West Fork Conservation District Supervisors Meeting – Thursday 02.05.15


The West Fork Conservation District Board of Supervisors monthly meeting will be held on Thursday February 05, 2015, at the USDA Service Center, Mt. Clare, WV.

The meeting starts at 9:00 AM.

Please if you have questions contact Robin Ward district manager for the West Fork Conservation District at 304.627.2160 x 109.

The West Fork Conservation District in West Virginia is comprised of the following four (4) counties located in the northern-central portion of the state:

•  Doddridge County
•  Gilmer County
•  Harrison County
•  Lewis County

WVU Extension Service Offering TIMBER Workshop - 02.18.15

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia is the nation’s third most heavily forested state by percentage forest cover and contains some of the finest natural hardwood species in the world.

In addition, these forests serve as important habitat for abundant game and non-game wildlife species as well as some wildlife species of concern.

With private forestland owners responsible for almost 80% of West Virginia’s forests, it is particularly important to develop forest and wildlife management education programs specifically for this audience.

While there are a number of resources available to landowners around the state, very few landowners utilize this assistance and have very little basic knowledge about forest management and harvesting, personal opportunities on their property, and where they can get assistance. 

The TIMBER!!! program will provide woodland owners a better understanding of timber harvesting strategies, the equipment and road systems used, how timber harvests are carried out, and the wildlife habitats produced by timber harvest.

In addition, this program will educate landowners in the sound application of forest and wildlife management practices and direct them to available resources and assistance programs in woodland management. 

The evening workshop will further educate West Virginia landowners on the specifics of various timber harvest strategies, what to expect during a timber harvest, and the resulting impacts on wildlife.

First Dr. David McGill will introduce the common types of timber harvesting used to regenerate or otherwise improve the growth of forests.

Second, Dr. Ben Spong will discuss the equipment used and what to expect during a timber harvest.

Finally, Dr. Sheldon Owen will discuss the unique habitats produced by each type of timber harvest and benefits to associated wildlife species.

The workshop will be held Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 6:00 PM, at the Gilmer County Recreation Center.

The programs will cost $5 to assist with covering meal cost.

Please RSVP by Friday, February 13, 2015, to WVU Gilmer County Extension Office, 304.462.7061 or .

Sand Fork PTO Longaberg Bingo - 02.06.15

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

With the nation’s highest per capita percentage of residents in the military, there is no doubt West Virginians have answered the call to serve and defend our country for generations. During my 2015 State of the State address, I highlighted the efforts of our state’s hardworking service men and women who are making a difference in our state, including Retired United States Army Captain James L. McCormick of New Haven.

One of our state’s Silver Star recipients, the nation’s third-highest honor for valor in combat, James’ commitment to serving his country has continued long past his military service. In fact, he’s helped thousands of homeless veterans find jobs and housing through his non-profit organization, Raising Cane Farms, which employs combat-wounded veterans who have returned home and are adjusting to civilian life.

Through a partnership with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, James serves as the director of the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture project, the first program of its kind that directly assists veterans in becoming agribusiness owners. The West Virginia program has grown and currently serves as the model program for states across the country. To date, the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture project has helped recruit more than 100 West Virginia veterans to become farmers or agribusiness owners.

Farming is just one of the many opportunities for our state’s veterans. As we continue to expand our efforts to give our country’s servicemen and women the help they need when they return home, we’re providing the resources they need to become business owners and part of our state’s active workforce.

Making the transition back to civilian life and work environments after serving in the field can be a difficult challenge. Our nation’s military is the best-trained workforce in the world, and these men and women are equipped with skills learned during tours of duty that can translate into virtually any career. That’s why when our soldiers return home, we stand ready to help them in their efforts to find their place here in the Mountain State.

By logging on to, veterans can find links to services for employment, health care, training and education programs and a number of family resources, as well as local contacts and information on benefits veterans may not realize they’re eligible to receive.

This month, Hilton Worldwide and WorkForce West Virginia announced “Operation Opportunity Initiative,“ a program designed to provide hotel room assistance to veterans with job interviews, skills training, housing searches and any employment testing that would make travel a necessity during a job search. The rooms are provided to veterans at no charge, and WorkForce West Virginia offers support with the application process at local office across the state.

In addition to helping with interview skills and resumes, this program serves as one more way West Virginia is working to assist current service members, veterans, and their spouses find jobs faster and more easily than ever before.

Our veterans, like Capt. McCormick, are involved in their communities and are creating a vision for the future - one that would not be possible without their selfless sacrifice and service. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to create an environment that tells our veterans - when you come home, West Virginia will be waiting for you.

Three Minutes to Midnight

The Gilmer Free Press

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has just announced its latest nuclear Doomsday Clock moving ahead the minute hand to three minutes till midnight. The clock represents the count down to zero in minutes to nuclear apocalypse – midnight. This significant move of two minutes is the 22nd time since its inception in 1947 that the time has been changed.

In moving the hand to three minutes to midnight, Kennette Benedict, the Executive Director of the Bulletin, identified in his comments: “the probability of global catastrophe is very high”… “the choice is ours and the clock is ticking”…”we feel the need to warn the world” …”the decision was based on a very strong feeling of urgency.” She spoke to the dangers of both nuclear weapons and climate change saying, “they are both very difficult and we are ignoring them” and emphasized “this is about doomsday, this is about the end of civilization as we know it.” The Clock has ranged from two minutes to midnight at the height of the Cold War to 17 minutes till midnight with the hopes that followed the end of the Cold War. The decision to move the minute hand is made by the Bulletin’s Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates.

