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French Creek Freddie Sees His Shadow

The prediction is in and West Virginia’s beloved groundhog French Creek Freddie has forecasted six more weeks of winter.

French Creek Freddie saw his shadow on Tuesday morning at the West Virginia State Wildlife Center in Upshur County, meaning six more weeks of winter.

Freddie the groundhog has delivered his prediction every year since 1978.

Forest Enhancement Information Meeting Set for January 05, 2016

The Free Press WV

GLENVILLE, WV — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the National Wild Turkey Federation will co-host a forest enhancement information meeting in early January.

As part of the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program, NRCS and partner agencies have developed the Cerulean Warbler Appalachian Forestland Enhancement project. Its goal: To enhance 4,000 acres of forest habitat on private lands over the next five years. Restoration of 75 acres of mineland is also a component.

Residents in Doddridge, Gilmer, Harrison, and Lewis Counties are encouraged to attend as parts of all four counties may be eligible for technical and, in some cases, financial, assistance.

The meeting is free and open to the public.

It will be held at 6:30 PM January 05, 2015 at the Leading Creek Elementary School, 15300 US Highway 33 West, Linn, West Virginia.

For more information click H E R E.

Passage of Sportsmen’s Act OF 2015

Legislation will increase public lands access for sportsmen and promote West Virginia’s outdoor recreation economy

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, applauded the bipartisan passage of the Sportsmen’s Act of 2015. The legislation will enhance hunting, fishing and recreational shooting opportunities by increasing access to federal lands. It also includes the permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The bill passed the ENR Committee by a voice vote.

“As a lifelong, avid sportsman, I know firsthand that our hunting, fishing and outdoor heritage is so important to who we are as West Virginians and as Americans,” Senator Manchin said. “In West Virginia, it’s a family affair and an opportunity to pass along, from one generation to another, a deep and lasting appreciation for all the outdoors have to offer. I believe that we should protect these traditions that help define who we are. This bipartisan bill will boost West Virginia’s economy while expanding hunting and fishing rights and allowing people a greater ability to enjoy the outdoors.”


Senator Manchin’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

As an avid sportsman, I believe that hunting and fishing are an integral part of the American culture and a powerful force of good protecting and preserving the natural world around us.

In West Virginia, it’s a family affair and an opportunity to pass along – from one generation to another – a deep and lasting appreciation for all the outdoors have to offer.

One of my top priorities is to make sure that the people I represent can carry on that tradition by ensuring they have access to hunting, fishing and recreational shooting on our nation’s public lands.

In my home state, we have more than 1.6 million acres of public land open to hunting with 28 shooting ranges on these lands.

We have a year-round fishing season, with more than 20,000 miles of streams and more than 100 public fishing lakes.

But this is about more than heritage and family tradition – hunting and fishing are big business in the Mountain State.

In 2011 alone, sportsmen and women spent $870 million on hunting and fishing in West Virginia and paid $81 million in state and local taxes.

Title II of this bill establishes an important precedent that seems pretty common sense to me – Federal land should be open to hunting and fishing, within existing laws, unless there is a reason for it not to be.

Nothing in the bill opens any sensitive areas that are already closed to these activities.

It merely establishes the precedent that our public lands should be open to the public so that people can enjoy them.

I think it’s a shame that we all too often get caught up in debates between environmentalists and sportsmen – both of whom want to preserve and protect the great outdoors.

Gale Norton, Secretary of the Department of the Interior under President George W. Bush, once said:

“Dating back to Teddy Roosevelt, hunters have been the pillar of conservation in America, doing more than anyone to conserve wildlife and its habitat.”

I’m a firm believer that introducing someone to the great outdoors through hunting and fishing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to show them why conservation matters.

I was also very pleased to see that the permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was included in this bill.

In West Virginia, LWCF has helped maintain and expand access to some of our State’s natural treasures for the benefit of all.

Access projects funded by LWCF, in places like the Monongahela National Forest, Canaan Valley, and the Gauley River, not only keep public lands public for sportsmen, but also promote West Virginia’s thriving and growing outdoor recreation economy.

A Section 6 habitat grant was the centerpiece of a project up in Cheat Canyon that leveraged state, local, and private funds to protect another incredible river that provides outdoor recreation in the northern part of the state.

A different type of grant protected key battlefield areas around Harper’s Ferry last year. 

The permanent reauthorization of the LWCF is another one of my top priorities, and I commend my colleagues for working together, across partisan lines, to include it in this bill.

For the past two Congresses, we have tried and failed to pass a Sportsmen’s package through the Senate despite strong bipartisan support.

I commend Senator Murkowski and Senator Heinrich for their leadership on the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act this Congress, and I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this bill.

Today Is Mother’s Day, Help Polar Bears by Voting for for the Photo of a Mom Nursing Two Cubs

Nature and wildlife photographer Florian Schulz has taken some of the most striking images from one of the world’s most complex, contested and endangered ecosystems.

The Gilmer Free Press

I first encountered the award-winning photographer Florian Schulz in 2010, when he was presenting his film Visions of the Arctic at the New York Times building in Manhattan with the nonprofit environmental advocacy group Earthjustice. I was awed by the footage that he captured with his wife and collaborator, Emil Herrera Schulz. Their work clearly illustrates the stunning natural beauty and majesty of life in a region that has been threatened by industrialization and climate change.

In 2012, he released the book To the Arctic, a panoramic photoessay that is the official companion book to the Warner Brothers IMAX film To The Arctic, which followed the lives of a mother polar bear and her two seven-month-old cubs as they try to survive in the rapidly changing place they call home.

I had a chance to talk with Florian about his experience in the Arctic, his current project and the poignant image that has been nominated for Por El Planeta, the first international conservation photography competition, sponsored by National Georgraphic.

Reynard Loki: Over the last several years, you’ve spent a great deal of time in the Arctic. What draws you to this place?

Florian Schulz: For me it’s about going to a place that is fairly unknown and getting a chance to look at the world from a different perspective. For example, most of the world goes through different seasons, but in the Arctic there is a really long winter with lots of darkness and then it turns around and there is all this sunlight as the sun never sets. With this change, there is an influx of life and a place that seemed like a barren frozen wasteland suddenly flourishes with life and you witness a tremendous amount of animals, including millions of migratory birds and hundreds of thousands of caribou. What is also intriguing to me is how well Arctic animals have adapted to their environment. For humans, the freezing cold is devastating but polar bears and seals and birds deal with it just fine. For them, the problem is when the temperature become too warm.

RL: While the Arctic has an abundance of well-adapted wildlife, there is also the tragedy of animals not being able to survive because of the melting ice. Polar bears cannot find food and there have even been reports that some bears have resorted to cannibalism, which some experts say may be a result of food stress, when their preferred prey—seals—is unavailable, something that has been linked to melting ice. A mother polar bear swam over 400 miles in nine days in search of food; scientists blame global warming. Is this something that concerns you?

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Welcome To The Arctic from Florian Schulz on Vimeo

p>FS: Absolutely. In my short time I have seen dramatic changes in the Arctic in different areas. For example, along the coast in Alaska you can see how the permafrost is just melting away; it looks like the icing on a cake that disintegrates as whole hillsides just slide away into the Arctic Ocean. I have seen polar bears swim and come to land and they are extremely thin and malnourished because they have to swim hundreds of miles to find food. So you do see these changes. Of course, we love polar bears, and without the sea ice they cannot hunt for seals. But the problems are even bigger with the tiny animals like the zooplankton at the bottom of the food chain, which are key to the entire ecosystem. Warming temperatures and ocean acidification are having a major impact overall.

RL: The Arctic is in many ways ground zero for climate change as the events there are so stunning and impact the rest of the global climate in terms of temperature and sea level rise. If you could ask climate negotiators at the upcoming UN climate meeting in Paris later this year one question or tell them one thing based on your personal experience in the Arctic, what would it be?

FS: I would ask for reason. Because the science is obvious. There are of course the deniers, but it is a fact that we are facing dramatic change. The Arctic shows the signs of the changing climate faster because the temperatures are rising twice as fast there. But it’s only one sign of what’s happening across the entire world. We have seen many major storms, floods, droughts—basically weather going to extreme and the Arctic is more of an indicator of what will happen, so it gives us a chance to listen up now. My big hope is that reason will take on more of a stand because I think we all know what’s going on. We are being bribed by the resource industries like oil and gas who want to keep doing business as usual. We cannot go on doing business as usual, using the same resources, using the same kind of transportation and pretending that everything is going to be fine because it won’t.

RL: There are concerns that the melting ice will permit more trade routes and tourism throughout the Arctic. Did you witness any evidence of tourism when you were there? Was there plastic garbage floating in the water?

FS: I’ve been in many different parts along remote coastlines and it’s shocking how much plastic one finds, but I wouldn’t say that in the areas of Arctic that I have been, in Alaska or Spitsbergen or in Canada, that I would see specifically a lot of plastic. The issue with the shipping routes is definitely a major problem because through the Aleutians, the shipping routes will increase going through the Bering Sea and possibly the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Because there’s very little infrastructure, if there is a disaster, you cannot react very easily to an oil spill or if a ship gets into a storm.

RL: What was the most dangerous moment during your Arctic travels?

FS: I was camping on the ocean ice in polar bear country for weeks at a time and that was dangerous. Polar bears came to our tent and we had to scare them away by shouting or by even firing a flare gun into the air. But one of the most dangerous moments that I lived through was at the edge of the lead, a narrow crack in the ice. I was laying on the ice photographing a bird, a black guillemot and when I was moving my tripod suddenly I realized I was poking through the ice. It would’ve been very easy for me to fall through if one of these little sheets of ice were to break off and with the water temperature at 30° I would’ve drowned very quickly. So it wasn’t the polar bears, but photographing these birds that almost killed me and in hindsight that was actually quite scary. I was just not thinking—I was in artist mode just obsessed with this image that I wanted to capture.

RL: You took this powerful and poignant image of a polar bear mother nursing her two cubs, which has been nominated for the Por El Planeta Award. Can you describe how you came across this scene and taking the photograph?

FS: So imagine that polar bears are really ocean animals especially on the ocean ice. That’s why they are called Ursus maritimus, the sea bear. They really live out on the ocean ice most of the year. In the winter of course it’s frozen, but later in the year the ice falls apart and disintegrates more and more. So this mother was actually out on a little ice floe in the Arctic Ocean trying to hunt seals because that was the last area where there was still sea ice remaining. This mother stayed around our boat and we got a real insight into her life. It was absolutely amazing how well she took care of her young. During this time however, big male polar bears were in the area and they were trying to actually hunt her cubs and so she always needed to be on the lookout. I actually witnessed one big male sneak up on them and surprise them and they had to run for their lives. This photograph for me was so touching because it was that moment of relaxation when this mother gives everything to her cubs. She has taken care of them for all those many months, and skipping all the different dangers, providing food for them and then actually leading them away from that male and actually confronting that male polar bear, fighting against him so he wouldn’t eat her cubs. And this was her moment of peace, giving milk to her babies. For me it was wonderful to see their bond. As an artist I look for these little details of the perfect symmetry, that Zen moment. In this photograph, it really comes together in that one single moment: An expression of that mother’s devotion to her cubs.

