West Virginia News

The Gilmer Free Press

WV Counties Concerned About Supreme Court’s Ruling On County Administrators

BECKLEY, WV—County officials are concerned about the potential impact of a recent West Virginia Supreme Court ruling regarding county administrators.

The court upheld a circuit court decision that found the Nicholas County Commission illegally created a county administrator position. The court said the commission didn’t follow procedures established by the Legislature in a 2008 law.

County Commissioners’ Association of West Virginia executive director Vivian Parsons said an estimated 30 to 40 counties have county administrators or similar positions.

Parsons and West Virginia Association of Counties executive director Patti Hamilton tell The Register-Herald that the potential impact of the court’s decision on counties is unclear.

For example, Hamilton said the ruling doesn’t say whether a county that traditionally had an administrator would be grandfathered in, if a new administrator is hired.

Teen Dies in Upshur Crash; Five Others Injured

BUCKHANNON, WV - Police are investigating a wreck that killed one person and injured five others in Upshur County.

The Upshur County Sheriff’s Department tells media outlets that 19-year-old Nathaniel Beckner of Buckhannon died at a Morgantown hospital shortly after noon, Friday.

The sheriff’s department says Beckner was a passenger in a vehicle that collided with another vehicle at 4:27 a.m. Friday on Route 7.

Both drivers and three other passengers were taken to local hospitals. Their conditions weren’t known.

WVU Children’s Hospital will have float in 2016 Rose Parade

MORGANTOWN, WV — WVU Children’s Hospital will have one of 40 floats in the New Year’s Day Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

A former Morgantown resident and artist now in California approached the hospital about designing a float for the iconic parade.

It will feature the best of West Virginia – all four seasons – the $4 billion tourism industry – and six former patients of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital will ride through the parade.

The theme for the 127th Rose Parade is ‘Find Your Adventure’.

“I’m going to wake up and pinch myself and it’s going to be Jan. 1, 2016 and we’re going to be standing by this beautiful float that certainly represents our children and our state,” WVU Children’s Hospital Director Cheryl Jones said.

A professional float building company will work on the structure in hangar-type buildings in the coming months. The final floral touches come the week before the parade.

The exposure the Rose Parade brings will be unmatched, WVU Children’s Hospital Developmental Programs Manager Bobby Nicholas said.

“80 million people around the world will view this float going down Colorado Ave. and it says a lot about the state of West Virginia, which we want to portray in a positive manner,” Nicholas said.

Talk of possibly being in the parade began 18 months ago, Megan Skubovius, development officer of major gifts, said. The application process took approximately five months.

Roane county woman tried to kill her husband

SPENCER, WV — A Roane County woman was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to kill her husband at a Spencer residence, state police said.

Emmanuela Peyton told her husband she thought he was filled with demons and that God told her to kill him, police said. Ken Peyton did suffer a cut lip in the altercation.

Mrs. Peyton was charged with attempted murder and battery on a police officer.

G-Eye™: Gilmer County Recreation Center New Walking Trails

Gilmer County Recreation Center New Walking Trails
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U.S.A. News

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Target Ditching Girls’ and Boys’ Labels on Toys

The days of girls’ toys and boys’ toys are over—from now on they’re all just toys, at least at Target. The company says it will be getting rid of all gender-based signs in its toy sections in the coming months, Time reports.

Pink and blue shelves are going, too. Similar changes will be rolled out in other departments, including bedding.

According to a Target press release, the changes are coming after “guests raised important questions” about such distinctions. Two months ago, an Ohio woman tweeted a photo of a Target sign that differentiated “building sets” and “girls’ building sets” that went viral.

Lightning-Struck Teens Saved by Holding Hands

There was electricity in the air—literally—on a high-school couple’s date Thursday in Claremont, California. It’s just a good thing they were holding hands. CNN reports Lexie Varga and Dylan Corliss were struck by lightning while walking to get burgers and were likely saved from serious injury because they were holding hands. “It helped to diffuse the electrical current that ran through their bodies,“ a doctor tells KCAL.

Despite being thrown 3 feet and feeling like they had been hit by a piece of metal, the teens finished their date, only later going to a doctor when their parents made them. The doctor told the teens the lightning probably entered Corliss’ head and exited through Varga’s left foot. Wait, does this mean the ending of Guardians of the Galaxy is scientifically sound?

