GSC Celebrates Alumni Day 2015

GLENVILLE, WV - Glenville State College graduates and friends gathered on campus for the 2015 Alumni Day on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

A day full of activities culminated with the annual Alumni Banquet in the Mollohan Campus Community Center Ballroom.

Those in attendance enjoyed a buffet dinner and the presentation of the 2015 GSC Alumni Association award recipients.

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The Alumnus of the Year Award is presented to Walt Turner (left) by Ralph Holder

The evening’s prestigious Alumnus of the Year Award was presented to Walter W. ‘Walt’ Turner. The award is given to a graduate of Glenville State College for outstanding contributions in their chosen field or for outstanding personal accomplishments. Right out of college Turner began his career at Koppers, a Fortune 500 company with worldwide facilities, as a production assistant and worked his way up to President and Chief Executive Officer, a position he would hold until his retirement in December 2014. Turner currently serves on the board of trustees for Carnegie Museums and the Junior Achievement Board. He is a native of Bedford County, Pennsylvania and graduated from Glenville State College in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He also attended Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College.

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Community Service Award recipient Mike Lieving (left) with Bob Marshall

The Community Service Award was presented to Mike Lieving ’76.  This award is given to an individual who has distinguished themselves in community service. After graduation Lieving began a career in banking in Mason County, West Virginia where he has resided with his family for the past 30 years. He is currently employed by the Farmers Bank and Savings Company where he is the President of the West Virginia Division and Chief Lending Officer. He is a past chairman and still serves on the Pleasant Valley Board of Trustees, past president and board member of the Mason County Chamber of Commerce, Mason County Community Foundation Board member, past chairman and current member of the Board of the West Virginia Bankers Association, and is involved with the St. Paul Lutheran Church in New Haven, West Virginia where he also served as past council president. Lieving is a native of West Columbia, West Virginia and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from Glenville State College where he majored in Economics with minors in Marketing and Retailing.

“Unlike most college students, I attended no social events because my wife and I were busy with classes and taking care of our daughter. Sometimes it was very difficult for us to find a babysitter to watch our daughter when we both were in class, but my sister was in a sorority so we had 25 more ‘sisters’ to help watch her. She was known as the ‘Pioneer Football’ because she was watched by so many people,” Lieving recalled.

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Outstanding Young Alumna Karina Kendrick (left) with her former coach Dennis Fitzpatrick

The Outstanding Young Alumna Award was presented to Karina Kendrick ’08.  This award is presented to a female graduate who is less than thirty-six years old who has achieved early and remarkable success in their career. Kendrick received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology at Glenville State College where she graduated summa cum laude. She also was a member of the Lady Pioneer Basketball team where she earned honors from the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) all four years of her undergraduate career. Kendrick attended the West Virginia University College of Law where she graduated Order of Coif (top 10% of her graduating class) and earned her J.D. in 2011. She began her law career at Jackson Kelly PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia and recently relocated to Westlake, Ohio where she is working as an Associate with Jackson Lewis P.C., an AmLaw 100 and Global 100 ranked law firm.

“My time at Glenville State prepared not only me but my teammates on the Lady Pioneer Basketball team for all of the challenges that we would face and for all of the achievements in my life. It has helped me get through law school and I continue using what I learned at GSC in my practice today,” Kendrick said.

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Outstanding Young Alumnus Tony Minney (left) with Dennis Carpenter

The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award was presented to Tony Minney ’08.  This award is presented to a male graduate who is less than thirty-six years old who has achieved early and remarkable success in their career. Minney was involved in many different activities and organizations while at GSC and stated, “Glenville State College was a great experience for me, and I enjoyed every minute of it. During my time at Glenville I held many different leadership positions in the Student Government Association and a few other organizations. Being involved while in college has given me wonderful leadership skills that I use daily in my professional career.” After graduation, Minney has been the Technology Integration Specialist at Gilmer County High School, Principal at Pleasant Hill Elementary School, and is currently serving as Principal at Braxton County High School and is in the last year of his doctoral program. He resides in Coxs Mills, West Virginia with his wife Kyre-Anna (Bartz) Minney ’08 and their two children.

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Outstanding Teacher Award recipient Ressie Thomas (right) with Kyre-Anna Minney

The Outstanding Teacher Award was presented to Ressie (Brown) Thomas ’90.  This award is designated for public school teachers who have distinguished themselves during their careers. Thomas graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, Multi-Subjects K-8, and an Associate’s Degree in Sign Language Interpreting. Later on she received a Master’s Degree in Deaf Education pre-school-adult from Marshall University and is currently working on a dissertation for her Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from Liberty University. She has worked for seventeen years as the Nicholas County deaf and hard of hearing teacher and, since 2012, has served as the Regional Outreach Specialist for the WV Schools for the Deaf and Blind which covers fifteen counties in central and southeastern West Virginia. She also teaches sign language for New River Community and Technical College and is a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma honor society where she has served as the President of the Nu Chapter since 2014. She has also interpreted sign language for governors, senators, and former President Bill Clinton.

“I am so thankful for Glenville State for opening me up to so many great people who have become lifelong friends. I would never have made it through without them and their support,” said Thomas. She currently resides in Summersville, West Virginia.

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Alumni Achievement Award recipient Dr. Joe Evans (left) with Dr. Gary Morris

The Alumni Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Joe Evans ’63. This award is given to a graduate who has distinguished themselves in their chosen field. After graduation from GSC, Evans completed his Master of Science from Ohio State University and later received his Doctor of Education from West Virginia University. Except for a few early years in his career, Evans has been employed at his alma mater since 1970. While working at Glenville State College he has served the institution in many positions including: Provost and Senior Vice President, Dean of Teacher Education, and an instructor of Science Education, Earth Science, Physical Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Math. He has been the recipient of many awards throughout his career including: West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services Hall of Fame inductee, Outstanding Faculty Award from the GSC Alumni Association, Curtis Elam Professor for Teaching Excellence at GSC, Faculty Marshal, and many more. Evans resides in Glenville, West Virginia with his wife June.

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Alumni Service Award recipient Bill Deel (left) with John Hoover

Immediate past Alumni Association President Bill Deel was recognized with the Alumni Service Award at the banquet. The award is reserved for those who have and continue to give their all to the College. In addition to his continued support for the Alumni Council, he also serves on the GSC Board of Governors and the GSC Foundation Board. As part of the evening’s proceedings, Deel recognized eight special alumni and friends of the College who had passed away in the last year. Those recognized in memoriam included: Coach Earl ‘Whitey’ Adolfson, Dr. Billie M. Atkinson ‘56, Joyce (Georgalis) Geyh ‘53, Dr. Robert ‘Ted’ Hauman ‘65, Thomas McPherson ‘58, Ronnie Barker Peters ‘59, Frances ‘Fran’ (Myers) Schmetzer ‘43, and H. Laban White, Jr. ‘37.

