G-TechNote™: Net Neutrality Becomes The Law of The Land

The Gilmer Free Press

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted yesterday to accept FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal that the Commission “use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open Internet protections.“ Or, to put it in plain English, your ISP must provide equal broadband access to you or any site—Amazon, Netflix, etc.—without slowing down or speeding up sites for additional fees.
As expected, the vote to treat ISPs as common carriers passed by a party line vote of three Democrats over the two Republicans. Under this regulation, broadband Internet services will be governed by Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  Mobile broadband vendors, such as 4G providers AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless will also be regulated as common carriers based on Title III of the Communications Act. It should also be noted that since Wheeler made his proposal, the FCC has redefined broadband as delivering at least 25-Megabits per second (Mbps).

The Republicans claimed that the FCC was over-reaching its authority by putting in a secret Obama plan for net neutrality. Wheeler dismissed this as nonsense in his final speech. He summed up, “This is the FCC using all the tools in our toolbox to protect innovators and consumers; to ban paid prioritization, the so called fast lane. [This] will not divide the Internet into haves and have-nots.“

Specifically, the FCC will use this new authority to define a new “Open Internet.“ This consists of three fundamental building blocks.

No Blocking: Broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.

No Throttling: Broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.     

No Paid Prioritization: Broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration—in other words, no “fast lanes.“ This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.

This last provision serves notice to Comcast, Verzion, and other last-mile ISPs that they can no longer charge Netflix, or other content providers, for Internet access.  It’s a safe bet that these contracts are now on their way to the courts.  In addition, even as Internet technologies evolve, ISPs are forbidden to harm consumers or edge providers.

The FCC is also claiming for the first time to have authority to hear complaints and take appropriate enforcement action if it determines the interconnection activities of ISPs are not just and reasonable. This will enable the FCC to address conflicts over traffic between mass-market broadband providers and edge providers.

In the commercial Internet’s first days in 1992, the ISPs of the day formed the Commercial Internet Exchange (CIX). One of its guiding principles was net neutrality—that no sites would be blocked and no traffic would be metered or slowed.

This has ceased to be the case. In 2014, Verizon won a case against the FCC. In it, they showed that the FCC did not have the right to regulate Internet traffic. This was a kick in the teeth for net neutrality at the time. The Tier 1 backbone ISP Level 3 has shown that last-mile ISPs with a monopoly in some areas have deliberately slowing down Internet traffic.

So, what will this mean for you? Wheeler declared that this new stance “will ensure the Internet remains open, now and in the future, for all Americans.“

The Gilmer Free Press

A Call to the Legislature of the Great State of West Virginia ~~ ​  ​ The Biggest Problem Facin

The Gilmer Free Press

The Biggest Problem Facing West Virginia’s Future

It’s really not what you might think.  Not our crumbling highways.  It’s not employment or jobs.  Nor is it taxes.

Medical care does not top the list.  Agriculture, restaurants, internet, college enrollment, public water, public transportation, electricity, communication, graduation rates, none of these.  EPA regulations, loss of coal jobs, poor business climate.  Nope, none of these either.

But ALL of the mentioned, do have the same one thing in common.  It is what every business, institution, individual needs, yes requires, in order to succeed and to thrive.  All are dependent on the same basic need in our society. 

A good education.​

Look at the universal need.  What is it?

Needed​ is a population of youth receiving an education grounded in the basics math and reading.  For over twenty years we have not been getting this.  Teachers complain, parents complain, students fail.  Remediation at the college level has become the norm for high school graduates​.  We have statistics to prove it.  Plenty.

The West Virginia State Board of Education always needs money.  More and more.  The BOE continues to deliver less and less in return.

The s​hell game continues.  More policies and more reports and more revisions and more employees.  Yes.  More, more, more.  With our graduates​ receiving less math and less English and less reading and less education.  This result can no longer be argued.  Nor can
​poor results​ be tolerated.  Everyone knows.  Everyone understands.  Most who are following the education calamity see the continued result of the State Board of Education lip service.  That’s all it is.

The State Legislature has investigated, has made requests, the Governor has obtained audits.  The news is always the same about the State BOE.  Findings list many issues.  The BOE response is always the same.  Feeble attempts to make a show.  Of maybe 10 findings, some half hearted repair or restructuring move.  Never anything ​substantial.  Nothing lasting.  Nothing producing any measurable improvement.

The State Board of Education has been able to create a power utopia where they write all the rules.

E​nforce only what pleases.

When it suits their agenda.  ​

Bend laws, take over school districts, operate them with little to no oversight.  Spend the tax dollars like drunken sailors.  With NO one to hold them accountable.  The entire State Board of Education is out of the reach of voters and tax payers.

Out of control.​

Gilmer County School System is the State’s best​ failure​, the State’s unquestionable example of ‘educational tyranny’.  Other school districts have been taken over, but were given opportunity to correct any perceived short comings by Charleston.  The term intervention is the nice-nice word Charleston loves to use.  Gilmer County has seen the worst of the State Board of Educational Tyranny and their actions.

Gilmer Superintendent withhold documents and outside meeting minutes, from the elected board and public, on a regular basis.

Our school board president has been enticed​ by both state appointed superintendents ​to sign page after page of documents without knowledge of the fellow board members.  The Board of Educational Tyranny superintendents ​appoint​s​ the local ​board president to committees without the local board being informed.  The local board president implies​ he speaks for the entire board, while the board members have no knowledge of what is represented.  Nor have they ​requested the president to do so.  Local board receives little to no feedback from local president as to ​their ​his actions.  Charleston has stuffed a sock in the voice of our locally elected representatives.  They have been effectively silenced.

Since State intervention of Gilmer County, meeting after meeting after meeting​, ​NO public notice.  None.  This pattern started under State appointed Superintendent Blankenship and continues under his successor State Superintendent Gabe Devano.  The public meeting requirements not being met…....​ that being well known through multiple conversations with Charleston​ as well as with the local superintendents​.  No change.

Just ask the State Board about how much of the high dollar audit of a couple years ago has been implemented.  Very little.

Legislators, you know it too.  We know you know.​

The WV Board of Ed apparently has created 3 new positions with an estimated half million dollars in salaries and benefits.  Spend-​spend-​spend.

And I have not even mentioned a word about the total mess by Charleston of the WVBOE​ purchase of the Crooked Run School site and subsequent auction of same for less that was invested in it, using and loosing Gilmer’s tax dollars​.  Nor any mention of Lewis County School building at Linn that Gilmer County tax dollars simply disappeared into a black hole.  Nor have I mentioned the Gilmer School Levy that was passed.  We were lied about its use and the actual language is also illegal according to former State Superintendent James Phares, on video, when he visited Gilmer.

If our current West Virginia Legislature wants to do what is right for West Virginia citizens, you will clean up this mess.  The State Board of Educational Tyranny has deep and long lasting effects on current citizens and even on the yet to be born.

For the good of ​our ​West Virginia citizens, West Virginia’s very ​future,  West Virginia Legislature, please do what is right and proper.  Our State’s future is in peril.  Do something.  Act now.  We have all ready lost ​a generation​ of graduating children.

Oh yes.  Now the State Board of Education wants to build us an elementary school in a flood plain.  You thought it couldn’t get worse, didn’t you?

~~  author on file ~~​

GFP - 02.27.2015
EducationOpinions | Commentary | G-LtE™ | G-Comm™ | G-OpEd™Politics | Government | ElectionLocalState-WV(3) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

2 points-
-For school districts to be under state control 10 to 15 years, is self explanatory of the state board to operate in any meaningful manner.
-If Gilmer has one board member, even the president, operating in the manner suggested, that in and of itself will keep you under intervention.

By JK  on  02.27.2015

And like the retired teacher said, let the teachers decide how to teach the students the way that works for them.  Standardized tests are not the way to evaluate education especially when teachers are forced to “teach to the test”.  Technology in elementary school becomes no more relevant than game machines to the kids.  Anyone can learn to use a computer but a computer won’t give you an education. You have to want to learn in order to learn. Education is much too important to become a government agency.  It should be totally run by parents and teachers, not by bureaucrats!  Now we have generations of parents who were cheated out of the education their parents thought they were paying taxes for.  Is that how we want to continue?

By Karen Pennebaker  on  02.27.2015

The Legislators need to stop the State Board and its departments from destroying records every 3 years to eliminate a paper trail of their actions.  They have been told this previously by the Legislative Oversight Commission. It would seem this Board won’t take good advice! It shows their unwillingness to have transparency which discourages accountability.

As to Gilmer’s bloviating President, he never did work well with others. The Board must go in another direction if they really want out of intervention.

By GVille  on  02.27.2015

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Pipeline Informational Meeting Saturday, February 28 at 2:00 PM, at the Ireland, WV Community Bldg.

The Gilmer Free Press

The Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance, along with the Greenbrier River Watershed Association, will sponsor a public meeting regarding the several large pipelines proposed to cross many West Virginia counties.

Counties to be affected are: Wetzel, Braxton, Lewis, Webster, Doddridge, Harrison, Upshur, Randolph, Pocahontas, Greenbrier, and Monroe County residents.

These meetings are designed to provide additional information to that provided by the industry open houses.

Topics to consider include water quality, public safety, property rights, property values, emergency response, inspections, public health, and public policy.

Expert presenters will follow with Q&A.

Whether you have received a survey letter, are a public official, or simply a concerned citizen, you are encouraged to attend.

These decisions made now could affect many generations of West Virginians.

To learn more, contact Elise Keaton, – 304.647.4792, call Appalachian Mountain Advocates, 304.645.9006, or email .

Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83

“Someday,” producer Gene Roddenberry said many decades ago, “I’m going to make a science-fiction series and put pointed ears on that guy.”

The series was “Star Trek,” and the guy was Leonard Nimoy, who died Feb. 27 at 83. A tall, taut-faced actor, he had been laboring in obscurity for 15 years before Roddenberry hired him in 1966 to play the half-human, half-alien space explorer Spock.

Those pointy ears — along with the upswept eyebrows and “five-point” Vidal Sassoon bob — brought Mr. Nimoy enduring stardom in an entertainment and merchandising empire equaled perhaps only by the James Bond, “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” franchises.

“Star Trek,” a drama about the adventures of the “starship” Enterprise as it explored “the final frontier” of space, was not a critical or popular hit during its initial run on NBC from 1966 to 1969.

In syndication, however, it became a phenomenon.

Communities of fans known as “Trekkies” burst forth in the 1970s, creating richly imagined fantasy worlds that were based on the show and that were played out at large-scale conventions. Filmmaker George Lucas said “Star Trek” helped pave the way for his “Star Wars” movies. The success of “Star Wars,” in turn, helped spur the “Star Trek” film series.

The Gilmer Free Press

As a television program, “Star Trek” proved groundbreaking in many ways. It served up allegorical tales about violence, greed, jealousy, prejudice, peace and love — the roiling social issues of the 1960s — in the guise of intergalactic adventure.

It did so, said television scholar Robert Thompson, “at a time when American television completely shied away from any kind of relevance or social controversy, except in the news.”

Its 23rd-century starship crew was a utopian federation of men and women, blacks and whites, Americans, Russians and Asians — and Spock, who was born on the planet Vulcan in a civilization that has mastered control of its feelings. (The Vulcan aphorism “live long and prosper” became a catchphrase.) He becomes the science officer and first mate aboard the Enterprise and was, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, once observed, a “creature of pure reason and no emotion.”

Spock was the ultimate outsider — a trait Mr. Nimoy said he understood. He was Jewish and had grown up in an Irish section of Boston. Going to movies as a child during the Depression, he was drawn to actors who specialized in bringing pathos to the grotesque — especially Boris Karloff in “Frankenstein” (1931) and Charles Laughton in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1939).

By most accounts, Mr. Nimoy portrayed the most popular character of the “Star Trek” cast. While some critics thought that Mr. Nimoy’s acting was dour or wooden, fans might have argued that these were precisely the characteristics of the emotion-suppressing, logic-obsessed Spock.

In one episode called “The Naked Time,” a virus infects the spaceship and causes the crew’s “hidden selves” to emerge — revealing previously unknown dimensions of Spock’s nature. At one point, the chaos overtakes him, and he breaks down and cries.

“It solidified everything,” Mr. Nimoy told the New York Times in 1968. “I knew that we were not playing a man with no emotions, but a man who had great pride, who had learned to control his emotions and who would deny that he knew what emotions were. In a way, he was more human than anyone else on the ship.”

He added: “In spite of being an outcast, being mixed up, looking different, he maintains his point of view. He can’t be bullied or put on. He’s freaky with dignity. There are very few characters who have that kind of pride, cool and ability to lay it out and walk away. Humphrey Bogart played most of them.”

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston on March 26, 1931, to parents who had been peasants in what is now Ukraine. His father became a barber and urged his sons — Leonard and an older brother, Melvin — toward stable careers.

The boys grew up in a Yiddish-speaking household and attended Orthodox Jewish services, which became an unexpected influence on Mr. Nimoy’s role as Spock. His “Vulcan salute” — made by parting the middle and ring fingers of each hand — was based on a hand gesture he noticed while attending a synagogue as an 8-year-old.

“I didn’t know what it meant,” he once said, “but I knew it looked like something magical.”

Mr. Nimoy developed an early interest in acting, and he recalled that his parents were “grief-stricken” when he abandoned a scholarship at Boston College to seek a career in Hollywood.

In 1952, he won the title role, a boxer with a disfigured face, in the low-budget film “Kid Monk Baroni.” Mr. Nimoy mistakenly thought the part would launch his career. “It played about three days as a second bill somewhere in Hollywood and then died,” he told the Times. “Nothing happened and, in 1953, I went into the Army.”

After his discharge, he mostly played heavies on TV shows such as “Dragnet,” “Sea Hunt” and “Wagon Train” before his breakthrough in 1964 while acting on the adventure series “The Lieutenant.” Roddenberry was a producer of the show and soon hired him for “Star Trek.”

“For the first time, I had a job that lasted longer than two weeks and a dressing room with my name painted on the door and not chalked on,” Mr. Nimoy later told the Times.

Mr. Nimoy struggled with his “Star Trek” legacy. His first memoir, published in 1975, was called “I Am Not Spock.” It was followed 20 years later by “I Am Spock,” in which he said he had come to peace with the show that defined him in the public imagination.

He spoke openly about personal problems that developed during the making of the show. He became a heavy drinker, he said, to escape the pressures of sudden fame.

Mr. Nimoy described an intense “sibling rivalry” with William Shatner, who starred as the heroic Capt. James T. Kirk. Mr. Nimoy was nominated three times for the Emmy for best supporting actor but felt he deserved recognition for what was essentially a leading role. Meanwhile, Shatner received no nominations.

Mr. Nimoy, who took an earnest approach to his art, was often the butt of Shatner’s on-set pranks. On one occasion, Mr. Nimoy recalled, Shatner asked him to repeatedly retake an emotional scene in which the Vulcan cries out, “Pain! Pain!”

As Mr. Nimoy increased his volume and intensity, Shatner finally quipped to the crew, “Can someone get this guy an aspirin?”

Mr. Nimoy didn’t talk to Shatner for weeks.

They later reconciled. Mr. Nimoy said he stopped drinking in the late 1980s and that he helped Shatner through his marriage to an alcoholic and comforted him after the woman drowned in a swimming pool.

The original run of “Star Trek” was canceled because of dwindling ratings, and Mr. Nimoy’s strong identity as Spock made it hard for him to transcend the role. On the CBS series “Mission: Impossible” from 1969 to 1971, he played a master of disguise named Paris. From 1976 to 1982, he hosted the syndicated documentary series “In Search Of…,” which explored phenomena such as the Loch Ness monster and the Bermuda Triangle.

