workplace companies for their hard work and dedication in developing innovative EPIC projects that enhance technical skills while impacting local communities,” said Associate Superintendent, Dr. Kathy D’Antoni. “We look forward to seeing the students’ work over the next two years as they partner with local businesses to turn their EPIC ideas into viable, successful projects that positively impact the economy of their communities.”

To learn more about the EPIC competition, visit: HERE.

To view the chosen projects and read a brief description of each, visit: HERE.

WV Commissioner of Agriculture Announces 2019 Legislative Priorities

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt announced his priorities for the 2019 Legislative Session. These priorities were developed by Commissioner Leonhardt, as well as staff at the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) who have been working with partners and lawmakers to identify polices to grow and enhance agriculture in West Virginia. In addition, the WVDA will be asking for several improvement packages through the budgeting process including a general appropriation for upgraded laboratory facilities.

“This will be our third legislative session, and I believe the most prepared we have been to make significant policy changes. We know agriculture can be an economic driver for the state but some of the Department’s code hasn’t been updated since the 1920s,” Commissioner Leonhardt said. “All of our priorities seek to modernize rules and regulations or provide more tools to our agribusinesses.”

The most significant initiatives are the re-passage of two bills vetoed in 2018, the Capital Improvement Fund (HB 4166) and the Ag General Counsel Bill (SB 322). New priorities include the transfer of Grade A milk regulation from DHHR to the WVDA, modernization of auctioneer code, development of an agriculture investment fund, the creation of a farm-to-school pilot project and the transfer of the West Virginia Division of Forestry to the WVDA.

“We have done our due diligence to identify strategies to grow our agricultural industries. This includes the development of a strategic plan for agriculture. We hope the strategic plan and our own initiatives will put us on the right path to growing agriculture in the state,” Leonhardt said.

In 2018, the WVDA, in conjunction with the West Virginia Farm Bureau, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, West Virginia Conservation Agency, WVU Extension Service, WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and West Virginia State University Extension Service conducted an economic impact study to evaluate barriers to growth, as well as rising sectors in the agricultural industry. A public survey, combined with the results of several stakeholder meetings held throughout the State will be used in the development of the strategic plan. A draft plan will be released to lawmakers during session, with a final plan to be released in March 2019.

“We know agriculture has a place in West Virginia’s future. It is time we start taking agribusinesses seriously,” Leonhardt said. “By working with our partners, we have come up with a cohesive vision and strategy that will grow, not hinder, agriculture in the Mountain State.”

In addition to the agenda Commissioner Leonhardt has laid out, he will also be supporting several initiatives led by other organizations. This includes civil asset forfeiture reform, “Food Freedom” legislation, Right to Farm modernization and efforts to help source local products through West Virginia institutions.

For a full list of priorities click here.

For questions, contact Crescent Gallagher at 30.-558.3708 or ‘cgallagher@wvda.u’s

WV Board of Education Approves Recommendations for Increased Education Funding

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) unanimously approved six recommendations for increased education funding at its meeting this week. The recommendations, which will be presented to state lawmakers, were outlined through the WVBE’s committee on school finance and funding.

“The committee discussed nearly 30 areas to consider for increased funding,” board member and chair of the committee on school finance and funding Tom Campbell said. “We ultimately agreed on six areas that will have the greatest impact on students and schools over time.”

Equity in funding has been a major focus for West Virginia for many years. However, student needs cannot be fairly met based on enrollment numbers alone. The recommendations ensure the state’s funding formula equitably and adequately address the needs of students today.

The WVBE approved the following six recommendations

  1. Increase compensation/funding for Step 1 and Step 2. This should include an increase in the number of funded positions and increased compensation for professional educators and service personnel to meet the needs of West Virginia students.

  2. Provide adequate funding for Step 6a to adequately maintain school facilities.

  3. Reestablish leave incentives for employees to reduce the need for substitutes and improve retention and recruitment rates. Increased funding for Steps 6b and Step 6c would alleviate some funding issues. This problem has progressively worsened as more employees enter the workforce without the ability to bank leave days and convert them for benefits such as pension credit or health care costs at retirement. Receiving some pension credit for unused sick leave was successful previously and should be reauthorized.

  4. Increase the supply reimbursements above the current amount of $200 per professional educator. This funding has not changed for many years. The funding has not kept up with rising cost of materials and is inadequate for today’s classroom needs.

  5. Increase county funding and flexibility to address the growing severity of our students’ physical and mental health needs. Increased funding would support response personnel and include but not be limited to additional mental health counselors, guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and psychologists. Additional funding for alternative education (as defined in §18-2-6) is needed for those students who have limitations that make it difficult for them to attend school during the traditional public-school day.  

