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GSC: A Special Graduation Ceremony

GLENVILLE, WV – Olive Smith’s graduation from Glenville State College this May will be a day that she remembers fondly for years to come. The 86 years young graduate was to receive her Regents Bachelor of Arts degree along with the rest of the Glenville State College spring graduating class. Smith, although still active, opted not to make the three hour trip to the GSC Waco Center for the ceremony.

Not wanting her to miss out on her graduation, the college asked Dennis Pounds, Vice President for College Advancement, to make the trip to Smith’s home in Groveport, Ohio and make a personal graduation ceremony for her the following Monday, May 9. Having brought the gown, mortar board, and tassel as well as the coveted diploma, all of the pomp, if not all of the circumstance was present.

The Free Press WV
GSC’s Dennis Pounds presents Olive Smith with her diploma


The diploma presentation came about because Smith’s daughter, Cassie Kartman, inquired with GSC’s Registrar’s Office as to why her mother didn’t receive her diploma.

Glenville State College was offering classes in the 1980’s through Parkersburg Community College (PCC), as it was known at the time, and Smith was alternating between taking classes from GSC and PCC in those years. She left college in 1989, just hours short of the degree she was pursuing.

After some research, the Registrar’s Office staff determined that Smith was qualified for a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree and was eligible to participate in the May 7 Commencement Ceremony with the Class of 2016. The non-traditional RBA program is sponsored by West Virginia higher education institutions and examines academic background, life experiences, educational ambitions, career goals, and life objectives that are unique to each individual student.

“Education is important; the things I learned in college were lifesaving. It expanded my horizons and a lot of the courses that I took meant a lot to me,” said Smith.

“Glenville State College congratulates Mrs. Smith for receiving this degree and counts her among our many proud graduates. Betsy and I send our well wishes to Olive and her family and hope they enjoyed the personal ceremony that Mr. Pounds brought to Groveport,” said Glenville State College President Dr. Peter Barr.

07.01.2016
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Loving Thy Neighbor

The Free Press WV

Tragedy has a way of recalibrating priorities. When something really bad happens today, the stuff that worried us so much yesterday tends to dissipate.  We become focused on what must be done and, hopefully, get to it.

Since the horrific flooding last week, West Virginians have turned a laser-like attention on rescue and recovery. Folks who have lost so much in the floods have been overwhelmed by the goodness of friends, neighbors and strangers pitching in to help.

It’s doubtful the volunteers have thought much about why they are helping, beyond the idea that, well, it’s the right thing to do.

For some, it’s a proper exercise of their faith. The Bible is filled with teachings on the subject. In Matthew, Jesus tells the inquiring lawyer that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart and soul, but the second is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Some form of the Golden Rule is found in all major religions. The Dalai Lama said loving your neighbor is its own reward: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Psychologists have their own, more clinical explanation of the Golden Rule, suggesting that being kind to others triggers a reciprocity that improves your own mood.  “When we act with honesty, kindness and love, then we will begin to expect the people around us to do the same,” writes therapist Dr. Robert Puff in Psychology Today.  “Life will flow much better.”

It’s also theorized that through evolution we have become hardwired to be sympathetic, making us more conducive to survival, relationships and procreation.

The French coined the term “noblesse oblige,” meaning “nobility obligates.”  Individuals born of nobility had certain requirements to act with honor, kindness and generosity.  We have a broader, less royal version of that today where many who have benefitted from hard work or good fortune believe they have an obligation to give back.

Whatever the reason or reasons, so many people who were not directly impacted by the flooding are giving their time and resources to help others.  Last week, it was the muddy waters that roiled through communities causing death and destruction, but now it’s the inherent goodness in humanity that is flowing forth, helping and healing.

~~  Hoppy Kercheval ~~

Fourteen WV High Schools Receive Jennings Randolph Award for Registering Students to Vote

The Free Press WV

Charleston, WV – Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant awarded 14 West Virginia high schools with the Office’s Jennings Randolph Award during the 2015-2016 academic year. High schools receive the award when 100 percent of voting-eligible students register to vote. During the 2014-2015 academic year, four high schools received the award.

The following high schools received Jennings Randolph Awards during the 2015-2016 academic year:

Buffalo High School

Fairmont East High School

Fayetteville High School

Independence High School

Man High School

Meadow Bridge High School

Midland Trail High School

Mount View High School

Phillip Barbour High School

Ravenswood High School

River View High School

Sherman High School

St. Joseph Central Catholic High School

Wyoming East High School

Student leaders from the group Inspire West Virginia helped many schools meet the award criteria. Inspire student leaders collaborate with peers to lead nonpartisan voter registration projects at their high schools. They also receive training on the campaign and election process, and learn how to help support voter participation.

At the fourteen high schools receiving Jennings Randolph Awards, more than 1,200 students were registered to vote. Statewide, Inspire West Virginia registered 2,200 during the school year.

“We know that West Virginia faces a challenge in getting young residents registered to vote and then getting them to the polls. One solution to that challenge is our work with Inspire WV and the awarding of the Jennings Randolph Award,” said Secretary of State Tennant. “The numbers show that our work is paying off and civic engagement among West Virginia’s high school students is growing. I encourage rising high school seniors to challenge their classmates to achieve a Jennings Randolph Award during the 2016-2017 school year, and I encourage all newly-registered voters across the state to also get out to the polls and vote.”

Inspire West Virginia program coordinators Olivia McCuskey and Kathryn Long said, “We are so proud of our Inspired Leaders for their exemplary dedication to the civic health of West Virginia. We are ecstatic to see the number of Jennings Randolph Award recipients grow from last year and are excited to continue to improve West Virginia through our Inspired youth.” 


Jennings Randolph, the award’s namesake, is known as the father of the 26th amendment, which allowed 18-year-olds to vote. More information on the Jennings Randolph Award and the application for a school to receive the award are available on our website. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the 26th amendment, which was ratified on July 01, 1971. The Secretary of State’s Office will be partnering with Inspire and West Virginia high schools throughout the year to mark and celebrate this milestone.

Independence Day Safety

The Free Press WV

Bridgeport, WV – The Fourth of July holiday is right around the corner. As it approaches we must remember to keep safety as a first priority. There are dangers that come along with celebrating and it is important to take the necessary precautions to prevent accidents from occurring.

“Whether you’re spending the day on the water or enjoying a nice family barbecue, dangers can be found all around you,” said Christopher S. Goode, MD, FACEP, executive vice chair Department of Emergency Medicine at WVU Medicine, with clinical responsibilities at United Hospital Center’s Emergency Department. “The Fourth July, although a time of celebration, comes with many safety risks. The launching of fireworks, traveling, boating and consumption of alcohol can all have severe consequences if not properly handled.”


Traveling

There will be a lot of people traveling during the Fourth of July holiday this year, so it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to follow a few safety tips. Remember to stay off your cell phones and other devices while driving.
“Always be aware of your surroundings and buckle your seatbelt,” said Dr. Goode. “It is estimated that seatbelts can save 155 lives during holidays like the Fourth of July.”


Boating

One of the favorite ways of celebrating the Fourth of July is by getting the family together and hitting the lake. People enjoy taking their boats on the water, especially on a hot, holiday weekend. This can become dangerous when people start to neglect safety rules and regulations.

The number of boating related injuries this time of year has been on the rise. Dr. Goode says that between the years of 2013 and 2014, the number of deaths increased eight percent. People will neglect simple safety laws such as wearing a life jacket, which statistics consistently show that 80 percent of those who perished in boating accidents were not wearing. Boaters must also stay aware of others on the water. There will not only be other boats, but also kayakers and swimmers.


Fireworks

“In 2013 fireworks accounted for 11,400 injuries and eight deaths in the United States,” said Dr. Goode. “People need to remember that fireworks are explosives and should be handled with caution. That is why I always recommend that you should go see a fireworks display.”

