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Glenville, West Virginia
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February 26, 2009     The Glenville Democrat
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February 26, 2009
 

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i/ iii00i(15iiii00i00i!iiiiiiiiiii00!iiiiii00iii!i00!Li00iii00i00 Part 2: GSC's academic opportunities; save the Poor Farm, etc. The concept of Glenville State College mak- ing itself over into a distinctive academic college, via borrowing on its Appalachian Mountain heritage, isn't that difficult to un- derstand or completely off-the-wall. In thin;king back to my college logic course, the syllogism could be argued like this: "West Virginia is the state at the center of the Appalachian Mountains; Glenyille is the city at the center of West Virginia; Ergo, Glenville is at the center of the entire Appalachian Mountain chain.,' This geographic advantage, in itself, could add much; to the College's marketing of its academic programs to potential students from not just West Virginia, but also from through- out the entire Appalachian region. With that being said, there is one more way to improve on that higher education model, namely G,SC could reactivate its relationship with Cariaegie Mellon University of Pitts- burgh. The two schools had planned to part- ner, via the Distance Learning Center, in their respective criminal justice programs. In that mothballed initiative: the CMU professors would toacb their specialties, while GSC's profs would.do theirs. The students and crimi- nal justice programs at both sqhools would, therefore, benefit, especially if either institu- tion lacked; some specific subject areas that could be covered by the other school. This same partnership could also be ex- panded to the other humanistic subjects, busi- ness, and social and natural sciences, offered at GSC. In effect, CMU could become the "urban campus" for GSC students and profes- sors, while GSC, the "rural campus" for CMU's people. This idea comes from the bogus arguments, which both schools have to combat, to pro- spective students. For GSC, it'S: "Why would a student want to study in a small, rural town, without the advantages of the city?" While, for CMU, it's "Why would a student want to study in a big, crime-ridden, all-concrete ur- The Corcoran Column By David H. Corcoran Publisher-Editor ban area?" Billy and Marge Burke, two farmers in Sand Fork, among other occupations, related to me how much the visiting CMU students enjoyed seeing their farm, getting to pet the animals, and taking a hay ride. Many of those city dwellers had never experienced the rural setting. Likewise, many of our GSC students haven't lived in a big city; I'm certain that they would benefit by seeing the zoo, museums, etc. in Pittsburgh. Like the traditional "Semester Abroad," it might just be called, "GSC's Semester (or summer) in Pittsburgh!," and vice versa. Rooming would be a financial consideration, but the tuition could just be the same as for the home institution. So, students at neither school would have to pay more; college credits would be exchanged without difficulty. If the two colleges embarked on such a joint educational venture, it would give them more of a unique academic advantage for attracting new students to their respective campuses. How many colleges in the U.S. have such a relationship? Not many, I'd suspect, although some do exist in metropolitan areas where many colleges have cooperative programs. Another specific application: Asa former history teacher, I know that my students could gain a great deal of knowledge just by walking around in downtown Pittsburgh. My son, Patrick, a 2003 GSC history graduate, and I have done that on several occasions, marvel- ing at all of the historic markers and the events of national significance that have taken place in the Steel City. Turning over the coin to its other side, a CMU student could gain much understanding of pre-20th century life and history by touring this agricultural and oil and gas industry re- gion, getting to intern on a farm, and explor- ing our log cabin and one-room schoolhouse museums. In the main, such a GSC-CMU partnership could be developed into a source of enrich- ment and distinctiveness for both higher edu- cation institutions. The result might just make for academic programs of unequalled quality and variety. Good-bye to a piece of history? At February's County Commission meet- ing, a question arose about the future of the Old White House at the Gilmer County Rec- reation Center. Now, that Old White House, originally, was the County's Poor Farm facility during the greater part of the 20th century. Moreover, it's probably one of the few remaining Poor Farm houses left in the Mountain State. In fact, the building is so historically distinctive and important that it has been placed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. This designation affords it certain protections from demolition and external modernization under the law. At the same time, we editors understand that the structure is in dire need of repairs and/ or remodeling. Several years ago, the electric in the building was upgraded, via a govern- mental grant. As a result, there is no reason why either the County Commission or the county's Historic Landmarks Commission couldn't apply to the state's Dept. of Culture and History for a Preservation Act grant. Such a grant would give the county the wherewithal to not only upgrade the facility, but also keep it historically accurate to the 1920s, or when- ever it was constructed. Continued on page 5 Anti-impersonation & Silver Alert System among 2009 bills By Brent Boggs, State Delegate (Gilmer-Braxton) First, I want to begin this column with expressing my sadness in the passing of two Nicholas County volunteer firefighters, "Johnnie Hammons and Timothy Nicholas," who died in the line of duty last week. Del- egate Sam Argento provided legislators with communicated to the Senate for their discus- sion. Anti-Impersonation Bill House Bill No. 2306 would deft ne the phrase "to impersonate" as it applies to the crime of impersonating a public official, employee, tribunal or official proceeding without legal authority to do so. The bill was introduced in the