For more information about alumni affairs at Glenville State College, contact Alumni Director Debbie Nagy via e-mail at , by phone locally at 304.462.4122, or toll-free at 866.239.0285.

Simple Question to WVBOE: Why?

The Gilmer Free Press
Editorial: Fayette’s School Crisis

For thousands of West Virginia children, education offers the main hope for a good future and a rewarding career. But Fayette County youngsters face severe obstacles.

In 2001, an overwhelming 86% of Fayette residents voted against a bond issue to upgrade dilapidated schools. In 2009, a strong 77% killed another improvement bond. Two of the county’s five school board members opposed the bond.

After the 2009 flop, the state Office of Education Performance Audits filed a 160-page report saying Fayette schools were substandard, with decrepit buildings, inadequate staffs, low test scores and a “contentious” county school board. The state Board of Education seized control of Fayette schools in 2010, on grounds that they were depriving children of an adequate education.

As reporter Ryan Quinn related, most of Collins Middle School in Oak Hill abruptly was condemned for safety reasons and closed in January, with pupils hastily transferred to other schools.

Meanwhile, an upper floor at Meadow Bridge High School likewise was condemned as unsafe for occupation. In the past, Geoff Heeter described how his fifth-grade daughter was hit in the head by falling concrete at a now-closed school.

In desperation, another $39 million bond issue is being proposed to rescue Fayette schools. It would increase property taxes — but would take effect only if the state School Building Authority gives Fayette a $25 million matching grant. Early voting starts Saturday and continues until June 10, preceding a June 13 election.

Again, two members of the “contentious” county board oppose the bond issue. And “VOTE NO SCHOOL BOND” signs are posted by some residents who dislike property taxes or resent past school closures. At the state Board of Education, President Gayle Manchin won’t say whether she supports the Fayette bond.

In about three weeks, the election will decide the future of Fayette County schools — and the future of 6,800 Fayette students. Will voters show that there’s hope for improvement? What hope is there for West Virginia if the young get inferior education?

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Read about Fayette’s school mess with the State in today’s Gazette. There was reference to contentious school board members.

Contentious is defined as anyone who thinks for themselves to refuse to always fall in line with exactly what the State wants to do.

The rubber stampers are the ones who receive the State’s high praise for being the brightest and the best. There are always one or two of them in every intervened county and they are easy to spot.

By J. P. Hill  on  05.28.2015

GILMER needs to read the published budget carefully. (More than interesting it wasn’t put on the GFP) It would seem you are already obligated for 15 years to pay back a million in QZAB.  It has to be already approved to budget the expense. Find it under Capital Projects budget. It is listed under long term debt plus interest charges. When did Mr Devano ever tell your Board of Education??? Given the close to road land and access to gas for the new school why would you need it???

By JD  on  05.28.2015


By FAYETTE  on  05.28.2015

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U.S. Schools Ramp up Use of Safety Drills, Security

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Safety drills, parent notification systems, and other safety measures in U.S. public schools grew in popularity in the years surrounding the massacre at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.

A government survey released Thursday shows the uptick came during a four-year span that saw an overall decrease in violent crime reported by schools, but one that included high-profile incidents such as the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings in December 2012 that left 20 children and six educators dead.

The findings, from the 2013-14 school year, come from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The survey found that 88% of public schools had a written plan of how to respond to an active shooter, and that 7 out of 10 had drills to practice the plan. About three-quarters of schools reported using security cameras, and 43% said they used security personnel at least once a week.

JoAnn Bartoletti, the executive director for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, said it’s encouraging to see school safety moving in a positive direction. She said one aspect the survey fails to measure is the efforts schools have undertaken to create a more nurturing environment.

“As the Secret Service, the FBI and numerous researchers have confirmed over the years, the most effective way to prevent acts of violence in schools is to build trusting relationships with students and others in the community, so threats come to light quickly — and more important, so threats are deterred,“ Bartoletti said in a statement.

Jayne Ellspermann, principal of the 2,600-student West Port High School in Ocala, Florida, said she thinks security cameras and safety drills are important, but a big piece of the puzzle is working with students so they understand they can go to educators with help and making sure all students know it’s their responsibility to help keep their school safe.

“We do have cameras, but I truly believe that students are doing the right thing because they feel safe on campus rather than they are doing the right thing because there may be cameras,“ Ellspermann said.

Even before the Newtown killings, schools had been working more closely with local law enforcement and ramping up other school security measures, said Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center.

“I think something like Sandy Hook certainly punctuates the need to engage additional security strategies, but I really see it as an ongoing trend,“ he said.

Stephens said he believes the work has been a factor in a decrease in overall school crime.

The survey showed 65% of public schools reporting one violent incident in school, such as a rape, fight, robbery or threat of physical attack. That’s down from 74% in the 2009-10 school year, when the survey was last administered.

The findings were based on a survey sent to school principals. Among the other results:

—About 8 in 10 schools reported having a parent notification system that automatically notifies parents in case of an emergency, compared with about 6 in 10 schools four years earlier.

—Slightly less than half — 47% — of schools reported having a system that allowed someone to report a crime anonymously, compared with 36% four years earlier.

~~  AP ~~

House For Sale   HFS550xxx001

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West Virginia News   15052801

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CHARLESTON, WV — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today announced the Office recently filed suit against Florida-based Simple Recovery Solutions, or SRS, and its owners for allegedly trying to collect unverified debt or debt which never really existed from West Virginia consumers.

The complaint alleges that SRS engaged in unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act by repeatedly contacting consumers to collect debt they didn’t owe. The complaint also alleges the organization was operating without a valid business license in West Virginia. The complaint was filed in the Kanawha County Circuit Court.

“This complaint seeks to protect West Virginia consumers from paying out money they do not owe,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Our Office believes SRS and its owners have collected, or attempted to collect, unverified debts from at least 125 West Virginia consumers so far.”

SRS contacts consumers by telephone and by mail. Consumers often don’t recognize the names of the original creditors, who claimed to be selling credit card interest rate reduction services. The few consumers who may have been contacted by a credit card interest rate reduction service never had their credit card interest rates reduced.

The Attorney General’s Office alleges the defendants harmed consumers by creating confusion and misunderstanding about debts SRS was attempting to collect. The complaint asks a judge to enjoin and restrain SRS and all of its officers and employees from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in collection services of any kind.

“We want to make consumers aware of the potentially fraudulent debt collection efforts affecting our state. Our office will always work to protect consumers from unscrupulous business practices,” Morrisey said.


CHARLESTON, WV—The Public Service Commission of West Virginia Commission today issued an order granting AEP subsidiaries, Appalachian Power Company and Wheeling Power Company a $123.457 million or 9.0% increase in rates to become effective on May 26, 2015.  The Companies had originally requested an increase of $226.040 million or 16.48%.

