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Somewhat Odd and Unusual

OddlyEnough™: Boone Schools Superintendent Is Promised Pay Raises Amid Job Cuts

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

In what the board president called “crappy” timing, the Boone County school board unanimously voted earlier this week to assure their superintendent future pay raises, just as individual employees were learning whether they’d be affected by the county’s planned 77 position cuts.

Superintendent John Hudson said the five-member board voted Tuesday to grant him, effective July 1, a four-year contract extension with no pay increase for next school year but annual 3 percent pay increases for the three following years. He currently makes about $131,100 annually.

The raises will equal roughly $4,000 for each of those three years, meaning he’ll be making an extra about $12,000 by the final year of his new contract.

Hudson said he asked the board to extend his current four-year contract, which also had 3 percent annual upticks.

Hudson said he’s a graduate of the Boone school system and has spent his entire 32-year career in education there, rising from teacher, to principal, to assistant superintendent, to his current role. He said the board wants leadership stability, and said his position is a 24 hours per day, 365 days per year commitment.

“If there’s an issue at 8:30 at night, 11 o’clock at night, I am involved, I am on call,” he said.

He said the raises wouldn’t jeopardize a single student program or job, and when asked whether he needed the money, he said he appreciated the pay and that the school system “gets good value.”

“I’m not ashamed of that increase, if that makes sense, and it is very typical in any superintendent’s contract that you see,” he said.

According to data from the state Department of Education, Hudson, who leads a 4,331-student school system that’s lost 268 students over the past two years and is still dropping, had the 14th highest salary among county superintendents in the state.

Manny Arvon, superintendent of the 18,877-student Berkeley County Schools, makes the most at roughly $178,500. His contract is set to increase to $187,600 over the next two years.

Hudson told the Gazette-Mail Tuesday that the board will vote on his recommended cuts to the roughly 660-person school system workforce before March 1, and the cuts would take effect next academic year.

He said the cuts are necessary due to declining tax revenue from the county’s sinking coal industry and dropping enrollment, which automatically causes the state school aid funding formula to provide counties fewer dollars.

He said the historical wealth of the coal industry is why Boone has been able to employ as many as 100 more employees than what the state pays for, and why Boone teachers and service personnel have relatively good pay.

Only Putnam County teachers — at about a $51,000 average annual salary — get paid more than Boone teachers, according to education department data that doesn’t include certain supplements that can vary from county to county, but excludes the impact of teachers’ years of experience that can skew comparisons.

Boone teachers get about $50,500, while Boone service personnel rank third for pay in the state, at a roughly $3,000 average monthly pay. Hudson pointed out he doesn’t get the years of experience and other pay raises these employees receive.

Boone school board President Mark Sumpter said the board decided not to give Hudson a pay raise next year due to the cuts, but suggested that if annual, smaller pay raises weren’t given in later years, a larger one-time increase might be necessary later to keep the pay competitive. He said many places will be looking for superintendents before the new school year and fiscal year start July 1, and he was concerned Hudson could be hired away.

But he said he’s been getting calls from many upset teachers, and is about to shut down his Facebook account because of the treatment online.

“The timing is crappy,” Sumpter said. “And if I had to do it over again, maybe I’d wait a little bit.”

Carrena Rouse, head of the Boone arm of the American Federation of Teachers union, said kids at Scott High School were crying this week when they learned their band teacher, who moved to the county in December and has a lease, is one of the recommended layoffs. She also said the county’s only French teacher and his wife, an English teacher, also are recommended to lose their jobs, and they have a baby due in this summer.

“He is trying to do the right thing for Boone County Schools,” Rouse said of Hudson. “I don’t think he rationalized or thought about the timeliness of that information or that pay bump.”

~~  Ryan Quinn - Gazette-Mail ~~

West Virginia Republican Says Rape Can Be ‘Beautiful’ if It Produces a Child

The remarks echo a string of embarrassing statements by politicians regarding women’s bodies

The Gilmer Free Press

A Republican state lawmaker in West Virginia said on Thursday that while rape is horrible, it’s “beautiful” that a child could be produced in the attack.

Charleston Gazette reporter David Gutman was on the scene when Delegate Brian Kurcaba (R) said, “Obviously rape is awful,” but “What is beautiful is the child is that could come from this.”

Kurcaba made the remarks during a House of Delegates discussion of a law outlawing all abortions in the state after 20 weeks’ gestation. At 20 weeks, anti-choice activists and lawmakers allege, a fetus can feel pain and is therefore too viable to abort.

