A FORMER HAMPSHIRE COUNTY ATTORNEY WHO WAS DISBARRED, AND CONVICTED FOR SWINDLING MONEY FROM HIS FORMER CLIENTS IS NOW ACCUSED OF BEATING HIS WIFE
Donald Paul Cookman, 47, of Wheeling, was arrested, and charged with one count domestic battery, a misdemeanor, on April 27, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ohio Magistrate Court. The charge stems from an altercation Cookman had with his current wife, Susan Katherine Oglinsky-Cookman,38, at their home on Warwood Ave.
According to the complaint, Patrolman Rusty Jewell of the Wheeling Police Department was dispatched to the Cookman’s residence around 12:20 AM to inquire about a woman screaming. Upon arrival, Jewell said he spoke with Susan who alleged Donald “kicked in her locked bedroom door and threw her on the bed.“ Also, Susan claimed Donald “threw a picture at her in the basement, and threw her up against the guest room door.“
Though the complaint does not provide additional details as to the extent of Susan’s injuries, Jewell believed enough evidence existed to place Donald under arrest. Records show he was booked into the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville, and later released on $1,000 personal recognizance bond.
In conjunction with the criminal charge, Susan filed a domestic violence protective order against Donald that, among other things, prohibits him from having any contact with her, and going near their home for at least the next 90 days.
MILWAUKEE MAN PRONOUNCED DEAD, THEN MOVES AND BREATHES
MILWAUKEE, WI—First responders preparing to take the body of a Milwaukee man pronounced dead to the morgue got a jolt when the man suddenly began moving and noticeably breathing, authorities said on Friday.
They had gone to the 46-year-old man’s high-rise building on Tuesday after his worried girlfriend called for assistance, saying she had not heard from him for two days, according to a medical examiner’s report.
When they arrived at his apartment, they found him cold, pale and rigid at the foot of his bed, the report said.
They did not try to resuscitate him.
About 50 minutes later, the medical examiner arrived and notified the man’s family of his death. As the examiner readied the body to be taken to the morgue, the man began to move his left arm and right leg, the report said.
Paramedics took the man, who has not been identified, to a nearby hospital, where he was admitted to the intensive care unit.
DECEASED COUNCILWOMAN IN PITTSBURGH WINS DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY
PITTSBURGH, PA—A councilwoman who died earlier this month easily defeated the only other candidate on the ballot for the Pennsylvania county that includes Pittsburgh, results showed on Wednesday.
Incumbent Barbara Daly Danko, 61, died of cancer on May 06 but remained on Tuesday’s ballot for the party’s nomination for a seat on the Allegheny County Council.
She defeated her opponent, Caroline Mitchell, 5,575 to 4,015. There were no Republican candidates vying for the seat, one of 15 representing Pittsburgh and the surrounding suburbs.
Mitchell, a retired chemical engineer and lawyer could not be reached for comment.
“It was a sympathy vote for Daly Danko,“ said Nancy Mills, chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, which endorsed Daly Danko.
The incumbent was an outspoken opponent of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in county parks. Backers of the controversial technique for extracting oil and gas recently won a legislative battle to allow the practice. Environmentalists say fracking can contaminate ground water and trigger earthquakes.
“Clearly she was well-respected by her constituents, which is pretty much as good as it gets for an elected official,“ said Jared Barker, the county council’s chief clerk and director of legislative services.
The county council is expected to appoint someone in the next month to fill Daly Danko’s seat until November, Barker said. At that time, voters will pick someone to fill the remainder of her term, which ends in January.
By August 15, Democratic officials in Daly Danko’s district will select a replacement to appear on the November ballot, Mills said.
Pittsburgh, the second-largest city in Pennsylvania with a population of about 305,000, is the seat of Allegheny County.
GERMAN GRANDMOTHER GIVES BIRTH TO QUADRUPLETS AT AGE 65
BERLIN, GERMANY—A 65-year-old German grandmother gave birth to quadruplets at a Berlin hospital this week, with the three boys and a girl born prematurely at 26 weeks being in good health and having a good chance of survival, German TV network RTL reported on Saturday.
