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More U.S. Colleges Drop Standardized Tests

The Gilmer Free Press

Hey, high schoolers, scared of bombing on the SATs and not getting into college? Don’t worry, a growing number of U.S. schools are scrapping standardized test scores as part of admission.

Washington, D.C.‘s George Washington University last month joined more than 850 U.S. colleges and universities that no longer require applicants to take the SAT or ACT, tests that have been a feature of American student life for decades.

Proponents of making the tests optional say the switch can help schools become more diverse and admit students who will thrive even though they may have lagged other applicants on scores.

“It was really about making sure that the right students, students for whom GW would be a great place, were not discouraged from applying,“ said Karen Stroud Felton, George Washington’s dean of admissions.

The test-optional trend has accelerated in recent years, with more than two dozen schools dropping the requirement since the spring of 2014, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, which advocates for test-optional admissions. They include Wisconsin’s Beloit College and Temple University in Philadelphia.

But defenders of the SAT and ACT tests of math, reading and writing say they level the playing field for applicants and provide an objective measure for scholarships.

Cyndie Schmeiser, chief of assessment at the College Board, the non-profit that administers the SAT, said research had repeatedly shown it was a strong predictor of academic success.

The SAT is relied upon by thousands of U.S. colleges and universities. It also gives low-income and minority students access to higher education by stripping out subjective factors such as grade inflation, she said.

“The bottom line is that more knowledge is better than less, and especially information like the SAT that is captured under comparable conditions for all kids,“ Schmeiser said.

About 1.7 million students took the SAT in 2014, up almost 60 percent in 20 years, and 1.8 million took the ACT, according to College Board and ACT numbers.

The United States had 3,026 four-year colleges in the 2012-13 academic year, according to the U.S. Department of Education.


DROPPING THE TEST

Natalie Casimir, an 18-year-old from Troutman, North Carolina, is among the college students who were helped by the new trend away from test scores.

Even with a high school grade point average of 4.0, she said, her SAT score of 1580 out of 2400 had driven her to despair about getting into college. That score would have put her in the 60th percentile of students taking the SAT in 2013, the College Board said.

“I didn’t feel like my SAT scores adequately depicted how I perform as a student, because I did really well in the classroom,“ Casimir said.

But she applied to North Carolina’s Wake Forest, which dropped the standardized test requirement in 2008, and got in. Now she is looking at English and political science as areas of study and sees Wake Forest as home.

“I’ve absolutely loved it,“ said Casimir, now a sophomore.

A 2014 study of test-optional admissions involving 123,000 students at 33 schools found no major difference in college grade point averages or graduation rates between those who submitted test scores and those who did not.


GPA RULES

William Hiss, the study’s main investigator and a former head of admissions at Bates College in Maine, said high school grade point average turns out to be an excellent indicator of college success.

“The fact that they are not a great test taker is maybe the only thing that’s out of whack” for strong high school students applying to college, he said.

About 30 percent of students at the schools examined did not submit test scores. They tended to be the first in their families to go to college, minorities, women, from low-income families or recipients of federal Pell Grants, which do not have to be repaid, Hiss said.

Some data raises doubts, however, about whether test-optional admissions boost minority enrollment and diversity.

An analysis for the American Educational Research Association and Sage Publications published last year showed that colleges made no progress in improving diversity after adopting test-optional policies.

But the number of applications went up after schools dropped the test requirements, which also eliminates some of the costs of applying to college. Taking the SAT or ACT can cost up to $56.50 for a U.S. student, and many applicants take the test more than once.

A test-prep industry has also cropped up to coach high schoolers, with IBISWorld market research estimating annual revenue for tutoring and test prep businesses at $9 billion.

The number of test preparation companies soared to 8,777 in 2013 from just under 2,900 in 1998, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. Major test prep companies include Kaplan Inc, a unit of Graham Holdings Co, and Princeton Review, part of IAC/InterActive Corp.

Community Members Invited to BAD Buildings Discussion at GSC - 08.27.15

The Gilmer Free Press

GLENVILLE, WV - The Glenville State College Land Resources Department will play host to a presentation on the implementation of a Brownfields, Abandoned, & Dilapidated (BAD) Buildings Model. The event will take place on Thursday, August 27 at 12:15 PM in room 227-228 of GSC’s Waco Center.

The BAD Buildings Model is part of a program through the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center which provides technical assistance and site analysis tools to help communities develop and enhance local abandoned/dilapidated buildings programs they may already have in place. The discussion at this meeting will show how this model provides a step-by-step plan for local volunteers and elected officials to begin making improvements to their communities.

Center officials define ‘BAD Buildings’ as structures and properties which are vacant, uninhabited and in a state of disrepair, whose owner is taking no active steps to bring the property back into functional use.

Presenters at the event will be Patrick Kirby, Director, and Luke Elser, Project Manager, from the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.

