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New Congress Presses Interior on Cancellation of Strip-Mine Health Study

The new Democratic leadership in Congress is investigating why the Department of the Interior stopped a major study of the health impacts of mountaintop removal and other surface mines.

After researchers found much higher rates of cancer, birth defects and other health problems near surface mines, the U.S. Interior Department directed the National Academy of Sciences to run a thorough study. Interior stopped that study in 2017 after Donald Trump became president.

But West Virginia University’s Michael McCawley, assistant professor of occupational and environmental health sciences, said it’s important to find out what’s causing the serious health problems for people living near the strip mines.

The Free Press WV
According to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee,
countries with mountaintop removal mines have a more than
40 percent higher rates of birth defects.


“That seems to be an epidemic of cancer cases, as well as a number of other diseases,” McCawley said. “That’s important to the people in the southern portion of West Virginia; it’s important to the people of the state of West Virginia.“

At the time, Interior said canceling the study was a cost-saving move. Press reports suggest it came after meetings with coal-industry lobbyists. Last week, the new chair of the House Natural Resources Committee and the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee formally requested Interior turn over all documents related to the cancellation.

Interior has said ending the study saved a little more than $500,000, after having already spent nearly as much on the study prior to its cancellation. To McCawley, the cancellation looked a lot like politics getting in the way of badly-needed scientific research.

“People say, ‘Well I don’t want to hear the answer to that,‘ or, ‘I don’t want to discuss this as a possibility,’” he said. “Science needs to be done in the public interest and given the opportunity to find the truth.“

According to McCawley, the best existing theory is that surface mining releases micro-particles - one-thousandth the size of a human hair or smaller - into the air. He said these cause inflammation in the tissues of people who breathe or absorb them. And he said they may well be a problem far beyond the coalfields.

“I have served on the World Trade Center Study Commission and seen many of the same sets of diseases in that population that we were seeing in southern West Virginia,” he said.

More information from the House Natural Resourse Committee is available here.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Trump Admin Losing Enviro Fights in Court

The Free Press WV

The Trump administration’s efforts to weaken public health and environmental regulations are being roundly defeated in the courts, according to a new report. Its findings show that the administration is unlikely to become “tired of winning” any time soon.

The law firm Earthjustice has filed 118 lawsuits challenging a multitude of deregulatory efforts, from opening Atlantic coast waters for offshore drilling to delaying the ban of a deadly pesticide. Attorney David Baron from the Earthjustice D.C. office said of the 17 lawsuits that have resulted in major court decisions so far, the administration has won only one.

“They’re just taking a ‘slash and burn’ approach to dismantling these legal protections - without analysis, without facts and without legal support,” Baron said. “And that’s why we have courts, to hold government officials accountable when they act irresponsibly and illegally. And that’s what’s been happening here.“

The administration has claimed in many of the cases that environmental regulations hinder industries such as coal mining. But federal figures show the retirement of coal-fired power plants has actually increased under President Donald Trump.

Among the challenges ahead is Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler’s proposal to weaken the Mercury and Air Toxics rule. Baron noted that the EPA itself estimated the rule would save 11,000 lives every year.

“Now these guys have come in and they’re trying, through the back door, to dismantle those protections,” he said. “It makes no sense, it’s not lawful. And we’re going to fight it all the way.“

Mercury emitted by coal-fired power plants travels far from the original source and is absorbed by fish that are eaten by consumers.

Baron predicted the administration’s losing streak will continue, because much of the policy is based on ideology, and often ignores science showing regulations are needed and are working.

“They’re trying to blind themselves from the very facts they need to make the decisions to protect ourselves and future generations,” Baron said. “And the courts are going to see that and they’re not going to let it go forward.“

More information is available at Earthjustice.org.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Governor Justice invites President Trump to West Virginia for State of the Union Address

The Free Press WV

Governor Jim Justice today announced that he has extended an invitation to President Donald J. Trump to hold the State of the Union Address in West Virginia.

“I called the President yesterday to convey our invitation for him to come to West Virginia to give the State of the Union Address in our State Capitol. Giving the speech in a state full of people who love their country would truly reflect his focus on the forgotten men and women of America,” Governor Justice said.

“No matter where he chooses to have the speech, I want the President to know that he is always welcome in the Great State of West Virginia.”

