G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Lawmakers Strike a Balance on Natural Gas Drilling


The House of Delegates has passed an important but controversial bill that provides a fair and equitable way for the natural gas industry and mineral rights holders to take advantage of the state’s massive gas reserves.

HB 2688 creates “lease integration” (or “forced pooling” as many call it) for deep and shallow wells. A driller who gets permission from 80 percent of the mineral rights owners on a tract of land can petition the seven-member Oil and Gas Commission to force the holdouts into the pool. Currently, a single holdout can block horizontal drilling into the Marcellus Shale.

The bill includes important protections for the holdouts.

The gas company must first make a good faith effort to negotiate with the holdouts. They must be paid “just and reasonable” royalties based on comparable payments in the region. The gas company cannot deduct any production and post-production costs from the royalties. (Those deductions are a sore spot with mineral rights holders.) There can be no surface disturbance on the forced pool tracts. Holdouts who are dissatisfied with the commission’s findings can appeal to circuit court.

The oil and gas industry has failed several times in recent years to pass forced pooling, but proponents took a different approach this year. Del. Woody Ireland (R-Ritchie), who has a long history of working with—and sometimes fighting with—the gas industry brought all the stakeholders together for meeting after meeting to reach a compromise.

The West Virginia Farm Bureau eventually signed on, saying the bill balances the importance of private property rights with the desire of farmers to capitalize on their gas and oil mineral rights. The West Virginia Royalty Owners Association, which historically opposed forced pooling bills, supported this bill. Spokesman Tom Huber says HB 2688 is a fair bill that “addresses both the needs of the oil and gas industry and the legitimate concerns of West Virginia property owners.”

Not everyone is happy. Among the 40 opponents in the House—the bill passed Wednesday 60-40—was a coalition of conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats. They argued forcing a property owner into a deal he objects to amounts to an illegal taking of property.

Historically, the courts have disagreed. Most states have some form of forced pooling law and the doctrine has been tested many times.  An American Law Reports review of state and federal court rulings concerning laws in a dozen states found that “compulsory pooling… ordinances are valid” and do no violate due process.

The opponents to HB 2688 chose to ignore that West Virginia already has forced pooling for all deep vertical wells into the Utica Shale and the current statute provides little protection for those mineral owners. This bill provides assurances for them, as well as the rights holders of the Marcellus deposits.

The stakeholders worked long and hard to write a reasonable bill and it appears they have done just that.

Study: Very Obese Kids May Face Higher Heart Risks

The Gilmer Free Press

Extremely obese children, such as those at least 100 pounds overweight, are in deeper trouble in terms of heart disease risks than doctors have thought, new research suggests.

In the study, about half the children suffered from high blood pressure, and almost 15 percent were diabetic. Seventy-five percent had high levels of a protein that’s linked to heart disease.

“Severe obesity in the adolescent age group is associated with numerous cardiovascular risk factors that were previously thought to only affect adults,“ said study author Dr. Marc Michalsky, an associate professor of clinical surgery and pediatrics at Ohio State University College of Medicine, in Columbus, said.

The study didn’t examine whether the children—with an average age of 17—faced a higher risk of premature death. But it did show that the risk factors for heart disease are more severe in heavier kids.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of children aged 6 to 11 who are obese, a step up from overweight, jumped from 7% in 1980 to more than 17% in 2012. The percentage of obese kids aged 12 to 19 grew from 5 percent to more than 20%.

Research has suggested that obese kids suffer from diabetes, high cholesterol and skeletal problems, Michalsky said, but there hasn’t been much analysis of the problems facing extremely obese kids. That’s where the new study comes in.

The researchers looked at 242 children under the age of 19 who were waiting for weight-loss surgery between 2007 and 2011. The typical child had a body-mass index of 50, which translates to 340 pounds for a person who’s 5-foot-9.

About half of the study participants had high cholesterol, and 95 percent had at least one risk factor for heart disease. Five percent had four risk factors.

The findings suggest that early diagnosis and treatment of risk factors could make a difference in stopping diseases from getting worse, Michalsky said.

G-Fin™: West Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 5.9%

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.9% in January 2015.

WorkForce West Virginia says the number of unemployed state residents dropped by 100 last month.

Since January 2014, total non-farm payroll employment has risen by 3,200 in the state.

Among the employment gains last month were 1,100 in educational and health services and 600 in manufacturing.

Employment losses included 1,200 in government and 300 in leisure and hospitality.

Nationally, the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.7% in January.

Senator: “Public Outcry” Forced a Better Election Finance Bill

The Gilmer Free Press

It’s a public outcry that forced lawmakers to keep a state rule against corporations contributing to West Virginia political campaigns, according to one state senator.

As originally written, Senate Bill 541 would have removed many state limits on campaign contributions.

