“Go Outside and Play” campaign recognized at tourism conference
The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV - Governor Earl Ray Tomblin congratulated the GoToWV Team at the Division of Tourism on receiving the National Council of State Tourism Directors Mercury Award for Best Public Relations Campaign during the Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) in Portland, Oregon.

“The team at the Division of Tourism works hard to showcase all of the authentic sights and experiences that make the Mountain State truly wild and wonderful,“ Governor Tomblin said. “Whether riding the Hatfield and McCoy trail or fly fishing in one of our natural trout streams, we offer the perfect backdrop for Real. outdoor adventure. The ‘Go Outside and Play’ campaign was a great reminder to encourage us all to take time to go out and explore and experience all West Virginia’s natural beauty has to offer.“

The “Go Outside and Play” campaign challenged West Virginians and visitors to experience some of the Mountain State’s hidden gems that capture both the wild and wonderful qualities of West Virginia. The Division of Tourism team worked with industry partners and media to promote travel in West Virginia through “Go Outside and Play” events across the state including various seasonal activities like rafting, camping, fly fishing and skiing.

“Our ‘Go Outside and Play’ campaign showcased the many things there are to see and do in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia,“ Commissioner of Tourism Amy Shuler Goodwin said. “From camping and fly fishing to skiing and rafting, Real. memories are waiting to be had right here in the Mountain State.“

U.S. state and territory tourism offices that are members of U.S. Travel Association can submit examples of excellence and creative accomplishments for a Mercury Award. The U.S. Travel Association’s ESTO is the only national forum in which tourism professionals at the state, regional and local level gather important tools, tips and information to better market and grow their destinations.

The Mercury Award for Best Public Relations Campaign celebrates campaigns directed at niche markets or a general travel audience, or campaigns that relate to special events, crisis management programs or overall tourism promotion - all of which must focus on a single and unified theme.

West Virginia News

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WV attorney general warns of medical supply shipments

CHARLESTON, WV - Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning consumers about out-of-state enterprises sending unsolicited order forms, medical supplies or medications to insurance customers without their consent.

The Consumer Protection Division has received several reports of consumers receiving what appear to be order forms for medical supplies and prescriptions from out-of-state pharmacies. Consumers and medical providers are also receiving supplies and prescriptions from these pharmacies, even though they have not placed orders from these companies.

Many of these reports are from residents who are diabetic and frequently fill prescriptions for diabetes medications and testing supplies.

Morrisey’s office is looking into whether there has been a data breach or theft of customer prescription information.

Report: WV high school grads ill-prepared for college

CHARLESTON, WV - A new report says many West Virginia high school graduates are ill-prepared for college.

The annual report by ACT says 21 percent of students who took this year’s ACT test met all four of the organization’s college readiness benchmarks.

West Virginia students topped national English and reading levels. But they lagged behind national math and reading levels.

The report says 69 percent of students were ready for freshman English courses, compared to 64 percent nationally. Forty-eight percent were read for freshman reading courses, compared to 46 percent nationally.

The report says 34 percent of students were ready for math courses, compared to 42 percent nationally. Thirty-four percent were ready for science courses, compared to 38 percent nationally.

A total of 11,289 West Virginia students took this year’s test.

West Virginia Town Full of Those Sickened by WiFi

Most Americans hate being out of range of a cell phone tower, but not the residents of Green Bank, West Virginia. A growing number of Americans are moving to this mountain town, population 143, specifically because cell phones and WiFi signals are banned there, lest they interfere with the gigantic radio telescope nearby, the BBC reports. Many of these so-called “WiFi refugees” say they have Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), and believe electromagnetic-field exposure literally makes them ill.

“It’s a horrible thing … you become a technological leper,” says one self-professed EHS sufferer, who previously lived in a wire mesh-wrapped cage to escape the radio waves. “Living here allows me to be more of a normal person.” But the mere existence of EHS is disputed; the World Health Organization says that it’s “not a medical diagnosis” and that there’s “no scientific evidence” for it. One recent study did demonstrate a link between sufferers’ symptoms and electromagnetic fields, but many still dispute it.

Fayette County commission hopes proactive steps will keep county government ahead of declining revenues

FAYETTEVILLE, WV — The Fayette County Commission is anticipating a major hit to its budget in connection with bankruptcies filed by coal companies.

The commission took a proactive step in a special meeting Friday cutting the county’s budget by 12 percent, equaling $1.2 million.

Commissioners decided to put scheduled projects on hold along with implementing a hiring freeze. Elected officials also will see less money for overtime and travel.

The commission says for now it’s able to cut the budget without layoffs or salary cuts. Nicholas, Mingo, and Boone counties have cut jobs during the past year because of the lagging coal industry and a steep downturn in severance tax revenues. Fayette County has seen a $500,000 reduction.

Friday’s move had more to do with the bankruptcy filings of Alpha Natural Resources and Walter Energy, which both have mining operations in Fayette County. The property taxes of the two companies total approximately $4 million.

Senator: WV Governor wants to keep female prisoners at Lakin

POINT PLEASANT, WV - A state senator says an all-female prison in Mason County likely won’t be converted into a prison for men.

Senate Finance Committee chairman Mike Hall says Governor Earl Ray Tomblin gave him a “clear indication” that proposed changes at the Lakin Correctional Center won’t happen.

Corrections officials hoped to transfer Lakin’s 545 female inmates to the Naval Information Operations Center in Pendleton County and convert Lakin into a prison for men.

Hall says he favors a health-care company’s plan to use the base as a career college for youths moving out of the foster care system.

Media outlets report Tomblin must decide by September 04 whether to accept transfer of the main base in Sugar Grove to state ownership. The base is scheduled to close at the end of September.

Bob Wise papers added to WV state archives

CHARLESTON, WV - A 423-page book chronicling the administration of former Governor Bob Wise has been added to the state archives.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History announced the addition of the electronic edition of “State Papers and Public Addresses of Bob Wise” on Friday.

The edition covers the former governor’s major policy initiatives. It also includes his 2001 inaugural address, each of his annual State of State addresses and scores of other speeches and documents.

Wise was governor from 2001 until 2005. Before that, he served in Congress for 18 years.

Since leaving office, he has served as president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, an advocacy and research group for improving the quality of the country’s high schools.