  6. Increase funding for career technical education (CTE). There is great demand in today’s economy for students that possess expertise in technical skills such as construction, plumbing, electrical and computer-related technology.

“I commend the work of our committee on school finance and funding,” WVBE President David Perry said. “As a Board, we stand behind these recommendations and plan to share them with our state’s lawmakers ahead of the upcoming legislative session in hopes of action being taken to increase funding to benefit our education system.”

“Our goal is to prioritize the needs we have heard from our districts and provide that input to the Legislature,” he said.

Governor issues proclamation declaring Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve as full-day state holiday

The Free Press WV

Governor Jim Justice has issued proclamations declaring Christmas Eve (Monday, December 24, 2018) and New Year’s Eve (Monday, December 31, 2018) as full-day state holidays for public employees.

“In recognition of the hard work accomplished throughout the year by our public employees, it is fitting and proper that they spend an extended and enjoyable holiday with their loved ones,” Gov. Justice said.

Previously, both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve were officially listed as half-day holidays.

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During intervention the State had dictatorial control of our school system to include all decisions related to the GCES.

One result is that the GCES was built too small.

An investigation is needed to determine who was responsible for the bad decision, and what role the no-bid architectural firm had in designing and constructing the school.

Something major happened to cause the GCES to be built too small. Was something dropped at the expense of adequate class room space as a result of having to spend extra money because a poor site was selected?

Minimally, gross incompetency on the State’s part is the explanation for the disaster foisted onto the County.

A question pertains to the new gym. Lots of effort was taken by the State to try to convince the public that a competition gym instead of a regular gym was needed.

Did the competition gym cost extra money at the expense of needed classroom space? If the answer is affirmative who was responsible for deciding on the more expensive gym?

What about the enormous pit at the GCES? Was money spent on it at the expense of classrooms because something was wrong with the school’s site that was selected by the State?

Nothing similar to the pit has been seen at other sites where new WV schools were built.

Why has there been a failure for a thorough investigation to have occurred to expose the facts?

The obvious explanation is that powerful elitists in control do not want tracks leading to them, and they have veto power over a meaningful investigation including one done by a leading newspaper.

By GCES Built Too Small Scandal on 01.15.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Pat McGroyne is spot on.
High speed internet is simply another failure of WV state government.

If the elected in our state, were doing the job expected by voters….we should have very few problems or issues?

By Gilmer resident on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Muddling has another distinct symptom. It is the tendency for administrators in control to emphasize processes and procedures while avoiding disclosure of progress, or the lack thereof, in achieving learning results.

The purpose is another way to avoid personal accountability for school system failures.

By Muddling Epidemic In WV School Systems on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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West Virginia is number one!
Our politicians are the best that can be had.
They are also the lobbyers dream come true.
No one—-can out-muddle our elected reps !

By we know it on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Suggestion after reading strategic plans for the GCHS and the GCES.

How about the school board requiring that for each school an informative executive summary be written to include——where each school stands on reading, math, and science proficiency, what the term proficiency means to eliminate the confusion, student proficiency goals for the two school, target time to expect goals to be achieved, and a statement to commit to keeping the public informed of progress in achieving the goals at designated intervals (e.g. quarterly) during a school year.

Omit confusing abbreviations and technical terms understood only by a select few in the education field, and written for comprehension by reasonable persons.

Leave it up to the County’s professional educators to determine how to get the job done with continual laser-like focus on getting results.

By Student Learning at GCHS and GCES on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Muddling infects federal, state, and local government entities where personal accountability for top officials to get measurable results rarely exists.

Muddling practitioners are famous for passing off information unrelated to measurable proof that effective problem-solving has occurred. A common example is emphasizing how much public money is being spent to attempt to convince tax payers that magnitudes of expenditures are always directly correlated to levels of problem-solving successes.

Muddling by an organization is characterized by the existence of thick planning documents replete with vagueness and lack of clarity, undefined technical terms, and mysterious acronyms.

Muddling thrives on intentional ambiguity and confusion designed to protect muddlers and their organizations.

By Muddling 101 on 01.11.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Gilmer County is not the only place in the USA that has been faced with its students failing to meet proficiency standards for science, reading, and math.

The difference here is that evidence is lacking to conclusively demonstrate that Gilmer County’s officials in control have exerted proper efforts to profit form powerful lessons learned elsewhere to use that knowledge to help solve learning deficiencies in our schools.

In fact, a convincing argument could be made that the approach in the County has been the one professional planners designate as muddling through.

Classic symptoms of muddling through include failure to thoroughly analyze categories of causes contributing to problems followed up by using the information to develop a comprehensive plan to do the most good in getting better results by treating key causes instead of symptoms.