RL: If you win this award, you said that part of the prize will help fund your current Arctic project, which is about conservation. Can you tell us a little bit about this project?

FS: My current project is basically to document the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. President Obama said that he would like to protect large portions of the refuge from mining and drilling. I’ve moved into film and have been documenting it last year for five months and this year already for another two. In many areas along the coast there are polar bears that are really depending on these areas, but the oil industry is interested in drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. It would affect all this polar bear habitat. The nice thing about the Por El Planeta contest is that all of the proceeds from the registration process will be donated to conservation initiatives, with fifty percent of the proceeds going to an initiative related to the photograph that wins the People’s Choice Award, which in my case would be polar bears.

To vote for Florian’s photograph and help polar bears, click here.

RL: So you are moving more into film for this new project?

FS: Yes, we are shooting in cinema quality the big caribou migrations, the landscapes, the auroras and the overall beauty of the Arctic refuge. There is some photography as well but right now we are really focusing on creating the highest quality footage available. We will be doing aerial shots and showing the broad range of wildlife, from the birds to the bears to the caribou and of course the landscapes: There is a wealth of wildflowers in the Arctic plains, bumblebees and many things that people wouldn’t expect of the Arctic. My goal is to give the public the possibility to see what the Arctic refuge is all about because some politicians have called it a barren wasteland or a flat white nothingness. So for example we were just filming musk ox and seeing how they were using the land, surviving in these freezing temperatures, giving birth to calves and going about their ancient rituals such as fighting amongst the bulls. So basically I want to show people what this place is all about so that they can make up their own minds about how they feel about it.

RL: You mentioned that you love going places where humans have had little impact. What other places are on your list?

FS: I’m actually finishing up a book which is called The Wild Edge, which will come out this fall. That is looking at the last large, beautiful intact ecosystems along the western seaboard between Baja California and the Arctic. So from the gray whale migration from Baja to Alaska to bird migrations, I’m highlighting those areas that are still wild and scenic, like the coastline of British Columbia, southeast Alaska and the Aleutians. I am always trying to go to places where the ecosystems are still fairly intact, where the landscape still belongs to animas, because that’s what I think is worth preserving the most.

~~  Reynard Loki ~~


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MonPower Rescues A Bear Cub on Top of Utility Pole in Braxton County

The Gilmer Free Press

SUTTON, WV — It was an “unusual” situation, according to a MonPower Company crew that had to rescue a bear cub stuck on top of a utility pole in Braxton County.

On Saturday, April 18, 2015 a Sutton, WV woman reported a baby bear was perched on top of the 40-foot pole just before dawn.

Before arriving at the site, lineman Bobby Hart de-energized equipment that was attached to the pole, so he and fellow line worker Derrick Kniceley could safely rescue the cub.

Todd Meyers, a MonPower spokesman, said it was a two-hour task, but Hart eventually climbed the pole and saved the bear.

“He took her by the scruff of the neck and then brought her back down to the ground,” said Meyers.

He said the bear was lucky in this situation because it made its way up the pole without coming into contact with any live lines.

“Had she come into contact with it, it would’ve been pretty unfortunate,” said Meyers. “It probably would’ve killed her.”

The bear cooperated with the crew the entire time. Meyers said workers are very caring and dedicated to their jobs even during an odd assignment like this.

“We have good guys out there,” he said.

The bear is now housed in a den with a foster mother in Pendleton County.

Fairy Diddles Are Nocturnal, But Common

Recently the temperature reached 60 degrees, so I headed outside and checked some of my nest boxes. I really didn’t expect to find any active nests just yet, but thought some bluebirds, chickadees or Carolina wrens might have begun gathering nesting material. No such luck, but in another week nesting will surely have begun.

The contents of one box, however, quickened my pulse. Located on the edge of a woodlot, finely chewed plant material surrounded by an envelope of large intact leaves jammed the box. I gently poked the nest until I saw some movement. Suddenly two big black eyes stared back at me. It was a flying squirrel.

After we checked each other out for a few seconds, she jumped from the box and sailed to the base of a nearby tree. She instantly scurried to the far side of the trunk to stay out of sight. We played hide-and-seek while I tried to get a better look at her. But each time I peeked around the trunk, she managed to keep the trunk between her and me. Finally, after several minutes, she leapt onto a larger tree trunk, and I got a chance to admire her.

The Gilmer Free Press


Back at the box, I found four naked and helpless pups. I estimated them to be three or four days old. Given the flying squirrel’s 40-day gestation period, this female had bred in early to mid February.

At about four weeks of age, the pups will be fully furred. At seven weeks, they will be adult-sized — ten inches long including a flat four-inch tail and about three ounces — and ready to leave the nest. The first brood stays with mom until she bears a second litter in July or August.

Southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) inhabit most deciduous and mixed deciduous/coniferous woods east of the Great Plains and are quite common. If a woodlot has oaks, beeches, hickories and/or walnut trees, it is sure to have flying squirrels.

Because flying squirrels are strictly nocturnal, they’re seldom seen. An evening in any woodlot, especially one dominated by nut trees, is one way to remedy this.

You might hear the sound of teeth gnawing nuts overhead. Or perhaps you’ll catch flashes of white gliding from tree to tree. This is best done on a moonlit night. As a flying squirrel twists and turns through the forest’s obstacle course of outstretched branches, its white belly stands out in the moonlight. When it lands, note how it disappears to the back of the tree, a habit that no doubt pays off when it crosses paths with a hungry owl.

A flying squirrel’s diet is as varied as the seasons. In February, a flying squirrel might take peanuts, corn or sunflower seeds from a bird feeder, eat swollen buds or slice into the bark of a sugar maple and lap up the sap that flows. In May, it switches to insects, and occasionally raids bird nests for a meal of fresh eggs or nestlings. In August, mushrooms, fruits, berries and mice are abundant and irresistible. And in October, flying squirrels gather and store bushels of acorns, beechnuts, walnuts and hickory nuts to get them through the coming winter. Fairy diddles, as flying squirrels are sometimes called, eat whatever the forest provides. (In some parts, red squirrels are also called fairy diddles.)

By day, flying squirrels sleep in den trees or nest boxes, often in groups of four to 12 individuals during the winter. Flying squirrels do not hibernate; they huddle together in small groups to stay warm.

One final note: Flying squirrels do not fly. They glide. Courtesy of a flap of skin that runs from wrist to ankle on each side of the body, they sail from tree to tree. Upon takeoff, this skin balloons and permits a controlled glide. The flat tail serves as a rudder to guide the “flight.” Most flights are short, 30 to 40 feet, but biologists have observed trips as long as 300 feet.

~~  Dr. Shalaway - 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033 ~~

Identifying Early Spring Waterfowl

The Gilmer Free Press

Though song bird migration peaks in May, early spring is a great time to learn and review waterfowl identification. Binoculars and a field guide are the essential tools.

To find waterfowl, visit lakes, ponds, flooded meadows and rivers, especially near dams. These are the habitats ducks frequent as they head north in spring.

First, notice how a duck behaves on the water. If it feeds on the surface by tipping its hind end into the air and stretching its neck beneath the water, it’s a dabbling duck. To fly, dabblers jump directly upward off the water.

If, on the other hand, a duck dives beneath the surface of the water to feed, it’s a diving duck. To fly, divers must patter along the surface to get airborne. That’s because their legs sit to the rear of the body to facilitate diving. This leg position makes divers ungainly on land, but they are excellent swimmers.

Here’s a brief guide to the key features of some male ducks you might encounter on local waterways. Hens are duller and require a bit more experience to identify, though in the spring, they typically associate with drakes of their own species.

 

Dabblers:

Wood Duck (1.3 lb.) — conspicuous slick-backed crest; multi-colored gorgeous bird; red eye ring, red bill; white throat and cheek markings; cavity-nester.

Mallard (2.4 lb.) — green head, white collar, yellow bill, chestnut breast, curly-cue tail.

American Wigeon (1.6 lb.) — white forehead and crown; green mask; white inner wing patch in flight.

Northern Pintail (1.8 lb.) — chocolate brown head; white breast with narrow white finger extending up neck; long pointed tail.

Northern Shoveler (1.3 lb.) — green head; large spatula-shaped bill; white breast; brown sides; powder blue shoulder patch in flight.

Teal — two eastern species, both small; blue-winged teal (13 oz.) — powder blue shoulder patch in flight and wears an obvious white crescent on face; green-winged teal (12 oz.) — the smallest dabbler; chestnut head with green ear patch that extends down neck; iridescent green patch on wing.

 

Divers:

Canvasback (2.7 lb.) — dark rusty head; profile of head angular; black bill and breast; light-colored back; favors deeper water.

Redhead (2.3 lb.) — rusty head; profile of head a bit concave rather than angular; breast black, back gray.

Ring-necked Duck (1.5 lb.) — poorly named; white ring near bill tip; head may appear pointed; gold eye; dark head, breast, and back; sides gray.

Common Goldeneye (1.9 lb.) — dark head with round white cheek patch; gold eye; breast and sides white; cavity-nester.

Bufflehead (13 oz.) — small; dark head with large white bonnet; white breast and sides; cavity-nester.

Mergansers — three species; all have “toothed” bill for catching fish; common merganser (3.4 lb.) is large with green head and red bill; white body, black back; cavity-nester; red-breasted merganser (2.3 lb.) has green head with shaggy crest, wide white collar, and streaked rusty breast; hooded merganser (1.4 lb.) has black bill, black crested head; when crest is fanned, large white patch appears; gold eye; chestnut sides; cavity-nester.

Ruddy Duck (1.2 lb.) — chunky compact duck; tail often cocked upward; head dark with large white cheeks; bill blue; body chestnut.

Other waterfowl you might encounter this time of year include a variety of much larger geese and swans.

Canada Geese (6 to 12 pounds) — widespread and common. Often loaf at city parks, golf courses and athletic fields, where their droppings foul the landscape. Identified by a conspicuous white chinstrap that marks the black head and neck.

Snow Geese (5 to 8 pounds) — stocky white geese with black primary wing feathers and a pink bill.

Tundra Swans (14.4 pounds) — large and all white; usually seen flying overhead in migration. Most individuals show a bit of yellow between the eye and the base of the black bill.

Trumpeter Swans (23 pounds) — huge and white with black bill. Once quite rare in the east, their numbers have rebounded in recent years.

Mute Swans (22 pounds) — huge and white with large orange bill. Native to Eurasia. Introduced to North America to populate parks and private lands; often a pest by harassing native waterfowl and destroying aquatic vegetation.