What is clear is that the time to ban nuclear weapons is now. Today’s announcement by the Bulletin further corroborates the dangers confirmed by recent climate science. These studies identify the much greater dangers posed by even a small regional nuclear war using “just” 100 Hiroshima size bombs out of the 16,300 weapons in today’s global stockpiles. The ensuing dramatic climate changes and famine that would follow threaten the lives of up to two billion on the planet with effects that would last beyond 10 years. There is no escaping the global impact of such a small regional nuclear war.

Medical science has weighed in on the impacts and devastation of even the smallest nuclear explosion in one of our cities and the reality is there is no adequate medical or public health response to such an attack. We kid ourselves into a false sense that we can prepare and plan for the outcome of a bomb detonation. Every aspect and facet of our society would be overwhelmed by a nuclear attack. Ultimately the resultant dead at ground zero would be the lucky ones.

Probability theorists have long calculated the dismal odds that the chance for nuclear event either by plan or accident are not in our favor. Recent documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act detail more than 1,000 mishaps that have happened in our nuclear arsenals. Time is not on our side and the fact that we have not experienced a nuclear catastrophe is more a result of luck than mastery and control over these immoral weapons of terror.

The time to act is now. There is so much that can and must be done. Congress will soon begin budget debates that include proposals to increase nuclear weapons spending for stockpile modernization by $355 billion over the next decade and up to a trillion in the next 30 years–expenditures for weapons that can never be used and at a time when the economic needs for our country and world are so great.

Around the world, there is a growing awareness of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and a corresponding desire to rid the world of these weapons. The Vienna Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons conference last month saw 80 percent of the nations of the world participating. In October 2014, at the UN, 155 nations called for the elimination of nuclear weapons. At Vienna, 44 nations plus the pope advocated for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

The people are making their voices heard and demanding a change of course from the status quo.

In this week’s State of the Union address, President Obama emphasized that we are one people with a common destiny. He said this both in reference to our nation and our world. The threat of nuclear weapons unites us even as it threatens our very existence. This reality can also be remembered in the words of Martin Luther King when he said,
“We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

The time for action is now, before it is too late. It’s three minutes till midnight.

~~  Robert F. Dodge, M.D. -  A practicing family physician ~~

Area Closings and Delays on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Status of Area Closings and Delays on Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Glenville State College  
Gilmer County Courthouse
Gilmer County Senior Center
Gilmer County Schools  
Braxton County Schools  
Calhoun County Schools  
Doddridge County Schools  
Lewis County Schools  
Ritchie County Schools  
Barbour County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Clay County Schools  
Harrison County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Nicholas County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Pleasants County Schools  
Roane County Schools  
Tyler County Schools  
Upshur County Schools  
Webster County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Wirt County Schools  
Wood County Schools  

Meditation Moment - WHAT ABOUT BIBLE TRUTH?

The Gilmer Free Press


What is Bible Truth?  Can we know Bible Truth?  Is it important that we know Bible Truth?

The answers to these questions and other questions about Bible Truth are found in God’s Word.

Bible Truth Is Absolute.

Some have the idea that Bible Truth is relative.

That is, truth to one person is not necessarily truth to another.

What this philosophy says is that you can basically do, teach, and practice whatever you desire, and God will accept it since there is no absolute truth.

If Bible Truth is relative, there can be no false belief, teaching, nor practice.

If Bible Truth is relative, why did Jesus say, “Beware of false prophets” (Matt. 7:15)?

How can we “try the spirits” (I John 4:1) if Bible Truth is relative?

How can we “all speak the same thing” (I Cor. 1:10) if Bible Truth is relative?

These verses cannot be obeyed without believing and understanding that Bible Truth is not relative, it is ABSOLUTE.

Bible Truth Is Attainable.

Can we know the truth?

In John 8:31-32, Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, (then) are ye my disciples indeed: And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

Yes, truth can be known.

Not only can we know it, we must know it in order to be saved (I Tim. 2:4).

If we cannot know the truth, why are we told to study to show ourselves approved (II Tim. 2:15), search the scriptures (John 5:39; Acts 17:11) and meditate upon the scriptures (Psa. 1:1-2)?

Yes, Bible Truth can be known—it is ATTAINABLE.

Bible Truth Is Authoritative.

It is in knowing and obeying Bible Truth, we have freedom from sins (Rom. 6:23; I Peter 1:22).

How can we know what is right or wrong, what is truth or error?

It is found only in the Bible.

We must have Bible authority for all we believe, teach and practice (Col. 3:17; I Thess. 5:21; II Tim. 3:16-17).

If we want to prepare ourselves for a home in Heaven, we must know and obey the truth (Matt. 7:21-23).

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent: (John 17:3).


Glenville Church of Christ
211 Powell Street, Glenville WV
Noel Roberts - Phone 304.462.8136

G-MM™: Meditation Moment   150128


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.


The Holiness of Everyday Life

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat [“is truly hidden”] — the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

Acts 15:36, 16:6-10

How the Gospel Came to Europe:

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

And after some days [following the Council of Jerusalem] Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.”

      *      *      *

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.