Muddling typically involves officials assigning blame for lack of progress to outside forces e.g., the “culture”, the State did it to us, and poverty. Haven’t we heard plenty of that?

Muddling must be eliminated if we want progress in solving non-performance problems within the County’s school system. Does anyone disagree?

By End School System Muddling on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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It is unclear after reading school board meeting minutes what progress if any is being made by GCHS and GCES principals in improving student proficiency in reading, math and science.

Why not allocate a few sentences in the minutes to summarize what the two principals reported to the school board?

All it would take to get the critical information out to citizens would be for the new school board to act on this.

Does anyone have a problem with the suggested change to keep Gilmer’s bill paying public informed?

By Need Specifics For Principal's Reports on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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“High speed broadband – a necessity for today’s homes, businesses and other institutions – remains a huge unmet need for rural residents, despite promises by a succession of Governors from both parties (a contributing factor in why we’re losing population at a rate higher than any other state).“

I disagree with much of what Mr.Boggs believes.  That said, high-speed broadband is the single most important step the State of WV could take to improve the business climate and provide more opportunities for its citizens.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Conversation at local eatery.
Shortly after election.
Individuals were educators.

‘You think we have school problems now, wait until these new folks take the steering wheel’.

‘Students, parents, staff are all going to be in the soup’.

Sounds as if Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving vacation-deer season times have all taken a big hit.  If that is true, the union teachers need to come together, stand their ground, along with parents, and hold this new board accountable.

Have a local strike if need be.
Request resignations.
Vote of no confidence.

Schools employees can win.
You have done it before.
Just stick together.

By overheard conversation on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Scholarship must be the most important focus in Gilmer County’s schools.

Brought up the ZOOMWV Data Dashboard site to review the most recent State achievement test results for GCHS’s 11th grade.

Folks, Gilmer is in serious trouble. Proficiency for math=24%, reading=41%, and science=24%.

On an A through F grading scales the GCHS gets an F for all three subject areas.

What does the new school board have to show for inroads it has made since last July to make critically needed proficiency improvements at the HS? Citizens deserve answers to the question.

By ZOOMWV Data Dashboard on 01.07.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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A thorough accounting for where all the public money went could be easily achieved by a competent accountant.

Isn’t there a special account at the County’s school board office for expenditures related to all bills paid and who got the money?

Following the money trail always gets results along with verification of means, motives, and access.

By Let An Accountant Dig It Out on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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If central office financial records for all public money paid out for everything from site planning, site studies and development, and everything else to get to completion of the GCES and the LES—- what is the reason?

It is known that money was spent on the Arbuckle site and Cedar Creek, and public money was paid out for the LES too.

Were County records for the spending purged and if that happened who ordered the action? The records are either in the County’s central office or they aren’t.

By End Financial Secrecy on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Hasn’t the time come to finally start naming names and making people accountable?

By Get It Done on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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How about the “BIG WV WINDFALL”....?

For 3 or 4 months now we keep hearing about the millions of dollars of tax revenue collected.

Millions and millions above ‘estimates’.  Were those ‘estimates’ honest, or fudged to begin with, so as to request higher tax rates?

Well, Justice and the Legislature now have our dollars, what will become of this windfall? Will we see tax rates lowered?  Doubt full, but we should.

Likely this windfall, created by “over-taxation”, will simply create a “party atmosphere” of legislative spending. Watch the Charleston ‘gangsters’ get their wish lists ready this coming session.

By taxpayers always lose on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Yes.  The blame Does seem to fall to ‘local’ people. In small places like Gilmer County, it’s just a poker game, boys, and the deep pockets win.  Money speaks volumes where ‘officials’ stay silent.  Go ask for the records, see what they’ve got.

By CheatersNeverWin on 11.20.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Teachers and staff knew from the beginning that the GCES was going to be too small. They were ordered by the State to keep quiet about the shortfall and other serious concerns too.

A sixth grader could understood how many rooms were needed by dividing total student numbers to attend the school by how many students should be in a classroom.

Under sizing was the State’s fault and it cannot be rationalized any other way including to assign the blame to local people. Same applies to the over sized LCES.

By Corrupt State Intervention on 11.19.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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There will never be a full, public accounting of the gross mishandling of tax dollars during WVDOE intervention.
Too many local jobs and too many embarrassments of both elected and appointed bureaucrats.
These types cover dirt for each other.

Any local whistle blowers?  Doubtful.

One school built short 4 classrooms and another built with 5 too many.  Can it get more stupid than that?
Mr. Degree and Ms. Common Sense seldom travel together.

By Full accounting will never be revealed. Never. on 11.18.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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GCBOE when the two principals give reports at board meeting could the gist of what they said be summarized in minutes to keep the County informed?