Michigan Warns: This Plant Can Blind You

Today’s reminder that Mother Nature has the upper hand: western Michigan officials are warning the public about the possible presence of a plant that looks a bit like Queen Anne’s lace—and has the ability to blind you. The Calhoun County Public Health Department says it identified and removed a giant hogweed plant in Pennfield Township, and the fact that one existed at all is so serious that the place it was found will be checked for years to come, reports the Detroit Free Press. The paper calls Heracleum mantegazzianum “one of Mother Nature’s nastier creations,“ and makes clear why: Its sap, which is found on pretty much all of the plant (roots, leaves, seeds, flowers, etc.) can blister or scar the skin of any who touch it.

The Gilmer Free Press

Get it in your eye and temporary or permanent blindness can follow, per the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Any who touch it are advised to wash immediately and seek medical help; the reaction can occur up to 48 hours after contact. MDARD gives a bit of background on the plant, which is native to Central Asia but has been in North America for a century, likely imported as an ornamental as “its size made it somewhat of an oddity” (the Battle Creek Enquirer reports it can hit 18 feet in height). And it has the ability to really take hold: One plant can give rise to an entire colony, and wiping out a colony can take a full 5 years due to seed and root regrowth. It’s been found in at least 11 other states, including New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

Burglary Suspect Butt-Dialed 911 to Tell Them His Plans

Dialing 911 ought to be a little more difficult: New Jersey authorities say a man planning a burglary inadvertently dialed 911—which prosecutors note, via, is “commonly referred to as a ‘butt dial’“—allowing dispatchers to listen in on his conversation. Somerset County prosecutors say Branchburg police received the errant call on July 27, but were unsure of the caller’s location. They learned that the phone number had recently been assigned to 42-year-old Scott Esser, of Elizabeth. Esser was arrested Wednesday, after he allegedly entered a Stafford Township home. He’s now charged with that burglary and others in Branchburg and Berkeley Heights.

Authorities say the Branchburg robbery occurred the same day Esser allegedly made the inadvertent phone call. Esser’s bail was set at $100,000 and it wasn’t known yesterday if he has retained an attorney.

Smelly NYC Subway Find: ‘Odor’-Able Baby Skunks

“Skunks are native New Yorkers,“ says a Parks rep in the wake of a potentially smellier-than-usual subway rescue. “They’re a part of NYC wildlife.“ Two NYPD cops pulled two baby skunks out of a Bronx subway station, prompting all the stinky puns out there from the New York Post, and the praise of their boss, who lauded them in a tweet “for the save & getting far closer than I would have” to the “2 odor-able striped kittens.“ Kittens they are not, and to the veterinarian they went to get checked out, notes the AP. The sighting was a little unusual in that the critters are usually nocturnal, notes the Parks Department, but the Post notes that human-skunk run-ins are on the rise in the Big Apple, with one blogger noting that “the skunk population has grown and spread.“

World News

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Mother, Daughter Swept Out to Sea by Typhoon

A typhoon was pounding southeast China, leaving more than a million homes without power after lashing Taiwan, where it downed trees, traffic lights, and power lines, and left six people dead and four missing. Among the dead from Typhoon Soudelor are an 8-year-old girl and her mother who were swept out to sea from a beach on the east coast, reports Taiwan’s official Central News Agency. The girl’s twin sister remains missing. Other casualties included a firefighter who was killed and another injured after being hit by a drunken driver as they attempted to move a fallen tree in the island’s south.

The center of the storm made landfall in eastern Taiwan before daybreak today. By mid-morning, Soudelor was packing maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour, said Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau. Authorities in southeast China evacuated about 163,000 people and ordered around 32,000 ships back to port ahead of the typhoon, Xinhua reported. More than 7,000 soldiers and police were on standby, provincial authorities said. Marine police rescued 55 university students and teachers trapped on a small island where they had been attending a summer camp, after strong gales stopped ferry services.

What Runners Think About: How Much Running Sucks

Non-runners may look at a runner off in the distance and feel a twinge of envy, because surely that person is in some kind of Zen-like zone, ruminating about life’s mysteries. A first-of-its kind study that had runners record their thoughts on the go clears that up: Some samples of the deep thoughts, as cited in a writeup at the British Psychology Society: “My hips are a little tight. I’m stiff, my feet, my ankles, just killing me this morning.“ And: “Hill, you’re a ##### ... it’s long and hot—God damn it ... mother eff-er.“ And: “That sucked but it’s going to be an awesome run on the way back.“ It turns out that the 10 amateur long-distance runners in the study spent 32% of their time thinking about the “pain and discomfort” they were in, say researchers. (The runs were at least 7 miles.)