~~  Dr. Scott Shalaway - 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033 ~~

Fishing Report - 03.27.15

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BEECH FORK

Anglers should call the Beech Fork Corps of Engineers office at 304.525.4831 and go to www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wc/bbfns.htm  for information and current lake levels.  No current fishing reports, the lake is at summer pool almost due to recent rains.

BLUESTONE

During the winter season, anglers should fish slowly and methodically.  Fish will still feed but have a slower metabolism.  A few bass are being caught off rocky points using live minnows.  Anglers should look for points that have some cover such as stumps, logs, or ledges.  Some hybrid striped bass may be caught using large chubs.  Anglers should try spots such as at the mouth of the Bluestone Arm or near the dam.  With any warm, stable weather, fish may become more active.  Try to pick a day that is bright and sunny which warms up areas of the lake, especially dark or mud banks.  A few degrees can make a difference!  Right now the tailwaters are high and unfishable with more rain expected.  Anglers should be careful wading this time of year due to the cold water and slippery conditions.  Wear your personal flotation devices at ALL times!

BURNSVILLE

The lake is at winter pool and frozen in places.  Fishing has been challenging with the cold and ice.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout February 11. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304.853.2398 and go to www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wc/busns.htm.

EAST LYNN

For information on current lake levels call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304.849.9861 and go to www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wc/eltns.htm . No current fishing reports, the lake is at summer pool almost due to recent rain.

R.D. BAILEY

During the winter season, fish are still active but have a slower metabolism, so anglers should fish slowly and methodically.  Spotted bass are hitting plastic jigs in crawfish colors.  The spotted bass will be found along the rocky drops with points another good spot to try.  Walleye are starting to be creeled by local anglers.  Best places to try are along the shallow clay flats either early or late.  As the year progresses, walleye will be moving up the river to begin spawning.  Best baits are jigs tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers.  With any warm, stable weather, fish may become more active.  Try to pick a day that is bright and sunny which warms up areas of the lake, especially dark or mud banks.  A few degrees can make a difference!

STONECOAL LAKE

The lake is at normal pool and frozen in places.  Fishing has been challenging with the cold and ice.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  A few walleye have also been in about 10-15 feet of water.

STONEWALL JACKSON

The lake is at winter pool and frozen in places.  Fishing has been challenging with the cold and ice.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout February 11.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304.269.7463.

SUMMERSVILLE

The lake is at winter pool and frozen in places.  Fishing has been challenging with the cold and ice.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  Walleye are being caught off rocky points in about 10-15 feet of water.  Try minnows and small crank baits.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout February 04.  For more information contact the Corps of Engineers at 304.872.3412 and go to www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wc/suens.htm.

SUTTON

T The lake is at winter pool and frozen in places.  Fishing has been challenging with the cold and ice.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout February 11.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304.765.2705 and go to www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wc/suens.htm.

TYGART LAKE

The lake level is about 40 feet above summer pool and all boat ramps are currently closed.  Lake elevation is expected to decrease over the next few days.  The tailwater outflow is about 15,000 cfs and muddy.  Water temperature is 40oF.  The tailwater boat ramp has been under water for the last few days and shoreline access is minimal during these high flows.  Once water flow decreases, younger walleyes should be readily available as they have moved through the dam into the tailwater during high flow events (above 5,000 cfs).  Walleye fishing is best during higher flows (1,500 to 5,000 cubic feet per second).  Trout were last stocked in early February and trout fishing is best at low flows (less than 1,000 cubic feet per second).  Call the Corps of Engineers telephone hotline at 304.265.5953 for daily lake and tailwater conditions.

NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters)

Over the next week, warming water temperatures and high flows should trigger walleye and sauger to move into tailwater areas below dams.  Jigs with minnows are particularly good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs and deep-running crankbaits are also productive.

MONONGAHELA RIVER

Water temperature has warmed over the last week and is about 44oF.  The river is high and muddy, but increased water temperatures and flows should cause fish to start moving upstream and congregate at tailwater areas just below the Morgantown, Hildebrand, and Opekiska dams.

CHEAT LAKE

Recent heavy rains and warmer temperatures have caused ice to break up.  Debris may still be scattered around the lake due to ice damage last week.  The winter boat ramp at the Cheat Lake Park near the dam is the only public ramp currently open.  The tailwater fishing pier can be very good for walleye and sauger.  The pier is located entirely in West Virginia about 25 minutes from Morgantown.  Take U.S. Highway 119 from Morgantown to Point Marion, PA.  Turn right after crossing the Cheat River and proceed 4 miles to Cheat Dam.

Try the tailwater fishing pier for sauger, smallmouth bass, walleye and white bass.  Jigs with minnows or 3-inch power grubs are the best baits.  White or chartreuse are good colors.  Start fishing at dark when sauger and walleye begin feeding.  The pier is located entirely in West Virginia about 25 minutes from Morgantown and is lighted for night fishing and is handicapped accessible

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon Rivers

Water levels throughout the area have dropped over the past week and near or slightly below normal flow for this time of year.  Water temperatures are in the mid 40’s at most locations and the water is clear.  Anglers are starting to catch a few smallmouth bass.  The spring trout stocking season is underway and many streams are receiving weekly trout stockings.

Shenandoah River

Flows in the Shenandoah River are near normal flow for this time of year.  Smallmouth bass are biting and fishing plastics near the head of pools around the bedrock ledges and in eddies is always a good strategy.

North Branch River

Flows in the North Branch are currently 800 cfs but projected to drop over the next couple days and there should be some great trout fishing opportunities by the weekend.  The first white whitewater event on the North Branch is scheduled for April 11 and 12.  Check the Corp or Engineers webpage for specifics or schedule changes. 

Small Impoundments

Most small impoundments are in great fishing condition and some are receiving spring trout stockings.  Check the 2015 fishing regulations to see if your favorite water is on the January or February stocking schedule.

Jennings Randolph Lake

There has been no recent reports of angler success at Jennings Randolph Lake.  The West Virginia boat launch is scheduled to open for the season next Wednesday April 1.  The WV launch is free and a $5 per day fee is collected for the Maryland Ramp. Jennings Randolph Lake has a dedicated phone line for up-to-date recreational information 304.355.2890.

Mt. Storm Lake

Anglers at Mount Storm Lake should target striped bass, black bass, and walleye.  This is a great location for winter fishing since the lake doesn’t freeze.  Fish can be caught throughout the lake but many anglers do well fishing with chicken livers near the discharges.

CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

Water levels are high, milky and some still with ice cover.  If you are looking for a place to go, please check the fishing regulations and the WVDNR website for a list of public access sites or call your local WVDNR district office for some advice and a place to fish.  The March trout stocking is rolling and going well.  Make sure you purchase your 2015 WV fishing license.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

The New and Greenbrier rivers are high and off color right now with more rain expected so fishing may be slow there.  Sometimes high water improves the fishing at Kanawha Falls so anglers may also want to try their luck there for musky or walleye (use big chubs for bait) or lake anglers can find some excellent bass fishing at Plum Orchard Lake and Stephens Lake.  Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom, spinnerbaits are also good choices.  Anglers should call ahead to make sure that the ramps are not iced over.

SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA

Lower Ohio and Kanawha Rivers

Sauger and walleye will begin congregating behind locks, tributary mouths and along shoal areas in preparation for their spawn as soon as the water warms a bit, be ready!  R.C. Byrd tailrace is a great place to try.  Try bait, and small brightly colored jigs fished slow close to the bottom.  Added scent or a small piece of bait or nightcrawlers attached to the tail end of jigs really helps at this time of the year.  Fish S-L-O-W.

Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk, and Mud Rivers

A few reports of very large muskies caught and released from the Elk and Coal rivers using slow moving baits and soft plastics (large tubes).  Try for walleye and sauger behind lower and upper falls as they congregate with warming water temperatures to go through their spawning rituals.

Small Impoundments

Barboursville and Ridenour lakes were recently stocked.

WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

So far this month, trout have been stocked into the following area lakes:  Rollins and Turkey Run lakes in Jackson County, Tracy Lake and Pennsboro Water Supply Reservoir in Ritchie County, Mile Tree Lake in Roane County, Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County and Cedar Creek State Park Ponds in Gilmer County.  Additionally this month Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County will be stocked again.  This information is updated daily at 4:00 pm, January through May.  Trout anglers can use a variety of baits including small worms; mealworms, salmon eggs, cheese, or trout power bait.  Lure anglers like small spinners, Joe type flies, and trout magnets also work well.

This is a good time to fish Ohio River tailwaters.  Anglers fishing below the Belleville dam are catching a few sauger, walleye and a few other species.  Suspended minnows or lead headed jigs with twister tails (white or chartreuses), which are fished along the bottom, are the lures of choice.  When the river is running high and muddy clever anglers are tipping their jig hooks with minnows.  Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusual slow.  Fishing along the Willow Island tailwaters is restricted due to hydro-power development.  Anglers now have access only to a point approximately 150 yards below the dam, and flows have changed significantly.

Warm water discharges associated with industrial facilities hold fish in the winter along the Ohio River.  Best bet for lures here include crank baits and rubber jigs.  Expect to catch white bass, hybrid striped bass and a few other species at these hot spots.

Fishing for largemouth bass can be good during warm sunny days in area lakes.  Slowly fished rubber worms or jig-and-pig combos are good terminal tackle choices.  Area lakes with good winter bass angling opportunities include Mountwood in Wood County, Conaway Run in Tyler County, Charles Fork in Roane County, North Bend Lake in Ritchie County, and Elk Fork, Woodrum, and O’Brien lakes in Jackson County.

Musky streams are expected to be fishable this weekend.  Winter musky anglers use medium to large lures, and they concentrate their fishing efforts around brush piles or other areas of good cover.  Middle Island Creek, the major streams in the Hughes River system, and the Little Kanawha River are good area musky waters.


