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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.

GSC Theater Group Members Performing “Robin Hood” - 02.20.13 - 02.22.13 - Starts Tonight

Rehearsals are underway for the Glenville State College Theatre production ‘Robin Hood.’ The play will run Wednesday, February 20, 2013 through Friday, February 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM each night in the GSC Administration Building Presidents Auditorium.

The Gilmer Free Press


•  The lead role of Robin Hood will be played by Shane Lehman, a junior English major from Fostoria, Ohio.

•  Freshman biology major Vincent Nolte from Buckhannon (Upshur County), West Virginia will play Will Scarlet.

•  Friar Tuck will be played by freshmen music education major Travis Pierson of Milton (Cabell County), West Virginia.

•  Logan Carpenter, a sophomore elementary education major from Hacker Valley (Webster County), West Virginia will play Much Miller.

•  The role of Little John will be filled by Brandon Nelson, a junior computer and information systems major from Glenville (Gilmer County), West Virginia.

•  Marion will be played by GSC 2011 graduate and Hidden Promise Scholar Consortium Coordinator Whitney Stalnaker of Glenville (Gilmer County) West Virginia.

•  Samantha Wolford, a junior mathematics education major from Buckhannon (Upshur County), West Virginia, will play the role of Gwendolyn.

•  Cecily will be played by Jamie Stanley, a junior psychology major from Point Pleasant (Mason County), West Virginia.

•  Junior natural resource management Brittany Ferguson of Glenville (Gilmer County), West Virginia will portray Alice.

•  Kayla Jarvis, a freshman elementary education and early education major from Buckhannon (Upshur County), West Virginia, will play Gillian.

•  Traci Kelley, a freshman criminal justice major from Buckhannon (Upshur County), West Virginia will perform as both Mathilda and Mrs. Aristocrat.

•  The role of Peter will be played by Patrick Montgomery, a theater volunteer from Sand Fork (Gilmer County), West Virginia.

•  Robert Hensley, a general studies freshman from Dundalk, Maryland, will play the role of both William Makepeace and Mr. Aristocrat.

•  Jonathan and Jenny Summers will be played by Sebastian and Isabel Morris, theater volunteers and children of GSC Assistant Professor of Biology and Department Chair Dr. Gary Morris who is also in the production. All three are residents of Glenville (Gilmer County), West Virginia.

•  Dr. Morris plays the role of Robert Summers and the Bishop of York.

•  Prince John will be played by Elderied McKinney, a senior management major from West Bloomfield, Michigan.

•  The Sheriff of Nottingham will be played by Eric W. Jones of Weston (Lewis County), West Virginia, a freshman management major.

•  Jace Parker, a sophomore English education major from Weston (Lewis County), West Virginia will play the role of Bad Friar.


GSC Professor of Communications Dennis Wemm said, “The play will be presented in two formats. A longer version will take place in the evenings that will include the entire show and be geared toward college students and community members. A shorter free version will also take place for elementary school students during the daytime.”

Wemm says the story is about one of the greatest characters of English folk legend. It has been made into endless legends, story collections, plays, movies, ballets and operas. The performance is recommended for ages 13 to adult.

General admission is $3.00, and GSC students with IDs get in for free.

For more information, contact Wemm at “Dennis.Wemm@glenville.edu” or call 304.462.6323.

G-Comm™: Western Flicks and the Academy Awards: The Values We Live and Die By

The Gilmer Free Press

“If you’re not loyal to your fellow man, you’re an animal.”—Pike, The Wild Bunch

“America doesn’t have many myths. The one myth we have is the Western.”—film director John Carpenter


As long as there are movies, there will be Westerns. A love letter to a time in America when heroes loomed large and men (and women) lived and died by a strict code of ethics, the Western genre never seems to wear out its welcome, re-appearing in the box office in one form or another every few years. Sometimes it’s a remake of a classic, as was the case with the Coen brothers’ 2010 nod to True Grit. Sometimes it’s a comic send-up to the best of the Wild West, as offered up by Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles or the animated Rango. And then there are the movies that disguise themselves as sci-fi or horror but are Westerns at heart, such as the Star Wars epics and many of the films of John Carpenter, an avowed fan of the Western whose influence can be seen in everything from his The Thing to Vampires.

Clearly, the Western is here to stay. Even this year’s crop of Oscar nominees includes a Western, Django Unchained directed by Quentin Tarantino. Unlike Django, however, some of the best Westerns to hit the big screen were passed over by the Academy Awards. So as a tribute to the classic Western, the ones that stay with you long after the credits have faded and tell a tale that, at the end of the day, resonates because it speaks to the things most people care about at a visceral level—family, honor, truth, values, loyalty—here are ten of my favorite Western classics:


My Darling Clementine (1946).

