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G-ICYMI™: 50 Years Ago, Team From Tiny Normantown High Set Still-Standing International Record

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

Big accomplishments can come from small high schools, as Homer Hickam and his Rocket Boys from Big Creek High School in War, McDowell County, proved in winning the National Science Fair in 1960.

As alumni from Normantown High School, a like-sized, also-defunct school in Gilmer County at the other end of the state from War, gather for the Class of 1966’s 50th reunion on Saturday, some will likely remember hearing their parents talk about the school’s David versus Goliath championship season of 1945. The one when their 150-person student body produced a basketball team that captured the all-class state championship with a 50-49 win over Logan.

But in 1966, the tiny West Virginia high school produced a team that took top honors at an international competition in an event a bit slower-paced and lower-profile than basketball. In the process of doing so, the Normantown High team racked up a score that remains unbeaten today.

The event was the International Land and Range Judging Contest, held near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There, contestants determine soil types and their water absorbing properties, estimate slope and erosion potentials, and determine what crops, mechanical treatments and fertilizer applications are most appropriate for farming the land.

The Free Press WV
Normantown High School FFA members Kenneth Lee Greenlief (from left), Kelley Sponaugle, Brock Stewart and
Wesley Dobbins flank their coach and vo-ag teacher Everett “Casey” Mason after winning
the International Land and Range Judging contest in Oklahoma in 1966, posting a score that remains unbeaten today.


Contestants also pick out the best home site on the property being judged, identify rangeland plants,and determine how to best manage the rangeland for wildlife or livestock.

“Looking back, it seems like a very short time ago that we were taking this trip to Oklahoma City,” said Kelley Sponaugle, one of four members of Normantown High’s championship Future Farmers of America land judging team. “The one vivid memory is of the five of us (including FFA adviser and vo-ag teacher Everett “Casey” Mason) and our luggage packed in a Ford Falcon for two days each way.

“At that time it was my longest trip from Cedarville. I was amazed at the size of our country and the vast size of the cornfields of the Midwest.”

Mason, who coached the land judging team, “was a wonderful teacher,” recalled teammate Wesley Dobbins. “Through pure and simple hard, honest work, which he demanded, he was very successful in bringing the Normantown High School FFA chapter much recognition.”

“Being his student is without a doubt the greatest educational experience in my life,” Sponaugle said. “He truly believed success could be found through hard work and doing it right. Because of his encouragement, we believed we could win.”

Sponaugle said Mason assembled a support team that included Soil Conservation Service staffers Junior Kennedy and Woodrow Beverage, who helped provide the Normantown FFA team with enhanced soil and conservation knowledge, and George Sharpe, a soils specialist with the WVU Extension Service, who made several trips to Gilmer County to help train the students and met the team in Oklahoma City to help its members get acquainted with the local terrain.

Dobbins, Sponaugle and teammates Kenneth Greenlief and Brock Stewart won the state land judging competition in the spring of 1965 to qualify for the trip to Oklahoma City the following spring.

“We were four country boys who had never been far from home,” Dobbins said. “As we traveled, we kept seeing on the breakfast menu ‘hash browns.’ None of the four of us knew what they were. One morning, we decided to take a chance and order them. To our surprise, we got fried potatoes!”

“We arrived in Oklahoma City a couple days early,” Sponaugle recalled. “Mr. Mason had arranged for us to practice at a local ranch and at the Oklahoma State University farms. We spent from daylight to dark looking at various soils in the area and going over study materials. Mr. Mason was a strong believer in work, so that’s what we did.

“But we did go to a movie, Marilyn Monroe in ‘Some Like it Hot.’ That was my first trip to an indoor movie theater. The movie would probably be rated G or PG by today’s standards, but we thought it was really hot and sexy.”

The contest took place in a short grass prairie outside of Oklahoma City.

“The area had several large ravine-type gullies, and the soils there developed in windblown materials and were very erosive,” Sponaugle recalled. “After the contest, the judges reviewed the fields with us. I remember telling Mr. Mason and Dr. Sharpe that I thought I had made a perfect score on all four fields. They both thought I was crazy, since nobody had come close to that in the 15-year history of the contest.”

Teammate Brock Stewart also believed he had aced the contest, according to Sponaugle.

“At the banquet that night, I was so nervous I couldn’t eat,” he said. “The anticipation was intense.”

The combined individual scores of the top three team members determined the team winners. The awards announcement began by naming the 10 highest-scoring individual land judges, starting with the 10th place finalist.

“By the time they got down to No. 3, none of us had been called and I thought we had blown it,” Sponaugle recounted. “Then they announced Kenny Lee Greenlief from Normantown, West Virginia, at No. 3, with a score of 237 points, and finally, tied for individual high score, Brock Stewart and Kelley Sponaugle from Normantown with 240 points,” both perfect scores, for the first time in contest history.

While other West Virginia FFA teams have since won the event — most recently, Tyler County High in 2011 and 2013 — the Normantown team was the first to score more than 700 points in the history of the contest, and the team score of 717 points out of a possible 720 remains the highest score in contest history.

Sponaugle went on to compete on WVU’s soil judging team and pursued a career in soil science, recently retiring as assistant state conservationist for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Greenlief, who earned a master’s degree in education administration at WVU and went on to become executive vice president and treasurer of Waco Oil & Gas, died in 2006.

Dobbins is a retired Braxton County elementary school principal and Stewart pursued a career in the natural gas business.

The team’s victory at Oklahoma City 50 years ago “is a great example of a high school in West Virginia with fewer than 200 students doing something outstanding,” said Dennis Bennett of Craigsville, president of Normantown High School Alumni Association.

Normantown High graduated its last class of seniors in 1968 and was converted into Normantown Elementary School, which in turn will be closed at the end of the current school year due to consolidation.

A 50th reunion celebration for the high school’s Class of 1966 took place last Saturday at the school.

