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Wild Game is a Nutritional, Natural Source of Protein

The Free Press WV

West Virginia’s abundance of wildlife and hunting seasons provides opportunities for many families to fill their freezers with highly nutritious wild game.

Wild game provides a low-fat, high-protein alternative to beef or other commercial meats. For example, white-tailed deer (venison) contains fewer calories and approximately five times less fat than the equivalent serving of beef.

“Wild game that is legally harvested during one of West Virginia’s hunting seasons provides a healthy source of protein for many West Virginians,“ said Tyler Evans, wildlife biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “Many West Virginians incorporate venison, wild turkey and other wild game into their diets on a regular basis.“

Hunters and their families are not the only West Virginians who benefit from the state’s abundant supply of wild game. The DNR-sponsored Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH) Program processes deer for needy families and individuals in the Mountain State.

Since the program’s inception in 1992, approximately 979,549 pounds of venison have been donated. In 2017 alone, 554 deer (19,702 pounds of nutritious venison) were donated to the HHH Program and contributed to approximately 26,269 family-style meals.

For more information about the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program, please visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov or call the DNR district office in French Creek (304.924.6211).

WVDA Waives Requirements for Animals Evacuating Hurricane Florence

The Free Press WV

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump’s rollback of pollution rules to hit coal country hard

The Free Press WV

It’s coal people like miner Steve Knotts, 62, who make West Virginia Trump Country.

So it was no surprise that President Donald Trump picked the state to announce his plan rolling back Obama-era pollution controls on coal-fired power plants.

Trump left one thing out of his remarks, though: northern West Virginia coal country will be ground zero for increased deaths and illnesses from the rollback on regulation of harmful emission from the nation’s coal power plants.

An analysis done by his own Environmental Protection Agency concludes that the plan would lead to a greater number of people here dying prematurely, and suffering health problems that they otherwise would not have, than elsewhere in the country, when compared to health impacts of the Obama plan.

Knotts, a coal miner for 35 years, isn’t fazed when he hears that warning, a couple of days after Trump’s West Virginia rally. He says the last thing people in coal country want is the government slapping down more controls on coal — and the air here in the remote West Virginia mountains seems fine to him.

“People here have had it with other people telling us what we need. We know what we need. We need a job,” Knotts said at lunch hour at a Circle K in a tiny town between two coal mines, and 9 miles down the road from a coal power plant, the Grant Town plant.

The sky around Grant Town is bright blue. The mountains are a dazzling green. Paw Paw Creek gurgles past the town.

The Free Press WV


Clean-air controls since the 1980s largely turned off the columns of black soot that used to rise from coal smokestacks. The regulations slashed the national death rates from coal-fired power plants substantially.

These days pollutants rise from smoke stacks as gases, before solidifying into fine particles — still invisible — small enough to pass through lungs and into bloodstreams.

An EPA analysis says those pollutants would increase under Trump’s plan, when compared to what would happen under the Obama plan. And that, it says, would lead to thousands more heart attacks, asthma problems and other illnesses that would not have occurred.

Nationally, the EPA says, 350 to 1,500 more people would die each year under Trump’s plan. But it’s the northern two-thirds of West Virginia and the neighboring part of Pennsylvania that would be hit hardest, by far, according to Trump’s EPA.

Trump’s rollback would kill an extra 1.4 to 2.4 people a year for every 100,000 people in those hardest-hit areas, compared to under the Obama plan, according to the EPA analysis. For West Virginia’s 1.8 million people, that would be equal to at least a couple dozen additional deaths a year.

Trump’s acting EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist whose grandfather worked in the coal camps of West Virginia, headed to coal states this week and last to promote Trump’s rollback. The federal government’s retreat on regulating pollution from coal power plants was “good news,” Wheeler told crowds there.

In Washington, EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said Trump’s plan still would result in “dramatic reductions” in emissions, deaths and illness compared to the status quo, instead of to the Obama plan. Obama’s Clean Power Plan targeted climate-changing carbon dioxide, but since coal is the largest source of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, the Obama plan would have curbed other harmful emissions from the coal-fired power plants as well.

About 160 miles to the south of Grant Town, near the state capital of Charleston, shop owner Doris Keller figures that if Trump thinks something’s for the best, that’s good enough for her.

“I just know this. I like Donald Trump and I think that he’s doing the right thing,” said Keller, who turned out to support Trump Aug. 21 when he promoted his rollback proposal. She lives five miles from the 2,900-megawatt John Amos coal-fired power plant.

“I think he has the best interests of the regular common people at the forefront,” Keller says.

Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy program would dismantle President Barack Obama’s 2015 Clean Power Plan, which has been caught up in court battles without yet being implemented.

The Obama plan targeted climate-changing emissions from power plants, especially coal. It would have increased federal regulation of emissions from the nation’s electrical grid and broadly promoted natural gas, solar power and other cleaner energy.

Trump’s plan would cede much of the federal oversight of existing coal-fired power plants and drop official promotion of cleaner energy. Individual states largely would decide how much to regulate coal power plants in their borders. The plan is open for public review, ahead of any final White House decision.

“I’m getting rid of some of these ridiculous rules and regulations, which are killing our companies ... and our jobs,” Trump said at the rally.

There was no mention of the “small increases” in harmful emissions that would result, compared to the Obama plan, or the health risks.

