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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!

Jeanette Riffle: Holiday Memories

The Free Press WV

Lately, I have been thinking back, about how things were this time of year, when I was growing up. My, how things have changed! We never heard of ordering up a holiday meal from the deli of a supermarket. As a matter of fact, we didn’t even have supermarkets. We had the A&P store at Glenville and the country stores. My grandma on Mom’s side cut up a big fat hen and boiled it and then made drop dumplings in the rich yellow broth. She had her own words for things and so did Mom. Mamaw called her chicken and dumplings, “Chicken Pop Eye. “  My youngest brother would get so tickled at her when she said she was making that. I think maybe she just said crazy things sometimes to get us to laugh.  She and Mom called their vegetable dishes, “holdin dishes.”  One time my oldest brother, Brock, and I took a shopping trip to Clarksburg to look for Christmas gifts. We were teenagers and I had my driver’s license. He had a sport’s injury and was on crutches, but he could get around pretty good. Once there, we headed for Montgomery Wards. Mom and Dad shopped there a lot at Christmas time, so we knew how to get there.  Mom needed some dishes and we decided that they must be downstairs. Down the steps we went. There weren’t very many to go down and climb back up.

We were met by a friendly sales lady who asked if she could help us.  Brock told her we were looking for some “holdin dishes.”  She laughed and asked me what they were. We proceeded in telling her what our Mom put in those dishes…….mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, etc. She finally figured out what they were and she said, “Oh, you mean vegetable dishes.” She led us over to a table of assorted dishes and picked up a big dish. She asked it that was what we were looking for.  We told her, “Yes, that’s them.” I thought, “That’s a new one to me.”

Anyway,  we bought some of her, “ vegetable dishes” and went on about our shopping. When we got home that evening, I told Mom what those dishes were called and how that sales lady had acted. The best I remember, Mom needed them right then, and we didn’t wait until Christmas.  No matter what the proper name was for those dishes, Mom continued to call them her, “holdin dishes.”  Mamaw and her siblings had words that were different than anyone else in our family.  She called my friends, my “chaps” and pots and pans were, “vessels.”  Quilts were, “kivers” and old shoes were, “clod hoppers.”  There were more names and expressions that were different.  She made these huge sugar cookies as big as a saucer that she called, “Dutch Cakes.” Those were made not only for holidays, but almost every Friday for Weekend Company. They were flavored with lemon and nutmeg. They aren’t very rich, and you just keep running back for more.  When I make them, I sprinkle sugar on the tops.  It is a big recipe and takes a long time to bake all those trays of cookies.

Until next time, enjoy your holiday meals with the family and be thankful for all the many blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us.

Jeanette Riffle: Candy Kisses Wrapped in Paper

The Free Press WV

That was the name of a song that I had been hearing on the radio back in the early 50’s and when we got some chocolate candy called Hershey’s Kisses for Christmas one year,

I asked Mom if that was what the song was all about. She just laughed. I think that was the first time I had seen that kind of candy. My husband said that song was about the taffy that came in different colored wrappers. It must have been different flavors.  George Morgan sang it. I had been hearing that song on the radio and since the name of our candy was Hershey’s Kisses and it was wrapped in a thin foil type paper, I thought that’s what they had been singing about. That chocolate candy was so good. It seems to me like they were in the back of a little truck for one of my brothers. Duane said he sneaked out of bed one night and got one that was under the tree in a little train, and took it to his bedroom to try it out. He took the wrapper off and put the candy in his mouth to see what it tasted like. He didn’t like it and threw it behind the bed. He does eat them now but prefers chocolate covered cherries and homemade fruit cake.  Both are too rich for me but I have them for him every year for Christmas. He shopped recently for the ingredients to get a fruit cake together. I make a big one in an angel food pan.

I remember hearing Mom and Dad up real late one night on Christmas Eve and I went to the living room to see what they were doing. Dad yelled at me to get back to bed. I didn’t know why he was mad at me. Next morning we got up to toys and nice things under the tree and my great aunt, Ruth Smith Burns, had sent me a gift of makeup. Powder, rouge and lipstick.  I   wondered why she was buying that for a child, though. I was only in second grade and not old enough to wear it.  There was a note in the card that said, “ I got you some makeup of your own. “ Mom knew what that was all about and she told Dad. They both got a big laugh. Dad’s Aunt Ruth had come to visit us one day and I got into Mom’s make up at the dresser with the big round mirror. It was dark in the bedroom and I couldn’t see very well and smeared the lipstick. I did the whole works. Face powder, rouge, lipstick,  and came out of the bedroom,  peeped around the door to the living room and said, “ Well, Aunt Ruth, if I’d a known you were coming , I’d a diked up a little bit.” I had heard Mom say that so much if someone came by unexpectedly.  Diked is a another word for getting all decked out to look good.  Funny how some of these memories come back at Christmas time.

Until next time, take care and God bless!

Jeanette Riffle: Christmas Oranges

The Free Press WV

We got into a conversion about oranges and my husband said he didn’t remember having oranges in the country store, here, but his Uncle Ralph Perrine found them somewhere. He thinks that oranges in the olden days must have come up here from Florida on a train. We only had them at Christmas time when I was a small child. I think Dad found them at the country stores and maybe at A&P of Glenville. There are certain things that we eat that remind us of Christmas still yet, and that is one of them. Duane remembers a man coming to the store to take orders and a delivery truck bringing things in at Christmas. The road up Tanner # 4 was in too bad a shape for a delivery truck to get up, so those store owners had to take a truck and go get a big supply of things from Spencer. The railroad came into Spencer and supplies were brought in on a train.

