Here is another one for the books. Results of studies have shown that when kids are crowded into classrooms air quality can go down and learning drops off. Why? Kids become drowsy.
How does this relate to the new GCES? We were told that the ultra modern school had monitors in the class rooms to measure air quality and when needed the HVAC system would kick in to adjust levels to be OK for proper learning.
That claim for automatic air quality adjustments turns out to be untrue.
Who was responsible for the mistake?
Cramming 40 kids into a class room is uncalled for in the first place and air quality problems resulting from it are another community concern for the new $14,000,000 school.
Another one for “you couldn’t make it up” chalk ups under State control.
Sounds like there is a family cemetery on the James’ property and the deceased might have had a will clause to be buried there, but the James’said no way and the mortuary was just following the deceased family’s direction and never asked the James’. Just my opinion. I am sure there is more to this story.
The BO staff should cease its active PR campaign for what should be done to solve severe crowding at the GCES.
When the Cedar Creek school project was terminated after more of the County’s money was wasted, G. Devono informed the community that he, his BO staff, and Williams and Shriver had come up with plans for the GCES.
You see what that group got us to verify importance of the County’s school board to use its newly established full authority to decide on the best way out of the crowding quagmire.
It is to late obvious that if competent planning had occurred when the GCES was designed, kids out there would not be packed in like sardines, and teachers would not be facing the demoralizing conditions thrust on them.
West Virginia Ranked First in the Nation in School Breakfast Participation
The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) announced that for the third year in a row, West Virginia is ranked first in the nation in school breakfast participation. The School Breakfast Scorecard released today ranks states on participation of low-income children in the national School Breakfast Program.
“Children perform at their best when they receive proper nutrition,“ said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano. “We must continue to ensure our children are well fed and ready to learn. Part of our success is that our school breakfast and lunch programs are not viewed as an interruption to the school day, but rather, an integral part of the education process.”
Nationally, on an average school day, 56 low-income children participated in the School Breakfast Program for every 100 participating in the National School Lunch Program, up from 54.3 the previous school year and 50.4 percent in the 2011–12 school year. The report finds that 83.9 low-income children in West Virginia ate school breakfast for every 100 that received free or reduced-price school lunch during the 2015-16 school year. That exceeded FRAC’s goal of reaching 70 low-income children with school breakfast for every 100 who ate school lunch.
“The West Virginia Department of Education has partnered with legislators, community members and schools to ensure that every child receives the nutrition they need to succeed in school,” said Amanda Harrison, the West Virginia Department of Education’s Executive Director of the Office of Child Nutrition. “Better nutrition for West Virginia’s children doesn’t just impact their school performance; it impacts their overall health and wellbeing. We will continue to work closely with schools to remain leaders in breakfast participation, and help our state’s children thrive.”
During the past several years, the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Child Nutrition has focused on increasing school breakfast participation. West Virginia schools provide students with a minimum of two nutritious meals per day and, where feasible, at no cost to the student. As a result of the efforts of Office of Child Nutrition, the federal revenue for the School Breakfast Program in West Virginia has increased by over $6.4 million. Schools have implemented innovative breakfast delivery strategies such as Grab-N-Go Breakfast, Breakfast in the Classroom and Breakfast After First Period. Many schools have doubled their breakfast participation rates, dramatically increasing federal reimbursements and improving food service operations.
About the School Breakfast Scorecard
The School Breakfast Scorecard measures the reach of the School Breakfast Program in the 2015–16 school year — nationally and in each state — based on a variety of metrics, and examines the impact of select trends and policies on program participation. On an average school day, 12.1 million low-income children participated in the School Breakfast Program in school year 2015–16. Participation among low-income children increased by just over 433,000 students, or 3.7 percent, over the previous school year.
WV Board of Education Votes to Reduce Testing in Schools and Move Away from Smarter Balance
The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) took several actions regarding statewide testing at its meeting today. The WVBE voted to eliminate English language arts and mathematics statewide assessments in grades 9 and 10. Beginning during the spring 2017 testing window, high school students will only be tested in grade 11. The change puts West Virginia in line with federal requirements to test at least once at the high school level. The WVBE also voted to move away from the Smarter Balanced assessment beginning with the 2017-18 school year and directed the West Virginia Department of Education to explore options to adopt another statewide assessment.
In response to comments received during a 30-day public comment period on assessment policy 2340, the WVBE voted to remove policy language which would have utilized end-of-course exams in selected high school courses. The public overwhelmingly did not support the use of end-of-course exams within comments received.
The WVBE also approved a change in grade levels for the statewide science assessment from grade 4 to 5 in elementary school and grade 6 to 8 in middle school. Mountain State students will now be tested at the end of each programmatic level in science, resulting in a more accurate depiction of how well students master science skills.
“As a board, we are committed to finding the best assessment solution for the students in West Virginia,” said State Board of Education President Tom Campbell. “With that goal in mind, our board will listen to the public and our state’s educators who always have students’ best interest at heart.”
The two major averages fell on Thursday, ending at five days their streak of finishing in record territory. The Dow ticked up fractionally to keep its streak alive.