However, we know that not everyone will heed such advice. Therefore, here are a few simple safety measures you can take to keep yourself and others around you safe when launching fireworks this Fourth of July. Remember to read all instructions before ever lighting a firework. Always launch off a flat surface and safely away from any bystanders, houses or flammable materials. Fireworks are to only be handled by adults; never should these be given to children, regardless of the type. A sparkler burns at 2000 degrees Fahrenheit which can melt some metals and easily injure a child’s hand. 


Drinking and Driving

“Drinking and driving can be a deadly combination when mixed together. People under the influence of alcohol are 11 times more likely to be in a car accident than those who are not,” said Dr. Goode. “In 2014 there were approximately 9,967 people killed in drunken driving incidences in the United States.”

If you want to keep yourself and others on the road safe this holiday weekend, then remember these rules:

• Always have a designated driver who can take you home, if your holiday celebrating includes the consumption of alcohol.

• A cab is also an option if you cannot find someone sober to drive you.

“The July Fourth celebration of our nation’s independence is one we all look forward to; just remember no matter how you choose to celebrate this great day, take a few moments to make safety part of your holiday plans,” said Dr. Goode.

DPMC Letter to the Commanding General, Corps of Engineers Citizens Will Be Heard

DPMC Letter to the Commanding General, Corps of Engineers
Citizens Will Be Heard Regarding Pipeline Permitting

In its third attempt to obtain a response to citizen requests to meet with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about that agency’s actions in regard to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) has been forced to go to the top of the Corps’ chain of command.

In a June 21, 2016 letter to Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite, the Corps’ Commanding General and Chief of Engineers, David Sligh requested that DPMC be granted a meeting with General Semonite and/or members of his headquarters staff.  In addition, DPMC asked that General Semonite investigate the failure of his officers in the Norfolk District and the North Atlantic Division to respond to our previous requests to those offices.

DPMC requested a meeting with Colonel Jason Kelly, Commander of the Corps’ Norfolk District in a letter sent on October 08, 2015.  Seven months after sending that letter, DPMC had received no reply from the Norfolk office.  On May 24, 2016, DPMC wrote Brigadier General William H. Graham, Commander of the Corps’ North Atlantic Division.  Aside from an email from a public affairs specialist in the Division office stating that he was “reaching out to members of our staff for assistance reviewing the information you provided,” we have yet to hear from that office on our meeting request.

The Free Press WV


Yesterday’s DPMC letter stated “[w]e are puzzled and disheartened by the seemingly dismissive attitudes toward our requests and concerns by those officers.”  The letter noted that DPMC is concerned “not only by the lack of responsiveness from Corps officials but also by an apparent intention to pre-judge the outcome of permit processing decisions by regulatory staff in Norfolk.”
“The people deserve an open and fair process by government agencies when their actions will have such serious impacts on our lives and property,” said Rick Webb, DPMC Coordinator. “When we can’t even get an answer to our letters, it’s clear that the Corps is not prepared to have an open exchange of information,” Webb stated.

Sligh stated in DPMC’s letter to General Semonite: “I trust that you will not countenance the treatment we have been given, which we can only regard as a lack of consideration and respect for our interests.  Common courtesy should command better.  We believe we have a right to receive timely responses to our communications and unbiased decision-making from our public servants.”

The DPMC has contacted the offices of Virginia Senators Warner and Kaine for assistance.

Related documents, including DPMC’s letter to Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite, Corps’ Commanding General and Chief of Engineers, can be accessed HERE.

Gilmer County Commission Regular Meeting - 07.01.16 - Today

The Free Press WV
AGENDA for REGULAR MEETING
July 01, 2016 @ 9:00 AM
Gilmer County Courthouse
Commission Office
10 Howard Street, Glenville, WV

I. CALL TO ORDER


II.  PLEDGE of ALLEGIANCE TO THE U.S. FLAG


III. PUBLIC COMMENTS


IV. APPOINTMENTS


V. ROUTINE BUSINESS:

          Discussion and/or action on:

                    1) Exonerations and/or Consolidations

                    2) Approve Estate Qualifications and Estate Settlements

                    3)  Board Appointments and/or Resignations: 

                              a)  Board Seats open on the:

                                        i. Unsafe Buildings & Lands Enforcement Agency - DeKalb/Troy & Glenville Corporation

                    4)  Budget Revisions

                    5)  Budget Control Report

                    6)  Approve Invoices for Payment

                    7)  Approve County Commission Minutes

                    8)  Receipt of County Board Minutes: 

                              a)  Gilmer County Public Service District Minutes-May 09, 2016

                              b)  Gilmer County Parks & Recreation Board Inc. Minutes-March 15, 2016

                              c)  Region VI LEO Board Meeting Minutes-March 10, 2016


VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS


VII. NEW BUSINESS:

          Discussion and/or action on:

                    a) Handicap accessibilities projects in courthouse


VIII. OTHER BUSINESS

                    a)  Senate Resolution No.11- Recognizing Calhoun and Gilmer County for their contributions to the State of West Virginia


IX. EXECUTIVE SESSION AS NEEDED


X.    ADJOURNMENT


NEXT MEETING: August 05, 2016

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►   FEMA Approves More than $3 Million in Assistance, U.S. DOT Offers $5.7 Million

Federal aid from various agencies is pouring into West Virginia following last week’s flooding that killed 23 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.

According to the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, more than 4,000 homeowners have registered for individual assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

As of midday Thursday, $3,175,915.74 in funding has been approved for FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program. Of that, $2,433,230.10 is directed to housing assistance and $742,6856.64 has been allocated for other needs assistance.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday in a news release the availability of $5.7 million in emergency relief fund from the Federal Highway Administration to help repair roads damaged by heavy rain and flooding in the state.


►   Attorney General Offers Advice on Potential Flood Scams

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office says it’s issued subpoenas, written letters and reached out to charities to protect consumers in the wake of devastating floods.

Morrisey’s office said in a news release that he directed his office to organize mobile office visits, contact area charities and expedite approval of any emergency state contract related to flood relief.

The office’s consumer protection hotline has had extended hours and was staffed throughout last weekend to receive any reports of price gouging, charitable fraud or scams impacting the disaster area.

Morrisey says most businesses in the state have been generous during the disaster.

Morrisey and U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins urged residents to report any scams or wrongdoing they encounter to the attorney general’s office and local law enforcement.


►   Cigarette Tax Hike, Other West Virginia Laws Taking Effect

Cigarettes are getting more expensive in West Virginia.

To balance the state budget, West Virginia will raise its cigarette tax by 65 cents to $1.20 a pack starting Friday. E-cigarette and other tobacco product taxes will also increase. The hike is expected to raise $98 million annually.

The move helps fill a budget hole left by sputtering coal and low natural gas prices.

July 01 starts the budget year, and several other laws also are taking effect.

Coal and natural gas producers will get a tax break of $110 million combined. They had been paying surcharges to cover a workers’ compensation debt for years.

A right-to-work law is kicking in. New and updated collective bargaining agreements starting Friday can’t require workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.


►   Crop Aggregation Facility Designed to Help Farmers Opens

West Virginia’s first crop aggregation facility designed to help local farmers has opened in Huntington.

Th Tuesday’s opening ceremony of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Huntington Aggregation Center included a demonstration of several pieces of new equipment that will be used at the facility.

The facility also gave local farmers a glimpse of how it could help them prepare their products for marketing.

State Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick says the facility will serve as a crop aggregation point for farmers. He says the goal is to capture some of the approximately $6 billion that state residents spend on agricultural products produced outside the state.

Helmick calls the facility a $475,000 investment that will help small farmers reach larger customer bases.


►   Country star Brad Paisley pitches in to help his home state following flood

One of West Virginia’s most popular natives is doing his part to help out in the wake of flooding last week that devastated parts of the state.

Country star Brad Paisley has set up a GoFundMe account, donating $100,000 to victims. He tweeted Wednesday night:

“Ok everyone, I’m going up to WV tomorrow to meet 1st hand with those on the ground. Let’s grow this number for them.”