And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Notes on the Scripture

Since we have been studying 1 Thessalonians, an epistle written during Paul’s second journey to a church founded during the same journey, it seems like a perfect time to step back and examine one of the critical moments in the history of Christianity: the coming of the Gospel to Europe. I would urge anyone to read the full account in Acts 16-18, for the trip was filled with colorful characters and incidents.

We have done a map of the cities he visited: Map of Paul’s Second Missionary Journey. He no doubt visited others, but these are the ones recorded in Acts.

In 49 A.D., the Council of Jerusalem had just ruled that Gentiles did not need to be circumcised, i.e. follow all the arcane rules of Judaism, in order to be admitted as full members of Christian churches. Paul, to whom Christ had given the mission of spreading the faith to the Gentiles, was now free to preach the Gospel to the world. At the time, Christianity was a tiny religion confined to Asia Minor — the little area in southwest AsiaNote that the word “Asia”, in ancient times, referred to a small province in northwest Turkey; the name somehow was borrowed to refer to the great continent we call “Asia” today. including Turkey (Anatolia/Galatia/Cilicia and other tiny provinces), Syria, Palestine, and the bordering regions.

Paul returned to the churches he had founded in the parts of Turkey close to Syria (Antioch). He was comfortable there, as Tarsus, his birthplace, was in Cilicia. But while he was there, a man came to him in a vision telling him to travel to Macedonia. This was a long, difficult, and dangerous journey, involving travel by sea, to an area as foreign to Paul as Korea or Bolivia might be to us. The Hebrews, a mountain-dwelling herding people, especially disliked anything to do with the ocean.

But God summoned him to Greece, and so he and Silas crossed the Aegean and traveled to Philippi, where the first church in Europe was begun. Although every city was different, a general pattern emerged: he encountered one or more people who seem to have been called to the Gospel and immediately tried to help him; he preached in the synagogue and angered the Jews, who pursued him; several of the Jews, however, would be converted; he angered the local authorities and got beaten and/or thrown into prison, from which he escaped; and he had to sneak out of town, leaving behind a fledgling church.

The notable exception was the great city of Corinth, a commerical port city at the crossroads of trade; it was so wild and corrupt that the governor could not be bothered to take action against a minor religious sect. It might well have been the greatest city, in terms of population and wealth, between Antioch and Rome, outstripping even Athens and Byzantium (Constantinople) at the time. Paul was able to stay in Corinth for 18 months in comparative safety; and it was here where he wrote his early epistles. He could not return to cities such as Thessalonica. As he put it, Satan barred his path; although, as is so often the case, Satan acted through human agents, men who would have killed him on the spot if they had caught him.

He was the model for thousands of courageous missionaries to come, for in Philippi, he (along with Silas) was subjected to a humiliating public trial, stripped of his clothes, severely beaten with rods, and imprisoned. He escaped but thereafter avoided the main roads, and narrowly avoided a similar fate, or worse, in Berea and Thessalonica.

He stopped in Athens on his way to Corinth, giving us a short but fascinating account of his debate with the Stoic philosophers, and then found safe haven in Corinth, to recover from the brutal events of his trip. And from there, he travelled back to Antioch via Ephesus.

Europe would become the great center of Christianity, and this is how it all got started: one brave man appointed by Christ, and his companion, traveling in a rickety wooden boat to a strange land, to endure horrendous hardship and near death, in order to plant the Holy Spirit in a handful of towns and cites on the eastern fringe of the continent.

D. Breyer Mathess

The Gilmer Free Press

D. Breyer Mathess

Age 20, of Stone Lick Road, Jane Lew, WV passed away unexpectedly at 12:26 PM on Sunday January 25, 2015 in the Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown as a result of injuries sustained in an accident at his residence.

He was born in Clarksburg, WV on February 28, 1994 a son of Steven R. Mathess and Wendy Frashure Mathess of Jane Lew.

His quick wit and resourcefulness will be carried on by his family: one son, Brandson Reid Mathess of Jane Lew; fiance’, Taylor Wolfe of Buckhannon; maternal grandmother, Dottie S. Bush of Tanner; paternal grandparents: Larry and Vicki Mathess of Buckhannon; paternal great grandmother, Mary Lou Kane of Buckhannon; Paternal great grandfather, Clarence Mathess of Cox’s Mills; two aunts: Nikki Frashure of Jane Lew and Aimee Snyder and husband Mike of Morgantown; and the family dogs, who miss him dearly.

Breyer was a graduate of Lewis County High School and worked with his father in the family business, Gutter Express Inc. installing seamless gutters and downspouts. He and his fiance’ were looking forward to starting a new chapter in their lives as they planned their upcoming wedding and shopped for a new home. He enjoyed spending time with his family, especially deer hunting with his dad, riding 4 wheelers, and he liked to watch military documentaries, westerns, and the history channel.

He attended the Sand Run Baptist Church in Buckhannon.

Friends and family will gather at the Pat Boyle Funeral Home and Cremation Service at 144 Hackers Creek Rd. in Jane Lew from 5-8 PM on Thursday January 29, 2015.

Funeral Services will be held at 1 PM on Friday with Pastor Don Butcher officiating. Interment will follow in the Hiney Cemetery in Linn.

The family requests that flowers be omitted and donations be made to Miracles Happen 201 Edgington Lane Wheeling, WV 26003-1513.

Their program focuses on mental health and substance abuse recovery.