A solution for Greece remains elusive
Eurozone countries look likely to miss a self-imposed Monday deadline to agree on aid measures for Greece, which is scheduled to run out of cash in July, when it has to make repayments of more than €6 billion.
EU workers are starting to leave the UK
Data released by the Office for National Statistics on Friday showed the number of European Union workers fell by 50,000 to 2.3 million in the fourth quarter, making for the biggest drop in five years, according to Bloomberg.
UK retail sales missed big
Retail sales climbed 1.5% year-over-year, but that was well shy of the 3.4% YoY growth that economists had forecast as oil and food inflation weighed. The British pound is weaker by 0.6% at 1.2415 versus the dollar.
Singapore’s GDP beats
Data released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed Singapore’s economy grew at a 2.9% year-over-year clip in the fourth quarter, ahead of the 2.5% growth that economists had forecast
Crude oil is sliding
West Texas Intermediate crude oil trades down 0.9% at $53.05 as trade remains trapped in a tight range of $50 to $55 that has been in place since the beginning of December.
Samsung’s chairman is in jail
Jay Y. Lee was arrested Friday in connection to a corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Reuters reports. Lee has denied any wrongdoing.
Stock markets around the world are lower
China’s Shanghai Composite (-0.9%) led the losses in Asia, and France’s CAC (-0.9%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open down 0.1% near 2,343.
Earnings reporting is light
Campbell, Deere, and Fannie Mae are among the names reporting ahead of the opening bell.
U.S. economic data is absent
The Baker Hughes rig count will be released at 1 p.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 3 basis points at 2.42%.
TRUMP RAPS ‘CRIMINAL’ LEAKS, ‘DISHONEST’ MEDIA
His 77-minute news conference amounts to an extended airing of grievances, with the president attempting to find his footing after the rockiest launch in recent memory.
TRUMP SEEKS PAUSE IN LEGAL FIGHT WITH REVISED TRAVEL BAN
Details of the new proposal remain unclear but it might focus solely on foreigners who have never entered the U.S. - instead of green card holders already in the U.S. or who have traveled abroad and want to return.
WHY SOME PARTICIPATE IN ‘DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS’
Immigrants in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston stay home from school and work to show how important they are to the U.S. economy.
WHO’S TRUMP’S NEW CHOICE FOR LABOR SECRETARY
Law school dean R. Alexander Acosta is the president’s nominee for the post, one day after his original pick Andrew Puzder withdrew from consideration.
ISLAMIC STATE SUICIDE BOMBING AT PAKISTAN SHRINE KILLS 75
This is the deadliest attack in the country in more than two years.
HOW MARK ZUCKERBERG PLANS TO DEBUG THE WORLD
His long-term vision for Facebook, laid out in a manifesto, covers community-building, artificial intelligence and support for the news media.
MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO BUYING RIFLES IN SAN BERNARDINO ATTACK
The father of one of the victims angrily denounces the plea deal as a “slap on the wrist.“
SOUTH KOREAN COURT APPROVES ARREST OF SAMSUNG HEIR
Lee Jae-yong, 48, is accused of bribery and other charges in connection to a massive corruption scandal.
WHAT NEW MOSQUITO TRAP OFFERS
A high-tech device is promising to catch the bloodsuckers while letting friendlier insects escape - and even record the exact weather conditions when different species emerge to bite.
WHICH AIRLINE TO BRING BACK FREE MEALS ON SOME U.S. FLIGHTS
Delta says it will start serving food to all passengers on 12 long-haul routes over the next several weeks.
The new iPhone may ditch the Home button in favor of “virtual buttons”
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects the lower portion of the screen to be a “function area” with buttons that could change usage depending on the active app.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey bought $7 million in stock after its value dropped dramatically
He tweeted a link to the SEC filing along with the message “LoveTwitter.“
Verizon is reportedly close to a revised deal that cuts Yahoo’s price by about $250 million
It was reported in December that Verizon wanted to renegotiate the deal after Yahoo announced that 1 billion account credentials had been stolen as far back as 2013.
BlackBerry’s share of the global smartphone market is now officially 0%
In the fourth quarter of 2016, more than 432 million smartphones were sold, and just 207,900 were BlackBerry devices running its own operating system.
Atomico, a European VC fund set up by Skype’s cofounder, has raised $765 million to invest in European startups
Atomico has closed its Atomico IV fund.
Yahoo is telling users that hackers may have accessed their accounts without passwords
The attack was originally announced in September, but has largely been overlooked until now.
Apple once considered building futuristic cybercafes instead of Apple Stores
Steve Jobs eventually decided to put plans for the Apple Cafe on hold because he had the idea for Apple Stores.
“Angry Birds” developer Rovio is laying off around 10% of staff
35 jobs are expected to be lost.
Apple’s CFO explained why its research and development costs increased to $2.8 billion
Luca Maestri said Apple how has so many product lines and future projects that it needs to spend more on R&D.