Recounting the events leading up to and including the gunfight at the OK Corral, this is one of the best Westerns ever made. Directed by the legendary John Ford and with Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp, the film has plenty of true grit and old-fashioned values. Great cast, including Victor Mature and Walter Brennan. No Academy Awards.


Red River (1948).

This classic Howard Hawks film is an epic that focuses on a grueling cattle drive which foments a battle of wills between father (John Wayne) and son (Montgomery Clift). A great film and cast, including Walter Brennan. Wayne should have won the Oscar for best actor hands down. No Academy Awards.


Shane (1953).

A retired gunfighter (Alan Ladd) helps a homestead family. Considered by some to be the best Western ever made, Ladd’s performance was Oscar worthy (he wasn’t even nominated). Great supporting cast, including Jack Palance and Van Heflin. Remade by Clint Eastwood in 1985 as Pale Rider. One Oscar for cinematography.


The Searchers (1956).

Another great John Ford film starring John Wayne as a hard-driving man who pursues his niece who has been kidnapped by the Indians. A much-imitated film and remade in various forms such as Paul Schrader’s Hardcore (1979). Another great performance by John Wayne, with Jeffrey Hunter strong in support. No Academy Awards.

Rio Bravo (1959).

This revered and much-imitated Howard Hawks film centers on a sheriff (John Wayne) who takes a murderer into custody and faces a siege of the jail by a powerful cattle baron. Great acting, especially by Walter Brennan. A fine moment in the film is the duet by Ricky Nelson and Dean Martin. A favorite of Quentin Tarantino and remade in different forms over the years, most notably by John Carpenter in 1976 with Assault on Precinct 13. No Academy Awards.


The Magnificent Seven (1960).

This epic Western is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s classic The Seven Samurai (1954). Mexican villagers hire gunmen to protect them from bandits who ravage their homes. Most of the actors, who at the time were unknown, became film legends—Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Charles Bronson. This film is replete with interesting characters, including Coburn as a knife-wielding cowboy. No Academy Awards.


The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).

A tough cowboy (John Wayne) and an idealistic lawyer (James Stewart) join forces to battle a vicious outlaw (Lee Marvin) and his gang. At heart a love story, this is the last great Western by John Ford. Strong on values and sacrifice. Oscar-worthy performance by Lee Marvin. No Academy Awards.


The Professionals (1966).

This precursor to The Wild Bunch is an action-packed ride. Four mercenaries are hired by a cattle baron to rescue his young wife from Mexican kidnappers. An amazing cast of Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Jack Palance and Robert Ryan, but Woody Strode steals many scenes as a bow-and-arrow-wielding sharpshooter. No Academy Awards.


The Wild Bunch (1969).

One of the most influential films ever made. A group of aging outlaws, being true to their code, take on a Mexican gang that greatly outnumbers them in order to save a comrade. Highly influential and much-analyzed film that helped open the door to realistic violence in movies. Another great cast, including William Holden, Ernest Borgnine and Warren Oates, among others. This assured director Sam Peckinpah a place in film history. Remade by Walter Hill in 1980 as The Long Riders. No Aca demy Awards.


Open Range (2003).

Kevin Costner, as director and actor, revives the glory of the classic Western. Two cowboys peacefully graze their cattle on the open range until they run up against a land-grabbing cattle baron. Old-fashioned values and a love for the Western genre make this the best modern adaptation of Western genre. Fine cast, including Robert Duvall and Annette Bening. No Academy Awards.


“There’s things that gnaw at a man worse than dying,” declares Costner’s character, Charley Waite, in Open Range. And really, that’s what the Western is all about: knowing what’s worth living and dying for, and then taking your stand. Certainly in our day and age of few heroes, and even fewer individuals who would sacrifice it all rather than forfeit their values or their freedoms, and where those who do take a stand (whether it be for principle, honor, freedom or the right to hold onto one’s property) are rarely commended, the Western is a powerful reminder that once we were such a people. Time alone will tell if we can ever regain that intrepid, indomitable, heroic spirit that conquered the Wild West and has become the stuff of legends.

G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Marple’s Meritless Suit

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It didn’t take long for Jorea Marple to lawyer up after being fired from her job as state Superintendent of Schools.

Marple filed suit last Friday against the state Board of Education, claiming the Board violated her rights when they let her go.  She demands a full hearing on her dismissal, as well as damages.

Marple’s legal team has thrown the kitchen sink in the suit, claiming Marple has “suffered the loss of a life-time reputation, sustained extreme mental anguish and suffering, and has been impaired in her ability to enjoy life.”

