GilmerFreePress.net

Worldwide

Worldwide News

Former Pioneer signed a contract to continue his football career in Canadian Football League

The Free Press WV

It has been two years since former Glenville State Pioneer standout wide receiver Dante Absher has put on a football jersey, however that all changed in early November 2018.

Absher has signed a contract to continue his football career in the CFL (Canadian Football League) with the Montreal Alouettes.

A native of Sterling, Virginia, Absher was a four-year member of the Pioneer football team. He was an All-MEC First Team member and ranks 4th at GSC in Career Pass Receptions Leaders with 214 in his career while also ranking 5th in GSC history in Career Receiving Yards with 2,669.

It has been a long two years for the former GSC standout. In 2017, he trained in Southern California at Stars to prepare for his pro day and the NFL combine. Shortly after, he was invited to the Arizona Cardinals rookie minicamp, however he was not able to attend due to a slight tear in his meniscus.

After recovering from the injury, his dream of playing football at the next level never faded. He was pushing for another shot in the NFL. “Coming from a small DII school, it was harder for me to get an opportunity and the NFL season was already underway,“ stated Absher.

He ended up not receiving a call the rest of the year (2017) from any NFL teams. He did have some overseas opportunities, but nothing panned out. In 2018, he had a few workout opportunities with three different teams. During that time, he was back home in Virginia at Mase training with his trainer and life coach Eddie Mason and Chase Dixon.

“These two gentlemen simply turned me into a monster physically and mentally. The types of training they put me through; there was no question they were going to bring the dog out of me,“ said Absher. “Although I was in tip-top shape, I still didn’t receive any calls back from the three teams.“

The Free Press WV


During this whole process, Absher says he was doing everything right except for one thing - putting football over God. “Eddie began changing my life as a life coach. I was blessed to have him baptize me back in April at the Capital Community Church. I knew from this point on my faith was going to be tested,“ stated Dante.

After staying strong, he began to break down in October and was about to give up his dream of playing football. “I felt like I had done everything and maybe it wasn’t meant to be,“ he said. But that all changed in November.

On November 10, 2018 Shelly Ellison from Rockland Sports Management contacted Absher and wanted to represent him as an athlete. On November 11 he signed with Rockland Sports Management and on November 12 his dream became reality as he signed with the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL.

“I am thankful for everyone who has been a part of my journey and didn’t leave my side. My family has been so supportive of me chasing my dream to play professional football. To all my athletes at Glenville State College and around the world, if you want something bad enough you need to do whatever it takes to get there and have faith in God,“ he said.

The Montreal Alouettes was founded in 1946, the team has folded and been revived twice. They compete in the East Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and last won the Gray Cup Championship in 2010. The original Alouettes team (1946-1981) won four Grey Cups and were particularly dominant in the 1970’s. The current Alouettes franchise was established in 1996 by the owners of the Baltimore Stallions. The Stallions were disbanded at the same time as the Alouettes’ re-establishment after having been the most successful of the CFL’s American expansion franchises, culminating in a Gray Cup championship in 1995. However, the CFL considers all clubs that have played in Montreal as one franchise dating to 1946, and considers the Alouettes to have suspended operations in 1987 before returning in 1996.

In 2018 the Alouettes finished 3rd in the East Division and finished with a 4-4 division record. The Head Coach of Montreal in Mike Sherman, he is formerly the Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. The Alouettes are owned by American investment banker Robert Wetenhall.

Japanese Outreach Coordinator Comes to GSC

The Free Press WV

Glenville State College has recently been selected as a host-site for the Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI). This program is designed to promote cultural awareness and understanding of Japan in the United States.

Masahiro “Masa” Yamaguchi will serve as Glenville State’s Japan Outreach Coordinator for the next two years, through summer 2020. Yamaguchi grew up in Shiga, Japan, received his undergraduate degree in linguistics, and has spent time studying abroad in Russia. He comes to GSC after working in Kyoto and Tokyo over the last two years.

“As part of our efforts to continue to internationalize GSC – Dr. [Marisha] Lecea and I, with the support of the Internationalization Task Force, decided to pursue becoming a JOI host-site. The selection process is very competitive, and GSC was one of only four institutions selected to participate. The JOI program goals align really well with our own campus internationalization efforts, and I very much look forward to seeing Masa and the program thrive in the next two years,” said GSC Director of International Programs Dr. Megan Gibbons.

“Having Masa on campus is a true asset to not only GSC but the Glenville community as well. Hosting a Japan Outreach Coordinator on campus will allow students, faculty, staff, and community members to learn and experience Japanese culture without ever having to leave Glenville. I expect the next two years will bring expanded cultural diversity thanks to this program and the hard work of Mr. Yamaguchi,” said GSC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Victor Vega.

While at GSC, Yamaguchi will participate in programs on campus intended to educate the college community about Japan and Japanese culture. He will also tap into the College’s network of community-based organizations, thereby engaging in outreach with local schools, libraries, and other groups.

