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PAY RAISE FOR “HIGHLY-QUALIFIED” WV TEACHERS

The Gilmer Free Press

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has officially signed a bill into law that would give pay raises to certain teachers in West Virginia.

House Bill 2381 mandates an automatic $2,000 pay raise for “highly qualified,” National Board certified teachers working at low-performing schools. The teachers must also serve as a mentor to less-qualified teachers in order to receive the raise.

David Mohr, the senior policy analyst for the House of Delegates Education Committee, says, “This is one of the first attempts to really target some salary incentives to get highly qualified teachers to teach in places where we really feel we need them.”

Out of 825 nationally certified teachers in West Virginia, only 43 of them work at low-performing schools, and legislators hope that the pay raise would motivate highly qualified teachers to move to struggling schools.

However, the bill also includes a very important clause. It says that a county may use other funds, including federal and local funds, available to them to increase or provide other incentives for all teachers working in the bottom fifth of schools that the county deems “highly qualified.” Teachers do not need to be nationally certified or mentor other teachers for pay raises given by the county.

West Virginia ranks 48th out of 50 states in teacher salaries according to the National Education Association. Because of this, I caught up with you to see if you think West Virginia teachers deserve better compensation.

“They teach our kids, it’s the future of our country,“ says Richard Vance of Clarksburg. “They work hard, they sacrifice, I understand they even use a lot of their own money to help kids, so they definitely deserve more.“

“The ones out there helping the kids, in there making sure that they’re learning, so that they can go to college and become something, those are the teachers that I think need a pay raise,” adds Ronald Melchek of Preston County.

Officials like Christine Campbell of the American Federation of Teachers and Dale Lee of the West Virginia Education Association believe that while this bill is a step in the right direction, it isn’t a final solution for underpaid teachers.

Abandoned Buildings Grant to Provide Momentum for City of Glenville

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer County Economic Development Association has received a technical assistance grant valued at $10,000 through the 2015 Brownfields, Abandoned, Dilapidated (BAD) Buildings Technical Assistance program to address barriers to the reuse and redevelopment of abandoned and dilapidated buildings in the City of Glenville.

The BAD Buildings Program grant was awarded to The Gilmer County Economic Development Association by the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center. The program provides technical assistance and expertise to assist communities in West Virginia to create a redevelopment plan for its strategically located abandoned, vacant, and dilapidated properties.

The City of Glenville was one of only 9 projects awarded statewide to receive a 2015 BAD Buildings Program technical assistance grant. 

City of Glenville Mayor Dennis Fitzpatrick said he was supportive of Mr. Campbell in this endeavor.  The award of the BAD Buildings technical assistance grant will provide the necessary tools and resources for improving planning and property utilization in the City of Glenville according to Jeff Campbell.  The Bad Buildings award and the associated planning activities will provide a forum and processes to improve planning for all community stakeholders.  An initial information meeting for all interested community stakeholders is being planned and an announcement will be made in the coming weeks.

Luke Elser, BAD Buildings Program Manager says, “The BAD Buildings model provides an initial stepping stone for revitalization efforts by initiating redevelopment progress and spurring community involvement.  The NBAC looks forward to working with the City of Glenville and its community partners on this project.”

The BAD Buildings Program is funded through a grant from the Benedum Foundation through the WVU Foundation, a private non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for West Virginia University.

Information about the BAD Buildings Program can be found at www.wvbrownfields.org.  The Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center is a program of the West Virginia Water Research Institute, located at WVU’s National Research Center for Coal & Energy.

Report: Little Kanawha River Water Safe after Abandoned Mine Rupture

When the abandoned mine shaft on WV Highway 5 East ruptured on Thursday morning, March 26, 2015 the water spilled into the Little Kanawha River.

The Gilmer County Public Services District, Glenville Utility, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the Environment Protection Agency were contacted.

These agencies started water tests downstream to make sure it was safe to drink.

According to a post by the Gilmer County WV Office of Emergency Management on its Facebook: “All tests completed are confirming the water IS SAFE for consumption at this time.“

Legal Delays Could Be Problem for Huge Gas Pipelines

CHARLESTON, WV - A Virginia county court case may slow construction of big proposed natural-gas pipelines - a delay opponents say the pipelines can ill afford.

A Suffolk County court said the Atlantic Coast Pipeline did not follow the proper procedure when notifying a landowner. The company describes the decision as a technical glitch, but Rick Webb, coordinator of the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, said legal delays such as this could be a threat to the three huge pipelines he said are racing to bring Marcellus gas to southeastern markets. Webb said the pipelines are competing to lock in a changing - and maybe shrinking - market in North Carolina and other areas.

“The market conditions are changing,“ he said. “Pipelines that formerly delivered gas to the Northeast are now becoming available. So these companies have to capture the market, and the first one who does perhaps will be the winner.“

The Gilmer Free Press


Jim Norvelle, a spokesman for Dominion Resources, the parent company leading construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, said the company is not racing to claim a market. He said it already has 20-year contracts to supply the gas the pipeline would bring, and added that the Suffolk County court only said Dominion notified the landowner incorrectly.

“They’re going to get a new letter from us, and we’re going to start the process with them again,“ Norvelle said. “So we do not see this as much of a hindrance to the schedule.“

Webb said the position of the companies racing to get their pipelines in place is much more fragile than they let on.

“Any delay in the process, or even any sense of delay in the process, will perhaps convince their investors that things are not quite as certain as they had been led to believe,“ he said.

The companies behind the pipelines insist they simply are following the normal process for building projects such as this. But Webb said the large number of court cases between landowners and the pipelines is very aggressive and hardly normal. There are 100 cases over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline alone.

~~  Dan Hayman ~~

Alderson Broaddus University Announces New Major

The Gilmer Free Press

Philippi, WV—Alderson Broaddus University held a press conference at Wilcox Chapel on the University’s campus in Philippi, WV.
During this press conference, school officials announced the newest academic major which will launch in the fall of 2015.

The new Ministry and Leadership major will help connect students who are interested in going into ministry with modern day situations.
This is the third announcement of a new academic program since January.

West Virginia News   150330

The Gilmer Free Press

FAMILY SUES OVER WV SCHOOL’S USE OF WALKING AS DISCIPLINE

MARTINSBURG, WV - A student’s family is suing Berkeley County Schools over a school’s use of walking as a form of discipline.

The lawsuit says Mountain Ridge Intermediate School’s policy violates state law prohibiting corporal punishment.

According to the lawsuit, the practice involves requiring a student to walk from one light pole on campus to another, usually for 15 to 30 minutes.

Neva Savage and William Savage filed the lawsuit in February in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

It has since been moved to federal court.

Also named as defendants are the Board of Education, the superintendent, the school’s principal and a teacher.

Attorneys representing the school officials have asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit.


NICHOLAS COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT DEPUTY REDUCTION

SUMMERSVILLE, WV — The Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department is set to drop from 26 to 15 deputies on July 01, 2015 because of budget cuts but the county will not go uncovered.

“We’re going to be providing services whenever needed. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night it’s needed, we’re going to be providing the service,” Lt. Michael Baylous, the spokespman from WV State Police said.

The reduction in deputies will essentially mean there will be no deputies on duty in Nicholas County after 4 PM each day.

Lt. Baylous said troopers cover the county now and they will continue to do so with some adjustments.

“We have detachments at Oak Hill, Richwood, Summersville and Beckley and we’ll make whatever changes we need to make, move resources and manpower around,” Baylous said.

State Police Superintendent Col. Jay Smithers has been in conservation with NIcholas County officials including the county’s prosecutor and circuit judge. Baylous said residents need not worry about having the proper police protection.

“No, they don’t need to be concerned at all. We’ve been doing this since 1919 and doing a professional and outstanding job of providing law enforcement services and that’s not going to change,” he said.


ATTORNEY GENERAL PATRICK MORRISEY WARNS BUSINESS OWNERS OF FAKE INVOICE SCAM

CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today warned business owners of a scam circulating through West Virginia in which business owners are getting fake invoices for allegedly being listed in telephone directories and social media.

The invoices, some of which are for thousands of dollars, are sent by American Yellow Group Inc.’s Outsourced Accounting Department with a return address of Varna, Bulgaria. The design of the invoice includes the familiar “walking fingers” logo, which makes it appear as though the business is being charged for its inclusion in a telephone book’s yellow pages. However businesses who have received the faxed invoice said they never contracted with the company for the service.

“This is a classic example of a directory listing scam that some business owners fall for simply out of panic. The scammers imply that failure to pay the bill immediately will result in the issue being referred to credit bureaus and other authorities,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We urge businesses who receive this invoice to contact our office and their telephone provider to ensure it is not a legitimate bill.”

The Attorney General’s Office has received a dozen complaints about the invoice from businesses throughout the state, including Petersburg, Charleston, Follansbee, Terra Alta, and Delbarton. The businesses being targeted also vary. Our office has received complaints from private businesses, medical offices, an insurance firm, a public service district, and a municipal government.