Mr. Nimoy wrote and performed in a one-man stage show about Theo van Gogh and his troubled but brilliant painter brother, Vincent.

He had supporting roles onscreen, but he was reluctant to reprise Spock for the first “Star Trek” movie in 1979. A sticking point had been royalties he felt he were owed over toys, posters and other memorabilia with Spock’s image. He made the movie after settling a lawsuit with the studio.

To persuade Mr. Nimoy to appear in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982), Paramount studios offered him a plum role in its television production “A Woman Called Golda” about the Israeli prime minister Golda Meir.

Mr. Nimoy was cast as Morris Meyerson, Meir’s husband, opposite Ingrid Bergman in the title role, and earned an Emmy nomination for his supporting part. The only consolation in losing, he said, was that it was to Laurence Olivier in the limited series “Brideshead Revisited.”

Spock had been killed saving the Enterprise crew in the second movie version but, to the relief of many enthusiasts, the character was revived in future movie installments that Mr. Nimoy also directed: “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984) and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986).

He later directed the hit comedy “3 Men and a Baby” (1987), starring Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg as bachelors who care for an infant left on their doorstep. To less enthusiastic reviews, he directed Diane Keaton in “The Good Mother” (1988), based on the Sue Miller novel about a divorced mother whose newfound sexual passions threaten to consume her life.

Around the same time, Mr. Nimoy left his wife of 33 years, Sandra Zober, and they divorced. In 1989, he married actress Susan Bay. Besides his wife, survivors include two children from his first marriage, Adam and Julie; a stepson; a brother; six grandchildren; and a great-grgandchild.

His wife confirmed the death to the New York Times. He had announced in 2014 that he had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Nimoy parlayed his “Star Trek” fame into a singing career in the late 1960s and 1970s, cutting albums such as “Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.” He also published books of poetry and photography and championed progressive causes, including civil rights and Cesar Chavez’s efforts on behalf of immigrant farm workers.

The film or television offers that rolled in during his later life tended to be in the realm of science fiction. He was the voice of Sentinel Prime in the 2011 film “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” and he participated in nearly all “Star Trek” film and TV incarnations.

He spoke to the writer Digby Diehl in 1968 about the strange effect Spock and his foam rubber ears had on women in particular. “I tell you frankly, I’ve never had more female attention on a set before,” he said. “And get this: they all wanted to touch the ears.”

Change in Medicaid Card to Save $2.5 Million

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Bureau for Medical Services (BMS) today announced the distribution of an annual Medicaid card for members, as opposed to a monthly card which has been used since the start of the Medicaid program.

This move is expected to save West Virginia $2.5 million a year and will take effect April 2015.

“This change is significant for both the Medicaid member and provider,” said Cynthia Beane, Acting BMS Commissioner. “In the future, Medicaid members will have an insurance card similar to private insurance cards.  More importantly, this change from monthly to annual cards will significantly reduce costs to the State.”

For the first year of use, the Medicaid card will be printed on paper.  BMS and DHHR’s Office of Management Information Services will consider alternative forms for future years.

New cards will be issued in January of each year.

If a member loses or misplaces their card, the member can receive a duplicate card by contacting a case worker at their local DHHR office, by calling the DHHR Customer Service Center at 1.877.716.1212, or by going online to for a Letter of Creditable Coverage.

The Letter of Creditable Coverage is valid for the day it is printed.

Beane reminds medical providers to verify their patient is still a Medicaid member by either going online to the provider portal at or calling 1.888.483.0793.


The Gilmer Free Press

Morrisey: Many consumers have called to report getting harassing voicemails urging consumers or their lawyers to call back immediately.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today warned citizens to be on guard if they receive a voicemail from someone claiming to be from the IRS and demanding the consumer or the consumer’s lawyer call back as soon as possible to discuss a tax matter.

“Our Office has been inundated with calls just this week from consumers who are worried about troubling robocalls and voicemails they have received. The caller says the issue is ‘extremely time sensitive’ and says if the call is not returned all he can do is ‘wish you good luck as the situation unfolds on you.’ We cannot urge citizens enough to not fall for these scams, no matter how urgent the caller seems to be,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “These scams are not new, but callers can be very persuasive and intimidating.”

Since November, nearly half of the scam-related complaints filed with the Attorney General’s Office have pertained to either the IRS scam or the grant scam.  Just this week, the Attorney General’s Office has received more than 150 calls about the scam.

“People obviously become concerned when they hear someone say that they should have their attorney call back. But consumers should not fall for these tricks. If you owe taxes, the IRS will never call you and demand payment,” Morrisey said. “This is a despicable scam that plays off of citizens’ fear and confusion about the IRS, but this is not how a federal agency works.”

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the callers who commit this fraud often:

•  Use common names and provide fake IRS badge numbers.

•  Know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.

•  Make it appear as if the IRS is really calling.

•  Send fake IRS emails to support their scam.

“While scammers often use high pressure sales tactics to force consumers into bad decisions, the IRS will never make threats of violence or ask you to pay via pre-paid cards or wire transfer,” Morrisey said. “The role of the IRS and collecting taxes that are owed can be a complicated and confusing issue for many people. Scammers will play on that confusion and prey on vulnerable citizens to swindle them out of their hard-earned money.“

If someone claiming to be an IRS representative requesting payment contacts you, immediately hang up and call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. If you owe taxes, IRS workers can help you get those resolved.
If you have received calls about the IRS 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

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation presents $50,000 donation for West Virginia Elk Restoration Project

At the regular quarterly meeting of the Natural Resources Commission held Sunday February 22, 2015, in South Charleston, Bill Carman, Regional Director for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and its West Virginia State Chapter President Brian Satterfield presented a Seed Grant check in the amount of $50,000 to the West Virginia DNR for its active elk restoration program.

These funds can now be used by WVDNR to support its active elk restoration program.  RMEF has been instrumental with the restoration of elk in Kentucky and Virginia just astride of the Mountain State’s designated southwestern coalfields elk zone consisting of all or parts of Logan, Mingo, Wyoming, McDowell, Lincoln, Wayne and Boone counties.

The Gilmer Free Press

The commissioners and WVDNR Chief of Wildlife Resources Curtis Taylor thanked RMEF for this generous contribution, which is designated to kick-off the program. Revenues for such grants are generated by fundraising banquets held by local chapters here and elsewhere. West Virginia presently has four active chapters.

“The mission of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage,” Carman said.

Accepting the contribution on behalf of WVDNR were elk zone wildlife and law enforcement coordinators Randy Kelley and Sgt. Terry Ballard, respectively.


Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

In photo, left to right: WVDNR Sgt. Terry Ballard, RMEF Regional Director Bill Carman, West Virginia State Chapter President Brian Satterfield, WVDNR District Biologist Randy Kelley.

Gilmer County Schools: Child Find Letter - 03.02.15

The Gilmer Free Press

GRAND JURY CANCELLED‏ for March 03, 2015

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Circuit Court grand jurors please be advised that Grand Jury scheduled for Tuesday March 03, 2015 has been cancelled.


Karen Elkin, The Gilmer County Circuit Clerk

Why Every Educator Should Care About Net Neutrality

Broadband for education expert gives four reasons why the FCC’s decision about internet service is a human rights issue

On February 26th the world, as we know it, will either come to an end or we will have the second coming of the messiah.

Why? Because later this week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote to reclassify broadband internet service as a telecommunications service, rather than an information service, under Title II of the Telecommunications Act—a decision which will have a significant impact on education.

With a handful of exceptions, the policy wonks and industry pundits have taken binary positions on the regulation of the internet, but there is more at stake than the Washington politics and beltway posturing: mainly, the issue of education as a basic human right and how the regulation of the internet may affect those rights.

Here are at least four reasons—from historical and future-looking perspectives—why educators, students, and school administrators should take interest in the commission’s deliberations and decisions.

The Gilmer Free Press

4 Reasons It MattersTo Educators

1. First principles – The original cyberneticists living and writing in the 1940s (like Wiener, Von Neumann, Turing, Deutsch, Mead and others) all believed that education and distributed and decentralized networks were fundamental to preserving the future of the human race.  Having all borne witness to the horrific and catastrophic ills of WW II, their fundamental belief system was that the only way to avoid future destabilization associated with hierarchical and centralized models of economic, social, and political organization was to design networks and reinforce them with more universally accessible education systems. Theories of systemic interdependence and resilience followed, as did the instantiation of those same principles in the early protocols and work of the DARPANet, ARPANet, and research and education networks that pre-dated the commercialization of the internet in 1993.  Many of the cyberneticists, as well as early pioneers of the internet like Baran, Englebart, Cerf and Kahn, understood the internal logic and tendencies of systems to centralize and agglomerate. The only way to maintain resilient networks that could resist the tendency to centralization was to embed those networks with first principles.

As the current chairman of the FCC has once reasserted, one of those first principles has been that suppliers of access to the network should not be authorized to mediate (privilege or discriminate) on the basis of creating competitive advantage with those providing content or services on those networks. Over time those advantages necessarily trigger individual and organizational behavior that will lead to the centralizing of economic, social, political, and educational privilege, the very dynamic that the architects of the network attempted to mitigate. Most educators will readily understand and embrace this first principle. It is at the heart the democratizing principle that we associate with both our calling as educators and the great hope of the internet to make access to education both discoverable and accessible without barriers imposed by network providers so as to create competitive advantage.

2. Taking education to the edge of the possible. In the 1950s, theories of modernization had it that the prospects of advancing the educational and material condition of the great masses of people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America were seen as being dependent upon the laying of miles of asphalt roadways and railway ties, and the deployment of transistor radios. The reasoning went that wireless radios would expose otherwise disconnected people to the big world of ideas and learning. Railways and roads would contribute to urbanization which would bring people and their families for education and upward mobility in the labor market.

The power of the network to help change lives is experienced every day in learning moments that unfold online and impacting otherwise marginalized urban city youth, isolated rural students, learning groups from Bangladesh taking physics classes offered by Ivy League schools, or global collaborations for research and/or MOOCs helping to instantiate a real global village of learners.  While there is much more work to be done, the Network, more so than any other platform for discovery and learning, has impacted the trajectory and the probable destiny for hundreds of millions of disenfranchised and undereducated persons around the world.

Today, in the U.S., network providers are investing in home security systems and home health systems, and one can well imagine that in the near future some will also invest in one or more online educational offerings. It is important that these network providers not be allowed to support paid prioritization for their invested services (or others). These bundling of services, if they are also given preferential treatment, will create separate and unequal education offerings and limit the competitive environment for educational offerings to the long-term detriment of the public. It is important that our own FCC assure that children and adult learners, whether they live in rural settings, urban cores, or suburban neighborhoods all have a quality connectivity to the internet from their schools and common access to the full range of learning opportunities, products, and services.

3. Human right.  The current FCC position on Network Neutrality joins a small but growing number of other legislatures and regulatory bodies from Chile to Slovenia who have done the same. There is, however, an important global challenge to educators that we should not lose sight of as we observe the debate and litigation unfolding in Washington. There are a growing number of states around the world who are strongly opposed not only to network neutrality in their own countries but to the very idea of an open network. There are strong and strident positions from a global coalition of state players being played out on international stages and regulating forums, like those at the ITU and ICANN which are being led by states seeking to control access to the Network within their countries. The unholy coalition of countries includes those espousing concerns over Western cultural hegemony, domestic terrorism, limits on freedom of speech, and the organizing of anti-government demonstrations. While the Network as we have known and experienced it has been developed to operate on the basis of universal protocols that are not bounded by national borders or sovereignty, the next decade will be decisive as to whether access to the network for education (or any other activity) is a basic entitlement and human right or a privilege accorded only to enlightened states or to the elites of other countries.

In truth, around the world, and here at home, we have lost much of the moral high ground with the disclosures around the NSA activities on information gathering on the Network. The FCC position on Network Neutrality is not directly relevant to how we balance personal freedom and anonymity and, at the same time, the reasonable activities of the state to secure the life, liberty, and property of the broader public. The FCC position on Network Neutrality will not ameliorate the significant and long term negative impact of the unacceptable and most probably illegal activity of our own government. However, the debate and decisions on February 26th do provide an important counterpoint to the distortions that have been allowed to evolve, absent broader federal authority to regulate the network. The reassertion of a regulatory regime around Net Neutrality will require some checks and balances that should, over time, allow us to restore greater confidence in the belief that private rights and freedom to connect to the network for education is an unalienable human right.

4. Network provider. There is a schism in the education sector about whether the debate in Washington over network neutrality is of material and direct consequence to schools and libraries. The library community has been consistent in their support of net neutrality. There is a bit more ambiguity in the formal education sector. Because the education and research communities were early progenitors and adopters of the network, the sector was accorded certain historic special statuses. Education networks are nonprofit, as they serve nonprofit customers. Education, research, and library networks are eligible for federal grants, federal subsidies, and are also not burdened by much of the regulatory environment that is the reality of the regulated commercial and enterprise networks around the country. As Title II emerges as an inevitability, there are those in the education network community who see the coming regulatory environment as a burden–a challenge to their healthy operating margins–or even an existential threat to their very existence. Education network providers will continue to attempt to make the case that they have unique needs and special customers, and deserve continued special treatment.

As the FCC has now placed both fixed and mobile networks under the new regulatory Title II umbrella, it is not beyond the realm of the possible that specialized and dedicated networks, like those serving the education network market, are candidates for common regulation as are the carriers. The challenge to those in the traditional education network space is to strategically consider not what these networks have represented over the past 40 years, but what they need to be over the next 40 years: What are the true value-added services to support the needs of 21st century learners? We might be surprised to learn, and I expect we will see, new important service lines supplanting the traditional, and likely more regulated, networks across the country.

Educators need to remain vigilant and active to protect their rights and the rights and opportunities of their students to discover, uncover, ponder, and reflect on the full range of challenges facing them and the broader human condition. That is our privilege and responsibility as educators.

~~  Lev Gonick, Chief Executive of OneCommunity ~~

West Virginia Department of Education Seeks Organizations to Feed Kids this Summer

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is looking for organizations across the state to help feed children during the summer months. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded program sponsored by the WVDE Office of Child Nutrition to ensure that children (18 years and younger) in lower-income areas continue to receive free, nutritious meals during the summer months.

When school is out, many children are at risk for poor nutrition because they do not have access to the School Breakfast Program or National School Lunch Program. The Office of Child Nutrition SFSP provides funds to county school boards of education and other non-profit organizations to help feed hungry kids every summer.

“More than 21 million kids in the U.S. get free or reduced price school lunch, while just over 3 million of those kids get a free summer meal,“ said West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools Michael J. Martirano. “We need to continue to feed West Virginia kids in the summer to decrease this gap and to promote a culture where healthy students in our state are the norm.“

“There were 442 Summer Meal sites in West Virginia in 2014 that provided nutritious meals to children and we believe many organizations will renew their commitment for 2015,“ said Rick Goff, Office of Child Nutrition executive director.

“Adding summer feeding sites in communities across the state is one of the most important things we can do to ensure no child goes hungry this summer.“

County boards of education and other non-profit organizations can participate in the SFSP to provide safe places for children and teenagers to receive healthy summer meals. Feeding sites can include schools, churches, community centers, libraries, pools, parks, housing complexes and summer camps.

Most sponsors may be approved to receive reimbursement for serving up to two meals or one meal and a snack per day (usually breakfast and lunch or lunch and a snack). Camps may claim up to three meals per day. All meals must follow the SFSP USDA Meal Pattern requirements and dietary specifications and can be prepared on site or transported from another location.

