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WV Lottery - 10.11.10

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Civility War: Ex-Congressmen Ask Peers to Play Nice

Civility and Congress — those are two words that often don’t seem to go together — especially in this season of high-octane, highly negative political ads.

But a group of 130 former members of Congress say it doesn’t have to be that way. And this past week, they sent a letter to every current congressional candidate asking them to play nice.

The group, dubbed Former Members of Congress for Common Ground, is led by John Porter, a Republican from Illinois who left the House in 2001; and David Skaggs, a Colorado Democrat whose final term ended two years earlier.

The two tell NPR’s Guy Raz that they teamed up after Porter attended a panel on civility that included Skaggs. Inspired by the barrage of attack ads in the current campaign, they came up with the letter-writing campaign.

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‘Inside The Beltway’ Had An Upside
Skaggs attributes the incivility on Capitol Hill today to “a workweek in Congress that doesn’t give these men and women very much time to get to know one another as people rather than as political opponents.“
“Over the last 30 years or so,“ he says, “the practice of a new member of Congress moving his or her family to Washington has really gone away.“
So that effort to stay “outside the Beltway” means congressional spouses and families don’t often mix, he says. And spending that kind of time together outside of the day-to-day work environment is essential.


Republicans and Democrats after Hours
Porter remembers getting to know members of Congress from both sides of the aisle during friendly dinners and drinks outside of the office, in addition to the various events and meetings where both Republicans and Democrats worked side by side.

Skaggs goes on to explain that during those years, they also had what he refers to as “admittedly contrived occasions” such as bipartisan House retreats where members of Congress and their families would get together to socialize. The result was “magical,“ says Skaggs.

“When a member from one side of the aisle and another encountered each other with their young children in their arms — suddenly that became the commonality and the basis for getting along, and other things kind of became secondary, as they ought to be.“

Porter says that during his time in office he never felt ostracized by his fellow Republicans for socializing with Democrats. In fact, it was something that was encouraged and happened regularly.

He cites a story told to him by fellow Republican Bob Michel, former House Minority Leader from Illinois. When Michel was Minority Leader, he worked alongside staunch Democrats Tip O’Neill and Tom Foley (each a former House Speaker). Michel fought against them when he had to, but then went out drinking with them afterward.

The lesson, Porter says, is to “be forceful about your position, but have respect for the other side and get to know them, because you ultimately have to work with them. Because if you don’t work with them, these problems never get solved.“


The Gloves Are Off
Porter believes that the way campaigns are run today is “an embarrassment to our country and to democracy.“

“Their job is to come to Washington and govern,“ he says of congressional candidates, “not to come and espouse a philosophy or a party position on everything.“

To many, the idealistic principles that both Porter and Skaggs write of in their letter to Congress are the stuff that Capra films are made of. Skaggs himself admits to not knowing if their plea for civility will ultimately fall on deaf ears, but both former congressmen think it’s their duty to try.

~~  By NPR - October 10, 2010 ~~

GRANTS AND FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES - 10.11.10

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IRA: Regie Routman Teacher Recognition Award
The International Reading Association Regie Routman Teacher Recognition Award honors an outstanding elementary teacher of reading and language arts dedicated to improving teaching and learning through reflective writing about his or her teaching and learning process.
Maximum award: $1,000.
Eligibility: regular classroom elementary teachers of reading and language arts grades K-6; must be IRA members.
Deadline: November 01, 2010.


National Gardening Association: Healthy Sprouts Awards
The National Gardening Association recognizes outstanding youth programs via the Healthy Sprouts Awards.
The awards support school and youth garden programs that teach about nutrition and the issue of hunger in the United States.
Maximum award: $500 gift certificate to Gardener’s Supply.
Eligibility: schools or organizations that plan to garden with children between the ages of three and 18.
Deadline: November 01, 2010.


National Federation of Independent Business: Young Entrepreneur Awards
The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Awards program raises awareness among the nation’s youth of the critical role that private enterprise and entrepreneurship play in the building of America.
Maximum award: $10,000 in tuition assistance.
Eligibility: high school seniors.
Deadline: December 15, 2010.

Shentel Adds to Cable Holdings

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Shentel continues to expand its cable holdings, signing an agreement last week to acquire systems in West Virginia and Maryland from Suddenlink Communications.

The systems pass about 7,000 homes near Salem, WV, and Oakland, MD.

