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David McKinley Watching Shelly Moore Capito

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia’s First District Congressman says he wants any U.S. Senator from West Virginia to hold the line on spending.

“I want to make sure that we have the most fiscal hawk that we can because this county’s got problems right now,” Congressman David McKinley said.

As of now, Congressman McKinley, a Republican, says he likes what he is seeing from Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito who is also a Republican.

Capito has already announced her plans to run for U.S. Senate in 2014.

McKinley, though, is not ruling his own Senate run.  He says a number of people have approached him about the possibility.

“I have told them I am, right now, watching to see what happens with Shelley, how well she continues to maintain a fiscal policy that is good for this country,” the Congressman said on Thursday’s MetroNews Talkline.

“If she is not going to be that fiscal hawk that is going to make sure that we get our spending under control, then we’ll find another candidate.”

Any Republican nominated will potentially face longtime U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat, in the 2014 General Election.

Congressman McKinley is serving his second term in the U.S. House while Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito started her seventh term this month.

G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - “On the Brink” of Education Overhaul


House Speaker Rick Thompson was rolling along in his traditional opening day speech of the 2013 legislative session with the usual boilerplate material: work together, a better future, look what we have accomplished together, etc.

But then this line:  “The education system in West Virginia is on the brink of an overhaul.”

In the media we don’t actually “stop the presses” anymore, we tweet breaking news, and several State Capitol reporters latched on to the Speaker’s line, rushing it out to their followers.

Thompson continued to his fellow House members: “It is important that all members of the House of Delegates are up to date and knowledgeable of what the audit recommends and what is needed to improve upon our education environment.”

The language is significant.

Thompson could have ignored the controversial audit, or thrown out some banality about “improving our schools.”  No one would have taken much notice.

But instead he used the word “overhaul.”

The audit found, and the reform-minded state Board of Education agreed, that our public school system is bureaucratically top heavy, badly in need of innovative ways to develop, reward and retain great educators and inadequate in preparing all students for workforce needs and careers.

The status quo isn’t working.

Our students are below the national average in 21 of 24 categories measured by the National Assessment of Education Progress.  One in four high schools students doesn’t graduate on time.

Teachers are hemmed in by an across-the-board pay and benefit schedule that fails to reward excellence.  Local school boards are hamstrung by a litany of rules and regulations that come out of Charleston and Washington.

Local boards are desperate for more control, according to Mercer County School Board President Greg Prudich.

Speaking to lawmakers this week on behalf of the West Virginia School Board Association, Prudich said, “Our association contends the ultimate goal is to vest more power and authority for education decision making at the county level over the next five years, creating precisely the environment called for in the audit.”

Governor Tomblin is expected to propose substantial education reform this legislative session, shifting more control to county school systems and breaking up the antiquated and absurdly restrictive hiring and firing rules.

But the success or failure of any reforms will depend largely on whether legislative leaders are on board.

Senate President Jeff Kessler indicated to me this week on Metronews Talkline that he is.  “You’re going to see some real efforts (to pass legislation) that do make some positive changes,” Kessler said.

And now we see a green light from Thompson, leader of the House, where the stiffest opposition to tangible education reform is likely to appear.

A meaningful overhaul will be difficult, but it’s encouraging that Thompson has his members on the brink.

WVEA Responds to Education Audit

The Gilmer Free Press

Many of the recommendations in the Governor’s Education Efficiency Audit will likely face opposition from members of the West Virginia Education Association on any road to implementation.

WVEA President Dale Lee was in front of state lawmakers, earlier this week at the State Capitol, to detail the WVEA’s response to the Governor’s Education Efficiency Audit.

After seven public forums on the audit’s proposals last fall, Lee says it is clear teachers want pay raises for all educators, across the board.

“Until we address salaries as a comprehensive issue, as a whole, then I don’t think we need to be tinkering with just the fringes of it,” Lee said.

The audit recommends merit pay, meaning the salary for a teacher would be determined using evaluation results that could take into account student performance.

“Per person, everyone said they don’t want to set up a system that creates a divisive atmosphere and no one has seen a merit pay system that is fair and equitable yet…..and improves student achievement,” Lee said on Wednesday’s MetroNews Talkline.

He says teachers also oppose differential pay which would allocate higher salaries to teachers who fill more in demand positions.

Lee says teachers are also rejecting a proposals that would give principals more authority to fire and hire teachers, mandate 180 days of instruction and reduce the weight of seniority in hiring decisions.