Upcoming summer sites will be announced in May 2015. Organizations involved in the 2014 SFSP are posted at

For more information on the SFSP contact the Office of Child Nutrition at 304.558.3396 or the WVDE Communications Office at 304.558.2699.

The U.S Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at, or at any USDA office, or call 866.632.9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax 202.690.7442 or email at .

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800.877.8339; or 800.845.6136 (Spanish).

Persons with disabilities who wish to file a program complaint, please see information above on how to contact us by mail directly or by email. If you require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) please contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

Senate President Bill Cole Column: State Government Getting Things Done

The Gilmer Free Press

“Is the glass half-full or half-empty?” This is a question I have had to ask of myself and of the other 33 Senators many times during this Legislative Session. Of course, the answer depends on each individual’s perspective.

I’ve been reading reports that say things are moving a little too quickly here in Charleston. Isn’t that strange? For once, government is being chided for moving too quickly. For getting things done!

Whether you see the Legislature as moving too quickly or not quickly enough would depend on your perspective. The Senate has passed nearly 80 bills thus far, and we have dozens more that will pass before the session ends on March 14. None of us are well-rested at this point, but even that cannot deter our collective efforts to create a better West Virginia.

Some bills sailed through quickly, many of them unanimously. Some bills passed on party line votes and others were possible only through extra communication, bipartisanship, and hard work.

So, how did we do it? Compromise.

Here is the truth: While compromise has seemingly become non-existent in Washington, D.C., compromise is not a bad thing, nor is it a dirty word. It is not giving in, or quitting. Compromise often means not getting all of what you want. Compromise is sometimes setting aside personal agendas and instead focusing on the bigger picture: Doing what’s best for the future of West Virginia.

In past sessions, compromise wasn’t the rule, rather it was the very rare exception. I am proud to say that under this year’s leadership, it’s become a valuable tool to advance the kind of legislation that helps put this state on a course to a new and better future.

Just this past week, a piece of legislation that focused on punitive damages failed on its initial vote before the Senate. Many of our members knew this was a solid piece of legislation that would bring further fairness to our courts and their outcomes, but it did not pass.

Rather than walk away in defeat, we went to work. We reached out, across the aisle, to see if there was another way. A compromise. With a couple of modifications, we were able to come together to find a solution that both Republicans and many Democrats could get behind. When it came up for reconsideration, it passed with bipartisan support.

We have been fortunate this year to have a significant number of Democratic members vote for the future of West Virginia rather than just voting along party lines. As the leader of this body, it pleases me to see what we are able to accomplish when we work together. The support of these Democratic Senators has been an important part of the Senate’s success this year.

We knew there would be rough patches along the way in helping our state move in a positive direction. It is how we as a Senate navigate the rough patches that will ultimately determine our success – not the number of bills we pass or how quickly we pass them. When we each give a little and find a common thread, we will often succeed.

There are about three weeks left in this year’s session, and there is a lot of work left to be completed. I’m pleased by what we have done thus far for West Virginia and her future. It has not always been easy, but it has certainly been rewarding. Many of our members have fought through illness, threats to life and limb, disasters, terrible weather, and more. They have been strong in their resolve to serve the people of West Virginia, and will remain strong in their resolve to make West Virginia the kind of place we know it has the potential to be.

West Virginia News     150227

The Gilmer Free Press


The West Virginia Senate Tuesday, by a vote of 18-16, passed a motion to discharge SB 14 – Creating Public Charter Schools Act of 2015 – from the Senate Finance Committee and move it to First Reading on the Senate Floor.

The following information is provided by the Senate Communications Office:

“On Monday, the bill was postponed indefinitely in committee by a vote of 8-6, with three Republican Senators absent from the meeting due to excused absences: Senator Chris Walters, R-Putnam, for a serious family illness; Senator Jeff Mullins, R-Raleigh, for illness; and Senator Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, to participate in a deposition. The bill could only be taken up again in committee had a member who voted on the prevailing side moved to reconsider the vote on that motion.

West Virginia Senate Rule 34 states: “Any bill, resolution or business may, by majority vote of the members present, be withdrawn from the committee to which it had been referred to be taken from the table, and placed upon the calendar of the Senate in such order of business as the senate may direct: Provided, That those bills, resolutions or business referred to the Committee on Rules under authority of Rule No. 17 may by two-thirds votes of the members present be withdrawn from the Committee on Rules.”

The full Senate, in adopting its own standing rules, has retained the power to withdraw any bill from any committee, even the President’s committee – the Committee on Rules – when the committee has not, for whatever reason, reported the bill.


Beckley’s up-and-coming country music star, 20-year-old Cody Wickline, wowed the judges Monday night on NBC’s The Voice with his deep, classic country rendition of “He Stopped Loving Her.”

“It’s surreal being on stage,” Wickline said Tuesday. “My mind was racing and my heart was pounding.”

The Gilmer Free Press

Within a few seconds of hearing Wickline’s amazing voice, coach Adam Levine was sold. The next coach to give his stamp of approval was country musician Blake Shelton, who was lip-synching along. The other two coaches, Christina Aguilera and Pharrell Williams, weren’t too far behind.

“I know true talent when I hear it,” Aguilera said, as she pleaded with Wickline to join her team.

Wickline said seeing all four chairs turn was “the most unbelievable experience.”

“Y’all sure don’t make this easy,” Wickline told the judges Monday, but he ultimately opted for Team Shelton.

With the blind audition out of the way, Wickline will now move on to the battle rounds.

Social media networks exploded with support for the up and comer, and he said his phone literally shut down due to the overwhelming amount of phone calls and congratulatory texts…


A West Virginia couple has been sentenced to prison for stealing nearly $400,000 from a 90-year-old to purchase a vacation house in the Outer Banks.

The U.S. attorney’s office says 67-year-old Timothy Summers and 52-year-old Lea Ann Summers of Proctor were found guilty by a jury in Wheeling last October of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of securities fraud, among other counts. They were sentenced Thursday.

Prosecutors say the Summers worked to liquidate a portion of the victim’s investments, with Lea Ann Summers impersonating the victim to initiate the sale of the stocks.

The couple then traveled to the Outer Banks and purchased a beach house for $243,000.

Each was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to make restitution to the victim.


The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is offering workshops on agritourism at a small farm conference set to begin Friday in Charleston.

Speakers will include the owners of a country inn Sutton, a hospitality and tourism expert from Virginia Tech and a consultant who will provide tips on how to grow an agritourism operation.

Agritourism encompasses a range of activities with an agricultural theme, such as a corn maze pick-your-own operations.

The two-day conference will also feature nearly 200 educational workshops on production and marketing. The Winter Blues Farm Market will also feature food and farm products from around the state.


A Charleston pharmacy owner faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to making a false statement in a health care matter.

Paula Butterfield also pleaded guilty on behalf of her business, Trivillian’s Pharmacy, to health care fraud and misbranding drugs.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says the pharmacy faces a fine, up to 10 years of probation and restitution.

Butterfield entered the pleas Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston. She and the pharmacy are scheduled to be sentenced May 28.

Goodwin says Butterfield admitted that the pharmacy dispensed compounded drugs and generic drugs and billed Medicare and Medicaid for brand name drugs, which are more expensive. Butterfield submitted false claims to Medicare on her own behalf.


Lawmakers are shipping Governor Earl Ray Tomblin a bill that bans abortion after 20 weeks, despite the Democrat’s veto of a similar proposal last year over constitutionality concerns.

With little debate, West Virginia senators cleared the ban Wednesday. The House of Delegates passed it overwhelmingly earlier this month after a more heated back-and-forth.

The action moves to Tomblin, an anti-abortion advocate who vetoed the bill by the Democratic-run Legislature last year. He has said he would veto the same bill again if the now-Republican majority approved it.

The measure passed the Senate 29-5, with most Democrats in favor. Lawmakers only need a simple majority to overturn a veto.

The proposal bans abortions after 20 weeks, with some exemptions for women in medical emergencies. Rape and incest aren’t exempted, despite Democrats’ effort to try to include them.

Democrats also weren’t able to amend the cutoff to 22 weeks.

The proposal would also prohibit abortions when women have psychological conditions that could lead them to hurt or kill themselves.

Even for abortions that would be exempted, the bill requires doctors to terminate pregnancies in a way that gives “the best opportunity for the fetus to survive,“ unless the process would kill or irreparably harm the mother.

Doctors and other medical workers who perform banned abortions could face discipline from a medical board, and potentially lose their licenses. Women who get abortions wouldn’t be punished.

The bill is based on the assertion that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks, which is disputed in medical research.

The West Virginia chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposes the bill, saying it doesn’t support legislation not based on sound science.

In 2011, the last year with data available, there were six abortions after 20 weeks in West Virginia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both bills resemble a law struck down in Arizona in 2013 that the U.S. Supreme Court later decided not to reconsider.

Ten states have some version of a 20-week ban, according to the abortion rights nonprofit Guttmacher Institute.


Weirton Police Detectives announced Thursday Joseph F. Majewski, age 35, was allegedly disciplining his children by shooting them with a BB gun.

Majewski was charged with three counts of child abuse with serious bodily injury and three counts of domestic battery.

Officials said they confirmed the abuse through interviews and statements.

The victims were 6, 9 and 13 years old. All three children were taken to Weirton Medical Center in order to be treated for their injuries.

Majewski is still behind bars at Northern Regional. His bond is set at $120,000.


Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael says there’s “no way” the Senate will consider a proposal to nullify local ordinances that protect gay and transgender people from housing and employment discrimination.

The Jackson County Republican made the remarks Thursday to the AP.

The West Virginia Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act would prohibit any local nondiscrimination ordinances stricter than state law. West Virginia doesn’t include gay and transgender housing and employment protections.

A House committee cleared the bill Wednesday.

Five cities, including Charleston, have similar nondiscrimination ordinances.

Republican bill sponsor Delegate Lynne Arvon said rules should be uniform and predictable.

Democratic Delegate Stephen Skinner, the only openly gay state lawmaker, said it’s “legislative gay bashing.“

The House has a public hearing on the bill Friday.

A similar law took effect this week in Arkansas.


A three-judge panel says former students of Mountain State University are entitled to an $11.3 million payout.

Media reports state that the so-called mass litigation panel met in Charleston on Thursday to approve the proposed settlement.

The students argued that Mountain State did not provide them with an education worthy of the tuition they paid. The private university closed after it lost its accreditation in 2012 because of leadership, organizational and integrity issues.

Charleston attorney Anthony Majestro was the lead lawyer for the students. He said notices were sent out to more than 10,000 former students to make claims for the settlement, but barely more than 1,000 have responded. The deadline is Sunday.


Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler says a 16-month-old child’s death was a tragic accident.

Kessler says police don’t suspect neglect or abuse and no charges have been filed. The investigation will remain open until the state medical examiner determines the cause of death and the sheriff’s department reviews the case with prosecutors.

Kessler said Thursday in a news release that a child drowning was reported to 911 at a residence near Oak Hill on Wednesday night. The child’s parents were performing CPR when deputies and emergency medical personnel arrived. The EMS workers took over the CPR and took the child to a hospital in Oak Hill. The child was pronounced dead shortly before 8 PM Wednesday.

Kessler says the family won’t be identified at this time.

The Legislature Today 02.26.2015

At the legislature today, after a high school principal resigned and faces misdemeanor charges for failing to report a sexual assault at his school, lawmakers revisit a law pertaining to that issue.

One senator lashes out at a house bill that prohibits local anti-discrimination ordinances.

And we’ll talk with the Secretary of State about election bills at this session on The Legislature Today.

Say NO to Corporate Candidates..‏

The Gilmer Free Press

Fellow Democrat,

Everyone agrees that there is already too much money in politics.

As the State’s Chief Elections Official, I’m writing to tell you about a bill that would bring even more out of state, unknown money to our elections.

Senate Bill 541 takes our elections out of the voting booth and puts them into the corporate boardrooms. That means our elections are out of the hands of hardworking West Virginians and into the hands of out-of-state millionaires.

This legislation allows out of state corporations to do something they have never been able to do before - and that is give money directly to candidates. Not only would they be able to give money, but they would be able to give unlimited amounts!

The regular West Virginian can’t compete.

That opens the ballot box to be stuffed with corporate money and not votes. Unlimited funding to buy candidates means our elections are going to be sold to the highest bidder!

This bill also eliminates the $1,000 limit to any or all campaigns allowing millionaires to literally buy their candidates and our elections.

The sponsors of this bill say it is about transparency. It is anything but. For them to make this claim is disingenuous to the people of West Virginia.

This bill allows millionaires to give endless amounts of money funneled through outside groups so their name is never on it.

SB 541 does not represent our individual West Virginia values!

It picks winners and losers and this bill picks out of state corporations over hardworking West Virginia families.

I am deeply troubled by this legislation and I know you are too. I urge you to call your delegate or senator and tell them we don’t want corporate candidates!

On your side,


Natalie E. Tennant

Legislation to Prevent Sexual Assaults on College and University Campuses

The Gilmer Free Press

Capito and Expanded Bipartisan Coalition Introduce Legislation
to Prevent Sexual Assaults on College and University Campuses,
Protect Students & Create Real Accountability

Joined by survivors and advocates, a bipartisan group of 11 Senators reintroduces strengthened version of Campus Safety and Accountability Act with added input from survivors, students, colleges and universities, law enforcement and advocates

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) joined an expanded bipartisan coalition of 11 Senators today to introduce a strengthened version of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act.

With added input from survivors, students, colleges and universities, law enforcement and advocates, the bill would flip the current incentives of a broken system to provide real accountability and transparency from higher education institutions. The legislation would professionalize the response to and reporting of sexual assaults that occur on campuses to better protect and empower students, while also protecting the rights of accused students.

“The need for congressional action is clear. No student on a college campus should live in fear of being attacked or feel as though they cannot report sexual assault incidents,” said Senator Capito. “I am proud to join this bipartisan coalition and take clear steps to help those in West Virginia and around the country affected by sexual assault, to educate campus personnel to respond compassionately and to strengthen the law enforcement response.”

The legislation was introduced Thursday by Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Dean Heller (R-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chuck Grassley (R-IO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The lawmakers were joined by Annie Clark and Andrea Pino, survivors and founders of the organization End Rape on Campus, as well as Scott Berkowitz from the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).

The legislation would secure landmark reforms for how colleges and universities address and report incidents of sexual assault that occur on their campuses. It incorporates feedback from key stakeholders to strengthen how student surveys are conducted and strengthens newly required training standards. The provisions safeguard both survivors and accused students. It extends the amount of time survivors have to file a case with the Department of Education, and sets new notification requirements for both survivors and accused students involved in the campus disciplinary process.

Key provisions of the legislation include:

•  Establishes New Campus Resources and Support Services for Student Survivors: Colleges and universities will be required to designate Confidential Advisors to assist survivors of sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Confidential Advisors will coordinate support services and accommodations for survivors, provide information about options for reporting, and provide guidance or assistance—at the direction of the survivor—in reporting the crime to campus authorities and/or local law enforcement. Schools will no longer be allowed to sanction students who report sexual violence but reveal a non-violent student conduct violation in good faith, like underage drinking.

•  Requires Fairness in Campus Disciplinary Process: All schools will now be required to use one uniform process for campus student disciplinary proceedings and may no longer allow athletic departments or other subgroups to handle complaints. Schools must now provide written notification to the accused as well as the victim of any decision to move forward with a campus disciplinary proceeding within 24 hours of that decision. The notice must include details of complaint, a summary of the disciplinary proceeding and the rights and due process protections available to both parties.

•  Ensures Minimum Training Standards for On-Campus Personnel: This legislation ensures that everyone from the Confidential Advisors to those responsible for investigating and participating in disciplinary proceedings will receive specialized training so that they have a firm understanding of the nature of these crimes and their effect on survivors.