Before extending the invitation, Governor Justice consulted with Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw, and he expressed full support of the invitation.

Nine Years Later, Watchdogs Watch for Reforms to Citizens United

Critics of the Citizens United court decision say it’s resulted in an explosion of dark money in the political system, possibly even from foreign sources. But some see hope in a new package of reforms just passed by the U.S. House.

The Supreme Court handed down the Citizens United decision nine years ago this month. Sheila Krumholz is executive director at the Center for Responsive Politics. She said she thinks the court didn’t realize how big an impact it would have to create a loophole for anonymous donors to fund and influence American political campaigns.

Krumholz said secret money can have long strings attached.

The Free Press WV
Since Citizens United nine years ago, watchdogs say there has been
an “explosion” of anonymous, so-called “dark money” flooding into American politics.


“We can’t know if it comes from Russia or Saudi Arabia or China or from Nevada,” Krumholz said. “Troubling enough that corporate interests might hold such sway - or unions. But even more troubling is the notion that our sovereignty could be at risk.“

Citizens United lawyers argued donations are a form of free speech. Watchdogs cite the campaign finance reforms in the We The People Act, which just passed the House. Some say it includes needed tightening of the laws.

The new Democratic leadership in the House specifically chose the We The People Act as the first piece of legislation the body would take up and pass. It looks unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate, and even less likely to receive the signature of President Donald Trump if it reaches his desk.

But Adam Smith, strategic partnership director with the group End Citizens United, said it’s a once-in-a-generation anti-corruption package - in part because of its campaign-finance rules.

“Things like requiring dark-money groups to disclose their donors, matching small donations with public funds, empowering those small donors,” Smith said. “And it also restructures the Federal Election Commission so that there’s really enforcement and accountability for people who break campaign-finance laws.“

The We The People Act also includes provisions to make it easier to vote and prevent voter suppression. And it tightens ethics rules for officeholders - requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns and forbidding members of Congress from serving on corporate boards.

Detailed, specific political spending records are available at OpenSecrets.org.

With Congressional Inaction, Black-Lung Funding Gutted

Inaction by a stalemated Congress has gutted important black-lung funding, at a time when the number of cases in West Virginia is rising rapidly.

In spite of promises by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others, a temporary increase in the per-ton tax on coal is set to expire, cutting that tax by more than half. That leaves the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund that Gary Hairston relies on in debt and underfunded.

Hairston has disabling black lung disease, but the mine company he last worked for went bankrupt, ending its legal responsibility. He said politicians talk about supporting miners — until they have to pay for it.

“It almost makes you feel like a soldier sometimes,” Hairston said. “After you go over and fight, then you come back and they say how much they love you, but then everything that you need to get, you have to fight to get.“

The Free Press WV
Black lung is an incurable progressive disease among
coal miners that ultimately can make it impossible to breathe.


About 25,000 sick miners and their dependents receive benefits from the fund, averaging less than $600 a month. The industry has said the higher tax is hard for already struggling mine companies. And this summer an officer of the National Mining Association told Reuters the fund has been strained by “previous or current smokers.“

But doctors countered it’s easy to tell black lung from the effects of smoking. Occupational medicine doctor Carl Werntz said the real issue in Appalachian mines is thinner coal seams, which put more damaging silica in the dust the miners breathe.

Research has found rates of black lung disease are higher than in decades past, and Werntz said he’s seeing it in the lungs of his patients every day.

“I was originally taught that black lung was mostly a disease of people at the end of their career or in retirement,” Werntz said. “We’re seeing people with pretty advanced black lung who are in their upper 20s and low 30s. They haven’t been coal mining for more than 10 years, and we’re seeing them already with really advanced disease.“

The tax on deep mined coal will fall from $1.10 per ton to 50 cents per ton. According to federal figures, central Appalachian coal now is selling for about $80 a ton.

Senator Joe Manchin, D- WV, said he had been promised the cuts would be stopped. He called the failure to do so “embarrassing,“ a sign of poor leadership and “a sad day in America.“

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Commissioner Leonhardt Applauds Signing of 2018 Farm Bill

The Free Press WV

Following President Donald Trump’s signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt released the following statement:

“Farmers everywhere finally have certainty with the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill. We know vital programs will now remain funded and our farmers can continue to focus on feeding the world,” Commissioner Leonhardt said. “I thank Congress and the President for finally getting this across the finish line.”