In fairness, they spent 40% of their time thinking about pace and distance (“downhill, don’t kill yourself, just cruise”) and the rest of the time thinking about their running environment (“it’s so beautiful, the ocean, the mountains” and “hope I don’t see any snakes”). A post at New York finds the study interesting but notes that the runners’ very act of recording their thoughts may have kept them from “drifting off into daydream land.“ Still, the researchers think this study and future similar ones will be interesting to sports psychologists. For one thing, runners tended to complain about discomfort near the start of the run, but those complaints tapered off as the miles went by.

West Virginia News

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WV State Police Respond To Gilmer County Shooting

STOUTS MILLS, WV—West Virginia State Police were on the scene of a shooting in Gilmer County near the Stouts Mills area.

911 Dispatchers said just before 1 PM Saturday, State Police were dispatched after the communication center received a call regarding a neighbor shooting another neighbor’s foot.

Injured man was flown to the Ruby Memorial Hospital. The shooter was taken into custody.

Nathan Thompson, 30, was shot by his neighbor, John Lambros, 19, in the leg twice.

Troopers said the men got into an altercation over their dogs.

The incident happened on Turkey Fork.

The extent of Thompson’s injuries are unknown at this time.  Lambros is charged with Malicious wounding and is currently in the Central Regional Jail.

Braxton. Clay, Lincoln, Logan, Nicholas, Roane, Webster and Wood in line for U.S. aid after disaster declaration

CHARLESTON, WV - President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for portions of West Virginia that were slammed by severe weather one month ago.

The declaration announced Saturday provides federal funding to state and local governments, as well as some private non-profit organizations. The funding is for emergency work and the repair or replacement of structures damaged by storms, high winds, flooding and landslides.

The severe weather occurred from July 10 through July 14. The affected counties include Braxton. Clay, Lincoln, Logan, Nicholas, Roane, Webster and Wood.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Chemical spill in WV city contained, no injuries reported

WEIRTON, WV - A section of Weirton’s Main Street is open again after a chemical spill from a steel plant closed it for most of Friday.

Media reports say the Fire Department reopened Main Street late Friday afternoon after the spill from the ArcelorMittal Steel plant.

According to Fire Chief Jerry Shumate, 200 to 400 gallons of hydrochloric acid leaked from a broken pipe at the mill.

Shumate says no workers or residents were treated for exposure.

No residents were evacuated and the chief says crews worked swiftly to contain the spill.

Hydrochloric acid is highly corrosive. It has many industrial uses, including the removal of iron oxide from steel before processing.

Family of WV woman killed by deputy wants U.S. probe

MORGANTOWN, WV - The family of a West Virginia woman killed in a police shooting wants the U.S. Justice Department to step in.

Christie Cathers’ family members say they have had few questions answered since the June 5 killing. They have made their appeal to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department says 45-year-old Cathers was killed after a police chase when she attempted to drive her vehicle into a deputy’s cruiser. The deputy fired the fatal shot.

James Benedict says his daughter was shot four times, with one wound to the back of her head.

Sheriff Al Kisner says his department is still waiting for the final autopsy report. He also said doesn’t “have any problem” with a Justice Department review.

Hatfields and McCoys help pinpoint key battle site in feud

LOUISVILLE, KY - The Hatfield and McCoy descendants came armed - with digging tools. Working together as volunteers, they helped archaeologists unearth artifacts from one of the bloodiest sites in America’s most famous feud.

The leader of the dig says they have pinpointed the place where Randolph McCoy’s home was set ablaze in the woods of eastern Kentucky during a murderous New Year’s attack by the Hatfield clan. Two McCoys were gunned down in the 1888 ambush. It marked a turning point in the families’ cross-border feud in Kentucky and West Virginia.

In a region slammed by a slumping coal industry, retracing the McCoy homestead could provide more momentum to lure visitors.

The property is owned by Hatfield descendant Bob Scott, who would like to build a replica cabin on the same spot.

U.S.A. News

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One Holdout Juror Saved James Holmes

James Holmes will live out his life in prison instead of facing execution because one of his 12 jurors wouldn’t budge on the subject. Nine others wanted the death penalty and two were unsure but willing to discuss it, but Holmes’ life was spared because a unanimous decision is needed, reports NBC News. “The person was solidly and definitely in that position and they weren’t going to change,“ another of the jurors explained to reporters afterward, per the Denver Post. The reason was Holmes’ mental health.

“The issue of mental illness was everything for the one who did not want to impose the death penalty,“ says the juror, who was not named. She added that things remained civil, but the group decided to wrap up after about seven hours because it was clear nothing would change. “The jury instructions were clear this was an individual decision, and we had to make it based on our own moral view of what’s right and wrong.“ Another of the jurors had the group watch grisly video of victims at the crime scene, in an apparent attempt to sway the lone juror.