It was a welcomed development by the Board to require principals to give reports particularly if there are required updates on progress designed to improve student learning for reading, math, and other subjects.

We still have not been informed about the status of science proficiency at the GCHS based on the latest testing. Why has the State failed to release the data? Were results too dismal?

By More Specifics For Principal's Reports on 11.17.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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If it is going to cost extra money to eliminate over crowding at the GCES the financial information referenced by Do It Ourselves should be presented to Charleston and the press too.

That would help frame a solid case that crowding problems were not caused by Gilmer County because all decisions related to facilities were dictated by officials over whom the County had no oversight authority during the State’s intervention.

By Follow The Money on 11.16.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It is assumed that all records for spending to include money paid out for the LCES, dropped Arbuckle site, dropped Cedar Creek site, and all bills for the GCES are in the Gilmer Schools central office.

The new GCBOE has authority to get to the truth by demanding a thorough accounting for all the spending.

Afterwards the financial officer in the central office could easily access existing computerized records and to use the information for a report to the GCBOE and the public.

By Do It Ourselves on 11.15.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Notice that most of the ‘officials’ in Gilmer County also hold regular day jobs - sometimes working on more than one paying ‘job’ at a time in the same office space. This common practice is concerning for many reasons, and it needs to be talked about when so many go without.

By QuestionablePractice on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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There are two views in the County related to the under built GCES. Although the State built the school with inadequate classrooms one group believes that we should move on to let go of the past.

Isn’t this a form of advocacy for a coverup to prevent accountability for the State’s incompetence and mismanagement?

The other group believes that there should be a full accounting for all public money spent up to the time the GCES was completed to include disclosure of recipients of the public money. 

The accounting should be done for all public money spent at the LCES, the Arbuckle site, Cedar Creek, and finally the GCES.

Reasons for the under built GCES should be fully disclosed too. When the State was in control this information was kept secret from the public with loud claims that there was adequate space at the GCES.

Now it is known that there is inadequate space at the GCES and the problem is left to Gilmer County to fix. Only in WV!

By Citizens For Financial Disclosure on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Unprofessional issues,rude commentsand rolling eyes at the high school has become an issue. Being on cell phone talking to boyfriends,when parents etc.going into the office. Since the teachers were ask not to be on them while students in the classroom. The one in the office should not be allowed to talk personal to her boyfriend, or whoever. Also, I hope this is corrected, the personal days, etc that the board provides to staff shouldn’t be allowed to use to work or operate a second job. Let’s get the priorities straight.

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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GULMER COUNTY BOE. It is time for me to let you know some issues that is going on at the High school.  I’m hoping this will be addressed at the next board meeting. 1. It should not matter if an employee has a second job or run a business. The priority job is for the board. One should not be allowed to use any time from the board to run your business. There is going on
If they want to run your business than go but not on the boards time. I would like for all employees be treated the equal. They should not be allowed to use the time the board gives them for other jobs.

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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While at it there should be an investigation of why the LES was build with too many classrooms and the GCES was built with too few. At the very least what happened is a WV horror story example of the State’s waste and mismanagement.

By Where Is The Investigation? on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It is obvious that the GCES has a major space problem.

What options for dealing with the State’s mismanagement to cause the serious blunder are being considered by the Board of Education?

Could the original architectural design for the dropped Cedar Creek site be compared to what resulted at the GCES to accurately determine the extent of classroom space alterations?

If the architectural design at the GCES is different than the original plan for Cedar Creek the next step should be to determine reasons for the changes and where the money originally planned for needed classrooms went.

By INFO REQUEST TO GCBOE on 11.09.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It’s long been known that Justice doesn’t happen in Gilmer County “because it all comes down to money”. And for those in charge of handling it and making decisions, it comes down to being competent to do the job,  keep accurate books and accounts and I’m sorry to say, that is seriously lacking in Gilmer County.

By Follow the Paycheck(s) on 11.06.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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What is GSC’s BOG’s plan for getting money for the next payment on the $38,000,000 bond loan the Gilmer County Commission approved?

Will the State pay or will the money come from private donations?

Money will have to come from somewhere to avoid a default.

By Where Is The Money? on 11.05.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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So sorry to hear of Kendall’s passing. I have fond memories of him at Uncle Paul’s store and the family reunions. I’m sure he will be missed greatly by those closest to him.
Please accept condolences from me and my family.

By Steve Lewis on 11.04.2018

From the entry: 'Kendall Goodwin'.

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GSC’s present plight is no secret and its future existence is in question.

Instead of expressing attitudes that GSC is being picked on could the Blue Ribbon Commission reveal why the College “tested out” as it did to fail to get more State money?

