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Farm & Livestock

Lewis-Upshur-Gilmer County Farm Service Agency Announces County Committee Election Results

The Free Press WV

Lewis-Upshur-Gilmer County U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that County Committee elections are over and the ballots have been counted.

  • Clara Mae Spray from Roanoke, WV was elected to represent local administrative area (LAA) #1, Lewis County.

  • Glenn Heaton from Ireland, WV will serve as the first alternate.

  • Steve Snyder from Rock Cave, WV was elected to represent local administrative area (LAA) #4, Upshur County.

  • Robert Hissam from French Creek, WV will serve as the first alternate.

  • Leon Ellyson from Coxs Mills, WV was elected to represent local administrative area (LAA) #6, Gilmer County.

County committee members are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA. They help deliver programs at the county level and work to serve the needs of local producers. All recently elected county committee members will take office in January 2019 and will be joining the existing committee. Every FSA office is required to have a county committee, and they are made up of local farmers, ranchers and foresters who are elected by local producers.

Nearly 7,800 FSA county committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. County committee members impact the administration of FSA within a community by applying their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, emergency programs and eligibility.

County committee members impact producers through their decision making and help shape the culture of a local FSA office. They also ensure the fair and equitable administration of FSA farm programs in their counties and are accountable to the Secretary of Agriculture. Members conduct hearings and reviews as requested by the state committee, ensure underserved farmers, ranchers and foresters are fairly represented, make recommendations to the state committee on existing programs, monitor changes in farm programs and inform farmers of the purpose and provisions of FSA programs. They also assist with outreach and inform underserved producers such as beginning farmers, ranchers and foresters, about FSA opportunities.

For more information, visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections or contact the Lewis-Upshur-Gilmer County FSA office at 304.269.8431.

15th Annual Small Farm Conference to Begin February 13th

The Free Press WV

The 15th annual West Virginia Small Farm Conference is set to begin Wednesday, February 13th at the Charleston Coliseum and Conference Center in Charleston, WV.

The Small Farm Conference is hosted by West Virginia University Extension Services, in conjunction with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) and various partners.

“West Virginia agriculture is unique to what we typically think of when it comes to farming in the United States. We do not have numerous large farming operations as we lead the nation in small, family-owned farms,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “Given our topography, our farmers have to be looking for new, cutting edge innovations and ideas in order to grow their operations.”

This year, the WVDA Regulatory and Environmental Affairs Division will be presenting on new regulations for farmers markets and their vendors, as well as holding trainings on the changes to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In addition, producers have the opportunity to take the Better Process Control School, as well as hear presentations on expected changes from the 2018 Farm Bill. The WVDA will have a table set up during the Small Farm Conference for anyone that wants to register their farmers market, register as a vendor, ask questions about their product or registration or join the West Virginia Grown program. 

“If we are to expand the impact of West Virginia agriculture, it will start with entrepreneurs. This conference allows folks to meet and discuss best practices, as well as obtain trainings and certifications. If you have any interest in agriculture, this is the conference for you,” Leonhardt said.

In addition to WVDA sponsored activities, conference attendees will hear from topic experts speak on issues including: animal production, specialty crops, valued-added products, Farm to School, agritourism and marketing opportunities.

In conjunction with the Small Farm Conference, the Winter Blues Farmers Market will take place on Saturday, February 16, 1-5 p.m. at the Charleston Coliseum and Conference Center. In past years, vendors have sold everything from just-bottled maple syrup to heirloom popcorn, farm-fresh eggs to goats’ milk soap. Producers will also sell fresh vegetables grown in greenhouses and high tunnels in the middle of winter.

For more information, please contact Lisa Jones at 304.293.2715 or ‘Lisa.Lagana@mail.wvu.edu’.

Gilmer County Conservation Supervisors at the State Capitol

The Free Press WV

Gilmer County Conservation Supervisors Jane Collins, and Larry Sponaugle traveled the snowy roads on Wednesday to attended the 4th Farm to Table Legislative Breakfast and Ag Day at the Capitol in Charleston,

House of Delegate members, Brent Bogs and Roger Hanshaw were on hand to talk about some of the Conservation needs of Gilmer County. 

