www.wvgazettemail.com http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2016, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: February 07, 2016 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT01/302079980 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT01/302079980 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Adkins, Alisha L. 2 p.m., East Nitro United Baptist Church, Nitro.


Burns, Arnold G. 2 p.m., John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer.


Ellison, Larry B. 3:30 p.m., First Baptist Church, Cowen.


Hoffman, William Jr. 3 p.m., Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home Chapel, Ansted.


Jarrett, Pamela P. 2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.


McMillion, James A. 2 p.m., Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.


Meeks, Belva 1 p.m., Evans Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Chapmanville.


Rollins, Epaminondas 2 p.m., Crow


Shockey, Naomi J. 2 p.m., Independence United Methodist Church, Sandyville.

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Ada Basham http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079981 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079981 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Ada "Tish" Letitia Adams Basham, 74, of South Charleston, passed away on Friday February 5, 2016, after a short illness.

She was preceded in death by her husband, George Basham; parents, Glenwood Cecil and Georgia Ann (Rowe) Adams; and brother, Harold Joe Adams.

Tish worked for the State of West Virginia for 35 years, first at the Department of Health, and for Workers Compensation. She also worked for Don Hoover of Hoover Plumbing of St. Albans for many years. She was a 1959 graduate of St. Albans High School.

One special niece once said "When you are with Tish, and you are talking, she listens. She listened like you were a person who really mattered."

She is survived by her daughter, Patricia (Ken) Bedeau; son, Stephen Basham; grandchildren, Ssgt. Nicholas Kern, Andrew Kern, Elisabeth Byers, and Robert Byers; sisters, Roberta Sue (Clifford) Pauley, Lola Jane (Leo Bush) Adams, Lois June Sayre; sister-in-law, Sue Adams; brother-in-law, William Basham; special friend and great–nephew, Jake Danberry. Also many loving nieces and nephews.

A special thanks to her wonderful cousin, Jeanie Simmons, and June Sayre for their loving care they provided during Ada's illness.

Per Tish's request, there will be no service held. Arrangements are in the care of Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

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Terri Schaffner Baur http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079999 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079999 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Marilyn Theresa Schaffner Baur, called "Terri" by her friends, died January 11 in Santa Fe at the age of 78. She was born and raised in South Charleston, the daughter of Vivien and Harold Schaffner. Terri lived in a number of marvelous places — San Diego, Santa Fe, Boulder, Washington, D.C., West Point, N.Y., and Stuttgart, Germany — and returned happily to Charleston for 10 of her later years.

Terri received her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Among other positions, she was programs manager for Neighborhood House Association, the largest non-government social services agency in San Diego, special assistant to the president of Palomar College and executive director of the State of California Developmental Disabilities Board, Area XIII. In the midst of this successful career in social services and college administration, she changed her life course, deciding to pursue her lifelong dream of providing law services for the public good. In 1997, at the age of 60, she graduated from law school in San Diego and was admitted to the State Bar of California and later to the State Bar of West Virginia and to the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) Bar. She specialized in civil rights, battered immigrant women, special education and constitutional law. Her last law position was as legal director of the ACLU of West Virginia.

Terri wrote poetry, hiked mountains and ran the Charleston Distance Run (15 miles) four times and numerous 10K and 5K races. She was champion of her age group six consecutive years in the Charleston 5K.

She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Jim; her son, Ben of Santa Fe; daughter, Bobbi of San Diego; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

A celebration of Terri's life was held by family and friends in Santa Fe. Terri rests peacefully in Santa Fe National Cemetery with a majestic view of the Aspened slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

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Nathaniel Boley http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079984 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079984 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Nathaniel K. Boley, 59, of Fayetteville, died Friday February 5, 2016. Service will be 2 p.m. Wednesday February 10, 2016, at the High Lawn Funeral Home Chapel, Oak Hill. Visitation will be 1 p.m. until time of the service Wednesday at High Lawn Funeral Home.

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Elizabeth Childress http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079991 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079991 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Elizabeth A. Childress, 72, of Alum Creek, went home Thursday February 4, 2016, at Hubbard Hospice House, Charleston.