The network, which had covered the pregnancy, said Annegret Raunigk already had 13 children and seven grandchildren. The announcement of her pregnancy last month had sparked a public debate in Germany about its merits.
Raunigk, an English and Russian teacher in Berlin, had received fertility treatment in Ukraine and is the oldest woman in the world to have had quadruplets, RTL said, although other women of her age and older have given birth.
The four babies, born by Caesarean section on May 19, weighed between 655 grams an 960 grams.
COW POO-POWERED BUS SETS LAND SPEED RECORD
READING, England—The same bus model that typically transports residents of Reading, England around the city recently set a land speed record. The bus topped out at 76.785 miles per hour as it rounded the track at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.
The kicker is—the bus is powered by cow poo or, more accurately, bovine manure-derived biomethane. In honor of it’s fecal fuel source, the bus is painted in black and white spots (like a cow).
Bus Hound was built by Reading Buses, a transportation company in Southern England. The company’s fleet features vehicles that normally don’t break 56 miles per hour.
“The code name for the bus itself is Bus Hound,“ the company explains on its website, “which is a homage to the Bloodhound SSC team who are attempting to go slightly faster than us in breaking the actual land speed record—at 1000mph.“
Those who were at the track when the record was set were struck by the sights and sounds.
“It was an impressive sight as it swept by on the track,“ John Bickerton, chief engineer for Reading Buses, told the BBC. “It sounded like a Vulcan bomber—the aerodynamics aren’t designed for going 80 miles per hour.“
The record-setting feat was part of an attempt to shine a positive light on both bus transportation and the use of methane fuels.
Methane is heralded by some in the energy and transportation industry as an ideal alternative fuel source. Its use, supporters argue, prevents the burning of fossil fuels and burns methane (a greenhouse gas) that would have otherwise made its way into the atmosphere.
“Most importantly, we wanted to get the image of bus transport away from being dirty, smelly, and slow,“ Bickerton said. “We’re modern, fast, and at the cutting edge of innovation.“
Liquid methane—which with just a few tweaks can be used in most any combustable engine—doesn’t have to be derived from cow dung. Another bus in England runs on biomethane captured from treated human and food waste (human poo).
“They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation.“ Henry Ward Beecher
“These martyrs of patriotism gave their lives for an idea.“ Schuyler Colfax
“Each man is a hero and an oracle to somebody.“ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.“ Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.“ Billy Graham
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship,
support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.“ John F. Kennedy
“Memorial Day (Decoration Day) is the most beautiful of our national holidays.
The grim cannon have turned into palm branches, and the shell and shrapnel into peach blossoms.“ Thomas Bailey Aldrich
“All we have of freedom, all we use or know - This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.“ Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue, 1899
Memorial Day is a day to remember those men and women who have died serving their country. While many people visit cemeteries and memorials in their memory, others celebrate the service of all U.S. veterans—including those who live on and who continue to bear the burden of their sacrifice every day.
As a tribute to fellow Americans killed in war, Memorial Day is also an opportunity for future generations to pay tribute to veterans who made it home by helping them face the challenges they found both on and off the battlefield. Flags display patriotism and support on this holiday, and yet Americans can help veterans in other ways, as well.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation provides emotional, physical, educational and financial support for wounded and disabled veterans, to help improve their lives. Programs include suicide prevention, support for veterans with brain injuries, counseling for Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and assistance for women’s health issues—all common challenges for veterans. The Purple Heart Service Foundation provides scholarships, family assistance, claims assistance and employment training. Family members also get support, learning how to help disabled veterans to cope with their physical, emotional and behavioral challenges.
In addition to displaying their flags on Memorial Day and remembering those who have died in service, Americans can support all our veterans by volunteering or making a donation to a worthy veterans service organization. As we continue to identify new areas of concern for veterans and their families, we know that solutions are in reach if we can help them gain access to programs, services and support.
Visit www.PurpleHeartFoundation.org to learn more about how you can impact the lives of veterans by while honoring their sacrifice with your service.
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement in honor of Memorial Day:
“Memorial Day is an important day in our country to pay homage to our fallen soldiers and thank the men and women who have served, and continue to serve, this country with valor and distinction. It is because of their dedication, discipline, expertise, and bravery that we remain a strong and secure nation.