The increase allocated to each customer tariff classification will vary on a percentage basis using the Class Cost of Service presented in the case as a guideline, including adjustments recommended by the intervening parties to the case.  The Commission has ordered a one year phase-in of the rate increase for residential customers.  Without the phase-in, the average residential customer would have seen an increase of approximately $19.50 or 16.1% per month.  With the phase-in ordered by the Commission the immediate increase for an average residential customer will be $14.30, or 11.8% per month.

The total increase in customer rates consists of two parts, an increase in base rates and an increase for recovery of the costs for a Vegetation Management Program (VMP) through a VMP Surcharge.  The authorized increase in base rates of approximately $79 million, or 5.76% above current rates, represents 43.5% of the $181.426 million base rate increase requested by the Companies.

The increase in base rates is driven by increased investment of $407 million in the Companies’ utility plants required to meet increased environmental regulations and service requirements, and increased operation and maintenance expenses.  Those increased costs were partially offset by increased customer revenue after the Companies’ 2010 rate case and lower capital costs, including a decrease in the return on equity from the level authorized in the 2010 rate case.

Following the Derecho and Super Storm Sandy that occurred in 2012, the Commission held a general investigation into the practices, responses and plans for future storm events of the electric utilities operating in the State.  Much of the public comment during the General Investigation focused on the adequacy of right-of-way maintenance, including right-of-way tree trimming and brush control.  The Commission ordered each electric utility to develop and file with the Commission a comprehensive, end-to-end, cycle-based right-of-way vegetation control program, including a proposed rate recovery method.

The Commi ssion authorized the Companies to undertake the VMP by Commission Order of March 08, 2014, in Case No. 13-0577-E-P, but deferred the rate impact of the VMP until conclusion of this base rate case.  The Companies’ base rates include all costs of the Companies except for the fuel and fuel-related costs that are included in the Expanded Net Energy Cost (ENEC) rate that is adjusted annually and the VMP costs to be recovered in the VMP Surcharge.  The ongoing, cycle-based VMP will initially clear all transmission and distribution line rights-of-way on a six-year cycle and then move to an ongoing four-year cycle.

Recovery of the VMP costs will be permitted through a VMP Surcharge that produces an increase of $44.472 million or 3.24% above current rates.  Under the VMP Surcharge the customers will only pay for prudent VMP costs actually incurred, and the Companies will perform the VMP as required by the Commission in order to mitigate the impact and duration of future service interruptions related to vegetation intrusion on the Companies’ transmission and distribution lines.

AEP serves more than 476,000 customers in 24 West Virginia counties.


CHARLESTON, WV — A law is taking effect to let first responders, friends and family administer potentially life-saving medication to people overdosing on opioids, including heroin.

The law opening up access to opioid antagonists became effective Wednesday.

Known by the brand name Narcan, naloxone can save people who have overdosed on heroin, prescription drugs or other opioids.

In the law, first responders, police, firefighters, people at risk of overdosing and their family, friends and caretakers could carry the treatment. Health providers would have to offer educational resources on how to use it.

Opioid antagonists are usually in shot form.

Family and friends would be required to take the patient to a medical facility after administering the drug.


CHARLESTON, WV — Toll transactions on the West Virginia Turnpike rose 5% during the Memorial Day weekend compared to the same period a year ago.

West Virginia Parkways Authority General Manager Greg Barr says nearly 589,000 transactions were made over the five-day period ending Monday.

He says lower gas prices and good weather were factors for the increase.

Media outlets report that Friday was the busiest day with 154,000 toll transactions.

Barr says that through April, turnpike traffic was up about 4% compared to the first four months of 2014.

The 88-mile toll road runs from Charleston to Princeton.


MORGANTOWN, WV — Students manned the shovels at the ceremonial groundbreaking for Monongalia County’s newest school project.

Suncrest Primary School principal Joanne Hines has high expectations for Suncrest Elementary School.

“I can’t tell you how excited we are. It’s going to be the most amazing school ever,” she exclaimed.

The new Suncrest Elementary School will be built to serve 550 students along Collins Ferry Road.

It will include a 5,000 square foot media center for students to do research and collaborate on group projects.

While the school will carry over some energy savings and conversation ideas incorporated at Eastwood Elementary, Hines said Suncrest Elementary is designed to strengthen the study of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

“It’s really meeting the needs of those skills they’re going to need when they get out in the workforce.”

The school will be a PreK through 5th grade facility which allows Suncrest’s 4th and 5th grade classes to be taken back from North Elementary School.

Dr. Frank Devono, Monongalia County Schools Superintendent, said local and state support makes new construction possible.

“Through the bond which allowed us to build a lot of our schools. As we move forward with some of the growth money that we’ve been able to recapture into the county because of the growth of our students and then now the SBA and their support of these last few projects have been very helpful.”

Hines said educators were anxious to get approval for the construction.

“We were hopeful and we thought it was going to be fantastic. Now, it just seems like the hard work is coming so we can see it in action,” she explained.

An 18-month construction period is anticipated. Suncrest Elementary School could open in the 2016-2017 school year.


PARKERSBURG, WV - Parkersburg Mayor Robert Newell has asked a court to dismiss two petitions seeking his removal from office.

A motion filed in Wood County Circuit Court says neither petition complies with state law regarding removing an official from office.

Newell’s attorney, Harry Dietzler, says in the motion that one petition lacks the required number of signatures. He says the other doesn’t give specifics of the charges to which the mayor is expected to respond.

Wood County Republican Party chairman Rob Cornelius filed one petition. Dietzler says the second petition was filed by Parkersburg City Council member Karen Coram and others.

A three-judge panel is scheduled to hear the petitions June 4-5.

Cornelius filed a motion seeking Deitzler’s disqualification from the case.


CLARKSBURG, WV —In March, the Clarksburg Water Board voted to remove and do work on four dams along the West Fork River. That project is progressing and Tuesday the Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was in Clarksburg to check on what’s been done.

“I had read quite a bit about the project, but it’s always best to see it first hand,” said Northeast Regional Director Wendi Weber. “So it was really nice to be able to come down and see the structure itself.”

The project, which involves the West Milford, Highland, Two Lick and Hartland Dams sparked concern from the community. As the work comes closer to beginning, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is doing it’s best to ensure the public the removal is beneficial.

“What I do think is important is that we’re here working with the town, as a partner, helping understand the information, and the facts, and the science behind it, and the benefits,” said Weber.

The focus of the visit was the Hartland Dam, which won’t be removed, because it’s needed for the water supply in Clarksburg.

“We were planning to put in just a fish structure, to move fish up and down, but since the Water Trail idea came to being we’re considering how we can pass boats as well,” said Field Supervisor John Schmidt.

The necessary funds have been raised to being the project. Now the removal is waiting on permits, which should be secured by the end of summer. Once the removal is completed, it will benefit the wildlife population in the area.

“Having more riffles and pools will create more fish habitats for the fish that are supposed to be abundant here,” said Schmidt.