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

Addison Faith Greiner

The Gilmer Free Press

Addison Faith Greiner

Heaven has been graced with the arrival of its newest angel, Addison Faith Greiner, who was born premature at just 19 weeks and 5 days, when God gave her wings and called her home to Heaven from the Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown at 5:29 AM on Sunday, January 25, 2015.

Addison blessed the lives of her parents, William Alan Greiner and Ashley Dawn Allen, the minute they saw her sweet, innocent face during her first ultrasound. With just one look at this beautiful new life with a strong beating heart, they fell in love and formed an everlasting bond with this precious little soul who brought hope and peace to their plans for a future together.

God had special plans for Addison so he sent his most loving majestic angels to carry her home on their wings.

At just 7 ounces and 9.5 inches long, Addison touched the hearts and lives of family and friends who were looking forward to welcoming her into the world, teaching her what they’ve learned, and raising her with love and gratitude.

She will be missed by her maternal grandparents, Richard and Vicky Allen of Alum Bridge; paternal grandparents, Timothy and Vonda Greiner of Buckhannon Run; paternal great step grandmother, Judith Barrett of Turnertown; and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Family and friends will gather to share their love for Addison at a Graveside Service at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in Jane Lew at 11 AM on Saturday January 31, 2015 with Reverend Ben Hall officiating.

The Pat Boyle Funeral Home and Cremation Service at 144 Hackers Creek Rd. in Jane Lew is honored and privileged to serve the family of Addison Faith Greiner.

LeRoy Cook

The Gilmer Free Press

LeRoy Cook

Age 62, of Gassaway, WV passed away Monday, January 26, 2015 at Braxton Memorial Hospital, Gassaway.

He was born July 27, 1952 in Sutton, WV the son of the late John Leonard & Mary Bernice Jarvis Cook.

Also preceding him in death were his sisters, Carolyn S. Williford, Janice L. Miller and Mary Ann Botley.

LeRoy was a Construction Worker.

He is survived by his loving wife, Patricia Riffle Cook, son, David Lee Cook (Angela) of Cairo, WV, step-son, David Riffle of Huntington, WV, step-daughter, Tabitha Mays (Daniel) of Flatwoods, brothers, John D. Cook (Shirley), James W. Cook (Ann), Larry D. Cook and Charles T. Cook (Anita) all of Sutton, sisters, Norma J. Cook and Bobbie J. Barker (Mitch) both of Sutton, 7 loving grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held 1:00 PM Thursday January 29, 2015 at Greene-Robertson Funeral Home, Sutton with Rev. Dr. Allan Copenhaver officiating.

Burial will follow at Camden Hill Cemetery, Sutton.

Friends may call Wednesday January 28, 2015 6-8 PM at the funeral home.

Greene-Robertson Funeral Home is humbled to be serving the Cook Family.

William Jacob Gaughan

The Gilmer Free Press

William Jacob Gaughan

Age 82, of Morgan’s Run community, West Union, WV passed peacefully into Heaven on Saturday, January 24, 2015 in Elkins Hospice Care with his niece and nephew by his side.

He was born July 04, 1932 in Jeanette, PA a son of the late Mark A. Gaughan, Sr. and Virginia Francis Monahan Gaughan.

He is survived by his wife Ruth Fleming Gaughan, one step-son, Clark Swentzel and wife Kathleen, Timonium, MD, one step-daughter, Judy Frashure and husband Stan, Palmyra, VA, five step grandchildren, 8 step great grandchildren, two brothers, Richard Gaughan, Sistersville, Edward J. Gaughan, Clarksburg, his nephews, Mark A. Gaughan III and wife Lori, Chesapeake, VA, Michael E. Gaughan, Sarasota, FL, Richard W. Gaughan and wife Sheri, Virginia Beach, VA, Patrick Gaughan and his wife Amanda, Lost Creek, Michael Gaughan, Morgantown, Nicholas Gaughan, Connecticut, John Gaughan and wife Jan, Australia, Daniel Gaughan and wife Tania, Australia, Christopher Gaughan and wife Joanne, Australia and Nathaniel Gaughan, Australia and his nieces, Maria Gaughan Whisner and husband James, Clarksburg, Maura Grana, Australia and Elizabeth Grawe and husband John, Illinois.

Mr. Gaughan was a retired Quality Control Technician for PPG and Fourco Glass. He was a United States Air Force veteran serving 1951-1954.

He attended Morgan’s Run Church.

Bill was a kind and loving mentor and father like figure to his many nieces and nephews. He loved the Lord and knew where he would be spending eternity. He smiled and joked with whomever he could until the very end.

Funeral services will be conducted in the Spurgeon Funeral Home, 212 Front St., West Union on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 11:00 AM with Pastor Randy Plaugher officiating.

Interment will follow in the Masonic Memorial Park, West Union.

Full military honors will be accorded by the Combined Doddridge County Veterans Organizations.

The family will receive friends in the funeral home chapel on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 from 10 AM until time of service.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care Corp. 169 Diamond Street, Elkins, WV 26241.

Spurgeon funeral Home is privileged to serve the Gaughan family.