Sad news durnglasfFriday,s'session:,: " ' ' response to incidents where indiv,iduals oper,  Once again; this tragedy reminds us- t.hat ; ated rndtor vehicles displaying an insignia or these dedicated volunteers risk their lives each time they respond to an emergency call. They place their occupations at risk, and the security and welfare of their families is in the balance every time they answer a call. Please remember the families of these fallen firefighters in your thoughts and prayers. Last weekend was very special for both Jean and me. We celebrated Jean's birthday in Huntington by staying over- night with three-month- old grandchildren, Kenzie and Carson, while Justin and Jennifer had a short weekend in Cincinnati. It was their first night away from the twins, and I am pleased to report that the kids' parents and grandparents all enjoyed the time. Legislative update House Committees are working at a good pace and' action on the floor of the House Chamber has also livened up. The Senate has introduced 321 bills this session, while the House of Delegates has introduced 730 since the first day. The deadline for introducing bills is still several weeks away, so we will continue to introduce and refer bills to com- mittees, so they can be debated and examined. The first two bills of the session were passed by the House this past week and have been emblem to make the vehicle appear to be the vehicle of a public official with the intent of inducing members of the public to submit to or rely on the fraudulent authority. The other bill which passed the House of Delegates this week was House Bill No. 2305. This bill would revise appointment and com- pensation provisions of the Supreme Court Clerk and his or her staff. This bill was origi- nally passed during the previous session, but was vetoed by the Governor, due to a detec- tive title. Two other bills will be up for passage in the House on Mon., Feb. 23 when we return to the Capitol. The first, House Bill No. 2309, would up- date the law governing the practice of occupa- tional therapy. The second bill, House Bill No. 2419 would award an inmate sentenced to more than six months at a regional jail one day of good time credit for the completion of each rehabilitative program listed (domestic vio- lence, parenting, substance abuse, life skills, and anger management), as well as for other special rehabilitation or educational programs designated by the Regional Jail Authority's executive director. These bills are a result of year-tong interim studies during the 2008-09 interim meetings. Silver Alert Plan By midweek, the House should pass House Bill No. 2504, establishing the Silver Alert Plan, an alert system for missing cognitively impaired persons. As one of the sponsors of this important legislation, I am pleased to see this bill on the fast trac k,'moving through both the Senior Citizens Issues Committee and Judiciary Committee in one week. The bill should pass the House by midweek and head to the Senate for consideration. State Senato Sharpe's passing Finally, we mgurnd the passing of former Senator William: Sharpe. Bill had been in declining health for several years and will be missed by all those who knew him. For 44 years, he represented the 12th Senatorial Dis- trict, including Braxton and Gilmer Counties. He served the state and district with distinc- tion. Our heartfelt condolences to his family. How to contact me! Please address your mail to the Capitol office at: Building 1, Room 228-M, Charles- ton, WV 25305. My office telephone number is 340-3220; or 340-3942 for my constituent service assistant, Charlene Hoback; or fax to 340-3213. For those with Internet access; my e-mail address is Boggs34@aol.com You also may obtain additional legislative intbrmation, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and other information from the Legislature's web site at http:// www. legis.state, wv. us/ If you write or leave a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional informa- tion, including agency links and state govern- ment phone directory may be found at www.wv.gov Remember to.thank a veteran for their ser- vice to our nation and continue to remember our troops-- at home and abroad-- and keep them and their families in your thoughts and praS"ers. Until next week, take care! ltarder winters In Alaska than in Mountain State Dear Editor, Lately, at breakfast, every morning we hear on the radio about schools closing because of the weather. This morning, February 5, with our tem- perature at minus one deee, I was reminded of a letter that I had received from a lady that Marion and I had met on our last trip to Alaska. Marilyn Duggar is the proprietor of Coghill's General Store in Nenana, Alaska. The letter was dated February 9, 1996. I quote one paragraph: "We are looking forward to increasing daylight and the warmth that comes with it. We had a long, cold Janu- ary. For about two weeks it did not get above -30 degrees. One day, as I dropped the kids off at school, it was -58 degrees at school. The buses stop running at -50 and the schools close at -60, so school was still functioning. It is a sight to see at the end of the day, the exits are all manned with teachers, principal and superintendent, all there bundling and check- ing the bundles around each child and making sure each child is either picked up or has someone waiting at home for them. There is nothing like a cold snap and children to bring a community close in love and concern." Richard W.. Reed Glenville (Editor's Note: Due to our recent snowy, stormy, and windy weather in Gilmer County, Richard Reed was kind enough to want to share this letter with all of us. Thank you, Richard! DHC, ST.) Editorials Broa00lband J State's Select Committee on Broadband is effectively dealing with extending it The value of mral residents getting access to broadband for their internet activities is growing more crucial as times goes on. In fact, Governor Joe Manchin wants all rural West Virginians to have the broadband tool at their fingertips by 2010. And, that's a tall order in this mountainous state! It was just in 2000 that Glenville became the first small, rural community in the state to get wireless broadband internet access. Before that, most people here had to depend totally on the slower