Agriculture Commissioner, Kent Leonhardt also attended and addressed the attendees. 

Conservation matters…...

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Gilmer County Farm Bureau begins New Year

During the annual re-organizational meeting of the Gilmer County Farm Bureau Board of Directors two new directors were added and the election of the board officers. 

Ms. Dixie Moyers and Mr. Douglas Moss are now new members of the county board of directors.

Ms. Moyers represents the Normantown-Cedarville area and Mr. Moss represents Glenville area. 

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(R-L) Patrick Nestor, President, Jane Collins, Vice President and Dixie Moyers Director


Additionally, the officers elected during the meeting include:

  • Patrick Nestor, President
  • Jane Collins, Vice President
  • Karen Pennebaker, Secretary
  • Ann Nestor Treasurer

The other Board of Directors include:

  • Jack Reed
  • Chester Sholes
  • Melville Moyers
  • Ed Duelley
  • Keith Cole

The Gilmer County Farm Bureau Board of Director meet every Third Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in the Holt House.

G-OpEd™: Next Steps for West Virginia Industrial Hemp

The Free Press WV

It’s undeniable that West Virginia frequently lags behind the rest of the country when it comes to new ideas and innovative solutions. From healthy initiatives to education, West Virginia all too often scores low marks.

One agricultural initiative that West Virginia has been way ahead on is the development of industrial hemp. In 2002, the West Virginia Legislature tasked the West Virginia Department of Agriculture with setting up a program to support industrial hemp research. This program sat dormant until Congress, through the 2014 Farm Bill, allowed industrial hemp research pilot projects to be established under state departments of agriculture. West Virginia again showed foresight in 2017 when the Legislature expanded that pilot project to allow cultivation of industrial hemp for commercial purposes. Almost two years later, Washington D.C. followed suit and legalized hemp on a national scale through the 2018 Farm Bill.

When President Donald Trump signed the new Farm Bill, industrial hemp was separated from its cannabis cousin, marijuana, and therefore removed from the list of scheduled drugs. Now farmers can grow hemp like any other cash crop, transport it across state lines and use the plant in the processing of numerous products. The United States Department of Agriculture will, over the next several months, promulgate rules and regulations. From there, the public will have its say, and the agency will adjust. Once those rules are finalized, West Virginia will submit its plan to manage the state program, based on requirements laid out by the USDA. This process is no different for the numerous other programs the WVDA works in cooperation with USDA.

In the meantime, the WVDA and West Virginia’s industrial hemp program will be in a transition period. We will continue to operate under the current rules and regulations until the USDA establishes its new framework. The WVDA will work with our farmers to understand these changes as they come down from the federal government. Our goal is to ensure a smooth transition through an “educate before regulate” mentality. We want to grow this industry, not hinder it. It is clear our representatives in Washington support a robust industrial hemp industry in the United States, and they have entrusted state departments of agriculture to carry out their intentions.

What we can say for sure is there’s a lot of excitement around growing industrial hemp. The WVDA has seen a 300 percent increase in applications for the 2019 growing season. Our challenge will be to match this excitement with the resources for proper management. As of right now, the WVDA receives no state or federal support to manage the program. We lag behind states like Kentucky, which will collect upwards of $500,000 in fees to support four full-time employees. While we work with the Legislature to find ways to bring in more resources, we know we cannot operate this program on the $9,000 in fees we collect.

We have numerous challenges ahead, but if we work together, West Virginia can tap into this new market. We need support from Governor Jim Justice and our West Virginia Legislature as we work through this process. We need to work with law enforcement to ensure illegal drugs are not being grown alongside legal crops. Farmers will have to understand how to comply with laws while formulating best practices. As the regulatory agency, the WVDA will need to provide more support to our farmers in the early years, as this industry gets off the ground.

My staff and I stand ready to help our farmers take advantage of this new agricultural frontier. Our promise to them is we will work with our federal partners and the Legislature on this and other projects to bring economic diversity to the state. Failure is not an option. We must succeed or continue to fall behind.