She retired from the Kanawha County Board of Education. Elizabeth was preceded in death by her husband, Jim; son, Charlie; and stepdaughter, Shelby.

She is survived by her daughter, Julie Ann Rusnak; son, Howard Darby; stepdaughters, Patsy Dingess, Opal Woodzell and Betty McCallister; sisters, Betty Gibson, Linda Bias, and Jean Cantley; five grandchildren; 10 step-grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren.

Service will be 1 p.m. Tuesday February 9, at Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek with Pastor Jesse Perdue and Pastor Chris Sowards officiating. Burial will follow at Graceland Memorial Park. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

Condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting www.curryfuneralhome.org. Curry Funeral Home, 2097 Childress Road, WV has been family owned and operated since 1950.

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Gregory Cobb http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079993 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079993 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Gregory Scott Cobb, 48, of Cottageville, WV, died Thursday February 4, 2016. Graveside service will be 2 p.m. Monday February 8, 2016 at Siniaville Cemetery, Statts Mills, WV. Arrangements provided by Casto Funeral Home, Evans, WV.

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Lyle Dizmang http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079992 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079992 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Lyle William Dizmang, 79, of St. Albans, passed away Saturday January 30, 2016, at home surrounded by his loving family.

Born July 27, 1936, in Wallace County, Kansas, Lyle was son of the late Henry Christy and Gladys Pearl Akers Dizmang. He was also preceded in death by his siblings, Harold, Carl, Mildred, Irene and Hazel; as well as his son, Christopher Kent.

A graduate of Goodland High School, Kansas, Lyle went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Rollins College, Winter Park, Fla. Lyle served in the United States Air Force prior to his employement with Pan American and Boeing Industries in conjunction with the Kennedy Space Center/ NASA Program, he was also awarded the Boeing Manned Flight Awareness Award during his tenure with the Apollo Mission Series. Later, Lyle assisted with the development of the city Palm Coast, Fla., as well as serving as a Financial Administrator with Pickand's Mather/Cleveland Cliffs Company. During his administration with Pickands Mather/Cleveland Cliffs Lyle was inducted into the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.

Lyle enjoyed fishing as a young man and developed an affinity for golf later in life all the while becoming a crossword puzzle enthusiast.

Surviving are his wife, Patsy Ruth Dorsey, whom he continued to lovingly refer to as his bride even after 56 years of marriage. His children, Charles Isaac (Melissa), of St. Albans, Kimberly Kay (Charlotte) of Jacksonville, Fla., Deanna Lynn of South Charleston; his siblings, Vera, Darlene, Katie, Dick, Darrell and Duane; as well as his grandchildren, Charles (Sarah) expecting new arrival, Lesley, Craig, Jessica and Randy; great-grandchildren, Corey, Clemente and Shelby. Extended family includes Beckie and Pat, Mark and Lera, Mia, Aly, Linda, and Matthew.

Lyle always said "Patsy Ruth was the love of his life."

The family will hold a private celebration of his life at a later date. You may share sympathies and condolences by visiting AffordableCremationsofWV.com.

Flowers should be omitted and memorial contributions be directed to Hospice Care, 1606 Kanawha Blvd., West, Charleston, WV 25387.

Cremation services are being provided by Affordable Cremations of WV, 413 D Street, South Charleston, WV.

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Robert R. Griffith http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079995 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079995 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Robert R. Griffith of Charleston died at his home on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016.

Mr. Griffith, 90, was born Jan. 14, 1926 in Pemberton (Raleigh County). He moved with his family to Cool Ridge (Raleigh County) in 1932. He attended Midway Grade School and graduated from Shady Spring High School in 1943.

He spent approximately three years in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946.

He attended West Virginia University and graduated with a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1949.

He worked more than 41 years for Appalachian Power Company in Beckley, Rainelle, Oak Hill and Charleston. He retired Dec. 31, 1990 as Charleston Division Superintendent.

