Murder Investigation in Lewis County

The Gilmer Free Press

The Lewis County’s Sheriff’s Department is investigating a murder.

Officials with the Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday that an investigator was at the crime scene in Walkersville.

Details on the overnight murder are limited at this time.

Kevin Lane Putnam, age 44, was arrested in Lewis County Tuesday morning and charged with first degree murder and felony murder.

Officials with the Sheriff’s Office confirmed the arrest was made in connection to the investigation.

More information is expected once the investigator returns from the scene.


The Gilmer Free Press

After investigations Lewis County Sheriff’s Department says Kevin Lane Putnam shot his brother, Stephen Putnam, also known as Jared, early Tuesday morning at approximately 2 AM.

After his arrest, Kevin Putnam said he and his brother had gotten into an altercation in the living room, and he fired two rounds from a .22 caliber rifle at the victim.

One bullet hit Stephen “Jared” Putnam in the chest, and the other was lodged in the wall of the residence, investigators said.

He then called 911 and reported that his brother had shown up to the residence with a gunshot wound.

When officers arrived on scene, they found Stephen “Jared” Putnam laying in the living room floor unresponsive.

He was transported to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital and was pronounced dead.

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Why Grade-Span Testing Won’t Work

The Gilmer Free Press

Despite a real possibility that, going forward, states will have to test students only once in each grade span (once in elementary, middle, and high school), a new paper from the Brookings Institution argues that annual testing is critical to judging school quality.

Using a decade of data, the paper projects how schools would rate based only on average test scores in a solitary grade—the situation under a grade-span testing regime—compared with using measures based on growth in student scores from year to year, as with annual testing.

As the paper points out, any given average score can reflect a wide range of performances in terms of growth.

One proposed alternative to growth-based measures would use a single year of test data, as under a grade-span testing regime, but adjust it based on demographics, so schools serving students that tend to score lower, such as low-income and minority students, would only be compared to schools serving similar students.

Yet in addition to providing less accurate information about the causal impact of schools on student learning, demographic adjustments implicitly set lower expectations for some groups of students.

The paper concludes that using average test scores from a single year to judge school quality is unacceptable from a fairness and equity perspective.

Why Annual Statewide Testing Is Critical to Judging School Quality

With Congress moving rapidly to revise the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), no issue has proven more contentious than whether the federal government should continue to require that states test all students in math and reading annually in grades three through eight. The push to roll back this requirement has bipartisan support, and key members of Congress responsible for reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind law have yet to weigh in on the debate. In fact, the discussion draft circulated by Senate Republicans last week included two options on testing, one maintaining current requirements and the other providing states with far more flexibility. Consequently, there is a real possibility that, going forward, states may only be required to test students once in each grade span (i.e., once in elementary, middle, and high school).

What impact would a move to less frequent testing have on states’ abilities to provide parents with meaningful information on school quality and to hold accountable schools that contribute the least to student learning?  We address this question using roughly a decade of detailed, student-level records from all public elementary schools in Florida and North Carolina.[1] We examine how schools would look if they were judged based only on their average test scores in a single grade—as might be the case under a grade-span testing regime—compared to how they can be judged using measures based on the growth in student test scores from year to year, which is only possible with annual testing.[2] The type of growth measure we use in our analysis has been validated using data where students are randomly assigned to schools, thus increasing our confidence that it captures the true impact of schools on student achievement. The measure is conceptually similar to the growth measures currently used in some state accountability systems, such as student growth percentiles.

The figure below compares the average scores and growth measures in math for North Carolina schools; both measures are constructed to have an average of zero. For any given average score, there is a wide variety of performance in terms of growth. There are schools with above-average scores but below-average growth, and vice versa.

The lines on the figure show the cutoffs for the bottom 15% of schools on each measure, as this is the share of schools that many states have been required to identify for sanctions under the Obama administration’s NCLB waiver program. There are many examples of schools that would be sanctioned based on their average scores, but not based on their growth, and vice versa. For example, among schools with bottom-15% average scores, 55%t were not failing based on their growth and 20% were above average on this measure.

Average Score vs. Growth Measure (correlation=0.56)

The Gilmer Free Press


These data make clear that average test scores do a poor job of identifying the schools that contribute the least to students’ learning. Another way of showing this is to calculate the average growth of bottom-15% schools, as defined by each measure. We find that North Carolina students in the bottom-15% schools in terms of average scores learn about a third of a year less in math than the statewide average, whereas the difference for students in the bottom-15% of schools in terms of growth is more than half a year of learning.[3] Thus, the growth measure more accurately identifies those schools in which learning is not taking place. We find a similar pattern of results in reading and for both subjects in Florida.

The figure also shows how schools serving low-income students are punished by accountability systems based on average test scores. The red dots represent low-income schools (the 10% of schools with the highest share of free-lunch-eligible students). They are predominantly on the left side of the figure, which means that they tend to have low average scores, even though they are widely spread out in terms of their average student growth (i.e., they appear at spots high and low along the y-axis). 68% of low-income schools that would be identified as failing based on their average score would not be sanctioned based on academic growth.  In fact, 34% of the low-income schools sanctioned based on average scores are actually above the statewide average in terms of academic growth.

Accountability based on grade-span testing judges schools based on the students they serve, not how well they serve them. This is driven home by the figure below, which shows the percentage of schools serving predominantly low-income and minority students that would be labelled as failing (bottom-15%) based on their average scores as compared to our growth measure. 56% of low-income schools would be classified as failing based on their average scores in North Carolina, whereas only 16 percent would be labelled as such based on their growth. The pattern is similar for schools that serve mostly minority students, and for both groups of schools in Florida.

