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GOVERNOR TOMBLIN LAUNCHES STATEWIDE TRUANCY DIVERSION INITIATIVE

Effort part of comprehensive juvenile justice reform legislation

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV - Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today announced the launch of the Truancy Diversion Initiative, part of the governor’s comprehensive juvenile justice reform in West Virginia. The governor introduced the proposal as part of his 2015 State of the State address in January and signed Senate Bill 393 into law April 02, 2015.


“Since becoming governor, I have worked hard to ensure our students have access to a world-class education and the increased opportunities that are critical for long-term success,“ Gov. Tomblin said. “This new initiative will help provide early intervention services to those children who need them most, keeping them in school and providing them with the individualized attention they need to get back on track and get the education they need to take advantage of the growing opportunities we are creating in the Mountain State.“

Through a partnership with the West Virginia Department of Education, applications are now available for county boards of education to apply for funding for a truancy diversion specialist to serve local students. As outlined in Senate Bill 393, truancy diversion specialists will serve all 55 counties to work cooperatively with school teachers and staff, the Circuit Court, school districts, and law enforcement officials to redirect at-risk youth toward positive school attendance and engagement.

“Several years ago, the Court began to contract with individual county boards of education to provide school-based probation officers to put a dent in the truancy rate,“ West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Workman said. “This strategy has been dramatically effective in a number of counties. So we’re very pleased that the Governor and the Legislature worked together to expand this practice into all of the counties, and we at the Court are eager to continue to do our part to keep kids in school.“

As part of the initiative, diversion specialists will also work with community-based youth reporting centers to help ensure a smooth transition for students between school and the youth reporting center and work to ensure positive relationships between parents, students, teachers and staff.

“Regular student attendance is critical to success in the classroom and improving the graduation rate,“ Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano said. “I commend Governor Tomblin’s leadership on Senate Bill 393, which will help to reduce truancy in our schools and reduce suspension and juvenile incarceration rates, ultimately ensuring a world-class education for all students.“

07.23.2015
EducationNewsWest VirginiaPolitics | Government | ElectionState-WV(13) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Why is Gilmer County down at the bottom with four other WV counties with our truancy rate of 53.27% for students with 5 or more absences?

This information is on the State’s WVDOE Zoom web site and it is not one person’s opinion. What is Gabe Devono doing to correct our disgraceful problem?

Governor Tomblin is on top of the problem as one cause of WV being at 47th place in K-12 education.

By Noah Bassett  on  07.23.2015

Could the numbers have anything to do with suspending a child from school 10 days for a simple infraction then counting them truant?  Let’s go ahead and get them in the system early as possible seems the attitude.  Add court costs to a struggling low income families burden and have the child miss some more school.

By That will Show Em  on  07.23.2015

The reply to choose from in the WVBOE’s intervention script book will include it was a transcription error, it wasn’t the data that was sent to Charleston, the root cause occurred before the State took over, someone used the wrong formula to calculate the numbers, a committee will be formed to look at the problem, deny that truancy is a problem, say everybody is doing it, blame parents for being irresponsible, complain that the county does not have enough money to address the problem, and blame the local culture for not caring about children getting educations. Above all else never admit that the problem had anything to do with the State’s mismanagement during intervention.

By Pete Rosner  on  07.23.2015

Devono should give the County an accurate report about the truancy situation.

We need to solve our problems immediately and do it in such a way not to impose more hardships on our burdened families. The emphasis must be on prevention instead of punishment. 

Surely, someone keeps track of truancy numbers in the County to identify problems quickly to allow corrective measures to be taken fast instead of   waiting on numbers to roll in to send to Charleston.

Dr. Martirano and Dr. Daniel have identified truancy as a major issue in WV. This is an excellent opportunity for the two officials to get involved to help Gilmer County solve our problem.

By Al Markley  on  07.23.2015

There was another choice given to several WV counties including McDowell, Wayne, Mercer and others. They received a three year grant for an embedded Social Worker, truancy officer with an afternoon program for at risk kids.
What improves when the youngest children are taken from their parents who are jailed for truancy of their children and the older go into the system through the courts?
The probation officer used as a truancy officer in a school is under a Judges control. The county BOE is billed for half of the salary. How does this help? It’s been handled through the courts for years and look at the statistics.  There has to be a better way.

By Where Are The Child Advocates?  on  07.24.2015

Do not expect any help from the state board of ed.
Most will tell you the state has taken the position as an adversary of intervention school systems.
Just ask any intervention county.

By friend or foe?  on  07.24.2015

Throw the children away for a dollar is the common theme.  Does anybody believe the state won’t grab federal money for this? WVBOE loves that corporate welfare, forget the children. Throw them to the lions! WVBOE needs money.

Gilmer County Commission decided they needed money dedicated for the children to cover their bills.They say every BOE employee should have a private office while no court house employee has one. Gilmer County Commission needs money.

Lewis County BOE decided they needed Gilmer County money dedicated for our children to replace dilapidated Alum Bridge School.
Gilmer County paid for the architect, paid for half the land, paid for half the slip, sent over Gilmer County materials for curriculum, Gilmer County pays with students and student aid formula and Gilmer County paid for technology.  Lewis County needed money.

Gilmer County BOE forced to bring children out to primary roads in order to get to a school bus but they’ll be truant if they can’t get there.
Gilmer County children have done without fifth grade Teachers at three elementary schools for years
.Gilmer County couldn’t keep their Math director at the High School and cut down to only one guidance counselor this past year while four elementary schools shared one between them. In the meantime the state took out Gilmer’s advanced placement courses.