“It helps with water quality, and so it’s good. It’s a win-win for the communities as well as um the wildlife,” said Weber.

Once all of the permits have been secured the actual removal process will begin with the West Milford Dam upstream.

Did You Know?  15052801

The Gilmer Free Press

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


Scandals and rumors of corruption have dogged soccer’s governing body throughout Sepp Blatter’s 17-year reign - but he was not named in a pair of investigations that led to the arrests of several of his fellow executives.


Live anthrax spores were inadvertently shipped to several laboratories that expected to receive dead spores, the Pentagon says.


The conservative culture warrior opens this political season as a heavy underdog in a race expected to feature more than a dozen high-profile Republicans.


The criminals who stole the personal information of more than 100,000 taxpayers from an IRS website are part of a sophisticated theft ring based in Russia, two officials tell the AP.


The move gets unusual backing from conservatives who oppose capital punishment for religious, financial or practical reasons.


The drains help protect neighborhoods during flash flooding - but can suck in unsuspecting residents and rescue workers.


Nearly every major automaker will soon begin offering technology that effectively turns a car’s dashboard screen into a smartphone.


Pope Francis will soon issue an authoritative church document laying out the moral justification for fighting global warming.


The actor-comedian was badly injured when a Wal-Mart truck slammed into a limo van carrying him and other passengers back from a show in Delaware last June.


Bob Schieffer will host CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday for the last time after 24 years.

West Virginia Arrests   15052801

The Gilmer Free Press


CHARLESTON, WV — A former Spanish teacher at Capital High School denied allegations she had a sexual relationship with an underage male student in 2013 in the Kanawha County Courthouse.

The Charleston Gazette reports 31-year-old Michelle Elaine Ball pleaded not guilty to Kanawha Circuit Judge James Stucky Tuesday. Ball was suspended without pay from her job two years ago when police charged her.

Prosecutors say Ball began smoking marijuana with the teenager and would take him to the movies and on trips. The relationship eventually turned sexual.

Ball is charged with sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust. An initial charge was dropped on a technicality, but Ball was indicted earlier this month on a new charge.


GLENVILLE, WV —An Ohio man was arrested in Gilmer County Wednesday after an ATV crash Sunday evening.

Leo Hoerig was arrested and charged with aggravated DUI, after he wrecked while operating an ATV under the influence of alcohol, said the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Department.

Hoerig also had a female passenger, who is also from Ohio, riding on the ATV, deputies said.

Both Hoerig and the female were flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital due to the seriousness of their injuries. Hoerig was released Wednesday prior to his arrest, and the female is still in the hospital. There is no word on her condition.

G-Eye™: Glenville Lion’s Club Carnival

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U.S.A. News   15052801

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Tax return information for about 100,000 U.S. taxpayers was illegally accessed by cyber criminals over the past four months, U.S. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of data thefts that have alarmed American consumers.

From February to May, attackers sought to gain access to personal tax information 200,000 times through the agency’s “Get Transcript” online application, which calls up information from previous returns, he told a news conference. About half of those attempts were successful.

The breach did not affect any IRS data outside the “Get Transcript” application, and the agency said it would strengthen its security measures.

Koskinen said he could not comment on who the attackers might be, and a criminal investigation was ongoing.

“We’re confident these are not amateurs. These are actually organized crime syndicates that not only we but everyone in the financial industry are dealing with,“ Koskinen said.

The data theft was largely intended to steal taxpayers’ information to submit fraudulent returns next year, he said.

The agency currently believes that fewer than 15,000 fraudulent returns were processed as a result of the breach, likely resulting in refunds of less than $50 million.

The IRS security problem is the latest in a string of breaches. JPMorgan Chase as well as mega-retailers Target and Home Depot have all suffered cyber attacks.

The IRS data theft differs in that it did not involve a computer hack. Criminals used information they had gathered about individuals to access the system as it was designed to be used, the IRS said.

The agency, which will begin to send notification letters to affected taxpayers this week, will provide free credit monitoring and protection for the victims.

Koskinen said the attackers must have had a significant amount of information already about the taxpayers.

In addition to names, addresses and Social Security numbers, the attackers would have needed so-called “out of wallet” data, personal information such as a person’s first car or high school mascot, he said.

Koskinen said it was possible that identity thieves could get answers to these questions from individuals’ social media accounts and compile them into searchable databases.

Koskinen said the tax agency was originally alerted to the problem by unusual activity in mid-April, which marks the end of the annual tax-filing season.


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World News   15052801

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The number of hungry people around the world has dropped below 800 million for the first time since the United Nations started counting the figure a quarter-century ago, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in its ANNUAL REPORT.

The Rome-based FAO said Wednesday that there are 795 million people around the world suffering from hunger — 216 million fewer than in 1990-92 — and that the world was on track to potentially eradicate the problem within the lifetime of today’s young people.

“We must be the zero hunger generation,“ said FAO director general Jose Graziano da Silva.

In the developing world, the prevalence of undernourishment has declined to 12.9% of the population, from 23.3% about 25 years ago, the report found.

A total of 72 out of 129 countries monitored by the FAO have achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing the rate of undernourishment by half this year. Developing regions as a whole only missed the objective by a narrow margin.

“The near-achievement of the MDG hunger targets shows us that we can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger in our lifetime,“ da Silva said.

The improvement in food security was all the more striking given population growth. The world now has 1.9 billion more people than in 1990, the FAO noted.

Despite successes — East Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Southeast and Central Asia — progress in recent years has been hampered by what the FAO called “darker shadows”: natural disasters, extreme weather events, political instability and civil conflicts. The longevity of crises had also evolved over the years, morphing from “catastrophic, short-term, acute and highly visible events” to “protracted situations” fueled by conflicts, climate change and financial turmoil, according to the report.

In Africa, 24 countries currently face food crises, twice as many as in 1990. With nearly one in four people affected by undernourishment, sub-Saharan Africa was the region worst affected by hunger, the report showed.

The U.N. agency pointed to three factors as being critical in combatting food shortages: improving agricultural productivity, promoting inclusive growth and expanding social protection.

The African countries that had achieved their U.N. food targets, mainly in West Africa, had done so by boosting the productivity of their farmers, the agency said.

The expansion of social programs, such as cash payments to poor families, as well as food vouchers and school meal programs, also “correlated strongly with progress in hunger reduction,“ the report said. More than two-thirds of the world’s poor have no access to any social support, it added.

Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center Celebrates Seniors

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Senior Appreciation Day ceremonies were held at Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center on May 19, 2015 at 1:00 PM.

A reception with cake and punch was held for the 2015 seniors, post graduates, high school equivalency graduates and their guests, prior to the awards program.

The Culinary Arts/ProStart program prepared the refreshments and the Networking Technologies program prepared a multimedia show for the reception. The theme for this year was “Your Road to the Future”.