“Clash of Clans” maker Supercell’s profits grew despite the challenge from “Pokémon Go.“
► Allan McVey Appointed West Virginia Insurance Commissioner
Allan McVey has been appointed as West Virginia’s insurance commissioner.
Governor Jim Justice announced McVey’s appointment Wednesday.
Justice says McVey has 48 years of experience in the insurance industry. McVey currently is vice president and agency manager for BB&T-Carson Insurance Services.
McVey will start his new position on April 01.
► Board Drops Standardized Tests in Grades 9, 10
The West Virginia Board of Education has eliminated standardized math and English language arts tests scheduled for this spring for ninth and 10th graders.
Thursday’s move means that only 11th graders will be tested, putting West Virginia in line with federal requirements to test at least once at the high school level.
In his State of the State address, Governor Jim Justice complained that West Virginia students are overtested with mediocre results.
The board also voted to replace the current Smarter Balanced assessments starting with the 2017-18 school year. Other assessment options will be sought.
The board also removed language that would have required end-of-course testing in high school for selected courses, and changed a statewide science assessment from fourth to fifth grade and from sixth to eighth grade.
► Lewis County Board of Education names Steve Casto as School Superintendent effective July 01, 2017
The position of superintendent of Lewis County schools was offered to Steve Casto during a board of education meeting Wednesday night.
“I have been a part of the school system for 34 years, and I am open to the challenge of taking on the role of superintendent,” Casto said.
Since retiring three years ago, Casto has acted as a substitute principal to remain active in the school system.
Following an executive session and an interview with Casto, the board voted unanimously to offer a contract for a term of two years.
Casto’s annual salary will start at $100,000, with an increase not to exceed 5 percent the second year, board member Sylvia McNeish said.
Casto said he hopes to advance student achievement and take the school system in a positive direction.
“Although I am concerned with the budget and the trending deficit, I am hoping for a smooth transition this July,” he said.
“I am extremely humbled and honored by the unanimous appointment, and I am thankful for those that have supported me, including the personnel and the community as a whole,” Casto said.
Casto will become superintendent on July 01.
► WV State Board of Education returns full control to Fayette County
The West Virginia State Board of Education voted Thursday to return local control of schools to Fayette County, effectively removing the state Board’s control from the only remaining state-run school system.
The Board of Education’s vote was unanimous.
“It means that our local Board, who has worked very hard to address the issues that were in the OEPA audit from 2010, addressed those,” Fayette County School Superintendent Terry George said. “Our local Board has worked hard to bring change to our county.”
The Board’s vote will be ratified once the Fayette County Board of Education drafts a Memorandum of Understanding that is signed by both the local Board of Education and the Department of Education.
Upon completion of that MOU, attention will be turned to George’s future. He was appointed by the State Board of Education in 2015 when the State BoE retained full control in Fayette County. His contract expires in June 30, but George said he wants to be a part of the changes coming in Fayette County.
“I hope to,” he said. “I enjoy the people in Fayette County. I believe in the plan that was developed, and I would certainly like to stay with them and see it progress.”
Part of that plan is the overhaul, renovation, rebuilding, and eventual consolidation of a number of school facilities in Fayette County.
“We are looking forward to moving and progressing with our new CEFP, developing and renovating our new schools, and to provide structures and facilities where our students can receive a quality education,” George said.
The School Building Authority voted late last year to provide Fayette County with $12.6 million dollars in funding to begin overhauling decaying school infrastructure.
George said the Fayette County Board of Education is committed to the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan (CEFP) drafted and adopted last year in spite of some concerns from residents in the Meadow Bridge community.
“I think that it will demonstrate a great deal of confidence in Fayette County that our local Board will be making that decision,” George said.
George said the Fayette County Board of Education is now focusing on education specifics for two new schools as part of the CEFP and renovation projects for Oak Hill High School and Midland Trail High School.
He expects bidding for those projects to begin near the end of 2017.
► Parents to learn how to spearhead local school initiatives
Education officials are planning a conference this fall to help parents lead successful initiatives in their local schools.
The program is being called Families Leading Change.
Program Director Charlotte Norris says the program will teach parents and guardians how to start local initiatives such as promoting fatherhood engagement and creating strong school wellness teams.
Thanks to the Pennsylvania-based Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Norris says the program currently has a $50,000 pot for mini-grants to support such ideas. The grants range from $500 to $2,000 each.
Officials have not yet set the location and time for the fall conference.
The program was spearheaded by the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, part of the Our Children, Our Future anti-child-poverty campaign.
► Workshop Offered on Raising Fish, Vegetables Together
A free workshop is being offered next week on aquaponic growing, a method that allows fish and vegetables to be raised together in a closed system.
West Virginia State University Extension Service is hosting the workshop from 10 a.m. to noon on February 25 at the Buffalo High School Greenhouse in Buffalo.
Extension Agent John Bombardiere will lead the session. He said in a news release the program will cover construction, operation and maintenance of small-scale indoor aquaponics systems. It will also address fish and plant selection; management, design, components and costs; and potential market outlets for producers.