I remember oranges, Spanish Bar, apples, nuts and popcorn balls at Christmas time at the Shock log cabin. Aunt Susie made the coconut chocolate balls andput them in a fancy pedestal candy dish that belonged to her mother.  Someone made the fudge recipe on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa can. Mary Mace Tomilitis made the different flavored hard candies and brought some over every year.  She was Stella Mace’s daughter. Duane said that his Aunt Susie and Ugee Stump got together and made fruitcakes. That was his favorite.  I have been making fruit cakes for years. I don’t eat them but he loves them. I might have one bite. Too rich for me.

Duane and his Uncle Ralph would go after a cedar tree down the road and across the creek, where Joe and Mary Cogar now live. They walked down and carried it back.  He said you couldn’t get a 4 wheel drive in there and besides no one had a 4 wheel drive.  You either had to walk, take a horse and a sled, or a tractor, when you went off road. He remembers finding a blue cedar one summer in an old field, on the farm. It was perfectly shaped and about 6 or 7 feet tall.  He went back several months later to get it and one side was dead. He didn’t know if it was pestilent, sunburn, or what had killed it.  He had to walk a good mile each way to get to that old field and back. He was so disappointed.

I used to love opening the door to the living room of the log cabin and smelling the tree. It had the whole room scented up and the big gas stove on the floor looked so inviting to come in out of the cold. After our son was born, I would get him up to the stove on my lap.  There was a chair there waiting on us. The living room floor would be full of toys and clothes for him. He missed that log cabin when it was torn down a few years back.  He has a lot of good memories of going there.

Until next time, take care and God bless!

Jeanette Riffle: Why We Celebrate Christmas

The Free Press WV

I’m glad that we were taken to church as babies.  Like I have said before, I can remember my Warner grandparents, on Mom’s side, carrying me into the Methodist church at Crooked Run, when Dad was off fighting in WW 11 and then when he came back, Mom, Dad and I went to the Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church of Stumptown, WV.  We rode with my grandmother Stewart, because Dad didn’t get a car until I was about five years old. When I was old enough to go in a class of my own, I loved hearing those old testament Bible stories and then at Christmas time, the story of baby Jesus being born in a manager. The first teacher I remember was Bess Moore, a neighbor lady of ours. Our parents and Grandmother Stewart on Dad’s side made sure that my brothers and I understood the true meaning of Christmas each year.

There was always so much excitement as Christmas morning drew near. Mom and Dad had ordered things from catalogs and Dad went to every country store nearby and bought lots of candy, nuts to crack, oranges and gifts. He bought chocolate drops, chocolate covered raisins and peanuts, coconut candy and a little of everything they had.  Mom made her peanut butter and chocolate fudge.  She would buy up chocolate covered cherries and hide them before Christmas. I found a box one time in the junk room, at the bottom of a pile of clothes, old quilts and things on the closet floor.  I ate one and it was too rich for me. That’s all I wanted for that time. I never could eat more than one or two of those.  My husband just loves them.

My parents both went through the Great Depression and they really appreciated having plenty of food.  Mom didn’t get enough candy and she told of pinching the lumps out of the brown sugar bag. She said she knew they wouldn’t miss that. Dad said he ate turnips one whole winter with potatoes, beans and cornbread. He still liked turnips, though. There were six kids in his family and he said they would hang up a stocking and the next morning it had been filled with an orange, an apple, nuts and some candy and that was Christmas, so Mom and Dad relived their childhood by providing all they could for the four of us kids. They wanted us to have it better than they did.

Until next time, take care and God bless!

Jeanette Riffle: Why Do Some Great Blue Herons Stay

The Free Press WV

We saw a great blue heron this week down in the creek behind us, and it was fishing. This is the first time we have seen one this late in the year. I looked in my bird book and read that some do stay behind and they starve during a harsh winter when water freezes over and they can’t get to the fish.  No one seems to know why some of them don’t fly south with the rest. Usually, they leave in September and October. I Googled them and found out that they like to hang around ponds where expensive koi and goldfish are present. We don’t have that here and really there aren’t that many fish in our creek anymore. We might find this one dead this winter if the creek freezes over for a long period of time.

I don’t remember seeing this type of bird when I was growing up. Our creek was deep though and this one out back is low enough in places for wading. We see a lot of wild life here.

One of these days we want to put up a wild life camera and see just what all is out there at night. Our dog barks at the creek bank a lot after dark. I saw a bear in someone’s yard on FB today. It was in my news feed. One of my friends caught a nuisance bear on camera early this morning. Their big lab barked and put it back into the woods. That tells me that the bears have not gone into hibernation, yet. It was no doubt foraging around looking for food. They try to load up before going to sleep for the winter.

Some of my relatives had a bear and a big one at that, right in the parking lot of the hotel where they were staying down at Gatlinburg, while on vacation this fall. It no doubt was a nuisance bear that had learned to associate people with food and had even learned how to open a door on a vehicle. Early one morning, it was making a commotion and they looked out a window and saw it in their car, in the back seat. Then it went to every vehicle in the parking lot and got into every unlocked one. 