By Gilmer Children Have Needs  on  07.24.2015

Need to know what time to be at the bus stop!  When is the Superintendent going to put out the bus routes? Told they would be changing at the end of this year and not a word since?  How can we work and get the child to school and back if we don’t know for sure what we have to do to get him there? School starts August 13.
Now the preschoolers have to go to Head Start? No room at the inn in Glenville. To think the state says we didn’t need two schools.

By Rosedale Needs To Know  on  07.25.2015

This is a challenge to Dr. Martirano and Dr. Daniel. The two are in the lead now for public education in WV and a new leaf could be turned.

Citizens would appreciate an objective assessment of how education has improved during the four years the WVBOE has controlled Gilmer County’s school system.

The question has been asked many times without getting answers. The silence suggests that overall intervention has been a flop and it has not achieved anything to improve the quality of education for Gilmer’s children.

Have achievement test scores improved and has truancy lessened, for examples?

It seems that the State equates spending money to progress to leave a county far worse off than what it was before intervention.

The unneeded move to MH to serve raw political purposes is a prime example. Respect for the taxpayers was not shown to inform them how much more money would have to be spent for the new location compared to what is being paid now.

As usual we are expected to blindly accept the State’s standard “trust us” approach without asking questions.

Secrecy about money being spent is always a sign for corruption and mismanagement for citizens to watch for.

There must be a full accounting for every penny of new spending under the State’s control to include what was spent for facilities including those for the Linn school, the auction barn site, Cedar Creek and the new Gilmer County Elementary school.

Nothing is known about the State’s spending for personnel and other outlays to indicate that there have been any notable improvements in Gilmer County’s school system. 

Our delegates and senators have kept silent about what the County has gone through.

At the very least they should demand a full financial accounting for public disclosure. Does anyone think that this would be unreasonable?

By Gus Parker  on  07.25.2015

What has been done to deal with the County’s drug epidemic and to feed our children among the poor?

Far too much has been done under the guise of doing it for the children when the real reason has been palm greasing for the politically connected.

That philosophy is the reason WV ranks at the bottom for education while we are near the top for what we pay.

Blame goes to the top officials including our timid legislators who wring their hands while refusing to take corrective measures. It has to do with those checks flowing in to pay for political campaigns.

By G. P. Ross  on  07.25.2015

Have watched the June 1 video and the May. When board members can only vote yes the question was the right one. What are they doing there?

All my family knows for sure is if they have the money to do improvements on someone else building, paying high rent not necessary under the law while they won’t pay for a fifth grade teacher, then they don’t need any excess levy from us.

By R Macelroy  on  07.25.2015

The article in this week’s Democrat exposes the true story about the MH move. The win-win reference by Mr. Chapman confirms that the Commission profited.

Since when was eduction money supposed to be used by the County Commission to bail it out for its bad decisions?

The WVDOE is in on this too for political reasons. Martitrano, Daniel, and Green should explain how the unneeded move benefited school children in one of the poorest counties in WV.

This misuse of Gilmer County’s school money will be remembered at the next election.

By Ray Cox  on  07.26.2015

Under the harsh rule of communism there was a saying that if you don’t vote the exact way you are told you will be terminated.

The equivalent under WVBOE intervention is that if if you don’t go along 100% we will shut you down.

Intervention is pure dictatorship run under the claim that everything will be run with close involvement of local stakeholders.

Dr. Martirano’s definition of stakeholders is code for pandering to the local power structure at the exclusion of common citizens and classroom teachers.

By B. D. Camp  on  07.26.2015

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Man Is Awaken by God….!

Man Is Awaken by God and Given One of the Biggest,
Earth Shaking Messages Ever-See It To Believe It!
We Are Almost Out of Time!

Just last week, mainstream media issued a warning of a soon-coming monster quake that will not only shake the USA, but cause massive tsunamis (video included below)! And watch out! When a monster quake occurs, it oftentimes triggers other earthquakes (discussed in feature video). 

For a while now, there have been numerous warnings of an imminent monster quake—but not just one—three!

—Cascadia Subduction Zone

—New Madrid Seismic Zone

—San Andreas Seismic Zone

What would happen if all of these zones were to erupt at once? And what could trigger them?

A major earthquake could trigger all of them at once, as well as a heavenly body hitting the earth. 

God has just given another chilling, urgent message to another voice in the United States of America to sound the alarm that we all must prepare—NOW!  The question is not ‘if’ but ‘when’, and according to major news networks, scientists, and great men and women of God, that time is upon us!

If you are in doubt, please watch the feature video below, as well as the other videos, that will show you how all of the events that are happening, as well as many of the prophecies being spoken, line up with end times events recorded in the Bible. 

 

An Earth Shaking Alarm Has Just Sounded-We Are Almost Out of Time!

Major News Networks Have Confirmed Soon Coming U.S. Catastrophe!

Alarming New Information-USA About To Shake and Bake-Experts Warning To Prepare!

Dead Prophet Returns To Warn USA-When the Living Can’t Wake Us, the Dead In Christ Must Rise!

God even warned us back in 1994, sounding the alarm that we needed to repent. Unfortunately, we did not listen and our time is up!

LOOK! God Warned Us of What Is NOW HAPPENING Back In 1994!

New Stream Protection Rule Not Tough Enough, say Critics

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV - The Office of Surface Mining‘s new stream protection rule shows federal regulators bending too much to the coal industry, according to community and health advocates.