Percent of Low-Income and High-Minority Schools Identified as Bottom-15%, by Measure

The Gilmer Free Press


One possible alternative to growth-based measures is to use a single year of test data, such as would be available under a grade-span testing regime, but adjust it based on student demographics. In other words, schools serving students that tend to score lower, such as low-income and minority students, are compared to schools serving similar student bodies rather than all schools in the state. The figure below compares  a demographic-adjusted average-score-based measure to our growth-based measure of school math performance for each school in North Carolina.[4]

Demographic-Adjusted Average Scores vs. Unadjusted Growth (correlation=0.56)

The Gilmer Free Press


Growth-based measures and demographic-adjusted average test scores identify similar types of schools as low-performing, as shown by the fact that the red dots (low-income schools) are spread out in the figure, as opposed to clustered on the left-hand side. However, the two measures do not identify the same schools as low-performing; the correlation between the two measures is only 0.56. About seven percent of all schools would fall in the bottom 15% of schools based on their adjusted scores, but not based on their growth. The opposite is true as well, with schools with very poor growth avoiding sanction based on mediocre (but not terrible) average scores. Demographic-adjusted average test scores also do a worse job at identifying schools where students learn the least, with the average growth rates of bottom-15% schools based on this metric closer to that of the average score measure than the growth-based measure. The reason growth measures outperform demographic adjustments when judging school quality is straightforward: although student characteristics such as family income are strongly correlated with test scores, the correlation is not perfect.  

In sum, our results confirm that using average test scores from a single year to judge school quality is unacceptable from a fairness and equity perspective. Using demographic adjustments is an unsatisfying alternative for at least two reasons. In addition to providing less accurate information about the causal impact of schools on their students’ learning, the demographic adjustments implicitly set lower expectations for some groups of students than for others.

Some civil rights advocates have voiced similar concerns about accountability systems that rely exclusively on growth measures, which could allow schools serving disadvantaged students to avoid sanction even if their students’ academic progress is insufficient to close achievement gaps. This is a legitimate concern, and policymakers may want to strike a balance between average scores and growth when deciding where to focus improvement efforts. However, not administering the annual tests required to produce student growth measures would make it impossible to distinguish those schools where students learn very little from those that perform well despite difficult circumstances.

An exclusive reliance on student performance levels, on the other hand, is perhaps the principal shortcoming of the much-maligned accountability system mandated by No Child Left Behind. Under that system, whether a school makes Adequate Yearly Progress is determined primarily based on the share of students scoring at proficient levels in math and reading in a given year. But a key reason Congress mandated such a system in 2002 was that many states were not yet administering annual tests, and many of those that did lacked the capacity to track the performance of individual students over time. Eliminating the annual testing requirement would therefore recreate the conditions that led to the adoption of a mistaken accountability system in the first place.

Policymakers thus face a stark choice: require annual testing or settle for low-quality and potentially misleading information on school quality.

[1] We thank Katharine Lindquist for exceptional research assistance. The analysis excludes observations from years in which a school tested less than a total of 20 students across the fourth and fifth grades.

[2] The average test score measure is simply the average fifth grade score (standardized by grade and year) of each school in each year. The growth measure is based on aggregated residuals from a regression of current-year scores in fourth and fifth grade on prior-year scores in both subjects (with squared and cubed terms included in addition to the linear terms) and grade-by-year fixed effects.

[3] Conversions of achievement growth to percent of a school year are based on effect sizes for fifth grade math reported in Hill et al. (2008), “Empirical Benchmarks for Interpreting Effect Sizes in Research, Child Development, 2(3): 172-177. 

[4] We control for gender, race, eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, limited English proficiency, gifted, cognitive disability, other disability, and whether the student is repeating the grade.

~~  Bookings: Matthew M. Chingos and Martin R. West ~~

Pat’s Chat - 02.08.15

The Gilmer Free Press

There is to be a premiere Episode 1, “Valentine’s Day,” on TTYS on FOX 53 at 9:30AM on Saturday, February 14.  This is of interest to Central West Virginia folks because I have learned from Facebook Lisa Crutchfield Spears, who grew up in Burnsville, has a daughter, Sarah Beth, who has been chosen to host on an upcoming program, (but not in this first episode but perhaps in the third or fourth episode).  This show will be aired in 5 states including West Virginia.  It is a Teen Talk Show (TTYS).  Check out their website to find out more about the show (  You can find a picture of Sarah Beth shown with others who have been chosen as hosts on different episodes at

Most of Burnsville folks had Lisa’s father, Edward Crutchfield as a teacher or principal at the Burnsville School or her aunt, Laura Belle Crutchfield as an English teacher when attending Burnsville High School.  I know I did.

I am proud of the fact that so many of our young people have become quality citizens with many accomplishments, not necessarily famous, but just good people.  David Parmer is now a retired lawyer and I have received many favorable comments from those who have read or obtained a copy of his book, “Burnsville, A Pictorial History.”  A couple of days ago I talked to Mary Margaret (Moran) Bush who told me her brother, Gerald Moran, has gone through the book and enjoyed all the pictures and written history.  She is anxious to read it for herself.

I had called Mary Margaret to tell her about some articles in the Braxton Democrat that I have been enjoying which were written by Larry Knight, also of Burnsville.  His last article is about Home Improvement Corporation where he used to work when Mary Margaret’s brother, John Moran, was the owner and manager.  I worked there at the same time, too, thirty or so years ago.

In my devotion today I liked the thought that in the time BEFORE Jesus died on the cross for us, the folks had a perfect picture of the cross that was to come.  Each time a lamb was slain, it was to remind them that God would have a perfect sacrifice in the future.  Now, at this time we will start thinking about Easter and the time when what was predicted back then actually happened.  We, in this day and age, look back to the sacrifice of God’s Son, a death that each of us deserves, but He, though innocent of any wrong, took our place and suffered it for us.  If you read in Exodus 38 through 40 you will notice the arrangement of the altar of sacrifice, the laver, the golden altar of incense and the Ark of the Covenant are placed in a straight line from east to west.  Then the table of showbread, the altar of incense and the golden candlestick, running at right angles to this in another straight line from north to south, forming the arms of the cross.  This made a perfect cross, which was displayed wherever the sanctuary was set up.  (Remember that at the time when God’s people were brought out of Egypt and traveling to the “Promised Land,” the sanctuary had to be portable so it could be set up and taken down many times.  Only later would there be built a stationary temple.)

