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Poll Results | Ranking

Poll Results | Ranking

West Virginia’s Fiscal Condition Ranks 42nd in Nation

The Free Press WV

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University recently released the findings from its 2017 state fiscal rankings study, ranking West Virginia 42nd in the nation for financial health based on five separate categories.

Eileen Norcross, author of the 2017 study and director for the state and local policy project at Mercatus Center at George Mason University, said she examined each state’s audited financial reports by looking at cash solvency, the ability to cover short-term bills; budget solvency, the ability to cover fiscal year spending with current revenues; long-run solvency, the ability to meet long term commitments and the ability to absorb a potential recession; service level solvency, the amount of “fiscal slack” available for additional citizen services; and trust fund solvency, the amount of unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities.

Norcross ranked West Virginia 28th in the nation strongest in terms of budget solvency, or the ability to cover current fiscal year spending with current revenues. This is the state’s biggest financial strength, according to the study.

“Revenues exceed expenses by 3 percent, and net position improved by $221 per capita in FY 2015,” the study said.

However, West Virginia ranks 46th in service-level solvency because state spending and revenues are relatively high compared with the percent of relative income of state residents, according to Norcross.

“Total primary government debt is $2.08 billion, or 3.1 percent of state personal income,” said Norcross in the study. “West Virginia has a relatively high level of revenues and expenses as a percent of state personal income.”

Norcross said the study could be helpful for state policy makers, and it could be a helpful tool while crafting future budgets.

Analyzing the numbers, Norcross said West Virginia needs to build up its rainy day fund.

“Although there was a healthy level in the past, there doesn’t appear to be a lot there currently,” Norcross said. “(Rainy day funds) should only drop down when there is a true emergency. States should make sure they have the discipline to put aside rainy day funds and only use it when needed.”

However, Norcross said West Virginia is relatively well off in the short term with a supportable level of current spending. She said the state performs better than average in terms of unfunded healthcare pensions and liabilities as well.

“The lessons from this year’s study demonstrate that policy makers should take stock of both their short- and long term fiscal health before making public policy decisions. The quality of financial reporting also plays a large role in what is known about the states’ fiscal health,” Norcross said. “These metrics, when used alongside other information, are intended to help policy makers identify trends in state finances and respond with policies to ensure short-run solvency and long-run fiscal stability.”

In its fourth year, the study composed by Norcross and Olivia Gonzalez, research associate of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, examines each state’s comprehensive annual financial report. Florida is currently ranked number one for national financial health, and New Jersey is ranked lowest.

“The authors’ goal is to shed light on a topic that matters to all of us, but which we are all too often in the dark on. This project is unique among them–an impartial, fully academic comparison of the financial numbers every state must report each year. Those numbers are typically useless to non-budget experts without being put in the right context. For example, with this report, West Virginia’s lower rank can give us policy direction for improving the fiscal condition of the state,” said Abbey Lovett, media relations associate at Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

West Virginia Ranks as Worst State for Business by CNBC

Business news channel CNBC released its ratings of the “top states for business” for this year, placing West Virginia at the bottom of the list.

The Mountain State ranked 50th for the first time in CNBC’s 11-year ranking system. Across 10 different categories, West Virginia ranked worse than 40th in six groups. This includes economy, where it placed last.

“The state is 1 of only 7 whose economies shrank in 2016,” journalist Scott Cohn said. “The decline in state GDP of 0.9 percent for the year was not the biggest in the nation, but West Virginia did not have much to lose.”

The rankings were determined by factors including economic output, infrastructure, economic growth, livability and educational opportunity and success. West Virginia scored 942 out of a possible 2,500 points.

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Cohn said poor forecasts of coal mining hurt West Virginia’s ranking, adding the state is not ready to adapt to a dwindling coal production. He also noted how the Mountain State has the highest overdose death rate and the least-educated workforce in the United States

One report Cohn mentioned is from the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics. The analysis, “Coal Production in West Virginia: 2017-2040,” said coal production would increase over the next three years before declining to 80 million tons by 2030.

“The state is 1 of only 4 that lost jobs last year, down by nearly 1 percent,” Cohn said. “Once again, the clear culprit is coal. Mining employment is down 40 percent in just the past five years, with some parts of the state losing as many as 70 percent of their coal mining jobs.”

He also noted how the West Virginia Legislature passed a budget with higher education cuts, including 8 percent ($3.9 million) at Marshall University and more than 6 percent ($7.4 percent) at West Virginia University.

“Whether it provides a path for West Virginia out of the depths of our rankings remains to be seen,” Cohn wrote.

The legislative budget went into effect July 1 without the signature of Gov. Jim Justice.

“The West Virginia Legislature keeps twiddling their thumbs while our state continues to stay locked in an ‘economic death spiral,‘” Justice said in a statement.