“Today, we should also recognize the families who have lost loved ones in defense of our country. I encourage all West Virginians to seek out those wearing the Gold Star Pin and take a moment to thank that spouse, parent, child or sibling wearing it. These pins symbolize the ultimate sacrifice and serve as a daily reminder to us all that the freedoms and liberties we enjoy come at a steep cost. The weight these family members carry in their hearts is far greater than the button they wear on their chests, and we are all eternally grateful.
“So on behalf of the state of West Virginia and all Americans, I sincerely thank our veterans and service members, as well as their families, today and every day for their patriotism and sacrifice. May God bless you, the great state of West Virginia, and the United States of America.”
We mortals are imperfect reflections of our perfect Creator, but He made us capable of understanding great things that are outside ourselves. Leaders who have and share such vision, who can see beyond the vanity of their own images and personal ambitions, happen along much too infrequently. When they do, they have more worthwhile effect on our world than all the hollow “hope and change” slogans, “what difference does it make” answers and “let’s pass it so we can find out what’s in it” rhetoric that can be used to disguise selfishness and incompetence from the public eye. Lest we forget:
MANCHIN STATEMENT ON SENATE PASSAGE OF TPA LEGISLATION
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin issued the following statement on the Senate passage of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), legislation granting the President fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
“I am deeply alarmed that the Senate has passed this harmful piece of legislation that will give the President the authority to negotiate the most expansive trade deal in American history without any congressional input. Granting the President fast track authority before Congress and the American people have an opportunity to review the details of the agreements and ensure the trade deals are in the best interests of our workers simply defies common sense. If this bill is as good for the American worker as proponents have claimed, then the Administration should allow the public to see the details of these trade agreements before Congress grants fast-track authority.
“Aside from the lack of transparency throughout this entire process, I am also very disturbed that seven of the 11 countries we are negotiating with on the Trans Pacific Partnership have a minimum wage of less than $2.00. Malaysia’s minimum wage is $1.21, Peru’s is $1.15 and Vietnam’s is a mere 58 cents. It is demoralizing that we, as Americans, are willing to negotiate with countries that have such a disregard for their workers. It is equally upsetting that we will be forcing hard-working Americans to compete with foreign workers making less than a dollar an hour.
“As I have said time and again, trade agreements threaten thousands of good-paying jobs in West Virginia and across the United States and empower corporate America and Wall Street while suppressing America’s 99% and Main Street. In West Virginia alone, more than 30,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs have been lost on account of NAFTA. Even after NAFTA, Mexico’s minimum wage hasn’t risen above a dollar. I simply am not willing to risk losing even one more job in West Virginia. With that being said, I will continue to do everything in my power to protect American jobs when it comes to trade policy, and I will push for solutions that will help create and keep good-paying jobs in our state and our nation.”
WEST VIRGINIA QUILTERS’ WORKS ON DISPLAY AT CULTURE CENTER
CHARLESTON, WV - Forty-seven West Virginia quilters’ works are on display at the Culture Center in Charleston.
The annual quilts and wall hangings exhibit was unveiled on Friday. Fifty-three quilts and wall hangings will be on display in the Culture Center’s Great Hall through September 12.
Division of Culture and History commissioner Randall Reid-Smith says in a new release that the quilt display is one of the agency’s most popular exhibits.
MANCHIN STATEMENT ON MINE LAYOFFS
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) issued the following statement regarding today’s announced mine layoffs:
“First, my heart goes out to the miners who lost their jobs and the families who depended on those jobs, and to all the Americans who will pay higher energy prices because this country lacks an energy policy that fully uses all of our domestic resources to benefit our great country.
“Our coal companies have ridden the ups and downs of the market for many years, but they can’t be expected to fight their own government, too. The difference between those times and now is that companies didn’t have to deal with the overreaching of an EPA that makes it impossible to build on any certainty into the future.
“Especially at a time when our economy is so fragile and good-paying jobs are hard to come by, our federal government must start working with us and not against us. There’s a balance to be found between the environment and the economy, and the EPA has worked very hard to avoid finding that balance.