Judge’s Odd Sentence: Get Married or Go To Jail

An East Texas man who pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend has been sentenced to life—in matrimony. Josten Bundy, 21, pleaded guilty on July 2 to assault for a February fistfight with the ex-boyfriend of Elizabeth Jaynes, 19, reports KLTV. Bundy told the Tyler television station that the ex was “saying disrespectful things” about Jaynes and admitted he eventually punched the ex in the jaw. At the sentencing hearing, Smith County Court-at-Law Judge Randall Rogers asked Bundy whether Jaynes was “worth it” and whether the couple were married, according to transcripts obtained by KLTV. Then, the judge said, “You know, as a part of my probation, you’re going to have to marry her ... within 30 days.“ Otherwise, he would send Bundy to jail for 15 days.

“He offered me 15 days in jail, and that would have been fine. And I asked if I could call my job (to inform his employer of his pending absence). The judge told me, ‘Nope. That’s not how this works,‘“ Bundy said. Fearful he’d lose his job, the couple then made a date with the justice of the peace and got married. They said they’d been talking about it anyway, but not everybody is happy. “I contacted a couple of lawyers, but they told me someone was trying to pull my leg,“ says the father of the bride, “that judges don’t court-order somebody to get married.“

6 Hurt as Tornado Whips Through Walmart

ALABAMA—Six people suffered minor injuries when a tornado partially collapsed the roof of a Walmart yesterday in Alabama. The storm, which hit the town of Troy shortly before 11 PM, caused significant damage to the Walmart roof and destroyed the wall of a nearby sporting goods store. It’s unclear how many people were in the Walmart when the tornado hit, but Troy’s mayor said it’s fortunate the storm struck as late as it did. An 18-wheel truck in the parking lot overturned, and photos on social media showed merchandise strewn in aisles and the ceiling sagging.

The damage comes ahead of what was expected to be a busy back-to-school shopping weekend for the Walmart, and employees of the store are being given the option to work at other locations while repairs are made. Weather scientists who traveled to Troy following the storm have not determined the tornado’s size or strength. However, tornadoes of any size are rare for southeast Alabama in August.

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Healthy 75-Year-Old Ends Her Life So She Won’t Grow Old

A British woman with no serious health issues ended her life July 21 at a suicide clinic because, she said, she didn’t want to grow old. Gill Pharaoh, 75, said her work in a nursing home revealed the “awful” truth of old age and burdens placed on loved ones and caregivers, the Telegraph reports by way of the Sunday Times. “I do not want people to remember me as a sort of old lady hobbling up the road with a trolley,“ she said before going to the Lifecircle clinic in Basel, Switzerland. Pharaoh says she wasn’t depressed or incapacitated by illness, though she described a bad bout of shingles after turning 70 and the annoyance of tinnitus in a lengthy blog post about her choice. There, she recounted a life slowly sapped of former joys like long walks and gardening sessions. “Not to mention the hundred and one other minor irritations like being unable to stand for long, carry a heavy shopping bag, run for a bus, remember the names of books I have read, or am reading, or their authors.“

She spent a last evening in Basel with her life partner John that he describes as “tranquil and enjoyable. ... Gill had been thinking about it for years and I had no intention of spoiling it by getting emotional and heavy.“ Her daughter Caron, also a nurse, admits the decision was hard on her, but Pharaoh wrote in her blog post that while many parents expect their children to care for them in their old age, she would not to put that burden on her own kids. “I had children for the personal and selfish reason that I wanted them for the pleasure and joy they bring. I want them to enjoy their middle years without having to worry about me.“ She concedes that “people will have different reactions to my choice,“ but asks that lawmakers “listen to, and respect, the views of people like me, and I am not alone in holding this view.“ Indeed, a study shows that 611 Brits went to Switzerland between 2008 and 2012 to medically end their lives.

Tinkering with Assessments Is Just Moving the Deck Furniture on the Titanic Failure of Education

Want to Reform Education?
Let Teachers Teach

The Gilmer Free Press

Assessment may be the most damaging concept in contemporary education debate.

Education reform is obsessed with assessment and accountability. Whether in the form of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, or the slightly more reasonable Common Core, billions of dollars are devoted to defining what kids should know and then assessing whether they know it. I won’t waste my keystrokes or your time reiterating the evils of the testing and assessment industry. Lots of folks have done that quite thoroughly.

Most thoughtful educational commentary suggests how assessments might be better. I, like many others, have pointed out the foolishness of many exams based on the Common Core. Appropriately, the phrase “fill in the bubble” has become shorthand for poor educational practice.