EPA charts put numbers on just how many more people would die each year because of those increased coal emissions.

Abboud and spokeswoman Ashley Bourke of the National Mining Association, which supports Trump’s proposed regulatory rollback on coal emissions, said other federal programs already regulate harmful emissions from coal power plants. Bourke also argued that the health studies the EPA used in its death projections date as far back as the 1970s, when coal plants burned dirtier.

In response, Conrad Schneider of the environmental nonprofit Clean Air Task Force said the EPA’s mortality estimates had taken into account existing regulation of plant emissions.

Additionally, health studies used by the EPA looked at specific levels of exposure to pollutants and their impact on human health, so remain constant over time, said Schneider, whose group analyzes the EPA projections.

With competition from natural gas and other cleaner energy helping to kill off more than a third of coal jobs over the last decade, political leaders in coal states are in no position to be the ones charged with enforcing public-health protections on surviving coal-fired power plants, said Vivian Stockman of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.

“Our state is beholden to coal. Our politicians are beholden to coal,” Stockman said outside Trump’s West Virginia rally, where she was protesting. “Meanwhile, our people are being poisoned.”

And when it comes to coal power plants and harm, Schneider said, “when you’re at Grant Town, you’re at Ground Zero.”

Retired coal miner Jim Haley, living 4 miles from the town’s coal-fired power plant, has trouble telling from the smokestack when the plant is even operating.

“They’ve got steam coming out of the chimneys. That’s all they have coming out of it,” Haley said.

Parked near the Grant Town post office, where another resident was rolling down the quiet main street on a tractor, James Perkins listened to word of the EPA’s health warnings. He cast a look into the rear-view mirror into the backseat of his pickup truck, at his 3-year-old grandson, sitting in the back.

“They need to make that safe,” said Perkins, a health-care worker who had opted not to follow his father into the coal mines. “People got little kids.”

Statewide Survey Released to Address Future of Agriculture in West Virginia

The Free Press WV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growth in FFA Programs

The Free Press WV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Almost Half of Legislature Voted Against Every Conservation Proposal

A voting scorecard by the West Virginia Sierra Club shows record levels of opposition to conservation measures by state lawmakers.

Jim Kotcon, who chairs the Sierra Club West Virginia’s political committee, has been tracking votes on a wide range of environmental legislation for more than 20 years.

He says the worst score previously recorded was three years ago, when 11 legislators voted against every environmental proposal.

Kotcon says this year there are six times as many – far worse than any previous year.

The Free Press WV
Much of West Virginia’s self image is defined by its
connection to the state’s wilderness.
But a new voting scorecard shows record
opposition to conservation legislation.


“Unprecedented in that so many of the legislators scored a complete zero,” he states. “We always see a few people that are voting against the environment every time, but we had 70 names on our list that is almost half of the state Legislature.“

Many in the state Legislature argue that loosening environmental regulations is a way to increase economic growth.

Critics of that view argue it doesn’t actually translate into more jobs.

The annual scorecard looks at every recorded vote, including votes on support for state parks and clean water rules.

Kotcon says there are 13 state lawmakers who voted green about two-thirds of the time. He calls them the clean 13.

“There were six state senators and seven state delegates who rank above 60 percent,” he states. “But for these people, the air we breathe and the water we drink would be in much worse shape.“

Kotcon says at the federal level, 4 out of 5 members of the state’s congressional delegation scored zero.

The full list is at the Sierra Club West Virginia website.

Stonewall Jackson Lake named the best lake in WV

The Free Press WV

Stonewall Jackson Lake has been ranked among the best lakes in the United States by MSN.

Stonewall Jackson Lake was named the best lake in West Virginia on a list called “The Best Lakes in All 50 States,” by Charyn Pfeuffer.

The lake was rated on affordability, scenic beauty and fishing potential.

The MSN feature said: “Briar Point Campground is a favorite spot for front-row views of Stonewall Jackson Lake. Visit the Marina at Stonewall Resort to rent a pontoon boat, Aqua Cycle, or stand-up paddle board.”

Stonewall Resort State Park also has other accommodations aside from the campground.

The resort has 195 rooms and 12 cottages, and there are a number of other attractions, including a pool, spa, fitness center, restaurants, conference centers and an 18-hole Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course.

Applications accepted for McClintic WMA controlled waterfowl hunt

The Free Press WV

Waterfowl hunters who wish to hunt from a shooting station in the controlled waterfowl hunting zone of McClintic Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located near Point Pleasant, must submit an application by midnight August 12.
Hunting is by permit only on a portion of McClintic WMA during the October split of the waterfowl season.

Hunters chosen in the lottery draw will be assigned an area free of charge and may bring one guest.

A shooting station also is available for physically-challenged waterfowl hunters.
Hunters may apply online at www.wvhunt.com by logging into their account, choosing “enter lottery” on the individual’s home screen and choosing “2018 McClintic Duck Hunt.”

Successful applicants will be notified by mail by the second week of September.
Selected hunters will be randomly assigned a day to hunt and must report to the McClintic WMA office before 6 a.m. that day.

Applicants not selected may come to the McClintic office on the morning of each day’s hunt to sign up for an opportunity to hunt shooting stations not filled by selected hunters.
Consult the 2018-2019 West Virginia Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations for season dates and additional information.

