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Did You Know?  04.21.15

The Gilmer Free Press

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:


UN SAYS MIGRANT BOAT DISASTER IS THE WORST ON RECORD IN MEDITERRANEAN

The United Nations refugee agency estimates more than 800 people drowned when a boat packed with refugees trying to reach Europe sank on Saturday.


POPE ACCEPTS RESIGNATION OF U.S. BISHOP WHO FAILED TO REPORT SUSPECTED ABUSER

Bishop Robert Finn in Missouri had waited six months before notifying police about the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, whose computer contained lewd photos of young girls.


WHO MIGHT EMBARK ON POLITICAL EXPERIMENT

Jeb Bush is preparing to delegate many of the nuts-and-bolts tasks of seeking the White House to a political organization that can raise unlimited amounts of cash.


MINNESOTA MEN CHARGED WITH TRYING TO JOIN ISLAMIC MILITANTS

Authorities describe the accused as friends in the state’s Somali community who recruited and inspired each other and met secretly to plan their travels.


OUSTED EGYPT PRESIDENT GETS 20 YEARS IN JAIL

The case stems from violence outside the presidential palace in December 2012, when Mohammed Morsi’s supporters attacked opposition protesters, sparking clashes that killed at least 10 people.


WHAT’S NEXT IN BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING TRIAL

Jurors are getting ready to hear evidence on what Tsarnaev’s punishment should be - life in prison or the death penalty.


U.S. COUPLE SENTENCED TO PRISON IN BALI SUITCASE KILLING

An Indonesian court rules that Heather Mack and Tommy Schaefer intentionally killed Sheila von Wiese-Mack while vacationing last August.


REPLACING CARPET AT JERUSALEM SHRINE REVEALS RELIGIOUS RIFT

A routine remodeling project at the Dome of the Rock sparks a verbal holy war over the hilltop compound, which is revered by Jews and Muslims.


WHY MCDONALD’S IS STILL A POWERHOUSE

Rivals can only envy its massive reach, marketing power, the popularity of its breakfast menu and the new leadership.


U.S.-CUBA TIES CHALLENGE BASEBALL PLAYERS

Learning English, finding their way in a new country and dealing with dual pressures of pro sports present daunting adjustments for ballplayers arriving from the island.


CAPTAIN, CREW MEMBER OF CAPSIZED MIGRANT SHIP ARRESTED

The captain faces a charge of reckless multiple homicide in the sinking of the smugglers’ ship, which may have killed as many as 900 in the Mediterranean.


U.S. AIRCRAFT CARRIER HEADS TO WATERS OFF RESTIVE YEMEN

The USS Theodore Roosevelt will join other American warships poised to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying arms to Iran-backed Shiite rebels, U.S. officials say.


HILLARY CLINTON DISMISSES QUESTIONS ON FAMILY FOUNDATION

The Democratic presidential candidate pushes back against accusations that foreign governments that made donations to the Clintons’ charity received preferential treatment from the State Department.


BALTIMORE INVESTIGATES SUSPECT’S DEATH IN POLICE CUSTODY

An autopsy shows the man suffered a “significant spinal injury” that led to his death - but how it happened is unclear, authorities say.


WHICH THREATENED SPECIES IS MAKING A COMEBACK

Humpback whales were listed as endangered in 1970 - but since then the mammals’ numbers have increased in many areas.


TRIAL OF AUSCHWITZ GUARD TESTS NEW LINE OF GERMAN LEGAL THINKING

Prosecutors are arguing that anyone who was a death camp guard can be charged as an accessory to murders committed there - even without evidence of involvement in a specific death.


HOW HIGH SCHOOL PROMS ARE CHANGING

Once a night for dressed-up romance, proms are evolving into a platform for good deeds and social change.


DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EXPOSE NETS PULITZER FOR NEWSPAPER

The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, shed light on a legal system in which first-time offenders face light discipline.


WHO’S LATEST CELEBRITY TO ENTER MARIJUANA MARKETPLACE

Willie Nelson’s new brand, “Willie’s Reserve,“ will be grown and sold in Colorado and Washington, where recreational pot is legal.


TIM TEBOW SIGNS WITH PHILADELPHIA

The QB, who worked out for the Eagles last month, hasn’t played in the NFL since 2012 with the New York Jets.

West Virginia Arrests   15042101

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BERKELEY COUNTY MAN ARRAIGNED AFTER HEROIN DEATH

MARTINSBURG, WV – A Berkeley County man was arraigned during a federal court hearing Monday for allegedly causing the death of a woman who purchased heroin from him.

The woman died after using heroin she possibly purchased from Michael Jose Roberts, 62, of Martinsburg, in May 2014.

Earlier this month, a federal grand jury returned an indictment on Roberts. He faces heroin distribution charges with up to 20 years, or possible life behind bars, and a fine of up to $1 million.

Roberts is scheduled to go on trial May 16.

The Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, and the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office are leading the investigation.


POLICE SEEK HELP IN LOCATING LEWIS COUNTY ROBBERY SUSPECT

WESTON, WV – Authorities in Lewis County are seeking the public’s regarding a robbery that took place earlier this month.

According to Deputy E. W. Clark with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department, on April 12th at approximately 1:20 AM, a white male wearing a black mask, tan gloves, a black hooded coat, blue jeans and white tennis shoes entered the Quality Inn located along U.S. Highway 33 in Weston.

The suspect allegedly threatened an employee, jumped over the counter, took approximately $290 from the cash drawer and then fled the scene in a dark colored Jeep.

The employee was unharmed and able to alert authorities by hitting the silent alarm.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department at 304.296.8251.

West Virginia Accidents   15042101

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FATAL RV FIRE UNDER INVESTIGATION IN MARSHALL COUNTY

MCMECHEN, WV – An Arkansas man was killed in an RV fire in Marshall County on Sunday.

The fire broke out just before noon on Industrial Park Road in McMechen.

McMechen police said Matthew Hall, 30, of Concord, AR, was found dead when the fire department arrived.

Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire. Police Chief Allan Hoffer said there was minimal damage to the mobile home.

“There’s an area which did burn, but there is very little exterior damage. It wasn’t burned to the ground,” said Hoffer.

Hoffer said Hall was in the area for work. He said it is likely Hall worked in the oil and gas industry.


ATV ACCIDENT SENDS ONE TO UHC

HARRISON COUNTY - At approximately 5:38 PM Monday evening, emergency personnel responded to an ATV accident with entrapment in Glen Falls Road in Arlington.

