Leading Creek Elementary Golden Eagles “Leading the Way”: Open House and Ribbon Cutting

Linn, WV Leading Creek Elementary School is West Virginia’s first inter-county school to merge Troy Elementary School from Gilmer County and Alum Bridge Elementary School from Lewis County. (According to a historian there was another inter-county school in West Virginia back in 1940s. Union school which had students from both Summers and Raleigh counties.)

Lewis County and Gilmer County jointly undertook the task to build a state-of-the-art facility that would benefit the students and communities of both counties.

Leading Creek is designed for an enrollment of 240 students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade and includes separate art and music classrooms.

The bright bold colors of the school’s interior were selected to help encourage the students to enjoy and appreciate the time they have as students at Leading Creek.

On Saturday, August 01, 2015 the public had the opportunity to check out the new school during a community open house, dedication, and ribbon cutting ceremony.

The School is built on Gilmer-Lewis county line in Linn, WV.

The total cost of the school was more than $10 million. West Virginia School Building Authority paid for building of the school after each county paid about $350,000 for the land.

Presentations by:

    •  Kim Freeland, (Principal, Leading Creek Elementary)

    •  Dr. Joseph Mace - Superintendent, Lewis County Schools

    •  Dr. Mark Manchin - Superintendent, Harrison County Schools - Former SBA President

    •  Mr. Gabriel Devono - Superintendent, Gilmer County Schools

    •  Special Presentation - Mr. Dan Gum, Commander, Weston Post No. 4 of the American Legion

    •  Pledge of Allegiance - Led by (Dalton DeJarnette, Matilda Arnold, Lena Frymier, Cassie

Other officials present were Dennis Fitzpatrick, Glenville Mayor; Dr. Bill Simmons, GCBOE Presient; Tom Ratliff, GCBOE member; Lewis County State Delegate Peggy Donaldson Smith as well as all the members of Lewis county Board of Education.

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Blur the lines Mark?  What about blurring the truth? You know Lewis County agreed that school was to be in Gilmer County. When did the Gilmer County Board EVER get to have a say?  When did Gilmer County taxpayers ever have a say?
The hot air from this dog and pony show is prime example showing the state BOE and its puppets as major contributors to climate change.  Expecting severe thunderstorms any time now.

How dare any of you say Mr. West would have agreed to this.  He NEVER was in favor of closing Troy Elementary. Using his name to deflect citizens ire is disgraceful.  He was a fine man.

GABEE BABY has a lot of nerve referring to you as cousin Mark. He showed his true colors when he said he’d rather be related to Joe because he could do more for him. Isn’t that why he does whatever Charleston wants no matter what happens to Gilmer?

Why would Joe Mace even bring up AJ?  It’s not as though his reputation in this state was sterling and serves only as a distraction to what forced intervention has wrought. A school using Gilmer County money serving less than a hundred of our students could never meet Gilmers needs. Lewis County got another school plain & simple.

What about you Mayor? We know why Simmons was up front. He’s a state hand holder. Why do you suddenly show up? The courthouse reports you signed a flood plain permit for the Hays City site because the commission handed the city permits over to you just in time for that little job to get done.  Will the board of ed sue the city when that school floods?

No Hanshaw, no Facemire, no big Joe, nobody from the state board?  They don’t want to be front page for this fiasco.

Devono’s answwer to any complaint about that school is it’s Lewis County’s now.  WE don’t have anything to do with it. Just a few months ago it was a joint effort. That was true.  A joint effort between Blankenship, you and Bill Simmons to not be an impediment to whatever the state and that new committee Devono said will let the board know what direction this county is going wanted. Are you on that committee Bill? Devono put you on all the rest so why not? May be a paycheck with it?

Listen and watch the body language. These guys are so busy throwing each other under the bus they don’t even know what they’re saying.

By AS THE WORMS TURN  on  08.03.2015

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G-Eye™: New Stalls & Trail at Gilmer County Recreation Center

The Gilmer County Parks and Recreation Center Board of Directors and Director Darrel Ramsey are happy to see more improvements being done at the center through FCI Gilmer inmate program and other volunteers.

In the photos there are eight(8) new horse stalls added to the Ag Barn making a total of 18 stalls total.

Money’s to help with this project came from the Little Kanawha Trail Riders Association from Gilmer County.

The other picture is a informational stand that will hold info on the new trail being installed of what plants and trees live in this environment.

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

Again special thank you’s to FCI Gilmer inmate program and board member Rick Sypolt for all there hard work.

If your free come on out and take a look for yourself of the improvements being done to the county recreation center.

