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8th Graders Honored For Golden Horseshoe Accomplishments

The Free Press WV

More than 200 eighth-graders from across West Virginia were honored at the state Culture Center in the annual Golden Horseshoe ceremony.

The students earned the honor of Knights of the Golden Horseshoe for their knowledge of West Virginia history.

“I am proud of each student who earned this elite honor today,” state School Superintendent Dr. Steve Paine said. “The Golden Horseshoe recognizes students’ appreciation and understanding of West Virginia and promotes pride in our state.”

The Golden Horseshoe test has been given each year since 1931 in West Virginia. This year marks the 301st anniversary of the Golden Horseshoe tradition that began in the 1700’s when West Virginia was part of Virginia.

A complete list of 2017 winners can be found by visiting HERE.

The Top Ten Richest Person of All Time

Each year, Forbes releases its ranking of the world’s richest people. And each year, some smart aleck chimes in with the news that if you adjust for inflation, Bill Gates wouldn’t even be close to the number one richest person in history.

Not only is that true, but Gates would barely even crack the top ten. In fact, five of the top six richest people in history (when figures are adjusted for inflation) all made their fortunes well over a century ago.

It’s worth asking why, throughout all of history, a hugely disproportionate majority of the all-time wealthiest people were white, American males born between 1820 and 1870 and working as industrialists in the northeastern U.S. — but that’s a larger, thornier topic for another time.

For now, here’s the list — adjusted for inflation and excluding despots and those who lived so long ago that their wealth can’t be verified –itself:


10. Richard Mellon (1858-1933) - $103 billion

The Free Press WV

This Pittsburgh-based banker and industrialist got his start in the Mellon Bank, which was founded by his father and which he later led along with his brother, Andrew (stay tuned for more on him).

Via the bank’s funds, Mellon bolstered his fortune with investments in coal, aluminum, and more.


9. Stephen Girard (1750-1831) - $105 billion

The Free Press WV

French by birth, and later a naturalized American, Stephen Girard made his fortune after founding his own bank in Philadelphia, in 1812 (nearly 150 years later, that bank actually merged with Mellon Bank). And his timing couldn’t have been better. His bank almost solely kept the U.S. afloat during the War of 1812.

By the time he died in 1831, he was the richest person in the U.S.—and the vast majority of that fortune went to charity.


8. Bill Gates (1955-) - $144 billion

The Free Press WV

In holding the top spot on the annual Forbes list 17 out of the past 22 years, Bill Gates has long been the poster boy for inconceivably vast wealth.

Yet, the Microsoft founder’s peak fortune of $144 billion (which came back in 1999) is only enough to place him on the outer fringes of the top ten richest people in history.


7. John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) - $168 billion

The Free Press WV

The German-born Astor worked in a musical instruments factory before coming to New York to work as a butcher. However, a chance meeting on the boat across the Atlantic launched him into the fur trade, in which he made an enormous amount of money.

By the early 1800s, with the fur trade on the decline, Astor briefly got involved in the opium trade before wildly expanding his already great fortune with a bevy of well-timed investments in Manhattan real estate.

From the New York Public Library (which he funded) to the famed Waldorf Astoria hotel (named for him), Astor’s influence can be felt all over Manhattan to this day.


6. Andrew Mellon (1855-1937) - $189 billion

The Free Press WV

Like his younger brother, Richard (number 10 on this list), Andrew Mellon made his money in the family banking firm, including its interests in oil, steel, coal, and more.

After solidifying his huge fortune, Mellon served as Secretary of the Treasury from 1921 to 1932, during which time he was instrumental in negotiating the international debt resulting from World War I and in determining U.S. tax policy.

With the onset of the Great Depression, however, the conservative Mellon was ousted from his post. Nevertheless, his copious philanthropic gifts, including Carnegie Mellon University, are still known across the country.


5. Henry Ford (1863-1947) - $200 billion

The Free Press WV

Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile, but he did make it practical and affordable for the average consumer.

And he didn’t invent the assembly line, but he did fold it into an economic model that informed mass production for much of the 20th century and helped make the United States the richest country on Earth.


4. Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) - $202 billion

The Free Press WV

New York native Cornelius Vanderbilt made significant money in steamships before venturing into the industry that made him the fourth richest person in history: railroads.

Ultimately, unlike most of the others on this list, Vanderbilt engaged in very little philanthropy, and instead left 95 percent to one of his 13 children, William, and William’s four children.