Stream Conditions
NORTHERN Levels Conditions
 
Low
Normal
High
Clear
Milky
Muddy
Ohio River (Wheeling)     X     X
Fish Creek   X     X
Fishing Creek   X     X
Big Sandy (Preston) X   X   X
Monongahela River   X   X  
Black Water Creek     X     X
Wheeling Creek     X   X  
Buffalo Creek   X     X
EASTERN PANHANDLE Levels Conditions
 
Low
Normal
High
Clear
Milky
Muddy
S. Branch (Potomac)   X   X    
S. Branch (Smoke Hole)   X   X  
Shenandoah River   X   X  
Patterson Creek   X   X    
N. Fork S. Branch   X   X  
Cacapon River   X   X  
Back Creek   X   X    
Opequon Creek   X   X  
Lost River   X   X  
CENTRAL Levels Conditions
 
Low
Normal
High
Clear
Milky
Muddy
Elk (Sutton)     X   X
Little Kanawha     X   X
Elk (Clay)     X   X
West Fork River     X   X
Gauley River     X   X
Cranberry River     X   X
Cherry River     X   X
Cherry River (N. Fork)     X   X
Cherry River (S. Fork)     X   X
Williams River     X   X
Knapps River     X   X
Greenbrier (E&W Forks)     X   X
Little River     X   X
Shavers Fork     X   X
Buckhannon River     X   X
Holly River     X   X
Elk River (Webster)     X   X
Elk River (Back Fork)     X   X
SOUTHERN Levels Conditions
 
Low
Normal
High
Clear
Milky
Muddy
New River (Hinton)   X   X    
Greenbrier (Hinton)     X X    
Greenbrier (Ronceverte)   X   X    
Anthony Creek   X   X    
Big Creek   X   X    
Meadow River   X   X    
Turkey Creek   X   X    
Potts Creek   X   X    
Second Creek   X   X    
Pinnacle Creek   X   X    
Horse Creek Lake   X   X    
Big Huff Creek   X   X    
Indian Creek   X   X    
Glade Creek (New River)   X   X    
Marsh Fork   X   X    
New River (Gauley)   X   X    
Glade Creek (Man)   X   X    
Camp Creek   X   X    
East River   X   X    
Fork Creek   X   X    
Dry Fork Creek   X   X    
Berwind Lake   X   X    
WESTERN & SOUTHWESTERN Levels Conditions
 
Low
Normal
High
Clear
Milky
Muddy
Little Kanawha River X   X  
Ohio River X   X  
Hughes River X   X  

Trout Stockings

March 25, 2015

  • Big Sandy Creek
  • Coopers Rock Lake
  • Cranberry River
  • East Fork Greenbrier River
  • Glade Creek of Mann
  • Horse Creek Lake
  • Jimmy Lewis Lake
  • Kings Creek
  • Little River East Fork Greenbrier River
  • Middle Fork River
  • Mountwood Park Lake
  • North Fork of South Branch
  • South Branch (Smoke Hole)
  • Summersville Tailwaters
  • Tomlinson Run
  • Tomlinson Run Lake

March 24, 2015

  • Anthony Creek
  • Beech Fork Tailwaters
  • Bullskin Run
  • Cacapon park lake
  • Dunkard Fork Lake
  • East Lynn Talwaters
  • Evitts Run
  • French Creek Pond
  • Jenning Randolph Tailwaters
  • Knapps Creek
  • Krodel Lake
  • Laurel Fork of Holly River
  • Left Fork of Holly River
  • Lick Creek Pond
  • Middle Creek (Berkeley)
  • Mill Creek (Berkeley)
  • New Creek
  • North Fork of Anthony Creek
  • North Fork of Patterson Creek
  • Opequon Creek
  • Right Fork of Little Kanawha
  • Rocky Marsh Run
  • South Branch (Franklin)
  • South Fork of Cranberry River
  • Wayne Dam
  • West Fork of Twelvepole
  • Williams River

March 23, 2015

  • Buffalo Fork Lake
  • Cranberry River
  • Deer Creek (Pocahontas)
  • Dillons Run
  • Edwards Run
  • Fort Ashby Reservoir
  • Greenbrier River
  • Kimsey Run Lake
  • Mill Creek of South Branch
  • New Creek Dam #14
  • Rockhouse Lake
  • Spruce Knob Lake (condition of lake: 75%-80% slush ice; clear 20 feet around edges)
  • Spruce Laurel Fork
  • Summit Lake
  • Tygart Valley River Headwaters
  • Watoga Lake

March 20, 2015

  • Anawalt Lake
  • Berwind Lake
  • Buckhannon River
  • Cacapon Park lake
  • Cranberry River
  • Dry Fork (McDowell)
  • Gandy Creek
  • Laurel Fork (Randolph)
  • Left Fork of Right Fork of Buckhannon River
  • Opequon Creek
  • Rocky Marsh Run
  • Second Creek (C&R)
  • South Branch (Franklin)
  • South Mill Creek Lake

Hibernation Season Over, Will Disease-Ridden Bats Emerge From Caves and Mines This Spring?

White Nose Syndrome now infects bats in several northeastern U.S. states

Hibernation season over, will disease-ridden bat

Hibernacula, they’re called: Places where species like bats hibernate.

Bats by the thousands congregate in such caves and mine shafts, spending their winters away from the elements.

Now they’re anything but safe.

Their promixity to one another, along with the caves’ and mines’ natural humidity, has fueled the outbreak of one of the worst bat diseases in history: White Nose Syndrome (WNS).

First diagnosed in bats in a cave near Albany, N.Y., in 2006, WNS spread from bat to bat, colony to colony, across the northeastern United States.

The disease is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which results in a skin infection, a distinctive white growth around the muzzles and on the wings of bats. WNS spreads as bats hibernate in winter.

As of 2012, the disease was linked to some 6.7 million North American bat deaths.

The Gilmer Free Press
Greater mouse-eared bats, European bats that can
become infected with White Nose Syndrome.

The fungus was likely carried to the United States by humans traveling to and from Europe, scientists believe.

WNS and the skin lesions it causes are widespread in European bats. In Europe’s bats, however, no mass mortality has been documented. Why? Researchers are working to find answers.

Back across the pond: From Vermont to Virginia and beyond

In the United States, WNS has been present for several years in Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, says biologist Winifred Frick of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

She and colleagues recently published a paper in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography that details the disease in 468 bat colonies in these six states.

The scientists compared the results with those from 640 colonies in eight European countries: Norway, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

WNS infections have been confirmed in all these nations but for Norway, where no surveys have yet been conducted.

“We used four decades of population counts in 16 species of hibernating bats,“ says Frick, “to determine the effect of WNS on bats in North America compared to those in Europe.“

WNS caused a 10-fold decrease in colony sizes of hibernating bats in eastern North America, a dramatic decline across multiple bat species, Frick says.

Most affected, perhaps, is the northern long-eared bat, Myotis septentrionalis. The species is being considered for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Northern long-eared bats have vanished from some 69 percent of the hibernacula where they were once found.

“Mortality from WNS has placed this bat species in peril,“ says Frick. “It now appears at significant risk of extinction.“

Into the field…or the cave

To obtain information on the status of bat colonies, biologists visit subterranean habitats where bats hibernate during winter—caves, mines, old war bunkers, anywhere that’s dark, cool, moist and protected from harsh winds and freezing temperatures.

There scientists count numbers of bats in each species. For the past few decades, such winter censuses have taken place every year or every other year in countries in Europe and North America, says Frick.

In the recent study, she and co-authors focused on bats in the family Vespertilionidae, which has members on both the European and North American continents.

“North America and Europe don’t share any of the same bat species,“ she says, “so we compared bats related at the family level.“

U.S. and European bat colonies now similar-sized

The researchers found that declines in U.S. bat populations have resulted in colonies in North America and Europe that are roughly the same size.

“The finding raises the intriguing question of whether hibernating bat colonies in Europe used to be larger prior to the presence of WNS,“ says Frick. “It hints that disease may be an important hidden force behind basic ecological patterns in bats and other species across continents.“

Sam Scheiner, program director in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Environmental Biology, agrees. Scheiner represents the joint NSF-National Institutes of Health-Department of Agriculture Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) program, which funded the research.

“This study provides important insights into how a devastating disease has affected bats in the U.S.,“ he says. “Such information is essential for developing management plans to help save these species.“

The EEID program supports efforts to understand the ecological and biological mechanisms behind human-induced environmental changes and the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases.

The benefits of research on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases, says Scheiner, include development of theories about how diseases are transmitted, increased capacity to forecast disease outbreaks, and knowledge of how infectious diseases emerge and re-emerge.

Does disease shape species distributions and abundances?

Disease is increasingly recognized as a serious threat to wildlife species, “especially as human travel increases the chance that we could accidentally introduce pathogens [disease-causing microbes] to new parts of the planet,“ says Frick.

Measuring how infectious diseases may change fundamental ecological patterns is essential for determining effects of these diseases on wildlife species.

“Our study offers the first evidence that disease can change macroecological patterns across continents,“ says Frick. Macroecology is the study of broad-scale patterns of species distributions and abundance.

Bat losses have widespread effects

Many bats are insect predators. As such, researchers report, they provide valuable “ecosystem services” for humans. Increases in insects like gypsy moths and cutworms—favorite bat meals—have economic consequences.

Cutworms, for example, are destructive garden pests that cause fatal damage to vegetables, fruits and flowers. Until bats swoop to the rescue.

Nonetheless, says Frick, when it comes to important wildlife species, bats are often overlooked.

It’s late March and winter hibernacula are opening, their bats beginning to emerge. Without bats, scientists say, the landscape of spring would be a far more insect-ridden, crop-damaged place.

emerge from caves and mines this spring?

“Today’s Catch” Photo on Social Media Results in WVDNR Citations Issued for Nearly 50 Poached

Following up complaints in person and by email that someone had been taking more than the daily creel limit of trout on Big Clear Creek along Anjean Road in Greenbrier County, Natural Resources Police Officers from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources District 4 Office in Beckley got some help from social media.

“I found that one of the suspect’s girlfriend had posted on Facebook a picture of what she was calling ‘today’s catch,’ a photo of a truck bed with approximately 48 trout on the tailgate,” said NRPO J.B. Hudson, who investigated the case. “I also obtained messages from Twitter about the catch and the time it occurred. I then began building my case.”

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Officer Hudson was able to obtain the identities of the suspects, both juveniles, and questioned them and their parents. He determined that the trout had all been caught the same day, Feb. 6, 2015, and that the fish had been dispersed throughout the community. The two suspects were each issued citations for exceeding the creel limit of trout, exceeding the possession limit of trout, and illegal possession of trout.

“This case was brought to conclusion in large part thanks to the public reporting the incident by way of email and social media,” said Col. Jerry Jenkins, chief of the WVDNR Law Enforcement Section.

Anyone who witnesses a violation of the state’s wildlife laws is asked to report it by telephone, email or online at wvdnr.gov/LEnforce/Poachers.shtm.

You do not need to give your identity to report a suspected crime.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation presents $50,000 donation for West Virginia Elk Restoration Project

At the regular quarterly meeting of the Natural Resources Commission held Sunday February 22, 2015, in South Charleston, Bill Carman, Regional Director for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and its West Virginia State Chapter President Brian Satterfield presented a Seed Grant check in the amount of $50,000 to the West Virginia DNR for its active elk restoration program.

These funds can now be used by WVDNR to support its active elk restoration program.  RMEF has been instrumental with the restoration of elk in Kentucky and Virginia just astride of the Mountain State’s designated southwestern coalfields elk zone consisting of all or parts of Logan, Mingo, Wyoming, McDowell, Lincoln, Wayne and Boone counties.