The accident happened on the Rails for Trails in Harrison County.

The driver of the ATV is female.

The driver lost control of the vehicle and rolled over the hill.

She was transported to United Hospital Center by ground with non-life threatening injuries.

Summit Park Fire Department, Nutter Fort Fire Department, and Harrison County EMS were on scene.


SCHOOL BUS FULL OF CHILDREN REAR-ENDED IN GREENBRIER COUNTY

RONCEVERTE, WV – Police say a man crashed into a school bus full of children Monday morning in Greenbrier County.

The man, 18-year-old Andrew Davis, is charged with driving under the influence causing injury. The crash occurred near the entrance to Eastern Greenbrier Middle School. Superintendent Sallie Dalton said the students aboard the bus were examined by both EMS personnel and the school nurse.

No serious injuries occurred, although some students suffered minor neck injuries and went home from school with their parents.

U.S.A. News   15042101

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A 120-POUND WOMAN ATE THREE 72-OUNCE STEAKS, PLUS SIDES, IN 20 MINUTES

Amarillo, Texas - The Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo, Texas, has something called the “72oz Steak Rules“: If a customer can consume a steak that size in an hour, plus sides consisting of a shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad and a roll with butter, without getting up from the table or receiving any help, he or she gets the $72 charge refunded.

The Gilmer Free Press


Turns out, quite a few folks have brought a Texas-sized appetite into the place and accomplished that feat, including some competitive eaters. Joey Chestnut, the reigning king of competitive eating, had held the crown for fastest time, but a relatively slight woman named Molly Schuyler demolished it last year, polishing off the entire meal in under five minutes.

Then she immediately started on another 72-ouncer, but Schuyler, a 34-year-old mother of four, took her time with this one, completing the meal in just under 10 minutes. “If there’s a zombie apocalypse, I want to stay away from this girl,” restaurant owner Danny Lee told the Amarillo Globe-News.

However, that was in 2014, and this year, The Big Texan upped the stakes. The restaurant offered the 120-pound Schuyler $5,000 if she could come back on Sunday and take down three of the 72-ounce behemoths in under an hour. That’s over 13 pounds in beef alone, plus three portions of all the sides.

Just to make things even more interesting, the restaurant offered $1,000 to some other eaters. They were grouped into four teams of two, what with being mere mortals and all, although some teams included football players, among them former NFL quarterback Keith Null.

Schuyler didn’t just wipe out the competition, she wolfed down all 216 ounces of steak, and all the shrimp cocktails, baked potatoes, rolls and salads, in a ridiculously short amount of time. First, Schuyler broke her own record for a single serving of the gargantuan meal.

“We’ve been doing this contest since 1960, and in all that time we’ve never had anybody come in to actually eat that many steaks at one time — so this is a first for us and after 55 years of it, it’s a big deal,” Lee told the local ABC News affiliate.


NSA INTRODUCES A RECYCLING MASCOT FOR KIDS NAMED ‘DUNK’

FORT MEADE, MD —In honor of Earth Day, which is April 22, the NSA has introduced a recycling mascot named “Dunk.“

The agency is hosting a STEM program in Maryland schools that promotes recycling, according to its website. The video that shows Dunk speaking claims the agency is known for recycling, and it has been “going green for over 25 years, implementing countless initiatives to be environmentally friendly.“

The Gilmer Free Press


The video also says the NSA has been selling its used papers to recycling companies that turn them into cardboard pizza boxes.

Some have called Dunk “disturbing” and “the stuff of nightmares.“

According to the EPA, Americans made roughly 251 million tons of trash in 2012, and nearly 87 million tons was recycled or composted.

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TOKYO DEPARTMENT STORE HIRES REALISTIC ROBOT RECEPTIONIST

TOKYO, JAPAN —A Japanese department store introduced the public to its new receptionist—a lifelike robot programmed to help customers find their way around the store.

The Mitsukoshi Nihombashi department store in Tokyo said the robot, dubbed Aiko Chihira, will serve as a receptionist on the seventh floor of the store from Monday until May 05.

The robot, created by Toshiba in collaboration with Osaka University Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, uses pre-programmed scripts to give directions to customers and contains 43 motors to allow her to gesture, blink, move her lips, create facial expressions and make other movements while speaking.

Store officials said they hope the robot will draw in customers.

Aiko Chihira currently communicates in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Japanese sign language. Developers said they are working to teach the robot Korean.

“We want it to be multilingual so that it can be used during the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo,“ Mitsukoshi sales director Shintaro Yamamoto told Efe.

GSC Financial Aid Workers Complete Training

GLENVILLE, WV – Two employees of Glenville State College’s Office of Financial Aid, Mary Jones and Stephany Harper, recently were certified in several nationally-recognized programs.

After attending two days of financial aid training and taking ten separate tests, the pair received certification in: federal methodology, cost of attendance, student eligibility, return of Title IV funds, verification, campus-based programs, professional judgment, direct loans, packaging and notification of awards, and the application process.

The Gilmer Free Press


The certifications took place through the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators credentialed training program.

“Mary and Stephany’s dedication to the work of GSC’s Financial Aid Office is very much appreciated and recognized.  They demonstrate commitment to the needs of our students and work tirelessly to answer questions and solve problems to assist them in their quest for a college education,“ said Financial Aid Director Karen Lay.

Both received Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degrees with emphasis in accounting and management from Glenville State College; Jones in 2009 and Harper in 2012. They both began their employment in the Financial Aid Office as part time workers before being promoted in 2011 and 2014, respectively.

For more information about financial aid at Glenville State College, call 304.462.4103.

Sand Fork Elementary Honor Roll - 3rd Nine Weeks – 2014-15

Sand Fork Elementary School

The Gilmer Free Press

3RD GRADE

Dakota Ball

Jozlyn Brenwald

Blake Foster

Morgan Putnam

Ericca Steele


4TH GRADE

John Carder

Jacob McCord

Seanna McCord


5TH GRADE

Trinity Bancroft

Alex Conrad

Elijah Facemire

Taylor McHenry

Adam Stewart

Carissa Thorne

Karma Towner

Seth Wine

Lucas Young


6TH GRADE

Emma Fox

ZaKya Mann

Kyle Moss

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Gilmer County Commission Special Meeting - 04.21.15

The Gilmer Free Press
PUBLIC NOTICE
SPECIAL MEETING

STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA,
COUNTY OF GILMER, TO-WIT:

              I, Larry B. Chapman, President of the County Commission of Gilmer County, West Virginia, in concurrence with John D. Bennett and Brian Kennedy, Commissioners of said Commission, hereby call and appoint a Special Session of the County Commission of Gilmer County to be held at the courthouse in said County on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 9:00 AM in the County Commission Chambers to transact the following business:

              To Officially Lay the Levy for Fiscal Year 2015-2016

              Given under my hand this 3rd day of March, 2015.