“I had a real plan, a drug epidemic solution, and a pathway to hope and prosperity. Our Legislature did nothing except pass terrible pain and despair on to the backs of the poor, the disabled, and our middle class. The entire world gets it. WHY DON’T THEY?” (emphasis not added)

The top-five ranked states are Washington, Georgia, Minnesota, Texas and North Carolina. Washington had 1621 points, around 72 percent higher than West Virginia’s score.

~~  Alex Thomas ~~

Health Study Shows WV Ranks 50th For Eighth Year In A Row

The Free Press WV

For eight years in a row, West Virginia has ranked 50th in a national health study from Gallup and Healthways.

That study reviews well-being in a holistic manner. Holistic healing and care has been the base of Dr. Clay Marsh’s message from West Virginia University where he is the vice president and academic dean of health sciences.

“If you want to keep people younger older so we have a healthier population, it turns out in every longevity study, it’s about connection. It’s about purpose and it’s about seeing your life with gratitude and with abundance and feeling that you can do what you want,” Marsh said in Charleston Tuesday for WVU Day at the Capitol.

The 2016 health study observed the feeling of purpose, social relationships, economic stress and security, community pride and actual physical health among residents.

“We gotta love the people in our state. We gotta help them. We can’t just go away when it gets a little tough because there are tough things that people are dealing with,” Marsh told Metronews “Talkline” host Hoppy Kercheval. “But, hope, I think is part of our nature. And love and safety I think are the two keys for us. It’s going to happen a family, a community at a time.”

A 2015 Gallup and Healthways report listed West Virginia as one of two states with the highest prevalence of diabetes.

The same group determined West Virginia was among states with the highest obesity rate every year from 2008 to 2014.

Last month, the Center for Disease Control reported the highest prevalence of heart disease across the nation is in West Virginia.

Marsh explained how WVU can have a role in improvement in those areas.

“We believe our role here is to bring any resource that is needed by a community to help them on their quest toward hope, connections and purpose and a better life. But, we can’t create that for them.”

For example, former WVU student body president and primary care physician Dr. Dino Beckett returned to his home community of Williamson where he has help further success of a diabetes clinic, started a community garden and initiated walking clubs.

Those are the healthy movements Marsh said WVU can support.

“When people want help, when they’re ready to flip, when they’re ready to change their mindset, there are so many things we can do. We love our state. We love the people in our state. We want better for them. But, we need to have them want better for themselves. I think that’s key.”

Health List in West Virginia

The Free Press WV

Jefferson County, Putnam County and Monongalia County again lead West Virginia in terms of overall health while Wyoming County, Mingo County and McDowell County remain at the bottom in the latest County Health Rankings report.

On Wednesday, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute released the 2017 health numbers, based on 30 factors, for almost every county in the United States.

“We see the County Health Rankings as an annual checkup and we see it as an opportunity to begin a conversation in communities about the solutions, the things that we can do to help improve our health,” said Shawna Davie, program associate for the RWJF.

In West Virginia, the counties currently considered the healthiest for health outcomes, meaning how long people live and how they feel, were as follows:
1. Jefferson
2. Putnam
3. Monongalia
4. Upshur
5. Marshall

The counties considered the unhealthiest for health outcomes were the following:
51. Mercer
52. Logan
53. Wyoming
54. Mingo
55. McDowell

See the full list HERE.

At the top and bottom, there were few changes from 2016 when Pleasants County was No. 4, Tucker County No. 5, Mingo County No. 53 and Wyoming County No. 54.

In Jefferson County, the healthiest, the report found about 18 percent of people are considered to be in poor to fair health. The adult smoking rate is 21 percent while adult obesity is at 33 percent.

In McDowell County, the unhealthiest, 30 percent of people are considered in poor to fair health. The adult smoking rate is 29 percent while adult obesity is at 42 percent.

Statewide, 24 percent of people are considered in poor to fair health, double the rate in the top performing U.S. counties. The adult smoking rate in West Virginia is 26 percent while adult obesity is at 35 percent, according to the report.

Davie noted, though, there are good things happening for health even in counties rated the lowest in the report, which are largely those in southern West Virginia.

“For McDowell County, for instance, the adult obesity rate continues to increase and that’s something that we don’t want to see, but the high school graduation rate is very high and near the top performers, both in West Virginia and in the U.S.,” Davie said.

“For Jefferson County, the high school graduation rate is also very high, but the children in poverty rate is not where we want it to be.”

Davie said it showed every community has positives for health along with places that need improvement.

This year, researchers focused on increasing trends in premature death rates among younger people, ages 15 to 44, across the U.S. and in West Virginia.

The climbing numbers in that demographic were largely blamed on the opioid epidemic in the report.

“Rural areas, in particular, have higher rates of premature death than other areas and, in terms of drug overdoses, that is absolutely a crisis that has affected all community types, but we have most certainly seen an accelerated rate in suburban and smaller metro counties,” Davie explained.