To register, contact Extension Agent Brad Cochran at
► Police find drugs while attempting to issue warrants, arrest Gilmer County man
A Gilmer County man is facing charges of possession with intent to deliver, fleeing, obstructing an officer, and escape.
According to the criminal complaint, officers traveled to the Rosedale area to serve felony warrants on Matthew Sandy for escaping, destruction of property and a domestic battery warrant out of Wood County.
After officers found and identified Sandy, he was placed under arrest for the outstanding warrants. Upon searching Sandy, officers found a glass snorting tube, $58 in cash, three baggies of a substance believed to be meth and another substance believed to be marijuana.
The criminal complaint also said that Sandy attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended. While being transported, Sandy allegedly admitted to selling meth and marijuana when he needed money.
Is Berkeley really looking for the protesters who shut down Yiannopoulos? ‘Black bloc’ protesters shut down the Berkeley speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, but UC Berkeley authorities haven’t made progress in apprehending them. THE WASHINGTON POST
While some drag their feet about getting to the bottom of what happened last year, Vladimir Putin continues to test us: He is poking and prodding to see how far Trump will let him go. The latest provocation: A Russian spy ship is off the coast of Connecticut, near a U.S. Navy submarine base. “The Viktor Leonov (is) not far from a Navy submarine base in Connecticut. The ship was spotted 30 miles south of Groton, Connecticut, but it remained in international waters. (The U.S. territorial boundary extends 12 miles from the coast.) The Russian spy ship was currently ‘loitering’ in the water, a U.S. official said. … The spy ship is armed with surface-to-air missiles, but its main function is to intercept communications and collect data on U.S. Navy sonar capability. … The Pentagon expects the Russian spy ship to sail south along the East Coast and return to the Caribbean.” Fox News
“Deutsche Bank examined Trump’s account for Russia links”: “The scandal-hit bank that loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to [Trump] has conducted a close internal examination of Trum’s personal account to gauge whether there are any suspicious connections to Russia … Deutsche Bank, which is under investigation by the [DOJ] and is facing intense regulatory scrutiny, was looking for evidence of whether recent loans to Trump, which were struck in highly unusual circumstances, may have been underpinned by financial guarantees from Moscow. The internal review found no evidence of any Russia link, but Deutsche Bank is coming under pressure to appoint an external and independent auditor to review its business relationship with Trump. [Bill Pascrell Jr., a Democratic member of the House Ways and Means Committee], said the bank was under federal investigation for aiding Russian money-laundering—a ‘troubling potential conflict.’ He said he would encourage Deutsche to ‘shine a bright light’ on its lending to the president to ‘eliminate any speculation of wrongdoing.’” The Guardian
Women Plan America-Wide General Strike: Will they keep marching? Organizers of the January 21 women’s marches that mobilized millions of American women are now calling for an unprecedented general strike on March 08, a.k.a. International Women’s Day. Called “A Day Without a Woman,“ it urges women to abstain from jobs and domestic duties, block roads and call out “misogynistic politicians and companies.“ Other organizations have called for a general strike tomorrow, while other anti-Trump forces have planned strikes for Presidents’ Day (Monday) and May Day, promising to multiply - or perhaps dilute - the movement’s impact. Bustle
James Comey is looking worse and worse. For his aggressive posture on Clinton emails and his supine take on Trump’s Russian ties. The Washington Post
► ICE Agents Arrest Woman in Domestic Violence Court
Another immigration arrest is making headlines, this time in El Paso, Texas. Six federal agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested an undocumented woman who’d gone to court to get a protective order for domestic violence, reports KFOX. In fact, El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal thinks the woman’s alleged abuser tipped off agents that she’d be in court. “I cannot recall an instance where ICE agents have gone into the domestic violence court, specifically looking for a victim of domestic violence,” she says. The El Paso Times reports on a complicated background: The alleged victim, who is identified as transgender and a citizen of Mexico, appears to have a criminal record that includes domestic violence and has been deported six times.
Bernal, however, says that history is irrelevant to what unfolded in the courthouse last week. “It really was a stunning event,“ she tells the Washington Post. “It has an incredible chilling effect for all undocumented victims of any crime in our community.“ The woman had been living in a shelter for victims of domestic abuse and had been driven to the courthouse by a victim’s advocate. The judge had granted her protective order before the arrest in a hallway outside the courtroom. She is now in El Paso County Jail on an ICE detainer and expected to be deported. A spokeswoman for ICE declined to comment on the arrest, which is likely to heighten unease in the immigrant community in the wake of Trump’s promised crackdown. The woman’s own arrest on domestic violence charges came in 2011, per KFOX, but no details were provided.
► Judge’s Order to Drug-Addicted Mom of 4: No More Pregnancies
A New York judge has ordered a drug-addicted mother of four who has worked as a prostitute not to get pregnant again until she has gained custody of her infant son, the AP reports. Family Court Judge Patricia Gallaher wrote that the order is meant to improve the woman’s chances of being rehabilitated and reunited with the boy “without a newer baby making that less likely to happen.“ All of the woman’s children are being raised by other people. “Society and its problems are changing, especially with the incredible rise in the use of heroin, and this court needs to adjust in response instead of doing the same tired routine which does not solve the obvious problems in so many cases,“ the Rochester judge wrote in the December order. The Democrat & Chronicle newspaper first wrote about the case this week.