The teachings of the sanctuary with its sacrifices of slain lambs and ascending incense pictured, beforehand, the redemptive work of Christ our Sacrifice, offered before God for us.

If we want to study deeply into Christ’s atoning work on the cross in the New Testament, we need to have some knowledge of its deep bloodstained foundation in the Old Testament gospels of Moses and the other prophets.  In every sacrifice Christ’s death was shown.

We have so much for which to praise the Lord.


Senior Lifetime Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping License designation on driver’s licenses and ID Cards

West Virginia DMV and DNR working together to provide opportunity

Division of Natural Resources Director Bob Fala and Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Pat Reed announce the opportunity for seniors who have purchased the Class XS Senior Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License to obtain a Class XS designation on their West Virginia driver’s license or identification card.

The Gilmer Free Press

According to Commissioner Reed, “DMV is pleased to offer a new, convenient driver’s license and ID card designation for our customers, in addition to other designation opportunities already available, including veteran, hearing impaired and organ donor.”

Working together with other organizations to further enhance good customer service is important to both agencies.  “We are pleased to partner with the DMV to make it easier for our Senior Lifetime License holders to show proof of a license while in the field,” said Director Fala.  “The Class XS License endorsement printed on the West Virginia driver’s license means they only would be required to carry that one proof of identification with them.”

The Senior Lifetime Hunting, Fishing and Trapping license can only be purchased through the DNR South Charleston Office at 324 4th Avenue. To obtain the Senior Lifetime Hunting, Fishing and Trapping designation, customers may visit their nearest DMV regional office and apply for the designation to be added to their driver’s license or ID card.  Customers will need to present the bill of sale for the license, or their permanent Class XS license card as proof of licensure, as well as all applicable documentation for a driver’s license or ID card.

Documentation required includes one proof of physical residency for a Not For Federal driver’s license or ID card and two proofs of physical residency for a For Federal card.

No fees will be collected by the DMV for the designation if the applicant is already renewing their license or ID card.

A $5 duplicate fee will be charged for the Not For Federal driver’s license or ID card if the customer is wanting to just add the designation.

A $15 fee will be collected for the For Federal driver’s license or ID card.

Commissioner Reed encourages all applicants to call the DMV Call Center at 1-800-642-9066 or visit the DMV website at with any questions before going to a regional office.  “Our focus is customer service, and we want our customers to have a pleasant and efficient visit to the DMV.  Our fully-staffed Call Center and website are both great information resources to ensure that all of the necessary documents are in place before going to the DMV.”

For additional information about the senior lifetime hunting, trapping and fishing license, please call 304.558.2771 and ask for the licensing office.

Gilmer County Family Court Report – 02.04.15

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Family Court Judge Larry Whited presided over Family Court in Gilmer County on Wednesday, February 04, 2015.

•  One divorce was granted on January 28, 2015 between Hope Bossert (43) of Glenville, WV and James R. Bossert (66) of Glenville, WV.

•  On February 03, 2015 a special family court judge dismissed a domestic violence petition.

•  On February 04, 2015, 3 matters were heard by Judge Whited and a temporary order was entered in one.

Local Action Group Sponsors Meetings to Increase Pipeline Awareness

The Gilmer Free Press

A local group of concerned citizens, calling themselves the Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance, is sponsoring educational meetings in communities throughout counties in north central WV. The group formed last October in response to the four, now five, proposed pipeline projects in West Virginia.

The group, composed of members from Upshur, Lewis, Gilmer and Harrison Counties, is working in conjunction with Elise Keaton, of the Greenbrier River Watershed Association, to hold public meetings on the pipelines. These meetings are being held in churches or community buildings around the state. They have a town-hall style format to allow for question and answer sessions. Experts in the law, hydrology, and safety present facts via powerpoint slide shows and answer questions afterward. The intent of these meetings is to keep the public informed as to all sides of the issue.

“This is a huge issue that is going to affect us for a long time,” said April Keating, a member of the Alliance. “It is crucial that we know what this means for our state. There is more to it than the rosy picture the industry has given.”

Some landowners have received threatening letters in the mail from Dominion. Others have seen flags on their property or been approached for surveying. Since these projects are not FERC approved, eminent domain does not apply at this time. Landowners are not required to let anyone on their property, even for surveying, unless a right of way already exists. A lawyer will be present to explain the legal ramifications and what landowners can do to protect themselves.

Interstate pipelines are governed by the 1938 United States Natural Gas Act, which requires a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity from the FERC before construction can commence. As proposed, the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project is a natural gas pipeline system that spans approximately 330 miles from Wetzel County, WV to Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  As currently planned, the pipeline will be up to 42 inches in diameter and will require approximately 75 feet of permanent easement (with 125 feet of temporary easement during construction).

In addition, the project will require up to four compressor stations, of which the design, size, and location will be determined once the route is finalized. It would cross the Jefferson National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service is taking comments from the public until February 13 as it decides whether to grant a special use permit to allow Mountain Valley Pipeline to survey across the JNF. Email to comment. Responders can comment more than once.

The MVP will be constructed and owned by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, which is a joint venture of EQT Midstream Partners, LP and NextEra US Gas Assets, LLC. EQT Midstream Partners will operate the pipeline and own a majority interest in the joint venture. The Mountain Valley Pipeline, is still in the “pre-filing” stage, and will originate in Wetzel County and will cross into Harrison, Doddridge, Lewis, Braxton, Webster, Nicholas, Fayette, Greenbrier, Summers, and Monroe Counties before continuing into Virginia.