In those suburban counties nationally, she said premature deaths due to drug overdoses have jumped from the lowest rate to the highest rate in the past decade.

“Overdose deaths are entirely preventable and so we don’t have to have these premature deaths take place,” said Davie.

In West Virginia, lower rates of premature deaths, meaning deaths before age 75, were reported in seven counties between 1997 to 2014. Those counties were Ohio, Morgan, Monongalia, Mineral, Jefferson, Gilmer and Berkeley.

Increases in premature death rates were recorded in 21 other counties, with McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming again among the worst along with other counties in southern West Virginia.

Among the factors used to determine overall county health were poverty, education, transportation, housing and jobs in the rankings which have been released annually for the past eight years.

“The County Health Rankings show us that where we live matters to our health and the rankings give us a snapshot of how well and how long we’re living,” Davie said.

G-ICYMI™: WV’s Broadband Ranking

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

WV RANKS 48 IN REAL BROADBAND ACCESS IN USA

Frontier Communications and cable companies like Suddenlink are opposing the West Virginia Legislature’s latest attempt to improve high-speed internet across the state.

At a public hearing Friday, lobbyists for Frontier and the cable industry skewered parts of a bill (HB3093) that would authorize a pilot project in which three cities or counties would band together to build a broadband network and offer internet service to customers.

The industry lobbyists said legislation should target areas without high-speed internet — not places that already have service.

“When you spend taxpayer dollars and resources to focus on areas that already have broadband just so you can have a third or fourth choice, you are denying and depriving service to those who have none,” said Kathy Cosco, a Frontier executive and lobbyist.

Frontier and cable internet providers also oppose a section of the bill that would allow 20 or more families or businesses to form nonprofit co-ops that would provide internet service in rural areas.

Mark Polen, who represents the cable industry, said the bill should be changed to “make it clear these pilot projects and co-ops can’t be deployed where there’s already service.”

“That would be critical to the protection of our investment,” Polen said. “Anything that’s going to result in public subsidies being given to those that are going to overbuild private investment is not the proper policy. Let’s focus on the unserved areas and not allow this program to turn into an overbuilding initiative.”

Smaller internet providers like Bridgeport-based Citynet support the legislation. Citynet CEO Jim Martin told lawmakers that Frontier and the cable industry want to shut out competitors and protect their stranglehold on broadband service across the state.

“There is a reason they’re opposed to it, and that’s because this bill is going to enable competition,” Martin said.

Frontier, which is the largest internet provider in the state, also opposes a section of the bill that bars companies from advertising maximum or “up to” speeds. That measure aims to block firms from advertising internet speeds that they seldom — or never — deliver to customers.

Cosco said the measure unfairly stops companies from touting improved service. Frontier stopped advertising an “up to” speed in 2014, she said.

“If providers aren’t allowed to promote the service that’s available, it would be detrimental to the state’s economic development,” Cosco said.

Martin said his company would have no problem whatsoever with the ban on deceptive advertising. Internet providers would still be able to advertise minimum download and upload speeds available to customers.

“If you have a network and you’re comfortable with it, you should be able to advertise your minimum speed, and then stick with it,” Martin said. “It’s fantastic we aren’t going to allow for false advertising and representations of an ‘up to’ speed.”

Speakers at the public hearing also praised the bill for establishing procedures that would give internet providers quicker access to telephone poles used to hang fiber cable. Smaller firms said they sometimes have to wait months or years to use the poles.

But Cosco said the proposed changes conflict with Federal Communication Commission rules. And a leader of a union that represents Frontier technicians said the proposed pole procedures pose a safety risk.

“It would allow unqualified personnel from third-party contractors to transfer equipment on a utility pole to make room for a new provider’s equipment,” said Elaine Harris, who represents the Communications Workers of America in West Virginia.

ORIGINAL STORY 03.16.2017 – West Virginia lawmakers unveiled comprehensive broadband legislation Thursday that aims to spur competition among internet providers in rural areas and stop deceptive advertising about internet speeds.

House Bill 3093 would allow up to three cities or counties to start a pilot project by banding together and building a broadband network that provides high-speed internet service. Twenty or more families or businesses in rural communities also could form nonprofit co-ops that would qualify for federal grants to expand internet service, according to the bill.

“This is superb,” said Ron Pearson, a retired federal bankruptcy judge and broadband expansion advocate. “We’ve got to have competition in providing internet and other services that travel over fiber to households and businesses or we’re going to be stuck in the dark ages of competition in West Virginia.”

Lobbyists for Frontier Communications and cable internet providers already are raising objections to the legislation. The bill will face tough sledding in the Senate. Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, also works as Frontier’s sales director in West Virginia.

“We believe connecting West Virginia citizens is vital to our shared success, and any legislative proposal should focus on reaching the unserved and rural markets of our state,” Frontier spokesman Andy Malinoski said. “We are, however, concerned that House Bill 3093 may not accomplish that goal.”