You can read the WVEA’s full response to the education efficiency audit at

Legislation, based on the audit’s recommendations, is expected to come up when the 2013 Regular Legislative Session begins at the State House on Wednesday, February 13, 2013.

Gilmer County: Friends of Library Meeting - 01.21.13


The Friends of Gilmer Public Library will meet on Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM at the library.

Movies This Week - 01.09.13

The Gilmer Free Press

Zero Dark Thirty

Opens Friday January 11, 2013 | Runtime: 2 hrs. 37 min.

Brutal Disturbing Images, Strong Violence and Language

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden becomes one of the most-wanted men on the planet. The worldwide manhunt for the terrorist leader occupies the resources and attention of two U.S. presidential administrations. Ultimately, it is the work of a dedicated female operative (Jessica Chastain) that proves instrumental in finally locating bin Laden. In May 2011, elite Navy SEALs launch a nighttime strike against bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, killing him.

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain, Edgar Ramirez, Kyle Chandler, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt,James Gandolfini

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Genres: Action/Adventure, Documentary, Suspense/Thriller



The Gilmer Free Press

Gangster Squad

Opens Friday, January 11, 2013 | Runtime: 1 hr. 50 min.

R - Strong violence and language

Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and—if he has his way—every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop…except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart. “Gangster Squad” is a colorful retelling of events surrounding the LAPD’s efforts to take back their nascent city from one of the most dangerous mafia bosses of all time.

Cast: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Michael Peña, Anthony Mackie, Emma Stone

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Genres: Drama



The Gilmer Free Press

A Haunted House

Opens Friday, January 11, 2013 | Runtime: 1 hr. 26 min.

R - Crude and sexual content, language and some drug use

In an outrageous send up of the Paranormal Activity movies, The Devil Inside and other “found footage” movies, A HAUNTED HOUSE features young couple Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) who have just moved in to their dream house. As they settle in, they quickly find they’re not alone. But it’s not the house that’s haunted, it’s Malcolm’s girlfriend who is possessed by a demon. Malcolm hires everyone from a priest to modern day ghostbusters to rid her of this unwelcome intruder, determined not to let the evil spirit ruin his relationship… or, more importantly, his sex life.

Cast: Marlon Wayans, Cedric the Entertainer, Essence Atkins, David Koechner, Nick Swardson, Affion Crockett

Director: Michael Tiddes

Genres: Comedy

GSC’s Mark Jackson to Play in 87th East-West Shrine Game

Glenville State’s Mark Jackson has accepted an invitation to play in the 87th East-West Shrine Game®.

The Game will be held Monday, January 21, 2013 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, kicking off at 3:00 PM CT and televised live on the NFL Network.

The Gilmer Free Press

An offensive tackle from Columbus, OH was a three year starter for the pioneers.  In 2012 he was a team captain, voted Team MVP and was a first team All-WVIAC honoree for the third year in a row.  Jackson was also named t 1st Team All American by the AFCA Coaches and 2nd Team by Beyond Sports Network.

Jackson joins an elite list of football greats, such as John Elway, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and 62 NFL Hall of Famers, who have played in the East-West Shrine Game along with 52 players currently on active NFL rosters.

“The East-West Shrine Game has always fielded players among college football’s best,“ said East-West Shrine Game Executive Director Harold Richardson. “With all 32 NFL teams represented by GMs, coaches and scouts during game week, our players have the terrific opportunity to showcase their talents and get their first glimpse of life in the NFL ... `Just Like on Sunday.‘“

While the teams are divided by East and West, the players come together for the beneficiary of the event, Shriners Hospitals for Children®, an international pediatric specialty health care system.

“We hope our supporters all over the country will come out and enjoy this exciting game,“ said Douglas E. Maxwell, president and CEO of Shriners Hospitals for Children. “Our health care system depends on the generosity of our supporters, and this game is one of our signature events benefitting Shriners Hospitals for Children.“

The East-West Shrine Game tickets are on sale now through all Ticketmaster outlets. Fans can purchase tickets for the January 21, 2012 game online at,, or by phone at 727.342.5777.

All game tickets are $15 general admission tickets (price does not include service fees).