The West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers, which includes offices at Marshall University and West Virginia University, were created in 2005 by the West Virginia Legislature to empower communities to plan and implement brownfields redevelopment projects. Brownfield sites are defined as properties on which expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

The two centers promote economic development and environmental and public health protection through innovative redevelopment of brownfield sites. The centers also promote and coordinate the development of brownfield property by providing training and technical assistance, facilitating site preparation efforts, engaging community involvement, as well as by helping communities with grant writing and leveraging project funding.

The Thursday event at GSC is open to the public, free of cost, and will include light refreshments at 12:00 PM.

GSC Volleyball Team 2015-16

The Gilmer Free Press
Story under SPORTS

Gilmer County Family Court Report - 08.19.15

The Gilmer Free Press

On Wednesday, August 19, 2015 Family Court Judge Larry Whited heard cases in Gilmer County.

•  One hearing on relocation was heard.

•  One domestic violence hearing was continued, 2 were granted and a parenting plan was filed in another allocation petition.

•  One contested divorce was heard, but no order has yet been entered.

West Virginia News

The Gilmer Free Press

Armed teen accused in hostage situation at Philip Barbour High

PHILIPPI, WV – A 14-year-old boy, armed with a pistol, is responsible for a 2-hour hostage situation at Philip Barbour High School according to West Virginia State Police.

“Educators who were on scene, they did an awesome job of evacuating the facility per protocol. Law enforcement got on scene and contained the situation,” explained Capt. Dave Reider, West Virginia State Police Troop 3 Commander in Elkins.

Barbour County 911 operators were notified of a gunman in the school at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

School staff members were able to get the majority of students to the PBHS football field where they were accounted for before being dismissed on afternoon buses.

Police began negotiations with the teen who was holding several students and a teacher in a second floor classroom.

They were released uninjured.

“Subsequent to that, we were able to talk to the juvenile subject inside and had him surrender without incident,” Reider added.

Parents who arrived on scene were met with a closed Route 250 and a nerve-wracking wait.

“We had to secure the facility, make sure it was safe. Once we got them evacuated and could do that, we released the children to the parents. They were very cooperative and very patient. I can’t think them enough for that. These types of situations can often times become problematic if we don’t have that patience. Tragedy, today, was averted because of that,” determined Reider.

The suspect was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

Barbour County Prosecuting Attorney Leckta Poling spoke briefly with reporters Tuesday evening.

“We are pursuing charges against the juvenile at this time.  Those are closed proceedings. So there will not be any information released about that at this time,” she explained.

Paperwork was processed to have the teen detained following hospitalization.

Details on the weapon, how many students were held hostage and a motive are part of the continued investigation with West Virginia State Police, the Barbour County Sheriff’s Department and the Philippi Police Department.


Five Counties to Receive Federal Funding to Stimulate Economic Growth

Washington D.C. — The Economic Development Administration has awarded five counties in central West Virginia with $70,000 in federal funds to assist in job creation.

U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito announced Tuesday afternoon that the Economic Development Administration will provide the funds to the Region 4 Planning and Development Council to invest in job creation and economic development in the region.

Five counties are in that region: Fayette, Greenbrier, Nicholas, Pocahontas, and Webster.

“It is critical that our public and private sectors work together to help boost our economy and improve the economic success in regions across West Virginia,” Senator Manchin said in a press release. “These funds will help us coordinate our resources more efficiently and provide the regional development and planning council with the support they need to overcome tough challenges, boost economic development and put hardworking West Virginians back to work.”

“Infrastructure development is critical to economic and job growth in our state. This investment will help improve infrastructure, diversify the local economy and foster collaboration between the public and private sectors,” said Senator Capito. “This funding is encouraging news for the Region 4 Planning and Development Council, as well as West Virginia’s families and businesses.”

EDA funding supports the development and implementation of CEDS–otherwise known as a comprehensive economic development strategy. The program’s goal is to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of an economic development road map to diversify and strengthen regional economies.


Concord University designates 8 restrooms as ‘all-gender’

ATHENS, WV - Concord University has designated eight restrooms in six buildings as “all-gender.“

Concord president Kendra Boggess says the single-toilet facilities are open for anyone to use. “All-gender” signs been placed on the facilities to inform the campus community of the change.

Boggess says Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines encourage agencies to provide unisex, single-user restrooms when feasible.


Cheney to headline West Virginia chamber annual meeting

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV - Former Vice President Dick Cheney will give the keynote speech at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting and business summit.

The event is slated for September 02-04 at The Greenbrier. It will feature a September 03 address by Cheney and his daughter Liz Cheney, the former State Department assistant secretary.

A panel of West Virginia’s delegation in the U.S. House and Senate will precede the discussion by the Cheneys.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and economist Arthur Laffer are among those scheduled to speak September 02.

West Virginia University President Gordon Gee will give an address September 04.

State legislative leaders and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey will close out the summit September 04.


Judge upholds pipeline survey without property owner’s OK

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. - A federal judge says a pipeline developer can survey private property in Virginia without the owner’s permission.

U.S. District Judge Robert Turk ruled that a Virginia law allowing access to property for such surveys is constitutional.

Monday’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed by eight property owners in Giles County against Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC. The property owners had denied access to route surveyors working for the company.