Delegate Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, gave a 30-minute overview of the broadband legislation Thursday in the House chamber. Lawmakers have been working on the bill for months.

One of the bill’s key selling points: It requires no state funding — welcome news as lawmakers grapple with a $500 million budget deficit.

“We need revenue-neutral solutions to problems,” Hanshaw told lobbyists and fellow lawmakers who attended his presentation. “This is such a bill.”

In addition to broadband co-ops, the legislation would forbid internet companies from falsely advertising maximum download speeds — also referred to as “up to” speeds — while providing significantly slower speeds to customers. The internet firms could still advertise minimum internet service speeds.

Frontier, West Virginia’s largest internet provider, faces a class-action lawsuit over false advertising. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey also has taken the company to task over internet speeds.

“This [section of the bill] protects consumers from deceptive advertising,” Hanshaw said.

The legislation also expands the powers of the state Broadband Enhancement Council.

The 13-member panel would be responsible for collecting data about internet speeds and broadband service across the state — and publishing the “mapping” information. Data would be collected voluntarily from internet providers and consumers.

West Virginia ranks 48th in the nation for broadband accessibility.

“More data is always better,” Hanshaw said. “It gives businesses looking to locate here a definitive tool they can use to make decisions on where to locate a facility.

” Also under the bill:

The broadband council would collect and distribute grant money. The council also would act as a “think tank” and make recommendations to the Legislature.

Internet providers could string fiber-optic cable in shallow “micro-trenches,” which are less expensive to dig than traditional utility trenches.

Companies wanting to expand broadband could place their fiber on telephone poles more quickly under new, expedited procedures.

A program would allow landowners to voluntarily grant easements for fiber lines.

~~  Eric Eyre Gazette-Mail ~~

National Student Survey Rates GSC, Other Schools

The Free Press WV

The 2016 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) results are in, and Glenville State College was highly ranked in several categories.

Both first-year and senior students ranked GSC higher than peer institutions in terms of student-faculty interaction. Students also reported positive academic interactions through high-impact practices, such as service-learning projects, research with faculty, community service, internships, and senior capstone experiences.

Glenville State CollegeGSC previously participated in a NSSE survey in 2011 and this year GSC seniors again ranked the institution with a higher favorable image than similar schools; 83% said they would choose Glenville State College again if they could start their college careers over. Additionally, 85% of seniors rated their overall experience with GSC as ‘excellent’ or ‘good.’

Overall, Glenville State received high marks across the board from first-year and senior students when asked about the nature and quality of their experiences at GSC. Seniors also felt they were able to acquire job/work related knowledge and skills and learned to work effectively with others during their time at GSC.

The survey also provides insights into areas in which the college can improve student perception. Those include challenging students to do their best work, providing opportunities for multicultural interaction, and urging students to spend more time preparing for classes.

“I am extremely proud of our faculty for their positive student-faculty interactions and use of high-impact practices. These activities are essential for engaging students in active learning and it is encouraging to know that students realize and appreciate the unique opportunities provided at GSC,” said Glenville State College Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Milan Vavrek.

NSSE is conducted by Indiana University. The student survey annually collects information at hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college. The results also reflect behaviors by students and institutions that are associated with desired outcomes of college and point to areas where colleges and universities are performing well and aspects of the undergraduate experience that could be improved.

For more information about GSC, visit www.glenville.edu or call the GSC Admissions Office at 304.462.6130 or toll-free at 800.924.2010.

Poll: Trump Voters Strongly Favor Renewables, Clean Energy

President-elect Donald Trump’s position on renewables and clean energy is worrying environmentalists - but according to a new national poll, his voters strongly favor them.

The post-election survey found that nearly 90 percent pf all voters support more government action to speed up the shift to clean energy. Mark Pischea, executive director of the Conservative Energy Network, which commissioned the survey, said that includes 2-to-1 support by conservatives. He said the Republican Party shouldn’t ignore these results.

“For the GOP to be competitive in future elections, it must develop messages that have greater appeal to millennials, college-educated voters, minorities,“ he said. “Clean energy represents an opportunity to build a bridge while appealing to our conservative base.“

Coal and oil companies have argued that policies supporting renewables will raise the cost of energy and hurt the economy. However, the survey found conservatives favor those policies specifically because renewables are growing and rapidly adding jobs.

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Trump’s selection of a climate skeptic to head the Environmental Protection Agency suggests the incoming administration may try to undo President Obama’s attempts to cut the carbon emissions that cause climate change. Pischea said conservative groups are working to help transform the nation’s energy supply, but they’ve been more focused on state and local policies. He said they will work in Washington.

“Urge Congress and urge the Trump administration to take a proactive platform on clean energy,“ he said, “but most of the important work to move the ball is really happening at the state level.“

Pischea said the survey found clean-air rules and support for economic development in energy transformation both tested off the charts. He said the poll found strong support for energy efficiency, and far more negative opinions about coal and nuclear energy. Pischea said the idea of government action aimed specifically at slowing climate change still is politically charged for conservatives, but added that he sees growing consensus on energy policies in general.