U.S.A. News

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Change to Decades-Old Definition a Big Win for Workers

In what the Washington Post calls a “landmark” case, a federal labor board has just made it easier for workers at fast-food restaurants and other franchise operations to negotiate for better wages and working conditions. The National Labor Relations Board changed a three-decade-old definition about which companies should be called “joint employers,“ reports Bloomberg. The term now covers companies that use subcontractors or other middle-men operations to supply employees, meaning unions can now negotiate with the parent company as well as the subcontractor that hired them, explains the New York Times.

The old rule is “increasingly out of step with changing economic circumstances, particularly the recent dramatic growth in contingent employment relationships,” declared the NLRB, which split 3-2 along party lines. The ruling stems from a recycling company that used a temporary staffing agency, but it will be applied to pending cases involving McDonald’s. In fact, it “could upend the traditional arms-length relationship that has prevailed between corporate titans such as McDonald’s and its neighborhood fast-food franchises,“ says the Post. The ruling has been anticipated for a while, and the industry says it will fight to overturn it with help from Republicans in Congress.

Bought Tuna Recently? StarKist May Owe You Money

Sorry, Charlie, time to pay up. StarKist is offering $25 in cash or $50 in free tuna to eligible consumers as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement worth a total of $12 million, the New York Times reports. Those who meet the qualifications—namely, that they’re US residents who purchased a 5-ounce can of one of four varieties of the brand’s tuna between Feb. 19, 2009, and Oct. 31, 2014—can file a claim online.

So what was fishy about the product to elicit this settlement? Plaintiff Patrick Hendricks claimed the company didn’t fill the 5-ounce cans to capacity, and the independent testing he had done showed cans had 17.3% less tuna than the federally mandated minimum, the Times notes. Don’t have your tuna receipts from 2009? The company is going on the honor system, under penalty of perjury, for those who file a claim, Consumerist reports.

Roanoke Gunman Lived In Disgusting Apartment

The Telegraph got a look inside the apartment of Vester Lee Flanagan, the man who shot and killed two WDBJ journalists on live TV, and it doesn’t sound pretty. The newspaper describes a kitchen floor covered in cat urine and a balcony smeared with cat poop when police raided the sparsely furnished apartment yesterday. As for the cats, they were nowhere to be found—neighbors say Flanagan had two, but they’ve been missing since Wednesday’s shootings, and Flanagan claimed in a suicide note that he killed them in the woods. When Flanagan was alive, the Telegraph‘s source says, his neighbors often complained about him to the landlord—for one thing, “he would literally throw cat s—-“ onto the balconies of some neighbors, the source says.

Also in the apartment: pictures of male pin-ups and pictures of Flanagan himself from his reporting career as well as a modeling career he apparently held in his younger years. (The Telegraph also notes that Williams had posted pictures of his “sexy bedroom” on Twitter.) Perhaps most disturbing of all, police say they found “many” sex toys ... some of which possibly have “human material” on them, according to the source who spoke to the newspaper. In the manifesto he sent to ABC News, Flanagan—who was gay—said he had worked as an escort, and the Daily Beast reports that he tweeted earlier this month, “Hell yeah I’ve been a high paid ‘companion.‘“ CNN reports that in 2007, Flanagan registered seven website domain names associated with gay porn, including one “where you can talk live on video chat cam with your favorite gay hunks, pro and amateur models.“ Flanagan was listed as the administrative and technical contact for the sites, which are no longer active.

North Dakota Lets Police Drones Fire Rubber Bullets

Watch the skies in North Dakota: The state has passed a first-of-its-kind law legalizing the use of armed police drones, though they must carry “less than lethal” weapons like tear gas, rubber bullets, beanbags, pepper spray, and Tasers, reports NPR. Interestingly, the law was first introduced as legislation prohibiting all weapons on drones and requiring officers to get a search warrant before using a drone for surveillance. The man behind the bill, Republican state Rep. Rick Becker, tells Ars Technica the law enforcement lobby would only allow the search warrant provision if weapons were allowed.

“I hear a lot of ideas about drones, and this is one of the worst,“ says law professor and drone expert Ryan Calo of the University of Washington. He worries police officers won’t have “situational awareness” in cases where the drones could be used and will use them “too often because the perception (is) that the stakes are not very high.“ He adds, however, “sometimes less-than-lethal can be lethal.“ Indeed, the Guardian reports at least 39 people in the U.S. have died from police Tasers this year alone. Becker says he’s not happy with the final law and will attempt to eliminate the use of weapons. But as North Dakota’s legislative body meets every two years, the earliest the change could come is in 2017.

World News

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Woman Wins Disability Payout for WiFi ‘Sensitivity’

Electromagnetic radiation has been around since the universe first formed; it is, in its “most familiar form,“ light, reports the World Health Organization. But as cellphone towers and gadgets proliferate, electromagnetic radiation has increased, and some claim a sensitivity to it. One woman in France is now getting roughly $900 a month from the government in disability pay, reports the BBC. Marine Richard, 39, who says she’s had to move to a barn without electricity in a remote region of France to escape electromagnetic waves, calls the decision a “breakthrough” for those who experience electromagnetic hypersensitivity. But the court in Toulouse—which ruled last month that her symptoms stopped her from working—did not go so far as to call EHS an illness, reports Yahoo News UK.

Though people like Richard have claimed a range of adverse health symptoms, from headaches and nausea to loss of libido and depression, the WHO reports that “scientific evidence does not support a link” between the electromagnetic fields and the symptoms; that “scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals”; and that anxiety about exposure could be causing these health problems. In the US, the parents of a 12-year-old boy at a Massachusetts school filed a lawsuit on August 12 claiming that their son has been dealing with headaches, chest pains, nosebleeds, nausea, dizziness, and rashes since the school installed a new wireless network in 2013, reports ABC News. The family is asking for $250,000 in damages. (West Virginia is home to a town for those who say they’ve been sickened by WiFi.)

You Almost Definitely Couldn’t Pass This Indian Exam

Nearly half a million citizens converged upon 71 cities in India Sunday to try their hand at what’s described by coaching expert PS Ravindran as “the mother of all written exams,“ the Global Post reports. It’s the nation’s civil services test, and it’s not for the indolent: It features incredibly difficult and obscure questions—“In which decade was the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) founded?“—and a prescribed study regimen that takes a year and half. Yet applicants vie in droves for a chance to ace it and nab one of the elite civil services gigs up for grabs. Of those 500,000 or so test-takers, 16,000 are culled for 27 more hours of graduate-level testing on a variety of topics (science, economics, history, you name it); from there, the top 2,000 get to go through an “exhaustive” interview, with around 1,100 of those candidates pulled into government services.

