Governor Tomblin Provides Update On State of Emergency
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today provided an update regarding the statewide State of Emergency.
“The statewide State of Emergency remains in place as we continue to monitor the effects of Winter Storm Thor. Although temperatures are expected to rise and water levels continue to decline, I encourage drivers to remain cautious while traveling,” Governor Tomblin said. “I am extremely proud of our state’s response to this massive winter storm, and I’d like to thank all first responders, the West Virginia National Guard, local and state road crews, and all West Virginians who have worked hard to help combat this storm.”
Representatives from the Governor’s Office, the West Virginia National Guard and Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management briefed members of the West Virginia Legislature today on the procedures and protocols for a State of Emergency, as well as an update on current weather conditions.
According to the National Weather Service, no additional major weather concerns are expected this weekend. As waters in most areas continue to fall, local and state officials will continue to monitor the situation in the coming days.
Although residents will experience colder temperatures in the mornings, temperatures are predicted to gradually warm up through the weekend. Snow and ice melt are expected to melt slowly, so West Virginians should continue to exercise caution and prepare for cold temperatures.
For updates on warming stations, shelters, power outages, road closures and weather conditions, continue to monitor the state’s official Facebook page for Winter Storm: www.facebook.com/westvirginiathor.
WVSBDC Advises Businesses How to Avoid Disaster from Severe Weather
Amid the flurry of severe weather advisories predicting a brutal blast of ice and snow this week, West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WVSBDC) adds this reminder to the state’s businesses: the best protection against disaster is preparation.
Samuel Payne, WVSBDC business coach and “point person” on disaster assessment and planning, offers readiness tips for businesses.
“Companies also need to plan how to maintain access to the place of business and to protect their most important asset: their employees,” said Payne. “It is a good idea to develop a plan of action for your business and your staff to be ready for this type of interruption.”
Payne suggests a checklist to help business owners identify where business are most susceptible to winter hazards and to suggest ways to minimize damage. For more information, review PREPAREMYBUSINESS.org or contact Payne at
During the storm:
Have cold weather equipment such as heaters, snow blowers and generators located where they are most likely to be used.
Keep driveways, walkways and doorways clear of snow and ice.
Prevent vulnerable pipes from freezing by opening water faucets so that they drip slightly. Keeping water flowing provides relief from pressure build-up and prevents pipes from bursting.
Have at hand the names and phone numbers of heating contractor, plumber, fire department, insurance agent and building owner.
Assign someone to check indoor temperatures should your place of business be vacant for long periods of time.
Have an emergency communication plan in place before a storm or other disaster strikes.
Have all employees, vendors, and client contact information on hand.
Have a ready plan for how to manage phones lines in case of evacuation. Redirection to cell phones, answering service or Google Voice could be critical.
After the storm, notify all critical people of the next steps, based on damage.
Winter storms may range from a moderate snow in a short amount of time to a blizzard lasting for days. Some storms are regional and may affect several states, while others are more localized, depending upon geography and terrain. Common characteristics of winter storms are dangerously low temperatures, strong winds, ice, sleet and freezing rain.
Understand the weather terms:
Winter storm watch: Be alert, a storm is likely.
Winter storm warning: Take action, the storm is in or entering the area.
Blizzard warning: Snow and strong winds combined will produce blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill. Seek refuge immediately!
Winter weather advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists.
Frost/freeze warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected and may cause damage to plants, crops or fruit trees.
“We hope the predicted storm, if it comes to pass, will be the last blast of winter,” Payne said. “But businesses need to be ready for other potential disasters – from floods to compromised data access—that may threaten a business’s ability to operate. The best business practice is to have a plan ready and know how to use it.”
The WVSBDC is part of the West Virginia Development Office and creates economic impact through offering entrepreneurs and small businesses cost-effective business coaching and technical assistance. The West Virginia SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The WVSBDC is an Accredited Member of America’s SBDC network.