“As Senator, I will continue to work hard with members of both political parties to reverse the EPA decisions that are jeopardizing not only our coal industry, but our way of life. One of my highest priorities is to get this Congress to rein in EPA overreach. I’m also going to fight to make sure that we have an energy policy that works and uses all our domestic resources for the benefit of this country. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me and the people of West Virginia, and that’s the only way we can keep hardworking miners on the job.”
GOVERNOR TOMBLIN ISSUES STATEMENT FOLLOWING REPORTS OF MINE LAYOFFS
CHARLESTON, WV - Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today issued a statement following additional reports of layoffs in the coal industry.
“Additional layoffs and mine closures are heartbreaking for our miners, their families and the communities in which they live. These cutbacks affect more than just those directly employed - they affect suppliers, support services and retailers whose businesses depend on these companies and their employees.
“We recognize market forces play a large role in these decisions; however, the market is also being forced to react to overreaching regulations from the EPA. For years, we have warned the EPA of the consequences of its irresponsible mandates. We will continue to oppose EPA policies that have devastating impacts on West Virginia miners, their families and our communities.
“At the same time, we will continue to reach out to displaced miners and their families to offer support and retraining assistance through Workforce West Virginia programs. We are creating new jobs in West Virginia, and we are committed to ensuring all West Virginians have access to the education and training they need to not only fill these positions but secure a bright future in the Mountain State now and for years to come.“
CONSUMERS URGED TO BE WARY OF CALLERS WHO ASK TO VERIFY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
Scammers can use the last four digits of a Social Security number
to figure out the remaining digits and then steal your identity
CHARLESTON, WV — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today warned consumers to be cautious if they receive a call from a person purporting to work for a satellite, cable or other utility company who wants to verify the consumer’s account information, including Social Security number.
The Attorney General’s Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office was recently contacted by a consumer who said she received a call from a person who claimed to work for DirecTV. The caller said he was verifying account information and provided the caller with the last four digits of the Social Security number. The consumer said those were not the last four digits of her number, and the caller offered to update the account with her correct four digits.
“Thankfully, this consumer did not provide her information and instead called DirecTV to see if the call was legitimate, which it wasn’t,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Scammers can be very convincing and appear helpful and kind. We urge people to be cautious any time someone calls out of the blue and asks for personal, private information.”
Scammers can use the last four digits of a Social Security number to guess a consumer’s entire number, especially if the scammer knows when and where a person was born. Once armed with the complete number, that scammer can either use a consumer’s identity to set up new banking and credit card accounts, or sell the consumers information on the black market.
“Having a consumer’s Social Security number is like winning the golden ticket for scammers,” Morrisey said. “It opens up all sorts of options for them to steal someone’s identity, and it happens more than people may think.”
According to the Federal Trade Commission, more than 1,100 West Virginians reported having their identity stolen in 2013. AN FTC report on identity theft said the Beckley metropolitan statistical area had the ninth highest rate of identity theft-related complaints among the nation’s MSAs. The Eastern Panhandle region included in the Washington, DC MSA was ranked 40th for identity theft complaints. No other metropolitan area in West Virginia made it into the Top 50 rankings.
The most common forms of identity theft in West Virginia, according to the FTC, are:
Government documents or benefits fraud,
Phone or utilities fraud,
Credit card fraud,
Employment-related fraud, and
Morrisey said consumers should do their best to keep their Social Security number private including:
Never provide the number to a person who is calling, emailing, texting, or using social media, even to correct erroneous numbers the caller provides.
If a person purports to represent a government agency, reputable business, or other entity, call the business or agency yourself and find out why they need the number. Most reputable businesses will never ask for your Social Security number.
Use an alternative identification number, such as a driver’s license number.
Shred all sensitive documents, including tax documents, health care statements, and banking information.
Question why the person is asking for your Social Security number, whether an alternate identification number can be used, whether the number will be kept in your records, and what steps the person will take to protect your privacy.
“Consumers always should be diligent in protecting their Social Security number,” Morrisey said. “Once your number is in the hands of scammers or identity thieves, it is very difficult and time consuming to restore your good name and credit.”