~~  Rick Steelhammer - Gazette-Mail ~~

05.23.2016
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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Mr Mason was quite a teacher of Landjudging, all three of my children were 4-H National winners also, he will never be forgotten!

By susie kirkpatrick  on  05.23.2016

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Gilmer County Board of Education Special Meeting - 05.20.15 - Today

The Free Press WV
AGENDA
SPECIAL MEETING
Gilmer County Board of Education
Central Office
Friday, May 27, 2016 - 11:00 a.m.


I. CALL TO ORDER


II. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE


III. ROLL CALL


IV. APPROVAL OF 2016-2017 BUDGET


V.    ADJOURNMENT

Normantown Christian School Holding Follow-Up Meeting

The Free Press WV

Gilmer County Board of Education LSIC Meeting - 05.16.16 - Today

The Free Press WV
AGENDA
LSIC MEETING
Gilmer County Board of Education                                              
Gilmer County High School
Monday, May 16, 2016 - 5:00 p.m.

I. CALL TO ORDER


II. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE


III. ROLL CALL


IV. LSIC-GILMER COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL


V.      RECOGNITIONS


VI. RECESS


VII. DELEGATIONS


VIII. CONSENT AGENDA-Board Action

            A.  Minutes: April 11, 2016, April 19, 2016

            B.  Student Transfers

            C.  School Volunteers

            D.  Field Trips (Out-of-State)


IX. NEW BUSINESS

            A. Property


X. REPORTS/DISCUSSION/FOLLOW UP (INFORMATION)

            A. CGCC- Dr. Carl Armour-April 19, 2016

            B. RESA- Dr. William Simmons


XI. SUPERINTENDENT’S INFORMATION

            A. Campaign for Grade Level Reading

            B. Treasurer’s Report

            C. Financial Statement

            D. Check Register

            E. Field Trips

            F. Other Reports-Review of OEPA Audit


The next Board Meeting will be Tuesday, June 21, 2016.


XII. ADJOURNMENT

PUBLIC NOTICE: Canvass the May 10, 2016 Primary Election Results

The Free Press WV

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


                    I, Larry B. Chapman, President of the County Commission of Gilmer County, West Virginia, in concurrence with John D. Bennett and Brian Kennedy Commissioners of said Commission, hereby call and appoint a Special Session of the County Commission of Gilmer County to be held at the courthouse in said County on Monday, May 16, 2016 at 9:00 AM, in the County Commission Chambers to transact the following business:


                    Canvass the May 10, 2016 Primary Election Results


Given under my hand this 12th day of May 2016.


                                                          Larry B. Chapman, President
                                                          Gilmer County Commission


Jean Butcher, Gilmer County Clerk

G-ICYMI™: WVBOE Returns Personnel Issues Control to Gilmer’s Local Board

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

WV state school board OKs alternative paths to teaching

The West Virginia Board of Education has approved alternative teacher certification programs for Kanawha and seven other counties, including a McDowell County program that will begin to bring Teach For America’s services to the state.

At the board’s meeting Wednesday, members also heard criticism from school administrators about their plans to start giving entire schools and counties A-F grades; approved significantly amending a construction and renovation plan at the Romney Schools for the Deaf and the Blind to drop the cost from $45.5 million to $16.5 million; returned control over personnel issues to the local school board in Gilmer County, one of the state’s last two takeover counties; and approved a plan for Kanawha’s St. Albans High to reduce student instructional time in order to incorporate 30 minutes of teacher collaboration into each school day.

The state board also received a $20,000 check from Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia Inc. to support continued “Japanese Summer Immersion Camps.” State Department of Education Chief Accountability Officer Michele Blatt said the camps, for kids entering grades one through five, expose students to Japanese language and culture. The first in Putnam County is coming to Scott Teays Elementary July 11-15.

Monica Beane, executive director of the education department’s Office of Educator Effectiveness and Licensure, said McDowell’s alternative certification program will require more than Teach For America traditionally does before putting applicants in classrooms.

She said all the alternative certification programs seek to fill teacher vacancies, which McDowell, generally agreed to be the state’s poorest county, has had particular issues with.

Teach For America, which local teacher unions have opposed, generally accepts college graduates — including those without education degrees, trains them for more than a month and gives them a one- to two-week regional orientation before placing them in struggling schools. Those in the program make a two-year commitment to teach, and are paid as full-time, entry-level teachers.

“It’s very similar in that they can attract the same potential teachers and candidates,” Beane said of McDowell’s program compared to traditional Teach For America. “But in other states they have their boot camp, they do their own program, they are just embedded within that state’s culture. Here they are only a support.”

She said Teach For America will, alongside identifying possible applicants for McDowell, also help provide teacher training to the applicants.

Beane said House Bill 2005, which allowed for these alternative certification programs, passed in the 2015 legislative session, but the three programs approved Wednesday were the first to take effect under the law due to the time it took the education department to develop rules for how the law would be implemented.

She said they allow school systems to offer jobs to these alternative applicants only if the systems first advertise the position for at least 10 business days and don’t receive any applications from certified teachers.

She said the programs allow individuals who have four-year degrees in any subject area to teach in any subject area so long as they pass the Praxis I exam, which tests one’s basic skills in areas like reading and math, and a Praxis II exam, which specifically tests the content an applicant wants to teach. She said those with master’s degrees don’t have to take the Praxis I, and those wanting to become special education teachers don’t have to take the Praxis II.

After passing the Praxis exams, passing a background investigation, receiving teacher training and other support, these alternative educators can start teaching in classrooms. After a year of teaching, the county superintendent can recommend the candidates to Beane’s office for licensure, but the applicant would have to pass the Praxis III exam on the principles of learning and teaching.

If approved after the year of teaching, the applicant would be certified like an entry-level teacher, Beane said.

Kanawha is partnering the Regional Education Service Agency it’s part of, RESA 3.