3. Jakob Fugger (1459-1525) - $227 billion

The Free Press WV

Easily the oldest entrant on this list, Jakob Fugger is relatively unique among the super-wealthy of the pre-Industrial Revolution period in that he a.) earned his wealth not as a head of state but as a businessman, and b.) had a fortune that was documented with reasonable accuracy and can now actually be compared to those who came centuries after him.

Born in present-day Germany into a family made wealthy in the textile trade, Fugger built upon his considerable inherited wealth with an international mining operation that was nearly monopolistic in its dominance across Europe and Asia.


2. Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) - $337 billion

The Free Press WV

Born into a poor family in Scotland before emigrating to the U.S., Andrew Carnegie made his fortune in the burgeoning steel industry.

And although that fortune was large enough to make him the second richest person in history, what truly separates Carnegie from the pack and what defines his legacy to this day is his incredible philanthropy.

All told, he gave away about 90 percent of his fortune (nearly $80 billion, when adjusted for inflation) to various charitable causes. His famous 1889 article “The Gospel of Wealth” is widely credited with informing the wave of philanthropy among America’s super-wealthy in the ensuing years. In that article, he wrote “The man who dies thus rich, dies disgraced.“


1. John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) - $367 billion

The Free Press WV

Today, with six of the world’s top ten largest companies all in the petroleum business, we’ve all generally accepted that the oil industry is among the most profitable on Earth.

However, in the 1860s, when New York-born John D. Rockefeller was building his first refineries, the oil boom hadn’t yet happened. But then it did. Rockefeller was in the right place at the right time. Worldwide demand went through the roof and Rockefeller controlled, at his peak, over 90 percent of all the oil in the U.S.

The U.S. government eventually dismantled that monopoly, but by then Rockefeller had retired and his wealth was secure. In those later years, he gave away large chunks of what was very likely the largest fortune in history.

Carolyn Sue Meadows Sturm Selected as the 2016 Normantown High School Alumnus of the Year

The Free Press WV

The Normantown High School Alumni Association meeting for perhaps its last time in the gymnasium of the school Saturday May 28, 2016, awarded Carolyn Sue Meadows Sturm the 2016 Alumnus of the Year Award. Dr. Gary Smith, Chair of the Alumnus of the year Committee presented the award and related that Carolyn received it because of her dedication to the preservation of Normantown High School’s rich history.

She served as past Chair of the Preservation Committee and helped in securing a safe and protected location at the Gilmer County Recreation Center for the individual Class Pictures and the many trophies and awards earned by Normantown High School. She, along with several other Alumni members moved these important artifacts to the White House at the Center. She and the committee placed the NHS 1945 State Basketball Championship trophy in the Gilmer County High School main trophy case. The Trophy was later relocated to a NHS Alumni owned trophy case along with other valuable and sentimental memorabilia to the Cafeteria of GCHS.

She co-authored the reproduction of Coach Eugene Williams’ Scrapbook in which he kept an abundance of news paper articles and other printed materials telling first hand the story of the Normantown High School 1945 great basketball championship run and accomplishments at a time when there was no separate classification of schools but instead all schools, large and small, competed for the championship. It is a historic event for the School, Gilmer County, and West Virginia that will never happen again.

Carolyn and husband, Richard Sturm, are Lewis County residents and have been most all their adult life. They reared three children and have four grand children and three great grand sons. She has been very active in and a strong supporter of schools, sports and the Lewis County High School Athletic Association. She has provided food many of the sports teams before their games making sure that they had a nutritious meal before their activity. She has also been active in many community activities.

Carolyn was born at home at Normantown to the parents of Landis and Winnie Moore Meadows. She went to the Normantown School all 12 years graduating in 1954. She was a Cheer Leader many of her high school years and an excellent student. Her father was a Bus Driver for the school and her mother one of the excellent cooks who also provided meals for the athletic teams before events. She is one of the few survivors who attended all games played by the Normantown 1945 State Basketball Champs. Her mother, an avid fan, took Carolyn and her sister to every game.

Carolyn has been an excellent supporter of the Normantown Alumni Association and the Class of 1954 organizing special reunions for the 40th, 50th, and 60th year reunions and producing a 1954 Yearbook.

The Free Press WV

G-ICYMI™: 50 Years Ago, Team From Tiny Normantown High Set Still-Standing International Record

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

Big accomplishments can come from small high schools, as Homer Hickam and his Rocket Boys from Big Creek High School in War, McDowell County, proved in winning the National Science Fair in 1960.