Ravindran, who runs an institute that helps candidates prep, recommends hitting the books 12 hours a day for 18 months beforehand. The Global Post reports contenders can take the test up to six times, which would equal about a decade of preparation. And most of the time, it’s not even the job role itself that candidates are interested in. “More than 90% of the aspirants know nothing about the services,“ says a student who just took the test a fourth time. “This is a prestigious exam, once you make it through everyone would start respecting you.“ Ravindran agrees: “[Candidates] know it comes with a lot of power, authority, and position. Most of them don’t know the nature of the job they have to perform.“


Two West Virginia students will be chosen to attend the unique government
education program and each will receive a $5,000 scholarship

Application deadline is September 14
The Gilmer Free Press

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is encouraging West Virginia high school juniors and seniors interested in government and public service to apply for the 54th Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP). Two applicants will be selected by the West Virginia Department of Education to attend the week-long government educational program held in Washington, D.C. on March 5-12, 2016. In addition, the delegates will each receive a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship to the college or university of their choice. The application deadline is September 14.

“Year after year, the brightest young leaders from around our country are brought together by the U.S. Senate Youth Program for a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to experience American democracy,” Senator Manchin said. “Through this program, students will gain an unparalleled understanding of the political processes of our government and get a firsthand look at the U.S. Senate. I strongly encourage all interested West Virginia students to take advantage of this special opportunity to explore a future in public service and apply for this extraordinary program.”

During the week-long program, students will learn about the history and procedures of the Senate, meet with high-level elected officials and be encouraged to explore a career in public service. They will also have the unique opportunity to hear major policy addresses by Senators, cabinet members, officials of the Departments of State and Defense and directors of federal agencies, as well as participate in a meeting with a Justice of the U.S Supreme Court.

Selection to the program will be based on the students’ proven academic excellence, leadership abilities and commitment to public service. Eligible students must also be currently serving as a student officer and be a West Virginia resident. Interested students should contact their high school principal or the West Virginia selection administrator, Robert Wiseman at or 304.558.5325 x 53220.

West Virginia News

The Gilmer Free Press

Procter & Gamble to break ground at WV plant in September

MARTINSBURG, WV - Procter & Gamble’s planned manufacturing facility in the Eastern Panhandle is due to break ground soon.

The Berkeley County plant is due to hold a ceremonial groundbreaking Sept. 18, with construction expected to begin in October.

The project will be the largest manufacturing project in the state’s history. The Cincinnati-based company said that during the first phase of construction the facility would be 1 million square feet and would create an estimated 700 full-time jobs. The total project has a scope of 4.8 million square feet and 1,100 employees.

Berkeley County Development Authority Executive Director Steve Christian says interest from developers and companies has been increasing since Procter & Gamble announced its plans in February.

The plant is scheduled to open in 2017.

Harassment of DOH workers reported across West Virginia - State Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox said that’s not the way to lodge complaints

CHARLESTON, WV — The state secretary of transportation calls increasing reports of Division of Highways crew workers being harassed on the Mountain State’s roads as they work to repair them “disturbing.”

“You can criticize me. You can criticize our district managers, but our DOH employees who work hard and are professional, they don’t deserve to be harassed, accosted, cursed and the like,” Paul Mattox said on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

In recent weeks, he said that’s what’s been happening.

There have been numerous reports of roadside confrontations. “We’ve had examples all over the state, particularly it seems like down in the southern part of West Virginia,” Mattox reported.

In one case, Mattox said a motorcycle rider showed a gun while threatening workers. A man was recently arrested for allegedly pledging to blow up a DOH district office while, in Preston County, DOH workers had to duck flying coins.

“Our crews were out doing some patching work, working on the roads, and a vehicle comes by and they toss a handful of coins at the crew and shout something about, ‘Here’s for your funding shortage,’ or something like that,” Mattox said.

He suggested other avenues for road complaints, whether that be through a formal citizens request for assistance, contacts in district offices or on social media.

More than $300 million, a record for the DOH according to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, has been authorized for paving and road repairs this year in West Virginia. Usually, the annual paving and repair budget is between $200 million and $225 million.

It’s been a tough year for road work, though, Mattox said.

“North central West Virginia, the Northern Panhandle and the Charleston areas, in particular, we have some road problems. We know about them and we’re working very hard, putting additional resources into those areas to take care of those road needs,” he said.

Because of repeat storms up until mid-July that caused all kinds of road problems, Mattox said crews are only now getting into a patching pattern. For that reason, he said the hope is to extend asphalt season farther into the Fall.

Glenville Teams with GSC to Tackle Blighted Buildings

GLENVILLE, WV - Residents of Glenville joined students of Glenville State College at the college’s new Waco Center to be part of a discussion on dealing with dilapidated and abandoned buildings in the city. The city is working with the North Central West Virginia Brownfield Assistance Center to address those concerns as part of the center’s BAD Buildings program. The center has provided a $10,000 grant to get the process underway.

“Answer some basic questions, do a community-wide survey, figure out how many of these properties are there, where are they, what are the property owners’ interests? Ultimately it’s their rights and responsibilities, so how can we help those property owners. Is it a money thing, is it a time thing, is it a reuse option?“ said the center’s Luke Elser, who leading the BAD Buildings Program.

The center is working with 17 cities around the state addressing the same challenge with each of them. They said there’s plenty of reasons that dealing with blighted buildings is a top-tier issue with every city they work with.

“They’re beyond eyesores, they’re damaging to property values, they cost the public money to police them, to do fire. They bring crime, they bring vagrancy and illegal activities. They make the community less of a community,“ Elser said.

The college is working with the Gilmer County Economic Development Association to tackle the problem, and board member Jeff Campbell said support from the center will continue even after the grant to locate all the problem areas runs out.

“And then at the end of the grant, they work with us to find funding, to make changes and to make a difference, so we really feel that this is a great opportunity for us, and we’d like to get as much community support or input as possible,“ said Campbell.  ~~  Alex Hines ~~

Fayette County will try to build new schools without bond issue - ocal funds, School Building Authority targeted for $50 million proposal

FAYETTEVILLE, WV — Fayette County is going to try and solve its major problem with school buildings without passing a bond issue.

The $50 million plan, unveiled Thursday night by Fayette County School Superintendent Terry George at a well-attended meeting in Hico, would consolidate four existing high schools (Oak Hill, Midland Trail, Meadow Bridge, Fayetteville) and use three of those buildings for new K-8 schools. The building housing Oak Hill High would become the new Collins Middle School. A new elementary school would be built in the Mount Hope area.

