Jeanette Riffle: The Mulberry Tree

The Free Press WV

There was once a mulberry tree on this farm down on the lower end and my husband was telling me about riding a horse named, “Old Bob,” down there and he would stand up on the horse’s back and reach up to pick the berries off that tree.” Old Bob” would stand still because he knew that Duane would pull the limbs down and let him eat, too. He ate berries, leaves and all. Aunt Susie made mulberry cobblers and they were so good. She had three layers of dough. One was on the bottom, then a generous layer of berries, one in the middle, more berries, and a top crust. She made all her berry cobblers like that.

Dad told of a mulberry tree over on Lower Run at the old Smith home place. He said his Grandma, Samalda Kelly Smith, made these huge mulberry cobblers. His mother, my Grandmother Stewart, told me about them baking all day on Saturdays, when she was a girl at home, to feed the big family and the company they got on Sundays after church.  I think there was a dozen or more of them, plus their friends that would come by for Sunday dinner.  She said they made the mulberry cobbler, gingerbread, and loaves of yeast bread. That tree was still there when Westfalls bought the place. Preacher Dick Westfall told me that his parents bought the Smith place back before his time. You have to be careful and not park your vehicle under a mulberry tree or you get a berry mess and lots of bird droppings.

People back then just went with whatever fruit they had on the farm. My Stewart grandparents had Early Harvest apples and a pear tree. I remember Granny saying that she brought a sprout of the pear tree over from her old home place, and got it started in their back yard.  She liked those little round pears because they were so easy to can. She just washed and peeled them and plopped them down in the quart jars. Granny picked huckleberries up on the Hauldy Hill and made preserves out of them. They are a smaller, more flavorful, wild version of the blueberries that we now find in supermarkets. I have blueberries on ice right now.  Mom’s folks had plums at one place where they lived. Mamaw Warner made plum butter. She canned peaches too, but I think they bought them. I don’t ever remember them having a peach tree. Duane’s folks had apples, grape arbors, plums, elderberries, mulberries, pears and blackberries.  Elderberries grew wild, around the creek, and the blackberries grew in pasture fields.  The pear tree was an old time pear up on Butcher’s Run. The last time we went up in that rugged country, we had to compete with a bear for the pears. We spooked him and he ran off, but I could smell him and could tell by the beaten down tall grasses where he had gone. That was too close for comfort and we never went back.

Until next time, take care and God bless.