About Shriners Hospitals for Children

Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. The 22 hospitals in the United States, Canada and Mexico provide advanced care for children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. To learn more about Shriners Hospitals for Children, please visit

Gilmer Public Library: WV Reads 150

The Gilmer Free Press

Join the West Virginia Library Commission (WVLC), the West Virginia Center for the Book and libraries across the state in West Virginia Reads 150, a fun reading challenge that celebrates West Virginia’s 150th birthday in 2013.

The year-long reading initiative encourages West Virginians to read 150 books in any format (printed book, e-book, downloadable text, etc.) from any source, during the course of 2013, West Virginia’s sesquicentennial year. Books can be on any topic, fiction or non-fiction; they must be read between January 01 and December 31, 2013.

People can read 150 books individually, or create teams to read 150 books collectively. Libraries across West Virginia are encouraged to form teams to compete. Teams, which can have up to 15 members, must choose a name and select a leader to keep track of the books read by team members.

All ages and groups can participate – friends, coworkers, book clubs, classmates, seniors, etc. If children are too young to read on their own, kids can have their parents read to them. Families can use their Summer Reading Program reading toward their West Virginia Reads 150 tally.

To participate, sign up at Gilmer Public Library.  Contact the library at 304.462.5620 for more information, or you can check us out on Facebook.

‘Fly Rod Chronicles’ with West Virginia Native Curtis Fleming to Showcase State

The Gilmer Free Press

The bounty and variety of West Virginia’s trout fishing is one of the latest tools the state is using to hook the interest of business executives. The state will be featured on the Outdoor Channel’s “Fly Rod Chronicles with Curtis Fleming” beginning January 01, 2013.

The West Virginia Department of Commerce has made West Virginia a presenting sponsor for the 2013 season of “Fly Rod Chronicles.” Primary Commerce agencies contributing to the sponsorship and show content are West Virginia Tourism and State Parks.

The sponsorship includes 13 original 30-minute episodes. Six shows will be filmed on public streams, rivers or lakes in the state; West Virginia will be integrated into the other seven shows. Three individuals will be selected by the West Virginia Department of Commerce as special guests. In addition, Fleming will make several personal appearances throughout the state.

A West Virginia native from Bridgeport, Host and Executive Producer Curtis Fleming travels the world to find and experience the best hunting and fishing.  The Jan. 1 episode, entitled “Pipestem Trout Wrangler,” was shot on a remote portion of the Bluestone River in November.  The shows will give viewers a chance to see species specific to West Virginia rivers such as the rainbow and golden trout.

Beyond the passionate audience of those who love to fly fish – along with many outdoor and recreational enthusiasts – the show provides an opportunity to nationally showcase West Virginia, as Fleming spends time with the locals, tours the communities and provides viewers with an opportunity to learn about the culture and scenic landmarks of the state.

Pipestem Resort State Park offers sport fishermen a Trout Wrangler package which includes horseback transportation to the Bluestone River Gorge, meals, lodging and a fly fishing guide, said Ed Wooton, outdoor specialist at Pipestem.

“Pipestem, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Pipestem Resort, and WVU and Concord universities worked cooperatively to develop a fly-fishing experience in a remote area of West Virginia as part of a 2007 marketing strategy,” Wooton said. “The object was to create more interest in the Mountain State for destination fishing.”

The Trout Wrangler package also courts fishing license sales and retention of a returning angler to other streams in the Mountain State.

The Outdoor Channel is known to sportsmen across the country and around the world for its programming on all aspects of the sporting life.  Now in its ninth season, “Fly Rod Chronicles” boasts a viewership of nearly 1 million viewers per episode. The show is a true passion for Fleming.  Having developed a deep love and appreciation for the outdoors from his dad, a coal miner, the two of them spent as much time as possible camping by trout streams and hunting whitetail deer in the woods of West Virginia.

The “Trout Wrangler” episode of “Fly Rod Chronicles” will air on the Outdoor Channel at 11 AM Tuesday, January 01; Noon Friday, January 04; and 6:30 PM Saturday, January 05. All times are Eastern.  A repeat broadcast of the episode will air on the same days in the same time slots approximately eight weeks later.  Please check your local listings and cable channels. The upcoming season of “Fly Rod Chronicles” also will shoot at several other locations around West Virginia including the Cranberry, Potomac and Greenbrier rivers.

To learn more about Fly Rod Chronicles visit . To find out more about West Virginia State Parks click

Please visit the West Virginia Division of Tourism online at or call 1.800.225.5982 for a free copy of the 2013 West Virginia Official State Guide.