He served 11 years as treasurer of the Kanawha Valley Emergency Planning Council. He helped organize the Charleston AEP Veteran and Retired Employees' Association and served several years as its treasurer. He was a member of the Charleston Lions Club and participated in many of its activities. He was a longtime member of St. Mark's United Methodist Church.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph A. Griffith and Fannie Falsom Richardson Griffith, and his brothers, Don K., Charles N. and Henry Lee Griffith.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Mary Sperow Griffith, and three sons and their spouses, Donald and Gina of St. Albans, Gary and Deb of Maidens, Va., and Dr. James and Marla of Charleston. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Mary Beth of Seward, Alaska, Emily of Morgantown, Nicholas and Matthew, both of Charleston, and Rebeccah of Boston, Mass. Also surviving are his brother, Larry Griffith of Beckley; two sisters and their spouses, Patricia and Gerry Burnett of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Eliza and Marshall Baum of Chillicothe, Ohio; and sisters-in-law, Retha Griffith (widow of Charles) of Winslow, Ark., and Ellen Griffith (widow of Lee) of Pinellas Park, Fla.

The family thanks Joe Rodgers, Katie Baldwin, Melinda Boggess, Cathy Thacker and Travis Wheeler for their kind and compassionate care.

The funeral will take place at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, at St. Mark's United Methodist Church with the Rev. Monty Brown officiating. Burial will follow at Graceland Memorial Park, South Charleston.

Visitation will be two hours prior to the service at the church.

Flowers are welcome; however, donations in his memory are also appreciated and may be sent to St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 900 Washington St. E., Charleston, WV 25301.

Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston, has been entrusted with the arrangements.

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John Hightower http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079983 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079983 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 John Hightower, 73, of Belle, died Friday February 5, 2016. Preston Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

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Richard Holstine http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079989 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/OBIT/302079989 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Richard Lee Holstine, 82, of Emmons Road, Alum Creek, went home to be with the Lord Thursday, February 4, 2016.

He was retired from Union Carbide and was a member of the Emmons Church of God.

He is survived by his wife, Katherine; nieces, Kathy Garretson, Jacqueline Ross and Rachel Stringer; nephews, Robert, David, Jackie and Jamie Stringer, Michael and Timmy Graley, Virgil Gillispie, Roy and Teddy Walls, Jerry Perry and Harold Eddie Roler; and several great-nieces, great-nephews and lots of friends.

Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Tuesday February 9, at the Emmons Church of God with Pastor Michael Graley officiating. Burial will follow at Morris Cemetery at Grippe. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church.

Condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting www.curryfuneralhome.org. Curry Funeral Home, 2097 Childress Road, WV has been family owned and operated since 1950.

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SUPER BOWL 50: Manning, Newton take center stage http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ02/160209643 GZ02 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ02/160209643 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:17:02 -0500 By Barry Wilner The Associated Press By By Barry Wilner The Associated Press SANTA CLARA, Calif. -Peyton Manning's last game? Cam Newton's finest moment?

For all the golden tinge the NFL is placing on Super Bowl 50, this one just might come down to how the two star quarterbacks deal with the dynamic defenses bent on humbling them.

There can't be a better story line than a five-time MVP likely to take his final snaps with a championship on the line. Except, perhaps, the league's rising star carrying his franchise to its first NFL title in the face of detractors.

Throw in those defenses: Denver's ranks first overall in many statistics and certainly in intimidation, with a pass rush capable of neutralizing any air game; Carolina's makes game-changing plays to the tune of a league-high 39 takeaways and a plus-20 turnover margin.

Add in a pair of coaches at the peak of their NFL careers, a relatively new stadium with nearly all imaginable technology, and a half-century of America's biggest game and the intrigue meter hits the stratosphere.

"If you have any appreciation for the game, and certainly you have watched Super Bowls, played in the Super Bowls, have a sibling that has played in the Super Bowls," Manning says, "it does make it maybe even more special."

Some attention-grabbers for tonight's game at Levi's Stadium:

QUARTERBACKS: Manning has been mum on whether this will be the end of one of the most prolific and entertaining careers in sports history. He's 39, has been plagued by injuries for much of the last five seasons, and, win or lose, has nothing left to prove.