All counties in RESA 4 — Braxton, Fayette, Greenbrier, Nicholas, Pocahontas and Webster — are partnering with RESA 4, and getting support from Concord and Marshall universities.

McDowell is partnering with RESA 1, which is contracting with Teach For America.

As for the A-F grading system, representatives of county school administrators Wednesday criticized the proposed policy, which is currently out on a public comment period that ends 4 p.m. Monday.

Part of the criticism focused on the fact that — despite the planned inclusion of “multiple measures” beyond standardized testing, like attendance — standardized testing scores are still planned to make up the vast majority of a school’s grade. Blatt said scores and growth in scores on the Smarter Balanced statewide standardized exam are planned to make up about 83 percent of grades for elementary and middle schools.

Morgan County Schools Superintendent David Banks, who’s also president of the West Virginia Association of School Administrators, said A-F grades will impact communities’ ability to attract businesses and could hurt efforts to pass school bonds and levies. He said graduation rates should be a factor in grading for elementary and middle schools, not just for high schools, and argued many students don’t take Smarter Balanced seriously because it doesn’t impact their grades.

~~  Ryan Quinn - Gazette-Mail ~~

05.13.2016
CommunityBraxton CountyGilmer CountyGlenvilleNormantownSand ForkNicholas CountyWebster CountyEducationNewsRegionWest VirginiaPolitics | Government | ElectionState-WV(13) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Another farce watch and see. The State will withhold information necessary for making intelligent decisions and rubber stamping will continue to be expected.

You know what happened with finances by looking at video tapes. When board members asked for financial information related to the Minnie Hamilton move “authority” over finances was taken back. The same will happen with personnel if questions about finances are asked.

It is all about money and tight secrecy for finances is necessary to enable the State to bankrupt the County.

Free access to information in all areas is the key. With access embargoed by the State the County’s school board members cannot make rational decisions about anything and they will be expected to serve as submissive puppets.

By More Farce From WVBOE  on  05.14.2016

Write this down Charleston. As long as the WVBOE controls Gilmer’s school system another excess levy will not pass.

Local control is essential to have good decisions and accountability to serve our children best.

All the WVBOE cares about is grabbing our money and taking care of its good ole boys and the local powerful who are in it 100% for themselves.

By No More Excess Levy  on  05.15.2016

Another example of WVDOE and WVBOE mismanagement and subterfuge citizens are tired of.

At the March school board meeting it is known that a motion was made and passed to request Devono to do a better job of writing up accurate meeting minutes.

There were witnesses, note takers, and electronics gear was used to record the proceedings. Now Devono claims that the motion was not made and passed.

To top it off it is claimed that the State’s recording equipment had a simultaneous malfunction so there is not an electronics record of what happened. Can you believe it?

Folks, nobody could make this up. With this type of cover up happening what else has been swept under the table by the State?

When Bob Minigh is sworn in citizens anticipate that he will help put an end to the mess.

Dr. Cindy Daniel, Mrs. O’Brien, Mr. Green, and Dr. Martirano why do you permit this mockery of democracy to continue?

By We Hope That Bob Minigh Is Help On The Way  on  05.18.2016

Voters sent a message to B Simmons loud and clear. He lost every single precinct but one. He won CUBIE corner by only 16 votes.
Now BS is putting out to people who mostly have no computers that there’s plenty of money,the OEPA wanted a middle school when all it really said was it was “proposed” and how much he cares about achievement and curriculum.

Really?  Video after video starting in Blankenship days BS said he didn’t want any financial reports.  Didn’t want them, wouldn’t read them. Refused to do his job and put questions on the agenda about achievement, curriculum, policy, anything worth knowing but now the uninformed citizens he talked about all the time are to believe BS knows what’s best for Gilmer County’s children.

Tell us BS, where is all the money? You, Super Devono and Westfall have Mothers trying to collect enough money to put in a playground at the new elementary school. Super Devono put in the paper he needed collections to even do remodel for one science lab IF the state approves a middle school which hasn’t even come up on the state BOE agenda.

WHAT ABOUT FIXING THE CRUMBLING STEPS AT OUR HIGH SCHOOL? Got money for that? The old Glenville Elementary roof has leaked for YEARS.  Where was the money for that? More likely truth is the BOE is waiting for money coming in to pay the bills they have now.
Bill Simmons got handed his hat this election. Suggest he puts in on and goes home.

By Tired Of BS  on  05.19.2016

GAYBEE BAYBEE DENONO needs to let us know just what he’s doing withthe County Commission out behind the barn after dark.  What went on to make GAYBEE hire Commissioner Bennets employer to auction Troy school off first up?

Better be auctioning off that 40 year old Glenville school the WV Board of Education legally closed and said wasn’t fit for a elementary school for the kids.

By Inquiring Minds Want To Know  on  05.19.2016

We have four grade schools being shut down and all of them have playground equipment.

Why is it necessary to spend $250,000 on new equipment at the consolidated school when existing equipment could be taken there?

The answer is that it could be. The hold up is that the motive for getting new equipment is to pass along money to non bid vendors. That is the established practice in intervention counties.

The existing equipment could be taken to the new school and if necessary it could be spruced up good as new. Volunteers would gladly help with the project.

I bet that Mr. Morris would offer up his trucks for free to get the equipment to the new school.

By R. Miller  on  05.20.2016

Gabe is telling people that Beverly Kingery who is a member of the WVBOE is coming to train the school board.

Really? Whose idea was that? She will have to defend the WVBOE’s positions in getting the County to where we are today with the State’s mismanagement and waste of public money.

All of us have heard about the fox in the hen house fix. Here we go with another round of it right here.

If more board training is necessary why not do it with a neutral party?

Another point. After five years of intervention why is more board training needed? Sounds like one more example of the State’s ineptness to wait this long?