•  Creates New Transparency Requirements: For the first time, students at every university in America will be surveyed about their experience with sexual violence to get an accurate picture of this problem.  This new biannual survey will be standardized and anonymous, with the results published online so that parents and high school students can make an informed choice when comparing universities. The Department of Education will also be required to publish the names of all schools with pending investigations, final resolutions, and voluntary resolution agreements related to Title IX with respect to sexual violence.

•  Campus Accountability and Coordination with Law Enforcement: This legislation will require colleges and universities to enter into memoranda of understanding with each local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction to report to a campus as a first responder to clearly delineate responsibilities and share information so that when a crime occurs, both campus authorities and local authorities can focus on solving the crime rather than debating jurisdiction.

•  Enforceable Title IX Penalties and Stiffer Penalties for Clery Act Violations: Schools that do not comply with certain requirements under the bill may face a penalty of up to 1 percent of the institution’s operating budget. Previously, the only allowable penalty was the loss of all federal student aid which is not practical and has never been done.  The bill increases penalties for Clery Act violations to up to $150,000 per violation from the current penalty of $35,000. Financial penalties collected from universities in violation will be distributed back to campuses through a new competitive grant program, administrated by the Secretary of Education, for which colleges and universities can apply for the purpose of researching best practices for preventing and responding to sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking on college campuses and sharing such research with peer institutions and the Department of Education.

U.S.A. News   150227

The Gilmer Free Press


President Obama is throwing his support behind a bipartisan proposal to change the nation’s sentencing laws by cutting many mandatory minimum sentences in half.

That commitment came out of a meeting with 16 members of Congress at the White House Tuesday night, called by the president to gather their ideas on how to overhaul the criminal justice system.

Members of Congress who attended said the main topic of conversation was the Smarter Sentencing Act, a bill sponsored by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders.

Obama supported a similar bill in the last Congress, but the current proposal goes even further. Mandatory life sentences would be reduced to 20 years — effectively cutting life sentences in half because the current life sentence averages 40 years.

Another change: Those convicted of importing drugs into the United States would not be eligible for the reduced sentences unless they were merely couriers whose role was limited to transporting or storing drugs or money.

Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, who has introduced a companion bill in the Senate, said Obama “focused specifically” on the Smarter Sentencing Act “and his desire to have it passed.“

“It was showing us that this is very important to him, and he has the resources of his administration that he’s been willing to put out there,“ Lee told KSL Radio in Salt Lake City Wednesday.

White House spokesman Frank Benenati said Wednesday that the White House is still reviewing the text of the legislation, but that “it certainly appears” that the Labrador proposal meshes with the president’s aims to “make our communities safer, treat individuals more justly and allow more efficient use of enforcement resources.“

Obama has signaled his support for sentencing changes as recently as Monday, when he praised governors who had signed similar bills at a White House dinner.

“Last year was the first time in 40 years that the federal incarceration rate and the crime rate went down at the same time,“ Obama said. “Let’s keep that progress going, and reform our criminal justice system in ways that protect our citizens and serves us all.“

Labrador said that’s an important point for Obama to make. “The main obstacle is the perception that sentencing reform will lead to more crime. And I think the opposite is true,“ he said. “The concern is that we want to continue to be tough on crime, but we want to be smart on crime.“

Another hurdle: federal prosecutors who believe the threat of long mandatory sentences is necessary to negotiate plea bargains and avoid overwhelming the system with trials. Labrador said the Obama administration needs to work out those concerns with the Justice Department.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-VA., who also attended the meeting with Obama, would not comment on the meeting. He’s been cool to sentencing changes in the past, but Senator Cory Booker, D-NJ, said he thought Goodlatte seemed “remarkably open” to the issue.

“I believe — and, God willing, I’m gonna go see him — that he’s gonna be a leader on a lot of the significant reforms,“ Booker told the Huffington Post.

“There’s a profound zeitgeist. There’s nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come,“ Booker said. “Well, this idea is coming and that power I think is gonna push something good through Congress.“  ~~  Gregory Korte ~~

World News   150227

The Gilmer Free Press


Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic missionary who became an international icon for her charitable work, has been dropped into modern India’s religious debate after the head of the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) criticized the intentions behind her work.

“It’s good to work for a cause with selfless intentions. But Mother Teresa’s work had ulterior motive, which was to convert the person who was being served to Christianity,“ RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said at the opening of an orphanage in Rajasthan state on Monday, the Times of India reports. “In the name of service, religious conversions were made. This was followed by other institutes, too.“

Bhagwat’s comments caused a storm among opposition politicians, angered by the implication that a woman who won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work in India would have had ulterior motives. Congress party official Rajiv Shukla demanded an apology while the newly elected Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, said Teresa was a “noble soul” and asked RSS to spare her.

This controversy about Mother Teresa, who died in 1997, is far from her first. Her saintly reputation (she is quite literally on the path to sainthood – she was beatified in 2003) was gained for aiding Calcutta’s poorest of the poor, yet it was undercut by persistent allegations of misuse of funds, poor medical treatments and religious evangelicalism in the institutions she founded.

In his critique of Mother Teresa, the devoutly Hindu Bhagwat finds an unlikely ally in the work of devoutly atheist Christopher Hitchens. The late British writer became one of the most vocal critics of Teresa in the 1990s, tying his reputation to assailing a woman who was, at the time, an unassailable figure.

In 1994, Hitchens, along with British Pakistani journalist Tariq Ali, wrote an extremely critical British documentary on Mother Teresa, titled “Hell’s Angel.“ You can see it for yourself below.

The documentary, which drew heavily from the account of Aroup Chatterjee, an Indian-born British writer who had worked briefly in one of Mother Teresa’s charitable homes, listed a catalog of criticisms against Mother Teresa. It found fault with the conditions in the facilities of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, which one journalist compared to the photographs she had seen of Nazi Germany’s Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and Hitchens himself rallied against the “cult of death and suffering.“

The documentary also argued that Teresa was an “ally of the status quo,“ pointing to her relationships with dubious figures all around the world, most notably Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and scandal-hit American financier Charles Keating. “She may or may not comfort the afflicted, but she has never been known to afflict the comfortable,“ Hitchens explains.

‘Hell’s Angel’ sparked an international debate, and Hitchens soon followed it up with a pamphlet, unfortunately titled “The Missionary Position,“ which repeated and expanded upon his criticisms. As Bruno Maddox put it in a review for the New York Times, Hitchens concluded that Mother Teresa was “less interested in helping the poor than in using them as an indefatigable source of wretchedness on which to fuel the expansion of her fundamentalist Roman Catholic beliefs.“

Hitchens’ critiques of Teresa may come across as polemical, but it’s far from the only criticism. British medical journal the Lancet published a critical account of the care in Mother Teresa’s facilities in 1994 and an academic Canadian study from a couple of years ago found fault with “her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce.“ Aroup Chatterjee also published his own extremely critical book on Mother Teresa in 2003.

Many who support Mother Teresa dispute these accounts, of course, but they exist and are frequently debated. In fact, when compared to the criticism that already exists about Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity, Bhagwat’s words look relatively meek: Multiple accounts say that Mother Teresa’s nuns would baptize the dying and she had a reputation for proselytizing.

However, Bhagwat’s comments are being received in the light of ongoing religious tensions in India, accented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s own pious Hindu faith and personal history with RSS. Religious conversions in particular have become a touchy subject in the predominantly Hindu nation, with Muslims said to be pressured into converting to Hinduism and Christian converts fearing violence.    ~~  Adam Taylor ~~


In July of 2008, candidate Barack Obama arrived in Israel for what many expected to be a politically perilous trip. As he shuttled from Ramallah to the Israel city of Sderot, he at times appeared anxious to say something tough about Iran, ultimately declaring that a nuclear-armed Iran would constitute a “game-changing situation not just in the Middle East but around the world.”

Obama was coming off the announcement that, if elected president, he would talk without preconditions to Iran’s government, then led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who once was quoted as calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” Although that was a mistranslation of what Ahmadinejad actually said, his evident hostility unnerved Israel, as did apprehension that Obama would be significantly more sympathetic to Palestinian interests than either his opponent John McCain or President George W. Bush.

The most tense and closely watched meeting was still ahead — with Benjamin Netanyahu, then the opposition leader of the rightist Likud party. Netanyahu was leading Israeli opinion polls. Many correctly expected him to soon begin his second tenure as prime minister. And he and Obama harbored very different worldviews. Still, despite the fact that Netanyahu “clearly preferred a McCain victory,” according to author Thomas G. Mitchell, the meeting seemed to indicate common ground on Iran.

“The main focal point of our discussions was the need to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told reporters that day. Obama, Netanyahu stated, “would never seek in any way to compromise Israel’s security, and this would be sacrosanct in his approach to political negotiations.”

But a good relationship between the two men never developed. And today, following years of frostiness, awkwardness and downright hostility, it is worse than ever. Netanyahu’s impending speech before Congress, at the invitation of a Republican speaker who spent the past six years opposing everything Obama proposed, has ushered in a new era of nastiness. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Netanyahu was “wrong,” and national security adviser Susan E. Rice criticized Netanyahu’s “partisanship” as “destructive of the fabric of the relationship.”

“This is clearly the most dysfunctional relationship between an American and Israeli leader,” Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Wilson Center and a former U.S. negotiator and adviser in Republican and Democratic administrations, told The Washington Post. What’s more, he said, “the durability is troubling.”

What he means by “durability” is that it’s always been this way. The mutual disdain between Netanyahu and Obama goes way back, and the animosity apparent today has been years in the making.

There’s no shortage of examples: that time Netanyahu lectured Obama on Israeli history. That time Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy chuckled over how much they didn’t like Netanyahu. The time, in 2010, when Vice President Biden was blindsided on a trip to Israel by an Interior Ministry announcement of new housing units for Jews in East Jerusalem. And who can forget when senior Obama officials reportedly called Netanyahu “chickens–t” and “Aspergery”?

The dislike appears personal, yes, but there’s reason to believe it goes beyond the visceral. The two have an intellectual suspicion of one another, wrote Peter Beinart, who in 2012 set out the clearest analysis of the fraught relationship in the book “The Crisis of Zionism.”

“Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t trust Barack Obama, and probably never will,” Beinart wrote. “The reason is simple: Obama reminds Netanyahu of what Netanyahu doesn’t like about Jews … their belief that they carried a moral message to the world.”

Beinart argued Obama understands Israel through the lens of liberalism, while Netanyahu understands it through the prism of security and strength. “Obama got his view on Israel from liberal Jews back in Chicago,” wrote Thomas Mitchell in “Likud Leaders,” and that effect on his thinking has been apparent for years. One of those Jews, Beinart noted, was David Axelrod, who, “like many of Obama’s early Jewish supporters, put the ‘progressive social justice tradition’ at the core of his Jewish identity, and in his view, ‘Obama was very much a part of that and was very much a product of it.’ ”

While Obama was running for the U.S. Senate in 2004, for example, he criticized Israel’s West Bank security barrier, which the Republican Jewish Coalition later seized upon, according to JTA. Writing in “The Crisis of Zionism,” Beinart called Obama’s criticism “remarkable,” given that 361 members of the House that same year had passed a resolution in support of the barrier.

Even Obama’s reading habits were suspect to some Israel supporters. In an interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in May 2008, Obama spoke of the book “The Yellow Wind,” which he read when it first came out in 1988. Written by novelist David Grossman, one of Israel’s most prominent doves, the work offers a searing indictment of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Its impact on Obama had been such that, even decades later, he still recalled it.

“It is difficult to read ‘The Yellow Wind’ without being profoundly disturbed by its portrait of Palestinian life under Israeli rule,” Beinart remarked. “That Obama read it, along with the novels of another famed Israeli dove, Amos Oz, lends further credence to Arnold Wolf’s claim that his pre-presidential years, Obama ‘was on the line of Peace Now.’ ”

Obama’s opinions on Israel have long contrasted with the militant view adopted by Netanyahu’s Likud, a point he made clear during the 2008 campaign, which made some pro-Israel hawks nervous. “I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re opposed to Israel, that you’re anti-Israel, and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel,” Obama said.

These statements weren’t lost on the Israeli public, and in a 2010 Jerusalem Post poll, only 9% of respondents said Obama’s administration was pro-Israel. Nearly one-half called it pro-Palestinian. Roughly three-fourths of Israelis who considered themselves right-wing — like Netanyahu — said Obama’s worldview was pro-Palestinian.

Now the differences between Netanyahu and Obama — on matters from settlements to modern Zionism — have come to a crossroads, a showdown set for next week when analysts say all of that building disdain between the men may finally come to a head. It will be a “tense political drama of the kind that House of Cards writers can only dream about,” said Haaretz.


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Sports News   150227

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►   Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, February 26)

Calhoun County 56     #6 Gilmer County 54

#5 Williamstown 62     Ritchie County 40

Lewis County 65     Philip Barbour 56

Grafton 82     Liberty 53

Preston 76     #6 Lincoln 61

#5 Robert C. Byrd 47     #4 Morgantown 45

#3 Fairmont Senior 63     #2 Bridgeport 48

Parkersburg South 62     George Washington 51

Richwood 56     Midland Trail 55

Fayetteville 71     Nicholas County 57

#9 Notre Dame 63     Clay-Battelle 49

The Gilmer Free Press

Record-setting West Liberty University men’s basketball standout C.J. Hester has earned his third consecutive Academic All-America Award.
Hester, a 6-4 senior from West Mifflin, PA, was the only 3-time honoree and one of only six players nationwide to repeat as Capital One NCAA Division II Academic All-Americans when the 2014-15 Academic All-America Teams were announced on Wednesday by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

After earning third-team Academic All-America honors each of the past two seasons, Hester was a second-team selection this year. He joins Metro State’s Mitch McCarron and Nicholas Kay, Christian Brothers’ Trey Casey, Southern Connecticut State’s Tylon Smith and Ian Vescovi of Pitt-Johnstown as multiple Academic All-America selections. Casey was chosen as the 2014-15 Capital One Academic All-American of the Year.

To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director.

Hester has played a key role in keeping West Liberty at or near the top of the national polls throughout his four-year career while maintaining an impressive 3.71 grade-point average as a Biology major. He has already been accepted to the West Virginia University School of Dentistry and will continue his education there in the fall.

A four-year starter for Coach Jim Crutchfield’s four-time defending NCAA Division II Atlantic Region champions, Hester has scored in double-figures and led the Hilltoppers in rebounding all four years while becoming the first man in nearly 90 seasons of West Liberty basketball to surpass the 1,500-point and 1,000-rebound career milestones.

Despite missing several games due to injury earlier this season, Hester will set another school record during Saturday’s regular-season finale at Wheeling Jesuit when he plays in his 129th career game. He’s blown away the school’s career rebounding mark with 1,102 rebounds and ranks No. 10 on the all-time scoring list with 1,773 points. In addition, Hester is on pace to become only the second Hilltopper to shoot better than 60% from the floor for his entire career.

Hester is the second-leading scorer on this year’s team at 15.2 ppg. and once again leads the Black and Gold in rebounding at 8.3 rpg. The second-leading rebounder in the entire MEC, he leads the conference – and ranks among the Top 20 nationally – in field-goal percentage (146-238, .615).

A model of consistency throughout his career, Hester has hit double-figures 92 times in his career. He also has 51 games with double-figure rebounds and 39 double-doubles. He set a school record by going 7-for-7 from the 3-point arc at Glenville State on February 22, 2014 and set an ASRC arena record with 21 rebounds against Shepherd on February 18, 2013.