Comics - Whipping

The Gilmer Free Press

Sand Fork Elementary Honor Roll - 2nd Nine Weeks – 2014-15

Sand Fork Elementary School



Jozlyn Brenwald

Keven Foster

Morgan Putnam


Jacob McCord

Seanna McCord

Lucas Ward


Trinity Bancroft

Alex Conrad

Elijah Facemire

Taylor McHenry

Adam Stewart

Karma Towner

Seth Wine

Lucas Young


Emma Fox

ZaKya Mann

Kyle Moss

Brittany Talbott


Culture Shifts at Education Department

The Gilmer Free Press

In his prepared presentation for the finance committee last week, State Superintendent Martirano said, “All the resources now that we have defined in our budget are aligned to a strategic plan.”

He said that means each line-item must support academic achievement.

“We’re shifting culture in terms of having conversations about how does all the dollars we’re talking about that are devoted to education support the young people’s efforts for academic achievement,” he said.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s recommended budget for the Department of Education, including the budget for the Schools for the Deaf and Blind, is $1,976,433,081. That is $532,934 less than the department requested and $33,093 less that the appropriation for the current fiscal year.

Although the Education Department’s budget contains many cutbacks, Martirano and Panetta said several spending increases also are included. “The governor in his expected budget that he submitted to the legislature was very kind to us,” Panetta said. “He did provide several new items.”

The increases are:

    •  Early Learning

          •  Continued Development of the West Virginia Early Learning Reporting System –  $498,000

          •  Development of Regional Infrastructure for Transformative System of Support for Early Literacy – $1,384,000

          •  Pre-kindergarten to Third Grade Longitudinal Study (Evaluation) – $300,000

          •  Formula Funding for Districts – $6,200,000

    •  IT Academy – $656960

    •  CTE Credentialing for Students – $375,000

    •  Institutional Programs – $698,678

    •  Special Education – $5,000,000

    •  Office of Educational Performance Audits – $180,000

    •  West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind—$3,511,866

On the special education funding increase, Panetta said, “We’re seeing a lot of students with autism now that we hadn’t seen in the past, and obviously, those students are more expensive to serve. A lot of that’s federal funding, but we have to have the spending authority to be able to expend those funds.”

Martirano emphasized in his presentation that the staffing level at the Department of Education is not as big as some people think. Although almost 737 positions show up for the department on the State Budget Office’s staffing level report, many of them work in institutional programs, at the Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Cedar Lakes Conference Center, the School Building Authority, the Office of Educational Performance Audits, and the state school board staff. That leaves only 249 people working for the department itself at Building 6 of the Capitol Complex.

“From 1985 to 2015, there has been a 24% reduction in staffing at the Department of Education,” Martirano said. “At the same time during that period of time, federal mandates have come along – and we get money for federal funding – there’s been an increase by 26%. Also, for the total grant and collection-funded [positions], there’s been a reduction of 57% of the overall positions.”

In addition, he said, as a result of the education efficiency audit conducted a few years ago, department staffing was reduced by 5% over two years. “So the staffing levels at the actual Department of Education are at an all-time low,” Martirano said. “We’ve met the expectations of the audit.”

As a result of a focus on continuous improvement, he said, he has reorganized the top level of the department “to make certain that we have form to function, talent to task.” He said he got rid of all the assistant and associate superintendent positions and flattened the organization. The department now has a chief officer overseeing each of five areas of responsibility, he said. [For a list of those, see the January 16 issue of The Legislature.)

“I have the philosophy [that] I’m from the central office, and I’m here to help,” Martirano said. “Not everybody always embraces that, but we have to move into a model of support to our local school systems, providing the opportunities for them to maximize the levels of instruction.”

In the next month, he said, his team of chief officers will do a complete review of the staffing levels that are below the chief level. That will determine whether the department has the right staffing patterns in place to support the efforts that support academic achievement, he said.

Panetta explained that, beginning in 2010, the department went through a series of state budget cutbacks. The budget proposed for the fiscal year that will begin in July, has an $87 million decrease in funding for the department, he said.

The biggest portion of that, $49.4 million, is the amount needed for the Teachers Retirement System. Another $10 million reduction is for the salaries for professional educators. Panetta said that’s partly because of a decline in enrollment of about 1,100 students this year. “But also, we’ve seen a continuous exodus of experienced teachers mostly due to retirement and the employment of new teachers…with a lower salary classification or degree classification,” he said. There has been an increase in service personnel, but the amount for base salaries decreased $2.7 million because of retirements of older workers, he said. The equity adjustment requires an extra $3.6 million in basic salaries, he said, but state aid funding is expected to decrease by $27 million.

Panetta noted that West Virginia’s per-pupil expenditure is a bit more than $12,000, which ranks high compared to other states, but that includes the funding that goes to pay off the unfunded liability for the Teachers Retirement System. That funding is about $1,300 per pupil, so what is left for per-pupil spending is $10,800, he said, and West Virginia would rank 21st in the nation using that number, which is close to the national average of $10,900.

Enrollment has declined by about 100,000 over the last three decades, Panetta said. It did increase two of the last five years, but it declined by 1,100 to 1,200 in each of the last two years, he said. If the natural gas boom in the Marcellus Shale fields continues, that might turn around, he said.

Terry Harless, the department’s chief financial officer, explained to the delegates that the School Aid Formula is 95 percent of the department’s budget. “The Department of Education is basically a pass-through agency,” he said.

When Canterbury asked how recommendations from the education audit are reflected in the budget, Martirano said the department has submitted to the governor’s office a detailed report on that. Most of the audit recommendations have been met, he said, promising the committee members would get copies of the report.