Many are still digesting the complex regulation OSM proposed last week. The coal industry’s political allies are already attacking it in Congress, saying it would make West Virginia’s mountaintop removal mining unprofitable.

But Michael Hendryx, a public health professor at Indiana University, says the new rule is weaker than what it replaces. He says it would allow such serious health impacts as birth defects and cancer to continue.

“One of the studies that we did found direct correlations between the quality of stream life and human cancer rates,“ says Hendryx. “I don’t care one little bit what the profit is of the mining companies.“

Hendryx stresses the impacts of mining are not only environmental, but on human health and communities. The Office of Surface Mining says it plans to hold public hearings on the proposed rule.

Joe Lovett, a lawyer and executive director with Appalachian Mountain Advocates, says he and others had gotten a federal court order to make OSM properly enforce the previous buffer-zone rule against the valley fills essential to mountaintop removal.

Lovett thinks the only reason OSM wrote the new rule is to create a weaker substitute.

“There was a stream protection rule in place, it was called the Buffer Zone Rule,“ says Lovett. “It was a strong rule. We had a federal court order saying it prohibited valley fills. In response to that, OSM weakened the rule.“

A few environmentalists say there may be some good to come from the new rule, but groups including the Sierra Club and Earthjustice say doesn’t sufficiently protect streams or communities.

Lovett describes the rhetoric coming from Congress about a war on coal as nonsense.

“It’s just a myth,“ he says. “West Virginia’s congressional delegation loves to complain about regulatory controls from Washington. In fact, there are very few.“

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Social Security Projected to Hit insolvency by 2034

The Gilmer Free Press

Social Security and Medicare are inching slowly toward insolvency, according to annual trustees reports on the entitlement programs released Wednesday.

Social Security’s retirement and disability trust funds, combined, are on track for insolvency in 2034 — one year later than the entitlement program’s trustees predicted one year ago.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told reporters at a briefing that the funds are “secure today and will remain secure in the years to come,” but warned that they are also “facing challenges that need to be addressed” by Congress.

Still, the trustees warned that the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund is still on track to run dry by late 2016. If Congress does not act to close that shortfall, the fund would only be able to pay out 81 percent of benefits.

The Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, meanwhile, is expected to be able to cover its obligations through 2030, the reports said. That’s 13 years later than what was projected before Congress passed ObamaCare.

The trustees reports are released only once a year, providing a glimpse of the financial health of the entitlement programs that budget experts warn are on an unsustainable path.

Changing demographic trends, Lew said, are the driving force behind the insolvency projections. The Baby boomers generation, the largest in U.S. history, is now reaching retirement age, he noted.

Congress should act soon to address the imbalances, Lew and the other trustees urged at the briefing. The other trustees are Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Carolyn Colvin, Robert Reischauer and Charles Blahous III.

“Lawmakers should take action sooner rather than later to address these structural shortfalls, so that the uncertainty now facing disability beneficiaries will not eventually be experienced by other programs’ participants,” they wrote in their report.

The most pressing issue for lawmakers is the disability fund, which will be underwater in the “fourth quarter of 2016” if Congress doesn’t take action, Colvin said.

While the trustees did not provide a more exact date, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently predicted insolvency would be reached around the beginning of fiscal 2017, or October 2016.

Nearly 11 million people received benefits in 2014 from the disability fund, Colvin said, and people who are not able to work depend on them.

“Our DI beneficiaries deserve better than this,” Reischauer said, referring to disability insurance.

President Obama proposed in his latest budget blueprint that Congress approve a small reallocation of the payroll tax for the next five years as a temporary fix for the disability fund.

That move would extend the reserve depletion date by nearly 20 years, Colvin said.

Democrats on Capitol Hill have called for reallocating the payroll tax, as Congress has done multiple times before. Republicans, however, adopted new rules earlier this year that would make such a move more difficult.

All of the trustees emphasized that Congress should consider long-term solutions to shore up Social Security as a whole.

Last year, more than 48 million people received retirement benefits, and nearly 54 million were covered under Medicare.

Senior government officials attributed the slight improvement in the projections to higher average wage growth, higher than average improvements in mortality and technical changes in projection methods.

The report was compiled with the assumption that President Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration would be in effect by 2016, but a federal court order put those actions on hold in February, and they remain in legal limbo for now.

Officials said the immigration factor accounted for a modest portion of overall improvement.

An official also noted there is a “better than 50 percent chance” that the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) will not occur in 2016 due to inflation projections.

Social Security benefits rose by 1.7 percent this year, which is well below pre-recession averages and the third consecutive year in which the COLA was less than 2 percent.

When that COLA was announced, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare said the tiny increase would only amount to about $20 a month for the average senior.

West Virginia News

The Gilmer Free Press

Sutton Lake to reopen campground closed by high water

HUNTINGTON, WV - Sutton Lake is reopening a campground closed by recent high water.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the Gerald R. Freeman Campground will reopen on Thursday. But some campsites won’t be available because some areas remain covered in mud.

The corps temporarily closed some campgrounds and recreation areas after recent heavy rainfall raised the lake above its normal summer pool elevation.

The corps says the West Virginia Division of Highways is repairing a county road to Bakers Run Campground that sustained significant damage. It’s not known when the road will reopen.

The Bee Run Day Use Area is open.


State completes $18 million widening of I-64 in Huntington

CHARLESTON, WV - The state has completed a two-year project to widen a section of Interstate 64 in Huntington to six lanes.