Bryan Sterns, director of the Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center welcomed seniors and their guests, and introduced members of the Administrative Council and other special guests. Faculty Senate President and Welding instructor, Carl Collins introduced the faculty members and their students.

Faculty members along with Linda Cronin and Jennifer Weist of Pierpont Community & Technical College presented students with Tech Prep Honor Cords and a souvenir Class of 2015 key chain.

At this time faculty members announced their Outstanding CTE Students. They were:

    •  Cameron Jones, Building Construction

    •  Amanda Boothe, Health Occupations

    •  Jacob Frashure and Shelby Wine, Networking Technologies

    •  Michael Fulks and Desirae Hickman, Welding

Linda Jones, Adult Basic Education instructor, presented her 2015 high school equivalency graduates:

    •  Anthony Ballengee

    •  Andrew Blizard

    •  Virginia Bruce

    •  Crystal Joliff

    •  Alexander Miller

    •  Hilari Sprouse

Mrs. Jones announced the ABE Student of the Year was:

    •  Anthony Ballengee

Faithful and perfect attendance certificates were presented by Shirley Hupp, assistant director of C-GCC, and Administrative Council member Jenna Jett. The following students missed 5 or less days at the Career Center during the 2014-15 school year:

    •  Amanda Boothe

    •  Terri Cottrill

    •  Michael Fulks

    •  Desirae Hickman

    •  Tammy Jenkins received a perfect attendance certificate

National Technical Honor Society Induction
The Gilmer Free Press
Jacob Frashure, Michael Fulks, Amanda Boothe, Jordanne Pritt, Cameron,
Haley France, Tammy Jenkins, Anna Knotts, Brandy Dobbins, Shelby Wine,
Dakota Prevatte, Desirae Hickman, Daerra Stull, Joseph Thomas,
Jorge Webster, Travis VanHoose

Shirley Hupp, National Technical Honor Society, and Administrative Council member Dr. Carl Armour inducted the following students into NTHS:

    •  Taylor Ashley

    •  Amanda Boothe

    •  Brandy Dobbins

    •  Haley France

    •  Jacob Frashure

    •  Michael Fulks

    •  Desirae Hickman

    •  Tammy Jenkins

    •  Cameron Jones

    •  Anna Knotts

    •  Richard Mace

    •  Dakota Prevatte

    •  Jordanne Pritt

    •  Daerra Stull

    •  Joseph Thomas

    •  Travis VanHoose

    •  Jorge Webster

    •  Shelby Wine

New inductees were presented with their honor cords, tassels, pins and diploma seals.

Also they received a packet with a certificate, letter of recommendation and scholarship information.

Ronald Blankenship Academic Achievement Awards
The Gilmer Free Press
Ron Blankenship, Austen Adams, Kiersten Knicley, Jeff Brittle, Terri Cottrill,
Dakota Prevatte, Amanda Boothe, Tyler Gerwig, Dakota Fox, Joe Greathouse,
Shelby Wine, Bradley Jenkins, Amanda Prusack, Bryan Sterns

The Ronald Blankenship Academic Achievement Awards are given to those students achieving platinum level on the WIN Career Readiness System.

Bryan Sterns and Ron Blankenship presented certificates of achievement to the following students:

    •  Austen Adams

    •  Miles Benson

    •  Amanda Boothe

    •  Jeff Brittle

    •  Christina Carafelli

    •  Terri Cottrill

    •  Dakota Fox

    •  Tyler Gerwig

    •  Joe Greathouse

    •  Patrick Harper

    •  Bradley Jenkins

    •  Kiersten Knicley

    •  Richard Mace

    •  Dakota Prevatte

    •  Amber Prusack

    •  Shelby Wine

Pierpont Community & Technical College $1000 Scholarship
The Gilmer Free Press
Linda Cronin, Anna Jean Knotts

Linda Cronin and Jennifer Weist of Peirpont Community & Technical College awarded a $1000 scholarship to:

    •  Anna Jean Knotts for studies in culinary arts. Anna is the daughter of Todd and Robin Knotts of Chloe, WV.

Micheal P. Whipkey, II Memorial Automotive Scholarship
The Gilmer Free Press
Jim Snyder, Mike Whipkey, Nancy Whipkey, Jorge Webster

Mr. and Mrs. Mike Whipkey with the assistance of Mr. James Snyder, automotive technology instructor, presented the Micheal P. Whipkey, II Memorial Automotive Scholarship of a gift card for a tool set and certificate to:

    •  Jorge J. Webster. Jorge is the grandson of James and Teresa Jones of Big Bend, WV.

Melissa Gayle Oshoway Memorial Criminal Justice Scholarship
The Gilmer Free Press
John Oshoway, Sue Oshoway, Patty Cain, Amber Prusack,
Judy Prusack, Jim Prusack, Dotti Nemitz

    •  Amber Prusack received the Melissa Gayle Oshoway Memorial Criminal Justice Scholarship for $1000. This scholarship was presented by Mr. and Mrs. John Oshoway, Ms. Dotti Nemitz, and Mrs. Patty Cain. Amber is the daughter of Jim and Judy Prusack of Grantsville, WV.

Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center $100 Scholarship Awards
The Gilmer Free Press
Bryan Sterns, Amanda Boothe, Terri Cottrill, Michael Fulks, Shelby Wine

Each year the Career Center presents four $100 scholarship awards to graduating students who plan to pursue a career in their field of study or continue their studies.  Bryan Sterns and Administrative Council member Jason Hughes recognized this year’s recipients:

    •  Amanda Lynn Boothe

    •  Terri Lynn Cottrill

    •  Glenn Michael Fulks

    •  Shelby Nicole Wine

Earl J. Gainer Career and Technical Student of the Year Award
The Gilmer Free Press
Timothy Woodward, Gabriel Devono, Leslie Desirae Hickman

The Earl J. Gainer Career and Technical Education Student of the Year Award was established in 1990 to pay tribute to Mr. Gainer and to honor the student who best exemplifies career and technical excellence.  In selecting the recipient of this honor, the committee attempts to award an individual who demonstrates the same outstanding qualities possessed and utilized by Mr. Gainer.  Calhoun County Schools Superintendent Timothy Woodward and Gilmer County Schools Superintendent Gabriel Devono presented a certificate and $500 scholarship to:

    •  Leslie Desirae Hickman.  Desirae is the daughter of Marvin and Jo Hickman of Sand Fork, WV.  She is a graduating senior from Gilmer County High School and in the future, plans to attend the Holbart Institute of Welding Technology in Troy, OH.

The Gilmer Free Press

Finalists Announced in MVB Bank West Virginia Scholar Program

The Gilmer Free Press

BUCKHANNON, WV — Ten West Virginia high school juniors have been named as finalists for the 2015 MVB Bank West Virginia Scholar Program.

Online voting at begins Tuesday and continues through June 14 that will result in a four-year, $125,000 scholarship for undergraduate study at West Virginia Wesleyan, located in Buckhannon, that includes tuition, fees, room and board.