By More Charleston Blundering  on  05.20.2016

If Mrs. Kingery comes to train anybody it had better be her own state appointed Superintendent Gabriel Devono on board communication.  After all, that’s what the OEPA who works under the state board’s will and pleasure said in their report! The report said Gabriel Devono needed that AND AN EFFECTIVE MENTOR.

As to Bill Simmons the so called Board President. He’s straddled the fence on for so long if you asked him to sing you’d find out he is a soprano.

Devono needs to go and take Mr. Simmons with him. Let Gilmer County BOE members who really care about our kids get to work and try to salvage what we have left for the good of the children.

By Can't Wait For That Day  on  05.20.2016

What I do not understand after reading the OEPA’s report for Gilmer County, posted among the WVBOE’s agenda items, is why someone from the WVBOE would give training to Gilmer County.

Why not have members of the OEPA team that had the advantage of direct access to information to give the training? Those individuals know what needs to be done to correct deficiencies.

Dr. D. Bolton would be an excellent choice. She had an outstanding career as an educator, she was a superintendent in our intervened county, and she was highly respected for her ability to work with people.

Dr. Howard O’Cull would be another excellent choice. He heads the WV School Board Association and he has been responsible for giving outstanding training for many years.

Getting someone involved other than a sitting member of the WVBOE makes sense.

It is clear after keeping up with what happened in Gilmer County that your problems track back to the WVBOE and its lack of oversight over what happened during intervention.

Why makes thing worse when it is clear that a fresh start is needed instead of having a political appointee with the WVBOE’s agenda to give training?

By Buzz Andrews---Grant County  on  05.21.2016

After five years of total lack of leadership or cooperation with local BOE members,five years denied the right do the job, some updated training makes total sense. Laws and policies per the WVBOE have changed multiple times and are still changing.  It seems clear that the WV School Board Association in conjunction with Bowles and Rice law firm should do the local board training while Mrs. Kingery of the WVBOE could and should exercise some badly needed oversight and training of their own employee Gabe Devono.  Surely they know it is not the Gilmer County Board that has refused to communicate?

By WVBOE Are You Listening?  on  05.22.2016

Here is what I got from watching GFP’s video tapes.

*With the WVBOE in dictatorial control tactics are used to keep the County’s school board purposely uninformed and misinformed to sabotage its effectiveness.

*Divide and conquer practices are applied to keep the board from having a unified front that is something the WVBOE fears.

*Selective adherence to official County school system policies to advance the WVBOE’s agenda including making illegal changes of policies on the spot to solidify the WVBOE’s firm control.

*Censor board meeting minutes and restrict items getting on public meeting agendas to avoid anything unflattering to the WVBOE to get into the public record.

*Spend the school system into the red and pass public money to favored businesses without competitive bids.

*Bypass the elected school board in favor of the ruling class that appoints itself to dictate to the County’s majority.

Declare that the board is dysfunctional when it does not exhibit unanimous “play along”.

The deficiencies listed above should be used to develop lesson plans for an independent and qualified party to use to train the WVBOE to change its repressive intervention practices.

What do you think Ms. O’Brien, Dr. Martirano, and Mr. Green? We would like to here from you.

By Training For WVBOE Desparately Needed  on  05.23.2016

Been watching chatter on the GFP about the Kingery training issue. The WVBOE is not trusted by WV people and we know it in Charleston.

To be fair Mrs. Kingery is new to the WVBOE and she was not there when Gilmer County was intervened to result in the brutal treatment you received for the past five years.

However, Mrs. Kingery should not get involved in training your school board because of an appearance of a conflict of interest.

That is because your problems track back to egregiously inept intervention oversight by the WVBOE.

Who involved Mrs. Kingery? Was it Devono’s decision because he knows that the WVBOE will protect him?

By WVDOE Mole Group Member  on  05.23.2016

I called a school board member to inquire about training needs. The person said that excellent training was received from the WV School Board Association headed by Dr. Howard O’Cull.

The problem as explained to me was that there is a high degree of frustration because the WVBOE refuses to let the training be applied as a way of maintaining iron clad control.

Little is known by the board as relates to finances, personnel, and other important areas of concern. That information has been kept secret from the board.

The person said that that training is needed and it should focus of making school system information available to end the WVBOE’s censorship and secrecy.

The same person said that with Mr. Minigh coming on board it is anticipated that conditions will change for the better. He received a very strong mandate from Gilmer’s voters.

By P. Black  on  05.23.2016

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G-LtE™: THE TALE OF LYIN’ BS GILMER COUNTY’S BURDEN

The Free Press WV

The original sin: 2011 I am qualified to speak for and support this groups goals.  I will see to it that the Governor does a Blue Ribbon Study of Gilmer County education successes and work with you to stop this consolidation to one school causing the destruction of FOUR communities in Gilmer County. The children won’t be forced to travel.

Result: Change of plans. “I was never against consolidation! I can’t be part of this.  I’ve been elected and put in as President of the board.”  I’ll destroy you.


Local BOE President swears: I have local political influence and will see to it that intervention ends within the first year.  I will be Superintendent and promise to fire the High School Head Administrator.

Result:  Ron Blankenship stays three years and Gabe Devono is appointed by the state as Superintendent of Gilmer County Schools July 1, 2014. The President turns in his resignation but withdraws it. His public goodbye quote regarding Mr. Blankenship? He had “promised the Superintendent to never be an impediment to anything he wanted to do”. Later informed new Superintendent and the Board “they” had been “misled”.


BS continues collecting expense checks for many “principled closed door meetings” no one seems aware of but himself. Once more no communication with local BOE. Even the OEPA and WVBOE begin to see a problem with him. Superintendent approval is guaranteed as BS is put in place over multiple planning committees for more money.