GCHS: Honor Roll - 3rd Nine Weeks - 2018-19

The Gilmer Free Press
3rd Nine Weeks
7th Grade
8th Grade
Anderson, Kara Amos, Riley
Ball, Dakota Arden, Lucas
Bourn, Elijah Ball, Brianna
Brenwald, Jozlyn Bill, Vanessa
Casto, Dyson Bourn, Ashlyn
Frashure, Bayley Brannon, David
Gibson, Kaley Cogar, Cole
Gray, Alena Drennen, Cassandra
Hough, Mya Harubin, Ryleigh
Junkins, Christopher Jenkins, Taylor
Norman, Jackson Kumpis, Mykolas
Puchalski, Madison Marsh, Anthony
Putnam, Morgan McCord, Jacob
Ratliff, Jessica McCord, Seanna
Richards, Kiley McHenry, Harlee
Snider, Casey Miller, Samuel
Sprouse, Sydney Pendergrass, Justin
Starsick, Stevie Peters, Haylea
Taylor, Mikayla Rutherford, Merideth
Thompson, Courtni Simmons, Tessa
Smith, Morgan
Snyder, Daisy
Thompson, Elexis
Wine, Christian
Wood, Allison
9th Grade
10th Grade
Anderson, Kaitlyn Canfield, Logan
Barger, Layna Cawthon, Caliegh
Barnhouse, Gabriel Clark, Athena
Beron, Ryan Clevenger, Misty
Carpenter, Ryan Dobbins, Damon
Carr, Christopher Drake, Trevor
Chapman, Jacob Eberly, Arista
Conrad, Alex Fox, Emma
Facemire, Elijah Frame, Christopher
Ferguson, Carrah Frymier, Allyson
Gee, Shelby Gibson, Autumn
Gonzalez, Sean Gray, Jada
Hamric, Ean Grove, Corbin
Liu, Justin Helmick, Warren
Matheny, Matthew Lang, Rachel
McWhirter, Keely Law, Tierra
Minigh, Lilly McCumbers, Sara
Mohr, James McHenry, Nicholas
Morgan, Malaysia Mohr, Eve
Moyers, Autumn Moss, Kyle
Price, Scott Phares, Rachel
Stewart, Adam Poole, Jacob
Stewart, Amiah Stanley, Kenya
Taylor, Emma Wellings, Thomas
Thorne, Carissa Williams, Tori
Wellings, Laurann
White, McKinzie
Young, Lucas
11th Grade
12th Grade
Clegg, Kelsey Barger, Emily
Cogar, Zane Barnhouse, Ezekiel
Dobbins, Michaela Bossert, Logan
Finley, Rhea Bossert, Morgan
Fitzwater, Brady Chapman, Lindsay
Frederick, Jared Cole, Tiffany
Furr, Jagger Cottrill, Steven
Garcia, Savanna Facemire, Lucas
Hale, Natalie Frame, Joey
Haley, Ty Frymier, Autumn
Harper, Jonathan Grove, Hannah
Hinter, Hannah Hardman, Faith
Hottle, Jonathan Jones, Machaela
Johnson, Jaycie Lipscomb, Johntae
Jones, Indica Miller, Colten
Langford, Alyssa Mohr, Madison
Lemon, Hunter Moore, Cheyenne
Liu, Andrew Page, Daydra
McCord, MacKenzie Phares, Hailey
McHenry, Cameron Phares, Logan
Miller, Clifford Pritt, Richard
Minney, Hannah Pyles, Brandon
Morris, Maria Rose, Dalton
Phares, Ethan Roy, Michael
Pyles, Mikala Smith, Donald
Roberts, Jon Snyder, Kaylene
Skeens, Makayla Watts, Garrett
Stewart, Christopher Wood, Sierra
Sumpter, Kandus
Thomas, Holt
Watkins, Kerry
Wellings, Grace
Wine, Katelyn
Yoho, Anna
The Gilmer Free Press

Jeanette Riffle: Swinging Bridge Experiences

The Free Press WV

At one time, there were a lot of those old bridges around. There are still a few. My husband remembers falling through one down the road from us, across the creek from where Dee Cottrell now lives. He was a teenager at the time and was going across the creek to hunt. The bridge was getting old and not being maintained.  After he got his groundhog and was on his way back home, he fell through a board and hit the bank.  It’s a good thing that he fell where he did because there wasn’t enough water in the creek at the time. The creek was low, and he would have gotten hurt had he fallen to the creek. I remember a time when me, my brothers, and some cousins, had to watch out for a missing board of the swinging bridge across the creek at our Stewart grandparents farm. We had sneaked off and went over to the old abandoned Fitzpatrick house. We got spooked in there by noises and “flew the cat hole!”  All the little boys ran ahead of my older girl cousin and me.  By the time we got there, those boys had that bridge swaying so bad, that we had to get down on our knees and crawl across and then get up at the other end and step across the missing board, to the bank. I never went across again but I heard of some cousins from Michigan who ventured over there and one of the boys fell through and he swam to the bank and pulled himself up out of the water.

I was reading about some comical experiences that other people have had with swinging bridges. One woman said she saw a cow go across one. Now, that must have been something! A cow is clumsy. Another person said he liked to ride his bike across when he was a teenager. Still others said they were always afraid of those bridges and didn’t dare try and cross one.

Until next time, dress for the weather and stay healthy. We have had a wintry mix this weekend and then today, it got up to 75 degrees and was nice except for the March wind blowing. It was roaring up in the hilltops and would dip down in the valley now and then. Hopefully, it dried up some mud from all the rain.

God bless and keep you in His care!

Jeanette Riffle: Kids and Dogs Love Snow

The Free Press WV

My husband was out in the garage and he heard teeth cracking. He looked out the door and there was our dog jumping up in the air trying to catch snow in his mouth. It started snowing a fine mist while we were in church this morning. At first it didn’t lay on because the ground was warm, but by afternoon it started getting colder and snow covered everything.  Duane shoveled the ramp off and that dog went underneath to catch big mouthfuls as it fell to the ground. Next, he came up on the back porch and was digging snow off the glass top table, eating it, and jumping up in the air to catch snow as it came down. He whined and acted like he was getting frustrated because he couldn’t get a big mouthful that way. He loves snow. You’d think it was snow ice cream, the way he acts. According to the latest weather report, we are under a snow storm warning until 4:00 am Monday, with the heaviest coming in this afternoon.