The 2018 Farm Bill maintains funding for several vital initiatives, including conservation programs, Specialty Crop Block Grants, and food and agriculture research. The bill also included a provision to legalize the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp at the federal level by removing it from the list of federally controlled substances. Oversight to regulate this cultivation will continue to rest with individual state department of agricultures upon approval by United States Department of Agriculture.

“Senator Mitch McConnell has proven to be a true friend to farmers. Through his effort, our growers will have access to a new cash crop. We hope to see tremendous growth within our own industry now that the path for regulation of these products has been firmly established,” Leonhardt said.

In 2018, West Virginia licensed 46 industrial hemp growers who grew roughly 155 acres of crop. For the 2019 season, WVDA has received applications for 199 permits thus far. The increased interest is largely due to a bill that was passed by the West Virginia Legislature in 2017 which allow cultivation of industrial hemp for commercial purposes.

“Changes in the 2018 Farm Bill will allow the transport of raw industrial hemp products across state lines. We hope our farmers will take full advantage of this revision to the federal law,” Leonhardt said.

From the Hill to the Mountains

The Free Press WV

Statement on the Passing of President George H.W. Bush

Gayle and I were so heartbroken to hear of the passing of President George H.W. Bush. The President dedicated his life to our country through his patriotism, his public service and humanitarian efforts. He was a man who put country and citizens before party and politics and will be remembered as one of the greatest presidents in our history. It was truly an honor to know him and call him and Barbara friends. While our nation will mourn his loss, and pray for the entire Bush family, I will find joy in the knowledge that he is now in heaven with Barbara, the woman he loved more than anything else in this world. West Virginia will be praying for the entire Bush family and thanking them for the legacy President Bush has left on our nation and the entire world.


Honoring Our Veterans on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

The surprise attack on December0 7, 1941, was a monumental event not only in American history but in all of world history.  It awakened a “sleeping giant,” as some Japanese leaders feared. It gave every man, woman, and child in America a personal stake in a global war over the very survival of human civilization. Millions of brave souls boarded planes and ships to join the fight.  At home, brave Americans entered the factories and shipyards to supply the war effort, sacrificing to support their family members who were fighting for the freedom of the world.

These Americans, our “greatest generation,” persevered, but they did so with the same firm belief in the greatness of America, with the same love of country greater than of life itself.  America became, and remains, a free nation under God because of such men and women.

President Franklin Roosevelt said in his address before Congress that the attack on Pearl Harbor would be “a date which will live in infamy.”  In 77 years we have never forgotten.  We must make sure that each year, and more importantly every day, that we remember those past sacrifices and the ongoing sacrifices being made to protect our homeland and to secure our freedom.

Let us also pay special tribute to the men and women from our great state who served in World War II, and in every American conflict.  Our home state has mined the coal that forged the steel that built the great ships and tanks that Americans have served on.  West Virginia has given much, and we have much to be proud of. 


Encouraging West Virginians to Get Covered During Open Enrollment Period

While the ACA is not perfect, the number of uninsured West Virginians has decreased by 56% as a result of the Affordable Care Act and the Medicaid expansion. Every West Virginian deserves access to quality and affordable healthcare. I encourage those without health insurance coverage to visit www.healthcare.gov  during the Open Enrollment Period to find a plan that works for them and their families.

The Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period ends on December 15, 2018. West Virginians can register for health insurance coverage by visiting www.healthcare.gov/get-coverage/ or call 1.800.318.2596.

Click HERE to read more.


Challenging the Mobility Fund Coverage Map

Senator Manchin (D-WV) submitted to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) a formal challenge to Mobility Fund Phase II initial eligible areas map. The data Senator Manchin submitted proves the coverage map released by the FCC does not accurately depict broadband coverage throughout West Virginia. Senator Manchin was the only member of Congress to submit a formal challenge.

The data I submitted last week proves what every West Virginian already knows to be true: there are too many areas throughout our state that still lack reliable broadband coverage. West Virginia faces unique challenges when it comes to providing broadband access, and the first step to fixing that is making sure these maps accurately reflect coverage on the ground. This map determines who is eligible for a portion of the $4.5 billion that will be made available later this year, and I will continue fighting to ensure every community in West Virginia has the reliable, affordable broadband access they deserve.