The bill was passed by West Virginia Republicans in 2014, but vetoed by Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Now the state GOP has revived the bill and voted to remove an exception for victims of rape and incest.

Kurcaba’s remarks echo a string of embarrassing statements by Republicans regarding rape and women’s bodies.

In 2012, Missouri’s Rep. Todd Akin said that pregnancy can’t result from rape because “If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said that while sexual assaults are unfortunate, the resulting pregnancy is a “gift from God.”

Libertarian favorite Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) made statements of his own implying that women routinely fabricate rape stories in order to get abortions.

“If it’s an honest rape,” said Paul, physicians should allow the victim to abort, but otherwise, women should not be able to terminate their pregnancies just because they claim to have been raped.

Republican leaders convened an emergency meeting in 2013 urging the rank and file to stop talking about rape altogether lest it further alienate women voters, who have been abandoning the Republican Party in droves.

Nonetheless, Kurcaba — a financial advisor who was elected in 2014 — appears eager to bring discussions of rape back into the dialogue about women’s access to reproductive health care.

Principal: Students Can ‘Hurl’ Cans Of Corn at Gunmen As ‘Last Resort’

The Gilmer Free Press

W.F. Burns Middle School principal Princella Holley suggested stockpiling “cans of food such as corn and peas in classrooms” so students could grab them and “hurl” them at school attackers as a “last resort.”

Holley sent a letter home on January 09 asking each student to bring one can of food to school for this purpose.

According to the AP, Holley wrote, “We realize at first this may seem odd; however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off guard.” She believes “the canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive.”

Holley’s letter came about after school employees “received training from Auburn University’s Department of Public Safety.”

After the training, Chambers County School superintendent Kelli Hodge agreed that the cans of corn could be used in a pinch.

Hodge said teachers are taught to grab their students, lock their classroom doors, and shelter-in-place in the event of an attack. If the doors were breached the students could then throw the cans of corn “and items such as textbooks.”

Other school systems around the country have changed their policies to allow teachers with concealed carry permits to be armed in case of attack.

~~  Follow AWR Hawkins ~~

OddlyEnough™: Police Find Head on Rural Road, Seeking Body to Match

The Gilmer Free Press

An aerial search for the embalmed body of a woman whose head was recovered this month along a lonely rural road began this week.

Police in the borough of Economy, 22 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, said they were exploring a number of theories as to how the head wound up on the roadside, including the possibility of a grave robbery or that the body was intercepted on its journey from a funeral home to a cemetery.

They have received no reports of missing bodies or disturbed graves, said Chief of Police Michael O’Brien.

“This woman had been laid to rest,“ O’Brien said in a statement. “She is someone’s loved one.“

A sketch done by an Edinboro University art professor showed how the woman might have looked in life: she appeared to be about 50 years old, with short gray hair that had been styled, police said.

An Economy resident found the head in a wooded area while out for a walk, police said.

An initial search for the rest of the body using cadaver dogs was unsuccessful. The planned aerial search had been delayed by bad weather.

Local media quoted Beaver County Coroner Teri Tatalovich-Rossi as saying the head had been embalmed before it was left in the forest. S

OddlyEnough™: Cloud of Pot Smoke Puts Colorado High School on Partial Lockdown

The Gilmer Free Press

A high school in Colorado, one of the first two U.S. states to legalize recreational marijuana use, was put on partial lockdown after a student’s weed pipe filled a classroom with pot smoke, the school said.

The smoke from the device, known as a “gravity bong” or “bucket,“ was released into a classroom at about 9:45 AM. at Adams City High School in Commerce City, a northeastern suburb of Denver.

“As a precautionary measure, our students were placed on a modified lockdown to limit movement throughout the school,“ the school said in a statement, adding that teenagers who had been near the device were examined by medical personnel.

“As always, students’ safety is our number one priority,“ it said. “All students were fine and the school is resuming business as usual.“

The school said it was working with the proper authorities to resolve the issue, and that it would provide more information when available. It did not give details on the student who brought the pipe to class, nor possible disciplinary measures.

Colorado voted in 2012 to allow recreational marijuana sales to adults aged 21 and older beginning this year. But consumption of the drug by minors, or by anyone in public settings such as schools, parks and on the street, remains illegal.

The tale of the partial lockdown received widespread attention on social media, with some Denverites describing it as the story of the day and an “only in Colorado” moment.