The GoFundMe page has a statement from Paisley on his goal for the effort.

“On June 23rd, my home state of West Virginia experienced tremendous flooding that killed over 20 people and destroyed entire small towns. Three counties have been declared federal disasters and 44 of the 55 counties have been declared in a state of emergency. Now that the waters are receding it’s time to pitch in and help in any way we can. One of the best ways I have found that hopefully will raise the largest amount of money the quickest and get it to the people in need the fastest is through GoFundMe. I have set a goal of $1 million — this is doable and only a small portion of what is needed.”


►   Highway damage from floods at $16 million

Estimated damage to the state highway system from the historic flash flooding is currently at $16 million, according to state Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox.

During an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” Wednesday, Mattox said Clay County took the brunt of the damage.

“Clay County leads the list with about $5 million worth of damage, then Greenbrier County with about $4 million, Nicholas County with about $3.5 million and Kanawha County with about $2.5 million,” he said.

Seven bridges were destroyed by the floodwaters but Mattox said fortunately all were less than 100 feet long.

Although the damage is widespread, Mattox said it’s not as much as the 1985 flood.

“The flood did not impact large stretches of roadway like the 1985 flood or major bridges like the 1985 flood,” Mattox said.

One of the more expensive projects will be the repair of U.S. Route 60 at Caldwell in Greenbrier County where contractors were working Wednesday.

Mattox also said Wednesday, there are two communities near Clendenin in Kanawha County where residents still can’t get in or out by vehicle.

“The Left Fork of Leatherwood (Road) and also the Porter Creek area, we have nine homes stranded in one area and about half a dozen in the other,” he said. “I’m told that three small bridges on one of the roads we are going to have to replace and reconstruct the road, that will come later. Our major focus right now is to get a temporary road in and out of those areas.”

Kanawha County emergency officials have known about the situation and supplies have been walked into the area for a few days, county commission president Kent Carper said.

Getting to the areas is a priority, Mattox said.

“We’re going to put in at least a gravel road, put some pipe in the creek, and get those people so they can get in and out from their homes.”


►   DNR officer warns of looting in the wake of flood cleanup

In the wake of devastating flooding, there are some who are using the crisis to take advantage of those who have lost their homes and possessions.

DNR Officer Stuart Simms said looting has been an issue in the past week in areas hit hardest by the floods.

“There’s folks out there that are hurting, they’ve lost a lot of their property and it’s a shame that we’ve got individuals out there willing to take advantage of them,” Simms said.

Simms warned potential looters that they could be the target of violence if caught by residents who are already devastated.

“Looters will be lucky if they’re caught and arrested,” he said. “Otherwise, if a landowner catches them, who knows what’s going to happen.”

The DNR and other law enforcement will be keeping an eye out for future incidents of looting as the cleanup effort continues, Simms said.

“Just an unfortunate thing that’s been going on and hopefully one of us gets to them first. There’s just very little tolerance for that at this point.”

An arrest was made in Fayette County on Tuesday after a man was driving around the Nallen and Russellville area stealing from an abandoned vehicle.


►   National education leaders giving money for supplies at flooded West Virginia schools

First comes cleaning, then comes repairs and resupplying at the more than two dozen West Virginia schools damaged, in some form, in the June 23rd flood.

Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, is pledging his organization’s support for the affected teachers and students with about six weeks remaining before the start of the 2016-2017 school year in parts of the Mountain State.

“Everybody’s suffered enough right now and we want to make sure that we do everything we can to reach out and help all of our students come in with the things that they need to be successful,” Lee said.

On Wednesday, Lee talked with MetroNews from the National Education Association’s 154th Annual Meeting and 95th Representative Assembly in Washington, D.C. as flood damage assessments continued in West Virginia’s schools.

The 8,000 educators from across the U.S. on hand to talk about education policies for the upcoming school year were making donations to the West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education.

Those donations will be distributed to schools and teachers in need, according to Lee.  In places, entire school classrooms, media rooms, cafeterias and libraries were destroyed.

Additionally, toiletries for flood victims were being collected at the conference.

Later this summer, Lee said the WVEA planned to assist with school supply drives, coordinate supply allocations from unaffected West Virginia counties and draw on additional outside help from the NEA.

“Teachers will end up spending their summer getting prepared for August and, with a lot of their supplies gone, it’s going to be a very busy summer for them,” Lee said.

In a report from the state Board of Education, the school sites with the most severe damage as of Wednesday morning were Herbert Hoover High School, Clendenin Elementary and Bridge Elementary in Kanawha County; H.E. White Elementary School and the bus garage in Clay County; and Richwood High School, Richwood Middle School and Summersville Middle in Nicholas County.

“I’m not sure that all of them will able to open on time, but teachers are very resilient and will come up with some alternative schedules or, maybe, some sharing of buildings and things like that,” Lee said.

Teachers, he said, always “find a way to improvise” to make sure their kids don’t lose instruction time.

“We’re going to make sure that these kids are not going to suffer anymore devastation after the losses they’ve had,” Lee said.


►   Roane County residents have their own cleanup to do

Terry Timmerman calls Pennsylvania home but he lost a lot in last week’s flash flooding in Roane County.

Timmerman and several other natural gas pipeline workers have been on a job in Kanawha County for more than two months. They’ve parked their RVs in White’s Trailer Park between Clendenin and Amma on U.S. Highway 119. The flooding of Little Sandy Creek destroyed the entire park, both the RVs and permanent mobile homes.

Timmerman said the crew got rained out last Thursday. He said it really never stopped raining and by evening the creek was coming across the highway headed right for the trailer park.

“Within an hour it was up to the top of the doors on the RVs. That’s about six-feet high,” Timmerman said.

He and the others, temporary and permanent residents, grabbed a few things and ran to higher ground. From there they watched the disaster unfold.

“Everybody was quiet–knowing that everything you got in that trailer or RV is gone–you’ve lost it. It’s a sad feeling,” he said.

Just up the lane is where Junior Parker’s 77-year-old mother lived. He told MetroNews she barely got out alive.

“She waded up to her neck to get to that house up there,” he said pointing to a residence on the hill above. “She had some friends and they took her up there because she’s scared plum to death of water.”

There’s nothing left of the woman’s mobile home. It’s still on its foundation but filled with dried mud.

A drive further north on U.S. Highway 119 and a right turn on Amma Road shows additional damage to homes on flat ground along a few small creeks. That damage includes destroyed mobile homes and private bridges.

Roane County was approved for federal disaster assistance Tuesday evening.


►   School damage report

State school leaders are taking post-flood procedures day by day and assessment by assessment.

Damage has been reported in schools in 25 of the state’s 55 counties.

“I’m hopeful, but in some cases we’re very concerned about the severe damage,” said West Virginia Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano.

Tuesday morning he was meeting with local superintendents for updates on flood damage.

“My main concerns are in the counties of Kanawha, Nicholas, Clay and Greenbrier.  Some of the schools have experienced extensive damage in those areas that are still unveiling themselves as we go,” Martirano told MetroNews “Talkline” listeners.

Eight schools have been labeled as severely damaged.

In Clay County, H. E. White Elementary School and the county bus garage are on that list.

Similar damage has been reported at Herbert Hoover High School and Clendenin and Bridge Elementary Schools in Kanawha County.

Richwood High and Middle Schools in Nicholas County are also among the worst flooded.

“What we’ve been able to narrow down is some of these schools were highly ravaged by these waters. The height of the water was unbelievable in some of them,” Martirano exclaimed.  “We’ve lost equipment.  I’m concerned about technology.  I’m concerned about personal equipment for our teachers.”

According to Martirano, filing insurance claims will be a tedious process.
The state board of education and Education Alliance plan to launch a website for supply donations.

Nine schools have been moderately damaged according to early assessments.