Migratory bird regulations will be available at DNR offices by early August and will be on the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov.

WVDA Receives Grant for Farm-to-School Program

The Free Press WV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fund that Helps Protect Iconic WV Sites is in Question

The Free Press WV

Congress has three months to renew what’s described as a vital - but largely invisible - program for conserving special places in West Virginia and across the country.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has meant $184 million for Spruce Knob, Seneca Rocks, the Canaan Valley and other projects. But the Trump administration has proposed cutting it by 90 percent.

Brent Bailey, executive director of the West Virginia Land Trust, explained the LWCF gets funding from offshore drilling royalties, and uses the money to make grants for everything from wilderness access, to pools in city parks.

“If it’s a place where hunters and fishermen go, if it’s a place where people camp, hike, backpack, climb, mountain bike, raft, kayak, canoe, it is probably due to this federal program that’s been sort of invisible,“ Bailey said.

The program has traditionally had strong, bipartisan support in Congress. Bailey said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, and Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-3rd Dist., recently used the fund to protect about 700 acres that rafters see in the Gauley River Recreation Area.

The Wilderness Society has called the LWCF “America’s most important public lands program.“ A budget plan failed in the Senate this month, in part because it would have cut the fund by $16 million.

Senator Manchin expressed frustration that “a popular and successful program for the last 50 years” hasn’t been renewed, and said it’s “long past time” to reauthorize it.

According to Bailey, LWCF grants are crucial to maintaining the state’s recreation economy, worth an estimated $9 billion a year.

“If you don’t have the places for people to visit and to enjoy - for hunting and for fishing, and for all other kinds of recreation - then you’re not going to have that $9 billion coming to a state that desperately needs to diversify its economy,“ he added.

The deadline for Land and Water Conservation Fund re-authorization is September 30.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Consumers Should Be Smart When Planning Summer Vacations

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey reminded consumers to protect their identity and finances when making travel arrangements.

Scammers know summer is a popular time for travel. They will actively watch for and take advantage of any consumer who appears to be rushed and unknowingly or inadvertently fails to take adequate precautions.

“It’s very important for consumers to make sure they are dealing with legitimate people or agencies when making their travel arrangements,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “They also must ask adequate questions and read the fine print because the last thing anyone wants is to have their rest and relaxation interrupted by the unexpected.”

Fortunately, there are several things consumers can do to ensure a stress-free vacation:

  • Deal with an established company.
  • Never underestimate the value of reviews from family members, friends or reputable travel websites.
  • Be wary of scams that advertise spectacular deals on rental houses, condos or hotels. Sometimes, the listing is for a property that doesn’t even exist.
  • Paying with a credit card provides certain protections that enable consumers to dispute certain charges for services not provided.
  • Do not give credit card information unless ready to be charged for a product or service. Any company that asks to be paid via money order or pre-paid debit card should raise a red flag.
  • Carefully read the fine print of any offer. Be wary of those that sound “too good to be true” or offer little detail.
  • Know cancellation and refund policies.
  • Confirm reservations before departure.
  • Keep a close eye on banking and credit card statements during and following travel.
  • Be careful when posting to social media while away. It lets potential intruders know your home is vacant and an easy target.

Anyone with questions or concerns about smart vacation planning should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1.800.368.8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304.267.0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.

WVDA to Begin Aerial Spraying for Gypsy Moth

The Free Press WV

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

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

The Free Press WV

Commissioner Leonhardt Expresses Extreme Disappointment on Governor Vetoes

The Free Press WV

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday hunting on public lands, $50,000 donation for Hunters Helping the Hungry

The Free Press WV

Governor Jim Justice signed SB 451 on Thursday, allowing Sunday hunting on public lands in West Virginia. The bill was passed overwhelmingly during the recently completed legislative session.

Last year, Governor Justice signed a bill permitting Sunday hunting on private land with written permission of the landowner. This new bill will open more than 1.5 million acres of public land to Sunday hunting, provide several additional hunting days each year and make West Virginia more attractive to out-of-state hunters. The bill will take effect in early June and affect the 2018 hunting and trapping seasons thereafter.

“People drive right through West Virginia to Ohio or wherever it may be to be able to hunt on Sunday,” Governor Justice said. “We lose those dollars because they want to be able to hunt an entire weekend. This will provide additional hunting recreation for our visitors and residents and result in a major economic impact for our small rural businesses. Today is truly historical.”

A study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation projects Sunday hunting adds $155 million to the state’s economy each year.

Governor Justice spoke about the bill during a ceremonial signing on Thursday in the Governor’s Reception Room before a crowd of officials from the Division of Natural Resources, state legislators and Sunday hunting supporters.

Also at the event, Gov. Justice accepted a $50,000 donation from the West Virginia Governor’s One Shot committee for the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program (HHH). The money was raised by volunteers during last fall’s West Virginia Governor’s One Shot Whitetail Deer Hunt. During the annual event’s 11 years, sponsor corporations, land owners and hunters have raised more than $555,000. The money helps pay for processing hunter-donated venison, which is distributed to the state’s needy residents through a network of more than 600 food pantries, senior centers, shelters and the Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway.

“This is just another example of the great things hunters do across our state and across our nation. It helps so many people and touches so many lives,” Governor Justice said.