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Total accumulation is supposed to be three to seven inches with the highest amount in the mountains. We just heard a salt truck go by. Thank God for State Rd. workers out there day and night when they are needed.  Hopefully, this will be our last snow of the winter. We really haven’t had a lot, but it sure has rained a lot.

I have been enjoying seed catalogs that are starting to come in. I am seeing vegetables and fruits that I never heard of. One, being blue potatoes. I would not want blue mashed potatoes. There are so many different colors of ripe tomatoes nowadays that you can just about name your favorite color and order those seeds. I saw purple tomatoes.  Until next time, stay safe and warm.

God bless and keep you in his care.

Jeanette Riffle: Winter Is Trying To Leave

The Free Press WV

We have had three kinds of weather in one day.  We went out to church in sunshine this morning and before that it had been raining. When we got home from church the wind was so strong that I hurried in the house. It was roaring up on the hill tops, in trees. Some old dead trees came down in the low part of our woods beside us when wind gusted up to 35 MPH. Now, there’s a job for the tractor to haul all that away and clean everything up. Our dog will be hauling up what he can in his teeth and make a wood yard up here. That is one of his tasks every day. We thought we had lost power when everything went but it came back in a few seconds.  I think March winds have started early. Maybe it will dry up the mud. We have been hearing the woods frogs in the ditch across the road and some people are hearing peepers.

More birds are singing their territorial songs early of a morning. I like opening up the back door when I get up and hearing a bird sing. I’ve heard of someone bringing in sassafras root and making a big pot of tea. Dad did that every year in February. That was always something to look forward to in winter. It tasted like a rich, hot root beer. My husband said they didn’t make it at his cabin. He never had any until he drank it at my house and he found out that he liked it, too.

There were 87 out to Rosedale Baptist Church this morning. Next Sunday, we are having preachers from Ohio.  Josh Smith and Jack Williams will be bringing the messages. One in the morning and the other in the evening service.

I just looked out the back window and noticed that all the birds had disappeared at the backyard feeders. Hubby checked and said he saw a hawk in a tree. Anytime I look out and don’t see any birds, I know that either our big dog ran through under the feeders or there’s a big hawk hanging around. One time Rascal was too fast and he jumped up and caught a goldfinch in midair. It must have been on the ground and flew when he came running like a deer. He can run so fast on those long legs.  He had it in his mouth but it somehow got away. It wasn’t flying too well, though. Our big black lab, Buddy, liked to eat birds. When one would fly into a window and get knocked out, he would find it and eat it. I will close with this scripture from the Song of Solomon 2: 11- 12.  “For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; and the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard in the land.” Until next time, get your garden seeds in. Lettuce and onions might be late this year because of all the mud, but we could grow them in containers.

Jeanette Riffle: Patent Medicine

The Free Press WV

Sometimes certain smells bring back memories. My husband was telling me about the medicine cabinet in his uncle’s store at Shock. He can still remember the smell of the patent medicines inside. I asked him if it smelled like a doctor’s office and he said it didn’t. It smelled like the little metal boxes of things such as Doan’s Pills. Metal boxes were not sealed back then, and odors escaped. He said these companies didn’t start sealing things until about 1964. The medicine box was about 30 inches high and 24 inches wide. It had 4 or 5 shelves. It had glass doors that opened behind the counter and glass on the front so people could see what was inside. There were other country stores that had the medicine cabinets with patent meds, and some were bigger than the one at Shock.  Some of the patent medicines found in these stores were Fletcher’s Castoria and Angostura Bitters. Others were Phillips Milk of Magnesia, Goody’s Powders, Lydia Pinkham’s Herb Medicine, Absorbine Jr., Luden’s Cough Drops, Smith Brother’s Throat Drops, Vick’s Vapor Rub, and there were many others too numerous to mention. Some of these have been seriously revised and are still on the market today. The ingredients may have been changed from the original formula.