George, who has been on the job for less than three months, doesn’t believe Fayette County can pass a bond issue. It rejected plans this year, in 2009 and 2001. The last bond to pass was 1973.

“They (the residents) feel they can’t absorb any more taxation, it’s a very economically depressed area,” George said Friday on MetroNews ‘Talkline’. “They feel the state needs to do something to help them because financially they can’t afford to do it themselves.”

George hopes to float the plan before the state School Building Authority for funding. The county would also have its own money to contribute, he said.

“I can’t tell you how the School Building Authority will vote on that but I think it’s going to be based upon our presentation and how much we can demonstrate the need here in Fayette County,” George said.

The SBA has traditionally been more accommodating to requests from county’s that include local funding that bond issues provide.

There has been at least 20 years of deferred maintenance in Fayette County, according to George. There are several schools that still use coal to heat their buildings and two schools that currently have sections where students aren’t allowed in because of structural problems.

Closing six schools would free up money to come up with a comprehensive maintenance plan, George said.

George and others came up with the plan after evaluating the county’s 18 school buildings and deciding which of them could last for 25 years.

“If we didn’t feel we could renovate the building and sustain it for 25 years we designated it as one to close,” he said. “The whole point here is to develop a county school system that is sustainable.”

The Fayette County school system is under the control of the state Department of Education. The department seized control because of several problems, including facilities, a few years ago. George was appointed to the job earlier this year by state School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano.

NewsWest Virginia(2) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

It is clear the voice of the people of Fayette County never mattered after intervention.  George told them he was going to engage and interact with the citizens. Now he’s sent what the state wanted done all along to the state for their approval. Problem is the total amount he wants is about the total amount the SBA will have to disperse this year. The Fayette County students will be forced into long bus rides and across county lines. Their needs were never part of the State BOE’s thought process. No matter what they were told.

By Stop Forced Intervention  on  08.29.2015

There’s been deferred maintenance for 20 years in every county because the State budgeted for a top heavy administration, not the schools.
There’s been deferred maintenance for 20 years in education for every student because the State budgets for a top heavy administration, not the students.
Not a single building project will improve the quality of education. Priorities have always been backwards in Charleston.
Of course you can show off new buildings. Statistics don’t photograph as well.

By Governor Disband The State BOE  on  08.29.2015

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U.S.A. News

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Hiker Scalded Trying to Save Dogs From Hot Spring

An awful incident at a national forest in Idaho: Two dogs died and their owner was severely burned during an encounter with a hot spring in Salmon-Challis National Forest last week. Paden McCormic was walking his three dogs through the mountains near the Panther Creek Hot Springs when two of the animals decided to go for a dip, reports Reuters. One was killed “rather quickly,“ but McCormic plunged into the springs hoping to save the other, a sheriff tells the Idaho Statesman. He suffered third-degree burns on over half his body pulling the dog from the water, reports That dog later died, and McCormic was airlifted to a Seattle hospital.

A National Forest rep says the water temperature of the springs usually allows for bathers, but it’s suspected that drought conditions stopped cool water from flowing into the springs’ heated groundwater. Though it isn’t clear exactly what the water temperature was at the time of the incident, the sheriff says it can reach 180 degrees. A relative says McCormic could spend three months in the hospital recovering. Officials add they’ve never heard of such an incident in the forest’s 107-year history.

Fast-Food Fantasy Come to Life? the ‘McWhopper’

Imagine Ronald McDonald and the Burger King monarch working the grill together for one glorious day. That’s BK’s proposal to its No. 1 rival, put forth on its, which suggests the two fast-food foes team up on September 21 to create a sandwich by that very name, the New York Times reports. In an open invitation on the site (and in full-page ads in the Times and the Chicago Tribune), Burger King suggests the two industry giants “end the beef, with beef,“ calling for “a ceasefire on these so-called ‘burger wars’” to create “all the tastiest bits of your Big Mac and our Whopper, united in one delicious, peace-loving burger.“ The stated purpose of the initiative: to raise money to donate to Peace One Day, a nonprofit trying to let people know about the UN’s International Day of Peace on September 21, the Times notes. “Corporate [activism] on this scale creates mass awareness and awareness creates action and action saves lives,“ the founder of the nonprofit says on the McWhopper site.

The Gilmer Free Press

The proposed location would be a pop-up shop in Atlanta—“Burger King HQ is in Miami, McDonald’s HQ is in Chicago, so let’s meet in the middle,“ the site notes—and employees from both teams would serve up their new sandwich together; BK has even come up with designs for packaging, uniforms, and a “peace treaty” printed on a napkin. What exactly those “tastiest bits” mentioned earlier would entail is six Big Mac ingredients (including the special sauce, lettuce, and cheese) and six from BK (including the flame-broiled patty and pickles), per Bloomberg. McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook doesn’t seem particularly receptive, though: In a Facebook post this morning, he says he thinks the two brands could pull off a more “meaningful global effort,“ calls out BK for comparing their business rivalry to the “real pain and suffering of war,“ and adds a PS that notes: “A simple phone call will do next time.“ Too bad. This guy would’ve been the perfect celebrity spokesman.

Guy Named Vince Creates ‘Reply All’ Chaos at Reuters

Ever done something you wished you could take back? Like accidentally sent an email to 33,000 Thomson Reuters employees? That’s what some guy named Vince apparently did yesterday, flooding inboxes and setting off a “reply all” chain that some say slowed down Reuters email and provided the Internet with Twitter gold, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some tweets using the #ReutersReplyAllGate hashtag expressed frustration at the hundreds of reply-all emails asking people to stop replying to all, while others used the chaos to grab their 15 minutes of fame (being listed in the “to” field) and laugh at the inherent inanity of it all.

“Should I just start live tweeting every single reply?“ one recipient wondered, while another called for extraordinary assistance, imploring, “Any Super Hero currently in the U.S. Your help is needed to stop this email chain.“ But as the debacle continues to generate fresh reply-all emails this morning, what’s happened to poor Vince? One Reuters worker remains concerned, tweeting, “Where is Vince? Hope he’s ok! #ReutersReplyAllGate #prayforvince.“

Car Crash Takes 50 Years to Kill Man

An 8-year-old boy sustained serious injuries when he was hit by a car in Pennsylvania in July 1965—injuries that proved fatal 50 years later, the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office has ruled. Richard Albright, 58, never recovered from head injuries he suffered in the July 08, 1965, pedestrian accident in Allentown, reports the Morning Call, which reported the day after the accident that the badly injured boy was “holding his own.“ “We looked back pretty far to see the chain of events,“ First Deputy Coroner Eric Minnich tells the Morning Call. Both of Albright’s legs were broken in the accident, and the injuries he sustained “required a lifetime of treatment and basically he was paralyzed,“ says Minnich. “This is something that he never achieved a full recovery from.“ reports Albright’s death was ruled accidental by the coroner’s office. Minnich says it’s rare but not unheard of for injuries suffered in an accident to cause death after so many years. To wit, the very same office made a similar announcement in May of this year. NBC Philadelphia reports a 53-year-old Pennsylvania man died May 9 because of injuries caused when a car struck him in New York state some 35 years prior. James Koplik’s death was also ruled an accident, reports NBC Philadelphia.