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The commissioners and WVDNR Chief of Wildlife Resources Curtis Taylor thanked RMEF for this generous contribution, which is designated to kick-off the program. Revenues for such grants are generated by fundraising banquets held by local chapters here and elsewhere. West Virginia presently has four active chapters.

“The mission of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage,” Carman said.

Accepting the contribution on behalf of WVDNR were elk zone wildlife and law enforcement coordinators Randy Kelley and Sgt. Terry Ballard, respectively.

**DNR**

Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

In photo, left to right: WVDNR Sgt. Terry Ballard, RMEF Regional Director Bill Carman, West Virginia State Chapter President Brian Satterfield, WVDNR District Biologist Randy Kelley.

Proposals for Doe Hunting

The drastic drop in the number of bucks hunters killed in 2014 is reflected in the proposed regulations for the 2015 antlerless deer hunting season in West Virginia. Whether the changes are enough to satisfy hunters remain to be seen.

“The season framework is very similar or the same as in years past,” said DNR Game Management Supervisor Gary Foster. “There will be a lot of counties that are the same, but a lot of counties will be a lot more restrictive. That’s primarily due to that decreased buck gun harvest.”

Under the proposed regulations for 2015 Boone, Tucker, Wayne, Webster and portions of Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Mineral, Pendleton and Raleigh counties would have no antlerless hunting season.

Hunters in Randolph, Mercer, Nicholas, Pocahontas and portions of Clay, Fayette Raleigh counties will need to apply for a limited number of tags in 2015 and the bag limit will be one antlerless deer.

The biggest change may be a reduction in the antlerless bag limit in selected counties. Hunters in Barbour, Braxton, Cabell, Grant, Hancock, Kanawha (north of Elk River and west of Corridor G), Lincoln, Marshall, Pleasants, Preston, Summers, Taylor, and Upshur Counties will see their bag limit for 2015 set at one antlerless deer.

The Gilmer Free Press


The other major change will be in the number of counties where hunters are required to kill an antlerless deer before they could kill their second buck.  Thirty-one counties carried the so called “earn a second buck” restriction in 2014. The number this year is down to nine counties or parts of counties.  Those are Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, part of Greenbrier, Hampshire, Part of Mineral, Morgan, Ritchie, and Wood Counties.  The bag limit in those counties for antlerless deer remained at three as proposed by game biologists.

The bag limit will also remain at three without the “earn a second buck” restriction in Berkeley, Brooke, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Lewis, Marion, Mason, Monongalia, Monroe, Ohio, Putnam, Roane, Tyler, Wetzel, and Wirt County.  The eastern portion of Pendleton County was also added to the three antlerless deer limit for 2015.

“The 2014 harvest was definitely low, but I don’t think it’s a reflection of a lower deer population,” said Foster. “There are a lot of other factors that came into play including the really strong mast crop and terrible weather in the first week of buck season, particularly on the first day.  The data looks very similar to what we had in 2010 after the bumper crop when mast was at an all time high.”

The proposals keep the season framework intact.  The season would be October 22-24, November 23-December 5 concurrent with the buck season. December 17-19 and December 29-31 on private land.  The season dates for public land include November 23-December 5 concurrent with buck season, December 17-19, December 29-31.

The agency indicated harvest objectives and population density is more inline with management plans on the state’s public hunting areas. The proposals include a limited antlerless hunt with a bag limit of one on the Elk River, Big Ugly, and Wallback WMA’s and Greenbreir State Forest and Kumbrabow State Forest.

Biologist suggest unlimited hunting with a one deer bag limit for does on Castleman’s Run, Stonecoal Lake, Camp Creek, McClintic, Stonewall Jackson Lake, Amherst/Plymouth, Cross Creek, Beury Mountain, Chief Cornstalk, Lewis-Wetzel, Bluestone, and Greenbottom Wildlife Management Areas as well as Cooper’s Rock State Forest.  Any public hunting area not specified in the proposal would follow the county’s proposed regulations for antlerless deer hunting.

The dates and bag limits are only proposals at this point. They will go out for public comment and the agency will accept comments on the ideas during the upcoming sectional meetings in March.  The state Natural Resources Commission will vote on the proposals at their next meeting.

~~  Chris Lawrence ~~

West Virginia Seasons End for Furbearer Trapping and Hunting February 28, 2015

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds sportsmen and women that the hunting and trapping seasons for red fox, gray fox, bobcat and raccoon ends February 28, 2015.

The trapping seasons for coyote, otter, mink, skunk, opossum, weasel and muskrat also will end February 28, 2015.

The trapping season for beaver ends March 31, 2015.

Beaver trappers are reminded that it is illegal to set traps during the month of March for beaver, unless those traps are in water.

Trappers should be aware that it is illegal to set traps or leave traps set after Noon on the last day of the respective season.

The trapping season for fisher ended January 31, 2015.

All beaver, bobcat, otter and fisher pelts are required to be checked at an official game checking station within 30 days of the close of their respective seasons.

Beaver trappers should be aware that starting April 01, 2015, they must check game by one of the following three ways:

•  Internet - www.wvhunt.com

•  Stopping at any license agent (you will not have to bring the animal with you)

•  Telephone - Call 1.844.WVCHECK (1.844.982.4325) - DNR ID number required.

Trappers, hunters and fur dealers are reminded that furs shipped out of West Virginia must have a fur shipping tag, which is available at DNR District Offices.

Anyone who plans to sell an otter or bobcat pelt outside of the state of West Virginia should obtain a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) seal for each pelt.

All otter and bobcat pelts, usually exported from the United States by licensed fur buyers, must have a CITES seal from the state where the animal was harvested.

The general public is reminded that now, before the trapping season ends, would be a good time to deal with nuisance furbearer problems.

Trappers may be more likely to assist landowners with nuisance problems while their gear is in working order and pelts are prime.

Winter Gulls

Harsh winters, meaning those with bone chilling temperatures and serious amounts of snow, such as last year and this year, bring the same question on an almost daily basis — why do I see “sea gulls” at the mall, at fast food restaurants and at garbage dumpsters?

The answer is weather related, but first let’s address the term “sea gull.” Everyone who has ever been to a coastal beach knows what it means, but “sea gulls” are not limited to seashores. In fact, Franklin’s gulls nest on the prairies of the northern Great Plains. Bonaparte’s gulls nest on the edges of the boreal forest in Canada and Alaska. And California gulls nest near lakes throughout the west. Among ornithologists and birders, the term “gull” suffices.

Most of the winter gulls seen here in the inland east are ring-billed gulls and herring gulls. Both are common along the Atlantic coast in the summer, but large populations also nest inland on the many islands of the Great Lakes. When winters are mild, they stay near the lakes.

But when polar vortices plunge southward and send us into a prolonged deep freeze, gulls wander south in search of open water. Last year was a classic case. In December 2013 the Great Lakes began icing up, but in mid January, 2014 temperatures plummeted, and the freeze accelerated. By March 06, 2014, the Great Lakes were 92.2% covered by ice. When it gets very cold, ice up can happen quickly.

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It’s happening again this year. According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) on January 06, less than 6% of Lake Erie was frozen. By February 09, more than 90% of Lake Erie and 54% of all the Great Lakes were frozen. Under these conditions, smaller bodies of water near the Great Lakes also freeze.

When this happens, gulls head south in search of open water. During the day they scavenge at landfills, dumpsters, parking lots and anywhere else they can find food. At night, they roost on ice near open water where they are relatively safe from predators.

These evening flocks can be quite impressive and often draw attention from gaggles of birders. In Pittsburgh, for example, thousands and sometimes close to 10,000 gulls gather near the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. Most are ring-billed gulls, many are herring gulls and sharp-eyed birders are always looking for rarities such as glaucous gulls, ivory gulls and greater black-backed gulls. Similar gatherings occur near Buffalo, NY and Niagara Falls.

Scanning thousands of birds for one or two individuals can be tedious, but it is always rewarding. That’s what birders do.

So that’s why we see gulls in winter. Ice freezes them out of preferred places, and they head south for open water. In the spring when the ice thaws, the gulls will return north to islands in the Great Lakes and beyond.

The most frequently seen winter gulls are ring-billed gulls. They are about 18 inches long and have a four-foot wingspan. The yellow bill is encircled by a black ring near the tip, hence its name. Other diagnostic features include a white head, yellow legs, yellow eyes, pale gray back and white underparts.

Herring gulls, the other common winter species, resemble ring-bills, but are larger, about 25 inches long with a five-foot wingspan. The bill is yellow, and the lower bill has a red spot near the tip. Also look for the pale gray back, white underparts and pink legs.

In nature, gulls are opportunistic scavengers. They eat fish, carrion, crabs, insects, mollusks, and almost any sort of organic garbage. Larger gulls can be quite predatory. Great black-backed gulls, for example, can swoop down and swallow ducklings and shorebird chicks whole.

If you’re puzzled seeing winter gulls, just look around. It’s probably very cold, you’re probably just a few miles from a lake or river and there’s probably an open trash receptacle nearby.

~~  Dr. Scott Shalaway - 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033 ~~

West Virginia Mid-Winter Waterfowl Survey Shows Decrease in Duck and Goose Observations

The Gilmer Free Press

Fewer ducks and geese were observed during West Virginia’s annual mid-winter waterfowl survey compared to 2014, according to West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Waterfowl Biologist Mike Peters. DNR wildlife biologists and wildlife managers completed the survey January 08 and 09, 2015.

This annual survey involves both ground and aerial observations of historically significant waterfowl areas in the state.

Observers counted 7,844 ducks and 6,390 geese during this year’s survey.

The number of waterfowl observed this year was down from last year. Specifically, duck numbers were down 11% and goose numbers 4%.

Duck numbers remain 87% above the 10-year average, however, and goose numbers are 20% above their long-term average.

“While these survey numbers are above their long-term average, this may not translate into more birds in the hunter’s bag,“ Peters said. “Weather plays a key role in determining hunter success during the season. For example, the week of this year’s survey would have proven difficult for hunters in their efforts to locate birds, as most waterfowl were found primarily on larger rivers that remained unfrozen.“

Canada geese, mallards and American black ducks were the most common species seen, with lesser numbers of snow geese, buffleheads, redheads, goldeneyes, American widgeon, ruddy, ring-necked, canvasbacks, scaup and wood ducks. Common and hooded mergansers are starting to make up a larger portion of the observed waterfowl.  Eleven bald eagles and one golden eagle also were observed during the survey.