“The encouraging part about the increasing support on the right,“ he said, “is, we hope that it can lead to a de-politicized policy environment, where the accelerated growth of clean energy can thrive.“

Pollster Public Opinion Strategies talked to 1,000 U.S. voters. More information about the poll is online at conservativeenergynetwork.org.

Playoff Seeds Officially Set with the Final WVSSAC Ratings

The Free Press WV

The official final WVSSAC high school football playoff ratings. Dates and times will be announced on Sunday.

Click School Name for Details
CLASS AAA
Rank School Rating Won Lost Tied Scored Allowed Points Bonus
1 MARTINSBURG 15.6 10 0 0 529 99 117 39
2 SPRING VALLEY 14.5 9 1 0 432 113 108 37
3 MUSSELMAN 12.2 8 2 0 395 185 96 26
4 MORGANTOWN 11.7 8 2 0 362 136 93 24
5 UNIVERSITY 11.6 8 2 0 297 165 96 20
6 CAPITAL 11.3 7 3 0 332 185 84 29
7 HUNTINGTON 11 7 3 0 290 190 84 26
8 GEORGE WASHINGTON 10.4 7 3 0 326 171 81 23
9 WHEELING PARK 9.2 7 3 0 305 237 84 8
10 SOUTH CHARLESTON 9 6 4 0 260 219 72 18
11 CABELL MIDLAND 8.9 6 4 0 359 215 69 20
12 HURRICANE 8.4 6 4 0 258 234 69 15
13 SPRING MILLS 8.1 6 4 0 307 279 69 12
14 JEFFERSON 7.6 5 5 0 308 311 57 19
15 BUCKHANNON-UPSHUR 7.44 5 4 0 195 212 54 13
16 HEDGESVILLE 6.6 5 5 0 238 325 60 6
—QUALIFIED FOR PLAYOFFS—
17 PARKERSBURG SOUTH 6.5 5 5 0 279 224 57 8
18 PRINCETON 6 5 5 0 234 277 48 12
19 GREENBRIER EAST 5.2 4 6 0 195 309 45 7
20 RIPLEY 5.1 4 6 0 277 242 39 12
21 RIVERSIDE 5 4 6 0 174 297 45 5
22 PARKERSBURG 4.9 4 6 0 289 314 45 4
23 BROOKE 2.6 2 8 0 139 373 21 5
24 HAMPSHIRE 2.5 2 8 0 189 330 21 4
25 JOHN MARSHALL 2.3 2 8 0 171 311 18 5
26 PRESTON 1.3 1 9 0 101 370 12 1
26 WOODROW WILSON 1.3 1 9 0 111 406 9 4
28 ST. ALBANS 1 1 9 0 212 470 9 1
29 WASHINGTON 0 0 10 0 150 527 0 0
CLASS AA
Rank School Rating Won Lost Tied Scored Allowed Points Bonus
1 BRIDGEPORT 15 10 0 0 323 95 93 57
2 MINGO CENTRAL 13.2 10 0 0 487 118 87 45
3 POINT PLEASANT 12.6 10 0 0 469 132 96 30
4 SISSONVILLE 11.6 9 1 0 366 209 81 35
5 FAIRMONT SENIOR 11.44 7 2 0 305 116 69 34
6 JAMES MONROE 11.3 9 1 0 326 89 87 26
7 NICHOLAS COUNTY 10.5 9 1 0 381 80 72 33
8 LINCOLN 10.1 8 2 0 373 191 72 29
9 INDEPENDENCE 9.6 8 2 0 343 111 66 30
10 KEYSER 8.9 7 3 0 353 146 69 20
11 WINFIELD 8.7 7 3 0 343 265 60 27
12 HERBERT HOOVER 8.2 7 3 0 280 189 63 19
13 WEIR 7.8 7 3 0 272 100 60 18
14 NORTH MARION 7.7 6 4 0 330 226 60 17
15 LIBERTY (Harrison) 7.5 7 3 0 299 252 57 18
16 ROANE COUNTY 6.6 6 4 0 263 210 48 18
—QUALIFIED FOR PLAYOFFS—
17 PETERSBURG 6.3 6 4 0 265 387 45 18
18 LEWIS COUNTY 5.8 5 5 0 241 247 48 10
19 CHAPMANVILLE 5.7 5 5 0 281 223 45 12
20 ELKINS 5.6 5 5 0 271 219 48 8
20 MAN 5.6 5 5 0 211 240 39 17
22 LOGAN 5.3 5 5 0 305 236 45 8
23 ROBERT C. BYRD 5.2 4 6 0 183 306 36 16
24 BLUEFIELD 5 4 6 0 311 310 39 11
25 CLAY COUNTY 4.9 5 5 0 147 210 36 13
26 BRAXTON COUNTY 4.8 4 6 0 193 250 36 12