But Sen. Mike Woelfel (D-Huntington) stresses the bill was dramatically improved in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. And he credits pressure from the public for saving the prohibition on corporate contributions.

“The public spoke clearly and loudly,” he points out. “I don’t think any particular senators deserve credit.

“I think the people of our state deserve credit for speaking out in favor of restricting the injection of money into politics.“

Woelfel adds he thinks the committee worked out a good compromise on the bill. He predicts it will have wide bipartisan support on the Senate floor, and says he expects to vote for it.

In the last election, millions of dollars of so-called dark money was spent in West Virginia’s congressional and U.S. Senate races – donations made in secret that fund mud-slinging attack ads.

Woelfel says the bill as rewritten in committee now includes a lot of disclosure that should open those kinds of donations to public scrutiny – at least for state-level elections, if not congressional races. And he says the bill now includes other important provisions.

“Much more transparency than our old law, and some modest increases in contributions by individuals,” he states. “And we would be consistent with our current law, which would allow no corporations to contribute directly to candidates.“

Woelfel and a number of other Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee opposed the bill when they first started work on it. He explains the original draft completely removed contribution limits they thought were vital – not only for individual and corporate donations, but even on foreign money.

“As the bill was introduced, contributions from foreign governments would not be prohibited, although there might be some federal legislation that would impair those,” he explains. “However, reasonable minds did prevail.“

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Gilmer County Commission Regular Meeting - 03.06.15 - Today

The Gilmer Free Press

Friday, March 06, 2015 @ 9:00 AM
Gilmer County Courthouse
Commission Office – 10 Howard Street, Glenville, WV





                9:15     Karen Elkin – RE:  Heat in the Courtroom

                9:30     Cindy Wilson – RE:  Gilmer County Health Center Leasing and Financial Status

                9:45     Ron Taylor – Chief of Security, GSC – RE:  911 Dispatch Answering GSC Security Calls


        Discussion and/or action on:

                1) Exonerations and/or Consolidations

                2) Approve Estate Qualifications and Estate Settlements

                3) Board Appointments and/or Resignations: 

                        a) Board Seats remain open on the:

                                i. ** Unsafe Buildings & Lands Enforcement Agency - Dekalb/Troy & Glenville Corporation

                4) Budget Revisions

                5) Budget Control Report:  NONE

                6) Approve Invoices for Payment

                7) Approve County Commission Minutes for 02.20.2015

                8) Receipt of County Board Minutes: 

                        a) Gilmer County Parks & Recreation Board 12.16.2014 & 01.20.2015

                        b) E-911 Dispatching Report for January


                1) Renewal of Office of Emergency Management Personnel Contract

                2) Letter from Little Kanawha Transit Authority in Reference to FY 2015-16 Financial Support

                3) Receipt of Proposed Letter of Agreement for E-911 and Dispatch Services for 2015-2016 Fiscal Year


        Discussion and/or action on:

                1) Sign Award Agreement for $11,249 for 2014 Emergency Management Preparedness Grant




NEXT MEETING: March 20, 2015 at 9:00 AM

The Coffee Illusion: What the Magic Brew Really Does to Your Brain

If you’ve been drinking coffee for a while,
you aren’t getting nearly as much out of it as you used to.
You’re just curing an addiction.

The Misconception: Coffee stimulates you.

The Truth: You become addicted to caffeine quickly, and soon you are drinking coffee to cure withdrawal more than for stimulation.

Mmmm, a warm cup of coffee with delicious cream, topped with a frothy head.

You smell it brewing and feel cozy inside as you browse cakes and brownies, scones and biscotti.

You get some of it in you, and you feel alive again – you feel superhuman.

Suddenly, you feel like John Nash, you can’t keep up with your own mind as geometric symbols float over the magazine articles in your lap. Someone strikes up a conversation about health care, and suddenly everything you’ve ever heard about the topic is at the tip of your tongue.

Damn, coffee is awesome.

Except, of course, much of this is an illusion.

The truth is, once you’ve been drinking coffee for a while, the feeling you are getting after a cup isn’t the difference between the normal you and the super you, it’s the difference between the addict before and after a fix.

Ok, this is a very simplified explanation:

Caffeine is an adenosine antagonist. This means it prevents adenosine from doing its job.

The Gilmer Free Press

Your brain is filled with keys which fit specific keyholes. Adenosine is one of those keys, but caffeine can fit in the same keyhole.

When caffeine gets in there, it keeps adenosine from getting in.

Adenosine does a lot of stuff all throughout your body, but the most noticeable job it has is to suppress your nervous system. With caffeine stuck in the keyhole, adenosine can’t calm you down. It can’t make you drowsy. It can’t get you to shut up.

That crazy wired feeling you get when you drink a lot of coffee is what it feels like when your brain can’t turn itself off.