Thank you

Darrel Ramsey /Director

Glenville City Council Meeting - 08.03.15 - Today

The Gilmer Free Press
Glenville City Council
Monday, August 03, 2015
7:00 PM

Pledge of Allegiance

Swearing in of Councilwoman Huffman

I.    Call to Order

II. Public

      A. Approval of Minutes – July 06,  2015, Minutes of last meeting

III. Reports

      B. Financial

      C. Street Report

      D. Police-

      E. Glenville Utility-

      F. Recorder - 

      G. Mayor’s Comments :

              - August 4th Back to School Bash and National Night Out from 6:00 to 9:00 PM

              - Discuss September’s meeting which falls on Labor Day

IV. Unfinished Business

V. New Business

VI. Other Business to come before council

VII. Next council meeting – September 07, 2015 at 7:00 PM

VIII. Adjourn

Most Picky Eating Harmless But It Can Signal Emotional Woes

The Gilmer Free Press

CHICAGO, IL — Parents of picky eaters take heart: New research suggests the problem is rarely worth fretting over, although in a small portion of kids it may signal emotional troubles that should be checked out.

Preschool-aged children who are extremely selective about what they eat and dislike even being near certain foods are more likely than others to have underlying anxiety or depression, the study found. But only 3 percent of young children studied were that picky.

Less severe pickiness, dubbed “moderate selected eating” in the study, was found in about 18 percent of kids. These are children who will only eat a narrow range of foods. Kids with either level of pickiness were almost two times more likely than others to develop anxiety symptoms within two years, the study found.

More typical pickiness, including kids who just refuse to eat their vegetables, is probably merely “normal dislike,“ said eating disorders specialist Nancy Zucker, the lead author and an associate psychiatry professor at Duke University’s medical school. These are the kids who typically outgrow their pickiness as they mature.

Zucker said young children with moderate pickiness are probably more likely to outgrow the problem than the severe group, although more research is needed to confirm that.

The study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Dr. Arthur Lavin, a Cleveland pediatrician said picky eating is among the top concerns parents bring to his office, and that the study “helps us understand who we should be concerned about.“

“There’s more going on here than just not wanting to eat broccoli,“ said Lavin, a member of an American Academy of Pediatrics committee on psycho-social issues. He was not involved in the research.

The study focused on about 900 children aged 2 through 5 who were recruited from primary care doctors affiliated with Duke’s medical center in Durham, North Carolina.

Researchers did in-home interviews with parents to evaluate kids’ eating habits and any mental health issues. Follow-up evaluations were done two years later in almost 200 children.

Compared with children who aren’t fussy eaters, depression and social anxiety were at least two times more common in kids with severe pickiness; attention deficit behavior and separation anxiety symptoms were more common in moderately selective kids.

Severe selective eating described in the study is akin to a condition called avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, added in 2013 to the latest edition of a widely used psychiatric manual, the study authors said. It can occur in all ages; some of those affected are extra-sensitive to food tastes, smells and textures.

Zucker said severe pickiness may be the first clue for parents that a child is experiencing anxiety or depression and that they may want to seek help from a mental health specialist.

Moderate pickiness is less concerning but affected kids can make family meal-times a battleground, she said. To avoid that, Zucker suggests that parents try introducing new foods at random times during the day.

Researchers Warn of Bogus e-mails Offering Windows 10

The Gilmer Free Press

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Some hackers are exploiting Microsoft’s offer of free upgrades to its new Windows 10 operating system.

Security researchers are warning about a wave of bogus spam emails with malicious attachments, labeled as if they’re legitimate copies of the new program.

The attachments contain a “ransomware” program that, when opened, locks all the data on a computer and demands payment to release them.

Researchers at Cisco Systems say the emails are designed to look like an official upgrade notice from Microsoft Corporation, but several words have random, out-of-place letters and punctuation.

Another important clue: Microsoft says its update mechanism provides computer owners with a notice on their screens - not via email - when a direct Internet download is available. Experts warn against clicking on files that come with unsolicited emails.

West Virginia News

The Gilmer Free Press

Rear Patio Origin Of Fire In Harper Ferry

HARPERS FERRY, WV —A state agency spokesman says a fire in Harpers Ferry’s commercial area began on the rear patio of a business.
Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety spokesman Lawrence Messina tells The Herald-Mail that the cause of the fire hasn’t been determined.
The July 23 fire damaged four buildings housing eight businesses and several apartments in the lower town business district.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office estimates the fire caused $2 million in damage. Messina said some of the buildings cannot be rebuilt. The others must be evaluated by structural engineers.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito visited the scene of the fire on Thursday and met with local officials. The West Virginia Republican said she plans to try and obtain some federal assistance to help the business district recover.