Those included Flatwoods Elementary, Clay High School, Alderson Elementary, Rupert Elementary, Rainelle Elementary, Elkview Middle School, Warm Springs Intermediate and Middle Schools and Berkeley Springs High School.

But, reports have been evolving as days pass.

“We’ve had some challenges even getting into some of our schools.  It’s been difficult.  For us it’s a very dynamic process of finding out and assessing the damage,” Martirano explained.

Minor damages were reported at Braxton County’s Middle Burch, Burnsville and Sutton Elementary Schools.  Fayette County’s Anstead Elementary, Webster County’s Glade Elementary and Monongalia County’s Eastwood Elementary have minor damages.

Martirano said resuming classes on a regular scheduling in some of the affected areas is questionable.

“Some of the schools I’m getting some encouraging feedback that we will be ready to open.  Others are looking for alternative environments, looking at schools within the counties to maybe have adjusted schedules.  We are considering every variable right now knowing the clock is ticking.”

Five days after torrential storms devastated multiple communities, state school officials were undetermined if school would be ready for the first day of school.

Meanwhile, three schools have been used for temporary shelters.


►   Animal groups offer services for pets affected by flooding

The Kanawha-Charleston Human Association and the American Humane Association Red Star Animal Emergency Services are joining to offer wellness checks for pets affected by flooding in West Virginia.

The groups are operating a mobile veterinary clinic beginning Thursday at Interstate 79 Exit 19 at Clendenin daily from noon until 4 p.m. It will be closed Monday. There is no charge for residents of the Clendenin and Elkview areas.

The groups are also offering temporary boarding for pets of displaced flood victims.

The clinic will offer wellness checks, vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, microchipping and, for dogs, heartworm tests and prevention.

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV

FRESH DETAILS EMERGE ON DEADLY ATTACK IN TURKEY

The three suicide bombers who carried out the Istanbul airport attack were from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, a senior Turkish official says, and a medical team is working to ID the bodies.


WHAT WILL STAND AMONG OBAMA’S MOST GLARING FAILURES

When he leaves office, the president despite his efforts will leave behind an overwhelmed immigration system, with some 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.


PENTAGON ENDS ONE OF LAST BANS ON SERVICE IN ARMED FORCES

Transgender people will now be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military.


WHICH BRITISH POL IS HALTING BID FOR PRIME MINISTER

Victorious anti-EU campaigner Boris Johnson says he won’t seek the office after the defection of a key ally.


U.S. STOCKS RALLY THIRD DAY IN A ROW

The latest gains add to the market’s rebound from the brief but steep slump that followed Britain’s vote to leave the EU a week ago.


DRIVER USING CAR’S SELF-DRIVING MODE KILLED IN COLLISION WITH TRUCK

The fatality in Florida in the first reported in the U.S. using the new technology.


WHITE HOUSE THROWS PUERTO RICO A LIFELINE

Obama signs a rescue package for the financially strapped island, which is facing more than $70 billion in debt.


WHO’S RAISING EYEBROWS AT POLITICAL EVENTS

Warm-up acts at Trump’s campaign rallies sometimes stir up controversy as well as crowds with ethnic and religious remarks.


MANUAL LABORERS SEEN AT RISK FOR SUICIDE

A study of suicides by occupation in the U.S. shows the highest rates for farmers, lumberjacks and fishermen.


SCARLETT JOHANSSON TAKES CROWN AS TOP EARNER

Her films have earned more than $3.3 billion, making her Hollywood’s highest-grossing actress ever.

In USA….

The Free Press WV

►   5 Best and Worst Cities for Retirees

Worried about retirement? Consider a move to Arlington, Va. Bankrate has just ranked 196 US cities based on cost of living, crime rate, walkability, quality of health care, state and local taxes, weather, culture, and personal well-being for seniors. The 10 cities to note:

The best:

  1. Arlington, Va.
  2. Alexandria, Va.
  3. Franklin, Tenn.
  4. Silver Spring, Md.
  5. West Des Moines, Iowa

And the worst:

  1. Niagara Falls, NY
  2. Milford, Conn.
  3. New Haven, Conn.
  4. San Bernardino, Calif.
  5. Cheektowaga, NY

See the FULL LIST.


►   Consumer group releases annual list of dangerous summer toys

Toy guns, kiddie pools, hoverboards and backyard trampolines are among the playthings that made a consumer watchdog’s annual list of hazardous summer toys.

The Massachusetts-based World Against Toys Causing Harm, or W.A.T.C.H., presented its annual report Tuesday at a children’s hospital in Boston.

Joan Siff, W.A.T.C.H.‘s president, said the toys specifically named on the list aren’t the only risky playthings on the market. She says they’re simply meant to represent the range of hazards faced by children with summer toys.

The nonprofit group notes that some toy guns shoot projectiles with enough force to cause eye injuries while toy helicopters, boomerangs and other flying objects have rigid or sharp edges that can cause facial injuries.

They warn that self-balancing scooters, as known as hoverboards, remain on the market, despite being banned by some retailers, airlines and schools because of ride-related injuries as well as the risk that some models can spontaneously catch fire.

The group also urges parents to take caution when their children use baby pools, inflatable pool toys and flotation aids. It says some 87 percent of fatal drownings to children under 5 years old occur at someone’s home.

Inflatable bounce houses and backyard trampolines also made the list. The group says trampolines have been associated with fractures, cervical spine injuries, paralysis and other catastrophic injuries.

The summer months account for nearly half of all injury-related deaths to children and over 2.5 million children are injured in accidents each summer, according to W.A.T.C.H.

W.A.T.C.H. has released a “worst toys” list for more than 30 years.


►   Student Who Left Baby to Die in Sorority Trash Gets Life

A former Ohio college student who gave birth in April 2015 and then left her daughter in a trash bag outside her on-campus sorority house to die was sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday. “I stand before you a broken-down woman, asking for forgiveness and mercy,“ Emile Weaver, 21, said before her sentencing. “Words cannot express how sorry I am to my beautiful daughter Addison.“ Prosecutors said Weaver, then a student at Muskingum University, knew she was pregnant and still played sports and repeatedly fell on her stomach, drank alcohol, and smoked marijuana because she never planned to keep the baby. She was found guilty of aggravated murder and other charges in May. At her sentencing, the judge said he did not believe Weaver felt genuine remorse, the Zanesville Times Recorder reports.

Weaver put Addison in a small garbage can and then wrapped that in a trash bag, and the baby died of asphyxiation. “She could have had that child and let it lay on the floor of the bathroom, and it would still be alive,“ said the prosecutor. Sorority sisters found her body, and some wrote letters to the judge or testified about the impact the incident has had on their lives. One heard the baby crying early in the morning and didn’t realize what was happening, and now says she wishes she’d broken the door down. After leaving Addison to die, Weaver texted the man she believed to be the girl’s father with “no more baby” and “taken care of,“ NBC Chicago reports. “That was probably the most truthful statement you made that day,“ said the judge at Weaver’s sentencing. “It was an inconvenience, and you took care of it.“ Weaver, who testified that she was in denial about the pregnancy and thought the baby was already dead when she put her in the trash, plans to appeal.


►   The 10 Worst U.S. Cities to Call Home

Think life is sunny in Miami? Not so, according to 24/7 Wall St. The city tops a ranking of the worst US cities to call home based on various economic and social factors—including the affordability of housing, employment growth, crime rates, educational achievement, and nearby attractions and restaurants. The worst of the bunch:

  1. Miami, Fla.
  2. Detroit, Mich.
  3. Paterson, NJ
  4. Hawthorne, Calif.
  5. Fall River, Mass.
  6. Birmingham, Ala.
  7. Memphis, Tenn.
  8. Flint, Mich.
  9. Cleveland, Ohio
  10. Gary, Ind.

Click for THE FULL LIST.