As alumni from Normantown High School, a like-sized, also-defunct school in Gilmer County at the other end of the state from War, gather for the Class of 1966’s 50th reunion on Saturday, some will likely remember hearing their parents talk about the school’s David versus Goliath championship season of 1945. The one when their 150-person student body produced a basketball team that captured the all-class state championship with a 50-49 win over Logan.

But in 1966, the tiny West Virginia high school produced a team that took top honors at an international competition in an event a bit slower-paced and lower-profile than basketball. In the process of doing so, the Normantown High team racked up a score that remains unbeaten today.

The event was the International Land and Range Judging Contest, held near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There, contestants determine soil types and their water absorbing properties, estimate slope and erosion potentials, and determine what crops, mechanical treatments and fertilizer applications are most appropriate for farming the land.

The Free Press WV
Normantown High School FFA members Kenneth Lee Greenlief (from left), Kelley Sponaugle, Brock Stewart and
Wesley Dobbins flank their coach and vo-ag teacher Everett “Casey” Mason after winning
the International Land and Range Judging contest in Oklahoma in 1966, posting a score that remains unbeaten today.


Contestants also pick out the best home site on the property being judged, identify rangeland plants,and determine how to best manage the rangeland for wildlife or livestock.

“Looking back, it seems like a very short time ago that we were taking this trip to Oklahoma City,” said Kelley Sponaugle, one of four members of Normantown High’s championship Future Farmers of America land judging team. “The one vivid memory is of the five of us (including FFA adviser and vo-ag teacher Everett “Casey” Mason) and our luggage packed in a Ford Falcon for two days each way.

“At that time it was my longest trip from Cedarville. I was amazed at the size of our country and the vast size of the cornfields of the Midwest.”

Mason, who coached the land judging team, “was a wonderful teacher,” recalled teammate Wesley Dobbins. “Through pure and simple hard, honest work, which he demanded, he was very successful in bringing the Normantown High School FFA chapter much recognition.”

“Being his student is without a doubt the greatest educational experience in my life,” Sponaugle said. “He truly believed success could be found through hard work and doing it right. Because of his encouragement, we believed we could win.”

Sponaugle said Mason assembled a support team that included Soil Conservation Service staffers Junior Kennedy and Woodrow Beverage, who helped provide the Normantown FFA team with enhanced soil and conservation knowledge, and George Sharpe, a soils specialist with the WVU Extension Service, who made several trips to Gilmer County to help train the students and met the team in Oklahoma City to help its members get acquainted with the local terrain.

Dobbins, Sponaugle and teammates Kenneth Greenlief and Brock Stewart won the state land judging competition in the spring of 1965 to qualify for the trip to Oklahoma City the following spring.

“We were four country boys who had never been far from home,” Dobbins said. “As we traveled, we kept seeing on the breakfast menu ‘hash browns.’ None of the four of us knew what they were. One morning, we decided to take a chance and order them. To our surprise, we got fried potatoes!”

“We arrived in Oklahoma City a couple days early,” Sponaugle recalled. “Mr. Mason had arranged for us to practice at a local ranch and at the Oklahoma State University farms. We spent from daylight to dark looking at various soils in the area and going over study materials. Mr. Mason was a strong believer in work, so that’s what we did.

“But we did go to a movie, Marilyn Monroe in ‘Some Like it Hot.’ That was my first trip to an indoor movie theater. The movie would probably be rated G or PG by today’s standards, but we thought it was really hot and sexy.”

The contest took place in a short grass prairie outside of Oklahoma City.

“The area had several large ravine-type gullies, and the soils there developed in windblown materials and were very erosive,” Sponaugle recalled. “After the contest, the judges reviewed the fields with us. I remember telling Mr. Mason and Dr. Sharpe that I thought I had made a perfect score on all four fields. They both thought I was crazy, since nobody had come close to that in the 15-year history of the contest.”

Teammate Brock Stewart also believed he had aced the contest, according to Sponaugle.

“At the banquet that night, I was so nervous I couldn’t eat,” he said. “The anticipation was intense.”

The combined individual scores of the top three team members determined the team winners. The awards announcement began by naming the 10 highest-scoring individual land judges, starting with the 10th place finalist.

“By the time they got down to No. 3, none of us had been called and I thought we had blown it,” Sponaugle recounted. “Then they announced Kenny Lee Greenlief from Normantown, West Virginia, at No. 3, with a score of 237 points, and finally, tied for individual high score, Brock Stewart and Kelley Sponaugle from Normantown with 240 points,” both perfect scores, for the first time in contest history.

While other West Virginia FFA teams have since won the event — most recently, Tyler County High in 2011 and 2013 — the Normantown team was the first to score more than 700 points in the history of the contest, and the team score of 717 points out of a possible 720 remains the highest score in contest history.