The closing, which is subject to regulatory approvals, should occur within 90 to 120 days.

The deal is Shentel’s second cable acquisition in the past two months.

In August, it completed the purchase of JetBroadband’s holdings in southside Virginia and southern West Virginia, a footprint that includes the university towns of Farmville and Radford as well as the growing communities of Bedford and Smith Mountain Lake.

With each new cable acquisition, Shentel has invested in upgrades to the network, to include additional video options, high definition, DVR, greater Internet speeds and voice services.

Locally Shentel offers service in Gilmer, Braxton, and Lewis Counties.

Election 2010: Last Day to Register

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If you are planning to vote there is a crucial deadline approaching.

You have just two days left to register to vote—your registration must be postmarked by this Tuesday, October 12, 2010.

If there has been any change in your status or eligibility since the last election—did you move? Change your name? Turn 18?—You likely need to register in order to cast a ballot this fall.

Legislative Update – by – Delegate Brent Boggs - House Majority Leader - 10.11.10

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It’s no secret that a supportive spouse and family are of paramount importance when it comes to any job, especially one with the demands of public service and the added stress of the railroad with its chaotic, unpredictable schedule.  I’m blessed that Jean is a great asset in both of these areas.

When she mentioned several months ago that she’d like to visit historic Savannah, Georgia and take advantage of a Bed and Breakfast gift certificate we received from Jessica, Paul and the grandsons last Christmas, we scheduled a week of my railroad vacation time in between work and legislative meetings.  So, last week we traveled and visited some sites in Georgia and South Carolina and also made a stop on the way home for a few days in Charleston, SC to celebrate grandson Gavin’s third birthday.  If you happened to call our home last week and didn’t leave a message, please call again.

As I write this week’s column, we arrived home safely early Sunday evening and Jean is helping me pack to head back to the Capitol for October interim meetings this week.

The first meeting I have each interim is the Legislative Oversight Committee on WV Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority.  Quite a lengthy title, I believe it is one of the most important interim committees that meet each month.  The committee has oversight into the workings of the three branches correctional branches under the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety:  Regional Jails, Division of Corrections (i.e. Mt. Olive, Huttonsville, etc.) and the Division of Juvenile Services.

One area of great concern is the issue of overcrowding in regional jails.  As of early September, a total of 4,260 inmates were in the ten regional jails throughout WV.  Of this number, 1,607 are state-sentenced inmates; and 191 are federal inmates.  This is nearly 1,800 inmates that should be housed in either WV Division of Corrections prisons or Federal prisons.. It also represents nearly 1,500 inmates more than all 10 regional jails were designed.  Further, all of the regional jails are in excess of their original design capacity.  Locally, Central Regional Jail is 105 inmates over design capacity.  Southern Regional Jail is 263 inmates over capacity – almost double the number for which it was designed.  System wide, nearly 900 bunks have been added in regional jails, but this still leaves a shortage of 371 bunks throughout the regional jail system.

While the Division of Corrections and the federal DOC must pay a per diem to Regional Jails for housing inmates that should be in their facilities, this places demands on the budget of the Division of Corrections.  It also has resulted in increased staffing, scheduling and overtime costs at the regional jails.  In spite of all the adverse circumstances, administrators, officers and staff at the facilities are doing a remarkable job.

In short, the prison population is exploding at all levels - local, state and federal.  And, the costs are going to continue to increase, too.  It is projected that a second state maximum security prison would cost between $250 and $350 million to construct, not including staffing and other operational costs.  However, many of the regional jails were designed to accommodate expansion by adding additional units or “pods” that could house additional inmates.  Construction costs would be a fraction of the cost of a new prison.

That is just an overview.  One thing is clear: without changes in current sentencing guidelines, the number of incarcerated will continue to grow.  Projections for ten years in the future are not sustainable with the current infrastructure and budget.  Demands on the system will require thousands more in cell space, staff and funding.

As we begin to work the budget in the next few weeks and months, it will continue to be one of the most challenging accounts in the state budget.