I don’t think the criticisms go nearly far enough. There is no need for these assessments at all.

My daughter is a wonderful teacher, trained in the Steiner (Waldorf) philosophy. For more than a dozen years she worked in several schools, engaging children in play-based activities, rich in the arts and lively, creative experiences and all the other things a good education provides.

Then, in fall of 2014, she began work at a semi-rural public school. There, she encountered the slightly diluted, but still pointless, expectations of educational reform. Several times a year she has to assess each of her pre-school students on dozens of variables that supposedly represent important academic benchmarks for 4 year-olds. Because real 4 year-olds are all over the developmental map, these benchmarks are meaningless, but she nonetheless must go through the exercise.

And here’s the real kicker: The assessments are not reviewed, even by the kindergarten teachers to whom the kids will next be entrusted. The assessments are dumped into a massive database, never to be seen again. In this case, and it is not an outlying anecdote, the process adds no value whatsoever to the experience of the kids or the teachers. It is fair to say it detracts from the good work she and others do.

Broad, standard assessments, whether bubble exams or supposedly more complex analyses like the Common Core-inspired tests, are intrinsically useless.

Aggregate test results in any school or district reveal these three things:

1. The wealth or poverty of the school or district.


2. The extent to which the school or district skewed its curriculum and teaching practices toward the service of elevating test scores.


3. The extent to which the school or district assembled, through selective/deceptive enrollment practices or geographic luck, a group of students who were more likely to do well on the tests.

And these are the factors on which we are basing policy and demoralizing a generation of kids and, particularly, teachers!

Individual test results reveal these three things:

1. The extent to which a particular child happens to conform to the developmental “norm” in any area of cognitive growth. Children develop at different rates, which have virtually no correlation with long-term cognitive capacity. Therefore a test at any moment in time will incite unnecessary and potentially harmful alarm or applause. It’s like predicting the physical future based on when a toddler begins walking. A fool’s errand. Who hires a tutor for one year-olds who aren’t walking yet?


2. The extent to which any particular child happens to be strong in linguistic or logical/mathematical intelligence. These ways of being “intelligent” are only a small subset of the qualities that matter, and yet the self-worth and supposed potential of kids is based almost entirely on these narrow dimensions.


3. The extent to which any particular child performs well on tedious tasks that require the unnatural act of sitting still and quiet.

A well-supporter teacher, in a school with appropriate class sizes, can accurately assess each student at any given moment. Good teachers know how each student learns best; where each student is on her highly individual developmental journey; what external factors might be affecting school performance. Knowing these things makes good teachers cringe when forcing them to take tests that take none of these things into account.

Tinkering with assessments is just rearranging the deck furniture on the titanic failure of education reform. Real education reform will come when, and only when, we address poverty, fund schools properly and honor the teaching profession with good pay and the respect teachers deserve.

America’s teachers will do the rest - if we leave them alone to love and teach their children.

~~  Steve Nelson ~~


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Five Reasons the Clean Power Plan Is Good for Our Children’s Health

The Gilmer Free Press

Last week, President Obama shared an old proverb with an audience in Nairobi, Kenya: “We have not inherited this land from our forebears; we have borrowed it from our children.“

There are many reasons to be committed to taking care of our environment, but as a parent, I have two very important ones: my son and daughter. Their lives, and their health, are so important to me, as all children’s are. When we think about the choices we make for our kids, from healthy food to fun exercise, it’s important to remember that the quality of air they breathe is just as important.

We are shaping our world for them to live in, not just in some distant future, but today. That’s why President Obama and our colleagues across the federal government just finalized a rule that will help leave the planet safer and healthier for our children and our grandchildren. The Clean Power Plan is a historic step in cutting carbon pollution from the largest source of emissions in our country.

Here are five reasons our children need us to commit to creating a safer and healthier environment:

Because breathing outdoors shouldn’t send kids to the hospital.

Increased carbon pollution makes asthma even more dangerous in many communities throughout the United States. In the past three decades, the percentage of Americans with asthma has more than doubled. For a child growing up with asthma, more carbon pollution leads to more time spent in a hospital or emergency room, and less time spent in the classroom.

Because the outdoors should be for running, not runny noses.

A warmer climate caused by carbon pollution also means a longer pollen season, making it harder for Americans with asthma or allergies. Since 1995, the pollen season for some species of plants has grown by anywhere from a week and a half to nearly a month in some parts of North America. This means kids who have a hard time being outside in the spring are stuck inside well into the summer.

Because they will get enough smoke around campfires.

Pollen and air pollution aren’t the only airborne health threats caused by increased carbon pollution. Since the 1980s, the wildfire season has increased by a staggering 78 days, and the duration of these fires has increased five times over. Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke than adults because their airways are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults.