I remember going down to the corner drug store one time when we lived in Dearborn Heights, Michigan and I couldn’t find the medicine that I needed. Dad had kept me supplied with Lightening Hot Drops for a cold and sore throat. I was out of it. The pharmacist noticed me and asked if he could help. I told him what I was looking for and he said, “Lady, where are you from?” I told him that I was from West Virginia and he said, “I knew you were from somewhere down in there. “The tone of his voice embarrassed me, and I asked him what was wrong. He said that stuff got outlawed years ago because of too much alcohol and it got pulled from his shelves.  Anyway, he asked me why I wanted it and I told him that I was coming down with a head cold and sore throat. He recommended something else and I bought it and never went back to that store again.  Another patent medicine that Dad kept was called, Tonsilene. It was a yellow liquid in a bottle and came in a box with a picture of a giraffe’s long neck, indicating that it could cure that big, long throat of a giraffe and it could cure yours. I dreaded getting that one.  It puckered your mouth up like a persimmon that wasn’t ripe yet. Some of you can probably remember some of these old-time medicines. And, that Glasco for the croupy spells. It was a thick white liquid in a bottle and it made you throw up.  Until next time, look forward to spring. We are hearing some birds singing their territorial songs at the crack of dawn.

May the good Lord bless and keep you in His care!

Jeanette Riffle: Hardwood Trees and Mistletoe

The Free Press WV

My husband had been pointing out some mistletoe growing on a gum tree on the way to Glenville. It is right by the road and easy to see. That started me to wondering about what it is and all about it. I did a search and found out that it is believed to be a parasite. There are different kinds of mistletoe, but most of ours around here it the American kind. It looks like a little bush in the tops of trees and has green leaves and sometimes little white berries. Duane said he found it on the farm at Shock when he was growing up. He had to shoot it down with a shotgun because it was too hard to climb the tree. He brought it home at Christmas time for decoration and he took some to school and passed it out to other kids that wanted it.

I don’t remember us having any at my house. I do remember a song on the radio about mistletoe, and the lyrics of,” I saw Mama kissing Santa Clause, Underneath the mistletoe, last night. “

Boys always tried to catch a girl underneath the mistletoe and kiss her. Why do we kiss under mistletoe? According to Norse mythology, kissing underneath mistletoe is a well-known holiday tradition that dates back thousands of years. According to legend, a man named Baldur, sometimes spelled Balder, was killed by an enemy’s arrow made of mistletoe. His mother, the goddess, Frigg, wept tears onto the arrow. She decided to bless the plant and promised a kiss to all who passed beneath it. I suppose, as a happier memory. Better to bless than to curse it.

The traditions of mistletoe at Christmas, a plant that grows on range trees including apple, willow and oak, was to hang it in the house. This tradition goes back to ancient Druids. Another finding was that kissing under mistletoe goes back to England. I found it interesting that a mother would bless a plant whose arrow had killed her son. I don’t think I would ever want to see it again.

This whole study has been interesting and informative. I learn something every day on FB, especially when I do a Google search. My husband said he had never seen mistletoe growing on any trees except the gum tree, so he learned something too and I learned that there are different kinds of mistletoe. Ours is the American kind. Until next time, stay well. There are so many viruses and flus going around. I have heard of stomach flu, Type A flu, RSV, upper respiratory infection and bronchitis, all in one week. There are so many sick people. Some are being hospitalized with pneumonia.

Take care and God bless!

Jeanette Riffle: French Creek Freddie Saw His Shadow

The Free Press WV

Many people gathered at French Creek on February 2nd to watch Freddie and to see if the sun would come out.  Sure enough it did between 10:00 and 10:30. We saw that whistle pig on TV and he sure was fat. He just kept running around on the straw inside his pen looking at all those   people who were right up close to the fence, peering in at him.

I noticed that the coming out of Punxsutawney Phil was much earlier than here.  He was supposed to come out at 7:25 a.m.  Perhaps that was the reason he did not see his shadow.  I was reading in the Charleston Gazette –Mail that it is tradition for the people of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to climb up Gobbler’s Knob there, to learn about their weather.

And, it is becoming more widespread as about 40, 000 people gather each year to witness the emergence of their groundhog.  I can’t imagine that many people, and what time would they have to get up, to be able to get dressed, eat breakfast, and get there by that time?  They wouldn’t all be able to go on that knob. Not enough room and they couldn’t all see the groundhog.  I suppose most of them just look up and watch the sky. Can’t you just hear the cheers when the sun didn’t come out? That groundhog probably took a dive for his den and burrowed in deep to get away from all that noise!