If you have been a victim of identity theft, call the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division by calling 800.368.8808 or the Eastern Panhandle field office in Martinsburg at 304.267.0239. To file a report online, go to www.wvago.gov.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE RELEASES DRONE GUIDELINES; PROTECTS PRIVACY
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Department of Justice has released policy guidelines regarding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, by federal law enforcement agencies.
Federal agencies are banned from using drones to monitor activities protected by the First Amendment, such as peaceful protests, and agencies must also acquire warrants when the subject of an investigation has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.“
Drones will only be allowed for use in authorized investigations and are banned from being used in discriminatory ways. All drone operators will be trained and agencies will undergo annual reviews.
Agencies will be required to keep logs of every drone flight, which will be published by the Justice Department on its website.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the only agency of the Justice Department to use drones thus far—equipped with 17 drones and two pilots.
“The law enforcement agencies of the Department of Justice work diligently to protect the American people from national security threats, enforce our nation’s laws, and ensure public safety,“ the five-page document released by the Justice Department said. “In doing so, these agencies use a wide variety of investigative methods. Some of these methods have been in use for decades; others are relatively new and rely on technological innovation.“
“In all cases, investigations and other activities must be conducted consistent with the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and with our commitment to protecting privacy and civil liberties,“ the document reads.
Drones have been used by federal agencies to support kidnapping investigations, search and rescue operations, drug suppression and fugitive investigations.
MARGRATEN, Netherlands — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte paid tribute Sunday at a Memorial Day ceremony to U.S. troops who fought and died liberating the Netherlands from Nazi occupation in World War II, while NATO’s supreme commander said the fight to defend freedom continues to this day.
Thousands of people sat under blue skies and wispy white clouds for Sunday’s ceremony at the American cemetery in Margraten, a manicured patch of 65.5 acres (26.5 hectares) in the rolling hills of the southern province of Limburg that contains 8,301 headstones.
The cemetery is on land close to the Dutch border with Germany that was liberated from Nazi occupation on September 13, 1944, by the U.S. 30th Infantry Division.
“We say thank you to our liberators,“ Rutte said. “Thank you for enabling us to stand here today in freedom, and we bow our heads in memory of the fallen.“
Among the thousands of people attending the solemn ceremony were orphans of soldiers who were buried or are listed as missing at Margraten.
Arthur Chotin, whose father was killed in a jeep accident in the aftermath of the war and is buried at Margraten, thanked Dutch families who have adopted all of the graves at the cemetery, helping to keep alive the memory of the dead.
“Even though I didn’t know him, I think of him almost every day. What he missed and what my mother and I missed,“ Chotin said. “So here I am. 70 years old, more than twice the age of the father I never played catch with, never argued with, never even hugged. And the single thought in my mind today is that I hope he would be proud of me.
“Oh, the power these dead have over those they left behind.“
NATO’s supreme commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, reminded the crowd that the freedom Allied soldiers died defending in World War II cannot be taken for granted. “Recent world events have shown us the concept of armed conflict in Europe remains possible,“ he said.
“We must be vigilant if we are going to preserve democracy and freedom,“ Breedlove said. “It is important that we celebrate the courage of the youth of yesterday but we must also support the youth of today as our service members continue to defend the values forever enshrined here.“
MONROE, NJ – West Virginia native and Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Nash and his wife Alicia were killed Saturday in an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike.
John Nash was 86 and Alicia Nash was 82. The couple, who had been married for nearly 60 years, lived in Princeton Junction, NJ. Nash, who was born in Bluefield, WV, in 1926, was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in 1994. He struggled with paranoid schizophrenia, a central theme of the 2001 film “A Beautiful Mind” starring Russell Crowe as Nash.
Crowe said he was “stunned” to hear the news. “My heart goes out to John and Alicia and family,” he said. “An amazing partnership, beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.”
Alicia Nash cared for her husband while he battled mental illness and they both became advocates for treatment.
According to his biography, Nash’s mother, Margaret Virginia Martin, was born in Bluefield, studied at WVU and became a school teacher. His father, John Nash, Sr., was an electrical engineer who moved to Bluefield to work for Appalachian Electric Power Company.