GOVERNOR TOMBLIN ISSUES STATEWIDE STATE OF PREPAREDNESS
Governor urges all West Virginians to take steps to say safe during potential severe weather
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today issued a statewide “State of Preparedness,“ mobilizing state resources to help keep West Virginians safe during potential severe weather.
“Snow and ice are thawing and melting across the state, heavy rainfall is predicted for many areas, and large amounts of snow could follow,“ Governor Tomblin said. “Because this severe weather may affect many people across the state, I have issued a statewide State of Preparedness to mobilize state resources, including the West Virginia National Guard, to address heavy rainfall, potential flooding, high winds and additional winter weather forecasted this week.
“As you make preparedness plans, I encourage you to talk to your family about what to do and where to go. Remember to check on the elderly and your neighbors and consider a plan to care for household pets.“
Governor Tomblin also noted potential weather may leave neighborhoods without power and other utilities, and service providers are ready to address outages and other issues as they arise. He encouraged residents to think about the items families may need to stay safe for at least forty-eight hours, including food, water, medications, flashlights, batteries and fuel for generators.
The State of Preparedness statue was passed last year to allow the governor to mobilize necessary resources in advance of predicted severe weather or large-scale threats. The powers are similar to those involved in a State of Emergency but allow for additional preparations in advance of the expected event.
This is my interpretation of the MH scandal after watching tapes, reading reader’s comments, and talking with citizens.
*Devono knew that the school board did not have authority to approve the MH move.
Devono thought that he had votes lined up to get the board to approve the move anyway so he could use the vote to help pull off the move.
*There is videotape proof of what happened at two board meetings.
*The State’s strategy backfired after two board members saw through it and they took an opposing stand.
*The board president went berserk at the June 1, 2015 meeting and he engaged in unprofessional conduct when he did not get the State’s way with the MH deal. Devono went berserk too.
*The June 1, 2015 meeting was declared illegal and was stopped with advice from Devono’s lawyer.
*The WVBOE got a biased briefing on what happened and an agenda item was placed for the July 8, 2015 meeting in Charleston to legitimize action to be taken in response to the controversy.
*Instead of the two board members being complimented for integrity in the face of stiff adversity the State is angry because the MH scheme was exposed.
*The next move will be for the WVBOE to punish Gilmer County by sending a strong signal that conscientious conduct will not be tolerated when resistance does not match with the State’s plans.
*The WVBOE will approve the MH move unanimously to demonstrate that its judgement is infallible and it has absolute power to do as it pleases with Gilmer County’s money.
*Money going to pay for the bad decision MH move will be diverted from being used to help Gilmer County’s poverty stricken children.
Past GSC President has used such tactics before. When he learned problems were found with GSC actions approved by his signature that were certain to go public what did he do? He dialed the phone to Charleston and told them HE had found a problem, THEY needed to get up there and started laying blame as fast as he could line it out. That brought about the vote of no confidence.
Now he has lost his control over Gilmer BOE by losing automatic votes to do the superintendents will. If he is to get it done this Board President must vote himself to make it happen.
This means his personal choices are shown. Many times before he has not had to vote to get it done. All that said he is no longer absolutely certain of that third vote.
OF COURSE he ran to Charleston to lay blame before his mismanagement and lack of professionalism became public knowledge.
By That Leopards Spots Haven't Changed on 07.04.2015
Video of WVBOE show the Manchin led Board has been advised more than once about rogue appointed Superintendents and what harm the State Board’s lack of oversight of their employees in intervention counties causes.
Wood County a lot of people hear and agree with you. There’s a certain Senator related to all of this. If fair play does not take place on June 8 there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Up here the brother to Gilmers super got a $57,000 raise while our Teachers got nothing.
It gets worse by the day. The GFP exercised good taste to shield public viewers from unacceptable language at the June 1, 2015 special school board meeting.
If allegations are true a panic run was made to Charleston after the meeting by Simmons and Devono to attempt damage control by giving their side of the story to WVDOE officials.
The whole truth is out about what happened at the illegal meeting which gives the State one more black eye for its mismanagement.