~~  Kent A. Leonhardt
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture ~~

WFCD Education Banquet

Attending the WFCD Education Banquet on October 25 in Glenville were WV Dept. of Agriculture Chief of Staff Norm Bailey, WV Delegate Brent Boggs and WV Delegate & Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw.

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The WFCD appreciates your attendance!


The WFCD Annual Awards & Education Banquet was held October 25th,  in Gilmer County.

A HUGE thank you to Jane Collins and Larry Sponaugle for setting up the event in their native Gilmer County.

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1. WFCD Board of Supervisor’s 100% Attendance Awards for the past fiscal year, Bill Coffindaffer, Phil Osborne, Jane Collins, Randy Plaugher & Steve Hannah;

2. Glenville Pioneer Grill;

3. Board Chairman Randy Plaugher


Three teachers from Glenville Middle School and one teacher from Leading Creek Elementary School, along with two of their students, were recognized at the WFCD Banquet.

The teachers participate in our Gilmer County 6th Grade Field Day, and administer our Samara test every year.

We would like to acknowledge their efforts to promote conservation and environmental issues for future generations.

These events are organized by our Gilmer County Supervisors Jane Collins and Larry Sponaugle.

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Teachers: from Gilmer Middle; Crystal Conrad, Ronni Facemire & Rachel Tomblin and from Leading Creek, Debbie Moss


1st place winners of the Samara Contest:

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from Leading Creek, Chase Moss and from Gilmer Middle, Mikayla Taylor

(1st place winners not attending were Stevie Starsick, Keria Marks, Jayden Freeman)

GOOD JOB ALL!!!!


Jr. Conservation Camp attendee, Jacob Freeman, was kind enough to attend our WFCD Banquet..

He liked the camp so much that he is hoping to go again this year! Fingers crossed!!

 

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He is pictured with Gilmer County Supervisors Jane Collins and Larry Sponaugle.

WVDA Waives Requirements for Animals Evacuating Hurricane Florence

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) announced it will be waiving movement entry requirements for animals evacuated into West Virginia due to Hurricane Florence. Meanwhile, the State Fair of West Virginia is offering temporary shelter for evacuated equine. The State Fair can accommodate up to 100 horses.

“Two years ago, West Virginia needed help from surrounding states during a massive flood. It is our turn to open our doors for those in need,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.

Normally, all equine entering West Virginia from other states are required to have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection issued within 30 days and a negative Coggins test within the past year. State Veterinarian Dr. James Maxwell made the decision to waive those requirements.

“Just like people, we must get animals out of harm’s way,” said Dr. Maxwell. “This is common practice in emergency situations.”

The State Fair is requesting anyone seeking accommodations do so by calling in advance to 304-645-1090 during business hours and 304-667-5089 after hours (4:30 p.m.). Owners will be responsible for the care of their own animals. There will be no stalling fee for horses. Owners wishing to camp can do so at a minimal charge of $15 per night for full hook ups.

The State Fair of West Virginia is located in Fairlea, in Greenbrier County, just off the I-64 exit.

Statewide Survey Released to Address Future of Agriculture in West Virginia

The Free Press WV

West Virginia’s abundant land holds promise for agricultural prosperity for the state and its people. To ensure this valuable industry thrives for years to come, agribusiness owners, retailers and other stakeholders are being asked to give their input.

The West Virginia Agriculture Advisory Board announced the first step in developing a five-year, strategic plan for agriculture. A statewide survey, as well as market analysis will be conducted to address the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt relaunched the board in July of 2017 which includes Governor Jim Justice and the Dean of WVU Extension Service Steve Bonanno.

“As laid out in code, the board was established with the founding of the WVDA to avoid duplication of services and determine the needs of the agricultural interests in the Mountain State,” said Commissioner Leonhardt. “We want to understand what barriers exist to growing our agriculture-based businesses. We hope to find new market opportunities and avoid picking winners and losers arbitrarily.”

The steering committee, as appointed by the Agriculture Advisory Board, hired Pittsburgh-based Fourth Economy to facilitate a six- to nine-month process to conduct the market analysis, as well as engage stakeholders in the development of a strategic plan for agriculture. The final plan will include prioritized, detailed strategies and potential resources to help grow and diversify West Virginia’s agricultural sector.