Sponaugle went on to compete on WVU’s soil judging team and pursued a career in soil science, recently retiring as assistant state conservationist for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Greenlief, who earned a master’s degree in education administration at WVU and went on to become executive vice president and treasurer of Waco Oil & Gas, died in 2006.

Dobbins is a retired Braxton County elementary school principal and Stewart pursued a career in the natural gas business.

The team’s victory at Oklahoma City 50 years ago “is a great example of a high school in West Virginia with fewer than 200 students doing something outstanding,” said Dennis Bennett of Craigsville, president of Normantown High School Alumni Association.

Normantown High graduated its last class of seniors in 1968 and was converted into Normantown Elementary School, which in turn will be closed at the end of the current school year due to consolidation.

A 50th reunion celebration for the high school’s Class of 1966 took place last Saturday at the school.

~~  Rick Steelhammer - Gazette-Mail ~~

FlashBack™: West Virginia Department of Education and Gilmer County

The Free Press WV

June 06, 2011: OEPA Report Shows Many Irregularities and Violations in Gilmer County Schools

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West Virginia Department of Education has released the initial report on the audit conducted on Gilmer County Schools and the results are not good.

An unannounced on-site review of Gilmer County Schools was conducted May 02-04, 2011.

The OEPA (Office of Education Performance Audits) conducted the review which concentrated on official complaints that alleged the county board was in violation of policies or laws under which schools and county boards operate.

Based upon the Education Performance Audit, problems as well as a recommendation regarding Gilmer County Schools is presented in the report.

Click to read the entire printable:

OEPA Report on Gilmer County Schools

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GILMER COUNTY SUMMARY

Gilmer County Schools are at an emergency stage. The county has lost over half their student population in the past ten years. The system has not adjusted their facilities and their staffing patterns to confront these realities. The current school board is dysfunctional, divided, not providing leadership, and actually impeding progress due to not following laws and policies/designed to improve student performance. Technology infrastructure is lacking and rules are not being followed due to board decisions. Financial irregularities are occurring in part due to decentralized accounting procedure decisions. Three school facilities of the five in the county are sorely lacking and maintenance at all facilities is desperately needed. One school has been condemned and portable classrooms are on site. The county does not have an approved Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan and has been unable to reach consensus on what is needed.

Documentation is mostly insufficient to determine if laws are being followed to hire the most qualified applicants. Board minutes, however, reflect that the school board is trying to micro-manage, essentially replacing their administrators’ and county superintendent’s recommendations with their own, leading to a flawed hiring, transferring, and reduction in force system. Numerous questionable and irregular decisions are being made by the board prompting distrust and suspicion.

Other problems observed were 16 licensure and authorization issues, several irregularities in personnel evaluations, incomplete mentor programs for new employees, inadequate physical education program, incomplete policies, and illegal preference for local individuals in hiring.



June 08, 2011: The Takeover of Gilmer County Schools

The West Virginia Board of Education declared a state of emergency in Gilmer County Schools on Wednesday, June 08, 2011, and placed the school system on non-approval status.

The board voted unanimously to intervene in the school system immediately.

The West Virginia Board of Education and West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will oversee all finances, instructional programs, personnel, policy development and facility issues in the school system.

The action comes after an Office of Education Performance Audit (OEPA) report citing significant leadership, technology, facility, personnel and finance issues in the county.

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An unannounced OEPA visit of the Gilmer County School District was conducted May 02-04, 2011.

Auditors found that “county board members were in discord, the county board operations were dysfunctional; and meetings were unproductive and resulted in the board being incapable of following State Code and West Virginia Board of Education policies.”

“It is further recommended that delaying the intervention for any period of time would not be in the best interest of the students,” said OEPA executive director Kenna Seal. “Based on the entirety of the problems in the county and the decisions, or lack thereof, there is scant hope that the school system can be improved with the current county board.”

 

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The OEPA report further states that county school board meeting minutes reflect that the school board is trying to micro-manage, essentially replacing their administrators’ and county superintendent’s recommendations with their own, leading to a flawed hiring, transferring and reduction in force system.

Numerous questionable and irregular decisions are being made by the board prompting distrust and suspicion.

According to the report, technology infrastructure is lacking and rules are not being followed due to board decisions.

 

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Financial irregularities are occurring in part due to decentralized accounting procedure decisions.

Three of the five school facilities in the county are sorely lacking and maintenance at all facilities is desperately needed.