Was the “grading system” based on student enrollment trends, retention, time taken to get a degree, academic reputation, inept governance and administration, and other factors to block more funding? Informative specifics were not disclosed.

Teachers know that concerned students who want to do better always seek advice on what needs to be done to get better grades.

Similar to concerned students GSC’s supporters should be informed of what needs to be done to position the College for improved chances for survival to include eligibility for more State funding.

Saying that GSC is being picked on does nothing to help solve its nagging problems.

By What Was The Grading System? on 10.30.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Well thank you, Details Please,  for asking!  So many problems in Gilmer and education is just one.  Look at the town, take a good look around.  Remember who runs unopposed at election time.  Vote.  Make a difference.  Hold authority figures responsible.  Allow videos, minutes and more to be shared on GFP again, for transparency.  Know your neighbors, help a friend.  Be good to each other. Amen.

By Reader7 on 10.29.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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I will truly miss my Uncle Stephen.  Telling me so much information about from gardening to canning. Just to listening to him talk with such passion for everything that he does… he had a sense of humor that always warms my heart.. listening to him play the banjo sometimes even when he didn’t feel good. he is always willing to share his recipes and his ways of doing things… his solar information he was always studying something ... I’m remember one time we asked him where he got his blackberries when it wasn’t Blackberry season and he go there’s a store down the road it’s called Walmart they have everything… He was so funny.  I love you.. xoxo.

By Robin Nunez on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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Sorry for your loss. He sure did look like his father.

By Buck Edwards on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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Reader 7, please give details for your suggested solutions to the County’s concerns you addressed.

The information would be helpful for consideration by school system administrators and the general public.

By Details Please on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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There is speculation that the plan is for GSC to convert to an education center for low risk federal inmates. Is this something the County and central WV needs?

By GSC's New Mission? on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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Dr. Pellett’s commentary in the 10/26/2018 issue of the Gazette includes a statement that GSC is responsible for injecting $28,000,000 into the local economy.

If GSC were to close loss of the money would cause the County to have more severe poverty than it has now.

The pressing challenge is for GSC’s administrators including its Board of Governors to exercise effective leadership to prevent closure.

Why can’t GSC take action on the long standing suggestion for it to be an innovator by establishing a five year teacher education program to enable students to earn a masters degree by graduation time?

Something must be done in WV to deal with the 700 positions for which certified teachers including those for math, science and special education are not in the classrooms.

Dr. Pellett and GSC’s Board of Governors why is a new teacher education program at the College not a viable option? Nothing else seems to be working.

The need exists, a similar program of excellence does not exist anywhere in the State, and GSC’s status would be elevated by having a masters degree program.

By GSC Alumni on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'Paine: Plan to improve math scores to focus on algebra where a third of teachers aren’t certified'.

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GSC could make a valuable contribution to WV by doing a study to report on how grade and elementary schools with excellent results in math and reading did it.

Then, other schools could use the information as guidance instead of going it alone to reinvent the wheel.

With the Ed.D. expertise at GSC it would be a natural to take on the assignment. Dr. Pellett, would you back the initiative?

By Opportunity for GSC on 10.23.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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There is reference to signing an agreement with the State for math4life for all WV school districts. What has Gilmer County agreed to do to fix our problems?

By Agreements Matter on 10.22.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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This important news has potential for making significant progress in improving math and reading outcomes in WV.

It hinges on how quickly advantage can be taken from lessons learned in schools that excelled.

The WVBE could do an analysis of reasons for excelling and to quickly provide guidance information to other schools.

That is the way the private sector approaches problem-solving because chronic failures have consequences and the unfit are weeded out.

Dr. O’Cull could help if the WVBE is not responsive. There could be panels of individuals from excelling schools to make presentations at WV School Board Association meetings to explain what their schools did to make the achievements.

By Why Reinvent The Wheel? on 10.22.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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A characteristic of a good strategic plan is to simplify language to enable a clear understanding of all its details.

Regarding the comment about abbreviations, a simple fix for them and terms (e.g. lexile) would be to insert an asterisk or a footnote symbol the first time one of them is used to refer readers to a section at the end of the documents where the entries are defined.

This comment is not intended to be a criticism. All specialty fields have a language of their own including the teaching profession.

Suggested clarity improvements in the plans would not be time consuming for principals at the County’s two schools.

By Clarity Is Always Good on 10.18.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Looked at the strategic plan for the GCES. It is a major achievement for the new GCBE to provide the information to the public.

Suggestion. Could the GCBOE post a meaning of all abbreviations in the plan? Doing that would make it far easier for readers to understand details in the plan.

By Help Understanding on 10.17.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Thanks Mrs. Lowther and the BOE for providing meeting minutes for the public to read.

Those of us who voted for the levy would appreciate receiving specific information for what is being done at the grade school and the high school to make needed improvements for college and career readiness.