Finally, in reference to Jean and me spending a few days at a bed and breakfast this week, I want to mention a great nationwide initiative for veterans, as highlighted in a recent Associated Press news article in the Charleston Gazette.  A West Virginia B & B innkeeper who started letting military families stay free for Veterans Day in 2008 has recruited nearly 400 inns across the United States and Canada as part of an initiative – “B&Bs for Vets” to offer free rooms this fall.  According to the article, it is a way to thank active and retired military members for their service and to raise awareness of the bed-and-breakfast industry.  The article further states that as of last month, nearly 400 independently owned inns had signed on to offer free rooms Nov. 10, the night before Veterans Day.  The full article can be found at the following link:  wvgazette.com/News/201009280327

What a great initiative.  I’m going to send the article link to the inn where we stayed in Savannah, in hopes they will participate as well.  I’m not surprised, however, that this initiative had its beginnings in West Virginia, where our citizens strive to honor and appreciate our veterans and their service to America.

How to Contact
Please send address your inquiries to the Capitol Office at: Building 1, Room 226-M, Charleston, WV 25305.  Or, call the Capitol office at 304.340.3220 or my Assistant to the Majority Leader, Mr. Tom Bennett at 304.340.3262 or fax to 304.340.3213.  If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.

For those with Internet access, my e-mail address is “Boggs34@aol.com”. You also may obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and other information from the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/.  If you write or leave a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide.  Additional information, including agency links and state government phone directory may be found at www.wv.gov and on the Facebook site of the West Virginia Legislature.

Conclusion
Remember to thank a veteran for their service to our nation and continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Until next week – take care.

Nearly $700 Million Tax Cuts for 180,000 People in WV

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Healthcare consumer advocates Families USA say the new healthcare reform law will mean a huge tax break for working people – $110 billion’s worth in 2014. this is good news.

“This is the largest middle income tax cut in history, not only significant extra cash in people’s pocket books, it will also ease the burden of families’ growing healthcare costs.”, says Executive Director Ron Pollack.

Republicans in Congress have attacked the reform as a wasteful, big government program. But Pollack notes the Congressional Budget Office found just the opposite, that the plan will save a $130 billion in the first 10 years by making the healthcare system more efficient. He says the savings will increase after that.

“In the second 10 years it will reduce the deficit by more than one trillion dollars. The legislation creates some very important efficiency particularly in respect to some of the public programs.”

Pollack says the tax cuts are fully refundable, which means people will get money back even if they don’t owe any taxes.

He emphasizes the tax breaks will go directly to the people who need them — the working middle class.

“The overwhelming majority eligible for the tax credit are in working families, and the overwhelming majority are in families where the breadwinner works full time.”

Pollack reports nearly 180,000 people in West Virginia will get tax cuts totaling nearly $700 million.

And since it will be part of the subsidies built into the new healthcare exchanges, people will get the money immediately when signing up for health insurance, and don’t have to wait until they file their taxes.

~~  Dan Heyman, Public News Service – WV ~~

G-Fin™: U.S.A.: Economy Brief – 10.08.10

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Employment Situation
Nonfarm payroll employment edged down (-95,000) in September, and the unemployment rate held at 9.6%.

Private-sector employment continued to trend up modestly (+64,000). Government employment continued to fall (-159,000), partly reflecting the loss of 77,000 temporary Census 2010 jobs.

In September, 6,000 temporary decennial census workers remained on the federal government payroll.

Elsewhere in the government sector, local government employment fell by 76,000.

Within the private sector, health care employment continued to expand (+24,000) in September, primarily in ambulatory health care services.

Employment services added 28,000 jobs; most of the gain was in temporary help services.

Employment in food services rose by 34,000 over the month. Other major service-providing industries showed little change.

Manufacturing employment was little changed (-6,000) in September and, on net, has shown essentially no change since May.

In the first 5 months of this year, factory job growth had averaged 27,000 per month.

Elsewhere in the goods-producing sector, construction employment edged down by 21,000 in September but, on net, has changed little since February.

Mining employment continued to trend up in September.

Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls were up by 1 cent over the month to $22.67.

Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.7%.

From August 2009 to August 2010, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 1.2%.

Most measures from the survey of households showed little or no movement over the month.

The jobless rate was unchanged at 9.6%. Of the 14.8 million unemployed, 41.7% had been jobless for 27 weeks or more in September, about the same as in August.

The employment-population ratio held at 58.5% in September.

Among the employed, however, the number of involuntary part-time workers rose by 612,000 over the month to a series high of 9.5 million.

In keeping with standard practice, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is announcing the preliminary estimate for the next benchmark revision to payroll employment.

The benchmark process annually revises the payroll surveys sample-based employment estimates to incorporate universe employment counts derived primarily from unemployment insurance tax reports.