DNR has sponsored the Hunters Helping the Hungry program for 26 years, during which hunters have donated 24,630 deer, or 941,000 pounds of venison. Donations have provided 1,266,000 meals for West Virginia families in need. More information about HHH can be found at www.wvdnr.gov/Hunting/HHH.shtm .

Groups Blast FERC Findings On Mountain Valley Pipeline For Fracked Gas

The Free Press WV

A coalition of landowners and advocacy organizations today condemned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for disregarding the profound and long-lasting human and environmental trauma the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) would cause. In its final environmental review, released Friday morning, FERC ignores the most harmful impacts this 300-mile-long pipeline for fracked gas would have on lives, communities, drinking water supplies, private property, local economies, and publicly owned natural resources. The groups called these risks unacceptable, especially for a pipeline that is not even needed. The coalition also calls the pipeline an assault on the climate and the future of children in West Virginia and Virginia, and notes that the pipeline can still be blocked on multiple federal, state, and legal levels.

The final environmental review1 issued today by FERC for the proposed $3.2 billion MVP—to be developed by EQT Midstream Partners; NextEra; Con Edison Transmission; WGL Midstream; and RGC Midstream—commits the same central failure of its draft review: failing to prove that the pipeline is needed. An independent study shows there is enough existing gas supply in Virginia and the Carolinas to meet consumer demand through 2030, while experts have warned that the gas industry is overbuilding pipeline infrastructure in West Virginia and Virginia. Key federal government agencies and officials have criticized FERC’s failure to properly determine a project’s need.

Former FERC Chairman and Director Norman Bay in his parting recommendations to the agency, urged the commission to rethink how it determines need when certifying natural gas pipelines. The Bureau of Land Management and Environmental Protection Agency have also criticized FERC specifically for failing to address whether the MVP is needed, and a bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to reform FERC’s approach to public engagement.

FERC has a history of greenlighting natural gas pipelines with insufficient reviews, resulting in dangerous leaks and spills.  The Rover Pipeline recently spilled millions of gallons of drilling chemicals into Ohio’s wetlands, the Sabal Trail pipeline leaked drilling chemicals underground into the Withlacoochee River in Florida, and the highly contentious Dakota Access pipeline has already suffered three leaks.

West Virginia and Virginia citizens opposed to the MVP say FERC has proven unable to properly assess the environmental risks of these pipelines, and its incomplete reviews have dealt a huge blow to public confidence, not to mention safety and the environment. MVP developers submitted more than 16,000 pages of information after the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was issued. The public did not have the opportunity to submit comments to FERC on the additional submittals. The NEPA review process for the MVP was bypassed by FERC.

While legal and environmental experts are continuing to review today’s document, they have initially identified major gaps in FERC’s Final EIS, including:

  • An accurate assessment of whether the project is needed and in the public interest;

  • Alternative analysis including development of energy efficiency, solar, and wind as alternatives to construction of pipelines;

  • A complete analysis of the cumulative, life-cycle climate pollution that would result from the pipeline;

  • A thorough and accurate analysis of visual impacts from the pipeline, including impacts to the iconic Appalachian Trail and potential damage to its tourism economy;

  • Cumulative impacts analysis of all environmental and human health damage from increased gas fracking in West Virginia that would supply the pipeline;

  • An analysis of the compound effects of multiple regional geo-hazards, including a meaningful analysis of the karst topography; and

  • A thorough review of damage to water quality and natural resources along and downstream from the pipeline route.

The coalition is committed to blocking the pipeline through every available avenue on the federal, state, and legal levels to assure that the very best options for energy, jobs, and landowner rights are considered.

Statements from affected landowners, community members, and environmental and legal experts:

  • Ty Bouldin, landowner in Summers County, West Virginia, stated: “The DEIS for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project was disheartening testimony to the inadequacies of FERC’s environmental assessment procedures. It failed to provide rational scientific standards for evaluating such impacts as were acknowledged. The DEIS simply argued that any impacts—however severe they might prove to be—would be judged acceptable. Such a conclusion was not valid given the inadequacies of the materials submitted by MVP, and it remains unacceptable as the basis for undertaking a responsible Final Environmental Impact Statement.”

  • Maury Johnson, affected landowner in Monroe County WV and The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Indian Creek Watershed Assoc. WV Rivers Coalition, and more, stated: “The Mountain Valley Pipeline will devalue our land, limit its uses and reduce taxes which support our schools and public services. It will jeopardize the safety and security of residents and anyone who visits the area where it is located. It will impact the water that we so much depend upon for our families, our farms and our communities. It will impact the world class water that comes from Peters Mountain in WV and VA. The impacts to the Jefferson National Forest and the Appalachian Trail will be severe and irreversible. It should be criminal to attempt such a pipeline when the profound environmental damage has not been adequately assessed by FERC, by West Virginia’s DEP or by Virginia’s DEQ.“

  • Andrew Downs, Regional Director, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, stated: “The public has never been allowed adequate access to this process which increasingly seems like it’s been driven by distant a bureaucracy. The devastation anticipated to the Jefferson National Forest and the iconic Appalachian Trail is a violation of the public trust that spans from nearly a century and into our uncertain future.”