To compensate, your brain creates a ton of new receptor sites. The plan is to have more keyholes than false keys.

The result is you become very sensitive to adenosine, and without coffee you get overwhelmed by its effects.

After eight hours of sleep, you wake up with a head swimming with adenosine. You feel like #### until you get that black gold in you to clean out those receptor sites.

That perk you feel isn’t adding anything substantial to you – it’s bringing you back to just above zero.

In addition, coffee stimulates your adrenal glands, which makes you feel like you could take a bullet and eat glass. When the adrenaline runs dry, you feel like you’ve been running a marathon, which leads you to look for more coffee to get those glands pumping again.

After a few rides on the adrenal roller-coaster, you crash.

You might think all of this probably takes a while, but it takes about seven days to become addicted to caffeine.

Once addicted, you need more and more coffee to get buzzed as your brain gets covered in receptor sites. Neurologists report seeing patients regularly who drink two or three pots of coffee in one sitting before starting their day.

Coffee also releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in the brain which is released when you have an orgasm, win the lottery and shoot heroin. A similar addiction cycle with dopamine leads to depression and fatigue when you aren’t hitting the beans.

Finally, caffeine takes about six hours to leave your system. So if you drink coffee six hours or less before going to bed, you won’t reach deep sleep as often. This means you wake up less rested, and need more coffee.

If you’ve been drinking coffee for a while, you aren’t getting nearly as much out of it as you did in the beginning. You are just curing an addiction.

“The take home is that regular use of caffeine produces no benefit to alertness, energy, or function. Regular caffeine users are simply staving off caffeine withdrawal with every dose – using caffeine just to return them to their baseline. This makes caffeine a net negative  for  alertness, or neutral at best if use is regular enough to avoid any withdrawal.”

- Neurologist Stephen Novella from his blog, Neurologica

Mind you, this is not a dependency. You will experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation, but not like with amphetamines and cocaine.

Coffee doesn’t seem to affect the dopaminergic structures related to reward, but before you breathe a sigh of relief, ask yourself how long you’ve been drinking it. Try and stop for two weeks and see how hard it is.

A cup or three will still give you pep, but as with all stimulants, over time you need more and more to reach that golden hum.


WV Health Innovation Collaborative Maps New Vision for Healthy Citizens

The Gilmer Free Press

​In 2014, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources formed the West Virginia Health Innovation Collaborative to map a new strategic vision for a healthy and prosperous West Virginia.  Today, the collaborative held its quarterly meeting with more than 70 stakeholders in attendance.

“The goal of the West Virginia Health Innovation Collaborative is to bring stakeholders together in a cooperative, encouraging and supportive manner to strengthen the health and well-being of West Virginians,” DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling said. “The collaborative aims to be proactive, working collaboratively and committing to better health outcomes, better health care and lower costs.”

The collaborative is a public/private partnership open to all stakeholders and serves as an inventory for health innovation initiatives. Additionally, it facilitates the sharing of best practices while exploring and developing strategies to improve the health care system in West Virginia.

In December 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that West Virginia was one of 21 awardees to receive Model Design funding as part of the State Innovation Models (SIM) Initiative.  At today’s meeting, Jeffrey Coben, M.D., professor in the WVU Department of Health Policy, Management, and Leadership and principal investigator for the project, provided an overview of the SIM Grant.

Officials from Try This also were on hand to discuss their philosophy of health promotion using an evidence-based, socio-ecological model. Try This believes that people can make healthy lifestyle changes more easily if healthy choices are available locally. 

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For more information on the collaborative, please visit

The Legislature Today 03.05.2015

At the legislature today, after the senate worked on the charter schools bill for weeks during the session, the bill is now in the hands of the house which has just nine days to consider it. We’ll have an update. And the number of damage claims against the state for potholes are rising. What one lawmaker says can be done about the condition of West Virginias roads. These stories and more coming up on The Legislature Today.

West Virginia News   150306

The Gilmer Free Press


Fire Departments from Gilmer and Lewis Counties rushed to the scene of a fire in Linn, Gilmer County, last night.

The Gilmer Free Press

According to Lewis-Gilmer 911 dispatchers, the fire started at the Somerville Exxon gas station/Convinient Store on US Highway 33/119.

There were no reports of any injuries.


A federal appeals court has invalidated a sweeping gag order in the case of a former coal company executive accused of violating safety standards at a West Virginia mine where an explosion killed 29 men.A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the order Thursday, three days after hearing arguments on the issue.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger’s order prohibited just about anyone, including victims’ relatives, from speaking publicly about former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship’s case. She also kept most court filings secret.

Five media organizations, including The Associated Press, claimed the gag order violated the First Amendment.