One of my great nephews went out and yelled real loud and showed his teeth trying to look mean to the bear but it charged at him and sent him back in the hotel fast! Maybe it thought he would throw out some food, who knows. You can’t trust a hungry bear. I hope the DNR was called to come get it and relocate it. That was too close for comfort. I don’t think they will be going back to that area again.

Until next time, take care and God bless!

Jeanette Riffle: Thanksgiving Over and Looking Forward to Christmas

The Free Press WV

We had fried deer steak for Thanksgiving this year. Hubby got lucky and got two deer so we had plenty of good fresh meat.  Our son and granddaughter made it down from Michigan the day after Thanksgiving and we had a ham dinner, today.  They had a good day to travel and made it home in 7 ½ hours by going through the drive- thru at Hardees over in Ohio, about halfway down, and eating on the road. I wanted them in here before dark because of deer in the road. They made it in about 5: 35.  So, we celebrated their October birthdays and Thanksgiving all in November. Detroit is supposed to get four to six inches of snow out of a storm that is coming. We are to get mostly rain and by Tuesday it should be out of here and gone by the time they have to go back. I hope that doesn’t get changed.  They might not be able to come back for Christmas if the roads get bad. This time of year, you can’t depend on the weather to cooperate with travel plans.

We faced the same thing when we lived up there. I remember a time when it took us fourteen hours to get home. When we got over in Ohio, there were wrecks everywhere. People were sliding on ice over onto the median. It was a long time before I could brave it up to come home again in bad winter weather.  That was too stressful!

Our granddaughter was talking about all the wild life here and food. We do have nuts this time of year. There are black walnuts on the ground everywhere outside. Some areas had an abundance of mast for the deer and all animals to eat.  And, of course when deer season opened, there were plenty of them. First bow season and now gun. Gun season opened last Monday.  The garden vegetables are in the freezer.  Our ancestors practically lived off the land.

Mom used to tell of her Grandpa Dexter Lowe hunting and trapping. He put meat on the table and sold the furs. Duane tells of his Grandpa Riffle doing the same thing. He dug ginseng to sell and dug yellow root for medicine.  They got honey from bee trees and he had bees of his own.

We are so spoiled to be able to buy everything nowadays at the grocery stores. Life is so much easier.  I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday with the family. I plan on getting out the Christmas decorations now, little by little.  Christmas will be here before we know it.

Until next time, take care and God bless!

Jeanette Riffle: Be Thankful Every Day

The Free Press WV

We all need to be thankful every day of the year and not just on Thanksgiving Day.

The Bible says to be thankful in everything. I read an article in the Charleston Gazette about the way our grandmothers and great grandmothers had to work so hard for a holiday. It brought back memories of things I used to hear my grandmas talk about. Feathers that were plucked out of chickens when they were cleaned up for the table were saved for feather ticks.

There was a navy and white striped course material similar to denim, that could be purchased for making what they called feather ticks, and pillows were made the same way. Everyone had those feather ticks and feather stuffed pillows. They sure were comfortable but for those of us that are allergic to feathers, it caused a stuffed up nose. We didn’t always know why. I have a brother that had a bad allergy to feathers and Mom took him to the doctor. She didn’t know what was wrong. It was like a cold that wouldn’t go away.

Doc Smith in Glenville suspected the feather pillows and told her to switch to a store bought foam rubber pillow. She did and that helped solve the problem. He could breathe better. The material for ticking had to be measured to fit the bed and cut and sewed up leaving the top open to stuff the feathers in. It took a lot of feathers to make a thick mattress.

Nothing was wasted in the olden days. Mom saved old flannel shirts and cut the buttons off for her button box. Old clothes like that went into a scrap bag for her mother to piece quilts with. 

Nowadays, we buy our quilts and blankets for the bed and I don’t know anyone who makes feather ticks anymore. We buy chickens and turkeys already plucked, cut up and frozen. All we have to do is cook them.  A can of pumpkin makes a pumpkin pie or you can buy frozen ones that just need baked. We have bought the prebaked ones a few times but I prefer baking my own as I have my favorite recipe.

You can buy a box of Stove Top and follow the directions and make a decent dressing. I add a can of chicken broth to make it fluffier. We don’t like a dry crunchy dressing. If I had to go back to doing everything the hard way from scratch like my grandmothers did, I would be in the rocking chair from too much hard work. We have so much to be thankful for.

The devotions at church this morning is appropriate for my story so I will add that. It is found in Ephesians 5: 20. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.

Until next time, take care and God bless!

Jeanette Riffle: Free Meals to Go Vote

The Free Press WV

We got out to vote at the Church of Christ on Rosedale Rd. this past week and saw some friends that we hadn’t seen for a long time. My husband was telling me about the antique ballot box he has that was left over from days of old when the voting precinct was held at the Shock one room school house. It was a black metal box back then.  Uncle Fletcher Stout offered free meals at the Shock log cabin if people would just come and vote.  Word got around and people came from far and near on horseback and even on foot to get in on that feast. There were no restaurants around and people were tired, hungry and thirsty by the time they got here. Uncle Fletcher hired other women to come and help Duane’s aunt, Susie Riffle Perrine, do all that cooking. He remembers a big dish pan full of potato salad, fried chickens, biscuits and some of everything in the cellar. Cakes and pies for dessert and coffee or water to drink. She didn’t make iced tea. If they had tea, it was hot tea for breakfast, sometimes. Uncle Fletcher didn’t bribe them with money or alcohol and tell them who to vote for as some men did, but he just wanted them to come out and vote.