The Better Business Bureau has given American Yellow Group Inc. an F rating. On its website, the BBB says the address provided on the invoice is nonexistent and the phone number provided is only sporadically answered.

“Scammers will target anyone who they think will pay, including businesses,” Morrisey said. “We urge business owners to disregard the invoice and report it immediately.”

If you believe you have been a victim of a directory listing scam or other scam, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 or the Eastern Panhandle field office in Martinsburg at 304.267.0239. To file a report online, go to www.wvago.gov.


WV TO OFFER ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ SPECIALTY LICENSE PLATE

HARMAN, WV - West Virginia soon will begin offering specialty license plates bearing the phrase “In God We Trust.“

A Randolph County nonprofit collected the required minimum of 250 applications and fees before a May 01 deadline.

Mike Snyder of Harman and his wife, Jill, hand-delivered 300 applications to the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles last week. Harman proposed the plates and the Dryfork Recreation Center agreed to sponsor them.

The plate’s design features an outline of the state along with the West Virginia and American flags.

Delegate Denise Campbell says the plates will be ready this summer.


POLICE INVESTIGATING TWO ROBBERIES IN CHARLESTON AREA

Police are searching for two men accused of robbing a Kanawha City gaming parlor early Sunday morning.

Police say Mimi’s, in the 6300 block of MacCorkle Avenue, was robbed around 1:00 AM.

Investigators say two men walked into the business, pulled out a gun and demanded money.  They took off with the cash.

Police are trying to determine if this robbery is related to another robbery on Charleston’s West Side.

In that robbery, police say Larry “Smurf” Patterson Jr. and Lance Tyler walked into the Family Dollar on Virginia Street West.  They left and then returned 17 minutes later.  That’s when police say Tyler walked up to the register with a pack of gum.  When the cashier rang it up and the register opened, police say Patterson pulled out a gun and demanded money.  They also left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Anybody with information on these two robberies should call Charleston Police at 304.348.6480.

U.S. Education Department Considers Creating Two Ratings Systems

The U.S. Education Department, under continued fire over its planned college-rating system, is considering creating two systems.

The first ratings system would be geared toward consumers and be based on raw outcomes metrics.

The second would be geared toward policymakers and researchers, and would rely on metrics adjusted for student and institutional characteristics.



U. S. Education Department Considers Creating
Not 1 but 2 College-Ratings Systems

The Gilmer Free Press

The Education Department, under continued fire over its planned college-rating system, is considering creating two systems, an agency official said at a policy briefing here on Monday.

The first ratings system would be geared toward consumers and be based on raw outcomes metrics. The second would be geared toward policy makers and researchers, and would rely on metrics adjusted for student and institutional characteristics, the official told attendees at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual policy briefing. Only the second system would be used to measure accountability.

The shift appeared designed to answer criticism that the department was trying to do too much with one system. In her remarks, the official — Melanie Muenzer, deputy assistant secretary for planning and policy development — noted the “inherent tensions” in crafting a system that both guides consumer behavior and holds colleges accountable for student outcomes.

“It’s hard to develop a system that addresses both,“ Ms. Muenzer said.

In a comment on the proposed system, sent last month, a group of think tanks and advocacy groups urged the department to either “narrow the scope of the ratings to develop one system to address one purpose, or design different rating systems that use common data while being tailored to each purpose.“

But one higher-education lobbyist, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid angering the department, said a two-system approach was “a terrible solution” to the problems posed by a single system.

“What a disaster that would be,“ said the lobbyist. “You could easily see institutions doing well on one and badly on the other, and with Title IV [student-aid] eligibility attached, it would be utter chaos.“

Ms. Muenzer acknowledged the drawbacks of the approach, including that colleges could perform poorly on the consumer system but use the “adjusted” outcomes data to sell themselves to prospective students.

“You could end up with an institution that goes from a 30% graduation rate to a 70% graduation rate,“ she said, by way of example. “That could be very difficult for consumers to understand.“

“We can’t stop that institution from using 70% in its marketing materials,“ she added.

Even so, Ben Miller, a senior policy analyst at New America, formerly the New America Foundation, and another panelist at Monday’s event, said afterward that it would be a “massive mistake” not to create separate systems.

“The way consumers make choices and researchers and policy makers look at things is dramatically different,“ he said.

The department has promised a final version of its rating plan in time for the 2015-16 academic year. In December it released a draft “framework” of the plan that provided an update on metrics the department is considering using in its system.

~~  Kelly - The Field-Chronicle of Higher Education ~~

West Virginia Accidents   150330

The Gilmer Free Press

FIRE DAMAGES HOME IN MONONGALIA COUNTY

A home is Monongalia County is damaged after a fire early Sunday morning.

Crews were on the scene just before 1:00 AM on Ervins Lane, just off of Scott’s Run Road.

Officials believe that an electrical problem is to blame for the cause of the blaze.

There were no reported injuries and the homeowners were able to get many of their personal items out of the house.

Officials said the house suffered severe damage and is expected to be ruled a total loss.

Granville, Star City, Cassville, and Westover fire departments responded to the scene.


PEDESTRIAN HIT AND KILLED IN CABELL COUNTY

Huntington, WV - On Sunday March 29, 2015 around 5 AM Cabell County Sheriffs and Green Valley Fire Department were called out to respond to an incident occurring by Hite-Saunders Elementary near Green Valley.

Cabell county EMS arrived on scene shortly after.

The unknown pedestrian was hit and killed near the elementary school.

No other information has been released at this time.


ONE KILLED IN FATAL ACCIDENT IN WOOD COUNTY

The Wood County Sheriff’s Office reported one person was killed in a crash early Saturday morning in Williamstown.

Officials say the one car accident happened around 3:52 AM in the 2100 block of North Oak Grove Road.

Officials say the driver, Joseph S. Urbanek Jr., was heading north bound when he received a text message, causing him to go over the embankment and strike a tree.

Urbanek then walked to a nearby home to alert the homeowner and they walked back to the scene of the crash.

That is when the homeowner noticed the car’s passenger, Shawn M. Wilfong, had been ejected and was pinned between the car and tree.

Wilfong was taken to Camden Clark Medical Center where he later died.

Urbanek is charged with DUI with Reckless Disregard Causing Death.

He is being held in the Wood County Holding Facility on a $75,000 bond.

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The Gilmer Free Press

U.S.A. News   150330

The Gilmer Free Press

DOES THE U.S. POSTAL SERVICE HAVE AN UNFAIR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE?

Special treatment from federal, state and local governments has given the U.S. Postal Service an unfair advantage over private-sector competitors such as the United Parcel Service and FedEx, according to an economic analysis released this week.

Postal officials have been asking Congress for years to give USPS greater flexibility to control pricing and develop new products in an effort to make a profit. USPS has lost billions of dollars annually for the past eight years, including $5.5 billion in 2014.

One of the biggest drags on USPS finances, aside from recent declines in First Class mail volume, is a 2006 law that requires the agency to make advanced payments for retiree health benefits. The cost of the mandate is more than $5 billion annually, and USPS has defaulted on the payment for the past four years.

Postal unions have argued that USPS could earn a profit if not for the prefunding expense, but agency officials contend that the organization is too deeply in debt and in need of new equipment for that to be the case. Nonetheless, both sides have called on Congress to end or restructure the requirement.

Congress has failed for years to reach a deal that would overhaul the Postal Service and help the agency improve its financial standing. Lawmakers from both parties have opposed bipartisan plans that involve service cuts such as ending Saturday mail delivery and scaling back on to-the-door deliveries by increasing the use of community mailbox clusters, which are common at many apartment complexes.

In terms of advantages, USPS’s monopoly on mail delivery — including its exclusive access to mail boxes – is worth nearly $15 billion per year. However, the Postal Regulatory Commission estimated the value to be a much lower $810 million in 2013.

USPS also reclaimed about $850 million in federal taxes from last year through a program that allows the agency to put its tax payments into a special account that can be used for expenses. He said the agency also benefited from about $1.5 billion in property-tax exemptions from state and local governments in 2012.

Additionally, the Postal Service has borrowed about $15 billion from the U.S. Treasury with interest rates “far below market rates.”


TWO AMENDMENTS TO HELP CURB METH ABUSE AND SUPPORT CLEANER FOSSIL ENERGY

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) Introduced two amendments to the Senate budget that would directly affect the future of West Virginia families, communities and jobs by addressing meth abuse and developing advanced clean fossil research and technology.

Senator Manchin’s first amendment would create a reserve fund, at no additional cost to the taxpayer, to address methamphetamine abuse. The Senate Budget Committee already passed an amendment to increase investments in reducing prescription drug and heroin abuse. Senator Manchin’s amendment would simply expand these investments to include combatting meth abuse alongside efforts to fight the drug overdose epidemic.