                                                                      Larry B. Chapman, President
                                                                      Gilmer County Commission

POSTED: April 03, 2015

Singleton’s Senior Art Show to Be on Display - Beginning Today

GLENVILLLE, WV—Glenville State College senior studio art major Ryan Singleton from Burnsville, West Virginia is getting ready for his senior art show.

The exhibition will begin with an opening reception on Monday, April 20, 2015 at 5:00 PM and will be on display until Friday, May 01, 2015.

The Gilmer Free Press


“Life is just a collage of moments in the end and that is what I have created, a collage of moments for interpretation - moments taken from my life that standout or have influenced me in some way. The biggest influence on our souls is the interactions that we have with others and this is what I hope to reflect in the people I paint,” said Singleton.

The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM and one hour before all Fine Arts Department musical performances.

For more information contact Associate Professor of Art Liza Brenner at or call 304.462.6346.

ST. JOSEPH’S HOSPITAL OF BUCKHANNON RECEIVES AWARDS

ST. JOSEPH’S HOSPITAL OF BUCKHANNON RECEIVES AWARDS FOR
ITS HIGH LEVEL OF CARE FROM THE WEST VIRGINIA PERINATAL PARTNERSHIP
The Gilmer Free Press

BUCKHANNON, WV - St. Joseph’s Hospital of Buckhannon was honored by the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership during the 2014 Perinatal Summit in Charleston.

The awards recognized hospitals whose staff had made significant accomplishments in achieving key initiatives of the partnership.

“Our goal at St. Joseph’s Hospital is to provide the best care for our mothers and their babies,” said Amberly Rolenson, RN, Director of Obstetrics at St. Joseph’s Hospital.  “We are extremely honored to receive these awards.  They demonstrate the commitment that our entire staff has to providing excellence in care.”

St. Joseph’s Hospital received three awards; one for “Hospitals which have initiated Kangaroo Care,”  a project that encourages infants and mothers to be skin-to-skin immediately following delivery to encourage breastfeeding and mother-infant bonding;  a second award for “Hospitals having an average of 5% or less elective induction rate among first-time mothers less than 39 weeks,” part of the Partnership’s “First Baby Initiative,”; and a third award for “Hospitals maintaining an average cesarean section rate below 20% between 2009 and 2013 for first time mothers,” part of the Partnership’s “First Baby Initiative.”

GEye™: Work on the Sink Hole in Glenville

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia News   15042001

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UNITED HOSPITAL CENTER HONORS ORGAN, TISSUE AND CORNEA DONORS FROM THE PAST YEAR

CLARKSBURG, WV– As part of National Donate Life Month, United Hospital Center honored the lives of those who made the decision to enrich the lives of others with a ceremony Thursday at the People’s Hospice Memorial Garden in Clarksburg.

“This is an event to honor those who have donated organ, tissue and eye from this year,” Juanita Alfred, RN, clinical educator and supervisor of critical care said. “Specifically, on our donor tree that we dedicated last year, we’ve hung sun catchers to represent those 11 people who were able to donate this past year.”

She believes it is important to honor those individuals and their families “because of all the lives they save and enhance.”

In the spirit of National Donate Life Month, the event was also an initiative to get people talking about donation, why it is important and the ease of registering as a donor.

National Donate Life Month began in 2003 by Donate Life American and its partner organizations in order to dedicate April to featuring activities to encourage people to become donors and celebrate those who have donated.

According to the Center for Organ Recover and Education, the country is in dire need of donors.

Nearly 124,000 individuals nationwide are waiting for a transplant, and at least 18 will die each day without receiving one. Three of those who pass on will be from the area of West Virginia which CORE services.

Alfred encourages people to register as donors not only because of the potential gift they can give to others through their death, but for the peace of mind they could give to loved ones they leave behind

“Your family doesn’t have to make the decision for you. You are able to say ‘That’s what I wanted,‘” she said. “If you’re giving in your lifetime and you want to continue that after you’re gone, you don’t want your family to have to worry about whether that was the right thing you wanted to do, you made the decision yourself.”

Elizabeth Rose-Cunningham can personally attest to the sentiment behind Alfred statement.

On June 1, it will have been eight years since her husband, Bradley Rose passed. Soon after his death, she found herself having to answer questions regarding his status as a donor.

While it was difficult, she was able to get through it because they had made the decision to become donors together and had established how to fulfill his wishes.

“It is so very emotional right after you’ve lost your loved one, and time matters,” she said. “You can’t delay it and give all the answers to the questions afterwards. So, if you have made that commitment to each other and the promise to help someone through your death, then you do follow through, even if it’s hard.”

More information about becoming a donor can be found at Donate Life West Virginia’s website, donatelife.wv.Governor Registration to become an organ, tissue and cornea donor can be completed at the site also.


SOME COUNTIES STICK WITH TESTING SCHEDULE DESPITE MISSED DAYS

CHARLESTON, WV — Students in some county school systems in West Virginia have started taking the annual standardized tests even though their school years now won’t until at least mid-June.

The year-end dates were moved back to allow for makeup days necessitated by winter weather cancellations. The state Board of Education denied waiver requests made by 27 counties, mandating the school systems complete the necessary 180 days of instruction.

State Department of Education Chief Academic Officer Clayton Burch said some of those counties will now have standardized testing later.

“You want to have maximum instruction. You want to have as much time possible to target as great a percentage of those standards before children enter that test,” Burch said on MetroNews “Talkline.”

But some counties ending the school year deep into June have decided to retain their original testing dates. For some counties it could mean as many as six weeks of school after the testing is over.

Burch said the extra time should be used for instruction.

“The test does not mark the end of something,” he said. “The test is a temperature of how we’re doing, how we can improve the system. We still got to prepare a child that’s in fourth grade—they are going to progress to fifth grade. We have to continue that instruction.

“We’re getting away from this idea that we do standardized test and the year is done,” he said. “We hope that it is becoming part of instruction and children are starting to see it as what they are doing throughout the school year.”