►   Lawmaker to Diabetic Girl’s Mom: Pay for Your Own Meds

A mother of a diabetic girl in Mississippi asked a state lawmaker for help getting through Medicaid red tape and was stunned by his insulting response. “I am sorry for your problem. Have you thought about buying the supplies with money that you earn?“ wrote Rep. Jeffrey Guice. Nichols’ 8-year-old daughter, Bella, has Type 1 diabetes. Medicaid has covered supplies for her insulin pump for most of the last three years, but she has been having problems getting coverage since the supply firm outsourced products six months ago, the Clarion-Herald reports. Nichols—who runs a Facebook support group for parents of kids with Type 1 diabetes—says she was “flabbergasted” by the response from Guice. She says she contacted every state representative and Guice, a Republican from Ocean Springs, was the only one who gave her a negative response.

Nichols says her husband works two jobs and she is not happy with Guice’s implication that she is a deadbeat. “I wasn’t asking for a handout. I wasn’t asking for something to be given to us. These children are already eligible for these benefits based on our family’s financial situation,“ she tells the Sun Herald. “I needed assistance navigating the red tape that surrounds Medicaid.“ Guice issued a statement Tuesday night apologizing for his “completely insensitive” remarks. “I am sorry and deeply regret my reply,“ he wrote. “I know nothing about her and her family and replied in knee-jerk fashion.“ But his rudeness may end up helping: Nichols says she heard from Mississippi Medicaid soon after her story started to spread and they promised to investigate her case.


►   Marines Getting New Gender-Neutral Job Titles

Now that all military jobs are open to women, the Marines are doing away with most job titles that include the word “man.“ Nineteen of the Marine Corps’ military occupational specialties are being renamed, with, in most cases, the word “man” being replaced by the word “Marine,“ the Marine Corps Times reports. For example, “basic infantry Marine” and “fire support Marine” are among the new titles. But certain names, like “rifleman” and “mortarman,“ will not be changed because they’re “steeped in Marine Corps history and ethos,“ a Marine official says. An official announcement of the changes is expected within days; click to see the FULL LIST.


►   California to Vote on Legalizing Pot

California voters will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana after initiative proponents turned in more than enough signatures to place the question on the November ballot, reports the AP. A successful vote in California would mean one in every six Americans lives in a state with legal marijuana sales, including the entire West Coast. The initiative—promoted by a well-funded and politically connected coalition spearheaded by former Facebook president Sean Parker—asks voters to allow people 21 and older to buy an ounce of marijuana and marijuana-infused products at licensed retail outlets and also grow up to six pot plants for personal recreational use. Smoking weed would remain off-limits in places where tobacco use already is prohibited, including restaurants and bars.

“Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful, and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal, and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself,“ a campaign rep says. Sales of both recreational pot and medical marijuana initially would be subject to a 15% excise tax. Cities and counties would retain the right to prohibit pot-related businesses and to impose their own fees and taxes. State officials estimate the measure, which requires a simple majority vote to pass, would raise as much as $1 billion per year in revenue and reduce public safety costs—for police, courts, jails, and prisons—by tens of millions. Proceeds would cover regulatory costs, research on the effects of legalization, environmental mitigation, and substance abuse treatment.


►   Bear Kills Mountain Biker in Montana

A US Forest Service law enforcement officer was killed Wednesday in the first fatal bear attack this century in the Glacier National Park area. Authorities say 38-year-old Brad Treat was killed in Flathead National Forest in northwest Montana on a trail just outside the national park, ABC reports. “Treat was mountain biking on a trail with another male at the time of the attack,“ Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said in a statement. “It appears they likely surprised the bear and Treat was taken off his bike by the bear. He was pronounced dead on the scene.“ Authorities initially said the bear, which has not yet been captured, was a grizzly, but they now say it could have been a black bear, reports KRTV.

“Brad was an integral member of our area law enforcement team and a friend to us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family tonight,“ Curry said. Treat, who grew up in the area, was known as one of the state’s best distance runners, “but he was also a kind-hearted person who cared about people,“ former coach Paul Jorgensen tells the Flathead Beacon. The AP notes that before this attack, there had been 10 bear-related deaths recorded in Glacier National Park since it was founded in 1910, most recently a hiker who was killed by three bears in 1998. There were no fatal attacks recorded before 1967, when, in events that became the subject of the book and documentary Night of the Grizzlies, two young women were killed in separate attacks on the same night.


►   DC Picks Name for Statehood Bid - Changing ‘New Columbia’ might be 51st state’s 1st task

America could have a new state called New Columbia by this time next year if Washington DC voters choose statehood this fall and Congress allows it. The name—first chosen during a statehood bid in 1982—was approved by a statehood commission this week that included Mayor Muriel Bowser and Paul Strauss, who is one of DC’s two “shadow senators,“ reports the Washington Post. Strauss admitted that he isn’t a “super fan” of the name. “We decided to keep what had been part of the statehood legacy since 1982,“ he said. “If the voters of the new state want to change it, that’s going to be a great thing they can do as a free state.“

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Runner-up names at the 1982 statehood convention included Potomac, Anacostia, Capital State, and the State of Utopia. The Washingtonian reports that at the statehood commission meeting this week, there was applause when DC resident Travis Swanson said the US has “sugarcoated the history of Christopher Columbus” and he doesn’t deserve to be honored with a star on the American flag. Swanson suggested the state name “Douglass Commonwealth,“ which would honor anti-slavery leader Frederick Douglass and allow DC to remain DC.


►   Cops Find $24M Stashed in Suspect’s Wall

Luis Hernandez-Gonzalez runs a successful gardening store in Miami-Dade, but not quite successful enough to explain the $24 million cops found stashed in his wall. The 44-year-old was charged with offenses including money laundering and marijuana trafficking after police found the cash stuffed in 5-gallon Home Depot buckets in a secret compartment guarded by a statuette of St. Lazarus in a raid on Tuesday, the Miami Herald reports. Officers also recovered cash and marijuana from Hernandez-Gonzalez’s “Blossom Experience” store, which they say caters to indoor pot growers with products like lights and fans.

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Hernandez-Gonzalez, whose sister was also arrested, is accused of trafficking marijuana to Tennessee. He had been under investigation since 2010, when he chatted to an undercover cop about life in the drug trade, reports WPTV. Miami-Dade police plan to make the record-breaking amount of seized cash their own through civil forfeiture laws—and Hernandez-Gonzalez has been told his $4 million bond can’t be delivered in buckets. “For a man with $20 million in his walls, an elevated bond is clearly necessary,“ Miami-Dade prosecutor Adam Korn said at a hearing Wednesday.


►   Guy Beaten in Chicken Costume Awarded $10.5M

A California man whose life was forever altered by donning a chicken suit for a high school pep rally has been awarded a lot more than chicken scratch in a lawsuit against Kern High School District. Mitch Carter was a 17-year-old student at Bakersfield High School in 2010 when he dressed up in the suit to mock the Golden Hawk mascot of arch-rival Golden West High School for an ill-fated skit, the Los Angeles Times reports. Students—including plenty of football players—piled on top of him, delivering kicks and punches in a beating that lawyers said left Carter with a traumatic brain injury. After a jury found the district liable for his injuries, it decided to settle with him for $10.5 million, most of which will be covered by insurance.

Lawyers said Carter, once an honor roll student, has struggled with depression and poor grades in college since the beating. His future medical care costs will be more than $5 million, according to the lawyers. “I would trade everything just to have a full functioning brain,“ he said after the award was announced. The Bakersfield Californian recaps the wild trial that was brought to an end by the settlement. It included accusations of conspiracy and cover-up from Carter’s lawyers, who brought in students to testify that the high school was obsessed with football and protected star players. During closing arguments, attorney Nicholas Rowley donned a chicken costume to make a point.