Senator Manchin’s second amendment would create a reserve fund, also at no additional cost to the taxpayer, to support advanced fossil energy technology research and development. Specifically, the amendment would increase Department of Energy research funding for improving technology for fossil fuels. Senator Manchin’s measure would recognize the need to reduce the impacts of climate change while ensuring the reliability of America’s electric grid.

“I am proud to in troduce these two amendments to the Senate’s budget debate since both directly impact West Virginia families, communities, jobs and economic growth,” Senator Manchin said. “Methamphetamine use and abuse is not only rampant in West Virginia but across the entire country. Meth abuse devastates families and communities, causes violent behavior and psychosis, and over time, changes the way the brain works, causing long-term emotional and cognitive problems. Until we shut down our meth labs and drastically reduce abuse, overdoses and deaths, I will continue the fight to help curb substance abuse. We owe it to ourselves to keep up the fight.

“It is also no secret that the American energy sector will continue to rely on fossil fuels for at least the next few decades, which is why it is simply makes sense to invest in advanced fossil energy technologies, like Carbon Capture and Carbon Utilization, that will allow us to use coal more cleanly, maintain the reliability of our electric grid, and support thousands of good-paying jobs right here at home. My amendment would support the Department of Energy’s efforts to partner with states, the private sector, and other stakeholders to make critical investments in advance fossil technologies through the department’s programs, loan guarantees, tax credits, and other financing mechanisms. This is just plain common sense.”

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The Gilmer Free Press

World News   150330

The Gilmer Free Press

A NEW CHINESE ANTI-CORRUPTION DRIVE HAS A REALLY UNFORTUNATE NAME

The authorities in Beijing announced an initiative to catch corrupt officials who have fled overseas. The plan, set to be put into action next month, will better coordinate Chinese investigations into offshore funds and “underground banks” used by officials to funnel money out of the country.

It’s just another anti-graft measure implemented under the watch of President Xi Jinping, who has made the fight against corruption a signature issue since coming to power toward the end of 2012. According to Bloomberg News, Xi’s campaigns “have snared more than 100,000 cadres,“ or members of the Communist Party.

About 150 Chinese economic fugitives are suspected to be in the United States, the BBC reports.

But there’s one thing slightly troubling about the latest campaign to catch fugitive officials abroad: its name. Chinese officials have dubbed it “Sky Net.“

Yes, like Skynet. Still confused?

Fans of the “Terminator” film series will know that Skynet is the synthetic intelligence platform — the computerized evil genius — that’s bent on eradicating humanity through an array of robotic killing machines. China, notorious for its sophisticated cybersurveillance systems, probably did not intend the comparison.

“While Hollywood’s Skynet is villainous, the members of China’s Sky Net team undoubtedly see themselves as playing the good Terminator role,“ muses the Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time blog, referring to the plot twist in the series in which one of Skynet’s cyborgs gets reprogrammed to defend humans.

It’s not entirely a laughing matter, though. Beijing has demonstrated a similar penchant for heavy-handedness when talking about national security. Critics say Chinese counterterrorism measures in the far-western region of Xinjiang, home to Uighurs, a Turkic Muslim minority, have led to a suppression of Uighur rights and culture. Last year, Xi evocatively declared that he would build “walls of copper and steel” to stop terrorism and called for “nets spread from the earth to the sky.“

Identifying Early Spring Waterfowl

The Gilmer Free Press

Though song bird migration peaks in May, early spring is a great time to learn and review waterfowl identification. Binoculars and a field guide are the essential tools.

To find waterfowl, visit lakes, ponds, flooded meadows and rivers, especially near dams. These are the habitats ducks frequent as they head north in spring.

First, notice how a duck behaves on the water. If it feeds on the surface by tipping its hind end into the air and stretching its neck beneath the water, it’s a dabbling duck. To fly, dabblers jump directly upward off the water.

If, on the other hand, a duck dives beneath the surface of the water to feed, it’s a diving duck. To fly, divers must patter along the surface to get airborne. That’s because their legs sit to the rear of the body to facilitate diving. This leg position makes divers ungainly on land, but they are excellent swimmers.

Here’s a brief guide to the key features of some male ducks you might encounter on local waterways. Hens are duller and require a bit more experience to identify, though in the spring, they typically associate with drakes of their own species.

 

Dabblers:

Wood Duck (1.3 lb.) — conspicuous slick-backed crest; multi-colored gorgeous bird; red eye ring, red bill; white throat and cheek markings; cavity-nester.

Mallard (2.4 lb.) — green head, white collar, yellow bill, chestnut breast, curly-cue tail.

American Wigeon (1.6 lb.) — white forehead and crown; green mask; white inner wing patch in flight.

Northern Pintail (1.8 lb.) — chocolate brown head; white breast with narrow white finger extending up neck; long pointed tail.

Northern Shoveler (1.3 lb.) — green head; large spatula-shaped bill; white breast; brown sides; powder blue shoulder patch in flight.

Teal — two eastern species, both small; blue-winged teal (13 oz.) — powder blue shoulder patch in flight and wears an obvious white crescent on face; green-winged teal (12 oz.) — the smallest dabbler; chestnut head with green ear patch that extends down neck; iridescent green patch on wing.

 

Divers:

Canvasback (2.7 lb.) — dark rusty head; profile of head angular; black bill and breast; light-colored back; favors deeper water.

Redhead (2.3 lb.) — rusty head; profile of head a bit concave rather than angular; breast black, back gray.

Ring-necked Duck (1.5 lb.) — poorly named; white ring near bill tip; head may appear pointed; gold eye; dark head, breast, and back; sides gray.

Common Goldeneye (1.9 lb.) — dark head with round white cheek patch; gold eye; breast and sides white; cavity-nester.

Bufflehead (13 oz.) — small; dark head with large white bonnet; white breast and sides; cavity-nester.

Mergansers — three species; all have “toothed” bill for catching fish; common merganser (3.4 lb.) is large with green head and red bill; white body, black back; cavity-nester; red-breasted merganser (2.3 lb.) has green head with shaggy crest, wide white collar, and streaked rusty breast; hooded merganser (1.4 lb.) has black bill, black crested head; when crest is fanned, large white patch appears; gold eye; chestnut sides; cavity-nester.

Ruddy Duck (1.2 lb.) — chunky compact duck; tail often cocked upward; head dark with large white cheeks; bill blue; body chestnut.

Other waterfowl you might encounter this time of year include a variety of much larger geese and swans.

Canada Geese (6 to 12 pounds) — widespread and common. Often loaf at city parks, golf courses and athletic fields, where their droppings foul the landscape. Identified by a conspicuous white chinstrap that marks the black head and neck.

Snow Geese (5 to 8 pounds) — stocky white geese with black primary wing feathers and a pink bill.

Tundra Swans (14.4 pounds) — large and all white; usually seen flying overhead in migration. Most individuals show a bit of yellow between the eye and the base of the black bill.

Trumpeter Swans (23 pounds) — huge and white with black bill. Once quite rare in the east, their numbers have rebounded in recent years.

Mute Swans (22 pounds) — huge and white with large orange bill. Native to Eurasia. Introduced to North America to populate parks and private lands; often a pest by harassing native waterfowl and destroying aquatic vegetation.

~~  Dr. Scott Shalaway - 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033 ~~

$600 Million Fracking Company Sues Tiny Ohio Town for Its Water

The Gilmer Free Press

A massive fracking company, Gulfport Energy, an oil and natural gas exploration and production company worth $600 million, is suing a small Ohio town for its water. Gulfport filed a lawsuit against the village of Barnesville (pop. 5,000) claiming the town violated an agreement to provide water from its reservoir.

Barnesville recently entered another contract with a company named Antero Resources. Gulfport believes the town is violating its previous contract by allowing a new company to use more water than Gulfport is allowed to.

There’s a huge problem with this argument: the town admits it cut off Gulfport’s withdrawals before, but it did so last year when Gulfport was the only company using the water, therefore it seems illogical to blame it on the new contract. The area’s Slope Creek Reservoir supplies water to all the residents of Barnesville as well as thousands of other people in nearby towns.

According to ShalePlay Ohio:

David Castle, a spokesman for a group known as the Concerned Barnesville Area Residents, said frackers had been drawing water from the reservoir until officials told them to stop last fall because the water level dropped so low.

“It’s been a tremendous source of concern for the community. We sent a petition signed by 2,500 people to Gulfport asking them to move their drilling pads farther away from the reservoir,“ Castle said.

The massive drilling boom in Ohio has increased concern about safety issues connected to fracking. 25 families were forced to leave their homes last year after a natural gas leak began at a fracking well. Attempts to stop fracking in the area have proved to be a massive challenge, as the EPA lacks authority and the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that towns can’t ban the practice through law.

~~  Michael Arria ~~

Governor and First Lady Tomblin Announce Plans for Annual Easter Carnival

The Gilmer Free Press

Carnival to be held on Saturday, April 04, 2015 at State Capitol Complex


CHARLESTON, WV – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin announced plans for the 2015 Easter Carnival on Saturday, April 04, 2015 from 11 AM to 1 PM at State Capitol Complex.