27 FRANKFORT 4.7 4 6 0 239 289 39 8
28 WAYNE 4.2 4 6 0 276 297 36 6
28 WESTSIDE 4.2 4 6 0 230 182 36 6
30 EAST FAIRMONT 3.6 3 7 0 121 269 30 6
30 GRAFTON 3.6 4 6 0 171 216 30 6
32 WYOMING EAST 3.3 3 7 0 151 390 27 6
33 SCOTT 3.2 3 7 0 255 270 27 5
33 SHADY SPRING 3.2 3 7 0 181 354 27 5
35 LIBERTY (Raleigh) 3.1 3 7 0 228 348 27 4
36 BERKELEY SPRINGS 2.4 3 7 0 211 360 21 3
37 LINCOLN COUNTY 2.2 2 8 0 121 282 18 4
38 PIKEVIEW 2.1 2 8 0 132 347 18 3
39 OAK GLEN 1.7 2 8 0 89 329 15 2
40 RIVER VIEW 1.6 2 8 0 151 297 12 4
41 NITRO 0.9 1 9 0 153 444 9 0
42 OAK HILL 0 0 10 0 90 462 0 0
42 PHILIP BARBOUR 0 0 10 0 90 260 0 0
42 POCA 0 0 10 0 97 470 0 0
CLASS A
Rank School Rating Won Lost Tied Scored Allowed Points Bonus
1 EAST HARDY 10.7 10 0 0 534 101 75 32
2 ST. MARYS 10 10 0 0 486 109 63 37
3 FAYETTEVILLE 9.9 10 0 0 454 133 72 27
4 TOLSIA 9.67 7 2 0 210 158 57 30
5 CAMERON 9.3 10 0 0 441 175 60 33
6 WHEELING CENTRAL 8.78 8 1 0 331 136 48 31
7 GILMER COUNTY 8.7 10 0 0 413 64 60 27
8 WILLIAMSTOWN 8.6 8 2 0 371 190 48 38
9 SOUTH HARRISON 8.2 9 1 0 465 153 57 25
10 SUMMERS COUNTY 8.2 8 2 0 406 146 57 25
11 SHERMAN 7.3 8 2 0 343 179 54 19
12 PENDLETON COUNTY 7.2 8 2 0 401 198 51 21
13 TUG VALLEY 6.8 7 3 0 303 170 48 20
14 VAN 6.56 6 3 0 262 210 36 23
15 BUFFALO 6.4 7 3 0 427 163 45 19
16 TYLER CONSOLIDATED 5.3 6 4 0 329 187 36 17
—QUALIFIED FOR PLAYOFFS—
17 CLAY-BATTELLE 5.1 7 3 0 405 236 42 9
18 BISHOP DONAHUE 4.5 6 4 0 267 207 36 9
18 MOUNT VIEW 4.5 5 5 0 311 278 39 6
20 DODDRIDGE COUNTY 4.4 6 4 0 208 182 36 8
20 MOOREFIELD 4.4 4 6 0 169 339 30 14
22 WEBSTER COUNTY 4.3 6 4 0 224 159 36 7
23 MIDLAND TRAIL 4.1 5 5 0 223 272 33 8
24 POCAHONTAS COUNTY 3.9 5 5 0 269 189 30 9
25 RAVENSWOOD 3.7 4 6 0 234 344 24 13
26 NOTRE DAME 3 3 7 0 201 350 21 9
27 GREENBRIER WEST 2.7 3 7 0 138 283 18 9
28 TUCKER COUNTY 2.5 3 7 0 210 278 21 4
29 MADONNA 2.2 2 8 0 200 352 12 10
30 PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC 2.1 3 7 0 210 264 18 3
31 MAGNOLIA 1.7 2 8 0 222 352 12 5
32 WAHAMA 1.6 2 8 0 128 355 12 4
33 MONTCALM 1.56 2 7 0 131 263 12 2
34 VALLEY (Wetzel) 1.5 2 8 0 141 329 12 3
35 PADEN CITY 1.4 2 8 0 222 353 12 2
36 HANNAN 1.33 2 7 0 140 336 12 0
37 TYGARTS VALLEY 0.8 1 9 0 221 496 6 2
38 MEADOW BRIDGE 0.7 1 9 0 76 448 6 1
38 WIRT COUNTY 0.7 1 9 0 106 501 6 1
40 CALHOUN COUNTY 0.6 1 9 0 52 391 6 0
40 VALLEY (Fayette) 0.6 1 9 0 102 292 6 0
42 HUNDRED 0 0 9 0 50 507 0 0
42 RICHWOOD 0 0 10 0 163 393 0 0
42 RITCHIE COUNTY 0 0 10 0 120 405 0 0

West Virginia Ranks 37th on National Science Assessment

The Free Press WV

West Virginia students who took the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science exam in 2015 showed improvement according to data released today by the National Center for Educational Statistics. Both fourth- and eighth-grade students in West Virginia ranked 37th out of the 47 jurisdictions who participated.

