Common Sense Needed

The Gilmer Free Press

Common sense is the key to effective decision making. This is true when it comes to the West Virginia Next Generation Standards. These standards guide the work of teachers as they help our children learn and thrive and prepare them for college and careers.

Now a small group in West Virginia has the ear of legislators and want lawmakers to direct the West Virginia Board of Education to repeal all of these standards. As the West Virginia superintendent of schools, I am reaching out to all who will listen… individuals searching for facts and common sense.

Please know that the West Virginia Next Generation Standards define what all our students need to know and be able to do. Standards are not curriculum. Unfortunately, the two are often confused. For example, I have seen the social media frenzy about math worksheets being sent home and parents not knowing how to help their children. Math worksheets are not the standards but instead are a curriculum tool. Curricula are the lessons, activities and projects that teachers design to help students achieve the standards. I am confident this type of confusion can be remedied without repealing the standards.

If the state board is forced to repeal the Next Generation Standards, there will be significant consequences which will ripple through our state’s education structure and cripple high-quality teaching.

If the state board is forced to repeal the standards, it will mean we do not trust our teachers to know what is best for our students and four years of work by our teachers would be wasted. This includes time that West Virginia educators spent over the last four years in writing the standards, participating in multiple professional learning sessions as well as the countless hours developing rigorous, engaging and creative lessons that help students learn the content while deepening their problem solving and critical thinking skills.

If the state board is forced to repeal the standards, we will be ignoring the voices of our teachers, principals and superintendents who urge us to “stay the course.“

If the state board is forced to repeal the standards, it would put West Virginia at tremendous risk of losing federal dollars that support children in-poverty, special needs students and English language learners. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires all states to have standards. West Virginia would be in violation of existing ESEA flexibility waiver and thus risk the loss of over $225 million annually in federal dollars.

If the state board is forced to repeal the standards, it would be financially irresponsible. The cost of developing and implementing new West Virginia standards is estimated at over $42 million and at least two years of time. Where do we get the resources to develop different standards? How do we recapture the time, cost, energy and effort already spent?

If the state board is forced to repeal the standards, it means teachers have no “standard” for curriculum development, for measuring our students’ academic progress, for resource selection, for ongoing classroom assessments, or for recording student grades in a course.

Forcing the state board to repeal the standards is not the answer. Common sense would be to listen to all sides and review the standards and make adjustments where concerns exist. Common sense would be to find common ground. Common sense would be to put students first and politics second. As a parent, an educator and the state superintendent of schools, I ask that common sense prevail and that we do not do anything to disrupt the momentum for improved achievement for all students in West Virginia.

~~  Michael J. Martirano, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools ~~

GFP - 02.26.2015
EducationOpinions | Commentary | G-LtE™ | G-Comm™ | G-OpEd™Politics | Government | ElectionState-WV(3) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Dr. Martirano, the real common sense issue is that West Virginians do not have confidence in the WVDOE and the WVBOE to administer a new way of doing business.

How can it be expected that with the same Charleston bureaucrats in charge they would get it right this time?

If you want to be informed of what citizens think, please go to intervened counties to learn first-hand what your organization did to leave school systems in shambles.

By Mack Powers  on  02.26.2015

You want people to listen to you!!??  Give us all a break.
We will listen to you the same exact way Gayle Manchin and the West Virginia Board of Education listened to the Gilmer County citizens you trampled on.
You say “common sense” is needed?  That’s for daxx sure. We see it totally lacking in your close minded Board of Education, that wouldn’t listen to us.

Its a fair conclusion that YOUR West Board of Education is the VERY reason that West Virginia last election went Republican.

You may actually have to listen to the people now.  Many truly hope so.  Your board of education has ignored, and trampled, the people far too long.

By We Know - We Remember  on  02.26.2015

Mr. Martirano common sense should tell you not to dance around the truth of ESEA with informed citizens.  WV has always sought a waiver to the requirements of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) otherwise known as NCLB (No Child Left Behind). Avoiding those requirements was the reason for creation of Next Generation Content Standards.
Then you say without it there would be no standards? How so? There were standards previous to the state’s watered down version of the non-benchmarked, newly created program called Common Core.They were waivered too. WV children are so far behind in actually meeting any national standard it is a crying shame and would indeed take years to bring them up where they should be.  If you never start, it will never happen. The money should be spent for that, not for more lawyers to protect you and the Board. Aren’t you playing politics for the State Board right now?  No one heard about the Board and its “stakeholders” participating in the consortia or development of Common Core until it was done. No public input permitted.  You seem unaware of the timeline. Believe this, there are enough around here creating & juggling facts to build a case in their favor that intelligent people recognize the game when they see or hear it.
You seem and intelligent man. Your resume shows great experience.  Please move away from the status quo and work to move education forward for West Virginia children.  More of the same under a different name and lower standards will not do it and that’s what your ESEA Flexibility Waiver does.

By Not Convinced  on  02.26.2015

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Gallery Talk with Honnie and Art Wagner

The Gilmer Free Press

You are invited to join artists Honnie and Art Wagner in a Gallery Talk on Monday, March 02, 2015 from 10:00-11:00 AM at the Spears Gallery in the Glenville State College Fine Arts Center.

The pair will talk about the works of three generations within one immigrant family of realist painters and their visual journey as a metaphor for the multigenerational immigrant experience in West Virginia.

These works are currently on display in the gallery show, ‘Three Generations of Asturian-American Painters.’

The exhibit includes pieces by Art, his mother Honnie Wagner, and his grandfather Emilio Fernández Alvarez for a dynamic show that encompasses around 100 years of culture and history in West Virginia’s Asturian communities that got their start in the early 1900s.

Honnie is a retired school teacher who enjoys painting picturesque Spanish scenes. She learned clay and molded sculpture from her father as a child and majored in art at West Virginia University, but suspended her artistic activity when she became a mother. In 1977 she visited her family in Asturias for the first time, meeting cousins, aunts, and uncles she had never known. She was charmed and fascinated by the traditional urban and rural lifestyles of her family in Asturias. Her paintings reflect images captured on film during visits to her ancestral home.

Art is a clinical social worker. As a child, Art played with his mother and grandfather’s art supplies, explored their books, and absorbed their art, which was displayed in the home. As a young studio artist, Art lived in Spain for two years, visiting his mother’s Asturian family on holidays. He later studied Asturian culture for three summers in the Asturian capital, Oviedo, in order to learn more about the culture his maternal grandparents left behind. These childhood and adult experiences led to his focus on the psychological, relational, and spiritual aspects of añoranza, or longing, through images of the human figure and landscape.

The show is open to the public and will run until Friday, March 06, 2015.

The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM and one hour before all GSC Fine Arts events.

For more information, contact Brenner at or 304.462.6346.

G-TechNote™: Making Sense of the FCC Net Neutrality Outside of the Beltway

No doubt, you have heard about and perhaps read analysis of the FCC Chairman’s submission to his colleagues on the topic of Net Neutrality and Title II. The headlines in social media and traditional media have been set in pretty simplistic and predictable fashion. One framing is that Net Neutrality is the latest and most pernicious example of the heavy hand of federal regulation that is going to strangle the free market (ObamaCare for the Internet). The other framing is that the Chairman and his two democratic FCC Commissioners are the last great hope to save “us” from the tyranny of oligopolistic giants who have appropriated the language of and now support the idea of laissez faire markets. I don’t believe both of these characterizations are equally flawed but I do believe both framings are flawed.

In 1964 Paul Baran, one of the original inventors of packet switching, juxtaposed three models of network traffic; the then incumbent centralized phone switch, the then emergent hub and spoke model, and the third being the distributed network model. Baran’s model demonstrated that the distributed network model was significantly more resilient than the alternatives. The distributed network-engineering model became the design inspiration for the Internet (capable of withstanding major (nuclear) disruption).

The distributed network model also catalyzed unprecedented innovation at the edges of the distributed network because the network effect of this model did not require permission of any centralized/singular authority to provide services. And so was born hardware and software in the proverbial start-up garage or college dorm room, at the edge of distributed network, and not in the central R&D facilities of Bell Labs. The disruption occasioned by the distributed network also produced plenty of half-baked code, some of it down right dangerous. Because the distributed network typology did not have a central clearing authority for quality control, spam was no longer cheap food in a can, viruses affected more than human beings, and phishing was no longer a misspelling of the recreation and sport on the lake.

The Gilmer Free Press

Those of us who grew up in the heady days of the late 80s and early 90s of the distributed networking world were largely convinced that we had found the holy grail. The shortcomings were largely nuisances and could be corrected in the next release of the software code. The upside opportunities were filled with, well, so much upside. The great myth of the 90s was that we were living in a Network economy that was also characterized by Barans’ distributed network. If there was an assumed linear path from centralized to decentralized in his original path, the truth is that by the early 90s the countervailing path back towards centralization was beginning to gain momentum once again. While most of us were in denial, Apple was the first great exception to the open model of distributed network and product design. There was always a cultish following to Apple’s design and charismatic leadership. The true believers didn’t let the fact that Apple was a quintessential centralized and closed system model get in the way of our love affair. Today, 40 percent (or more) of the Internet flows through Google and its various related properties, starting of course with search. While Google leveraged the engineering associated with the distributed designs of the Network, it has defended its market position (as has Microsoft, Oracle etc…) with the fervor of an old style oligopolist like General Motors (what’s good for GM is good for America).

Which brings us back to Title II and Net Neutrality. Over the past 30+ years, while we were waiving and cheerleading the emergence of a highly distributed network economy, the actual consolidation of physical network infrastructure has been centralization at a remarkable pace over the same period of time, especially over the last decade. The biggest fish have been engaged in voracious and gluttonous consumption behavior and eating all the next biggest fish. One might point to the most recent example and political drama around Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable. But in actual fact, the Net Neutrality debate opened in a serious way when Comcast bought NBC that had bought Universal that itself was a collection of properties. While the FTC did not seek to break up the growing monopoly of content and content distribution, the FCC was asked (as the federal expert agency) what it could do to use its authority to assure that this growing agglomeration of content/distribution companies did not demonstrably harm or clearly constrain the original promise of the distributed network that the FCC became a steward of in 1993 and enshrined in law in 1996. Earlier efforts to use other parts of its authority to assure these goals were challenged in the federal courts and those challenging (incumbent telecom providers, in the main) were successful in getting the courts to roll back the FCC’s assertions.

Under Chairman Tom Wheeler, the FCC has asserted its authority to use a ‘modernized Title II’ to enforce and support openness, challenge the growing tendency towards paid prioritization for content and services to those with market ability to pay, and to protect a competitive marketplace. Title II modernization is about an adjustment to the rules shaping the marketplace. Sustaining a competitive and open network needs rules. Notwithstanding some characterizations and political rhetoric, the rules being proposed will be relatively easy to work with and will lead to stronger, more robust competitive behavior.

I have been a very strong and consistent proponent of an open and neutral network architecture. OneCommunity, in its inception was an early exemplar of the absolute criticality of disrupting the economics and network realities of oligopolistic behavior here in NEOhio. As the CIO at Case Western Reserve University I had very personal, first-hand experience in the completely unacceptable way that the incumbents ‘red circled’ this market offering extremely expensive, painfully slow, and remarkably unreliable services for years and years. Creating a competitive marketplace, even in the limited way that we have been able to do has helped others across the country join us in that effort and has now rolled up to be a strong, vocal, and extremely effective voice under the banner of the Coalition for Local Internet Choice. I am proud of the fact that I was asked on behalf of OneCommunity to serve on the original advisory committee of CLIC. In my view, this is all good.

Good, but not good enough. At the end of the month, there is a growing certainty that the Chairman’s modernized Title II program will be passed 3-2 by the FCC. It will, no doubt, be challenged in courts. While the case winds its way through legal review and adjudication, the marketplace will remain unsettled and even, in parts, skittish. Even, more than regulation, the general markets really despise uncertainty. I do not think we will see capital walking away from investments in fiber networks. However, the kind of capital continuing to play (and even accelerate its investments) will be the venture segment of capital markets that are prepared to take risks that others are not. The value of fiber networks will continue to rise because as the courts resolve the authority of the FCC to regulate there is an ever growing probability that the fiber networks will be a safe, regulated, and predictable marketplace for capital to move into and bring more conservative forms of investment.

Title II is also good but not good enough because there is no regulatory authority that alone protects the open Internet. Education, vigilance, advocacy, and catalyzing continuous innovation and opportunity from the edges of next generation networks can only be made compelling and relevant in the local context. That is why we established OneCommunity in 2004. That is why OneCommunity has an important role to play in Northeast Ohio in assuring open and neutral network policy, and why OneCommunity, by mission, will always support network neutrality.

~~  Lev Gonick - Chief Executive, OneCommunity ~~

Dining with Diabetes:  A Program for People with Diabetes and their Families

The Gilmer Free Press

Dining with Diabetes program is once again being offered by the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, Diabetes Prevention and Control Program and the WVU Extension Service.  Thanks to contributions from United Hospital Center, this unique program is being offered free to the public.

The curriculum includes updated information reflecting current diabetes nutrition practices, clinical education, data collection, exercise components, easy recipe demonstrations, delicious food tasting and a supportive segment on reducing stress.

“Participating with other diabetics who share their concern about managing their disease is a great motivator to participants in the class,” said Becky Smith, WVU Extension Agent in Harrison County.  “They find that these interactive sessions provide useful information in helping them to make wiser choices.”

Dining with Diabetes is not intended to replace diabetes education provided by qualified health care professionals such as certified diabetes educators or registered dietitians. The program neither offers individualized meal plans for participants, nor is it intended to be a weight loss program.

All scheduled classes will be held at UHC. Participants will receive practical information that will help them live a healthier lifestyle.

Please plan on attending all sessions and we request no registrations after the start of the first session. To register, call the Harrison County Extension office at 304.624.8650. Space is limited.

Program Dates are as Follows:

Evening Program at the UHC for 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 5:30-7:30 PM

Tuesday, March 17, 5:30-7:30 PM

Tuesday, March 24, 5:30-7:30 PM

Tuesday, March 31, 5:30-7:30 PM

Follow-Up Session:

Tuesday, June 02, 5:30-7:30 PM

Could Senate Create Loopholes in WV Water Protection Law?

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia state Senate is considering putting what critics are calling “loopholes” in water protections passed after last year’s Freedom Industries chemical spill.

The Senate Judiciary Committee took its first look at Senate Bill 423 on Tuesday. The measure would roll back part of the above-ground storage tank water-safety law passed after the Elk River spill.

Angie Rosser, executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, attended the committee meeting. To her, she said, it appears that about three-quarters of the tanks now regulated under the law could be exempted.

“We have around 50,000 tanks,“ Rosser said, “and the suggestion is that only 12,000 of those would fall into regulation under the Above-Ground Storage Tank Act.“

Another provision in the bill would let tank owners apply to have their tanks exempted from the law, if their sites are covered by some other kinds of pollution plans. In those cases, it would be up to the secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection to see to it that the pollution plans in place would be amended to regulate the tanks. Rosser said she sees that as a potential weak spot in the rules.

“How stringent would those alternatives be? Will they be truly sufficient in protecting our waters,“ she said, “or is this a possible loophole?“

Rosser noted that Freedom Industries had a groundwater protection plan in place at the time of the spill. She said that could have allowed the owners to apply for an exemption under the new legislation.

“Obviously, a site that poses a great risk to our water supplies that would not have to conform, necessarily, exactly to the standards of the act,“ she said. “That would be largely under the discretion of the secretary.“

Many West Virginia lawmakers have said they believe last year’s law was an overreaction to the spill, and that it covers too many storage tanks.

Track SB 423 online at

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

The Legislature Today 02.25.2015

At the legislature today, bad blood lingers in the senate after yesterday’s action to move the charter schools bill to the floor. In the house, the government organization committee hears an earful from Democrats about the bill to roll back the prevailing wage law.

And Check in with the Our Children, Our Future campaign to see how their legislative priorities are doing at The Legislature Today.

West Virginia News   150226

The Gilmer Free Press


Weary West Virginia motorists will have to put up with potholes for a bit while longer.

Highway officials say there is little they can do now to repair road surfaces roughed up by lumbering snow plows, salt and weather extremes.

Carrie Bly of the state Division of Highways says permanent road repairs can’t be done for another month. The best highway crews can do at this time of year is to repair potholes with cold patch.

Bly says those repairs can last a matter of days or a month.

She said the state spends about $18 million a year patching roads torn up by snow and ice.

In South Charleston, crews are still trying to clear the streets of snow and slush.


The Putnam County Adult Drug Court is scheduled to conduct its first graduation ceremony.

Five will graduate from the program Wednesday in the Putnam County court building in Winfield. Circuit Judge Joseph K. Reeder will preside at the ceremony.