One of Marple’s attorneys, Tim Barber, told Metronews that Marple’s firing is “completely and absolutely at odds with every piece of jurisprudence there is.”

Actually, it’s not.

Marple was an at-will employee, meaning she could be terminated at any time without cause.

There’s plenty of case history supporting the doctrine of will-and-pleasure employees.  Just last year, the West Virginia Supreme Court upheld the firing of long-time Division of Culture and History Archives and History Director Fred Armstrong.

The court said, “an at-will employee… may be terminated at any time, without reason, unless the termination violates some substantial public policy.”

Marple’s attorneys argue over and over in their filing that Marple was denied “due process.”  That’s a favorite catch-all when lawyers don’t have much else to argue.  In this case, if the Board did not dot all the i’s and cross the t’s, it could take up the matter yet again, but the results would be the same.

At-will employees are not entitled to a job.  The doctrine was formed in the 19th century so that employers and employees could define their particular relationship and part company at any time.  The very idea of will-and-pleasure was to avoid the kind of caterwauling that is going on now in the Marple case.

But this is, after all, West Virginia, where seemingly the status quo must be protected at all costs.  Perhaps the very reason the Marple case is getting some public traction is because the state rarely fires anyone.

In the real world, at-will employees are fired all the time. Often, it’s simply a matter of a top manager and a governing board having differing opinions about how business should be done.

That doesn’t mean anyone is wrong or evil; it may be simply different philosophies.

Meanwhile, Governor Tomblin has proposed significant reforms in public education, many that were culled from an independent audit of the school system and have been embraced by the Board.  The Legislature will soon begin debate on these critical measures designed to give our children a better education.

The state is moving on.  Marple should too.

Glenville State College Bluegrass Band Performs Nationally and Close to Home

The Glenville State College Bluegrass Band has been on the road a lot in the past several months and plans to do the throughout this new year. Band members made appearances at numerous festivals and toured memorable locations that are all part of bluegrass history.

The band traveled to Nashville, Tennessee last summer and visited the famous Ryman Auditorium, former site of the Grand Ole Opry. While in Tennessee, GSC Bluegrass Band members stayed at the home of classic country music star Tom T. Hall and his wife Miss Dixie. They began work on recording their first CD in Hall’s studio with the assistance of GSC alumna Rebekha Long, who was the first graduate of the GSC Bluegrass Music Degree Program. The CD was released on October 23, 2012 at the annual GSC Bluegrass Concert during homecoming week and is now available for sale at the campus bookstore.

The Gilmer Free Press
GSC Bluegrass band members Ryan Spangenberg, Brittany McGuire, Richie Jones,
Toni Doman, Laiken Boyd, and Megan Darby at the historic Ryman Auditorium


The bluegrass band members also performed at last year’s Memorial Day celebration in Burnsville, West Virginia (Braxton County) letting them give back to a local community.

Ryan Spangenberg, a GSC senior bluegrass music major from Madison, Ohio, toured with the band last year. “Touring with the bluegrass band has been a very good opportunity for me because it demonstrates real life scenarios like those facing a professional touring band. We learned how to properly organize every aspect of a tour including transportation and budgeting living expenses for a group of musicians. I must say, overall, touring with the GSC Bluegrass Band has been a very enlightening experience,” said Spangenberg.

GSC Bluegrass Degree Program Director Megan Darby attended the Bill Monroe Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival in Bean Blossom, Indiana last summer and spoke to attendees about the GSC Bluegrass Program. In honor of the program she was given the Bill Monroe Bean Blossom Wall of Fame board by Gary Hibbs. The board, which is over eight feet long and double-sided, was auctioned off for nearly $500 and has been signed by bluegrass legends like Earl Scruggs, Jack Cook, and Jesse McReynolds. The board is now proudly displayed in the GSC Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

The Gilmer Free Press
Toni Doman recording for the bluegrass band’s album


On another 2012 venture, the bluegrass band took a trip to ROMP: Bluegrass Roots and Branches Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky. That festival is hosted by the International Bluegrass Music Museum and features renowned performers such as Vince Gill and the Lonesome River Band. As a result, a partnership offering internship positions to bluegrass students at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky is in the works and may begin as early as this summer.

Most recently, some of the band members played holiday tunes in the Grand Hall for guests staying at the Stonewall Resort (Lewis County, West Virginia). The band performed on February 7th at the Pioneer Grille restaurant in Glenville, West Virginia (Gilmer County) and will continue to perform on the first Thursday of every month through May.

