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Major Broadband Investment in West Virginia

The Free Press WV

Governor Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia’s internet infrastructure is expanding through a collaboration with Facebook.

Facebook, through their subsidiary Middle Mile Infrastructure, is planning to build a high capacity fiber optic cable network crossing a portion of West Virginia as part of the company’s ongoing larger network infrastructure build stretching from Virginia to Ohio.

The State plans to maximize the benefit of this advanced internet infrastructure by using excess bandwidth on the fiber to expand connectivity into West Virginia communities. Governor Justice’s administration is committed to working with West Virginia’s congressional delegation and private partners to improve broadband connectivity in West Virginia. This project provides the foundation necessary for additional broadband infrastructure expansion.

“Broadband development is absolutely critical to moving West Virginia forward,” Governor Justice said. “An investment of this magnitude in our state is really big news and will help us continue to show the world how great West Virginia truly is.”

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito joined Governor Justice to announce the development.

“Making sure West Virginia has reliable, high-speed internet has been a priority of mine since I was first elected to Congress,” Senator Capito said. “Today’s announcement with Facebook is an important step toward ensuring our state has the critical infrastructure to support broadband deployment, and I know it will help so many in our state, especially the rural communities that are unserved. I’m excited for what a fully connected West Virginia can offer the rest of the country, as well as what it can do for the future of our state. Today’s announcement brings us another step closer to achieving that goal.”

The route will travel approximately 275 miles through West Virginia, starting at the western border, through the Kanawha Valley, then turn northwest to bring the fiber through the Appalachia region adding an important piece of fiber infrastructure to the Appalachia region.

Work is slated to begin in 2019 and is expected to take about 18 to 24 months to complete.

“Access to broadband internet drives economic growth and opportunity, but there are still too many unserved communities, including here in West Virginia. We see the need for long haul fiber as an opportunity to provide critical infrastructure where it did not previously exist. To that end, we’ve designed our project to attract potential local and regional providers to expand broadband internet access for the communities surrounding our builds,” said Kevin Salvadori, Director of Network Investments, Facebook.

The project will provide the opportunity to significantly enhance internet connectivity in West Virginia. The project builds upon West Virginia’s proximity between major internet exchanges and establishes the State as a preferred route for fiber backbone construction. With access to this internet infrastructure, broadband providers can expand middle-mile networks into communities along the route.

“We are very excited to expand West Virginia’s internet infrastructure through this partnership with Facebook,” Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch said. “I supported Governor Justice’s Roads to Prosperity initiative because good roads are crucial to our state’s economic success — and in today’s economy, internet infrastructure is every bit as important.”


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(2) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Broadband coming?  Think we heard this before?
How many times?  I’ve lost count.  You remember?

This will be like JimmyBoys “roads to prosperity” program?
Take the citizens money?  Give ‘em nothing.

Republicans. Democrats. All the same political bs from both.
Voters believe them.  Keep bringing back the old mules so they can give us a repeat performance.

By Just More Dog n Pony Show 4 U  on  03.04.2019

Roads are a mess.
Population continues the 50+ year decrease.

But for deep gas, no new employment.

Education system total failure.
Legislature impotent.

Grand finale in Charleston.
We have a brawl in the Capitol Building.

That out-of-control delegate needs to resign!

By WV continues the slow death  on  03.04.2019

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Justice Signs Bill Expanding Computer Science Education at West Virginia Schools

The Free Press WV

Governor Jim Justice held a ceremonial bill signing today for Senate Bill 267 at Cranberry-Prosperity Elementary School in Beckley, WV. The new law makes West Virginia the first state in the nation to require that students receive computer science education before graduating high school.

“I’ve said all along that we need to make education our centerpiece here in West Virginia,” Governor Justice said. “For a long time, our state was 50th in just about everything. That’s why I’m so proud that we’re the first state to make sure all of our students get a top-notch education in a subject as important as computer science. This will help us attract even more technology companies to our state and encourage our brightest young minds to build their careers right here at home.”

Signing SB 267 into law accomplishes one of the goals Governor Justice highlighted during his 2019 State of the State address. In that speech, he called for West Virginia to become the first state to offer computer science education in every school within the state. The bill passed unanimously in the Legislature.
West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine, emphasized the importance of such training for students.

“I commend Governor Justice for endorsing a bill to ensure all West Virginia students graduate with a knowledge of computer science,” Paine said. “We collectively recognize that computer science is fundamental for students’ success in future careers and receiving this instruction will assist them in the transition to industry credentialing and college degrees.”

The bill requires the State Board of Education to adopt a policy detailing the appropriate level of computer science instruction for students at each educational level. It also requires the Department of Education to develop and offer appropriate professional development opportunities to teachers providing computer science instruction.

Governor Justice’s support for this bill follows his education agenda in the Mountain State since he took office.

The ceremonial signing coincided with the state’s celebration of Digital Learning Day — a national event highlighting instructional technology and innovative teachers. Governor Justice presented a proclamation at the ceremony proclaiming today Digital Learning Day in West Virginia and classrooms across West Virginia participated in the annual celebration to illustrate best technology practices that enhance teaching and learning. Students statewide participated in a creative and diverse range of activities that highlight various technology tools, applications and teaching approaches used throughout West Virginia classrooms and around the country.

The Free Press WV

Will a new push for free wireless internet help rural students get online?

The Free Press WV

Both before and after classes at Panguitch High School, a low-slung brick building nestled in the high desert of southern Utah, students find their way to Shawn Caine’s classroom. They settle in at the computers where Caine teaches coding and software, such as Illustrator and Photoshop, or they head to the back room for the 3-D printer, vinyl cutter and robotics kits.

Some kids come to log extra time on class projects. Others show up just for the internet. Caine oversees the school’s Chromebooks. Her district of Garfield County has provided a computer to every student since 2016. And yet, reliable broadband is far from guaranteed in this region of towering plateaus, sagebrush valleys and steep canyons.

Like much of rural America, Garfield County is on the wrong side of the “homework gap” — a stubborn disparity in at-home broadband that hinders millions of students’ access to the array of online learning, collaboration and research tools that are enjoyed by their better-connected peers. Many of Garfield’s students trek to internet oases such as Caine’s classroom or one of the local businesses willing to host a district Wi-Fi router.

Going without isn’t an option. “All their work is on that computer,” said Caine, “and they need that access.”

That’s why district leaders are eager to pilot an ambitious, statewide broadband initiative. Utah’s schools are already hard-wired with high-speed internet through a statewide network. The new plan would extend that network into a wireless blanket of access covering rural households and the highways on which students spend hours busing to and from sports and other activities. The broadband expansion is supported by the managers of the existing network, and the plan’s backers could tap multiple statewide funding sources for education technology. But the pilot can’t get started without one critical ingredient they still lack — access to frequencies of electromagnetic spectrum.

Federal licenses to use spectrum that can carry mobile internet are a hot commodity, coveted by big telecommunications companies with money to spend at the periodic spectrum auctions conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). But the FCC is now poised to decide whether a treasure trove of currently untapped spectrum should be given away for free to Garfield County and other rural school districts — or sold to the highest bidder.

***

On a recent fall morning, Garfield County’s superintendent, Tracy Davis, was stuck behind an out-of-state car crawling up a two-lane highway flanked by red, rocky spires that reached into a cobalt-blue sky.

“Probably lost,” Davis grumbled. The tourists who flock to this part of Utah, to visit places like Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park, clog up the roads, and yet, Davis said, “they are the only money there is.”

Drought and low dairy prices have crippled the region’s family farms, and the minerals and coal hidden in the surrounding plateaus can’t be exploited due to federal land ownership and the undeniable remoteness of the place, so far from markets, power plants and processing facilities.

“As you can see,” Davis said, gesturing toward an expanse of scenery home to just one person per square mile, “We’re out in the middle of nowhere.”

The same issues hamper Garfield County’s access to a less tangible, but perhaps more valuable resource — the internet. In sparsely populated rural America, there’s little or no profit motive for commercial providers to invest in broadband service. According to an April 2018 Department of Education report, 18 percent of 5- to 17-year old students in “remote rural” districts have no broadband access at home, compared to 13 percent in cities and 7 percent in the suburbs. In total, the homework gap hits some 12 million school-aged kids nationwide, according to a 2017 congressional report, “America’s Digital Divide.”

And when pioneering districts try to build their own broadband networks to reach students beyond school walls, they must first navigate federal control of the electromagnetic spectrum that carries every wireless signal, from radio broadcasts to satellite communications. To avoid interference, licenses to use specific frequencies of spectrum are tied to geographic location. That’s why, for instance, the same preset button on your car radio will be news-talk in one city, classical music in another and static in between.