Result: Board President actually says and believes there’s no need to speak with fellow board as he does not feel he “would ever do anything wrong”. Everything is under control. Name dropping constantly. All was done in the name of a local business owner per BS. Leading Creek goes live and more checks collected for Governance Board and RESA meetings with no report to the Board, no report to the public, no report, no accountability, no transparency, really, no board involvement whatsoever. Attempts to personally attack fellow board members in illegal executive session fail.


Sets up a board member to report on questioned educational statistics at the High School. Tells no one.

Result:  When the Head Administrator responds to the report and asks who wanted it done the Presidents participation is revealed.  His response was well yes I did but the board member “WENT TOO FAR!” taking no accountability for his own promotion of board dysfunction. In fact creating and supporting it.


Reports he has it on good authority Gabe Devono will be leaving June 30, 2015. He will be the next Superintendent.

Result:  No change in the takeover status. Gabe still here.


Insists on a move to Minnie Hamilton offices increasing rent to the BOE by four fold.  Funds for education go to support a financially distressed County Commission. Attempts to force an illegal executive session fails. 

Result: No cost savings.  More politics and the pretense of financial control goes back to WVBOE. Medical facility use is now diverted.  A chiropractic office is turned away.


No public information,in fact, board President supports the state appointed Superintendent’s position of no information to the board. The President lets Teachers and Staff know he does not believe control should be returned to the local board. They are not ready. Same thing is told the OEPA afterwards says he is satisfied with the recent audit.

Result: No change in intervention status. One elementary school on a riverbank, in a flood plain and students sent out of county. Money lost. Current attempts to hurt the head High School Administrator are done in the name of protecting made up reports of sexually abused sixth, seventh and eighth grades while the real goal is an attempt to decrease her paycheck in retaliation over an old disagreement going back to a vote of no confidence from the GSC professionals.  Even though he knows doing so endangers any possible future for a High School/Middle School. Seems not to matter, nothing good for the school system appears to matter to President Simmons.


Totally denies actual public board votes to expand minutes request information and items on an agenda took place. Sees and hears nothing that does not support a state agenda and keep him the only one to meet with the Superintendent, the SBA, the BOE or hear of any plans.  Publicly refuses to support expanded meeting minutes or answering the questions of anyone in public delegation or from the board time and time again.

Results:  Public anger, board exasperation. No information.


The Big Question: Why is someone who is very willing to throw Students, Teachers, Parents, BOE staff, BOE members and even local philanthropists under the bus to protect and glorify himself allowed to continue in a leadership position? Why support this farce?


Recommendation: No vote for Lying BS. Show some real support for the capable and honest members of our Board of Education. Send the message it’s time to go BS.


LIAR  fabricator,  fabulist,  fibber,  prevaricator,  storyteller

Related Words: exaggerator,  mythomaniac;  calumniator,  defamer,  libeler,  libelist

slanderer;perjurer;  distorter,  falsifier;  equivocator,  palterer;    talebearer;  
charlatan,cheat,  cheater,  counterfeiter,  cozener,deciever,  defrauder,  
dissembler,  dissimulator,  double talker double dealer,  fraud,  hustler,  knave,  mountebank,  operator,  pretender


~~  Gilmer County Concerned Citizen(s)  ~~

05.09.2016
CommunityGilmer CountyBaldwinCedarvilleConningsCox's MillsDusk CampGilmer StationGlenvilleLetter GapLinnLockneyNewberneNormantownOrtonPerkinsRosedaleSand ForkShockStouts MillsStumptownTannerTroyEducationFeaturesCommunityConcerns™NewsRegionOpinions | Commentary | G-LtE™ | G-Comm™ | G-OpEd™Politics | Government | ElectionLocalState-WV(12) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

What can you expect from the man who believes Night Comes To The Cumberlands was the Master Plan for West Virginia’s economic development and Don’t Buy Another Vote I Won’t Pay For a Landslide was written as a political comedy?

We remember the excess levy meetings where Bill told us all we had to vote for the excess levy or else pay for student text books out of our own pocket.  What a fib.  The public found out too late federal law mandates the books be provided by the public school system.

By Won't Be Too Late Next Time  on  05.09.2016

Always talks about his history with Glenville State. Always first in line to put it down and push to shut it down. Never a good word about Glenville State College from Bill since he left.

By G Man  on  05.09.2016

If you want somebody running our Board of Ed that thinks a Lewis County school is more important than a Gilmer County school then darken the Simmons circle on the back of the ballot.

By My Family Won't  on  05.09.2016

LATEST UNTRUTH?
DEVONO & BILL’S PLANNING COMMITTEE DIDN’T INCLUDE THE MONEY IN A 14 MILLION PLUS BUDGET FOR PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT AT THE NEW ELEMENTARY ON THE RIVER!!!
TEACHERS HELD A MOTHERS DAY LUNCHEON AT THE REC CENTER TO BEG FOR $200,000.
WHAT HAPPENED TO OVER ONE MILLION LOCAL MATCH AND ONE MILLION DEBT FOR BONDS?? DIDN’T HAVE TO BUY LAND.
WHY DIDN’T SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS KNOW ABOUT THIS?

By WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?  on  05.10.2016

Graft, corruption, stupidity, no common sense, are all on view for the entire country. Wonderful that social media can expose so much of it.

It makes you wonder how West Virginia can claim 46th in educational outcomes with the firm grip WVBOE has on failure?

By front seat view how the WVBOE operates  on  05.11.2016

There was at one time, and not long ago,  200K reserved in what the school administrators referred to as their “spend freely” account.

Even Lewis County Leading Creek teachers are well aware of the money.

WV legislators can count this as another of their long list of financial blunders.  We know who has to bail them all out.

By Guess that 200K account lived up to its name?  on  05.11.2016

How can they come up with $100,000 to patch a peice of roof on a closed elementary school this summer when they don’t have the money for a playground at a brand new one? Somebody needs to ask Ted Mattern.