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said the testing should be moved back. He said the testing shouldn’t take place until 80% of the material has been covered. Lee also said there are technical problems with the online testing, because schools don’t have enough computers or adequate broadband service.

Some students don’t want to take the test at all because of its connection to the controversial Common Core teaching standards. Nearly 200 students at Spring Valley High School in Wayne County have submitted paperwork “opting out” of the test, though Burch said the state has no opt-out policy.

He warned that not taking the tests could hurt the students down the road.

“What’s next? What happens when those students go to take the ACT or the SAT to do entrance into higher education? The ACT and SAT are aligned to those same standards,” Burch said. “We’re asked continually to improve the education system. We test to gather data on how to improve the system and without data that’s very difficult to do.”

The school systems are given a 36-day window to conduct the tests for students in grades three through 11. Each student has seven testing sessions using computers in the schools. The students are this year being tested on English and math.

Students in the fourth, sixth and 10th grades also are tested in science. The state school board waived social studies testing this year.


MANCHIN TO CONTINUE SERVING WEST VIRGINIANS IN THE SENATE

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) issued the following statement on his decision to remain in the United States Senate.

“When Robert C. Byrd died in 2010, I had to make one of the toughest political decisions of my life. I have always said that being Governor of West Virginia was my life’s most fulfilling work, and it was a true honor and privilege to be able to serve the great people of West Virginia. By removing politics and putting people first, we greatly improved our state. I truly believed we could take that success and our commonsense approaches to Washington to improve the dysfunction in Congress. I will admit that it has been a harder transition than I had expected, but I believe that, after five years, we are beginning to make a difference. We are simply bringing a greater sense of bipartisanship and commitment to working together for the good of the American people. It is because of that optimism that I have decided to continue serving the people of West Virginia in the United States Senate. My main purpose in the Senate, has, and always will be, to represent the great people of West Virginia to the best of my ability, and I have always said that when my country succeeds, my state succeeds. I feel that I can have the greatest impact on West Virginia and America by staying in Washington. This place may not be working now, but I’m not going to stop fighting to make it work.”


ANNUAL FUNDRAISER AIMS TO HELP CHILDREN ACROSS WV

CHARLESTON, WV — Brightly colored paper flowers will soon adorn windows of gas stations and convenience stores across the area in an effort to raise money for children.

The West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association has teamed with the Children’s Home Society to launch the fifth annual “Every Child Deserves a Loving Home” campaign. The effort will raise money for the Children’s Home Society assistance programs and run through May 10.

First Lady Joanne Tomblin helped kick-start the campaign April 10. She read stories to children served by the Children’s Home Society at an event at the Governor’s Mansion.

Mary White, director of development and philanthropy for the Children’s Home Society, said the agency helped 13,479 West Virginia children last year from 13 locations across the state.

“The need for help is overwhelming,“ she said. “This campaign will not only raise awareness about West Virginia children who need help or a family to call their own, but will provide our organization with a greater ability to make a positive impact on children’s lives.“

The Children’s Home Society houses a variety of support programs for children, including emergency child shelters, foster care, adoption, mentoring, early intervention and other family support programs statewide.

“Every child deserves a loving home, and there are too many West Virginia children living with crisis in the family,“ said OMEGA President Jan Vineyard. “This campaign will provide funds to the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, which has shelters and assistance programs in every corner of the state, to help those children and families in need.“

OMEGA members, including Go-Mart, Little General, One Stop and the Kanawha City Foodland, among others, will sell the paper flowers for $1 each and post them in the windows to show support for the agency. The campaign raised more than $88,000 last year and more than $2 million since 2003 for a variety of charities that improve the health, safety and well-being of West Virginia’s kids.

“This effort not only gives back to the communities where our members live and work, but it demonstrates the philanthropic nature of our industry,“ Vineyard said. “This is a win for all involved: the children, our members and the public.“

Currently, more than 4,000 children are placed in out-of-home care and 1,200 children are in need of adoption.


WV SUPREME COURT TO HEAR 3 CASES IN POINT PLEASANT

POINT PLEASANT, WV - The West Virginia Supreme Court will travel to Mason County this week to hear arguments in three cases.

Tuesday’s visit to the Mason County Courthouse in Point Pleasant is part of the Legal Advancement for West Virginia Students program, also known as LAWS. The program teaches students about the judicial system.

The program began in 1999. About 5,300 high school and college students in 28 counties have participated since then.


AMID WV TAX REFORM PUSH, MURRAY BLASTS COAL TAX FOR LAYOFFS

CHARLESTON, WV - The day after state lawmakers started talking tax reform, Murray Energy laid off 214 miners with a clear message calling for lower taxes to unearth coal.

In a news release about last week’s layoffs, Murray Energy blasted the Obama administration, lamented low natural gas prices and called the state severance tax “extremely excessive.“

Republican Senate President Bill Cole said the tax will be reviewed as the GOP-led Legislature mulls ways to reshape the tax code.

Revenues from the coal tax have dwindled as the industry has struggled. But it’s a still an important pot of money that aids everything from schools, to health care, to local governments.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said he couldn’t see lowering the tax now.


MINGO COUNTY AGENCY TO TAKE OVER TWISTED GUN GOLF COURSE

WILLIAMSON, WV - The Twisted Gun golf course in Mingo County is getting a new owner.

The Mingo County Redevelopment Authority is in the process of assuming ownership of the 18-hole course at Wharncliffe.

Authority executive director Leasha Johnson says Twisted Gun’s current owners asked the authority if it would be willing to accept ownership.

Johnson says the golf course is one of the county’s crown jewels and the authority wants it to remain open.


BARBOUR COUNTY BOE IN SEARCH FOR NEW SUPERINTENDENT

PHILIPPI, WV - The Barbour County Board of Education has enlisted the help of the public in the search for its new superintendent.

It hosted a community forum Saturday morning so people could get to know the two candidates: Roy Jones, the coordinator alternative education for Kanawha County schools and Jeffrey Woofter, the principal of Hampshire County High School.

Each candidate had the opportunity to answer questions directly from citizens and partake in a closed-door interview with the BOE.

“The Barbour County board is using a process that the WV School Board Association recommends, where there is citizen involvement. We had over 30 questions and combined them into eight questions. We aggregate the citizen assessments of the candidates, not a ranking, but the assessments of their qualities, characteristics, and attributes they bring,“ said Howard O’Cull, executive director of the West Virginia School Board Association.