“It is an honor to be selected as the Japan Outreach Coordinator for GSC. I am excited to start working with the very attentive and helpful people of Glenville, and also it is really exciting to start this project from scratch. I hope to become a bridge between central West Virginia and Japan. It is really great to help GSC to be a center of cultural exchange and diversity. There are a lot of benefits with being international. I want to share my experience as much as I can. Each time I traveled abroad, I enjoyed the difference of every country. Since I arrived in the U.S., I have already learned a lot of new things. It is fruitful and of course fun to learn new things. I think I can bring a lot for new things to West Virginians. Why don’t we have fun and learn together with Japanese activities and presentations?” Yamaguchi said.

The JOI Coordinator for Glenville State is administered jointly by The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) and the Laurasian Institution. For more information about the Japan Outreach Initiative, contact Yamaguchi at or 304.462.6206.

GSC Students Travel to Berlin

Glenville State College Professor of History Dr. Ed Wood led a group of five GSC students to Germany in May 2018. The students included Donnie Lambert, Cody Moore, Robert Kniceley, Jacob Coots, and Bradley Jenkins. The trip marked the College’s fourth faculty-led

short term trip and the first to Germany.

The trip allowed the group to visit museums and landmarks, tour historical facilities, and experience the local culture. Some of the places they visited included the Brandenburg Gate, the German Memorial to the Holocaust, Alexanderplatz, Checkpoint Charlie,

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, and the Espionage Museum. The students were able to sample a different cuisine, learned how use the transportation system, and visited places that they had read about in their classes.

The Free Press WV
(l-r) Robert Kniceley, Dr. Ed Wood, Cody Moore, Donnie Lambert, Jacob Coots, and Bradley Jenkins in Germany


“I enjoy traveling, especially to Europe, so when the opportunity came available to travel with some of my students to Germany I was quick to say yes. Just like the students, I was also learning on our trip. We were able to see things that we had studied in my classes

and I learned several things that I can now include in my world geography classes back on campus this fall,” said Wood.

“The trip to Berlin was a fantastic experience. For me, the most interesting part was seeing the military cemetery for the German World War I soldiers who has passed away in Berlin from their wounds on the Eastern and Western fronts and how differently they are

treated,” said Lambert, a recent GSC graduate.

“At Glenville State we are not only preparing our students to be successful in their areas of study, but by providing them with curricular and co-curricular programs and services, we’re preparing them for a diverse, technological, and global workplace and society. This

trip allowed Dr. Wood and his students to expand on their classroom lectures and brought learning to life. I encourage all GSC students to look into study abroad trips in the future,” said GSC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Victor Vega.

“I think it is important for students and faculty to expand their minds and put themselves in places and situations that would be different than anything they might experience in the United States. I am confident that our group did that during this trip,” Wood added.

For more information about the trip, contact GSC Director of International Programs Dr. Megan Gibbons at or call 304.462.6321.

Director of International Programs at GSC Visits China

Glenville State College Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of International Programs Dr. Megan Gibbons recently spent time in China as part of the Confucius Institute of West Virginia University which hosted a delegation of education administrators from the Mountain State. The group consisted of four representatives from primary schools, three from middle and high schools, and three from colleges and universities who were invited to participate in the twelve-day visit. The trip was designed to explore possible collaborations between educational institutions in West Virginia and in China and to allow the representatives to learn firsthand about Chinese culture through language, art, history, food, geography, and more.

The Free Press WV
Dr. Megan Gibbons with students from Huidi 1st Primary School

Gibbons had the opportunity to visit five educational institutions including two universities, Tianjin University of Finance and Economics and Tianjin University of Science and Technology. While visiting these universities, she was able to discuss the possibility of arranging faculty/student exchanges, as well as developing virtual exchange opportunities through GSC’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Program with university officials.

The group was also able to take part in cultural sightseeing at The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, Tianjin Museum, Tianjin Art Museum, Jin Mai Tower in Shanghai, and a night cruise on the Huangpujiang River in Shanghai.

“Everything about this trip was memorable from Shanghai’s magnificent illuminated nighttime skyline to the Confucius Institute Headquarters’ interactive displays about Chinese paper cutting and the Peking Opera. Tianjin surprised us with its understated beauty and with its parks full of choral groups, ballroom dancers, and practitioners of tai chi. The food was plentiful and delicious even if our chopstick skills never quite mastered those never-ending noodles. The people we met – professors, administrators, teachers, students, tour guides, even strangers in the streets – were welcoming and kind,” said Gibbons.

The Free Press WV
Members of the West Virginia delegation enjoying a night cruise on the Huangpujiang River in Shanghai


A highlight of the trip came when musicians in the National Band of Tianjin University of Finance and Economics performed a special arrangement of Take me Home, Country Roads (one of West Virginia’s official state songs) for the group on traditional Chinese instruments. Elementary student also sang songs, performed dances, and offered the delegation hand-made gifts of paper fans and sculptures.

GSC students who are interested in studying abroad in China should contact Gibbons in the Office of International Programs at or 304.462.6321.

EARLY VOTING

The Free Press WV

EARLY VOTING started WEDNESDAY and here are a few things you need to know:

1. It’s easy to vote during the Early Voting period, you can vote on your own schedule and the dates go from April 25 to May 5! That includes two Saturdays that you can make it to vote in this year’s Primary Election!

2. Call your County Clerk to find your polling place! The link can be found by clicking here.

3. Voter ID laws have changed, but don’t worry it’s simple. You can take either photo I.D. or non photo I.D. or you can take a friend to vouch for you. See below for a list of options and choose what is easiest for you!