The state board appointed Ted Mattern as the interim superintendent until a permanent replacement can be hired.

 

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The Gilmer County Board of Education has also been directed to work with the WVDE to jointly develop and present to the state board a set of standards and/or a strategic plan that must be implemented in order for the Gilmer County Board of Education to regain control of the school system.

Currently Lincoln, Preston, Grant, Fayette and Mingo counties are under state intervention.

 

Gilmer County OEPA Motions


1)  that the State Board find, based on the report from the Office of Education Performance Audits, that extraordinary circumstances exist in the Gilmer County school system.


2)  that the State Board assign nonapproval status to the Gilmer County school system.


3)  that the State Board declare that a state of emergency exists in the Gilmer school system based on the information presented in the OEPA report.


4)  that the State Board find that the conditions precedent to State Board intervention in a county school system are present in this instance.


5)  that the State Board find that it would not be in the best interests of the students of Gilmer County to delay intervention for any period of time.


6)  that the State Board limit the authority of the Gilmer County Board of Education as to the expenditure of funds, the employment and dismissal of personnel, the establishment and operation of the school calendar, the establishment of instructional programs and rules and any other areas designated by the state board by rule and delegate decision-making authority to the State Superintendent regarding these matters.


7)  that the State Board delegate to the State Superintendent the authority to conduct hearings on personnel matters and school closure or consolidation matters and subsequently to render the resulting decisions, and the authority to appoint a designee for the limited purpose of conducting hearings while reserving to the State Superintendent the authority to render the resulting decision.


8)  that the State Board limit the authority of the Gilmer County Board of Education as to the ability to conduct real estate transactions and delegate to the State Superintendent the authority to act in lieu of the Gilmer County Board of Education in a transfer, sale, purchase or other transaction regarding real estate.


9)  that the State Board delegate to the State Superintendent the authority to replace administrators and principals in low performing schools and to transfer them to alternate professional positions within the county at her discretion.


10)  that the State Board delegate to the State Superintendent the authority to fill positions of administrators and principals with individuals determined by the State Superintendent to be the most qualified for the positions.


11)  that the State Board declare the office of county superintendent of schools of Gilmer County to be vacant at the end of the day on June 08, 2011, and declare that any existing contracts with the subsequent superintendents be voided.

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John T. “Ted” Mattern
Interim Superintendent of Gilmer County Schools


12)  that the State Board appoint Ted Mattern to be the interim Superintendent of Gilmer County Schools starting June 09, 2011, to be paid at his current salary, continuing until a new superintendent is appointed.


13)  that the State Board grant the State Superintendent the authority to hire a county superintendent to replace the interim appointment and set his/her salary.


14)  that the State Board direct the Gilmer County Superintendent and the State Superintendent, after consultation with the Gilmer County Board of Education, to jointly develop and present to the State Board at a future meeting a set of standards and/or a strategic plan that must be implemented in order for the Gilmer County Board of Education to regain control of the school system.


15)  that the State Board direct the Gilmer County Interim Superintendent and/or Superintendent to provide written and/or oral progress reports to the State Board as requested.




June 12, 2011: State Take Over of Gilmer County Schools on 06.08.2011

 

March Is Women’s History Month

The Free Press WV

As we enter yet another Women’s History Month, gender justice remains an elusive goal, with full-time women workers in the United States making just 78 cents for every dollar their male counterparts bring in and women representing three-fifths of all minimum wage employees.

When race is taken into account, the gulf is even more pronounced. Latina women bring in just 54 percent of what their white male counterparts make, and African-American women make 64 percent.

To mark Women’s History Month, the personal finance website WalletHub provided its own analysis of the “best and worst” places in the United States for women to live. Evaluating all 50 states for “women’s economic and social well-being” and “women’s health care and safety,” the researchers concluded that Minnesota is the best place for women to live in the United States, followed by Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Louisiana came in last, with South Carolina and Nevada not far behind. California, notably, came in 13th worst in the country, with one of the lowest median incomes, lowest insurance rates and highest unemployment rates for women nationwide.

It is important to note that WalletHub’s gender evaluation excludes any consideration of race, as well as significant wage disparities for transgender women. The analysis also does not touch upon numerous quality-of-life factors such as culture, community connectedness and union density. Nonetheless, its analysis offers some insight into material conditions nationwide.

According to WalletHub’s findings, the nation’s capital has the highest unemployment rate for women in the country, while North Dakota has the lowest. However, Washington D.C. also has the highest median income for women workers at $34,241.