The younger Nash attended public schools in Bluefield before starting his college studies at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh.
Nash described Bluefield during his youth as “a center of businessmen, lawyers, etc. that owed its existence to the railroad and the rich nearby coal fields of West Virginia and western Virginia. So, from an intellectual viewpoint, it offered the sort of challenge that one had to learn from the world’s knowledge rather than from the knowledge of the immediate community.”
His Nobel Prize was for a paper he wrote on the mathematics of decision-making. Nash spent his professional academic career at Princeton and MIT where he was a leader in the study of mathematics.
At the time of his death Nash was still on the faculty at Princeton as a senior research mathematician.
Multiple media outlets reported the two were thrown from a taxi when the vehicle crashed into a guard rail.
MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONIES SET FOR NATIONAL CEMETERIES IN TAYLOR COUNTY
PRUNTYTOWN, WV — Memorial Day weekend will bring thousands of people into Taylor County to honor some of our nation’s fallen soldiers at two separate Memorial Day events.
On Sunday at 3 PM, shuttle buses and golf carts will take people up to the WV National Cemetery to pay their respects to our nation’s fallen heroes in a ceremony featuring Fred Buchanan, the American Legion State Commander.
A second event will be held Monday. Starting at 10 AM, a Memorial Day parade will march through Grafton and conclude with a ceremony at the Grafton National Cemetery.
“Literally thousands of people involved,” said Keith Barnes, Director of the National Cemetery in Pruntytown on Thursday’s edition of “The Mike Queen Show” heard on the MetroNews affilated AJR News Network. “It’s actually a very short parade in terms of distance, but there’s so many people involved it takes two hours or so to make it’s way through.”
The Memorial Day remembrance in Taylor County continues to be one of the nation’s longest-running traditions.
“It’s the longest continuously running Memorial Day program,” said Barnes. “It started all the way as far back as 1868 or even 1867.”
On Monday, those paying respect will be joined by Kevin T. Hanretta, the Assistant Secretary for Operations, Security, and Preparedness for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.
“We’re honored to have him with us this year, and moving forward maybe we’ll try to get more of the speakers out of the D.C. area for us,” said Barnes.
He said preparations for Memorial Day are a year-round process.
“It’s almost year-round working as a committee organizing that.”
For those seeking to honor specific veterans, they can look up names in a database provided at the Kiosk located in the Administration building.
The West Virginia National Cemetery in Pruntytown is one of 131 national cemeteries in 40 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.
There are approximately 5500 people interned at the West Virginia National Cemetery. It is made up of a combination of veterans, their spouses, and their children.
MENTORING PROGRAM HELPS WV STUDENTS PREPARE FOR COLLEGE
BRADSHAW, WV - A project that mentors high school students in McDowell County is seeing success.
Eighteen students from Mount View High in Welch and River View High in Bradshaw were chosen a year ago to participate.
Nearly all of them took their first plane trip last summer to Washington, D.C., where they visited college campuses, job sites and met members of Congress. Each student was assigned a mentor to regularly discuss school, life issues and choices.
Seventeen seniors in the program will graduate with their classmates. The other participant is a junior.
Some have had rough lives in broken homes. Most will be the first in their families to go to college.
They’re the first wave in the three-year Broader Horizons mentoring program funded by a $300,000 grant from AT&T, one of more than 120 partners in Reconnecting McDowell.
That project led by the American Federation of Teachers aims to improve opportunities in the county.
PARTICIPANTS IN RECONNECTING MCDOWELL MENTORING PROGRAM
A look at some of the participants in the Broader Horizons high school mentoring program in McDowell County:
MOUNT VIEW HIGH SCHOOL:
Rayven Bailey is pregnant, but it won’t hamper her plans to major in elementary education at Bluefield State College. She wants to remain in McDowell County after college. “There are kids here that have parents that have drug habits and they don’t have anybody to really look up to,“ Bailey said.
Rashawn Brooks played basketball in high school and plans to study sports management at West Virginia State. He splits time at his own home and with his grandmother, a big influence in his life. He said the mentoring program helped teach him to communicate better.