►   Congress Passes Puerto Rico Rescue Bill at Last Minute

Congress delivered relief to debt-stricken Puerto Rico on Wednesday, sending President Obama a last-minute financial rescue package to help the US territory of 3.5 million Americans, the AP reports. The Senate passed the bill on a bipartisan 68-30 vote, three weeks after the House overwhelmingly backed the measure. The vote came two days before the island is supposed to make a $2 billion payment to creditors. Obama is expected to move quickly and sign the legislation. Puerto Rico is in a decade-long recession and has $70 billion in debt. Thousands have fled the territory for the US mainland. Businesses on the island have closed, schools have struggled with limited electricity, and hospitals have asked for cash payment in advance for some medication.

The White House and Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress have warned that without help from Washington, the island could descend into economic chaos, with signs already pointing to a humanitarian crisis. In a rare feat of election-year unity, all four Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress supported the bill. The legislation would create a control board to oversee the US territory’s finances and supervise some debt restructuring. It would not provide any direct financial aid to the territory, but leaders warned that a bailout could eventually become necessary if Congress doesn’t take this step. “If we don’t act before the island misses a critical debt payment deadline this Friday, matters will only get worse—for Puerto Rico and for taxpayers,“ warned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In The World….

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►   EU spells out conditions for single market access to Britain

BRUSSELS — European Union leaders drew a stark line along the British Channel on Wednesday, telling the U.K. that it cannot keep valuable business links with its former continental partners in a seamless single EU market, if it doesn’t also accept European workers.

The challenge cuts to the heart of the British vote to leave the bloc following a virulent campaign where migration from poorer EU countries was a key concern. It also sets the scene for the complex departure negotiations facing departing Prime Minister David Cameron’s successor, for which nominations opened in London Wednesday.

Meeting for the first time without the U.K., the 27 other EU nations set out a united strategy to face the next British government which will seek to salvage as many of the EU rights as possible while reneging on a maximum amount of obligations.

They emerged from the summit insisting that the “four freedoms” central to European unity are indivisible: the free movement of people, services, goods and finances.

In Cameron’s absence, the most palpable remaining link to Britain at the summit was the English language used. The remaining presidents, chancellors and prime ministers showed a firm common resolve, committing to be “absolutely determined to remain united,“ EU Council President Donald Tusk said.

The leaders sought to dispel any notion that the referendum result will amount to their Waterloo.

“With a disunited United Kingdom, we need a united Europe more than ever,“ Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said.

Tusk convened a special EU summit on September 16 in Slovakia’s capital Bratislava to work out a plan to keep the EU united. There’s a widespread sense that the post-war project to foster peace via trade has become too bureaucratic and undemocratic with not enough meaning for its 500 million citizens. The initial EU founding nations in the west lean toward a tighter, closer union, while newer nations in the east want to keep more control with national governments — notably of their borders.

French President Francois Hollande warned that allowing the status quo to continue would benefit populist forces that seek “the end of Europe.“ France is among EU countries now facing calls for referendums on quitting the bloc, mainly from the far right.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the lesson from Britain’s departure isn’t necessarily either deeper integration or returning more powers to national governments. She said Wednesday: “this is not about more or less Europe as a principle, but about achieving better results.“ She said that combating youth unemployment, for example, could involve both scrapping EU directives and deepening European cooperation.

“The coming weeks will be decisive,“ Hollande said. “Europe must show its solidity.“

That will be tough when it comes to immigration. Central European nations led by Hungary refuse to accept imposed EU refugee quotas, and countries further north have all tightened border controls in response to the arrival of more than 1 million migrants last year. Britain is more concerned about EU immigration, since its strong economy draws hundreds of thousands of workers from other EU nations.

The shock British vote has roiled markets and will rob the EU of its richest financial market, biggest military power and a diplomatic giant. It could also prompt an unraveling of the U.K.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met Wednesday in Brussels with European Parliament President Martin Schulz and the leader of the EU executive, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Scottish voters overwhelmingly chose to remain in the EU but were drowned out by English voters. Sturgeon has indicated there may be a new referendum on Scottish independence.

“It was a good opportunity for me to set out Scotland’s position and Scotland’s desire to remain within the European Union and to protect our relationship with the European Union,“ Sturgeon said after meeting Schulz. She added: “I don’t underestimate the challenges that lie ahead for us seeking to find a path.“

In London, nominations opened Wednesday to replace Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party, with Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb the first official contender. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Theresa May are also expected to run.

The economic fallout from the vote has been severe. Ratings agency Fitch expects growth and investment in Britain to fall next year due to uncertainty over the exit. Some businesses are putting investments on hold and Fitch said “there is little doubt that the U.K. referendum vote in favor of leaving the EU will take a significant toll on the economy.“

Vodafone, one of Britain’s biggest companies, will consider moving its group headquarters because of the vote. The company, which says a majority of its customers are in other EU countries, said in a statement Wednesday that EU membership had been an important factor in its growth, and that free movement of people, goods and capital were integral to any pan-European business.

“This is the world’s fifth-biggest economy and 15 to 17 percent of the European Union’s gross domestic product, and if this country leaves the internal market .... then of course that will be a difficult situation,“ Merkel said.


►   ‘Punisher’ Sworn in as Philippine Prez

Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in Thursday as president of the Philippines, with some hoping his maverick style will energize the country but others fearing he will undercut one of Asia’s liveliest democracies amid threats to kill criminals en masse. The 71-year-old former prosecutor and longtime mayor of southern Davao city won a resounding victory in May’s elections. Duterte, who begins a six-year term as president, captured attention with promises to cleanse the nation of criminals and government crooks within six months—an audacious pledge that was welcomed by many crime-weary Filipinos but alarmed human rights watchdogs and the influential Roman Catholic church, the AP reports.

Shortly after Duterte’s election win, policemen launched an anti-drug crackdown under his name, leaving dozens of drug-dealing suspects dead in gunfights with police or in mysterious circumstances. Days before his swearing in, Duterte was threatening criminals with death if they wouldn’t reform. “If you destroy my country, I will kill you,“ he said during the last flag-raising ceremony he presided as mayor in Davao city this week. The Wall Street Journal reports that Duterte has chosen former Davao police chief Ronald Dela Rosa to head the national police force. Duterte’s targets for wiping out crime can be reached and drug suspects “will be given the right to remain silent—forever,“ Dela Rosa recently told reporters.


►   Sleepy Judge Keeps Falling Asleep During Trial

A judge was apparently none too impressed by the alleged criminal exploits of a couple German ne’er-do-wells as he repeatedly fell asleep during the trial, the AP reports. The sleepy judge was part of a five-judge panel presiding over the trial of two men suspected of robbing a grocery store. As the judge was presumably napping through important information, the head judge decided to restart the trial—luckily still in its first day—from the beginning rather than open it up to an appeal. The judge was replaced with an alternate, freeing him to find a more exciting case or a nice comfy bed.


►   Gay Men Attacked in Ivory Coast Blame U.S. Embassy Photo

Gay men in Ivory Coast are being attacked by angry mobs and forced from their homes, and they blame the US embassy. The AP reports the US embassy recently published on its website a photo of six men signing a “condolence book” at the embassy in Abidjan for victims of the massacre at Orlando gay club Pulse. The photo’s caption identifies the men as members of the “LGBTI community.“ The men say when the photo was shared around social media, it destroyed their lives. “I don’t have a life anymore,“ one of them tells the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “I can’t go out. I don’t know who might recognize me.” He says he was confronted by a mob while walking near his home. They beat him and stole his phone and wallet.

Two of the six men say they were attacked by mobs yelling anti-gay slurs. Four say they were forced out of their homes by friends and family who didn’t know they were gay before the photo was published. All six have left their homes. A press officer for the US embassy, which hasn’t removed the photo, says it “deeply regrets that any individuals were attacked based on any kind of orientation they might have.“ The embassy was given permission to publish the photo by the director of an Ivory Coast gay rights group. He now says he wouldn’t have given permission if he was aware the men would be outed in the caption. Homosexuality isn’t illegal in Ivory Coast, but violence against the gay community is common despite the country’s reputation for relative tolerance of sexual minorities.