“Joanne and I always look forward to the annual Easter Carnival, and we hope West Virginians from across the state will plan to join us again this year to kick-off the spring season in the Mountain State,” Governor Tomblin said. “The day will be filled with family-friendly activities across the Capitol Complex, including the seventh annual A. James Manchin Memorial Marble Tournament at the Culture Center.”

“The Governor and I invite all West Virginians, young and old, to join us for a fun-filled celebration of the season,” First Lady Tomblin said. “We look forward to continuing this wonderful tradition, and we hope that this year’s Easter carnival will be the biggest one yet.”

The North Plaza of the State Capitol Complex will be transformed into an Easter Carnival complete with games, prizes, food and an appearance by the Easter Bunny.  Door prizes for children 12 years old and under will be awarded at noon. 

Immediately following the Easter Carnival, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History will host the seventh annual A. James Manchin Memorial Marble Tournament.

For more information about the tournament, contact Chris Reed, cultural program specialist for the Division, at 304.558.0220 x 185.

West Virginia News   150329

The Gilmer Free Press

ATTORNEY GENERAL PATRICK MORRISEY REMINDS CONSUMERS OF TIPS TO PROTECT THEIR INFORMATION FROM COLLECTION AGENCIES

CHARLESTON, WV — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today reminded consumers of tips they should remember when dealing with debt and credit collection agencies. In 2014, issues with credit cards and collection agencies were among the Top 10 most common complaints received by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

“This week is National Consumer Protection Week, and our Office wants to remind consumers that they have certain rights when it comes to debt collection,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “While consumers should always pay the debt they owe, debit and credit collection agencies must play by the rules and treat West Virginia consumers with respect.”

Collection agencies must adhere to the following additional rules as part of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:

  •  Calls before 8 AM or after 9 PM are prohibited.

  •  Debt collectors must send a written notice stating the amount of the debt, the creditor to whom the debt is owed, and a statement that the debtor has 30 days to dispute the debt, in writing.

  •  If the debt collection agency receives a written dispute letter from the consumer within the 30 day period, the debt collector must send verification of the debt to the alleged debtor. The collector may not attempt to collect the alleged debt until that proof is sent.

  •  Any and all communications, including telephone calls and letters, must immediately stop once a debt collector receives a “cease and desist” letter from you. Cease and desist letters are effective once received by the collection agency. They can be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested to establish a “paper trail.” The “cease and desist” letter has no effect if the collector is the original creditor.

  •  Debt collectors must state in the initial communication “This is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.” In subsequent communications the collector must disclose it is a debt collector. Debt collectors may not use fictitious company names, but rather must use the true company name.

  •  Once a collector is told an individual is represented by an attorney all conversations, messages, letters or any other communication must immediately stop with the consumer by the collection agency. Under West Virginia law, original creditors, not just collection agencies, also must stop contacting the debtor when it appears the debtor is represented by a lawyer and the lawyer’s name and address is known or could be easily ascertained.

“Our Office hopes that these tips will be helpful in educating consumers and that they will be armed with the knowledge and tools necessary to not fall victim of a scam,” Morrisey said. “The Consumer Protection Division often gets complaints from consumers who are simply trying to pay their debt and get rid of their financial trouble but are having to deal with harassing and high-pressure calls.”

For consumers who already have debt problems, Morrisey reminded them that debt collectors, including original creditors under West Virginia law, may not:

  •  Contact you repeatedly by phone with the intent to abuse or harass you.
  Use obscene or threatening language with consumers.

  •  Tell others how much debt you have, either verbally or in writing.

  •  Contact you at work if you or your employer has told them not to.

  •  Refuse or fail to identify themselves and for whom they work.

  •  Threaten to add additional fees, seize property or file criminal charges for failure to pay within a set timeframe.

  •  Threaten physical harm if you do not pay a debt.

  •  Contact you if you have a lawyer.

“It is important for citizens to not panic if they receive a suspicious debt or credit collection call,” Morrisey said. “The consumer should get as much information possible from the caller and let us know.”

Consumers who believe they may have been a victim of a scam or have been taken advantage of by a business should call the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Hotline at 800.368.8808 or the Eastern Panhandle field office in Martinsburg at 304.267.0239. To file a report online, go to www.wvago.gov.

VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT FOR WV SPRING HIGHWAY CLEANUP

CHARLESTON, WV — The state Department of Environmental Protection is accepting registrations for the Adopt-A-Highway Spring Statewide Cleanup.

Officials say volunteers have until April 10 to register for the event that takes place on April 25. The event is co-sponsored by the DEP and the state Division of Highways, the Adopt-A-Highway.

Individuals, families, churches, businesses, schools, civic organizations, government agencies and communities can register to pick up trash on almost any state-maintained road, back road, or main route.

Volunteers must be at least 12 years old to participate. They will be provided garbage bags, work gloves and safety vests. The state also takes care of disposing of collected trash.

Officials say more than 4,800 volunteers turned out for the spring 2014 Adopt-A-Highway spring cleanup and cleared over 1,500 miles of West Virginia roadways.

HEATING BILL AID AVAILABLE FOR LOW-INCOME IN WV

CHARLESTON, WV - Low-income West Virginians can get help paying heating bills through a state program.

The Department of Health and Resources will begin taking applications on Monday for the Emergency Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

Officials say households must meet all program guidelines to qualify and be in an emergency situation that will disrupt the primary heating source if not met.

Residents must go to their local DHHR office to apply. The program will operate until funds are exhausted.

Officials say those whose primary source of heat is either gas or electricity must provide their cut-off notice when applying.

Residents using other primary heating sources or bulk fuel may qualify for assistance if their heating fuel is at a low level during the application period.

WV AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT SEEKING TO HONOR CONTRIBUTIONS

CHARLESTON, WV - The state Department of Agriculture is seeking nominations for a program honoring contributions by women to the agriculture, forestry and specialty crop industries.

The West Virginia Women in Agriculture program has recognized dozens of women since it began in 2010. Previous honorees have been involved in a variety of fields including beef, dairy, education, specialty crop production and forestry.

Nominations are due by June 01. Forms can be obtained by contacting 304.585.2210 or on the department’s website at www.wvagriculture.org.

Biographies of honorees will be featured on department displays during the State Fair of West Virginia.

West Virginia Arrests   150329

The Gilmer Free Press

MINERAL COUNTY MAN TOOK AIM AT TROOPERS AFTER A 90 MINUTE STANDOFF

KEYSER, WV — West Virginia state police shot and killed an armed man overnight after a 90-minute standoff.

Police identified the victim as Harvey E. Oates, age 42.

Troopers said the incident began Friday night near Keyser upon receiving a call concerning a distraught man in possession of a gun.

Police were familiar with Oates, who had outstanding warrants for trespassing and driving on a license that had been revoked for DUI.

Oates fled the scene in a vehicle a short distance before running off the road, state police said.

He left the vehicle, threatening to shoot officers and himself. After negotiating with him for about 90 minutes, police said he became “extremely agitated” and began moving toward a trooper, aiming his weapon.

The trooper was forced to fire at Oates, who was killed, according to a state police news release.

COURT ACCEPTS MOTION TO MOVE ZUCCARO TO SOUTH CAROLINA

WELLSBURG, WV - The Brooke County Circuit Court issued an order to return Rocco Zuccaro to Sharpe Hospital in Weston, the same facility he escaped from, for the next three months for treatment in order to attain competency to stand trial for murder.

But late Friday afternoon, the court accepted a motion to change that order.

“So, what we are doing, is there is a separate facility that is actually located in the state of South Carolina that is a more secure facility that we believe is more appropriate for the placement of Rocco Zuccaro given his recent escape. That will provide better security measures that under West Virginia Law, Sharpe Hospital is not able to provide,“ said Brooke County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Barki III.

Barki cited multiple pieces of evidence in the motion in order for it to be passed, one being Zuccaro still needed to reach competency for trial, and that even though the court’s order Thursday night would’ve required Zuccaro to wear leg shackles, but by law, Sharpe Hospital cannot enforce that.

The Bureau of Behavioral Health and the Department of Health and Human Resources worked with the Brooke County Prosecuting Attorney’s office on this motion, but say they would have been prepared to properly handle Zuccaro and treat him back to a proper state of mind for trial.

“We are not concerned about being able to provide the highest level of quality care which meets the needs of this individual, and we were prepared should we be court ordered to receive this patient, we are prepared to abide by that court order,“ said Vickie Jones, Commissioner with the Bureau of Behavioral Health Facilities.

Sharpe Hospital began installing security cameras and other new security measures Friday.

Zuccaro faces a murder charge out of Brooke County, and a felony escape charge in Lewis.

