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Lewis County Man Wants Ethics Panel to Reconsider Complaint

The Gilmer Free Press

The WV Record Reports:

A Lewis County businessman says a state ethics panel did not take seriously his complaint against two Tucker County judicial officers.

In a letter dated Oct.ober11, 2012, Jerry L. Burkhammer asked the state Judicial Investigation Commission to reconsider its decision to dismiss his complaint against Magistrate Carol Irons and Judge Philip B. Jordan, Jr. In his letter, Burkhammer, 71 and a Weston salvage dealer, said the grounds on which JIC, the arm of the state Supreme Court that investigates judicial misconduct, used to dismiss it is proof that “the Commission didn’t even bother to read my complaint.”

Nearly two years ago Burkhammer filed his complaint against Irons and Jordan alleging they failed to recuse themselves from hearing criminal charges that were brought against him in 2007 for violation of a court order and attempt to commit conspiracy. Their prior actions and statements, Burkhammer said, created a conflict of interest.

In his complaint, Burkhammer alleged Irons’ conflict was created when she, while in her term as sheriff, served as a bailiff during some of the abuse and neglect hearings involving his daughter, Lindsay Brooke. Following an allegation leveled by Lindsay’s mother, Sheryl L. Conner-Kines, in 2002 that Burkhammer molested Lindsay, Jordan determined Burkhammer was an unfit parent and terminated his parental rights.

Eventually, Jordan ordered Burkhammer to have no contact with Lindsay and not enter Tucker County until she turns 18 years old in 2014.

Also, Burkhammer said in his complaint that sometime after her election as magistrate, and prior to his arrest, he confided to Irons how he felt he was being unfairly treated by the Tucker County judicial system. This included Jordan referring to him as pedophile during one of the abuse and neglect hearings despite his lack of a conviction or arrest on any related charges.

In his complaint, Burkhammer said neither Irons, when his case came to trial in July 2008, nor Jordan, when he appealed his conviction on the violation charge a few weeks later to circuit court, had any business presiding over his case. A motion his court-appointed attorney Dwight Hall made for Jordan to recuse himself from hearing the appeal was denied, Burkhammer said.

At trial, Burkhammer was acquitted on the conspiracy charge.

A collateral complaint Burkhammer filed with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the arm of the Court that investigates attorney misconduct, against Chad Cissel, the attorney appointed to file his appeal to the Court, remains open.

On March 14, 2011, JIC dismissed Burkhammer’s complaint after it could find “no substantiated evidence” that either Irons or Jordan violated the Code of Judicial Conduct. In concluding the letter, Hancock Circuit Judge Ronald Wilson, JIC’s chairman, said that Burkhammer’s allegations “deal with legal matters or rulings made a judicial officer” which do “not rise to the level of an ethics violation.”

However, Wilson said “[t]here may be avenues for appeal available to the litigants in such situations.”

Irons’ and Jordan’s rulings, Burkhammer says in his letter, are not the issue. Instead, it was the fact they made them in spite of having the appearance of a conflict of interest.

As further evidence that JIC did not read his complaint, Burkhammer says it used virtually the same language in it as it did in the one dismissing a prior complaint he filed against Jordan in 2008 for calling him a pedophile. That included the final line informing him about “avenues for appeal.”

The Court denied Burkhammer’s appeal in February 2009, three weeks after he was released from a six-month jail sentence.

As of presstime, JIC had yet to respond to Burkhammer’s letter.

~~  Lawrence Smith - WV Record  ~~

Letter Gap: Log Cabin Crafts Christmas Open House 2012 - 11.24.12




The Gilmer Free Press

A ONE of Kind Craft Shop featuring Country, Primitive and Unique Home Decor Items.

Handmade Dolls * Angels * Patchwork Items * Arrangements with Electric and/or Battery operated candles * Barn Stars * Tobacco Lathe Stars and Ladders * Snowmen * Wreaths * and So Much More.


The Gilmer Free Press

CLOSED SUNDAY Feel free to call before traveling long distances

Annual Christmas Open House Will be on Saturday November 24, 2012, from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM.