< < < < < < < < <
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
Ducks Geese Ducks Geese Ducks Geese Ducks Geese Ducks Geese

Kanawha River (Upper)

547 491 682 437 290 282 243 421 121 673

Kanawha River (Lower)

792 520 731 295 430 216 245 59 102 182

Ohio River (Lower)

2,978 1,354 2,969 2,263 1,238 1,672 1,342 1,017 1,195 764

Ohio River (Middle)

2,803 2,990 3,841 3,270 2,614 3,641 1,134 2,067 2,712 3,536

Tygart Lake/Pleasant Creek

181 445 243 0 213 11 254 16 82 15

Shenandoah River

245 336 81 155 85 36 81 57 136 588

Bluestone   Lake/New River

298 254 250 289 382 404 417 267 696 389

Total

7,844 6,390 8,797 6,709 5,252 6,262 3,716 3,904 5,044 6,147

Ten-Year Average

4,200 5,331 3,941 4,807 3,300 4,604 3,036 4,350 3,333 4,727

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Funky, Green-Haired Turtle Is in Trouble

The Free Press WVMary River Turtle of Australia is under threat of extinction   [ .... ]  Read More

‘Friendly’ African Warthog Captured in Florida

The Free Press WV  The tusked beast took five days to finally capture [ .... ]  Read More

The Sheep-Filled Ship Left Australia, With Horrible Results

‘60 Minutes’ exposes deaths of 2,400 sheep in August 2017   [ .... ]  Read More

Zoo Drops 500 Lizards in Liquid Nitrogen

But they had to ask permission first   [ .... ]  Read More

West Virginia beagle enthusiast struggles to protect rabbits

The Free Press WVIt’s hard for a rabbit to make a living in West Virginia [ .... ]  Read More

Guy Kicks Moose. Then Comes the Payback

The Free Press WV‘Never a good idea,‘ says Fish and Game spokesman [ .... ]  Read More

West Virginia’s elk herd could top 100 by summer

The Free Press WVOne of the Arizona animals has since died [ .... ]  Read More

Wildlife Officials Explain Why Raccoons Acting Like ‘Zombies’

The Free Press WVThey probably have distemper; lots of cases seen in Ohio   [ .... ]  Read More

Most of over 150 stranded whales die on Australian beach

The Free Press WVMore than 150 whales have become stranded in Hamelin Bay in western Australia, and only 15 of them were still alive on Friday [ .... ]  Read More

Arizona elk arrive in West Virginia

The Free Press WV Fifty-one elk completed their journey from Arizona and were released into a holding facility in Logan County earlier this month [ .... ]  Read More

Giant Pandas Getting National Park That Dwarfs Yellowstone

The Free Press WV Giant Panda National Park to be built in China by 2023   [ .... ]  Read More

Aging kangaroo to get cryotherapy treatment for arthritis

The Free Press WVAn aging kangaroo who calls the Bronx Zoo home is set to receive low-temperature cryotherapy treatment for arthritis [ .... ]  Read More

Deadliest Animals in U.S. May Shock You

The Free Press WVAnimals like cows, horses killed 576 people from 2008 to 2015   [ .... ]  Read More

Diet of Captive Gorillas Could Be Killing Them

The Free Press WVHeart disease is rampant in zoo populations but nearly unheard of in wild   [ .... ]  Read More

Coyote Involved in Rash of NY Attacks Had Rabies

The Free Press WV6 people were attacked, animals were attacked and killed   [ .... ]  Read More

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Readers' Recent Comments

It is easy to see through the motive for avoiding application of the same assessment approach in all of WV’s school systems.

The powerful in control do not want to make achievement results available for voters to compare academic results among districts!

That way opportunities for more accountability in ways school systems are administered will be nipped in the bud.

Interesting isn’t it that for sports minute attention is paid to comparing performances of all kinds of teams throughout WV.

Unfortunately the strategy will be to keep voters keenly focused on sports so they will not ask questions about education spending and how children are doing in mastering subjects in our school systems.

By WVDOE Disgusted on 04.20.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: State might let counties switch standardized test from SAT to ACT'.

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The West Virginia State Board of Education has operated as a “pin the tail on the donkey” bureaucratic nightmare for over a generation.

Currently, it is hard to envision any positive change in their SOP?

Try this, try that.  Change this, change that.
Continual evidence that all is being run as an experiment?
The WVBOE has no real clue what to actually do, in order to fix anything.

Money wasted. Children cheated of a good education.
Parents and taxpayers cheated.  Opportunities missed.

This is the WVBOE legacy.

By State BOE - dysfunctional is an understatement? on 04.16.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: State might let counties switch standardized test from SAT to ACT'.

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Maybe Jimmy can pay some of his tax bills now?

By Justice, pay your tax bills! on 04.15.2018

From the entry: 'City to purchase club owned by the governor’s company'.

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Reread the article and see what a wonderful set of excuses have been set forward.

Taxpayers give the state the funds for education.  It is then properly squandered leaving students with substandard educations.

These people have the audacity to blame the teachers on top of it.

State BOE, suck it up, fix the problem you and your previous board members have created. 

Make President Truman’s desk saying your motto:  “The buck stops here.“

That is, if you are up to it.

By Kanawha Reader on 04.15.2018

From the entry: 'State board members react to national test results'.

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West Virginia made national news again with its spending per student to be in the top third among the 55 states.

We spend more than $11,000 on average per pupil in our public schools. For comparison Utah spends about $6,500 per pupil and it ranks in the top third for the quality of its education system.

It would be interesting to know how much Gilmer County spends per pupil counting total funding from all sources.

WV is certainly no way near the top third with getting students college, career, and jobs ready right out of high school. Where is all our money going? What could we learn from rural states similar to Utah?

The worst culprit seems to be too many high paid people on WV payrolls who are non-contributers to making better lives for our kids.

By Economist on 04.14.2018

From the entry: 'State board members react to national test results'.

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Those of us who keep close tabs on student achievement want to know reasons for unacceptable reading, science, and math scores in Gilmer County and what is being done to correct them. For something this important the problems and solutions surely have been looked into.

By R. A. Beasley on 04.14.2018

From the entry: 'State board members react to national test results'.

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HaHaHaHaHaHaHa!

By Don't bring them to Gilmer! on 04.13.2018

From the entry: 'NEW “ALMOST HEAVEN” CAMPAIGN'.

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No matter what is going on in the State our concern is Gilmer County. The State reports on Zoom that 10th graders at the GCHS perform at the 35.9% proficiency rate for science.

Proficiency for 11th graders is 37% in math and it is commendable that the rate for them for reading is 64%.

What is being done to make improvements for science and math when students are about ready to graduate from HS? We hope that scores for reading hold up and even improve.

Why do we fail to receive updates for plans for proficiency improvements in the County’s schools?

In other WV counties superintendents provide that type of information on a routine basis.

By GCHS Parents on 04.12.2018

From the entry: 'State board members react to national test results'.

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This well written article makes is clear what actually a businessman can do.

Businessman turned politician.  Can actually make an entire state look like idiots.  Idiots for electing him at the minimum.

Looks like we have to find the patience to tolerate this bs two more years…...and hope he turns into a one term disaster.

Congratulations to the WV state employees giving him a good lesson. Nice job folks.

By Makin Arch Look Good on 04.09.2018

From the entry: 'ICYMI™: A 'billionaire' should be embarrassed to let schools, local governments, vendor bills'.

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Why is important school system improvement news of the type addressed in the other comment not on the County’s school system’s web site?

Someone in the board office should be assigned to write up news to keep citizens informed.

We are expected to vote in more tax money to run the schools and we deserve to be informed of positive improvements being made with our money instead of taking our support for granted. It works both ways.

By R. Curry on 04.06.2018

From the entry: 'Howard O'Cull: School 'work action' a teachable moment'.

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This is a suggestion for getting breaking news out to the community concerning important new improvements in the County’s school system.

We hear that improvements are being made to increase student performances in mathematics, reading, and other areas. The changes include getting back to basics for math teaching to eliminate achievement gaps.

Would someone write up something to explain the new changes to keep the community informed? One improvement I know is that progress reports come home regularly so families can track how kids are doing.

There is nothing wrong with positive news getting out to demonstrate that Gilmer County is positioning itself to become a leader in public education. The County deserves all the positive press it can get.

By Appreciative Parent on 04.05.2018

From the entry: 'Howard O'Cull: School 'work action' a teachable moment'.

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The Governors and the elected Legislators made the time ripe for the “educators revolt”.

The past 20 years, state employees, all who work outside the ‘capitol complex’ have been dissed.

Put off.  Put down.  Worked around.
That was clearly understood by our state employees.

That dissention was completely ignored by our failed state leadership.

Clearly it was time for action.  Social media was a major player….for the good.

The Governor, the Legislators, have now been put on notice to not ignore state issues, while they feather their own nests.

Now, lets see social media swing into action,  straighten out the Public Service Commission, and their gross failure to hold Frontier Communications lack of customer service to the fore. Some leader needs to step forward and make it happen.

We see what can happen with some leadership.  Social media is the citizens friend.  The election is just a few weeks away.  Its time to build a fire under the Public Service Commission.  Governor Justice you might even give it a shot to fire them…...up?

By J.P. on 03.30.2018

From the entry: 'Howard O'Cull: School 'work action' a teachable moment'.

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We want the County to become WV’s star performer known throughout the State for producing the highest achievement students.

How can this be done? Simple. Establish goals for math, science, and other subjects and aggressively manage the school system accordingly.

This will require establishment of a clearly written, professionally done holistic plan containing specific goals to achieve, establishment of personal accountability at different levels in the school system, accurate and timely reporting of achievement results as we proceed, and applying improved approaches when necessary to keep the plan on track.

We have heard for too long that everything is “just fine” in the County, and we continue to hear it today from some quarters.

Folks, things are not ‘just fine’ when too many of our students leave high school unprepared for college and careers. Where we go from here is the primary responsibility of the elected school board.

Teachers and staffs are more than ready to deal with obstacles confronting them and all they need is to be enabled to do their jobs.

The time is over for continuing to be hampered with lame excuses for why major improvements cannot be made i.e., Gilmer County is too poor, too many kids lack family support they deserve, and keen focus on public education is foreign to the community’s culture.

By Gilmer County Teacher on 03.30.2018

From the entry: 'Howard O'Cull: School 'work action' a teachable moment'.

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Public Service Commission is a joke.  Sorry.

They are the regulatory agency that is basically letting FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS run unregulated for all landline customers.

Frontier customers wait days and days for landline service.  Many in our state live where there is no cell coverage, so no other choice for service.

Our elected reps need to pressure the Public Service Commission to get their chit together, do their job, and stop giving in to the Frontier lobby crew.

West Virginians deserve better!

By West Virginia resident on 03.30.2018

From the entry: 'PSC and GHSP Join Forces to Emphasize Seat Belt Safety Message'.

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Nice information. I think CANADA is also a very good place to live.

By Rahul on 03.22.2018

From the entry: 'The 10 Best Cities to Live In on Planet Earth'.

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I am so sorry and shocked to learn of Mike’s passing.  I think he would have liked he words printed here about him. Always a good man with a smile on his face and it didn’t take much to tickle him. West Virginia lost another good one. RIP Mike.