A second interstate line, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a joint venture operation headed up by Dominion Resources, Inc., was “pre-filed” on October 31, 2014 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  This proposed pipeline is 550 miles long and extends from Harrison County, West Virginia to Virginia and onto North Carolina.  This pipeline, as currently proposed, would run less than half a mile from Buckhannon Upshur High School and affect numerous properties. It would cross Route 20 just below the high school, Rt. 33 and Brushy Fork Road, and traverse Tenmile Creek, the Buckhannon River, and the Middle Fork River. There would be three compressor stations along this line, as planned.

Comments need to be made right away to the U.S. Forest Service, which is deciding whether to issue a special use permit to Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, which would allow the company to conduct site survey and testing in a 17.1-mile segment of the Monongahela National Forest in Randolph and Pocahontas counties.  The Mon contains headwater streams that feed six major rivers. It has the greatest amount of undisturbed land in the region, and is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna, many of them sensitive. Email:

Residents in Lewis and Braxton Counties may have seen clearing for another pipeline project. The Stonewall/Momentum M3 is being put into production by Stonewall Energy, a local subsidiary of Momentum. The 36” line would gather gas in Harrison, Marion and Monongalia counties in West Virginia, and Greene and Washington counties in Pennsylvania. This is a gathering line for the Appalachian Connector System which would connect with the Transco line. Because it does not cross state lines, the Momentum does not require FERC approval, but is regulated by the Public Service Commission. Concerned residents can contact the West Virginia PSC toll free at 1.800.344.5113, or go to

To the northwest, a fourth pipeline is proposed, the ET Rover Pipeline, which is designed to connect gas production in northern West Virginia to markets in the Midwest and Canada.
A more recent project, a gathering line planned by CNX/Consol, will run from the Philippi area down to the Upshur/Middle Fork area. The pipeyard for this has been recently placed along US Highway 33 near Buckhannon.

There are many important things to consider about these proposals, including but not limited to safety, environment, and property values. Meetings are scheduled in Upshur and Lewis Counties for February 21 and 28 respectively. There will be a date announced for a meeting in Buckhannon in March, and possibly a meeting in Webster County, as yet to be announced.  It is important that residents have all the facts before making this most important decision, not only for themselves, but future generations of West Virginians.

Gilmer County Board of Education Meeting - 02.16.15

The Gilmer Free Press
Gilmer County Board of Education
Gilmer County High School
Monday, February 16, 2015 – 6:00 PM

I. CALL TO ORDER - Roll Call by President



      A. CGCC-  Dr. Carl Armour - January 20, 2015

      B. RESA 7- Dr. William Simmons


      A. Minutes: January 20, 2015

      B. Budget Supplements & Transfers

      C.  Financial Statement/Treasure’s Report

      D.  Accounts Payable

      E.  Student Transfers

      F.  School Volunteers

      G.  Field Trips

A list of invoices is available for review in the Central Office.


      A.  Facilities

      B.  Change of April 2015 Board Meeting Date

      C.  Sale of School Buses

      D.  Personnel

      E.  Workshops

      F.  Make-Up Days



G-Eye™: Gilmer County’s 170th Birthday

Gilmer County WV turned 170 years old on February 03, 2015.

The Birthday was celebrated on February 06, 2015 at the Gilmer County Courthouse.

Thanks to Gilmer County Historical Society for this celebration.

Gilmer County was created by an act of the Virginia General Assembly on February 03, 1845 from parts of Lewis and Kanawha counties.

It was named in honor of Thomas Walker Gilmer (1802-1844).

The county has rich Civil War history, as well as deep roots in the Little Kanawha River, Oil and Gas, and is home to long-standing Glenville State College.

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

Watch the Video of Celebration

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia News   150210

The Gilmer Free Press


The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra is eliminating a family concert series and reducing other concerts from two nights to one night.

The changes will be implemented during the 2015-2016 concert seasons.

Classical and Pops Series concerts will be held only on Saturday evenings, beginning in September. The Family Discovery Series will be discontinued.

John Elliot, chair of the symphony’s Board of Directors, says in a news release that the changes are aimed at aligning the symphony’s finances with its resources.

The symphony’s Young People’s Concerts will continue.


The first 1,000 graduates of West Virginia’s adult and juvenile drug courts will be honored this week.

The ceremony will be held Tuesday in the lower rotunda of the Capitol in Charleston.

Speakers include Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin, Senate President Bill Cole, First Judicial Circuit Court Judge Martin Gaughan and several drug court graduates.

The Supreme Court says in a news release that drug court programs save West Virginia taxpayers about $21 million annually in incarceration costs.

West Virginia has 24 adult drug court programs and 16 juvenile programs.


University High School in Morgantown was the site of a regional discussion on heroin and prescription painkiller addiction, overdoses and distribution.

The significance of the location for U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II is that a multifaceted approach to end what he calls a “public health crisis in West Virginia” takes education leaders, law enforcement and medical professionals.

“The biggest challenge is ‘what is the right message?’  That’s why we’re going to engage more with young people and have focus groups with middle school and high school students to find out what kind of message would have an impact on them,” explained Ihlenfeld.

Members of Addiction Action Plan subcommitteesIhlenfeld will serve as the co-chair of at least 9 subcommittees of the Addiction Action plan charged with decreasing heroin use, promoting increased access to quality abuse treatment, and choking off the supply of heroin to the North Central WV region.

Dr. Frank Devono, Monongalia County Superintendent of Schools, will be a subcommittee chair.

“Prevention is the key.  If we can make sure students understand in these kinds of things, then hopefully they’ll make some better choices for themselves,” said Devono.

Both police chiefs in Morgantown and Fairmont will lead committees from a law enforcement perspective.  Ihlenfeld says they have one of many roles in the Addiction Action Plan.

“We want to enhance the investigations of deliveries causing death.  We’re seeing more and more deliveries of heroin and other drugs that are leading to the deaths of others,” said Ihlenfeld.

Medical professionals from WVU Health Sciences Center, WVU School of Medicine and Fairmont General Hospital are also a part of the plan.