NCAA Division II
Men’s Basketball

Name School Yr. Hometown GPA Major
Trey Casey* Christian Bros. Sr. Cincinnati, Ohio 4.00 Business Administration
Kyle Cooper Hillsdale Jr. Northville, Mich. 3.90 Accounting
Keegan Hyland Bentley Sr. South Portland, Maine 3.93 Economics/Finance
Nicholas Kay* Metro State Sr. Tamworth, Australia 3.81 Biology
Mitch McCarron* Metro State Sr. Brisbane, Australia 3.85 Sport Industry Operations

Name School Yr. Hometown GPA Major
C.J. Hester** West Liberty Sr. West Mifflin, Pa. 3.71 Biology
Darian Hooker New York Tech Gr. Washington, D.C. 3.49 Interdisciplinary Studies
Tylon Smith* S. Connecticut State Sr. Manchester, Conn. 3.68 Recreation & Leisure
Ben Stelzer Michigan Tech Sr. Manitowoc, Wis. 3.69 Finance
Ian Vescovi* Pitt-Johnstown Sr. Patton, Pa. 4.00 Mathematics/Computer

Name School Yr. Hometown GPA Major
Peter Alexis Philadelphia Jr. Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 3.64 Psychology
Ben Jacobs UNC-Pembroke Sr. Four Oaks, N.C. 3.98 Exercise & Sports Science
Myles Johnson Dallas Baptist So. Arlington, Texas 3.94 Finance
Garret Kerr Univ. of the Sciences Sr. Avalon, N.J. 3.39 Physical Therapy
Travis Thompson Alaska-Anchorage Sr. Anchorage, Alaska 3.47 Civil Engineering
  *-repeat honoree

►   MEC Women’s Basketball All-America Honor

University of Charleston senior guard Nichole Perry has been named to the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-America Women’s Basketball Division II Third Team as announced by CoSIDA earlier Wednesday afternoon.  Perry carries a 4.00 GPA in her field of study and plans on continuing her education after graduating from UC this spring to pursue a career in orthopedic medicine.

Perry, a senior guard from Poseyville, Indiana, follows up her Academic All-District First Team selection with the All-America selection.  She leads the Golden Eagles in scoring this season, averaging 13.5 points in 26 games played for the Maroon and Gold.

Nichole eclipsed the 1,000 point mark for her career earlier this year, becoming just the 33rd player in Golden Eagle women’s basketball history to accomplish the feat.  Perry has also earned Mountain East Conference awards, winning the 2014 MEC Sportsmanship Award and earned Player of the Week honors early in the 2014-15 season.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►   Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, February 26)

Final Score: (3) Gonzaga 59, San Diego 39

Przemek Karnowski finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, and No. 3 Gonzaga overcame a slow start and downed San Diego 59-39 on Thursday. Gonzaga wrapped up the West Coast Conference regular-season title over the weekend, and there was a bit of a hangover against a San Diego team that had dropped three of five coming in. The Bulldogs (29-1, 17-0 WCC) nevertheless pulled away late en route to their 22nd straight victory and first-ever 17-0 start in WCC play. Their home winning streak also reached 41 games despite making only 3-of-12 from behind the arc and 8-of-15 from the foul line. Gary Bell Jr. chipped in with 13 points, while Byron Wesley and Domantas Sabonis contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the victors. The Toreros (14-15, 7-10) shot just 29.6 percent from the field and were led by Brandon Perry’s nine points. Johnny Dee shot just 2-of-10 for six points—12 below his season average.

Final Score: (7) Arizona 82, Colorado 54

Stanley Johnson scored 15 points, Kaleb Tarczewski added 14 and No. 7 Arizona cruised past Colorado 82-54 on Thursday. There was no look-ahead letdown for the Pac-12 leading Wildcats (25-3, 13-2 Pac-12) with Saturday’s showdown against second-place Utah looming. They shot 52.9 percent from the floor, handily won the rebounding battle 38-25 and led by as many as 28. Gabe York made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points off the bench, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chipped in with 11 points and eight rebounds for Arizona, which has reeled off five straight wins since losing at Arizona State. Askia Booker led Colorado (12-15, 5-10) with 14 points but needed 16 shots to do so. The Buffaloes shot 38.5 percent from the floor and 2-of-9 from 3-point range.

Final Score: (13) Utah 83, Arizona State 41

Delon Wright scored 12 points and the 13th-ranked Utah Utes bounced back with an 83-41 rout of the Arizona State Sun Devils on Thursday. Kenneth Ogbe added 11 points for the Utes (22-5, 12-3 Pac-12), who looked sharp after Sunday’s 69-58 loss at Oregon. Chris Reyes and Dakarai Tucker each tallied nine points. Utah will bring an 18-game home winning streak into Saturday’s showdown with No. 7 Arizona. The Wildcats beat the Utes 69-51 on Jan. 17. Gerry Blakes and Willie Atwood each had 12 points for the Sun Devils (15-13, 7-8), who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Final Score: (21) SMU 66, Memphis 57

Nic Moore scored 16 points and No. 21 SMU pulled away for a 66-57 win over Memphis on Thursday night to retake sole possession of first place in the American Athletic Conference. Yanick Moreira and Ryan Manuel added 11 points apiece for the Mustangs (23-5, 14-2 AAC), who have won five in a row and 21 of their last 23 games. They lead Tulsa by a half-game atop the conference standings. Shaq Goodwin had 17 points and Nick King scored 14 for Memphis (17-11, 9-6), which had a three-game winning streak snapped.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NBA Game Results

(Thursday, February 26)

Final Score: Cleveland 110, Golden State 99

In a possible NBA Finals preview, the Cleveland Cavaliers avenged an earlier loss to the Golden State Warriors and made a statement thanks to a huge performance from LeBron James. James recorded a season-high 42 points with 11 rebounds and five assists as the Cavs continued their hot play with a 110-99 win over the Warriors on Thursday night. Cleveland, which has won four straight and 18 of its last 20, dropped a 112-94 decision against Golden State in early January that was the fourth loss of a season-high six-game losing streak. James did not play in that game and it proved to be a huge difference in the rematch. Kyrie Irving chipped in 24 points and Kevin Love posted 16 points and eight rebounds in the win. David Lee paced the Warriors with 19 points and Draymond Green added 16 points and eight rebounds. Stephen Curry was locked down for most of the night, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the first quarter in the Warriors’ second loss in their last three games.

Final Score: Phoenix 117, Oklahoma City 113 (OT)

Eric Bledsoe nearly recorded a triple-double and the Phoenix Suns finally got a win in overtime with a 117-113 decision over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. Bledsoe posted 28 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists to help the Suns win their second straight game and close to within 1 1/2 games of Oklahoma City for the final playoff spot in the West. Markieff Morris led Phoenix with 29 points to go along with 11 rebounds, and Alex Len deposited 12 points with 11 rebounds in the win. The Suns had lost their previous four overtime games this season.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Brew Crew keep K-Rod

The Milwaukee Brewers have reportedly re-signed reliever Francisco Rodriguez. is reporting the deal is for two years with a club option for a third season.

Rodriguez, 33, appeared in 69 games last season for the Brewers and went 5-5 with a 3.04 ERA with 44 saves, earning All-Star honors for the fifth time.

For his career, the 13-year veteran is 46-41 with a 2.73 ERA and 348 saves, which is good enough for second among active players (Joe Nathan, 376).

Rodriguez re-signed with Milwaukee last February after being dealt from the Brewers to the Baltimore Orioles prior to the 2013 trade deadline. He first joined Milwaukee in a July 2011 trade with the New York Mets.

►   Blue Jays’ Saunders sidelined until All-Star break

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders is expected to be sidelined until the All-Star break in July because of a knee injury.

The Blue Jays said Saunders suffered a torn left meniscus. He was hurt while chasing a fly ball during batting practice on Wednesday.

Saunders was acquired from Seattle this offseason in a deal that sent pitcher J.A. Happ to the Mariners. He was expected to start the season as the Blue Jays’ left fielder.

The 28-year-old native of British Columbia is a career .231 hitter with 51 homers and 182 RBI over 553 games with Seattle. He played just 78 games last year because of a strained left oblique and batted .273 with eight homers and 34 RBI.

►   Report: Angels’ Hamilton had drug and alcohol relapse

Former American League MVP Josh Hamilton reportedly suffered a cocaine and alcohol relapse.

The Angels outfielder met with Major League Baseball officials on Wednesday in New York for what was termed a “disciplinary issue.“

On Thursday, the New York Daily News cited a source as saying Hamilton had a relapse with his previous drug problems.

Hamilton had been spending the offseason in Houston recovering from surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder. He undergoes regular drug testing as a condition of his reinstatement into baseball in 2005. The veteran was suspended for three seasons between 2003-05 for well-documented issues of substance-abuse.

The 33-year-old veteran went on to beat his addiction and become one of the game’s most feared hitters over a five-year span with the Texas Rangers from 2008-12. Hamilton was named an AL All-Star in each of those seasons and captured the league’s MVP award in 2010 when he batted .359 with 32 homers and 100 RBI and helped the Rangers to the World Series.

Hamilton signed a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels in December of 2012, but had a disappointing first season with the club and was limited to just 89 games by injuries this last year.

The 1999 No. 1 overall pick managed just 10 homers and 44 RBI along with a .263 average in 2014, missing nearly two months with a calf strain and most of September with shoulder problems. Hamilton returned for the AL Division Series, but was hitless in 13 at-bats as the Angels were swept by Kansas City.

Hamilton admitted to having brief relapses with alcohol in both 2009 and 2012, though those incidents were not punishable under MLB’s current drug policy.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NHL Game Results

(Thursday, February 26)

Final Score: Buffalo 6, Vancouver 3

Torrey Mitchell tallied twice while Brian Gionta picked up a goal and two assists as Buffalo doubled up Vancouver, 6-3, on Thursday. Andrej Meszaros, Chris Stewart and Brian Flynn also lit the lamp with Matt Moulson adding a pair of helpers for the Sabres, who have won two in a row ahead of a five-game road trip. Michal Neuvirth came up with 28 saves. Shawn Matthias, Jannik Hansen and Daniel Sedin supplied offense for the Canucks, who lost for the third time in their last nine contests. Eddie Lack took the loss after allowing five goals on 23 shots for Vancouver, which ended its own road swing with a 3-2-0 mark.

Final Score: NY Rangers 4, Arizona 3

Lee Stempniak’s second goal of the game, which came with 2:14 remaining, lifted the New York Rangers to a 4-3 come- from-behind victory over the Arizona Coyotes in a matchup of teams headed in opposite directions. Stempniak’s two scores and Chris Kreider’s second power- play tally of the night enabled the Rangers to overcome a 3-1 deficit after one period and record their fourth straight win, dealing the scuffling Coyotes an eighth consecutive loss in the process. Kevin Hayes added two assists and Cam Talbot came up with 37 saves for New York, which improved to 8-0-1 in its last nine and moved into a tie with the Islanders atop the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers own two games in hand on their crosstown rivals. Arizona was dealt another defeat despite a two-goal effort from Sam Gagner and Mike Smith’s 34 saves, with Mark Arcobello also scoring in the setback.

Final Score: Montreal 5, Columbus 2

P.K. Subban had a goal with two assists, Jacob De La Rose scored the first two goals of his NHL career and the Atlantic Division-leading Montreal Canadiens topped the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Thursday night at Nationwide Arena. Carey Price earned a franchise-record 10th consecutive road win with a 25-save performance. Max Pacioretty potted his 30th goal of the season for the Canadiens, who have won three games in a row. Curtis McElhinney gave up four goals on 26 shots as the Blue Jackets lost their fourth straight game.

Final Score: Toronto 3, Philadelphia 2

Jonathan Bernier came up with 47 saves and Dion Phaneuf returned from injury to record the deciding power-play goal early in the third period as Toronto nipped Philadelphia, 3-2, at Air Canada Centre. Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel each posted a goal and one assist for the Maple Leafs, winners of two straight after dropping five in a row. Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn scored for the Flyers, who dropped back-to-back road games to Carolina and Toronto after beating Nashville and Washington over the weekend at home. Steve Mason suffered the loss in relief, charged with the final Leafs goal on nine shots. Rob Zepp worked the first 25-plus minutes and gave up two scores on eight shots.

Final Score: Chicago 3, Florida 0

Corey Crawford made 20 saves for his second shutout of the season and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Florida Panthers 3-0 to sweep a home-and-home set. The Blackhawks beat Florida 3-2 in a shootout on Tuesday to snap a three-game losing streak and punctuate an eight-game homestand in which they went 3-2-3. But they lost star forward Patrick Kane, who suffered a broken collarbone when he was cross-checked into the boards by Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic in the first period. The player called up to take Kane’s place on the roster, 20-year-old prospect Teuvo Teravainen, scored just over three minutes into Thursday’s game to give the Blackhawks the only goal they needed. Crawford made four saves in the first period, nine in the second and stopped seven shots in the third for the 12th shutout of his career. Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews also scored. Roberto Luongo gave up two goals on 28 shots for Florida. The Panthers have scored just four total goals during a four-game losing streak (0-3-1) and hope the addition of Jaromir Jagr can help their chances to make the playoffs. They acquired the 43-year-old veteran forward from the New Jersey Devils on Thursday in exchange for two draft picks. Jagr, who is sixth on the all-time goals list with 716, will play for his eighth NHL team when he suits up for the Panthers.

Final Score: St. Louis 2, Winnipeg 1 (SO)

Alexander Steen scored in the third round of the shootout to lift the St. Louis Blues over the Winnipeg Jets, 2-1, on Thursday. Patrik Berglund scored in regulation for the Blues, who have won six in a row against the Jets. Brian Elliott made 30 saves. Mark Scheifele lit the lamp for the Jets, who have dropped three of four. Michael Hutchinson stopped 28-of-29 shots.

Final Score: Minnesota 4, Nashville 2

Nino Niederreiter scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the game and added an empty-netter with 1:39 remaining to help the Minnesota Wild earn a 4-2 win over the NHL-leading Nashville Predators on Thursday. Erik Haula and Kyle Brodziak each had a goal and one assist for Minnesota, which improved to 14-3-2 since acquiring Devan Dubnyk last month. Dubnyk, who has started all of the Wild’s 19 games following the trade, stopped 27-of-29 Nashville shots. Mike Fisher had a goal and one assist for the Predators, who got 26 saves from Pekka Rinne in a rare home loss. Nashville had won six straight at Bridgestone Arena and entered a league-best 26-3-1 as the host.

Final Score: Detroit 3, San Jose 2

Pavel Datsyuk and Luke Glendening scored third-period goals to lift the Detroit Red Wings over the San Jose Sharks, 3-2, on Thursday. Teemu Pulkkinen also scored for the Red Wings, who snapped a two-game skid. Jimmy Howard made 20 saves. Matt Irwin and Patrick Marleau scored for the Sharks, who have lost seven in a row at home. Antti Niemi stopped 32-of-35 shots.

Final Score: Ottawa 1, Los Angeles 0

Andrew Hammond hasn’t lost an NHL start. Heck, the 27-year-old goaltender hasn’t even let a puck get past him in two games. Hammond was perfect for the second night in a row and Mike Hoffman scored his team-leading 21st goal of the season to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 1-0 win over the red-hot Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night. The Senators ended the Kings’ winning streak at eight games, one shy of tying a franchise record. They beat the Kings in Los Angeles for the first time in more than 15 years. Hammond was the star again, making 35 saves to post a shutout on back- to-back nights. He had 25 stops in a 3-0 win in Anaheim on Wednesday night to record the first shutout of his career. He is 4-0 in four career NHL starts, all in the last 10 days as the stopgap-turned-star of an injury-plagued Ottawa goaltending corps.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Harrison ousts defending Acapulco champ Dimitrov

American qualifier Ryan Harrison upset defending champion Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday in the second round of the $1.4 million Mexican Open.