Because the only thing your kids should be afraid of catching in the backyard is cooties.

Illnesses hidden in the backyard could also get worse. Vector-borne illnesses, or illnesses caused by a parasite or pathogen like Lyme disease, will grow as increased carbon pollution warms our climate. With a warmer climate, more places across the country become comfortable for the ticks that carry Lyme disease, they will show up in more yards and areas with tall grass - the places where our kids could easily come into contact with them. Some states are already seeing increases in Lyme disease cases.

Because you have enough to worry about without the threat of extreme weather events.

We have already seen the devastation that can come with extreme weather events. A warming climate caused by carbon pollution could contribute to severe cold spells and heat waves that threaten the lives of countless children and their families living in poverty. Severe storms and hurricanes pose threats to schools in our heartland and on our coasts. If we fail to come together to address climate change, the growing severity of extreme weather events will put families across the nation increasingly at risk.


Keeping our children healthy is challenging enough without the added threats of climate change. With strong but achievable standards for power plants, the Clean Power Plan helps address a number of public health challenges that our children will face.

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Cleaner energy doesn’t just leave our children a safer country. It leaves them a stronger one, too. Our own parents proved this was true. Since the Clean Air Act was enacted with bipartisan support in 1970, our economy has more than tripled in size. Meanwhile, emissions of key pollutants have dropped by nearly 70 percent. If our parents could do it for us, certainly we can do more for our own children.

The Clean Power Plan offers a future with a healthier economy, healthier environments and healthier childhoods. Together, we can bring our children a world that is a bit greener and a bit healthier.

~~  Sylvia Mathews Burwell, HHS Secretary ~~

West Virginia News

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Fire at ‘Rocket Boys’ alma mater ruled as arson

WAR, WV - State officials say arson was the cause of a fire at a former high school that gained national attention from the movie “October Sky.“

Media outlets report that the West Virginia Fire Marshal’s Office is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the fire.

The fire occurred July 17 at the former Big Creek High School in War.

Big Creek was the alma mater of author Homer Hickam Jr. and four friends who became national science fair champions in 1960. The school was a source of inspiration for Hickam’s book, “ Rocket Boys: A Memoir,“ and the 1999 movie.

The school opened in 1932 and closed in 2010. It was scheduled for demolition.


CHARLESTON, WV — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey recently announced that West Virginia now has full concealed carry handgun reciprocity with State of Nevada, ensuring that citizens’ concealed handgun licenses issued by either state will be recognized by the other.

“As Attorney General, it has been a priority to protect the Second Amendment rights of West Virginians and those who visit here,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This agreement marks 32 states with which West Virginia has full reciprocity or recognition.”

Morrisey said the mutual recognition agreement is another positive step for legal gun owners living in West Virginia and Nevada.

In recent weeks, the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office engaged in discussions with Nevada regarding the potential for re-establishing mutual recognition between our respective states. Nevada has agreed to re-establish the reciprocity agreement once in place.

The Director of the Nevada Department of Public Safety sent a letter on behalf of the Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval to the West Virginia Attorney General providing the statutory notice required by WV Code § 61-7-6a for West Virginia to mutually recognize Nevada’s concealed handgun permits.

“West Virginia has a history of loyally defending the Second Amendment, and I am pleased that our state can once again enjoy mutual recognition of concealed handgun licenses with Nevada,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Many people from West Virginia enjoy traveling to Nevada for work and entertainment activities. This agreement will enable citizens of both states to continue to do so without questions concerning their right to carry a concealed firearm.”

West Virginia residents with a valid concealed handgun license may legally carry a concealed handgun in states with full reciprocity agreements, as well as those states whose laws do not require a formal agreement and automatically recognize all valid out-of-state concealed handgun licenses. West Virginia has full handgun reciprocity agreements with 32 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

Father pleads guilty after boy, 5, shoots his sister

CHARLESTON, WV - A Charleston man is facing up to three years in prison after pleading guilty to leaving a loaded firearm within the reach of his 5-year-old son, who picked it up and shot his younger sister in the arm.

The Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office tells local media that 25-year-old John L. Seymour pleaded guilty on Thursday to child neglect resulting in injury.

Prosecutors say that in April 2014, Seymour’s son picked up the gun and shot his 4-year-old sister in the arm while their parents slept at a mobile home. The girl has since recovered from her injuries.

Seymour and the children’s mother, 24-year-old Tabitha Bowen, were both charged with felony child neglect resulting in serious injury. As part of the plea deal, charges against Bowen were dismissed.