Gallaher’s order says the infant was born prematurely in July “and exhibited signs of withdrawal almost immediately after his birth.“ Two previous children were born addicted to drugs and removed from the mother’s care in 2011 and 2014, according to the ruling. A 16-year-old son has been living with his maternal grandmother since 2007 after having access to a hypodermic needle while in his mother’s care. The mother admitted to using crack cocaine, methadone and alcohol while pregnant with her infant son. She also said she had been a prostitute. The order supplemented a finding of neglect against the mother, identified as Brandy F., that set out a plan for her to follow. The judge ordered the Department of Human Services to cover any birth control expenses and promised not to jail the woman if she violates the order and becomes pregnant. The New York Civil Liberties Union is considering assisting with the woman’s appeal.
► Jet Hits Deer on Takeoff, Returns to Airport Leaking Fuel
Authorities say an American Eagle flight struck a deer while taking off from the Charlotte, North Carolina, international airport, forcing it to turn around, the AP reports. The FAA said in a statement that the pilot of Flight 5320 to Gulfport, Mississippi, declared an emergency shortly before noon Wednesday. American Airlines spokesperson Katie Cody said the aircraft was leaking fuel as a result of the deer strike. TV stations showed damage to one of the right front wing flaps of the CRJ700 jet, and emergency personnel sprayed foam on the aircraft as a precaution. No injuries were reported. The 44 passengers aboard the flight deplaned by stairs onto the tarmac and were seen boarding buses to return to the terminal.
► Yosemite’s ‘Firefall’ Appears for Only a Few Minutes Every February
Mother Nature is again putting on a show at California’s Yosemite National Park, where every February the setting sun draws a narrow sliver of light on a waterfall to make it glow like a cascade of molten lava, the AP reports. The phenomenon known as “firefall” draws scores of photographers to a spot near Horsetail Fall, which flows down the granite face of the park’s famed rock formation, El Capitan.
Capturing the sight is a challenge. Horsetail Fall only flows in the winter or spring, when there is enough rain and snow. The sun lights up the fall for only about two minutes at dusk for a few days in February. Some photographers have had success this year as pictures of the glowing falls are showing up on social media.
► Secret Witness on Durst: Wife Was Afraid of Him
The bizarre story of Robert Durst took a new turn this week as the much-talked-about “secret witness” emerged with details on Durst’s first marriage. Per NBC News, 72-year-old Nick Chavin showed up at the real estate heir’s pretrial hearing for his murder case Wednesday—through a back door for security reasons, CBS News reports—saying he was once extremely close to the man he calls “Bobby” and that they were introduced through writer Susan Berman, the woman Durst is accused of killing. Chavin, who said he considered Durst one of his best friends, shed some light on Durst’s marriage to Kathie Durst, who disappeared in 1982 (and whom Durst is also suspected of killing). Prosecutors think Berman was murdered because Durst feared she’d link him to Kathie’s death.
Chavin, who told the New York Times in 2001 that Durst hadn’t killed Kathie, offered testimony in a somewhat different tone Wednesday, noting Kathie had confided in him she feared Durst (though she’d never said Durst had hurt her) and that her husband was “impossible,“ the Los Angeles Times reports. Chavin described the Dursts’ marriage as “strange,“ per NBC, noting Durst told him it was an open relationship and would go with Chavin to clubs looking to hook up. CBS notes Chavin’s testimony was part of a “rare proceeding” in which testimony is gathered from older witnesses who might not live till the trial, as well as witnesses who fear for their safety. A woman named Susan Giordano also testified, per NBC, claiming she’d become Durst’s “closest friend” after meeting in 2002 and had wanted to spend her life with him.
► Push to Stop Town of 12 From Selling 3.5M Beers
A faith ministry in Nebraska has started a fundraising campaign to buy out four stores that sell millions of cans of beer each year in a tiny village next to a South Dakota Indian reservation plagued by alcoholism. The Lakota Hope street ministry in Whiteclay, Neb., is looking to raise at least $6.3 million to close the stores, which are only about 200 yards from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The officially dry reservation is plagued by high rates of fetal alcohol syndrome and encompasses some of the nation’s poorest counties. Whiteclay only has about a dozen residents, yet the four stores sold 3.5 million cans of beer in 2015. The beer stores have remained opened for decades despite state investigations into alleged liquor law violations, lawsuits, and protests that occasionally turned violent, reports the AP.
Ministry founder Bruce BonFleur and his wife have lived in Whiteclay for nearly two decades, feeding people on the streets and launching programs designed to help members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. BonFleur said he has talked with the businesses, and “we believe that the beer store owners are ready to sell out.“ The stores have been facing increasing legal and political pressure, and the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission is set to meet March 7 to discuss the stores’ liquor licenses amid complaints that the village lacks adequate law enforcement. Last month, the local county board with jurisdiction over Whiteclay recommended that the state renew the licenses, partially amid concerns that closing the stores would lead to an increase of intoxicated drivers in Nebraska.