Mississippi, meanwhile, has the greatest percentage of women living in poverty, as well as the lowest life-expectancy from birth. Hawaii, in contrast, has the highest life-expectancy at birth.

South Carolina, Alaska, New Mexico, Louisiana and Nevada have the highest homicide rates for women in the country.

Here is WalletHub’s complete ranking of the best-to-worst states for women:

  1. Minnesota
  2. Vermont
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Maine
  5. Massachusetts
  6. North Dakota
  7. Maryland
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Nebraska
  10. Hawaii
  11. Connecticut
  12. Washington
  13. Illinois
  14. Virginia
  15. Iowa
  16. New York
  17. Kansas
  18. Montana
  19. South Dakota
  20. Oregon
  21. Colorado
  22. Ohio
  23. Missouri
  24. New Jersey
  25. Utah
  26. Rhode Island
  27. Tennessee
  28. Florida
  29. Delaware
  30. Idaho
  31. Indiana
  32. Wyoming
  33. North Carolina
  34. Alaska
  35. Kentucky
  36. Arizona
  37. District of Columbia
  38. Michigan
  39. California
  40. Pennsylvania
  41. Georgia
  42. Texas
  43. Oklahoma
  44. West Virginia
  45. New Mexico
  46. Mississippi
  47. Arkansas
  48. Alabama
  49. Nevada
  50. South Carolina
  51. Louisiana

Memorial Presentation on Buffalo Creek Disaster Planned at GSC

The Free Press WV

GLENVILLE, WV - Billy Jack Dickerson of Man High School will visit Glenville State College to give a presentation about the Buffalo Creek Disaster on Tuesday, February 23 at 12:20 p.m.

The presentation will take place in GSC’s Heflin Administration Building Presidents Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

The tragedy occurred in 1972 when a dam failed and flooded the community of Buffalo Creek in Logan County, West Virginia within minutes.

The flood waters destroyed everything in its path and took the lives of over 100 people.

For more information about the Buffalo Creek Disaster presentation contact Bob Baber at or 304.462.6331.

G-Eye™: Gilmer Commission and Historical Society Committee Discuss Holt House

The Free Press WV

Earlier the Gilmer County Commission was concerned about the future of the Holt House and expenses associated with. The Holt House is home for the Gilmer County Historical Society.

Commissioners asked to have a meeting with the member of the society and discuss the matter. The meeting was scheduled for last month but it was postpone due to winter storm Jonas.

Last week the society members had a meeting at the Holt House and decided on what they like for the commission to consider.

At the last commission meeting members discussed their plan for the Holt House and came to an agreement on the Holt House Building which is a county property. (Watch the Video below)

Commission will lease the building to the society for $1 per years, renewable every 10 years. Commission will also take care of the building insurance which would be a lot less than if the society purchase it. All the other expenses is the responsibility of the society.

Gilmer County Historical Society has a vast amount of historical and genealogical data. Researchers from all over the country come to Holt house to research and find data.

Everyone can be a member of the society.

The Holt House is located on E. Main Street in Glenville, WV.

Leading Creek Elementary Is Studying the Civil War in Social Studies

The Free Press WV

The 5th Grade Class at Leading Creek Elementary is studying the Civil War in Social Studies Class.

The class received a traveling trunk from Gettysburg National Park.

In the trunk was a full Civil War Soldier uniform.

One of the students, Zackery Harper, was dressed as a Union Soldier.

The Free Press WV


The Free Press WV

GSC Employee Receives History Hero Award

GLENVILLE, WV - Jason Gum, a Glenville State College reference librarian and archivist, was recognized as a ‘WV History Hero’ during the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s annual West Virginia History Day in Charleston.

The Gilmer County Historical Society, in its nominating information describe Gum as a “youthful and energetic college archivist” who “breathed new enthusiasm into the study of Gilmer County, Glenville State College, and West Virginia veterans’ history since becoming the school’s full-time archivist/historian in 2008.” Of significant note was his work to interview and record more than 150 veterans as part of the Veterans Legacy Project at GSC. Additionally, he helped write a book and produce a film about the veterans who were interviewed.

The Free Press WV
West Virginia State Archives and History Commission Chairman Harold Forbes,
West Virginia History Hero Award recipient and GSC employee Jason Gum,
Delegate Peggy Donaldson-Smith,
and Department of Education and the Arts Cabinet Secretary Kay Goodwin


Gum, a 2005 Glenville State College alumnus, is the chair of the Program Committee for the Gilmer County Historical Society and has presented programs on historical document preservation and other archival techniques that have improved the society’s library and archives. “I was humbled to be nominated for this award because many of the people receiving awards this year had put decades into preserving history. I’m a relative newcomer to the work compared to some of them, so it was definitely unexpected and surprising,” said Gum.