“We want to create a simple road map for treatment.  We want to make it easy for someone who has a problem or has a friend or family members who has a problem with addiction to know where to go,” said Ihlenfeld.

According to Ihlenfeld, the number of drug overdose deaths in West Virginia increased by more than 130% in the last year.

He said West Virginia ranks third in the nation for the number of prescriptions written for highly addictive painkillers leading to addiction problems.

In the spring, Ihlenfeld said there will be more details released regarding the North Central West Virginia Addiction Action Plan.


The Republican-led state Senate has cleared a bill to change legal protections when multiple parties are at fault in a lawsuit.

Senators voted 24-9 Monday to change comparative fault provisions, with several Democrats in favor.

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

The Senate bill would still require other entities to pay for some damages the insolvent party can’t cover. The amount would depend on how much the entity was deemed at fault.

The bill differs from one passed by the House of Delegates.

The House bill would require parties to pay only the percentage they are deemed at fault by a jury, in most cases.


A nonprofit is holding a public meeting this week on its proposal to convert a Navy base to a career college.

KVC Health Systems Inc. consultant Thomas S. Bailey will discuss the proposal at the meeting on Wednesday at a community center in Franklin.

The Navy plans to close its Sugar Grove base in Pendleton County in September. KVC wants to convert the base to a career college for young adults who emerge from foster care without a support system.

Bailey tells the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Virginia, that the college’s emphasis would be on postgraduation, on-the-job training opportunities and career placement support.

The West Virginia Division Corrections has proposed converting the base to a state prison.

The General Services Administration hasn’t made a decision on the proposals.


The University of Charleston’s School of Pharmacy is no longer on probation.

The university says the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education’s Board of Directors lifted the probation last week. The board restored the pharmacy program’s full accreditation.

The council had placed the pharmacy school on a two-year probationary status in July 2014. The council said the school was noncompliant with a standard requiring that an accredited school be headed by a dean, collaborate with the larger university, and be autonomous.

University of Charleston President Edwin Welch says in a news release that the pharmacy school has upgraded policies, strengthened institutional relationships and added seven faculty and administrative members.


Beckley police are investigating the slaying of a pastor in his home.

Detective Morgan Bragg tells media outlets that investigators believe 68-year-old Ronald Browning was killed Saturday afternoon.

Bragg says Browning was physically attacked with a weapon but he didn’t provide details. He says the body has been sent to the state medical examiner’s office.

Bragg says police have identified a suspect. He says the slaying appears to be random.

Browning was pastor of Cool Ridge Community Church.


West Virginia State Police said a Fayetteville High School teacher was arrested after she purchased a narcotic pain reliever from an undercover officer.

Shae Davis Wells, age 40, was arrested on a possession of a controlled substance charge Monday, according to a criminal complaint filed in Fayette County Magistrate Court.

The complaint said the Central West Virginia Drug Task Force had received numerous complaints over the past several months that Wells had been using Roxicodone pills.

After an investigation, a deal was set up to sell Wells 10 Roxicodone prescription pills for $300.
On Monday, Wells left the high school and drove to Dairy Queen in Fayetteville where she met with an officer assigned to the task force, the complaint said.

Members of the task force and uniformed members of the State Police arrested Wells after she purchased the pills from the undercover officer, the complaint said.

She was transported to the State Police detachment in Oak Hill. WVVA reported she posted bond and was released.

Troy Elementary School February Bash Winners - 02.09.15

The Gilmer Free Press

The Legislature Today 02.09.2015

At the Legislature Today, Republican leaders are one step closer to realizing their tort reform goals this session as the Senate passes a bill imposing comparative fault.

The amended bill heads back to the House for their approval.

And on tourism day at the legislature, meet the new tourism commissioner and find out her priorities to grow the number of visitors to the state.

Gilmer County Schools Community Meetings - 02.26.15 and 03.24.15

The Gilmer Free Press

G-OB™: Gilmer County Schools Employment – Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach - GCHS


                                    Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach
                                    Gilmer County High School


FOR THE POSITION OF: Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach

REPORTS TO: Principal/Athletic Director/Head Coach

JOB GOAL: To assist with participating student to achieve a high level of skill, an appreciation for the values of discipline and an increased level of self-esteem.


Professional and Interpersonal Relations,

1. cooperates with building principal,

2. cooperates with athletic director,

3. develops rapport with coaching staff within the school,

4. organizes coaching staff,

5. develops positive relationship with participants,

6. develops positive relationship with student body,

7. develops positive relationship with faculty,

8. develops positive relationship with parents and community,

9. develops positive relationship with game officials,

10. develops positive relationship with news media,

11. develops positive relationship with opponents,

12. employs appropriate conduct during games,

13. employs appropriate conduct during practices,

14. attends league, conference and WVSSAC meetings as required

15. participates in activities that foster professional growth and development,

16. motivates staff and players toward desired goals, and commands respect by example in appearance, manners, behavior and language.

Coaching and Related Areas,

17. develops high caliber and quality instruction,

18. teaches fundamental skills,

19. handles athletic injuries,

20. cares for equipment,

21. supervises participants and disciplines team appropriately,

22. designs quality organization of practice sessions,

23. designs pre-season planning,

24. supervises managers and other support personnel,

25. manages budget,

26. follows purchasing procedures,

27. initiates game organizational skills,

28. follows board of education, league, conference, and WVSSAC policies,

29. devotes time and energy to coaching duties,

30. follows end of season procedures,

31.  performs other duties as assigned by principal/athletic director.

EMPLOYMENT TERM: 2014-2015 season

                                                * Hold or qualify for West Virginia Certificate as required under State Board Policy 5202
                                                * Possess the knowledge, skills and ability to successfully carry out responsibilities of the position.

SALARY: County Supplement - $800.00


Application for employment; Copy of WV Coaching Certificate; Current employees submit Extra Curricular Bid Sheet (located on the county website)
Incomplete application packets will not be considered.