►   Rio’s Latest Problem: Body Parts on Olympic Beach

The beaches of the Rio Olympics just added gory to gross: Police say a foot and other body parts possibly belonging to a young adult turned up on Copacabana beach Wednesday—right in front of the Olympic Beach Volleyball Arena, reports CNN. Little is known about the case, but it’s one more sign that the Olympics could be a “big failure.“ Many civil service employees—including police—aren’t getting paid as Rio awaits $892 million in emergency funding. Earlier this week, police officers unveiled a sign in Rio’s airport reading, “Welcome to Hell … Whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe,“ per Reuters.


►   British Politics Just Got Even Crazier

In the rowdy world of British politics, it’s another day of surprises: The race to succeed the outgoing David Cameron as prime minister took an unexpected turn when former London Mayor Boris Johnson announced that he would not be running. Johnson had led the charge for the UK to exit the European Union in the Brexit vote, and he was expected to officially launch his campaign to lead the ruling Conservative Party Thursday. Instead, he declared that that that leader “cannot be me,“ reports the Telegraph, an announcement that followed another stunner by just a matter of minutes: Justice Minister Michael Gove, who had been expected to back Johnson, instead announced that he would be running.

“I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead,“ said Gove. The Guardian provides some analysis: “For Johnson, to be abandoned by the guarantor of his candidacy and his most exalted supporter—and at this particular stage—is the worst setback in his political career.“ The moves will apparently leave Gove and Home Secretary Theresa May as frontrunners to become the next prime minister in September, and to formally begin the process leading to the UK’s exit from the EU. May, unlike Gove, voted to stay in the EU but has said she would respect the referendum’s outcome. All this comes as the rival Labour Party is in disarray of its own: Leader Jeremy Corbyn lost a confidence vote but refuses to leave.

Robinson of Dunbar Named Ninth West Virginia Scholar

West Virginia MetroNews and West Virginia Wesleyan College has named Madison Robinson of Dunbar, WV and South Charleston High School as the winner of the ninth annual West Virginia Scholar competition during a luncheon held on Wesleyan’s campus today.  A rising senior, Robinson plans to study biology and was awarded a full, four-year scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan College to include tuition and fees, along with room and board, beginning in the fall 2017.

Gavin Surbaugh of Webster Springs, WV and Webster County High School was named first runner-up and will receive a $5,000 four-year renewable scholarship to Wesleyan.  Second runner-up was Taylor Walroth of Hurricane, WV and Hurricane High School.  Walroth won a $2,500 four-year renewable scholarship to Wesleyan.  Surbaugh plans to focus on international studies while Walroth will enter into the nursing program.

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Robinson, Walroth, and Surbaugh


During her acceptance speech, Robinson thanked God, her church family, the sponsors, and scholarship benefactors for this opportunity.  She also offered congratulations to all finalists for their achievements to date.

Scholarship funds for the West Virginia Scholar Award are provided by the Culpepper Wesleyan Scholars Award and by West Virginia Wesleyan College.  The Culpepper Wesleyan Scholars Award was established in 1991 as an endowed scholarship fund by Olive O’Dell Culpepper ’33 and C. Ross Culpepper ’30, and is continued today by Marvin ’51, Hon. ’06 and Elaine Karnes Culpepper ’54, Hon. ’06.

The West Virginia Scholar Program is also sponsored by West Virginia MetroNews, Home Builders Association of West Virginia, West Virginia Forestry Association, the West Virginia Hospital Association, Friends of Coal, ZMM architects and Engineers, and the High Technology Foundation.

Founded in 1890, West Virginia Wesleyan is a private residential college located in Buckhannon. The college offers 49 majors and graduate programs in athletic training, business, education, English creative writing and nursing. Thirteen Wesleyan students have been selected as U.S. Department of State Fulbright Scholars.

Organizations, Businesses Collect Donations for Flooding Victims

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A variety of locations across the area are accepting donations to help aid West Virginia residents affected by flooding.

The locations are listed by county. The following places will take donations at the following times:


Barbour County

- Ryan’s Auto Repair and Ryan’s Recker Service in Belington, the Belington Volunteer Fire Department and members of the Barbour County Commission are taking donations of nonperishable food items, bottled water, health and sanitary items and baby diapers at Ryan’s Recker Service. They will be delivering the donations to Webster Springs.

- The Philippi Volunteer Fire Department will take donations from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 28.


Doddridge County

- The Doddridge County High School football team will be donating equipment to the Clay County High School football team, who lost everything in the flood. They will also be donating some money from their booster account. If anyone would like to contribute, they can bring their donation to the football field during their evening practice on Wednesday, June 29.

- The Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department will be accepting donations.


Gilmer County

- The Gilmer County Office of Emergency Management will plan to travel to the southern part of the state Friday, July 01 and are accepting donations in a large box trailer parked across from Hardman’s in Glenville until then.


Harrison County

- The law firm of McNeer, Highland, McMunn and Varner, along with MVB Bank, are collecting donations and will be loading up a 16-foot trailer starting Tuesday, June 28 at 9 a.m. They will continue to collect donations at their Clarksburg location at 400 W. Main Street until Friday, July 01, when they will travel to Clay and Clendenin to set up their grills and cook for people in need. They’re requesting bottled water, gallons of water, nonperishable food items, cleaning supplies, such as buckets, mops, paper towels, and bleach, shovels, baby food, diapers, wipes, clothing, dog food and cat food.

- Primantis Bros. will donate a portion of their proceeds on Friday, July 01 and Saturday, July 02 to flood relief.

- Sam’s Club will offer a free membership for 30 days if you’ll be buying flood relief supplies. Just bring your ID and follow their instructions.

will be making donations to send to the flood victims that were effected in the southern part of the state. There’s no special ticket or flyer that you have to have to participate, all you have to do is come in and eat on those given days! Help us help our fellow mountain state residents.

- The Clarksburg Beauty Academy is offering 50 percent off any service when you bring in a donation for flood relief until Friday, July 01.

- Julio’s Cafe in Clarksburg is donating 25 percent of all pasta proceeds to flood relief. This will begin Monday, June 27 and run until July 01. They will also accept all other donations.

- Main Street Fitness in Bridgeport is accepting donations. If 500 items are donated, a full free week of classes will be available in July. They’re accepting drinking water, nonperishable food items, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, baby products, and first aid supplies.

- The Wallace Volunteer Fire Department will have a spaghetti and meatball dinner at their department on Friday, July 01 at Noon. All proceeds will go directly to purchase goods for flood relief. They are also accepting donations. Contact 304.796.4014 for more information.

- The City of Clarksburg, along with the Clarksburg-Harrison Cultural Foundation, will be collecting donations for flood relief during the Celebrate America event at the Clarksburg Amphitheater on Saturday, July 02. The Clarksburg Fire Department will be set up in the parking lot of the amphitheater to collect those donations from 6 p.m. until the conclusion of the event at approximately 9:30 p.m.

- The Salvation Army is accepting donations of cleaning/sanitary items and food to help aid flood victims in the southern part of the state at their Clarksburg, Upshur County and Lewis County locations. They are unable to process clothing donations at their thrift stores at this time, but if a flood victim comes in, they can get them the clothing needed. Any cash donations will also be sent directly to the affected areas, a Salvation Army official said.

- The Bridgeport Fire Department on West Main Street will be accepting donations. They’re requesting water, nonperishable food, cleanup kits, bleach, brooms and maps.

- The Shinnston Volunteer Fire Department, the Lumberport Volunteer Fire Department and the Spelter Volunteer Fire Department will be accepting donations. They are requesting bottled or jugged water, nonperishable food items and cleaning supplies, such as hand soap and laundry detergent. If no one is present at the fire department, supplies can be dropped off outside.