Blankenship was the head of Massey when the Upper Big Branch Mine exploded in 2010. He is charged with conspiring to violate safety and health standards.


A late-winter storm has left more than 50,000 customers in West Virginia without power and closed roads and schools across the state.

FirstEnergy reports about 30,000 power outages. About 27,200 Appalachian Power customers also are without electricity.

Public schools in all 55 counties were closed Thursday. Several higher education institutions also cancelled classes, including West Virginia University, Glenville State College, Fairmont State University, Marshall University and Bluefield State College.
High water from heavy rains has closed roads in at least 30 counties.


On deadline to keep bills alive, lawmakers are working to change campaign-finance laws, scale back natural-gas mineral rights, introduce Uber ridesharing, and outlaw open beer cans in cars.

Wednesday marked the GOP-led Legislature’s last day to pass bills in the chamber where they started.

The House passed one measure allowing some natural-gas drilling when mineral rights owners can’t be found or won’t agree to leases. It would permit horizontal drilling on properties when 80% of surrounding mineral owners had drilling agreements.

Senators passed a bill raising campaign-finance contribution limits, while increasing third-party disclosure.

Uber ridesharing received Senate approval, and the House moved to outlaw open beer cans in cars.

Bills that would create a right-to-work state, require drug tests for welfare recipients and allow medical marijuana use are unlikely to pass.


The southbound lanes of Interstate 79 were at a standstill in Monongalia County near the West Virginia and Pennsylvania border.

Monogalia County 911 dispatchers said trucks were stuck on the roadway because the conditions are poor in that area.

Dispatchers also said some drivers claim to have been there for nearly an hour.


The West Virginia House passed a bill allowing some natural gas drilling even when mineral rights owners can’t be found or won’t agree to leases.

After three hours of debate, the House approved the bill Wednesday on a 60-40 vote. The proposal now moves to the Senate.

The so-called forced pooling bill would allow horizontal drilling from those properties when 80% of the surrounding mineral owners had worked out drilling agreements.

Some Democrats and tea party members formed an uncommon alliance to oppose the measure. They said it infringes on people’s property rights.

One tea party delegate forced about an hour-long reading of the lengthy bill.

Wednesday was the last to day to pass bills out of at least one chamber. The legislative session ends March 14.


The First Energy power outages across the area has nearly doubled.

The company reported 41,000 customers without power throughout the Mon Power district.

“Quite frankly, if you don’t have your power on now or later this evening, there’s a good chance it won’t be on overnight,“ said Todd Meyers, First Energy/Mon Power spokesman.

Mon Power crews were facing 23,000 thousand power outages.

And, although 26,000 customers had power restored Thursday, additional outages kept workers from being able to keep up.

“It’s going to be a good couple days before everyone gets their power back.  Right now we’re saying the majority should be back in my midnight Saturday,“ Meyers said.

First Energy recruited 160 linemen from its subsidiaries in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland to work with Mon Power linemen.

“We’ll work 16 hours on and 8 hours off until it’s done,“ said Meyers.

For those who choose to stay home without power or a heat source, Meyers says they can’t be too careful.

“Make sure that you’re not bringing in any kind of heating or lighting device that is for camping or belongs outside,“advised Meyers. “I’m talking about barbeque grills, gas grills and propane lanterns.  All those can give off deadly carbon monoxide gas.“

Customers who need to report outages or see downed power lines should call Mon Power at 1.888.LIGHTSS.


Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill changing legal protections when multiple parties are deemed at fault in a lawsuit.

Thursday, the Democratic governor approved a comparative fault bill passed by the Republican-run Legislature.

Currently, if a party can’t pay its share of damages and another party was deemed more than 30% responsible, the second entity may be required to cover all remaining damages.

The new law would scale back how much other entities have to pay for some damages the insolvent party can’t cover. The amount would depend on how much the entity was deemed at fault.

Tomblin also vetoed a medical malpractice reform bill, but referenced only technical errors.

Both measures are part of a legal reform push by the GOP this legislative session.


West Virginia’s residents are tired of winter. The state’s ski resorts are not.

The four major ski resorts - Canaan Valley, Snowshoe Mountain, Timberline and Winterplace - picked up a half-foot or more of snow on Thursday.

West Virginia Ski Areas Association spokesman Joe Stevens says it’s a boost to late-season skiing in what’s already been a strong year.

Stevens says the timing of the storm was good for the industry. Highway crews will be able to plow interstates and other roads leading to the resorts before skiers arrive for the weekend.

He says Thursdays are considered light check-in days at the resorts. If the storm had arrived on Friday, many skiers would have had travel problems since many come from out of state.

U.S.A. News   150306

The Gilmer Free Press


Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen and his research team have found the wreckage of a massive Japanese World War II battleship off the Philippines near where it sank more than 70 years ago, he said Wednesday.