Sutton: West Virginia Couple Fights To Keep Braxton Theater Open

The Gilmer Free Press

A national move away from 35-milimeter films is putting a Braxton County theater in jeopardy.

Chuck and Jane Murphy bought the Elk Theatre in 2007 to keep it from closing, and now they’re fighting to keep it open.

The Elk Theatre was built in the 1930s.

It relies on 35-milimeter prints of films like those that have been used for nearly a century.

But in 2013, production companies will begin to rely solely on digital copies of first-run movies.

If the couple cannot raise the $30,000 to $40,000 to buy a new projector by the end of 2013, they will have to close the Elk Theatre.

That means residents of Braxton County will have to drive more than 30 miles to a movie theater.

To donate, visit

Movies This Week - 01.03.13

The Gilmer Free Press

Texas Chainsaw (2013)

Opens Friday, January 04, 2013 | Runtime: 1 hr. 32 min.

R - Strong grisly violence and language throughout

Decades ago, residents of Newt, Texas, long suspected that the Sawyer family was responsible for the disappearances of many people. When their suspicions finally were confirmed, vigilantes torched the Sawyer compound and killed every member of the family—or so they thought. Much later, a young woman named Heather (Alexandra Daddario) learns that she has inherited Texas property from an unknown relative, and she is unaware of horrors that await in the mansion’s dank cellar.

Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Bill Moseley

Director: John Luessenhop

Genres: Horror


The Gilmer Free Press

The Impossible

Open Friday, January 04, 2013 | Runtime: 1 hr. 43 min.

PG-13 - Intense Realistic Disaster Seq, Disturbing Injury Images and Brief Nudity

Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons begin their winter vacation in Thailand, looking forward to a few days in tropical paradise. But on the morning of December 26th, as the family relaxes around the pool after their Christmas festivities the night before, a terrifying roar rises up from the center of the earth. As Maria freezes in fear, a huge wall of black water races across the hotel grounds toward her. Based on a true story, THE IMPOSSIBLE is the unforgettable account of a family caught, with tens of thousands of strangers, in the mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time. But the true-life terror is tempered by the unexpected displays of compassion, courage and simple kindness that Maria and her family encounter during the darkest hours of their lives. Both epic and intimate, devastating and uplifting, THE IMPOSSIBLE is a journey to the core of the human heart.

Cast: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast, Marta Etura, Sönke Möhring, Geraldine Chaplin, Ploy Jindachot, Jomjai Sae-limh “Maew”, Johan Sundberg, Jan Sundberg

Director: Juan Antonio Bayona

Genres: Drama


The Gilmer Free Press

Promised Land

Opened Friday, January 04, 2013 | Runtime: 1 hr. 46 min.

R – Language

Corporate sales partners Steve Butler (Matt Damon) and Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) arrive in a small town to secure drilling rights for a natural-gas company. They believe that the economic decline has done their work for them and that the townspeople will happily accept whatever offer they make. However, they don’t consider the objections of a respected schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook) and the leader (John Krasinski) of a grassroots campaign against the company’s objective.

Cast: Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand, Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook

Director: Gus Van Sant

Genres: Drama



The Gilmer Free Press

A Dark Truth

Opens Friday, January 04, 2013 | Runtime: 1 hr. 28 min.

R - Disturbing Images and Violence

In A Dark Truth, Garcia plays an ex-CIA op-turned political talk show host. He’s hired by a corporate whistle blower to expose her company’s cover-up of a massacre in a South American village. The film draws attention to man’s inhumanity and unconscious actions against the environment and questions if there is a moral and ethical obligation when talking about boundaries, borders and human interaction. With the ever-increasing depletion of earth’s natural resource of water serving as the backdrop, a multi-national corporation disregards basic human needs that result in widespread illness and a people’s uprising. The distress causes unlikely allies to conspire and seek redemption for past deeds and the greater good.

Cast: Andy Garcia, Deborah Kara Unger, Eva Longoria, Forest Whitaker, Kim Coates

Director: Damian Lee

Genres: Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller

Artifacts Help Pinpoint Key Hatfield-Mccoy Battle

The Hatfield clan New Year’s attack on Randolph McCoy’s cabin marked a turning point in America’s most famous feud — the homestead was set ablaze, and two McCoys were gunned down. Hatfield family members and supporters were soon thrown in jail.