Work on the $18 million project began in April 2013. A section of about four miles was widened from the 29th Street to Hal Greer Boulevard exits.

Media outlets report that highways officials announced the project’s completion on Tuesday.

During construction, the speed limit was reduced to 50 miles per hour. The speed limit has returned to 65 miles per hour.


One killed, toddler injured in mowing accident

EGLON, WV — A Preston County man died and a toddler was injured in a mowing accident.

According to West Virginia State Police in Kingwood, Harlin Wolfe, Sr., 70, was killed Tuesday when the lawn mower he was driving flipped and trapped him beneath it.

A 3-year-old riding on the mower was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital for minor injuries.

That accident happened about 1:00 PM on Horse Shoe Run Road in Eglon.


Girl Scout gathering in WV to focus on outdoor adventures

GLEN JEAN, WV — Dozens of Girl Scouts are heading to the Summit in West Virginia for five days of mountain biking, rock climbing and other outdoor challenges.

The Girl Scout Jamboree gets under way Wednesday at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Fayette County. The Jamboree is expected to welcome about 240 girls and adults through Sunday.

While most of the Scouts and adults will be from West Virginia, some are also coming from Virginia and Maryland.

The Jamboree is hosted by Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council.


WV Lottery reports $1B sales mark, 13 years and counting

CHARLESTON, WV — For the 13th consecutive year, West Virginia Lottery sales have topped the $1 billion mark.

Director John Musgrave said Tuesday the lottery posted $1.16 billion in total sales for the fiscal year that ended June 30. Of that sum, Musgrave said more than $500 million went to state coffers.

Musgrave said money transferred to the state included $254 million from racetrack video lottery, $187 million from limited video lottery and $41 million from traditional lottery products, such as scratch tickets.

Musgrave said during the lottery’s 29-year history, nearly $3 billion has gone to education, nearly $1 billion to tourism and $1 billion for elders.


West Virginia State Police will join investigation into death of man who scuffled with Weston officer

WESTON, WV — The West Virginia State Police will conduct a joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation into the facts surrounding the July 1st incident between an officer with the Weston Police Department and Weston native William Dale Jeffries according to First Lieutenant Michael T. Baylous, Public Information Officer for the West Virginia State Police.

William Dale Jeffries, 57, of Weston, died July 16, some 15 days after suffering a neck injury in a scuffle with officer Eric Riddle.

Police were called to a disturbance involving Jeffries, who was believed to be drunk and reportedly urinating in public near a business. Riddle approached Jeffries and asked him to take a breathalyzer. After Jeffries reportedly refused, he leaned against the police cruiser, and resisted attempts by Riddle to subdue him.

Jeffries hit his head on the cruiser, which was apparently when his neck snapped.

Officer Eric Riddle was suspended pending an investigation, but was cleared by an internal investigation conducted by the Weston Police Department. He returned to work one week after the incident in question.

Following Jeffries death, the Weston Police Department placed Officer Eric Riddle on administrative leave pending further investigation.

The results of an autopsy have not yet been released.

Did You Know?

The Gilmer Free Press

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


WHERE TRUMP IS TAKING HIS CAMPAIGN

The candidate, after his attention-getting remarks about immigrants, will travel to Laredo, Texas, and hold a news conference at the border.


SHERIFF: WOMAN TOLD GUARD ABOUT EARLIER SUICIDE TRY

The revelation raises questions about how closely Sandra Bland was monitored before she allegedly took her life in a Texas jail cell.


SUSPECT IN CHARLESTON CHURCH MASSACRE FACING FEDERAL CHARGES

Dylann Roof, 21, is indicted on 33 federal counts, including hate crimes.


WHICH NATION SEES OBAMA AS A LOCAL SON

Kenya, which the president is visiting this week, is also a country where children, roads and schools bear his name.


MOVEMENT TO RAISE MIMIMUM WAGE GAINS GROUND

The huge University of California system announces plans to increase base pay for workers to $15 an hour.


WHOSE POLL NUMBERS ARE DROPPING

Pope Francis’ approval rating among Americans has plummeted, driven mostly by a decline among political conservatives and Roman Catholics.


`IF IT’S LEGAL, IT MUST BE OK’

Legal marijuana has complicated conversations about pot between parents and their kids.


TESTS SHOW QURAN MANUSCRIPT DATES TO TIME OF PROPHET

The announcement by the University of Birmingham in England, where the parchment is housed, thrills Muslim scholars.


`I AM CAIT’ SET TO DEBUT

The docuseries on E! sheds light on Caitlyn Jenner’s transgender life - amid celebrity distractions, the AP’s Frazier Moore reports.


JAMAICA BOOTS U.S. IN GOLD CUP SEMIS, 2-1

Michael Bradley scores for the Americans, but it isn’t enough to prevent a stunning setback in front of a sold-out crowd at the Georgia Dome.

U.S.A. News

The Gilmer Free Press

Pennsylvania couple rents chickens to egg fans, urban farmers

A Pennsylvania couple has come up with a solution to soaring U.S. egg prices: Rental chickens.

RentTheChicken.com is the brainchild of Jenn and Phil Tompkins, of Freeport, Pennsylvania, northeast of Pittsburgh. More than just a cost-beater, they see their business as a way to change how people think about food.