A gravity bong or bucket uses the force of gravity, normally by releasing water from a chamber, to suck a large amount of pot smoke into a container, from where it is inhaled by the user.

~~  Reuters ~~

UFOs in West Virginia: 10 Witnesses, 4 Low-Flying UFOs, 3 Big as Football Fields

A UFO sighting in southern West Virginia has been reported that not only presents multiple witnesses of the objects in question but also the witnessing of multiple unidentified flying objects during the sighting. Open Minds reported October 17 that ten men working at a coal plant in Marmet, West Virginia, saw the four flying objects as a collective. Three of the UFOs were massive, the size of football fields. They were all flying extremely low to the ground—and deathly silent.

Originally reported on the Mutual UFO Network website, the actual sighting took place at 10 p.m. on October 12, 2014. It was quiet all around, according to the reporting witness. The plant had shut down. The guys had just finished some pipe repairs and were leaning against their vehicles.

One of the guys pointed at the sky. “What is that?“ he asked.

Everyone looked up. The first of what would be three huge flying objects was headed toward them.

The Gilmer Free Press

“We all looked up and saw a triangle-shaped object outlined in white lights the size of a football field coming up the hollow from the southwest [Beckley, WV area],“ the witness reported. “It might have been 300 to 500 feet above us. It was moving very slow and made no noise. We watched for about 3 or 4 minutes as it disappeared over the trees.

“A few minutes later another one showed up behind it – the same shape and size and no noise. Another one showed up after that, same as before.

“After these three went by a small object with lots of red flashing appeared at the end of the line formation. They were all headed northwest towards Charleston, WV.”

The reporting witness said that all the guys were “amazed” that there was absolutely no sound, no noise whatsoever coming from the UFOs—especially “as close as they were, and their sizes.“ And it all took place in the space of 15 minutes.

So what did the ten men see? Could it have been a case of group or mass hallucination as some will surely suggest? Or is there a reason UFOs—whether manmade, alien, or faux—were traveling between Beckley and Charleston, West Virginia in mid-October?

In the comments section on the MUFON web page, the question was posed that, given so many witnesses, why did not one of them capture an image with a cell phone camera? Karen King of the Appalachian UFO Research Society suggests that in many areas of West Virginia cell phone reception is limited and/or sporadic, which might account for the absence of phones and, therefore, photos of the four UFOs.

Two weeks prior to the Marmet UFO sighting, a couple in Elkins, West Virginia, reported a low-flying massive triangular-shaped UFO, according to International Business Times. Flat black, it blocked out the stars in its passage. It had three lights, a dim white one and two orange hourglass-shaped lights. The couple that filed the report with MUFON noted that the UFO had no distinguishing control features (like a canopy or windows) and as they moved toward it, it seemed to move toward them. The reporting witness said it was not military or a regular aircraft, because he was familiar with their general characteristics. And most remarkable of all, instead of flying away, the UFO simply disappeared, as if using “a cloaking device,“ the witness said.

Ron Paul: Scottish Referendum Gives Reasons to be Hopeful

The Gilmer Free Press

Even though it ultimately failed at the ballot box, the recent campaign for Scottish independence should cheer supporters of the numerous secession movements springing up around the globe.

In the weeks leading up to the referendum, it appeared that the people of Scotland were poised to vote to secede from the United Kingdom. Defeating the referendum required British political elites to co-opt secession forces by promising greater self-rule for Scotland, as well as launching a massive campaign to convince the Scots that secession would plunge them into economic depression.

The people of Scotland were even warned that secession would damage the international market for one of Scotland’s main exports, whiskey. Considering the lengths to which opponents went to discredit secession, it is amazing that almost 45% of the Scottish people still voted in favor of it.

The Scottish referendum result has done little to discourage other secessionist movements spreading across Europe, in countries ranging from Norway to Italy. Just days after the Scottish referendum, the people of Catalonia voted to hold their own referendum measuring popular support for secession from Spain.

Support for secession is also growing in America. According to a recent poll, one in four Americans would support their state seceding from the federal government. Movements and organizations advocating that state governments secede from the federal government, that local governments secede from state governments, or that local governments secede from both the federal and state governments, are springing up around the country. This year, over one million Californians signed a ballot access petition in support of splitting California into six states. While the proposal did not meet the requirements necessary to appear on the ballot, the effort to split California continues to gain support.