Harrison fired five aces in a 7-5, 4-6, 6-0 win over the third-seeded Dimitrov on the hardcourts at the Fairmont Acapulco Princess.

Dimitrov, who beat Kevin Anderson in last year’s final, double faulted seven times in his match against Harrison, including three times in the third set.

Harrison advanced to face sixth-seeded Ivo Karlovic, who came back to beat Dusan Lajovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori, this week’s No. 1 seed, rolled to a 6-1, 6-3 win over Lu Yen-hsun in just under an hour and will meet fifth-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov, who defeated Andreas Haider-Maurer, 6-2, 6-3.

Also Wednesday, three-time Acapulco champion David Ferrer topped Marinko Matosevic 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.

The second-seeded Ferrer captured three straight Acapulco titles from 2010-12 and was the runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2013. He will meet Bernard Tomic, who ousted eighth-seeded Benjamin Becker, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The fourth-seeded Anderson rallied to beat American Steve Johnson in three sets 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 and will face Viktor Troicki, who topped seventh-seeded Santiago Giraldo, 6-3, 6-4.

This year’s champion will win $343,000.

►   Murray exits Dubai

Croatian teenager Borna Coric ousted former runner-up Andy Murray in Thursday’s quarterfinal action at the $2 million Dubai Tennis Championships.

The rising 18-year-old Coric whipped the third-seeded Murray 6-1, 6-3 on the hardcourts at Aviation Tennis Centre.

Last month’s Australian Open runner-up Murray was the 2012 Dubai runner-up to six-time champion Roger Federer.

Another quarterfinal result saw fourth-seeded two-time Dubai runner-up Tomas Berdych sneak past Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Berdych lost in the last two finals here, including last year versus the amazing Federer.

This year’s Dubai champ will earn $505,000.

►   Croatian teen stuns Murray in Dubai

Croatian teenager Borna Coric ousted former runner-up Andy Murray in Thursday’s quarterfinal action at the $2 million Dubai Tennis Championships.

The rising 18-year-old Coric whipped the third-seeded Murray 6-1, 6-3 on the hardcourts at Aviation Tennis Centre.

It marked the lucky loser Coric’s second career win against a top-10 player, after he converted on four-of-eight break-point chances on Thursday. The world No. 84 beat Rafael Nadal en route to the Swiss Indoors semifinals back in October.

“[It’s] one of the biggest wins, for sure,“ said Coric after taking out the two-time Grand Slam champion Murray. “I was just trying to maintain my level, stay in the rallies as long as I can, which I was doing really well. I was also running very well.

“I’m still a little bit struggling with the best players when they are playing really good obviously. I always need to be on 100%, and when I’m on 100%, mentally [and] also tennis wise, then I think I can play with them.“

Last month’s Australian Open runner-up Murray was the 2012 Dubai runner-up to six-time champion Roger Federer.

“He didn’t make many errors,“ Murray said of Coric. “He played very solid and he moved well. I made way too many mistakes from the beginning of the match right through to the end, early in rallies, rushing points.“

Another quarterfinal result saw fourth-seeded two-time Dubai runner-up Tomas Berdych sneak past Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Berdych lost in the last two finals here, including last year versus the amazing Federer.

This year’s Dubai champ will earn $505,000.

►   Federer reaches semis; Croatian teen stuns Murray in Dubai

Six-time champion Roger Federer was an easy winner, while Croatian teenager Borna Coric ousted former runner-up Andy Murray in Thursday’s quarterfinal action at the $2 million Dubai Tennis Championships.

The second-seeded former world No. 1 great Federer was handling former top-10 Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1 after one set when Gasquet retired due to a back injury on Day 4.

The Wimbledon runner-up Federer’s semifinal opponent on Friday will be the rising 18-year-old Coric, who whipped the third-seeded Murray 6-1, 6-3 on the hardcourts at Aviation Tennis Centre.

It marked the lucky loser Coric’s second career win against a top-10 player, after he converted on four-of-eight break-point chances on Thursday. The world No. 84 beat Rafael Nadal en route to the Swiss Indoors semifinals back in October.

“[It’s] one of the biggest wins, for sure,“ said Coric after taking out the two-time Grand Slam champion Murray. “I was just trying to maintain my level, stay in the rallies as long as I can, which I was doing really well. I was also running very well.

“I’m still a little bit struggling with the best players when they are playing really good obviously. I always need to be on 100%, and when I’m on 100%, mentally [and] also tennis wise, then I think I can play with them.“

Last month’s Australian Open runner-up Murray was the 2012 Dubai runner-up to Federer.

“He didn’t make many errors,“ Murray said of Coric. “He played very solid and he moved well. I made way too many mistakes from the beginning of the match right through to the end, early in rallies, rushing points.“

Another quarterfinal result saw fourth-seeded two-time Dubai runner-up Tomas Berdych sneak past Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Berdych lost in the last two finals here, including last year versus the amazing Federer.

This year’s Dubai champ will earn $505,000.

►   Venus reaches final four in Doha

Seventh-seeded Venus Williams upended No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska in Thursday’s quarterfinal action at the Qatar Open tennis event.

The former world No. 1 Williams took down the former Wimbledon runner-up Radwanska 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 on the hardcourts at Khalifa International Tennis Complex.

Radwanska also lost to the resurgent Williams in the fourth round last month at the Australian Open.

Williams will meet the Caroline Wozniacki-Victoria Azarenka winner in Friday’s semifinals.

The 2015 Doha titlist will claim $124,000.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Up the Backstretch: Shared Belief chasing HOY in Big ‘Cap?

The 2014 finalists for Horse of the Year did not include Shared Belief, but the 4-year-old gelding has the opportunity next week to take a sizeable lead in this year’s HOY race.

Coming up on March 07 is the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap, known as the Big ‘Cap, the first major race for older thoroughbreds. The Big ‘Cap was won for the second straight year in 2014 by Game On Dude and has been won by some of the biggest names in racing history: Seabiscuit, Affirmed and Spectacular Bid among others.

Although run in early March, the Big ‘Cap offers the winning horse a leg up in the end-of-year awards discussion, including Horse of the Year.

Shared Belief, trained and co-owned by Jerry Hollendorfer, is in position to win the 1 1/4-mile Big ‘Cap and possibly wrap up HOY for 2015. The gelding defeated reigning HOY California Chrome by 1 1/2 lengths in the San Antonio Stakes as both 4-year-olds began their seasons.

Sent off as the even-money favorite, Shared Belief and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith were caught wide in the San Antonio as California Chrome, the 7-5 second pick, and rider Victor Espinoza appeared in control at the top of the stretch.

Shared Belief ran past California Chrome down the stretch at Santa Anita as he avenged his lone career loss in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last November.

“At first I thought California Chrome was getting away from me, and I know that when he switches leads, he has another gear,“ Smith said following the season- opening victory. “It wasn’t good enough today, but not only was it not good enough but I don’t have words to describe what Shared Belief did.

“I would say this is the best he’s ever run, but I would also say this is the best he’s ever looked. He’s not very tall, but he’s made really well.“

California Chrome is not expected to run in the Big ‘Cap, instead taking the long trip to the Persian Gulf for the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 28. So some prestige may be removed from this year’s running.

“California Chrome has a big following, deservedly so. He deserved to be Horse of the Year. If things had gone a little bit different (in the Breeders’ Cup Classic), I might have got a chance, but you can’t always get things to go your way,“ Hollendorfer said the day after the San Antonio.

But Shared Belief is now the clear favorite among all in the handicap division of thoroughbreds and a victory in the Big ‘Cap extends his lead for HOY.

“Shared Belief is already a great horse. He’s young and has time to get better and do more great things,“ Smith noted recently.

A healthy Shared Belief is a scary horse for all the trainers, owners and jockeys who plan to have their mounts compete against the gelding. He has shown true tactical speed with the ability to set the pace, press the pace, stalk the pace and even come from off the pace when forced wide around the turns.

Nominations for the Big ‘Cap closed with 26 horses listed as possibly taking on Shared Belief. It is not expected that any of those thoroughbreds can stay with the gelding during the running of the Big ‘Cap.

►   Breeders’ Cup tickets going on sale early

Tickets for this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland will be going on sale earlier than in years past.

Keeneland will be hosting the 32nd Breeders’ Cup World Championships for the first time and interest is expected to be strong for the event on October 30-31.

“While this is the first time that Keeneland has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, many of our Thoroughbred champions have raced at Keeneland or passed through its renowned sales pavilion so it feels like a homecoming for us,“ said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “Combining our enhanced programming for this year’s World Championships with the rich history and classic elegance of Keeneland and the Bluegrass region presents an incredible opportunity for us to showcase the best our sport has to offer.“

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, March 04, three months earlier than previous years.

“Being able to host the 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championships is an incredible honor,“ said Bill Thomason, President and CEO of Keeneland Race Course. “The Breeders’ Cup has established itself as one of the most competitive and impressive racing events in the world. Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup share a goal to provide our guests with extraordinary customer service, which, coupled with Keeneland’s iconic setting and rich racing tradition will make for a truly unique patron experience.“

Shuttle service will be provided to the track from two offsite parking facilities for the two-day, 13-race World Championships.

►   Pool 3 - The hunt for a Kentucky Derby winner

The key to betting on Kentucky Derby Future Wagers, besides picking the winner, is to find possible overlays so the horse’s odds will be higher than they would be on Derby Day.

Three weeks ago, I gave out six Pool 2 value plays, with only one of the six falling through the cracks as Imperia was bet too heavily to be considered a viable selection. The remaining five - Lord Nelson, The Great War, Prospect Park, Far Right and International Star - all wound up at 35-1 or higher.

Lord Nelson (41-1), The Great War (40-1), Prospect Park (35-1), Far Right (48-1) and International Star (44-1) all look to have solid value months before the first Saturday in May.

Since Pool 2 closed on February 8, Far Right has gone on to win the Southwest Stakes while International Star took care of business in the Risen Star. Subsequently, those two colts sport much lower morning line odds for Pool 3, which begins Friday and runs through Sunday.

Both Far Right and International Star are listed at 20-1 on the morning line, while the odds on Lord Nelson, The Great War and Prospect Park could be lower in Pool 3 (compared to Pool 2) because those three horse are all listed at 30-1 on the morning line.

In my February 5 column titled “Look for value in Kentucky Derby Pool 2,“ I mentioned how the odds for the mutuel field could be higher than 2-1, which had not happened since 2011. My suspicions were correct as the “field” closed at 5-2. I also pointed out a “field” horse has won the Derby all four times its odds were higher than 3-2 since 2008.

It might come as a surprise for a Pool 2 “field” horse to win in 2015 due to the multitude of top-flight single entrants. However, there were plenty of solid 3-year-olds - Danzig Moon, Far From Over, War Story, Bolo and Metaboss - that have since come into the Derby picture. The folks in charge of assigning the Pool 3 Future Wager obviously concur as all but Metaboss are single entrants this weekend.

As was the case in Pool 2, a horse’s odds play a key role in finding value. Don’t forget, only two horses at 17-1 or lower in Pool 2 have won the Run for the Roses since the Future Wager began in 1999. Given that, can the likes of American Pharoah, Carpe Diem, Dortmund, Texas Red or Upstart win in 2015? All five were 17-1 or lower in Pool 2. In fact, all five were in the top half- dozen of the “Jeff Frank Dirty Dozen” the week of Pool 2, while my No. 5- ranked Firing Line closed at the unbelievable price of 35-1.

I must admit to being terribly wrong at guessing Firing Line’s probable odds. I expected his 30-1 morning line to be chopped in half with a win or a close second in the Robert B. Lewis. His 35-1 Pool 2 odds is the perfect example of an overlay. If the son of Line of David can win the Sunland Derby (his expected final Kentucky Derby prep), his Pool 4 odds will be somewhere around 10-1 and his odds on Derby Day will easily be in the single digits.

For the record, horses listed as single entrants, but removed in subsequent pools, have never won the Kentucky Derby. To that end, don’t expect Frosted, Competitive Edge, Gorgeous Bird, Imperia or J S Bach to suddenly rise up and be a force at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.


Pool 3 is a little bit different than Pool 2, or what was considered Pool 1 from 1999 to 2013. “Field” horses have won half of the 16 total Pool 1 Future Wagers. On the other hand, just six have won Pool 2, with only one over the last five years. As of now, Metaboss appears to be the lone possible upsetter as he was curiously left out as an individual entrant.

The “field” was the 3-1 favorite in last year’s Pool 3, with Cairo Prince (9-1) the only individual entrant in single digits. Honor Code, Top Billing, Shared Belief, Bayern, Candy Boy, Strong Mandate and Tapiture were the other horses lower than 20-1. Incidentally, California Chrome was 32-1.

There have been 42 total single entrants over the last six years with odds lower than 20-1 in the penultimate Future Wager Pool. Orb has been the only winner. The average number of horses per year at 19-1 or lower since 2009 has been seven.

It is not too difficult to pick out six of the probable seven this year. They will be: (1) American Pharoah, (2) Carpe Diem, (3) Dortmund, (4) Khozan, (5) Texas Red and (6) Upstart. The seventh will either be Far From Over or Ocean Knight. I would refrain from wagering on any of those eight horses because there is no value in betting them now compared to the final pool or the day of the race.

I also would hold back from betting any of the five value plays I gave out for Pool 2, especially because the odds on all of them could be lower this time around. In addition, save your money by not placing any wagers on Daredevil, El Kabeir, Itsaknockout, Keen Ice, Mr. Z and Ocho Ocho Ocho.

That leaves just three horses to bet in Pool 3 - Danzig Moon, War Story and Bolo. The first two were listed as potential Derby contenders in my initial 2015 Kentucky Derby column, while I listed Bolo as a horse to watch.

Danzig Moon and Bolo are 50-1 on the Pool 3 morning line and War Story is one of six horses at 30-1.

Danzig Moon finally broke his maiden in his 2015 debut on February 07 at Gulfstream Park. The son of Malibu Moon (Orb’s sire) blew away his competition with a 12 1/5-second eighth of a mile heading into the stretch, while opening up three lengths on Saraguaro in a matter of seconds. He went on to win by 4 3/4 lengths with a time of 1:38 for the one-mile event. Danzig Moon is well worth any wager, primarily because he should be one of the higher-priced entrants in the pool.

War Story has been a bridesmaid to International Star in both the LeComte and Risen Star Stakes. He is more well-known to the general betting public than either Danzig Moon or Bolo, so his Pool 3 odds might not drift much higher than his 30-1 morning line. Still, if he wins the Louisiana Derby, his Pool 4 odds will be much lower, so it is certainly worth placing a bet on him in Pool 3.

Bolo has been mentioned as a possible Kentucky Derby horse at different times this winter despite never having raced on dirt. He began his career in November with a fifth-place finish on the Santa Anita turf. He followed that effort with a pair of grass victories, including a 4 1/2-length win in the Eddie Logan Stakes. His turn of foot is as impressive as any colt on the Derby trail, but he has yet to test it on dirt.

Bolo is expected to try that surface for the first time in a very tough spot - the San Felipe Stakes - against Ocho Ocho Ocho, Lord Nelson and Prospect Park. If his turf form can translate to the dirt, his odds for Pool 4 will be much lower than this coming weekend. Instead of waiting for Pool 4, try to get down on him now as his jockey Mike Smith is extremely high on the son of Temple City.