“It changes the mindset of people when they know where food comes from,“ said Jenn Tompkins, 38. “Pretty soon they’ll have tomato plants and be turning the chicken manure into compost.“

Since starting their home-based business in the summer of 2013, they have rented chickens, either directly or through affiliates, to about 200 customers in 12 U.S. states as well as Ontario and Prince Edward Island in Canada.

Interest has been spurred by a surge in U.S. egg prices, which rose a record 85% last month after an outbreak of bird flu led to the culling of millions of laying hens nationally, according to U.S. Labor Department data.

For about $400, depending on location, the service provides two laying hens for the four to six warm months of the year, plus a chicken coop and a guidebook.

The hens typically produce eight to 14 eggs a week, and at the end of the rental period customers have the option of buying the chickens or returning them.

The venture is one of a handful that have sprouted up around the United States in the past few years, capitalizing on renewed interest in local food production.

Hope Stambaugh, 37, and her husband Paul, 40, rented four hens this year for $600, which they are raising along with their four young children in Export, Pennsylvania, a Pittsburgh suburb.

“I love the idea of knowing where my food comes from,“ Hope Stambaugh said. “How special for my kids to see that food does not necessarily come from the store.“

Municipalities vary widely in their attitude toward urban chicken farming. Philadelphia bans it, Tompkins said, while Pittsburgh earlier this month relaxed its licensing requirements to allow homeowners with lots of a minimum size to raise small numbers of chickens, ducks or hornless goats, or to keep bees.

Stambaugh said she plans to buy the chickens, named Jessie, Fluffy, Lacey and Princess, at the end of the rental period, and is thinking about moving further out in the country to add a few more.

World News

The Gilmer Free Press

Iran lawmakers said to need ‘at least’ 60 days for nuke deal

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s parliament will need “at least” 60 days to review a proposed final deal with world powers over its contested nuclear program, a prominent lawmaker said Tuesday, giving legislators in the Islamic Republic about the same time as the U.S. Congress to examine the proposal.

But while hard-liners in Iran’s parliament could vote against the deal struck last week in Vienna, their numbers wouldn’t be enough to derail a proposal already backed by the country’s supreme leader. That’s even with an influential member of the country’s Revolutionary Guard expressing concerns over the deal.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who headed the Iranian negotiating team, formally submitted the deal Tuesday to parliament. Hours later, the official IRNA news agency reported lawmakers formed a 15-member special committee to review the deal.

Under Iran’s constitution, parliament has the right to reject any deal — even one negotiated by the Foreign Ministry. But committed hard-liners in the Iranian parliament hold only about 60 of the body’s 290 seats, the rest belonging to conservatives and a handful of pro-reform lawmakers.

While hard-liners have drawn other lawmakers over to their side in previous votes, that appears unlikely in this case as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has endorsed the work of the nuclear deal negotiators. The lawmakers’ special committee may prove to be an olive branch to hard-liners — allowing them to vent their frustrations against world powers, especially the U.S., while parliament ultimately approves the deal.

Political analyst Saeed Leilaz said any hard-liner objections to the agreement likely deal with domestic politics alone, especially as a February parliamentary election looms ahead.

“The possible opposition by hard-liners only reflects their concerns about their political future since the deal gives leverage to President Hassan Rouhani,“ Leilaz said. “The talks have gone ahead under direct supervision by the supreme leader. The parliament has no power to say no.“

It’s not clear whether Iranian lawmakers will discuss and vote on the deal in an open session. State-run radio has carried previous votes on contentious issues live.

Hossein Naghavi, the spokesman of influential parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, told The Associated Press that “the parliament needs at least 60 days to review the deal.“

“The formation of the special committee and the process of reviewing (the deal) requires this amount of time,“ Naghavi said. However, he stressed “there is no official deadline” for finishing the review. That means the Iranian lawmakers could have their vote after the U.S. Congress. U.S. President Barack Obama already has pledged to veto any American bill rejecting the agreement.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, which Rouhani heads, also is reviewing the deal.

Under the agreement, Iran pledged to curb its nuclear program for a decade in exchange for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of relief from international sanctions. Many penalties on the Iranian economy, such as those related to the energy and financial sectors, could be lifted by the end of the year.

The West long has feared Iran could use its nuclear program to build an atomic bomb. Iran maintains its program is for peaceful purposes, like medical research and power generation.

The U.N. Security Council voted to unanimously to accept the deal Monday. Zarif, in a speech to parliament Tuesday broadcast on state radio, hailed the Security Council resolution, though he warned that any effort to restore the sanctions would cost a “heavy price.“

“If for any reason, Security Council sanctions are re-imposed, Iran will not be obliged to abide by its commitments,“ Zarif said.

Later Tuesday, Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, also urged lawmakers to “pay attention to the outlines of the deal rather than its details,“ IRNA reported.

But one prominent official has spoken out against the deal. The head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, said Saturday that his force has “some concerns” about the draft.

Those points “are clearly in contradiction and violation of important red lines of Iran, especially regarding arms capabilities,“ he was quoted as saying. “They will never be acceptable to us.“ He did not elaborate.


Dracula wants your blood: for Transylvania music gig

BUCHAREST, Romania—A fanged Dracula with a blood bag hooked up to his arm is offering an unusual deal for tickets to a Romania music festival: Pay with blood.

“We have a bloody problem”, “Don’t suck, donate” and “Not only vampires need blood”, say campaign flyers encouraging blood giving for tickets.

The Untold Festival has teamed up with Romania’s national institute for blood transfusion INTS to provide free or discounted tickets in exchange for the blood, seeking to raise awareness in a country with one of Europe’s lowest levels of blood donors.