While several slices of spectrum can carry mobile internet, the most promising for rural school districts is the one the FCC first reserved for educational television broadcasts in the 1960s. Over three decades, the government gave away more than 2,000 spectrum licenses to school districts and education nonprofits, primarily in urban areas. But the FCC effectively stopped issuing such licenses in 1995, because many license holders weren’t using their spectrum, but were instead turning it into revenue by leasing it to commercial telecommunication companies.

Nobody made a big fuss about the licensing freeze until 2004, when the FCC expanded the allowable use of this frequency band to include broadband internet and renamed it Educational Broadband Service (EBS). Suddenly, this sleepy spectrum became extremely valuable. But the freeze on new licenses was kept in place, which left huge swaths of the country without any legal access to EBS frequencies, areas collectively known as EBS “whitespace.”

In recent years, pressure has built on the FCC to open up licensing in EBS whitespace — pressure both from big telecoms eager to fortify their nationwide wireless networks and from tech-savvy educators hoping to spread their schools’ internet into students’ homes.

Finally, in May 2018, the FCC suggested lifting the whitespace licensing moratorium, among several proposals to change EBS.

“Currently, a large portion of the [EBS] band in approximately half of the United States lies fallow. And it’s been that way for more than 20 years. This must change,” FCC chairman Ajit Pai wrote in a statement. “Today, we take the first step toward putting that asset to work.”

Broadly speaking, the proposals reflect an ongoing tension between the public-interest origins of EBS and the fact that the free market has been far more efficient at putting this spectrum to use. On the one hand, the changes would steer existing EBS licenses further toward the free market, by eliminating requirements that a sliver of leased spectrum still be used for education. On the other hand, the FCC would still give new EBS licenses free to educational institutions, including rural school districts such as Garfield County, within the current whitespace. (Native American tribes would also get preferential access to new licenses.)

Hundreds of people and organizations weighed in during the FCC’s first public comment period on the proposals, which closed in August. Submissions from school districts and education nonprofits largely supported keeping, or strengthening, the spectrum’s ties to education. Meanwhile, representatives of commercial wireless internet providers, and open-market advocates such as the nonprofit R Street Institute, pushed for full commercialization and urged the commissioners to auction off whitespace spectrum licenses.

After the FCC weighs the first batch of comments, it may allow a second period of public comment on a revised proposal. According to Steve Rovarino, president of Red Rover, a Reno-based broadband network design firm hired as a consultant to Utah’s bid for EBS spectrum, a final ruling was originally on track for the end of this year, but has been delayed indefinitely due to the pending T-Mobile merger with Sprint, the largest holder of leased EBS spectrum.

“There are rumors that a concession to push through the merger might be Sprint relinquishing some of that spectrum,” said Rovarino. Reached by email, an FCC spokesperson declined to comment about the merger’s potential impact on the EBS deliberations.

***

The godfather of Utah’s new educational broadband plan is Jason Eyre, who was the IT director for Garfield County Schools during their one-to-one Chromebook rollout.

“We branded it as expanding the classroom beyond the school,” said Eyre, who now works for Murray City Schools, just south of Salt Lake City. Knowing that some students had no broadband at home, Eyre convinced a few local businesses — a gas station in one town, a drugstore in another — to host a Wi-Fi router where kids could connect.

But the challenge went beyond students with no home internet whatsoever. Indeed, the vast majority of families had some form of home internet access, but their connection speeds were sometimes too slow to retrieve pages and documents from the school district’s heavily content-filtered system.

So, Eyre and Davis looked into creating their own broadband network to cover Garfield County. That led them to see the potential for a statewide solution. Key to that possibility was Utah’s existing broadband service connecting the state’s school buildings and hospitals. This wired network, known as the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN), is run by a public-private partnership of state agencies and commercial telecoms. By the summer of 2017, Eyre and his counterparts in other districts had persuaded UETN to back a wireless expansion of their broadband service statewide.

The idea was to mount transmitters on schools to blast broadband into surrounding communities, using UETN as the core and tapping state education-technology grants to defray the cost. Garfield would pilot the project, along with Millard County, another massive rural district. But before this effort could get underway, the districts needed spectrum licenses.

Last summer, UETN was among the groups that submitted comments to the FCC in support of the whitespace licensing of EBS spectrum. So was the Nebraska Department of Education, which has a statewide broadband plan similar to Utah’s, whereby an existing wired network in the school buildings would be broadcast wirelessly into surrounding rural communities.

“We know all too painfully well the extent of our homework gap for rural students here in Nebraska,” said Tom Rolfes, education IT manager for the Nebraska Information Technology Commission, one of the partners in the state’s broadband initiative. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of Nebraska’s districts have fewer than 500 students, and more than a third of the rural students have no broadband access at home, compared to just 9 percent of urban students, according to a recent state study.

In an email attached to Nebraska’s FCC comments, one mother whose only home internet is a smartphone hotspot with an expensive data plan wrote to the superintendent of her rural district about driving her daughter to the parking lot of a public library after hours so she could do her homework using the library Wi-Fi.

“[My daughter] was told, `Since you get to take the Chromebooks home, you have no excuse for not getting the vocabulary homework done,’ ” she wrote.

By 2017, Nebraska had wired every K-12 school building, along with 25 colleges and universities, with fiber-optic broadband. And, according to its FCC comments, the state owns or leases more than enough towers to blanket its rural areas with broadband, provided they get licenses for the necessary spectrum.

“We have this perfect alignment of stars. Not only is there a dramatic need, but we have extraordinary assets to throw at the problem,” Rolfes said. “But the premise of this is new licensing, with a more strategic approach, and if the FCC doesn’t grant that, then anything we’ve proposed will be moot.”

***

Back at Panguitch High School, a junior named Hagen Miller sat in the cluttered back annex of Shawn Caine’s classroom. As one of the tech-savvy students in the district’s “CyberCorps,” Miller was debugging and cleaning a few Chromebooks for recent transfer students.

Miller has decent home internet, but he knows friends and neighbors who don’t, and he also cites the hours he and other students spend without internet access on lengthy bus rides. Travel for any school athletic team in Garfield County can easily top an hour each way, and Miller competes in four sports — basketball, baseball, cross country and track. Every team covets the district’s only bus with a Wi-Fi router, even though internet service on “the Wi-Fi bus” cuts out for long stretches.

“If you have an assignment due the next day, you want the Wi-Fi bus, so you can get it done and don’t have to stress about going home and staying up all night to finish,” said Miller.

In the meantime, some teachers at Panguitch High School are moving more of their classroom work online with the learning management system Canvas.

“Given the expectations we now have for student access, it’s difficult for those students who don’t have good internet at home,” said the school’s principal, Russell Torgersen. He’s seen the students sitting in the school parking lot to tap the Wi-Fi on weekends, and he’s had many conversations with teachers about how to work around students’ spotty home connections.

For now, it’s a waiting game, as the FCC plods toward a decision on the fate of the EBS spectrum. Given the uncertainty, Eyre and his allies are looking at alternative paths to spectrum licenses, such as the lengthy and complex FCC waiver process successfully used to create a rural educational broadband network in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Even if the FCC ultimately decides to give new EBS spectrum licenses to rural school districts like Garfield County, it’s hard to say how much of the homework gap could then be eliminated. Current estimates of rural broadband don’t take into account the boundaries of EBS whitespace, nor the fact that a home broadband connection can be inadequate for a school network’s needs, according to digital-inclusion advocates such as Susan Bearden, chief innovation officer for the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), a professional association for school technology leaders.

What Bearden can say for sure is that “There’s no silver bullet” to solve unequal student broadband access. She favors giving rural districts EBS licenses, but not every district can build its own broadband network. And in many urban communities, broadband access is plentiful but unaffordable to families struggling to make ends meet.

Closing those gaps will depend on a variety of measures, from hot-spot lending programs at public libraries to nonprofit digital-inclusion efforts and districts buying mobile hotspots for students from companies such as Kajeet.

“I’d love to see the equivalent of the rural electrification program happening for broadband,” said Bearden, referring to the sweeping New Deal effort to bring electricity to America’s countryside. “But until that day happens, we’re kind of stuck with these patchwork solutions.”

NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson being honored in bronze

The Free Press WV

Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician whose calculations helped astronauts return to Earth, is being honored at her alma mater with a bronze statue and a scholarship in her name.