The Free Press WV

WVDEP Encourages Teachers to Take “Classroom Challenge” on World Water Day

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is encouraging middle school students and teachers across the state to take the “Classroom Challenge” on World Water Day.

The theme for 2018 is “Nature for Water,” where nature based solutions are considered to address 21st century water issues. In this challenge, students are asked to help examine urban stormwater runoff pollution and research nature based solutions that could help reduce the amount of pollutants entering West Virginia’s waterways.

Examples of nature based solutions are permeable pavement that absorbs water, rain barrels, or urban rain gardens.

The 2018 Classroom Challenge launched on March 21 and all entries must be submitted by March 30 to . Each class will be featured on WVDEP’s Facebook and Twitter page, as well as receive a West Virginia watershed poster.

For instructions on how to participate in the World Water Day 2018 Classroom Challenge contact or by calling 304.926.0499 ext. 1272.

Only a limited number of World Water Day teacher packets are available on a first come, first served basis.

World Water Day, which was created by the United Nations to bring attention to water related issues worldwide, is on March 22 every year.

The Christmas when the fighting stopped

The Free Press WV

Has there ever been a Christmas when there was no war, no fighting in any corner of our planet?  It’s difficult to imagine since the world’s history has been a series of conquests and defenses.

But there was once a Christmas when the fighting did stop, when enemies shook hands and laughed and even sang Christmas carols together.

The First World War had been underway just a few months in December 1914, but it was clear a long, bloody fight was ahead.  The Germans and the English were dug in their muddy trenches separated sometimes by just 60 yards.

Between them was a No-Man’s land of mud, debris and the casualties of both sides, left unburied for weeks.

But something remarkable happened along the battle lines on Christmas 103 years ago; the German and British soldiers stopped fighting.

It wasn’t that they were afraid to fight. The trenches of both sides were filled with brave men who faced death each day.  No, the peace began as an informal truce casually agreed to by the officers in the field, but not the generals safely in the rear.

At night the English first saw the lights of Christmas decorations in the German trenches, and then heard the sounds of the German soldiers singing Christmas carols.  The British soldiers responded in kind.

All along the Western Front the scene repeated itself.  The impromptu truce spread.  In some places along the lines the warring soldiers emerged from their trenches, leaving their guns behind, and met in No-Man’s land where they exchanged food and conversed as best they could.  One group of soldiers played a game of soccer.

Percy Jones of the Queen’s Westminster Regiment said, “Altogether we had a great day with our enemies, and parted with much hand-shaking and mutual goodwill.”  Corporal John Ferguson of the Seaforth Highlanders remarked, “Here we were, laughing and chatting to men whom only a few hours before we were trying to kill.”

Well behind the trenches the British High Command was distressed, fearing it might not be able to get the men to start fighting again.  The war might grind to a halt. Headquarters issued a statement blaming the lack of fighting at the front on “stormy weather.”

Eventually, the soldiers at the front drifted back to their positions.  At some locations along the front the Christmas Spirit carried to the New Year before fighting resumed.  The fighting of course did start again and continued for nearly four more bloody years.

This Christmas as we search for good news in a troubled world we can remember that Christmas 103 years ago when the spirit of peace on earth and good will toward men was strong enough to—for a time at least—stop a world war.

U.S. Declares ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Against Rohingya In Myanmar

The Free Press WV

The United States declared the ongoing violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar to be “ethnic cleansing” on Wednesday, threatening penalties for military officials engaged in a brutal crackdown that has sent more than 620,000 refugees flooding over the border to Bangladesh.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson blamed Myanmar’s security forces and “local vigilantes” for what he called “intolerable suffering” by the Rohingya. Although the military has accused Rohingya insurgents of triggering the crisis, Tillerson said “no provocation can justify the horrendous atrocities that have ensued.”

“After a careful and thorough analysis of available facts, it is clear that the situation in northern Rakhine state constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya,” Tillerson said in a statement.

Although the designation carries no legal obligations for the U.S. to act, Tillerson said those who perpetrated the atrocities “must be held accountable.” He added that the U.S. wanted a full investigation and was considering “targeted sanctions” against those responsible — but not broader sanctions against the nation.

Rohingya from Myanmar’s Rakhine state have been fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh, seeking refuge from what Myanmar’s military has called “clearance operations.” The crisis started in August, when Rohingya insurgents attacked Myanmar security forces, leading to a brutal crackdown in which soldiers and Buddhist mobs have killed men, raped women and girls and burned homes and property to force the Rohingya to leave.

The declaration followed a lengthy review process by President Donald Trump’s administration to determine whether the violence met the threshold to be considered ethnic cleansing. The United Nations came to that conclusion in September, but the U.S. had held off, with Tillerson saying he needed more information even as he expressed deep concern about the crisis.

Last week, Tillerson traveled to Myanmar in the highest level visit by a U.S. official since Trump took office. U.S. officials dangled the possibility of an “ethnic cleansing” designation ahead of Tillerson’s trip, potentially giving him more leverage as he met with officials in Myanmar. In the capital of Naypitaw, Tillerson met with the country’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as Myanmar’s powerful military chief, Min Aung Hlaing, who is in charge of operations in Rakhine state, home to Myanmar’s Rohingya population.