The apparent discovery of the Musashi, one of the largest battleships in history, comes as the world marks the 70th anniversary of the war’s end.

Allen and the team aboard his superyacht M/Y Octopus found the ship on Sunday, more than eight years after their search began, Allen said in a statement issued by his publicity agency, Edelman.

Detailed images captured by a high-definition camera mounted on an underwater probe confirmed the wreckage as that of the Musashi, it said. Allen said on his website that the video and still images showed a valve wheel with Japanese letters saying “main valve handle” which used to be in a lower engineering area, a catapult system used to launch planes, a large gun turret, and one of the ship’s two 15-ton anchors. He said the team also found the ship’s bow.

Japanese experts said they were eager to study the images to try to confirm the ship’s identity.

Kazushige Todaka, head of a private museum specializing in the battleship Yamato, Musashi’s sister vessel, said the details in the images matched those of the Musashi, which was the only battleship that sank in the area.

“Judging from the location, it must be the Musashi,” Todaka told NHK public television.

The Musashi, commissioned in 1942, sank in October 1944 in the Sibuyan Sea during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, losing about half of its 2,400 crew members. The ship was repeatedly hit by torpedoes and bombs dropped by planes from Allied aircraft carriers.

The naval battle, considered the largest of World War II, crippled the imperial fleet, cut off Japanese oil supplies and allowed the U.S. invasion of the Japanese-held Philippines.

Allen’s team found the battleship at a depth of 1 kilometer (3,280 feet) in the Sibuyan Sea using the autonomous underwater vehicle on its third dive after narrowing the search area with detailed undersea topographical data and other locator devices, the statement said.

“The Musashi is truly an engineering marvel and as an engineer at heart, I have a deep appreciation for the technology and effort that went into its construction,” Allen said.

He said he is fascinated with World War II history after being inspired by his father’s service in the U.S. Army, and that he was “honored” to play a part in finding a key vessel in naval history, and in honoring the memory of those who served aboard the ship.

Allen said he respects the wreckage as a war grave and plans to work with Japan’s government to make sure the site is treated properly in line with Japanese traditions. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that he had no immediate comment.

Suikokai, an organization that supports Japanese navy veterans and conducts research in maritime defense, said that if the discovery is confirmed, a memorial service could be held at the site.

Todaka at the Yamato Museum said the findings, especially during the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, were a “great achievement” that could inspire many Japanese to revisit the history of the war, whose memory has faded over the past decades.


A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that about two-thirds of Americans believe men are generally paid more than women, a finding that suggests that Democrat Hillary Clinton’s message on pay inequality could resonate broadly with Americans should she run for president in 2016.

51% of respondents said the U.S. government should be doing more to encourage equal pay, the online poll of 2,348 adults from February 27 to March 03 showed.

Broken down by political party, 67% of Democrats and 36% of Republicans said the federal government should be playing a more active role, according to the poll.

The broad interest in pay equality may indicate why Clinton, the presumed Democratic presidential front-runner, has chosen to highlight gender during recent appearances.

Clinton has championed the economic advancement of women as a former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady. If Clinton is elected to the White House, she would be the first female U.S. president.

In speeches to women’s groups in Silicon Valley and Washington, Clinton has argued for addressing pay disparity, bolstering family leave policies and helping families afford childcare.

“We’re not just standing up for women, but for all people - for our families, our communities, our country, and indeed, the kind of world we want for our children,“ Clinton told a crowd of 1,600 at the Tuesday night dinner for Emily’s List, a political group that works to elect Democratic women who support abortion access.

Women helped fuel the country’s economic growth over the past 40 years, and without them, the average family would be earning $14,000 less and the gross domestic product would be $2 trillion smaller, Clinton said.

Most of the speakers at Emily’s List touched on similar economic themes such as minimum wage and healthcare, filtered through the lens of gender.

Democrats, including President Barack Obama, often cite the statistic that women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.

The 77-cent figure comes from recent U.S. Census Bureau reports based on the annual median salaries for men and women and is not controlled for other factors.

Of 111 occupations for which the government received enough data to determine 2010 pay disparities, women out-earned men in only four categories - food preparation, bill and account collections, stock clerks and order fillers, and counselors.

These figures were also based on median wages and were not adjusted for variables such as education or career interruptions to care for children and family.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that adults believe there are a variety of factors that lead to discrepancies between the pay earned by men and women.

41%, including 42% of men and 60% of women, said that employers perceive men and women differently.

42% agreed that intentional or unintentional sexism affects how employers pay women.

About 30% of all adults said that men and women make different choices about balancing work and family that could account for unequal pay.

23% of adults said it was “essential” that one parent stay at home with children and not work and 52% said that it was important but not essential.