Those public surveys will be provided to the board on Monday so members can continue its decision-making process. The new superintendent will replace Dr. Joseph Super, who plans to retire this year.

West Virginia Accidents   15042001

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WRONG WAY DRIVER CAUSES ACCIDENT LEAVING TWO DEAD

MORGANTOWN, WV – A vehicle traveling the wrong way on Interstate 68 caused a fiery three-vehicle accident that left two people dead.

The Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department said the wreck happened just before 11 PM Friday night when an SUV traveling west in the eastbound lanes near Morgantown struck a Volkwagen Jetta and then a Subaru head-on.

The drivers of the SUV and the Subaru were pronounced dead at the scene. The third driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Police have not released any of the names.

The accident closed I-68 into early Saturday morning.


CALHOUN DRIVER SUFFERING MINOR INJURIES

GRANTSVILLE, WV—A driver lost control of a vehicle in Cahoun County on Thursday about 7:20 AM.

The accident happened on Barnes Run, about two miles from WV Highway 16.

According to officials the vehicle reportedly rolled-over before striking the hillside.

The 17-year-old female driver was taken to Roane General Hospital by Minnie Hamilton EMS suffering minor injuries.

The Grantsville VFD and Calhoun Sheriffs Department responded.


PLEASANTS COUNTY GROCERY STORE DESTROYED IN FIRE

ST. MARYS, WV – Investigators were working Sunday to determine the cause of the fire that ripped through a Pleasants County grocery store on Saturday afternoon.

St. Marys Galaxy Food Center, located along WV Highway 2, was heavily damaged in the blaze. For a time Saturday, part of WV Highway 2 was blocked to give firefighters room to fight the flames.

Firefighters remained at the scene on Saturday night.

There were no reports of injuries.

Residents said St. Marys Galaxy Food Center is one of only a few grocery options in that area.

West Virginia Arrests   15042001

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NICHOLAS COUNTY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ABUSE

RICHWOOD, WV — A Nicholas County elementary school principal was arrested and arraigned Saturday on sexual abuse charges.

West Virginia State Police said the alleged crimes happened at Cherry River Elementary School in Richwood.

State police said evidence was developed to charge Timothy Bennett, 53, of Nettie, with three counts of third degree sexual abuse.

Bennett, the principal at Cherry River Elementary School in Richwood, improperly touched three school employees on three separate occasions. Troopers said the alleged crimes happened at the school.

Bennett was arraigned in Nicholas County Magistrate Court Saturday and released after posting $60,000 bond.

State police indicated the investigation was continuing.

“Anyone with further information concerning these or similar incidents is encouraged to contact the Richwood Detachment of the West Virginia State Police,” Saturday’s news release said.


SUMMERSVILLE HEALTH CARE WORKER ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES

SUMMERSVILLE, WV — A Summersville woman allegedly illegally obtained prescription drugs while in a management position at Summersville Regional Medical Center.

The Central West Virginia Drug Task Force arrested Cary Lynn Eades, 46, this week and charged her with obtaining prescription medication by false pretenses.

The criminal complaint said Eades told investigators she called pharmacies in Nicholas and Fayette counties between May 2014 and February 2015 using a fake name “acting as if she was calling from doctor’s offices in the area.” She then would have the pharmacy fill a prescription in her name.

Investigators said Eades obtained 27 separate prescriptions for the pain-killer Tramadol from pharmacies in Summersville between May 21, 2014 and February 20, 2015. She also allegedly obtained 11 separate prescriptions for the same drug from the CVS Pharmacy in Gauley Bridge.

The criminal complaint said Eades told investigators she knew what she was doing was wrong and illegal.

The task force began the investigation after being notified by the Summersville Regional Medical Center.

Eades is being held in the Central Regional Jail on $144,500 bail.


TRIO ROBBED AND KILLED MAN OVER SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS

CHARLESTON, WV — Three men pleaded not guilty in Kanawha County Circuit Court Wednesday to the murder of a man at a Motel 6 in Cross Lanes.

The suspects, 25-year-old Marcus Curtis of Dunbar, 22-year-old Shayla Stephenson of Charleston, and 27-year-old Terrick Hogan of St. Albans, are all charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit a felony.

Police were called to the motel Sunday afternoon after a maid discovered Kevin Casdorph dead in his room.

Police believe the murder began as an attempted robbery of several thousand dollars, and that the victim and all three suspects may be lifelong friends, or at least were acquainted with each other.

Curtis is accused of actually pulling the trigger—allegedly going into the room with the gun to scare Casdorph into handing over his money, and shooting him when Casdorph tried to take the gun.

The other two remained in the car, police said.

The three reportedly spotted Casdorph with money at Mardi Gras Casino on Saturday night, when they conspired to rob him.

All three suspects are being held without bail at South Central Regional Jail. Stephenson and Curtis will stand trial July 27.

U.S.A. News   15042001

“FPWV”

REPORT GIVES U.S. AIRLINES LOWER MARKS ACROSS THE BOARD

DALLAS, TX — Think flying is getting worse? A pair of university researchers who track the airline business say it’s a fact.

More flights are late, more bags are getting lost, and customers are lodging more complaints about U.S. airlines, government data shows. Dean Headley, a marketing professor at Wichita State and one of the co-authors of the annual report being released Monday, said passengers already know that air travel is getting worse. “We just got the numbers to prove it.”

Among the findings in the report:


LATENESS: The percentage of flights that arrived on time fell to 76.2 percent last year from 78.4 percent in 2013. Best: Hawaiian Airlines. Worst: Envoy Air, which operates most American Eagle flights.


LOST BAGS: The rate of lost, stolen or delayed bags rose 13 percent in 2014. Best: Virgin America. Worst: Envoy. Airlines lose one bag for every 275 or so passengers, but at Envoy, the rate is one lost bag for every 110 passengers, according to government figures.


OVERBOOKING: The rate of passengers getting bumped from flights rose 3 percent. Best: Virgin America. Worst: a tie, between SkyWest and its ExpressJet subsidiary.


COMPLAINTS: Consumer complaints to the government jumped 22 percent in 2014. Best: Alaska Airlines. Worst: Frontier.


Regional carriers, which operate flights under names like American Eagle, United Express and Delta Connection, tend to earn the worst marks. They fly smaller planes, so when airlines are forced to cut flights due to bad weather, they ground the regionals first to inconvenience fewer passengers.

But the picture was bleak at the four biggest U.S. airlines too. On-time performance fell and complaint rates rose at American, United, Delta and Southwest.