“We know that agriculture has the potential to be a significant economic driver for our state,” said Dean Bonanno. “We have resources to significantly change farming and agriculture in our state, but those resources have not been put to good use. Our partners want to work together to see our farming and agricultural resources become a major economic engine for West Virginia. The feedback we receive from our agribusiness owners and others via this survey will be key in developing this long-term strategy.”

The “Growing West Virginia’s Agricultural Economy” survey will be available starting Monday, August 6. Anyone connected to agriculture is welcome to take the survey, including but not limited to farmers, processors, producers, distributors and retailers. The survey can be taken online at www.wvagadvisory.com through Monday, August 20. Paper surveys will be available at partner agency offices and at the State Fair of West Virginia. Three survey takers will be selected at random to win a registration to the Small Farm Conference, registration to the Women in Ag Conference, or a Farm Bureau membership.

The West Virginia Agriculture Advisory Board Steering Committee includes representatives from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, West Virginia Farm Bureau, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, West Virginia Conservation Agency, WVU Extension Service, WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and West Virginia State University Extension Service. To learn more, visit www.wvagadvisory.com.

Growth in FFA Programs

The Free Press WV

In response to the announcement of FFA participation reaching an all-time high in West Virginia, Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt released the following statement:

“Jason Hughes and our agriculture teachers have done a tremendous job recruiting and training our future farmers. It is evident West Virginia contains the home-grown talent needed to expand our agricultural industries. In addition to inspiring the next generation of producers, FFA programs teach invaluable life skills to our students. Those involved in FFA learn everything from leadership to public speaking. No matter their career path, these students benefit from being a member of a West Virginia FFA chapter.”

As FFA programs continue to see growth, Commissioner Leonhardt plans advocate for additional funds needed to fully repair and upgrade the Cedar Lakes Conference Center.

“The annual FFA convention showcases the importance of the Cedar Lakes to our state. As FFA membership has increased, the program has outgrown the facilities. To ensure the conference center continues to serve future generations as official home of the West Virginia FFA, we hope to work with the Governor and our Legislature to find additional funds. We will save the state money by making necessary upgrades now.”

Commissioner Leonhardt’s goal is to have the center become self-sufficient and remove the need for additional general revenue appropriations. Leonhardt believes Cedar Lakes can play a vital role in growing West Virginia’s agriculture industries. 

“Eating from a safe, affordable and abundant food supply is important to the state’s economy and the personal health of our citizens. The Cedar Lakes facilities will be critical to our mission of increasing access to fresh, healthy foods.”

There are currently 68 high schools and 10 middle schools with FFA chapters. Total membership is at 5,360 students.

WVDA Receives Grant for Farm-to-School Program

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) announced it has received a $68,518 Farm-to-School grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The WVDA was one of 73 projects awarded funds by the USDA.

The purpose of the grant is to provide support to local farmers by facilitating additional farm-to-school programs throughout the United States.

“West Virginia was fortunate enough to receive part of this grant. Through these monies, we aim to provide better nutritional options in our schools by sourcing from local West Virginia farms,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “By doing so, we hope to help expand new market opportunities for our farmers.”

The WVDA plans to use the grant monies to develop a Farm-to-School Strategic Plan for the state.

The overall mission is to aide local farmers by creating new and cementing existing partnerships, as well as enhancing the quality of food served in schools.

Funds from the grant will be used to develop statewide resources, support existing and new operations and host trainings.

“We are excited to expand the farm-to-school initiative in West Virginia. These types of programs are great for promoting economic growth by connecting supply and demand. We hope to increase the availability of local foods to schools statewide,” said WVDA Development Coordinator Cindy Bailey.

For more information about the WVDA farm-to-school visit: https://agriculture.wv.gov/divisions/executive/Pages/Farm-to-School.aspx or contact Cindy Bailey at 304.558.2210 or ‘cbailey@wvda.us’.