Could a current overview and updates throughout the school year be provided to the public?

Why not put the details on websites of the two schools to give the principals a chance to shine?

By Levy Supporter on 10.16.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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“engage in pedantic colloquy?“

No Bill.

By WEKNOWYOU on 10.14.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Correct.  I do not wish to engage in back and forth useless ‘banter’ with big words and no results.  What I AM interested in is Gilmer County, in all it’s ways.  Education, Food, Law and Transparency.  Fancy words are often used to hide, divide, and distract..  Plain words speaking truth for the safety and well being of the people is what I’m looking for..  Gilmer is suffering… I want it to stop. I want to see the citizens healthy, educated and strong. I want to see more jobs instead of food banks.  I want Committee meetings for all to see. I want the law to do what it should, when it should.  Plain english would work fine.  Thanks for asking.

By Reader7 on 10.14.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Lol 7, you do not wish to engage in a pedantic colloquy?

By Smart Feller on 10.13.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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All nice but a small request? Can we simplify some of the language?  Don’t mean to be rude, but fancy works aren’t needed for the Truth.

By Reader7 on 10.12.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Stop living the delusion the state will fix education.
They have caused the problem.
Remember, for them, job one IS job protection.

Rare in history, that the cause of a problem, has come forth with a solution to what they have caused. They keep resetting testing standards so as not have any ‘yardstick’ they can be measured against.  Apparently people just don’t get it?  And the WVBOE is so happy about that.

By it-ain't-a-gonna-happen. period. on 10.12.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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There is a continuum for sophistication regarding what is done with data.

Collecting and compiling it is at the low end of sophistication.

Synthesis is at the high end.

This means using results and other information to make specific recommendations for making improvements.

The State took its typical easy way out by failing to go beyond the data compilation stage.

By Easy Way Out on 10.10.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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The comment about need to find out what was done at high performance schools to determine what we could do in Gilmer County to get the same results merits a comment.

The comment flags what is wrong with the State BOE in failing to provide effective leadership.

Does anyone recall a single instance, after tens of millions of dollars were spent on amassing data, when the State BOE did anything to effectively address lessons learned at high performance schools for application at other schools?

Of course not! It is the easy way out for those in high income brackets in Charleston to collect data instead of using it to the maximum to take full advantage of lessons learned.

Could the WV School Board Association help fill the gap?

By Lost Opportunity on 10.07.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Harry, So sorry to hear of the passing of your wife.  I’m also sorry that I never got to know her because if she was anything like you, I’m sure she was pretty special.  Please know that you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.  May God’s love be with you my friend.

By Greg Garvin on 10.04.2018

From the entry: 'Judith “Judy” Carolyn Buckley Rich'.

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What is the BOE’s proficiency goal for English and mathematics and what is the time frame for achieving the goal? That is news citizens want.

Then too, how can citizens at large get involved to honor and to encourage students who improve, and what of a similar nature could be done to give special recognition to outstanding teachers who contribute to improved learning for English and math?

By Positive Changes Made By New BOE on 10.04.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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The BOE and Mrs Lowther deserve high praise for disclosing proficiency information to the public.

It is the first time since 2011 anything like this has happened.

We still do not know about results for science, and it is understood that Charleston is still “working” on it.

Now we know our serious shortcomings in math and English and there is new hope for burrowing out of the mess with everyone in Gilmer working together.

By Thanks Gilmer BOE on 10.03.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Well, dear citizen… sometimes the local ‘law’ gets it wrong.  #truth #JusticeForGilmer

By Transparency matters on 09.30.2018

From the entry: '33 charged in methamphetamine distribution operations in Harrison, Marion, and Monongalia Counties'.

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Soooo…...why do we never see a big drug bust in Gilmer?
With the college and others, there are plenty sources.
Seems strange?

By citizen 3 on 09.23.2018

From the entry: '33 charged in methamphetamine distribution operations in Harrison, Marion, and Monongalia Counties'.

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If you access http://www.mywvschool.com it is evident that some schools outpace others for math and English.

For examples look at data for Lizemore Elementary in Clay County, Alum Creek Elementary in Kanawha County, Rock Branch Elementary in Putnam county, and Greenmont Elementary in Wood County.

Gilmer BOE why not assign someone to evaluate what is being done at those school and others to make them State standouts and to apply lessons learned to our elementary schools?

The same applies to learning from others regarding how to get high marks at GCHS.

By Learn What Works From Others on 09.23.2018

From the entry: 'WV and Area Counties Balanced Scorecard for School Year 2017-2018'.

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I have not read anyone blaming our teachers.  Quite the contrary.
There have been some well thought out comments submitted too.
I am old enough to remember when we had few issues about quality education.