Artifacts recently unearthed appear to pinpoint the location of the 1888 ambush in the woods of Pike County in eastern Kentucky. Excavators found bullets believed to have been fired by the McCoys in self-defense, along with fragments of windows and ceramic from the family’s cabin.

“This is one of the most famous conflicts in American history, and we’ve got bullets fired from one of the key battles. It doesn’t get any better than that,“ said Bill Richardson, a West Virginia University extension professor who was part of the recent discovery.

For tons of historical photographs, stories and behind the scene photos from the shooting of the Hatfields and McCoys miniseries and documentary, click the Hatfields and McCoys link in our Special Sections list to the right.

The Gilmer Free Press


The property is owned by Bob Scott, a Hatfield descendant who has suspected for years that the hilly land was the site of the brutal attack. He grew up listening to stories from his parents and grandparents about the 19th-century feud.

“My father told me years ago that someday this well would talk,“ Scott said, referring to the well on the site where Randolph McCoy’s daughter Alafair died while trying to flee the attackers.

Now backed by the discovery, Scott plans to capitalize on the historic 70-acre site near the West Virginia line. The options include a housing development featuring horseback and ATV trails, he said.

Scott’s home is about 75 yards from where the cabin stood. The McCoys moved to nearby Pikeville after the homestead was burned.

The artifacts were found last year during filming of a National Geographic Channel show.

The bullets were discovered burrowed several inches into a hillside overlooking where the McCoy cabin stood, Richardson said. Three different calibers of bullets, including shotgun pellets, were uncovered.

The ammunition, found in an area about 30 feet wide, was traced to the same time period as the 1888 battle, Richardson said.

“The front of the cabin faces almost directly at the spot where these bullets were,“ Richardson said. “We know from the oral histories that they were shooting out the front of the cabin and from the upper windows. So they’re exactly in the spot where they should be.“

Also found during the initial search was a piece of charred wood with a nail traced to the McCoy cabin’s time period, he said.

Later, an archaeological team led by Kim McBride, co-director of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, confirmed the location of the McCoy cabin. They found tiny pieces of window glass and ceramics traced to the same period, along with more nails and charred wood.

She would like to return to the site for more excavation work, which could take three to five weeks.

There were other clues connecting the property to the McCoys. The deed to the property was traced back to Randolph McCoy, she said.

“It was kind of a coming together of all the pieces of evidence,“ McBride said.

The discoveries come amid a surge of interest in the feud that spanned much of the last half of the 19th century. The fighting claimed at least a dozen lives by 1888 and catapulted both families into the American vernacular, becoming shorthand to describe bitter rivalries.

The History Channel aired a three-night miniseries about the feud that set basic cable viewing records. The drama starred Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton as the patriarchs — William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield in West Virginia and Randolph “Ole Ran’l” McCoy in Kentucky.

The New Year’s attack was one of the bloodiest episodes in the feud.

“It was a turning point,“ Richardson said. “The feud had lasted 23 years up until this battle. And then 20 days later it’s virtually over.“

Now, descendants of both families live peacefully among each other in the Appalachian region. And officials in both states see the potential to reap a financial windfall because of the public’s fascination.

Attendance was up last June at a three-day Hatfield and McCoy festival held in Matewan and Williamson in West Virginia and in Pike County in Kentucky. The event featured tours, re-enactments, book signings, arts and crafts, and a marathon run. Descendants showed their allegiance by wearing ribbons — red for Hatfields, blue for McCoys.

Many believe the feud was rooted in the Civil War, but the bitterness was perpetuated by disputes over timber rights and even a pig.

Historical markers describe other pivotal events in the feud, including the spot where three McCoys — all sons of Randolph McCoy — were tied to pawpaw trees and shot to death by an unofficial posse organized by Devil Anse Hatfield. He was avenging the death of his brother Elliston at the hands of the McCoys.

Scott counts descendants from both families as friends.

“It’s very unique to stand here on New Year’s Eve and realize what happened,“ he said. “It’s sad that that occurred, but that was a way of life.“

Although the artifacts were uncovered a few months ago, the discoveries weren’t announced until Monday.

The new National Geographic Channel series, called “Diggers,“ premieres Tuesday.

The episode detailing the McCoy homestead discovery airs on January 29, 2013.

Movies This Week - 12.27.12

The Gilmer Free Press

Les Miserables (2012)

Opened December 25, 2012 | Runtime: 2 hrs. 38 min.