Less than 2% of Romanians donate blood each year, one of the lowest figures in Europe.

The festival, which will take place from July 30 to August 2 in the Transylvanian city of Cluj, will be headlined by DJs Avicii and David Guetta, among others.

People who had donated blood by Tuesday got festival tickets on the spot, while those who register receive discounts.

Up to 500 people are estimated to have “paid with blood” for their tickets, the organizers said in a statement.

“‘Pay with blood’ is a novel and brave initiative that draws attention to a real need for blood in Romania,“ Untold’s communications director Adrian Chereji said in the statement.

“We wanted to actively contribute to raising the number of donors and, at the same time, give fans a unique method to pay for their festival ticket.“

Organizers have said they expect as many as 300,000 people to attend the festival. A four-day ticket costs 309 lei ($76.35).

($1 = 4.0471 lei)

West Virginia Housing Development Fund Announce Lowest Home Mortgage Interest Rate in Fund History

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and the West Virginia Housing Development Fund today announced the lowest home mortgage interest rate in fund history. Qualifying West Virginia families are now eligible for a 30-year fixed rate loan below 2.81%.  Down payment and closing cost assistance loans are also available for those who qualify.

“Owning a home is the cornerstone of the American dream and this is a wonderful opportunity for those looking to buy a home in West Virginia,” Governor Tomblin said. “We’re excited about this fantastic rate, and we hope it gives hardworking West Virginians and their families a real chance to live that dream in the Mountain State.”

The historically low rate comes on the heels of the Huffington Post naming West Virginia the best state in the country for first-time homebuyers. The Huffington Post, one of the Internet’s highest traffic sites and the first digital media enterprise to win a Pulitzer Prize, specifically cited Housing Development Fund programs as a reason the state received this distinction.

“This will be the best mortgage rate in the Housing Development Fund’s history,” said Fund Acting Executive Director Erica Boggess. “We are extremely pleased with this interest rate and realize that it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for qualifying West Virginia families who wish to purchase a home.”

This rate was achieved as a result of a $15 million bond issue by the Fund. The money allocated for this program will be used specifically to help low- to moderate-income buyers. Households comprised of up to two people can earn no more than $45,000 per year. Households comprised of three or more people can earn no more than $55,000 per year.

With low cost financing, down payment and closing cost assistance and homebuyer counseling, many West Virginia families may find they qualify to own a home. The funds for these low rate loans are limited and applications will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Those interested in the program should contact their Realtor, lending institution or the Fund for more information about how to apply for a loan. Visit the Fund’s website at www.wvhdf.com for a list of participating lenders or call the Fund at 1.800.933.9843 for more information.

The West Virginia Housing Development Fund is a public body corporate and governmental instrumentality of the State of West Virginia established in 1969 to increase the supply of residential housing. To date, the Fund has issued more than $4.3 billion in tax-exempt bonds to finance more than 118,000 housing units. No tax dollars were utilized to provide this information. The West Virginia Housing Development Fund is an Equal Housing Opportunity Lender.

07.22.2015
Financial & Economy | G-Fin™ | GrantsNewsWest Virginia(1) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Seems the Governor is unaware of the Kids Count data. If you can’t take care of your kids how are you supposed to buy a house? Wouldn’t matter if the interest rate was zero.

Is this how the new housing cartel got started here in Glenville?  Is that why we can only have one elementary school in order to push everybody to town?
Always thought living in the country was a better place to raise kids.

What do you think is good for kids Governor Tomblin? Do you think of them at all?

Trips to Japan or promoting the friends and family profits with no bid contracts and sweet heart deals?

By Just Asking Again  on  07.22.2015

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West Virigina Slipping in Terms of Poverty, Kids’ Well-Being

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV – West Virginia’s children are faring worse, and the state’s ranking on key measures of caring for them has fallen, according to the latest Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT report.

The annual survey found 27% of West Virginia children live below the federal poverty line, up from 15% during the lowest ebb of the Great Recession.

Margie Hale, executive director of West Virginia Kids Count, says too many working poor families have been left behind – even as the economy has turned around.

“There’s persistent poverty despite the economic recovery,“ says Hale. “We have 13,000 more children living in poverty. This recovery has passed them by.“

In terms of how well West Virginia kids are doing, the survey says the state’s overall ranking has fallen six spots to 43rd place. Hale says the key to helping children is supporting families as they try to reach economic security.

According to West Virginia KIDS COUNT, several proven policies help working families get out of poverty. Hale says more affordable child care and a state Earned Income Tax Credit would both help, as would paid sick leave and a higher minimum wage. She says it’s simply a matter of getting more resources into the hands of struggling parents.

“Most of the children in poverty live in families who are working, and they cannot make enough money,“ she says. “They have problems with food, they have problems with child care. All these solutions are designed to change that.“

Hale says these policies have worked in other places, in part because they’re designed to reward individuals who work, and make it easier for them to support their families while doing so.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

07.22.2015
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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

It will get worse before it gets better.
Following the same Bell Curve as WV Education.

By it will get worse  on  07.22.2015

2 party system.
1 common goal.
stuff pockets with tax $$$.