Wednesday, a state holiday for the National Day of Mourning for President George H.W. Bush

The Free Press WV

Gover Jim Justice announced today that Wednesday, December 05, 2018, will be a state holiday in observance of tomorrow’s National Day of Mourning for President George H.W. Bush.

Bush, 94, died last Friday and President Donald J. Trump designated Dec. 5 as a federal holiday to honor and commemorate the life of the 41st President of the United States.

“President George H.W. Bush was truly a great American military hero,” Gov. Justice said. “I concur with President Trump and his decision to declare December 5th as a National Day of Mourning and I am issuing an executive order to close all state agencies tomorrow in observance of his declaration.”

The Governor’s press conference scheduled for Wednesday, December 05, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. in Bridgeport, WV has been canceled and will be rescheduled.

More Children Without Health Insurance In WV, Nationwide

The Free Press WV

For the first time in years, the number of children without health insurance has risen, in West Virginia and across the country.

The rate in West Virginia is still less than 3 percent, which is well below the national average. But according to Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, last year the number of uninsured American children increased by over a quarter-million.

Alker says the annual survey found, for the first time, that no state made progress.

“They either fell backwards or stagnated,“ said Alker. “Despite an improving economy and a lower unemployment rate, the number of children with health coverage is declining, and that’s very, very troubling.“

The Free Press WV
For a number of years, West Virginia has done a better job of
providing healthcare access for children than many other states


Nationwide, 5 percent of children lacked health insurance last year, up from 4.7 percent the year before. In West Virginia, the rate was 2.6 percent, up from 2.3 percent.

Georgetown has issued a report on this each year since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. The number had gone down in each previous report, but not this one.

According to Kelli Caseman, director of child health with the group West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, debates in Congress over health policy may have confused some of the public.

“The threat of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the long delay in reauthorizing CHIP funding,“ Caseman observed. “Due to a lot of misinformation, people may not have taken their kids in to re-enroll in health insurance, which is unfortunate.“

The increase in West Virginia is much smaller than in other states. Caseman credited the work done here to connect children to health care.

“I am so proud of our state,“ she said. “We have a really robust outreach plan that has kept us a leader in keeping kids insured. And it’s something that we’ve done for a long time; it’s something that we’ve done well.“

The full report is online.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

From the Hill to the Mountains

The Free Press WV

Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving, from Our Family to Yours

As we gather around the dinner table this Thanksgiving, it is important for all of us to reflect on the blessings we share as West Virginians and Americans. In the Manchin household, we were always taught that if you can count your blessings, you can share your blessings. This lesson has stuck with me throughout my adult life and I have tried to pass it along to my children and grandchildren. One of the blessings I always count is my family and loved ones. With this in mind, I introduced a resolution in the Senate that designates the week of Thanksgiving as ‘National Family Week.’

This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for our Service Members who sacrifice so much, including seeing their own families during the holidays, so that we may enjoy the comfort and safety of this great country. Their courage and strength shine as an example of what it means to be devoted to one’s country.

Each day presents its own unique struggles and anxieties, but it is always important to remember the blessing of living in the greatest country on Earth. I thank all of the wonderful people of West Virginia who have given me the opportunity to represent them. Gayle and I wish you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. May God continue to bless America and the great state of West Virginia.


On The Road

Fifty years after the Farmington No. 9 mine tragedy, we continue to grieve, remember those we lost, and to pray for their families. I personally lost many individuals who I knew well, including my dear Uncle John and several classmates. I truly appreciate everyone who attended the memorial this weekend to honor the memory of those


How May We Help You?

I truly appreciate the opportunity to hear from my fellow West Virginians. As your U.S. Senator, I am proud to be your voice with government agencies during your time of need. My goal is to provide top-notch customer service for every West Virginian who contacts me, or who may need help.  I have a team of caseworkers in each of my four offices to help you with matters of concern. While I have no direct jurisdiction in the administrative matters of any federal, state, or local agency, I welcome the opportunity to assist you with whatever problem you may be experiencing and ask that full consideration be given to your case.