State officials look for ways to fill hundreds of correctional officer vacancies

CHARLESTON, WV — West Virginia’s prisons, regional jails and juvenile justice facilities are in a “constant mode” of recruiting, hiring and training, according to Joe Thornton, secretary of the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

“It’s challenging at some facilities more than it is at others,” Thornton admitted, noting how quickly the available workforce can be tapped out in many parts of the Mountain State.
Joe Thornton, secretary of state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety

Currently, Thornton said, there are 217 correctional officer vacancies statewide and 110 of those jobs, 51%, are at two facilities — Huttonsville Correctional Center in Randolph County, a medium-security prison, and Mount Olive Correctional Complex in Fayette County, a maximum-security prison.

Of the 119 correctional officer vacancies in West Virginia’s regional jails, 68 positions or 57% are at the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County, the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail in Hampshire County and the South Central Regional Jail in Kanawha County.

In juvenile services, there are 51 correctional officer positions to fill across West Virginia and 23 of those positions, 45%, are within the Kenneth “Honey” Rubenstein Juvenile Center in Tucker County and the Donald R. Kuhn Juvenile Center in Boone County.

To try to better fill those vacancies, Thornton last week issued a directive to eliminate the requirement that applicants have one year of previous work experience to be considered. The policy change took effect Thursday.

“We’re willing to take this on and look at it and then crunch the numbers to see if it was beneficial or not,” the secretary said.

Pay, though, is another matter. The starting salary for a correctional officer in West Virginia is $22,500 annually, the lowest in the nation.

Thornton said the turnover rate is greater than 60% for regional jail employees and upwards of 50% for prison workers and pay is one of the main reasons cited for departures for other jobs in exit interviews.

“Budgets are tight, but we’ve got to realize those internal efficiencies to be able to go to the Legislature or go to the governor and say, ‘These are the things we’re doing to be able to save money.’ Hopefully, we can turn around and put that back into workforce investment,” said Thornton.

Other ideas to address corrections vacancies include the following:

–Scheduling the day with two 12-hour shifts instead of three eight-hour shifts. That will make it easier to cover the day, while making it easier on correctional officers who are willing to work overtime, but are burned out by the 16-hour shifts.

–Providing incentives and differential pay to correctional officers for hard-to-fill positions at the state’s highest security prisons.

–Calculating how much the overtime and high turnover are costing the taxpayers and then making the pitch that higher base pay would be a better investment.

–Building in automatic annual incremental pay raises that reward longevity.

At Huttonsville alone, vacancies for correctional officers and other non-uniformed positions currently account for about a quarter of the entire staff, but Thornton maintained such staffing shortages do not compromise safety.

“I would contend that our facilities are safe,” he said. “The folks that work for all three agencies are very committed to public safety and very committed to the jobs they do, so I do not think there’s a public safety issue, but there’s certainly an issue that we need to address.”

Did You Know?

The Gilmer Free Press

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


Zimbabwe has accused a Pennsylvania doctor of illegally killing a lion in April, adding to the outcry over a Minnesota dentist who killed a well-known lion named Cecil in early July.


The president’s decision secures his legacy on fighting global warming, but it will be up to his successor to implement the plan.


The International Olympic Committee says it will order testing for disease-causing viruses in the sewage-polluted waters where athletes will compete in next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games.


The talks between the two countries were last held six years ago and kept on hiatus until now because of the political unrest in Egypt.


The fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager led to the passage of 40 new measures addressing use of force by police in 24 states, but activists say it’s not enough.


Ruben Espinosa’s body was discovered in an apartment in Mexico City weeks after he fled from the Gulf state of Veracruz because of harassment.


It happened in the Chicago suburb of Wood Dale during a festival, and three people also were seriously injured.


Donald Trump says he donated $102 million in cash and land to philanthropic and conservation organizations over the past five years, well behind such billionaires as Michael Bloomberg, George Lucas and Warren Buffett.


AC/DC’s drummer is accused of breaking the rules of his home detention sentence by drinking alcohol.


Bobby Brown’s sister Leolah said during the memorial service for her niece, Bobbi Kristina Brown, that the feud was “far from over” between her family and the late Whitney Houston’s kin.