This old superstition began with the Pennsylvania Dutch that said if the groundhog came out of his burrow and the weather was clear, he would see his shadow and would dive back into his den. I guess it would frighten him.  There would be six more weeks of bad weather to follow.  If it was cloudy and there was no shadow, spring would come early. I don’t remember my folks believing in all that, but they did mention that it was Groundhog Day when February 2nd rolled around. Groundhogs were the mainstay on many a farm table at one time. My mother didn’t fix them, though. She always said that they were too greasy, and she didn’t want to clean one up.

Uncle Arlen Stewart killed one and brought it to us one time and Mom told him to take it to his mother or her folks.  Mamaw Warner parboiled a groundhog and barbecued it in a roasting pan. She fixed coons the same way. A young one probably wouldn’t have to be parboiled but if it was an old one, it had to be parboiled so that it wouldn’t be so tough.

My husband’s aunt, Susie Perrine, could fix a groundhog that tasted like a chicken.  She liked the young ones. She told me that after the groundhog was cleaned up, she cut it into parts, just like you would for a fried chicken. She made a mixture of flour with Lee & Perrins Sausage Seasoning, rolled each piece of meat in that,  and fried it in lard. She browned it on both sides and then added water and steamed it down on a low flame until tender.

Until next time, stay well and God bless!

Jeanette Riffle: Old Time Winter Coming

The Free Press WV

According to the Charleston Gazette, artic temperatures are coming in next week and the coldest we have had since 2014.  It might not be that bad right here; maybe farther north in West Virginia. It will still be worse than what we have had. Down in the single digits at night is in the forecast.  We have a gas wall stove in the living room to use as a backup, if we have to.

It heats up the whole house. Looks like the Old Farmer’s Almanac missed it this time. I remember reading about a milder than usual winter but with lots of moisture. We definitely did have more rain for a while there until the snow and ice came in, recently. Hot coffee, hot chocolate and big pots of soup have really hit the spot. I tried a recipe for American Goulash today and it reminded us of the macaroni cooked in tomato juice that our mothers used to make. Mom kept a pot of that cooked up all the time for my middle brother. He wanted that for supper every evening. She seasoned it with cow’s butter, salt, pepper and a little sugar to taste. It was good. I made some a while back.

I am so thankful for running water, a bathroom and all the modern conveniences in times like this. When I was a small child, we took what Mom called, “a sponge bath,” through the week and a bath in the big galvanized tub on Saturday night to get ready for church the next day. The sponge bath was with a tin pan full of warm water, a cake of soap, wash cloth and a towel.  You took that in a room by the gas stove on the floor where it was warm. We had Ivory, Camay and Sweetheart soap. I liked that big oval shaped Sweetheart one. Dad used one called Lifebuoy. I think it was stronger because he washed real dirty hands with that. He worked outside and got dirty.  Water had to be pumped up on the back porch from the pitcher pump and heated on the cook stove to temper the pan of wash water. You had to keep a big kettle of hot water all the time on the back of the stove for doing dishes or whatever you needed hot water for. I remember a pan of water on a metal cabinet, with a homemade gathered skirt around it, in the junk room. There was a hand towel on a nail there and Dad’s dark orange soap. When he came home from work, he headed for the junk room to wash his hands and face.

The outhouse was up on a bank on the other side of the cellar house. Mom kept chamber pots with the lids on them, for us kids to use in bad weather and at night, so we didn’t have to go outside to the outhouse. I was reading Alyce Faye Bragg’s column in the Charleston Gazette about old time living vs. modern appliances and it brought back memories. Her column is in the Saturday paper. I could go on and on with relating to her article, but I will close for this time.

Until next week, be careful of slick roads out there while driving and stay warm.

God bless and keep you in His care.

40 anniverary of GCHS State Basketball Team

The Free Press WV

Please welcome the 1978 – 79 GILMER County High School State Basketball team.