It's his fourth Super Bowl and, although he brings a 1-2 mark into this game, the losses don't detract from his legacy.

"I think it is important to use all of your experience to your advantage," Manning says. "I think you can always refer back to prior situations and two-minute drives, or a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line. The more experience you have, you can use that to help you."

Newton doesn't have that background yet, but he was the NFL's most dominant - and sometimes most polarizing - player this season. No one has more fun playing the game than the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner, 2011 top overall draft pick and 2015 All-Pro quarterback who threw for 35 touchdowns and ran for 10.

If Manning represents the old guard, Newton - with his celebrations, dabbing and just plain coolness - is the future.

Some media compared Newton to Usain Bolt.

"Really?" Newton says, entertained by the comparison. "I got the opportunity to meet Usain last year. He was a cool guy. He was like real cool, you know? Like internationally cool. I'm just locally cool, you know?"

Bolt owns a vault full of gold medals. Newton goes for the gold of Super Bowl 50.

DEFENSES: Don't for a minute think the defenses can't decide this matchup.

Carolina feasts on mistakes, and Denver was a minus-4 in turnover differential, including 31 giveaways. With two All-Pros at linebacker in Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, and another one with cornerback Josh Norman, the Panthers have playmakers all over. Safety Kurt Coleman tied for the NFC lead with seven interceptions and added two in the playoffs. DT Kawann Short is a disruptive force and had 11 sacks.

That unit struggled in the second half of the divisional-round win over Seattle, but it has a superior offense that scored 500 regular-season points to provide balance.

The most vivid memory of January football this year has to be Denver's full-out assault on Tom Brady. While Newton is far more adept at avoiding the pressure than Brady is, he doesn't have Brady's surgical skills at dissecting a defense.

All-Pro linebacker Von Miller and studs such as LB DeMarcus Ware, CBs Chris Harris Jr., Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby - along with a deep line - will provide a formidable obstacle for Newton.

COACHES: Ron Rivera was tagged with the nickname "Riverboat Ron" years ago. He's not truly a gambling coach, more someone who lets his players do what they do best. Sometimes that means taking chances, such as a reverse to Ted Ginn Jr. that resulted in a 22-yard TD in the NFC championship game.

Rivera has guided Carolina to three straight NFC South crowns, and couldn't be more popular with his players because "he gives us the freedom to be us," star tight end Greg Olsen says.

Gary Kubiak was an enlightened choice to take over the Broncos when team boss John Elway decided to release John Fox. He is Elway's former backup and longtime buddy, and he has focused on building a balanced team that isn't overly reliant on Manning.

Like Rivera, Kubiak's players have his back.

SUPER BOWL L: All season, the NFL has celebrated 50 years of the Super Bowl, starting with changing its logo and thankfully dropping the Roman numeral. The 50-yard line on every field was painted gold. Past "Super Bowl Heroes" were celebrated along with the games they participated in.

The big game has come back to Northern California for the first time in 31 years. Will it live up to the Super billing?

Stay tuned.

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WVU soccer standout Buchanan wins Hardman Award http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ02/160209644 GZ02 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ02/160209644 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:03:51 -0500 By Todd Murray The Dominion Post By By Todd Murray The Dominion Post MORGANTOWN - Kadeisha Buchanan frequently gazes at the statue of West Virginia University basketball legend Jerry West as she walks into the Coliseum in Morgantown.

The WVU women's soccer star is now joining West in an exclusive club as the winner of the 2015 Hardman Award, given to the state of West Virginia's amateur athlete of the year.

Buchanan, a junior from Brampton, Ontario, is the first WVU female student-athlete to win the award and the first female to be honored since Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Mary Lou Retton in 1984.

The award, named for the late Charleston Gazette sports editor A. L. (Shorty) Hardman, is voted on by members of the West Virginia Sports Writers Association. It's the oldest statewide award, dating to 1934.

Buchanan will be honored at the 70th annual Victory Awards Dinner on May 15 at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum.