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U.S.A. News

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Obama’s ‘War on Coal’ Begins Today—and Faces Army of Lawyers

President Obama will officially unveil his plan to dramatically cut greenhouse-gas emissions later today—and there is an army of lawyers ready to pounce. The Clean Power plan imposes tough limits on power plant emissions and dozens of corporations are preparing to fight what they call a “war on coal,“ as well as up to 25 states, reports the New York Times. The measure will give each state an emission-cutting target to meet, with a goal of cutting power-plant emissions by around a third by 2030, but several governors have already said they plan to simply ignore the limit, setting up legal battles expected to end up before the Supreme Court, the BBC reports. The court blocked an emissions-limiting plan in June.

The Environmental Protection Agency, however, sounds as if it is ready for the fight. ‘We certainly know how to defend against lawsuits, for crying out loud,“ EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said last month when she was asked about looming challenges to the plan. An administration insider tells the Washington Post that McCarthy was under a lot of pressure to create a legally solid rule—especially after the Supreme Court defeat. “She recognized the amount of scrutiny this rule will be under, both politically and legally,” the source says. “She has been leading the charge to ensure that it is airtight, that all the legal t’s are crossed and i’s dotted, and that it adheres strictly to the Clean Air Act.“

Man Allegedly Kills Neighbor Over Late-Night Mowing

OHIO —On Tuesday night, a 62-year-old Ohio woman started mowing her lawn. She never finished the task. Police says Linda Ciotto was shot in the head while mowing the grass at her Willard home around 9pm, and her neighbor stands accused of the crime. James Blair, 50, was allegedly angered by the late-night mowing; he and his mother live next door to Ciotto, and his mother told sheriff’s deputies that her son had told her that his agitation with Ciotto had been building as she mowed, report WKYC. A neighbor tells WOIO he heard one shot, and the Huron County Coroner tells the AP that the gunshot occurred at a close distance. Coroner Jeffrey Harwood also observed a severe left arm wound that he says could have been caused by a mower blade. That jibes with reports that Blair allegedly mowed over Ciotto after shooting her.

Police arrested Blair early Wednesday following a six-hour standoff during which he refused to exit his home. A SWAT team was on the scene, and Blair gave himself up once tear gas was used on the home. He’s being held in Huron County Jail on $1 million bond, and his mother, 73, is there with him. Billie Hinkle was arrested the next day and charged with tampering with evidence; Chief Deputy Ted Patrick says she transported the alleged weapon, a .38 revolver, from the scene to a different location; the Norwalk Reflector reports it was found inside a bag. Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard tells the AP that in his 30 years on the job it was the most “horrific” and “bizarre” crime scene he has seen. WOIO notes that it was told Ciotto was trying to sell her house so she could be with relatives in Columbus.

Man Texting While on Motorcycle Loses His Life

Indiana —Should you need more proof that texting while driving can be a deadly mix, consider the story of Brandon R. McClain. The 43-year-old Indiana man was heading south on I-65 on his motorcycle Thursday afternoon—while texting at the same time, police say. He apparently veered into the grassy median, tried to swerve back onto the highway, and lost control. He wasn’t wearing a helmet, and later died at an Indianapolis hospital. Police wouldn’t tell the Lafayette Journal & Courier how they were able to verify that he was texting.

Doctor becomes second American named in African lion-killing investigation: Pittsburgh gynecologist

A second American has been named in a growing big game poaching investigation in Zimbabwe.
Pennsylvania Dr. Jan Seski is accused of killing a lion in April and his guides have been arrested in the African Country.

Dr. Seski has been pictured online with a series of dead animals including elephants, hippos, zebras, ostriches, and water buffalo. An online hunting club claims he has killed six elephants.

It comes a week after Africa’s most famous lion Cecil was killed by Minnesota Dentist Dr. Walter Palmer in early July, sparking international outrage.


Seski was involved in an illegal hunt of a lion in April around Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, said the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority in a statement released to CBS.
A Zimbabwean landowner named Headman Sibanda was arrested in the case and is assisting police with their investigation, the authority said. He named Seski as being involved in the hunt.

Dr. Seski is listed as being Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

Malaysia: MH370 ‘Wreckage’ Was Really ‘Domestic Ladder’

A senior Malaysian official says that an object found in Reunion has been confirmed as “a domestic ladder” and is not a plane part, amid media reports that a new piece of plane debris was found on the island. Malaysian Director General of Civil Aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told the AP that a piece of debris found on a beach near the town of Saint-Denis this morning had nothing to do with the investigation involving the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

“I’m the one leading the investigation in France for the analysis of the (wing flap) piece brought back,“ said Rahman. “I read all over media it (the new debris) was part of a door. But I checked with the Civil Aviation Authority, and people on the ground in Reunion, and it was just a domestic ladder.“


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World News

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Zimbabwe alleges 2nd American illegally hunted lion

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Now there are two: Zimbabwe identified a bow-hunting gynecological oncologist from Pennsylvania on Sunday as its suspect in what it calls the illegal killing of a lion in April, adding to the outcry over the Minnesota dentist the African government wants to extradite for killing a well-known lion named Cecil in early July.

Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority accused Jan Casimir Seski of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, of killing the lion with a bow and arrow in April around Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, without approval, on land where it was not allowed.

Landowner Headman Sibanda was arrested and is assisting police, it said.

Seski is a gynecological oncologist who directs the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

He’s also an active big-game hunter, according to safari outfitters and bow-hunting sites that have posted pictures of kills identifying “Dr. Jan Seski” as the man standing next to slain animals including elephants, an impala, a kudu, a Nyala, a hippo and an ostrich.

Those images match the doctor’s appearance in pictures on his medical practice’s website, where Seski’s information in turn matches that of Jan Seski in Murrysville.

The Associated Press called and knocked on the door at Seski’s home, which is set back among woods in a rural area outside Pittsburgh. The AP also left a message with an answering service for his medical practice, with no immediate response.

National Parks spokeswoman Caroline Washaya Moyo said Seski had provided his name and other identifying information for a government database when he came for the hunt.

“When hunters come into the country they fill a document stating their personal details, the amount they have paid for the hunt, the number of animals to be hunted, the species to be hunted and the area and period where that hunt is supposed to take place,“ she said. “The American conducted his hunt in an area where lion hunting is outlawed. The landowner who helped him with the hunt also did not have a have a quota for lion hunting.“

Stewart Dorrington, who operates Melorani Safaris and owns a game reserve in neighboring South Africa where Seski hunted in 2012, said the American seemed like a “perfect gentleman.“ Dorrington said they had not had any contact recently.

“He was a great guy,“ Dorrington said. “Everything he did was perfectly legal and above board and a great help to our conservation efforts.“

Dorrington said he had converted his cattle ranch into a game reserve in the 1980s, and that funds from trophy hunting of antelope are essential to conserving wildlife.

Two other illegal lion hunts also were recorded last year in Zimbabwe, said Geoffrey Matipano, conservation director for the wildlife authority. He did not provide details on those cases.

Zimbabwean authorities have said they will seek the extradition of Minnesota dentist Walter James Palmer, alleging he did not have authorization to kill the lion named Cecil a month ago. The lion was lured out of Hwange park, wounded with a bow and arrow and then tracked down and shot, conservationists said.

Two Zimbabwean citizens were arrested and face charges in the case in which Palmer has been implicated. Palmer said he relied on his professional guides to ensure his hunt was legal.

On Saturday, Zimbabwe’s wildlife authority said it had suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in the Hwange area. Bow and arrow hunts also were suspended, and can only be approved by the head of the wildlife authority.

EPA Clean Power Plan Should Actually Ease Electric Bills

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV – An Environmental Protection Agency plan to cut carbon pollution should actually save families money, if meeting it includes energy efficiency, according to two separate analyses just out.

Critics of the Clean Power Plan charge it will sharply raise the cost of electricity, but research by Georgia Institute of Technology and Synapse Energy Economics, an environmental consulting firm, finds the plan could actually cut utility bills by using conservation and renewables.

Professor Marilyn Brown from the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy says efficiency and shifting to wind, solar and biomass should make a typical utility bill somewhat smaller.

“We see a reduction of, depending on the state, anywhere from 5 to 10 percent rather than an increase,“ she states.

Brown says business as usual would mean bills 9 percent higher by 2030.

The EPA is expected to announce exact details of the plan in the next month or two. The plan to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants is part of the agency’s strategy to help address global climate change.

The big coal and oil corporations, and their allies in Congress, are waging an all out fight against the Clean Power Plan because they say it will cost jobs in energy states, including West Virginia.

Still, several opinion polls have found the EPA’s plans to cut carbon remain overwhelmingly popular nationally.

And Brown says researchers found energy efficiency under the Clean Power plan would mean greater employment.

“You spend a lot more on labor when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable systems than you do in the generation of electricity for large power plants, whether it’s nuclear, coal or natural gas,“ she explains.

The Georgia Tech projections are very similar to those from Synapse Energy Economics. And they are broadly in line with what was found in a report on the impact in West Virginia from researchers at Downstream Strategies and the WVU Law School.

~~  Dan Heyman/Scott Herron ~~

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

The words “if”, “could”, “should” figure prominently in this article. How can they make these projections when the EPA hasn’t announced the exact details of their plan “for a month or two”? I seriously doubt that there will be a decrease in energy costs anytime in the future. My guess would be that the cost of energy will continue to rise dramatically, due to the new regulations, and there will be many excuses to explain why they have. Wait and see.