Mountain Valley Pipeline spokeswoman Natalie Cox says the ruling confirms the company’s belief that surveyors can’t be charged with trespassing if the company has provided the law’s required notification.

A plaintiffs lawyer, Isak Howell, says options are being evaluated.

The proposed pipeline would stretch about 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to Pittsylvania County in Virginia.


Woman injured in attack by 5 dogs in Harrison County

SUMMIT PARK, WV - Police say a Harrison County woman was attacked and bitten multiple times by five dogs.

Harrison County Sheriff Albert Marano says the incident occurred on Monday morning in Summit Park.

Marano says the woman was familiar with the dogs, which were in a cage in a neighbor’s yard. He says she was attacked when she went to the cage to pet the dogs.

The sheriff says the woman was bitten in the torso and neck area and was taken to hospital in Morgantown.

Marano says deputies found the dogs running loose in the neighborhood. Two dogs acted aggressively toward the deputies and were killed. The others were captured and taken to the county animal shelter.


WV State Police to participate in police cruiser contest

SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV — The West Virginia State Police will participate in the 2015 Best Looking Cruiser Contest.

Last year, a blue and gold cruiser won second place in the national event sponsored by the American Association of State Troopers.

Famous West Virginians such as Homer Hickam, Jedd Gyorko, and Curtis Fleming have shown their support for the West Virginia State Police by voting.

To vote in the contest, visit the American Association of State Troopers Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/StateTroopers.

Did you Know?

The Gilmer Free Press

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


EARLY RALLY FADES IN WALL STREET

The initial rise came after China lowered interest rates to try to boost its slowing economy, but by the end of the day the Dow had lost 200 points.


WHAT SUSPECT WAS DOING SHORTLY BEFORE FOILED ATTACK ON FRENCH TRAIN

Ayoub El-Khazzani watched a jihadi video on his cellphone minutes before he slung an assault rifle across his chest and barreled through the passenger car until he was tackled.


WHY A JUDGE TEMPORARILY HALTED LETHAL INJECTIONS IN MISSISSIPPI

The decision comes amid a lawsuit by inmates who say executions amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

4. HOW MUSLIM RADICALS ARE WIPING OUT HISTORIC RELICS

The Islamic State group has destroyed ancient buildings and artifacts - looting some for profit - all in the name of purging what it considers symbols of idolatry.


TRUMP RENEWS FIGHT WITH MEGYN KELLY

The Republican presidential front-runner says the Fox anchor is “really off her game,“ prompting the TV channel’s president to demand an apology.


FIREFIGHTERS KEEP WARY EYE ON RISING TEMPERATURES IN WASHINGTON

The smoke was so thick in the north of the state that firefighting aircraft were grounded.


COLOMBIANS FLEE VENEZUELA AFTER IMMIGRATION CRACKDOWN

Wading knee-deep through a river separating the two countries, men, women and children abandoned their ramshackle homes after being told to leave.


COMPANY IN NAPA VALLEY APOLOGIZES TO BLACK WOMEN AFTER THEY WERE EXPELLED FROM TRAIN

The women, who belonged to a book club, said they were booted from a tasting tour because of their race.


AFTER HACKING, USERS SUE ASHLEY MADISON WEBSITE

Eight subscribers of the infidelity site claim negligence, breach of contract and privacy violations.


JUSTIN WILSON’S DEATH THRUSTS PERILS OF CAR RACING INTO THE SPOTLIGHT

IndyCar heads into Sunday’s season finale reeling from the loss, and facing questions on how to improve driver safety.

Coal Use Falling in China as It Shifts to Renewables

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV – China’s use of coal fell last year and looks likely to keep falling.

The U.S. coal lobby argues any reduction in American carbon pollution will be swallowed up by more CO2 from China.

But after decades of explosive growth, Chinese coal use fell by as much as 3.5 percent last year.

Some of that is due to a slowing economy, but Nicole Ghio, a representative with the Sierra Club’s international climate and energy program, says the government there has declared it is shifting away from coal.

She says international observers are stunned by how quickly and totally China is putting that change in place.

“The important thing to understand is that it’s real,” Ghio states. “We’ve already seen the use of coal in China drop in 2014, which is huge. No one could have even imagined that happening.“

Ghio says the Chinese government has declared a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants. She says China is closing some existing plants, and not running many of the others full time.

She says the Chinese government is commanding that the economy put its full weight behind renewable energy, especially solar.

She says in part that’s because thousands of people die there every day because of the country’s notoriously bad air pollution, and because the government sees solar as the next big growth industry.

“The Chinese investments in solar are not window dressing,” she points out. “It is because they believe that this is where the future of energy is, and they are going all-in on renewables.“

Ghio says India – the next largest developing country – also is moving rapidly to renewables. She stresses that’s being driven by the fact that small, local wind and solar projects typically are cheaper than extending the main electric grid.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

U.S.A. News

The Gilmer Free Press

Facing Possible Ban, More Americans Are Buying New—and Legal—$900 Flamethrowers

In the wake of two companies now selling the first commercially-available flamethrowers in the United States, at least one mayor has called for increased restrictions on their use. And to no one’s surprise, the prospect of prohibition has now driven more sales.