WVDA to Begin Aerial Spraying for Gypsy Moth

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) will begin aerial treatment for gypsy moth in early May. The spraying will occur across approximately 5,298 acres within Grant, Hardy, Nicholas and Pendleton counties. The goal is to reduce impacts of the gypsy moth in West Virginia’s forested lands. The WVDA proposed to treat these acres under the WVDA Cooperative State-County-Landowner (CSCL) suppression program.

“The gypsy moth is the most serious forest pest currently in West Virginia. This is a non-native, invasive insect that feeds on over 300 species of trees and shrubs, including West Virginia hardwoods,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “Defoliation by gypsy moth caterpillars can kill trees or weaken them substantially, making them more susceptible to other pests and diseases.”
Landowners in the CSCL Program have signed a contract, paid a deposit and share the final cost with the WVDA to complete treatment for their gypsy moth problem. Landowners then select the spray material to be used on their property. The spray materials offered for 2018 are Foray 48B (Btk) or Mimic (Tebufenozide). Egg mass densities on non-residential forested lands must contain 500 egg masses per acre or higher to qualify for treatment.
“This treatment program is a safeguard to one of our most important natural resources. Homeowners, as well as our timber and tourism industries, benefit from this program,” Leonhardt said. “Without control measures, our water quality, recreation experiences, wildlife habitat and timber production could all be negatively impacted.”
WVDA officials caution against the transport of firewood into or out of the state. Owners of RVs and campers are asked to thoroughly inspect and wash their equipment before moving it.
If there are any concerns, please contact Quentin “Butch” Sayers, Assistant Director or G. Scott Hoffman, GMCS Coordinator at 304-788-1066 or via e-mail to .
The adjoining map shows the general location of the proposed treatment areas.

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Commissioner Leonhardt Expresses Extreme Disappointment on Governor Vetoes

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West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt released the following statement after Governor Jim Justice issued vetoes for Senate Bill 322 and House Bill 4166.

“I am extremely disappointed with the Governor’s vetoes. The Governor did not reach out to me throughout this entire process and his staff indicated there were no problems with these bills. The Governor should have reviewed these bills solely on their merits and potential savings to the tax payers of West Virginia,” Leonhardt said.

Senate Bill 322 would have provided a similar exemption other constitutional offices have on use of public funds toward legal services for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA). Under the bill, the department would have still been required to be represented in court by the Attorney General’s office. Currently, the WVDA pays the Attorney General’s Office for any legal services outside of that representation. The bill passed the Senate 33-0-1 and the House of Delegates 97-0-2.

“We are the largest and only constitutional office without a general counsel. Not having legal assistance on staff to aid with navigating federal regulations, human resource issues, as well as crafting sensible rules costs the taxpayers of West Virginia thousands of dollars every year,” Leonhardt said.

House Bill 4166 would have allowed the WVDA to transfer up to $1 million at the end of each fiscal year from the WVDA Farm Account to a newly created Capital Improvement Fund. The department was planning to establish a revenue source to start the process of rebuilding the laboratories at the Guthrie location. The labs are currently housed in structures built in the 1950s. These facilities test consumer products for food contamination and infectious diseases, as well as regulate pesticides and fertilizers. The bill passed the Senate 33-0-1 and the House of Delegates 96-2-2.

“The Governor has clearly shown he is willing to kick another problem down the road. The laboratories at Guthrie have been in disrepair for the last twenty years. At the same time, the department has seen a cut in $4 million over the last five years. It will take upwards of $50 million to repair the laboratories. House Bill 4166 was a sensible solution to start the process immediately at no cost to the tax payer. A safe, reliable food system is important to every West Virginian. I am sad the Governor failed to recognize the importance they provide to the people of our state,” Leonhardt said.

The Soil Trailer Arrives at Gilmer County Elementary Grade School

The soil Trailer is a 16-ft trailer that serves as a soil, water, and agricultural mobile-learning unit.

As you enter the soil trailer you immediately see circular domes holding microorganisms that are lit up with glowing purple lights and roots coming down from the ceiling.

Looking around the trailer you see blue crayfish on the wall, or check out the three-eyed salamander in the polluted side of the pond.

There’s a turtle poking its head down from the center of the trailer, like it’s looking down on the kids (the turtle has become very popular with the students).