Instead of the State to admit errors and to make positive corrections the probable outcome will be for Gilmer County to be punished. That is always the standard procedure by the WVBOE in intervened counties. Wait and see.
One achievement is that organizational obscurity in Charleston is being eliminated with the advent of the Internet and various forms of the social media.
West Virginians know now who Ms. Susan O’Brien is to include her role with interventions. It remains to be seen what caliber of a leader she is and that unknown will be eliminated on the 8th.
The way interventions have worked, the State has demanded total submission of boards. No questions are allowed, debate about issues to strive to get the best solutions to problems is not allowed (The State always knows best—-just trust it and remain silent), and strict information control is maintained to keep boards and the public uninformed or worse yet, misinformed.
Turmoil in Gilmer County could be eliminated overnight. It would require an experienced, results proven, and interpersonal skilled person to replace Mr. Devono.
He could be assigned out of Gilmer County to remain somewhere for the duration of his contract to be a high pay off investment for the WVBOE.
There is no excuse when the board and Gilmer County people are purposely kept uninformed about how the County’s money is spent, what the State has achieved during its rule in improving our school system, and what its remaining plans are. Total emphasis has been on constructing new schools and spending money. Look at Minnie Hamilton for one of many examples.
It is painfully evident that the State has failed to allow use of skillful organizational management practices to enable the Gilmer County School Board to become a model in WV.
Based on the evidence a good case could be made that the State has done everything in its power to discredit the board, prevent it from doing its job, and to ignore contributions it could make to contribute to better educations for our children.
In fact the State’s motive has appeared to have been to contribute to dysfunction and to blame it on the board. Unlike in highly successful organizations forced to be efficient and well managed in order to survive, the leadership is declared exempt from all accountability for the County’s problems from intervention.
A prime need for improvement would be for another board president to be installed with one who understands his/her role of office to be committed to bringing board members together to function as a highly effective team.
Presently, there is too much projection of the image that the existing president speaks for the board on matters for which it has no knowledge.
Also, it appears that the president works too intricately with the State and local masters in the County. This suggests that the president is an instrument of others instead of an elected advocate for the majority of Gilmer County’s people including our children.
The WVBOE could exercise the choice of eliminating problems overnight. The impediment to positive change seems to be that turmoil is used as an intentional manipulative tool to maintain iron fist control.
Hard working people of Gilmer County do not play victim. The battle is to keep Charleston’s BOE from victimizing the children and depriving them of their right to a good education. If Susan O’Brian would take the word of a disgruntled Superintendent and an, at best, ineffective and unprofessional board president then she is not the quality of person to have the job as Director of the OEPA. That being said, she does serve at the will and pleasure of the WVBOE. Her character will be revealed June 8th.
Holy Molee, it all sounds like Simmons speak to us. There was a Special Circumstances executive session the state board held on June 8th with the OEPA Director. We read that in the past agenda of the WVBOE on line now.
Some believe Devono took Simmons by the hand and ran down there to do damage control before the June 1st video would be posted (on June 12). Not hard to picture the hand wringing, the phone calls and the running around in Devono’s office saying OMG! OMG! OMG! what do we do, that went on before heading to Charleston.
Not hard to imagine they talked about the meeting being recorded but would have guided the BOE to UTube where they wouldn’t see it had been edited for Bill’s inappropriate language. Oh the spin doctor was at his finest no doubt with Gabe yipping that’s right at his heels. Not one single board member would have been spared to save their behinds from criticism.
They would do it because that’s the kind of people they are. It wouldn’t have occurred to them that others on the Board would not do the same.
Ms. Susan O’Brien,the Director of the WV Office of Education Performance Audits allegedly investigated intervention issues in Gilmer County.
Her office is the one that did the audit leading to intervention and it will be involved to determine if and when intervention will be lifted.
Ms. O’Brien is the lead official when the status of Gilmer’s intervention will be addressed on the 8th at the WVBOE meeting in Charleston.
Ms. O’Brian allegedly performed an investigation involving Gilmer County citizens to obtain information to present at the meeting.