Two men hospitalized after jumping into canal at Venetian

Las Vegas, NV—Two men jumped into a canal at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and, because they could not swim, had to be rescued and hospitalized, a spokesman for the hotel said on Thursday.

The disturbance on Monday morning at the Venetian, which is located on the Las Vegas Strip and draws many tourists for its gondola rides inspired by the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, was first reported on Thursday.

The two men were caught on hotel surveillance cameras jumping over the fence that surrounds the hotel’s canal along Las Vegas Boulevard, hotel spokesman Keith Salwoski said in an email. “Apparently, the individuals were unable to swim and were pulled from the water,“ he said.

The two individuals were transported in critical condition by ambulance to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, said Clark County Fire Department deputy chief Jeff Buchanan.

He could not share any details on their latest condition.

It was unclear what led the men to jump into the canal.

A Las Vegas police representative could not be reached for comment.

World News

The Gilmer Free Press

How the Pope Could Save This Killer on Death Row

When Lidia Guerrero met with Pope Francis in Rome last year, he told her he knew all about Guerrero’s son, who has been on death row in Texas for 19 years. “I’ve prayed so much for that young man,“ she says Francis told her. The short meeting in February 2014 left Guerrero with more hope than she has felt in years about the future of her son, Argentine native Victor Hugo Saldano, who she says is guilty of murder but has been driven to insanity on death row. Death penalty opponents are hoping Francis pressures lawmakers to abolish capital punishment when he visits the US next month, and Guerrero, 67, is praying that the pope intervenes on behalf of Saldano. “I have no certainty that Francis will ask for clemency for my son, but I do have hope,“ she says. Saldano’s execution date has not been scheduled.

Saldano entered the U.S. illegally in the 1990s, and on Nov. 25, 1995, he and a friend, drunk and high on crack cocaine, were seen holding Paul King at gunpoint in a Dallas parking lot. King was later found shot to death. Saldano was sentenced to death in 1996, then again in 2004 after being awarded a new hearing. During the latter sentencing trial, Saldano masturbated twice in the presence of jurors, and prosecutors cited incidents of him smearing feces on cell walls. “They locked him in the pressure cooker of death row for seven years and then told everyone, ‘Look how dangerous he is,‘“ says a law professor who has worked on the case. Even if Francis brings up the case, clemency is a long shot. It would require a recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to Governor Greg Abbott, and Abbott could reject it.

Segway knocks Bolt off his stride at the Bird’s Nest

BEIJING, CHINA—A television cameraman and his Segway succeeded in doing what none of Usain Bolt’s rivals could in the 200 meters final at world championships on Thursday—knock the Jamaican off his stride, and his feet, during his lap of honor.

Bolt was taking the plaudits of the crowd after winning his fourth straight 200 meters world crown when the wheel of the cameraman’s Segway caught a trackside rail and flipped over, sending man and machine into the barefooted sprinter.

The 29-year-old Olympic champion, who had his back to the man, was knocked to the ground and sustained a few minor cuts.

He was not about to let the accident ruin his celebrations after beating American rival Justin Gatlin to a sprint title for the second time in five days, however.

“I did not hit a cameraman. He took me out,“ said Bolt, who held on to his track spikes with his right hand as he did a backward roll to get back onto his feet.

“The rumor I am trying to start right now is Justin Gatlin paid him.“

Silver medalist Gatlin, sat next to Bolt at the post-race news conference, quipped ruefully: “I want my money back.“

Bolt, who is hoping to run for a third gold in the 4x100m relay at the weekend, joked that he might have to consider taking out insurance after the incident.

“I probably should have my legs insured. It was pretty scary when it happened,“ he added.

“Accidents happen. I have a few cuts but it is nothing that I have never done to myself in training. I will be alright.“

2015 ACT Results Show Snapshot of Student Performance in West Virginia

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV - West Virginia graduates outperformed the nation in English and reading according to data released Wednesday by ACT. 2015 ACT scores also show graduates are holding steady with students across the nation. West Virginia’s composite score on the college entrance exam increased from 20.6 in 2014 to 20.8 in 2015, while the national composite score remained the same at 21.0.

Across the state, 11,289 of this year’s high school graduates took the ACT. Of the state’s graduating class, 66 percent took the ACT at least once.

The state 2015 ACT average English score was 20.6; math, 19.7; reading, 21.5; and science, 20.7. Also noteworthy, 96 percent of West Virginia’s 2015 ACT-tested graduates aspired to postsecondary education.

“We still have work to do to ensure our high-school graduates are equipped with college and career ready skills, but I am proud of the progress made by our teachers, students and parents,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano. “I am encouraged that so many of our graduates indicated they aspired to postsecondary education.”

According to ACT’s yearly report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013, college and career readiness problems persist among U.S. high school graduates, with the majority ill-prepared for success at the next level. In West Virginia, only 21 percent of the test takers met all four of the ACT college readiness benchmarks. The ACT college readiness benchmarks are scores used to indicate a student has at least a 50 percent chance of getting a grade of B or higher in first-year college courses.

Sixty-nine percent of West Virginia students scored at levels indicating they were ready for freshman English courses, compared to 64 percent of students nationwide. In reading, 48 percent of state test-takers were ready for freshman courses, ranking above the national percentage of 46. Thirty-four percent of West Virginia students were college ready in math, compared to 42 percent nationally. In science, 34 percent of West Virginia students were ready, compared to a national average of 38 percent.

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test made up of four separate exams in English, reading, mathematics and science, plus an optional writing test. The test is administered in all 50 states and is the predominant college entrance exam in 25 states, including West Virginia. ACT also assesses a student’s ability to succeed in college.

West Virginia’s complete results can be found by visiting H E R E

EducationNewsWest Virginia(6) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Time after time for years we read how the state education system is in free fall failure.