Forget Charleston? Better not.
Believe we are still in their “probation” period.
You better check out just what that means.

By GC--still on state probation? on 09.22.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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Why not go for it on our own and use the tried and widely accepted Iowa Test of Basic Skills to evaluate learning proficiency of our children?

It is the longest running test in America and it goes back to 1936.

One outcome of using the test is that each grade would be evaluated and compared to performances to schools in other parts of America.

We would probably have to go through hoop jumps of the State’s everchanging testing too.

By Iowa Test For Gilmer on 09.21.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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To compound complexity of the issue, Gilmer is different from McDowell and both are different than Monongahela.

The implication is that getting out of the crisis must be county-specific and there is no one size that will fit all of WV’s 55 school systems.

Each county is on its own and ones with the best planning, local boards of education, and administrators will shine. Forget about Charleston!

By County-Specific on 09.21.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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Similar to most complex problems there are several categories contributing to WV’s dismal failure in improving education results in our grade and high schools.

Information in referred journal is beginning to show up. Some of the categories include curriculum issues in high schools, block scheduling failures in high schools, inordinate emphasis on sports at the expense of academics, inadequate prep of grade schoolers to ensure that they get firm foundations in math and English Language Arts, failure to instill need for life long learning at early ages, failure for school systems to fund continuing education of teachers to prepare them for newly emerged practices for enhanced student learning, cultural impediments including failure of some families to encourage children and to give them extra learning help at home, dysfunctional families for children to grow up in caused by drug and alcohol abuse and chronic unemployment, grade inflation characterized by too many As and Bs and attitudes that nobody fails so pass them along, failure of school boards to hire the best qualified superintendents and teachers because of local emphasis on favoring “home grow” individuals, failure of school boards to define performance expectations for superintendents to make effective accountability impossible, constantly changing types of State mandated testing to cause chaos and morale problems, poor compensation of teachers necessary to attract and keep the best and the brightest, etc.

To blame all problems on teachers is a cruel travesty.

One of the weakest links contributing to a lack of progress in improving WV schools is that instead of analyzing the full spectrum of contributing problems and focusing on ones with the biggest payoff potential, the trend in Charleston is to constantly apply band aid approaches with hopes that “cures” will be stumbled on accidentally.

By Do Not Blame It All On Our Teachers on 09.21.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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The problem with preK-12 education in WV is that a holistic and and technically defensible evaluation of contributing factors to cause WV’s problems and how to deal with them has not occurred.

Instead, under direction of clueless politicians ineffective muddling prevails while selling what is done at a particular time as the definitive solution.

How many times have we witnessed muddling over the past 20-30 Years? It still goes on in Charleston.

Why not obtain a grant to have qualified experts analyze success stories around the Nation and use findings to craft a demonstration project in Gilmer County to improve our school system?

Regardless of what we do there must be open minds in seeking out what to do in homes, schools,  teacher education programs in our institutions of higher learning, continuing education for classroom teachers, and to involve various factions in our community to achieve acceptable results. Everyone must band together as a unified team to make it work.

One trap is over emphasis of sports. If the same magnitude of attention and importance were to be focused on solving preK-12 education problems in WV, great strides could be made to benefit deserving children.

By Muddling on 09.19.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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Our heartfelt condolences on the passing of Mr. Ron. I too know this pain of losing a beloved father. Both of these men were taken way too soon. Praying maybe Mr.Ron, my Dad, and all the former Westinghouse employees in heaven are getting together. Love and prayers from, Adrienne and family.

By Adrienne (Trimper) Johnson on 09.19.2018

From the entry: 'Ronald J. Vanskiver'.

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West Virginia’s educational failures is NOT because of classroom teachers.

It IS because of the WV Board of Education’s failures of the past 20-30 years.

That 9 member, lopsided governor board is a crime against children and education in WV as a whole.

It needs 3 teachers, 3 general public parent members, and 3 governor appointees.

Until that governors click gang is broken up, you simply see repeats of the past.  NO progress in education.

It will take the legislature to fix it, but they are too busy with the legislature created court system failure, while trying to line pockets with gas and oil money.

By Tell It Like It Is ! on 09.19.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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What is the plausible rationale for Gilmer not disclosing detailed facts similar to what Superintendent Hosaflook did?

Wood County reported 11,176 students in its 27 schools for the full FY 2018 school year.

In comparison Gilmer had 734 reported students in our two schools for the full FY 2018 school year.

Wood County had 15 times more students than Gilmer and it is reasonable to assume that it was 15 times more demanding to administer with its 27 schools.

If Wood County could get detailed facts out to the public with its significantly higher work load what keeps tiny Gilmer from doing the same?