The Gilmer Free Press

Marshall Student Column on Plane Crash Draws Ire

The Gilmer Free Press

A student journalist’s column suggesting that an annual remembrance of the 1970 Marshall plane crash has become “devoid of meaning” and that the university needs to move on has drawn hundreds of angry responses.

Student Henry Culvyhouse wrote the column in Thursday’s edition of Marshall’s school paper, the Parthenon. The headline of the online story reads: “Time heals all wounds.“

The November 14, 1970, crash killed 75 people, including 36 football players. A remembrance was held Wednesday at the university.

“I watched yesterday’s ceremony solemnly, reflecting on how such a tragedy must have felt to the community,“ Culvyhouse wrote. “However, I wondered how long must a community be reminded of a tragedy. Forty-two years have passed since these young athletes died; why must we continue to be reminded? Or to put it more precisely, why must this display of pageantry continue?“

Two members of the Parthenon staff who lost relatives in the crash wrote a joint column published Friday backing Marshall’s annual remembrance and referring to Culvyhouse’s comments as inappropriate.

Also among those critical of the column was Randy Burnside, a former sports information director at Marshall.

“The crash does not define Marshall,“ said Burnside’s online response. “Marshall’s response to the crash is what defines Marshall. You have missed the entire point.“

Media outlets report Culvyhouse also was criticized during an appearance Thursday on Huntington radio station WRVC-FM.

In the article, Culvyhouse said the column was directed at Marshall students, not alumni or the Huntington community. On the radio show, he said he could have chosen his words better.

“I actually used a hammer when I should’ve used a scalpel,“ he said. “I thought I was using a scalpel. It was a complete and utter failure in precision on my part.“

Newspaper faculty adviser Sandy York said the decision to run the article belonged to the students.

G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - School Board Gets Serious about Reform


The state Board of Education’s firing of Superintendent Jorea Marple is an important signal; public education reformers are now in charge of the board and they are not satisfied with the status quo.

West Virginia’s school system is mired in top-heavy bureaucracy and student underachievement.  Students rank below the national average in 21 of 24 categories measured by the National Assessment of Education Progress, while the state ranks 8th in education spending relative to income.

A highly-publicized independent audit released earlier this year pronounced West Virginia’s education system as “one of the most highly regulated systems in the country—if not the most—with many details of school operations spelled out in code.”

It’s likely the audit was Marple’s undoing.  Those dissatisfied with Marple believe she was more interested in protecting the existing condition of the Department of Education than taking seriously the recommendations of the audit.

State school superintendents are used to getting their way.  The state board, which operates without a staff, often served as a rubber stamp for whatever the department wanted to do.

But the makeup of the board—and thus the thinking—has changed.  Board President Wade Linger is a strong-willed advocate for reform.  He and Marple frequently butted heads behind the scenes as he tried to craft a response to the audit.

I suspect if Marple had been willing to embrace change, like other progressive school systems across the country, she would still have a job.

Marple had her supporters on the board.  In fact, Jenny Phillips and Priscilla Haden resigned the board in protest after Marple was fired.  Interestingly, that makes it easier for the reformers, since Governor Tomblin can now appoint two more board members who are willing to tackle the monumental task of fixing the school system.

There will be some public hand-wringing over Marple’s dismissal, which is predictable since state government rarely fires anyone.  In the private sector top managers get fired all the time and usually a company is better off for it.

I suspect the top-heavy bureaucracy that Marple sought to protect will somehow muddle along.  After all, the status quo has a strong survival instinct.

The real significance is that the state Board of Education is beginning to flex its long-atrophied muscles.  The next logical step is a meaningfully response by the board to the audit that includes ways the state can provide a thorough and efficient school system, as required by the state Constitution.

That should come sooner rather than later.  And if Marple’s firing is an indication, that blueprint for our public schools will have real substance, rather than the much-practiced Lake Wobegon fiction that typically comes out of the public education hierarchy.

GSC Employee Publishes Second Book on Natural Remedies

A Glenville State College employee has published his second book on the study of medicinal plants, trees, and shrubs in Appalachia.

Bill Church wrote Medicinal Plants, Trees, and Shrubs of Appalachia. It is a follow-up to his 2006 publication A Field Guide: Medicinal Plants, Trees, and Shrubs of Appalachia. This new edition covers one-hundred and five different medicinal plants with color photos and descriptions. Each description includes measurements, properties, harvesting information, and usage.