"It's an amazing honor to be recognized with people like Jerry West," said Buchanan, the fifth woman and second soccer player to win the Hardman Award. "It's a big deal for the state, and it's an honor to me not only representing Canada but also West Virginia."

She'll never forget 2015. The defender, a first-team National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America selection, starred for her Canadian women's national team in the FIFA Women's World Cup, earning Best Young Player honors.

Buchanan, a three-time Big 12 Conference defensive player of the year honoree, helped WVU to its fourth straight Big 12 regular-season championship. She played a critical role as the Mountaineers advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. She was a finalist for the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, which is college soccer's version of football's Heisman Trophy.

"I feel like [2015] was really a turning point in terms of my performance," said Buchanan, who is taking the spring semester off at WVU to train for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. "I think I really stepped it up a notch this year. I know I have more to bring and more potential.

"This year I recognized how I can affect my team and that includes taking a leadership role at West Virginia and stepping into a leadership role with the national team."

WVU women's coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said Buchanan has remained her typical humble self as the accolades have piled up.

"She just changes her hair," Izzo-Brown said with a laugh.

Izzo-Brown recalls a time when Buchanan, as a homesick freshman, came to her house and played in the basement for six hours with her three young daughters. This summer, a homesick Buchanan was back at Izzo-Brown's house, catching fireflies with her kids.

"Has she changed? No," Izzo-Brown said. "Does she make mistakes? Yeah, she's a young adult with a lot of pressure and a lot of eyes on her.

"We talk constantly about that - with her celebrity status comes pressure. She understands that. She's very responsible and has grown as a person."

Buchanan said her humble nature stems from her upbringing in Canada.

"My mom always taught me to be grateful for what you have and always be humble," she said. "I just go day to day in life."

Seger Bonifant, a West Liberty University men's basketball standout, finished second in the Hardman Award voting. Former WVU men's basketball star Juwan Staten placed third, followed by Marshall University softball player Morgan Zerkle. Shepherd University football player Jeff Ziemba and Wheeling Jesuit University volleyball star Andrea Thobe tied for fifth in the balloting.

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Mardi Gras at St. Mark's (photos) http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ01/160209663 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ01/160209663 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500

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Study: State's 2007 Medicaid reform failed http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ01/160209664 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ01/160209664 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Lydia Nuzum By Lydia Nuzum A study released in January by the Health Research and Educational Trust which examined West Virginia's 2007 Medicaid program overhaul has found that the state's "nudging" plan to decrease emergency room visits backfired - an outcome that could affect how states approach lowering the cost of care under the Affordable Care Act.

The study looked at the impact of the Mountain Health Choices program, which replaced traditional Medicaid plans with two types of plans: basic plans, which offered less coverage than prior Medicaid plans, and advanced plans, which offered more coverage and required participants to agree to program rules that were designed to improve health behaviors. Consumers who opted into advanced plans were asked to sign a member agreement and follow a personalized health plan, while those with basic plans received far less extensive coverage, including a cap on prescriptions and no coverage for substance abuse services and inpatient mental health services.

The study looked at Medicaid recipients who enrolled in coverage between 2005 and 2010. Enrollees select new plans or re-enroll in an existing plan each year, and by mid-2010, only 12 percent of participants had chosen an advanced plan through the new program. The program saw an increase in emergency room visits among those who chose or were automatically enrolled in basic plans and an increase in the average number of non-emergency ER visits for Medicaid recipients overall, despite a decrease among those who opted into an advanced plan.

"Evidence from pre-ACA Medicaid experiments, such as the West Virginia Mountain Health Choices program, can provide insight into the effects of efforts to mitigate costs and improve health outcomes," the study states. "Initial state actions seeking to reduce Medicaid program costs occurred through strategies such as shifts to managed care or restrictions in formularies. But following the passage of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, a handful of states experimented with a greater variety of program designs. The West Virginia program was one of the most controversial, as it imposed coverage limits based on member behavior. Assessing the impacts of such efforts is important as states continue to grapple with the goal of reducing costs without causing negative health impacts."