MAN ARRESTED BY HUNTINGTON POLICE AFTER A HIT-AND-RUN

HUNTINGTON, WV - On Saturday March 28, 2015 around 11 AM a driver in a white car hit a black SUV near the Halgreer Boulevard exit on WV Highway 10 south.

Huntington police, Barboursville police, and the Huntington Fire Department all arrived on scene.

According to Huntington police the driver that caused the wreck got out of his car and ran on foot.

The man was caught and arrested by Huntington police.

U.S.A. News   150329

The Gilmer Free Press

FEDERAL WORKER TAX DELINQUENCY REACHES HIGHEST POINT IN PAST DECADE

Federal employees have fallen further behind on their taxes, with their combined overdue debt to the government rising last year to its highest level in a decade.

Civilian federal personnel owed more than $1.14 billion in back taxes in 2014, according to Internal Revenue Service data that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released this week.

Despite the higher dollar amount, fewer federal employees were tax delinquent last year compared with 2013. The number dropped 2% to 113,800 workers, representing about 4% of the U.S. government’s 2.85 million-strong civilian workforce, including postal personnel.

“It is disconcerting that federal civilian employees owe more than one billion dollars in back taxes,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chairman of the committee, said in a statement Tuesday. “These employees are not exempt from their civic responsibility to fulfill tax obligations and those who refuse to pay what they owe should be held accountable.”

Among executive departments, Housing and Urban Development finished last year with the highest rate of delinquency, with 4.7% of the agency’s personnel owing back taxes. Veterans Affairs had the second-highest rate at 4.4%.

The Treasury Department fared best, with a delinquency rate of 1.2%. The Energy Department followed with a rate of 2.1%.

Many congressional employees also have struggled to pay their taxes. The data shows that about 5% of House staff and 3.5% within the Senate were delinquent last year.

Additionally, 1.4% of active-duty military personnel and 2.4% of reserve troops owed back taxes in 2014.

The latest numbers come less than two months after Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) proposed legislation to end bonuses for federal employees who owe outstanding federal tax debt. The measure would allow exceptions for personnel who have experienced economic hardship or have agreed to payment plans.

An inspector general’s report in April revealed that the IRS had doled out more than $1 million in financial awards to hundreds of tax-delinquent IRS employees in recent years.

FEDERAL WORKERS COULD PAY MORE FOR HEALTH CARE, GET LESS FOR RETIREMENT UNDER GOP PLAN

The federal budget proposed by House Republicans would reduce the amount of money that government employees earn through a popular retirement fund and potentially increase the amount they have to contribute to their health-care plan, according to newly released details.

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) last week unveiled the spending blueprint — which aims to achieve several hundred billions of dollars in savings through measures affecting federal employees — but did not initially release the specifics.

After those become known, groups representing federal workers blasted the House Republican budget, saying it calls for the most drastic cuts for U.S. government employees in recent history.

Richard Thissen, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, criticized the plan as a “grossly unfair and misguided budget.” He added that the changes amount to “nothing more than a pay cut for federal employees and broken promises to federal retirees living on fixed incomes.”

Supporters of the GOP plan say that it achieves important savings across the government and that the changes in the retirement and health-care plans would bring federal employees more in line with local and state civil servants.

The House GOP budget would lower the rate of return for the most popular fund within the Thrift Savings Plan, a retirement program available only to federal employees and members of the uniformed services. The savings would result from offering a lower interest rate on the G Fund, which invests in short-term U.S. Treasury securities. The fund has offered relatively high interest rates on par with those for long-term bonds.

Financial experts cite the Thrift Savings Plan as a model for 401(k) plans because of its simplicity, low fees and diverse investment options, among other benefits.

The House Republican plan would also require federal employees to contribute more toward their retirement plans, but it does not specify an amount. Instead it refers to the recommendations of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles committee, which called for the government and its workforce to pay an equal share toward the cost of the benefit.

Under that proposal, federal employees’ contributions would increase by about 6% of their salaries. Their current rates are generally about 7% of pay, including Social Security deductions for workers who must pay into the system.

On health care, the House GOP budget would tie the government’s share of federal employee health-care costs to inflation, ditching a formula based on the annual rates of change within the available plans. The proposal would save the government an estimated $39 billion over 10 years, but critics say it would effectively increase federal worker contributions, because overall inflation rises slower than health-care cost inflation.

Additionally, the plan would base federal retirees’ health benefits on length of service, reducing premium subsidies for those who had “relatively short” careers with the government to achieve a projected savings of $1.2 billion over a decade.

Price’s office declined to comment Monday, but he defended his proposals in a statement last week. “By demanding Washington live within its means, we are forcing government to be more efficient, effective and accountable, providing our local communities the freedom and flexibility to improve the delivery of vital services and assistance to those in need, and saving and strengthening vital programs for America’s seniors,” he said.

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, sent a letter to House lawmakers on Monday calling on them to oppose the Republican plan. “Balancing the budget on the backs of federal workers is unacceptable,” she said.

Federal employee groups argue that the federal workforce has already shouldered too much of the burden for deficit-reduction measures during the Obama administration, citing more than $110 billion in savings realized through pay freezes and increased retirement contributions for new employees.

J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a statement Monday that the latest proposals from House Republicans represent a “direct assault” on the government’s workforce.

House Republicans have touted their plan as a way to save more than $5 trillion on projected spending over the next decade without increasing taxes.

House Democrats have proposed an alternative budget that would raise taxes on the wealthy, expand benefits for the working poor and fund federal agencies at rates closer to what President Obama proposed in his 2016 fiscal plan. It would not cut federal worker pay or benefits.

“The House Democrat budget helps federal employees by providing robust funding to all agencies to perform agency operations,” said a Democratic aide for the House Budget Committee, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the plan.

World News   150329

The Gilmer Free Press

WHY WELL-EDUCATED WESTERNERS ARE JOINING THE ISLAMIC STATE

In the past few months, we have heard dozens of stories of Jihadi Johns and Janes who left their comfortable Western lives to join the Islamic State. One surprising fact about them is their level of education. These recruits don’t come from low-income, low-education backgrounds. For the most part, they’re college graduates. Some even have advanced degrees.

For example, Jihadi John, the frontman in the Islamic State’s beheading videos, is believed to be Mohammed Emwazi, a naturalized British citizen with a computer science degree from the University of Westminster.

This is particularly troubling, because we think of education as insurance against radicalism. Higher learning, the theory goes, makes us more humane, and it offers us opportunities and advancements that keep us happy in our Western lives.

But a slew of research suggests that’s not the case. After studying the genocide in Rwanda for more than a decade, Rakiya Omaar, director of the Governance and Justice Group, discovered that well-educated professionals, including doctors and teachers, were as ruthlessly inhumane as others. Those who rescued others at enormous personal risk, on the other hand, were “almost universally peasants.”

Omaar abandoned the long held belief that education alone prevents horror. “It was very shocking to me that education isn’t … the answer,” she said in a Newsweek article from 2008.

Other researchers have reported similar findings. Samuel Oliner, a 12-year-old boy who witnessed his entire family killed by Nazis, was rescued by an extraordinary Catholic woman who took him in, taught him the catechism and changed his name to save his life. Much later, in honor of his brave rescuer, Oliner and his wife worked to identify what distinguished people who commit atrocities from those who resist such evil. Surprisingly, their pioneering research into World War II rescuers revealed that education level did not predict which individuals would commit physical atrocities, nor would it identify those who would rescue people from brutality.

A sense of autonomy, or independent thinking, was an essential characteristic the Oliners identified as associated with rescuers. Few rescuers felt that obedience was a core value in their childhood home. In contrast, those who commit atrocities, along with bystanders or observers of evil, were 9-to-12-times more likely to cite obedience as a core family value. Early education that included critical thinking and a respect for universal humanitarian principles and rights made all the difference in the choices rescuers made.

At this time, many teachers are pressured to teach to the test — focusing solely on math and reading while missing opportunities to nurture students’ character, compassion and ability to cooperate. This is a devastating loss: The ability to cooperate may be the most important skill for students to navigate the challenges of the future in a diverse world.

But there is a solution. Decades of research by David and Roger Johnson, Robert Slavin and others have shown that cooperative learning environments reduce prejudice, enhance cross ethnic group friendships and nurture independent thinking. In a cooperative learning classroom, students use techniques such as dialogue, structured cooperative interaction and task sharing, debate and other higher order thinking strategies as modes of learning. In contrast to rote memorization, cooperative strategies enable students to construct deeper understanding through memorable social interactions. Students who are able to cooperate and think independently are more likely — not less — to stand up for what they believe is right. Research by the Heydenberks has shown that increased cooperation enhances moral reasoning. Students are more likely to extend basic human rights to others regardless of in-group or out-group status.

Luckily, the same educational strategies that cultivate independent thinking, autonomy and empathic reasoning also raise academic achievement levels. More than 200 education studies led by David Johnson and Roger Johnson from the University of Minnesota show that cooperative interaction in classrooms significantly increases academic comprehension for all students.