dial-up method of doing their internet business and surfing. In this improvement, Glenville benefifed from a partnership between Glenville State College and Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Appalachian Network Access (CANA), which got several substantial grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Benedum Foundation, and private individuals to install broadband here: Nevertheless, some Glenville area people still can't get onto this system, because the funding has run out. Glenville's system is an expensive one, because it places a system of costly antennas throughout the town. Then, if individual offices and households can get an eyeshot of the tower and its signal, you've got it. Contrarily, if you can't see an antenna, you can't get broadband. Of course, if you are lucky enough to be hooked up to a Verizon telephone line that has a broadband line on it, then you can get access, commercially. But, most rural dwellers aren't that lucky. As a result, the State Legislature formed a Select Committee on Broadband, and during the past year's Interim Sessions, has explored various facets of the problem. The Committee was co-chaired by two able legislators -- State Senator John R. Unger II (Dem.-Berkeley) and State Delegate Richard Browning (Dem.-Wyoming). Their committee consisted of State Senators Karen Facemyer, John Pat Fanning, Evan Jenkins, Billy Wayne Bailey; State Delegates Brent Boggs, Thomas Campbell, Randy Swartzmiller, Kevin Craig, and Ron Walters. In their hearings, they showed an open-mindedness to all of the various ideas being advanced in order to blanket the state with broadband. For example, at their Sun., Feb. 9 Interim Session meeting in Charleston, they heard some good news from Governor Manchin's Cabinet Secretary of Commerce Kelley Goes. She reported to the joint committee that the state is waiting on a $2 million federal Stimulus Package betbre decisions are made on how to the broadband service. She also noted that building towers would probably be a In addition, she believes that jobs will be created in the state by broadband's expansion. That's good news for West Virginia's economic welfare! On the other hand, adding onto an antenna system, as we've seen in the Glenville project, is a very expensive method to extend broadband to rural communities. Governor Manchin, in fact, told the state's newspaper editors last year, including this one, that he'd like to see what the private sector can offer the state in solving this problem. And, the Legislature's Broadband Committee did allow private companies to make presentations to them during their Interim meetings. Making one such address was Don Smith, Chairman of Skyway USA, a rapidly-growing satellite broadband provider from Louisville, KY. This company is particularly focused on bringing broadband into rural areas, via a state- of-the-art satellite technology. If you live way back some hollow, but if you can still see the sky, you can get low-cost broadband by way of the Skyway system. That's the beauty of this plan for the state of West Virginia -- no need to install, with taxpayer dollars, expensive antennas, phone wires, or fiber optic lines. With a company like Skyway, you just pay a set-up charge, receive the equipment by mail, its easy enough to install yourself, and pay a monthly fee to fit your budget. And, you make the choice of the broadband internet service provider, not the state. See statewide advertise- ment on page 5for more details about Skyway USA's services. Another way Skyway has helped bolster the lives of rural dwellers in Kentucky is that the firm partnered with the state of Kentucky to offer low-cost broadband to low income residents. In that way, mom-and-pop cottage industries could be started at home, and children could get access to broadband to do their homework. Skyway is now interested in making its services available in West Virginia. As a result; last Thurs., Feb. 19, it displayed its equipment and explained its program to the legislators and general public who were attending the "Technology Day at the Legislature." Then, this week, the company is holding a "Broadband Symposium" from 3-to-6 p.m. on this Thurs., Mar. 26 at the Marriott in Charleston. The public, but especially businesses in the internet and computer-related fields, are encouraged to attend this meeting. We commend the co-chairs and members of the Legislature's Select Broadband Committee and Skyway USA for desiring to provide all rural West Virginians with broadband access. It's a necessary step, if the Mountain State is to get onto the 21st Century's "Technology & Communications Superlane Highway." DHC, Publisher-Editor D Ill Ola buttat.,gs - School board dealing with Troy, Sand Fork Apparently, Normantown Elementary isn't the only school in the county which is facing structural, health and/or well-being challenges for its teachers and students. According to the past two Gilmer County Board of Education (BOE) meetings, the Troy and Sand Fork Schools also are suffering from some purported deficiencies. Since the Williamson & Shriver-recommended initiatives have gotten no where with the Normantown School's situation, it's prudent that the BOE is now seeking a second opinion, relative to the Troy and Sand Fork issues. Thus, we're happy that the board is planning to invite WVU's Engineering Department to evaluate these schools. BOE President Phyllis Starkey is,. therefore, correct in asking why this secondary inspection of Sand Fork and Troy schools had not occurred in the first place, especially since the state's School Building Authority's inspection late last year found only minor problems at the schools. Parents certainly don't want their children to be studying in unsound or unhealthy buildings; likewise, teachers don't want to teach in them, either. Nevertheless, concrete facts are needed first and foremost about the present conditiOns of those schools, so that's why this second opinion from West Virginia University's engineers seems to be the most sensible approach, before any costly remedial initiatives are launched by either the State or Board. DHC, ST. Edge of the *@[]#I Meadow by Geor'ge Harper FEELZNe ON OUR FEET AFTER EATIN,I WELL, I TH'rNK I'VE GOT AN IDEA." 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