West Virginia State University says a dedication ceremony is planned for Aug. 25, the day before Johnson’s 100th birthday.

Long before the digital era, Johnson worked as a human “computer” at the agency that became NASA, working in relative obscurity as an African-American woman. Her contributions were later recognized in the “Hidden Figures” movie, with actress Taraji P. Henson playing her role.

West Virginia State hopes to endow the scholarship at $100,000, awarding money to students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math, targeting people who are underrepresented in those fields.

STEM Day for Young Women to be Held at GSC

The Free Press WV

On Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 Glenville State College will host two events about pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). On Friday, a panel discussion will be held featuring several successful female scientists that is open to all students, staff, faculty, and members of the community. Saturday will include a STEM workshop for high school girls, in grades 9-12, and will feature hands-on activities from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Both events are free of charge.

Columbia University Professor of Physics and Co-Director of the U-Tech Center Dr. Kim Shaw, Ohio University Environmental and Plant Biology Department Chair and Professor Dr. Morgan Vis, and NASA Engineering Trainee Emily Certain will be on hand for the Friday panel discussion. Dr. Maria Angeles Fernandez Gonzalez, Professor of Geology, from the University of Oviedo in Spain will participate with a recorded message.

On Saturday, participants will have time to meet, hear from, and engage in hands-on activities with successful female scientists. Lunch, t-shirts, and door prizes will be provided to those who attend, as well as ‘daycare’ for parents while children attend the activities. The panel discussion and workshop are supported by a Diversity for Equity Grant from the WV Higher Education Policy Commission.

“All who are involved with this project are excited to have the opportunity to host this panel discussion and workshop. We hope it increases awareness of the opportunities for women to have a career in STEM,” said GSC Department of Science and Mathematics Chair Dr. Sara Sawyer.

Visit the Glenville State College website at www.glenville.edu to download a registration form. For more information, contact or call 304.462.6301.

West Virginia STEM program for students open for application

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Governor’s STEM Institute is taking applications for this summer’s program for seventh- and eighth-graders.

The program was formerly known as the School for Math and Science.

The cost-free residential program is for students currently in the seventh and eighth grades.

The STEM Institute is intended to provide academic enrichment in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

The sessions for seventh-graders are set for June 25 to July 03 and July 05 to 13, both at West Virginia University.

The eighth-grader session is July 22 to August 04 at Green Bank Observatory.

Students who attended last year aren’t eligible.

Applications and more information are available online .

Education and Arts Secretary Gayle C. Manchin’s office said applicants should check with their school counselors for the deadline.

Consumers Are Reminded to Protect Information When Filing Taxes

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey reminds consumers to be cautious and to protect personal information when preparing and filing the necessary tax documents this year.

Sensitive information like Social Security numbers, finances, birthdays and addresses are some of the many things scammers could easily use to their advantage.

“Scammers know tax season comes at the same time every year,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “They could be waiting in the wings to take advantage of the available information. That’s why it’s extremely important to be mindful of how you handle the information and who handles it on your behalf.”

Consumers can greatly reduce the risk of fraud by filing their return well before the deadline. This gives thieves less time to file a false return since IRS records would show a return in the consumer’s name has already been filed. They also should use a secure Internet connection and never file their return via publicly available wi-fi.

Additional tips include:

  • Never carry a Social Security card, banking information or any other personally identifiable information in a wallet. Keep such documents in a secure location.
  • Cross shred documents. Identity thieves rummage through trash to find information.
  • Be wary of suspicious emails that look legitimate, however are meant to steal personal information.
  • Know the Internal Revenue Service does not contact taxpayers via text message, email or social media.
  • Be aware that unsuspecting victims of tax-related identity theft often receive a letter from the IRS saying it received multiple tax returns filed in the victim’s name or indicate the taxpayer received wages from an employer he or she doesn’t know.

Anyone who receives a letter from the IRS indicating potential impersonation should immediately call the agency’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1.800.908.4490.

Consumers who believe they may be the victim of tax-related identity theft should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office at 1.800.368.8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304.267.0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.

Push Launched to Protect Children from Addictive Tech

Children’s advocates and technology insiders are teaming up in a new campaign to protect kids’ brains from the potentially manipulative and addictive power of technology.

Common Sense, a group aimed at safeguarding kids in the digital age, and the newly formed Center for Humane Technology, made up of industry insiders, launched the Truth About Tech campaign on Wednesday. They’re pushing tech companies to make their products less intrusive and addictive.

Colby Zintl, vice president for external affairs with Common Sense, said parents often blame themselves for the amount of time they spend with technology, but in fact these companies design their products for that purpose.

The Free Press WV
Kids spend an average of nine hours a day in front of a digital or media device.


“These companies are pointing their super-powerful AI machines at our brains and it’s like a giant chess board,” Zintl said. “They know 80 million moves ahead. They know what we want, they know how to keep us coming back, and they’re building manipulative products so that we will continue to engage with them over time.“

The groups also released a report called “Big Tech, Young Minds: A Road Map for Kids’ Digital Well-Being” on Wednesday. According to a Common Sense study, 50 percent of teens feel they are addicted to their mobile devices.

The road map includes a call for more research into the health effects of technology on children. It also asks technology companies to pursue a standard of ethical design.

Zintl said that means designs that have the best interests of kids and families in mind, instead of just profit. Unfortunately, she said, technology companies haven’t been their partner in these efforts yet.

“The point of this initial campaign and this partnership is to say, ‘We’re here and we have a voice and we want to represent parents’ concerns, health-care practitioners’ concerns, and some people who have worked in tech also who have concerns,’“ she said.

According to the report, 98 percent of children under the age of eight have access to a mobile device at home. And kids spend an average of nine hours a day interacting with some sort of digital or media device.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

More Schools Receive Free Technology Through SecondLaunch Initiative

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) received an update on the SecondLaunch Initiative at its October board meeting. The initiative, which was created by the West Virginia Department of Education in June 2015, continues to expand its reach, providing much needed technology to students throughout the state. Now, in its third year, SecondLaunch has saved the state $3 million in technology costs and has provided more than 8,000 computers to students in 47 counties.

Computers and other technology equipment are donated to SecondLaunch from West Virginia government agencies as well as private industry. Equipment is then wiped, cleaned and upgraded to meet the requirements of the programs used in schools. Computers, monitors, keyboards and mice are packaged together for ease of use and assembly, and schools can pick the computers up at the SecondLaunch warehouse in Charleston.

“Through the SecondLaunch Initiative, we are working to ensure that all students have access to technology and resources they need” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “Our goal is to have the program in all 55 counties, and work with educators to make sure that a lack of resources is never an obstacle for educators to provide the best education possible for our students.”

In addition to state agencies, private industry has also joined in and donated equipment to SecondLaunch.

“The program’s success depends on the donations we receive,” said David Cartwright, who oversees the program. “We have been fortunate to form a partnership with Toyota Motor Manufacturing in West Virginia, who has become a generous and recurring participant. Our hope is to expand our private partnerships so we can continue to see the program grow.”

SecondLaunch helps students interact with the technology they will encounter in life after high school, whether it be college or the workforce. Some of the state’s earliest learners also have access to the SecondLaunch materials, allowing West Virginia students to utilize 21st century learning resources every day.

Learn more about the SecondLaunch initiative by visiting: http://wvde.state.wv.us/technology/showcase/

Those interested in donating equipment to SecondLaunch can email David Cartwright: .

GCEDA Broadband Public Meeting Notice

The Free Press WV

As the lead economic development arm of the the Gilmer County Commission the GCEDA’s President Jeff Campbell provided the following information at last weeks County Commission meeting:

The Gilmer County Economic Development Association will be making an application, on behalf of the County, for a West Virginia Development Office Community Development Block Grant for Broadband Planning.

The WVDO has set aside $700,000 of funds for this year with grants due by October 31, 2017. 

A broadband planning grant for a county may be between the amounts of $50,000 to $75,000. 

The GCEDA has budgeted for the 2017 Fiscal Year - $10,000 to pursue a broadband grant/project a portion of which will be used for a consultant to handle the grant application and the remainder as a match on the grant to ensure we receive one. 

The majority of the county has negligible broadband, with the exception of those areas around the College or where Shentel has service. 

The planning grant would be used to create a engineering design for a wireless broadband project for Gilmer County, like Upshur/Randolphf/Barbour consortium.

The Upshur/Randolph/Barbour consortium was awarded a grant from the USDA for $3.0M for a fixed wireless solution which will serve 9,000 residents and businesses with between 10 and 100 megabyte downstream service from tower based wireless internet.