► The Small-Town ‘Suicide’ That Maybe Wasn’t
In a Louisiana town with railroad tracks serving as a literal racial divide comes the story of a young black man who died after supposedly shooting himself on March 3, 2014—a “Houdini suicide” that cops say he pulled off while handcuffed in the back of a police car. But in a longer look for the New York Times, Nathaniel Rich gets into the other side of Victor White III’s fate, which his father, the Rev. Victor White, says was not a self-inflicted death at all, but murder at the hands of law enforcement. In the developments located south of the train tracks in New Iberia, mostly black communities, residents believe the senior White’s assertion that his son was executed by the police. Meanwhile, on the northern side, the mostly white residents are sticking with the police account.
Smack in the middle of the controversy is the town’s sheriff, Louis Ackal, whom Rich describes as “a southern Louisiana politician in the old mold”—meaning hostile to civil liberties groups and the press and tending toward “plain-spoken” language. Ackal had swept into office on the premise of cleaning up crime in New Iberia, as well as pledging to reform the relationship between cops and the community. But White says Ackal was “intimidating” and “arrogant” right from the start, and more importantly, he thinks the police under Ackal’s charge were responsible for his son’s death, prompting him to start investigating “Little Vic’s” demise himself. He also fears his own history may have contributed to the tragedy. Read what White found out, and what he’s tried to do regarding Ackal since, in the Times.
► That Bridge You Drive Over May Be One of 56K Shoddy Ones
Like a bridge over troubled water, or simply like a troubled bridge? According to a construction organization specializing in over-the-water platforms, it’s the latter in the US, with almost 56,000 “structurally deficient” bridges scattered across the country, USA Today reports. And the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s list doesn’t just mention overpasses in remote towns with little budget to remedy the issue: Major bridges like NYC’s Throgs Neck and DC’s Arlington Memorial also have engineers shaking their heads. The nation’s highway system is “woefully underperforming,“ Dr. Alison Premo Black, ARTBA’s chief economist, says of her group’s analysis of DOT data, adding that the entire network is antiquated, lacking in funds, and in “desperate need of modernization.“
Black says 28% of US bridges—which see 185 million crossings by vehicles daily—are more than 50 years old and have never had a major revamp. The report gives each of the bridges a rating of one to nine: nine being the best, anything four and under signifying a structurally iffy span that needs fixes (though USA Today notes that designation doesn’t necessarily make a bridge “imminently unsafe”). The state with the most worrisome bridges is Iowa (nearly 5,000 bridges make the list), followed by Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. One of the biggest issues, per the National Association of Corrosion Engineers: rust, the Washington Post notes. The biggest challenge to addressing the problem is money, with Black noting community and state transport agencies have lacked resources to “keep pace with the nation’s bridge needs.“
► 2 Bodies Found After Girls, 13, Go Missing While Hiking
Two 13-year-old Indiana girls had Monday off from school and were dropped off at a popular hiking spot in Delphi, but didn’t show up when it was time for them to be picked up—and on Tuesday, two bodies were found. Police haven’t officially identified the bodies as Liberty German and Abigail Williams, but indications point to the bodies being those of the missing girls, the Indianapolis Star reports. Police say that foul play is suspected. The girls were dropped off around 1pm Monday and were supposed to be picked up later by family members, who searched the area when the girls didn’t meet them as planned. They were reported missing at 5:30pm, and search parties set out; the bodies were found around 12:15pm the next day near Deer Creek, a half-mile or so upstream from Monon High Bridge, an abandoned railroad truss that spans the creek, where the girls had been dropped off.
The bridge is a popular hiking spot—“a lot of people go out there for a little hiking, a nice day in the woods, get a little exercise,“ a local tells the Lafayette Journal & Courier—and Heavy notes that, even before her daughter went missing, Abigail’s mother had a picture of it as her Facebook cover photo. The last known photo of the girls is a picture of Abigail walking along the bridge, which has no guard rails, that Liberty posted to her Snapchat account around 2:07pm Monday, the Indy Channel reports. Per the Logansport Pharos-Tribune, police say they suspect foul play “because of the nature of the bodies.“ The public information officer for the Indiana State Police says autopsies will be done Wednesday. Though police aren’t identifying the bodies, the school district sent letters home with students Tuesday saying that they are understood to be the girls, and that counseling will be available.
► Assassination of Kim’s Half-Brother Took 10 Seconds
Investigators trying to piece together the stunning assassination of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother believe the murder at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday took just 10 seconds. Kim Jong Nam was preparing to return to his home in Macau from a week in Malaysia when he encountered two attractive women in the airport’s busy Terminal 2, the Washington Post reports, citing interviews with airport staff and police. One woman grabbed Kim while the other sprayed liquid on his face and held a cloth on it for around 10 seconds. The pair then made a leisurely getaway, strolling through the terminal and waiting in line for a taxi, while their victim staggered to a counter seeking help before dying in an ambulance.