Recently, Angie Walsh, a caseworker in my Martinsburg office was able to assist Ms. Viola Usak, with her benefits from the Social Security Administration.  After a long delay in processing her monthly benefits, Ms. Usak visited my Martinsburg office to discuss her case.  Angie immediately reached out to the Social Security Administration to request that her benefit review be completed. Within two weeks of the inquiry, Ms. Usak received her monthly benefits as well as the retroactive award for the time that she waited for her case to be processed. 


West Virginia Spotlight

Quilts of Valor were recently presented to six Taylor County residents, including Specialist E5 Randel Jennings, a U.S. Army Veteran. Quilts of Valor is a national program that recognizes the service of our nation’s heroes. Christian Sisters Quilters in Taylor County presented quilts to Specialist E5 Randel Jennings, Specialist E5 Richard Bowman, Captain William McProuty, Mater Sgt. E7 Dennis Mitchell, 2nd Class Boilerman Jimmie Riffle, and T5 Woodbridge “Woody” Stout. Thank you all for your service!

The Free Press WV

Unofficial Results for General Election

The Free Press WV

Based on the unofficial results reported by the counties, voter turnout for this midterm election was unofficially more than 47 percent.

Six counties started Election Day with power outages in fourteen of the state’s 1,740 voting precincts. However, the Secretary of State’s Office and county clerks planned ahead and supplied generators to most precincts before the polls opened, and shortly thereafter in the rest. Secretary Warner would personally like to thank the Department of Homeland Security, WV National Guard, the Fusion Center, local 911 emergency services, Appalachian Power, First Energy, AEP, the county clerks and several generous citizens that all chipped in to help restore power to those critical areas.

A complete list of unofficial election results, including the two constitutional amendments, can be found at: WV 2018 General Election Unofficial Results.

Official results will be certified following canvass and the recount period. Canvass begins November 13, 2018 in most counties, and the recount period lasts for 48 hours after each county announces their official results.

Click HERE for Election Results

Out-of-State and Sometimes Secret Money Moving Into Local WV Judicial Races

Big Republican money - much of it from out of state or unknown donors - is going into nonpartisan West Virginia judicial elections.

The Republican State Leadership Committee’s Judicial Fairness Initiative has spent about $70,000 on the race for Kanawha County circuit judge - a significant amount for such a local, nonpartisan contest. Julie Archer, coordinator for the Citizens For Clean Elections Coalition, said it’s part of a move by GOP organizations over the last few years to put millions into state and local judicial races around the country.

She said the donors’ names often remain secret.

“How can we fairly evaluate the messages when we don’t really know who’s behind them?” Archer said. “So I hope that as voters are being bombarded this election that they take that into account - who are the people behind these ads and why are they trying to influence our elections?“

The Free Press WV
The D.C. based Republican State Leadership Committee,
Judicial Fairness Initiative, is spending in WV state and local judicial races,
but all of its money comes from one huge donation made in Washington.


Last week, one of the Judicial Fairness Initiative’s fliers was called “false and misleading” by a court official familiar with the case it described. The group also has been sued for making false claims in an Arkansas court race.

West Virginia-based groups allied with the Judicial Fairness Initiative joined to spend big in the 2016 and 2018 state Supreme Court races. The groups have argued publicly that courts in the state are biased in favor of trial lawyers and their plaintiffs, giving the state a poor business climate.

Archer said their aims and backing are often murky. She pointed to one group that has local officers but which has received at least half its funds for this year’s judicial races from out of state.

“In the Supreme Court and also at the Kanawha County Circuit Court race, they’re calling themselves West Virginians For Fair Courts,” she said. “They want people to think that it’s a group of West Virginians that are supporting these particular candidates, but the money is actually coming from outside of West Virginia.“

One of the officers at West Virginians For Fair Courts is a longtime political aide to coal barons Don Blankenship and Bob Murray. Filings by the group list two big donations for all of 2018 - one from a national tort-reform group and one from a state tort-reform group. Some of the state tort group’s money may also have come ultimately from national sources.

More information on donations to state races can be found at the the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

What Do I Need for Election Day?

The Free Press WV

This Tuesday, November 6 is Election Day. Millions of Americans across the country will head to the polls to elect their representatives at the local, state, and federal levels.

It’s important to know a few things if you’re planning to participate in the midterm elections.

Here is some of the information you’ll need to be ready.


Find Your Polling Place

The Free Press WV

Your location is assigned based on your residential address.

Not sure where your polling place is?