The application is currently underway with an initial public meeting on Wednesday, October 11th at 6:00 pm at the Glenville Inn. 

This is one of two mandatory meetings required by the CDBG process and will inform the public of the grant opportunity and take public comments. 

We would request all the Commissioners make the meeting if possible, but at least one attend. 

A second mandatory public meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 25th at 6:00 pm at the Glenville Inn where the application will be presented and further comments taken. 

Additionally the County Commission will need to adopt a Resolution at its second October meeting on October 20th in support of the grant application.


Respectfully,
Jeff Campbell
President GCEDA

Weekly Update for Gilmer County High School

The Free Press WV

Students at Gilmer County High School enjoyed viewing the eclipse with the eclipse-approved sunglasses provided to Gilmer County Schools’ students by Glenville State College.

Students were treated to popsicles during the eclipse by Mrs. Butcher.

Everyone enjoyed the afternoon and the viewing party.



The Free Press WV

David Brannon, a 7th grade student at GCHS, was invited to speak to Mrs. Sandy Pettit’s Business & Marketing class at Glenville State College on August 23.

David’s presentation was on couponing and the GSC students were amazed at his knowledge of couponing as a business and corporations and their subsidiaries.

When asked by one of the GSC students what he wanted to be when he grew up, David replied, “I want to be a CEO.“  David is the son of David and Izetta Brannon of Cedarville.



The Free Press WV

Lindsay Chapman, junior, and Baylee Wellings, senior, both were medalists at the Charles Point Cross Country Meet in Bridgeport on Saturday, August 26.

Medals were awarded to the top 30 runners in high school boys and girls and middle school boys and girls.

Lindsay placed 28th and 30th.

Lindsay is the daughter of Lora and Jimmy Chapman of Burnsville.

Baylee is the daughter of Jenny and Tom Wellings of Glenville.

A Cyber Terrorism Strategy in WV is Important to Safeguarding Election Systems and Voter Databases

The Free Press WV

The most challenging war we may need to fight in the future will be in cyberspace. It’s a fight I am preparing for as your Secretary of State.

Cyberspace is a new frontier for terrorism, one that threatens far out of proportion to its cost. A non-traditional cyber attack on American infrastructure could happen without a single aircraft or boot on American soil. For example, one skilled Russian hacker sitting in a Moscow basement could potentially wipe out an entire city’s electrical grid here in the United States, causing indeterminate suffering for hundreds of thousands of people for an extended period of time.

Similarly, the integrity of elections and voter databases have become targets of nefarious international cyber attacks. In 2014, two years before our recent national election, Ukraine accused Russia of launching a series of coordinated cyber attacks attempting to control the outcome of that country’s presidential election. Similar accusations against Russia have been made by officials in Germany, Austria, Norway, France, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

On August 19th, President Donald Trump elevated the country’s cyberspace operations to full combatant command status. Those active in the military understand exactly what that means. This move will substantially strengthen the country’s effort to protect our people, government and critical infrastructure against cyber terrorism and cyberspace threats.

This new focus on U.S. Cyber Command (CyberCom) will improve the control and response to time-sensitive cyberspace operations by consolidating them under a single military commander leading some of the most talented technology professionals in the world.

The most important part of the President’s announcement is the support the new Command will be able to offer to the protection of the nation’s critical infrastructure, which now includes election systems and voter databases.

Over the last six months, I’ve relied on my education and military background to help lead a national effort to improve the communication between the federal government and state elections officials. The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) endorsed my recommendation to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to provide secretaries of state with security clearances. The move was approved and now allows CyberComm and the National Guard to communicate directly with the secretaries.

Since taking office, I’ve focused on recruiting an Information Technology team of professionals who understand the threat that cyberspace brings to the Secretary of State’s office. We’ve developed a three-prong strategy to deal with cybersecurity in the Secretary of State’s Office: Protection – Detection – Correction. 

Our primary focus is on protection. But we aren’t foolish enough to believe that, despite our best efforts, there aren’t hackers out there creative enough to find a weak link in our process. That’s where our detection and immediate correction strategies kick in.

Cybersecurity is not just a concern for my office. I want to encourage law enforcement officials and government administrators at all levels to educate themselves and stay updated on cyber threats, technology, and the improper use of computers to create havoc in cities large and small. Shutting down or contaminating water systems, air systems, traffic systems, or electric power grids would create immediate chaos. Law enforcement agencies need to work closely with community leaders and the utility industry to identify and assess possible vulnerabilities.

You’ll be hearing more from the Secretary of State’s Office in the coming weeks as we announce new initiatives and partnerships to protect our critical elections systems. As your Secretary of State, I will always remain vigilant in the protection of your voter information.

Mac Warner, Secretary of State - Before being elected West Virginia’s 30th Secretary of State, Mac Warner had a 23-year career in the United States Army. He retired as a Lt. Colonel after having served in countries throughout the world. He is a graduate of West Point and the WVU School of Law. He earned his Master’s Degree in International Law from the University of Virginia.

Eclipse-Chasers Should Be Cautious While Driving

The Free Press WV

Interest in the biggest coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the U.S. has been growing leading up to the big event on Monday. With all the buzz surrounding this celestial event, AAA East Central cautions those seeking an ideal location to view the eclipse to be mindful of traffic congestion and distracted driving.

AAA East Central’s driving tips for the “Great American Eclipse”:

  • Choose courtesy. Be watchful, alert and courteous of others on the roads, highways and interstates.
  • Do not drive distracted; don’t use a cell phone or other devices while driving.
  • Don’t look at the eclipse while driving and don’t take photos while driving.
  • Don’t stop along the interstate or park on the shoulder during the event. 
  • To view and/or photograph the eclipse, exit the highway to a safe location.
  • While operating a vehicle, don’t wear eclipse glasses.
  • Turn your headlights on.
  • Watch out for pedestrians and cyclists along smaller roads. 
  • Anticipate heavy congestion, especially on the interstates in the path on the day before, day of and day after the eclipse.

 

The Free Press WV

Claims About Net Neutrality Used Biased Data, Researcher Says

The Free Press WV

As the Federal Communications Commission considers reversing net neutrality, researchers say a key assumption for the move does not hold water.

In his argument to revisit the Obama-era rule designed to protect a free and open Internet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai cited a paper published in an academic journal that maintained the agency had failed to consider the economic impacts on industry.

But Jefferson Pooley, co-author of a new study published in the same International Journal for Communication, says Pai’s position is based on a paper riddled with factual errors and unsubstantiated claims.

“We showed that this core claim was incorrect, that, in fact, economists had been perhaps more active in coming up with the net neutrality rules than ever before,“ Pooley states.

Pooley’s team also found that the article cited by Pai was paid for by CALinnovates, a PR group that specializes in promoting policy for AT and T, an internet service provider that Pooley says could benefit if open Internet rules are reversed.

Proponents of rolling back net neutrality say regulating ISPs as a utility hampers innovation and investment.

Pooley maintains the failure to disclose industry funding amounts to “information laundering,“ making it possible for the FCC chairman to cite an academic publication without any trace of AT and T’s fingerprints.

He says it’s important for the public, and public officials, to know whose interests are behind research.

“We would probably dismiss a claim that AT and T made directly against net neutrality, since they stand to gain financially,” Pooley states. “So instead of making the argument directly, they funded academics who published an article in an academic journal.“

Pooley adds that CALinnovates threatened legal action against the journal and the University of Southern California, its host, unless material involving the firm was removed.

The FCC is accepting public comments on its plan, called “Restoring Internet Freedom,“ through Monday at www.fcc.gov.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Top STEAM Students to Attend National Youth Science Camp in WV

The Free Press WV

The brightest young minds from across the United States and eight other nations will be descending into the mountains of West Virginia for the annual National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp) on June 14.

“Each state’s Governor has conducted a competition to select two students from their home state to jet into Yeager Airport in Charleston, WV, to join other top students from Central and South America for a month of learning, research, and dialogue encompassing topics in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts,” a spokes person said. “Situated deep in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, Camp Pocahontas will be the rustic home of over 100 students for nearly four weeks as they work and study side by side with top experts in STEAM fields from around the globe.”

Delegates will participate in a wide variety of activities that challenge them beyond their traditional learning while at Camp Pocahontas. Opportunities in art, music, and drama, as well as a myriad of outdoor activities including mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, caving, and mountain climbing afford each student an incredible range of experiences.