By one philosophy  on  07.22.2015

Education in the United States has gone from excellent to dreadful in the past 150 years because somewhere along the way, educators have lost focus on what education is supposed to be!  An educated person knows how to find the information he/she needs to do what he/she needs to do. This requires the ability to think creatively and independently and not the ability to sit still for 6 hours and “do what I say”.  It requires the ability to debate and evaluate information, another lost art.  Is it any wonder that families struggle more and more since generations of Americans have been short-changed on what people have known for thousands of years.  No one can be “educated” by others.  Others can be mentors and facilitators, but the individual must educate himself!  Yes, people are falling into poverty.  Wealth is unlimited but if you have no skills to create it, you will never find it.

By Karen Pennebaker  on  07.22.2015

What you are seeing is an attempt to give cover to educator-administration failed programs.

Increase the time spent in the classroom.  Increase the number of teachers.
Increase the union member numbers.

The mentality is ‘if we can get them more class time, they will learn more’.  That is an attempt to offset failed administration.

Ask teachers.  How much time can you spend ‘actually teaching’ ?

Are you hands tied by what you can teach?
Are you buried with statistical reports that limit your teaching time and ability in any fashion?

If would be wonderful to hear comments from our West Virginia teachers, both pro and con.

By John R.  on  07.22.2015

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Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Gilmer Free Press

On Monday, July 20, 2015 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire heard cases in Gilmer County Circuit Court.

Four fugitives from justice waived extradition as follows:

1) Timothy McNair waived to return to the state of Virginia,

2) Donavon Benjamin waived to return to the state of Ohio,

3) Bennie Blackwell waived to return to the state of Ohio, and

4) Michael Walthall wavied to return to the state of Virginia.

All 4 fugitives were represented by Clinton Bischoff of Summersville.


Also Judge Facemire heard 7 juvenile cases and granted Stephanie Smarr the right to be released from her GPS in her criminal case.

Smarr was represented by Mr. Bischoff.


Later in the day Magistrate Skinner reported to Karen Elkin, Circuit Clerk that none of the 3 magistrate trials scheduled this week would need a jury.

Thereafter Ms. Elkin put a tape on for the jury recording system directing all petit/magistrate jurors to call back in September regarding future Circuit Court trials and released all of them from calling and/or serving this week.

West Virginia State Arts Agency Invites Public to Share Thoughts

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV –The Arts Section of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts want to know what you think about the arts in your community.

The state arts agency and commission invite the public to complete a survey that also explores the services and support they deliver to arts communities across the state.

Information provided will help guide the Arts Section staff as it reviews current programs, plans upcoming activities and prepares annual reports to the governor, state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This confidential survey is available on the division’s website at www.wvculture.org/arts.

Did You Know?

The Gilmer Free Press

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


DASHCAM VIDEO SHOWS CONFRONTATIONAL TEXAS TRAFFIC STOP

In the recording, an officer attempts to drag 28-year-old Sandra Bland from her vehicle, saying, “I will light you up,“ as he holds his stun gun.


CLINTON RAISING MONEY IN FINANCE SECTOR AS SHE RAPS INDUSTRY

The candidate’s campaign isn’t shy about asking financial executives for donations, even as she promises to rein in their multimillion-dollar paychecks if she becomes president.


GREEK PARLIAMENT TO VOTE ON MORE BAILOUT CONDITIONS

Lawmakers are debating judicial and banking reforms set as a requirement by other Eurozone countries for the nation’s third rescue package worth 85 billion euros ($93 billion).


JURORS TO WEIGH WHETHER COLORADO THEATER SHOOTER SHOULD DIE

Sentencing for James Holmes begins Wednesday and could be even more emotional and polarizing than the 11-week trial.


WHAT MEXICO CARTEL BOSS FACES AFTER ESCAPE

Joaquin “El Chapo” finds a changed drug-trafficking landscape, where old rivals have been vanquished and his cartel has seen bloody infighting.


WITH WHOM ISRAELI GOVERNMENT CLASHES

It is butting heads with liberal streams of Judaism that dominate Jewish life in the U.S.- widening a rift that risks further alienating American Jews.


TEEN USE OF MORNING-AFTER PILL CLIMBING

More than one in five sexually active teen girls use the emergency contraceptive - a dramatic increase that likely reflects that it’s easier now for them to buy it.


MANY APPLE FANS IN NO RUSH TO BUY APPLE WATCH

Some people are waiting for early kinks to be worked out and others, for an “aha moment.“


JUSTICE DEPARTMENT DROPS CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OF BARRY BONDS

The investigation and court proceedings went on for nearly a decade, and involved issues regarding steroid use.


E.L. DOCTOROW DIES AT 84

The author of “Ragtime” was the rare American writer to move gracefully between lives as engaged citizen and solitary inventor.

West Virginia News

The Gilmer Free Press

Report: More than 1 in 4 WV children living in poverty

CHARLESTON, WV — A new report says more than one in four West Virginia children are living in poverty.

The annual KIDS Count report says the number of children living in poverty grew from 87,000 in 2008 to 100,000 in 2013, an increase of nearly 15%.

The report says 38% of children, or 144,000, were living in families whose parents lacked secure employment in 2013, compared to 32% in 2008.

Several other child well-being indicators improved during the same period. The death rate for children and teens declined from 36 per 100,000 to 34. The teen birth rate fell from 47 per 1,000 to 40.

Overall, the report ranks West Virginia 43rd for child well-being, down from 37th in 2014.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released the report on Tuesday.


WVU Parkersburg aims to get more vets into farming

PARKERSBURG, WV — West Virginia University at Parkersburg is joining a statewide effort to bring more veterans into farming or a related agribusiness.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture says Parkersburg is the first college to participate in the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture project.