Toni Campbell’s mother died when she was young. She lives with a grandmother and cousin, and has siblings and step-siblings “too many to count.“ She plans to study biology at Concord University and wants to become an anesthesiologist.
Brandon Grubb plans to study forensic investigations at West Virginia University Tech. Early in life, floods forced his family to move to another part of the county. Due to his career path, he doesn’t anticipate working in McDowell County after college.
Emily Hicks will graduate third in her class with honors. The captain of the cheerleading team hopes to study elementary education at Davis & Elkins College but worries about finding enough available scholarships and grants. “It’s a lot of money coming where we come from,“ she said.
Marlin Marrs will study physical therapy at Bluefield College in Virginia. The son of a single mom played baseball, basketball and football. He said all youth in the county would benefit if officials built a recreation center.
RIVER VIEW HIGH SCHOOL
Hannah Barnett will study communications at Concord on a service-based scholarship. During the mentoring program, she enjoyed a tour of the University of Maryland’s student-run broadcast studios..
Emmilea Hatfield has bounced from home to home and lives with a friend’s grandmother. She said her parents abused drugs and alcohol, had no jobs and didn’t go to college. “I decided that I wanted to be the complete opposite of them.“ She’ll study elementary education or social work at West Virginia State.
Christian Nealen is the only junior among the group. His father committed suicide a year ago. Nealen is involved in more than a dozen activities and clubs and takes advanced-placement classes. “I keep my head up,“ he said. “I have plenty of support. This community is a loving environment to be around and a great place to grow up in.“
Matt Thornsbury lives with his grandmother and unemployed father in a former coal camp. Thornsbury plans to study English and political science at West Virginia University. For Thornsbury, maintaining solid grades wasn’t the problem. Finding a way to pay for college was. “There’s not a lot of money floating around down here,“ said Thornsbury’s father, Rick. “He’s toughed it out.“
WEST VIRGINIA MUSEUMS TO LET MILITARY MEMBERS IN FOR FREE
CHARLESTON, WV - Several West Virginia attractions are participating in the National Endowment for the Arts initiative to offer free admission to active-duty military members and their families.
The Blue Star Museums program includes more than 2,000 museums across the country offering the deal starting next week through Labor Day.
Participating state attractions are the Huntington Museum of Art, the Children’s Discovery Museum in Morgantown, the Morgantown History Museum, the Watts Museum at West Virginia University, the Marion County Historical Society Museum in Fairmont, the Museums of Oglebay Institute in Wheeling, the Arthurdale Heritage museum, and the Mountaineer Military Museum in Weston.
The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston will begin offering free gallery admission to military families next Wednesday.
WV FILM OFFICE HOLDING PRODUCTION SEMINAR
FAIRMONT, WV - A training seminar for people wanting to become production coordinators in the film industry is set for next month in Fairmont.
The West Virginia Film Office will hold the seminar June 19 and 20 at the I-79 Technology Park.
Skills training will be provided by the Atlanta-based Film Industry Training Seminars.
Those who complete the training will be eligible for listing in the film office’s online Crew and Vendor Directory.
The seminar is free for current military members, $40 for high school seniors and college students, and $50 for directory members.
The public can register for $60. After June 10 that cost increases to $75.
Film Office director Pam Haynes says more than 185 people have been trained in different skill sets at other seminars over the past two years.
MURRAY ENERGY EXPECTS MORE THAN 1,800 COAL MINE LAYOFFS
CHARLESTON, WV - Coal giant Murray Energy expects to lay off more than 1,800 mine workers, most from West Virginia.
The St. Clairsville, Ohio-based company announced Friday it plans to lay off 1,417 West Virginia miners. Illinois would lose 162 jobs. Ohio would lose 249.
The Monongalia County mine would be hit hardest, with 588 layoffs. It was temporarily idled in March.
Murray attributed layoffs to natural gas competition and blasted the Obama administration, which is pushing climate change regulation targeting coal-fired power plants.
Media reports say CEO Robert Murray mentioned the layoffs Thursday at the North American Coalbed Methane Forum in Cecil, Pennsylvania.