In addition to their time in West Virginia, delegates spend three days in the nation’s capitol participating in tours of national museums, meeting with US science policy makers, and attending a Senate luncheon in their own honor, sponsored by United States Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).

“Our goal at NYSCamp is STEAM enrichment and leadership development,” said John Giroir, Director and alumnus of the National Youth Science Camp. “We focus on engaging delegates with a broad spectrum of STEAM subjects and challenge them to set their sights on the stars. A number of NYSCamp alumni have and are trailblazing in many STEAM fields, which impact our world.”

About the NYSCamp: Operation and financial support for the NYSCamp is coordinated by the National Youth Science Foundation (a 501(c)(3) organization) with support from the State of West Virginia, the US State Department, and donations from alumni, corporations, and foundations. Through these valuable investments, delegates chosen from each state attend the NYSCamp “free of charge”, which allows these students to be selected based on academic merit and achievement, regardless of financial ability.

The staff of the NYSCamp, the NYSF and the State of West Virginia welcome these students from both hemispheres for a month of intense education,enrichment,  and adventure.

Started in 1963 as part of the state’s Centennial, the National Youth Science Camp is celebrating 54 years of operation. The NYSC has supported nearly 6,000 students over the past 54 years, providing a rigorous STEAM enrichment program in the mountains of West Virginia. This program has been a well-established response to the documented need for improved STEAM education among promising young minds across the country. This year, top STEAM students from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago will also participate through support from the US State Department’s Bureau of Exchange and Cultural Affairs.

NYSCamp is run by the National Youth Science Foundation, whose mission is to inspire lifelong engagement and ethical leadership in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and related professions through its proven educational model for mentoring, challenging and motivating students. By building strong communities among students, teachers and professionals, NYSF programs complement, broaden and enhance the traditional school curriculum leading to careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and related professions.

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Obituaries

Reader's Comments

Readers' Recent Comments

After the ipads were purchased what measurable benefits resulted from having them at the GCHS to improve student learning? Does anyone know?

Was a formal plan followed to maximize benefits from the equipment to include provisions for measuring before-and-after results to evaluate if the equipment did any good?

Another case of throwing money at a problem and after spending it taxpayers have no idea if there were any meaningful benefits for students?

More than likely competitive bidding was not used to purchase the ipads to add another wrinkle.

By Did The ipads Improve Learning Results? on 03.13.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Where oh where did the 200 Gilmer County I-pads go?
Were they bought with federal money?
Attorney General Morrisey are you looking into this?
Someone should get the ball rolling?

By where oh where? on 03.12.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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They is not no flood plane there the water dont get up there i know i catch musk rats in the river

By THE TRUTH WATCHER on 03.08.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Gilmer County’s school board has full authority to demand a comprehensive accounting for every dime spent on everything leading up to site selection and construction of the LCES and the GCES.

Where did the money go and who got it to include naming names and companies on the receiving end?

Stop hiding behind the excuse that the State “did it to us” and assemble the true facts for taxpayers!

What is the defensible rational for failure of the school board to follow up on this?

By Disclose Financial Facts on 03.07.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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What was in the school board’s 451 resolution? As important as education is more effort should be taken to flesh out what actually happens at school board meeting. Bare minimum information and lack of transparency skirt accountability. Who is responsible for writing up the minutes?

By Transparency and Accountability Needed on 03.07.2019

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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The new Gilmer County Elementary school was built
in a flood plane.  Education fail.

By YOU FORGET on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Roads are a mess.
Population continues the 50+ year decrease.

But for deep gas, no new employment.

Education system total failure.
Legislature impotent.

Grand finale in Charleston.
We have a brawl in the Capitol Building.

That out-of-control delegate needs to resign!

By WV continues the slow death on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Major Broadband Investment in West Virginia'.

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Broadband coming?  Think we heard this before?
How many times?  I’ve lost count.  You remember?

This will be like JimmyBoys “roads to prosperity” program?
Take the citizens money?  Give ‘em nothing.

Republicans. Democrats. All the same political bs from both.
Voters believe them.  Keep bringing back the old mules so they can give us a repeat performance.

By Just More Dog n Pony Show 4 U on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Major Broadband Investment in West Virginia'.

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Jimmy D, Gilmer County needs a full accounting for every dime spent on school site planning and studies, site preparation, all school construction work, and purchases while the State had us intervened.

For one example of many we do not have an itemized accounting for how our funds were spent on the botched LCES project.

How much more was wasted on the auction barn site, the dropped Cedar Creek site, and the GCES in comparison to what could have been done with our money with full transparency, competent planning, competitive bidding, and proper project oversight?

The fact that the GCES was built too small and the LCES was built too large is one facet of the waste and mismanagement that occurred.

Do not expect valid investigations because WV’s standard approach is cover up when the State is involved.

By Jimmy D--Don't Expect Sunshine on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Saw the GFP video (citizens refer to it as the ambush video) at the school board meeting at which the pitch was made for the new computers.

The GCHS principal and staff talked about wonders to expect if the 200 computers would be purchased.

Promises were made that if the kids got them they would learn to do advanced math and to make other marvelous learning advances. Any evidence of the promises being kept?

Were the computers purchased through competitive biding? Wanna bet that they were not?

Is this another example of throwing money at technology with no meaningful plan for how to use the equipment to maximize learning benefits without evidence of any before-and-after testing to accurately determine if they did any good?

Could the 200 computers be located and what condition are they in if they could be found?

The new school board is encouraged to check on the issues and to report on the findings.

By Accountability For New GCHS Computers on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Since the local prosecutor is good for nothing, why doesn’t the federal prosecutors look into all the theft by Gabe DeVano and his buddies during the time Gilmer county was under state control? They stole money, equipment from schools which closed, as well as technology equipment. for example where did the 200 iPads go which gilmer county paid for?

By Jimmy D on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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A major cause of WV’s dismal record with K-12 education is the lack of choice regarding a parent’s right to decide on the school for a child to attend.

The elite get around that by using private schools for their kids.

Under existing conditions what chance do the rest of us have? The answer is none!

Our kids are victimized because competition and accountability do not exist and that is exactly what WV’s entrenched education establishment and the unions want.

By Save WV's School Children on 03.02.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

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Pennybaker is correct.
WV educators keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Whats the definition of insanity?

By Gilmer on 03.02.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

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An off grid system works great if you want to live like a hippie. One can cover their entire roof and it will barely power your lighting and a few electronics, let alone our transportation and industrial needs. The humaniacs now complain that the giant windmill blades kill the little birdies, and they have never solved the overpass problem in putting windmills on out autos.

By Vern Windsong on 03.01.2019

From the entry: 'Need for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Falls'.

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It amazes me that the so-called “experts” think more and more centralization will improve anything.  Public school education is in terrible condition and doing more consolidation will only make it worse and more expensive.  With all the technology today, there is NO reason for busing children for miles and miles, spending more and more hours under the control of public schools.  The idea that parents are not capable of deciding how to educate their children is insulting.  There was never any good reason for governments to get involved in education.

By Karen Pennebaker on 02.28.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

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Pat, your information is outdated. Solar and wind are increasingly outcompeting fossil fuels, despite the heavy subsidies fossil fuels (and nuclear power) get. They also are getting steadily cheaper, while fossil fuels can be expected to rise as supply diminishes—the pipelines are going in so fast because of the NEED of the gas companies to get their product out to where they HOPE to find better prices—the drillers have been steadily losing money for the whole decade of the fracking “miracle.“ Wall Street is becoming skeptical. The thing about solar and wind is that once they’re built, the fuel keeps arriving, free. Of course, there isn’t much of a wind resource in our area. But there is in the mountain heights, and off the Virginia coast. And solar works fine here—I’ve had an off-grid system for ten years, works great.

By Mary Wildfire on 02.28.2019

From the entry: 'Need for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Falls'.

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Yes, West Virginia spends a LOT of money on education.
But where does it go?  Is it wasted?  Down the drain hole of bureaucracy?

We spend 7th highest per student and what to show for it?
Being 49th or 50th in ratings?

By where does the money go? on 02.27.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

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Seeing the president of the WV AFT shaking his raised clinched fist in disrespect for the WV legislature tells it all.

WV’s teacher unions are allowed to function as separate branches of government with veto power over WV’s elected officials and their only role is to get more benefits for their members.

Where is the evidence that unions have done anything recently in any WV school system to help create an educational show piece? Can anyone cite an example?

Furthermore what have unions done to develop innovative plans for moving the State’s k-12 education system forward to pry us off our bottom rung rankings? The answer is—nothing exists. 