- The Stonewood Volunteer Fire Department is collecting items. They’re requesting cleaning supplies, especially bleach, baby wipes, diapers, baby food and formula, toiletries, work gloves, toilet paper, feminine hygiene items, shampoo, toothpaste/toothbrushes, batteries, buckets, garbage bags, face masks and bottled water.

- Harrison County Animal Control and the Harrison County Humane Society will be making a trip Friday, July 01 to Clay County and is in need of all animal-related necessities, including food, leashes, litter, etc. Donations can be taken to the shelter on Saltwell Road in Shinnston before late afternoon on Friday.

- All four locations of PARCS Superstores will accept donations. They are asking for any yard and lawn tools to help in the cleanup. They’ll be sending trailers daily.

- The Old Time Baptist Church in Clarksburg will be accepting clothing donations. Contact 304.623.4388 to arrange a drop off.

- Fellowship Bible Church at 70 Deegan Lake Road in Bridgeport will be collecting donations fall week. Items can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 01. They are requesting nonperishable food items, bottled water, new or lightly worn clothing, diapers, toiletries, pet care products/food, washcloths and towels, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, rubber gloves, laundry detergent, flashlights, batteries, blankets and pillows, and feminine products.

- Tudor’s Biscuit World is collecting supplies to take to the southern part of the state. Both the Bridgeport and Morgantown locations will accept donations.

- Calvary United Methodist Church in Clarksburg will be accepting donations on Thursday, June 30 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To set up another time to drop things off if you’re unable to make it Thursday, contact 304.476.8788.

- Chenoweth Ford in Clarksburg will be accepting donations.

- Harry Green Chevrolet Nissan in Clarksburg will be accepting donations.

- Eastern Pet Supply in Bridgeport is now accepting donations for animals affected by flooding. You can receive 5-10 percent off in the store on certain items, if you’re willing to donate, or you can bring items in. They have a truck leaving Thursday, June 30. They’re in need of animal food, litter boxes, litter, and animal crates.

- Clarksburg Baptist Church will be accepting donations.


Lewis County

- Weston Walmart will accept donations from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

- Weston Shop-N-Save Express will accept donations on Wednesday, June 29 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

- The Pricetown Volunteer Fire Department will be accepting donations.

- The Salvation Army is accepting donations of cleaning/sanitary items and food to help aid flood victims in the southern part of the state at their Clarksburg, Upshur County and Lewis County locations. They are unable to process clothing donations at their thrift stores at this time, but if a flood victim comes in, they can get them the clothing needed. Any cash donations will also be sent directly to the affected areas, a Salvation Army official said.

- The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston is sending a crew to the southern part of the state Thursday, June 30. They’ll accept donations and fill a van to take Friday, July 01, as well.


Upshur County

- The Buckhannon Fire Department is accepting donations.

- Goody’s in Buckhannon will be accepting donations, and in return, they’ll give you a $10 coupon to use in the store.

- The Adrian Fire Department in Adrian will be accepting donations Tuesday, June 28 beginning at 11 a.m. Call Chief Harlow at 304.406.4808 with any questions or to schedule an alternative drop-off time.

- Freedom Homes in Buckhannon will be accepting donations.

- The Salvation Army is accepting donations of cleaning/sanitary items and food to help aid flood victims in the southern part of the state at their Clarksburg, Upshur County and Lewis County locations. They are unable to process clothing donations at their thrift stores at this time, but if a flood victim comes in, they can get them the clothing needed. Any cash donations will also be sent directly to the affected areas, a Salvation Army official said.

Parkersburg Area Community Foundation Offers to Match Flood Relief Gifts

The Free Press WV

To encourage local gifts of cash toward flood relief efforts in West Virginia, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) is matching the first $10,000 raised through the PACF for this purpose.

PACF’s Executive Director, Judy Sjostedt, said, “We are all deeply saddened by the catastrophic losses suffered by our fellow West Virginians. This recent flooding is unique given that so many of the locations which flooded had little history of prior issues. As a result, a large number of the affected families did not carry flood insurance and thus, face devastating losses. As a community foundation, PACF’s leaders and supporters want to help our neighbors at this time of great need.” 

“There are many different ways to aid flood relief efforts from donating one’s time to providing materials or other resources. We urge everyone to find some way to help. PACF is offering a local means by which citizens can multiply their cash donations to strengthen the impact of those gifts. Since these gifts must be put to use swiftly, we are offering to match up to $10,000 in cash gifts made for flood relief to PACF by check or cash from now until Friday, July 1st at noon.

All monies raised by PACF plus PACF’s matching funds will be distributed—100%—for flood relief in West Virginia, shared between the American Red Cross and the West Virginia VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). An interdenominational effort, VOAD coordinates resources and efforts for many different volunteer groups in the flood areas. Should monies beyond the initial $10,000 matching amount be received, those funds will also be directed to flood relief. A public report will be issued following the campaign.

To make a donation that will qualify toward the matching resources, checks should be made payable to PACF (memo line “flood relief”) and dropped off to PACF during normal business hours at the Foundation’s Central Office at the Vasan Family Center for Philanthropy, 1620 Park Avenue in Parkersburg (directly across from the main entrance to City Park). Qualifying gifts can also be made by credit card online on the Foundation’s website, www.pacfwv.com, using the “Network for Good” button on the top right side of the page (be sure to use the designation box to identify your gift as for flood relief).

As PACF seeks to provide these monies for flood relief quickly, the matching offer closes at noon on Friday, July 1st. Please send any questions to or call 304.428.4438.

The Free Press WV

Mosquito Bite Prevention is Important During Flood Clean Up

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health is encouraging residents to take mosquito bite precautions while conducting flood clean up.

“Flooding leads to increased mosquito activity which can elevate the risk of mosquito bites and the potential for mosquito-borne diseases,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health. “Standing or pooling water from recent heavy rainfall and flooding across the state have created conditions for mosquito breeding. It is important to be proactive in protecting yourself as flood clean up is underway.”


The following actions should be considered to reduce the risk of mosquitoes and mosquito bites in areas where flood clean up is occurring:

• Remove flood-water debris on and around your property.

• Empty or drain potted plant bases, tires, buckets or containers, and roof gutters.

• Drain any pooled rainwater or floodwater that may have collected in containers around your property.

• Be sure to wear insect repellent.

• Wear long sleeves and pants while conducting flood clean up.

• Dispose of potential mosquito breeding sites by emptying stagnant pools of water around your house and yard, if possible.


Mosquito-borne illness could include Lacrosse Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.  More information about mosquito-borne disease and prevention is available online at www.dide.wv.gov.

School Clothing Allowance Applications Accepted July 01-31, 2016

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Family Assistance will begin accepting school clothing allowance applications July 1, 2016, for eligible children enrolled in West Virginia schools.

“Clothing and shoes are important and necessary back-to-school supplies for growing children,” said Nancy Exline, Commissioner of the Bureau for Children and Families. “The school clothing allowance program enables eligible West Virginia children to have access to needed items and begin a new school year with comfort and confidence.”

Families with school-aged children currently receiving WV WORKS cash assistance, as well as those providing foster care, will automatically receive school clothing allowance vouchers for each school-age child in the home by mid-July 2016.

Families who received school clothing allowance vouchers in 2015 and currently receive Medicaid or SNAP benefits from DHHR should have received an application by mail in June 2016.  To ensure prompt delivery of the vouchers, mailing address updates should be made to the Customer Services Center at 1.877.716.1212 or online at www.wvinroads.org
Each eligible child will receive a $200 voucher that may be used toward the purchase of appropriate school clothing or piece goods for families who sew clothing for their children.  Vouchers must be used at participating stores by October 31, 2016.

Others may be eligible for school clothing vouchers, but the monthly income for a family of four may not exceed $2,025.

To learn more about eligibility guidelines, or to apply, contact your local DHHR office, apply online at www.wvinroads.org or call 1.877.716.1212.  Verification of income for the month of July must be submitted with the application.

Applications must be received in the local DHHR office by July 31, 2016.

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