~~  Jim Wallace ~~

Health Officials Share Importance of Cervical Cancer Screening and Vaccine

The Gilmer Free Press

Health officials with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) Women and Children’s Hospital today reminded residents about the seriousness of cervical cancer during an awareness event hosted by CAMC as part of National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

“Cervical cancer is highly preventable because of screening tests and vaccine,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling.  “Today, we joined our partners from both the private and public sector to highlight this serious disease and the interventions available to help protect the health and well-being of the women of West Virginia.”

“It’s important to remember that half of all cervical cancers occur in women rarely or never screened for cancer, and another 10%–20% of cancers develop among women who were screened, but did not receive adequate follow-up care,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health.

There were 107 women diagnosed with cervical cancer in West Virginia last year and data indicate that approximately 100 more women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year.

“Cervical cancer is preventable with Pap screening tests and vaccine to combat human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the main cause of cervical cancer,” said Stephen H. Bush, MD, FACOG, Associate Professor and Chairperson of the West Virginia University Charleston Division Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  “Cervical cancer deaths decreased 70% between 1955 and 1992, and continue to decline each year due to increasing use of the Pap test.  The HPV vaccine is nearly 100% effective in preventing the most common types of HPV-related cervical cancer.” 

The Pap test can detect changes in the cervix before cancer develops and it can detect cancer in its earliest stages when more treatment options are available.  For males and females under the age of 26, HPV vaccination is available and helps to prevent cervical cancer in women.

The West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (WVBCCSP) provides free or low-cost Pap tests for low-income, uninsured or underinsured women.

“More than 300 providers statewide offer this service to program-eligible women,” said Gupta. “An uninsured woman with a family of four can have a total household income of $59,628 and still be eligible for the program.” 

To learn more about cervical cancer and the WVBCCSP, visit, stop by your local health department or call 1.800.642.8522.

WayBackWhen™:  OEPA Report & Takeover of Gilmer County Schools

The Gilmer Free Press

Click to read the entire printable
OEPA Report on Gilmer County Schools


Watch the Takeover at West Virginia Board of Education

Pat’s Chat - 01.25.15

The Gilmer Free Press

A Minister passing through his church in the middle of the day, decided to pause by the altar to see who came to pray.  Just then the back door opened, and a man came down the aisle; the minister frowned as he saw the man who hadn’t shaved in a while.  His shirt was torn and shabby, and his coat was worn and frayed.  The man knelt down and bowed his head, then rose and walked away.

In the days that followed at precisely noon, the preacher saw this chap.  Each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunch pail in his lap.  Well, the minister’s suspicions grew.  With robbery a main fear, he decided to stop and ask the man, what are you doing here?  The old man said he was a factory worker and lunch was half an hour.  Lunchtime was his prayer time, for finding strength and power.  I stay only a moment, because the factory’s far away; as I kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kinda what I say:


The minister feeling foolish told Ben that it was fine.  He told the man that he was welcome to pray there anytime.

‘It’s time to go, and thanks,‘ Ben said, as he hurried to the door.  Then the minister knelt there at the altar, which he’d never done before.  His cold heart melted, warmed with love, as he met with Jesus there.  As the tears flowed down his cheeks, he repeated old Ben’s prayer:  ‘I JUST CAME BY TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I’VE BEEN SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHERS FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.  I DON’T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.  SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME, JUST CHECKING IN TODAY.‘

Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Ben hadn’t come.  As more days passed and still no Ben, he began to worry some.  At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill.  The hospital staff was worried, but he’d given them a thrill.  The week that Ben was with them, brought changes to the ward.  His smiles and joy contagious, changed people were his reward.

The head nurse couldn’t understand why Ben could be so glad, when no flowers, calls or cards came; not a visitor he had.  The minister stayed by his bed, he voiced the nurse’s concern:  No friends had come to show they cared.  He had nowhere to turn.

Looking surprised, old Ben spoke up and with a winsome smile, ‘The nurse is wrong, she couldn’t know.  He’s been here all the while.  Every day at noon He comes here, a dear Friend of mine, you see.  He sits right down and takes my hand, leans over and says to me, ‘I JUST CAME BY TO TELL YOU, BEN, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP, AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN.  I THINK ABOUT YOU ALWAYS AND I LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY, AND SO BEN, THIS IS JESUS JUST CHECKING IN TODAY.’

If this blesses you, pass it on. Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.  May God hold you in the palm of His hand and Angels watch over you.  (Anonymous on Email)


The Plight of Fayette ....... The State BOE Is Great at Making Bad Situations Even Worse!​

Fayette Is Brilliant - They Are Saying You Took It, You Fix It‏


The Gilmer Free Press
Fayette School Board Wants All Buildings Inspected

The Fayette County Board of Education has requested inspections of all school buildings in the district, following the sudden January 12 closure of a Collins Middle School building that forced roughly 400 students to miss almost a week of school.

Board member Leon Ivey said all five members presented a letter at a meeting Friday requesting that the state Department of Education approve comprehensive structural inspections, plus air quality inspections. The move follows a structural inspection of the Collins Middle seventh- and eighth-grade building earlier this month that led state schools Superintendent Michael Martirano to order the building shuttered.

After Collins’ closure, Ivey said he had been forwarding Fayette residents’ numerous requests for more inspections to the department and the state school board, which took over the district about five years ago. He said the state had asked for a show of the Fayette board’s support for the action.

“I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls, a lot of emails, asking ‘Please, make sure our children are safe,’” he said.