The Putnam County program is among two dozen adult drug court programs serving 40 counties. Sixteen juvenile drug courts serve 20 counties.

Proponents say adult drug courts significantly reduce recidivism and substance abuse among high-risk substance abusing offenders. They also increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation.

West Virginia’s first adult drug court was established in the Northern Panhandle in 2005.


West Virginia utility regulators are sponsoring a two-day seminar in Bridgeport on pipeline safety.

The Public Service Commission is teaming up with the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association to sponsor the seminar, which concludes Wednesday.

The seminar is expected to attract more than 160 participants and focus on subjects such as federal and state requirements and common problems the PSC and inspectors have seen.

State and federal representatives are addressing the conference.

West Virginia has more than 14,000 miles of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines.


West Virginia Republican senators resurrected a charter school bill Tuesday, sparking backlash from Democrats who say the proposal should be dead and that the GOP broke Senate rules.

The move on the floor Tuesday prompted Senate Democrats, in protest, to force other bills to be read out loud in their entirety.

The time-consuming read-a-thon could keep going until Republicans admit the Senate charter school push is dead, said Senator Bob Beach, D-Monongalia.

“Bring your lunch,” Beach said.

It’s the biggest confrontation this year at the statehouse since Republicans took control of the Legislature for the first time in more than eight decades.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, responded that the move was permitted.

And as of now, the charter school bill, deemed defeated Monday, could be up for a full Senate vote by Thursday.

“They just decided they were going to resurrect this bill like Lazarus, whether it was capable of being resurrected or not,” Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, told reporters Tuesday.

Kessler led a charge Monday to postpone indefinitely the charter school bill. The motion passed with three Republicans absent in the committee, and Kessler pronounced himself “Proud of what I did.”

On Tuesday, Republicans moved to pull the bill out of the committee for floor consideration. The motion passed 18-16 along party lines, despite fiery objections from Democrats.

Carmichael chided Democrats for trying to kill the bill in committee the day before.

“They attempted to destroy this bill that would help children because we had a couple of members who were out on medical issues,” Carmichael told reporters Tuesday.

West Virginia is one of eight states that don’t allow charter schools.

Unions and many teachers have opposed allowing the state’s first charter schools, which have more flexibility in using public money.

They are concerned the change would promote inequality across student popu-lations, and take away from regular public school funding.

Business groups support the change, pointing to poor state educational performance and economic problems as reasons to try a new path.


The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of a veteran member of the department: Niko, a Belgian shepherd.

The K-9 member of the sheriff’s office was euthanized Tuesday because of declining health.

Chief Deputy Mike Fridley took it especially hard. He had been Niko’s handler for 14 years.

Fridley says the dog was like a family member.

Niko was involved in narcotics detection and tracking and apprehending suspects. He retired in 2012 and was a member of the Fridley household.

As an unofficial ambassador for the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, Niko made hundreds of public appearances.


The Gilmer Free Press

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today signed Senate Bill 237, creating Captive Cervid Farming Act:

“I have great respect for the significant economic impact hunting has in West Virginia, with more than 350,000 hunters helping to create more than 5,000 jobs and generate nearly $270 million for the state’s economy. I also respect the overwhelming bipartisan support this bill received in both the Senate and House of Delegates, passing with wide margins in both chambers.

I am confident we can protect our wildlife and maintain our state’s strong hunting tradition while expanding responsible deer farming operations across the state, creating new jobs and new opportunities for our residents and small businesses.“

U.S.A. News   150226

The Gilmer Free Press


Students at Rutgers University are balking at a new biometric software used in online classes that requires them to record their facial features, knuckles and photo ID.

ProctorTrack, implemented for online courses this year, requires students to record their face, knuckle and personal identification details to verify their identity. The software then tracks students’ monitor, browser, webcam and microphone activity during the session to prevent cheating on exams, according to The Daily Targum – Rutgers’ student newspaper.

The software and its implementation – which went largely unnoticed because the university did not notify students of the change until after the add-drop period ended – are now raising serious privacy concerns among some students. Others started a petition to stop the use of ProctorTrack over a $32 activation fee imposed on unwitting students taking classes online.

“Emails about mandating the use of ProctorTrack were sent out during the THIRD WEEK of classes,” School of Arts and Sciences senior Betsy Chao wrote on the petition. “It was already too late to drop classes and so, students essentially have NO choice but to pay the fee.”

That failure to notify student could be a violation of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, according to media reports.

The biggest concerns, however, seem to center on apparent privacy and security risks.

According to The Daily Targum, “many students are unsure if the ProctorTrack system efficiently secures recorded student data.

“The system’s security measures are not particularly clear. Combined with ProctorTrack’s young age — the system was literally patented several weeks ago — potential security vulnerabilities within the ProctorTrack system remain an open question.

“Rutgers also seems unaware that visually recording personal identification over the Internet is a major risk. Even if ProctorTrack is completely protected, there is no way to guarantee that a student’s computer was not compromised by webcam monitoring exploitation software, such as Remote Access Tools, prior to ProctorTrack’s use. Exposing personal identification over online webcam for verification purposes may have dangerously unintended consequences.”

Students also do not like the idea that instructors can use ProctorTrack to restrict how they use their computers during sessions. The software can lock out keyboard controls, or prevent certain programs from opening during an exam, for example.

“Monitoring student browser history is extremely invasive and might not be common knowledge to many students utilizing the ProctorTrack software,” according to The Daily Targum.

Despite the concerns from students, Rutgers spokesman E.J. Miranda contends the university “has put significant effort into protecting the privacy of online students,” according to

Miranda also said the software is not mandatory, but one of several options students can use.

“ProctorTrack is one method, but (the Rutgers Center for Online and Hybrid Learning and Instructional Technologies) offers other options to students, faculty and departments for compliance with the federal requirements, such as Examity and ExamGuard,” Miranda said.


Shale oil producers are throttling back so quickly on drilling that U.S. crude output could fall sooner than expected, within months, executives say as they slash costs to cope with tumbling crude prices and compete with Persian Gulf rivals.

About a dozen chief executives who talked to Reuters or who spoke publicly, acknowledged they were taken aback by the scale and speed of the cutbacks, noting how this oil price downturn was different from several previous episodes in their careers.

For one, companies are cutting costs deeper and faster than before as Wall Street investors increasingly place a premium on capital discipline rather than just production growth. Some also say the nature of shale makes it easier for companies to defer work and wait for prices to recover. The wells that drove the U.S. energy boom of the last decade rapidly deplete, so overall output will fall unless new holes are constantly bored and oil extracted via hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

“The thing that has surprised me ... is that companies large and small, financially strong, financially weak have really cut capital spending much quicker than I have seen before,“ said Bruce Vincent, who retired as CEO of Swift Energy Co this month after 40 years in the industry.

Just few weeks ago, the prevailing view among industry insiders and analysts was that U.S. oil production would keep rising for several months despite falling rig numbers because of rising productivity of active wells and drilling inertia.

In the past, if a producer had a rig contract, they would continue drilling. Now, producers are paying fees to break those contracts, a fact that has hastened the steep drop in the rig count, said Vincent.


In the old days, producers felt compelled to pump in a downturn, fearing competitors with wells in the same reservoir would take the oil. That is no longer a risk as shale is locked in rock.

“(Now) you can leave it in the ground. In the old days you had to produce because everybody was sucking on the same straw,“

Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, said at a conference in January.

Already, many companies have announced 25-70% reductions in drilling and a total of at least $25 billion in spending cuts.

Some went even further. Magnum Hunter Resources Corp has halted all drilling and told services firms it will not resume work unless its costs fall 40%, the company’s Chief Executive Gary Evans told a conference in Houston.

Such pullback, combined with shale well decline rates of some 60% or more a year, has Evans predicting U.S. production will begin falling “in the next two months.“

His view is largely echoed by several other executives, though they say their own output will hold up or rise and expect much of the decline come from the shuttering of older, low-yielding wells known as strippers.

Assuming that many drilling contracts will be carried out, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) still sees output climbing early this year to peak at 9.42 million barrels per day in May, with a decline starting in June.

After nearly doubling since 2008, U.S. crude production should stabilize, though not necessarily decline, in the second half of this year, analysts at IHS said.

Lower output, along with rising gasoline consumption, would help reduce 1.5 million bpd in estimated global oversupply and might allow crude prices to recover from a 50% slide since mid-2014.

While some analysts expect the slide to continue for some time, with Citibank predicting U.S. benchmark prices to bottom out at $20 per barrel, industry insiders count on a faster price recovery because of two factors pulling U.S production down.

One is the much faster than expected decline in the number of active rigs. Oilfield services company Baker Hughes said on Friday, nearly 50 rigs were shed last week, bringing the U.S. land rig count to 1250, about the level EIA had forecast would be reached in October.

“There’s been a real rapid response, probably faster than I’ve ever seen,“ Jack Stark, president of Continental Resources told an IHS conference in Houston this month.


The rig fleet alone is not the best predictor of output because well lengths and the frequency of fracks along a well have been rising rapidly to boost output. However, in the past few weeks companies have also started to refrain from fracking wells to bring them online, so-called completion, which normally accounts for 60% of a well’s total cost.

On its fourth-quarter earnings call, Devon Energy Corp. said it had cut its completion crews working in the Eagle Ford oil basin to four from nine, while Anadarko Petroleum said it reduced its completion crews by a third.

After years of breakneck growth, top shale companies Apache Corp and EOG Resources have said their oil and gas output this year will be flat.

Producers who had grown accustomed to oil at $100 a barrel say they aim to cut costs to profitably drill shale wells at $40 a barrel or less. That is well below the $70 now needed to work in some basins and less than current U.S. benchmark crude prices of about $51 a barrel.

The path to slash costs is to pressure service companies - already cutting thousands of jobs - to lower prices as well as rely on technology to speed up drilling and improve well productivity.

“The services companies have always found a way through time to do business,“ said Stark. “The shale business will continue to exist and this renaissance will continue.“

U.S. executives, some of whom proudly call themselves wildcatting “rednecks” from “cowboyistan,“ say they will come out leaner and meaner from the downturn and be able to better compete with top OPEC producer Saudi Arabia. Many believe the top OPEC oil producer has let oil prices fall and refused to cut output to squeeze shale rivals out of the market.

“The most ironic thing about what we are in today is the fact that when we emerge from this the Saudis will have toughened up the American oil industry,“ said one prominent shale oil executive who spoke on condition of anonymity.


The Pennsylvania-based Sheetz convenience store chain is looking to double its store total after opening its 500th location.

Sheetz executives cut a ceremonial ribbon Tuesday at the Altoona company’s latest location in Thomasville, North Carolina.

They’re now planning for 750 stores and eventually 1,000.

Founder Bob Sheetz says he never envisioned the chain’s growth when he opened the first store in 1952.

The 80-year-old tells the newspaper he dreamed of owning 100 stores.

There are about 152,000 convenience stores nationwide.

Sheetz executives say they’re planning to expand within the six states where they’re currently operating; Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina.

They’re opening at least 30 stores in 2015, including dine-in locations near West Virginia and Penn State universities.

Holistic Christian Families Now Criminalized in America; Parents Having to Flee with Children

The Gilmer Free Press

The old adage “let’s just agree to disagree” is no longer a relevant concept when it comes to your personal medical views. It seems that the new American normal is for the government to literally mandate that you and your children consume junk foods and pharmaceuticals and get vaccinated, or else face harsh punishment, as evidenced by a string of recent state interventions against families who made medical decisions that differ from what’s popular in the mainstream.

There’s no room for agreeing to disagree anymore when what someone else disagrees with you about can potentially land you in prison or have your children taken away from you by Child Protective Services (CPS). Erica Carey and Cleve Goheen-Rengo, a couple from Washington state, recently learned this after being snitched on by a neighbor and tracked down by police and CPS officers over their decision to make alternative medical choices for their children.

According to reports, the couple decided to have a home birth last fall in which they birthed a set of twin boys, without ever going to a hospital or getting an ultrasound. A nosy neighbor heard Erica giving birth to the children inside her home and decided to call the police, who showed up at the residence and promptly invaded the couple’s personal privacy, accusing them of failing to adequately nourish and care for their children.

The couple’s children were ultimately removed from their own home for a short time over these allegations, escalating the situation rapidly to the point that, once the family got the children back, they decided to flee the area in order to avoid having their children abducted again by the state. A “Be On The Lookout” warning was issued throughout the West Coast as a result, and one obedient statist, after spotting the couple at a gas station in Santa Cruz, immediately called the police.

After arriving on the scene, California Highway Patrol (CHP) and CPS officers proceeded to arrest Erica while taking her and her husband’s children into state custody. Her crime? Well, there doesn’t appear to be one other than her and her husband’s personal decision to avoid giving birth at a superbug-ridden hospital, without drugs or assistance from a licensed nurse or physician, which is their God-given right.

The state denies that this is the case, of course, but refuses to provide any concrete evidence of abuse or wrongdoing, which leads us to believe that this is yet another case of police state inebriation, with state officers drunk on power and perceived authority.

“Send a message to America for me,“ screamed a sobbing Erica as she was being forced into a police vehicle during her arrest. “Children don’t belong to the government. The government belongs to the people.“

U.S. parents who make medical decisions that go against state recommendations increasingly being persecuted

There’s a growing pattern of this type of police state abuse occurring all across the country. Children are being forced to undergo chemotherapy treatments, against their own will, as in the case 17-year-old Cassandra from Connecticut. And with all the recent vaccine hysteria, there are now calls by some doctors for parents of unvaccinated children to be arrested and have their children abducted by the state—it’s happened numerous times in the past.

These types of cases represent nothing short of medical tyranny, plain and simple. If the state disagrees with your mode of action in response to a particular disease, or even just your personal decisions for everyday life, then you may be accused of putting the lives of yourself and your children in danger, and punished accordingly.
~~  Ethan A. Huff ~~

G-TechNote™: Google Want to Be Your Cellphone Provider

The Gilmer Free Press

The details about the new Google service are being leaked on industry blogs. Word on the street is that you will be able to port your number from whoever you’re with to the new Google service that reportedly will be called Nova.

As for a launch date, there’s no official word yet. But it could be as soon as this spring.

So why would you switch? Well, the rumors are that there will be some level of plan that will be free for monthly service, along with other levels that will cost just a tiny fraction of what you now pay for service. I’m expecting that to mean somewhere around $10 to $20.

The reality is what you pay for cell phone service is going down, down, down. You may think a triple digit bill is normal. But we’re moving to cheaper, more reliable, and faster.

When you port your number to Google, they reportedly have a feature that will let you get your phone calls on any device on which you have a Google account. So that means computer, tablet, smartwatch. The data will be available across platforms.

They have also developed a technology like Republic Wireless where behind the scenes your service seamlessly migrates to the most cost-effective network: Cell, wireless, wireless mesh network.

But the Google thing is off in the future for right now. For now, you can do Republic for $10 a month for unlimited talk and text, plus unlimited data when you’re on wifi.

I’m telling you, between Google and Republic, the Verizons and AT&Ts of the world will be dinosaurs with their very expensive plans.

Do not sign any contract with a cell phone company or you’ll be prisoner for the next 24 months to their ridiculously high prices. And then you’ll miss out on the cost savings until your contract is up.

Remember, the cost of the phone is not what matters, it’s the cost of the service!


The Gilmer Free Press

World News   150226

The Gilmer Free Press


The face stares out from multiple billboards in central Baghdad, a grey-haired general casting a watchful eye across the Iraqi capital. This military commander is not Iraqi, though. He’s Iranian.

The posters are a recent arrival, reflecting the influence Iran now wields in Baghdad.

Iraq is a mainly Arab country. Its citizens, Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims alike, have long mistrusted Iran, the Persian nation to the east. But as Baghdad struggles to fight the Sunni extremist group Islamic State, many Shi’ite Iraqis now look to Iran, a Shi’ite theocracy, as their main ally.

In particular, Iraqi Shi’ites have grown to trust the powerful Iranian-backed militias that have taken charge since the Iraqi army deserted en masse last summer. Dozens of paramilitary groups have united under a secretive branch of the Iraqi government called the Popular Mobilisation Committee, or Hashid Shaabi. Created by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s predecessor Nuri al-Maliki, the official body now takes the lead role in many of Iraq’s security operations. From its position at the nexus between Tehran, the Iraqi government, and the militias, it is increasingly influential in determining the country’s future.

Until now, little has been known about the body. But in a series of interviews with Reuters, key Iraqi figures inside Hashid Shaabi have detailed the ways the paramilitary groups, Baghdad and Iran collaborate, and the role Iranian advisers play both inside the group and on the frontlines.

Those who spoke to Reuters include two senior figures in the Badr Organisation, perhaps the single most powerful Shi’ite paramilitary group, and the commander of a relatively new militia called Saraya al-Khorasani.