There was a wash pan on a stand by the kitchen door, on the back porch, and a bucket of water with a dipper. A tea kettle was kept simmering on the back burner of the cook stove all day and the cold water could be tempered with that. Water was hand pumped up from the well.  A cake of soap and clean towels were provided for the men to go wash up before going inside to the big wooden farm table.  After they had eaten until they could hold no more, some of those old fellows would put down a quarter or whatever they could afford. The meals were free but some of them wanted to leave a little something anyhow. I suppose that if free meals were offered at or near the precincts nowadays, there would be more people showing up to vote still yet. I think my parents voted at the Normantown High School.  Back then, you couldn’t vote until the age of 21 and I wasn’t old enough. I got married after I turned 18 and we went to Maryland where my husband got work as a pipe fitter at the Sparrow’s Point Shipyard.

By the time I was old enough to vote, there had been a lay off at the shipyard and we were back home a year. Jobs were scarce and hard to find. A couple of Dad’s brothers were home on model changeover from General Motors of Detroit one summer and they got Duane on with the old Fleetwood plant where he trained in as a welder.  Back then you could just walk in off the street and get a job there.  Until next time, turn up the heat and put on some extra blankets. It got down to 16 degrees here in the valley at Shock last night.

Take care and God bless!

Jeanette Riffle: Halloween Over and Looking Forward to Thanksgiving

The Free Press WV

I found a poem that I like in the Charleston Gazette written by Chuck Reed that I will share with you and will try and relate to it. Here goes:

West Virginia Autumn
Sing a song of autumn
It’s time is in the air
Nature’s coat is changing
there’s color everywhere.
The hills of West Virginia
put on a colored dress
Of multi-colored shades;
meant only to impress.
Mountain leaves now shimmer
with beauty and with grace
Grapevines drape their garlands
like purple woven lace
A miner’s favorite rocking chair;
brings long awaited rest
From all the pick and shovel work,
that puts his hands to test.
A Father’s Summer garden tools,
brings Mother’s Autumn tasty spoils,
With apple cobbler’s spicy bliss,
Mountaineers are born in this.
Smoking grills are everywhere
and football’s finally here,
One thing that we must never forget,
It’s good to be a Mountaineer.

Our color has come and is almost gone. Leaves are falling fast , now, and we feel like going into hibernation. It is good to fall back an hour in the fall and sleep in an extra hour. I saw a photo on FB in my news feed that said, “Coffee gets me up but God keeps me going.” That’s about the way it is with me. I have so many things to do each day and it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day, sometimes. I do what I can but I have been slowed down.

Until next time, enjoy the fall, what we have left of it. God bless and take car!

Jeanette Riffle: Fall Colors Are Late This Year

The Free Press WV

Finally, I looked out the back door one morning this past week and saw fall colors. The big poplar tree in the back was gold and I saw twinges of bright color on the hillside across the creek. It is two weeks late this year. We had gone to Spencer this week and didn’t see much color along the way. We wondered if the green leaves were going to just freeze and fall off before turning colors, but we have had some frosts and one hard freeze lately. Squirrels are scurrying around like crazy finding and burying nuts. They are taking some up trees to store in the hollow spaces. Bad weather is coming on when you see squirrels behaving like that.  I’ve always loved the fall of the year. I remember when Mom or Dad would rake up a big pile of leaves in our front yard. I enjoyed running and jumping in them. I taught our son to do the same thing.  The cooler nights and crisp mornings are welcome after a hot, steamy, rainy summer. I have been lighting the oven almost every day for my fall recipes.  Got out some molasses for soft molasses cookies and got out cans of pumpkin. I have a recipe for pumpkin bread and I saw a recipe on FB in my news feed that I want to try. Take a spice cake mix and add a small can of pumpkin and some raisins. Mix well and pour into a greased muffin pan.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Sounds like delightful breakfast muffins to me.  I would have one or two of those with some coffee and a couple boiled eggs.

Fall is a time to slow down and relax more. A lot of people say that they don’t like what follows but I like to enjoy the fall while it is here. Enjoy the moment instead of worrying about what is ahead.  Bow season is in and the guys have been bow hunting. We are looking forward to some fresh deer meat and they sure are plentiful. Men used to have to go to the mountains to deer hunt. There weren’t many here.  As I have said before, my Dad went clear to Doddridge Co. where he had Stewart relatives and he stayed with them. He only came home one time with a deer, though.  He said he was out hunting and saw a group of deer at a distance. He shot into them and one went down. It was a small deer and I remember seeing it on the back porch floor but I can’t remember eating it. Until next time stay well and try to avoid sickness. There are a lot of nasty viruses going around already.

Take care and God bless!