By Skip Beyer  on  08.02.2015

The only way the utilities can replace the capacity is to build natural gas fueled power plants. That means the demand for natural gas will increase forcing the price up. Electric rates will also rise.

Families will see increased heating and power bills. The only question is how severe the increase will be. Anyone thinking solar and wind are going to replace the loss of the coal fired plants isn’t facing reality. WV is a net exporter of power. Will that income be lost.

By No! It's going out of sight.  on  08.03.2015

Some of us remember.
The BS that was fed to the public.
Mandatory auto insurance.  Everyone has car insurance, the rates would drop.
How did that work out for you?
Health insurance?  How are you spending all your left over from that too?

By lies, lies, lies!  on  08.03.2015

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West Virginia News

The Gilmer Free Press

Beckley, WV airport offers flights to Myrtle Beach, SC

BECKLEY, WV - A West Virginia airport is beginning to offer weekly flights to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The flights originate out of Raleigh Memorial Airport near Beckley.

Airport Manager Tom Cochran says the airport has wanted to offer flights to Myrtle Beach for a long time. He says a survey through the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce showed that area residents were interested in traveling to Myrtle Beach.

Cochran says flights leave Beckley on Friday and return on Monday and cost about $100 round trip. The flight takes about 90 minutes and stops in Charlotte to pick up more passengers.

Cochran says about 75 flights to Myrtle Beach have been booked through August.

Special prosecutor to investigate Huntington city hall

HUNTINGTON, WV - A special prosecutor will investigate the legality of a payout authorized by Huntington Mayor Steve Williams to former police chief Skip Holbrook.

Cabell County Prosecutor Sean Hammers requested his office being recused from the case. The request was granted July 13.

Hammers had received a complaint from former city councilman Scott Caserta saying that about $34,000 of Holbrook’s $45,000 payout was for unused sick leave, which he contends he wasn’t entitled to.

Hammers asked West Virginia State Police to investigate the complaint and that investigation is ongoing.

Caserta said he anticipated and requested Hammers’ recusal due to his friendship with Williams.

Indicted ex-coal chief asks to take NC business trip

BECKLEY, WV - Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship wants a judge to let him take a business trip to North Carolina.

Blankenship made the request Friday in federal court in Beckley.

Blankenship’s request says he wants to take a three-day trip to the Raleigh area sometime between August 17 and September 18.

Blankenship is charged with conspiring to violate safety standards at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia where an explosion killed 29 men in 2010. His travel is restricted to southern West Virginia, Pike County in Kentucky, and Washington, D.C.

In June, Blankenship was allowed to watch his son compete in an Ohio dirt track race. He also has requested multiple visits to Las Vegas, where he says he lives. A judge granted one trip for Thanksgiving.

Sheetz to keep WV pepperoni rolls an in-state product

CHARLESTON, WV - A public outcry has prompted convenience store chain Sheetz to reverse a decision to use an out-of-state supplier of pepperoni rolls at its West Virginia stores.

Executive Ryan Sheetz tells media outlets that the Altoona, Pennsylvania-based company is committed to having a West Virginia producer of pepperoni rolls at its in-state stores.

Clarksburg baker Steve Rogers said he had been told last week that Sheetz would no longer carry his pepperoni rolls in favor of an out-of-state bakery. Rogers’ shop distributes to 117 Sheetz stores in three states.

After the move prompted protests on social media, company executives held a meeting with bakers

Ryan Sheetz says company executives will determine which of three state bakeries will become the sole provider of pepperoni rolls for its West Virginia stores.

WV AG announces antitrust agreement in hospital takeover

HUNTINGTON, WV - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey has announced an antitrust agreement with Cabell Huntington Hospital in its takeover of St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Morrissey said the agreement filed Friday in Cabell County Circuit Court sets conditions to ensure the acquisition complies with state and federal law.

In November, Cabell Huntington Hospital Inc. agreed to assume control of St. Mary’s after the Pallottine Missionary Sisters ended their sponsorship of the hospital after 90 years.

Both hospitals are located in Huntington. St. Mary’s has 393 beds and Cabell Huntington has 303 beds. The combined operation would represent the second-largest hospital chain in the state.

Morrissey says the hospitals cooperated with the attorney general’s office during the investigation and do not admit any violations of antitrust laws under the agreement.

About Dozen People Stuck On Camden Park Roller Coaster

CHARLESTON, WV – A roller coaster at the historic amusement park is stuck and several riders are stuck on board.