The Collins seventh graders returned to classes Tuesday at Fayetteville High School and the eighth graders returned at Oak Hill High School. The district is still seeking a permanent home for them.

County Superintendent Serena Starcher said the district wants to put a property tax increase before voters in May or June to fund building a new Collins, and possibly other projects such as portable trailer classrooms that could be built on the Collins campus as a home for students until the new building is constructed — a process that’ll likely take several years.

Starcher estimated it will cost $27 million to build a new school. The district is currently seeking a bond adviser to help suggest the right amount of money to request from voters. The superintendent told state school board members earlier this month that Fayette voters haven’t passed a bond since 1973, making Fayette one of 14 counties that haven’t passed a bond since then.

Less than 23 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the last attempted bond in 2009, Starcher said, and less than 14 percent approved of a previous attempt in 2001. Both of those bonds would’ve moved Collins students to Oak Hill High.

Fayette’s current school building plan doesn’t suggest that move; instead, it calls for a new school to be built at the current Collins location. The plan was formulated even before the district apparently realized the extent of the problems at the school.

Starcher originally planned to have Collins students back in class by January 15.

“With having to move furniture to the two high schools, moving teacher materials, moving supplies, it took longer than two days,” Starcher said. “Our maintenance department actually worked through the weekend and the (Martin Luther King Day) holiday to have it ready for the students to return.”

The superintendent said students won’t have to make up the days because the Department of Education has approved the use of already banked instructional time to compensate. Starcher said Collins students go to school about 30 minutes longer each day than the 5-and-a-half daily minimum hours the state requires middle schoolers to be in class.

While the Collins fifth and sixth graders remain in their old building on campus, the cafeteria they eat in was shuttered because it was part of the seventh- and eighth-grade building that was closed.

Starcher said the fifth and sixth graders have been eating in their classrooms, except for a mistake one morning when they apparently ate breakfast on the floor. On Thursday, the school opened up a cafeteria in a renovated shop on campus. With help from some cooks formerly at Collins, nearby New River Elementary School’s kitchen is being used to prepare meals for the middle school, which are then transported to the school.

After hearing from Starcher at their meeting earlier this month, some members of the state school board said they don’t have authority to allocate funds to fix Fayette’s problems.

“Maybe, we could’ve been a little more aggressive, perhaps, about things,” said board member Lloyd Jackson. “But you all have tried and we’ve tried. We don’t have money independently as a school board to just start building buildings down there.

“…At some point, the people of Fayette County have to step up and pass a bond there, and I think we’ve got to give them the opportunity as soon as possible to do that.”

Jackson’s comments came after about a dozen Fayette residents urged action to fix the district’s facilities. Some speakers, rushing to finish their comments in the 2-minutes apiece the board allotted them, accused members of inaction, and said if it they don’t fix things they should give power back to the local school board.

“I’m not here to talk about the failure of the board of education in Fayette County because you took us over 5 years ago,” Ivey said. “I’m here to talk about your failure as a board for 5 years of doing nothing.”

Ivey criticized the state school board in the fall of 2013, when it voted to exclude Fayette’s smallest high school, Meadow Bridge, from a proposed high school consolidation that Ivey argued would save money and increase educational opportunities for students. He said the board particularly needs to get out of the way of consolidating schools in the district, where he said total enrollment has dropped from 13,000 when he graduated high school in 1991 to fewer than 7,000 today.

Denise Smithson, a faculty member at Collins, told the state school board many were hopeful for improvement in Fayette schools before it took over, but their spirits have since been broken.

“We have lost our school community and outstanding, award-winning music and band program,” Smithson said. “We have lost our school library, our yearbook, we have lost our gymnasium, our cafeteria, our art rooms, our science labs, and finally, we have lost, in its entirety, our student body. We have been decimated, and divorced, it could not be more painful.”

~~  Ryan Quinn ~~

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia News     150127

The Gilmer Free Press


A diesel fuel spill has left about 12,000 people in southeastern West Virginia without drinking water.

The city of Lewisburg says an estimated 3,975 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into a tributary of the Greenbrier River late Friday night when a tanker truck overturned on Route 92.

Lewisburg Public Works director Mark Carver tells media outlets the city shut down its treatment plant and intakes around 2:30 AM Saturday to prevent the fuel from contaminating the water supply. The system ran out of water Sunday afternoon.

Two tanker trucks have been set up at the West Virginia State Fair in Fairlea to distribute water.

Five schools are closed Monday because of the lack of water, along with restaurants.

City officials say it could be several days before water service is restored.


Three West Virginia counties will share more than $835,000 in federal hazard mitigation funding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the grants to Kanawha, Greenbrier and Tucker counties.

The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management says the grants will be used to buy generators for Alderson, Parsons and Greenbrier County. The funding also will be used to acquire property in South Charleston and to elevate houses out of the floodplain in Parsons and Pulp Bottom.

The state agency says in a news release that the funding was sought following the 2012 derecho, Hurricane Sandy and flooding in Mason and Roane counties.


A draft of a new state air quality permit for natural gas activities will be released next month.

The West Virginia Division of Air Quality’s new G80-A general permit would cover control and prevention of air pollution related to natural gas production, compressor and/or dehydration facilities.

The division plans to release the draft February 05, 2015 at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s headquarters in Charleston. A general overview will be provided during a morning session. More technical information will be provided during an afternoon session.