The leader of a group that works to improve conditions for the Rohingya said Thursday he hopes the declaration will strengthen the call for accountability. Arakan Project director Chris Lewa said he thought Tillerson’s visit had been relatively appreciated and he hoped it would prove constructive.

I hope that it will have the impact that (Tillerson) used the correct word I think to describe what really is going on,” Lewa said. “And I hope that the military will listen more, but it’s always difficult to predict how the military will react and sometimes it’s like they are not listening to anything at all.”

Senior State Department officials said the determination was intended to ramp up pressure on the military and others in Myanmar to resolve the conflict and repatriate refugees who have fled to Bangladesh. Yet it was also likely to intensify calls for the Trump administration and Congress to move toward new sanctions. Earlier this month, a House committee passed a nonbinding resolution condemning “murderous ethnic cleansing and atrocities” and calling on Trump to impose sanctions on those responsible for abuses.

Yet sweeping sanctions targeting Myanmar’s economy or its military as a whole are off the table, officials said, adding that the Trump administration had determined they would not be productive either for ensuring accountability or for promoting broader U.S. goals in Myanmar. Instead, the U.S. is considering sanctions against individuals only, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to comment by name and briefed reporters on a conference call on condition of anonymity.

Broad-based U.S. sanctions on Myanmar were eased under former President Barack Obama as the Southeast Asian nation inched toward democracy. U.S. officials have been concerned that slapping back sanctions or pushing Myanmar’s leaders too hard on the Rohingya violence could undermine the country’s civilian government, led for the last 18 months by Suu Kyi. That could slow or reverse the country’s delicate transition away from decades of harsh military rule and risks pushing Myanmar away from the U.S. and closer to China.

The State Department has also examined whether the violence in Rakhine meets the definitions for crimes against humanity or genocide, but have so far made no such determinations. Both designations carry significant legal consequences.

Ethnic cleansing, on the other hand, isn’t recognized as an independent crime under international law, according to the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention. The ethnic cleansing term surfaced in the context of the 1990s conflict in the former Yugoslavia, when a U.N. commission defined it as “rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area.”

Human rights groups accuse the military of a scorched-earth campaign against the Rohinyga, who numbered roughly 1 million in Myanmar before the latest exodus. The Buddhist majority in Myanmar believes they migrated illegally from Bangladesh, but many Rohingya families have lived for generations in Myanmar. In 1982, they were stripped of their citizenship.

Already, the United States has curtailed its ties to Myanmar’s military over the violence. Earlier this year, the U.S. restored restrictions on granting visas to members of Myanmar’s military, and the State Department has deemed units and officers involved in operations in Rakhine state ineligible for U.S. assistance.

General: Russia Likely To Scale Down In Syria

The Free Press WV

The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):

7:25 p.m.

The chief of the Russian General Staff says Russia is likely to scale down its military presence in Syria “significantly” before the year’s end.

Moscow embarked on an air campaign in Syria in October 2015 to prop up its longtime ally President Bashar Assad. Russia’s operation ultimately helped to turn the tide of the war in Assad’s favor.

Gen. Valery Gerasimov said in comments carried by Russian news agencies Thursday that the scale-down that Putin announced earlier this week will be “significant.”

Gerasimov said that two Russian bases and the Center for Reconciliation, which is responsible for monitoring truce in several areas in Syria, will stay as well as “a number of necessary structures to keep the situation where it is now.”

___

4:30 p.m.

Syria opposition representatives meeting in the Saudi capital have called for direct and unconditional negotiations with the Syrian government that would lead to the launch of a transition period.

The opposition didn’t condition its participation in the U.N-based negotiations on the departure of President Bashar Assad from office.

However, in a final communique obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, they said a peaceful and unbiased transitional period will not be possible without Assad first leaving office.

It is the first time the opposition has called on the U.N. to arrange for direct talks with the government. It also signals a degree of flexibility on Assad’s role in the transition period.

Russia, the main backer of Assad, has been pushing for new political talks, saying “there is a real chance” to end the conflict. Moscow and opposition members it backs have demanded the launch of an “unconditional” process.

__

4:05 p.m.

Russia’s chief military officer says the nation could reduce its military presence in Syria.

Thursday’s statement from Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the military’s General Staff, comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted counterparts from Turkey and Iran for talks on advancing peace process in Syria. Asked if the Russian force in Syria will be scaled down, Gerasimov said “it probably will,” according to Russian news agencies.

With the Syrian government controlling most of the country and Islamic State group fighters in disarray, Putin said during talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad earlier this week that Russia’s military campaign in Syria is wrapping up — though he made no mention of the Russian presence in Syria, which Moscow is not likely to give up.

__

1:25 p.m.

A top Turkish ruling party official says Ankara supports a political solution for Syria but retains its “red lines” on the subject of Syrian President Bashar Assad remaining president.

Mahir Unal, the spokesman of the Justice and Development Party, says Turkey made clear its reservations about Assad having any future role in Syria “after all these deaths” during a trilateral meeting with Russia and Iran that took place in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Wednesday.

Unal also said Turkey emphasized at the Sochi meeting that there must be negotiations between Assad and the opposition, which Ankara has supported from the start of the Syrian civil war.