Is this simply a snapshot to put lipstick on the pig?  Looks it.

By Billy  on  08.28.2015

Charleston uses statistics selectively to paint a rosy picture to fool the public.

That is the way it was done with Success School ratings while 50% of the students could not read or write.

How many have heard “we got a Success Rating, the highest you can get”?

Most of us grew up with an evaluation system for which 50% would have been an F.

By Benny Post  on  08.28.2015

The legislature has this coming winter session to get their own house in order, and to take care of the failed state department of education.

The next election will be right on their heels.  Don’t fix this mess, voters are going to send more of you all home.

By can't wait  on  08.28.2015

In 2013 only 21% met all four bench marks for college readiness? ACT math and science percentages disgraceful.  The current statewide common core test results for math overall in the toilet. Science curriculum was changed per Wade Linger’s insistence but not included in the testing results.

Testing has identified major problem areas.  When will the WVDE budget go to better pay for more highly qualified Teachers than administrators? When can they start using their teaching skills and stop being paper pushers?

By NT  on  08.28.2015

We heard about the GCHS “Success” school while knowing that 50% of its students cannot pass reading and math.

What is the true story about ACT scores at the GCHS? We have seen snippets about the scores on GFP videos and it appears that Mr. Devono does not want to disclose the full set of information.

In one county citizens knew the harsh reality about %s of ACT test takers who were not college and career ready. The overwhelming majority were not ready.

That county’s superintendent took personal initiative to work with HS principals to develop an ACT improvement plan.

Parents, teachers, and the entire community including business leaders got involved to begin to solve the problem. One HS principal was reassigned to another non administrative job.

Going into the 5th year the State has fed Gilmer County a steady diet of denial that problems of any type exist. Can we all say Cedar Creek in unison as one blatant example?

When school system information of any type is embargoed by the State that is undeniable evidence that serious problems exist which it does not want citizens on the street to know about.

If Dr. Martirano, Dr. Cynthia Daniel,and Mr. Green would show leadership they would require remedial ACT improvement action in Gilmer County. What do you say high paid Charleston officials?

Are you on speed dial hold awaiting instructions from Gilmer’s local cabal?

By WVDE Information Embargo  on  08.29.2015

We deserve to be told all the facts about how Gilmer County is doing with the four ACT categories to make our kids college and career ready.

We have no control over what is done statewide and in nearby counties, but we should be allowed to take care of needs of our own children.

What is Gilmer County High School’s ACT information and what is being done to make improvements for our children?

Interesting isn’t it that if a County concern frequency is tabulated, the State’s censorship of information about our school system comes out on top.

Something is badly wrong with withholding of information as a standard WVDOE and WVBOE intervention practice while their leaders preach enlightenment which depends on honest full disclosure.

By Randy Basonmeir  on  08.29.2015

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The Gilmer Free Press

Do You Want Your Kid Grow Up To Be Rich?

7 Things to Teach Your Kids in Kindergarten
If You Want Them to Grow Up To Be Rich

The Gilmer Free Press

Only 17 states in the U.S. require that students at public high schools take a personal finance class before they graduate.

“At the end of the day, kids are not being taught the fundamentals in school. As much as we think or hope they are, it’s not happening,“ says Gregg Murset, certified financial planner and founder of, a free tool that teaches kids about money.

That means parents are the ones that have to assume responsibility — and the earlier you start teaching money basics, the better.

“Even if they have personal finance being taught in high school, that’s too late,“ explains Murset. “They’re quasi-set in their ways by the time they’re 17, so you really have to start a lot earlier.“

Every kid learns at a different pace, but you can start laying the groundwork as early as five years old, Murset says.

Here are seven money lessons you can introduce to your kids as early as kindergarten. The more interactive and fun you can make it, the more they’ll absorb, so we’ve also included strategies to help convey the basics suggested by Murset and Peggy Mangot, CEO of SparkGift, a new platform that helps parents teach kids to start investing early.

Of course, we can’t guarantee they’ll grow to be millionaires, but if you can hammer home these concepts from a young age, they’ll be ahead of the curve.

The concept of earning.

The earlier parents establish the concept of earning, the better, says Murset. Kids need to understand where money comes from, and that it requires a job and work ethic to get money in your wallet.


Introduce the concept of an allowance, and give them specific jobs around the house that will earn them a bit of money each week.

Note that giving an allowance the wrong way — not having discussions about how to use the money and simply handing over a certain amount each week — can do more harm than good. Check out the most effective way to give your kids an allowance so they’re actually learning about money.

Another option is to encourage them to participate in a bake sale or lemonade stand — something that requires them to put in work in exchange for earnings.

What it means to save, share, and spend.

Once your kids understand the concept of earning money, teach them the three things they can do with their earnings: save, share, and spend.

“If you can relay the concept of earning and then splitting it up — I save for the future, I share with charities or causes I care about, and I spend on things I want or need — that’s powerful stuff,“ says Murset. “It’s really personal finance 101.“


Once your kids have earned money from a bake sale or having completed jobs around the house, explain that in addition to being able to spend it, they need to save and share some.

“Open a savings account for your child,“ recommends Mangot. “Even a small amount ($20) is a great start. The key is to get in the practice of saving for the long-term.“ Then, make it a habit, she says: “Make it a monthly practice with your child to make additional deposits to their savings account so they can watch it grow.“

As for sharing, help them find a charity or cause that interests them and pick a day each month to donate.

When it comes to spending, take them to the store with you so they can see what $5 or $10 can buy — let them know that they don’t have to spend it right away and that waiting will mean more savings in the future, but let them make the final decision.

How debit and credit cards work.

Once your kids understand the concept of earning money, teach them the three things they can do with their earnings: save, share, and spend.

“If you can relay the concept of earning and then splitting it up — I save for the future, I share with charities or causes I care about, and I spend on things I want or need — that’s powerful stuff,“ says Murset. “It’s really personal finance 101.“


Once your kids have earned money from a bake sale or having completed jobs around the house, explain that in addition to being able to spend it, they need to save and share some.

“Open a savings account for your child,“ recommends Mangot. “Even a small amount ($20) is a great start. The key is to get in the practice of saving for the long-term.“ Then, make it a habit, she says: “Make it a monthly practice with your child to make additional deposits to their savings account so they can watch it grow.“

As for sharing, help them find a charity or cause that interests them and pick a day each month to donate.

When it comes to spending, take them to the store with you so they can see what $5 or $10 can buy — let them know that they don’t have to spend it right away and that waiting will mean more savings in the future, but let them make the final decision.