1) American Pharoah - Working like a champ for return in Rebel

2) Dortmund - Baffert’s No. 2 awaits Santa Anita Derby on April 04

3) Carpe Diem - Tampa Bay Derby next for son of Giant’s Causeway

4) Firing Line - Has yet to get the respect he deserves

5) Khozan - Will have to deal with the imposing Apollo curse

6) Lord Nelson - Baffert’s No. 3 is flying under the radar

7) Far From Over - Needs to follow up Withers with another win

8) Texas Red - Two 2015 preps (one at 7-furlongs) is not ideal

9) Upstart - Staggered home and DQd in FOY; still not sold on him

10) Danzig Moon - Gearing up for stakes test in Tampa Bay Derby

11) Ocho Ocho Ocho - Might not fire first time back in San Felipe

12) Ocean Knight - Expected to return in the Gotham on March 07

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Cowboys reportedly concerned about Dez Bryant’s off-field behavior

According to a report by Ian Rapoport of, the Dallas Cowboys are so concerned about Dez Bryant’s off-the-field behavior that they have balked at giving him a long-term contract extension worth millions in guaranteed money. Rapoport says the team is all but certain to slap the franchise tag on Bryant instead, meaning he would be paid around $13 million for one year.

Rapoport reported in November that police had been called to Bryant’s home in Texas six times, though none of the incidents resulted in any arrests. However, the incidents weighed heavily on the Cowboys:

  “This is a genuine concern,” Rapoport said. “The Cowboys, I am told by multiple sources involved in the situation, do not trust Dez Bryant off the field. They feared — and they have feared for a while — that it will all blow up in his face, that a variety of small incidents will all come back to haunt him. …

  “I went to the DeSoto (Texas) City Police Department. I found six instances of police coming to Dez Bryant‘s house — that’s where he lives, in DeSoto. Among the incidents — and none of these were convictions — there was a harassment incident, there was a robbery at his house, the fire department had to come and unlock his car that had a sleeping baby inside. All of these things give the Cowboys cause for concern. He’s had anger management; they have a manager with him at all times. But they are very nervous, and this is one reason they have not wanted to give him the guaranteed money that most elite receivers get.”

On Thursday, Rapoport reported on a 2011 police-involved incident involving Bryant and a number of vehicles registered to him. The incident was set in motion when an unknown caller told police that a man was spotted dragging a woman by the hair from one car to another in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Lancaster, Tex. According to the police report, which was obtained by Rapoport, the woman was dragged from a white Mercedes that was registered to Bryant. That car was left in the parking lot. After police arrived, two men showed up in a Cadillac Escalade also registered to Bryant, with one saying the alleged victim had called to ask him to pick up the Mercedes. Bryant then showed up in a white Bentley with the alleged victim, whom he said he had picked up at a nearby house.

In the end, no charges were filed.

According to Rapoport, the Cowboys have been aware of the incident “for some time.”

►   NFL draft: ‘Spider charts’ are back with a twist

Now that the NFL combine is in the books, those of you who love salivating over the next great football talent have the data to do so. And for those of us simpletons who need to visualize it, there’s

We’re well into the season of obsessing over every player we read should be drafted in a certain range. We might even vaguely remember watching those players during the fall, or find a site like and claim we “watched the tape on a kid.”

The real fun takes place in these weeks between the combine and the draft, when every armchair GM can analyze the numbers, do our own eye tests and project who we like. In a matter of minutes, you can go from having never heard of a player to dying for your team to grab him.

Mockdraftable, home of what loyal Insider readers refer to as the ‘spider charts,’ gives us a way to look at the 2015 class of prospects and compare attributes. This basically lets us look at raw athletic ability alone, practically the opposite of what Washington’s new GM Scot McCloughan says he’s focusing on: Players who are good in crunch time, size and speed be darned.

So now we can find specifics: Say, corners over six feet, who run a 4.5 forty and have a three-cone time under 6.8 seconds? You might find that there are only a few guys like that; Here’s Jalen Collins and Eric Rowe. Then you might get excited when you can visualize how well they compare to the other corners in the class, and lose that excitement when you realize the best pro they both compare to is Quentin Jammer.

Those capabilities have been there in previous seasons, but here’s a new twist for 2015: Now you can compare players across positions. So if Washington is in the market for a player who projects both as an end and outside linebacker, or a 3-4 defensive end or nose tackle, you can sort and compare with each group.

Randy Gregory is in the zero percentile for defensive end weight, but is in the 28th as an outside linebacker. His 40 time is in the 89th percentile for defensive ends and 68 for OLBs.

Combine star Vic Beasley has an odd half-full, half-empty spider chart, showing how he tested better than any other DE despite being smaller than almost all of them. It’d be virtually the same if he was a tight end. But look at how the chart changes if he’s compared to running backs (bigger than most of them, and still comparable as an athlete). He’d be practically the fastest outside linebacker but slow among wide receivers.

Maybe none of that is groundbreaking. But if you’ve ever had weird delusions, such as believing Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams has the athletic ability to play tight end, now you can see why it never happened (look at the comparable players). Robert Griffin III as a wide receiver? Sure, why not.

Being that it’s draft season, and optimistically projecting talent is the prevailing theme, you could really waste a lot of time like this. Enjoy.

►   Titans OT Roos calls it a career

Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Michael Roos announced his retirement Thursday.

Roos spent each of his 10 NFL seasons with the Titans and was a 2008 All-Pro selection.

“After 10 years as a Tennessee Titan I have decided to retire from football,“ said Roos on his Instagram account. “I have given this decision much consideration. I feel fortunate to have played this long coming from a TE turned DE turned OT from Eastern Washington University.“

Roos suffered a knee injury last October and played only five games after missing just one game in his previous nine NFL seasons.

“To all the men I’ve shared the field with: I’m honored to have called you teammates. We have made memories for many lifetimes.

“I’m excited to begin the rest of my life, and I am grateful to do so now, while I am fully healthy…Thank you Titans fans for your support all these years. Cheers!“

The Titans selected Roos in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He started all 148 games he played for the Titans, including 119 to begin his career before an emergency appendectomy kept him sidelined for one game in 2012.

►   Adrian Peterson reinstated by judge

Adrian Peterson has been reinstated after a judge on Thursday overturned the league’s suspension of the Minnesota Vikings running back.

Peterson was originally charged with reckless or negligent injury to a child for striking his 4-year-old son with a wooden tree branch in May and was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list in September. He was then suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in November for violating the personal conduct policy after reaching a plea agreement in Texas and the NFL Players Association filed an appeal that was upheld by league-appointed arbitrator Harold Henderson in December.

The NFLPA then filed a federal lawsuit after its appeal was denied and U.S. District Judge David S. Doty on Thursday granted the union’s motion to have Henderson’s ruling vacated.

“This is a victory for the rule of law, due process and fairness,“ the NFLPA said Thursday in a statement. “Our collective bargaining agreement has rules for implementation of the personal conduct policy and when those rules are violated, our union always stands up to protect our players’ rights. This is yet another example why neutral arbitration is good for our players, good for the owners and good for our game.“

Under terms of the NFL suspension, Peterson would have been considered for reinstatement as of April 15.

When filing its lawsuit, the NFLPA had maintained its stance that the NFL was “making it up as it goes along,“ in reference to the league’s decisions on suspensions related to the personal conduct policy. The union added that the harsh punishment came as a result of the league’s new personal conduct policy and that it should not be applied retroactively in Peterson’s case.

The NFL said the commissioner had the “broad discretion” under the collective bargaining agreement to impose the enhanced discipline under the new policy.

Doty, however, disagreed with the NFL’s assertion and said Henderson exceeded his authority in the appeal ruling.

Peterson last played in the Vikings’ season opener September 7. The two-time NFL rushing champion pleaded no contest to a lesser misdemeanor offense after working out an agreement with the Montgomery County (Texas) district attorney.

The 2012 NFL MVP avoided jail time and was placed on probation while receiving a $4,000 fine and an order to perform 80 hours of community service.

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
Cleveland at Indiana, 7:00 PM - FS-Ohio, Indiana, DSS
Washington at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - CSN-DC+, Philadelphia, DSS
New York at Detroit, 7:30 PM - MSG, FS-Detroit, DSS
Charlotte at Boston, 7:30 PM - SportSouth, CSN-New England, DSS
Orlando at Atlanta, 7:30 PM - FS-Florida, SportSouth, DSS
Golden State at Toronto, 7:30 PM - CSN-Bay, TSN
Miami at New Orleans, 8:00 PM - SunSports, ESPN
Minnesota at Chicago, 8:00 PM - FS-North, WPWR
Brooklyn at Houston, 8:00 PM - YES, ROOT-Southwest, DSS
LA Clippers at Memphis, 8:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, SportSouth, DSS
Utah at Denver, 9:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest, Altitude, DSS
San Antonio at Sacramento, 10:00 PM - KENS, CSN-California, DSS
Milwaukee at LA Lakers, 10:30 PM - FS-Wisconsin, Time Warner, DSS
Oklahoma City at Portland, 10:30 PM - FS-Oklahoma, CSN-Northwest, ESPN
National Hockey League
Boston at New Jersey, 7:00 PM - NESN, MSG+, DSS
Calgary at NY Islanders, 7:00 PM - SNET-West, MSG+2, DSS
Washington at Carolina, 7:00 PM - CSN-DC, FS-Carolina, DSS
Chicago at Tampa Bay, 7:30 PM - CSN-Chicago, SunSports, DSS
Colorado at Dallas, 8:30 PM - Altitude2, FS-Southwest, DSS
Los Angeles at Anaheim, 10:00 PM - KCOP, FS-Prime Ticket, DSS
College Basketball
Siena at Quinnipiac, 6:00 PM - ESPN U
Harvard at Cornell, 6:30 PM - CBSSN
Manhattan at Iona, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Princeton at Yale, 7:00 PM - Ivy League Digital Network
Ohio at Akron, 8:00 PM - ESPN U
Penn at Brown, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network, MASN
Dartmouth at Columbia, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network
Valparaiso at Cleveland State, 10:00 PM - ESPN U
Women’s College Basketball
Cornell at Harvard, 7:00 PM -
Drake at Wichita State, 8:00 PM -
Colorado at Arizona, 8:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Providence at Villanova, 8:30 PM - FS1
College Hockey
Penn State at Ohio State, 6:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Colgate at Yale, 7:00 PM -
Maine at Providence, 7:00 PM - OSN
Merrimack at New Hampshire, 7:00 PM - FCS
Boston College at Notre Dame, 7:30 PM - NBCSN
Wisconsin at Michigan, 7:30 PM - FS-Detroit+, Wisconsin
St. Cloud State at North Dakota, 8:30 PM - CBSSN
Michigan State at Minnesota, 9:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Miami-Ohio at Denver, 9:30 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain
International Soccer
Olympique de Marseille vs. Stade Malherbe Caen, 2:25 PM - beIN Sports
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
Auto Racing
XFINITY - practice, 10:00 AM - FS1
XFINITY - practice, 11:30 AM - FS1
SPRINT CUP - practice, 1:00 PM - FS1
CAMPING WORLD - practice, 2:30 PM - FS1
SPRINT CUP - qualifying, 5:30 PM - FS1

NES PTO: Amish-Made Baskets, Primitive Decor and Pampered Chef Bingo - 03.28.15

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


The Gilmer Free Press

InMyOpinion™: Prevailing Wage

The Gilmer Free Press

Today I and hundreds of working men and women from West Virginia gathered at the state capital. House government organization meeting on prevailing wage.

I served in House of Delegates for 6 years, but today I witness something that I never seen as a delegate the meeting room was half close to the public.

There was armed guards at the entrance doors to the meeting hall.

Strong police presence today and the other two rallies.

As usual all present was well behaved.

More wasted taxpayer money on State Police being at capital.

I am sure that State Police has other pressing work to do.

In the meeting several amendments were offered but all the amendments was voted down.

Senate version was passed from government organization committee along party lines.

All the studies that this will harm the state economy by reducing the wages of thousands of working men an women.

It was plain to all that attended and listen by way of the Internet today it was solely a vote for the Republican agenda.

Today sealed the fate of many small businesses across our great state, these businesses will have to stop doing business in West Virginia and their employees will be sent to the unemployment lines if they cannot fine employment here.

Employees will possibly lose their homes automobiles and their children will suffer with this decision.

Hope in Hard Times

The Gilmer Free Press

It seems that the news is always full of, well, bad news, such as the long conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

The seemingly intractable war between these two groups has gone on for decades. Too often, all we see in the news are stories of new rocket attacks, new bombings, new assassinations, and implacable hatred. But that is not the whole truth. In her book, From Enemy To Friend, Rabbi Amy Eilberg reports the existence of a different reality. She informs us of “The Bereaved Parents Circle,” which is an organization that brings together families from both sides who have had loved ones killed by the other side.

She attended one of their meetings. Two men spoke: Rami (an Israeli) whose 14 year old daughter was killed in a terrorist attack while buying school supplies and Mazen (a Palestinian) whose unarmed father was riddled with bullets by Israeli soldiers for no reason.

Each told his story. Then they told the story of an Israeli attack in Gaza aimed at assassinating a terrorist leader which instead killed many sleeping children.

Following the attack, local Jews donated blood to help wounded Palestinians. When asked how they could donate blood to “the enemy,” they replied: “It is better to give blood than to spill it.” They started a project in which Palestinians and Jews then donated to a blood bank to help wounded across the region. Then Rami and Mazen, calling each other “brother,” said to the assembled crowd.

“Take this picture with you, the picture of the two of us together. Tell people that it is possible for Palestinians and Israelis to work together for peace. And if it is possible for us, who have paid the highest price, it is possible for anyone.”

On 28 August 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. said that “we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” We live in hard times. Climate peril, deteriorating oceans, toxic chemicals, wars, desperate poverty, shootings—you name it—are all too familiar. It would be easy to fall into despair. And while we must squarely face the reality of our times, we need not go numb or give up for there is also much that is hopeful. Out of these stones of hope we can build a world community living peacefully with each other and sustainably with the earth.

~~  Kent Shifferd ~~

Area Closings and Delays on Thursday, February 27, 2015

The Gilmer Free Press
Status of Area Closings and Delays on Thursday, February 27, 2015
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G-TechNote™: When Your Waiter Is A Drone

Drones delivering drinks in a crowded restaurant?
It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

A Singapore restaurant plans to use drones to transport food and drinks from the kitchen to a wait station near customers’ tables by the end of this year.

Infinium Robotics, the Singapore company that’s developing the drones for restaurant chain Timbre, showed off the technology here:

It has spent the past two weeks testing the technology at the restaurant before it opens each night for business.

Delivering plates of food and drink to individual tables sounds like a recipe for disaster. How does the drone know where to hover? What if someone bumps into the drone or is standing in its way?

While Infinium Robotics claims it’s all technically possible, Timbre won’t be delivering food from the kitchen straight to customers’ tables. It wants to preserve a human touch. So the drones will fly from the kitchen to two stations frequented by waiters. The routes are 30 and 60 feet. The drones are programmed to fly no lower than 8½ feet, so as not to crash into any guests.

“There’s no chance at all you will hit anything,” says Infinium Robotics.

The drones automatically charge while waiting in the kitchen. After the chef puts an order on the drone, he hits a button on a keypad and the drone automatically flies to one of two wait stations. Sense-and-avoid technology built into the drone won’t allow it to land at the wait station if anything is in its way. The drones are also equipped with sonar and an infrared sensor.

A waiter then removes the food or drink from the drone and hits a button that sends it back to the kitchen. The 5 1/3-pound drones can carry just over four pounds of food. Infinium Robotics, which develops the hardware and software, is working on a model that will carry twice as much food.

Woon says this isn’t just a gimmick or marketing stunt to help restaurants draw in customers. He points out that unlike a human or traditional robot, the drone flies above congested areas, providing more efficient service.