The fast-acting poison the women apparently used is typical of North Korean assassination attempts, according to the Post. Results from an autopsy, which North Korean diplomats reportedly tried to prevent, have not been made public. The BBC reports that two women have been arrested in connection with the case: A woman traveling on a Vietnamese passport who was arrested Wednesday, and a suspect with an Indonesian passport arrested Thursday. A police source tells Reuters that the first woman arrested was the suspect seen on CCTV with a shirt reading “LOL.“ Sources in Macau tell the South China Morning Post that Kim moved around his adopted home without bodyguards, but told friends he feared his younger half-brother would have him him killed sooner or later.
► Winston Churchill Was Pretty Sure We Aren’t Alone in the Universe
Winston Churchill had a lot more in common with Fox Mulder than we would have thought. Just weeks before Britain entered WWII, the former prime minister penned an essay titled Are We Alone in the Universe?, the BBC reports. His answer: Probably not. “I for one, am not so immensely impressed by the success we are making of our civilization here that I am prepared to think we are the only spot in this immense universe which contains living, thinking creatures,“ Churchill wrote in the never-published and recently discovered essay. According to Nature, Churchill wrote—years before the discovery of exoplanets—that he was “not sufficiently conceited” to think there aren’t other, possibly life-supporting planets circling stars outside our solar system.
Churchill’s essay, written in 1939 and revised in the 1950s, was discovered last year in Missouri’s National Churchill Museum and handed over to astrophysicist Mario Livio, who wrote about it this week. Livio says Churchill uses the “logic of a scientist” in the essay, which discusses the importance of liquid water and describes what are now known as “Goldilocks” zones, the New York Times reports. That’s not surprising, as Churchill was immensely interested in science in general and space in particular. He was the first British prime minister to have a science adviser, funded telescopes, and even instructed the Royal Air Force to cover up a potential UFO sighting. Livio says it’s “moving” to see a leader involved in science when so many current politicians “shun” it.
► This May Be the Weirdest Request for Directions Ever
Some guys will never ask for directions. And some guys have no qualms about landing a military helicopter in the middle of the road to do so. A post at RT explains the bizarre scene captured on video. The pilot of a Kazakhstani chopper landed his $14 million aircraft on a snowy highway, stopping trucks in their tracks. Soon, the pilot hops out, runs to the first truck, shakes the driver’s hand, has a chat, runs back to his Mi-8 gunship, and takes off. “They were lost,” explains the trucker’s voice over the radio. “He came to ask which way to Aktobe.”
The video is now making the rounds, prompting the Kazakhstan Ministry of Defense to defend its trainee pilot, notes Australia’s 9News. He was apparently sent out as part of a “visual orienteering exercise” in which he was supposed to figure out his way back “by means of human survey.“ It’s not clear, however, whether stopping to ask truckers counts as cheating. “How can you get lost in the steppe?“ another trucker is quoted as asking. “How the hell can you get lost in the steppe?”
► Burger King Cook Fired Over 75 Cents Worth of Food Wins Suit
Usha Ram, who immigrated to Canada from Fiji in 1987 and speaks only basic English, had worked as a cook for Burger King for 24 years when she asked at the end of a shift in 2013 whether she could take a meal home for free because she’d forgotten her wallet. She and her manager were speaking Hindi at the time, and Ram thought the manager agreed. She took a fish sandwich, fries, and a drink with her—and when she came back to work three days later, she was fired over it. Now Ram, who supported a husband with physical disabilities and an adult daughter with mental disabilities with the minimum-wage job, has been vindicated: A Supreme Court judge in British Columbia awarded her approximately $35,000 in lost wages and damages, the CBC reports.
The judge noted that it was clear Ram hadn’t planned to steal, made no attempt to hide what she’d done, and had no history of discipline at her job. The judge also wrote that firing wasn’t a proportionate punishment, given Ram’s long work history and “her economic vulnerability as a 55-year-old woman with little education.“ The National Post reports that the total amount Ram would have owed the restaurant, after applying store policies and employee discounts, was about 75 cents, and that her manager waited to see if Ram would pay it when she came back to work. When she did not, she was called into a meeting and told to leave the premises, despite then offering to pay what she owed. The co-owner called Ram a “good and valued” worker but told the court he has a “zero-tolerance” policy for theft.
► Driver Purposefully Crashes Fancy Tesla to Save Lives
The driver of a $70,000 Tesla Model S put his fancy car on the line to save lives with an impressive maneuver Monday in Germany. Jalopnik reports the driver was on the autobahn near Munich when he saw an out-of-control Volkswagen Passat swerve across the road and repeatedly hit a guardrail. The Tesla driver caught up with the Passat and realized the driver was near unconsciousness, according to the Local. The Tesla driver first called fire services then did something officials would later say “showed incredible courage”: He purposefully crashed his Tesla.