In all, Hashid Shaabi oversees and coordinates several dozen factions. The insiders say most of the groups followed a call to arms by Iraq’s leading Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. But they also cite the religious guidance of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, as a key factor in their decision to fight and – as they see it – defend Iraq.

Hadi al-Amiri, the leader of the Badr Organisation, told Reuters: “The majority of us believe that ... Khamenei has all the qualifications as an Islamic leader. He is the leader not only for Iranians but the Islamic nation. I believe so and I take pride in it.“

He insisted there was no conflict between his role as an Iraqi political and military leader and his fealty to Khamenei.

“Khamenei would place the interests of the Iraqi people above all else,“ Amiri said.


Hashid Shaabi is headed by Jamal Jaafar Mohammed, better known by his nom de guerre Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, a former Badr commander who once plotted against Saddam Hussein and whom American officials have accused of bombing the U.S. embassy in Kuwait in 1983.

Iraqi officials say Mohandis is the right-hand man of Qassem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force, part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Mohandis is praised by some militia fighters as “the commander of all troops” whose “word is like a sword above all groups.“

The body he heads helps coordinate everything from logistics to military operations against Islamic State. Its members say Mohandis’ close friendships with both Soleimani and Amiri helps anchor the collaboration.

The men have known each other for more than 20 years, according to Muen al-Kadhimi, a Badr Organisation leader in western Baghdad. “If we look at this history,“ Kadhimi said, “it helped significantly in organizing the Hashid Shaabi and creating a force that achieved a victory that 250,000 (Iraqi) soldiers and 600,000 interior ministry police failed to do.“

Kadhimi said the main leadership team usually consulted for three to four weeks before major military campaigns. “We look at the battle from all directions, from first determining the field ... how to distribute assignments within the Hashid Shaabi battalions, consult battalion commanders and the logistics,“ he said.

Soleimani, he said, “participates in the operation command center from the start of the battle to the end, and the last thing (he) does is visit the battle’s wounded in the hospital.“

Iraqi and Kurdish officials put the number of Iranian advisers in Iraq between 100 and several hundred - fewer than the nearly 3,000 American officers training Iraqi forces. In many ways, though, the Iranians are a far more influential force.

Iraqi officials say Tehran’s involvement is driven by its belief that Islamic State is an immediate danger to Shi’ite religious shrines not just in Iraq but also in Iran. Shrines in both nations, but especially in Iraq, rank among the sect’s most sacred.

The Iranians, the Iraqi officials say, helped organize the Shi’ite volunteers and militia forces after Grand Ayatollah Sistani called on Iraqis to defend their country days after Islamic State seized control of the northern city of Mosul last June.

Prime Minister Abadi has said Iran has provided Iraqi forces and militia volunteers with weapons and ammunition from the first days of the war with Islamic State.

They have also provided troops. Several Kurdish officials said that when Islamic State fighters pushed close to the Iraq-Iran border in late summer, Iran dispatched artillery units to Iraq to fight them. Farid Asarsad, a senior official from the semi-autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan, said Iranian troops often work with Iraqi forces. In northern Iraq, Kurdish peshmerga soldiers “dealt with the technical issues like identifying targets in battle, but the launching of rockets and artillery – the Iranians were the ones who did that.“

Kadhimi, the senior Badr official, said Iranian advisers in Iraq have helped with everything from tactics to providing paramilitary groups with drone and signals capabilities, including electronic surveillance and radio communications.

“The U.S. stayed all these years with the Iraqi army and never taught them to use drones or how to operate a very sophisticated communication network, or how to intercept the enemy’s communication,“ he said. “The Hashid Shaabi, with the help of (Iranian) advisers, now knows how to operate and manufacture drones.“


One of the Shi’ite militia groups that best shows Iran’s influence in Iraq is Saraya al-Khorasani. It was formed in 2013 in response to Khamenei’s call to fight Sunni jihadists, initially in Syria and later Iraq.

The group is responsible for the Baghdad billboards that feature Iranian General Hamid Taghavi, a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Known to militia members as Abu Mariam, Taghavi was killed in northern Iraq in December. He has become a hero for many of Iraq’s Shi’ite fighters.

Taghavi “was an expert at guerrilla war,“ said Ali al-Yasiri, the commander of Saraya al-Khorasani. “People looked at him as magical.“

In a video posted online by the Khorasani group soon after Taghavi’s death, the Iranian general squats on the battlefield, giving orders as bullets snap overhead. Around him, young Iraqi fighters with AK-47s press themselves tightly against the ground. The general wears rumpled fatigues and has a calm, grandfatherly demeanor. Later in the video, he rallies his fighters, encouraging them to run forward to attack positions.

Within two days of Mosul’s fall on June 10 last year, Taghavi, a member of Iran’s minority Arab population, traveled to Iraq with members of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guard. Soon, he was helping map out a way to outflank Islamic State outside Balad, 50 miles (80 km) north of Baghdad.

Taghavi’s time with Saraya al-Khorasani proved a boon for the group. Its numbers swelled from 1,500 to 3,000. It now boasts artillery, heavy machine guns, and 23 military Humvees, many of them captured from Islamic State.

“Of course, they are good,“ Yasiri said with a grin. “They are American made.“

In November, Taghavi was back in Iraq for a Shi’ite militia offensive near the Iranian border. Yasiri said Taghavi formulated a plan to “encircle and besiege” Islamic State in the towns of Jalawala and Saadiya. After success with that, he began to plot the next battle. Yasiri urged him to be more cautious, but Taghavi was killed by a sniper in December.

At Taghavi’s funeral, the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, eulogized the slain commander. He was, said Shamkhani, one of those Iranians in Iraq “defending Samarra and giving their blood so we don’t have to give our blood in Tehran.“ Both Soleimani and the Badr Organisation’s Amiri were among the mourners.


Saraya al-Khorasani’s headquarters sit in eastern Baghdad, inside an exclusive government complex that houses ministers and members of parliament. Giant pictures of Taghavi and other slain al-Khorasani fighters hang from the exterior walls of the group’s villa.

Commander Yasiri walks with a cane after he was wounded in his left leg during a battle in eastern Diyala in November. On his desk sits a small framed drawing of Iran’s Khamenei.

He describes Saraya al-Khorasani, along with Badr and several other groups, as “the soul” of Iraq’s Hashid Shaabi committee.

Not everyone agrees. A senior Shi’ite official in the Iraqi government took a more critical view, saying Saraya al-Khorasani and the other militias were tools of Tehran. “They are an Iranian-made group that was established by Taghavi. Because of their close ties with Iranians for weapons and ammunition, they are so effective,“ the official said.

Asarsad, the senior Kurdish official, predicts Iraq’s Shi’ite militias will evolve into a permanent force that resembles the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. That sectarian force, he believes, will one day operate in tandem with Iraq’s regular military.

“There will be two armies in Iraq,“ he said.

That could have big implications for the country’s future. Human rights groups have accused the Shi’ite militias of displacing and killing Sunnis in areas they liberate — a charge the paramilitary commanders vigorously deny. The militias blame any excesses on locals and accuse Sunni politicians of spreading rumors to sully the name of Hashid Shaabi.

The senior Shi’ite official critical of Saraya al-Khorasani said the militia groups, which have the freedom to operate without directly consulting the army or the prime minister, could yet undermine Iraq’s stability. The official described Badr as by far the most powerful force in the country, even stronger than Prime Minister Abadi.

Amiri, the Badr leader, rejected such claims. He said he presents his military plans directly to Abadi for approval.

His deputy Kadhimi was in no doubt, though, that the Hashid Shaabi was more powerful than the Iraqi military.

“A Hashid Shaabi (soldier) sees his commander ... or Haji Hadi Amiri or Haji Mohandis or even Haji Qassem Soleimani in the battle, eating with them, sitting with them on the ground, joking with them. This is why they are ready to fight,“ said Kadhimi. “This is why it is an invincible force.“

GSC Athletics Operation: Sellout - 02.28.15

The Gilmer Free Press

Glenville State College and the Pioneer Athletic Club (PAC) would like to invite you to Operation: Sellout on Saturday, February 28, 2015 as both Pioneer basketball teams host the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats at the Waco Center.

There are several events that will take place on that day.

GSC Alumni Basketball Game

We invite all former Pioneer and Lady Pioneer basketball players, cheerleaders, coaches, managers, and fans to return to campus for this event. Even if your playing days are over, we would love to have you join us to be introduced as Pioneer Basketball alumni, reconnect with your teammates, meet our current coaches and team members, and enjoy a full day of activities taking place at the Waco Center. Families, friends, and fans are also welcome to join the full day of fun! Check-in for the alumni game starts at 9:30 a.m. and tip-off is set for 10:30 a.m.

Snow Ball Tailgate

Who said tailgating is just for football season? Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community can join us before the doubleheader game outside, in front of the Waco Center. Free food and beverages will be available. Come join us at the tailgate and help us cheer on the Pioneers as they face off against conference rival WV Wesleyan. Tailgating begins at 11:00 AM.

The Deck

Starting at 12:30 PM the Pioneer Athletic Club presents the new ultimate fan section – “The Deck” – sponsored by Smith Land Surveying. PAC members, alumni, and fans can join us inside the Waco Center on The Deck for food, adult beverages, and a great time. Cheer on the Pioneers from this exclusive section while catching up with alumni and old friends. Admission onto The Deck is $5.00.

Fans should remember that Saturday, February 28th will also be Senior Day for the Lady Pioneer and Pioneer basketball teams. Friends and family are welcome to join us as we honor the 2014-15 senior basketball players as they play their final home game on McPherson Court at the Waco Center. Seniors will be honored seven minutes prior to tip-off.

Glenville State would like to thank our sponsors Smith Land Surveying, the 10th Hole, Citizens Bank of Weston, and the Pioneer Grille.

For more information please call 304.462.6220 or go to


The Gilmer Free Press

Sports News   150226

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, February 25)

#6 Gilmer County 80     Midland Trail 53

Charleston Catholic 55     Braxton County 42

Webster County 58     Roane County 48

Bishop Donahue 63     St. Marys 48

South Harrison 55     Liberty 41

Clay County 59     Wirt County 49

#5 Robert C. Byrd 77     Philip Barbour 49

►   Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, February 25)

#7 Ravenswood 65     Braxton County 42

Ritchie County 41     Roane County 38 (OT)

Saint Marys 64     Valley Wetzel 50

Buckhannon-Upshur 54     Elkins 29

Hampshire 56     Lewis County 54

#9 Lincoln 57     Grafton 54 (OT)

#9 Bridgeport 41     Robert C. Byrd 24

Notre Dame 47     Union 27

<The Gilmer Free Press

►   Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, February 25)

Final Score: (1) Kentucky 74, Mississippi State 56

Trey Lyles scored 18 points and the top- ranked Kentucky Wildcats clinched at least a share of the SEC regular-season title with a 74-56 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Wednesday. Aaron Harrison added 16 points for the Wildcats (28-0, 15-0 SEC), who continued their quest for an undefeated season by outscoring Mississippi State 38-29 in the second half. Devin Booker tallied 14 points and Karl-Anthony Towns contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds for Kentucky, which shot 49.1 percent from the field. The 28-game winning streak is a personal best for Calipari. He won 27 in a row while coaching Memphis during the 2008-09 season. Fred Thomas had 14 points for the Bulldogs (12-16, 5-10), who have lost three in a row. Craig Sword ended with 10 points on 2-of-8 shooting.

Final Score: (2) Virginia 70, Wake Forest 34

After needing a stop on its final defensive possession to edge Wake Forest in their last meeting, No. 2 Virginia dominated from the opening tip in its 70-34 win over the Demon Deacons on Wednesday night. It took over three minutes for the Cavaliers (26-1, 14-1 ACC) to hit their first shot from the floor, but that bucket gave them the lead for good. All 11 Cavs that suited up scored, led by Anthony Gill’s 11 points. On Feb. 14, Virginia held on to beat Wake Forest 61-60 when Malcolm Brogdon stole the ball from Cody Miller-McIntyre as time expired. The Demon Deacons (12-16, 4-11) shot just 21.8 percent and went 4-of-22 from 3-point range. Konstantinos Mitoglou paced Wake Forest with 10 points, but eight of those came in the closing minutes with the game out of reach.

Final Score: (4) Duke 91, Virginia Tech 86 (OT)

Jahlil Okafor made his return to the court, and fourth-ranked Duke needed every one of the star freshman’s season- best 30 points to pull out a 91-86 overtime victory over upset-minded Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils were able to roll past Clemson on Saturday with Okafor sitting out due to a sprained left ankle, but had a surprisingly much harder time putting away a determined Hokies team that entered this matchup 2-12 in ACC play, even with the national Player of the Year candidate going 13-of-18 from the field and grabbing nine rebounds. Virginia Tech (10-18, 2-13 ACC) was able to force extra time behind a 12-of-22 success rate from 3-point range, with the Blue Devils aiding the cause by hitting just 11 of its 22 free-throw tries. Duke (25-3, 12-3) still managed to earn its eighth straight win on the strength of big performances from Okafor and Quinn Cook, who buried 6-of-11 shots from beyond the arc in a 26-point effort. Jalen Hudson stepped up big for the Hokies, tallying a career-high 23 points. Adam Smith finished with 15 points in the tough loss, with Devin Wilson recording 10 points and 11 assists for Virginia Tech.

Final Score: (10) Northern Iowa 68, Evansville 57

Deon Mitchell dropped 17 points and No. 10 Northern Iowa disposed of Evansville, 68-57, on Wednesday. Potential MVC player of the year Seth Tuttle finished with 10 points and eight rebounds for Northern Iowa (27-2, 16-1 MVC), winners of a school-record 16 straight games following a loss to Evansville to open conference play. Paul Jesperson and Matt Bohannon each hit three 3-pointers for 11 and nine points, respectively. Northern Iowa has a showdown set for Saturday at No. 11 Wichita State with the regular-season title on the line. UNI won the first meeting, 70-54, in Cedar Falls on Jan. 31. D.J. Balentine led Evansville (19-10, 9-8) with 16 points and Egidijus Mockevicius gave 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in the setback.

Final Score: (11) Wichita State 63, Indiana State 53

Darius Carter posted 20 points and 11 rebounds as No. 11 Wichita State cruised past Indiana State, 63-53. Fred VanVleet totaled 15 points, five assists and four boards for the Shockers (26-3, 16-1 MWC), who received 12 points and six rebounds from Tekele Cotton and temporarily moved a half-game ahead of Northern Iowa for the top spot in the conference. The outcome of the UNI-Evansville contest has yet to be resolved. Khristian Smith led the way with 20 points and seven boards for the Sycamores (14-15, 10-7). Tre Bennett contributed 10 points in a losing cause.

Final Score: (19) Baylor 79, (12) Iowa State 70

A 3-point barrage helped Baylor win its first ever game in Ames and spoil Iowa State’s chance to square things up atop the Big 12. Taurean Prince nailed four of Baylor’s 14 3-pointers and scored 20 points as the 19th-ranked Bears defeated the 12th-ranked Cyclones 79-70 on Wednesday night. The Bears, who came in second in the Big 12 in 3-point shooting at 37 percent, finished 14-of-26 (53.8 percent) from beyond the arc. Kenny Chery had 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Lester Medford went 4-of-5 from long distance and netted 12 points for Baylor (21-7, 9-6 Big 12), which has won three straight. Jameel McKay posted 21 points and eight rebounds, while Georges Niang added 14 points and six boards for the Cyclones (20-7, 10-5), who had their three-game winning streak snapped. A win for the Cyclones would’ve tied them with Kansas atop the conference. There’s now a three-way tie with West Virginia, Iowa State and Oklahoma for second place instead.

Final Score: Richmond 67, (22) VCU 63 (2-OT)

ShawnDre’ Jones scored 22 points and Richmond had VCU’s number once again, handing the 22nd-ranked Rams a gut- wrenching 67-63 loss in a double-overtime thriller at the Robins Center. Jones went 6-of-10 from 3-point range and Terry Allen added 16 points with 10 rebounds to help the Spiders complete a season sweep of their bitter rivals, which Deion Taylor sealed with a crucial block of Treveon Graham with 0.1 seconds left in the second OT. Kendall Anthony chipped in 13 points and seven assists for Richmond (16-12, 9-6 A-10). T.J. Cline finished with 11 points, the last two coming on a cutting layup with 1.5 seconds remaining in the first overtime that extended the game. VCU (21-7, 11-4), seeking to avenge a 64-55 home setback to the Spiders on Jan. 31 in which point guard Briante Weber suffered a season-ending knee injury, cut a 16-point second-half deficit down to three in the final minute of regulation. Graham, who put up 23 of his 25 points in the second half and the two extra sessions, then brought on additional time by burying a deep 3- pointer with 3.5 seconds on the clock. JeQuan Lewis tallied 15 points and eight rebounds in the loss, which dropped the Rams into a four-way tie atop the Atlantic 10.