It is speculated that the WVBOE will vote to restore full intervention against Gilmer County as a result of the investigation and contents of the June 1 video tape of the illegal meeting.
Ms. O’Brien is not from Gilmer County and if she performed an investigation as alleged she had to be given names of individuals with whom to talk or she contacted citizens randomly.
If she was given names of individuals to contact who did that and should citizens accept that the contacts were truly representative of the community, and were enough individuals interviewed to provide her with adequate information to be valid for an objective investigation?
There is a Charleston report that Bill Simmons allegedly took the June 1, 2015 video to the WVBOE for a private showing.
If this allegation has a truthful basis did he provide the full story to include what he said that was edited out and what occurred off camera?
Also, if the allegation about Simmons is true, were all other Gilmer County board members interviewed to get their story of what happened?
If they were not interviewed how could the WVBOE have accurate information upon which to dispense valid justice if those Charleston officials vote to punish Gilmer County?
It is unfair for the WVDOE to have investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury, and executioner powers over Gilmer County.
The red pickup and driver has been spotted in Charleston several times as well.
Playing both sides of the fence?
The best part of it all…..is that both sides laugh behind your back?
GC gets the reports.
With the restoration of full intervention talk going around note that Simmons lets it be known to anyone who will listen that he speaks with authority to members of the WVBOE and everyone else in Charleston.
This means that only he and Gabe Devono are being heard out in Charleston. Objective investigators from Charleston should have spoken with each board member and other citizens to sort out the facts. Did this happen Gilmer County board members and concerned citizens?
If it did not, this is definite proof that a decision for the return of full intervention would be capricious and arbitrary retaliation for standing up to the State’s wrongdoing.
Nothing new for the WVBOE and its dictatorial way of doing business! The way it functions is known all over WV.
The State did not get down to 47th without concerted efforts being expended from Charleston, thanks to the WVBOE.
So what Gilmer County board if full intervention is imposed again? The only thing to change will be play acting with the pretense that you have say for some of the important decisions.
When we had partial authority restored our superintendent did not change his dictatorial way of behavior so nothing changed. He continued to make all the decisions while expecting us to keep our mouths shut as if were were docile sheep.
We learned to bite our tongues and to keep quiet. In fact when intervention occurred we were told in no uncertain terms that if we wanted to get our school back we had to “hold hands and dance with the State” to make it clear for what we must do.
The State left eventually after spending all our money and putting us in debt to leave behind financial troubles. A few well placed persons made loads of money, and we are busy trying to clean us the devastation the State left.
The performances of our schools are worse off because achievement was not a priority while the State was here so the system has to be restored to what it was before intervention.
There is nothing you can do Gilmer County to counter the State other than to go underground and wait it out.
An appeals process does not exist to put you in a worse fix than convicted felons in WV, and your delegates and senators won’t come to your aid either.
Your facts, reasons, and logic will fall on deaf ears in Charleston to serve no good whatsoever in improving your plight.
Your only choice is to do what you have to do to survive until the State leaves. Don’t think of yourselves as victims. The real victims are your children followed by honest citizens who pay the bills.
The timing of the State’s decision near the 4th of July demonstrates how much WV has deteriorated from its focus on democracy for local people.
Has any one of you ever seen the OEPA Director in Gilmer County?
It should be interesting to hear Gus Penix replacement’s report.
If anything negative is said by Ms O’Brian, its source could be the Simmons and Devono poor pitiful me cry baby team.
Someone must have lit the torch of hope at the June 1, 2015 Gilmer County Board meeting. For others outside, I am sure there was aroused unbelief at the display in a supposedly democratic meeting.How can this be? Because the people have allowed it to happen. The tactic used is very old, conquer and divide. take the spoils, install a puppet regime and let the pressure dissipate. The one element to hinder this is for the people to stand together. Gilmer you have done well in your stance for your county, children and money. One thing, complete control will only come with the local board in control—not a state appointed one.Let your voices ring this Fourth of July and forevermore.