Overall average scale scores increased for both fourth- and eighth-grade test takers, with fourth-grade scores increasing from 148 in 2009 to 151 in 2015 and eighth-grade scores increased from 145 in 2009 to 150 in 2015. The percent of students at or above proficient increased from 28.08% to 31.35% in grade four and 22.10% to 26.61% in grade eight. West Virginia’s scores followed the national trend which also showed improvement.

“I am pleased to see our students are moving in the right direction,” said State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano. “In order to ensure our students are prepared for the 21st century world of work, we must focus on the development of critical thinking skills in the areas of math and science which the jobs of the future are going to require.”

NAEP, often referred to as “The Nation’s Report Card,” is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what students in the United States know and can do in various subject areas. The 2015 science assessment was given between January and March, with more than 115,000 fourth-graders and nearly 111,000 eighth-graders participating nationally, representing both public and private schools.

Nationally, nearly all racial/ethnic groups made gains, and the White-Black and White-Hispanic achievement gaps have narrowed in grades four and eight since 2009. Additionally, there was no statistically significant difference in average scores between boys and girls.

NAEP is a congressionally authorized project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Full results for the nation and states are available online at www.nationsreportcard.gov.

West Virginia Ranked Fourth In States Least Vulnerable To Identify Theft

The Free Press WV

West Virginia ranked fourth in states least vulnerable to identify theft, according to a recent survey.

The Mountain State ranked low in employment fraud complaints per capita and bank fraud complaints per capita, coming in fourth least in both, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s Data Breach Report.

Key findings in the survey found:

  • In 2015 the most common identity fraud complaint in West Virginia was government documents/benefits fraud. Other types of fraud, including credit card fraud and bank fraud, were reported at a much lower rate than the national average.

  • There were just 80 identity theft complaints per 100,000 residents in West Virginia in 2015. This includes 41 government documents/benefits fraud complaints and 11 credit card fraud complaints per 100,000 residents.

The economics of West Virginia may help explain the ranking. Employment fraud could rank low because the state has the lowest civilian workforce population rate and one of the highest jobless benefit claims in the United States.

A large number of West Virginians also do not have either a banking or credit union account. In a 2013 report, The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy found 791 out of every 1,000 West Virginians are either unbanked or underbanked.

West Virginia’s high ranking on government documents/benefits fraud should not come as a surprise. Per capita, West Virginia has some of the highest levels of citizens receiving government assistance, from Social Security disability benefits to food stamps, according to the Social Security Administration.

Overall, West Virginia ranked above Kentucky and below Maine, the Identity Theft Resource Center’s Data Breach Report survey found.

South Dakota was the least vulnerable to identity theft, and the District of Columbia the most vulnerable, the survey found.

The survey did offer a few tips to avoid identity theft and fraud.

The first is to emphasize email security. This can be achieved by creating strong passwords for all financial accounts. Also, use established two-step verification on accounts.

Second, sign up for credit monitoring. This is the best way to keep tabs on credit reports.

Third, leverage account alerts and update contact information. Set up online management for all financial accounts, including loans, IRS, Social Security and credit cards. Keeping your email address, phone number and street address updated makes identity theft harder for hackers.

Finally, exercise common sense online. Suggestions include: Don’t open emails from unrecognized addresses, don’t send account numbers and passwords via email or instant messenger, and don’t enter financial and personal information into websites that lack the “http” prefix.

Young GOP Voters: Manmade Climate Change Real, Renewables Good

The Free Press WV

Young conservatives overwhelmingly feel manmade climate change is a real problem, according to a just-released poll. These GOP voters strongly favor renewable energy.

The national survey of a thousand Republicans ages 18 to 35 was commissioned by Young Conservatives for Energy Reform. Four out of five polled think the climate is changing, and two-thirds blame human activity, in part or entirely.

The group’s founder and chair, Michele Combs, said these voters put as much importance on climate change as they did abortion or gay marriage a few years ago.

“The young Republicans embrace this issue,“ she said. “They see this issue as a core value issue, that maybe in the ‘90s would have been the life issue or the marriage issue. They put this issue in that same category.“

The GOP platform argues environmental regulations are slowing growth. But the poll found young conservatives view the EPA and environmental groups slightly more favorably than the coal or nuclear industries.

The poll found young conservative voters favor decentralized, market-based solutions, and the renewable energy industry comes across the best of any in the survey. Combs said her group hosted a clean energy meeting in Washington on Thursday, and the support for their position has grown quickly since the organization was founded.