The DEP says two existing air quality permits covering natural gas activities will continue. But future registrations, modifications or administrative updates won’t be allowed. Modification of an existing registration covered by these permits will have to be done under the new permit.


Monongalia County School officials are exploring the idea of starting school later for high school students. Officials have a survey out right now for high school students in an effort to gather information and input on how adjusting the start of the school day could be beneficial.

“We’re working with a committee, we’ve had parent input on this on what we could do to adjust our schedule a little bit,“ explained Assistant Superintendent Becky Mattern.

Currently, buses drop off high school students first and class starts around 7 AM, then the buses go back out and pick up middle and elementary school students. However, Mattern says while the early start time helps accommodate the bus schedules, it might not be in the best interests of the students.

“I think we all agree the later we could start for them but its a matter of looking at all our buses, bus run, bus drivers and seeing what we could do to accommodate everybody.“

Mattern recalled being a high school teacher herself and admitted that teenagers are not always ready to absorb information early in the morning.

“It’s just their biology and the way they’re wired and the way their made. If we can accommodate that to some degree we certainly want to do so.“


State environmental regulators say the highest-risk aboveground storage tanks could face a $375 annual fee in a law to protect water supplies.

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman made the comments to a state Senate budget panel Monday. The fees aren’t finalized.

Out of more than 48,000 tanks registered under the law, Huffman said almost 3,800 near a water supply and 3,700 others considered high-risk could face the $375 annual per-tank fee.

Huffman said about 37,000 tanks that aren’t as risky could have to pay a $61 annual fee.

He said about 3,700 tanks containing substances like water and food products wouldn’t have to pay fees.

The law requiring inspections and registrations responds to a chemical spill that spurred a tap-water ban for 300,000 people last January.


West Virginia is abandoning a plan to house some inmates in Kentucky.

The state had considered the transfer of up to 400 inmates. The felony offenders would have received educational and other programs required for parole eligibility.

The reversal was announced on Monday, and officials pointed to a declining inmate population. They credited the passage of the Justice Reinvestment Act.

Signed by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in 2013, the act has reduced the regional jail backlog by hundreds of inmates through drug courts and other community treatment options. Legislation enacted last year has also ensured access to needed programs for inmates.

Corrections Corporation of America was the sole bidder for the West Virginia inmates. They were to be housed at CCA’s Lee Adjustment Center in Kentucky.


Companies have bid millions of dollars to drill for oil and natural gas beneath several state-owned lands in West Virginia.

On Friday, the state Department of Commerce opened bids for Marcellus shale fracking under several tracts of land.

Antero Resources bid about $8,100 per acre, or $2.3 million total, for mineral rights under Jug Wildlife Management Area in Tyler County. Jay-Bee Production Company bid between $5,000 and about $16,300 per acre for different parts of the same land.

Noble Energy bid about $5,100 per acre, or $685,000 total, to drill under Fish Creek and adjacent land in Marshall County.

StatOil USA Onshore Properties Inc. bid $9,000 per acre to drill under part of the Ohio River in Wetzel County.

The state requires an additional 20% royalty on what’s extracted.


A unanimous Supreme Court is ordering lower courts to take a new look at a dispute over a chemical company’s efforts to cut costs in its health plan for retired workers.

Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday wrote the court’s opinion that threw out a judgment in favor of the retirees of the Point Pleasant Polyester Plant in Apple Grove, West Virginia. M&G Polymers USA LLC is the current owner of the facility.

Lower courts ruled that some retirees had been promised lifetime, cost-free health benefits.

The Supreme Court did not decide whether the courts came to the right conclusion, only that they employed faulty legal reasoning in interpreting a 15-year-old agreement dealing with retiree pensions and other benefits.

The case is M&G Polymers USA LLC v. Tackett, 13-1010.


Police have shut down an area in northern Brooke County following a gas line explosion.

Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson tells media outlets that no injuries or structural damage has been reported.

He says the explosion occurred Monday morning near old riding stables and the gas is still burning.


The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Salem man for sexual abuse in the first degree.

Floyd Howard Walters, age 66, is charged with sexual abuse by a parent/guardian from an incident that occurred sometime between September and October of 2013, according to court documents.

Walters is accused of inappropriately touching a young, male relative.

Walters is currently in the North Central Regional Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.


A Charleston man wanted for ramming his truck head-on into a Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department cruiser was arrested Monday afternoon.

Authorities were looking for Brian Edward Spencer, age 34, of Falcon Drive, after he walked away from Charleston Area Medical Center Sunday. He was there after suffering injuries in the Sunday morning collision.

Deputies said Spencer was in a argument with family members Saturday night. He got into a truck and rammed his brother’s pick-up. His brother, Michael Spencer, age 42, and his brother’s son, age 7, were struck by the pick-up.

A few hours later, 3 AM Sunday, after Brian Spencer had allegedly been threatening his girlfriend and others, he rammed his truck head-on into a pick-up cruiser being operated by Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department Cpl. A.J. Miller. Miller was parked on Falcon Drive after being dispatched by 911. Miller said he saw the truck approach and heard the engine revving higher.

Cpl. Miller suffered minor injuries while the K9 in his truck did not appear to be injured according to the department. Spencer was initially in the intensive care unit but walked out of the hospital a few hours later.

He was arraigned on multiple charges in Kanawha County Magistrate Court Monday afternoon. He was arrested by deputies and U.S. Marshals.

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