By Marlea Cottrill on 03.19.2018

From the entry: 'John Michael “Mike” Peters'.

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Yes, it would appear that Gayle M. has lost some of her ‘luster’ ?

The question now.  Will she pop back up somewhere else like that Whack-a-Mole game?

By Charleston Reader on 03.18.2018

From the entry: 'Justice names acting Secretary for Education and Arts'.

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Brian and Montie send their condolences to Gary’s family, especially to Nancy and Sharon for the death of a husband and father.  Nothing can really prepare us for such a loss as this. We are thinking about you at this sad time.

By Brian and Montie VanNostrand on 03.17.2018

From the entry: 'Gary Don Williams'.

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The centerpiece of nationally reported fake news pertained to Gayle Manchin’s plan for making WV’s southern coal field area a model for school system turn-a-rounds.

After the intense trail of high profile TV appearances to tout Manchin’s plan and pouring in money down there, nothing worked out as promised. 

The lesson from this sad saga is to focus on facts instead of what politicians try to pull over on voters.

The chronic problem in WV is that facts are routinely hidden by some politicians to keep voters misinformed.

By Bill Williams on 03.16.2018

From the entry: 'Justice names acting Secretary for Education and Arts'.

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Gilmer County has long memories. We recall the hill crest fund raiser out along Mineral Road to raise money for the Manchin political machine.

That was followed by Gayle’s insulting rant against the County leading to the damage of our school system and outlying communities during the State’s six years of iron rule intervention.

The good news is that Gayle is gone along with all other members of the WV State Board of Education responsible for our County’s intervention and the waste and mismanagement it wrought. Karma is alive and well WV!

By B. Jones on 03.16.2018

From the entry: 'Justice names acting Secretary for Education and Arts'.

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Brad got it all mixed up.
Gayle Manchin’s *resignation*....?

T-V, radio, newspapers across the state and beyond, even national news sources, all reported
that Governor Justice FIRED Gayle Manchin.

Brad, your effort to smooth that puts you squarely in concert with the rest of the BS fake news world.

By Brad got it mixed on 03.15.2018

From the entry: 'Justice names acting Secretary for Education and Arts'.

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Interesting.  Yet not so long ago, Gilmer local police weren’t interested when informed an out of state convicted felon was in possession of a trunk full of stolen guns.

By BangBang on 02.14.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County man sentenced for illegal possession of a firearm'.

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Great guy, who would do anything to help you. He would have probably got a kick out of having some strange woman’s face plaistered on his obituary. He would have had something smart to say about it I’m sure. smile

He had a great sense of humor. I saw him a little while back. I stopped by his house and visited with him a couple hours and as I went in I told him I stopped by to see if I could borrow his fancy car parked out front, expecting to meet with some resistance to that idea. Without missing a beat he said “Sure, just don’t let any of my kids drive it!“ We had a really nice visit that day - talking about cars and reminscing.

Our prayers are with the family.

By Connie Turner on 02.10.2018

From the entry: 'Kenneth Lee Page Jr.'.

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Justice, do you lay awake at night thinking up this stuff?

Can’t we West Virginian’s have some woodland that has not been molested by humans?

Keep the saws out of our state forests!

West Virginians are being raped once again.  The new generation of robber barons have bought off the governor and elected.

By Another Clueless Politician's Scheme on 02.10.2018

From the entry: 'Former Administrator: State Park Logging Plan Numbers Don’t Add Up'.

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so sorry to hear this news.  He took over Steve Grossmann’s mail route and we sure did appreciate his getting the mail delivered in all kinds of weather.  Slipping and sliding all the way. I loved his little dog that would look for snakes in the Normantown P.O.

By Cookie Setty on 02.09.2018

From the entry: 'Kenneth Lee Page Jr.'.

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Would it be possible for our new college president to involve Mr. Gallagher and student Evan Merical to attempt a revival of the defunct GSC Main Street Small Business Center? 

The community sure could benefit from it.  New management might just be what it needs?

By Question for Pres. Pellett on 02.07.2018

From the entry: 'GSC Student Speaks at One Stop Business Center Grand Opening'.

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Not surprised the Board of Ed supporting employees for raises and insurance. These people show they care about good employees over and over.
Just after they got our school system out from under state control they stood unanimously against the state appointed superintendent and his hand picked lawyer who tried to take away jobs from 8 professionals including Teachers and 4 service personnel. Can’t even count the number of transfers.  Gilmer’s Board of Ed just said no to that hit list. They stand up for this county and the kids..

By And we Appreciate It on 02.02.2018

From the entry: 'ATTENTION ALL EMPLOYEES OF THE GILMER COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM'.

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The state of WV overall has a dismal record of salaries and finance.

The jail system has issues.  Has for years.
The highway department.  Yup, them too.
The school system.  Ditto.

One per cent per year for 5 years?  That’s a real insult to any employee.

Teachers.  If you don’t get something that’s good, wait until warmer weather and strike.  Stand your ground !

The legislature and governor seem to have plenty $$$ to spread around Kanawha County.  Make sure they spread some towards teachers and staff salaries!!

By Give 'em some $$$ ! on 02.01.2018

From the entry: 'ATTENTION ALL EMPLOYEES OF THE GILMER COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM'.

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Rumor mill is saying that teachers and possibly other state employees will have to wear a wrist bracelet to track their lifestyles? 

Or pay higher insurance premiums?

True/false?

By is it true? on 02.01.2018

From the entry: 'West Virginia board revises high school requirement, grading'.

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Sorry to hear. He was a classmate at Sutton High School class of 1956.

By Nancy Rose Westfall on 01.31.2018

From the entry: 'Franklin D. “Frank” Conley'.

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A call to all candidates for all seats:  You can submit the information about yourself to us and it will be published at NO COST.

By Free Press on 01.31.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County: List of Candidates for 2018 Election'.

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Long list of candidates for the School Board. It would help voters decide if each candidate would publish a write-up of their personal backgrounds to include special qualifications for serving on the school board, and to include detailed goals for what they would like to achieve as a board member. The information would be far more useful to voters than signs plastered all over the County.

By Active Voter on 01.31.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County: List of Candidates for 2018 Election'.

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How about the new superintendent of Gilmer’s schools giving a progress report on her accomplishments so far in improving the quality of our schools to produce better prepared HS graduates for college and careers, plans for continual upgrading of academic achievements by our students, and how results will be accurately measured and reported to be convincing that our County is moving ahead? Doesn’t sound too much to ask for by bill paying citizens.

By Gilmer Parents For Accountability on 01.29.2018

From the entry: 'West Virginia board revises high school requirement, grading'.

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Gilmer County must set its own standards for student learning and to do what is necessary to achieve them with full involvement of highly motivated teachers.

We know that major improvements are needed to make our kids more competitive, but we have not heard details for what is planned in our school system to make critically needed changes.

Ignore what the State does with is long history of failure and let’s go ahead on our own.

Top down management in education has never worked in WV with its crippling grip of politics to emphasize the importance of making improvements through local initiatives.

By Glenville Teachers on 01.29.2018

From the entry: 'West Virginia board revises high school requirement, grading'.

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This is just another failure by the West Virginia State Board of Education!

It does NOTHING to improve education!

Just one more attempt to make everything “look nice”.

The State Board members are too far removed from the classroom.

That board needs populated with 4 or 5 of our better teachers who are not afraid to speak up.

By Troy Parent on 01.28.2018

From the entry: 'West Virginia board revises high school requirement, grading'.

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The question for the County’s sitting School Board is what is being done with corrective actions to get the County’s HS graduates out of the worst prepared bottom group for college and career preparedness as the State has reported?

Because more students graduate it does not mean that they mastered key subjects to promote success in the modern work place. Can anyone say grade inflation?

By B. Beckett on 01.26.2018

From the entry: 'West Virginia board revises high school requirement, grading'.

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Reduce requirements.
Lower teacher standards.

Produce less educated students.
Continue WV’s downward education spiral.

The current State Board of Education is less prepared to lead than back in the Gayle Manchin
days of failure.

Do not fool yourselves. Realize Paine is pain.
Do not expect WV educational leaders to improve education.

They have been showing us for years that goal is
out of their reach.

By Failed State BOE on 01.18.2018

From the entry: 'West Virginia board revises high school requirement, grading'.

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Does anyone know the County’s plan for getting us out of the State’s bottom group for college and trades ready after high school?

What are the causes for our being at the bottom for being ready and what is being done to solve them?

Causes never cease by themselves and the only solution is top quality leadership pushing a highly focused corrective program.

By Rusty Moore on 01.16.2018

From the entry: 'West Virginia board revises high school requirement, grading'.

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Example of a yes/but situation. Just because kids are pushed through does not mean that they are college and career ready. Read past comments about Gilmer’s being in the failing category for academic preparation. The way WV info is reported allows selective use of results to bloat up claims of how well a high school does in preparing students for the real world.

By R. Wells on 01.16.2018

From the entry: 'WEST VIRGINIA HIGH SCHOOLS RECOGNIZED FOR EXEMPLARY GRADUATION RATES'.

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Sunday’s Charleston Gazette-Mail had a warning that just because a high school has a high graduation rate that does not mean that its students are college ready. Gilmer County is one of them to put us in the State’s bottom category for readiness, but you won’t hear about it locally. Kids call it dumbing down.

By Give Citizens The Facts on 01.14.2018

From the entry: 'West Virginia board revises high school requirement, grading'.

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What about all the septic in the hollers that is draining into the creeks??

By Ugly on 01.10.2018

From the entry: 'PSC Investigates Impact of New Corporate Tax Law on Utilities'.

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This point should be kept in mind i.e. “The Commission has directed all privately owned electric, gas, water, sewer and solid waste facilities to track the tax savings resulting from the 2017 Federal Tax Act on a monthly basis beginning January 01, 2018. “.

By Michell J. Hill on 01.07.2018

From the entry: 'PSC Investigates Impact of New Corporate Tax Law on Utilities'.

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Troyan advocates for competition among schools with survival of the top performers. Her point is that the lack of accountability for county school system administrators must change to be similar to the way corporate America functions. Failure must have consequences!

By Accountabilty Needed on 01.03.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Minutes of Regular Meeting - 11.27.17'.

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Gilmer singled out again in article by Jessi Troyan for our being at the bottom for preparing high school grads for college. We know we have a serious problem. We await on top school system leadership to devise a workable remedial plan for the County. Denial of having problems cannot be used anymore to cover up

By B. Post on 01.02.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Minutes of Regular Meeting - 11.27.17'.

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You were in my life for what seemed like a short time but will be in my heart forever. I’ll see you at the family reunion one day again.

By Dana Linger on 12.29.2017

From the entry: 'Kathern Fay (Cogar) Linger'.

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Concerns about urgent need to upgrade student learning have persisted for too long in the County. 

We are tired of hearing lame excuses that under-achievement is caused by uncaring parents who do not emphasize the importance of education.