The Gilmer Free Press
Bluegrass band members Brittany McGuire, Ryan Spangenberg, Laiken Boyd,
Richie Jones, Toni Doman, Robbie Mann, Jordan Young


“These performances in West Virginia and other states give the band members real life hands-on experience of what they are learning about in the classroom. The appearances also helped us spread the word about the Glenville State College Bluegrass Band and that GSC is home to the world’s first bluegrass music degree program,“ said Megan Darby, GSC Bluegrass Degree Program Director. Darby continued, “Our band members are also planning a ‘Home Is Where the Heart Is’ tour, which involves a performance in the hometown of each band member. The students will be responsible for planning, setting up, arranging, and advertising the events in their hometowns. We hope to have the shows’ schedule prepared by early summer.”

For more information on upcoming performances or about GSC’s Bluegrass Music Degree Program, contact Darby at “Megan.Darby@glenville.edu” or by phone at 304.462.6347.

Glenville: Free Imagery and Clay Workshop - Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ceramic artist Jason Kiley will visit the Glenville State College Fine Arts Center on Thursday, February 21, 2013 to give a free presentation about his art.

Kiley is a ceramic artist who creates working pottery and sculptures. He is the Ceramic Technician at Marshall University in Huntington.

The Gilmer Free Press


The Imagery and Clay seminar will take place from 12:30 PM until 1:15 PM in the GSC Fine Arts Gallery.

It will be followed by a workshop and demonstration which will take place from 1:30 PM until 2:15 PM in Room FA 237.

During the artist talk, Kiley will talk about his influences in art and how he uses imagery in his work to create implied narratives. Following his talk, Kiley will go into the specifics on how he puts imagery into ceramic form during the workshop/demo.

“One common thread that runs through all the work that I create is an implied narrative.  Whether I am using two dimensional imagery or three dimensional forms, when viewed together, the imagery seems as if it tells a story.” said Kiley.

For more information on this event, contact GSC Assistant Professor of Art Liza Brenner at “Liza.Brenner@glenville.edu” or 304.462.6346.

Perform Criminal Background Checks at Your Peril

The Gilmer Free Press

A federal policy intended to help minorities is likely to have the opposite effect.

Should it be a federal crime for businesses to refuse to hire ex-convicts? Yes, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which recently released 20,000 convoluted words of regulatory “guidance” to direct businesses to hire more felons and other ex-offenders.

In the late 1970s, the EEOC began stretching Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to sue businesses for practically any hiring practice that adversely affected minorities. In 1989, the agency sued Carolina Freight Carrier Corp. of Hollywood, Fla., for refusing to hire as a truck driver a Hispanic man who had multiple arrests and had served 18 months in prison for larceny. The EEOC argued that the only legitimate qualification for the job was the ability to operate a tractor trailer.

U.S. District Judge Jose Alejandro Gonzalez Jr., in ruling against the agency, said: “EEOC’s position that minorities should be held to lower standards is an insult to millions of honest Hispanics. Obviously a rule refusing honest employment to convicted applicants is going to have a disparate impact upon thieves.“

The EEOC ignored that judicial thrashing and pressed on. Last April, the agency unveiled its “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions,“ declaring that “criminal record exclusions have a disparate impact based on race and national origin.“

Though blacks make up only 13% of the U.S. population, more blacks were arrested nationwide for robbery, murder and manslaughter in 2009 than whites, according to the FBI. The imprisonment rate for black men “was nearly 7 times higher than White men and almost 3 times higher than Hispanic men,“ notes the EEOC. These statistical disparities inspired the EEOC to rewrite the corporate hiring handbook to level the playing field between “protected groups” and the rest of the workforce.

Most businesses perform criminal background checks on job applicants, but the EEOC guidance frowns on such checks and creates new legal tripwires that could spark federal lawsuits. One EEOC commissioner who opposed the new policy, Constance Barker, warned in April that “the only real impact the new Guidance will have will be to scare business owners from ever conducting criminal background checks. . . . The Guidance tells them that they are taking a tremendous risk if they do.”

If a background check discloses a criminal offense, the EEOC expects a company to do an intricate “individualized assessment” that will somehow prove that it has a “business necessity” not to hire the ex-offender (or that his offense disqualifies him for a specific job). Former EEOC General Counsel Donald Livingston, in testimony in December to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, warned that employers could be considered guilty of “race discrimination if they choose law abiding applicants over applicants with criminal convictions” unless they conduct a comprehensive analysis of the ex-offender’s recent life history.

It is difficult to overstate the EEOC’s zealotry on this issue. The agency is demanding that one of Mr. Livingston’s clients—the Freeman Companies, a convention and corporate events planner— pay compensation to rejected job applicants who lied about their criminal records.