  • Diana Christopulos, President, Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club, stated: “The FEIS ignores the potential negative impacts of the project on public drinking water supplies on the Roanoke River, even though the pipeline’s own consultants reported a major increase in sedimentation in the North Fork of the Roanoke River that would travel all the way from Jefferson National Forest through the cities of Salem and Roanoke to either Niagara Dam or Smith Mountain Lake. The FERC never required to applicant to report fully on the sediment that would occur on the South Fork of the Roanoke River, which could have significant impacts on the same downstream communities.“

  • April Keating, Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance/West Virginia Sierra Club/Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights, stated: “Not only are these new pipelines not needed, but they lock us into flammable, radioactive, climate warming methane use at a time when renewable energy is needed most. Renewable energy is more affordable than ever and has created more jobs than the fossil fuel market in recent years. FERC has refused to look at cumulative impacts of this and other projects in the same region, which is doing a real disservice to our public health and putting a chokehold on our economic opportunities.”

  • Anne Havemann, General Counsel, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, stated: “Time and again, we’ve seen how FERC’s utter failure to honestly assess the impacts of massive, dangerous gas pipelines. We know this pipeline would result in massive climate pollution equivalent to 26 new coal-fired power plants. FERC’s own former chairman has urged the commission to reconsider how it evaluates environmental impacts, including climate change. If FERC was honest in its environmental accounting, it would have no choice but to reject the project.”

  • Dr. Richard Shingles, Coordinator, Preserve Giles County, “An obscure, independent regulatory agency, controlled by the very gas and oil industry it is supposed to regulate, has taken one more step in a fraudulent ‘public review’ process towards finalizing a predetermined decision. The FEIS ignores the scientific consensus as to the cumulative threats to communities, local economies and natural resources and the pipeline itself. The multiple geological hazards abound in this region should make it a ‘no build zone’ for large, interstate, high pressure gas pipelines. To date FERC has failed to require the applicant to show that these threats can be avoided or safely mitigated - an assurance that the scientific consensus demonstrates cannot be provided.”

  • Hugh Irwin, Landscape Conservation Planner, The Wilderness Society, stated: “Damage to national forest lands and values including wilderness, roadless lands, the Appalachian Trail, clean water, and wildlife habitat have been inadequately addressed, putting these public resources in jeopardy.”

  • Jerolyn Deplazes, Secretary, Preserve Newport Historic Properties, stated: “FERC has shown blatant disregard for the laws concerning the protection of historical properties in the process of reviewing the MVP. Four landowners in the Greater Newport Rural Historic District have been denied the right to consult with FERC, MVP and other cooperating agencies to develop alternatives to the proposed route of MVP. And many filings by the Greater Newport Rural Historic District Committee have been made pointing out the continually incorrect, misleading, and apparently deliberately incomplete information provided to FERC by MVP and the failure of FERC to require full corrective action by MVP. Without complete and correct data input to FERC, there is no way that FERC can make an informed decision on the MVP project.”

  • Ben Luckett, Staff Attorney, Appalachian Mountain Advocates, stated: “FERC’s failure to look at whether this pipeline is actually needed to serve the public, and not just the bank accounts of MVP’s shareholders, is absolutely galling. All too often, like with the recently completed Sabal Trail project, these new pipelines just shift gas away from existing infrastructure instead of offering any new beneficial service. Without a real market analysis, FERC can’t tell whether the pipeline’s extreme impacts to landowners, communities, and the environment will bring about any public benefit. Our independent studies indicate that they will not.”

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Readers' Recent Comments

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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Just saw this. Am so sorry.

By Betty Woofter on 09.06.2018

From the entry: 'Shirley F. Wilmoth'.

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Well, this is nice.

However, there have been promises and attempts more than I care to remember.

Canaan Valley, GSC deal.  Broadband to every holler.  Near twenty years ago.

Ole Joe spent money made promises. 
Little Missy Moore got on that wagon too.

Seems so much of this money chatter comes just before election time?
We be waitin’ though, but won’t hold our breath.

By Thanks EDA for trying. on 09.04.2018

From the entry: 'G-CommunityImprovement™: Gilmer County EDA Receives Community Block Grant'.

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The expectation is that the new board will provide a “tell it as it is”  status report on current student achievement with a comprehensive plan for improvements.

The plan should include a firm commitment for accurate progress reports at scheduled intervals.

If nothing is done by the board that would be a way to skirt accountability for the County’s school system.

By Need Measurable Results on 09.04.2018

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

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If the board wanted you to have the info—you would get it.

Otherwise you are likely wasting time thinking about it?

Remember how loud actions speak?

By no info flow on 09.02.2018

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

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Could the Board get Mrs. Mason’s report summarized and put on the GFP? This should be some of the most important information in years all citizens have a right to know.

By Gilmer County School Watch on 08.29.2018

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

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Appears the Governor will appoint 5 Supremes?

That means the 5 Supreme Court Judges will be beholding to the Governor?

Will the Governor ‘own’ the Supreme Court?

The Judge’s actions will answer that question.

By Hanshap on 08.28.2018

From the entry: 'Justice Appoints Jenkins and Armstead to West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals'.

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Something is wrong with the way storm water all of a sudden rushes down hill from GSC’s parking lot located at the front of the administration building.

Down hill from the south corner of the lot runoff is so bad during storms to make rocks wash out to litter the unnamed steep street up hill from property formerly owned by the Barker’s.

Rocks and other debris are beginning to deposit over a drain at the entry of the steep hill to cause more water problems.