The Titans finished the regular season with a 16-4 record

The following were our tournament games:

In Tournament Play;

The Titans:

  • Defeated Calhoun 79-50 for the sectional championship

  • Defeated Williamstown 47-45 in the regional tournament semi-final

  • Defeated Braxton County 56-45 for the regional Championship and a berth into the 1979 State Tournament

  • The Titans qualified prior to the current state tournament format which includes 8 teams in Class AA, in 1979, there were only 4 teams that qualified. The is the FIRST GILMER COUNTY BASKETBALL TEAM TO QUALIFY FOR THE STATE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT AFTER THE CONSOLIDATION of the county schools, and this is the 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 78-79 TEAM

In the state Tournament, Your Gilmer County Titans met up with the North Fork Blue Demons who were on their way to a still-national record of 8 straight state championships stretching from 1974-81 They defeated us in what would be there closest state tournament contest 69-57. They were led by 6’6” Russell Todd who went on to become a four year starter at WVU.

Now – introducing the THE 1979 GILMER COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL TITANS.


  • Guard 6’0 Sr 44 Brad McPherson

  • Forard 6’0 Sr 24 Jeff Furr

  • Center 6’2 Jr 34 Bruce Smith

  • Guard 5’9 Jr 10 Steve Carney

  • Guard 5’10 So 12 Scott Carney

  • Forward 5’11 Jr 32 Rick Smith

  • Forward 6’0 Jr 40 Dave Scott

  • Guard 5’10 So 20 Tim Moore

  • F/c 6’1 So 42 Jeff Campbell

  • Forward 5’10 Jr 30 Charles Greynolds

  • Forward 5’11 So 14 Rod Sommerville

  • Center 6’1 So 22 Mike Reaser

  • Forward 6’1” So 50 Todd Jolliff

  • Guard 5’9 So 52 Larry Somerville

Team Manager - Brett “Porter” Turner


  • SR.:
    • Heather Wilson
  • JRS:
    • Julia Coffman
    • Sherrie McPherson
    • Donna Bumgardner
  • SO:
    • Sheri Gainer
    • Sandi Gainer
    • Jodi Now

Coaches: Head Coach Kent Kennedy Assistant- Jay Chambers

Gilmer County High School Principal Bill Piercy

Gilmer County Superintendent: Ron Welty

Also like to recognize and in the memory of; Athletic Director - Damon West and Cheerleader Sponsor Mrs. Jean Rhoades

Bruce Smith was 2nd Team All-State that year

Brad McPherson and Steve Carney were named to the State Tournament All-Tournament team

Four players went on to play College Basketball:

Bruce Smith and Steve Carney at Alderson-Broadus College

Rick Smith and Tim Moore at Glenville State College

Both coaches continued their coaching careers and Coach Chambers led several Gilmer County basketball teams to the State Tournament

All participants in this night would like to extend a sincere gratitude of thanks to GCHS principal Steve Shuff and teachers Nancy McVaney and Blair Fisher for going above and beyond the call of duty to provide us with a venue for this historic occasion and to sincerely make us feel at home!

Thank you to all of those who have and continue to represent Gilmer County High School in all areas of this county, the state and our nation.

This has been the voice of the 1979 Gilmer County High School Titan Basketball team Mr. Kenny Fisher

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. 

The Free Press WV
(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.

Jeanette Riffle: Winter Is Here, January 20, 2019

The Free Press WV

Most of January has looked like a brown November until this morning. We have snow on top of ice. My news feed was full of churches canceling services due to worsening weather conditions. Last night the power went off at 6:30. There were two trouble spots, but Mon Power got them fixed by about 9:00 p.m.  Our dog is happy to eat snow and chase the snowflakes. He is chasing the birds away too, that eat seeds on the ground.  We are seeing more different kinds of birds than we have seen all fall and winter and have been taking pictures of them. Thank God for the pretty birds to cheer up the winter.  It’s a good day for a big pot of vegetable soup.