Turkey also wants Syria to remain united and not break up, and opposes Syrian Kurdish fighters participating in negotiations on Syria’s future.

What Is the True Cost of Inequality?

The Free Press WV

The 12 months that ended this past summer, suggests the just-released annual Global Wealth Report from the Swiss bank Credit Suisse, ought to be cause for celebration. The world has never been richer. Credit Suisse’s researchers have discerned “a significant increase in wealth across the globe.” Net worth worldwide has increased by a remarkable $16.7 trillion over just the past year.

So why aren’t people worldwide cheering? That “significant increase in wealth,” the new Credit Suisse numbers make clear, has benefited only a precious few. The top 1 percent globally now hold 50.1 percent of the world’s household wealth, up from 45.5 percent at the start of the century.

Within that top 1 percent, the really rich — deep pockets with at least $50 million in net worth — are clearly leading the way. Since 2000, Credit Suisse calculates, the wealth of this “ultra high net worth” cohort has multiplied “five-fold.”

About half of these ultras, 49 percent, reside today in the United States. Credit Suisse counts 72,000 of these ultra-rich Americans. Some context: China, the host to the world’s second-highest collection of $50 million-and-up personal fortunes, has only 18,100 ultras.

Some additional context: The United States hosts over 25,000 more ultra-rich individual fortunes than the nations with next nine highest ultra-rich totals combined.


The Trickle-Down

How much of this enormous wealth at America’s economic summit trickles down to average Americans? Not much.

At first glance, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The average American adult, the Credit Suisse data show, boasts $388,585 in net worth. Only two other nations in the world — Switzerland and Australia — have higher net worth averages.

But wealth averages can be deceiving. They represent a nation’s total household net worth divided by the nation’s total number of adults. The more wealth a nation’s rich hold, the higher the average will be. A nation of one millionaire and nine other adults with no wealth at all would have an average individual net worth of $100,000.

So net worth averages can tell us next to nothing about the actual life experience of the typical person. To see how a nation’s most typical adults are doing, we need instead to calculate each nation’s median adult net worth. That means finding the net-worth level that represents the point at which half a nation’s adults have more wealth and half have less.

The new 2017 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report helpfully calculates these medians. Switzerland and Australia again top the global list. The typical Swiss adult has a net worth of $229,000. The typical Australian, $195,400. And the typical American? A mere $55,876. Twenty nations in all have higher median adult net worths than the United States.


The True Cost of Inequality

Just how much is inequality costing ordinary Americans? Comparing the United States to other more egalitarian-minded developed nations can give us a vivid sense of the high toll that inequality exacts. Take, for instance, the example of Japan, one of the world’s most equal nations.

In their new Global Wealth Report, Credit Suisse’s researchers describe the 2017 Japanese economy as “still in the doldrums.” But ordinary Japanese households would almost certainly take their “doldrums” over the economic status quo in the United States any day of the week.

The numbers explain why. The United States has over 50 times more ultra-rich than Japan, and that enormous wealth at the top has the U.S. average net worth towering over the average Japanese net worth, by a $388,586 to $225,057 margin. But Japan shares its household wealth far more equally than the United States. The typical Japanese adult holds $123,724 in net worth, much more than double the $55,876 U.S. median adult net-worth figure.

Ordinary Americans, in effect, are each paying what amounts to an “inequality tax.” If we distributed our wealth as equally as the Japanese distribute theirs, the typical American would likely be somewhere around $100,000 richer.

Or take Australia, a nation that now sports almost the exact same average adult wealth as the United States. The average Aussie has a $402,603 net worth, just a bit above the average American’s $388,586. The net worth of the median — most typical — Australian? A stunning $195,417, four times the median adult net worth in the United States.

Australians used to see their nation as a relatively equal society. They don’t anymore. Rising inequality has become a major Australian political issue. But Australia remains far more equal a society than the United States. The top 1 percent in Australia only holds an estimated 15 percent of the nation’s wealth.

America’s top 1 percent, Federal Reserve researchers reported earlier this fall, now holds 38.6 percent.

~~  Sam Pizzigati ~~

Trump Era Sparks New Debate About Nuclear War Authority

The Free Press WV

It’s hard to overstate how thoroughly the U.S. military has prepared for doomsday — the day America gets into a nuclear shooting war.

No detail seems to have been overlooked. There’s even a designated “safe escape” door at the nuclear-warfighting headquarters near Omaha, Nebraska, through which the four-star commander would rush to a getaway plane moments before the first bomb hit.

Procedures are in place for ensuring U.S. nuclear weapons are ready for a presidential launch order in response to — or in anticipation of — a nuclear attack by North Korea or anyone else. There are backup procedures and backups for the backups.

And yet fundamental aspects of this nightmare sequence remain a mystery.

For example, what would happen if an American president ordered a nuclear strike, for whatever reason, and the four-star general at Strategic Command balked or refused, believing it to be illegal?

Robert Kehler, a retired general who once led that command, was asked this at a congressional hearing last week. His response: “You’d be in a very interesting constitutional situation.”

By interesting, he seemed to mean puzzling.