Jeanette Riffle: Pigeon Hole Mail Boxes

The Free Press WV

My husband was telling me this week about his uncle, Ralph Perrine, having the post office at Shock, in his country store, and he called the little boxes along the wall, “ the pigeon hole.” There was a box for each family in the neighborhood. I asked him to explain that name and he said that homing pigeons had boxes similar to that. People had what they called; “carrier pigeons” and they carried messages.  For example, when a man would go quite a distance he would take a pigeon with him and if he wanted to get a message back home, he would write it down on paper, put it in a little tube and fasten it to the pigeon’s leg. Then he would release the pigeon and it would fly back home to its roost. We think this might have started clear back before WW l.  This came in handy in areas where there were no phones. Right now, we can’t think of anyone who still has carrier pigeons in use.  Some people have pigeons roosting at their farms but they aren’t used like that anymore that we know of. How clever to come up with that idea though to get a message back home when there was no phone. Pigeons can fly very fast.

When I was growing up, I remember little post offices in every little town nearby. Chet and Susie Kingery had a tiny post office at Lockney and then their daughter, Ruth, that married Ewing James, had one in the country store there. Ott and Molly Poling had the one at Stumptown and there was one at Normantown. We had a mail carrier on 119 & 33 above Lockney. Back then the big thick catalogs came in the mail. Sears & Roebuck and the Montgomery Ward one. Those were called, “wish books.”  When people were through with them, they ended up at the outhouse to be used as toilet paper. There were more cards and letters in the mail when I was growing up. Mom bought perfumed stationary and lots of birthday cards. She kept a good supply of hankies from the Murphy’s 5 & 10 store and sent cards with a letter and a hankie to all her lady friends. When was the last time you got a card and letter in the mail? Most people just tell you, “Happy Birthday” on the net anymore. It has closed some small post offices down. Mom got letters from friends and relatives out of state and some that just lived in another area of our state.  . Women liked to write letters back then. Now, it is called, “Snail Mail.”  I still send cards and write letters. Until next time, stay warm and dry. We were supposed to get snow flurries this morning but we didn’t see any. It’s just around the corner though.

Take care and God bless!

Jeanette Riffle: Frost On The Pumpkin

The Free Press WV

We haven’t had frost yet, but it could be coming in by Wednesday night according to the weather forecast. I remember when Mom gathered her pumpkins in and stored them under my bed when I was growing up. I was a teenager and was doing exercises where you bend over to touch your toes and saw something under my bed on newspapers. Mom thought it was so funny when I yelled at her about all those pumpkins under my bed. She said she didn’t have room in the cellar for them. I saw my Grandmother Stewart dig up some cabbage one time that she had buried down in the bottom by the barn. She said she dug a hole, lined it with straw and put the cabbages down in that, covered them up with straw and shoveled dirt over everything.

Whenever she wanted some cabbage, she just went down there and dug one up.  My husband’s Grandpa Charlie Riffle of the Bear Fork, buried potatoes and apples. He didn’t have a cellar.  A lot of the old folks buried potatoes. If you bury apples, you have to hand pick them so there are no bruises. One bad apple will spoil the whole bunch.

It’s time for pumpkin pies, pumpkin rolls and pumpkin cookies. I have a recipe for pumpkin cobbler but it is more like a cake with a crunchy topping.  It’s nice to light the oven again and not worry about it making the house too hot. Some people raise butternut squash for their pies; my Mom for one. She cooked the pie filling on top of the stove and poured it into a prebaked pie shell. Mom and my grandmas really didn’t have many recipes. They just knew how to cook and bake to make things taste good. I do the same thing but I do use recipes for some things and try new recipes now and then. When I was a small child, Mom had a lot of the depression year’s meals that she grew up with and they were delicious. She would say that her Aunt Alpha Stout could make gravy out of anything. We were there one time when she did that and I watched her make a skillet of poor man’s gravy and she just added all the things from the previous meal that would taste good in a gravy. Then she made a big pan of biscuits to go with it. Mom said that when she was growing up her Aunt Lula Lowe was always good for her creamed tomatoes, fried potatoes, and hot biscuits. They butchered a pig in the fall and when it was gone they had that meal to fall back on. They had the sausage patties to go with the creamed tomatoes meal when it was available. I still make that now and then. That was one of my favorites that Mom made.

My great nephew, Stewart Fitzwater, is being ordained a Baptist minister next Sunday, and we ladies will be cooking and baking for the luncheon that will follow the morning service. All the preachers in the association will be there to help ordain him.  Stewart, his wife, Michelle, and baby Landon, have been a blessing to our church. Until next time, enjoy the fall foods that we Appalachians have access to this time of year

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Shock

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

Odell Wood

Vera (Miller) Brady Bell

Glenna Marie Norman Miller

Readers' Recent Comments

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

One result is that the GCES was built too small.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By GCES Built Too Small Scandal on 01.15.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

By Gilmer resident on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

By Muddling Epidemic In WV School Systems on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

By we know it on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

By Student Learning at GCHS and GCES on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

By Muddling 101 on 01.11.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By End School System Muddling on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

By Need Specifics For Principal's Reports on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By overheard conversation on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

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

By ZOOMWV Data Dashboard on 01.07.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

By Let An Accountant Dig It Out on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By End Financial Secrecy on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Get It Done on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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How about the “BIG WV WINDFALL”....?