Of those who said it was essential or important, 24% it should be the mother who remains at home and 2% said it should be the father. Seventy-three% said it did not matter which parent was the primary caregiver.

The poll revealed political differences about how to handle equal pay. 82% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans thought employers should do more to ensure equal pay.

Among Republicans, who typically favor less government intervention, 30% said the federal government should do less, compared to the 36% who thought it could play a more active role. Only 10% of Democrats believed the federal government should be doing less.

The poll had a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 2.3 percentage points.


The U.S. trade office on Thursday urged a crackdown on website name registrars who fail to take action against sellers of illegal goods such as counterfeit medicines and warned that turning a blind eye puts public safety at risk.

The U.S. Trade Representative also said it is keeping an eye on China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s consumer shopping website for sales of fake and pirated goods, but refrained from reinstating the site on its piracy blacklist.

Representatives of Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce company, had no immediate comment.

USTR named a domain name registrar, a company which manages the registration of internet names, for the first time in its annual “notorious markets” list as an example of concern about some registrars not taking action to block or suspend sites selling illegal goods.

The registrar, Canada’s Tucows Inc, said it took down dozen of sites every day but unlike some competitors, it considered all complaints carefully to ensure they were justified.

“We want to make sure that our registrants are protected and respected as well as making sure there are not bad actors on our system, and that requires striking a balance on a daily basis,“ said Graeme Bunton, Tucows manager of public policy.

USTR cited an Interpol report which found some drugs sold online were adulterated with rat poison and said the public faced “substantial risk” in finding safe online pharmacies.

“Registrars can play a critical public safety role in the Internet ecosystem. Ignoring that role, or acting affirmatively to facilitate public harm, is of great concern,“ USTR said.

It urged trading partners and ICANN, a California-based organization which oversees the introduction of new internet addresses, to “investigate and address this very serious problem.“

USTR named 25 online marketplaces and 19 physical markets in the report. It decided against reinstating Alibaba’s consumer-to-consumer shopping website, which was removed in 2012, and said it would continue to monitor the site.

Alibaba says it spent more than 1 billion yuan ($160.7 million) combating fake goods and improving customer protection from the beginning of 2013 to the end of November.

But a Chinese regulator said in January many products sold on Alibaba sites infringed trademarks, were substandard or fake.

Alibaba said in a submission for the review that it would introduce a new system in early 2015 to fast track requests to remove counterfeit items.

World News   150306

The Gilmer Free Press


In the United States, power outages are usually caused by extreme weather events such as blizzards or hurricanes. In Europe, however, experts are getting worried about a phenomenon that originates far away from the Earth’s atmosphere.

On March 20, Europeans will witness a rare solar eclipse that is expected to affect nearly all countries on the continent for several hours. Whereas some can’t wait for the event to take place, the European Network Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), a Brussels-based body, is much less excited. It fears that the sudden, continent-wide absence of sunlight may cause serious power outages. In a statement, the organization called the moment “an unprecedented test for Europe’s electricity system.“ About 3% of Europe’s power supply comes from solar energy.

So, is Europe facing a solar eclipse with catastrophic consequences? In fact, it is much more likely that nothing is going to happen and that March 20 will pass like any other day.

Three% does not sound like a lot, but if all sunlight suddenly disappears, the drop in the supply of energy might indeed have serious consequences. ENTSO-E expects that the loss of sunlight would have the same effect as if one turned off 80 medium-size power plants. “This will happen on the morning of a weekday, when demand is rising,“ Claire Camus, a spokeswoman for ENTSO-E, said.

Around noon, when the solar eclipse is supposed to come to an end, Europe would suddenly be flooded with a surplus of energy — a second risky repercussion that has never occurred to such an extent. However, European energy providers have known the risks for months and have carefully prepared for the unique incident.

The solar eclipse will move from the southwest of the continent toward the northeast. Hence, as the video below shows, different European countries will be affected at slightly different times. Given that Europe is the largest interconnected energy grid area in the world, according to ENTSO-E, this will allow coordinators to quickly move resources to affected countries.

“Ahead of March 20, and during the eclipse, Transmission System Operators will put in place continuous on line coordination between control rooms across Europe to better coordinate the scheduled (...) actions,“ Camus said in her statement.

German energy expert Thomas Gobmaier told the business weekly Wirtschaftswoche that in the worst-case scenario, European nations could decide to stop supplying industrial factories with energy for a certain duration to prevent nationwide power outages.

Whereas a solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon, some are more concerned about the daily challenges of Europe’s power grid. A 2013 study conducted by Hamburg-based HWWI found that Germany’s increasing reliance on renewable energy sources had made it more vulnerable to power outages due to extreme weather events.

The costs of such outages could be enormous: According to the researchers, one hour of blackout in Berlin around lunchtime would cost at least $25 million. If all of Germany were affected, about $600 million.