Conditions will not change for the better until the day our legislators quit pandering to unions to end k-12 decision-making driven by mob rule and raw emotions.

By Unions Failed WV's Children on 02.26.2019

From the entry: 'In West Virginia, the Politicians Fail, and the Teachers Rise'.

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The principal reason for opposition to 451 is fear by union chiefs that public charter schools could outshine performances of non-participating schools to embarrass WV’s entrenched K-12 education establishment.

To attempt to scare the public, there were claims that the underlying motive for opposition to charter schools is the sinister plan to privatize them to permit the rich and powerful to make money off education at the expense of WV’s children.

It is alarming that unions failed to propose comprehensive plans, inclusive of meaningful accountability mechanisms, designed to improve WV’s schools.

Their objective seems to be to protect the status quo instead of being effective partners in improving education for the State’s children.

There are examples in the USA where charter schools resulted in significant K-12 education improvements. Of course some failed.

Why is it irrational to establish a limited few charter schools in WV as demonstration projects to incorporate approaches applied in highly successful charter schools while avoiding mistakes of the schools that failed?

Nothing else has worked in getting WV out of being near the bottom with K-12 education quality—-so why continue with business as usual while expecting better outcomes?

By Unions Failed WV Education on 02.21.2019

From the entry: 'In West Virginia, the Politicians Fail, and the Teachers Rise'.

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If passed when will this take effect? I’m a single mother who has a drug felony from another state. I can’t get food stamps to help me because I a drug felon. I work so my income is to much for one person. I have a son whom him and I barley survive. Cause of my record. I’ve held the job I am at now for 5 years. But since they can’t use me. They use my income. But not me and doing it that way I make to much money.

By Kayla on 02.21.2019

From the entry: 'Bill to Let Drug Felons Get Food Stamps Passes WV Senate'.

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John & Family,  Sorry to hear of Nyla’s passing!  GOD will take care of you!!  GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU IN THIS SAD TIME !!!  RIP Nyla !

By Anita L. Adams - New Concord, Ohio on 02.15.2019

From the entry: 'Nyla Leah Frymier Poole'.

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“But Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said utility filings in those states now show the outlook has changed dramatically - in part because of competition from cheap, renewable energy.“

That is utter rubbish.  There is no “cheap, renewable energy.“  Solar and wind are more expensive, even taking subsidies into consideration.  Hydro is more expensive, nuclear is more expensive.

Claiming otherwise is at best fake news, and at worst deliberate misdirection and lying.  Merely claiming renewable energy is less expensive doesn’t make it so.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 02.15.2019

From the entry: 'Need for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Falls'.

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It was brought to my attention there was an article published in the Gilmer Free Press under Reader’s Comments dated 2-11-19.
This was written by Tammy White which many think it was me (Tammy Foster).  Twenty years (or more) “White” was my last name.
My son does take daily medication at the high school (which somehow this is quite a coincidence).  I want to clarify that I DID NOT write that article!
Now that I have straighten this out….. please read what I have say about this situation at Gilmer County High School:
The secretary or secretaries that were mentioned have never been rude to me or my son in person or by phone.  It is actually the opposite!  They are kind, caring, professional and thorough with distributing my son’s meds.
Not only do they make sure he gets the correct dosage daily but they keep a close inventory on the meds and call me when I need to restock them.
It broke my heart to read the negative article written last week and I was appalled my (old) name was on it.
My son and I trust and depend on these wonderful ladies.  We would like to take this opportunity to THANK them for taking excellent responsibility and care of our child and other students.

By Tammy Foster (not White) on 02.13.2019

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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I’m sorry for your loss.

By Danny Nicholson on 02.12.2019

From the entry: 'Vera Marlene Lyons'.

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There is some issues going on at GCHS. I’m starting here in Hope’s that it will be addressed and corrected.  The secretary was rude when I turned in medicine for my son to be taken on a daily basis. Nor is it her business why he takes it, or how often. Anyway, is she certified in giving meds out.  I thought that the school employed a nurse. Maybe she should answer the phone or should I say message on her cell. She had no idea how many I handed in she didnt count them. Talks about her co workers. Then she gets upset nobody talks to her. She is 2 face. Talking about them is very unprofessional.
I hope this is taken care of or my next step is to the state department. Your choice

By Tammy white on 02.11.2019

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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It is welcomed news as reported in the Democrat that Gilmer’s GCES students are making progress in learning math and English Learning Arts.

The principal, teachers, and all staff deserve high praise for the progress. Let’s not forget efforts of students too plus their parents who encourage them at home.

In addition to rates of increase for learning progress it would be helpful to be informed of percentages of students in the different grades who are at grade level for math and ELA.

Nothing was reported about learning progress at the GCHS and the LCES bi-county school. When are reports for those schools going to be given?

By Positive School News on 02.08.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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The lights are up at the Linn school.
Often flashing nights and weekends when NO ONE is on school property.

And you expect lights to work….???
when the WVDE, the WVBE built the school with FIVE TOO MANY CLASSROOMS !!??

*** The WVBE is incapable of meaningful education.
Why do you think the WV Legislature created the current ‘education overhaul’ bill without consulting the WV State Board of Ed? ***

By you are joking I guess? on 02.07.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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“The Environmental Protection Agency issued regular updates for about 100 water pollutants almost four years ago ... “

That would have been the Obama EPA, and the intention wasn’t to provide better water, it was an attempt to control business activity through the use of regulation.

In other words, a power-grab by a politician obsessed with it.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pay McGroyne on 02.06.2019

From the entry: 'One Charleston Manufacturer Pressing for Delay of Water Rules'.

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Would the County’s school board take action to help improve safety conditions at the LCES?

The way it is now it can be uncertain if children are present at the school to require a reduction of speed to 15 mph while on Rt. 33.

It would eliminate uncertainty if a flashing lights system were to be installed so the lights could be turned on when children are present.

By LCES Safety Concern on 01.31.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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Why is it that on Gilmer County’s school system web site biographical information including education backgrounds for all school board members and their pictures are not posted?

Other counties have the information. Why not us?

By School Board Member Backgrounds? on 01.23.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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The only reason for our not using a version of the goal-driven Kentucky method would be a veto by controlling elitists opposed to establishing meaningful accountability for Gilmer County’s school system.

Without using the method it would be easier to continue to pawn off information that cannot be used to accurately document progress with student proficiencies for reading, math, science, and college and career readiness.

By School System Accountability Needed on 01.20.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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The KY approach would be valuable to Gilmer County for use in disclosing progress of our two schools in contributing to better lives for our children.

For goals for which progress would be off schedule, the tracking approach would be an objective basis for making mid-course adjustments in our school system to get better results.

By using the approach school board members could be more effective with goal-driven governing, and getting results would be the responsibility of the County’s Superintendent of Schools and school principals.

Overall,the approach would establish meaningful accountability which is sorely lacking in WV’s school systems.

By Establish School System Accountability on 01.18.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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Accomplished communicators have a knack for reducing complex information to its simplest form for effectiveness in getting messages across.

WV’s convoluted strategic plans for schools must follow the State’s rigid guidelines. The plans are confusing and inadequately designed for establishing accountability for getting results.

Kentucky is making progress with improving K-12 education outcomes and one reason is the clarity of specific goals for its schools and the job being done with tracking results.

Google—-2018 Prichard Committee Update to glean what is being done in Kentucky. The approach could be used for Gilmer’s two schools with a single sheet of paper for each school.

The beauty of the Prichard approach is that instead of relying on confusing and lengthy written out material with undefined abbreviations, technical jargon, and head scratching generalities, specific goals and annual results in achieving them are presented graphically.

Perfect real world example of a picture being worth a thousand words.

Board of Education members why couldn’t the Prichard approach be used for Gilmer County? It would be inexpensive, it could be updated easily on an annual basis, and everyone in the County would know how the school system is being administered to achieve measurable results.

Perhaps Mr. David Ramezan could post Prichard material on the GFP to show its simplicity.

By Advocate For Clarity on 01.17.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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The scandal of the too small school?
Don’t forget…
The scandal of the too big school is half of the whole state intervention mess.  FIVE rooms more than needed at the Linn, Lewis County school.

Results are from nepotism, cronyism, and educational stupidity….as well as scoffing at those who attempted to sound the alarm.

Bloated egos was the frosting on the Litter Box Cake Mix.

By School Truth is in the Litter Box on 01.17.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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During intervention the State had dictatorial control of our school system to include all decisions related to the GCES.

One result is that the GCES was built too small.