The sculptured interior walls and ceiling depict agricultural specialty crops, a water quality wall, the effects of litter and contamination on aquatic life, and much, much more.

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A carrot, onion, ginseng and other root vegetables are carved and painted to look real on the right-hand wall.

The left-hand wall holds many insects normally found in the ground, like a centipede, a cicada, and ants digging tunnels.

The Gilmer County Farm Bureau was able to rent this mobile unit for two days for all of the students attending Glenville Elementary School through a grant program from Wes-Mon-Ty RC&D.

The soil trailer is created and operated by Aimee Figgatt, District Manager of the Capitol Conservation District.

The day started off rainy but that did not stop each grade from doing an exercise inside the class room before making their way to the trailer, designed to feel as if you are underground.

Farm Bureau members Dr. Patrick Nestor, Ann Nestor, Chester Sholes, and Keith Cole volunteered for two days taking groups of students through the trailer, along with school volunteers Lula Godfrey and Tammy Foster.

Kelly Sponaugle, a soil scientist from Shady Springs, and originally from Cedarville, volunteered his time teaching some of the classes. Gilmer County Conservation Supervisors Larry Sponaugle and Jane Collins assisted with this event. It was a terrific day for the students to be able to have an educational, hands-on experience.

Thank You, Gilmer County Farm Bureau, for sponsoring this event!

The ‘Farmer’ Barbie Doll

The Free Press WV

Recently, a friend posted on a face book that there is a Farmer Barbie Doll. It was easy to see they didn’t use me as the model. No matter how hard I try, my hair will never bounce like that. My coveralls and sweatshirts are leftovers from our growing farm children. I am pretty good at not wearing competing implement or seed dealer apparel at the same time.

With a bit more research, I discovered ‘Barbie’ has a lot of agriculture related items. Interesting… But when you think about it, all Barbies ever designed encompasses the many different roles of a farm wife/farmer.

Almost every farmer’s wife is a farmer in some way. It may not be verbalized aloud in the wedding vows, but when you marry a farmer, the livestock and the dirt comes right along with him, so to speak.

All rural church pastors know very few farmers, male or female, will be able to attend meetings planned during certain weeks of the year. They’ll be busy in the tractor, planting or harvesting or out in the barn feeding hungry mouths that will later feed other hungry stomachs.

The pastor could ‘skype’ his meeting, but there would be a lot of interruptions from the buzzing of monitors to the loud bawling of a newborn calf.

It’s a good thing Barbie is so versatile, because that is how we farm women need to be.

The athletic Barbie comes in handy every day as we juggle time and energy to get the work done. The tennis racket might be replaced with a pitchfork, and instead of a cute little convertible, we find ourselves at home in a tractor cab. The only thing that doesn’t change is the happy smile, right?

Surely, those chore clothes are definitely needed. Rarely is the work around livestock the job of one person. It helps to have a set of extra hands, especially when trucks of baby chicks or turkey poults arrive. Or when sows are farrowing, calves need weaning and the goats are out and the windrower is stuck in the waterway. And sometimes, all of these events occur simultaneously.

Nurse Barbie comes in pretty handy when that occasional nasty bug hits the farmhouse. A tender touch and calm mind are important when there’s a broken bone or other major health issue.

Somewhere in time, there had to be an Office Barbie. Someone to make sure the bills get paid, bookwork done for taxes and regulation paperwork done. The level of her involvement varies from farm to farm, but those office management skills come in handy.

Chef Barbie is any easy one – our cooking skills are born of necessity and perfected thanks to all the experience that comes from feeding a hungry, hardworking family several meals every day.

It’s no wonder we (I) don’t exactly look like the Model Barbie.

Grandma Barbie is a special one. Our eyes really do sparkle when those little ones come to visit. Thankfully, the Barbie designers remembered that sometime we do need a little sleep and even made a Sleepy-time Barbie. It’s always a debate as to who really needs the nap.

Ah yes, the Dress-Up Barbie. Is there any woman who doesn’t like the splendor of a night out with her favorite farmer? The glamour of exchanging blue jeans for a special dress, heels and jewelry. Yes, we do clean up quite well.