Preliminary tabulations indicate that the estimate of total nonfarm payroll employment for March 2010 will require a downward revision of approximately 366,000, or three-tenths of one percent.

The average of the absolute values of the benchmark revisions over the prior 10 years is three-tenths of one percent.

The final benchmark revision will be incorporated into the payroll survey with the publication of January data on February 04, 2011. Historical data series will be revised at that time.

In summary, total nonfarm payroll employment edged down in September. Private-sector employment continued on a modest upward trend, while government employment decreased.

The unemployment rate remained at 9.6%.


Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey
There were 3.2 million job openings on the last business day of August 2010.

The job openings rate was unchanged over the month at 2.4%.

The hires rate (3.2%) and the separations rate (3.2%) were little changed.

Gilmer County FRN Meeting – 10.13.10

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The Gilmer County Family Resource Network Board of Directors will hold their regularly scheduled monthly meeting at the Gilmer County Health Department Conference Room on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 4:00 PM.

The first 30 minutes of the meeting will be devoted to work group discussion of final, potential downtown park changes.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

For more information call: 304.462.7545

Why Do We Allow the Mudslinging and Dirty Politics?

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Are you not tired of turning on your TV just to hear some politician telling you how bad his/her opponent is?

Why can’t the candidates just get out and tell us what they are going to do and what they stand for instead of making up stories telling us what their opponent did wrong?

Why can’t they just stop all the backbiting and dirty tricks?

Do we allow it because we are so wrapped up in the game of dirty politics and letting the crooks brainwash us?

We tend to selectively pick and choose these ads depending on who we like and who we don’t like. But we fail to recognize the real consequences and the fact that we are just being used as pawns.

Are we that desperate for hearing their soap opera?

Can we not see that they are in it just for them and not us?

The practice will go on only if people allow it.

If these politicians are really good, then they should not resort to such tactics.

Are we not a civilized society?

Isn’t there a limit on how much of these Ads should run on TV?

Do they think we are stupid and not getting their dirty message? Apparently we must make them think so!

Should we not see or hear something positive and refreshing?

It is sad the voters are tolerating it while the capitalist are cashing in on the occasion.

We have not seen a single positive Ad! Have you?

Week #7 WVIAC Football – 2010

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WVIAC Standings:
1. Shepherd 6-0, 4-0
1. WV Wesleyan 6-0, 3-0
3. West Liberty 3-2, 2-1
3. Glenville State 3-3, 2-1
5. Concord 4-2, 2-2
5. Charleston 3-3, 2-2
7. Seton Hill 2-5, 1-3
8. WV State 0-5, 0-3
8. Fairmont State 2-4, 0-4


October 09, 2010 Results:
Charleston 35, Fairmont State 27
Seton Hill 48, West Virginia State 20
Shepherd 49, Concord 35
West Liberty 47, Glenville State 21
West Virginia Wesleyan 58, Livingstone 3


October 16, 2010 Schedule:
West Virginia Wesleyan at Shepherd 12:00 PM
Seton Hill at Charleston 1:00 PM
Fairmont State at UNC Pembroke 1:00 PM
West Liberty at West Virginia Wesleyan 1:30 PM
Glenville State at Concord 3:00 PM


Saturday’s Pioneer Standouts:
Antwan Stewart  had five catches for 110 yards.
Wes Hanson tallied a pair of touchdown receptions.

GSC Fine Arts: Lori Doolittle - “Recent Work”

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Region VI Workforce Investment “Executive” Board Meeting - 10.14.10

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The Region VI Workforce Investment “Executive” Board will meet Thursday, October 14, 2010 from 10:30 to 11:30 AM at the Region VI Workforce Investment Board Office located at 17 Middletown Road in White Hall, WV.

Area Counties include: Braxton, Doddridge, Gilmer, and Lewis.

For more information about the meeting contact Barbara J. DeMary at 304.368.9530.

Community Colleges: West Virginia’s Best Kept Secret

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This past week, Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, hosted the first ever White House Summit on community colleges. Dr. Biden, a community college professor, has seen first hand the impact a community college education can have on people’s lives; particularly for our most disadvantaged citizens, single parents, and working adults. All are struggling and striving for a better quality of life.