Final Score: (23) Butler 73, Marquette 52

Kellen Dunham scored 22 points and No. 23 Butler pulled away for a 73-52 win over Marquette on Wednesday night. Kameron Woods added 14 points and Roosevelt Jones scored 10 for the Bulldogs (20-8, 10-5 Big East), who outscored the Golden Eagles 36-22 in the second half to beat them for the second time this season. Butler entered play with losses in two of its previous three games—to No. 6 Villanova two weeks ago and a 17-point loss to Xavier on Saturday, its largest defeat of the season in terms of points. Marquette (11-16, 3-12) was led by 17 points from Luke Fischer and 10 each from Duane Wilson and Matt Carlino, who returned after missing the past four games with a concussion. The Golden Eagles have lost four in a row and 10 of their last 11.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Stretching the Field: Bulls living in twilight zone

That’s the sound of inevitability, the sound of the Chicago Bulls descending in the Eastern Conference standings.

Torn knee ligaments usually have that auditory effect. Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose knows the sound all too well.

Rose has to feel snake-bitten or cursed at this very moment. The former MVP of the league is dealing with another serious knee injury and an MRI confirmed Rose has a torn meniscus in his right knee. Surgery is forthcoming and this is not Rose’s first time under the knife because of knee issues.

Chicago’s prized floor general could probably do the surgery himself and save his team some more money because this is the third knee ailment Rose has suffered since a left ACL tear in Game 1 of the 2012 playoffs. He missed the entire next season and appeared in just 10 games before going down again in November 2013 with a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Rose had been generally healthy this season, having appeared in 46 of Chicago’s 57 games. The three-time All-Star told the team earlier Tuesday he was experiencing pain in the surgically repaired knee, and a subsequent MRI taken afterward revealed the magnitude of the injury.

He was scratched for one game last month for soreness in his left knee and missed four games in November with a hamstring injury.

Just over a month ago, Rose called out his teammates following a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, saying, “Everybody has to be on the same page. Until then, we’re going to continue to get our (expletive) kicked. We’re not communicating while we’re on the floor to one another. Everybody is quiet. Trust plays a part, but communicating on defense in a team sport is huge.

“We’ve got to give a better effort. It seems like we’re not even competing. It’s (expletive) irritating.“

Rose’s health status has been irritating and it’s been weighing on the team, which will be forced to give Aaron Brooks, Kirk Hinrich or E’Twaun Moore more minutes. Tony Snell has improved and could get extended time. It’s obvious Jimmy Butler will carry the scoring load alongside Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah.

Gasol’s decision to join Chicago in the offseason will be a saving grace with Rose laid up. But having Rose distribute the ball as opposed to watching from the bench is the difference between the third and sixth seed in the East.

LeBron James and the Cavaliers are currently a half game behind the Bulls in the conference standings and blood is in the water. James, though, offered his sentiments to Rose via Twitter:

“Man feel bad for D.Rose! Keep your head up homie and stay strong G!“

Rose’s former college coach at Memphis and current skipper of unbeaten Kentucky John Calipari was unhappy with the news on social media:

“I’m sick over the @drose injury. He has been through so much and deserves better. Fate has intervened again for this good man.“

Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook has had his share of knee problems and feels bad for Rose’s situation.

“I was speechless,“ Westbrook told NBA TV. “It’s so tough for a guy like that who plays so hard and has to go through it again and again and again.“

The knee issues for Rose brings back memories of recent promising players in Brandon Roy and Greg Oden. Rose’s career could end up like Roy’s or Oden’s, and the Bulls obviously hope another chapter of wasted talent doesn’t open.

Rose understands the lengths of what it takes to recover from injury and his latest setback made it all the way to Las Vegas, where the Bulls’ odds to win an NBA title went from 8-1 to 20-1. It makes perfect sense now because the Bulls are one of the few teams in the East talented enough to hang with the West.

A popular choice to represent their respective conference in the NBA Finals, the Bulls have been playing like contenders with six wins in the last seven games and are 2-0 on a seven-game homestand.

Chicago fans won’t see Rose at the United Center any time soon, but at least they know what he’s preparing for behind closed doors. Rose could recover faster than anyone anticipates and return for a postseason appearance.

However, the door to a top seed in the East is now ajar and it’s up to the Bulls - with or without Rose - to still try to kick off the hinges come April.    ~~  Shawn Clarke ~~

►   NBA Game Results

(Wednesday, February 25)

Final Score: Miami 93, Orlando 90 (OT)

Luol Deng had 21 points and seven rebounds as the Miami Heat defeated the Orlando Magic 93-90 in overtime on Wednesday night. Miami closed regulation on a 10-2 run to erase an eight-point deficit with less than a minute remaining. Henry Walker sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a free throw from Orlando’s Victor Oladipo, the last one a deep left wing triple with 2.1 seconds on the clock to send the game to overtime. With the Heat leading 89-88, Dwyane Wade missed a straightaway 3 with 28 seconds to go in overtime, but Nikola Vucevic was stripped in the paint at the other end and Wade made two foul shots for a 91-88 Miami cushion with 16.6 seconds left. Vucevic’s spinning left-handed layup again whittled the deficit to a point before Goran Dragic sunk two bonus shots to extend the margin to 93-90 with 7.7 seconds on the clock. Oladipo’s 3 at the horn was off the mark.

Final Score: Atlanta 104, Dallas 87

The Atlanta Hawks used balanced scoring and a pair of second-half runs to get past the short-handed Dallas Mavericks 104-87 on Wednesday. The Hawks stumbled early, falling behind 34-22 after the first quarter, but outscored the Mavs by 29 the rest of the way. Dennis Schroder, who scored a career-high 22 points in a win over Dallas earlier in the season, paced Atlanta with 17 points in this one. Kyle Korver made four 3s for 16 points, Paul Millsap tallied 15 with eight rebounds and Horford posted 11 points, eight boards and six assists.

Final Score: Boston 115, New York 94

Jonas Jerebko’s 20 points and a huge second- half run carried the Boston Celtics to a 115-94 win over the New York Knicks at TD Garden. Jerebko played a key role in a 34-6 swing overlapping the third and fourth quarters that turned a six-point Celtics’ deficit into a commanding 96-74 lead with 7:45 remaining. Evan Turner did his part as well with a 10-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple double in Boston’s sixth victory in nine games. Isaiah Thomas chipped in 19 points and Jae Crowder supplied 18 as the Celtics received a huge effort from their second unit. Andrea Bargnani paced the lowly Knicks with a season-best 17 points, while Jason Smith, Lou Amundson and Langston Galloway all tallied 14 in New York’s eighth consecutive loss.

Final Score: Charlotte 98, Chicago 86

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 18 points and 12 rebounds in the Charlotte Hornets’ 98-86 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. The Bulls started life without former MVP Derrick Rose again. Chicago announced late Tuesday night that the oft-injured point guard will undergo surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear in his right knee. Rose will have surgery on his right knee for the second straight year—on the heels of a season he missed entirely following a torn left ACL. There is no timetable for his return. Mo Williams added 17 points and five assists for the Hornets, who snapped a five-game skid. Al Jefferson contributed 16 points and seven rebounds.

Final Score: Houston 110, LA Clippers 105

James Harden had 21 points and 10 assists and Corey Brewer scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Houston Rockets to a 110-105 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. Donatas Motiejunas added 18 points, Trevor Ariza had 17 and Terrence Jones scored 14 for the Rockets, who took control with a big run to start the fourth quarter and improved to 3-0 on a five-game homestand. Harden came into the game averaging fewer points against the Clippers—13.4—than any other NBA team in his six-year career. The NBA scoring leader took a while to heat up and finished just 4-of-13 from the field.

Final Score: Milwaukee 104, Philadelphia 88

John Henson recorded 21 points with nine rebounds to lead a balanced effort in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 104-88 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. Khris Middleton scored 19 points, Zaza Pachulia had 12 points and Ersan Ilyasova added 11 points for the Bucks, who snapped a two-game losing streak with their fifth straight win over the Sixers. Michael Carter-Williams, acquired from Philadelphia at the trade deadline, made his Milwaukee debut and posted seven points with a team-high eight assists in the win. Jason Richardson netted a season-high 16 points, while Robert Covington and Isaiah Canaan chipped in with 13 and 11 points, respectively, in the loss. Philadelphia has lost 11 straight on the road and five straight overall.

Final Score: Minnesota 97, Washington 77

Kevin Garnett’s impact in the box score was modest, but his return to Minnesota was satisfying in the Timberwolves’ 97-77 win over the Washington Wizards. Garnett finished with five points, eight rebounds and two blocks as Minnesota won for the second time in three games. Kevin Martin paced the Timberwolves with 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting, Andrew Wiggins added 19 points and Nikola Pekovic contributed 15 points and 13 rebounds. The Wizards took an early 15-point lead, but soon collapsed in their fifth straight loss. Otto Porter led Washington with 13 points, Nene chipped in with 12, and Garrett Temple netted 11.

Final Score: New Orleans 102, Brooklyn 96

Quincy Pondexter netted 25 points, Tyreke Evans added 15 points and 11 assists and the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Brooklyn Nets 102-96 on Wednesday night. Omer Asik posted 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Pelicans, who have won three straight on the heels of a four-game losing streak. Joe Johnson supplied 21 points and 10 boards, while Thaddeus Young provided 19 points off the bench for Brooklyn, which has dropped four of its last six contests.

Final Score: Phoenix 110, Denver 96

Brandon Knight scored 19 points with six assists to help the Phoenix Suns snap out of a funk with a 110-96 win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night. Eric Bledsoe had 18 points with six assists and Gerald Green tallied 15 points off the bench for the Suns, who snapped a five-game losing streak. Will Barton netted a game-high 22 points off the bench for the Nuggets, while Danilo Gallinari posted 20 points with seven rebounds and Ty Lawson added 13 points with seven assists. Denver has dropped four in a row and 17 of its last 19.

Final Score: LA Lakers 100, Utah 97

The Los Angeles Lakers rallied to end the longest road losing streak in franchise history. Jordan Clarkson scored 22 points and the Lakers came back from 13 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Utah Jazz 100-97 and snap their 11-game road skid. It marked the Lakers’ first win away from Staples Center since Dec. 30 against Denver. It was their second win in a row overall after a 118-111 victory over Boston on Sunday, which snapped a seven-game losing streak.

Final Score: Sacramento 102, Memphis 90

Rudy Gay deposited 28 points with six assists and five rebounds to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 102-90 upset over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. DeMarcus Cousins, who battled foul trouble throughout the game, scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out six assists as the Kings snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Grizzlies. Ben McLemore also scored 16 points, while Ray McCallum and Jason Thompson each notched 10 points in the win. Zach Randolph paced Memphis with 20 points and Marc Gasol customarily filled the stat sheet, recording 14 points with seven rebounds and six assists.

Final Score: Portland 111, San Antonio 95

Wesley Matthews netted 31 points on 11- of-18 shooting and the Portland Trail Blazers bested the San Antonio Spurs 111-95 on Wednesday. Damian Lillard had 18 points, Nicolas Batum scored 15 with nine assists and LaMarcus Aldridge returned from a one-game absence (thumb) and posted 11 points and 13 rebounds. Newly acquired Arron Afflalo added 10 points off the bench. The Spurs lost their fourth straight game out of the All-Star break and fell to 2-5 on their annual rodeo road trip. They went 21-6 on the trip over the last three seasons.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   O’s sign INF Everth Cabrera

The Baltimore Orioles signed infielder Everth Cabrera to a one-year contract on Wednesday.

Cabrera, 28, joins the Orioles after spending the previous six seasons with the San Diego Padres. He batted. 232 with three home runs and 20 RBI in 90 games last year.

The switch-hitter was batting a career-best .283 in 2013 when his season ended because of a suspension. He was banned 50 games for using performance- enhancing drugs in connection with the Biogenesis scandal.

In 481 career games, Cabrera has hit .248 with 12 homers, 128 RBI and 136 stolen bases.

To make room for Cabrera on the 40-man roster, outfielder Alex Hassan has been designated for assignment.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NHL Game Results

(Wednesday, February 25)

Final Score: Calgary 3, New Jersey 1

Sean Monahan scored the game-winning goal early in the third period to lift the Calgary Flames to a much-needed 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday. Curtis Glencross and T.J. Brodie also lit the lamp and Karri Ramo made 26 saves for the Flames, who ended a three-game skid and vaulted into the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, passing idle Minnesota. Mike Cammalleri provided New Jersey’s lone marker and Cory Schneider stopped 23-of-25 shots for the Devils, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 4, Washington 3

Chris Kunitz scored the winner in the third period and Evgeni Malkin added three assists, as Pittsburgh avoided a season-series sweep thanks to a spirited 4-3 victory over Washington at Verizon Center. Brandon Sutter, Patric Hornqvist and Sidney Crosby also lit the lamp for the Penguins, who have won three in a row. Marc-Andre Fleury picked up the win thanks to a 21-save effort. John Carlson, Troy Brouwer and Alex Ovechkin tallied for the Capitals, who had outscored their rivals by a 10-1 count in winning the first three games between the clubs. Jason Chimera picked up a pair of assists, while Braden Holtby came up with 22 saves in his team’s second straight loss after winning four in a row.

Final Score: Ottawa 3, Anaheim 0

Andrew Hammond posted his first career shutout as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-0 on Wednesday. Hammond stopped all 25 shots he faced in his third straight start in place of injured netminders Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner. He is the first goaltender in franchise history to win his first three NHL starts in consecutive team games. Erik Condra, Mika Zibanejad and Kyle Turris all scored for the Senators, who have won three straight games and four of their last five. John Gibson stopped 31-of-33 shots as Anaheim’s three-game winning streak came to an end.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Nishikori advances at Acapulco

Top-seeded Kei Nishikori moved on during Tuesday’s first round at the $1.4 million Mexican Open tennis event with a straight set victory over Alejandro Gonzalez.

Nishikori had to battle through the second set to beat Gonzalez, but the Japanese native ultimately won 6-3, 7-5.

Second-seeded David Ferrer dealt Igor Sijsling a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) loss to advance to the second round.

No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov beat Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 5-7, 6-0, while sixth- seeded Ivo Karlovic grabbed a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win over Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili.

American Ryan Harrison was up in the third set against compatriot Donald Young before Young retired. Bernard Tomic lost the first set in his match against Adrian Mannarino, but he took the final two for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win.

In other action, Yen-Hsun Lu defeated Victor Estrella Burgos 6-2, 7-5; Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer downed Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-3, 2-6, 6-2; Steve Johnson cruised past Ivan Dodig 6-4, 6-4; and Viktor Troicki managed his way past Daniel Garza 6-4, 6-3.

The 2015 Acapulco champ will claim $343,000.

►   Errani moves on in Acapulco

Sara Errani was an easy first-round winner Tuesday at the Mexican Open tennis event.

The second-seeded Errani, a two-time Acapulco titlist, cruised past Lucie Hradecka, 6-1, 6-3 on the hardcourts at the Fairmont Acapulco Princess.

Caroline Garcia, seeded third, also won handily in a 6-4, 6-1 beatdown of Polona Hercog, while fifth-seeded Timea Bacsinszky survived Richel Hogenkamp, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Three in the top-10 fell on Day 2: seventh-seeded Sloane Stephens dropped a 6-3, 6-2 decision to Johanna Larsson and 10th-seeded Ajla Tomljanovic was upended by Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-4. Roberta Vinci, seeded sixth, was forced to retire in the first set of her match against Kiki Bertens.

Tuesday’s other winners were: Aleksandra Krunic, Lesia Tsurenko, Sesil Karatantcheva, Mariana Duque-Marino and Elena Bogdan.

Dominika Cibulkova beat American Christina McHale in last year’s Acapulco finale.

This week’s winner will pocket $43,000.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   All Others, American Pharoah and Dortmund lead Derby Future Wager

Morning line odds for Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager have the mutuel field as the 3-1 favorite among the 24 betting interests.

The pool begins Friday at noon and closes 6 PM ET Sunday. There are 23 individual 3-year-olds along with the mutuel field of “all others.“

The mutuel field closed Pool 2 as the 5-2 favorite after being the 3-5 favorite in Pool 1 last November.

Eclipse Award winner American Pharoah and Dortmund, winner of the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, are the 8-1 co-second selections. Both 3-year-olds were 10-1 at the close of Pool 2. American Pharoah has yet to race this season but is probable for the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, March 14.

Pool 4, the final chance for advance wagering, will be Friday, March 27 through Sunday, March 29. The 141st Run for the Roses will go off on Saturday, May 02.