Beyond the grand prize, there are additional scholarship awards for finalists. The second prize is a four-year, $5,000 scholarship at Wesleyan, while the third prize is a four-year, $2,500 scholarship there.

The winners will be announced during a June 16 luncheon on the Buckhannon campus.

The finalists include:

    •  Abigail Chaffins -  Spring Valley High School

    •  Ashley Grace -  East Fairmont High School

    •  Breaunna Haynes -  Parkersburg South High School

    •  Mateah Kittle -  Bridgeport High School

    •  Adreanna LeMasters -  Wheeling Park High School

    •  Margaret Lohmann -  Bridgeport High School

    •  Khori Lowther -  Lewis County High School

    •  Caitlin Murphy -  Tygarts Valley High School

    •  Hayden Nichols -  Herbert Hoover High School

    •  Katherine Rexroad -  Notre Dame High School

To vote, you will simply click on the VOTE NOW button on the home page of our site.  You will see a picture of each finalist along with a short bio and a video interview with the finalist and an audio interview with one of the parents of that finalist.

In addition to MVB Bank, West Virginia Wesleyan and MetroNews, the sponsors for the 2015 West Virginia Scholar Program, now in its 7th year, are the West Virginia Homebuilders Association, West Virginia Forestry Association, the West Virginia Hospital Association and Friends of Coal.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 05.26.15

The Gilmer Free Press

•  On Tuesday, May 19, 2015 Judge Jack Alsop heard a juvenile matter in Gilmer County.

On Thursday, May 21, 2015 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire heard several matters in Gilmer County.

•  One fugitive from justice waived to return to Maryland.

Bernard Coleman III was represented by Bryan Hinkle of Buckhannon and authorities in MD have until Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 4 PM to pick Coleman up or Central Regional Jail will release him.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Jeremy Askew

He was before the Court for plea but his hearing was reset for Monday, June 22, 2015 at 11:00 AM upon motion of Bryan Hinkle, his attorney.

•  One juvenile matter was heard.

On Tuesday, May 26, 2015 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire heard 8 juvenile matters in Gilmer County.

•  One fugitive from justice waived to return to Ohio.

David Humphries will be kept in Central Regional Jail until 4 PM on Tuesday, June 02, 2015 and if authorities from Ohio have not picked him up he will be released.

He was represented by Brian Bailey of Buckhannon.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Joe Thomas

his sentencing was postponed to Friday, June 05, 2015 at 9:00 AM due to his D&C report not being received yet.

David Karickhoff of Sutton is Joe’s attorney.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Kristen Clowser

She was before the Court for a magistrate appeal.

However, due to the defendant not being present in the Court room when her case was called Judge Facemire dismissed the appeal and remanded it to Magistrate Court.

Shortly thereafter Valentina Wheeler (her attorney) represented to the Court that her client had been in the bathroom.

The prosecutor had dismissed his witnesses so Judge Facemire directed the defense attorney to file a motion to reconsider.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Gary Gunderson

The hearing was reset for Monday, July 20, 2015.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Traci Pyles

She was before the Court for reconsideration of her sentence.

After a discussion with the probation officer Judge Facemire suspended the sentences he had heretofore imposed on Pyles and admitted her to 5 years probation with 6 months home confinement and then 6 months GPS monitoring system.

She must do 150 hours of community service per year of probation and she is permitted to live with her boyfriend but both have to be drug tested every other week.

She must also enroll in school or get a full time job and has a 9:30 PM curfew.

Her attorney was Timothy Gentilozzi of Clarksburg.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Jason Rousch

He was before the Court asking for another reduction of bond.

His bond was reduced to $100,000.00 and he will be on home confinement and must reside with his father, Donald Rousch.

He also must have a 9:30 PM curfew.

Counties Watching West Virginia Tax Committee With Dread

CHARLESTON, WV – Cash-strapped West Virginia counties are watching a special tax committee at the legislature with dread.

The Joint Select Committee on Fair Taxation may consider cuts to severance and business inventory taxes. Both could land hard on the counties, which have already struggled with falling revenue for several years.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper says if state lawmakers want to attract new businesses – as they say they do – it would be smarter to invest in education and infrastructure.

“Most of the business people that I talk to, and I talk to a lot of them, are interested in the quality of life here,” Carper says. “Do we have good schools? Do we have good roads?“

The Gilmer Free Press
GOP leaders at the WV Legislature say they want to cut business taxes to spark job growth.
But according to state and federal figures analyzed by the WV Center on Budget Policy,
steep business tax cuts over the last ten years have not increased employment.

The legislature’s Republican leadership says it wants to cut business taxes to spark job growth. But according to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, slashing business taxes a decade ago didn’t bring a promised boom, and only left a big hole in public budgets.

The committee hasn’t put forward any specifics yet, which frustrates Carper and other county officials. He says he’s heard rumors that the committee’s plan could end up costing counties $55 million to $60 million, about a tenth of the counties’ total annual revenue.

He’s afraid the committee might already have legislation copied from some big out-of-state conservative organization.

“I hope they haven’t already copied some scheme from one of these so-called think tanks,” he states. “It’s easy to give away revenue if you’re not the one having to make up the difference.“

According to a just-released report by the governor’s blue ribbon task force on highways, the state’s roads are badly in need. It estimates West Virginia would have to put in an additional $750 billion dollars a year just to keep the highways from getting any worse. Carper says that’s a much smarter investment than tax cuts.

“If the legislature wants to do what they’re getting paid to do, fix the roads,” he stresses. “The roads are costing business a fortune.“

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

G-Eye™: First Baptist Church in Burnsville

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia News   15052701

The Gilmer Free Press


CHARLESTON, WV — State and federal officials filed a joint lawsuit this week against four cancer charities that allegedly scammed more than $187 million from contributors nationwide, including nearly $250,000 from West Virginians last year.

West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, state law enforcement partners across the country, the District of Columbia and the Federal Trade Commission joined together to file the complaint against Cancer Fund America, Children’s Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services and the Breast Cancer Society.

The complaint alleges the charities told donors their contributions would assist cancer patients, but the money instead was misused on salaries, cruises, jet ski outings and concert tickets.

“All I know is these are evil people, despicable people, who must have black souls in them to take advantage of generous West Virginians and generous Americans and using cancer as a way to get to people’s money,” Tennant told MetroNews.

Tennant said she fears the fraudulent activity could hurt more legitimate national organizations.

“For years, I have asked and told the people of West Virginia, who are so generous, to arm yourself with knowledge,” she said. “Do a little bit of research because the good charities want you to ask questions.”

Tennant advised donors to verify that the charity is registered with the Secretary of State’s Office, and to question how much is being spent on administrative costs versus how much is actually distributed to the patients and families needing help.

“These groups of people have prayed upon the generosity of West Virginians and then they use it for their own benefit. That is just unconscionable to me,” Tennant said.