Combs added, “Eight years ago, if you’d have told me we’d have brought over 500 young Republicans, young conservatives, to a clean-energy summit, I’d have been, like, ‘You’re crazy. Who are you even going to get there, you know?‘ And now, we’re there from all around the country.“

Four senators, four members of Congress and a retired Marine general attended Thursday’s summit. But GOP nominee Donald Trump has charged that climate change is a hoax. Combs said she feels Trump is smart enough to eventually see it as a legitimate threat, and in the meantime, the group is putting its energy toward the future rather than this year’s race.

“I think this is the future of the party,“ she explained. “The presidential campaign is not what we’re focusing on. We’re focusing on the grassroots.“

The full poll results can be found HERE .

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

WEST VIRGINIA NEAR LAST FOR TEACHERS

The Free Press WV

West Virginia ranked next to last overall in a study that looks at the best and worst states for teachers.

The study by the personal finance website WalletHub ranked only Hawaii behind West Virginia in 2016’s Best and Worst States for teachers.

A total of 51 are ranked including the District of Columbia. New Jersey ranked No. 1, and Massachusetts was at No. 2.

In rating the teacher-friendliness of West Virginia, the Mountain State ranked 42nd in the average starting salary for teachers and 48th in the median annual salary for teachers. Both are adjusted for the cost of living.

Teachers’ income growth potential in West Virginia ranked 42nd, while the 10-year change in teacher salaries was 24th.

Meanwhile, West Virginia ranked 23rd in school safety, 18th in pupil teacher-ratio and 16th in public school spending per student.

WalletHubWith said it conducted the in-depth analysis of best and worst states for teachers since October 05 is International World Teachers Day and the Every Student Succeeds Act soon goes into effect.

These Are The 10 Best West Virginia Cities and Towns to Work

The Free Press WV

While everyone hates going to work, there are at least some towns in West Virginia that offer a better experience than others.

These are the places that have a manageable commute, nice weather, and a good deli that doesn’t break the bank.

At Zippia, we aim to help you through all parts of your career, including finding the best places to spend eight hours of your day, five days a week, for over forty years.

With that in mind, we set out to determine which places in West Virginia are the best of the best when it comes to offering quality working conditions. We looked at the numbers and were left with this set of the ten best places to work in West Virginia:

  1. Vienna
  2. Williamstown
  3. Parkersburg
  4. Alum Creek
  5. Blennerhassett
  6. South Charleston
  7. Bethlehem
  8. St. Albans
  9. Glenville
  10. Charleston


How the Results were Detemined

There are certain things that everybody dislikes about work, not the least of which is the time it takes to get there.

So after some research into what people identify as the worst parts of their day, we decided upon the following set of criteria to determine places that provide the ideal work conditions:

    •  Commute time (Shorter is better)

    •  Cost of living (Lower is better)

    •  Crime (Lower is better)

    •  Weather/Comfort Index (Higher is better)

Basically, if it’s a short commute to work, your lunch doesn’t hurt your wallet, you don’t need to wear rain boots, and you feel safe, then it’s a nice place to have an office.

We got the data for the 100 biggest places in the satate and then ranked each place from one to 100 for each criteria, with one being the best in any given category.

Finally, we took the average rank across all criteria, with the place posting the lowest overall score taking home the title “Best Place In West Virginia To Work”.

The data comes from Sperling’s Best Places.

~~  Chris Kolmar ~~

Community Foundation Makes National Top 100 Ranking

The Free Press WV

The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates (PACF) has earned a spot on one of three prestigious CF Insights Top 100 Lists that were released last week.  CF Insights assessed more than 700 community foundations in the United States; of these, the PACF placed 99th on the list of the most active grantmakers by volume.

In 2015, the PACF awarded over $2.87 million in the form of grant and scholarship support from over 340 charitable funds to benefit students and nonprofit organizations in the Foundation’s service area.  The Foundation also received 1,525 donor gifts and eleven new permanent charitable funds were created.

“This benchmarking report shows that the PACF is processing more gifts and grants than some larger community foundations across the country,” said Judy Sjostedt, the PACF’s Executive Director.  “The Foundation exists because of the generosity of the people of this region, and the investments these people make go right back into their community.  There’s much more work to be done, and many needs unmet in our region.  But it’s exciting to see so many local citizens involved giving through the Foundation and I believe as more people learn about how we can help them make a real difference in the lives of people now and in future generations, we’ll keep rising on the list.”

The Top 100 Lists were released by CF Insights which compiles and distributes data and information on finances, operations and best practices for community foundations nationwide. CF Insights was established by FSG Social Advisors, which consults foundations on how to accelerate their social impact, and the national association Council on Foundations.

The PACF works with individuals, families, businesses, and civic or nonprofit organizations to make a positive and permanent commitment for the future of our community.  The PACF is a single 501(c)(3) public charity that manages more than 340 charitable funds with nearly $34 million in assets.  The PACF works in partnership with its local affiliates to provide leadership and develop philanthropic resources to meet the needs of an 11-county service area.  Since 1963, the PACF has helped local citizens support charitable needs and touch every aspect of life in the community in a variety of lasting ways.

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