GSC please fix the problem.

By Property Owners on 08.28.2018

From the entry: 'GSC Students Travel to Berlin'.

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Another dark day in WV history.

By Ronzel on 08.26.2018

From the entry: 'Justice Appoints Jenkins and Armstead to West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals'.

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We know that there were problems with accurate tracking of BOE finances, but nothing has been heard about what was found, who was responsible, and corrective measures to be taken. Board is requested to get a report out to the public. Nothing unreasonable about this good government request.

By Gilmer BOE Finances on 08.25.2018

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

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Accountability, you say?

When is the last time your heard that word used with any GC elected?

By accountability? on 08.25.2018

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

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It was apparent to citizens that under intervention the State practiced Machiavellian divide and conquer with the previous board and it never recovered from that type of treatment.

With a new board the county has a fresh start. Let us hope that it will function in a highly effective manner to include openness to keep the public fully informed.

By New Start on 08.22.2018

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

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The “Opportunity” comment should be addressed by Mr. Cottrill. He is the new board president and it is his responsibility to set an example of effective leadership.

By Mr. Cottrill Asked to Lead on 08.21.2018

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

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Why doesn’t Gilmer County do the same? Dr. Manchin has a long standing reputation for working closely with his boards and they function together as effective teams.

In Harrison County the public is kept fully informed of the goals and progress in attaining them.

When school systems lack well defined goals that eliminates objectiveness for evaluating performances of superintendents and boards too. The result is the elimination of accountability.

A major negative result of a lack of fully disclosed goals is lost opportunities for citizens, including business leaders, teachers, and parents, to do their maximum to contribute to improved schools.

By Opportunity For Gilmer's School System on 08.21.2018

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

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Noticed today that merchandise on sale at Foodland is shown on the GFP. Makes it easier to shop to get genuinely good deals. Thank you Morris family and the GFP.

By Grateful Consumer on 08.18.2018

From the entry: 'WV Impeachment Enters a More Partisan Stage'.

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The past couple months—-the first in likely 10 years, we have been filling a grocery cart at Foodland.
Usually shopping meant a trip to Weston or Gassaway, once in a while Clarksburg.
We certainly enjoy shopping and visiting right in Glenville.
Especially with the many visible improvements.
Why now, there is even and electric ‘buggy’ for those who need it.
The entire community and surrounding areas are enjoying Mr. Morris newest good deed!

By Yes---MANY happy Gilmer shoppers! on 08.15.2018

From the entry: 'WV Impeachment Enters a More Partisan Stage'.

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In a couple years we will be right back where we are today.
Here come the payback and favorites appointments.
Several are all ready lining up for a gig even be it a short one.
Nothing changes in West Virginia.

As far as the ones run off.  They will get a bonus, maybe even a cush job, as well as sweet
retirement deal.
Its the West Virginia way.

By Bill.H. on 08.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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This supreme court debacle exposes where a LOT of West Virginia’s problems come.

Nepotism and cronyism.  Plain and simple.
I would vote for almost anyone who does not have tie to our state.

Never thought I’d ever say that.
We need the BEST elected for our offices.

Its clear that isn’t the case.  For a long time.
Flip-floppin-party-jumpers need to stay home.
We don’t want your ilk.  Big Jim included.

By Kanawha on 08.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Impeachment Enters a More Partisan Stage'.

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While GSC struggles to survive why not apply a college version of the Foodland model?

Offer academic programs in high demand, affordable to students, and second to none in quality in WV or better yet not available anywhere else in the State.

It does not require having an MBA degree to figure that out as a recipe for success. Works in business all the time for talented entrepreneurs.

By GSC's Opportunity on 08.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Impeachment Enters a More Partisan Stage'.

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If misconduct being reported about WV Supreme Court justices is truthful there could not be better way to cast suspicion on top-to-bottom corruption within WV’s legal system including what the State Bar is supposed to do to protect the public from unethical lawyers.

The justices should receive the highest punishment allowable. What a black mark on WV. Couldn’t make it up.

By Smelly Legal System on 08.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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To say that the Foodland Store is a major improvement is an understatement. It is kept well stocked with no empty shelves as a result of vastly improved inventory, reordering, and shelf stocking approaches, exceptionally clean store with excellent lighting, there is a price range to choose from for many items, milk does not spoil within 3 days after you get home, prices are fair to make it obvious that price gouging does not exist, and the staff is always friendly and noticeably committed to assist customers. Even the sharp dress code and personal conduct of employees demonstrates that teamwork and pride exist for being on a winning team. No more having to drive to Flatwoods or Weston to shop on a routine basis. Thank you I. L. Morris family.

By Appreciative Gilmer Shoppers on 08.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Impeachment Enters a More Partisan Stage'.

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One bad apple spoils the barrel.
Looks like that old ‘saw’ is proven
right again!  M-T the barrel!

By one bad apple? on 08.13.2018

From the entry: 'WV Impeachment Enters a More Partisan Stage'.

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Yeah, Manchin and former democratic governor Wise pretended to be deer hunters. They both know to be otherwise is political poison in WV. Mr. Morrisey being a republican will work hard for our 2nd amendment rights, whether he is a hunter or not, he does not have to pretend.

By Trespasser Will on 08.13.2018

From the entry: 'WV Impeachment Enters a More Partisan Stage'.