About a dozen people are stuck on an incline on the Big Dipper. According to witnesses, ride came to a halt at about 4:15 PM Saturday.

Three fire trucks are on scene and crews working to get getting water to the people stuck on the ride, who are sitting in the sun without shade while crews are working to get the coaster back to the station.

Man Facing Arson Charges for Ritchie County Fire

PENNSBORO, WV —A Pennsboro man faces up to 20 years behind bars after being arrested on arson charges, Friday.
The West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office arrested 32-year-old Matthew Sandy on first degree arson charges. This stems from a fire that destroyed an outbuilding on Fream Street in Pennsboro, on Saturday, July 25.
Sandy posted a $25,000 bond.

Woman Charged After Allegedly Leaving Children Alone In Car

CLARKSBURG, WV —A Clarksburg woman is facing child neglect charges after allegedly leaving her 2 ½- year-old and 11-month-old in a car without supervision.
According to the criminal complaint, Caressa Sioux Pratt left her two children in the car alone in a Walmart parking lot in Weston on May 30, 2015. The complaint states the children were alone for about ten minutes while Pratt ran into the store.
When the investigating officer pulled Pratt over, she explained that she left the car running with the air conditioning unit on. She also stated she left the children in the car because they were asleep and she didn’t want to wake them.
A woman who parked nearby spotted the children in the car alone and called 911, according to the criminal complaint.

Winning Lottery Number Shown on Live TV Before Drawn

BELGRADE, Serbia —The head of Serbia’s state lottery resigned and several other employees are under investigation after a winning lottery number was shown on live television before it was drawn.

Aleksandar Vulovic said he was stepping down out of “moral obligation” and denies any wrongdoing after a winning ball, 21, was shown on screen before it was drawn from the machine.

The incident sparked corruption allegations, but lottery officials said it was a “technical mistake.“ No one won the $1.09 million (€1m) jackpot.

“The draw was completely in accordance with the rules and the company abides by the law,“ the state lottery said in a written statement.

Police have seized the lottery machine, balls and computer software. Investigators said lottery employees who worked during the draw will undergo lie-detector tests. At least six people have been questioned in the scandal.

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said anyone involved in criminal activity would be “brought to justice.“

“The path to prison is very short,“ he said.

The state-run lottery is hugely popular in the Balkan country, especially among the unemployed.

U.S.A. News

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U.S. sets new brake rule for oil trains, two years after Lac-Megantic

Over two years after a runaway freight train derailed, exploded and destroyed much of the small town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing 47, the Obama administration has issued new rules governing breaking procedures for tanker cars carrying volatile cargo.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) said Wednesday that two qualified railroad workers must set the handbrakes and check other safety equipment on cars carrying dangerous liquids, like crude oil or ethanol, when trains over 20-cars long are left unattended.

But for environmentalists and train safety advocates, government moves seemed almost absurdly little and inexplicably late.

“If you leave a train unattended, yeah, you should put the brakes on,” said Eddie Scher, communications director for environmental watchdog ForestEthics. But Scher believes the rule sort of misses the point.

“The thing to do is not leave [oil trains] unattended.”

“The idea of setting a rule to leave a 3-million-gallon fuel tanker unattended is ridiculous,” he continued.

Scher told Al Jazeera that the new rule and the types of accidents it is meant to prevent stem from a larger, systemic problem: Freight rail companies cutting corners. “If you can’t afford a 24 hour crew, it makes you ask a larger question—why are we running these trains in the first place?”

In Canada, where a similar — though less stringent — brake rule was also released Wednesday, railway experts saw the same problems.

“The problem is more fundamental than the rules around parking trains,” said York University professor Mark Winfield in the Toronto Star. Winfield questioned why it took two years after the Lac-Megantic disaster to draft a break requirement, warning that the rail industry had too much sway with Canadian regulators.

On July 06, 2013, a 74-car freight train carrying volatile Bakken crude from North Dakota was left unattended on a downhill slope, eventually rolling over 10 miles before derailing in downtown Lac-Megantic. In the weeks following the accident, the Canadian Transport Minister issued an emergency directive that required trains hauling hazardous cargo to be attended by at least two railroad employees at all times.

But last December, The Canadian Press reported that CN Rail (also known as the Canadian National Railway Company, which was privatized in 1995) had lobbied hard to have that requirement lifted.

This was not a surprise to Keith Stewart of Greenpeace Canada, who told the Star that hiring crew to meet the guidelines could have cost CN millions of dollars.