The Gilmer Free Press

“I originally wrote this book to help me identify plants in the field, woods, and along streams for medicine. My hope is that whoever purchases this book will learn that all weeds are not weeds and that some medicine can come from your own back yard,“ said Church.

Church has studied herbal medicine since 1999 and is a certified West Virginia Master Naturalist and a Certified Herbalist. He has also trained with world renowned tracker Tom Brown in tracking and wilderness survival. He is the Co-Coordinator for the Gilmer County Master Naturalist Association and has taught classes on herbal medicine.

Church received a Computer Science degree from Glenville State College in 1989 and has worked at his alma mater since then in the Information Technology Department as a Local Area Network Specialist.

He is a native of Craigsville, West Virginia (Nicholas County) and now resides in Normantown, West Virginia (Gilmer County).

You can purchase Church’s first book at

His second edition is available for sale at as well as in E-book form.

Kanawha County Court Case to Appear on TruTV

The Gilmer Free Press

A Kanawha County case is being featured on the television program “In Session,” which airs on the TruTV cable channel.

The case involves Charleston man Ethan Chic-Colbert, who was alleged to have caused the death of an 11-year-old boy who ran into traffic to seek help while Colbert was beating his mom.

Colbert, age 22, was sentenced August 15, 2012 to between six and 30 years in prison after being convicted in July of domestic battery, child neglect resulting in death and three counts of gross child neglect creating a serious risk of bodily harm or death.

The incident occurred on Interstate 77.

Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Duke Bloom presided over the trial.

The show will air from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

~~  John O’Brien -  WV Record ~~

Letter Gap: Log Cabin Crafts Open Weekdays and Saturday




The Gilmer Free Press

A ONE of Kind Craft Shop featuring Country, Primitive and Unique Home Decor Items.

Handmade Dolls * Angels * Patchwork Items * Arrangements with Electric and/or Battery operated candles * Barn Stars * Tobacco Lathe Stars and Ladders * Snowmen * Wreaths * and So Much More.


CLOSED SUNDAY Feel free to call before traveling long distances

Annual Christmas Open House Will be on Saturday November 24, 2012, from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM.

Upcoming Movies - 11.16.12

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

Opens Friday, November 16, 2012 | Runtime: 1 hr. 56 min.

PG-13 - Sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity

Bella (Kristen Stewart) awakes—as a vampire—from her life-threatening labor, and her newborn daughter, Renesmee, proves to be very special indeed. While Bella adjusts to her new state of being, Renesmee experiences accelerated growth. When the Volturi learn of the baby’s existence, they declare her to be an abomination and sentence the Cullens to death. Bella, Edward (Robert Pattinson) and the rest of the clan seek help from allies around the world to protect their family.

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed

Director: Bill Condon

Genres: Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy


Opened November 16, 2012 | Runtime: 2 hrs. 29 min.

PG-13 - Intense Scene of War Violence, Brief Strong Language and Some Images of Carnage

Steven Spielberg directs two-time Academy Award® winner Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln,“ a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office. In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Hal Holbrook

Director: Steven Spielberg

Genres: Drama

Gilmer County Schools Excess Levy Passes by the Slimmest of Margins

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County School Superintendent Ron Blankenship admits he was nervous during Tuesday’s vote canvassing with the school system’s excess levy clinging to a seven vote renewal margin.

Blankenship was relieved five hours later when the canvass was over and the excess levy had picked up five votes and ended up being adopted by 12 votes.

“I can’t overestimate high critical the excess levy is in the operation of schools here in Gilmer County,“ Blankenship told MetroNews after the canvass was over. “It covers everything from free textbooks to extra-curricular activities.“

The excess levy provides a little less than $1 million a year for the system. Blankenship says he really doesn’t know why the vote was so close in the first place.

“Economic times aren’t good obviously,“ he said. “There could be a lot of reasons. No one has stepped forward to give any specific reasons for why they voted for it or against it.“

Blankenship says he’s thankful to the voters of Gilmer County for renewing the excess levy.