“Business is skyrocketing higher than ever due to the discussion on prohibition,“ Chris Byars, the CEO of the Ion Productions Team based in Troy, Michigan, said by e-mail. “I’m a huge supporter of personal freedom and personal responsibility. Own whatever you like, unless you use it in a manner that is harmful to another or other’s property. We’ve received a large amount of support from police, fire, our customers, and interested parties regarding keeping them legal.“

Byars added that the company has sold 350 units at $900 each, including shipping, in recent weeks. That’s in addition to the $150,000 the company raised on IndieGoGo.

The Ion product, known as the XM42, can shoot fire over 25 feet and has more than 35 seconds of burn time per tank of fuel. With a full tank of fuel, it weighs just 10 pounds.

Another company—XMatter based in Cleveland, Ohio—sells a similar device for $1,600 each, but it weighs 50 pounds. However, this device has approximately double the range of the XM42. Quinn Whitehead, the company’s co-founder, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Last week, Mayor Jim Fouts of nearby Warren, Michigan—the third largest city in the state—said that he was worried about the sale of such devices in his city.

“My concern is that flamethrowers in the wrong hands could cause catastrophic damage either to the person who is using it or more likely to the person who is being targeted,“ he said. “This is a pretty dangerous mix because it’s a combination of butane and gasoline which is highly flammable. Anybody who has this at someone else or something happens and it happens close to them is going to be close to be incinerated.“

The Gilmer Free Press

At the state level, neither State Representative Martin Howrylak nor State Senator Marty Knollenberg immediately responded to request for comment.

Totally legal, for now

Shockingly, there are no current federal regulations on the possession, manufacture, sale, or use of flamethrowers.

“These devices are not regulated as they do not qualify as firearms under the National Firearms Act,“ Corey Ray, a spokesman with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, said by e-mail.

At the state level, California requires a permit while Maryland outright bans them—Ars is not aware of any other state-level regulation. The Inhumane Weapons Convention, which the United States signed in 1981, forbids “incendiary weapons” including flamethrowers. However, this document is only an agreement between nation-states and their militaries, and it did not for foresee individual possession.

A new bill in Troy, Michigan proposed earlier this month would forbid “storage, use, and possession of flamethrowers in the city.“ Violations of the law would constitute a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both in addition to seizure of the device.

“Why make/build/sell this? It’s awesome,“ Byars added. “It’s revolutionary in its design in contrast to previous flamethrowers throughout the years due to its portability and instant-action on the fly functionality. I wanted one, personally, back in 2007, so I began developing plans to create one. Years went by with slow development, and then a spark hit and I decided this was the year to make it happen. I used the resources I gained as an engineer in the auto industry to learn how to make this a reality.“

Mayor Fouts remains unconvinced.

“If our own military doesn’t use it and it’s been banned by the Geneva Convention then why would someone think this should be sold to the general public?“ he added. “I think it’s too risky to gamble with people’s lives. I can’t think of something more horrific than to burn somebody alive, and that’s what this would do.“


Almost All Ground Beef Has Fecal Contamination

A close look at ground beef reveals some pretty disturbing stuff, a Consumer Reports investigation found. Some 300 packages containing 458 pounds of ground beef were bought at stores of all kinds in 26 cities, and every single one contained fecal contamination. That’s more than just gross: It can cause serious illness when beef isn’t cooked to the recommended 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Any meat can make you sick if not cooked properly, Consumer Reports notes, but ground beef is especially risky because cows raised on crowded feedlots tend to have manure on their skin, which contains bacteria that can end up in the meat during processing—and bacteria from one cow can end up mixed with that of many other cows.

The testing also revealed antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” in some of the meat, though they were a lot less prevalent in beef labeled “grass-fed organic,“ which tended to have less bacteria overall. Experts advise consumers to buy sustainably raised beef when they can—and always make sure it’s cooked all the way through. “Remember, when it’s ground beef, you’re taking it and grinding the bacteria from the surface of the beef into it,“ Consumer Reports’ director for food safety tells CBS. “So unlike a steak, you’re really moving all that bacteria all around the beef. So it’s especially important for ground beef, to cook it to 160 degrees to be absolutely safe.“


Massive Sewage Spill Shuts Famous Hawaii Beach

Most of the famed beach fronting Waikiki was closed after heavy rains triggered a half-million-gallon sewage spill near Hawaii’s world-famous tourist district, officials say. The beach area was closed yesterday after storm water flowed into the city’s sewage system as a weather system linked to Tropical Storm Kilo dumped heavy rain on the islands. The inundation overwhelmed the sewage system, causing 500,000 gallons of wastewater to spew from manholes, says Honolulu’s director of environmental services. “Now’s not the time to go swimming,“ she says, advising that it will be another couple of days before the ocean is clean enough to enter.