By Why Gilmer BOE? on 09.18.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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We have not had a responsible, functioning, WVBE for 20 years.
Not one that would accept any responsibility.

They just keep changing ‘score keeping’ so there can be no accurate tracking of student progress.

State ranks 48th or 49th on educational outcomes. Still.
Colleges still have to give remedial classes.

The ONLY thing that changes are the names of the governor appointed players.
And just look at the ‘cost-per-pupil’ spending!
We are about the highest in the nation.

West Virginia State Board of Education = complete failure.  Nothing less.

By just more smoke and mirrors on 09.16.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released for Public Schools in West Virginia'.

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Never could figure out why working people, retirees, volunteers are picking up trash left by adults?

Not when we have the numbers of bored prisoners we have locked up doing nothing??

By No solution here- on 09.16.2018

From the entry: 'Adopt-A-Highway Fall Statewide Cleanup Set for September 29'.

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Go to http://www.mywvschool.org to access more official State information about Gilmer’s schools. There are serious red flags in need of immediate corrective attention.

If you access Lewis County schools on the same web site you can review info for LES. Look at the red flags there. Worse than GES.

Instead of using the info to criticize it can be useful in seeking out opportunities for making immediate improvements.

For those who take apologetic stands that Gilmer is doing as well as some other WV counties and everything is fine, it does not mean that inferior educations for our children are acceptable.

By Look At Red Flags on 09.16.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Superintendent Set Her Goals for School Year'.

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Who is responsible for Gilmer’s oversight of the LES?

If you access the State’s website you will learn that math and reading is red flagged for the LCES to be as bad as it can get.

Why is it that nothing is reported in Gilmer County about how that school is doing when we know that our sixth grade finishers from over there will go to the GCHS to finish their educations? 

It is like our students who attend LCES are forgotten about. Someone needs to be watching out for them.

By Who Minds The Store on 09.15.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Superintendent Set Her Goals for School Year'.

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The really sad stories are left out.
The students who accrue debt and for whatever reasons, drop out of school after a year or two.

They have little hope of improving incomes, but still have debt.
More of them than you think.

By More sad ones to be told. on 09.14.2018

From the entry: 'Student-Loan Debts a "Loss of Freedom" for Some in WV'.

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Information made ‘public’ forces accountability.
Do not hold your breath lest you turn blue.

‘They’ want elected. Get their place at the trough.
Then discover ‘exposure’ makes their work more difficult.

Informed citizens make informed decisions.
Why do we see the same names being elected over and over and over?

By WHEN we're allowed to see it......? on 09.14.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Harrison BOE sets yearly superintendent goals'.

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Lots of work to be done with schools in Gilmer County. 2017-2018 Summative Assessments out today for student achievement.

Gilmer County High School.

For Math
*Exceed or Meet Standards=40% of Students.
*Fail to Meet Standards=60% of Students

For Reading
*Exceed or Meet Standards=36% of Students
*Fail to Meet Standards=64%

The scores speak volumes. What was done to accurately determine causes of failures and what will be done about it? BOE, the public has a right to know answers.

By Public Demands Answers on 09.13.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Superintendent Set Her Goals for School Year'.

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The Founding Fathers screwed up, we should not have to work and pay our bills. Let that man behind the tree work and pay for it all.
Free education should be a right.
Free food should be a right.
Free healthcare should be a right. 
Free transportation should be a right.
Free entertainment should be a right.

By Smart Feller on 09.13.2018

From the entry: 'Student-Loan Debts a "Loss of Freedom" for Some in WV'.

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Thank you BOE members and Mrs. Lowther. Let’s work together at all community levels to make Gilmer County an educational power house in West Virginia. We can do it as an effective team and provision of information will be the key to success.

By Better Times On The Way on 09.12.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Superintendent Set Her Goals for School Year'.

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Accountability - good point - and across Gilmer County.  We’ve seen glimpses and pieces of news WHEN we’re allowed to see it, mere mortals that we are. But never any follow up.  And the information come in bits and pieces (remember when we actually got to SEE what the Gilmer County Commission was up to?)  My question is, why do we never see the accountability or repercussion for actions of current Gilmer ‘elite’??

By Transparency matters on 09.12.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Harrison BOE sets yearly superintendent goals'.

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Encouraging news that the superintendent will present her goals for Gilmer Schools on 9/10.

We assume that there will be a commitment for specific goals to achieve, measurable outcomes, completion dates for different steps and final goal achievement, and a meaningful monitoring program to determine if we are on track or there is need for mid-course fine tuning.

If any of this is missing there will not be meaningful accountability. Excellent business plans have all the components addressed above.

By Waiting To See on 09.09.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Harrison BOE sets yearly superintendent goals'.

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