PSC of West Virginia offers school lesson plans

CHARLESTON, WV - The Public Service Commission of West Virginia is providing lesson plans for teachers to help students understand where energy comes from.

The commission has developed lesson plans for use by classes from kindergarten through high school. The commission says the lesson plans are available on its website.

The lesson plans address conservation and teach students how their families can lower their monthly utility bills. The commission says its plans include science experiments, art projects and group activities, among other things.

1 dead, 5 injured in early morning crash in Upshur County

UPSHUR COUNTY, WV — A car crash took the life of a 19-year-old from Buckhannon early Friday morning and injured five others.

Nathaniel Beckner passed away at noon in Ruby Memorial Hospital following a head-on collision on Brushy Fork Road in Upshur County just in front of the new armory. Breckner was a passenger in one of the vehicles.

First responders from Buckhannon and Adrian fire departments needed to use a Jaws of Life tool to rescue the victims.

The drivers have been identified as 22-year-old Cameron Loudin of Ellamore, WV and 20-year-old Devon Hinchman of Buckhannon. The drivers, along with three other passengers, were taken to local hospitals.

There is no word on their conditions.

U.S.A. News

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High Schools Start Classes Way Too Early

Teenagers who think high school interferes with valuable sleeping time might be surprised to find out that government experts agree with them. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control for Prevention says most middle and high schools in America are starting classes too early, meaning teenagers aren’t getting enough sleep, NBC reports. Less than a fifth of schools start at the recommended 8:30am or later, according to the CDC, which says teens need 8 hours of sleep a night and going to bed earlier isn’t the answer because in puberty, “biological rhythms commonly shift so that adolescents become sleepy later at night and need to sleep later in the morning.“

The CDC says teens who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight, to struggle in school, and to engage in “unhealthy risk behaviors” like drinking and smoking. Pediatrician Byron Whyte, who admits that he hates mornings, tells Forbes that while early start times might be more convenient for schools and parents, in a “child-centered context,“ he can’t think of “a single advantage to a very early school start time.“ The study found that more than 75% of schools in Alaska have later start times, but no schools at all started at 8:30am or later in Hawaii, Mississippi, and Wyoming.

World News

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Russian Hackers Suspected in Cyberattack on Pentagon

Officials believe Russian hackers are behind a cyberattack on the Pentagon’s unclassified email system that has left approximately 4,000 employees of the Joint Chiefs of Staff without email for nearly two weeks, NBC News reports. The attack happened sometime in the last week of July, and while officials say no classified information was seized or compromised, the Pentagon was forced to shut down the entire Joint Chief email system. According to the Daily Beast, one defense official called it the “most sophisticated” attack yet on the network.

The cyberattack was coordinated through social media, according to NBC News. And the Daily Beast reports it was carried out by sending emails that appeared to be legitimate but actually contained malware. Investigators believe the Russian hackers behind the attack are the same people behind similar attacks on the White House and State Department last year. NBC says it’s unclear if the attack was backed by the Russian government, but CNBC cites one official who says the attack was “clearly the work of a state actor” based on its scope.

Three times lucky as Kerry swaps crutches for Kennedy clan cane

KUALA LUMPUR—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday swapped the crutches he has been on since breaking his leg in a cycling accident in May for a silver-handled cane that served successive members of the Kennedy clan, including former president John Kennedy and his father Joseph.

Kerry appeared with the cane at meetings with countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Malaysia. He said it had been loaned to him by Vicki Kennedy, widow of Senator Teddy Kennedy.

“This cane has a history,“ Kerry joked at the start of one meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

“This cane belonged to Ambassador Joseph B. Kennedy in England during the war. And after the war, President Kennedy, before he became president, used this cane when his back was bad after the war,“ he said.

“And then Teddy Kennedy, who broke his back, used the cane,“ Kerry said, adding that Teddy Kennedy had loaned him the stick twice in the past after he had an operation on his knee.

“So when Vicki Kennedy, his widow, heard that I had broken my leg, she knew I was going to need the cane,“ Kerry said. “She loaned it to me. So here it is. It’s – and the third time I’ve used it – three times is lucky, right?  No hard breaks.“

Kerry, an avid sportsman, broke his right leg in an accident while cycling a portion of the Tour de France route near Scionzier, France, on May 31.

He has maintained a punishing travel and work schedule while on crutches following the accident, which came a day after he met his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as part of marathon talks that eventually brought about a deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program.

Kerry has been keen to get off his crutches since, but aides were taking no chances, hovering in the background with them at the Kuala Lumpur meetings, just in case they were needed again.