Here are the 24 betting interests for the third Kentucky Derby Future Wager:

Number Wagering Interest Morning line odds Final odds:

1. American Pharoah 8-1

2. Bolo * 50-1

3. Carpe Diem 12-1

4. Danzig Moon * 50-1

5. Daredevil 30-1

6. Dortmund 8-1

7. El Kabeir 30-1

8. Far From Over * 15-1

9. Far Right 20-1

10. Firing Line 20-1

11. International Star 20-1

12. Itsaknockout 20-1

13. Keen Ice * 50-1

14. Khozan 15-1

15. Lord Nelson 30-1

16. Mr. Z 50-1

17. Ocean Knight 15-1

18. Ocho Ocho Ocho 20-1

19. Prospect Park 30-1

20. Texas Red 12-1

21. The Great War 30-1

22. Upstart 15-1

23. War Story 30-1

24. All Others 3-1

g - gelding

* - New wagering interest in Pool 3

►   Bonus to be offered for 2016 Florida Derby

A $1 million bonus is being offered to the winning owner of next year’s Florida Derby by Fasig-Tipton.

Gulfstream Park and Fasig-Tipton announced Wednesday that if a graduate of the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Florida Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, conducted at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday, March 04, wins the 2016 Florida Derby the owner will be paid a $1 million bonus.

“This bonus is a unique way to celebrate Gulfstream Park’s partnership with Fasig-Tipton,“ said The Stronach Group’s COO and Gulfstream President Tim Ritvo. “Gulfstream is known for its world-class racing and by the many classic and Grade I champions produced by the Florida Derby, and Fasig-Tipton’s March sale is the premier 2-year-old sale. We think this initiative will also be fun for fans as they follow the horses through the sales ring and throughout their racing careers.“

This year’s $1 million Florida Derby at 1 1/8 miles is on March 28.

►   Take Charge Brandi’s owner eyes Rebel Stakes

Willis Horton is eyeing a start for his champion filly Take Charge Brandi versus the boys in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes on Saturday, March 14.

Take Charge Brandi, trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, has been pointed toward Oaklawn Park’s Honeybee Stakes on March 07 after opening the season with a head victory in the track’s Martha Washington Stakes.

Horton had speculated following the win that she might run in the Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby.

“I guess we’re going to have to look at it and see,“ Horton said. “I haven’t completely made up my mind yet, but I would like to run in the Rebel. That’s exactly where I’d like to.“

Take Charge Brandi, ridden for the first time by Jon Court, was the 2-5 favorite in the Martha Washington and held off Sarah Sis to win the mile race to begin her 3-year-old campaign.

Take Charge Brandi broke her maiden in her debut at Churchill Downs last June. She was second at Saratoga in the Schuylerville and fifth in the Adirondack Stakes. The filly followed with a fifth in the Pocahontas at Churchill and was eighth in Keeneland’s Alcibiades. She won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita as a 61-1 longshot.

The Eclipse Award winner won the Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos on December 13 to finish her 2014 season. That victory came just three weeks after capturing the Delta Downs Princess Stakes on November 22.

The filly has won five of nine starts for $1,680,126.

►   Far Right to skip Rebel Stakes for Arkansas Derby

Far Right, winner of the first two stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park, will bypass the $750,000 Rebel Stakes on March 14 to train up to the $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 11.

“We decided to try to not just get there (to the Kentucky Derby), but get there with enough healthy horse to do some damage,“ trainer Ron Moquett said. “We’re trying to get there with the most horse.“

Far Right, owned by Robert LaPenta and Harry Rosenblum, won last Sunday’s $300,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn by three-quarters of a length over The Truth Or Else with Mr. Z third. Last month, Far Right won the track’s Smarty Jones Stakes. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith was aboard for both victories and is committed to ride the colt in the Arkansas Derby.

The Truth Or Else, trained by Ken McPeek, will start in the Rebel and Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will have Mr. Z make his next start in the $750,000 Louisiana Derby on March 28 at Fair Grounds. Mr. Z was third in both the Smarty Jones and Southwest.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   This Week in Golf—February 26-March 01



PGA National Resort & Spa (Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Florida - The PGA Tour is back on the east coast for the Honda Classic this week after a seven- week stretch out west that also included two trips to Hawaii.

Last year, Russell Henley made birdie on the first hole in a four-way playoff to defeat Rory McIlroy, Ryan Palmer and Russell Knox. The win was Henley’s second on the PGA Tour, with his first one coming at the Sony Open in Hawaii back in 2013.

McIlroy was looking to go wire-to-wire for the win as he held the outright lead after each of the first three rounds, but he struggled to a 4-over 74 on the final day. McIlroy missed an 11-foot eagle putt for the win on the 72nd hole and he settled for birdie and a spot in the playoff.

Henley also struggled in the final round with a 2-over 72, including a late double-bogey that wound up hurting him in regulation, but he was able to come through in the playoff. Palmer shot a final-round, 1-under 69, while Knox carded a 71. All four finished 72 holes deadlocked at 8-under-par 272.

All four players will be back in action again this week, including McIlroy, who will be making his first appearance on the PGA Tour this season.

The world’s No. 1 player has played in just two events all year on the European Tour at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. McIlroy went on to win in Dubai and finished runner-up in Abu Dhabi.

Tiger Woods, who was originally supposed to play in this week’s tournament, has taken an indefinite leave to work on his game and he will not be participating.

Fifteen of the top-23 players in the world will be in attendance, with McIlroy (1), Sergio Garcia (6), Justin Rose (8) and Martin Kaymer (10) the players inside the top 10.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds of this event and NBC will also have coverage over the weekend.

The PGA Tour has two events next week. It will link up with the European Tour for the WGC-Cadillac Championship, where Patrick Reed won by two shots last year. The Puerto Rico Open will also be contested. Chesson Hadley went on to win by two as well last season.


JOBURG OPEN, Royal Johannesburg/Kensington Golf Club (East/West Courses), Johannesburg, South Africa - The European Tour is back in South Africa for the fourth time this season as George Coetzee looks to successfully defend his title at the Joburg Open this week.

Coetzee came from four back on the final day with a huge 6-under 66 to win by three shots on his home soil. Coetzee went 65-68-69-63 in his four rounds and finished the week at 19-under-par 268, three ahead of Justin Walters, Jin Jeong and Tyrrell Hatton.

The victory was the first of Coetzee’s career on the European Tour and he has not won since. He will be back in action this week looking for that second win.

The last time the European Tour was in South Africa was in early January for the South African Open Championship, where Andy Sullivan defeated Charl Schwartzel in a playoff. Sullivan is in the field this week, while Schwartzel is playing at the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic.

Also in the field is Darren Clarke, who was just recently appointed as the 2016 European Ryder Cup captain last week. Clarke is a 14-time winner on tour, with his last victory being his biggest at the 2011 British Open.

Golf Channel will have coverage off all four rounds of this week’s event.

The European Tour will also have two events next week. Along with the WGC- Cadillac Championship in Florida, it will also be back in South Africa for the Africa Open, where Thomas Aiken defeated Oliver Fisher in a playoff for his third career victory.


HONDA LPGA THAILAND, Siam Country Club (Pattaya Old Course), Chonburi, Thailand - After spending a week in Australia, the LPGA Tour heads north this week for the Honda LPGA Thailand, the fourth event of the 2015 season.

Last year, Anna Nordqvist shot a 4-under 68 in the final round to hold off a surging Inbee Park and win by two strokes. While Nordqvist had a solid last day, Park carded a 6-under 66, but she came up a bit short.

Nordqvist, who finished the week at 15-under 273, has four career victories on the LPGA Tour. The win at this event was her third and she picked up her fourth one month later at the Kia Classic.

Nordqvist will be back in the field this week along with Park, who will serve as the highest ranked player in the world at No. 2 with last week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open winner and world No. 1 Lydia Ko not playing in this event.

Ko is the only player inside the top 10 who will not be playing. It is a small field this week consisting of only 70 players.

Golf Channel will have early morning coverage of all four rounds.

The LPGA Tour will remain in southeast Asia next week for the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore, where Paula Creamer defeated Azahara Munoz last year after making an incredible, long eagle putt on the second playoff hole for her 10th career victory on tour.

►   Quail Hollow to host 2021 Presidents Cup

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced Wednesday morning that the 2021 Presidents Cup was awarded to the Quail Hollow Club.

Quail Hollow will be the fifth golf course in the United States to host the biennial event. Liberty National (2017) and TPC Harding Park (2025) were previously announced as future sites for the Presidents Cup.

“We’re thrilled to add Quail Hollow Club to the growing list of exceptional venues to host the Presidents Cup,“ said Finchem. “Charlotte is a major hub of business in the Southeastern United States with a growing economy and broad base of sports fans, and the Presidents Cup matches perfectly as we look to bring it to exciting, emerging markets and allow a new fan base to experience the competition, pageantry and international goodwill that the event represents. Quail Hollow Club has been a player favorite since the PGA Tour returned there in 2003, and we’re confident players, fans and sponsors from around the world will find Charlotte, the Carolinas and the course itself a remarkable setting for the Presidents Cup.

“I’d like to thank Johnny Harris, who played a key role to attracting the PGA Tour back to Charlotte in 2003, and the Quail Hollow Club membership for their support and partnership. It’s obvious this club has high expectations and wants to deliver the world’s best to the Carolinas. We will certainly help them achieve that goal with the Presidents Cup 2021.“

This year’s Presidents Cup will be contested at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon City, South Korea. Future international sites for the Presidents Cup have not been announced.

Quail Hollow is a long-time host to PGA Tour events. The Kemper Open was held there from 1969-79 and the Wells Fargo Championship has been played at the venue every year since 2003. Quail Hollow will host its first major when the 2017 PGA Championship is contested there.

“Being chosen by the PGA Tour to host the Presidents Cup 2021 is a dream come true,“ said Harris, the Quail Hollow Club president. “Our membership is proud of all we’ve accomplished with the Wells Fargo Championship over the years, helping to impact the history of the sport here in the Carolinas, and the continual improvements we’ve made have allowed us to attract the best players in the world, the PGA Championship and now the Presidents Cup. We look forward to doing everything we can to make this an unforgettable event for not only fans from Charlotte and the Carolinas, but those who embrace the Presidents Cup from around the world.“

The Gilmer Free Press

►   David Ragan to fill in for injured Kyle Busch at Atlanta

Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Tuesday that David Ragan will drive the No. 18 Toyota in place of the injured Kyle Busch for the next several Sprint Cup Series races, beginning with this weekend’s 500-mile event at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Busch fractured his right leg and left foot during an accident in last Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway. The 29-year- old driver is out indefinitely.

Ragan, who has been competing in NASCAR’s premier series full-time since 2007, currently drives the No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports. According to JGR, Front Row Motorsports and its team sponsor, CSX, accommodated Ragan’s move, and he is expected to return to Front Row later in the season.

“We appreciate being able to work with Front Row Motorsports and CSX for David’s availability,“ team owner Joe Gibbs said in a statement. “We are fortunate to be able to have someone of David’s caliber behind the wheel while Kyle recovers.

Ragan has scored two wins (Daytona in July 2011 and Talladega in May 2013), 14 top-five finishes, 35 top-10’s and two poles in 291 career Sprint Cup starts. He finished 17th in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

Front Row Motorsports did not immediately name a replacement driver for Ragan in the No. 34 car at Atlanta.

JGR also said that Erik Jones will substitute for Busch in the No. 54 Toyota in Saturday’s Xfinity race at Atlanta. Jones is presently running a full schedule for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series and a partial schedule for JGR in Xfinity this season.

“Erik is a big part of our future at JGR, and we will be increasing his schedule in the Xfinity Series, beginning this weekend in Atlanta, and seeking the earliest opportunity to provide him Cup experience,“ Gibbs said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Busch was released from Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. and transferred to a North Carolina hospital where he will continue treatment. His wife, Samantha, posted on Twitter a photo of him on a stretcher being loaded onto a private jet at Daytona Beach International Airport. She tweeted, “Off to NC! Thank u to everyone at Halifax for taking such good care of Kyle n to all of U for the continued prayers!“

Busch underwent surgery on his right leg on Saturday night and remained in the Daytona Beach hospital for three days.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Matic receives two-game ban

Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic had his three-game suspension reduced by one match following a red card against Burnley on Saturday.

Matic was sent off in the second half of Chelsea’s 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge after he reacted angrily to a challenge from Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, who caught Matic on the shin with a dangerous challenge.

The Chelsea midfielder reacted by shoving Barnes to the ground, earning him a red card and an automatic three-game ban.

However, the Football Association partially accepted Chelsea’s appeal to have the ban reduced, although the club wasn’t entirely pleased that Matic will still miss two games.

“The Chelsea Football Club board is extremely disappointed and frustrated that the FA Regulatory Commission has today decided not to reduce Nemanja Matic’s suspension to the maximum extent permitted under FA rules,“ read a statement on the club’s website.

“There has been universal condemnation of the reckless challenge made by Ashley Barnes on Matic and it is the club’s view that he has been unjustly punished with a two-match ban for his reaction to a career-threatening tackle.“

The 26-year-old Matic has been a vital piece in Chelsea’s midfield since his arrival from Benfica in January 2014, and he has started 25 of the Blues’ 26 Premier League games this term.

Matic will now miss Chelsea’s League Cup final with Tottenham on Sunday as well as a league match against West Ham through suspension.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   West Virginia University mascot gets to serve another year

West Virginia University’s Mountaineer mascot will get to serve another year.

Michael Garcia was chosen from among four finalists Tuesday night as the WVU mascot for the 2015-16 academic year. The senior political science major from Fairmont served for the past year.

Besides the musket and buckskins, the job comes with some other benefits. As the Mountaineer mascot, he’s traveled across the country making hundreds of appearances and attending athletic events on and off campus.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Giants release RB Hillis

The New York Giants released running back Peyton Hillis on Wednesday.

Hillis, 29, ended last season on injured reserve after suffering a concussion on November 9 in Seattle. He played in the first game nine games and finished with 115 yards on 26 carries.

The Arkansas product’s numbers have significantly declined since rushing for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns with the Cleveland Browns in 2010. He has amassed just 1,258 yards on the ground over the last four seasons.

►   Ravens part ways with Jacoby Jones

The Baltimore Ravens released wide receiver and return man Jacoby Jones on Wednesday.

The two sides agreed to a four-year contract last March.

Jones was primarily used on specials teams this past season, finishing with only nine receptions for 131 yards. He averaged 30.6 yards on 32 kickoff returns and 9.2 yards on 30 punt returns.

The 30-year-old veteran shined in the Ravens’ win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, scoring two touchdowns, a 56-yard catch and a 108-yard kickoff return.

►   Extra Points: Mock Draft version 2.0, post-combine edition

The best thing about the annual NFL Scouting Combine is the unfiltered access to the prospects themselves.

So much of professional football is based on pure physical ability, but the truly special talents separate themselves with intangibles—things like work ethic, maturity and leadership skills.

A stopwatch can’t measure ambition, desire or hunger. Pure brute strength can’t mask a low football IQ, short-area quickness means little without an instinct for the game, and the Wonderlic couldn’t tell the Cleveland Browns that Johnny Manziel has the mental makeup of a 15-year-old.

And that’s why, in the end, the NFL Draft is really just a crapshoot, a snapshot in time of a glorified educated guess.

That said, the more you prepare, the better the chances are you make a prudent decision and dozens of NFL personnel people departed Indianapolis this week after doing their due diligence on the class of 2015.

Here’s our current snapshot as The Sports Network rolls out its latest mock draft, the post-combine edition:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State - Bucs coach Lovie Smith spent most of his time in Indy trying to rationalize any red flags with Winston so everyone can lock in No. 1 in their mocks barring another off-the- field incident.

“Let’s talk about the elephant in the room,“ Smith said. “(Winston’s) been accused of a crime. There’s an allegation. I have faith in our court system. He went through it. He went through the school justice system and he was cleared. He went through our court system and he was cleared, exonerated.“

Smith did make sure to say Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is still in the equation even though few are believing the subterfuge.

“I think, in the end, it will be a clear decision on who we should take,“ Smith said. “It will be obvious to see who the best player is to lead our franchise, to lead our team next year and get out of that cellar.“

It already is obvious and it’s Winston.

“To me, I think (Winston has) told us an awful lot with how he’s handled (all the controversy),“ the veteran coach said. “It’s not like he’s getting ready to go into the NFL and scrutiny is coming his way. He’s gone through it a couple years now and he’s answered the bell. That’s what you have to do. You have to have tunnel vision and do your job. Looking from the outside, that’s what he’s been able to do.“

Previous Pick: Winston

2. Tennessee Titans - Leonard Williams, DT, Southern California - Forget Mariota here. Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt really likes Zach Mettenberger and his pocket presence. Meanwhile, the veteran coach isn’t about to change his whole offensive philosophy for Mariota, so if the Titans can’t trade out, expect them to take the highest-rated player in this draft in Williams, who ran a 4.97-second 40-yard dash and had a nearly nine-foot broad jump at 6-foot-5 and 302 pounds in Indy.