Tennant encouraged folks to visit the Secretary of State’s Office database to understand exactly where their charitable money is going.

To access the database, click H E R E.


CHARLESTON, WV — West Virginia’s latest unclaimed property auction features a rare penny that Treasurer John Perdue expects will draw attention from coin collectors.

The 1909-S VDB penny is among a variety of items that will be offered for sale. The penny is ranked 14th in the second edition of “100 Greatest U.S. Coins.“ Its appraised value is $500.

Karen Plunk with Lone Star Auctioneers says in a release from Perdue’s office that the coin is the most famous Lincoln penny that can still be found.

Lone Star will conduct the auction for Perdue’s office from June 3 to June 18.

Perdue says all items to be sold come either from safe deposit boxes or law enforcement seizures.


CHARLESTON, WV — A public transportation link between Charleston and Huntington may not be around much longer. The line covering the 50 miles between the state’s two largest cities opened up in 2009 and ridership appeared to grow, but in the last two years that has not been the case.

The daily runs between the two cities were handled by the respective city’s transit bus systems, Charleston’s KRT and Huntington’s TTA.

“When we started, ridership built for the first three years,” said Kanawha Rapid Transit Assistant General Manger Doug Harley. “We were getting up to over 40 people a day on just the KRT half.  Yesterday we did 16 people.”

Hartley said the average is now down to 16 to 18 riders daily which was less than half of the peak of the travel.  He was at a loss to explain the drop in ridership.  Hartley added, the federal money which helped launch the program is now nearly all gone.

“All of the federal demonstration grants and the state money that was allocated to do this test project have all expired,” Harley said. “The burden now falls strictly on KRT and TTA to fund it 100%.”

Hartley said there has been no decision on the future of the service, but he admitted it didn’t look as if it would last past this fall.

“It is on the table for discussion for elimination sometime in the fall,” he said. “But Huntington hasn’t had a public hearing yet and until they have a public hearing, it’s hard for us to make a determination.”

Hartley said the route, which provided daily service between the state capitol and Huntington’s Pullman Square, with stops in Barboursville and Teays Valley, began as a demonstration route to see if it would build.  He believes the route has probably course of popularity.


CLARKSBURG, WV — How to pay for road repairs in West Virginia is a topic which has gained momentum in recent days. Members of the legislature are talking more and more about finding ways to increase the road maintenance budget. The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways suggests extending the Turnpike tolls past the 2019 sunset date and increasing DMV fees and the sales tax on automobiles.

Harrison County Delegate Patsy Trecost suggested a different idea. He wants to raise the state’s sales tax.

“Over a five year period we would raise the sales tax from six% to seven%,” Trecost said. “After that five year period, there’s language that lowers it back to six.”

Trecost suggested raising the tax by one percentage point would generate a billion dollars in the five year period and would create a road repair fund which was sustainable if properly used.

“Right now our roads are getting to the point where they are unsafe,” he said.”West Virginians understand we don’t’ need to complete projects right now or have any new ones, we need to generate revenue that only fixes what we have.”

It’s never popular to raise taxes, but Trecost said there’s no way around it, but there is a way to limit it if the state would stick to the language of a bill he plans to introduce next year.

“No one wants to raise taxes on anyone,” he said. “But at the same time, I think it would be a whole lot cheaper to pay a penny more on the dollar than to paid to fix the car after hitting that same pot hole over, and over, and over.”


SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — A nonprofit group is raising money to replace the National Conservation Training Center’s damaged eagle camera.

The Friends of the NCTC is seeking to raise $5,000 to buy and install a new camera and supporting equipment.

Friends of the NCTC Board of Directors member Beth Alegret tells The Journal that the group is halfway to meeting its goal.

The camera gives the public a view of wild bald eagles that nest on the center’s campus in Shepherdstown. It was hit by lightning last summer.

Alegret says the lightning strike and other storm damage affected the camera’s night vision function. She says it can still display daylight footage of the eagles.


CHARLESTON, WV - The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) announced at their monthly meeting in Charleston they have hired a new Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) 8 Executive Director. Long-time educator Joan Willard will take the lead position at RESA 8, one of eight education agencies throughout West Virginia.

Willard, who most recently served as the assistant superintendent for Morgan County Schools, has worked in the West Virginia public school system for 40 years. She began her career in Berkeley County as an educator for students with special needs before becoming the individualized educational plan coordinator for the county. She later served as the principal for North Berkeley Elementary and Widmyer Elementary schools in Morgan County prior to becoming the county’s assistant superintendent.

Willard earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education/special education from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. She then went on to complete her master’s degrees in specific learning disabilities along with graduate course work in education administration from West Virginia University.

RESAs were established by the WVBE to provide high quality, cost effective, life-long education programs and services to students, schools, school systems and communities. RESAs play an important role in offering:

    •  technical assistance to low performing schools;
    •  high quality professional development;
    •  training services to state agencies, emergency first responders and the private industry; and
    •  technology repair and training to school districts.

RESA 8 provides a multitude of educational services to over 42,000 public school students as well as community members of all ages in an eight county region, which includes the counties of Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan and Pendleton.

did You Know?  15052701

The Gilmer Free Press

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


For now, Obama is showing no sign of easing his opposition to sending American forces back into combat in Iraq.


High water from the torrential rain in the region affects virtually every part of the city - with at least 2,500 vehicles abandoned by drivers seeking higher ground, officials say.


The rail operator says it will install video cameras inside locomotive cabs to record the actions of train engineers. The cause of this month’s crash in Philadephia remains a mystery.


Personal tax information can be used to claim fraudulent tax refunds - a growing business for identity thieves.


The prosecution says James Holmes’ writings provide evidence that he was sane at the time of the massacre. The defense disagrees.


A guesthouse popular with foreigners appears to be the target of the attack by insurgents in Kabul, an official says.


The $55 billion deal is part of a wave of consolidation in the cable industry as TV watchers increasingly look online for their fix.


They’re the latest big food companies to say they’re dropping ingredients that people might find unappetizing.


Sam Shepard failed a field sobriety test after his arrest outside a restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, police say.


Twenty-two-year-old Jack Sock upsets 10th-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets in the tournament’s opening round.

U.S.A. News   15052701

The Gilmer Free Press


WASHINGTON, D.C. — If the latest short-term extension for federal highway funding receives approval from President Obama this week, the clock will start again on the next deadline coming up in July.

But 1st District Congressman David McKinley (R-WV) is among the lawmakers still pushing on Capitol Hill for a plan that covers years, not months.

“We’re holding out very strongly,” McKinley said. “We’re looking for a long-term bill and one in which we have adequate monies to do a five, six, seven year program.”

The Congressional debate about the Highway Trust Fund centers on geography.

“This is one of those classic struggles between big cities and rural (areas). The big cities control the votes in Congress. We, in rural America, we have the highways and we’re the ones with the greatest needs,” McKinley said.