Find out where and when to cast your vote.

Remember, if you’re in line by the time it closes, you’re allowed to vote, even if you reach the poll well after closing time.


ID Requirements

The Free Press WV

Two-thirds of states require some form of identification at the polls.

Around half of the states with voter identification laws only accept photo IDs.

Make sure you are aware of your state’s requirements.

If you witness discrimination or fraud at the polling station, you can report it to the appropriate office


Voter Accessibility

The Free Press WV

The law requires that all Americans, including seniors and people with disabilities, have the opportunity to vote.

If you or a loved one has a disability, know the rights you have on Election Day and how you can make the process easier.

Health Insurance Waivers Could Hike Rates on Pre-Existing Conditions

Some health experts are warning that insurance rates could rise significantly for people in the individual market who are between 50 and 64, or have a pre-existing condition – once states start taking advantage of new flexibility granted this week by the Trump administration.

States can now redirect federal subsidies to people buying cheaper, so called “skinny” plans that do not offer the minimum benefits required under the Affordable Care Act.

Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at the Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms, says the new plans will be able to reject people because of their age or health status.

The Free Press WV
Experts predict health insurance premiums will climb
for older patients in states that introduce non-ACA-compliant plans.


“They can deny people outright if they have a health condition that they don’t want to cover,” she points out. “They can cap your benefits. They cannot cover major benefits like prescription drugs or preventive care. They are really completely unregulated.“

Supporters of the new federal guidance say the less comprehensive plans will encourage more young, healthy people to buy insurance.

Each state will still be required to offer more comprehensive, ACA-compliant plans, but Corlette predicts the pool of people left in them will be older and sicker, which will lead insurance companies to raise rates or leave the ACA market altogether.

So, the battle over the ACA now moves to the state level. Corlette adds that red states such as West Virginia, which has sued to invalidate the ACA, may be more likely to seek a waiver that would undermine the program – and that could hurt people approaching retirement.

“If you are between 50 and 64, the affordability of insurance, if you have to buy it on your own, is going to vary,” she explains. “And there are some states, in the name of greater choices – particularly for young and healthy people, you know – the trade-off is that insurance becomes more expensive for people who are older, who have pre-existing conditions.“

If states are granted a waiver under the new rules, the new types of plans could come onto the market in 2020.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Every Vote Really Does Matter

The Free Press WV

In the last two elections, West Virginia has had one of the lowest turnout rates in the country.

Many West Virginians have said they don’t think their vote matters. But in a lot of cases, it does - just ask Rod Snyder. In the last election, Snyder lost a hotly contested House of Delegates race in the eastern Panhandle - by fewer than 100 votes.

“Ninety-six votes; just around 1 percentage point - essentially, nine votes in every precinct,” Snyder said. “If I would’ve just had nine more people turn out in each precinct, I would have won the race.“

That year, four state Senate races were won by fewer than 1,000 votes, and more than a dozen House of Delegates seats were decided by fewer than 500 ballots. One Kanawha County delegate race was decided by just 13 votes.

Snyder said a low voter turnout means fewer people making the decisions, which he called an unhealthy way to govern. He said people sometimes feel disconnected from the government, in the sense that what happens in Charleston has little or no effect on them. But he insisted that isn’t true, and pointed to the fact that he campaigned on raising pay for teachers, which became a huge issue at the legislature.

“My opponent at the time, who’s now in the House of Delegates, voted several times against teacher pay raises and was part of the reason why the school system was closed for nearly two weeks back in the winter,” he said. “These elections ultimately have a direct effect on our daily lives.“

To increase turnout, Snyder said he favors automatic voter registration, more opportunities to vote early, and making Election Day a holiday so working people have time to cast their ballots.

Check your registration and polling site here.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

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The Free Press WVDonald Trump speaks often of a pile of money sitting overseas that will come rushing back into the U.S. once his tax plan is in place. That’s something of a mirage….

Trump and Elizabeth Warren

The Free Press WVThe dark history of Pocahontas, whose name Trump keeps evoking to slam Elizabeth Warren

I Am President Trump, and I think Women Are Very Special

The Free Press WV“Women are very special. I think it’s a very special time, a lot of things are coming out, and I think that’s good for our society and I think it’s very, very good for women, and I’m very happy a lot of these things are coming out. I’m very happy it’s being exposed.“  — President Donald Trump

Reading Trump

The Free Press WVDon’t watch Trump. Don’t listen to him. Read him.