Williams is versatile and could be a star at defensive end or defensive tackle in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. With Dick LeBeau joining Ray Horton in Nashville, Williams should excel as a 5-technique.

“One of the biggest things that made me so versatile in my career is I played for three different D-line coaches while I’ve been at USC—Pete Jenkins, Ed Orgeron and Chris Wilson—and three defensive coordinators as well,“ Williams said. “I’ve played in a lot of defensive schemes. With that came moving around a lot. The versatility came.“

Previous Pick: Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska

3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dante Fowler, OLB/DE, Florida - The Jags have gone offense in the first two years of the David Caldwell/Gus Bradley era (left tackle Luke Joeckel and quarterback Blake Bortles), and it’s now time to get the “Gus Bus” a difference maker on the defensive side.

Nebraska’s Randy Gregory may be the best pure pass rusher available, but concerns about his size are a real issue so look for Jacksonville to go the safer route with Fowler, who weighed in at 261 pounds and may be the most well-rounded of the highly regarded edge players in this draft.

“I can do it all, some linebacker, some defensive end, I can do both,“ Fowler said. “I can rush really good and I can drop back in coverage. I like to go out there and mess with the receivers, I can play in the flats and in the curls. I can play everywhere.“

Previous Pick: Williams

4. Oakland Raiders - Kevin White, WR, West Virginia - Derek Carr showed plenty of potential as a rookie quarterback in 2014, but he needs some help outside the numbers if he plans to take the next step. The lengthy White moved past Alabama’s Amari Cooper as the top receiver on the board by running a 4.35 40 at 6-3 and 215 pounds.

“Everyone dreams of being the first draft pick at their position,“ White said. “I think I put a lot of fear in defensive backs just because I block so well and when I come off the line I’m quicker than they expect. By the time they realize it, it’s already a done deal.“

Previous Pick: Cooper

5. Washington Redskins - Danny Shelton, DT, Washington - The massive Shelton had a great Senior Bowl week in which he showed really impressive movement skills for a 340-pound player. He followed that up with a good showing at the combine, solidifying himself as a top-10 pick and a potential Vince Wilfork clone. The Redskins have Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy on the outside and could use a real difference maker in the middle.

“Honestly it’s all exciting,“ Shelton said when asked about being a potential top-10 selection. “I never pictured myself in this position.“

Previous Pick: Shelton

6. New York Jets - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - Mariota is a project if you plan on running a traditional pro offense because his mechanics, particularly his footwork, aren’t up to snuff, but his athleticism, live arm, football IQ and work ethic make him a gamble who will pay off in the end. New Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan has some rope, making this the likely landing spot for the former Oregon star.

“For any rookie quarterback, it’s going to be an adjustment stepping up to this new level,“ Mariota admitted. “I’m going to continue to absorb as much as I can, learn from all the people I can and do my best in whatever situation I get into.“

Previous Pick: Mariota

7. Chicago Bears - Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri - Some wonder whether Ray, who did not participate in drills at the combine due to a toe injury, can play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but at 6-3 and 245 pounds, he will have to if he wants to excel in the NFL. The Bears will be making the move to a 3-4 scheme under John Fox and will need edge players who can get to the quarterback. Ray has the first step to create havoc early in his career.

“I’ve never really realized it,“ Ray said when asked about his innate ability to get off the football quickly. “I just kinda key the ball, and get a good step. I learned as a defensive lineman that’s the best thing you can do. Most of the time, you get a good enough (first step), you’re able to beat offensive linemen out of their stance. As I started understanding that was a skill that I have and an advantage I’ve been blessed with, I just kind of used it more to my advantage, and it worked out for me.“

Previous Pick: Fowler

8. Atlanta Falcons - Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska - You know new Falcons coach Dan Quinn is going to want to bolster the front seven immediately and Gregory is the kind of edge rusher who could complement some manageable parts on the interior like Paul Soliai and second-year man Ra’Shede Hageman. Gregory is a rangy 6-6 prospect with the speed to make a big difference around the corner. He is, however, undersized and could get bullied at times, especially in the run game.

“At Nebraska, I was taught a lot about technique and that is one of the things I credit them with, preparing me for the next level,“ Gregory said. “I think that is something a lot of guys at the next level take for granted, and don’t really focus on that. So me, even at 235 pounds, I still think I set the edge pretty well because of my technique and I think I use my strength well for what I weigh. I just did 24 on the bench (at 225 pounds) so I’ll only get stronger.“

Previous Pick: Ray

9. New York Giants - Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa - The Giants are still in the midst of rebuilding a porous offensive line and taking the powerful Scherff could enable them to kick incumbent right tackle Justin Pugh inside to guard, where he should be much more effective. The 6-5, 320-pound Scherff is a drive- blocking machine who projects as a very safe pick.

“You always want to be the best of the best,“ Scherff said. “You want to set your goals high. I’m pretty versatile. I feel like I can play guard and tackle.“

Previous Pick: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

10. St. Louis Rams - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama - The Rams haven’t had a real No. 1 receiver since the days of Torry Holt, and if Sam Bradford, or anyone else for that matter, is ever going to succeed at the QB position in St. Louis, the Rams need to provide an elite-level talent outside the numbers. Cooper should arrive in the NFL as a sharp route-runner with plus hands and tremendous short-area quickness.

“Every time I run a route, I try to make it seem like I’m running a different route than I’m actually running so I can get open,“ Cooper explained. “I certainly want to be the best receiver, not just in this class, but overall, wherever I go, and I’m going to work hard to try to be that.“

Previous Pick: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt

11. Minnesota Vikings - La’el Collins, OT, LSU - The Vikings need plenty of help on the left side of their offensive line and Collins could serve two masters, taking over immediately for descending veteran left guard Charlie Johnson and providing insurance for underachieving left tackle Matt Kalil, who will get one more chance to prove he can be the player he was as a rookie. Collins is the best pure drive blocker in this draft, which fits in nicely with Norv Turner’s philosophy on offense.

“I’ve always had a mentality of a defensive lineman, and I was able to bring that over to the offense,“ Collins said. “But, also bring intelligence over to play offensive line. For me to go out there with that mentality and just get after it is something I bring to the table.“

Previous Pick: Scherff

12. Cleveland Browns - DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville - The Browns are probably the most dysfunctional team in the NFL right now and Ray Farmer’s first draft has already been labeled a disaster. With Josh Gordon suspended yet again, getting a rangy receiving threat like Parker would make a lot of sense for whomever is playing QB for Cleveland in 2015. Parker brings a big body to the dance, along with soft hands, very good body control and the leaping ability to high-point the football.

“I believe I can get yards after the catch. I’m able to break tackles,“ Parker said. “My weaknesses is probably blocking. I need to work on that.“

Previous Pick: White

13. New Orleans Saints - Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State - The Saints had significant issues on the defensive side of the ball this past season and need a serious talent upgrade, especially on the back end. At 6-1, Waynes has the size and length NFL teams crave on the outside, but he needs to bulk up a bit and get more physical.

Previous Pick: Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington

14. Miami Dolphins - Malcom Brown, DT, Texas - Miami may release veteran defensive tackle Randy Starks, who didn’t perform all that well last season anyway, while fellow interior lineman Jared Odrick is set to be a free agent. Brown is the stoutest option inside after Shelton, with the strength to dominate at the point of attack and the natural quickness to penetrate gaps.

“You can put me anywhere,“ Brown said. “I already know how to play the positions. I played end, stand-up end, all that last year. I played nose the previous two years, freshman and sophomore years. I can do it all.“

Previous Pick: Parker

15. San Francisco 49ers - Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State - You simply can’t replace a Justin Smith and the 49ers will likely do everything they can to convince the three-time All-Pro to play one more season. But if they can’t get that done, getting a big body like Goldman could be a sound Plan B.

Previous Pick: Goldman

16. Houston Texans - T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt - Houston has a Texas-sized hole at right tackle and Clemmings is a natural for the right side of the line, often playing with a nasty disposition.

“As of right now, it is all talk,“ Clemmings said of being a first-rounder. “I don’t get into what the media says and people think because things change on draft day a lot. I know the work that I’ve put in and I am trusting that everything will work out.“

Previous Pick: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU

17. San Diego Chargers - Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford - It’s all about protecting Philip Rivers in Ron Burgundy’s town and the Chargers already re- signed left tackle King Dunlap and claim to be sticking with D.J. Fluker on the right side, but the slow-footed Fluker would be better served by sliding inside to guard, leaving a spot for Peat, who has far better physical skills for the edge.

“I played right tackle in high school a little bit,“ Peat said. “In college, I played all left tackle, but I’ve been working since the season was over in a right-handed stance, too, just to prepare myself for both.“

Previous Pick: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fla.)

18. Kansas City Chiefs - Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State - The Chiefs went through an entire NFL season in the most offensively skewed era in pro football history without throwing a TD pass to a wide receiver. Translation: They need a pass catcher badly and Strong is the best one left on the board, a 6-3 physical nightmare for opposing defensive backs.

“(I’m) physical, dominant, (with a) huge catch radius,“ Strong said of his skills. “Anything you throw in my vicinity, I’ll try to go get it.“

Previous Pick: Strong

19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo) - Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fla.) - The Browns would like to move right tackle Mitchell Schwartz inside and the 6-6, 330-pound Flowers could be a road-grader on the right side.

“I enjoy run blocking,“ Flowers said. “I’m still working on every part of my game. I think I still have my best ball ahead of me and haven’t come close to touching it, so I’m just working on everything.“

Previous Pick: La’el Collins

20. Philadelphia Eagles - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU - The guess here remains that Chip Kelly will not mortgage the future to go get Mariota and instead attempt to rebuild his shaky secondary. Collins is what NFL teams look for in cornerbacks these days, a long 6-2 player with the capability to be physical, along with the closing speed to make up for a mistake in coverage.

Previous Pick: Waynes

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Alvin “Bud” Dupree, DE, Kentucky - The Bengals’ pass rush was dismal last season outside of Carlos Dunlap. Dupree, who models himself after Aldon Smith, projects as a productive pass rusher with long arms and solid closing speed off the edge.

“I just like how (Smith) turns the corner and how he uses his speed a lot,“ Dupree said. “He’s an athletic guy, a guy that I see myself being like.“

Previous Pick: Dupree

22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Marcus Peters, CB, Washington - Cortez Allen was a mess last season and Ike Taylor is a free agent on the downside, making cornerback the biggest need in the Steel City. From a pure football perspective, Peters is regarded as perhaps the best cornerback prospect in the 2015 draft class and the top man-to-man coverage option in the process. He comes with plenty of baggage. though, and was kicked out of UW.

“I just (have to) learn from my mistakes,“ Peters said. “I made some immature decisions at the University of Washington and it hurt me truly. So I’ve just got to learn from my mistakes and grow from it.“

Previous Pick: Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio)

23. Detroit Lions - Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia - It looks like the Lions understand they need Ndamukong Suh back at all costs and they are also pushing for Nick Fairley to return, so you have to assume DT is off the table. Taking the immensely talented Gurley, who would project to go much earlier had he not torn his ACL in November, could solve the running back-by-committee approach that struggled at times last season. Gurley is a big, physical runner who understands how to stick his foot in the ground, and get north and south.

“I’ve been doing a lot of stuff,“ Gurley said of his rehab. “I’ve been doing light jogging, a little ladder work, a lot of strengthening for the quad and hamstring. Some hamstring curls, leg press, squats and all that.“

Previous Pick: Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma

24. Arizona Cardinals - Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin - It’s time to stop messing around in the desert and get a legitimate bell-cow back behind a 35- year-old Carson Palmer coming off an ACL injury. Gordon has the vision, balance and strength to be a top-tier back for years.

“It’s hard to say if we’re a devalued position,“ Gordon said of running backs. “Teams are just going with the picks they actually need. Maybe they didn’t feel the running backs the last couple of years were first-round talent, I don’t know. We just have to change that this year and show people that we’re capable of going in the first round.“

Previous Pick: Gordon

25. Carolina Panthers - Cameron Erving - OT, Florida State - When your tackles are Byron Bell, who is already gone, and Mike Remmers, it’s time for an upgrade and Erving is the best one left at this point, a versatile player who started at both center and left tackle for the Seminoles after moving over from the defensive side. A raw prospect, Erving has the feet to turn into one of the best pass blockers in football with sound and patient coaching.

“It’s definitely a good thing,“ Erving said of his versatility. “It’s a big positive. I’ve always taken pride in what I do, so to be able to play center and tackle—knowing that they can stick me in and play guard as well is definitely a plus.“

Previous Pick: Erving

26. Baltimore Ravens - Landon Collins, SS, Alabama - Matt Elam took a step back last season and there isn’t much next to him, so figure on Collins, the only safety with a first-round grade in this draft, to make Charm City his new home. Collins is too good to pass up at this point despite having some coverage deficiencies.

Previous Pick: Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn

27. Dallas Cowboys - Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson - Despite a great season, the Cowboys don’t have a lot of talent on the defensive side, and reclamation project Rolando McClain is a potential free agent and seemingly always on the verge of imploding off the field. Beasley isn’t the most natural run defender, but he’s an athletic marvel with the best first step of any linebacker in the college ranks.

“Coming from Clemson with a great coach like (Marion Ivy) really instilled in us great technique and discipline,“ Beasley said. “We just have to use what we learned in the film room and in the meeting room and apply it out there on the field.“

Previous Pick: Beasley

28. Denver Broncos - Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota - The Broncos’ top three tight ends are all scheduled to be free agents and it looks as if Denver is going to let Julius Thomas walk. Williams would be a nice replacement and resembles a younger version of Jason Witten, a true Y-back with the large catching radius and the ability to seal as an in-line blocker.

“He’s a complete tight end in my opinion,“ Williams said of Witten. “He blocks. He runs routes. He makes plays for his team. That’s what I want to be. I want to go to the NFL and be a complete tight end and make plays with my hands, but also in the run game by making complete blocks.“

Previous Pick: Williams

29. Indianapolis Colts - Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon - The Colts could use help at running back, obviously, but with Gurley and Gordon gone, fortifying the front seven should be an option, especially with Armstead available, a raw but versatile player who could fit in as both a 5-technique or inside rusher in the nickel.

Previous Pick: Gurley

30. Green Bay Packers - Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma - The Packers haven’t been able to stop the run consistently for years now and both B.J. Raji, who will be attempting to return from a torn biceps, and Letroy Guion, who has some serious legal issues to deal with, are free agents. Phillips is a big body with surprising athleticism who should be able to be at least a rotational player from Day 1.

Previous Pick: Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State

31. Seattle Seahawks - P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State - The Seahawks understand Byron Maxwell is going to get overpaid in free agency, so that could open the door for Williams, the kind of long, physical cornerback Seattle loves.

Previous Pick: Brown

32. New England Patriots - Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma - The Patriots can obviously afford to take chances and the enigmatic Green-Beckham could provide the kind of outside threat Tom Brady hasn’t had since Randy Moss.