The city is advising people to avoid a 4-mile stretch of waterfront from Kapahulu Avenue in Waikiki to Point Panic in Kakaako. Sewage came out of manholes at Ala Moana Beach Park, on a street fronting a shopping mall at the edge of Waikiki and a pumping station. A spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Emergency Services cautions that the ocean is dangerous. “We don’t know right now what is in the water,“ she says. “You could get a serious infection, get extremely sick, or even worse.“ The storm system has also caused flooding that has shut down schools, roads, and several city facilities in Honolulu.

MAKING THE MOST OF A NEW SCHOOL YEAR

A column by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin
The Gilmer Free Press

As students across our state return to school, it is important to have a fresh focus on the year that lies ahead. Since becoming governor, I have worked hard to give all West Virginia students access to a world-class education and increased opportunities that allow them to compete on a global scale and achieve long-term success.

I’m proud of the progress we have made to strengthen our schools and expand access to specialized programs, but I also know there is still more work to be done. We want to ensure our kids graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful, and that starts with making sure all West Virginia students receive a 180 days of instructional time.

Nationwide, 29 states require a 180 day-school cycle and an additional 11 states require more than 180 days of instructional time. Research shows a strong correlation between time spent in the classroom and student achievement. As a result, we must use this standard to give our kids the educational opportunities they deserve.

Standards for post-high school employment and long-term success are increasing for our students and students across the country. The days when a high school diploma alone could open doors to an abundance of stable, well-paying job opportunities to support a family are over. In fact, recent studies show that of the jobs we’re creating here in West Virginia, nearly 60 percent will require at least a two-year degree.

If we want our kids to have the best opportunities to become contributing members in our communities and part of our workforce, we must make sure they are learning in the classroom, every day.

Regular student attendance is critical for our kids to achieve success and improve our statewide graduation rate. Too many of our state’s students are missing far too many days of school. Instructional class time is time our students simply cannot afford to lose, especially in the early years of their education when reading is critical.

There is a widespread misconception that absences are OK, so long as they are considered “excused” absences. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Research shows that missing just two or three days a month can cause students to get so far behind in their classwork, they are unable to keep up with their classmates.

Poor attendance affects more than just middle school and high school students. It can - and often does - start as early as kindergarten and preschool, and can develop poor attendance habits that students carry with them throughout their education. These chronic absences affect not only a student’s ability to learn fundamental reading and math skills, but also can affect future work ethics as they enter the workforce.

This year, we launched a statewide truancy diversion initiative to address this problem and help county school systems provide early intervention services to students who need them most. The goal is to keep them in school and provide the individual attention they need to get back on track and prepare for the opportunities we’re creating in the Mountain State.

Just last week, I visited students at East Hardy High School and Moorefield High School to share this message. As we kick off the year, it’s my hope teachers, parents and students across the state will join me in supporting this statewide effort to keep our kids in the classroom. I believe our students can succeed, and opportunities in West Virginia will be waiting for them.

CommunityConcerns™: Can Glenville State College’s Teacher Education Program Be Salvaged?

The Gilmer Free Press

We had Moody’s report about GSC’s lowered bond rating from its risky borrowing, exceeding $30,000,000, which was approved by the Gilmer County Commission. Next, we learned about GSC’s serious accreditation concerns from the iconic Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The WSJ reported that about 30% of an entering GSC freshman class does not graduate. The newest alarm is from the prestigious National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). At the beginning of the 21st century and decades before that time the College had one of the finest teacher education programs in America.

Sadly, that prized status ended. The NCTQ applied an evaluation process containing 20 criteria referred to as standards to rank teacher education programs including GSC’s. Mr. Charles McElwee, a distinguished Charleston attorney reported the rankings in the Gazette Mail.

To quote Mr. McAlwee, “six institutions [in WV]) fell in the bottom half of fully evaluated undergraduate or graduate elementary programs, too low to qualify for a ranking.” Unfortunately GSC’s teacher education program was among the six bottom place WV institutions.

What happened at GSC to degrade its teacher education program?

We hear mostly about the College’s expansive building program as if it alone is the answer to all challenges. However, there is no evidence to verify that the huge loan for building, enabled by the County Commission, helped to improve the College’s academic standing including its discredited teacher education program.

Ax grinders spew venom that GSC’s teacher education program’s problems originated approximately 20 years when another College President served.  An evaluation of facts provides convincing evidence that true causes for the troubled program link to the College’s more recent presidents and boards of governors.

Members of governing boards are determined locally and the Governor of WV approves the decisions automatically. Presidents are hired by sitting boards. How should current governing board members be graded for demonstrated personal knowledge of how a vibrant college should function? Have they comprehended the urgent need to plan for success and to hold administrators accountable, and have they understood the urgent necessity of redirecting GSC?

Assurances regularly emit from the hill that everything is just fine with enrollment and all its programs. Should anyone disagree a member of GSC’s attitude adjustment team dispatches to try to silence concerned dissenters. Regardless, GSC’s faithful well wishers consider the reputation of its teacher education program to be the bell weather of the College’s overall academic health and viability.

The future of GSC and Gilmer County is inseparable. With reference to the triage analogy in medicine we are near or past the “patient can’t be saved” condition.