Harassment Allegations

The Free Press WV Trump often condemns Democrats, defends Republicans on harassment allegations

USA

“Guess Who’s Running?“

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From the Hill to the Mountains

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New Zealand Shooting

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Here Are Your 5 New National Monuments

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Beto O’Rourke: Born to Run & Born to Apologize

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“Meltdown”

Seth Meyers examined Trump’s Twitter “meltdown”  [ .... ]  Read More

Trump: White Nationalism Isn’t Rising Threat

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5 Key Takeaways From Trump’s Budget

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Have A Minute?‏

The Gilmer Free PressSenator Capito’s Weekly Address to West Virginians [ .... ]  Read More

Here’s the Latest Sign Mueller Probe May Be Wrapping Up

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The McKinley Capitol Report

The Gilmer Free PressWV’s United States Congressman [ .... ]  Read More

United States v. Manafort

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President Donald Trump holds an impromptu press conference to answer burning questions like, “Is Ted Bundy the worst guy you can think of?“  [ .... ]  Read More

From the Hill to the Mountains

The Free Press WV The Inclusion of Back Pay for Contractors Impacted by the Government Shutdown [ .... ]  Read More

Have A Minute?‏

The Gilmer Free PressSenator Capito’s Weekly Address to West Virginians [ .... ]  Read More

International

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Trump Lies About Paul Manafort and “Tim Apple”

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New Trump Nicknames For 2020 Democrats

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Kim Jong Un Riding High After Meeting with Trump

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Trump Projected His Academic Shortcomings Onto Obama

Stephen Colbert noted the irony of Trump accusing Barack Obama of being a “terrible student” while he attempted to bury his academic records [ .... ]  Read More

Trump Might Regret Becoming President

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Trump’s Historically Long, Epically Weird Speech

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The Most ‘Bernie’ Way To Kick Off A Campaign

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The Mueller Probe Enters The Home Stretch

Stephen Colbert is thrilled that Mueller is reportedly close to finishing his report — even if we don’t know if and when the public might see it [ .... ]  Read More

John Oliver Thinks It’s Too Early to Talk About the 2020 Elections

He talks about unplugging from the news cycle, deep diving into the absurd details surrounding Brexit and the 2020 U.S. presidential election [ .... ]  Read More

Trump Admits There’s No Emergency While Declaring a National Emergency

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Averting Shutdowns Is The Bare Minimum

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Trump’s Friends At Fox Don’t Like The Bipartisan Deal

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Readers' Recent Comments

Progress is being made with writing up school board meeting minutes to keep citizens better informed.

For too long the State’s information embargo kept citizens in the dark because information releases of all types were sketchy by design to prevent accountability for officials in charge.

Because more information is being released to citizens there will be enhanced community support for activities in the County’s schools to get our kids career and college ready.

Thank you Gilmer County School Board members. Keep up your good work with making information access improvements.

By Kudos To School Board on 03.21.2019

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

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Thanks Mr. Boggs for bringing attention to the Rt 5 roller-coaster just west of Burnsville.
At least someone finally made an attempt to smooth it up a bit!  Good job that time.

By Gilmer on 03.21.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Big In-Justice Jim and his “roads to prosperity” program is high grade bs.
You all stole our money.  Fed us bs and lies.

Now Injustice Jim wants to repeat the deal he got away with once all ready!!??  That takes a lot of gall.

And the best is…..30% of road repair funds were not spent last year!!  Shame on the legislature for not being a watchdog.

Shame on Whopper Teller Jim too…for wanting more money!
Shame, shame, shame on Charleston inept management and politics.

By WV are tired of having the wool pulled over our ey on 03.21.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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“All of the research tells us that the formerly incarcerated do not commit violent crimes, or more workplace-related crimes, than people who have no criminal background,” he said.“

This is a patently false statement.  Heyman does this frequently.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 03.19.2019

From the entry: 'In Tight Labor Market, Some Major Companies to Drop Criminal Check'.

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So sorry Jerry. Would love to see you.  I am now at family farm.  Please stop by

By Phyllis Grove on 03.18.2019

From the entry: 'Doris “Geneva” Case'.