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Look at the bus run times.

Several over an hour.

And you know that’s not safe or reasonable for stop/go/loaded bus.

Someone has cooked the books to meet state regulations?

GC board of Ed? 
Is that the case?
What say you?

By parent on 08.11.2018

From the entry: 'GILMER COUNTY SCHOOLS BUS SCHEDULES 2018-2019'.

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Give the man the credit due him.

AG Morrisey has done a lot of work in support of 2nd amendment rights for West Virginia.

Reciprocal carry with many states as well as support of WV conceal carry.

Senate candidate Manchin worked former NYC Mayor Bloomberg (yes, that gun grabber) to raise money
to limit gun rights.

Who you going to vote for?

By who you going to vote for? on 08.11.2018

From the entry: 'WV Impeachment Enters a More Partisan Stage'.

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Yep, ole Menace Catch-em…got caught and retired. Just a move to try to save his guilty butt?  lol

The so called “supreme gang” rolled the dice and played their game.  They knew.

Caught now, bringing shame to the good people of West Virginia.

Stirring up memories of A.J.Manchin and his ‘departure’.

Even brings up the memories of Governor getting his ‘due’ and being sent off to prison for a few years.

Pretty obvious, neither party is “quality” minded when they give us their candidates?

Or maybe its the “best” they have to offer??

By Harold on 08.11.2018

From the entry: 'WV Impeachment Enters a More Partisan Stage'.

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The democrats whine about partisanship but they go against the will of the people. I choose to not carry on most occasions, but remember it was a Republican led legislature who voted to allow us to carry if we feel the need.

By The Silent Majority on 08.10.2018

From the entry: 'WV Impeachment Enters a More Partisan Stage'.

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There was a comment about need to be on a school board for 1-2 years before learning how to be an effective member.

Having been on a board for 22 years and observing how newly elected members respond I agree with the statement.

After getting elected it is normal for new members to feel overwhelmed with all the rules, regulations, and procedures in effect to address proper functions of school boards.

A new board member has two options. One is to simply show up at meeting as a seat warmer to get a pay check for doing nothing.

The second choice is to accept that being on a board is a serious responsibility with children’s futures at stake and it takes hard work and dedication to learn roles and responsibilities to carry out.

Consider personnel actions as one example. To attempt to protect as much independence as possible it is common for some superintendents to be parsimonious with material shared with boards.

To overcome this constraint new board members should demand written documentation on personnel information they are entitled to review before voting on a superintendent’s personnel recommendations.

What if there is not official documentation in your county defining a board’s entitled access to personnel information?

Instead of wasting money on lawyers to provide guidance get your board to submit a formal request to your superintendent to provide WV’s rules for boards applicable in all of the State’s 55 school systems.

The information exists and it is unnecessary to reinvent the wheel to waste time and money.

By Welcome New Board Members on 08.10.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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The new school board is commended for deciding to assign Mr. David Ramezan to serve on the audit committee and to be the rep to the Career Center.

There are expectations for the new board to produce and the decisions demonstrate openness to assigning the best people to serve in special capacities. 

We expect Gilmer County to be a WV front runner in educating our kids and that includes using finances optimally to get the most for education dollars and to provide superior career training for students electing to go that route.

By Audit and Career Center Assignments on 08.08.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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New board members know from initial training that an individual member has no more authority than a dog on a tight leash.

This means that individual members are not authorized to give orders to any employee in a school system, all directives must be through a majority board member vote directly to a superintendent reporting to a board, and that individual is held accountable for carrying out directives.

The message is that boards govern and superintendents administer.

If there is failure for a superintendent to perform as a board directs that can result in an unsatisfactory performance evaluation and in some cases be grounds for insubordination with penalties.

Two major problems with boards are failures to give a superintendents timely and clearly defined objectives for administration of a school system and failures to document substandard superintendent performances when annual reviews occur.

The clear separation of authority of boards versus superintendents mentioned above is designed to prevent tendencies by some board members to attempt to engage in personal micromanagement in school systems.

Imposition of the necessity of a majority board vote for what a superintendent is supposed to do functions to promote thoughtful input from all elected members to contribute to wiser school system decisions to lessen internal conflicts.

By Kanawha County Observer on 08.07.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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Thank you for your update Mr. Boggs.
Couple things I’m wondering about.

First—the ‘roller coaster’.  That’s the first mile from Burnsville I-79 proceeding West on Route 5.

Almost immediately exiting the Interstate everyone is greeted with the rough, bumpy train tracks.  Been like that for years as we all know.  Then comes the dips and dives of the concrete road.  This has progressively worsened over the past 20 years.  Why is nothing done with it?

Next.  How about an accounting, a list of accomplishments if any, by the Little Kanawha Parkway Authority/Commission.

It is funded by the WV Legislature.  Has been for many years.  Manchin struck it from his first budget saying it wasn’t needed.  Couple months later it was funded again with the money doubled.

A list of income and expenditures would be nice to see, without having to file a FOIA for it.  It does appear at first glance, this Parkway deal only benefits one attorney and few elected officials.  Sort of closed club where the taxpayer picks up the travel expense and meals just for a day out?

A good explanation would build confidence and eliminate negative discussions?  Thank you.