Brian McKeon, a senior policy adviser in the Pentagon during the Obama administration, said a president’s first recourse would be to tell the defense secretary to order the reluctant commander to execute the launch order.

“And then, if the commander still resisted,” McKeon said as rubbed his chin, “you either get a new secretary of defense or get a new commander.” The implication is that one way or another, the commander in chief would not be thwarted.

The current head of Strategic Command, Gen. John Hyten, said Saturday at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada that he would refuse a launch order from a president if he believed that order to be illegal. Hyten also predicted that the president would then ask him for options that Hyten judged to be legal.

Bruce Blair, a former nuclear missile launch officer and co-founder of the Global Zero group that advocates eliminating nuclear weapons, said the Kehler scenario misses a more important point: The Strategic Command chief might, in effect, be bypassed by the president.

A president can transmit his nuclear attack order directly to a Pentagon war room, Blair said. From there it would go to the men and women who would turn the launch keys.

The renewed attention on these questions reflects unease — justified or not — about President Donald Trump’s temperament and whether he would act impulsively in a crisis.

This past week’s Senate hearing was the first in Congress on presidential authority to use nuclear weapons since 1976, when a Democratic congressman from New York, Richard L. Ottinger, pushed for the U.S. to declare it would never initiate a nuclear war. Ottinger said he wanted to “eliminate the prospect that human ignorance and potential human failure in the use of nuclear materials, especially nuclear weapons, will lead to the destruction of civilization.”

Forty-one years later, the U.S. hasn’t ruled out first-strike nuclear options and is unlikely to do so during Trump’s tenure. This troubles experts who worry about a president with the sole — some say unchecked — authority to initiate nuclear war.

“We are concerned that the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic, that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with U.S. national security interests,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said at the outset of last week’s hearing.

The committee chairman, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he was not targeting Trump. But he, too, has publicly questioned whether Trump’s aggressive rhetoric toward North Korea and other countries could lead the U.S. into a world war. In the end, Corker’s hearing produced little impetus for legislation to alter the presidential authorities.

James Acton, co-director of the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, saw politics at play.

“But I think it’s a genuinely important subject, and I think it’s one we should be debating irrespective of who the president is,” he said.

Acton said a president rightly has unchecked authority to use nuclear weapons in response to an actual or imminent nuclear attack. In his view, the president should otherwise be required to consult in advance with the secretaries of state and defense, and the attorney general, and get approval from two of the three before acting.

Matthew Waxman, a professor at Columbia Law School, says changes of this sort would put a valuable check on the president and protect his nuclear authority from potential military insubordination.

Waxman and Richard Betts, director of the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University, have a proposal: To order a nuclear first strike, the president would first have to get “certification” from the secretary of defense that the order is valid and authentic, and from the attorney general that it is legal.

These added safeguards wouldn’t risk delaying a response to an enemy attack in progress, Betts said. They would apply “only in situations where the United States is considering starting the nuclear war.”

Canada Said to Warn U.S. Businesses to Speak Up or Lose NAFTA

The Free Press WV

Canada’s chief NAFTA negotiator is urging U.S. businesses to step up pressure on the Trump administration to save the trade deal, as successful talks increasingly hinge on the U.S. backing off its most controversial proposals.

Steve Verheul made the request on Sunday in Mexico City with about three dozen members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, according an official briefed on Verheul’s remarks who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Negotiators are gathered in Mexico’s capital for the fifth round of discussions to upgrade the North American Free Trade Agreement that wrap up Tuesday.

Verheul previously warned the chamber to brace for life after NAFTA, and the business group has been raising the alarm by highlighting the U.S. economic cost of losing the trade pact. His warning is the latest sign that discussions are bogged down amid deep divides over contentious U.S. proposals, with U.S. President Donald Trump’s regular threats to walk away looming over talks.

Many American lawmakers have also been speaking out in support of NAFTA, and Canada and Mexico are holding out hope that domestic pressure will lead U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to back off controversial demands. Those include requiring cars to have 50 percent U.S. content, imposing a sunset clause on the deal, killing the Chapter 19 dispute panels and dismantling Canada’s dairy sector, which relies on a system of quotas and tariffs that Canadian officials argue prevents oversupply.

“It’s hard to see any breakthrough if the U.S. does not change its attitude and does not become much more realistic with respect to their ask,“ Yves Leduc, director of international trade for the Dairy Farmers of Canada lobby group, said in Mexico City on Monday.

“We regularly engage with stakeholders in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, and we will continue to maintain open channels of communication,“ Alex Lawrence, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, said in a statement.

A spokesman for the the chamber declined to comment.

The Big Picture: Putin’s Plan Plays Out

The Free Press WV

Almost everyone agrees with our nation’s intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with our 2016 presidential election, even President Donald Trump, sometimes. But why would Putin want Trump to win?

Trump was enthusiastically supported in the government-run Russian press and, “An announcement by Foreign Affairs Committee member Vyacheslav Nikonov that Mr. Trump had triumphed was almost drowned out by clapping and cheering in the State Duma (the Russian ‘congress.’)” Here’s the quote attributed to Nikonov: “Three minutes ago, Hillary Clinton acknowledged her defeat in the U.S. presidential elections and just seconds ago, Trump began his speech as president-elect. I congratulate all of you on this.”