The biggest bombshell in the new guidelines is that businesses complying with state or local laws that require employee background checks can still be targeted for EEOC lawsuits. This is a key issue in a case the EEOC commenced in 2010 against G4S Secure Solutions after the company refused to hire a twice-convicted Pennsylvania thief as a security guard.

G4S provides guards for nuclear power plants, chemical plants, government buildings and other sensitive sites, and it is prohibited by state law from hiring people with felony convictions as security officers. But, as G4S counsel Julie Payne testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights this past December, the EEOC insists “that state and local laws are pre-empted by Title VII” and is pressuring the company “to defend the use of background checks in every hiring decision we have made over a period of decades.“

The EEOC’s new regime leaves businesses in a Catch-22. As Todd McCracken of the National Small Business Association recently warned: “State and federal courts will allow potentially devastating tort lawsuits against businesses that hire felons who commit crimes at the workplace or in customers’ homes. Yet the EEOC is threatening to launch lawsuits if they do not hire those same felons.“

At the same time that the EEOC is practically rewriting the law to add “criminal offender” to the list of protected groups under civil-rights statutes, the agency refuses to disclose whether it uses criminal background checks for its own hiring. When EEOC Assistant Legal Counsel Carol Miaskoff was challenged on this point in a recent federal case in Maryland, the agency insisted that revealing its hiring policies would violate the “governmental deliberative process privilege.“

The EEOC is confident that its guidance will boost minority hiring, but studies published in the University of Chicago Legal Forum and the Journal of Law and Economics have found that businesses are much less likely to hire minority applicants when background checks are banned. As the majority of black and Hispanic job applicants have clean legal records, the new EEOC mandate may harm the very groups it purports to help.

Naturally, the EEOC will have no liability for any workplace trouble that results from its new hiring policy. But Americans can treat ex-offenders humanely without giving them legal advantages over similar individuals without criminal records. The EEOC’s new regulatory regime is likely to chill hiring across the board and decrease opportunities for minority applicants.

~~  James Bovard – WSJ ~~

GSC Theater Group Members Performing “Robin Hood” - 02.20.13 - 02.22.13 -This Week

Rehearsals are underway for the Glenville State College Theatre production ‘Robin Hood.’ The play will run Wednesday, February 20, 2013 through Friday, February 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM each night in the GSC Administration Building Presidents Auditorium.

The Gilmer Free Press


•  The lead role of Robin Hood will be played by Shane Lehman, a junior English major from Fostoria, Ohio.

•  Freshman biology major Vincent Nolte from Buckhannon (Upshur County), West Virginia will play Will Scarlet.

•  Friar Tuck will be played by freshmen music education major Travis Pierson of Milton (Cabell County), West Virginia.

•  Logan Carpenter, a sophomore elementary education major from Hacker Valley (Webster County), West Virginia will play Much Miller.

•  The role of Little John will be filled by Brandon Nelson, a junior computer and information systems major from Glenville (Gilmer County), West Virginia.

•  Marion will be played by GSC 2011 graduate and Hidden Promise Scholar Consortium Coordinator Whitney Stalnaker of Glenville (Gilmer County) West Virginia.

•  Samantha Wolford, a junior mathematics education major from Buckhannon (Upshur County), West Virginia, will play the role of Gwendolyn.

•  Cecily will be played by Jamie Stanley, a junior psychology major from Point Pleasant (Mason County), West Virginia.

•  Junior natural resource management Brittany Ferguson of Glenville (Gilmer County), West Virginia will portray Alice.

•  Kayla Jarvis, a freshman elementary education and early education major from Buckhannon (Upshur County), West Virginia, will play Gillian.

•  Traci Kelley, a freshman criminal justice major from Buckhannon (Upshur County), West Virginia will perform as both Mathilda and Mrs. Aristocrat.

•  The role of Peter will be played by Patrick Montgomery, a theater volunteer from Sand Fork (Gilmer County), West Virginia.

•  Robert Hensley, a general studies freshman from Dundalk, Maryland, will play the role of both William Makepeace and Mr. Aristocrat.

•  Jonathan and Jenny Summers will be played by Sebastian and Isabel Morris, theater volunteers and children of GSC Assistant Professor of Biology and Department Chair Dr. Gary Morris who is also in the production. All three are residents of Glenville (Gilmer County), West Virginia.

•  Dr. Morris plays the role of Robert Summers and the Bishop of York.

•  Prince John will be played by Elderied McKinney, a senior management major from West Bloomfield, Michigan.