Started in 2009, the program is aimed at helping veterans feed themselves and their neighbors. Since then, the program has grown to more than 100 West Virginia veterans who are now farmers or involved in agribusiness.

Veterans and Warriors is already partnering with beekeepers and educational farms.

The idea behind the program is to ease the emotional stress of veterans through farming.

WVU Parkersburg has an agricultural program leading to a one-year certificate or two-year associate degree.


WV seeks to limit chronic wasting disease among deer

SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is taking steps to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease among the state’s deer population.

The division says it has broadened Eastern Panhandle restrictions on the baiting and artificial feeding of deer. Effective this month, the restrictions were extended to the following counties: Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral and Morgan.

Division biologists say supplemental feeding and baiting of deer increases the chance of disease transmission of chronic wasting disease.

Chronic wasting disease affects the brains and nervous systems of deer and elk. There is no evidence to suggest that it poses a risk to humans or domestic animals.

The disease has been detected in 170 deer in Hampshire County and four in Hardy County.


Commission dismisses complaint against WV justice

CHARLESTON, WV - An ethics complaint against West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis has been dismissed.

A report by the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission says the complaint was baseless.

The report says the commission found no evidence to support a finding of probable cause that Davis violated the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The Supreme Court says Davis authorized the report’s release on Tuesday. The commission dismissed the complaint on May 22.

Bill Maloney of Morgantown had filed the complaint in April. His complaint alleged that Davis failed to timely disclose any potential conflict in a nursing home wrongful death case. The complaint also alleged that Davis didn’t recuse herself from hearing the case, saying her husband had sold his law firm’s airplane to one of the defendant’s lawyers.


CSX to discuss West Virginia oil train derailment cleanup

GLEN FERRIS, WV - CSX has invited the public to attend a meeting to discuss the cleanup of a February oil-train derailment in southern West Virginia.

The meeting is set for Tuesday evening at the Glen Ferris Inn.

On February 16, 27 cars of a CSX train’s 109 cars derailed during a snowstorm in Mount Carbon. The cause of the derailment hasn’t been released.

Crews have focused on removing crude oil at the site and preventing potential oil sheens on the Kanawha River.

Under a March consent order with Environmental Protection Agency, the railroad agreed to a long-term plan for cleaning up and restoring the area around the derailment.

U.S.A. News

The Gilmer Free Press

Report: 22% of U.S. children live in poverty

Nearly one in four children is living in poverty in the United States, a higher percentage compared to the poverty rate during the Great Recession in the late 2000s, according to a new report by a child advocacy group.

About 22% of Americans kids, 18.7 million, lived in low-income households in 2013, a four% increase since 2008, the Annie E. Casey Foundation said in a report released on Tuesday.

Data for 2014 are not yet available, but the report anticipates that the child poverty rate remains at an “unacceptably high level.”

“Although we are several years past the end of the recession, millions of families still have not benefited from the economic recovery,“ said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Casey Foundation.

“While we’ve seen an increase in employment in recent years, many of these jobs are low-wage and cannot support even basic family expenses. Far too many families are still struggling to provide for the day-to-day needs of their children, notably for the 18.7 million kids who are living in poverty. We can and must do better: we can make policy choices to lift more families into economic stability,“ McCarthy said.

African American, American Indian and Hispanic children were more than twice as likely to live in poverty as white children, the report said.

Nearly a third of children are living in families where no parent has full-time employment, the foundation’s 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported.

Poverty rates were the most severe in Nevada, Louisiana, New Mexico and Mississippi.

“The fact that it’s happening is disturbing on lots of levels,” said Laura Speer, the associate director for policy reform and advocacy at the foundation. “Those kids often don’t have the access to the things they need to thrive.”

The foundation says its mission is to help low-income children in the U.S. by providing grants and advocating for policies that promote economic opportunity.


Citibank ordered to pay $768M for ‘deceptive’ practices

WASHINGTON, DC—Citibank must pay $768 million for deceptively selling debt protection and credit monitoring services to credit card customers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Tuesday.

The CFPB said Citibank’s “deceptive” and illegal practices affected some 8.8 million customer accounts between 2000 and 2013.

Citibank telemarketers were found to have sold add-on products to customers often without explaining the full costs or benefits of the products. These add-on products included credit monitoring and debt protection, which eliminates or delays payments on credit card accounts in the case of certain life events like losing a job, hospitalization or divorce.

In some cases, telemarketers told customers they had a free 30-day trial, but still charged a fee, or didn’t explain when a customer had to cancel the service before being assessed a fee. In other cases, Citibank offered credit monitoring, but failed to provide the service as explained.

“We continue to uncover illegal credit card add-on practices that are costing unknowing consumers millions of dollars,“ said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “In our four years, this is the tenth action we’ve taken against companies in this space for deceiving consumers. We will remain on the lookout for similar conduct and will address it as we find it.“

The CFPB ordered Citibank to pay $479 million to about 4.8 million customer accounts for deceptive marketing practices, $196 million to 2.2 million accounts enrolled in credit monitoring services and $23.8 million to 1.8 million customers who paid unnecessary expedited payment fees. Additionally, Citibank must pay a $35 million penalty to the CFPB, as well as a $35 million fee to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

Citi issued a statement saying it “cooperated fully with the CFPB and OCC and has taken extensive steps to address each issue that affected customers.

“Citi previously discontinued sales of the products included in the agreements, which include credit-monitoring and debt-protection products and wallet protection services, and no longer charges expedited pay-by-phone fees.“

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