When I first started writing this column, I thought of all the “helpful” things Trump has done for Russia since his nomination:

  • He eliminated the Republican Party plank at the GOP convention calling for providing “lethal defense weapons” to the Ukrainian army.
  • He gutted the State Department, making the United States a weaker presence worldwide, slashing foreign intelligence, and stimulating a mass-exodus of seasoned, higher-level personnel.
  • He destabilized NATO, calling it “obsolete,” saying it should be “readjusted,” and publicly wavering on which members the U.S. would defend.
  • He promoted racial, religious, cultural and urban/rural divisions.
  • He denigrated by word and deed long-treasured American qualities and ideals like rule of law, egalitarianism, generosity, compassion, civility, tolerance, integrity and morality.

Researching this column, I discovered that Trump’s election tactics were (and are) eerily similar to a much grander Russian scheme, outlined in Aleksandr Dugin’s 1997 book, “Foundations of Geopolitics.” Written in the depths of the post-Soviet economic decline, this book laid out a plan to help Russia regain her lost world-leader status.

“There has probably not been another book published in Russia during the post-communist period which has exerted a comparable influence on Russian military, police, and statist foreign policy elites,” according to historian John Dunlop, of the Hoover Institute. Aleksandr Dugin is now considered a member of Putin’s inner circle.

“Foundations of Geopolitics” advises Russia to stay away from direct military confrontation in favor of political stealth and infiltration of Western institutions. It calls for Russian special services “to provoke all forms of instability and separatism within the borders of the United States,” to wit, “Introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics.”

Putin’s trolls actively pushed both the far right and far left group messages.

“Promoting content that is divisive – that is the ultimate goal here,” said Lee Foster, manager of information operations analysis at FireEye Intelligence, one of the foremost cybersecurity firms in the world. “It’s the same in Europe, but the specific themes change. . . . There, one of the most prominent themes is migration and the refugee crisis.”

Among other things, the book suggests Russian annexation of Ukraine (partially done), promoting the exit of Britain from the European Union (done) and funding far right, nationalist, populist candidates everywhere to weaken ties with other countries. Just last week, the British newspaper, “The Sun,” ran the headline: “Russia used 150,000 fake Twitter accounts to rally support for Brexit in 48 hours leading up to referendum vote.”

For the past decade, Russia has directly and indirectly supported right-wing nationalists all over Europe. There are many examples, perhaps the most well-known being far-right, pro-Russian, anti-European Union candidate Marine La Pen, of France, who received more than $10 million from a Russian bank for her campaign.

Russian sabotage is real and ongoing. Welcome to today’s Cold War.

Mike Kirchubel

Trump Puts North Korea Back On State Sponsors Of Terrorism

The Free Press WV

Donald Trump on Monday announced that his administration has re-designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terror, a move aimed at increasing pressure on Pyongyang a decade after the George W. Bush administration removed the rogue nation from the list.

Trump made his decision public during a brief photo op at a Cabinet meeting, calling it “a very critical step” that “should’ve happened a long time ago.“ The president cited assassinations by dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime carried out on foreign soil, as well as the treatment of American college student Otto Warmbier, who died in June days after he was released in a coma by the North after spending 17 months in captivity.

Trump vowed that Pyongyang will face further sanctions in the near future and that this will be the “highest level of sanctions by the time it’s finished.“ White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders amplified the message on Twitter.

“POTUS announced that the U.S. is again designating North Korea a state sponsor of terror,“ she tweeted.

The White House had signaled during Trump’s Asia trip this month that the president was likely to make the designation. The North spent 10 years on that list before being removed in 2008 by the Bush administration for meeting nuclear inspection requirements. Pyongyang later violated the agreement.

In a speech to the South Korean national assembly two weeks ago, Trump cited atrocities carried out by the Kim regime and called the North “a hell that no person deserves.“ Among other acts, Kim’s regime stands accused of carrying out the assassination of his half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, with a deadly nerve agent at a Malaysian airport in February.

Iran, Sudan and Syria also are on the list, which is administered by the State Department. According to that agency, sanctions for those nations on the list include “restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.“

Last month, a bipartisan group of House members wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to add North Korea to the list, citing the deaths of Warmbier and Kim Jong Nam.

“Such acts are not isolated events, but part of a consistent pattern by the Kim regime,“ stated the letter, signed by Rep. Edward Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the committee’s ranking Democrat, among others.

Michael Green, who served as senior Asia director at the National Security Council under Bush from 2001-2005, said the removal of the North from the terror-sponsor list was “very controversial” and turned out to be a “crappy deal” that Pyongyang quickly violated. He added that the Japanese government had lobbied the Bush administration not to remove the North in 2008 until Pyongyang brought resolution to Tokyo’s claims that the North had kidnapped at least 17 Japanese citizens in the 1970s.

During his visit to Tokyo two weeks ago, Trump met with families of the dozen Japanese abductees whose cases have not been resolved.

“Putting them back on the list is important symbolically as a demonstration of good faith with Japan,“ Green said of North Korea. “It also helps add spin on the ball with sanctions overall.“

U.S. Faces International Probe Over Afghanistan

The Free Press WV

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday formally requested authorization to investigate the U.S. military and CIA for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan.

Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian jurist who has been the ICC’s chief prosecutor since 2012, confirmed earlier suspicions that the United States would be implicated in the probe. The decision marks the first time the ICC under Bensouda will investigate American forces and operatives.

In a statement, Bensouda clarified that alleged “war crimes by members of the United States armed forces” and “secret detention facilities in Afghanistan” used by the CIA justified the court’s investigation. Earlier this month, she had announced that “there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed” in Afghanistan but had declined to specify by whom.

On Monday, she named the U.S. armed forces and the CIA among a roster of probe targets that also included the Taliban and its affiliated Haqqani network, as well as the Afghan National Security Forces.

“Furthermore, the Office has determined that there are no substantial reasons to believe that the opening of an investigation would not serve the interests of justice, taking into account the gravity of the crimes and the interests of victims,“ Bensouda said in her statement.

The statement noted that the investigation will focus on the alleged crimes committed in Afghanistan after May 1, 2003, and on other alleged crimes with clear connections to the conflict in Afghanistan that were committed on the territories of other member states after July 1, 2002. In the case of the American targets, Bensouda said, the investigation would focus primarily on 2003 through 2004.

The ICC, established in 2002, does not have the authority to investigate crimes committed in Afghanistan before those dates, the statement said.

The court’s jurisdiction is bound to investigating crimes in the territories of member states, although the U.N. Security Council can authorize extensions of those probes into other nonmember states. Earlier this month, Burundi - in an apparent attempt to avoid prosecution - became the first country ever to withdraw from the ICC, but the court ultimately authorized an investigation relating to alleged crimes the government had committed anyway.

The United States is one of few nations that never formally submitted to the ICC, which was established in 2002 as the world’s highest legal authority for the prosecution of war crimes and human rights abuses. But U.S. citizens can still be charged for relevant crimes they commit in other member states.

Afghanistan has been a member state since the court’s inception.

No official deadline was given for the judges to respond to Bensouda’s request.

Free Press Classified Ads

For YOU...By YOU

West Virginia

Worldwide

National

Politics

International

Arts & Entertainment

Worldwide

Trump Threatens to ‘Devastate’ Turkish Economy

The Free Press WV Referring to what Ankara has long claimed are extremist rebels among the Kurds in northern Syria [ .... ]  Read More

How to See the World for Free (or Almost Free)

The Free Press WVCouch surfing, home exchanges, and housesitting are some novel options   [ .... ]  Read More

A timeline of the US involvement in Syria’s conflict

The Free Press WVAmerica’s four-year involvement in Syria’s civil war may soon be coming to an end, after U.S. officials announced Friday that the process of withdrawal from the country has begun [ .... ]  Read More

Avalanche, accidents add snow-related deaths in Europe

The Free Press WVHeavy snow cut off access to villages, swamped the inside of a Swiss hotel and contributed during the last week to at least 20 weather-related deaths in Europe [ .... ]  Read More

North Korea’s Ambassador to Italy May Have Defected

The Free Press WVJo Song Gil has applied for asylum in a Western country: reports   [ .... ]  Read More

Petition Calls for US to Give Slice of Minnesota to Canada

The Free Press WVError on 1755 map created Northwest Angle   [ .... ]  Read More

She Was Teaching in Thailand. Suddenly, She Couldn’t Move

The Free Press WVFamily of 22-year-old Caroline Bradner trying to get her home after Guillain-Barre syndrome diagnosis   [ .... ]  Read More

Things Aren’t Getting Much Calmer in France

The Free Press WVThe ‘yellow vest’ marches continue   [ .... ]  Read More

In Rare Move, a King Abruptly Abdicates

The Free Press WVMalaysia’s Sultan Muhammad V steps down without giving a reason after 2 years on throne   [ .... ]  Read More

Chinese Embryo Editor Could Face Death Penalty

The Free Press WVThe physicist who purportedly edited the DNA of twin girls to make them HIV-resistant could be sentenced to death [ .... ]  Read More

North Korea Nuke Test Triggers Earthquake More Than a Year Later

The Free Press WVThe magnitude 2.8 tremblor struck [ .... ]  Read More

Kim Jong Un Had a New Year’s Message for Trump

The Free Press WVNorth Korean leader declares intention to continue talks with US   [ .... ]  Read More

Traveling in 2019? These Airlines Are the Safest Bet

The Free Press WVAirlineRatings.com reveals its top safety picks of 405 airlines   [ .... ]  Read More

China Lands Probe on Moon’s Far Side

The Free Press WVThe Chang’e 4 completed the first-ever landing on the dark side of the moon [ .... ]  Read More

Xi Jinping Pushes ‘Reunification’ With Taiwan

The Free Press WVThe island state has found itself increasingly isolated in the global community as allies drop direct diplomatic relations under Chinese pressure [ .... ]  Read More

Financial|Business

Sports

Living

Opinions

Outdoors

Technology & Science

Events & Announcements

Worldwide

Worldwide

Obituaries

Reader's Comments

Readers' Recent Comments

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

“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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By Buck Edwards on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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?'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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?'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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?'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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?'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

“engage in pedantic colloquy?“

No Bill.

By WEKNOWYOU on 10.14.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Click on the map below to see the information on Free Press Readers
The Gilmer Free Press

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