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman awarded a prestigious prize to Zakir Naik, a televangelist and religious scholar from India, heralding him as “one of the most renowned non-Arabic-speaking promulgators of Islam.“ Naik, a trained doctor, founded the Peace TV channel, which supposedly reaches an audience of 100 million English-speaking Muslims. His popular YouTube stream includes videos titled “Who is deceived by the Satan, Christians or Muslims?“ and “Does eating non-vegetarian food have any effect on the mind?“

Naik’s creed is an expansive one. “Islam is the only religion that can bring peace to the whole of humanity,“ he said in a video biography aired at the ceremony.

The preacher is not short of controversy. His orthodox, Wahhabist views — affiliated closely with the Saudi state — are polarizing in India, which is home to a diverse set of Muslim traditions and sects. His conservatism has led him to make statements endorsing the use of female sex slaves and allegedly expressing sympathy for terrorists.

Earlier this year, hundreds of Sufi Muslims picketed a New Delhi event where Naik was speaking, demanding his arrest and accusing him of propagating a divisive, dangerous brand of Islam.

In a 2008 video, he claimed President George W. Bush was behind the September 11 attacks. “Even a fool will know that this was an inside job,“ Naik said. Years before, he appeared to offer tacit backing to terrorist masterminds such as Osama bin Laden.

“If [Bin Laden] is terrorizing America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, I am with him,“ he said in one video. “Every Muslim should be a terrorist.“

In a video in 2007, he talked about how “Jews are controlling America.“

In 2010, Britain’s government barred his entry into the country on grounds of “unacceptable behavior.“

Naik’s supporters argue that his comments are taken out of context, and point to the religious diversity of those in attendance at his mass public events.

Speaking to the New York Times earlier this week, he condemned the violence of militants like those from the Islamic State, but not without a caveat. “I am absolutely against Muslims who kill, but what is the U.S. doing?” Naik said, citing civilian casualties amid U.S. campaigns in the Muslim world. “Is the U.S. really bothered about human rights? No!“

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Saudi Arabia late Wednesday to consult with Salman on the status of negotiations with Iran, a Saudi foe. The United States’ close relationship with Saudi Arabia endures despite the kingdom’s horrific human rights record and its conspicuous role in helping spread the views preached by Islamic supremacists such as Naik.

Naik, who has also been feted in the neighboring United Arab Emirates, reportedly received a 24-karat gold medal from the Saudi king and a check for $200,000.

Lady Pioneers Fall to Shepherd in MEC Quarterfinals 100-91‏

The Gilmer Free Press

Glenville State’s Keyanna Tate scored a game high 30 points and grabbed a game high 13 rebounds as she finished with a double-double but it wouldn’t be enough as the Lady Pioneers fell to the Shepherd University Lady Rams in the MEC Quarterfinals, 100-91.

In the first half of action the Shepherd University Lady Rams would get on the scoreboard first to take an early, 2-0 lead over Glenville State. Shepherd would then build an eight points lead, 10-2, with 16:14 left till halftime.

However the Lady Pioneers would then go on a 6-0 run at the 15:50 minute mark as they made it, 10-7. Again Shepherd would extend their lead back up to nine points, 29-20, with under 10:00 minutes till halftime. The Lady Rams would build a double digit lead several times in the first half, however Glenville State would go into halftime down by eight, 51-43.

In the second half Shepherd would come out strong and take a 17 point lead, 71-54, with 13:42 to play. Glenville State would continue to battle and cut it to eight, 75-67 at the 11:09 minute mark.

Again the Lady Rams would build their lead back up to 15 points, 86-71, with only 6:16 left to play in the game. However the Lady Pioneers would have one last chance and cut Shepherds lead to seven points, 94-87, with 1:50 left to play, but that as close as Glenville State would get as they fall to Shepherd, 100-91.

Shepherd shot 49 percent from the floor while Glenville State finished the game shooting 42 percent from the floor. The Lady Pioneers scored 19 second chance points to the Lady Rams 14 second chance points.

Keyanna Tate finished with a double-double scoring 30 points and pulling down 13 rebounds in her last game as a Lady Pioneer, fellow senior Katrina Salins scored 10 points. Freshmen Kayla Tibbs and Kristen DesRocher both scored nine points while Paige Tuttle dished out a team high four assists.

Shepherd was led by Gabby Flinchum as she scored a team high 26 points and had 10 rebounds for a double-double. Also for the Lady Rams Briana Vaden chipped in with 25 points.

The Lady Pioneers (15-13, 12-10) season now comes to an end, congratulations to the team and seniors for a great year.