Americans who embrace secession are acting in a grand American tradition. The Declaration of Independence was written to justify secession from Britain. Supporters of liberty should cheer the growth in support for secession, as it is the ultimate rejection of centralized government and the ideologies of Keynesianism, welfarism, and militarism.
Widespread acceptance of the principle of peaceful secession and self-determination could resolve many ongoing conflicts. For instance, allowing the people of eastern Ukraine and western Ukraine to decide for themselves whether to spilt into two separate nations may be the only way to resolve their differences.

The possibility that people will break away from an oppressive government is one of the most effective checks on the growth of government. It is no coincidence that the transformation of America from a limited republic to a monolithic welfare-warfare state coincided with the discrediting of secession as an appropriate response to excessive government.

Devolving government into smaller units promotes economic growth. The smaller the size of government, the less power it has to hobble free enterprise with taxes and regulations.

Just because people do not wish to live under the same government does not mean they are unwilling or unable to engage in mutually beneficial trade. By eliminating political conflicts, secession could actually make people more interested in trading with each other. Decentralizing government power would thus promote true free trade as opposed to “managed trade” controlled by bureaucrats, politicians, and special interests.

Devolution of power to smaller levels of government should also make it easier for individuals to use a currency of their choice, instead of a currency favored by central bankers and politicians.

The growth of support for secession should cheer all supporters of freedom, as devolving power to smaller units of government is one of the best ways to guarantee peace, property, liberty — and even cheap whiskey!

OddlyEnough™: Mysterious Fake Cellphone Towers Found Across U.S.

Seventeen fake cellphone towers were discovered across the U.S. last week, according to a report in Popular Science.

Rather than offering you cellphone service, the towers appear to be connecting to nearby phones, bypassing their encryption, and either tapping calls or reading texts.

Les Goldsmith, the CEO of ESD America, used ESD’s CryptoPhone 500 to detect 17 bogus cellphone towers. ESD is a leading American defense and law enforcement technology provider based in Las Vegas.

With most phones, these fake communication towers are undetectable. But not for the CryptoPhone 500, a customized Android device that is disguised as a Samsung Galaxy S III but has highly advanced encryption.

The Gilmer Free Press


Goldsmith told Popular Science: “Interceptor use in the U.S. is much higher than people had anticipated. One of our customers took a road trip from Florida to North Carolina and he found eight different interceptors on that trip. We even found one at South Point Casino in Las Vegas.”

The towers were found in July, but the report implied that there may have been more out there.

Although it is unclear who owns the towers, ESD found that several of them were located near U.S. military bases.

“Whose interceptor is it? Who are they, that’s listening to calls around military bases? Is it just the U.S. military, or are they foreign governments doing it? The point is: we don’t really know whose they are,“ Goldsmith said to Popular Science.

It’s probably not the NSA—that agency can tap all it wants without the need for bogus towers, VentureBeat reported:
Not the NSA, cloud security firm SilverSky CTO/SVP Andrew Jaquith told us. “The NSA doesn’t need a fake tower,“ he said. “They can just go to the carrier” to tap your line.

ComputerWorld points out that the fake towers give themselves away by crushing down the performance of your phone from 4G to 2G while the intercept is taking place. So if you see your phone operating on a slow download signal while you’re near a military base . . . maybe make that call from somewhere else.

In an amazing coincidence, police departments in a handful of U.S. cities have been operating “Stingray” or “Hailstorm” towers, which—you guessed it—conduct surveillance on mobile phone activity. They do that by jamming mobile phone signals, forcing phones to drop down from 4G and 3G network bands to the older, more insecure 2G band.

OddlyEnough™: Transgender Women Claim Mistreatment at West Virginia DMVs

The Gilmer Free Press

Two transgender women say they were ordered to take off their makeup, jewelry and wigs at West Virginal Division of Motor Vehicles offices or they would not get new driver’s license photos.

In the process, they say they were belittled, and called names like “it.“

“The manager told the agent I was working with, ‘It’ needs to remove ‘its’ makeup and false eyelashes,‘“ said Kristen Skinner, a Ranson resident.

Skinner, 45, left the Division of Motor Vehicles office in Charles Town in January with a license featuring her new female name and a headshot she says looks nothing like her.

Trudy Kitzmiller, 52, described a similar experience in May at the Martinsburg office. Downtrodden, she left without a new license and kept her old one with the wrong name and an inaccurate photo.

“They dehumanized me,“ said Kitzmiller, a Mount Storm resident.