The Free Press WV

State Road has been busy all night and into today trying to keep the roads safe. Hubby went up to get the paper at the box about 7:30 this morning and said the only tracks up there was from the paper man. People just weren’t traveling and still aren’t. I used to enjoy hearing chains on vehicles when I was growing up and we had a big snow. It was a hushed quiet world outside and I remember looking out the window behind the couch and watching cars go by with the chains on. They weren’t legal in Ohio and Michigan. Our son had an early morning paper route when he was a teenager, that took him down some of the side streets in Dearborn Hts., Mi. and sometimes they hadn’t been plowed yet. The main roads got plowed first.  The only way he could get his car down those streets was with chains on.  He said he met up with one of his friends at a service station and Greg said, “Man, you might get by with that down in Kentucky but it’s against the law up here.” Greg had relatives in Kentucky.  The police didn’t bother our son, though. They probably saw him delivering the early morning Detroit Free Press.  One lady could be dependable to meet him at the door with a cup of hot chocolate when the weather was really bad. One time we had a wind chill of 80 degrees below zero. He said his ski mask helped and the big coat with a hood up over his head, but ice froze on his ski mask. I was so worried about him in weather like that. That was the time that we had a bad storm and the actual temperature was well below zero. It was just that one time when a storm was going through, and the wind was so high that the wind chill dipped bad.  People tipped him good and appreciated him bringing them their papers in such weather. Until next time, stay warm and stay well.

God bless and keep you in His care!

Jeanette Riffle: Coldest Day Yet for 2019

The Free Press WV

A few days ago, it was 60 degrees and this morning we got up to 23 and a wind chill of 13. What a surprise!  I am happy to stay in by the fire and look out the windows and watch it snow. So far, it is just flurries and not much accumulation. It really makes a person thankful for a good warm house, plenty of food, warm clothes and so many other things. I’m glad that we don’t have to go outside to the outhouse or pump water up from the pitcher pump on the back porch like we did when I was growing up. We got running water, a bathroom and the whole works when I was 9 years old.  My mind goes back to old time winters and Mom worrying that us kids would get cold at night. Every bedroom had a gas stove on the floor but sometimes I would wake up to her putting another quilt on the bed and she would ask if I was cold. Duane remembers quilts piled so high on his bed at the Shock log cabin that you couldn’t hardly turn over. It was drafty and our house was, too. Mom would stuff big rags up around the bottom of doors to keep some of the draft out. It came in around windows and sometimes she put old quilts up over the curtain rods to keep the cold out. We went on to school rain, snow, or shine.

Back then there weren’t any snow days off school. There was a bus house down at the Chesnut Lick Bridge to get in for shelter and the bus came by about 8:20 every morning, so we knew when to go down there.  When Mom went to work, she put me in charge and I had to get up and make breakfast for the four of us kids. Mom always had chickens and I fixed scrambled eggs, toast and hot chocolate to give us all a good start.  Then, I had to do dishes and clean up the kitchen, get myself dressed and ready for school. We weren’t allowed to wear slacks to keep our legs warm. Mom got me warm knee stockings and long wool winter skirts. I’m glad that one got changed somewhere along the years. Some of us women even wear slacks to church in winter to keep warm. I was reminded of a promise in the Holy Bible, from Alyce Faye Bragg’s column of the Charleston Gazette-Mail . It is found in Genesis 8: 21-22. It reads, “And, the Lord smelled a sweet savor; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

Until next time, take care and God bless.

Gilmer County Residents Graduate from GSC

The Free Press WV

Three students from Gilmer County were awarded degrees during the Glenville State College December Commencement Ceremony held on Saturday, December 08, 2018.

  • Amanda Lamb of Normantown, WV graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Education (PreK-K), Elementary Education (K-6), and Multi-Categorical Special Education (K-6).

  • Samantha McCune of Linn, WV received a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Science with a minor in Social Work.

  • Carissa Wood of Shock, WV graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Science with a minor in Music.

Founded in 1872, Glenville State College is a public liberal arts college located in Glenville, West Virginia.

The college offers a variety of four-year degree programs and several NCAA Division II athletic teams.


The Free Press WV

Jeanette Riffle: Options on Cars

The Free Press WV

Our son and granddaughter from Taylor, Michigan, were home for a couple days after Christmas. Shelby only had four days off work and it took one day to drive down and a day to drive back, so that only left them two days here to visit.  We were glad that the weather cooperated though and they were able to come home. Last year, they didn’t make it because of bad weather and bad roads. They didn’t get down until July, so we had Christmas in July.

Anyway, we enjoy having them here anytime they can come and this time we enjoyed our gift exchange and good food in December.  I had crockpot macaroni and cheese with hamburgers waiting on them the first evening. For breakfast, our son likes sausage gravy, biscuits and eggs and our granddaughter likes fried potatoes, bacon and homemade applesauce. I fixed it all and Myron ate some of all of it. He also likes hot peppers in sauce with his breakfast, but we still haven’t gotten into that project. We are running late on that one this year. Duane has been sick for a month with bronchitis. He is over it but having trouble getting his strength back.  That pepper project takes both of us working on it, to get it all done in one day.  We will get to it, yet.