Send these documents to:
                                              Judith Stalnaker, Personnel Director
                                              Gilmer County Schools
                                              201 North Court Street
                                              Glenville, WV 26351

CLOSING DATE: Monday, February 15, 2015 – 3:00 PM

As required by federal laws and regulations, the Gilmer County Board of Education does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, marital status, disability, age and national origin in employment and in the administration of any of its education programs or activities.  Inquires may be directed to Title IX Coordinator, Gilmer County Board of Education, 201 N. Court Street, Glenville, WV 26351, phone 304.462.7386; to the Elimination of Sex Discrimination Program Coordinator, 304.558.7864; or the US Department of Education’s Director of the Office of Civil Rights, 215.596.6795.

Posted: 02.09.15

WV Capitol Comments - Delegate Roger Hanshaw - 02.09.15

The Gilmer Free Press

This week marks the half-way point for the 2015 session of the West Virginia Legislature, and jobs and economic activity continue to be the primary focus of the work being done in Charleston.

The legislature has already acted on several major proposals to make our State more welcoming to businesses and companies who can employ West Virginia workers, and before the end of the session, we hope to take up many more bills aimed at making it easier for West Virginians to start and grow a business right here at home.

We began the session with a list of bills to address the shortcomings, real and perceived, in our civil justice system in West Virginia.  Among these proposals was the nonpartisan election of our judges in West Virginia.

Last week the House of Delegates passed a bill to make every judicial officer in West Virginia, including magistrates, family court judges, circuit judges, and justices of the West Virginia State Supreme Court of Appeals, all nonpartisan. 

Beginning next year, all judges in West Virginia will officially be nonpartisan, and litigants can go before a court without the feeling that partisan politics may play a role in determining the outcome of the case.  Every West Virginian deserves to have a judiciary that is free from partisan politics, and this bill moved us one step closer to achieving that goal.

This past week we also introduced a proposal to correct some of the unintended consequences of the Above-Ground Storage Tank Act passed last year.  Protecting our drinking water is a critically important job, and everyone, including those who own tanks and operate businesses that require tanks, wants safe drinking water.

Protecting our water means making sure that we are using our environmental enforcement resources wisely, and focusing our efforts on those tanks which pose the greatest threat to our environment.  The bill we introduced this week will make sure we do what is necessary to monitor those tanks that pose the greatest risk, while also making it possible for small business owners and those who work in areas that pose little or no danger to the public to stay in business.

In the next several weeks we will also be taking a critical look at the upcoming yearly budget for the State of West Virginia.  Each year the Governor prepares a budget and submits it to the legislature for consideration.  Both the House of Delegates and the Senate must adopt the budget before it becomes law, and right now the work on the budget is ongoing in both houses.

I’ve heard from many citizens from our District over the past week on a range of issues, and I appreciate that feedback.  One part of service as a member of the House of Delegates is reviewing a constantly-growing stack of information that groups and organizations from all across West Virginia provide each member on every bill and proposal we consider.

This information is always helpful, but the most helpful thing is a phone call or an email from a citizen with a thought.  The final day to introduce bills for consideration by the legislature this year will be coming up soon, and I will be finalizing those proposals that citizens of our District asked me to introduce over the next week.

Getting a bill passed by the West Virginia Legislature is a long, sometimes hard, road, but it starts with the introduction of a bill.  If you have thoughts or concerns that you believe need addressed by our legislature, I encourage you to share those thoughts with me.  Some bills take years to clear the entire legislative process, while others take only a matter of days.  The key is never to become discouraged.  We are in this process together, and we will continue working together for the betterment of our District.

The next few weeks will be busy times at the capitol as the legislature works to complete the second half of its work for the 2015 regular session, but if you find yourself in Charleston, I hope you will consider stopping by to visit.

I can be reached in Room 229E at the State Capitol, or at 304.340-.3135 or at .  I look forward to seeing you when you visit our Capitol.

Have a great week.

Ron Paul: Vaccine Controversy Shows Why We Need Markets, Not Mandates

The Gilmer Free Press

If I were still a practicing ob-gyn and one of my patients said she was not going to vaccinate her child, I might try to persuade her to change her mind. But, if I were unsuccessful, I would respect her decision. I certainly would not lobby the government to pass a law mandating that children be vaccinated even if the children’s parents object. Sadly, the recent panic over the outbreak of measles has led many Americans, including some self-styled libertarians, to call for giving government new powers to force all children to be vaccinated.

Those who are willing to make an “exception” to the principle that parents should make health care decisions for their children should ask themselves when in history has a “limited” infringement on individual liberty stayed limited. By ceding the principle that individuals have the right to make their own health care decisions, supporters of mandatory vaccines are opening the door for future infringements on health freedom.

If government can mandate that children receive vaccines, then why shouldn’t the government mandate that adults receive certain types of vaccines? And if it is the law that individuals must be vaccinated, then why shouldn’t police officers be empowered to physically force resisters to receive a vaccine? If the fear of infections from the unvaccinated justifies mandatory vaccine laws, then why shouldn’t police offices fine or arrest people who don’t wash their hands or cover their noses or mouths when they cough or sneeze in public? Why not force people to eat right and take vitamins in order to lower their risk of contracting an infectious disease? These proposals may seem outlandish, but they are no different in principle from the proposal that government force children to be vaccinated.

By giving vaccine companies a captive market, mandates encourage these companies to use their political influence to expand the amount of vaccine mandates. An example of how vaccine mandates may have led politics to override sound science is from my home state of Texas. In 2007, the then-Texas governor signed an executive order forcing eleven and twelve year old girls to receive the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, even though most young girls are not at risk of HPV. The Texas legislature passed legislation undoing the order following a massive public outcry, fueled by revelations that the governor’s former chief of staff was a top lobbyist for the company that manufactured the HPV vaccine.