Late last month, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund wrote the state Division of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, to ask for new photos for the two women. The letter said denying them of that would violate constitutional free speech rights.

Under West Virginia law, the two women will need to see a judge first, according to the division’s acting commissioner, Steven Dale.

Like several other states, West Virginia requires a circuit court order for someone to change gender on a driver’s license. A judge has to acknowledge the person completed gender change procedures.

Skinner and Kitzmiller are both still undergoing medical treatment for their gender switches.

Otherwise, wearing makeup as a man could be construed as an attempt to conceal or disguise one’s identity. It is akin to a face-covering scarf or a hat, though the decision about what someone can wear can vary case by case, Dale said.

“Until these two drivers take the steps necessary to change their gender to the satisfaction of a Circuit Court Judge, their photographs must reflect their identities as males,“ Dale said.

Dale said he is still sorting through what happened during the two visits. He said division employees undergo sensitivity training to ensure everyone is treated with respect.

“If that was not accomplished in these cases, I will apologize,“ Dale said.

The process has been particularly problematic for Kitzmiller. She’s an out-of-work heavy equipment operator, and employers won’t consider her because her outdated ID doesn’t match up.

Skinner, an information technology employee for the federal government, said she had no problem getting her federal work badge photo switched, makeup and all.

Such issues aren’t uncommon for transgender people, said Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Fund.

In March, a 16-year-old boy in South Carolina who dresses like a girl was denied having his driver’s license photo retaken wearing makeup.

Not every state is as stringent as West Virginia about changing gender on a driver’s license, either.

In Florida, for example, a doctor needs to confirm a person is in the process of changing genders. Completed surgery isn’t a requirement.

Silverman said that’s not the main issue. He said officials are wrongly making judgment calls on gender appearance.

“It’s not the job of the DMV to decide women and men need to look a certain way to meet DMV expectations about gender presentation,“ Silverman said.

Congressman Nick Rahall: Critical Corridors of Commerce

image

The House of Representatives recently passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve our Nation’s water infrastructure, such as dams, locks, ports, navigation channels and inland waterways.  This bill will advance the modernization of America’s critical corridors of commerce that enable the efficient transport of American-produced commodities, including West Virginia coal.

As the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I had a key role in negotiating the final version of the bill.  And, along with Chairman Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, I introduced the original House bill, which resulted in a bipartisan, bicameral agreement that passed the House by an overwhelming vote of 412-4.

It was a refreshing change of pace to break free of the legislative gridlock that has stymied Washington for so long.  It was a real achievement to have gotten something significant done to advance our State’s and Nation’s economy.  This bill proves that bipartisanship is still alive on Capitol Hill for those of us willing to work together for the betterment of our Nation.

This bipartisan jobs bill will revitalize our inland waterway system so that bulk commodities such as West Virginia coal can be transported more efficiently.  Critically, this bill expands the Buy America requirements placed on future Army Corps projects, ensuring that more of our Nation’s infrastructure is made in America by Americans.  The Buy America provisions in particular further define this legislation as being about jobs - jobs to construct flood control projects, jobs to expand our harbors, jobs to make improvements to our waterways - and American jobs in the production of the iron and steel which goes into these works.

As our Nation’s leading coal exporter, West Virginia relies heavily on water infrastructure to reach foreign buyers.  In fact, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. waterways and ports directly support 9,890 jobs in the Mountain State and contribute $1.6 billion to West Virginia’s economy.  Commodities travel to and from West Virginia on many vital transportation links, such as the Ohio River, Allegheny River, Monongahela River, and the Mississippi River.  The Port of Huntington Tri-State alone moves 45 million tons of coal annually and supports more than 12,000 jobs.

My position on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the perennial reauthorization of the Army Corps’ work to maintain and improve our State’s and Nation’s ports and waterways and other water infrastructure, has enabled me to do much good for our region’s people and economy.

It allowed for the creation of the Army Corps Sec. 340 Infrastructure Program, which has provided tens of millions of dollars over the years to construct new water infrastructure projects in southern West Virginia, including projects for wastewater treatment and the design and construction of water supply, storage, treatment, and distribution facilities.

It allowed for the construction of flood control projects, like the Island Creek project in Logan County, and the expansion and maintenance of outdoor recreational activities at Beech Fork and East Lynn Lakes, and especially Summersville Lake, where I helped to authorize seasonal releases from the Summersville Dam for whitewater rafting.