I think the creators of the various Barbie dolls may have had farm wives in mind all along. We farmwomen are a diverse group, yet we have many similarities, especially when it comes to doing the best we can, no matter what fashion describes us at the time. Even when it is multiple roles in the same day.

If Barbie’s creators look to farmwomen, there will never be a shortage of inspiration for the next model.

Renae Vander Schaaf - This was written in honor of the many farmwomen, past and present, that I admire so much and inspire me in many ways.

 

Century Farm - Gilmer County

Congratulations Gilmer County Century Farm Honorees.

It was a very exciting night at the Doddridge County Park in West Union, when Gilmer County, WV was honored to have a Century Farm, owned by Barry and Karen Lay.

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(L-R) Teddy Fitzwater, Alex Lay Sears, Karen and Barry Lay, owners of the Century Farm,
Jane Collins and Larry Sponaugle, Conservation Supervisors for Gilmer County


The West Virginia Century Farm Program is designed to recognize those families who have been farming the same tract of land for at least 100 years.

A Century Farm is one that has been in continuous operation by the same family for 100 years or more.

A family member must live on the farm or be an integral part of the day-to-day operation of the farm enterprise.

The farm must consist of at least 10 acres of the original holdings and gross more than $1,000 annually from farm products.

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WVDA is Now Accepting Applications for Specialty Crop Block Grant

The Free Press WV The deadline to apply for this year is April 08, 2019 [ .... ]  Read More

WVDA Offers Tips in Lieu of Hay Shortage

The Free Press WV Due to recent concerns of a potential hay shortage in West Virginia, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and WVU Extension Services are offering cattle farmers tips on how to maintain a healthy herd [ .... ]  Read More

DNR seeks wildlife paintings for 2020 calendar

The Free Press WVThe deadline for submitting artwork is February 15, 2019 [ .... ]  Read More

USDA Farm Service Agency Announces Program Deadline Extensions

The Free Press WV USDA’s Farm Service Agency extended deadlines on many of its programs because of the government shutdown and the emergency nature of many of the programs [ .... ]  Read More

THE WEST VIRGINIA CENTURY FARM PROGRAM

The Free Press WVHONORING WEST VIRGINIA’S FARM FAMILIES AND THE ENDURING SPIRIT OF AGRICULTURE [ .... ]  Read More

WVDA Soliciting Vendors for Winter Blues Farmers Market

The Free Press WV The market will take place Saturday, February 16, 1-5 PM at the Charleston Coliseum and Conference Center.  [ .... ]  Read More

WVDA Announces 2019 Grants for Spay/Neuter Services

The Free Press WV This is the second year in a ten-year funding cycle [ .... ]  Read More

A New Awareness for West Virginia Agriculture

The Free Press WV Kent A. Leonhardt - West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture [ .... ]  Read More

WV Commissioner of Agriculture Announces 2019 Legislative Priorities

The Free Press WVThe most significant initiatives are the re-passage of two bills vetoed in 2018 [ .... ]  Read More

Steer too beefy to become burgers reprieved to life on farm

The Free Press WVKnickers the steer is huge on the internet — for being huge [ .... ]  Read More

HIMALAYAN BLACKBERRY

The Free Press WVRubus discolor Weihe & Nees [ .... ]  Read More

Monsanto Plaintiff Gets Good News, and $211M in Bad News

The Free Press WV Judge upholds verdict against company but substantially cuts punitive damages award [ .... ]  Read More

For First Time in 7 Years, Good News on Florida Oranges

The Free Press WVCrop expected to increase this year   [ .... ]  Read More

Farmers Worried as Death Rates Surge for Female Pigs

The Free Press WVAgriculture industry trying to get a handle on problem with sows   [ .... ]  Read More

Agriculture Strategic Plan Meetings Set for October

The Free Press WV The community meetings are being held in Charleston, New Martinsville, Ghent, Sutton, Martinsburg, Moorefield, Parkersburg, Philippi, Core, Lewisburg, Tridelphia, Wayne, Point Pleasant and Mt. Clare [ .... ]  Read More

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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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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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