The same principles that protect the right to refuse vaccines also protect the right of individuals to refuse to associate with the unvaccinated. Private property owners have the right to forbid those who reject vaccines from entering their property. This right extends to private businesses concerned that unvaccinated individuals could pose a risk to their employees and customers. Consistent application of the principles of private property, freedom of association, and individual responsibility is the best way to address concerns that those who refuse vaccines could infect others with disease.

Giving the government the power to override parental decisions regarding vaccines will inevitably lead to further restrictions on liberties. After all, if government can override parental or personal health care decisions, then what area of our lives is off-limits to government interference? Concerns about infection from the unvaccinated can be addressed by consistent application of the principles of private property and freedom of association. Instead of justifying new government intrusion into our lives, the vaccine debate provides more evidence of the need to restore respect for private property and individual liberty.

We’re Clean Eating Our Way to New Eating Disorders.

Welcome to the era of orthorexia

Because overdoing it is the American way, we’ve now managed to warp even healthy habits into a new form of eating disorders. Welcome to the era of orthorexia.

As Heather Hansman notes this week in Fast Company, orthorexia differs from other forms of disorders in that the obsessive focus is not on how much or how little one consumes, but the perceived virtue of the food itself. As she reports, “Nutritionists and psychologists say that they’re seeing it more often, especially in the face of restrictive food trends, like gluten-free, and growing information about where food comes from, and how it’s grown and processed.” Though the term has been in use since Dr. Steven Bratman coined it in 1997, the uptick in cases is leading to a new push to formally include it in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – aka the DSM 5.

The Gilmer Free Press

Along with “gluten-free,” “juice fast” and other phrases, you may have been hearing “orthorexia” a lot more lately. Last summer, popular health and food blogger Jordan Younger made headlines – and faced intense criticism – when she announced that she was “transitioning away from veganism” as she realized that she had “started fearing a LOT of things when it came to food,” and had been struggling with orthorexia. Her blog now is called “The Balanced Blonde,” where she talks honestly about her journey to wellness. In a recent post, she observed, “It. Breaks. My. Heart. It breaks my heart to see and hear beautiful, motivated, capable young women being sucked in to an extreme diet and way of life because it has been branded to them as ‘THE HEALTHIEST WAY TO LIVE’ above all else.”

It’s true, this kind of disordered mentality does seem to disproportionately target “beautiful, motivated, capable young women.” Because I like to cook and eat, and because I’ve had life threatening cancer, in recent years I’ve grown more conscious and curious about how I feed myself and my family. To that end, I read a fair number of cookbooks and food blogs, in particular those with a bent toward healthy eating. And it has not escaped my attention that there have been several wildly successful books in the past few years – often featuring pretty, thin, blond women – that I have had to put down and think, “Oh my God, these people should not be giving advice.” But the creeping fear of food isn’t just for women who look like pilates instructors. Just last week, my spouse attempted to make dinner plans with an old friend, who quickly rejected multiple suggestions of places to eat after citing a litany of foods he would no longer touch. This is not a thigh gap aspiring, crunchy young woman we’re talking about here. This is a man in his 50s.

Reading some of the “clean” living writing out there, including bestselling books by authors with cult-like followings, you can find dubious claims about “detoxing” – which is not a real thing unless maybe you don’t have a liver. Enthusiastic endorsements of extreme juice cleanses and fasting – sometimes with a side of colonics. Blanket and inaccurate statements about grains, dairy, animal products, even seemingly innocuous foods like spinach or fruit. But what’s always the tipoff for me that something is a little off is when writing about food and health veers into near obsessive mathematical precision – detailed tips on exactly how much to eat, when to eat, what to combine it with. (For what it’s worth, in contrast, I find the work of Mark Bittman and Jamie Oliver reliably sane and inspiring.)

Food sensitivities and intolerances are real, and there’s zero denying that the Standard American Diet is flat-out deadly. It’s making us fatter and sicker than we’ve ever been at any point in our history, and it’s hurting our children worst of all. But for those who are vulnerable, a quest to eat right can lead to a seriously dysfunctional relationship with food. And we need to have better understanding of eating disorders and support for those who are struggling, because being healthy of body means being healthy of mind too.

~~  Mary Elizabeth Williams ~~

G-MM™: Meditation Moment   150210


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Proverbs 3:5-8 (NASB)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.

Galatians 1:11-12

The Source of the Gospel

11-12 Do you think human beings wrote the Gospel I taught to you? Not so! It is the very Word of God, revealed to me directly by Jesus Christ. From men, I have learned none of it.

Notes on the Scripture

These verses strongly reinforce the preceding verses, i.e., that Paul did not seek to please men by modifying his Gospel, but sought to please God by always speaking the truth. Here, then, he gives the reason underlying and supporting his refusal to compromise his teachings.

What has been written by one person can always be criticized, improved upon, disputed, or ignored by another. What has been revealed as the will of God cannot. And so Paul cements his position by this, the topic of the rest of Chapter 1 of Galatians: evidence that the Gospel he teaches was not written by him, nor taught to him by men, but revealed to him directly by Christ.

There is a nice point to be taken from the original Greek that we overlook in translation. When we read a translation we think, “This means that Jesus revealed the Gospel to Paul.” But the Greek is more obviously ambiguous. The same phrase can just as easily be translated “through Jesus Christ being revealed to me.” The English can, actually, also be read like this: “the revelation of Christ” could refer to either Christ being revealed, or to Christ revealing something. If you are not following this, think of the phrase “the revelation of the resurrected Christ to the disciples” meaning “the appearance of the resurrected Christ to the disciples.”

On the road to Damascus — and if you are not familiar with it, please read the account of Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:1-19, because you will need to know this to understand Galatians — when Paul was converted, he experienced Christ. He did not see a human Jesus, but a flash of light and a voice; still, this was a “theophany”, a physical appearance of God to a human being. Paul “saw” Christ, in the figurative sense, and heard Him in the literal.