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We keep hearing exciting news about GSC’s opportunity for starting a new teacher education academy to train WV’s teachers.

The unique program would provide state-of-the-art preparation for classroom challenges WV’s teachers face.

Based on reported information the prestigious program would be designed to be a WV show piece and graduates would earn a master degrees after five years.

The program would be an Appalachian trend setter to benefit the College, Gilmer County, Central WV, the State, gifted students selected for the program, and most of all the State’s children.

What do you say GSC’s Board of Governors? Citizens want to hear from you. What does the College have to lose?

By GSC Teacher Ed. Academy Needed on 03.18.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Improving teacher quality in West Virginia'.

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

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

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

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

By Did The ipads Improve Learning Results? on 03.13.2019

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

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

By where oh where? on 03.12.2019

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

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

By THE TRUTH WATCHER on 03.08.2019

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

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

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

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

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

By Disclose Financial Facts on 03.07.2019

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

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

By Transparency and Accountability Needed on 03.07.2019

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

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

By YOU FORGET on 03.04.2019

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

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

But for deep gas, no new employment.

Education system total failure.
Legislature impotent.

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

That out-of-control delegate needs to resign!

By WV continues the slow death on 03.04.2019

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

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

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

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

By Just More Dog n Pony Show 4 U on 03.04.2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Accountability For New GCHS Computers on 03.04.2019

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

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

By Jimmy D on 03.04.2019

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

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

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

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

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

By Save WV's School Children on 03.02.2019

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

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

Whats the definition of insanity?

By Gilmer on 03.02.2019

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

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

By Vern Windsong on 03.01.2019

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

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

By Karen Pennebaker on 02.28.2019

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

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

By Mary Wildfire on 02.28.2019

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

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

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

By where does the money go? on 02.27.2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Unions Failed WV's Children on 02.26.2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Unions Failed WV Education on 02.21.2019

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

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

By Kayla on 02.21.2019

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

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

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

From the entry: 'Nyla Leah Frymier Poole'.

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

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

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

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 02.15.2019

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

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

By Tammy Foster (not White) on 02.13.2019

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

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I’m sorry for your loss.

By Danny Nicholson on 02.12.2019

From the entry: 'Vera Marlene Lyons'.

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

By Tammy white on 02.11.2019

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

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

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

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

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

By Positive School News on 02.08.2019

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

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

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

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

By you are joking I guess? on 02.07.2019

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

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

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

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

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pay McGroyne on 02.06.2019

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

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

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

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

By LCES Safety Concern on 01.31.2019

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

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

Other counties have the information. Why not us?

By School Board Member Backgrounds? on 01.23.2019

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

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

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

By School System Accountability Needed on 01.20.2019

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

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

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

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

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

By Establish School System Accountability on 01.18.2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Advocate For Clarity on 01.17.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

By School Truth is in the Litter Box on 01.17.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

One result is that the GCES was built too small.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By GCES Built Too Small Scandal on 01.15.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

By Gilmer resident on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

By Muddling Epidemic In WV School Systems on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

By we know it on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

By Student Learning at GCHS and GCES on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

By Muddling 101 on 01.11.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By End School System Muddling on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

By Need Specifics For Principal's Reports on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By overheard conversation on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

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

By ZOOMWV Data Dashboard on 01.07.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

By Let An Accountant Dig It Out on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By End Financial Secrecy on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Get It Done on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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How about the “BIG WV WINDFALL”....?

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

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

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

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

By taxpayers always lose on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By CheatersNeverWin on 11.20.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By Corrupt State Intervention on 11.19.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

Any local whistle blowers?  Doubtful.

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

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

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By More Specifics For Principal's Reports on 11.17.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

By Follow The Money on 11.16.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By Do It Ourselves on 11.15.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By QuestionablePractice on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Citizens For Financial Disclosure on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

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

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

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

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

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

By Where Is The Investigation? on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

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

By INFO REQUEST TO GCBOE on 11.09.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Follow the Paycheck(s) on 11.06.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By Where Is The Money? on 11.05.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Steve Lewis on 11.04.2018

From the entry: 'Kendall Goodwin'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By What Was The Grading System? on 10.30.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Reader7 on 10.29.2018

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

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

By Robin Nunez on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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

By Buck Edwards on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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

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

By Details Please on 10.26.2018

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

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