France Clashes With Malaysia: What New Plane Debris?

France and Malaysia are butting heads over the Reunion Island debris thought to be linked to MH370 as the French government kicks off a new search for items using a military plane, helicopter, boats, and people on the ground. In addition to a wing piece Malaysia says is definitely from the missing Boeing 777, the country says it has recovered seat cushions and a plane window that are being examined. But France—now leading the investigation into the crash—says it hasn’t seen any new pieces and only says it’s probable the flaperon came from MH370, leading to doubt and confusion among passengers’ families, reports the Guardian. Adding to the confusion is word from a rep for Australia’s transport minister who today said that lots of material has been given to Reunion authorities but none looks like it came from the plane, per the AP.

“I’m waiting for irrefutable proof of what’s happened,“ one relative says. “Otherwise, I will continue believing they’ve lied to us since the beginning.“ The BBC reports relatives’ reluctance to believe MH370 crashed in the southern Indian Ocean “is not as illogical as it sounds” as Malaysia’s search for the plane and release of information have been “marred by delay, confusion, and apparent self-interest.“ Many distrust information from Australia as well after several leads in the search for the plane turned out to be nothing. Relatives again protested outside Malaysia Airlines’ Beijing offices today, while a group of 50 tried to enter the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, reports NBC News. Some demanded to be taken to Reunion to see the debris for themselves.

GSC Veterans Team Up with VFW

GLENVILLE, WV —  The Glenville State College Student Veterans Association recently teamed up with Glenville Veterans of Foreign War Post 5469 to raise money to celebrate West Virginia veterans.

The VFW held their annual golf tournament fundraiser at the Glenville Golf Club to benefit the Clarksburg Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center welcome home event. Their event is a celebration of all veterans who have served our great nation and to thank them for their courage, bravery, and commitment to maintaining America’s freedom.

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Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center staffers join
Glenville State College Student Veterans Association members and
Glenville VFW Post 5469 for a check presentation:
(L-R) Transitional Care Management Coordinator Marc Lockett, Jon Clark, Charles Schmidt,
Interim Medical Center Director Dr. Glen Snider, Voluntary Service Chief Cynthia Panasiewicz,
Tim Swiger, and Associate Director Dr. Louise Grant.

This is the second year that GSC student veterans have teamed up with the Glenville VFW post. “This cooperative effort gives younger veterans a chance to learn about resources for veterans in the local community, and to maintain some of the ‘esprit des corps’ established in military service,” said Student Veteran Association President Jon Clark.

Clark, VFW member and GSC Office of Technology Database Administrator Charles Schmidt, and VFW member Timothy Swiger presented welcome home event organizers with a check for 2500 dollars.

The welcome home event will be August 22 at the VA Park in Clarksburg. It is free to all veterans and their families. In addition to food and music, there will also be information on VA health care, benefits, educational opportunities, community resources, and more.

Clark says the Student Veterans Association and VFW Post 5469 will be working together again at GSC’s annual military appreciation ball on Saturday, November 7. The event is open to all community members and veterans.

Wonderful West Virginia Magazine Wins National Award

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SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV – Wonderful West Virginia magazine, published by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, received a national communications award from the Association for Conservation Information at the organization’s annual conference July 16 in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Wonderful West Virginia earned first-place honors in the category of “Magazine Article: Wildlife.” The winning article was from the July 2014 issue and was titled “Stealth Hunters.” Written and with photographs by Eric R. Eaton, the premise of the article was that bees, moths and butterflies often are prey to stealth hunters. Prowling amid foliage and flowers, and even around front porch lights, are some suspicious-looking characters that will suck the life out of unsuspecting insects in the mere “squeak of a beak.“ The article describes the little-known and infrequently seen Reduviidae, or assassin bugs, which are an important part of the ecology and are helpful in the control of garden, forest and agricultural pests.

“We are honored to receive national recognition of our magazine’s efforts to inform and entertain our readers,” said Bryan Hoffman, DNR executive secretary and publisher of the magazine. “For many decades, Wonderful West Virginia has been the premier publication about the great people and places in our state, and we are proud that the judges at ACI recognize its quality as well.”

Wonderful West Virginia is published monthly by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. It is available at newsstands for $3 a copy, or by subscription by calling 1.800.225.5982 or online at

A one-year subscription to the print version is $18 or two years for $36. It also is available for the iPad at an annual rate of $12 for 12 issues. Combined subscriptions for both print and iPad versions are available for $20 for 12 issues. Gift subscriptions also are available.

G-Eye™: Sycamore Road

WV Department of Highways put in a new culvert on Sycamore Road in Glenville 08.01.15
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