It even has allowed for the preservation of our historical sites, such as the Jenkins House, home of Confederate Gen. Albert Gallatin Jenkins, in Lesage.

The investments made possible by this bill support jobs throughout our State and Nation on our waterways, our farms and fields, on shop floors and in our mines.

WRRDA will lay the foundation for economic growth for many years to come.
                                        image

DeVano, The Next Gilmer County Superintendent of Schools

The Gilmer Free Press

There has not been any news released from West Virginia Department of Education regarding the next superintendent of schools for Gilmer County since Ron Blankenship is leaving the position effective June 30, 2014.

However, Gabriel DeVano was approved by the West Virginia Board of Education as the next Gilmer County’s state appointed Superintendent effective July 01, 2014 last week.

Devano currently is the head of RESA 7.

OddlyEnough™, DeVano’s position will be filled with the current State Superintendent James Phares who had decided to resign from his position in order to retire.

The appointment of DeVano was a surprise to Gilmer County Board of Education members. The members were notified neither in advance nor after the fact about DeVano neither by the State Board nor by Blankenship.

Gilmer County Board of Education is having its monthly meeting today at 6:00 PM at Gilmer County High School. Perhaps, there will be an announcement at the meeting.

OddlyEnough™: Gilmer County Education Policies Repealed?

The Gilmer Free Press

According to the Gilmer County Schools total of 88 policies being repealed!

Click H E R E to See the Policies Repealed


In addition there are 44 Gilmer County Board of Education policies for public review?

Click H E R E to See the Policies for Public Review


To Ron Blankenship, Superintendent; Dr. Simmons, Board President; Phyllis Starkey, Misty Pritt, Tom Ratliff, Dr. Armour, Board Members; the State Superintendent and Board of Education:

Was the public informed?

Has there been any public announcements?

Why are 88 policies repealed?

Why are 44 polices under review?

OddlyEnough™: 10 Live Cattle Stolen from WV Meat Processing Shop

The Gilmer Free Press

A manager of a Cabell County meat processing shop says 10 cattle belonging to customers have been stolen from the shop’s livestock pens.

Several customers had dropped off the cattle at Nelson’s Meat Market in Milton over the weekend.

Shop manager Rick Stepp discovered the thefts on Monday.

Stepp says employees determined the animals did not wander off and that a break-in occurred.

The Cabell County sheriff’s department is investigating.

The cattle collectively are worth up to $16,000.

Shop owner Andy Nelson is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those involved in the theft.

Woman Gives Birth to Quintuplets

The Gilmer Free Press

A Northeast Texas woman has given birth to quintuplets at a Dallas hospital.

The Texarkana Gazette reports that Michelle Seals of Maud had the four girls and one boy Tuesday afternoon at Baylor University Medical Center via cesarean section.

The children’s grandmother, Carole Pearce, says her daughter and all five babies are doing well.

Officials at Baylor University Medical Center declined to immediately provide details of the births, saying a hospital statement would be released later Wednesday.

Steven Seals says he and his wife have names picked out for the quintuplets but will have to decide what name fits which baby.

The Seals also have a 2-year-old son.

Maud is 150 miles northeast of Dallas.

OddlyEnough™: U.S. Mint to Sell Curved Coins Honoring Baseball Hall of Fame

The United States Mint will begin selling special curved coins this month to honor the National Baseball Hall of Fame, with a design representing the inverse images of a ball and mitt, U.S. Mint officials said on Thursday.

The $5, $1 and half-dollar coins, plated with gold, silver and alloy, are in production at the San Francisco U.S. Mint and will be sold online starting on March 27, agency spokesman Michael White said.

The Gilmer Free Press


Some 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 $1 silver coins and 750,000 half-dollar alloy-clad coins will be produced.

They will be the first curved coins - concave on the heads side and convex on the reverse - ever minted by the U.S. Mint, according to a statement on the agency’s website.

The image of a baseball glove with the words “liberty” and “in God we trust 2014” across the palm is featured on the face of the coins, which commemorate the Baseball Hall of Fame’s 75th year in 2014.

The Gilmer Free Press


A baseball is depicted on the tails side, with the words “United States of America” and the coin’s value inscribed on it. The tails side also includes the Latin words for “Out of many, one.“

Cassie McFarland of San Luis Obispo, California, submitted the winning mitt design for the coin in a 2013 competition that was judged by the Department of the Treasury. U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart designed the baseball and the inscriptions on both sides of the coins.