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

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

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

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

By taxpayers always lose on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By CheatersNeverWin on 11.20.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By Corrupt State Intervention on 11.19.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

Any local whistle blowers?  Doubtful.

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

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

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By More Specifics For Principal's Reports on 11.17.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

By Follow The Money on 11.16.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By Do It Ourselves on 11.15.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By QuestionablePractice on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Citizens For Financial Disclosure on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

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

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

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

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

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

By Where Is The Investigation? on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

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

By INFO REQUEST TO GCBOE on 11.09.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Follow the Paycheck(s) on 11.06.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By Where Is The Money? on 11.05.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Steve Lewis on 11.04.2018

From the entry: 'Kendall Goodwin'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By What Was The Grading System? on 10.30.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Reader7 on 10.29.2018

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

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

By Robin Nunez on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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

By Buck Edwards on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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

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

By Details Please on 10.26.2018

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

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

By GSC's New Mission? on 10.26.2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By GSC Alumni on 10.26.2018

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

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

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

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

By Opportunity for GSC on 10.23.2018

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

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

By Agreements Matter on 10.22.2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Why Reinvent The Wheel? on 10.22.2018

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

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

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

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

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

By Clarity Is Always Good on 10.18.2018

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

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Looked at the strategic plan for the GCES. It is a major achievement for the new GCBE to provide the information to the public.

Suggestion. Could the GCBOE post a meaning of all abbreviations in the plan? Doing that would make it far easier for readers to understand details in the plan.

By Help Understanding on 10.17.2018

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

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Thanks Mrs. Lowther and the BOE for providing meeting minutes for the public to read.

Those of us who voted for the levy would appreciate receiving specific information for what is being done at the grade school and the high school to make needed improvements for college and career readiness.

Could a current overview and updates throughout the school year be provided to the public?

Why not put the details on websites of the two schools to give the principals a chance to shine?

By Levy Supporter on 10.16.2018

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

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“engage in pedantic colloquy?“

No Bill.

By WEKNOWYOU on 10.14.2018

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

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Correct.  I do not wish to engage in back and forth useless ‘banter’ with big words and no results.  What I AM interested in is Gilmer County, in all it’s ways.  Education, Food, Law and Transparency.  Fancy words are often used to hide, divide, and distract..  Plain words speaking truth for the safety and well being of the people is what I’m looking for..  Gilmer is suffering… I want it to stop. I want to see the citizens healthy, educated and strong. I want to see more jobs instead of food banks.  I want Committee meetings for all to see. I want the law to do what it should, when it should.  Plain english would work fine.  Thanks for asking.

By Reader7 on 10.14.2018

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

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Lol 7, you do not wish to engage in a pedantic colloquy?

By Smart Feller on 10.13.2018

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

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All nice but a small request? Can we simplify some of the language?  Don’t mean to be rude, but fancy works aren’t needed for the Truth.

By Reader7 on 10.12.2018

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

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Stop living the delusion the state will fix education.
They have caused the problem.
Remember, for them, job one IS job protection.

Rare in history, that the cause of a problem, has come forth with a solution to what they have caused. They keep resetting testing standards so as not have any ‘yardstick’ they can be measured against.  Apparently people just don’t get it?  And the WVBOE is so happy about that.

By it-ain't-a-gonna-happen. period. on 10.12.2018

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

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There is a continuum for sophistication regarding what is done with data.

Collecting and compiling it is at the low end of sophistication.

Synthesis is at the high end.

This means using results and other information to make specific recommendations for making improvements.

The State took its typical easy way out by failing to go beyond the data compilation stage.

By Easy Way Out on 10.10.2018

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

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The comment about need to find out what was done at high performance schools to determine what we could do in Gilmer County to get the same results merits a comment.

The comment flags what is wrong with the State BOE in failing to provide effective leadership.

Does anyone recall a single instance, after tens of millions of dollars were spent on amassing data, when the State BOE did anything to effectively address lessons learned at high performance schools for application at other schools?

Of course not! It is the easy way out for those in high income brackets in Charleston to collect data instead of using it to the maximum to take full advantage of lessons learned.

Could the WV School Board Association help fill the gap?

By Lost Opportunity on 10.07.2018

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

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Harry, So sorry to hear of the passing of your wife.  I’m also sorry that I never got to know her because if she was anything like you, I’m sure she was pretty special.  Please know that you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.  May God’s love be with you my friend.

By Greg Garvin on 10.04.2018

From the entry: 'Judith “Judy” Carolyn Buckley Rich'.

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What is the BOE’s proficiency goal for English and mathematics and what is the time frame for achieving the goal? That is news citizens want.

Then too, how can citizens at large get involved to honor and to encourage students who improve, and what of a similar nature could be done to give special recognition to outstanding teachers who contribute to improved learning for English and math?

By Positive Changes Made By New BOE on 10.04.2018

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

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The BOE and Mrs Lowther deserve high praise for disclosing proficiency information to the public.

It is the first time since 2011 anything like this has happened.

We still do not know about results for science, and it is understood that Charleston is still “working” on it.

Now we know our serious shortcomings in math and English and there is new hope for burrowing out of the mess with everyone in Gilmer working together.

By Thanks Gilmer BOE on 10.03.2018

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

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Well, dear citizen… sometimes the local ‘law’ gets it wrong.  #truth #JusticeForGilmer

By Transparency matters on 09.30.2018

From the entry: '33 charged in methamphetamine distribution operations in Harrison, Marion, and Monongalia Counties'.