An investigation is needed to determine who was responsible for the bad decision, and what role the no-bid architectural firm had in designing and constructing the school.

Something major happened to cause the GCES to be built too small. Was something dropped at the expense of adequate class room space as a result of having to spend extra money because a poor site was selected?

Minimally, gross incompetency on the State’s part is the explanation for the disaster foisted onto the County.

A question pertains to the new gym. Lots of effort was taken by the State to try to convince the public that a competition gym instead of a regular gym was needed.

Did the competition gym cost extra money at the expense of needed classroom space? If the answer is affirmative who was responsible for deciding on the more expensive gym?

What about the enormous pit at the GCES? Was money spent on it at the expense of classrooms because something was wrong with the school’s site that was selected by the State?

Nothing similar to the pit has been seen at other sites where new WV schools were built.

Why has there been a failure for a thorough investigation to have occurred to expose the facts?

The obvious explanation is that powerful elitists in control do not want tracks leading to them, and they have veto power over a meaningful investigation including one done by a leading newspaper.

By GCES Built Too Small Scandal on 01.15.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Pat McGroyne is spot on.
High speed internet is simply another failure of WV state government.

If the elected in our state, were doing the job expected by voters….we should have very few problems or issues?

By Gilmer resident on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Muddling has another distinct symptom. It is the tendency for administrators in control to emphasize processes and procedures while avoiding disclosure of progress, or the lack thereof, in achieving learning results.

The purpose is another way to avoid personal accountability for school system failures.

By Muddling Epidemic In WV School Systems on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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West Virginia is number one!
Our politicians are the best that can be had.
They are also the lobbyers dream come true.
No one—-can out-muddle our elected reps !

By we know it on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Suggestion after reading strategic plans for the GCHS and the GCES.

How about the school board requiring that for each school an informative executive summary be written to include——where each school stands on reading, math, and science proficiency, what the term proficiency means to eliminate the confusion, student proficiency goals for the two school, target time to expect goals to be achieved, and a statement to commit to keeping the public informed of progress in achieving the goals at designated intervals (e.g. quarterly) during a school year.

Omit confusing abbreviations and technical terms understood only by a select few in the education field, and written for comprehension by reasonable persons.

Leave it up to the County’s professional educators to determine how to get the job done with continual laser-like focus on getting results.

By Student Learning at GCHS and GCES on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Muddling infects federal, state, and local government entities where personal accountability for top officials to get measurable results rarely exists.

Muddling practitioners are famous for passing off information unrelated to measurable proof that effective problem-solving has occurred. A common example is emphasizing how much public money is being spent to attempt to convince tax payers that magnitudes of expenditures are always directly correlated to levels of problem-solving successes.

Muddling by an organization is characterized by the existence of thick planning documents replete with vagueness and lack of clarity, undefined technical terms, and mysterious acronyms.

Muddling thrives on intentional ambiguity and confusion designed to protect muddlers and their organizations.

By Muddling 101 on 01.11.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Gilmer County is not the only place in the USA that has been faced with its students failing to meet proficiency standards for science, reading, and math.

The difference here is that evidence is lacking to conclusively demonstrate that Gilmer County’s officials in control have exerted proper efforts to profit form powerful lessons learned elsewhere to use that knowledge to help solve learning deficiencies in our schools.

In fact, a convincing argument could be made that the approach in the County has been the one professional planners designate as muddling through.

Classic symptoms of muddling through include failure to thoroughly analyze categories of causes contributing to problems followed up by using the information to develop a comprehensive plan to do the most good in getting better results by treating key causes instead of symptoms.

Muddling typically involves officials assigning blame for lack of progress to outside forces e.g., the “culture”, the State did it to us, and poverty. Haven’t we heard plenty of that?

Muddling must be eliminated if we want progress in solving non-performance problems within the County’s school system. Does anyone disagree?

By End School System Muddling on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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It is unclear after reading school board meeting minutes what progress if any is being made by GCHS and GCES principals in improving student proficiency in reading, math and science.

Why not allocate a few sentences in the minutes to summarize what the two principals reported to the school board?

All it would take to get the critical information out to citizens would be for the new school board to act on this.

Does anyone have a problem with the suggested change to keep Gilmer’s bill paying public informed?

By Need Specifics For Principal's Reports on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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“High speed broadband – a necessity for today’s homes, businesses and other institutions – remains a huge unmet need for rural residents, despite promises by a succession of Governors from both parties (a contributing factor in why we’re losing population at a rate higher than any other state).“

I disagree with much of what Mr.Boggs believes.  That said, high-speed broadband is the single most important step the State of WV could take to improve the business climate and provide more opportunities for its citizens.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Conversation at local eatery.
Shortly after election.
Individuals were educators.

‘You think we have school problems now, wait until these new folks take the steering wheel’.

‘Students, parents, staff are all going to be in the soup’.

Sounds as if Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving vacation-deer season times have all taken a big hit.  If that is true, the union teachers need to come together, stand their ground, along with parents, and hold this new board accountable.

Have a local strike if need be.
Request resignations.
Vote of no confidence.

Schools employees can win.
You have done it before.
Just stick together.

By overheard conversation on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Scholarship must be the most important focus in Gilmer County’s schools.

Brought up the ZOOMWV Data Dashboard site to review the most recent State achievement test results for GCHS’s 11th grade.

Folks, Gilmer is in serious trouble. Proficiency for math=24%, reading=41%, and science=24%.

On an A through F grading scales the GCHS gets an F for all three subject areas.

What does the new school board have to show for inroads it has made since last July to make critically needed proficiency improvements at the HS? Citizens deserve answers to the question.

By ZOOMWV Data Dashboard on 01.07.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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A thorough accounting for where all the public money went could be easily achieved by a competent accountant.

Isn’t there a special account at the County’s school board office for expenditures related to all bills paid and who got the money?

Following the money trail always gets results along with verification of means, motives, and access.

By Let An Accountant Dig It Out on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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If central office financial records for all public money paid out for everything from site planning, site studies and development, and everything else to get to completion of the GCES and the LES—- what is the reason?

It is known that money was spent on the Arbuckle site and Cedar Creek, and public money was paid out for the LES too.

Were County records for the spending purged and if that happened who ordered the action? The records are either in the County’s central office or they aren’t.

By End Financial Secrecy on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Hasn’t the time come to finally start naming names and making people accountable?

By Get It Done on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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How about the “BIG WV WINDFALL”....?

For 3 or 4 months now we keep hearing about the millions of dollars of tax revenue collected.

Millions and millions above ‘estimates’.  Were those ‘estimates’ honest, or fudged to begin with, so as to request higher tax rates?

Well, Justice and the Legislature now have our dollars, what will become of this windfall? Will we see tax rates lowered?  Doubt full, but we should.

Likely this windfall, created by “over-taxation”, will simply create a “party atmosphere” of legislative spending. Watch the Charleston ‘gangsters’ get their wish lists ready this coming session.

By taxpayers always lose on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Yes.  The blame Does seem to fall to ‘local’ people. In small places like Gilmer County, it’s just a poker game, boys, and the deep pockets win.  Money speaks volumes where ‘officials’ stay silent.  Go ask for the records, see what they’ve got.

By CheatersNeverWin on 11.20.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Teachers and staff knew from the beginning that the GCES was going to be too small. They were ordered by the State to keep quiet about the shortfall and other serious concerns too.

A sixth grader could understood how many rooms were needed by dividing total student numbers to attend the school by how many students should be in a classroom.

Under sizing was the State’s fault and it cannot be rationalized any other way including to assign the blame to local people. Same applies to the over sized LCES.

By Corrupt State Intervention on 11.19.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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There will never be a full, public accounting of the gross mishandling of tax dollars during WVDOE intervention.
Too many local jobs and too many embarrassments of both elected and appointed bureaucrats.
These types cover dirt for each other.

Any local whistle blowers?  Doubtful.

One school built short 4 classrooms and another built with 5 too many.  Can it get more stupid than that?
Mr. Degree and Ms. Common Sense seldom travel together.

By Full accounting will never be revealed. Never. on 11.18.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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GCBOE when the two principals give reports at board meeting could the gist of what they said be summarized in minutes to keep the County informed?

It was a welcomed development by the Board to require principals to give reports particularly if there are required updates on progress designed to improve student learning for reading, math, and other subjects.

We still have not been informed about the status of science proficiency at the GCHS based on the latest testing. Why has the State failed to release the data? Were results too dismal?

By More Specifics For Principal's Reports on 11.17.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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If it is going to cost extra money to eliminate over crowding at the GCES the financial information referenced by Do It Ourselves should be presented to Charleston and the press too.