Thus, v. 11 says two things at once. Christ was revealed to Paul; and Christ revealed to Paul what He wanted Paul to teach. Greek uses fewer words than English to say the same thing, and this is one of the tricks that makes it possible.

There are 138,000 words in the Greek New Testament and 180,000 in the KJV, but this does not tell the whole story. The Greek original did not have punctuation, and so there are tens of thousands of Greeks words needed for technical purposes, mostly conjunctions (almost every verse in the Greek Bible contains a conjunction of some sort) and the definite article (“the”) used only to indicate the case or function of the following word. These are not generally translated as English words, but as periods and paragraphs, or a change in word order. So the density of Greek is perhaps 50% higher than English.

R. Doyle Skinner

The Gilmer Free Press

R. Doyle Skinner

Age 83, of Glenville, WV, went to be with the Lord on February 07, 2015 at the United Hospital Center in Clarksburg, WV, following a short illness.

Doyle was born on October 17, 1931 in Braxton County, WV.

He was the son of the late Okey G. and Flody Mae (McCauley) Skinner.

On March 25, 1961, he married Marie Smith, who survives him.

Also preceding him in death are his infant daughter, Sandra Lou; brothers, John W. Skinner and J. Cam Skinner.

Those left to honor his memory are his wife of 52 years, Marie Smith Skinner; son, Fred Skinner; daughters, Mary Ellen Mortenson and Diane Hutchinson; seven grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; two loving feline companions.

Doyle served his Country in the United States Army, serving in the Korean War. In 1970, he opened Skinner Auto in Glenville, working as the owner and operator, even recently continuing to provide limited services for Gilmer County. He was a loyal, active member of the Glenville Lion’s Club, where he loved to serve hot dogs, corn dogs, as well as help to make apple butter during the carnival and the Folk Festival in Glenville.

He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Glenville.

Doyle loved talking with people, telling stories, hunting, and dearly enjoyed playing Santa Clause for the Head Start children.

The family will receive friends from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at Stockert-Paletti Funeral Home at 378 Flatwoods Corner Road in Flatwoods, WV 26621.

Funeral Services will follow in the Stockert-Paletti Funeral Chapel with Reverend Kenneth Fisher officiating.

Interment will follow in the Little Kanawha Memorial Gardens in Heaters, WV with full Military Honors conducted by the Lewis County Honor Guard.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Glenville Lions Club, PO Box 855 Glenville, WV 26351 or to the First Baptist Church of Glenville, PO Box 237 Glenville, WV 26351.

The Stockert-Paletti Funeral Home of Flatwoods is honored to be serving the Skinner Family.

Kenneth C. Pennebaker

The Gilmer Free Press

Kenneth C. Pennebaker

Age 70 of Ivy Run Road, Troy, West Virginia, departed this life Sunday afternoon February 08, 2015 at the United Hospital Center, Bridgeport, following an extended illness.

Born June 12, 1944 in Lewistown, PA. Kenneth was the son of the late Howard and Esther Long Pennebaker.

Ken was a graduate at the Chief Logan School district in Lewistown, PA; class of 1963. He worked for Armstrong Cork Company in Lancaster, PA; Y and S Candies in Lancaster, and retired from RR Donnelley and Sons in Lancaster on April 01, 1997.

Ken enjoyed hunting, wood working, and reading. He was a member of the Gilmer County Historical Society and the Gilmer County Farm Bureau.

On March 24, 1972 he was united in marriage to Karen Smith Pennebaker, who survives at the Ivy Run home.

Surviving is 1 son, Brian Pennebaker of Troy, WV; 2 step-sons, Mark Shaver and wife Ann of Manheim, PA; and Scott Shaver of Lebanon, PA. There are 6 grandchildren also surviving, David Shaver, Jamie Shaver, Matt Mullen, Linda Pennebaker, Robin Pennebaker, and Brad Pennebaker.

Along with his parents, Kenneth was preceded in death by 1 brother, Bradley Pennebaker.

At Kenneth’s request his remains will be cremated and the family will have a memorial service at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made in Kenneth’s name to the Gilmer County Historical Society.

Ellyson Mortuary Inc. is assisting the family of Kenneth C. Pennebaker with arrangements.

Rondell Lee “Ronnie” Butcher

The Gilmer Free Press

Rondell Lee “Ronnie” Butcher

Age 86, of Kincheloe Rd. Jane Lew, WV passed away peacefully at 2:30 PM on Sunday February 08, 2015 in the comfort of his own home, with loved ones by his side, following a brief illness.

He was born in Lynn Fork, Gilmer County, WV on September 02, 1928 a son of the late Arthur Butcher and Lena M. Smith Butcher.

On September 29, 1949 he married the former Anda Lee Summers and they enjoyed 65 years of marriage.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by four children: Lena Cumberledge and husband Herb of Jane Lew, Darlene McGill and husband Vaughn of Thompson, OH, Judy Richards of Jane Lew, and Candi Blake of Greenbay ,WI; 9 grandchildren: Shawn, Roger Lee, Randy, Michael, Tim, Duaine, Josh, Crystal, and Janelle; 10 great grandchildren; and one brother, Richard Butcher of Columbia Station, OH.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by one son, Rondell Butcher; four brothers: Jude, Jack, Leamen “Ralph”, and Robert Butcher; and two grandchildren: Little Ronnie, and Eddie.

Ronnie retired from the Weston State Hospital with over 16 years of service working in Security. He was a member of the F.O.E, Salem Golf Course.

He was a member of Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church.

He enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing, camping, ginsenging, and watching wildlife and nature programs.

Friends and family will gather at the Pat Boyle Funeral Home and Cremation Service at 144 Hackers Creek Road in Jane Lew from 10 AM – 12 Noon on Wednesday February 11, 2015.

Funeral services will follow at 12 Noon with Reverend Destry Daniels officiating.

Interment will follow in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery.

The Pat Boyle Funeral Home and Cremation Service is honored and privileged to serve the family of Ronnie Butcher.

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