PG-13 - Suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption—a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter

Director: Tom Hooper

Genres: Drama, Music/Performing Arts



The Gilmer Free Press

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Opened December 14, 2012 | Runtime: 2 hrs. 49 min.

PG-13 - Extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) lives a simple life with his fellow hobbits in the shire, until the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) arrives and convinces him to join a group of dwarves on a quest to reclaim the kingdom of Erebor. The journey takes Bilbo on a path through treacherous lands swarming with orcs, goblins and other dangers, not the least of which is an encounter with Gollum and a simple gold ring that is tied to the fate of Middle Earth in ways Bilbo cannot even fathom.

Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis, Sylvester McCoy, Barry Humphries, Jeffrey Thomas, Mike Mizrahi

Director: Peter Jackson

Genres: Action/Adventure



The Gilmer Free Press

Django Unchained

Opened December 25, 2012 | Runtime:2 hrs. 21 min.

R - Strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity.

Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles - dead or alive. Success leads Schultz to free Django, though the two men choose not to go their separate ways. Instead, Schultz seeks out the South’s most wanted criminals with Django by his side. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago. Django and Schultz’s search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of “Candyland,“ an infamous plantation where slaves are groomed to battle each other for sport.

Cast: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama



The Gilmer Free Press

Parental Guidance

Opened December 25, 2012 | Runtime: 1 hr. 44 min.

PG - some rude humor.

Artie and Diane Decker are called in by their daughter to help care for their three grandkids. When their old school methods of parenting collide with their grandchildren’s’ new school and hyper-scheduled way of life, the once-orderly household spins out of control, and Artie and Diane must employ some unexpected tactics, including a new parenting style for themselves, to help teach their grandkids how to actually act like kids.

Cast: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott, Bailee Madison

Director: Andy Fickman

Genres: Comedy

Burnsville: Catching Bass in Buck Season

Fog shrouded the ramp as the Ranger boat gently slipped off the trailer and into chilly waters of Burnsville Lake.

“Water temperature is 41-degrees,“ said Andy Godwin. “Usually it’s not that cold.“

Usually you don’t have a blizzard in October in central West Virginia, but 2012 has been an odd year.

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Dress warm, the mornings start a bit nippy if you’re fishing in the late fall.

Andy and his brother Mark Godwin are well known in the state’s bass fishing circles.  They grew up with Burnsville Lake and cut their teeth fishing when it was nothing more than a series of streams rolling through the farm fields of Braxton County.

A UTV with two blaze orange clad hunters sped by on the road running alongside the marina.  It was the day before Thanksgiving and the third day of the buck hunting season in West Virginia.

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Andy Godwin of Burnsville lifts a nice largemouth from
Burnsville Lake in the middle of buck season.

“We should have the lake all to ourselves today,“ laughed Andy. “This is when we catch the big ones.“

The Godwin’s will tell you when the lake is down and everybody is deer hunting, big bass will bite.

“The situation today was actually the water was warming up instead of cooling off.  We got the snow and it cooled the water into the high 30’s,“ said Mark. “We started off today at 41 degrees and warmed up to 48.  Normally you’ll start at 48 and warm into the high 50’s.”

Andy meticulously worked his jig through a field of standing timber.  He carefully flipped each piece of timber repeatedly, letting the jig drop, and then carefully lifted his pole looking for any signs of resistance.

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Mark Godwin of Flatwoods shows the good fishing doesn’t stop when the weather turns chilly.

“This time of year they’ll lie under a stump and you almost have to drop it on their head.  They’ll grab it and just sit there,“ said Andy. “It takes a while to learn how to know they’ve got it and set the hook.  A lot of times people will get a bite and never realize it because it’s so light.“

“I like to use a Jewel flipping jig with one of their signature trailers,“ said Mark. “It gets a nice slow fall.  You don’t want anything too erratic or too fast, these fish are still kind of lethargic.  They don’t want to chase down anything.“

The stumps were easy to see with the lake drawn down for winter, but even in shallow water, the Godwin’s managed to wrestle a few in the five-pound range from their dormant lair as distant gunshots could be heard in the surrounding Burnsville Wildlife Management Area.

The Gilmer Free Press
Most boaters are using their craft as a shuttle to a tree-stand
rather than a fishing hole in late November at Burnsville.

A boat slowly rolled by, the occupants clad in blaze orange and across the water another boat was tied up to shore.