“I know what’s at stake,“ Green-Beckham said. “I know what type of person I am. I understand what the NFL is looking for (from) me as a person. I just want them to know I’m going to go out there and give it my all and showing everybody what I’m capable of doing and focusing on being the best player I can be.“

Previous Pick: Collins


Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington

Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio)

Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn

Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State

The Gilmer Free Press

ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Basketball Association
Golden State at Cleveland, 8:00 PM - FS-Ohio, TNT
Oklahoma City at Phoenix, 10:30 PM - FS-Oklahoma, TNT
National Hockey League
Arizona at NY Rangers, 7:00 PM - FS-Arizona, MSG, DSS
Vancouver at Buffalo, 7:00 PM - SNET-Pacific, MSG-Buffalo, DSS
Montreal at Columbus, 7:00 PM - RDS, FS-Ohio, DSS
Chicago at Florida, 7:30 PM - CSN-Chicago, FS-Florida, DSS
Philadelphia at Toronto, 7:30 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, TSN4, DSS
St. Louis at Winnipeg, 8:00 PM - FS-Midwest, TSN3, DSS
Minnesota at Nashville, 8:30 PM - NBCSN
Detroit at San Jose, 10:30 PM - FS-Detroit, CSN-California, DSS
Ottawa at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - RDS, TSN5, FS-West, DSS
College Basketball
Delaware at Drexel, 7:00 PM - CSN-Mid-Atlantic, New England, TCN-Philadelphlia
Western Carolina at Furman, 7:00 PM - SoCon Digital Network,
Western Ill at IUPUI, 7:00 PM - HTSN,
Radford at Liberty, 7:00 PM - MASN, Big South Network
St. Francis (NY) at Long Island, 7:00 PM - MSG+, FCS
Minnesota at Michigan State, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Nebraska at Ohio State, 7:00 PM - ESPN
Vanderbilt at Tennessee, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
High Point at UNC Asheville, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Houston at Temple, 7:00 PM - CBSSN
Milwaukee at Wright State, 7:00 PM -
Wofford at Mercer, 7:00 PM -
SIU Edwardsville at Austin Peay, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network
Green Bay at Illinois-Chicago, 8:00 PM -
UTEP at Louisiana Tech, 8:00 PM - FS1
FIU at Marshall, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network, MASN2
Rider at Monmouth, 8:00 PM -
Northern Arizona at North Dakota, 8:00 PM - MidcoSN
North Dakota State at Oral Roberts, 8:00 PM -
Utah Valley State at UMKC, 8:00 PM -
FAU at Western Kentucky, 8:00 PM - FCS, WKU PBS, WNBA
Troy at Texas State, 8:30 PM - KBVO
Arizona at Colorado, 9:00 PM - ESPN
SMU at Memphis, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2
Rutgers at Purdue, 9:00 PM - ESPN U
Tenn Tech at Morehead State, 9:00 PM - CBSSN
BYU at Portland, 10:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest
Arizona State at Utah, 10:30 PM - FS1
San Diego at Gonzaga, 11:00 PM - ESPN U
St. Mary’s (CA) at San Francisco, 11:00 PM - CSN-Bay
Oregon State at Stanford, 11:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Long Beach State at Hawaii, 11:59 PM - OCSports
Women’s College Basketball
Manhattan at Monmouth, 5:00 PM -
Wright State at Detroit, 7:00 PM -
Green Bay at Oakland, 7:00 PM -
Albany at Hartford, 7:00 PM -
Virginia at North Carolina, 7:00 PM - RSN, FOX
Duke at Georgia Tech, 7:00 PM -
NC State at FSU, 7:00 PM -
Syracuse at Clemson, 7:00 PM -
Florida at Alabama, 7:00 PM - SEC Network
LSU at Ole Miss, 7:00 PM - SEC Network+
Indiana at Maryland, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Ohio State at Penn State, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Miss State at South Carolina, 7:00 PM - FSN,
Rutgers at Northwestern, 8:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Wisconsin at Iowa, 8:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Kentucky at Arkansas, 8:00 PM - SEC Network+
Missouri at Texas A&M, 8:00 PM - SEC Network+
Auburn at Vanderbilt, 9:00 PM - FSN,
Tennessee at Georgia, 9:00 PM - SEC Network
USC at Washington, 9:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Stanford at Oregon State, 9:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Hawaii at Long Beach State, 10:00 PM -
College Hockey
Michigan State at Minnesota, 9:00 PM - Big Ten Network
International Soccer
Besiktas vs. Liverpool, 1:00 PM - FS1
Everton vs. Young Boys, 3:00 PM - FS1
D.C. United vs. Alajuelense, 8:00 PM - FS2
LPGA - Honda LPGA Thailand, 1:00 AM - Golf Channel
EUROPEAN - Joburg Open, 7:00 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Honda Classic, 2:00 PM - Golf Channel

Glenville: HUGE INDOOR SALE!!! – Thursday thru Sunday, 03.05.15 - 03.08.15



Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
March 05-08, 2015
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Gilmer County Recreation Center - Bennett Building
Glenville, WV

Plus older boot inventory will be reduced to just $50/pr!

All New Rocky, Georgia, Durango Brand Clothing from adult to youth(Coats, Pants, Shirts.)

Boots (Casual, Western, Insulated & Non, also Steel Toed) for Outdoor Hunting or work use.

Also, Camo & Bling Purses (some concealed carry) plus an array of Guns, Knives, Hunting items,
1200 thread ct. camo sheet sets, crafts, tools, home décor,
candles, melts, chainsaws and misc. items from the home.

Questions call 304.477.3654.

We Buy, Sell, and Trade.


The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Schools Community Meetings - 02.26.15 and 03.24.15 - Tonight

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

Winter Swap Meet – Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Gilmer Free Press

Finding parts for antique cars can be challenging, especially the early cars.

Some parts you can purchase through commercial vendors, but others are rare and you have to travel far distances to find.

Finally, the opportunity to find rare car parts locally is coming to the Mid-Ohio Valley on Saturday, March 07, 2015 in Marietta, Ohio.

The 6th Annual Winter Swap Meet will be held Saturday, March 07, 2015, at the Washington County Fair Grounds located at 922 Front Street, north of downtown Marietta.

The meet will be specializing in antique car parts.

Vendors will be selling parts, car bodies, complete cars and accessories for early Dodge, Chevrolet, Ford and other makes.

The event is sponsored by the Country Roads T & A Ford Club and the Mid-Ohio Valley Ford and Mustang Club.

The event will be held inside the Jr. Fair Building.

Admission is $5.00 per person and children under 12 are free.

The doors will be open from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Parking is free.

For more information call 740.538.0023 or email .

Or visit us on the web at

5K Pi Day Run/Walk - 03.14.15

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

Annual Berry Plant Sale Deadline Line Extended Until This Friday, February 27, 2015

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Farm Bureau and WVU Extension Service- Gilmer County will once again be placing a bulk order for berry plants.

The berry plants that are available this year will be strawberries, blackberries, raspberries (both red and black), and blueberries.

We will also be offering asparagus roots.

If you would like to improve your garden by adding one or more of these berry plants contact the WVU Extension Service- Gilmer County at 304.462.7061, of the Calhoun Office at 304.354.6332, and we will mail you an order form.

Orders and payment is due by February 27, 2015, at the close of business, 4:00 PM. 

Once plants arrive all participants will be called and plants will need to be picked up within 5 days.

Do not miss out on this opportunity to add some fresh berries to your future family meals.

G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Wild Day Under the Dome


Wednesday was a fascinating day, perhaps the busiest and most significant of this 60-day session. I’ll leave some things out, but here are some insights and observations from the Capitol.

—The pro-life movement is tantalizingly close to a significant change in the state’s abortion law. Both the Senate and House have now passed overwhelmingly the fetal pain bill that prevents abortions after 20 weeks unless the mother faces a serious medical risk or the fetus is not viable. Governor Tomblin is expected to veto the bill, just as he did last year. However, this year lawmakers have enough time to override the veto.

—Governor Tomblin clearly struggled to know what to do with the deer farming bill. Sportsmen pushed for a veto, fearing that deer will escape from farms and spread chronic wasting disease. They also wanted to keep all deer management issues within the DNR. However, supporters argued that deer farming is a burgeoning business and they wanted the industry regulated by the Ag Department. The deer farmers prevailed. Tomblin signed the bill last night.

—Question: What do you think the “West Virginia Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act” is about? HB 2881 doesn’t have much to do with commerce, but it does prevent cities and counties from passing ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. The House Government Organization Committee spent nearly two agonizing hours Wednesday trying to figure out the bill’s true intent before approving it and sending it to the full House.

—Another day and another parliamentary squabble in the state Senate. It happened when Senator Craig Blair (R-Berkeley) referenced information he received in a text during floor debate, a violation of Senate rules. Senate Democrats quoted Rule 55 to reporters after the session, while Republicans dismissed Blair’s blunder as a mistake, but no big deal. Meanwhile, Democrats continued to tweak Republicans by twice invoking a rule requiring a bill to be read in its entirety.

—Speaking of that, the state Chamber of Commerce’s Eugenie Taylor distributed red ribbons at the Capitol yesterday in what she jokingly called her “Free Lee Cassis” campaign. Cassis is the Senate’s assistant clerk who was charged with reading each bill aloud. Senate President Bill Cole wore one during yesterdays’ floor session.

—The Senate has given final approval to a bill that would loosen smoking ordinances in West Virginia. SB 109 gives county commissions the final say over smoking bans recommended by county boards of health. The bill, which now goes to the House, also provides exemptions for casinos, bars, fraternals and veterans organizations, if they meet certain criteria.

—West Virginia Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association President Sam Burdette continues to push for a buyout of breeders, but he’s having trouble getting the attention of lawmakers. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Mike Hall has said the dog racing subsidies are going to disappear at some point, but they may not have enough time to get to that issue this session

—Senate Judiciary Chairman Charlie Trump talked about putting a right-to-work bill on his agenda yesterday, but decided against it. I don’t think the Republicans are going to try to run the bill, but they keep floating it as a possibility.

Forced Blood Draws, DNA Collection and Biometric Scans: What Country Is This?

The Gilmer Free Press

The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty and personal integrity subject to the whim of every cop on the beat, trooper on the highway and jail official. The framers would be appalled.”—Herman Schwartz, The Nation

Our freedoms—especially the Fourth Amendment—are being choked out by a prevailing view among government bureaucrats that they have the right to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

Forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases—these are just a few ways in which Americans are being forced to accept that we have no control over what happens to our bodies during an encounter with government officials.

Worse, on a daily basis, Americans are being made to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are—our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.)—in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States: we are all guilty until proven innocent.

Thus far, the courts have done little to preserve our Fourth Amendment rights, let alone what shreds of bodily integrity remain to us.

For example, David Eckert was forced to undergo an anal cavity search, three enemas, and a colonoscopy after allegedly failing to yield to a stop sign at a Wal-Mart parking lot. Cops justified the searches on the grounds that they suspected Eckert was carrying drugs because his “posture [was] erect” and “he kept his legs together.” No drugs were found. During a routine traffic stop, Leila Tarantino was subjected to two roadside strip searches in plain view of passing traffic, during which a female officer “forcibly removed” a tampon from Tarantino. Nothing illegal was found. Nevertheless, such searches have been sanctioned by the courts, especially if accompanied by a search warrant (which is easily procured), as justified in the government’s pursuit of drugs and weapons.

Close to 600 motorists leaving Penn State University one Friday night were stopped by police and, without their knowledge or consent, subjected to a breathalyzer test using flashlights that can detect the presence of alcohol on a person’s breath. These passive alcohol sensors are being hailed as a new weapon in the fight against DUIs. However, because they cannot be used as the basis for arrest, breathalyzer tests are still required. And for those who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer, there are forced blood draws. One such person is Michael Chorosky, who was surrounded by police, strapped to a gurney and then had his blood forcibly drawn after refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test. “What country is this? What country is this?” cried Chorosky during the forced blood draw. Thirty states presently allow police to do forced blood draws on drivers as part of a nationwide “No Refusal” initiative funded by the federal government.

Not even court rulings declaring such practices to be unconstitutional in the absence of a warrant have slowed down the process. Now the police simply keep a magistrate on call to rubber stamp the procedure over the phone. That’s what is called an end-run around the law, and we’re seeing more and more of these take place under the rubric of “safety.”

The National Highway Safety Administration, the same government agency that funds the “No Refusal” DUI checkpoints and forcible blood draws, is also funding nationwide roadblocks aimed at getting drivers to “voluntarily” provide police with DNA derived from saliva and blood samples, reportedly to study inebriation patterns. When faced with a request for a DNA sample by police during a mandatory roadblock, most participants understandably fail to appreciate the “voluntary” nature of such a request. Unfortunately, in at least 28 states, there’s nothing voluntary about having one’s DNA collected by police in instances where you’ve been arrested, whether or not you’re actually convicted of a crime. The remaining states collect DNA on conviction. All of this DNA data is being fed to the federal government. Indeed, the United States has the largest DNA database in the world, CODIS, which is managed by the FBI and is growing at an alarming rate.

Airline passengers, already subjected to virtual strip searches, are now being scrutinized even more closely, with the Customs and Border Protection agency tasking airport officials with monitoring the bowel movements of passengers suspected of ingesting drugs. They even have a special hi-tech toilet designed to filter through a person’s fecal waste.

Iris scans, an essential part of the U.S. military’s boots-on-the-ground approach to keeping track of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, are becoming a de facto method of building the government’s already mammoth biometrics database. Funded by the Dept. of Justice, along with other federal agencies, the iris scan technology is being incorporated into police precincts, jails, immigration checkpoints, airports and even schools. School officials—from elementary to college—have begun using iris scans in place of traditional ID cards. As for parents wanting to pick their kids up from school, they have to first submit to an iris scan.

As for those endless pictures everyone so cheerfully uploads to Facebook (which has the largest facial recognition database in the world) or anywhere else on the internet, they’re all being accessed by the police, filtered with facial recognition software, uploaded into the government’s mammoth biometrics database and cross-checked against its criminal files. With good reason, civil libertarians fear these databases could “someday be used for monitoring political rallies, sporting events or even busy downtown areas.”

As these police practices and data collections become more widespread and routine, there will be no one who is spared from the indignity of DNA sampling, blood draws, and roadside strip and/or rectal or vaginal searches, whether or not they’ve done anything wrong. We’re little more than economic units, branded like cattle, marked for easy identification, and then assured that it’s all for our “benefit,” to weed us out from the “real” criminals, and help the police keep our communities “safe” and secure.

What a bunch of hokum. As I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, these databases, forced extractions and searches are not for our benefit. They will not keep us safe. What they will do is keep us mapped, trapped, targeted and controlled.

Moreover, what if you don’t want to be forced to trust the government with your most intimate information? What if you don’t trust the government to look out for your best interests in the first place? How do you protect yourself against having your blood forcibly drawn, your DNA extracted, your biometrics scanned and the most intimate details of who you are—your biological footprint—uploaded into a government database?

What recourse do you have when that information, taken against your will, is shared, stolen, sold or compromised, as it inevitably will be in this age of hackers? We know that databases can be compromised. We’ve seen it happen to databases kept by health care companies, motor vehicle agencies, financial institutions, retailers and intelligence agencies such as the NSA. In fact, 2014 was dubbed the Year of the Hack in light of the fact that over a billion personal data records were breached, leaving those unlucky enough to have their data stolen vulnerable to identity theft, credit card fraud and all manner of criminal activities carried out in their names.

Banks now offer services —for a fee—to help you in the event that your credit card information is compromised and stolen. You can also pay for services to protect against identity theft in the likely event that your social security information is compromised and misused. But what happens when your DNA profile is compromised? And how do you defend yourself against charges of criminal wrongdoing in the face of erroneous technological evidence—DNA, biometrics, etc., are not infallible—that place you at the scene of a crime you didn’t commit? 

“Identity theft could lead to the opening of new fraudulent credit accounts, creating false identities for criminal enterprises, or a host of other serious crimes,” said Jason Hart, vice president of cloud services, identity and data protection at the digital security company Gemalto. “As data breaches become more personal, we’re starting to see that the universe of risk exposure for the average person is expanding.”

It’s not just yourself you have to worry about, either. It’s also anyone related to you—who can be connected by DNA. These genetic fingerprints, as they’re called, do more than just single out a person. They also show who you’re related to and how. As the Associated Press reports, “DNA samples that can help solve robberies and murders could also, in theory, be used to track down our relatives, scan us for susceptibility to disease, or monitor our movements.”

Capitalizing on this, police in California, Colorado, Virginia and Texas use DNA found at crime scenes to identify and target family members for possible clues to a suspect’s whereabouts. Who will protect your family from being singled out for “special treatment” simply because they’re related to you? As biomedical researcher Yaniv Erlich warns, “If it’s not regulated and the police can do whatever they want ... they can use your DNA to infer things about your health, your ancestry, whether your kids are your kids.”

These are just a few of the questions we should be asking before these technologies and programs become too entrenched and irreversible.

While the Fourth Amendment was created to prevent government officials from searching an individual’s person or property without a warrant and probable cause—evidence that some kind of criminal activity was afoot—the founders could scarcely have imagined a world in which we needed protection against widespread government breaches of our privacy on a cellular level. Yet that’s exactly what we are lacking.

Once again, technology has outdistanced both our understanding of it and our ability to adequately manage the consequences of unleashing it on an unsuspecting populace. As for all of those databases being sold to you for your safety and benefit, whether or not they’re actually effective in catching criminals, you can be assured that they will definitely be snatching up innocent citizens, as well.

In the end, what all of this amounts to is a carefully crafted campaign designed to give the government access to and control over what it really wants: you.

~~  John W. Whitehead ~~

Waltzing at the End of the World

The Gilmer Free Press

It’s hard to imagine celebrating nuclear war planning, but that’s what was on the agenda at Hill Air Force Base, near Ogden, Utah last Thursday, February 12, 2015.

At an official awards ceremony, there were prizes for “top performers” at the base including Team of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Key Spouse of the Year. Base commander, Col. Ron Jolly, said, “The Airmen here see the big picture and know that it is … about providing support to Team Hill.”

What is “Team Hill”? At one-million acres and 20,000 personnel, Hill AFB is tasked with maintaining and testing the “reliability” of, among other things, the country’s 450 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs. The 60-foot-tall, 39-ton rockets, with 335-kiloton nuclear warheads (think Hiroshima, times 22), can fly 6,000 to 7,000 miles before detonating on targets chosen by the Global Strike Command (its real name) in Omaha.
Hill AFB’s “state of the art” test facility conducts exams of “nuclear hardness, survivability, reliability” … “nuclear radiation, air blast, shock and vibration” and “electromagnetic pulse.” These are the effects of nuclear weapons detonations, and the base keeps our ICBMs “reliable” — that is ready-to-launch from bunkers across North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.