By What Kind Of Game Are They Playing Here?  on  05.13.2016

The WVBOE kept finances because they want to continue to squander your money and they want to continue to keep your elected school board in the dark.

Been there to know how the WVBOE operates.

The decision to restore personnel decisions to your board is a farce. When you cannot hire and evaluate your own superintendent there will be business as usual.

Another observation is that when the State refuses to provide information to your board the farce is exposed even more.

By Mingo 1&2  on  05.13.2016

Will need pancake breakfast to raise money for the roof repair.  lmao Can you see Gabe and Bill with their chef hat and white aprons?  lol

By reader7  on  05.13.2016

Another example of inept WVBOE oversight! If the building is auctioned off the cost for the roof will never be recovered.

How could Mr. Green and others on the WVBOE argue that the expenditure will benefit the County’s children?

Makes one wonder if a deal was cut with a known bidder who will get the building with a good roof while paying a sacrifice cost.

With all the County’s money wasted with intervention an objective investigation is needed and it is needed now.

By Gilmer Taxpayer  on  05.13.2016

There is a double standard. The WVDOE can cheat us out of $800,000 because of accounting errors, our school system’s surplus $2,000,000 is gone, $1,000,000 in bond debt was taken on without citizen approval, board offices moved to Minnie Hamilton at a great additional expense to funnel money to the County Commission, and it mismanaged at Crooked Run to the tune of close to $1,000,000 to get us in a new school in a flood zone.

What will be done about it? Absolute nothing because the WVBOE is not held accountable.

All the money is gone and citizens have to raise money for playground equipment at the new school.

By Broken State Government  on  05.14.2016

It is a pathetic indicator of broken State government when the WVBOE’s waste of the County’s school system money, at the expense of our children, is considered.

One thing was left off. The estimated total cost of the WVBOE’s intervention superintendents is $150,000 yearly to be about 50K more a year compared to what a superintendent in a small county normally receives.

The waste amounts to about 250K for the five years of intervention. That sum is what citizens are trying to raise for the new playground equipment.

To top it off as reported by the WVBOE’s OEPA the current superintendent needs mentoring and remedial training. Where other than in WV would a waste of this magnitude exist?

The WVBOE should be shut down!!!!!!

By Rexroad  on  05.15.2016

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Gilmer County Family Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Wednesday, April 27, 2016 Family Court Judge Larry Whited held Family Court in Gilmer County.


Two divorces were granted as follows:


•  Tammi Hardman (57) of Tanner, WV divorced Douglas Hardman (57) of Normantown, WV.


•  Crystal Steele (41) of Denver, NC divorced Christopher Steele (41) of Normantown, WV.


•  One divorce was rescheduled after defendant filed an answer.


•  One divorce was dismissed and can be refiled.


•  One domestic violence hearing was continued. One was granted.

G-LtE™: Not a Popularity Contest - We Must Respect Each Other

The Free Press WV

Dear Gilmer County Citizens,

I have never been as involved in any political campaign and election season as I have been on both a national and local level as I have been with Election 2016. As I have quietly observed the “political turmoil” unfold the vast amount of candidate disrespect that takes place from all offices is shameful. I was raised in this county and MANY MANY years ago I was proud to be able to call it home. This county has changed drastically and that is not something that has happened in the last 4 years.

I believe that every individual running for office should have an equal opportunity to do so. I also believe that every citizen of the county has the right to be fully informed of the truth. Those individuals that seek out the truth deserve to know it. I give kudos to The Gilmer Free Press for providing well researched information. I have seen posts on social media of citizens expressing their dislike for specific candidate(s), though this may not be viewed in an appropriate fashion to some at least they are speaking up. Contrary to a candidate’s recent Facebook post claiming childish lies about own-self on Facebook, these individuals are speaking the truth. Dislike how they are getting their point across if you would like but don’t bury your head in the sand over the truth. It is so scary to think that our county does not care about the things that are so important in this world anymore. We need honesty. We need integrity. We need respect.

I am not saying such a person is not a good person, personally. I do not know the person, but I am saying I have taken enough time to know that this person has not been forth right and up front about the tasks he performed while he held the position of a Gilmer County as an Elected Official several years ago. This person may make a good friend. This person may have done a terrific other jobs, but this person did NOT however follow the codes established by the ethics committee on the expenditures of public funds. Please keep in mind that this is not a rumor. It is a fact and can be verified in the courthouse. This person began this campaign by disrespecting the opponent(s) and by being dishonest and to me that is not a representation of a good and honest person.

I hope that people in this county want a person in office to do the job this person is running for and not just looking for someone to be a yes person and say the fluffy words that they want to hear. Check the verifiable facts at the courthouse.

Start voting today and stop in the courthouse just like I did if you have questions about what is and is not true. This is not a contest on slander and disrespect this is an attempt to maintain progress in the county.

~~  A Gilmer Citizen - Information on File ~~

Tyler Moore Receives Carson Scholarship

Gilmer County High School Junior Tyler Moore received a $1,000 Carson Scholarship from the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Carson Scholars Fund on Sunday, April 17 at luncheon held at Heinz Field.

Tyler was selected as a 2016 Carson Scholar, a competitive national scholarship for students established by Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson over 20 years ago.

The Free Press WV


Dr. Carson was the keynote speaker for the event, and assisted by his wife, congratulated each student.  Dr. Carson focused on the theme of “THINK BIG” which touched on talent, hope & honesty, insight, nice to all people, knowledge, books, in-depth learning, and God. Dr. Carson emphasized how using the acrostic, THINK BIG,  could help a student evaluate and respond to problems in order to overcome them and make the most of their inner potential. Dr. Carson’s ultimate goal is to have a Carson scholar from every school, in every state, going to college.  Tyler is the only Carson Scholar selected from West Virginia.
“I am humbled and grateful to have been chosen as a Carson scholar,“ said Moore. “I admire Dr. and Mrs. Carson’s devotion to bettering the lives of so many young people. They are great examples to follow. I will remember Dr. Carson’s formula for personal success, THINK BIG, to overcome obstacles, and I will always look back on this opportunity with a thankful heart.“

There were 89 new scholars and 192 recognized renewed scholars at the event. The Carson Scholars Fund has awarded more than $7.3 million in scholarships to over 2000 students in multiple years.  Tyler is the son of Brian and Lisa Moore of Glenville, and when he graduates from GCHS, he plans to pursue a career in the healthcare field.