My husband and son got into a conversation about options on cars nowadays and Duane said he could remember when the radio and heater were options. I thought back and I don’t remember a radio on Dad’s first car, the grey Studebaker that looked like an airplane. I don’t remember getting cold in winter, so he must have had a heater. I was about five when Dad got his first car. My grandparents took us places before that.  I can’t imagine riding around in a cold vehicle with no heater, but our son said he went one whole Michigan winter like that. Something went wrong with the blower in his van that he had at the time and it wasn’t blowing enough heat out. It is always cold and windy up there in winter.  You would have to really dress warm with no heater.

Our weather here has been milder than usual with lots of rain. Old Farmer’s Almanac has us for a mild, wet winter for our region. We were thankful for the sunny days that we got this past week, today being one of them. We went to church this morning in the sunshine and it was sunny when we came out. Most of us need more Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, this time of year.  We sometimes would go for two months with no sunshine in Michigan and people were getting depression from it. Doctors were advising people to sit under a sun lamp to get that heat and light that was needed. Until next time try to stay away from sick people, wash hands often, and if you get flu, stay home and don’t spread it. It is supposed to peak here next month.

Take care and God bless!

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Reader's Comments


Kenneth “Mike” Putnam

The Free Press WVAge 69, of Shock, WV, victoriously went to be with his Lord and Savior on February 22, 2019 while surrounded by his family. Mike was born February 05, 1950 in Gassaway, WV, the son of the late Vena Putnam Clark and Marshall “Fletcher” Putnam [ .... ]  Read More

William Russell “Wild Bill” Cottrill

The Free Press WV Got on his dozer and headed off to Heaven on December 14, 2018 at 6:15 AM at his residence where he wanted to be. He was born April 23, 1955 at Shock, (Gilmer County) WV, to the late Russell Cottrill and Violet Howes Cottrill [....]  Read More

Lacy ‘Brooks’ Norman

The Free Press WVAge 82, of New River, Arizona passed away suddenly on November 25, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Born in Shock, West Virginia, he was the eldest son to Escue and Edna (Lambert) Norman [ .... ]  Read More

Dessie Louise Wolfe

The Free Press WV Age 95 of Glenville, WV (Kanawha Drive Community) departed this life peacefully on Tuesday, November 06, 2018 at her residence, surrounded by her living family. She was born April 12, 1923 in Gilmer County, WV daughter of the late Willie L. and Blanche Ellyson Jones [....]  Read More

Yvonne M. Morrison

The Free Press WVAge 83, of Stumptown, WV passed away peacefully on October 28, 2018. Yvonne was born in Shock, West Virginia on September 14, 1935 [ .... ]  Read More

Joshua Balcourt

The Free Press WVAge 42, our beloved son, brother, father and uncle, passed away unexpectedly in the early morning hours of June 01, 2018. Josh was born in Charleston, WV on an unusually warm day, December 05, 1975. As a young boy growing up on a 35 acre hilltop farm in Shock, Gilmer County, WV [ .... ]  Read More

Herma Brown Eddy

The Free Press WV Age 91 of Belpre, Ohio passed from this life May 9th surrounded by family. Born Herma Nell Miller, April 10, 1927, to Curtis Ray and Mary Pearl (Vanhorn) in Shock, WV [....]  Read More

Rev. Borden Brady

The Free Press WVPassed away peacefully into his Savior’s arms in the early hours of November 24, 2017. Born February 17, 1931 in Shock WV, he was the son of the late Bert and Josephine Brady.

Charlotte Kay Miller

Wilma A. Tallhamer

Lela Marie White

Sharon Sue King

Darren W. Pritt

Donnie C. Rogers Sr.

Parker Eugene “Park” Tallhamer Sr.

Dorma Alice Hartshorn

Mary Kathrine Simmons Heltzel

Martha Jo Long

Roger F. “Rabbit” Frame

Roger F. “Rabbit” Frame

Rondel (Ron) Curtis Miller

Hubert C. White

Ora E. “Babe” Stump Minney

Odell Wood

Vera (Miller) Brady Bell

Glenna Marie Norman Miller

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.


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.


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.


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.


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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