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Soooo…...why do we never see a big drug bust in Gilmer?
With the college and others, there are plenty sources.
Seems strange?

By citizen 3 on 09.23.2018

From the entry: '33 charged in methamphetamine distribution operations in Harrison, Marion, and Monongalia Counties'.

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If you access http://www.mywvschool.com it is evident that some schools outpace others for math and English.

For examples look at data for Lizemore Elementary in Clay County, Alum Creek Elementary in Kanawha County, Rock Branch Elementary in Putnam county, and Greenmont Elementary in Wood County.

Gilmer BOE why not assign someone to evaluate what is being done at those school and others to make them State standouts and to apply lessons learned to our elementary schools?

The same applies to learning from others regarding how to get high marks at GCHS.

By Learn What Works From Others on 09.23.2018

From the entry: 'WV and Area Counties Balanced Scorecard for School Year 2017-2018'.

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I have not read anyone blaming our teachers.  Quite the contrary.
There have been some well thought out comments submitted too.
I am old enough to remember when we had few issues about quality education.

Forget Charleston? Better not.
Believe we are still in their “probation” period.
You better check out just what that means.

By GC--still on state probation? on 09.22.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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Why not go for it on our own and use the tried and widely accepted Iowa Test of Basic Skills to evaluate learning proficiency of our children?

It is the longest running test in America and it goes back to 1936.

One outcome of using the test is that each grade would be evaluated and compared to performances to schools in other parts of America.

We would probably have to go through hoop jumps of the State’s everchanging testing too.

By Iowa Test For Gilmer on 09.21.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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To compound complexity of the issue, Gilmer is different from McDowell and both are different than Monongahela.

The implication is that getting out of the crisis must be county-specific and there is no one size that will fit all of WV’s 55 school systems.

Each county is on its own and ones with the best planning, local boards of education, and administrators will shine. Forget about Charleston!

By County-Specific on 09.21.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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Similar to most complex problems there are several categories contributing to WV’s dismal failure in improving education results in our grade and high schools.

Information in referred journal is beginning to show up. Some of the categories include curriculum issues in high schools, block scheduling failures in high schools, inordinate emphasis on sports at the expense of academics, inadequate prep of grade schoolers to ensure that they get firm foundations in math and English Language Arts, failure to instill need for life long learning at early ages, failure for school systems to fund continuing education of teachers to prepare them for newly emerged practices for enhanced student learning, cultural impediments including failure of some families to encourage children and to give them extra learning help at home, dysfunctional families for children to grow up in caused by drug and alcohol abuse and chronic unemployment, grade inflation characterized by too many As and Bs and attitudes that nobody fails so pass them along, failure of school boards to hire the best qualified superintendents and teachers because of local emphasis on favoring “home grow” individuals, failure of school boards to define performance expectations for superintendents to make effective accountability impossible, constantly changing types of State mandated testing to cause chaos and morale problems, poor compensation of teachers necessary to attract and keep the best and the brightest, etc.

To blame all problems on teachers is a cruel travesty.

One of the weakest links contributing to a lack of progress in improving WV schools is that instead of analyzing the full spectrum of contributing problems and focusing on ones with the biggest payoff potential, the trend in Charleston is to constantly apply band aid approaches with hopes that “cures” will be stumbled on accidentally.

By Do Not Blame It All On Our Teachers on 09.21.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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The problem with preK-12 education in WV is that a holistic and and technically defensible evaluation of contributing factors to cause WV’s problems and how to deal with them has not occurred.

Instead, under direction of clueless politicians ineffective muddling prevails while selling what is done at a particular time as the definitive solution.

How many times have we witnessed muddling over the past 20-30 Years? It still goes on in Charleston.

Why not obtain a grant to have qualified experts analyze success stories around the Nation and use findings to craft a demonstration project in Gilmer County to improve our school system?

Regardless of what we do there must be open minds in seeking out what to do in homes, schools,  teacher education programs in our institutions of higher learning, continuing education for classroom teachers, and to involve various factions in our community to achieve acceptable results. Everyone must band together as a unified team to make it work.

One trap is over emphasis of sports. If the same magnitude of attention and importance were to be focused on solving preK-12 education problems in WV, great strides could be made to benefit deserving children.

By Muddling on 09.19.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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Our heartfelt condolences on the passing of Mr. Ron. I too know this pain of losing a beloved father. Both of these men were taken way too soon. Praying maybe Mr.Ron, my Dad, and all the former Westinghouse employees in heaven are getting together. Love and prayers from, Adrienne and family.

By Adrienne (Trimper) Johnson on 09.19.2018

From the entry: 'Ronald J. Vanskiver'.

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West Virginia’s educational failures is NOT because of classroom teachers.

It IS because of the WV Board of Education’s failures of the past 20-30 years.

That 9 member, lopsided governor board is a crime against children and education in WV as a whole.

It needs 3 teachers, 3 general public parent members, and 3 governor appointees.

Until that governors click gang is broken up, you simply see repeats of the past.  NO progress in education.

It will take the legislature to fix it, but they are too busy with the legislature created court system failure, while trying to line pockets with gas and oil money.