According to the WV Division of Culture and History, History Hero awards have been given for the past two decades.  Recipients are individuals who go beyond the call of duty to ensure the success of local history, genealogy, preservation, and museum organizations. The contributions of all History Heroes have been recognized during History Day programs. These recipients have been recognized for their grassroots efforts, years of dedicated behind-the-scenes services, or for a significant contribution such as preserving a site or collection, or publishing a work of family or local history.

The Free Press WV

West Virginia House of Delegates Recognize Golden Horseshoe Program

CHARLESTON, WV - The West Virginia House of Delegates presented a legislative citation Monday to State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano, recognizing the longstanding Golden Horseshoe program which promotes and honors the study of West Virginia history.

The citation states the Golden Horseshoe award is “probably the most coveted award bestowed upon West Virginia students each year” and notes the test has been administered since 1931, making it the longest-running program of its kind in any state.

The Free Press WV


Past recipients of the Golden Horseshoe award presented the citation including House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha and Delegates Ray Canterbury, R-Greenbrier; Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson; Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay; John D. O’Neal IV, R-Raleigh; Matthew Rohrbach R-Cabell; and Larry L. Rowe, D-Kanawha.

Dr. Martirano was joined by two West Virginia history teachers, Paula Meadows from Sherman Junior High in Boone County and Jessica Abshire from Andrew Jackson Middle School in Kanawha County. Meadows has taught several Golden Horseshoe winners within the last several years and Abshire won the Golden Horseshoe award before going on to teach West Virginia studies.

“The Golden Horseshoe is a highly coveted award received by citizens from all walks of life including state Supreme Court justices, legislators, attorneys, business leaders and educators,” Martirano said. “I appreciate our lawmakers recognizing a program that has made West Virginians proud for decades.”

Known as a symbol of scholastic achievement to honor students who excel in the study of West Virginia, the Golden Horseshoe award is presented to approximately 221 eighth-grade students each year. Students are engaged in an intense study of history, geography, economy and government of the Mountain State. The primary goal of the program is to promote pride in the state, develop intellectual and participatory skills and foster attitudes that are necessary for students to participate as effective, involved and responsible citizens.

Children Have Been Paying the Price for the Political Games in Education

The Free Press WV

The Normantown Elementary student have been using portable trailer as classroom for many year.

This Gilmer County Schools has been under State control since 2011.

One reason for takeover was facilities.

The local Board was addressing the issue for many years and had a plan, but the politics in play prevented them from doing their job.

Did the State address the issue timely? Why is your take?

The Free Press WV
NORMANTOWN SCHOOL PROBLEM STILL FLARING
“Superintendent Going In Different Direction”

August 04, 2007

A battle between the Normantown community and Gilmer County school superintendent Ed Toman over the future of their local school is causing tempers to flare.

The problem has been focused on a mold issue in the school, but board member Phyllis Starkey said “It is all about the state closing Normantown and other county schools, using their economies of scale model.“

A showdown between Toman and the school board is looming, with some of the issues likely coming to a head Monday evening during a special Gilmer school board meeting at 6 p.m.

Board members Larry Butcher, Alton Skinner II and Phyllis Starkey attended a Normantown community meeting, Thursday. Skinner expressed concerns about “illegal” items being placed on the board’s agenda by Toman at a recent special meeting, saying he declined to vote on the measures.

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Normantown parent and Challenge WV Fellow Misty Pritt said “We thought the problem was resolved after the board twice voted 5-0 to move forward with a plan to take care of the mold and get our kids back in the classroom when school opens.“

Mark Manchin, the director of the state’s School Building Authority was at Normantown yesterday, evaluating the situation.

“After a year’s worth of foot-dragging, it seems like Mr. Toman is still going in a different direction than the elected school board,“ Pritt said.

This week, volunteers from Gov. Joe Manchin’s office, the football team from Glenville State College and a large number of community members moved furniture from a part of the school that contains most of the mold, preparing to use other areas of the building and modular units they think are being erected on the property.

Pritt said there is a problem over temporarily using the school’s gym and cafeteria for classrooms, according to the State Fire Marshal.

During the Thursday community meeting of parents and supporters at the Normantown school, citizens were upset that Toman, after “a productive meeting” last week, then asked the board to sign-off on a letter seeking approval to transport Normantown students in grades 4th through 6th to Glenville for the next two years, “until acceptable portable classrooms become available.“

The board declined to approve the letter.