That would help frame a solid case that crowding problems were not caused by Gilmer County because all decisions related to facilities were dictated by officials over whom the County had no oversight authority during the State’s intervention.

By Follow The Money on 11.16.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It is assumed that all records for spending to include money paid out for the LCES, dropped Arbuckle site, dropped Cedar Creek site, and all bills for the GCES are in the Gilmer Schools central office.

The new GCBOE has authority to get to the truth by demanding a thorough accounting for all the spending.

Afterwards the financial officer in the central office could easily access existing computerized records and to use the information for a report to the GCBOE and the public.

By Do It Ourselves on 11.15.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Notice that most of the ‘officials’ in Gilmer County also hold regular day jobs - sometimes working on more than one paying ‘job’ at a time in the same office space. This common practice is concerning for many reasons, and it needs to be talked about when so many go without.

By QuestionablePractice on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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There are two views in the County related to the under built GCES. Although the State built the school with inadequate classrooms one group believes that we should move on to let go of the past.

Isn’t this a form of advocacy for a coverup to prevent accountability for the State’s incompetence and mismanagement?

The other group believes that there should be a full accounting for all public money spent up to the time the GCES was completed to include disclosure of recipients of the public money. 

The accounting should be done for all public money spent at the LCES, the Arbuckle site, Cedar Creek, and finally the GCES.

Reasons for the under built GCES should be fully disclosed too. When the State was in control this information was kept secret from the public with loud claims that there was adequate space at the GCES.

Now it is known that there is inadequate space at the GCES and the problem is left to Gilmer County to fix. Only in WV!

By Citizens For Financial Disclosure on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Unprofessional issues,rude commentsand rolling eyes at the high school has become an issue. Being on cell phone talking to boyfriends,when parents etc.going into the office. Since the teachers were ask not to be on them while students in the classroom. The one in the office should not be allowed to talk personal to her boyfriend, or whoever. Also, I hope this is corrected, the personal days, etc that the board provides to staff shouldn’t be allowed to use to work or operate a second job. Let’s get the priorities straight.

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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GULMER COUNTY BOE. It is time for me to let you know some issues that is going on at the High school.  I’m hoping this will be addressed at the next board meeting. 1. It should not matter if an employee has a second job or run a business. The priority job is for the board. One should not be allowed to use any time from the board to run your business. There is going on
If they want to run your business than go but not on the boards time. I would like for all employees be treated the equal. They should not be allowed to use the time the board gives them for other jobs.

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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While at it there should be an investigation of why the LES was build with too many classrooms and the GCES was built with too few. At the very least what happened is a WV horror story example of the State’s waste and mismanagement.

By Where Is The Investigation? on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It is obvious that the GCES has a major space problem.

What options for dealing with the State’s mismanagement to cause the serious blunder are being considered by the Board of Education?

Could the original architectural design for the dropped Cedar Creek site be compared to what resulted at the GCES to accurately determine the extent of classroom space alterations?

If the architectural design at the GCES is different than the original plan for Cedar Creek the next step should be to determine reasons for the changes and where the money originally planned for needed classrooms went.

By INFO REQUEST TO GCBOE on 11.09.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It’s long been known that Justice doesn’t happen in Gilmer County “because it all comes down to money”. And for those in charge of handling it and making decisions, it comes down to being competent to do the job,  keep accurate books and accounts and I’m sorry to say, that is seriously lacking in Gilmer County.

By Follow the Paycheck(s) on 11.06.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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What is GSC’s BOG’s plan for getting money for the next payment on the $38,000,000 bond loan the Gilmer County Commission approved?

Will the State pay or will the money come from private donations?

Money will have to come from somewhere to avoid a default.

By Where Is The Money? on 11.05.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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So sorry to hear of Kendall’s passing. I have fond memories of him at Uncle Paul’s store and the family reunions. I’m sure he will be missed greatly by those closest to him.
Please accept condolences from me and my family.

By Steve Lewis on 11.04.2018

From the entry: 'Kendall Goodwin'.

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GSC’s present plight is no secret and its future existence is in question.

Instead of expressing attitudes that GSC is being picked on could the Blue Ribbon Commission reveal why the College “tested out” as it did to fail to get more State money?

Was the “grading system” based on student enrollment trends, retention, time taken to get a degree, academic reputation, inept governance and administration, and other factors to block more funding? Informative specifics were not disclosed.

Teachers know that concerned students who want to do better always seek advice on what needs to be done to get better grades.

Similar to concerned students GSC’s supporters should be informed of what needs to be done to position the College for improved chances for survival to include eligibility for more State funding.

Saying that GSC is being picked on does nothing to help solve its nagging problems.

By What Was The Grading System? on 10.30.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Well thank you, Details Please,  for asking!  So many problems in Gilmer and education is just one.  Look at the town, take a good look around.  Remember who runs unopposed at election time.  Vote.  Make a difference.  Hold authority figures responsible.  Allow videos, minutes and more to be shared on GFP again, for transparency.  Know your neighbors, help a friend.  Be good to each other. Amen.

By Reader7 on 10.29.2018

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

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I will truly miss my Uncle Stephen.  Telling me so much information about from gardening to canning. Just to listening to him talk with such passion for everything that he does… he had a sense of humor that always warms my heart.. listening to him play the banjo sometimes even when he didn’t feel good. he is always willing to share his recipes and his ways of doing things… his solar information he was always studying something ... I’m remember one time we asked him where he got his blackberries when it wasn’t Blackberry season and he go there’s a store down the road it’s called Walmart they have everything… He was so funny.  I love you.. xoxo.

By Robin Nunez on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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

By Buck Edwards on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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Reader 7, please give details for your suggested solutions to the County’s concerns you addressed.

The information would be helpful for consideration by school system administrators and the general public.

By Details Please on 10.26.2018

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

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There is speculation that the plan is for GSC to convert to an education center for low risk federal inmates. Is this something the County and central WV needs?

By GSC's New Mission? on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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Dr. Pellett’s commentary in the 10/26/2018 issue of the Gazette includes a statement that GSC is responsible for injecting $28,000,000 into the local economy.

If GSC were to close loss of the money would cause the County to have more severe poverty than it has now.

The pressing challenge is for GSC’s administrators including its Board of Governors to exercise effective leadership to prevent closure.

Why can’t GSC take action on the long standing suggestion for it to be an innovator by establishing a five year teacher education program to enable students to earn a masters degree by graduation time?

Something must be done in WV to deal with the 700 positions for which certified teachers including those for math, science and special education are not in the classrooms.

Dr. Pellett and GSC’s Board of Governors why is a new teacher education program at the College not a viable option? Nothing else seems to be working.

The need exists, a similar program of excellence does not exist anywhere in the State, and GSC’s status would be elevated by having a masters degree program.

By GSC Alumni on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'Paine: Plan to improve math scores to focus on algebra where a third of teachers aren’t certified'.

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GSC could make a valuable contribution to WV by doing a study to report on how grade and elementary schools with excellent results in math and reading did it.

Then, other schools could use the information as guidance instead of going it alone to reinvent the wheel.

With the Ed.D. expertise at GSC it would be a natural to take on the assignment. Dr. Pellett, would you back the initiative?

By Opportunity for GSC on 10.23.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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There is reference to signing an agreement with the State for math4life for all WV school districts. What has Gilmer County agreed to do to fix our problems?

By Agreements Matter on 10.22.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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This important news has potential for making significant progress in improving math and reading outcomes in WV.

It hinges on how quickly advantage can be taken from lessons learned in schools that excelled.

The WVBE could do an analysis of reasons for excelling and to quickly provide guidance information to other schools.

That is the way the private sector approaches problem-solving because chronic failures have consequences and the unfit are weeded out.

Dr. O’Cull could help if the WVBE is not responsive. There could be panels of individuals from excelling schools to make presentations at WV School Board Association meetings to explain what their schools did to make the achievements.

By Why Reinvent The Wheel? on 10.22.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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A characteristic of a good strategic plan is to simplify language to enable a clear understanding of all its details.

Regarding the comment about abbreviations, a simple fix for them and terms (e.g. lexile) would be to insert an asterisk or a footnote symbol the first time one of them is used to refer readers to a section at the end of the documents where the entries are defined.

This comment is not intended to be a criticism. All specialty fields have a language of their own including the teaching profession.

Suggested clarity improvements in the plans would not be time consuming for principals at the County’s two schools.

By Clarity Is Always Good on 10.18.2018

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

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