By Tell It Like It Is ! on 09.19.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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What is the plausible rationale for Gilmer not disclosing detailed facts similar to what Superintendent Hosaflook did?

Wood County reported 11,176 students in its 27 schools for the full FY 2018 school year.

In comparison Gilmer had 734 reported students in our two schools for the full FY 2018 school year.

Wood County had 15 times more students than Gilmer and it is reasonable to assume that it was 15 times more demanding to administer with its 27 schools.

If Wood County could get detailed facts out to the public with its significantly higher work load what keeps tiny Gilmer from doing the same?

By Why Gilmer BOE? on 09.18.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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We have not had a responsible, functioning, WVBE for 20 years.
Not one that would accept any responsibility.

They just keep changing ‘score keeping’ so there can be no accurate tracking of student progress.

State ranks 48th or 49th on educational outcomes. Still.
Colleges still have to give remedial classes.

The ONLY thing that changes are the names of the governor appointed players.
And just look at the ‘cost-per-pupil’ spending!
We are about the highest in the nation.

West Virginia State Board of Education = complete failure.  Nothing less.

By just more smoke and mirrors on 09.16.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released for Public Schools in West Virginia'.

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Never could figure out why working people, retirees, volunteers are picking up trash left by adults?

Not when we have the numbers of bored prisoners we have locked up doing nothing??

By No solution here- on 09.16.2018

From the entry: 'Adopt-A-Highway Fall Statewide Cleanup Set for September 29'.

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Go to http://www.mywvschool.org to access more official State information about Gilmer’s schools. There are serious red flags in need of immediate corrective attention.

If you access Lewis County schools on the same web site you can review info for LES. Look at the red flags there. Worse than GES.

Instead of using the info to criticize it can be useful in seeking out opportunities for making immediate improvements.

For those who take apologetic stands that Gilmer is doing as well as some other WV counties and everything is fine, it does not mean that inferior educations for our children are acceptable.

By Look At Red Flags on 09.16.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Superintendent Set Her Goals for School Year'.

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Who is responsible for Gilmer’s oversight of the LES?

If you access the State’s website you will learn that math and reading is red flagged for the LCES to be as bad as it can get.

Why is it that nothing is reported in Gilmer County about how that school is doing when we know that our sixth grade finishers from over there will go to the GCHS to finish their educations? 

It is like our students who attend LCES are forgotten about. Someone needs to be watching out for them.

By Who Minds The Store on 09.15.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Superintendent Set Her Goals for School Year'.

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The really sad stories are left out.
The students who accrue debt and for whatever reasons, drop out of school after a year or two.

They have little hope of improving incomes, but still have debt.
More of them than you think.

By More sad ones to be told. on 09.14.2018

From the entry: 'Student-Loan Debts a "Loss of Freedom" for Some in WV'.

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Information made ‘public’ forces accountability.
Do not hold your breath lest you turn blue.

‘They’ want elected. Get their place at the trough.
Then discover ‘exposure’ makes their work more difficult.

Informed citizens make informed decisions.
Why do we see the same names being elected over and over and over?

By WHEN we're allowed to see it......? on 09.14.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Harrison BOE sets yearly superintendent goals'.

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Lots of work to be done with schools in Gilmer County. 2017-2018 Summative Assessments out today for student achievement.

Gilmer County High School.

For Math
*Exceed or Meet Standards=40% of Students.
*Fail to Meet Standards=60% of Students

For Reading
*Exceed or Meet Standards=36% of Students
*Fail to Meet Standards=64%

The scores speak volumes. What was done to accurately determine causes of failures and what will be done about it? BOE, the public has a right to know answers.

By Public Demands Answers on 09.13.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Superintendent Set Her Goals for School Year'.

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The Founding Fathers screwed up, we should not have to work and pay our bills. Let that man behind the tree work and pay for it all.
Free education should be a right.
Free food should be a right.
Free healthcare should be a right. 
Free transportation should be a right.
Free entertainment should be a right.

By Smart Feller on 09.13.2018

From the entry: 'Student-Loan Debts a "Loss of Freedom" for Some in WV'.

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Thank you BOE members and Mrs. Lowther. Let’s work together at all community levels to make Gilmer County an educational power house in West Virginia. We can do it as an effective team and provision of information will be the key to success.

By Better Times On The Way on 09.12.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Superintendent Set Her Goals for School Year'.

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Accountability - good point - and across Gilmer County.  We’ve seen glimpses and pieces of news WHEN we’re allowed to see it, mere mortals that we are. But never any follow up.  And the information come in bits and pieces (remember when we actually got to SEE what the Gilmer County Commission was up to?)  My question is, why do we never see the accountability or repercussion for actions of current Gilmer ‘elite’??

By Transparency matters on 09.12.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Harrison BOE sets yearly superintendent goals'.

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Encouraging news that the superintendent will present her goals for Gilmer Schools on 9/10.

We assume that there will be a commitment for specific goals to achieve, measurable outcomes, completion dates for different steps and final goal achievement, and a meaningful monitoring program to determine if we are on track or there is need for mid-course fine tuning.

If any of this is missing there will not be meaningful accountability. Excellent business plans have all the components addressed above.

By Waiting To See on 09.09.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Harrison BOE sets yearly superintendent goals'.

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