During Thursday’s meeting Gilmer County Sheriff Mickey Metz said he believes in keeping community schools, “From a law enforcement view, they’re safer and have less problems.“

Challenge WV Fellow Thomas Ramey said “It appears that Toman is insubordinate to the school board’s decisions,“ following a year of foot-dragging.“

Toman told the community group last week that he had been making several efforts to take care of the mold problem, but Pritt says “Here we are in a crisis as school is about to begin.“

Toman said he has always had the best interests of children first on his mind.

“It feels like the state has attacked my son,“ said parent Lisa Tanner, “This is not about our children.“

Challenge’s Ramey said “The state has used a bloody hammer on counties they have taken-over, but then say local board’s make the decisions about consolidation. In fact, school board’s are held hostage to School Building Authority money.“

Board member Starkey said, Gilmer County schools have good test scores and has remained fiscally responsible. “It’s all about closing community schools and consolidation,“ she said.

“Toman keeps saying Sand Fork is structurally unsound, which is not true, according to the engineering reports,“ Starkey said.

Four of Gilmer’s school board members were not aware of an item on the WV School Board’s agenda for next Thursday.

Superintendent Toman has not responded to a public information request to clarify the item, which says: “Normantown Elementary School (including the possible consideration of Comprehensive Educational facilities Plan Amendment) and Valley Head Elementary School, Randolph County, information or action.“

Valley Head is among about 120 elementary schools the state wants to close using their economies of scale model. Normantown, Sand Fork and Troy are among the community schools that the state wants to consolidate.

Challenge WV Fellow, Paul Hamrick of Clarksburg, urged parents to fight for their community school. They have an important place in the education of our children, and all the research says small schools do better.“

“You need to come together with a community voice,“ Hamrick urged.

Superintendent Toman was asked to clarify questions regarding these issues by the Hur Herald. He declined to comment.

~~  Bob Weaver - The Hur Herald ~~

The Holt House: Your Support Is Needed

Come to the County Commission meeting at 10 AM Friday, February 5th, 2016 and help the Gilmer County Historical society.

The Free Press WV
The Holt House


The meeting is to decide the “future of the Historical Society and the Holt House Museum.“

The more people who come, the better. 

 

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One of the living history programs the society sponsored.

Stonewall Resort’s “Appalachian Homestead” featured on Barnwood Builders Sunday

The Free Press WV

WESTON, WV  – Fox Cabin, a locally historic log cabin located in Roanoke, WV, and dating back to the mid-1800s, will be the star of an episode of the nationally televised show Barnwood Builders this Sunday – December 13, 2015 – on the DIY Network, Stonewall State Park Foundation representatives announced.

The Fox Cabin belonged to Rebecca Kelly Fox, an Irish immigrant who settled in Roanoke in the mid-1800s. The great grand-daughters of Rebecca Fox donated the cabin to the Stonewall State Park Foundation, in order to commemorate the heritage this structure represents to the family and to showcase the history of those settling the area.

The show details the careful deconstruction, movement and reconstruction of the cabin from its original location in Lewis County to Stonewall Resort.  The program also interviews descendants of Rebecca Kelly Fox and recounts the history of pioneer life in the area in the early eighteenth century.

Barnwood Builders, specializes in salvaging and restoring old-world structures and craftsmanship.  The company that does the work is from Lewisburg, West Virginia.  The weekly program features the Barnwood Builders crew reclaiming time-worn barn wood, and turning it into dream homes and buildings.

Samantha Norris, community outreach director for Stonewall Resort, said, “We appreciate the willingness of the Fox family to allow us to keep their history, and that of the region, alive at Stonewall Resort.  The Fox Cabin will live on as the cornerstone of our newly created “Appalachian Homestead Project”, an effort to provide a glimpse of local history to visitors and resort guests.”

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Norris said the Appalachian Homestead Project seeks to restore and relocate authentic log structures from the local region for use in educational and interpretive displays.

“It is the hope of the Stonewall State Park Foundation that this working homestead will serve to educate current and future generations about the innovation of early settlers in the Appalachian area,” Norris said.  “Hosting special events such as blacksmith demonstrations, community music events, summer camps, and farm-to-table classes are all components that we plan to feature as part of this special project on the resort property once it is complete.”

Norris said the Stonewall State Park Foundation is working to solicit funding, both private and foundational, to complete the Appalachian Homestead Project.

For additional information, or to learn how to contribute to the project, contact Samantha Norris at 304.269.269.8820 or .

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