“Its job is to help the waiters, to alleviate some of their mundane tasks,” Infinium Robotics says. “If they let the robots do the job they can concentrate on interacting with customers to bring about higher customer satisfaction and dining experience.”

Since drawing recent media attention Woon has heard from resorts and restaurants in 10 countries, including the United States.

“The reason why we wanted to focus on restaurants right now is because it doesn’t have issues with privacy,” Infinium Robotics sys. “It doesn’t have issues with outdoor regulations where we have to seek permission from the FAA for example, because it might interfere with the commercial airliners.”

Movie Review: ‘The Last Five Years’

It’s such a relief not to have to give spoiler warnings. The final tragedy of “The Last Five Years” is the breakup of a marriage, but it’s laid out in the first scene, because the movie begins at the end. Confusingly enough, it also ends at the end.

The structure is strange, but also surprisingly effective. The musical, based on an off-Broadway production by Jason Robert Brown, is the story of Cathy (Anna Kendrick) and Jamie (Jeremy Jordan), who fall in love, get married and drift apart. We see it all from each of their perspectives, with Cathy’s retelling unfolding in reverse and Jamie’s following a traditional structure. So after our devastating introduction to Cathy, who has just read a Dear John letter, we’re launched back to the start of the couple’s courtship, which is filled with laughter, sex and infinite possibility. The narratives cross paths the day Jamie and Cathy get engaged.

Director Richard LaGravenese helped adapt the production for the big screen, and he has kept the structure intact. This isn’t a musical in the sense of “Mamma Mia!” where spoken dialogue is punctuated by song-and-dance numbers. “The Last Five Years” is almost entirely sung. That guarantees only a niche appeal, which is a shame, because the music is gorgeous. Brown’s songs are as pretty as they are complex. (He has won Tony Awards for “Parade” and “The Bridges of Madison County.”)

The Gilmer Free Press

The plot isn’t quite as intricate. The trouble begins almost at the start of the relationship, with Jamie’s writing career taking a stratospheric turn as Cathy, an actress, is struggling through a soul-crushing series of failed auditions.

That being said, Cathy’s frustrations aren’t always tragic. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, as when she sings about her summer job performing with a ragtag bunch of eccentrics in Ohio, or when she rehashes what it’s like to audition for men who aren’t paying attention. (“Why is the director staring at his crotch? Why is that man staring at my résumé? Don’t stare at my résumé!”)

Musicals aren’t always the most nuanced medium, but they are an excellent way to tell stories about big highs and lows. When Jamie learns that Random House is interested in his first novel, his ecstasy is telegraphed with an energetic number and backup dancers. And when Cathy sings her slow opening song about Jamie giving up, it’s not just the tears that well in her eyes that make us also want to cry. The sad cello helps, too.

But it’s more than great dancing and tragic strings that elevate “The Last Five Years” to a very funny, deeply affecting portrait of love lost and found. Kendrick and Jordan are both Broadway performers with powerful voices, although Kendrick is better known as one of Hollywood’s brightest rising stars. Watching her here, you might think there’s nothing she can’t do. She’s equally adept at telegraphing humor and heartbreak, and her ability to cry on command makes beginning the story at its end work.

We don’t even know who this person is and already we want her to be okay.

★ ★ ★

PG-13 Contains sexual material and brief strong language. 94 minutes.

Bon Appétit: Hummus with Grilled Lamb

The Gilmer Free Press


2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
¼ cup tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ½ pounds ground lamb

1 tablespoon finely chopped flatleaf parsley
½ teaspoon smoked paprika

6 to 8 warmed pita rounds.


Combine hummus ingredients in food processor about 15 minutes, until mostly smooth. Set aside.

For lamb (or ground beef or turkey), heat olive oil. Add onion and spices and sauté 1 minute, Add meat and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Spoon hummus on serving platter, making a well. Garnish with paprika and parsley. Transfer meat with slotted spoon, draining oil. Serve with pita.

GFP - 02.27.2015
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G-MM™: Meditation Moment   150227


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.


Galatians 2:15-17

Jew and Gentile

15-16 “How can you, a Jew by birth, first act like a Gentile, and then turn around and urge the Gentiles to live like Jews?” I asked him. “You and I were not raised like Gentiles, ignorant of right and wrong, yet we know that following the law of Moses, apart from our faith in Christ Jesus, did not and cannot justify us before God. No flesh will be justified by works under the law. So why hold onto it?”

17 “When we, who were born Jews, preach justification through faith in Christ, we are His representatives. We cannot become servants of sin. If we preach the faith of Christ and then sin, do we not imply that Christ Himself is a servant of sin? This cannot be!”

Notes on the Scripture

In this passage, we begin to dig into Paul’s great theological statement, the difference betweeen the practice of Judaism and Christianity and all that these difference imply. We discussed the setting of this speech on Tuesday: Peter was in Antioch, but when a group comes from Jerusalem, he stops eating meals with the Gentiles in the Antioch church and begins to eat separately with the Jews-only group.

The reason he and the other Jews did so was their engrained Jewish belief that they might be made impure by eating with Gentiles. They were following the Pharisees’ interpretation of the Law of Moses, which to them had always been the law of God. By following God’s law to the letter, the Jews had sought, unsuccessfully, to be saved. And this had become a powerful habit, difficult for them to break.

Paul calls Peter to task for it; and he uses it as an opportunity to explain the fundamental nature of Christian salvation. This is, remember, his first try at formulating doctrine in writing. It is sometimes a bit difficult to understand what he is getting at, but we will chew his words until they are digestible.

He begins his argument by pointing out an inconsistancy in Peter’s actions. Peter was a genuine pureblooded Hebrew, born and raised to follow the law of Moses as one of God’s chosen nation. Yet he had previously eaten with Gentiles and, perhaps, committed other breaches of the Pharisaic oral law, because Peter had been instructed by a vision from God to accept the Gentiles into Christ’s church. Peter was actually a leader in this regard. God sent him a vision, which he interpreted correctly, and thereafter went to the house of Cornelius, a Roman centurion, and baptized him and his household into the body of saints. Notably, Peter neither treated Cornelius as unclean in any way, nor suggested that he be circumcised or otherwise act like a Jew.

When Peter returned to Jerusalem, unnamed brothers criticized him for “eating with Gentiles”. But when he told them what had happened, “they quieted down and glorified God, saying, ‘Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.’” (Acts 11:18) Thus Peter was actually the first champion of Gentile conversion, and its first defender.

Why did he participate in a separation of Jewish and Gentile Christians in Antioch? One can only speculate. But everyone has had occasion to look back on some absurdly incorrect choice they made, and wondered, “What was I thinking?”

What Peter clearly had not considered was the final step: that it might be sinful to participate in a division of Jewish Christians, which gave the appearance of valuing the Law above the unity of Christians in faith. He should have known better, as the saying goes. It was a prominent lesson taught by Jesus Himself, in Matthew 15:1-20.

Carl G. Scott

The Gilmer Free Press

Carl G. Scott

Age 83, of Richmond, OH, passed away February 06, 2015, at UPMC Presbyterian, Pittsburgh, PA due to complications from a fall on the ice.

He was born on June 30, 1931, in Braxton County, WV, a son of the late Robert J. and Nelia (Perrine) Scott.

In addition to his parents he is preceded in death by his wife, Betty Lou (Hall) Scott who passed away on August 20, 2006; sister, Wilma Starmer; and brother, Jack Scott.

He retired from Weirton Steel and was a member of Weirton Steel employee 25-year club.

Carl attended the Two Ridges Presbyterian Church, Winterville.

He was a lifetime member of Steubenville Rifle and Pistol Club and a member of the Unionport Masonic Lodge 333, IOOF, NRA, and Jefferson County Farm Bureau.

He enjoyed spending time with his friends at Prime Time in Richmond, OH.

He is survived by his children, Cheryl (LeRoy) Hoover of Virginia Beach, VA, David (Sheila) Scott of New Philadelphia, OH, and Lisa Breuer of Sachse, TX; grandchildren, Mark (Joy) Hoover, Shawn Hoover, Grad and Cindy Scott, Natalie (Dylan) Demas, Louann Wells, Evie (Justin) Firm, and Adriana Breuer; great-grandchildren , Ryan Hoover, Daria and Nathan Scott, Grayson Demas, Alexis Wells, Lance and Melanie Firm; sister, Wanda Moore; and brother, Buddy (Gloria) Scott.

Friends were received on Sunday from 3-5 PM at the Everhart-Bove Funeral Home, 685 Canton Road, Wintersville, where funeral services followed at 1 PM on Monday.

Masonic services were held at 3 PM on Sunday.

Burial followed at Ft. Steuben Burial Estates, Wintersville.

Jonathan Gordon Alfred

The Gilmer Free Press

Jonathan Gordon Alfred

Age 59, of Parkersburg, WV went home to be with the Lord and Savior on February 20, 2015, at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

He was born in Weston, WV, March 09, 1955: a son of the late Thomas J. and Bertie Belle Shallenberger Alfred.

He was employed by the Erie Insurance Group as an investigator since 1987 and was a member of IASIU. Previously he had worked as assistant state fire Marshall from 1980 to 1987 and as a police officer with the Weston City Police Department from 1974 to 1980 where he obtained the rank of Sargent.

He graduated from Lewis County High School in 1973 and obtained his degree in Criminal Justice from Fairmont State College in 1979.

His most precious moments were spending time with family and spoiling his grandchildren. He enjoyed WVU football, woodworking, reading, music and traveling with his wife.

Alfred attended Christ Mission Baptist Church.

Alfred is survived by his wife, Joanna Knox Alfred, whom he married May 10, 1997; son, Perry G. Alfred, a major in the USAF stationed at Hurlburt Field, FL, daughter, Laura B. Thurman (Greg) of Morgantown; step-daughters, Terra Miller, Trisha Law (Jared) and Tasha Miller, all of Parkersburg; granddaughter, Beatrice; and step-grandchildren, Eric, Ally Hallie, Austin, Lilly, Mason, Liam and Rowan; siblings, Thomas Steven Alfred (Nancy) of Weston, Mary Boggs of Salem, Jennifer Bailey (Bob) of Weston, Alice Rittenhouse (Charles) of Weston, Sara Borchert of Mahaffey, PA, Susan Murray (Steve) of Weston and Joseph Alfred of Salem; father and mother-in-law, Thomas D, Sr. and Sue Knox; brothers-in-law, Joe Knox (Tonya), Steve Knox (Jeanette) and Dail Kuhens (Rhonda); sister-in-law, Darlene Kuhens and families.

The funeral service were held at 11 AM Wednesday, February 25, at Leavitt Funeral Home in Parkersburg, with Pastor Mark Watkins officiating. 

Burial was at Sunset Memory Gardens.

Visitation was held Tuesday and one-hour prior to the service on Wednesday.


The Gilmer Free Press

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(14) 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

Read this article and yesterdays article, both in the Charleston Gazette, that is the REPEAL of Common Core by your WV Legislature.

By reader  on  02.26.2015

NOW you want to talk to the great unwashed masses of WV.  Now that you and your board are in trouble you talk to us of common sense.
Aren’t you the same people that thumbed their noses at the Governor’s audit? The one that said WV was one of the most overly regulated and bureaucrat top heavy educational systems they had experienced?

No, it is not a small group of West Virginians asking for the Legislatures help to control the unbridled power of the State Board of Education. It was the whole darn state that voted for change after the Governor ignored pleas of his people.No recounts required.

By How About Dealing With It?  on  02.26.2015

Dear Dr. Martirano, welcome to the real world of West Virginia and its system of education. Now, after 10 or more years of tyrannical tactics by the WVDOE it would seem an appeal for help is a little too late. Our children have suffered dire consequences for the muddled mess of directives wrapped in more than 4,749 pages of policies and almost 800 pages of statutes; the insensitivity of the OEPA citations for counties like Lincoln, Hampshire, McDowell, Mingo, Preston, Gilmer and maybe the governor`s county of Logan. What has been done and for what purpose? The good people have been generous in monetary support of the children, in the upper ten percent in per pupil expenditures, and the bottom ten per cent in achievement. Is it not time to stop digging ?

By William  on  02.26.2015

Dr. Martirano has an impressive resume.  Probably has wonderful dreams, plans, and intentions.
However, it will not be enough that one individual can undo the power maze of previous appointments, hirings, friends, nepotism, and paybacks.

By Reg. Dem.  on  02.27.2015

The teachers have to teach what the State Dept. mandates. For the most part the State Department personnel/County Administrators are washed out teachers who couldn’t hack it in the classroom or are Manchin family disciples.

By BJ  on  02.27.2015

Politicians, mainly want to give us an education system driven by and for capitalism. Capitalism is just a regulation away from wholesale corruption. That truth was put on display for the world to see with the financial meltdown. We may trust our money to the capitalists in hopes of a big return but only a fool would trust his kids minds and his countries future to capitalists. I believe in well regulated free markets but that is something we have never had in this country. Free markets work, but the capitalism we are practicing is feudal and predatory. It isn’t government that needs to made small enough to drown it in the bath tub, its the crony capitalists cabal that runs the Republican party and too many Democrats for that matter…

By tryreason  on  02.27.2015

Hmm? As a retired teacher I think of the problem in the education system. Sounds to me like there is a lot of work to be done. When it comes to education why not go back to the old way meeting each day with the students and the teacher teaching what they know best for their students. I am sick of hearing about all the funds spent on technology which are mostly useless. The Standardized tests are ridiculous. One person can have AP American History and her friend can have the schools problem children but they are evaluated by the scores just the same?

By old teacher who taught  on  02.27.2015

Well, we seem to have done our best to de-professionalize the teaching career and school systems in general. Billion$ may be wasted, but if we shore up our confidence in teachers, provide support for teachers, and winnow teachers that reduce morale then it would be a much better environment. Of course, it’s not as easy as writing those words, but we aren’t even really trying it. For once, the U.S. should look to other countries that do well to learn leading practices. And standards are a ruse. Teaching someone to think and care about the world does not correspond to ensuring they know how to spell ‘inane’ and ‘blase’ for a week….which is exactly the words some of the students would use to describe their experiences.

By UMe  on  02.27.2015

Education is too important to be left to for profit manipulators. As one of the 1st ex-first ladies in the nation along with other board members on state boe to support no-bid contracts violating the laws of the state is a good proof of it. Remeber, education is an industry that should be either government run, or not for profits. 
Local boards with well intenioned, is consistently overwhelmed by national teacher union and contractors powers controlled by WVDE.
We need far more transparancy and oversight of the finances of these billion dollar taxpayer funded entities. It is near impossible to even find out how much is spent on sports versus math, let alone how many sweetheart contracts are being manipulated.

By smithjr  on  02.27.2015

Please, Dr. M. for the sake of our state, our teachers, our children, just review the 2004 Legislative Education Audit, or the 2010 Legislative Audit, or the 2012 Efficiency Audit or the numerous other indictments of the WVDOE/State BOE. Our educational problems are for the most part INTERNAL!Hint. Pay our good teachers for the job they do. Tell a teacher what you want done and step back, way, way back and watch the results.Go back to W.W.Trent, State Superintendent (elected by the people) and the handful of help he had to run an efficient system.The Charleston wagon is full and the contents need to be spread on the fields. That is, in my opinion, where the nutrients are needed for real growth.

By Me Again.  on  02.27.2015

While on the subject of Common Sense-
Is it common sense for the WV School Building Authority (part of WVBOE) to award millions of dollars of no-bid contracts to only one firm?
The same firm all the time.  Who donates big dollars to WV.  By coincidence or by cronyism?
Is that even legal?  Surely ethically wrong.

By common knowledge  on  02.27.2015

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