Headley said airlines performed better in the years after 2001, when travel demand fell and planes were less crowded. Airlines were also losing money. They returned to profitability when mergers reduced competition and the remaining airlines limited flights to keep fares up. The average plane is now more than 80 percent full at most airlines, and many flights are oversold.

“They have put the same number of people in fewer airplanes,” Headley said in an interview. “Anytime the system ramps up, it goes haywire.”

Airlines are ordering new planes and making other investments that they promise will lead to better service. Many of the biggest improvements are targeted at the airlines’ most valued customers — those in first-class and business-class sections.

The annual report is now in its 25th year. Headley and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University professor Brent Bowen use information that the airlines submit to the U.S. Department of Transportation.


FBI ADMITS IT OVERSTATED FORENSIC EVIDENCE MATCHES IN HUNDREDS OF TRIALS

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The FBI and Justice Department have admitted to overstating forensic evidence results in court in a way that benefitted prosecutors in hundreds of trials over more than two decades.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project are assisting the agency with an internal review of past convictions, according to the Washington Post.

The review is ongoing, but it has so far found 26 of 28 examiners in the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit have made inaccurate statements in 95 percent of the 268 trials that have been reviewed.

Of the 268 trials, 32 defendants were sentenced to death, and 14 have been executed or died.

Defendants who are still in prison are being notified of possible inaccuracies in their trials so they can consider appeals.

World News   15042001

“FPWV”

VLADIMIR PUTIN OF RUSSIA IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON IN THE WORLD, TIME READERS SAY

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Vladimir Putin is the most interesting person in the world – according to Time readers, at least.

The Russian president won the magazine readers’ poll for who should top its annual list of the world’s 100 most influential figures, edging out Lee Chae-rin – a member of the South Korean pop group 2NE1 who is better known as “CL” – to claim the top spot with a whopping 6.95% of the vote Monday night.

He was the only world leader to place in the top five, an echelon that was otherwise the fiefdom of female pop stars, including Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Taylor Swift.

What this says about the cultural and political leanings of Time readers voting in the poll is unclear. Putin is not a pop icon, but the world does have a particularly acute obsession with seeing him shirtless.

It is also difficult to qualitatively compare the contributions Putin and his closest competitors for Time’s top berth had on the world in 2014. For example, Putin may have completed the annexation of Crimea and led Russia into a period of the worst relations it has experienced with the West since the end of the Soviet Union, but Swift completed the transition from country to pop in a chart-topping album named after the year of her birth – which also happens to be the year the Berlin Wall came down.

The poll doesn’t count for much, except potentially Time’s Web traffic. Time’s staff was careful to note on the poll invitation page that “TIME’s editors will choose the TIME 100” list that is officially announced on April 16. “We want readers to have a say, too,” they added.

There is no indication, however, that the readers’ preferences will get any proportional consideration when curating the final list.

Nonetheless, Russian state news outlets were crowing about the victory.

“Vladimir Putin steals the show in TIME 100 reader’s poll,” Russian state-funded news channel RT cheered in a headline.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has been named the winner” of the poll, boasted Russian state news service Tass, glossing over the part about how he bested a bunch of pop stars and leading with the good stuff: Putin beat out the Dalai Lama, the pope and President Obama.

That’s right: Obama couldn’t even break the top 10.

Time took votes from Twitter, Facebook and its Web site. While the magazine did not announce how many people voted in the poll, more than 57% of the votes came from within the United States.


WORLDWIDE ELECTRONIC WASTE WORTH $52 BILLION; 60 PERCENT HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES

NEW YORK, NY—The amount of electronic waste generated in 2014 equals to about $52 billion—about 60% of which consists of kitchen, bathroom and laundry appliances.

Only about 16% of discarded electronics were properly recycled or re-used, according to the report by the United Nations University.

The amount of electronic waste, or e-waste, generated in 2014 contained an estimated 16,500 kilotons of iron, 1,900 kilotons of copper, 300 tons of gold—equal to 11% of the world’s total 2013 gold production—combined to an estimated value of $52 billion, including silver, aluminum and other resources.

“Worldwide, e-waste constitutes a valuable ‘urban mine’—a large potential reservoir of recyclable materials. At the same time, the hazardous content of e-waste constitutes a ‘toxic mine’ that must be managed with extreme care,“ United Nations Under-Secretary-General David Malone, Rector of United Nations University, said.

Of the 41.8 million tons, or megatons, of e-waste thrown away in 2014, about 60% include:

  • 12.8 megatons of small equipment (vacuum cleaners, microwaves, toasters, electric shavers, video cameras, etc.)

  • 11.8 megatons of large equipment (washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, electric stoves, photovoltaic panels, etc.)

  • 7.0 megatons of cooling and freezing equipment (temperature exchange equipment)

  • 6.3 megatons of screens

  • 3.0 megatons of small IT (mobile phones, pocket calculators, personal computers, printers, etc.)

  • 1.0 megatons of lamps

“The 41.8 megatons weight of last year’s e-waste is comparable to that of 1.15 million 40-ton 18-wheel trucks—enough to form a line of trucks 23,000 kilometers long, or the distance from New York to Tokyo and back,“ the report states

The United States discarded the most waste with 7,072 kilotons, followed by China with 6,032 kilotons and Japan with 2,200 kilotons. About 4 billion people in the world are covered by national legislation on e-waste, although laws do not cover the full range of e-waste and not all laws are enforced.

“While the U.S. and China produce the most e-waste overall (32% of the world’s total), the top per capita producers by far are the wealthy nations of northern and western Europe, the top five being Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, and the U.K.,“ the report states.

North America generated 7.9 megatons of e-waste, Central America generated 1.1 megatons and South America 2.7 megatons. Most of the world’s e-waste was generated in Asia, with 16 megatons or about 3.7 kilograms per occupant.

The lowest amount of e-waste was generated in Oceania with 0.6. megatons, but inhabitants generate as much as Europeans with 15.2 kilograms and 15.6 kilograms per person, respectively.

Africa had a total of 1.9 megatons of e-waste generated and the lowest per inhabitant with 1.7 kilograms per person.

‘Opt Out’ Of Common Core Movement Gaining Strength

The Gilmer Free Press

ATLANTA, GA — Thousands of students are opting out of new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core standards, defying the latest attempt by states to improve academic performance.