The final count was 1,171 in favor of the levy and 1,159 against it.

GSC Annual Jazz Band Concert - November 14, 2012 - This Evening

The Gilmer Free Press

The annual Glenville State College Jazz Band Concert is scheduled for Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 7:00 PM in the Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

The set will feature familiar classics by the Average White Band, Count Basie Band, Glen Miller Orchestra, and many more.

“This is a very varied program with a little something for everybody! The concert will feature several student soloists; please join us,” said GSC Jazz Band Director Dr. David Lewis.

The concert is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the Fine Arts Department at 304.462.6340.

Gilmer County: Friends of Library Meeting - Friday - 11.16.12


The Friends of Gilmer Public Library will meet on Friday, November 16, 2012 at 10:00 AM at the library.

The agenda will include review of bylaws.

Gilmer Public Library Photo Contest 2012

The Gilmer Free Press

GSC Band Salutes Goff “Gink” Summers on Birthday

Last Wednesday evening, November 07, 2012, residents of Brooklyn Addition in Glenville, WV were treated to an unusual occurrence.

At about 7:15 PM, the sound of drums and a marching band could be heard in the neighborhood.

For some, the sight and sound of a marching band proceeding down Park Street to Hunter Street brought back memories of bygone years when the GSC band used to march to Rohrbough Field from the campus to perform at GSC football games.

The Gilmer Free Press

But it was a special performance for one of the neighborhood’s oldest citizens, “Gink” Summers, a retired pharmacist known by most in the community.

Summers’s next door neighbor happens to be Lloyd Bone, the director of the GSC Marching Band.

Those who know Mr. Summers, know he is in declining health and is not able to get out and about. So Bone coordinated a surprise with Summers’ wife Gloria for the band to come and perform for Summers on his 88th Birthday.

The Gilmer Free Press

To the delight of all, the band performed several songs for Summers as he sat on his porch for a time on his special day.

They also sang “Happy Birthday” for Summers, with several neighbors joining in.

For all, it was a memorable experience indicative of what is good about life in small town America.


The Gilmer Free Press

Vendors Sought for WVU Jackson’s Mill Craft Fair - 1207.12 - 12.08.12

The Gilmer Free Press

Winter Lights at WVU Jackson’s Mill near Weston has come to mean decorated buildings and grounds, hundreds of candles, and great food. This year the annual holiday celebration, scheduled for December 07 and 08, 2012, will expand to include a craft show as well as a second night of the popular buffet.

“We’ve been doing Winter Lights at WVU Jackson’s Mill for more than a decade,” said Dean Hardman, program specialist. “The event has had such great support over the years that it seemed only logical to expand it a little.”

“We’ve always done the candle lightings on two nights. Recently we’ve had requests to increase the buffet to two nights as well. As we looked at making that change, we thought adding a craft fair would give people another reason to come out to Jackson’s Mill.”

Vendors are currently being sought for the craft fair, which will be held on Saturday, December 08, 2012 from 10:00 AM until 8:00 PM. The cost is $20 per 6’ table. Table covers are not provided. Full payment is due at setup on Saturday morning. There is no percentage charged on sales, and there is no admission charge for the public.

To reserve space, contact Dean Hardman at 304.406.7012 or by email “” by December 01, 2012.

GSC Classical Piano Recital - November 12, 2012 - This Evening

Anita White, Glenville State College Adjunct Instructor of Piano and Department Accompanist, will be playing in a piano recital of classical hymns on Monday, November 12, 2012.

The annual event will begin at 7:00 PM in the GSC Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

The event is free to the public.

The Gilmer Free Press

“I have a passion for hymns in the style of the masters such as Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin. I have been blessed with a talent that I wish to pass on to others. Please join me for a wonderful hour of classical music,“ said White.

White earned her B.A. degree from the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music. She has many years of experience as a piano recitalist, organ recitalist, and a teacher of music theory, voice, piano, organ, and related subjects.

White has taught, directed, and been accompanist at numerous churches and public schools. The Gassaway, West Virginia (Braxton County) native has also been involved in the planning and performing of many community and church cantatas and oratorios.

For more information about the event, contact the GSC Department of Fine Arts at 304.462.6340.

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