Governor Tomblin and Dr. Paul H. Hill, the administrator of the WV Higher Education Policy Commission, should form a blue ribbon team of renowned experts to advise the State of options for rescuing the College’s teacher education program.  WV Legislators who oversee higher education functions must involve themselves too in efforts to solve the serious emergency.

If an option still exists, a comprehensive plan should be developed for restoring the teacher education program’s reputation. Those who remember GSC’s program as it once was want a fresh start at this critical period when the State has a teacher education crisis.

Why not reposition GSC to have the premier teacher education program in West Virginia?  That development would be a great asset as our State struggles hard to brighten the tarnished image of its K-12 education system.

08.25.2015
CommunityGilmer CountyGlenvilleEducationNews(9) Comments

Permalink - Link to This Article

~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

GSC has the same failed mindset as the WVBOE.
Policies, programs, never ending experiments with the students.

Bells, whistles, baubles, glitz.  Unproductive and failing.

WVBOE believes that new, fancy, pretty buildings result in quality education.  Clearly GSC is stuck in the same rut.

By watcher  on  08.25.2015

It does not require geniuses to find one of the major reasons. Look at compositions of Boards of Governors.

Members of the same families have been represented since the BOG system started. The families control all other components of the College too.

Same families with strangle holds on the Court House, law enforcement, businesses to succeed and to fail, who gets jobs and who keeps them, who gets elected, what happens with our schools, who gets scholarship money, and everything else.

They like to portray appearances of watching out for us while the really watch out for themselves.

By Bob Gather  on  08.25.2015

A profession to be valued, certainly. But crucial shortages are widely reported to be in the areas of science, technology and special education.
There has been a downward spiral of the number seeking a Teaching degree nationwide for the past several years. Teach America recruitment is down.

Glenville State College should be valued as an asset for central WV, an area of this state historically ignored for infrastructure update by its Legislative body. Even more valued and protected during a troubled economy when even the largest colleges have seen decreased enrollment.

Can they afford to put all of their eggs in this basket? Can GSC afford expending all efforts and resources to be the education hero of West Virginia?

By Slippery Slope - Is It Practical?  on  08.25.2015

It seems to me that the emphasis at GSC is sports, not education. At least much more news coverage is given to sports than to academics.

By Skip Beyer  on  08.25.2015

We are already at rocky bottom of that slippery slope at GSC and other schools.

Teacher ed. is one of several programs of which WV has too many. Criminal justice is another. At last count there were 20+ CJ programs in WV’s colleges and universities.

Wanna thin them out? Have each one ranked in quality and demand that when a new student enrolls the list must be given out. Let the survival of the fittest function.

Something like that could be done for fields for which jobs are scarce to help cut the rate of college grads with huge college debts to pay off to have to work at fast food businesses to make a living.

When a new student enrolls in a program at an institution give out a fact sheet about chances for getting a job in that field and the pay prospects. That would cut down on getting degrees in poor opportunity fields.

If disclosure information is not required to be given out as a higher education version of truth in advertising, profs in the bottom fields will hold back because candidness would work against their personal interests in keeping their classes filled.

By Support The Winners  on  08.25.2015

GSC was once known far and wide for the quality of Teachers graduating.  Unfortunately with the current standings regarding the state of education in West Virginia how effective could such a program be?  It would take years to get a program off the ground and running, is there enough time?

Governor Tomblin is supporting the new State Superintendent of Schools agenda now. If the students sent to college aren’t ready then who will be trained as the high quality Teachers of tomorrow?

Begin at the beginning. There may not be a quick fix. It’s taken a lot of time and money to get where things are.

By AJ. Flack  on  08.25.2015

Sports does a lot to shore up the enrollment and the program has been very successful over the years. Team spirit is one thing GSC doesn’t lack.
That WACO center is a beautiful new facility and the Alumni and friend donate to keep the flag flying on the hill. What they want their money used for is up to the giver.

Online prisoner classes add to the count so there’s another contributor.

More community interaction would probably be a help. Thought they had a Teaching program but everything can always stand to grow.  How to get it done is the big problem. Do not see state revenues being the answer as the population statewide is on the down side. Didn’t the Governor have to cut all of the colleges in the states budget the last two or three years?

By Hang In There GSC  on  08.25.2015

Prisoners bring up a question. If they are subtracted out what is the full time (FTE)  enrollment beginning each fall semester on campus for the past ten years? The administration always side steps this question to cause suspicion that the trend is moving down.

By Ray Brown  on  08.26.2015

Continuing turmoil with the County’s intervened school system and GSC’s difficulties have something in common.

The same local individuals in total control took it on themselves to know what is best for the masses to result in our letting them have their way to cause the calamities.

That is what happens when citizens give up on constant vigilance to permit democracies to collapse.

By Democracy Died Here  on  08.26.2015

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Glenville Woman Among 7 Charged with Insurance Fraud

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Seven people, including one from Glenville, WV, have been charged with insurance fraud in related cases across the Pennsylvania.

Rhonda Anne Grooms, 52, of Glenville, WV, is charged with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempted theft by deception.

She is accused of falsely claiming damage to her vehicle from a hit-run accident, when it had occurred prior to her obtaining the insurance policy.