By Orlando on 08.07.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It is commonly heard that when the State was in control sensitive records in the school board office were shredded, hard drives were removed and replaced with clean ones, and selected telephone records were eliminated.

Mr. Cottrill a request is made to you and Ms. Lowther to get straight answers to the community.

Involving unbiased and competent investigators should occur. Board office employees who were there when the State was in control know one way or another what happened, but they may be reluctant to provide information out of fear.

If community perceptions turn out to based on facts what are the legal implications, exactly what records were destroyed, and why did the destruction occur?

This concern is too important for the category of “forget the past and move on”.

The “forget and move on” attitude seems to be code for cover up because it is repeated too often in Gilmer County.

By Provide The True Facts on 08.07.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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Gilmer.  Do not expect much from your new board of ed.  Think you have 3 new members?  It will take them a year at least before they get the idea of what they can and cannot do.

I believe some of your new board is connected to previous members who are likely owned by some faction with questionable intentions.  Left overs from your days of intervention I’d guess.

Good luck!  Gilmer BOE.  You will need it.

Citizens and school staff.  Hold your board members feet to the fire and do the job right.

That’s what it will take you.

By Lewis County on 08.06.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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Saw that a Mr. Paine was suggested for the assistant GCHS principal. If hired it would be helpful for the County to see printed background coverage for the person to get to know about him. The information would introduce him to those of us who do not know the gentleman.

By GCHS Needs Improved on 08.06.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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There is more scandal in the GCBOE and WVDE than people realize.

The entire local BOE that worked under Blankenship know just how many files and documents the had to run through the paper shredder..

Most likely Manchin’s cousin, state appointed superintendent, Devano did the same thing?  How about it, GCBOE employees?  You know.

The West Virginia Department of Education gave Gilmer the biggest scandal, the biggest black eye, of the past 100 years.

Now, when will your flood zone built school flood, Gilmer County?  Everyone knows it not ‘if’ but ‘when’?

THERE WAS *NO* ACCOUNTABILITY AND *NO* OVERSIGHT BY THE WEST VIRGINIA BOARD OF EDUCATION. 

If they claim there was, then the only other possible reason for the multiple failures, can be nothing other than complete incompetence?  Thank you WVDE.

By Kanawha on 08.06.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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Solid reporting about the BOE in the Democrat related to the no-excuse budget tracking scandal verifies that criticality important information was kept from the previous school board and the public.

GFP readers were warned for years that withholding of key information was occurring. Those who attempt to keep up on BOE business have a legitimate reason to question how much other information was kept secret during intervention.

Student achievement, personnel actions including involvement of nepotism and favoritism, and administrate decisions associated with consolidating schools are among subjects being questioned.

There was an underground effort in the County to discredit those in the past who questioned irregular activities under intervention. They were attacked by calling them busy bodies.

The excess levy was passed because we wanted to help children. With the recent budget scandal we question if that money was spent on its intended purpose in the past.

Henceforth we want every excess levy penny to be accounted for. If the money was misspent in the past we want that exposed.

We are counting on Mrs. Lowther and the new BOE to end secrecy. That expectation is reasonable for the benefit of the County’s children and taxpayers.

By BOE School Finances Scandal on 08.06.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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Far, far worse with contractor work at the new grade school. We learned early not to rock the boat when we noticed problems with contractors. Should be a record if paper work and hard drives are still available.

How about checking on this on Mr. Cottril?

We were warned not to say anything to anyone about the new school being too small while knowing that Leading Creek was built too large and it still has vacant rooms.

The State was in total control from start to finish with everything and local involvement was forbidden. You see what that got us, and we will be paying the price for years to come.

By Classified Staff on 08.03.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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Reference in the Democrat to the County’s mess about the school budget because of improper record keeping is a red alarm.

It is evident what the previous school board was faced with during intervention with the State keeping sensitive information secret. What else will emerge from the wood work?

Who are the candidates and their special qualifications for the assistant principal job at the GCHS? The selection will be one of the most important ones in the near future to help get the school back on track with a winning administrative team.

Will politics and taking care of special families be put aside on this one or will we have business as usual?

By BOE Tracker on 08.03.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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Yes, “The State Was Fully Responsible” for the immense waste of tax dollars in both Lewis and Gilmer counties.

There are a few who know well the story.  None with backbone to tell it.

No investigative news source to dig the truth for public information.

Millions of dollars lost.  The trail leads straight to the West Virginia Board of Education.  With willing underlings to help every step of the way.

By Kanawha on 08.03.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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Service personnel spoke out clearly and often about shoddy work at the GCHS. They were not listened to and worse yet they were told to keep quiet. There should be a detailed accounting of where all the County’s facilities money went after intervention, who was involved with project oversight, who got money, and what went undone and botched. Take the issue to Governor Justice. He would get involved as he battles corruption, waste, and mismanagement. Start with Leading Creek, go on to the Arbuckle site, on to Cedar Creek, and finally to Hays City. The horrible story is there and it must be exposed.

By The State Was Fully Responsible on 08.02.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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If board members are only permitted to see names for personnel being recommended by the superintendent without reviewing all applications themselves how do they know before voting that the best applicants are recommended by the superintendent?

Sounds like personnel decisions are really a token procedural formality made to look like an objective way of doing business with full involvement of the board.

By Doesn't Make Sense on 08.01.2018

From the entry: '5 ways to truly help principals succeed'.

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