•  The Sheriff of Nottingham will be played by Eric W. Jones of Weston (Lewis County), West Virginia, a freshman management major.

•  Jace Parker, a sophomore English education major from Weston (Lewis County), West Virginia will play the role of Bad Friar.


GSC Professor of Communications Dennis Wemm said, “The play will be presented in two formats. A longer version will take place in the evenings that will include the entire show and be geared toward college students and community members. A shorter free version will also take place for elementary school students during the daytime.”

Wemm says the story is about one of the greatest characters of English folk legend. It has been made into endless legends, story collections, plays, movies, ballets and operas. The performance is recommended for ages 13 to adult.

General admission is $3.00, and GSC students with IDs get in for free.

For more information, contact Wemm at “Dennis.Wemm@glenville.edu” or call 304.462.6323.

Empowering Parents to Help Children Read Like Rock Stars

The Gilmer Free Press

You do not have to be a certified educator to help your child read like a rock star. In fact, it might even be easier to pull it off if you are not an educator.

Why? Because the classroom can be a stressful, evaluative reading environment for children, and struggling readers can feel even more pressure when they know they will be tested.

There is, however, a way to help your child relax, read, and actually comprehend what is being read at home.
Parents who come to me feeling intimidated and daunted by the task of helping their children with reading comprehension often walk away feeling a great sense of relief by the time I am done talking.

Why? Because I suggest a shockingly simple initial starting point for parents:


DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TEACHING READING. JUST READ

If you just read with your child and have normal conversations from time to time, without ever interrupting or interfering with the natural reading process, and without asking question after question, both you and your child will realize how easy, rewarding, and beneficial this process actually is.


Here are some basic steps to make that happen:


EMPATHIZE WITH YOUR CHILD’S STRUGGLE WHILE PROVIDING SOME BASIC GUIDANCE BEFORE OPENING THE BOOK

Reading is not easy. Even adults find themselves “reading,“ with eyes following along the lines of text, flipping page after page while the minutes pass, only to realize they have no idea what happened on the pages they were supposedly reading. I call this the passive eye shift. Our fingers and eyes are moving, but either our brains are off in La La Land or we are too busy visualizing something we read earlier in the book to actually focus on the text we’re trying to read. This is completely normal. Everyone experiences it. I want you to talk about these little blips with your children. Let them know that not only do lots of kids experience these struggles when reading, but adults do as well.

Your child does not need to feel like a failure, but chances are, if he or she is failing those reading comprehension questions at school, that ship has already sailed. You can reverse course by empathizing with your child’s struggle, and providing some guidance before you open the book in the first place.


IMPLEMENT A HANDS-OFF PLAN OF ACTION FOR DEALING WITH CHALLENGING WORDS.

There is no point constantly correcting a child or explaining things while he or she is reading. It is extremely distracting. Adults do not like to be interrupted while reading, so what makes us think kids are cool with it? And we wonder why kids cannot answer comprehension questions after we have interrupted them 386 times while reading the passage in the first place.

Start by making sure your child plays a major role in choosing an engaging book to read with you. If your child thinks the book is too challenging or boring, do not argue about it; just let him or her choose a new book. Then, let your child know that when encountering a really tough word, he or she should just say “blank” instead of trying to say the tricky word, and you will deal with the pronunciation and definition together later. Once the child has finished the chapter or is at a good stopping point in the story, you two can start sounding out the word and using context clues or the dictionary or internet to figure out its meaning.


LET YOUR CHILD KNOW THAT IT IMPRESSES YOU WHEN HE OR SHE VOLUNTARILY REREADS A PARTICULAR SECTION.

There are plenty of times when kids (and adults) need to reread a sentence, paragraph, or in my case, an entire chapter, if we engage in the passive eye shift or the section is boring or challenging. A tremendous amount of our comprehension comes not from our initial reading of a passage, but from the times we have to reread sections that we believed were important but that we didn’t quite focus on hard enough.

Teachers often have to force kids to reread; kids tend not to do it voluntarily. If you let your child know that voluntary rereading impresses you and you express joy when they do so, you will see wild growth in their comprehension skills. The fact is that kids want to impress the adults in their lives. It is just downright unfair that the primary way kids think they can impress adults is through great performance on tests. Make it easier for your child to impress you. Show your excitement during little victories (like small improvements, a smoothly-read sentence, or voluntary rereading), but do not go overboard. Compliments should be just enough to reinforce the action to the child, but not so much that the child thinks the only reason to perform the action is for the reward or parental excitement that follows.