“Everybody’s hunting but I love to come out here on Thanksgiving,“ said Andy. “I’ve busted the ice on the water and caught good fish in 38-degree water.“

The big ones are still biting, long after most West Virginia anglers have traded the flipping stick for bang stick.

~~  Chris Lawrence ~~

New Issue of West Virginia Edge Magazine Features State’s Diverse Economy

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A new edition of the award-winning West Virginia Edge is available in print and online.

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The Newtown School Tragedy: More than One Gunman?

The Gilmer Free Press

Sandy Hook’s Disappearing Shooter Suspects

It is now beyond question that the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. all involved patsies, additional gunman and perhaps most importantly, mass media complicity to achieve their political ends. Along these lines and in a fashion now characteristic of how such public executions are framed, the observations and analyses of citizen journalists and alternative media suggest how coverage of the Newtown Connecticut school shooting was substantially altered in the several hours and days following the event.

After the 1995 Murrah Federal Building bombing central elements that would help the citizenry make sense of the event, such as unexploded ordnance found in the structure and Timothy McVeigh’s accomplice, were stricken from the official narrative. Along these lines at the probable behest of government authorities a second gunman accompanying Jared Lee Loughner in 2011 was quickly tossed down the memory hole by news outlets covering the incident. Similar reportorial lapses took place at the Aurora Colorado massacre last July where eyewitnesses attested to spotting James Holmes’ collaborators (or handlers) inside the theater.

When the news media act as willing partners in such acts the public becomes an unwitting accessory in its own psychic imprisonment, lulled into the notion that fair play still exists and public servants remain are intent on service.

“One of the most important red flags of a staged shooting is a second gunman,” health science and investigative writer Mike Adams observes,

indicating the shooting was coordinated and planned. There are often mind control elements at work in many of these shootings … James Holmes, for example, was a graduate student actually working on mind control technologies funded by the U.S. government. There were also chemical mind control elements linked to Jared Lee Loughner.[1]

Emerging Contradictions

Several independent researchers and most recently reporter Rob Dew have over the past few days pointed to evidence strongly suggesting how two additional Sandy Hook shooting suspects were apprehended by police in the minutes following 9:35AM when officers were dispatched to the elementary school.[2]

Recordings of the 911 dispatcher and first responders to the campus all but wholly corroborate initial reports of at least two persons attempting to flee from the scene, with audio evidence of law enforcement officers actually encountering the suspected assailants at around 9:40AM. Excerpts were replayed on Fox News the evening of December 14.

Dispatcher: All units: The individual that I have on the phone is continuing to hear what he believes to be gunfire.
Dispatcher: All units are responding to Sandy Hook School at this time. The shooting appears to have stopped. It is silent at this time. The school is in lockdown.
Dispatcher: I have reports that the teacher saw two shadows running past the building, past the gym, which would be rear ([inaudible] … to the shooting.
Officer: Yeah. We’ve got him … [Voice quickening] They’re coming at me [inaudible] … down the left side.[3]

In the above encounter one suspect is apparently detained by police outside the school and subsequently referenced in an Associated Press interview with a Sandy Hook student who briefly sees the detained man while being evacuated from the school building.

Unidentified student: And then the police like were knocking on the door, and they’re like, “We’re evacuating people! We’re evacuating people!” So we ran out. There’s police about at every door. They’re leading us, “Down this way. Down this way. Quick! Quick! Come on!” Then we ran down to the firehouse. There’s a man pinned down to the ground with handcuffs on. And we thought that was the victim [sic]. We really didn’t get a good glance at him because there was a car blocking it. Plus we were running really quick.[4]

Accompanying aerial footage depicts officers pursuing another suspected shooter in a wooded area outside the aforementioned gym and behind school grounds. They apprehend him and he is seen prone and surrounded by police before being escorted in front of students’ parents to a squad car, an episode recounted by one anonymous bystander interviewed on a local CBS affiliate.

Unidentified Witness: They did walk a guy out of the woods. I saw them walk a guy out earlier with handcuffs. He walked by us and said he didn’t do it.
Reporter: It was a grown man?
Witness: A grown man. Yeah, he’s sittin’ in the front of the police car over there now. So, I mean—
Reporter: He didn’t have a gun?
Witness: No, I didn’t see any gun. [They] just had him handcuffed and he walked by us and looked into the parents eyes and said, “I didn’t do it.”
Reporter: How was he dressed?
Witness: Ah, camo pants with a dark jacket.[5]

Sandy Hook Official Narrative

Such information was carefully expurgated from the official narrative presented by corporate media within hours of the massacre, a storyline Americans are painfully familiar with. Here the 20 year-old Adam Lanza is depicted front and center as the chief culprit of the killing spree. Predictably there is not the slightest reference of additional suspects in ABC News’ representative “timeline” example below.