This “opt-out” movement remains scattered but is growing fast in some parts of the country. Some superintendents in New York are reporting that 60% or even 70% of their students are refusing to sit for the exams. Some lawmakers, sensing a tipping point, are

A bill in the Maine Legislature would require school districts to notify parents that they may opt out of having their children take the state’s standardized tests, a right they already have but may not be aware of. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Sara Gideon (D-Freeport).

In March, Maine students began taking a new state assessment test called the Smarter Balanced test, which is specifically written to align with the new Common Core state standards.

Resistance to taking the tests could be costly: If fewer than 95% of a district’s students participate in tests aligned with Common Core standards, federal money could be withheld, although the U.S. Department of Education said that hasn’t happened.

“It is a theoretical club administrators have used to coerce participation, but a club that is increasingly seen as a hollow threat,” said Bob Schaeffer with the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, which seeks to limit standardized testing.

And so the movement grows: This week in New York, tens of thousands of students sat out the first day of tests, with some districts reporting more than half of students opting out of the English test. Preliminary reports suggest an overall increase in opt-outs compared to last year, when about 49,000 students did not take English tests and about 67,000 skipped math tests, compared to about 1.1 million students who did take the tests in New York.

Considerable resistance also has been reported in Maine, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania, and more is likely as many states administer the tests in public schools for the first time this spring.


ACCOUNTABILITY AS KEY FACTOR

The defiance dismays people who believe holding schools accountable for all their students’ continuing improvement is key to solving education problems.

Assessing every student each year “gives educators and parents an idea of how the student is doing and ensures that schools are paying attention to traditionally underserved populations,” U.S. Department of Education Spokeswoman Dorie Nolt said in an emailed statement.

Opposition runs across the political spectrum.

Some Republicans and Tea Party activists focus on the Common Core standards themselves, calling them a federal intrusion by President Obama, even though they were developed by the National Governors Association and each state’s education leaders in the wake of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind program.

The Obama administration has encouraged states to adopt Common Core standards through the federal grant program known as Race to the Top, and most have, but each state is free to develop its own tests.

In California, home to the nation’s largest public school system and Democratic political leaders who strongly endorse Common Core standards, there have been no reports of widespread protests to the exams – perhaps because state officials have decided not to hold schools accountable for the first year’s results.

But in deep-blue New York, resistance has been encouraged by the unions in response to Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to make the test results count more in teacher evaluations.

In Rockville Centre on Long Island, Superintendent William H. Johnson said 60% of his district’s third-through-eighth graders opted out. In the Buffalo suburb of West Seneca, nearly 70% didn’t take the state exam, Superintendent Mark Crawford said.

“That tells me parents are deeply concerned about the use of the standardized tests their children are taking,” Crawford said. “If the opt-outs are great enough, at what point does somebody say this is absurd?”

Nearly 15% of high school juniors in New Jersey opted out this year, while fewer than 5% of students in grades three through eight refused the tests, state education officials said. One reason: Juniors may be focusing instead on the SAT and AP tests that could determine their college futures.

Much of the criticism focuses on the sheer number of tests now being applied in public schools: From pre-kindergarten through grade 12, students take an average of 113 standardized tests, according to a survey by the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban districts.

Of these, only 17 are mandated by the federal government, but the backlash that began when No Child Left Behind started to hold teachers, schools and districts strictly accountable for their students’ progress has only grown stronger since “Common Core” gave the criticism a common rallying cry.

“There is a widespread sentiment among parents, students, teachers, administrators and local elected officials that enough is enough, that government mandated testing has taken over our schools,” Schaeffer said.


PRESSURE TO IMPROVE RESULTS

Teachers now devote 30% of their work time on testing-related tasks, including preparing students, proctoring, and reviewing the results of standardized tests, the National Education Association says.

The pressure to improve results year after year can be demoralizing and even criminalizing, say critics who point to the Atlanta test-cheating scandal, which led to the convictions 35 educators charged with altering exams to boost scores.

“It seems like overkill,” said Meredith Barber, a psychologist from the Philadelphia suburb of Penn Valley who excused her daughter from this year’s tests. Close to 200 of her schoolmates also opted out in the Lower Merion School District, up from a dozen last year.

“I’m sure we can figure out a way to assess schools rather than stressing out children and teachers and really making it unpleasant for teachers to teach,” said Barber, whose 10-year-old daughter, Gabrielle, will be in the cafeteria researching Edwardian history and the TV show “Downton Abbey” during the two weeks schools have set aside for the tests.

Utah and California allow parents to refuse testing for any reason, while Arkansas and Texas prohibit opting out, according to a report by the Education Commission of the States. Most states are like Georgia, where no specific law clarifies the question, and lawmakers in some of these states want protect the right to opt out.

Florida has another solution: Governor Rick Scott signed a bill strictly limiting testing to 45 hours each school year.

In Congress, meanwhile, lawmakers appear ready to give states more flexibility: A Senate committee approved a bipartisan update of No Child Left Behind this week that would let each state determine how much weight to give the tests when evaluating school performance.

The Obama administration has encouraged states to adopt Common Core standards through the federal grant program known as Race to the Top, and most have.

~~  CHRISTINA A. CASSIDY - AP ~~

04.19.2015
EducationNewsUnited States

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GOVERNOR TOMBLIN ANNOUNCES POSITIVE RETURN ON STATE ROAD FUND BOND SALE

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV - Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced the sale of more than $133.7 million in State Road General Obligation refunding bonds, saving the state nearly $26 million in total interest payments.

“Today’s bond sale is a testament to the hard work we’ve done over the past twenty years to get our financial house in order,“ Governor Tomblin said. “Our commitment to responsible financial policies is saving taxpayers millions of dollars and is a direct result hard work we have done, and continue to do, to remain one of the most fiscally responsible states in the country. These positive returns are critical to making long-term investments to improve our infrastructure.“

The refunding bonds were sold as part of a competitive sale, generating $25.9 million in net savings. More than $25 million will be reinvested to fund capital road projects by the West Virginia Department of Transportation in FY2016.

Rating agencies affirmed the bonds’ positive ratings. Standard and Poor’s rated the bonds as AA, Fitch rated the bonds as AA+, and Moody’s rated the bonds Aa1.