June 11th of 2015 started the fifth year of state intervention over the Gilmer County school district.
They have closed our schools, spent our money like drunken sailors and worked from within to still the voices of those county Board of Ed members who continue to stand for the children.
There is networking throughout WV to get word out that Gilmer County’s intervention status is on the WVBOE’s July 8, 2015 agenda.
The bet is that full intervention status will be restored because Gilmer County people do not fit the expected mold of subservient behavior and complicity with the State’s mismanagement.
Fellow West Virginians know what you have gone through and you have our support. Our elected politicians sent to Charleston are afraid of their shadows to help get the State out of its education doldrums.
We will give them a hand by sending them on their merry ways next election! That is a promise.
Fayette County schools will be under state control until every school consolidation and every building the state wants is completed. They will be under intervention four years at least after that and always under threat of instant takeover if their Board strays from the state agenda. Mr. George served after Jim Phares in Randolph. They have been in pitiful financial condition since before Phares went on to be State Superintendent.
Having divided boards is intentional during intervention to enable the State to have more control. The tactics are well honed and they include the following.
*Giving preferential treatment by providing information to selected board members who are fall in line types.
*Making important committee assignments to the weakest board members who won’t do anything to rock the boat to cause resentment among other board members.
*Involving selected board members in secret meetings.
*Communicating with selected board members in advance of meetings to line up votes and to get support for actions the State wants.
*Putting pressures on certain board members by lining up guest speakers at board meeting to advocate for actions the State wants.
*Getting involved with personal business deals with selected board members.
*Giving preferential treatment to selected board members who want items on agendas
*Working closely with individuals on boards who are vulnerable to manipulation because of friends and relatives who work in the school system and other places where pressures can be applied to cause fear for jobs
*Making promises of future rewards to susceptible board members to gain control over them.
Machiavellian principles to the T. How many of the tactics are observed in Gilmer County?
By Mel White---Past Intervened County on 07.02.2015
Since June 11, 2011 there has been a complete lack of evidence showing transparency, accountability or honesty on behalf of the WVBOE in Gilmer County. How long will they hold Gilmer County hostage? For that matter how long will they hold all of the intervention counties? As long as they have a state BOE appointed superintendent they are not free to work in the best interest of their students.
Mr. Martirano’s visit to Richwood with no public and no technology in sight was very telling. It was a photo op. Hurray for the Teachers and Students. They did a great job as always. Boo to the WVBOE for using the kids in such a fashion.
The decision by the State to move the board office to Minnie Hamilton is a perfect example of taxation without representation.
Citizens pay the taxes with no say through their elected school board representatives about how their money is spent.
We are not even shown the basic respect to be fully informed of the net differences in costs to be paid for the new facility compared to what is paid now. The financial information is kept secret by the State as usual with intervention.
Think about this. Gilmer County is going from 5 schools to 2, we are losing 100 students to Lewis County, and we are going into a new space about 1000 sq. feet larger than the one board offices are in now. Also, we own space board offices could be relocated to for free. Does this move make any sense?
To make it worse, by the time the second school opens in 2017 and riffing is over about 37 jobs will be lost in the County’s school system while the State says that more administrative office space is needed!
The truth is that the move pertains to a gross misuse of public money. It becomes increasingly clearer why WV is 47th in the quality of K-12 education while ranking 6th in America for spending.
Dr. Cynthia Daniel and other Charleston officials, how can you justify this waste and mismanagement travesty in one of the poorest WV counties?
This move adds to the long list of evidence to support need for a full investigation of how the State mismanaged during intervention including how it wasted money at Cedar Creek and how it ended up building the Hays City school.
In any other state there is a good chance that officials would have gone to jail or at least to have been fired because of what happened here.
Unfortunately, this behavior doesn’t happen only in the Educational arena. Gilmer County, LOOK at your Commission, Law Enforcement, Court clerks, crooked lawyers who won’t take cases that aren’t 100% sure thing. Gilmer County, YOU have elected based on promises that were made, please don’t forget this at the next elections.