Reporter Don Harris: 9:40AM: Reports of gunfire at Sandy Hook Elementary
Police Dispatch: “Sandy Hook School. Caller is indicating that she thinks someone is shooting in the building.”
Harris: Police say 20 year old Adam Lanza, seen here as a teenager, wore a bulletproof vest and was carrying at least three semi-automatic weapons, including a rifle.
Alexis Wasik, 8 year old: “Everybody was a little scared crying and I felt, actually, a little sick.”
Harris: Within five to ten minutes the first SWAT teams arrived.
Police Officer: “I need units in the school. I got bodies here.”
Harris: Officers helped to lead several hundred students to a nearby fire station.
[By this time Connecticut law enforcement had apprehended the additional two shootings suspects.]
Ben Paley [student]: “When the policemen came in to get us he told us to close our eyes and—like on the picture on the news—do this [demonstrates hands-on-shoulder position with other child] and run.”
Harris: At 10:30AM President Obama was briefed on the situation while police discovered a second crime scene. The shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza, who authorities believed may have worked at Sandy Hook at some point, was found dead. Police say Adam Lanza shot her before he stormed the school.[6]

Empowering Myths and Media Manipulation

As the lessons of 9/11 impart, when public knowledge of such horrific events is so woefully deficient the nation’s recollections become the fodder for empowering myths dangerously removed from reality. Devoid of information and effective means for political expression the masses are cajoled to exercise faith and hope in empty promises and an system providing the semblance of empathy, hope and change. Under such circumstances violent calamity, appropriately propagandized by mass media, often provides ample public distraction for decisive political maneuvering.

Journalists capable of exercising a modest degree of autonomy and personal insight would have clearly recognized such leads, thereby extending them to a more rigorous examination of law enforcement spokespersons and the broader Newtown community. Instead, the news media once again wholly abdicated any such responsibility to serve the public by unquestioningly parroting official pronouncements and carefully instructing their audiences on exactly how to interpret the event.

“The anchors are the priests at the funeral before the funeral happens,” journalist Jon Rappoport notes. “They set the stage. They convey to the public the meaning and atmosphere and essence of the whole event. And having done that, there is simply no room for anything that would intrude on this sepulchral mood.”[7]

Behind the meticulously crafted façade a deep vagueness and sorrow remains that cannot be wholly explained away by the made-for-television storyline of an awkward and lagging young man who inexplicably murders his mother, destroys his computer hard drive, gains access to a supposedly high security facility and proficiently executes 26 individuals within minutes. Yet only in an age of almost universal deceit is the public asked to accept such without further inquiry and comment. All the while amidst mass grieving political leaders and public figures showboat their legislative priorities. It is difficult to imagine a more profound marker of an utterly decrepit politics and civil society than the shallow and unquestioning media that churns out a monochromatic worldview while giving adherents the insidious impression of being informed.


[1] Mike Adams,Newtown School Shooting Already Being Changed by the Media to Eliminate Eyewitness Reports of a Second Shooter,” Natural News, December 16, 2012.

[2] Rob Dew, “Evidence of 2nd and 3rd Shooter at Sandy Hook,” Infowars Nightly News, December 18, 2012, A more detailed yet less polished analysis was developed by citizen journalist Idahopicker,Sandy Hook Elem: 3 Shooters,” December 16, 2012.

[3] Fox News, “911 Call Dispatch Audio Reveals Police Response to Sandy Hook School Shooting,” December 14, 2012,

[4] Associated Press [difficulties with url below], “Raw: Student Describes Scene at School Shooting,” December 14, 2012,

[5] CBS News, “Sandy Hook Elem: Two or More Shooters,” December 14, 2012,

[6] ABC News, “Newtown Connecticut Shooting: Timeline of Events at Sandy Hook Elementary,” December 15, 2012,

[7] Jon Rappoport,Lanza, Bloomberg, Obama, Guns, Psychiatric Meds, and Mass Hypnosis: The TV Script,”, December 15, 2012.

~~  Professor James F. Tracy ~~


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