In ballistic missile terms, “reliability” means the guarantee that radioactive firestorms covering 40-square-miles-per-warhead can be unleashed a world away using rockets launched with the turn of a key. (Daniel Berrigan once wrote that in World War II the Germans delivered people to the crematoria, and that now missiles carry crematoria to the people.)

In April 2014, military teams still doing their Cold War duty — 26 years after the “war” ended — were given fresh encouragement when Hill AFB handed out its “Brent Scowcroft Awards.” They went to hard-working personnel in the “Launch and Test Team” and to others working in maintenance, logistics, acquisition and something called “sustainment.”

The prize is named after Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, who at the height of Cold War hostilities led a Reagan-era commission that recommended increased spending on ICBMs. The 1983 Scowcroft Commission recommended “a land-based force with a significant, prompt hard target kill capability.”

The euphemism “hard target kill” refers to H-bombs accurate enough to destroy another country’s missiles in bunkers before they are launched — a nuclear “first-strike.” This is what Minuteman III missiles can now accomplish and what they now threaten, 24/7, with their Mark 12A warheads. Scowcroft’s commission advised the Air Force to develop single-warhead missiles, which is exactly what our arsenal of Minuteman IIIs has become.

Like scandal-ridden “missileers” in their boring, dead-ended launch sites around Malmstrom Air Base, FE Warren Air Base and Minot AFB, Team Hill prepares and polishes the machinery of nuclear holocaust. Its ICBM System Program Office has “real” Minuteman missile “launch facilities and launch control center facilities.” Hill’s Nuclear Weapons Center “develops, acquires and supports silo-based ICBMs…manage spares…sustains silo-based ICBM systems” and it buys “spare parts, services, and repairs” for “Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) programs and ammunitions.”

Two years ago, Hill awarded a $90-million contract to a Cincinnati firm to build a new truck for hauling the giant ICBMs. The truck, called a “transporter erector,” installs and transports the rockets. According to the Air Base, it “will serve the Minuteman III ICBM through 2035.”

But what about the Peace Prize President’s “world free of nuclear weapons”? The Most Powerful Man can’t even close a small, relatively new, off-shore penal colony at Guantanamo. To even challenge — much less cut back — the trillion-dollar nuclear war budget, the Prez would need a massive grassroots anti-nuke rebellion and the fearlessness of MLK.

Meanwhile, the bureaucrats, attendants and supporters who plan and practice the unspeakable are so desensitized, distracted or benumbed, that at Team Hill’s Feb. 12 gala, “well-known local civic leaders and special guests presented the awards.” One event committee co-chair said, “We really wanted our award nominees to feel like celebrities.” The Public Affairs office boasted of “valet parking, interviews on the ‘red carpet,’ hors d’oeuvres, a string quartet and dancing.”

It’s past time to admit this behavior is deranged and to declare the nuclear war party over. The question isn’t how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but how many “key spouses” can waltz atop 450 loaded ICBMs.

~~  John LaForge ~~

G-TechNote™: Good Housekeeping @Home

The Gilmer Free Press

Spring is coming, so get organized, and clean house

Regardless of any rodent’s forecast or chill in the air, it’s the time of year when people’s thoughts turn to spring.

And often that means spring cleaning. Good Housekeeping @Home, an app from the magazine, offers users cleaning and organization tips.

It has cleaning ideas for every part of your home, whether you’re looking to give your range top a deep clean or want to get the scratches out of your floor.

The app is also a decent resource for those everyday cleaning problems, thanks to its “stain-busters” section, which gives instructions on tackling a variety of stains, including those caused by “alcoholic beverages” and “zucchini.” Yes Zucchini Stain!

And it has articles for organizing and decorating, a la Pinterest or Buzzfeed, if you need inspiration.

Free, for iOS and Android devices.

Movie Review: ‘McFarland, USA’

You’ve seen feel-good football and baseball movies, plus great underdog stories of boxing, basketball, soccer and cycling. So what’s left? The 1980s-set “McFarland, USA” has the answer: It’s cross-country running.

The plot, based on a true story, is pretty much paint-by-numbers, and though “McFarland” adds a few surprising dashes of color, the look and feel are utterly familiar: an against-all-odds ascent, a nail-biting finale and recurring reminders that this isn’t just about some sports competition. (It never is.)

Kevin Costner plays Jim White, a hotheaded high school teacher and football coach who has lost his temper one time too many. After yet another dismissal, the only place he can find a job is at a school that will take whomever it can get. It’s in McFarland, Calif., a town where no one chooses to live, according to one of its young residents. People stay there because they have to.

So Jim and his family move to the San Joaquin Valley from Boise, Idaho, where he squandered a much cushier job. He brings his wife, Cheryl (Maria Bello), and daughters, Julie (Morgan Saylor) and Jamie (Elsie Fisher).

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“Are we in Mexico?” Jamie wonders when she wakes up near the end of the family’s southbound migration. You can understand her confusion. The White family is in the minority in their new town, which is composed mainly of Latino pickers — men and women who do the backbreaking work of harvesting fruits, vegetables and nuts. In case there was any question just how much these people struggle to make ends meet, a longtime teacher storms into Jim’s classroom to inform him that he has just moved to one of the poorest towns in the country. Point taken.

Temperamental guy that he is, Jim doesn’t last long as assistant coach of the football team, and why would he want to? The first game he attends is a 63-0 loss. But he notices that what these kids lack in tackling talent, they make up for in speed. They run everywhere, and considering many of them work with their parents in the fields before and after school, they know something about stamina. Suddenly Jim has an idea: Form a cross-country team.

He assembles seven boys and grooms them for glory. They’re horrible at first, of course, but they get better, as ordained by the sports movie bible. And all the while, they face discrimination during meets from preppy white kids and their preppy white coaches who live in places like Palo Alto — places, incidentally, where Jim wishes he could live.

At first Jim has no intention of staying in McFarland, but over the course of the movie he warms to the town, as do his wife and kids. Jim comes to the conclusion that 20-something Latinos riding around town single file in old, loud cars aren’t nearly as scary as he initially thought. They’re actually human beings with real human emotions who do nice human things. (Although in the world of the movie, any white character living in Palo Alto is never more than a racist, country club stereotype.)

And yet “McFarland, USA,” directed by Niki Caro (“Whale Rider,” “North Country”), serves a few worthy purposes. Movies don’t often stray from metropolitan settings even though there are more areas like McFarland than Los Angeles in the United States, and those places deserve their due. As do Hispanic actors. With the exception of small films, such as the recent “Spare Parts,” they are rarely cast in movies (unless they’re fulfilling a specific stereotype), despite plenty of talent.

Carlos Pratts is a particular standout as one of the runners, who is also interested in Jim’s oldest daughter. The 28-year-old actor is miscast here, given that he looks closer to 30 than 18. But Pratts still makes an impression, playing the team’s fastest runner, a loner who never imagined he would be anything other than a picker.

The movie also evokes emotions and suspense the way any good story about athletics should. A new sport doesn’t equate to new ground, but there is pleasure to be had in a formula that works.

★ ★

PG. Contains some violence and strong language. 128 minutes.

Bon Appétit: Oven-Fried Mozzarella Sticks

The Gilmer Free Press


8 part-skim mozzarella string cheese sticks
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoons Parmesan
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Marinara, for serving


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Cut cheese sticks in half to make 16 short sticks.

Place flour in small bowl and place beaten egg in another bowl small bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in medium shallow bowl and toss to combine.

Roll cheese sticks in flour, 4 at a time, then in egg. Let excess drip off, then dip in crumb mixture. With clean hands sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the sticks. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining sticks.

Lightly spray sticks with cooking spray and bake 7 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and edge or two shows sign of melted cheese (cheese will continue to melt when removed from oven). Serve with jarred or homemade sauce.

GFP - 02.26.2015
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G-MM™: Meditation Moment   150226


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Proverbs 4:23-24

Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.

Put away from you a deceitful mouth
And put devious speech far from you.

Matthew 12:9-14

Jesus, the Scribes, and the Law [2]

He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him.

He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.

But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

Matthew 23:23-24

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

Matthew 5:17-20

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Notes on the Scripture

(. . . cont’d from yesterday.)

The second Scripture quote above may seem to make very little sense, but it is sensible enough once explained. Jews were required to tithe in kind. A herdman with cattle, for example, would be required to give a percentage of his new calves to the Temple; a wheat farmer, a percentage of his wheat crop. Jesus here refers to the fact that the Pharisees would go to the ridiculous technical extreme of pulling ten percent of the leaves from a little herb bush (cumin or dill) in their garden, as part of their tithe. Yet they (or at least some of them) would turn a blind eye to frauds and mistreatment of the poor and weak.

Similarly, they criticize Christ for healing a human being on the Sabbath, because it violates their oral laws interpreting the Sabbath commandment; yet they will pull their own sheep out of a ditch.

Jesus was not contradicting the law of Moses when He did and said these things; He was contradicting the manmade law of the Pharisees. Christ did not abolish or relax an “iota” (the tiniest bit) of the Law.

So, keeping as our starting point that Christ did not abolish the law, why are we not sacrificing sheep or building temples? For certainly, the Law of Moses requires it.

The answer lies in the word “fulfill”; one might also say that much of the Law was “satisfied” or “completed” by Christ.

The easiest example are the laws regarding sacrifice to atone for sin. Christ was the perfect sacrifice, final and sufficient to atone for the sins of the entire world. (Hebrews 10:1-10) The laws about sacrifice have been satisfied or fulfilled, not abolished.

The other way in which we do not follow the letter of the Law of Moses is when Christ transformed it. For example, the law requiring the death penalty for adultery is “still on the books,” as they say. So why do we not execute adulterers? Because part of the gift of grace from God, the forgiveness of our own sins, was that we forgive the sins of others. (Matthew 6:22) It is for God, not us, to judge adultery, and He will impose the penalty or grant mercy.

Another set of laws was transformed by Christ; the most notable example is the Jewish law regarding impurity. Rather than being made unclean by what we touch or eat, we are now made unclean by what we do or say: “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” (Matthew 15:11)

This brings us to the primary reason for our discussion of Christianity and the Law of Moses. The lightning rod for the transformed aspects of the Law was circumcision. It visibly marked a Jewish man as one obedient to God and a participant in the covenant of Moses. Christ did not abolish the law of circumcision. But instead of undergoing minor surgery, being marked where other people can see it, Christian men (and women) must be “circumcised in their heart” where God can see it:
“But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” (Romans 2:29)

It is impossible to appreciate, or even understand, the Pauline epistles without a grasp of these concepts, so don’t gloss over this. Paul’s greatest doctrinal moments involve intense discussion of law and circumcision, and unless one grasps the meaning and significance of it, it makes utterly no sense.

Phyllis Jean Blazer

The Gilmer Free Press

Phyllis Jean Blazer

Age 76, of Belpre, Ohio, passed away at the Eagle Pointe Nursing and Rehab, on February 23, 2015, of cancer.

She was born in Gassaway, WV, on November 26, 1938, and was the daughter of the late Ernest E Jr.. and Mary Magadelen Ours Johnson.

She was a member of the Belpre Church of Christ.

Her life was making sure that her children and grandchildren were taken care of.

Survivors include her two daughters, Teresa Parsons of Belpre, and Lisa (Steve) Goodwin of Parkersburg; her grandchildren, Matthew and Michael Parsons, Brittany and Brent West, and Josh and Jordan Goodwin; her great-grandchildren, Karson Parsons and Drayden Harris; her brother, Robert (Gwen) Johnson of North Carolina; a niece, Debbie Reebenaker; and several other nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, V. Howard Blazer; her parents; and a brother, Ronnie Johnson.

Services will be 11 AM, Friday, February 27, at the Leavitt Funeral Home, Belpre, with Ron Laughery officiating.

Burial will follow in the Sunset Memory Gardens.

Friends may call from 6-8 PM, Thursday, February 26, at the funeral home.

Helene Yvonne Dodd

The Gilmer Free Press

Helene Yvonne Dodd

Age 62, of Pennsboro, WV, departed this life, unexpectedly on Monday, February 23, 2015, at her residence.

Helene was born December 02, 1952, in Parkersburg, WV, a daughter of the late Charles Brady and Oma (Boyce) DeBrular.

For the last nine years, Helene served as a booking clerk at the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County. She was a proud graduate of Doddridge County High School with the class of 1971. After high school, in 1973, she and her husband Ronnie moved to Weirton, WV, while he was employed in the steel mills. While in Weirton, she was active in the Brooke High School athletic boosters. They moved back to Ritchie County in 2002, and later in July of 2005, she became the co-owner and operator of Dodd’s Sporting Goods in Ellenboro, WV.

She was a charter member of the restructured Ritchie County Fairgrounds, Inc. and she served on the nominating committee for the Board of Directors. She was also an active member of the Parkersburg Moose Lodge #1118 for the last 15 years, and she greatly enjoyed making crafts, traveling, and shopping.

She is survived by her loving husband of 40 years, Ronnie Dodd; sons, Ronnie Lee Dodd II of Weirton, WV, and Darren Dodd (Danielle) of Pennsboro, WV (Tollgate Community); grandson, Dylan Dodd of Pennsboro, WV (Tollgate Community); her triplet sisters, Eileen Barker (Roger) of Pennsboro, WV, and Irene Cunningham (Buck) of Harrisville, WV; aunt, Lorraine DeBrular of Weston, WV; her little girl, Gaby; nephews, Charles Hinton of South Carolina, Mike Hinton of Cairo, WV, and Mikey West of Pennsboro, WV (Tollgate Community); along with several other nieces and nephews.

She also leaves behind her brothers and sisters-in-law, Gene and Kathy Dodd of Pennsboro, WV, Charles and Teresa Dodd of Ellenboro, WV, Fayetta and Ed Wilson of Pennsboro, WV, Connie Reel of Rupert, WV, Sherry and Leslie Hinton of Ellenboro, WV, Randy and Ruthie Seese of Ellenboro, WV, Tammy Leggett and Gary Fury of Pennsboro, WV, and Melissa and Emilio Veltri of Proctorville, Ohio.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her sister, Shirley Britton; brother, James DeBrular; nephew, David DeBrular; brother and sister-in-law, Buck and Joanne Brent; and her father and mother-in-law, Homer and Genevieve Dodd.

Graveside services will be 11 AM, Thursday, February 26, at the Greenwood Cemetery.

Visitation for Helene were from 3-8 PM Wednesday at McCullough-Rogers Funeral Home, Pennsboro, WV.


The Gilmer Free Press

Morris Selected for Summer Research Fellowship

Glenville State College Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Gary Morris has again been selected to participate in the West Virginia Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Summer Fellowship Program.

In addition to the 2015 fellowship, he was also chosen to take part in the program back in 2011 and 2012.

During the nine-week program, Morris and fellow scientist Dr. Travis Salisbury will continue their research collaboration on a potential therapeutic target in breast cancer cells called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor. Morris, who also serves as chair of the GSC Department of Science and Mathematics, says the study could lead to understanding how to treat and reduce breast cancer risk in the context of human obesity.

The Gilmer Free Press

He and Salisbury, who is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Toxicology at Marshall University’s School of Medicine, initiated their research in 2011.

The mission of the WV-INBRE, as part of the National Institutes of Health IDeA Program, is to establish a consortium among selected institutions of higher education in West Virginia to enhance their capacity for educating and training faculty members and students in biomedical research.

“Since Glenville State College is a part of the consortium, our faculty are eligible to apply for the fellowship opportunity, but only two or three are awarded each summer. I’m very happy to be given the opportunity to continue the research that Travis and I have been working on,“ said Morris.

The pair will conduct their research at the Byrd Biotechnology Science Center at Marshall University. During the summer Morris explains that he will spend Monday through Thursday in Huntington and then commute back to Glenville on Fridays to catch up on administrative work for GSC and to spend the weekend with his family.

For more information about the research, contact Morris at or 304.462.6301.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 02.24.15

The Gilmer Free Press

On Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Judge Jack Alsop started:

•  A jury trial in Gilmer County in the case of State of West Virginia vs. Janice Collins.

At 10:40 AM after the Clerk drew a panel of 20 jurors and individual voir dire was conducted in chambers, the defense filed a motion for change of venue.

The Court granted said motion and excuse the jury panel for the term, after thanking them for their service.

Judge also set the case for trial on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 in Webster County Circuit Court.

Collins is represented by Steve Nanners of Buckhannon.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Nathanielle Butler

He was before the Court with his attorney, Christopher Moffatt of Charleston.

Butler entered a plea to count 1 of his indictment charging him with delivery of a controlled substance.

He was readmitted to bond and released from Central Regional Jail pending his sentencing on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 11:40 AM.

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