Official Basketball Box Score
Glenville State vs. Shepherd
03.05.15  12:00 PM   at Charleston, WV - Charleston Civic Center
VISITORS: Glenville State 15-13

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
02 Paige Tuttle…..... *  1-8    0-5    3-4    0  1  1   3   5  4  1  1  1  18
04 Keyanna Tate…..... * 12-19   0-0    6-7    5  8 13   4  30  0  3  0  2  21
12 Kayla Tibbs…...... *  3-5    2-2    1-2    0  2  2   2   9  1  0  0  1  21
20 Briauna Nix…...... *  1-5    0-0    0-0    3  2  5   3   2  0  1  0  0  18
24 Madison Martin…... *  1-5    1-4    2-3    0  1  1   2   5  0  0  0  0  20
01 Katrina Salins…...    4-10   2-4    0-0    1  2  3   3  10  2  5  0  1  22
03 Tayana Stewart…...    2-4    1-2    0-0    1  0  1   0   5  1  1  0  0   9
10 Skyy Lewis….......    0-0    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   0   0  0  0  0  0  0+
21 Kristin DesRocher…    3-8    3-8    0-0    0  2  2   1   9  1  0  0  0  15
25 Briana Smythe…....    2-2    0-0    0-0    2  3  5   2   4  1  1  1  0  11
32 Brittany Jackson….    0-2    0-1    2-2    2  1  3   4   2  2  3  0  4  18
34 La’Shaughn Jones….    2-3    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   1   4  3  0  2  0   9
35 Julie Bishop….....    2-7    2-6    0-0    0  1  1   0   6  1  0  0  0  18
   TEAM….............                         1  1  2
   Totals…...........   33-78  11-32  14-18  17 24 41  25  91 16 15  4  9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 16-38 42.1%   2nd Half: 17-40 42.5%   Game: 42.3%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  5-15 33.3%   2nd Half:  6-17 35.3%   Game: 34.4%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-9  66.7%   2nd Half:  8-9  88.9%   Game: 77.8%    3

HOME TEAM: Shepherd 21-8

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
00 Gabby Flinchum…... *  9-14   0-0    8-9    2  8 10   3  26  0  2  3  2  26
10 Cara Mason…....... *  2-5    0-0    2-2    1  0  1   0   6  2  1  0  0  11
11 Briana Vaden…..... *  6-13   2-5   11-12   0  3  3   2  25  7  3  0  2  30
14 Rachel Johnson…... *  7-12   3-4    0-1    2  6  8   3  17  4  2  1  1  39
35 Alex Weakland….... *  5-7    1-1    0-0    2  6  8   4  11  1  2  2  1  34
03 Morgan Arden….....    2-11   1-1    2-2    1  3  4   4   7  6  4  0  0  27
20 Liz Myers…........    2-5    0-0    1-2    3  0  3   2   5  2  0  0  3  22
21 Hailey Brown….....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0  0+
22 Maggie McLoughlin…    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  1  0  0  0   3
24 Kristina Prange…..    1-2    0-0    1-2    0  2  2   0   3  0  0  0  0   7
32 Jazmyne Howard…...    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
   TEAM….............                         3  1  4
   Totals…...........   34-69   7-11  25-30  14 29 43  19 100 23 14  6  9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 19-36 52.8%   2nd Half: 15-33 45.5%   Game: 49.3%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-5  60.0%   2nd Half:  4-6  66.7%   Game: 63.6%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 10-13 76.9%   2nd Half: 15-17 88.2%   Game: 83.3%    2

Officials: Balster, Wilkinson, Link

Technical fouls: Glenville State-None. Shepherd-None.


Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Glenville State…............   43   48  -   91
Shepherd…...................   51   49  -  100

Mountain East Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament Quarterfinal Game #1

2015 Gilmer County Pony League Final Sign-Up Announcement - Tonight

The Gilmer Free Press
2015 Gilmer County Pony League
Final Sign-Up Announcement!!!

Friday, March 06, 2015 at Glenville Elementary Cafeteria
6:00PM to 8:00 PM

Player registration forms, medical release forms, and a volunteer forms for any parent interested in volunteering during the season, will be handed out at sign ups at the dates mentioned above.

Sign-Up Requirements For Players & Volunteers:

• Birth Certificate

• 2 forms of Identification (Photo ID, Social Security card, etc.)

• 2 Proofs of residency

Note: Enclosed in this sign up announcement packet you will find a detailed difference of the previous year’s league compared to the Pony League start up.

Important Note: There was a typo on the signup papers sent home with the kids.  To be eligible to play Gilmer county pony league softball in the 9 year old to 12 year old division your league must be no more than 12 years old by December 31, 2014 if your league age has reached 13 years old on or before December 31, 2014 you will have to play in the 13 year old to 15 year old division.

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5K Pi Day Run/Walk - 03.14.15

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Parent and Support Group Meeting - 03.18.15

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