Stewart’s reaction to the situation mirrored Scher’s. “If they want to carry oil through Toronto, then they shouldn’t be cutting corners on safety,” Stewart said.

But setting the brakes on all unattended tanker cars, as Scher says the U.S. rule requires, takes time. Some locomotives haul upwards of 100 cars, and physically setting all the brakes — and then unsetting them before the train resumes its journey — can take hours.

Still, while Canadian and U.S. rail watchers say any additional safety rule is at least a small plus, all the time and money the brake rule could require will not prevent the bulk of train crashes.

There have already been five major oil train accidents in North America this year — “major” being ones where the trains derailed and exploded, requiring emergency teams to respond to fires and oil spills — and not one was a runaway train.

“You can’t load 30 million gallons of crude oil and roll it down a track safely,” said Scher, noting that the mile-long tankers “are the heaviest trains on the tracks.”

And all of this cost and danger is for a fraction of the U.S. oil portfolio.

The only crude moving by rail right now, according to Scher, is from either the Bakken reserve or the Alberta tar sands — some of the continent’s most volatile, toxic and carbon-rich oil — which makes up less than five% of the petroleum used in the U.S.

But with the marked uptick in production in those areas, it still means tens of thousands of barrels of crude traveling the country’s rails every day. And trains, like those involved in explosive accidents in Illinois, North Dakota and West Virginia earlier this year, regularly run through some of North America’s largest cities.

“That’s a lot of risk for little reward,” observed Scher, who wants to see an end to the massive oil trains on U.S rails.

“Anything short of that is a half measure,” Scher said, “and we will still end up with the same result — another fatal accident.”

Man Biking Across US for Charity Killed in Crash

On Sunday, Patrick Wanninkhof led a 26-person team that spent the day working for Habitat for Humanity. The 25-year-old was doing such charity work as part of Bike & Build, a group that bikes from coast to coast to raise funds for affordable housing. Yesterday, while cycling through Oklahoma, the leader of a Maine-to-Santa Barbara trip was killed. Sarah Morris, 34, hit Wanninkhof and fellow biker Bridget Anderson around 8am as they were headed west on Highway 152. Newson6 reports an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report says Morris admitted to looking at her phone at the time of the crash. The bikers were stuck from behind, and Wanninkhof was declared dead at the scene, reports News 9. Anderson, 22, suffered a leg injury; Morris was unharmed.

Wanninkhof’s Bike & Build profile paints the picture of an impressive man with bicycling in his Dutch blood: He followed a degree in Materials Engineering with three years of Teach for America work and a Masters in Teaching Adolescent Physics. The Florida native was working as a teacher in the Bronx, and wrote that his belief “that all my students needed to do was work harder and success would follow” was shaken “when a student told me that she and her mom had been moving between relatives houses every week after they couldn’t pay rent. How on earth could I expect her to give her all to Newton’s Laws when she wasn’t sure where she’d be sleeping that evening?“ Newson6 reports the experience inspired his ride. No word yet on whether Morris will face charges.

Texas Man Tries to Shoot Armadillo, Shoots Himself

Things not to do in the 2am hour on a Thursday night: attempt to shoot an armadillo. Deputies with the Cass County Sheriff’s Department say a Texas man told them he was trying to do that when the bullet apparently ricocheted and struck him in the head instead.

The details remain thin, but KTRE reports he was treated for minor injuries at a hospital. Something quite similar occurred in April when a Georgia man fired at an armadillo, only to have the bullet ricochet and strike his mother-in-law’s back.

In that case, Larry McElroy did manage to kill the armadillo. There’s no word on the Texas armadillo’s fate.

Mom Drowns in Lake Erie Trying to Save 2 Girls

A Buffalo mom tried to save her 11-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old friend after they ran into trouble in the rough waves of Lake Erie, but she ended up drowning herself, WIVB reports. Evans police received a distress call from Wendt Beach just before 7pm yesterday, reports the Buffalo News, and when they got there, they found out that Mary Creighton, 51, had gone in after the two girls. The 10-year-old made her way back to shore, but rescuers had to go in after Creighton and her daughter, who were about 100 yards from shore, the paper reports.

A lieutenant swam out to where he saw a head bobbing, which turned out to be Creighton’s daughter. He had trouble navigating the turbulent waters himself, and another officer had to come rescue him and the girl; Creighton’s body was found about an hour later, reports WKBW. Lake Erie was experiencing rough weather yesterday, with 5- to 6-foot waves and winds of more than 26mph, NOAA reports, per WIVB. “This type of wave action will literally pull you right out, you get an undertow,“ a local fire chief tells the station.

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