In short, cooperative education that encourages critical thinking from multiple perspectives plants the seeds of a civil, diverse society while increasing academic achievement, cooperation and creativity. Moral reasoning and empathy develop when all children have opportunities to learn the essential lessons of cooperation, and conflict resolution — respectfully exploring different perspectives, finding common ground and discovering their common humanity through day-to-day academic and social interactions. Only then do respect, empathy and reverence for others become characteristics of the school culture. Cooperative education offers an important opportunity for reaching our academic goals while paving the path toward preserving our humanity.

REPORTS: DESPERATE PILOT USED AX ON LOCKED COCKPIT DOOR OF DOOMED PLANE

In a last-ditch attempt to enter the cockpit, the pilot of doomed Germanwings Flight 9525 used an ax to try to break down the reinforced door moments before the plane slammed into the French Alps, reports said Friday.

The accounts added another dramatic and tragic image as Tuesday’s tragedy unfolded: passengers crying out in terror as they realized the plane was on a collision course with the peaks, and the pilot desperately trying to override the apparent lockout measures of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz and regain control of the Airbus A320.

The Gilmer Free Press


The reports, in French and German media outlets, could not be independently verified. Typically, however, the ax is located inside the cockpit of an A320, pilots familiar with the aircraft said, and it was unclear how the locked-out pilot would have had access to the tool.

French prosecutors said the cockpit flight recorder was peppered with the sounds of the increasingly frantic banging on the cockpit door. And – as a chilling counterpoint – there was only the subtle sounds of Lubitz breathing after apparently setting the plane on a gradual descent into the mountains of southern France with 150 people aboard.

“Andreas, open that door! Open that door!’” the pilot yelled before reaching for an ax, France’s private television channel Métropole 6 reported, citing French investigators.

The German newspaper Bild, citing security sources, also reported the pilot tried to slice into the door with an ax, which is part of the normal cockpit safety equipment aboard an A320 for uses such opening gaps in walls to extinguish a fire.

An ax, however, would likely be insufficient to splinter current cockpit doors, which have been made near combat-grade strength since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The doors now have complex locking systems and reinforced materials that can include Kevlar, a fiber-weave built to resist gunfire.

On Friday, the parent company of Germanwings, Lufthansa, joined the growing list of airlines around the world adopting rules requiring two crew members in the cockpit at all times. The rules were imposed for U.S. carriers after the 9/11 attacks, but not followed by all airlines around the world.

NATIONAL and Local FEEDER & STOCKER CATTLE SUMMARY - WEEK ENDING 03.27.2015

The Gilmer Free Press
RECEIPTS:    Auctions     Direct    Video/Internet     Total
This Week     215,800     52,600         2,400        270,800 
Last Week     265,700     32,100        25,600        323,400 
Last Year     224,300     70,600        35,200        330,100

Compared to last week, yearling feeder cattle traded firm to 5.00 higher with instances 6.00-8.00 higher.

Direct sales were very active this week and posted the full advance on feeder cattle.

Steer and heifer calves sold mostly steady to 5.00 higher.

Buyers flexed their muscle in pursuing all classes of feeder cattle this week.

Improvements in the weather across the country also did its part in adding to the feeder cattle market, especially on calves and stocker cattle that are in suitable condition for immediate turn-out and compensatory gain on greening pastures.

The Southern Plains received rain and warm weather to help improve wheat crop conditions, and boost summer grazing interest on very good buyer demand.

With “grass fever” in full swing following the warmer temperatures, market signals from late last week started finding confidence as most major salebarns noticed higher prices as farmer feeders and local backgrounders entered the mix.

Cattle feeding can be frustrating at times with expensive overhead, fluctuations in feed prices and volatile market prices but grazing cattle on grass can be just as satisfying and rewarding.

Inexpensive growth and gains are what backgrounders receive on pasture and what motivates cattlemen and farmer feeders to assemble their stockers each year.

At the St. Joseph Stockyards on Wednesday sold a string 105 head of fancy black steers weighing 828 lbs. settled on a bid of 234.00 with a part load of lighter steer mates in thin condition weighing 710 lbs. dropping the gavel at 266.00.

Demand continues to remain very good for popular weight steer calves weighing 400-650 lbs., with many areas selling 500-550 lb. steer calves selling near or above the 3.00/lb. level.

Cattle futures busted out of the gate on Monday with sharp triple-digit gains after the fat cattle market closed 2.00-3.00 higher last Friday with most live prices trading from 163.00-165.00.

Open interest for Live and Feeder cattle contracts has increased with this rally.

Live and feeder cattle markets are starting to see prices that many analysts thought we might not see for a while or so soon.

Cattle feeders are finding confidence with tight supplies and seeing some bullish momentum on the board as boxed beef prices received a shot in the arm at Midweek with sharp gains as Choice product closed above 250.00.

This week’s reported auction volume included 56% over 600 lbs. and 41% heifers.

AUCTION RECEIPTS:  215,800   Last Week:  265,700   Last Year:  224,300

Buckhannon Livestock, Buckhannon, WV
Weighted Average Report for Friday March 27, 2015

Cattle Receipts:  317

Feeders made up 100% of the offering.

The feeder supply included 21% steers, and 79% heifers.

Near 100% of the run weighed over 600 lbs.

Feeder Steers                Medium and Large 1 - 2
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
   30    775-775    775       186.00         186.00
   35    825-825    825       186.00         186.00

Feeder Heifers                Medium and Large 1 - 2
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
   30    775-775    775       186.00         186.00
  222    800-825    805    185.00-186.00     185.18

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South Branch Livestock, Moorefield, WV
Weighted Average Report for Wednesday March 25, 2015

Cattle Receipts:  106 

Slaughter cows made up 50% of the offering, slaughter bulls 13%,
replacement cows 2%, other cows 7%, and feeders 29%.

The feeder supply included 38% steers, 38% heifers, and 25% bulls.

Near 6% of the run weighed over 600 lbs.

Feeder Steers                Medium and Large 1
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1    435-435    435       282.00         282.00
    1    450-450    450       250.00         250.00
    1    575-575    575       268.00         268.00
                             Medium and Large 2
    1    370-370    370       237.00         237.00
    1    565-565    565       260.00         260.00
    1    590-590    590       199.00         199.00   Yearlings

Feeder Heifers                Medium and Large 1
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1    395-395    395       229.00         229.00
    1    565-565    565       222.00         222.00
    1    655-655    655       189.00         189.00
                             Medium and Large 2
    1    340-340    340       236.00         236.00
    1    430-430    430       220.00         220.00   Exotic
    1    505-505    505       229.00         229.00

Feeder Bulls                Medium and Large 2
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1    290-290    290       278.00         278.00
    2    470-475    473    225.00-233.00     228.98
    1    530-530    530       211.00         211.00

Bred Cows                  Medium and Large 1 - 2 Young
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1    795-795    795       795.00         795.00   Per Head  7-9 Months Bred

Slaughter Cows                Breaker 70-80% Lean
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    6   1405-1870  1567     87.00-94.00       91.16
                               Boner 80-85% Lean
    5   1210-1390  1288     85.50-93.00       91.25
    4   1110-1225  1145    104.00-113.00     109.75   High Dressing
    2   1425-1430  1428     88.00-93.00       90.50
                                Lean 85-90% Lean
    6   1130-1365  1263     83.50-93.00       87.06
    2   1095-1125  1110    107.00-113.00     109.96   High Dressing
    2    965-1090  1028     74.00-83.50       79.04   Low Dressing
    1   1430-1430  1430        96.00          96.00

Heiferettes                  Medium and Large 1 - 2 Young
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    2    625-810    718    124.00-131.00     127.05   
    1   1155-1155  1155       116.00         116.00   
    1   1215-1215  1215       121.00         121.00   

Slaughter Bulls                Yield Grade 1-2
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1   1105-1105  1105       131.00         131.00
    4   1740-1990  1841    119.00-130.00     124.72
    2   1870-2165  2018    109.50-113.50     111.65   Low Dressing

Baby Calves
 Head				Beef		Dairy
    2  Newborn to 4 weeks   290.00-350.00

Slaughter Lambs
 Head 	Wt Range	Price Range
   14   90-100		185.00-199.00 
			mostly 199.00	
Goats
 Head			Sel1		Sel2		Sel3
   14  20-40lb		94.00	    73.00-74.00		51.00
    9  40-60lb	    119.00-138.00  105.00-109.00   
    5  60-80lb          155.00		122.00	       106.00
    1  SM Billy     191.00-195.00
    1  SL Wether	240.00
    2  BG Nannies   140.00-180.00

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Weston Livestock Marketing, Weston, WV
Weighted Average Report for Saturday March 21, 2015

Cattle Receipts:  228

Slaughter cows made up 21% of the offering, slaughter bulls 5%,
replacement cows 2%, other cows 1%, and feeders 71%.

The feeder supply included 50% steers, 37% heifers, and 12% bulls.