Struggling readers need instruction, empathy, and engaging reading materials. You can provide a safe, assessment-free reading environment at home. The laid-back, hands-off, empathetic approach in this article will ensure that your child starts to feel some success with reading, a fundamental step in boosting comprehension and nurturing great readers.

~~  Kumar Sathy - An educator and author of “Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man: A National Test Prep Adventure,“ winner of the 2010 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award.  ~~

See www.KumarSathy.com.

G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - GOP Gains Advantage in Straight Ticket Voting

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A Republican strategist working on the 2014 election, who asked that his name not be used, has forwarded me a county-by-county list of straight ticket voting by party from the 2012 General Election.

The list includes 52 of the 55 counties. Summers County is still out, as are Braxton and Wyoming, which use paper ballots and do not count straight ticket ballots.

Still for the 52 that have checked in, the numbers show 87,323 Republican straight ticket ballots compared with 82,539 Democrat.  3,765 voted straight ticket either Mountain Party or Libertarian.  So Republicans held a 50.3% to 47.5% advantage in straight ticket voting in 2012 in those counties.

What’s perhaps more interesting is the number of counties that switched from having a majority of Democratic straight ticket voters to Republican.

According to the figures I’ve seen, 26 of the 53 reporting counties had a higher%age of straight ticket Republican voters.  In 2010, only 16 of those 53 counties had more Republican straight ticket ballots.

Twelve counties (Barbour, Greenbrier, Marshall, Mercer, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pleasants, Raleigh, Roane, Taylor, Tucker and Wirt) flipped from D to R on straight ticket ballots.  One county, Jefferson, went the other way.

One of the most notable switches was Raleigh County.  In 2010, 53% of the straight ticket ballots were Democrat and 46% Republican, but in the last election 57% were Republican and 42% we Democrat.

Republicans are also buoyed by some of the other figures.

For example, Harrison County, a traditional Democratic stronghold, still held an advantage in straight ticket voting in 2012 (50.7% to 46.8%), but the gap was significantly narrower than just two years before (58.5% to 40.2%).

In Mercer County, there appears to have been a stunning shift.  In 2010, straight ticket votes were evenly split with a slight advantage going to the Democrats (49.8% to 48.3%).  But in 2012, the Republican Party received 60% of the straight ticket votes.

These numbers should worry down ballot Democratic candidates, who have benefited substantially over the years from a significant registration advantage and a strong vote getter at the top of the ticket.

Consider for example, that in the 2006 General Election, with Senator Robert Byrd on the ballot, Democrats collected 105,000 straight ticket votes, compared with just 50,000 for the Republicans.

Now, the number of straight ticket votes is essentially a split between the two parties with a slight edge going to the Republicans, even though Democrats continue to hold a 52% to 29% advantage in registration.

As a general rule, Democratic candidates in West Virginia still begin with a distinct advantage.  However, Republicans, who historically have faced mountainous obstacles, are now finding the challenge is more of a manageable hill.

G-otcha™: Second “Buckwild” Cast Member Arrested

Imprisonment Status:  Misdemeanor
Full Name: Burford,  Michael Douglas
Height: 6’  3"
Weight: 240 lbs.
Birth Date: 03.22.1991
Gender: Male
Booking Date: 02.15.2013
Facility: South Central Regional Jail
Imprisonment Status: Misdemeanor

Offender Court Order Information

Booking ID Issuing Agency Location
999169812 Kanawha County - Bail: $0.00

 

A second cast member of the popular MTV show “Buckwild” is arrested in a week’s time.

Michael Douglas Burford was arrested Thursday night on a charge of aggravated DUI.

He is free on bond after he was booked at the South Central Regional Jail.

Burford, known on the show as “Bluefoot” is the second member of the cast to be arrested this week.

Last Sunday 24-year old Salwa Amin was arrested on charges of possession with intent to distribute heroin and oxycodone in Nicholas County.

Amin was released on bond from the Central Regional Jail in Flatwoods.

On Friday, she took to her Twitter page to address the situation.

“I appreciate all my supporters and those that weren’t quick to jump to judgment throughout this difficult time,” Amin wrote.  ”Don’t believe everything you see and read PERIOD. Full story in details will be out soon.”

A Minute with Jay: Protecting Our Libraries

G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Router-Gate

image

The mismanagement of the multi-million dollar purchase of Internet routers from Cisco by the state of West Virginia has struck a chord under the state Capitol Dome.

Everyone wants to talk, either publicly or privately, about just how bad this deal was and how much money was squandered. Most conversations end with a lot of head shaking and the question, “how could this happen?”