Parents are keenly important for contributing to student learning, but they cannot compensate for school “culture” deficiencies linked to leadership short comings.

By Parents For Better Leadership on 12.29.2017

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Minutes of Regular Meeting - 11.27.17'.

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Those who go to college perform down at the bottom in comparison to high school graduates in other WV counties. This evidence suggests that Gilmer’s students who don’t go to college are short changed too. Immediate leadership changes to straighten out under achievement are in order!

By E. Moore on 12.28.2017

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Minutes of Regular Meeting - 11.27.17'.

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Jeanette,
I am so sorry for your loss.

By Margie Shook on 12.18.2017

From the entry: 'Warren Curtis Pierce'.

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The whole child concept is admirable, but with GCHS grads being behind in proficiency for academic subjects we need to make changes to drastically improve learning to enable our kids to compete in the highly competitive modern world.

Our being the 52nd worse off among 55 WV counties for college remediation rates is undeniable proof.

Administrators must determine legitimate causes of our bottom ranking for use in improving learning instead of applying usual low payoff tinkering to be passed off as progress.

By B. K. Brooks on 12.15.2017

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Minutes of Regular Meeting - 11.27.17'.

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That’s the #### dems new ploy, they can’t win on policy so they charge sexual harassment.

By The Silent Majority on 12.15.2017

From the entry: 'Meet the Miss USA Contestant from Gilmer County, WV Accusing Trump of Sexual Misconduct'.

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Why was there no outrage like this when Billy Boy was doing his deed in the White House? and other places?

Oh, I forgot.  He was the media’s boy?

By HOW COME NOW ? on 12.14.2017

From the entry: 'Meet the Miss USA Contestant from Gilmer County, WV Accusing Trump of Sexual Misconduct'.

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Wanna bet that in green counties when results sag there is no hesitancy to make administrative changes when needed? In Gilmer County the approach has been to hide facts and to manufacture rosy ones to report to citizens.

By Moore on 12.11.2017

From the entry: 'More college-going students in WV need remedial classes'.

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This is basically the process for an improvement plan. A school board specifies student achievement standards and it assigns a superintendent to work with central office staff and school administrators to produce a comprehensive plan for making needed changes. After putting a plan in place results are closely monitored by a school board while holding a superintendent personally accountable for achieving the standards.

By School Board Member In A Top Performing County on 12.10.2017

From the entry: 'More college-going students in WV need remedial classes'.

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Did I miss the County Commission Agenda for the December meeting?  The GFP site is displaying a little differently and I can’t seem to find it.  Do they still meet on First and Third Fridays??

By Searching on 12.10.2017

From the entry: 'More college-going students in WV need remedial classes'.

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The no excuse rate for Gilmer County is 59% and there are only three other WV counties worse off. This alarming information flags dire need for the County’s school board to do its job by implementing an improvement plan.

By Gilmer Students Ripped Off on 12.08.2017

From the entry: 'More college-going students in WV need remedial classes'.

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“We’re going to see a sea change in American agriculture as the next generation gets on the land,“

Yeah, right.  That will last about as long as it takes to discover exactly how hard farming is, and the amount of work it takes to make even a minimal living.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 11.30.2017

From the entry: 'A Growing Number Of Young Americans Are Leaving Desk Jobs To Farm'.

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I always thought a Harvard education was something special.  Well, I guess it is.  Just a week ago they had ‘sex week’.  One of the course offerings was analsex101.  That’s right.  Google it.  Plenty of coverage. True story.

By Harvard 'taint what it used to be? on 11.23.2017

From the entry: 'Feds Threaten To Sue Harvard Over Asian-American Admissions'.

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This is nothing new.  It has been happening for years and no attempt to stop it.  Just quiet it down when word leaks out.  The court system thumbs their noses and laughs at ‘their hillbillies’.

Remember the hub-bub about $100,000.00 bathrooms in the Capitol building a few months ago?

Think they have them all remodeled so those whom you elected can krap in style the next legislative session?  lol

By Web on 11.18.2017

From the entry: 'Legislators Turn Focus on Supreme Court Spending Following Report on Luxury Purchases'.

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The justices are part of the aristocracy. Does anybody think that they care what the peons think?

By Skip Beyer on 11.18.2017

From the entry: 'Legislators Turn Focus on Supreme Court Spending Following Report on Luxury Purchases'.

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Why are Gilmer’s voters kept in the dark about activities of the two LSICs in the County? No published agendas before meetings, no published meeting minutes, and plans with details for school improvements are not disclosed. Violation of WV’s open meeting laws? To top it off memberships of LSIC’s and who selected the individuals are kept secret from voters.

By Gilmer Voter on 11.16.2017

From the entry: 'Board of Education Takes Action on Policies to Provide Flexibility to Counties'.

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LSIC plans are short on specifics for measurable academic improvements to be achieved. That way no matter what happens extraordinary successes can be proclaimed. The strategy is designed to make meaningful accountability impossible for school system administrators.

By More Of Same For WV Schools on 11.15.2017

From the entry: 'Board of Education Takes Action on Policies to Provide Flexibility to Counties'.

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A food pantry opens at Marshall University?

For students I can understand.
But its also for faculty and staff?

Really now?  Their salaries are that poor they need access to a food pantry?

Times area really tough in West Virginia.  Really are.

By Tough Times at Marshall University on 11.14.2017

From the entry: 'West Virginia News'.

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LSIC=Local School Improvement Council. Each WV school has one. Google to learn what each one is supposed to do to improve a school. Ask for plans for your schools.

By POGO on 11.13.2017

From the entry: 'Board of Education Takes Action on Policies to Provide Flexibility to Counties'.

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What is this “LSIC” commenter speaks about?
Who and what is that all about?

By reader on 11.12.2017

From the entry: 'Board of Education Takes Action on Policies to Provide Flexibility to Counties'.

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Fellow West Virginian’s.  What is being seen here is Paine’s return to ‘power’ and the continued 20 years charade by the WVBOE.

They spend your tax dollars.  They do their best to cover their failed efforts.  They cheat our children of a good education. 

They play (think manipulate) with the grading system every couple years, making it impossible to follow students upward or downward progressions.

Don’t expect any good, any progress, any improvement to happen in West Virginia.  It’s not in the cards.  Well, that is not in the ‘administrators’.

By 20 years of WVBOE 'playing' school on 11.12.2017

From the entry: 'Board of Education Takes Action on Policies to Provide Flexibility to Counties'.

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All high schools in WV have ACT Profile Reports for each graduating class.

The only performance information typically cited in school districts is average ACT scores for graduating classes.

If you can get copies of Reports for your high schools read them to independently evaluate testing results for career and college readiness, science, technology engineering and math (STEM), and other categories.

Chances are that your local administrators gloated that average ACT scores for graduating classes are commendable to give your high schools passing marks, but other testing outcomes in the Reports may show otherwise.

It is doubtful if LSIC members for your high schools know about the Reports to be grounds for demanding academic improvement plans. Check Reports for high schools in your school district to make up your own minds.

By WVDOE Fact Checker on 11.11.2017

From the entry: 'Board of Education Takes Action on Policies to Provide Flexibility to Counties'.

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Policy 2510 is an admission by the West Virginia Board of Education of their own failure.

Dumb down the standards in order that students can get a passing grade.

You grand pooh-bahs in Charleston BOE should be ashamed of yourselves!  But you have no shame. Obviously so.

Steve Paine, leading the failure of education in West Virginia.

By # 2510 policy--WVBOE ADMITS OWN FAILURE on 11.10.2017

From the entry: 'Board of Education Takes Action on Policies to Provide Flexibility to Counties'.

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With a deal like this—WHY—are we selling road bonds and—WHY—were all the motor vehicle fees INCREASED on West Virginia’s citizens?  WHY ! ?

Thanks for nothing Jim Justice and the WV legislators.

By WEST VIRGINIA TAXPAYER on 11.10.2017

From the entry: 'WV Signes $84 Billion Shale Gas Deal with China Energy'.

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The Rosie Bell will be a nice addition to the Park !

A thank you to Donna Waddell and her leadership and the FRN for making the Park happen !

By Thank America's Rosie's ! on 11.10.2017

From the entry: 'What This Bell Means to Gilmer County'.

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Aren’t they supposed to have agendas AND minutes for each and every meeting, by law?  They put it right there on the agendas that there were None. And months’ go by without even Seeing an Agenda.  It’s a citizen’s right to go in and ask to see them ALL.  Someone needs to look into this.  Especially with all the speculation that goes on around legal issues in the county!

By GilmerCountyCommission? on 11.03.2017

From the entry: 'Did You Know?'.

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The grade 7 spike in math in comparison to lowered performances in higher grades begs the question about reasons. What is being done to ensure that math skills will not drop by graduation time? Has anyone looked at adverse effects of block scheduling and other factors?

By Answers Needed on 11.03.2017

From the entry: 'SEEING MATH IN NEW WAYS'.

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We’ll.  It’s a step forward to see the Commission AGENDA - but what about the minutes?  The last two agendas have said “ Approve County Commission Minutes-None”      Aren’t there supposed to legally be minutes for the public to read?????  This makes NO sense unless things are going on that the Commission doesn’t want the public to know.  Obviously.  SHOW THE MINUTES Jean Butcher, do your job!

By 304 More Issues on 11.02.2017

From the entry: 'Did You Know?'.

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This posting is very informative and it documents what can be done with innovative approaches to teaching math. For too long we were fed the party line that all was well in our schools for math and everything else. That myth prevailed because facts were hidden to hold down the County’s demands for accountability. Hats are off to Kelly Barr and Traci DeWall.

During intervention it was commonly known that school board members made repeated requests for all kinds of student progress information, but it was kept from them. That era has ended and the County’s school board is expected to focus on its top priority responsibility that is to continually improve student learning in our schools. Our kids can perform if they are given the chance.

By Gilmer County Parents on 11.02.2017

From the entry: 'SEEING MATH IN NEW WAYS'.

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Gilmer look at this Did You Know. If you look at the State’s data on Zoom Dashboard to review changes in mastery of math and reading for the GCHS’s 11th grade for the 2011 and 2017 testing years it is clear the you have a problem with your math program. In 2011 the math pass rate was 36.92 compared to 37.29% in 2017. Progress with reading was truly commendable. The pass rate went from 26.98 in 2011 to 64.41% in 2017. Why the lack of progress for math? We know that your school board members are trying to get information about plans for improvements for math and science, but is full disclosure of details any better than it was under intervention? Let us know.

By B. Cummings on 10.30.2017

From the entry: 'Did You Know?'.

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Lots to learn kids. By the way,  How’s the Commission coming along with the September meeting minutes?

By 304 on 10.30.2017

From the entry: 'GSC Criminal Justice Students Take Part in Scenario-Based Training with RJA'.

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