How coupons work.

Introducing the concept of coupons will help to ingrain conscious spending habits, which will pay off in the long run as they get older and start spending their own money.


Have your kids cut coupons out with you and then use them together at the grocery store or pharmacy. To help them understand that you saved money, you can show them, or let them keep a portion of, the exact dollar amount the coupon saved.

What it means to match contributions.

You can introduce the concept of matching from a young age, says Murset. “If you get that into a kid’s brain really early — that matching works and grows their money — what do you think they’re going to do the first time they get a job and have a 401(k)?“ he says.


If your kids decide to save their money instead of spend it, match what they save. You can match them 100% or 10% — any amount will help them understand the basics of the concept.

The basics of investing.

This may seem like a stretch, but Mangot has had success introducing her 6-year-old to the world of investing by letting him purchase stocks and follow the stock ticker. It’s all about showing instead of telling, and keeping it fun and interesting, she tells us.


Open an investment account for your kids and use the money that they have earned to buy stocks with them. “If they actually have their own accounts, they can actually look at how the stock is doing, and how the value is going up or down,“ she says.

They’ll get excited about this, especially if they’ve picked companies that interest them, like Disney or Nike. “While a sound investment portfolio is well-diversified, getting your kids started by investing in companies that personally interest them will help keep them interested and motivated,“ she explains.

Then, take advantage of the digital tools out there to keep them consistently engaged. Mangot uses the built in stock ticker on the iPhone to let her kids track the market, but there are other online tools that will link to investment accounts and let you track your portfolio, such as the Google Finance tracker and SigFig. Link your kids’ accounts and they’ll be able to follow the market in real time and see the performance of their stocks. 

How to be proud of their savings.

Mastering money hinges more on mindset than anything else, and one distinction between rich people and average people is their relationship to money: They see money as their friend, while the average person sees it as their enemy. They are prideful about their earnings and expect to make more — and they generally do just that.

“Help your kids take pride in their saving and investing habits,“ says Mangot. “Tell the world.“


Encourage your kids to tell their grandparents and other family members that they’ve starting saving or investing their money, suggests Mangot. They’ll likely want to support your kids’ endeavor, and could offer to gift money for their savings or investment account rather than a more traditional present for birthdays and holidays.

West Virginia News

The Gilmer Free Press

Barbour County Superintendent Believes Reasons Behind Hostage Situation More Complex Than Bullying

PHILIPPI, WV — The superintendent of schools in Barbour County believes the reason a 14-year-old student held a classroom hostage with a gun may have been more complex than bullying, though it could have been a contributing factor.

Jeffrey Woofter recalled the events at Philip Barbour earlier this week on Thursday’s “MetroNews Talkline,” based on witness statements from the students in the classroom.

It began when the student allegedly walked not into his assigned classroom, as previously reported, but into his girlfriend’s assigned class.

He asked her to hold his wallet and phone when the girl began to question his motives.

“Then he walked to the teacher, Twila Smith, pulled a gun out of his pocket, placed it on her temple and told her she was going to die that day along with others in the room,” Woofter said.

Then, while keeping the gun on Smith’s head, he instructed her to lock the door, cover the window and throw her keys across the room. He also had the students put their phones down on their desks, sit on the floor and put their hands up.

After the other students were on the floor, the suspect then went through a process which Woofter believes brought at least a portion of his motive to light.

“He then started to single out students, made them stand up and pointed a gun at them,” Woofter said. “He’d ask them questions and said that if they didn’t answer right, they were going to die.”

Among those forced to stand were two male students, who were told to admit they flirted with the armed student’s girlfriend, with one touching her leg and the other alleging to have touched her behind.

Another male student was forced at gunpoint to say “bad things” about another student in the classroom –Woofter noted that the boy apologized for the things he said while the gun was still on him.

During this process, the armed student reportedly made the statement that “his own father had held a gun to his head and he wanted other to know that feeling,” according to Woofter.

The hostage situation continued throughout the period without anyone else in the school really knowing what was going on.

At the end of the period, the armed student pointed the gun at Smith and walked her to the door. As other students attempted to come in, she stopped them and told them to a room across the hall to Mrs. Swift’s room.

Woofter credits Smith’s poise under pressure as saving lives by keeping the suspect clam.

“She was an absolute hero,” he said. “When you talk to Twila, she would deny that to the end. She’d say she was just doing her job.”

When Swift attempted to check on Smith’s room, the student attempted to take her hostage as well, but Swift slammed the door shut and notified the front office, initiating the lockdown and evacuation.

The authorities arrived on scene and began the negotiations that led to the hostages’ release and the eventual end of the situation when the armed student’s pastor walked him out to an ambulance in police custody.

Woofter is hesitant to say whether or not bullying played a factor into the student’s motive and it would be hard for the staff at Philip Barbour to detect, as the boy had only been there for nine days with school just starting.

“I think there’s a number of issues that would lead a young man of 14 years of age to do something this erratic,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair to say, we look in from the outside and say bullying was the cause of this because so many other things took place.”

Classes resumed on Wednesday with the county operating on a two-hour delay, increased police presence on campus and counselors on hand to talk with students.

A day after being held hostage, the students and teacher proved their resiliency when asked by the principal if they wished to change classes.

“Every kid in the class raised their hand and said they did not want to leave, and Mrs. Smith was the same way,” Woofter said. “It’s unbelievable.”

The suspect –whose identity remains unreleased due to his age– is being held at the J.M. “Chick” Buckbee Juvenile Center in Hampshire County and is charged with 28 counts of wanton endangerment, one count of making terroristic threats and one count of possessing a firearm on school premises.

Teacher describes handling gun-wielding teen hostage taker

CHARLESTON, WV - Thirty-year veteran teacher Twila Smith had scarcely begun the school year when a 14-year-old freshman entered her class and pulled a gun. He told her to cover the windows, lock the door and throw the keys and her 27 students’ cellphones on the floor.

Smith said if she lost her composure, she knew things would end badly.

While the boy held them hostage for at least 45 minutes Tuesday, Smith says she spoke with him about personal loss, tried to divert attention from the students and kept him talking. He also talked about shooting himself.

Police eventually persuaded him to free his hostages and the boy surrendered.

No one was hurt at Philip Barbour High School in Philippi, 115 miles south of Pittsburgh.