Much has been written about the United States falling behind other countries in the proportion of our population with a college degree, and community and technical colleges are being challenged to be a major contributor in the effort to meet the goal of the United States again having the best educated and competitive workforce in the world. West Virginia is no different; if we are to be competitive in an increasingly competitive global economy, it is imperative that we raise the education and skill levels of the state’s current and future workforce.

West Virginia has ten community and technical colleges with twenty-two campuses that serve over 36,000 for-credit students per year. We have the lowest tuition rates of all segments of higher education and provide opportunities for students to pursue transfer, technical and certificate degrees. In addition, community and technical colleges provide skill upgrade training to incumbent workers enabling West Virginia businesses to become more competitive.

Recognizing the importance of community colleges, Governor Joe Manchin and the West Virginia Legislature has provided unprecedented support for community colleges over the past few years. Legislation was passed creating a fully independent community college system, funding was provided for the first ever capital bond project dedicated totally to community and technical college facilities, and funding was secured to construct two state-of-the-art advanced technology centers to provide education and training for high-demand technical occupations. This commitment will equip West Virginians with the workplace skills and expertise that will be necessary for success in the emerging jobs of the future. This investment will pay dividends through increased job opportunities and enhanced economic development efforts.

It is said that community colleges are “one of America’s best-kept secrets”, and that is certainly true in West Virginia. The West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education, the state-level coordinating board for community and technical college education, and our ten community college presidents want to change that. We want all West Virginians to know a real opportunity exists for a better quality of life and the American Dream can still become a reality through the attainment of higher levels of education and increased workplace skills offered through our community and technical colleges. As the nation focuses on community colleges and the role they play in moving the country back to international education prominence; West Virginia should do the same.

James L. Skidmore, Chancellor
Community and Technical College System of West Virginia

CGCC: SkillsUSA Fundraiser‏

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The SkillsUSA club at the Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center will be washing, waxing, detailing automobiles for a fundraiser to send students to Skills competition for the upcoming year.

The price is $ 25 for wash, $25 for a Wax, or $25 for a inside detail.

$75 for a Complete wash,wax, and inside detail.

For appointments please call 304.354.6151.

Nascar: Pepsi Max 400 - Fontana - Race 30 of 36 - 2010

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Winner:
Tony Stewart - Chevrolet - Office Depot / Old Spice

Tony Stewart is back in the Chase. He pulled away on the final restart and went on to win at Fontana. Still, Jimmie Johnson finished third and increased his lead.

Top 10:
01 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice
02 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet The Hartford
03 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s / Jimmie Johnson Foundation
04 09 Kasey Kahne Ford Budweiser
05 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Tornados
06 05 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest / Go Daddy.com
07 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil
08 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office
09 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Pepsi Max / DuPont
10 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine

Driver Standings - Pepsi Max 400:
01 Jimmie Johnson 5673 Leader
02 Denny Hamlin 5637 -36
03 Kevin Harvick 5619 -54
04 Jeff Gordon 5588 -85
05 Tony Stewart 5566 -107
06 Kurt Busch 5533 -140
07 Carl Edwards 5511 -162
08 Jeff Burton 5496 -177
09 Kyle Busch 5486 -187
10 Greg Biffle 5458 -215

Poll Result: Internet Privacy

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~~  Comments ~~

•  Only with warrant.
•  If you have nothing to hide, why not?
•  If done in the interest of national security.
•  Yes, provided that there is just cause related to violating federal laws.
•  This is an invasion of privacy.
•  NO, it is an invasion of my privacy.
•  Double plus not good.

Movie Box Office - 10.10.10

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This Week Last Week Title Week #
1 1 The Social Network 2
2 N Life as We Know It 1
3 N Secretariat 1
4 2 Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole 3
5 N My Soul to Take 1
6 4 The Town 4
7 3 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps 3
8 5 Easy A 4
9 7 Case 39 2
10 6 You Again 3

Bon Appétit: Beef Stroganoff

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs lean beef stew meat, cut into 1” cubes
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 C fat-free sour cream
1 can (10.75 oz) fat-free cream of mushroom soup
1 C water

Directions:
Place all ingredients except sour cream in 4-quart or larger slow cooker.
Stir to combine.
Cover.
Cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
Stir in sour cream.
Cover.
Cook on high a few more minutes, or until heated through.
Serve over hot cooked egg noodles and garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Daily G-Eye : 10.11.10

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In Glenville - Gilmer County
~~  By Gary Collins ~~


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