The charges were filed by the attorney general’s insurance fraud section.

Also charged were:

Jennifer Marie Lamer, 28, 2110 Keats Way, Indiana, one count each of insurance fraud and theft by deception. She is accused of filing a false claim that she struck a deer with one insurance company, when she had already filed the same claim with another company.

Jacqueline S. Fox, 37, of Philadelphia, is charged with two counts each of insurance fraud and one count each of theft by deception, criminal attempted theft by deception and forgery. She is accused of submitting forged pay stubs for a disability insurance claim.

James M. Clemson, 54, of Philadelphia, is charged with two counts of insurance fraud and one count each of theft by deception and criminal attempted theft by deception. He is accused of falsely he was in his parked car when it was struck by another vehicle, and filing claims for injuries.

Joshua L. Adkins, 23, of Ellwood City, Beaver County, is charged with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempted theft by deception. He is accused of falsely claiming an accident occurred after he had purchased a new policy, when it occurred before.

“5 Star Challenge” Emphasizes Colleges’ and Universities’ Commitments to Student Veterans

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV – Education officials are stepping up their efforts to support the needs of West Virginia’s student veterans. The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) and West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS) today announced the “5 Star Challenge,” a call to action for the state’s public colleges and universities to adopt a set of exemplary standards that support student veterans and their families.

The challenge is a tribute to the military tradition of issuing “challenge coins” to service members who exemplify the values and standards of their military units. Colleges and universities that accept the challenge will be presented with a “5 Star Challenge Coin” during ceremonies to occur the week of Veterans Day.

Institutions are set to accept the challenge by September 1, signifying their support for: 1) signed commitments from college and university presidents, 2) a focus on increasing access and affordability to higher education for student veterans, 3) increased academic support, 4) enhancing social networks for veterans on campuses, and 5) greater collaboration with community organizations working to meet the needs of military service members. A detailed outline of the challenge can be found by visiting cfwv.com, the state’s free college- and career-planning website.

“Our military service members and their families have made enormous contributions to our state and our country,” Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the Commission, said. “The ‘5 Star Challenge’ honors that service, addresses the very real need to provide a specific support system for our veterans as they pursue their degrees — and reaffirms our campuses’ collective dedication to helping them succeed.”

“Student veterans are an important part of our campus communities,” Dr. Sarah Tucker, Chancellor of the WVCTCS, said. “They not only serve as an inspiration through their service to our country, but they bring valuable perspectives and life experiences to the learning environment. We are excited to announce the ‘5 Star Challenge,’ as a way to honor our student veterans and service members and to renew our efforts to foster supportive policies and services that meet the unique needs of these individuals.”

The 5 Star Challenge is an initiative of the Office of Veterans Education and Training Programs, within the Commission’s Division of Student Affairs. In addition to issuing the challenge to campuses, the Commission and WVCTCS are committing to providing more outreach resources to help student veterans navigate the higher education system and find support on campuses and in the community. Over the course of the next year, the Division will work to provide enhanced online information portals, college-planning and financial aid guides tailored to student veterans and college fairs and outreach displays for military families.

West Virginia News

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GOVERNOR TOMBLIN ANNOUNCES FEDERAL GRANT FUNDING FOR EXPORT ASSISTANCE

CHARLESTON, WV - Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today announced West Virginia has been selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to receive $200,000 in State Trade and Export (STEP) grant funding to support a new export assistance program under the West Virginia Development Office - West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP.

“When West Virginia businesses enter markets around the world, they help foster trade opportunities, support job growth and diversify our economy here at home,“ Governor Tomblin said. “For years, our state’s exporters have demonstrated that local operations can make an impact not only in our communities and our state, but around the globe. It is my hope this grant program will not only support our state’s current exporters, but also those interested in entering the export market for the first time.“

The West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP program will provide additional assistance to West Virginia small businesses that export goods to international markets. The STEP grant period will run from October 01, 2015 through September 29, 2016.

The program will help qualifying small businesses offset their costs of participation in export activities, including Development Office trade missions, international trade shows and “Trade Winds” conferences organized by the U.S. Commercial Service. Direct assistance will also be available to West Virginia exhibitors at the 2016 Mine Expo International show.

Since 1985, the International Division of the West Virginia Development Office’s Export Promotion Program has led delegations of small- and medium-sized companies on trade missions and participated in international trade shows in more than 30 countries.


Fines possible for DOT after sediment spill into Blackwater River

TUCKER COUNTY, WV — The state Department of Transportation faces fines for violations tied to an Aug. 16 sediment spill into the Blackwater River that originated at a road construction site along Corridor H, according the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“It appears that it’s sediment that overtook the sediment control structures coming off the median that has now been stabilized. Well, it’s been seeded and mulched, but they were working on it at the time (of the sediment runoff),” said Scott Mandirola, director of the DEP’s water and waste management division.

“We’re basically waiting for it to stabilize, complete stabilization.”

More than a week ago, Friends of Blackwater first filed a complaint citing “very heavy sediment plumes,” that were flowing into the water from a site near Route 93, just above Blackwater Falls State Park.