The school superintendent called Smith’s actions “miraculous.“

PSC Performs More than 3,000 Commercial Vehicle Inspections in Latest Quarter

CHARLESTON, WV - The Public Service Commission of West Virginia has announced that during the most recent quarter, its Transportation Enforcement Officers conducted 3,292 commercial vehicle inspections on 10 highways designated as high crash areas, a 58% increase over the number of inspections conducted in those areas during the same quarter last year.  Of the inspections performed last quarter, 2,068 – or 63% – were made possible by funding from the Increased Commercial Enforcement (I.C.E.) grant the Public Service Commission received last fall from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The grant-funded inspections were conducted primarily during off hours.  As a result of these inspections, 211 vehicles were taken out of service for equipment safety violations such as faulty brakes, lights, tires and steering mechanisms, poorly secured loads and improperly labeled hazardous materials.  Officers conducted 1,842 checks for alcohol and controlled substances, and cited drivers for 502 speed violations and 68 seatbelt violations.

As a result of the overtime funded by the federal grant, PSC officers were able to increase their presence during non-typical hours on roadways that have been identified as high crash areas.  “We planned to concentrate the majority of the grant’s funding in the third quarter, which covered the time of year when traffic is heaviest on West Virginia’s highways. The increased presence of the officers contributed to reduced speeds and improved driving behaviors of commercial drivers,” said Bob Blankenship, Director of the Transportation Enforcement Division.

“The tangible result of this federal grant is that more inspections have led to more violations being discovered and addressed,” Blankenship said.  “Having the ability to increase our presence in this way has made West Virginia’s roadways safer for the traveling public and has, no doubt, saved lives and property.”

The grant for the I.C.E. patrols and inspections is funded through September 2015.

Worker awarded $586,860 in religious discrimination suit

CLARKSBURG, WV - A judge has awarded more than $586,000 in pay and benefits to a retired CONSOL Energy worker who had accused the company of religious discrimination.

U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp Jr. also prohibited CONSOL and a former subsidiary, Consolidation Coal Co., from committing similar acts in the future.

Stamp’s recent ruling came in a 2013 lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit said Beverly Butcher was forced to retire after the companies began using biometric hand scans in 2012 at a mine in Mannington.

The lawsuit said the companies refused to consider alternatives after Butcher told company officials that the hand scans violated his religious beliefs.

In January, a federal jury awarded $150,000 in compensatory damages to Butcher.

Murray Energy bought Consolidation Coal in late 2014.

100 people face charges in Fayette-Nicholas drug probe

FAYETTEVILLE, WV - Police say 100 people face drug-related charges stemming from an investigation in Fayette and Nicholas counties.

The Central West Virginia Drug Task Force says officers began executing arrest warrants at 6 a.m. Thursday. About 80 people had been arrested as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Charges include distribution of controlled substances and conspiracy.

The task force says in a news release that investigators made controlled purchases of heroin, methamphetamine, prescription pills and other drugs.

Arrested suspects were taken magistrate courts in their respective counties for arraignments following processing at central command posts.

More than 120 officers from the task force, West Virginia State Police, local police departments and federal agencies participated in Thursday’s mass arrest.

Several other people also were arrested on outstanding warrants for charges unrelated to the investigation.

Teacher priest seeks OK to wear religious habit in classroom

PARKERSBURG, WV - A Roman Catholic priest who also is a teacher has asked Wood County school officials to allow him to wear his religious habit in the classroom.

The Rev. George Nedeff is a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. He recently was hired as a substitute teacher in Wood County.

The 75-year-old Nedeff says he believes students might benefit by having a priest in their schools.

Schools Superintendent John Flint says school officials respect Nedeff’s request. But a decision hasn’t been made.

West Virginia Department of Education spokeswoman Kristin Anderson says state law doesn’t specifically prohibit or allow the wearing of religious vestments in the classroom. She says federal law provides conflicting guidance.

Did You Know?

The Gilmer Free Press

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


Ex-colleagues describe Vester Flanagan as a man whose hair-trigger temper was increasingly set off by slights that were more often imagined than real.


New Orleans was held out by President Obama as an example of renewal 10 years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.


At least 20 - and possibly up to 50 - decomposing bodies were found piled inside, the latest tragedy in a year that has seen tens of thousands of people risking all to seek a better life in Europe.


Investors were in a buying mood again on Thursday, driving U.S. stocks higher for the second straight day.


The attorney for Cindy Mills says she warned the ad man in 2008 that the ex-company pitchman had talked about paying for sex with minors.


Republicans thought they could improve their image with Hispanic voters, but the outspoken billionaire’s summer surge has reinforced the power of white conservatives.


Streets across Dominica turned into fast-flowing rivers that swept up cars and caused landslides that killed at least four people.


Millions of dollars are unspent or unaccounted for in bureaucratic mazes established by lawmakers looking to help worthy causes without committing state dollars, the AP learns.


A large group of researchers set out to repeat 100 studies published by leading psychology journals to see how often they would get the same outcome. The answer: Less than half the time.


Known for his powerful dunks, the 76ers’ `Chocolate Thunder’ was 58.


The Gilmer Free Press

Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is helping make the last wish of a dying veteran come true. On Saturday, August 29, 2015, Commissioner of Agriculture Walt
Helmick will be on hand at Geezer Ridge Farm in Hedgesville to dedicate the Major Byron “Mark” Cato, USAF (Ret) Memorial Veterans Bee Keeper Training Facility.

Cato, a veteran of the United States Air Force, who flew multiple combat missions and served nearly two decades as an Air Force pilot, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in recent weeks. With only days to live, his friends and colleagues from the West Virginia Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture program have established a fund and coordinated a ceremony to honor Cato.

The current training site at Geezer Ridge Farm has assisted dozens of veterans since its start in 2013. Veterans learn about the apiary business and then put that knowledge into practice. Cato and his wife Teri, also a veteran, were part of the program’s 2015 class.

Ed Forney, the owner of Geezer Ridge and the training specialist, says beekeeping became a big part of the Catos’ lives, and naming the site in Mark’s honor is the right thing to do.

“When I told Mark, he was so excited. He was in tears,” says Forney. James McCormick, the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture Coordinator, says of Cato, “He has spent his entire adult life serving this nation. Mark loves beekeeping and wants to continue the legacy. He’s at the end of his life. He’s opting to go through additional chemo treatments so he’ll be able to stand for this event. It shows a tremendous amount of courage.

That’s exactly the kind of person we want to build the beekeeping legacy on.”

The event is set for 10 AM, August 29 at Geezer Ridge Farm, 173 Rooney Road, Hedgesville, WV 25427. For more information, you can contact Ed Forney at 304-702-3848.

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