Near 19% of the run weighed over 600 lbs.

Feeder Steers                Large 1 - 2
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1    385-385    385       300.00         300.00
                             Medium and Large 1 - 2
    1    235-235    235       235.00         235.00
    4    370-373    372    250.00-282.50     268.13
    1    440-440    440       205.50         205.50   RED
    7    450-490    472    250.00-267.50     263.00
   21    510-545    531    220.00-292.50     276.45
    1    545-545    545       210.00         210.00   RWF
    1    535-535    535       200.00         200.00   RED
   31    557-585    565    242.00-272.50     266.98
    8    608-610    608    222.00-235.00     233.37
    1    695-695    695       195.00         195.00   RWF
    1    670-670    670       195.00         195.00   SMOKE
    2    738-738    738       218.00         218.00
    1    805-805    805       181.00         181.00

Feeder Heifers                Medium and Large 1 - 2
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    2    260-270    265    200.00-250.00     225.47
    6    303-340    315    225.00-240.00     228.59
    1    315-315    315       252.50         252.50   SMOKE
    6    355-395    370    200.00-265.00     240.07
    1    390-390    390       200.00         200.00   RWF
    1    390-390    390       225.00         225.00   SMOKE
    4    405-435    423    235.00-257.50     249.31
    1    400-400    400       162.50         162.50   SMOKE
    2    410-440    425    242.50-247.50     244.91   RED
    6    455-473    464    210.00-240.00     233.47
    1    470-470    470       225.00         225.00   SMOKE
    1    535-535    535       235.00         235.00
    1    500-500    500       217.50         217.50   RWF
    1    540-540    540       215.00         215.00   SMOKE
    7    573-595    584    202.00-214.00     208.19
    1    595-595    595       150.00         150.00   SMOKE
   10    611-615    612    216.00-218.00     216.40
    1    640-640    640       218.00         218.00   SMOKE
    5    675-675    675       217.50         217.50
    2    720-720    720       197.50         197.50

Feeder Bulls                Medium and Large 1 - 2
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1    225-225    225       295.00         295.00
    2    360-395    378    220.00-225.00     222.38
    1    390-390    390       297.50         297.50   RED
    1    420-420    420       211.00         211.00
    5    460-495    482    225.00-250.00     237.07
    2    535-545    540    242.50-257.50     249.93
    1    545-545    545       230.00         230.00   SMOKE
    1    580-580    580       204.50         204.50
                             Small and Medium 1 - 2
    5    300-300    300       310.00         310.00
    1    560-560    560       212.50         212.50

Bred Cows                  Medium and Large 1 - 2 Young
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1   1575-1575  1575   999.00-1750.00    1750.00   Per Head  4-6 Months Bred
    1   1125-1125  1125   999.00-1435.00    1435.00   Per Head  7-9 Months Bred
    1   1220-1220  1220   999.00-1800.00    1800.00   Per Head  7-9 Months Bred
                            Medium and Large 1 - 2 Middle Aged
    1   1210-1210  1210       111.00         111.00   Per Head  4-6 Months Bred
                            Medium and Large 1 - 2 Aged
    1    945-945    945   999.00-1225.00    1225.00   Per Head  4-6 Months Bred

Slaughter Cows                Breaker 70-80% Lean
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1   1505-1505  1505       107.00         107.00   Low Dressing
                               Boner 80-85% Lean
   14    945-1375  1146    100.00-110.00     105.07
    5   1185-1390  1290    111.00-116.00     113.21   High Dressing
    4   1055-1275  1153     91.00-97.00       94.62   Low Dressing
    5   1465-1715  1554    108.00-114.00     110.16
    1   1540-1540  1540       109.00         109.00   High Dressing
    2   1410-1535  1473     96.00-98.00       97.04   Low Dressing
                                Lean 85-90% Lean
    8    970-1280  1126     87.00-98.00       93.83
    1   1175-1175  1175       123.00         123.00   High Dressing
    6    900-1175  1061     70.00-84.00       76.09   Low Dressing
    2   1435-1495  1465    118.00-122.00     119.96   High Dressing

Other Cows                  Medium and Large 1 - 2 Middle Aged
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    2   1205-1240  1223    121.00-123.00     122.01   Per Head

Slaughter Bulls                Yield Grade 1-2
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1   1060-1060  1060       108.00         108.00
    6   1680-2395  1902    112.00-119.00     116.27
    3   1760-2090  1920    121.00-129.00     124.44   High Dressing
    1   1920-1920  1920       105.00         105.00   Low Dressing

Heiferettes 	Medium and Large 1-2 Young
 Head 	Wt Range 	Price Range
  3	940-1255	140-110

Baby Calves			Beef
Head Age range			Avg Price
 2   Newborn to 4 weeks		385-400

Cow/Calf Pairs
Head Age Rage             	 Price Range
 1  over 8 w/calf under 250lb   1875

Bulls By the Head

Head Wt Range  Price Range
 2   1600-1620  1150-1976

Goats 
Head	Type  		  Sel2
 8	 Big Nannies	20-135
 4       Big Billies    20-140
 1	 Sl Wethers     82.5
 3	 Kids under 20lb 12.5-75

Ewes
Head 	Wt Range	Price Range
 1	215		81

Feeder Lambs
Head  wt range	Price Range
 6	85-100	100-200

Feeder Pigs 
Head  Wt Range 	Price Range
 20   165-285    70-45

.
.
.

JACKSON COUNTY REGIONAL LIVESTOCK, RIPLEY, WV
Weighted Average Report for Saturday March 21, 2015

Cattle Receipts:  267

Slaughter cows made up 15% of the offering, slaughter bulls 3%,
replacement cows 6%, other cows 2%, and feeders 73%.

The feeder supply included 41% steers, 36% heifers, and 23% bulls.

Near 23% of the run weighed over 600 lbs.


Feeder Steers                Medium and Large 1 - 2
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    4    250-295    274    247.50-280.00     269.99
    2    325-325    325    271.00-295.00     283.00
    2    350-390    370    265.00-267.50     266.18
    1    355-355    355       290.00         290.00   RED
   10    405-425    414    242.50-320.00     301.35
    1    415-415    415       290.00         290.00   RED
    5    465-485    477    235.00-281.00     268.70
    8    510-540    524    243.00-267.00     254.67
    1    540-540    540       197.50         197.50   RWF
    2    580-590    585    245.00-247.00     245.99
    3    622-625    623    239.00-241.00     239.67
    6    665-688    679    206.00-224.00     221.00
    6    725-745    732    208.00-215.00     213.81
    1    750-750    750       205.00         205.00
    3    825-825    825    179.00-186.00     181.33
    5    862-875    870    174.00-186.00     181.24
    1    930-930    930       174.00         174.00   RED
    1   1135-1135  1135       143.00         143.00

                             Small 1 - 2
    1    470-470    470       227.50         227.50   RED

                             Medium and Large 2
    1    260-260    260       220.00         220.00
    2    330-330    330       257.50         257.50
    1    360-360    360       250.00         250.00
    1    445-445    445       222.50         222.50
    1    435-435    435       240.00         240.00   SMOKE
    2    450-465    458    237.50-255.00     246.11
    1    720-720    720       127.00         127.00

                             Holstein Large 2
    1    510-510    510       124.00         124.00
    7    571-576    573    151.00-161.00     156.69


Feeder Heifers                Medium and Large 1 - 2
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1    200-200    200       265.00         265.00
    1    275-275    275       267.50         267.50
    4    300-325    314    250.00-271.00     256.04
    4    370-395    387    250.00-257.50     254.99
    1    375-375    375       170.00         170.00   RWF
    1    360-360    360       227.50         227.50   SMOKE
   14    400-440    422    240.00-267.50     255.72
    8    450-495    471    230.00-262.50     252.47
    2    482-482    482       220.00         220.00   RED
    9    515-545    522    225.00-255.00     238.16
    1    500-500    500       255.00         255.00   SMOKE
    6    555-585    574    237.50-245.00     240.12
    2    610-625    618       217.00         217.00
    3    675-690    685    182.00-184.00     183.34
    2    722-722    722       169.00         169.00   Fleshy

                             Medium and Large 2
    3    325-330    328    222.50-237.50     232.55
    2    367-367    367       260.00         260.00
    1    445-445    445       210.00         210.00
    1    525-525    525       204.00         204.00

                             Medium and Large 3
    1    315-315    315       185.00         185.00   SMOKE
    1    450-450    450       190.00         190.00
    1    550-550    550       151.00         151.00
    1    615-615    615       131.00         131.00