A photo showed sediment from Beaver Creek running into the Blackwater River.

At least initially, Mandirola indicated there was no evidence of lasting damage on the Blackwater River from the sediment spill. However, “It is a water quality violation and there will be additional notices of violation issued based on last week’s inspection,” he said.

On Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” Mandirola confirmed two orders had been filed in connection with the road construction work during the past two years.

The first order came in October 2013 for nine documented violations in May, July and August of that year. At that time, the order named the contractor along with the DOT because both held the stormwater construction permit.

This year, a second order was issued for 30 other violations. Currently, the DOT is the sole holder of the stormwater construction permit and, because of that, is fully responsible for the problems — those earlier this year and most recently.

As work on Corridor H shifts, Mandirola said new problem runoff sites could potentially develop.

“You then have to construct new sediment control structures and, during that time period, it’s a very critical time and there’s a possibility of violations occurring at that time, if not done correctly,” he said.

Mandirola said the DEP had no record of fish kills associated with the ongoing construction work, as Friends of Blackwater had claimed.

In September 2014, officials with the state Division of Natural Resources estimated 23,000 fish died in a 1.8 mile stretch of the waterway upstream from Blackwater Falls. A malfunction at a lime dosing station on the Blackwater River was blamed for that fish kill.


Bluefield citizens’ input sought on growth planning

BLUEFIELD, WV - Bluefield officials are asking citizens to weigh in on the city’s planning for community and economic growth.

The city Board of Directors is conducting an online survey to gather citizens’ input. Survey questions include what types of businesses the city should attract and what opportunities are seen for the city.

Community and economic development coordinator Jim Spencer says citizen input is vital to the planning process.

Spencer says any citizen who doesn’t have Internet access can contact him at City Hall. Arrangements will be made to mail or deliver the survey to the citizen.

He says the board would like to have the surveys completed by early September.


3 WV fire departments to receive federal grants

CHARLESTON, WV - Three West Virginia fire departments have been awarded federal grants to improve safety and fire prevention operations.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program awarded $149,500 to the Moorefield Volunteer Fire Department and $36,273 to the South Berkeley Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad.

The Clintonville Volunteer Fire Department will receive $32,000 from FEMA’s Fire Prevention and Safety Program.


Berkeley County Council puts Sunday hunting on 2016 ballot

MARTINSBURG, WV - Berkeley County voters will decide next year whether to allow hunting on Sunday on private land in the county.

Multiple media outlets report that the Berkeley County Council voted last week to put the issue on the November 2016 general election ballot.

A 2001 state law allows each county to decide whether to allow hunting on Sunday. Berkeley County voters rejected the proposal in 2002.

Sunday hunting currently is allowed in 21 counties and prohibited in 34 counties.

G-Eye™: Panda

New Borne Panda at National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
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Did You Know?

The Gilmer Free Press

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


DOW PLUMMETS 588 POINTS AMID SIGNS OF CHINA SLUMP

The Wall Street slide triggers worries among financial professionals and ordinary Americans whose investments and retirement savings are tied to stocks.


HOW CHINA’S FINANCIAL HEADACHES COULD SPREAD

A prolonged downturn to the world’s second-largest economy might damage both emerging markets like Chile and Indonesia, as well as industrial powers like the United States and EU.


MAN DESCRIBES TACKLING TROOPER SHOOTING SUSPECT

In an interview with The Associated Press, Robert LeDoux says he could see “pure evil” in the eyes of the man accused of gunning down a state policeman in Louisiana.


WASHINGTON’S RECORD WILDFIRES DRAW HELP FROM NEAR, FAR

Fire managers from New Zealand and Australia arrive to contribute to a ground campaign of Western firefighters and soldiers battling blazes that have scorched hundreds of square miles across the state.


WHY A BIDEN WHITE HOUSE BID COULD PUT OBAMA IN TOUGH SPOT

If the vice president decides to run, the president might need to reconsider his support for Hillary Clinton.


WHAT THWARTED RAIL ATTACK REVEALS ABOUT EUROPEAN SECURITY

Governments across Europe are increasingly worried about the possibility of carnage by “lone wolf” terrorists in settings such as trains, which have minimal policing.


ISLAMIC STATE’S TEMPLE DESTRUCTION ERASES RICH HISTORY

The U.N. cultural agency UNESCO calls the terror group’s bombing of the 2,000-year-old historic site in Palmyra, Syria, a war crime.


POLICE: HACK OF CHEATING WEBSITE TRIGGERS EXTORTION

Police point to confirmed cases of criminals attempting to extort clients of the hacked Ashley Madison site by threatening to expose them unless payment is received.


SUSPECTS ACCUSED OF TRYING TO USE DRONE TO FLY CONTRABAND INTO PRISON

Police arrest two men preparing to use a drone to fly drugs, tobacco and pornography into a maximum-security Maryland prison.


INDYCAR DRIVER JUSTIN WILSON DIES AFTER HEAD INJURY

The 37-year-old father of two had been struck by a large piece of debris from another driver’s car following a single-car accident at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway.

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