Those needs, he argued, cannot be addressed properly in monthly increments. The White House had proposed a six-year, $478 billion transportation plan earlier this year.

Members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, though, recently voted only for the latest extension ahead of a May 31 deadline that, if missed, would have abruptly halted federal funding for infrastructure projects during the busy summer construction season.

In West Virginia, the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission last week released its long-delayed report on possible state mechanisms for funding for road construction and maintenance projects.

One suggestion was the continuation of toll collections on the West Virginia Turnpike beyond 2019 to finance $1 billion in construction bonds.

Other proposals for new road revenues included increasing the motor vehicle sales tax from its current five% to six% to match the state sales tax, adding to fees paid to the state Division of Motor Vehicles and creating alternative fuel vehicle registration fees.

“I’m glad that they spent the time to do the research with it, but there are still so many more questions that arise,” said McKinley of the Blue Ribbon report.

The commission estimated it would take $750 million additional dollars to improve the current road system in West Virginia and an additional $380 million to expand it—making the total $1.1 billion a year.

McKinley said only the most pressing needs should get the attention and any available funding. “Let’s get down to the basics. Let’s get down to what we can afford to have and not get clouded with wishlists,” he said.

On the federal level, discussions about potential long-term sources for additional road funding have included possibly taxing drivers by the number of miles they travel, expanding highway tolling or increasing the federal gas tax to keep pace with inflation.

The latest short-term federal road funding extension from Congress is one of more than 30 in the past six years and McKinley said action cannot wait any longer.

“I’ve never seen the roads in as bad a condition as they are right now,” he said.

“Some of the roads that I was involved with back in the ’60s, when I was with the (West Virginia) Road Commission, they’re now 50 years old, over 50 years old. This is time.”


MORGANZA, MD—Authorities in Maryland said a group of high school students were arrested for a senior prank that released 72,000 ladybugs into their school.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office said five suspects wearing masks and hooded sweatshirts broke into Chopticon High School in Morganza about 3:40 AM May 20 while two other suspects waited in their getaway car.

The suspects released about 72,000 ladybugs they had ordered from the Internet, the sheriff’s office said.

Four of the suspects, juvenile males, were charged with fourth degree burglary, property destruction under $1,000 and disruption of school activities. They were released into the custody of their parents.

The three adult suspects, all males, will be charged via criminal summons, investigators said.

World News   15052701

The Gilmer Free Press


Leave it to France to lead the way again in the food world.

In an effort to curb food waste, which accounts for roughly one-third of all food produced worldwide, France is making it illegal for supermarkets to throw away any food that is considered edible. The European country’s parliament voted unanimously for the new law, which will force grocers to either donate the food to charity or make sure that it is used as animal feed.

“It’s scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods,“ Guillaume Garot, a former food minister who introduced the bill, told the legislature Thursday evening.

[Americans throw out more food than plastic, paper, metal, and glass]

The law, as written, is one of the most stringent attempts to cut the amount of edible but unbecoming produce tossed out every day. As of July 2016, large supermarkets in France — those approximately 4,300 square feet and larger — will face fines of up to $82,000 for failing to comply.

France’s pivot comes on the heels of a pledge by the European Union to reduce food waste by 50% by 2025. But it also follows a number of other forward-thinking measures in France, aimed at halting the practice of tossing out food because of overly conservative expiration dates. In 2013, for instance, the country pushed forth legislation that forced food sellers to label foods in a way that more closely reflected their true shelf life.

Food waste is hardly specific to France, or Europe. Inefficiencies have led to a reality in which countries everywhere — especially developed ones — throw out more food each year than is needed to feed every hungry mouth around the world. In the United States, perhaps the most flagrant example, some $160 billion in food never gets eaten each year. America, as it happens, throws out more food than plastic, paper, metal and glass.

The problem, more often than not, is that we have set unreasonable standards for foods sold commercially. Countless studies have pointed to this very inefficiency, whereby consumers mistake cautionary labels for full-stop warnings about foods.


More than a decade after being swept from power by the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban remain a potent threat in much of the country, including the heavily-guarded capital Kabul, where the insurgents killed 14 people, including nine foreigners, in an attack on a guesthouse late Wednesday. Here’s a look at the Taliban’s goals and strategies.


The Taliban have been fighting for more than a decade to overthrow the Kabul government — which they brand a U.S. puppet — and replace it with an Islamic state governed by a harsh version of Shariah law. They have also demanded that all U.S. and other foreign troops leave Afghanistan. In recent weeks, however, the Taliban leadership has indicated it might soften its stance on some contentious political issues in order to end the conflict and play a role in governing the country.


Attacks, particularly those targeting heavily guarded sites in the capital, demonstrate the Taliban’s enduring strength and undermine the government, which is struggling to secure the country following the conclusion of the U.S.-led combat mission at the end of last year. The Taliban view virtually all foreigners in the country—including aid workers—as part of an occupying force, and the insurgents are committed to driving them out. By forcing the authorities to divert scarce resources to security as opposed to economic development, and by curbing the work of foreign governments and aid groups, the Taliban hopes to turn ordinary Afghans against the government.


The Taliban have been at war since the mid-1990s, battling local warlords, U.S.-led forces and Afghanistan’s own beleaguered military and police. They have exploited the country’s rugged terrain and regularly retreat to strongholds on the other side of the border with Pakistan. They have also adapted their tactics. Rather than trying to sneak car bombs past Kabul’s ubiquitous checkpoints, they are increasingly deploying small groups of lightly-armed men instead, as they did in the attack on the guesthouse.


Afghans largely welcomed the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban and the end of its brutal rule, which included public executions, severe restrictions on women’s rights, bans on music and sports, and the destruction of centuries-old historical sites. But the U.S.-backed government that took power in its wake is seen as endemically corrupt and has failed to deliver on years of promises to rebuild the war-ravaged country. The Taliban draws much of its support from rural areas in Afghanistan, which remain largely cut off from the world and have seen little of the prosperity enjoyed by elites in Kabul.


The new government led by President Ashraf Ghani has urged the Taliban to enter peace talks. The Taliban leadership has said it welcomes peace efforts but has not backed off from its core demand that all foreign forces leave. In what was seen at the time as a major breakthrough, the Taliban opened an office in Qatar in 2013 ahead of expected peace talks, but the government of then-President Hamid Karzai angrily called them off after the insurgents flew their own flag over the building and presented themselves as a government-in-exile. Government representatives and Taliban figures held informal talks earlier this month, but both sides insisted any peace talks were still a long ways off.


Kabul is still home to tens of thousands of foreigners, but those who work for embassies or international organizations are subject to strict security measures that severely restrict their movements around the city and their interaction with ordinary Afghans. The number of foreigners has dwindled in recent years as aid groups and other organizations have scaled back their efforts because of security concerns. A string of attacks on hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners has further confined those who remain in Afghanistan to heavily-guarded compounds.

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