That’s not just a hindsighted lament.  Surely at some point in 2010 during the purchase of 1,164 high-powered Internet routers for $24 million in federal stimulus money, somebody would have questioned the legitimacy of the deal.

Lt. Colonel Mike Todorovich, a member of the Grant Implementation Team that oversaw the project, told the Legislative Auditor, “Those making the decisions on how to spend the money did not consult with individuals with technical knowledge on the best methods to utilize the funds.”

That’s a polite way of labeling what was either incompetence, or worse, a willful disregard for best business practices and the waste of millions of dollars of taxpayer money.

The audit concludes that Cisco up-sold the state and the state Office of Technology and the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program Grant Implementation Team whiffed on a decision that could have been made by anyone who bothered to read the recommendations in Cisco’s own literature.

The deal came when Senator Joe Manchin was Governor.  Manchin, who is not mentioned in the audit, defended the purchases in a statement emailed to me.

“The routers were a long-term investment for West Virginia,” Manchin said.  “We were planning for future growth and wanted to be able to educate our children, create jobs, grow our economy and keep our communities safe well into the 21st century.”

But the audit concluded the high-end routers that have been installed in or are planned for schools, libraries and State Police barracks, wildly exceeded future needs in most cases.  The tiny Marmet Public Library with its lone Internet connection will never need a $22,600 router that could handle a medium-sized business.

The heat is now coming down on the current Tomblin Administration, which has so far also defended the router deal.  It’s hard to imagine why, unless the current Governor fears the wrath of the former Governor if he calls out this pig in a poke.

Still, here’s what Governor Tomblin should do:

–Accept the the audit’s findings as proof that the router deal was botched and pledge to get to the bottom of it.

–Find out who signed off on the router purchase and, if he or she still works for the state, fire them.

–Tell Cisco that if it wants to continue doing business with the state the company will revisit the contract, take back the unused routers and refund the state (or the federal government, since it was federal stimulus money).

–Introduce legislation to prevent the kind of no-bid contract that led to the fiasco.

–Turn over the audit’s findings to the Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office to determine if any laws were broken.

Just last Wednesday, Governor Tomblin recognized “Digital Learning Day” to emphasize the effective use of technology in the classroom.  Router-gate shows that state government could use some lessons of its own.

GSC Music Department Receives New Guitars

Thanks to a grant from the Fender Music Foundation, the Glenville State College Department of Fine Arts now has more instruments to enhance musical enrichment for students, faculty, staff, and members of the community.

GSC Director of Bluegrass Music Megan Darby (GSC ‘11) has been awarded a grant from the Fender Music Foundation that has provided nine new Fender acoustic guitars to the GSC Music Department.

Darby wrote the grant as a project for a grant writing class she is taking at Marshall University where she is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Instructional Technology. Her goal was to find a grant that she could write that would have a positive impact on the GSC Bluegrass program. The grant from the Fender Music Foundation was a perfect match and has provided well over $3,000 worth of guitars to GSC.

The Gilmer Free Press
GSC Bluegrass Music Program Director Megan Darby (left),
GSC junior Music major Sara Rollins of Smithville (Ritchie County), WV,
and GSC Associate Professor of Music John McKinney
show off some of the new guitars.


“With tight budgets across the board-the special grant from the Fender Guitar Company has guaranteed to give excellent quality and support to the students at Glenville State College. In addition, it offers staff and faculty the opportunity to teach not only our music students but others outside of the college too. It’s exciting and motivating that such a well-respected guitar company is supporting our unique bluegrass degree, college as a whole, and the community around us,“ said Darby.

The Fender Music Foundation, founded in 2005, is a music charity funded by people who want to change the state of music education, believe music is an integral part of society, and want to make music more accessible to everyone. Grants are awarded to programs that are in need of funds, ongoing, sustainable, and give more people the opportunity to make music.

The grant has provided GSC with: six full-bodied guitars with strings, stands, tuners, picks, and cases as well as one twelve-string guitar, one dobro, and one left-handed acoustic guitar.

The instruments will be used by GSC students within the music department and for guitar lessons for the general student population, and members of the community.

“We are very appreciative of the hard work and efforts of Megan Darby to seek out this grant and to have it awarded to our department. These instruments will be a major resource for our bluegrass musicians and for our methods classes. These instruments will help in the process of some much needed curriculum changes and education improvements at GSC,“ said GSC Assistant Professor of Music and Fine Arts Department Chair Lloyd Bone.

Darby’s grant from the Fender Music Foundation has the potential to be renewed for the 2013-2014 academic year which would provide other stringed instruments to GSC.

To learn more about the GSC Bluegrass Program or Music Department, visit www.glenville.edu or call 304.462.6340.

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