The Gilmer Free Press


The coins were created as part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin act of 2012 to help fund operations of the independent, not-for-profit educational institution that runs a museum in Cooperstown, New York.

Surcharges on the pieces will be $35 for each gold coin, $10 for a silver coin and $5 for each half-dollar coin and will authorized for payment to the Hall of Fame, the U.S. Mint said.

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Readers' Recent Comments

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

One result is that the GCES was built too small.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By GCES Built Too Small Scandal on 01.15.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

By Gilmer resident on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

By Muddling Epidemic In WV School Systems on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

By we know it on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

By Student Learning at GCHS and GCES on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

By Muddling 101 on 01.11.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By End School System Muddling on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

By Need Specifics For Principal's Reports on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By overheard conversation on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

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

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

By ZOOMWV Data Dashboard on 01.07.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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

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

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

By Let An Accountant Dig It Out on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By End Financial Secrecy on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Get It Done on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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How about the “BIG WV WINDFALL”....?

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

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

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

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

By taxpayers always lose on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By CheatersNeverWin on 11.20.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By Corrupt State Intervention on 11.19.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

Any local whistle blowers?  Doubtful.

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

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

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By More Specifics For Principal's Reports on 11.17.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

By Follow The Money on 11.16.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By Do It Ourselves on 11.15.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By QuestionablePractice on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Citizens For Financial Disclosure on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

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

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

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

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

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

By Where Is The Investigation? on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

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

By INFO REQUEST TO GCBOE on 11.09.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Follow the Paycheck(s) on 11.06.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

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

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

By Where Is The Money? on 11.05.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Steve Lewis on 11.04.2018

From the entry: 'Kendall Goodwin'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By What Was The Grading System? on 10.30.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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

By Reader7 on 10.29.2018

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

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

By Robin Nunez on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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

By Buck Edwards on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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

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

By Details Please on 10.26.2018

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

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

By GSC's New Mission? on 10.26.2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By GSC Alumni on 10.26.2018

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

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

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

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

By Opportunity for GSC on 10.23.2018

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

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

By Agreements Matter on 10.22.2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Why Reinvent The Wheel? on 10.22.2018

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

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

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

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

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

By Clarity Is Always Good on 10.18.2018

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

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

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

By Help Understanding on 10.17.2018

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

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

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

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

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

By Levy Supporter on 10.16.2018

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

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“engage in pedantic colloquy?“

No Bill.

By WEKNOWYOU on 10.14.2018

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

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

By Reader7 on 10.14.2018

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

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

By Smart Feller on 10.13.2018

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

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

By Reader7 on 10.12.2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Synthesis is at the high end.

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

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

By Easy Way Out on 10.10.2018

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

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

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

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

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

Could the WV School Board Association help fill the gap?

By Lost Opportunity on 10.07.2018

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

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

By Greg Garvin on 10.04.2018

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

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

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

By Positive Changes Made By New BOE on 10.04.2018

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

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

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

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

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

By Thanks Gilmer BOE on 10.03.2018

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

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

By Transparency matters on 09.30.2018

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

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

By citizen 3 on 09.23.2018

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

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

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

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

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

By Learn What Works From Others on 09.23.2018

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

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

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

By GC--still on state probation? on 09.22.2018

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

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

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

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

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

By Iowa Test For Gilmer on 09.21.2018

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

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

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

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

By County-Specific on 09.21.2018

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

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

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

To blame all problems on teachers is a cruel travesty.

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

By Do Not Blame It All On Our Teachers on 09.21.2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Muddling on 09.19.2018

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

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

By Adrienne (Trimper) Johnson on 09.19.2018

From the entry: 'Ronald J. Vanskiver'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Tell It Like It Is ! on 09.19.2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Why Gilmer BOE? on 09.18.2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

By just more smoke and mirrors on 09.16.2018

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

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

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

By No solution here- on 09.16.2018

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

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

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

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

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

By Look At Red Flags on 09.16.2018

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

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

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

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

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

By Who Minds The Store on 09.15.2018

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

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

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

By More sad ones to be told. on 09.14.2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gilmer County High School.

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

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

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

By Public Demands Answers on 09.13.2018

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

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

By Smart Feller on 09.13.2018

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

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

By Better Times On The Way on 09.12.2018

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

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

By Transparency matters on 09.12.2018

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

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

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

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

By Waiting To See on 09.09.2018

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

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