Last month, Murray announced 214 layoffs, including 128 contractors, at three underground West Virginia mines.
Murray bought five underground northern West Virginia mines from CONSOL Energy in December 2013.
WORLD’S OLDEST PERSON, MICHIGAN WOMAN TURNS 116 ON SATURDAY
DETROIT, MI —Recently crowned as the oldest person in the world, Michigan resident Jeralean Talley turned 116 years old on Saturday.
Talley became the world’s oldest person last month after the death of Gertrude Weaver, who was also 116. Weaver held the title for less than a week, as she died just five days after Japan’s 117-year-old Misao Okawa.
Talley is one of three living members of the 19th century club, having been born on May 23, 1899 in Montrose, GA. In 1935, she moved to Michigan, where she married her husband, Alfred, who died at the age of 95 in 1988.
Relatives say she remains in good health, active and mentally astute. Until just a few years ago, she continued to bowl—a favorite pastime—and even mow her own lawn.
Two birthdays ago, Talley received a personally-written letter from President Barack Obama, congratulating her for being a part of an “extraordinary generation.“ This year, she received yet another well wish from her presidential pen pal.
“The breadth of your experiences and depth of your wisdom reflect the long path our Nation has traveled since 1899,“ Obama wrote. “During this time, there have been setbacks and breakthroughs, false starts and improbable victories, and through it all our country’s spirit has endured—strengthened and enriched by each generation.“
The world’s oldest woman also received a token of appreciation from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services this week—a check for $116.
Talley has never really offered a firm formula for living so long, saying simply, “It’s all in the good Lord’s hands. There’s nothing I can do about it.“
The Talleys had one child, 77-year-old Thelma Holloway, who now lives with her mother and cares for her. Jeralean also has three grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
Having lived in three different centuries, the supercentenarian has lived to see a lot. The first airplane was flown by the Wright Brothers when she was four. She was almost 13 when the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic. The automotive industry boomed when she was in her twenties. And television took off in her forties.
Talley has also witnessed all of the 20th century’s most historic events, including six American wars. She was 15 when World War I began, 40 at the start of World War II, 51 for the Korean conflict, 56 for the Vietnam War, 91 for the Gulf War and 102 for the September 11, 2001, attacks that initiated the ongoing War on Terror.
“You’re more likely to the win the lottery than to reach this age,“ said Robert D. Young, director of the Gerontology Research Group’s Supercentenarian Research and Database Division, which tracks the world’s foremost elders.
For a little more perspective, consider that William McKinley was in the White House the year Talley was born, which was also the birth year of actors Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney, gangster Al Capone, writer Ernest Hemingway, and filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock—all of whom died decades ago.
USA Today reported in March that just five people born during the 1800s were still alive. Now there are only three: Talley, Georgia resident Susannah Mushatt Jones (born July 6, 1899), and Italian citizen Emma Morano-Martinuzzi (born November 29, 1899).
Of the 47 supercentenarians alive today, according to the GRG, 45 are women. The oldest living male is 112-year-old Sakari Momoi, of Japan. The only other man on the list is 112-year-old Yasutaro Koide, also of Japan.
The oldest human being ever verified was French citizen Jeanne Calment, who lived 122 years and 164 days.
GOVERNOR TOMBLIN ORDERS U.S. AND STATE FLAGS LOWERED IN OBSERVANCE OF MEMORIAL DAY
CHARLESTON, WV - In keeping with presidential proclamation, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today ordered all U.S. and State Flags on all state-owned facilities be lowered to half-staff from dawn until dusk, Monday, May 25, 2015 in observance of Memorial Day.
“Memorial Day is an opportunity for us to honor our family members, friends and fellow West Virginians who served in the nation’s armed forces and made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our freedom,“ Governor Tomblin said. “As we pay tribute to our service men and women, it is also important we share the stories of their patriotism and valor. West Virginia’s military members and veterans have made significant contributions to our state’s enduring legacy of service, and we remain forever grateful for their service and sacrifice.“
Governor Tomblin asks all West Virginians to unite in prayer for permanent peace on Monday at 11 AM and to observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 PM to reflect upon the service and sacrifice of our military men and women.