Gilmer County Public Service District Annual Drinking Water Quality Report 2015

The Free Press WV
Annual Drinking Water Quality Report 2015
Gilmer County Public Service District
PO Box 729 Glenville, WV 26351-0729

PWS# WV 3301106 (Rt. 5 East)
PWS# WV 3301107 (Rt. 33/119 East)
PWS# WV 3301108 (FCI-Gilmer)
PWS# WV 3301109 (Rt. 33/119 South)
PWS# WV 3301110 (SR5 West/SR5 East/33/119 East)

08 April 2016

Why am I receiving this report?

In compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments, the Gilmer County Public Service District is providing its customers with this annual water quality report. This report explains where your water comes from, what it contains, and how it compares to standards set by regulatory agencies. The information in this report shows the results of our monitoring for the period of January 1st to December 31st, 2015 or earlier if not on a yearly schedule.

If you have any questions concerning this report, you may contact John Moore, General Manager at 304.462.4272. If you have any further questions, comments or suggestions, please attend our regularly scheduled board meetings on the 2nd Monday of each month at 6:00 pm at the 232 West Main Street, Glenville, WV. We want our valued customers to be fully informed about their water system.


Where does my water come from?

Your water is purchased from Glenville Utility which uses a surface water source known as the Little Kanawha River.


Source Water Assessment?

A Source Water Assessment was conducted in 2003 by the WVBPH. The intake that supplies drinking water to Glenville Utility has a higher susceptibility to contamination due to the sensitive nature of surface water supplies and the potential contaminant sources identified within the area. This does not mean that this intake will become contaminated, only that conditions are such that the surface water could be impacted by a potential contaminant source. Any future contamination may be avoided by implementing protective measures. The source water assessment report which contains more information is available for review or a copy will be provided to you at our office building during business hours or from the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health (WVBPH) at 304.558.2981.


Why must water be treated?

All drinking water contains various amounts and kinds of contaminants. Federal and state regulations establish limits, controls, and treatment practices to minimize these contaminants and to reduce any subsequent health effects.


Contaminants in Water

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. FDA regulations establish limits of contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health. Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of these contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800.426.4791) or at www.epa.gov/safewater/lead. The source of drinking water (both tap and bottled water) includes rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals, and, in some cases radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.

Click HERE to Read and Print the Entire Report

CommunityConcerns™: Are We Not Living in America?

Dr. Martirano, Mr. Green, and Dr. Daniel
Why Tolerate Continuing WVDOE Abuses of Gilmer County?

The Free Press WV

When school system intervention occurs the underpinnings of a democracy are destroyed to allow the WVDOE and the WVBOE to seize absolute power.

  • Control is accompanied by embargoing a County’s money and spending it at will to include exercising unilateral dictatorial power to obligate a County into long term debt.

  • Nullifying the U. S. Constitution’s guarantee of due process by preventing a school board from using public money for legal counsel and use of the legal system while the State authorizes itself to use the money for legal assistance.

  • Neutralizing the elected school board to make it inoperable while applying divide and conquer techniques to sabotage solidarity among its elected members.

  • Censorship to control access to information and to use it selectively to shield the State from anything negative to fulfill public opinion manipulation motives.

  • Voiding of local level checks and balances by including only the ruling class in decision-making with bogus claims that a community’s cross section is involved to determine a school system’s future.

  • Allowing misinformation to be disseminated to contribute to mass confusion and disarray as a strategy to impede common citizens from banding together against the State’s repression.

  • Awarding no-bid contracts to favored businesses instead of spending public money wisely as a responsible State agency would do to maximize benefits for children.

  • Avoiding transparency intentionally to allow the State to conduct its business secretly which typifies tactics of a dictatorial junta.

  • Fueling fears that those who speak out against the State will be punished through reprisals against their children, loss of jobs, inability to get jobs, and other intimidations.

Regarding censorship in Gilmer County, one approach is careful sanitizing of school board meeting minutes to avoid entry of everything unflattering to the State.

For examples, what got into minutes regarding botches at the Linn School, problems at Crooked Run before that costly project was abandoned, building the new consolidated school in a flood plain, information about the candle wick incident at Normantown that morphed into a few paper towels strewn on the floor, thievery at Troy Elementary, the school board’s persistent and ignored pleas for information related to school system finances, personnel and other areas of important concern, failure to disclose net annual costs of the Minnie Hamilton move and costs associated with renovating the facility for move-in condition, grievances filed against the school board, concerns about truancy as reported in the Gazette-Mail, and many other concerns including the County’s school system being on a fund watch by Charleston? A fund watch is serious because it is an official warning from the WVDOE that there is danger of deficit spending by a school system.

The most recent issue involved refusal of the State to accept that Gilmer County’s school board passed a motion in March 2016 to require thorough meeting minutes to be kept for the public record. Enhanced transparency and accountability were the board’s intent.

What happened? At the April 2016 the State denied that the March motion was made and passed! The fact that proceedings of the March meeting were videotaped by the Free Press made no difference as did presence of witnesses.  Also, the fact that the State had taped proceeding of the March meeting was ignored.  Dr. Cindy Daniel the Deputy State Superintendent of Schools attended the meeting as an observer.

Gilmer County has suffered enough from the State’s five long years of repression.  A special appeal is made to Dr. Cynthia Daniel and Dr. Michael Martirano, her supervisor, and to Mr. Michael Green who heads the WVBOE, to end the County’s maltreatment by restoring democratic processes.