Electrek reports Tesla owners are typically super careful about their cars because dings to the lightweight aluminum bodies can be expensive to repair. Regardless, the driver of the Tesla got in front of the Passat and hit the brakes. The Passat crashed into the back of the Tesla, and both cars slowed to a stop. The Tesla driver’s actions allowed the Passat driver, who was likely having a stroke, to get medical help more quickly and prevented a potentially more dangerous accident. While waiting for fire services to arrive, the Tesla driver administered first aid to the Passat driver, who is now in stable condition. Damage to the vehicles was estimated at more than $10,000, not that the Tesla driver will have to worry about that. After hearing about what happened, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tesla will cover the repairs, according to Inside EVs.
MESSAGE FROM GOVERNOR JUSTICE TO WEST VIRGINIANS ON S.O.S BUDGET
Governor Jim Justice released a video message to the people of West Virginia that focuses on his Save Our State budget and his roads plan to create 48,000 jobs. Governor Justice spells out how his S.O.S plan can fix the budget crisis and put West Virginia on a path to prosperity.
The Governor asks the citizens of West Virginia to make their voices heard and contact their legislators to support his plan.
WEST FORK CONSERVATION DISTRICT Education Programs and Scholarship Opportunities
The West Fork Conservation District has a busy schedule already planned for educational events to take place in 2017.
Eligible students from grades K-12 are encouraged to look at some of these programs, and see if they may be of interest to them. Information about these programs will be going out to Principals, Guidance Counselors, and select science teachers in schools located in Lewis, Doddridge, Gilmer and Harrison Counties.
Included in this news release is a list of the various programs to take part in, and a brief description of each along with their deadlines and dates to remember!
Please call the WFCD office at 304.627.2160 x 4, for additional information on our programs.
Scholarship Opportunity for Seniors: The West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts awards nine $500 college scholarships to graduating high school seniors who plan on majoring in an agriculture related field. Students must submit applications to their Conservation District Office by March 6th, 2017. The recipients will be notified in May. Applications are available at your Guidance Counselor’s office or the WFCD office.
Grassland Evaluation Contest: All high school 4-H and FFA students may compete at the Grassland Contest. It is held in conjunction with the Beef Expo on April 7th, 2017 at Jackson’s Mills. The contest covers the topics of grassland condition, soil interpretation, wildlife habitation and plant identification. Scholarships are awarded to top winners. The registration form can be found at wvca.us/education/grassland_contest.cfm.
Sixth Grade Conservation Field Day: Gilmer County holds a special field day for all sixth grade students. It is scheduled for April 25th, 2017 at Cedar Creek State Park. Stations are set up covering soils, forests, wildlife, oil and gas environmental concerns, beekeeping, streams, etc. It is a full day of learning for students. If your school is interested in having a conservation field day, contact the WFCD for more information.
Samara Exam: The Samara Exam is a test that measures the knowledge students have attained about the environment up through the 6th grade. The test is administered in March or April at the teacher’s convenience. Teachers, if you are interested in conducting this fun activity, you can use the links found on our website at wvca.us, under the education programs tab, or contact the WFCD for more information. It’s fun, educational and free!
Envirothon Training Day: This workshop is for teams of 9th-12th grade students to explore current environmental and earth sciences within the framework of five disciplines: aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and a current environmental topic. The contest will be held at the Doddridge County Park and will help teams prepare for the field competition to be held on April 20th & 21st, 2017 at Camp Caesar at Cowen, WV. The team with the highest score from the field competition will become the state champion and will represent West Virginia in the NCF Envirothon. You will find all needed information and can register your team at wvca.us under the education tab or contact the WFCD office.
Forestry Contest: The Upper Ohio, Little Kanawha and West Fork Conservation Districts in conjunction with the West Virginia Division of Forestry will again be holding their annual Forestry Contest. This year it will be held in the Upper Ohio Conservation District area. It will be based on WV career development events for forestry. FFA teachers will receive announcements in the near future detailing the contest.
Tri District Land Judging: Land judging is a program to help students learn about the different types of soils and their characteristics and how to judge depth, erosion, slope and permeability. They learn how to use these factors to classify land and learn some of the conservation practices needed to maintain or improve lands. The winning regional Vo-Ag teams will advance to the State Vo-Ag contest. The winning local 4-H groups attend the State 4-H contest. The winning teams from the State Vo-Ag and State 4-H contests are eligible to participate in the National Land Judging Contest in Oklahoma the following Spring. The District Contest is scheduled for May 11th, 2017. Information will be forthcoming to Tri-District Extension Agents, FFA Instructors and Conservation Districts regarding the dates, locations and times.
Employers Invited to Attend Annual GSC Career Fair
The annual Glenville State College Career Fair is scheduled for Tuesday, February 21, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. in the Mollohan Campus Community Center Ballroom.
The GSC Career Fair provides area business representatives with opportunities to meet many talented students who will be graduating in May and other recent college graduates who are ready to begin their careers. All prospective employers who provide students with employment opportunities upon graduation, summer employment, or internship positions are invited to participate. Many GSC students always attend the fair, and they look forward to learning about possible employment opportunities.
For more information about the 2017 GSC Career Fair or to reserve space for businesses, government agencies, universities, non-profit entities, or other organizations, contact 304.462.6155.