Moody’s noted its Aa1 rating “reflects the state’s ongoing trend of fiscal conservatism and disciplined financial management evidenced by consistently strong reserve fund balances for almost a decade. Improvement in the funded ratio for the state’s pension systems and actions taken to reduce the outstanding other post-employment benefit (OPEB) liability are also positive. The rating also incorporates West Virginia’s historically underperforming economy, which continues to show signs of modest growth and diversification.“

Gilmer County Man Charged with Illegal Turkey Kills

GASSAWAY, WV — A Gilmer County man is free on bond after members of the Natural Resources Police charged him with more than 50 counts stemming from illegal turkey hunting.

Clifford Fisher, 65, was arrested by officers on April 04, 2015 following a lengthy investigation.

Evidence collected in the course of the case revealed Fisher had long ignored West Virginia game laws for turkey hunting.

“I think the longer it went on he stated he’d never been arrested before,” said Natural Resources Police Sergeant Dwayne Duffield. “I could just tell he knew he’d been doing that for years and he got by with it.”

The Gilmer Free Press


The case began with several tips from the public about an illegal hunting site in a remote part of Gilmer County off the Gassaway Road near the Braxton County line.

Officer Caleb Harper followed up and managed to locate the bait site in March.

“Harper and some other officers had done some recon and found a baited turkey blind,” said Duffield. “It was a homemade type blind. It was suspected he had already killed one and possibly two turkeys from the blind based on evidence they collected that day.”

The officers found fresh turkey feathers at the site of the blind and later on the same property near a hunting cabin found a 55 gallon drum filled with feathers. Back at the blind officers also found a bucket of corn in the blind and corn scattered around the perimeter of the blind.

Harper decided to stake out the location in hopes of catching the suspect in the act. He enlisted the assistance of Natural Resources Police Officer Stevens out of Calhoun County, Officer Fitzwater out of Doddridge County, Officer Phillips out of Ritchie County, and Officer Wilson out of Roane County. During the course of several weeks one or more of the officers kept watch on the blind often starting their stake out as early as 3:00 AM.

The Gilmer Free Press


April 4th Harper and another officer were watching and two other officers were on the road providing backup when Fisher and his juvenile grandson were spotted in the blind. The officers approached the blind in what was described as a “tense situation.”

“As they approached the blind they could see a rifle barrel sticking out the window,” said Duffield. “He didn’t give up immediately and it was a little tense before they could get him out of the blind and get the cuffs on him.”

The officers obtained a search warrant for Harper’s cabin on the property and his residence. Very little was found at the cabin, including the barrel of feathers they had spotted earlier which was gone. However, the residence proved to be a treasure trove.

“A subsequent search of the residence turned up that barrel of feathers and a lot of older evidence of turkey feet and spurs in an out building,” said Duffield. “In his house we found two wooden boards with dates on them. A board marked 2014 had ten beards on it with individual dates on each beard. There was another beard marked 2005 with eight beards and individual dates. It was sort of his bragging board.”

Officers also turned up two fresh turkey carcasses and around 50 spurs and feet of turkeys.

Overall Fisher was charged with more than 50 game law violations. Broken down he faced 20 counts of illegal possession of wildlife, 12 counts of failure to check game, 7 counts of hunting during a closed season, 8 counts of exceeding bag limits, and one count each of hunting on Sunday, hunting over bait, and conspiracy.

Fisher’s case is pending in Gilmer County Magistrate Court. Each count carries a maximum fine of $300 and up to a year in jail.

“Our guys are out a lot of early mornings and it’s very difficult to locate these guys,” Duffield added. “I will say without tips and information from the public, that really gives us a lot to go on when we get that type of information.”

~~  Chris Lawrence ~~

04.19.2015
CommunityBraxton CountyGilmer CountyRoane CountyNewsArrestsRegion

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Dog Flu Outbreak Sweeps Across the Midwest

The Gilmer Free Press

MADISON, WI — A canine flu outbreak has sickened many dogs in the Midwest, and veterinarians are cautioning pet owners to keep their dogs from going nose-to-nose with other four-legged friends.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine says the virus has sickened at least 1,000 dogs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. Recent tests from the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory have identified the strain as H3N2. Clinical assistant professor Keith Poulsen says it’s not yet known how effective current vaccines are against this strain, which is believed to have come from Asia.

He said an older strain, H3N8, has also been detected in the region.

Both viruses can cause persistent cough, runny nose and fever in dogs. Experts say a small percentage will develop more severe symptoms. The H3N2 infection has been associated with some deaths.

Poulsen said pet owners with sick dogs should call a veterinarian to schedule a test outside the veterinary clinic and should not bring dogs into areas where they could interact with other dogs.

“It’s really no different if you’re talking about dogs or toddlers, if you think they’re sick, don’t bring them to day care,“ Poulsen said.

Veterinarians say neither canine strain is related to bird flu or is contagious to humans, but the H3N2 strain could sicken cats.

Renee Brantner Shanesy, who owns the Ruffin’ It Resort in Madison, said the kennel required immunizations against H3N8 for all dogs boarded there late last week. Shanesy said she’s now recommending, not requiring, the vaccination after veterinarians said it won’t protect against H3N2.

“The philosophy we’re taking is, just like the human flu, everyone has to take the precaution for himself,“ she said.

Shanesy said she hasn’t seen panic among dog owners, but the kennel is increasing its sanitizing practices. She said she had her two dogs vaccinated and she has cut out trips to the dog park to reduce the risk of exposure.

“Like any other pet owner right now, I’m not 100 percent comfortable,“ Shanesy said. “Anything I can do to give them a better chance of immunity, I’m in.“

Sarah Duchemin, who works at The Dog Den in Madison, said the kennel has been monitoring its dogs for symptoms, and that if a dog shows up with a runny nose or is sneezing, the animal would be isolated and sent home. She said the kennel hasn’t had a dog show any flu symptoms yet, but it cleans its floors and cages every day to prevent the spread of disease.

Luanne Moede, owner of the First Class Pet Lodge in Wausau, told the Wausau Daily Herald that clients are being asked if dogs have traveled out of state. Moede also said she’s informing pet owners about the disease.

In Illinois, vets say the cases are slowing but are still coming in. Chicago resident Jennifer Roche’s mixed-breed dog, Roxy-Rocket, is recovering after coming down with canine flu while boarded at Tucker Pup’s Dog Activity Center last week while the family was away during spring break. Roche knew she was taking a risk by boarding the family pet during the outbreak, but she feels the facility handled it well when the dog began to cough.

“They got her to the vet right away and she was on antibiotics right away,“ Roche said. “It feels a lot like when my kids get the flu. ... I’m going to be watching her very closely when the antibiotics run out.“

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