Feeder Bulls                Medium and Large 1 - 2
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1    270-270    270       300.00         300.00
    1    355-355    355       260.00         260.00
    3    405-430    418    250.00-317.50     293.21
    1    445-445    445       250.00         250.00   RED
    6    450-495    472    217.50-260.00     242.74
    4    505-520    515    221.00-245.00     238.61
    1    535-535    535       219.00         219.00   SMOKE
   10    555-595    574    216.00-242.50     234.97
    2    580-580    580       217.00         217.00   SMOKE
    3    600-645    628    220.00-241.00     233.18
    1    630-630    630       181.00         181.00   SMOKE
    1    690-690    690       216.00         216.00
    2    930-935    933    141.00-142.00     141.50
    1   1040-1040  1040       137.00         137.00
    1   1050-1050  1050       140.00         140.00

                             Small 1 - 2
    1    430-430    430       167.50         167.50   SMOKE
    1    545-545    545       210.00         210.00
    1    620-620    620       220.00         220.00

                             Medium and Large 3
    1    260-260    260       215.00         215.00
    1    530-530    530       177.50         177.50
    2    570-595    583    152.50-160.00     156.33
    1    645-645    645       150.00         150.00



Bred Cows                  Medium and Large 1 - 2 Young
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    2    880-880    880   999.00-1150.00    1125.00   Per Head  1-3 Months Bred
    5   1050-1130  1098   999.00-2100.00    1731.83   Per Head  1-3 Months Bred
    2   1350-1385  1368   999.00-1800.00    1775.32   Per Head  1-3 Months Bred
    2    940-1015   978   999.00-1900.00    1671.61   Per Head  4-6 Months Bred
    1   1115-1115  1115   999.00-1535.00    1535.00   Per Head  7-9 Months Bred

                            Medium and Large 1 - 2 Middle Aged
    2   1000-1130  1065   999.00-1450.00    1423.47   Per Head  4-6 Months Bred
    1   1235-1235  1235   999.00-1875.00    1875.00   Per Head  4-6 Months Bred
    2    925-1025   975   999.00-1750.00    1644.87   Per Head  7-9 Months Bred


Slaughter Cows                Breaker 70-80% Lean
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1   1605-1605  1605       118.00         118.00   High Dressing

                               Boner 80-85% Lean
    1    895-895    895       102.00         102.00
    2    760-850    805     78.00-84.50       81.43   Low Dressing
   10    985-1335  1176     96.00-105.00     101.45
    9   1000-1345  1211    106.00-119.00     111.64   High Dressing
    6   1000-1385  1215     83.50-95.00       90.42   Low Dressing
    3   1425-1490  1467    106.00-115.00     109.59   High Dressing
    4   1455-1640  1536     82.00-98.00       91.94   Low Dressing
    1   2125-2125  2125       104.50         104.50

                                Lean 85-90% Lean
    1    855-855    855        97.50          97.50
    1   1085-1085  1085       105.00         105.00   High Dressing
    1    900-900    900        90.00          90.00   Low Dressing
    1   1485-1485  1485        40.00          40.00   Low Dressing


Slaughter Cattle
 Head
    4   1085-1475.00     131.00-145.00


Heiferettes                  Medium and Large 1 - 2 Young
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1    735-735    735       143.00         143.00   Per Head
    2    975-980    978    125.00-138.00     131.52   Per Head

                            Medium and Large 1 - 2 Middle Aged
    1    805-805    805       115.00         115.00   Per Head
    1   1200-1200  1200       117.00         117.00   Per Head



Slaughter Bulls
 Head
    6
    1   1295-1295  1295       115.00         115.00   Low Dressing
    1   1545-1545  1545       130.00         130.00
    2   1580-2050  1815    136.00-138.00     136.87   High Dressing
    4   1670-2035  1849    120.00-128.00     123.37   Low Dressing


Cow Calf Pairs
 Head
          2-8yrs old w/calf under 250lbs        1700.00
          2-8yrs old w/calf over 250lbs      2400.00-2500.00
          Over 8 w/calf under 250lbs            1650.00
          Over 8 w/calf over 250lbs

Baby Calves
 Head
    6    Newborn Beef   250.00-450.00
         Newborn Dairy   45.00-200.00


Goats                        Sel 1          Sel2
 Head     Sm Billies       97.50-135.00
          Bg Billies      140.00-240.00
          Sm Nannies      100.00-142.50
          Big Nannies     110.00-210.00
          Wethers         125.00-142.50
          kids             20.00-75.00
          
Ewes
 Head
    6    65.00-110.00



Feeders Lambs
 Head
    8   10    60-75lbs    110.00-215.00

Slaughter Hogs
 Head
    10   200-250  60.00
         250-300  62.00-67.50
         300 & up 72.50

Feeder Pigs
 Head
    5   30.00-40.00

Sows
 Head
    2   42.50-52.50

.
.
.

Greenbrier Valley Livestock Market, Caldwell, WV
Weighted Average Report for Friday March 20, 2015

Cattle Receipts:  146

Slaughter cows made up 19% of the offering, slaughter bulls 1%,
other cows 1%, and feeders 79%.

The feeder supply included 39% steers, 51% heifers, and 10% bulls.

Near 23% of the run weighed over 600 lbs.

Feeder Steers                Medium and Large 1
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1    265-265    265       277.50         277.50
    1    365-365    365       302.50         302.50
    5    451-451    451       280.00         280.00
    1    496-496    496       260.00         260.00   SMOKE
   10    502-540    506    255.00-256.00     255.89
    6    601-601    601       244.00         244.00
    4    675-690    680    177.50-231.00     214.44
                             Small 1
    1    945-945    945       133.00         133.00
                             Medium and Large 2
    1    315-315    315       285.00         285.00
    2    390-390    390       278.00         278.00
    4    435-435    435       260.00         260.00
    4    455-495    473    220.00-262.50     246.55
    1    510-510    510       220.00         220.00   SMOKE
    1    575-575    575       212.50         212.50
    1    625-625    625       160.00         160.00   EXOTIC
    1    700-700    700       162.50         162.50   EXOTIC
                             Medium and Large 3
    1    465-465    465       245.00         245.00   RED

Feeder Heifers                Medium and Large 1
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    2    415-445    430    240.00-245.00     242.41
    5    457-457    457       244.00         244.00
   14    505-537    530    227.50-238.00     229.64
   19    555-595    570    198.00-226.00     221.86
    1    565-565    565       222.50         222.50   SMOKE
    2    641-641    641       210.00         210.00
    1    640-640    640       200.00         200.00   SMOKE
    1    650-650    650       207.50         207.50
    1    785-785    785       157.50         157.50
    1    870-870    870       150.00         150.00
                             Medium and Large 2
    1    370-370    370       232.50         232.50
    1    435-435    435       200.00         200.00
    5    510-530    519    210.00-230.00     221.15
    1    665-665    665       186.00         186.00
    1    656-656    656       142.50         142.50   SMOKE
                             Small 2
    1    410-410    410       210.00         210.00
                             Medium and Large 3
    1    290-290    290       230.00         230.00
    1    680-680    680       120.00         120.00

Feeder Bulls                Medium and Large 1
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1    415-415    415       290.00         290.00
    3    560-565    562    247.00-250.00     248.01
    1    680-680    680       158.00         158.00   SMOKE
    1    735-735    735       195.00         195.00
                             Medium and Large 2
    1    445-445    445       260.00         260.00
    2    625-625    625       227.00         227.00
                             Small and Medium 2
    1    460-460    460       225.00         225.00
                             Small and Medium 2 - 3
    1    730-730    730       143.00         143.00   BWF

Slaughter Cows                 Boner 80-85% Lean
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    9   1110-1385  1263    103.50-107.00     105.20
    2   1270-1330  1300    112.00-117.00     114.56   High Dressing
    5   1400-1750  1575    105.00-110.00     107.31
    1   1465-1465  1465       115.00         115.00   High Dressing
                                Lean 85-90% Lean
    9   1055-1370  1227     80.00-98.00       92.05
    2   1410-1500  1455     96.00-104.50     100.38

Other Cows                  Medium and Large 1 - 2 Young
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1   1135-1135  1135       120.00         120.00   Per Head

Slaughter Bulls                Yield Grade 1-2
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price
    1   2160-2160  2160       145.00         145.00   High Dressing
    1   1715-1715  1715        95.00          95.00   Low Dressing

Heiferetts   Medium and large 1-2 Young
  Head      Wt Range 		Price Range
  5        1125-1305            121-140

Baby calves			Dairy		Beef
Head	Age Range 		Avg Price
 3	Newborn to 4 weeks	275-325		375

Goat 
Head Type 		Sel1	Sel2
 1   Big Nannies	210
 1   SL Wethers                  210
 1   Kids Under 20lb             52.5

Ewes
Head Wt Rage    Price Range
 7   100-115     45-65

Rams
Head Wt Range   Price Range
 1    200     

  80

Feeder Lambs
Head Wt Range Price Range
  4   55-90 82.5-240

Slaughter Lambs
Head Wt Range Price Range
13 103 170

Feeder Pigs
Head Wt Range   Price Range
4   110       103

Slaughter Barrows & Gilts
Head Wt Range   Price Range
3   275-345     60-67.5

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