Government power in a democracy must be moderated by inviolate guarantees that it does not abuse its people. That basic principle of government for the people was a bedrock premise of America’s founding fathers. The State nullified that sacred right in Gilmer County when our school system was intervened.

Lord Acton said “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” His maxim applies perfectly to intervention abuses imposed on the County by the State’s WVDOE and the WVBOE.

What should be done to combat the State’s latest abuse? One choice would be to file a formal WV Ethics Commission complaint followed by using the Internet and social media to flood WV with alerts about the action. Prior to filing with the Ethics Commission the State could be given one week to reverse its arbitrary and capricious decision.

The serious violation of basic democratic principles by the State’s denial of a legal motion for better meeting minutes for the official public record calls attention to recent information on the Internet. Dr.  Cindy Daniel was credited with staunch advocacy for honesty, full access to information, and transparency.

We will soon know what Dr. Daniel, Dr. Martirano, and Mr. Green will do about this latest example of dictatorial abuse related to meeting minutes.  Inaction would suggest their collective approval of the County’s continuing flagrant treatment or that they are not empowered to make necessary corrections.

AUDIT DONE FOR PROGRESS TOWARD REGAINING LOCAL CONTROL OF GILMER’S SCHOOLS

The Free Press WV

A team from the WV Office of Education Performance Audits (OEPA) audited progress toward restoring local control of the County’s school system.  The audit was performed under the direction of Ms. Susan O’Brien who administers the OEPA.

Individuals interviewed for the audit included the five members of the County’s school board, central office employees, school principals, and Dr. Cynthia Daniel, the deputy superintendent of WV’s schools. Also, official documents and various types of other information were reviewed by the audit team.

The intent of the audit was to assemble facts to submit to the WV State Board of Education presided over by Mr. Michael Green. Ms. O’Brien will present the OEPA’s report to the State Board on April 13, 2016 with the recommendation that it be accepted.

There is no advance indication of what the State Board will do with the OEPA’s report. The belief is that it will use the information in deciding what to do next to restore local control of our school system. Nothing positive will be gained by anyone by focusing time and energy on blame assignment for what happened with intervention. Instead, all emphasis here and in Charleston must be on the singular objective to make Gilmer County West Virginia’s education show piece. The County’s teachers, school board, and other school system personnel are up to the challenge as an effective team if they are empowered to perform their jobs.

The OEPA’s report was not summarized. We encourage all of readers to read its contents to make independent conclusions about the findings.

The report can be accessed by clicking HERE .

The Free Press WV

CONCLUSIONS FROM GILMER COUNTY’s OEPA AUDIT OF INTERVENED SCHOOL SYSTEM

The recommendation by the OEPA team to [provide] an effective mentor, for the superintendent, for specific training in the area of communication, conflict resolution, and team building to improve county and superintendent and county board relations; effective and efficient operation of the central office and schools and information to the public” is the hard hitting essence.

This is not a time for extending fingers of blame. The challenge is to put the past behind us. The audit’s positive outcome is that Mr. Michael Green’s WVDOE has the opportunity to do what is right by restoring all local control back to the County. His group deserves credit for authorizing the audit and having the institutional courage to verify that more corrections are merited in the County’s school system although the State had 100% control for five years.

Restoring local control should be permitted after the audit group’s recommendations for training and other corrections occur. Part of restoring local control should be to authorize the County’s board of education to hire a new superintendent soon as practical.

After restoration of local control including hiring a new superintendent the WVBOE could monitor closely for a designated period to ensure that the County’s school board, the new superintendent, and the central office function efficiently.

An essential part of the agreement should be for the County, the WVBOE, and the WVDOE to work together as a proactive team. We must devote our collective energy, time, and resources to the continual improvement of the County’s education system. Our children deserve nothing less than a combined focus to do the best to improve their lives.

Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting - 04.11.16 - Today

The Free Press WV
LSIC MEETING-ELEMENTARY
Gilmer County Board of Education
Gilmer County High School
Monday, April 11, 2016 - 5:00 PM

I. CALL TO ORDER - Roll Call by President


II. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE


III. LSIC - ELEMENTARY PRINCIPALS


IV. RECESS


V. RECONVENE


VI. RECOGNITIONS - Brianna Blankenship, David Brannon


VII. DELEGATIONS


VIII. CONSENT AGENDA - Board Action

              A.  Minutes: March 21, 2016 (Regular & Special Meeting)

              B.  Student Transfers

              C.  School Volunteers

              D.  Field Trips (Out-of-State)


IX. NEW BUSINESS

              A. 2016-2017 School Calendar

              B. Textbook Adoption

              C. Sale of School Buses

              D. WVSBA Membership Fees


X. REPORTS/DISCUSSION/FOLLOW UP (INFORMATION)

              A.  CGCC - Dr. Carl Armour – March, 2016

              B. RESA 7 - Dr. William Simmons


XI. SUPERINTENDENT’S INFORMATION

              A. Treasurer’s Report

              B. Financial Statement

              C. Check Register

              D. Field Trips

              E. Report


The next Board Meeting is Tuesday, April 19, 2016 AT 9:00 AM


XII. ADJOURNMENT

Normantown Elementary Principal’s Honor Roll - 3rd Nine Weeks – 2015-16

Normantown Elementary School Principal’s Honor Roll, Grades 4-6, 3rd Grading Period 2015-16

The Free Press WV

4th Grade

Hailey Norman

Kathrine Phares

Raven Rexroad

Kiley Richards

Sydney Sprouse

Mikayla Taylor

5th Grade

Ashlyn Bourn

David Brannon

Ryleigh Harubin

Samuel Miller

Daisy Snyder

Elexis Thompson

6th Grade

James Mohr

McKinzie White
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