Kosali Simon, a researcher and professor at Indiana University and co-author of the study, said the group chose to study the Mountain Health Choices program for its unique approach to incentivizing care.

"In terms of personal responsibility-based reforms, the one in West Virginia was really of interest to a lot of people," she said. "After the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, a handful of state started to experiment with program designs then allowed by law, all in an effort to reduce Medicaid program costs. In the past they've tried things like shifts to managed care or restrictions in formularies ... the West Virginia program was seen as going fairly far, because there were coverage limits based on member behavior."

The Mountain Health Choices program is now defunct, but Simon said while it's hard to pinpoint the exact cause of the program's failure, it serves as a reminder of the potential pitfalls of programs like it in trying to encourage better health behaviors.

"Prior to that, there hadn't been much use of these personal responsibility reforms," she said. "In health reform, one of the things we aim to do is have more appropriate use of different types of care. It's this idea of 'triaging' - when you go into the health care system, you should go to the appropriate place ... we're hoping that when more people are insured and have access to medical homes, it will help. The worry, though, is that people will keep going to where they think is the easiest point for care, and the challenge is making sure medical homes are those places."

Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nuzum@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5189 or follow @lydianuzum on Twitter.

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United Way success story http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ01/160209666 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ01/160209666 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Your donation to the United Way of Central West Virginia funds 29 partner agencies that change lives! Here is one of many success stories:

A young woman decided to leave the abusive relationship she was in. She realized she needed to keep herself and her children safe, so she decided to seek shelter. She sought out a United Way of Central W.Va. partner agency to help begin her journey to a new and better life. With help, she gained courage through counseling, court advocacy and support group services. Through the United Way partner agency, she worked with law enforcement and reported her abuse and received help with the family court system. This young woman and her children are now safe and beginning a new life, one step at a time. United Way of Central W.Va.'s partner agencies help people in need every day. Your donations are part of what helps our neighbors find strength to take control of their lives. You can be part of someone's success story by clicking the 'Donate Now' button on our Facebook page. Thank you for all your support and generosity, every little bit counts when it goes to helping those who need it most.

Generations United to Give!

If you have never been a United Way donor, now is the time to start. These are benefits of donating through the United Way of Central West Virginia.

n Support those in need in our community

n A potential tax deduction

n Spread support among a variety of programs

n Just the right thing to do

Reduced support means reduced programs, so consider a donation today! Visit www.unitedwaycwv.org to give.

The campaign total stands at $1,603,390.78. The Capitol Club leadership donors listed individually below account for $891,685.54 of the total raised to date.

nnn

Alexis de Tocqueville Society, with a gift of at least $50,000: Daywood Foundation, Jacobson Foundation.

Alexis de Tocqueville Society, with a gift of at least $25,000: Gaines Wehrle.

Alexis de Tocqueville Society, with a gift of at least $10,000: Marty and Kathy Becker, Dwight A. Foley, Herk and Sherry Sims, David and Sandra Thomas, Mr. and Mrs. L. Newton Thomas Jr., D. Stephen and Diane H. Walker, Henry and Sharon Wehrle, William Maxwell Davis, John and Jane Ray, *Sharon and William Flanery, Pat and Jessica Graney, John and Fonda Elliot, Holmes and Antionette Morrison, Cora Sue Parsons -- memory Alex Parsons, Betty Schoenbaum, Thom and Millie Marshall, *William C. Porth, H. B. Wehrle Foundation, Michael H. Wehrle.

Ambassadors, with a gift of at least $7,500: Michael and Denise John.

Governors, with a gift of at least $5,000: Frank and Camilla Baer III, John M. and Victoria W. Ballengee, *Marion and Richard Sinclair, JoEllen Diehl Yeary, Charles R. Patton, Philip A. Wright, John and LuAnn Adams, SLW Foundation, Jed and Vicki Smith, Raye and Paul White, Mark A.T. Williams, Dr. John T. Chambers, *Charles and Samantha Hageboeck, Martha Gaines and Russell Wehrle Memorial Foundation, *Sean and Dawn Devlin, *Jeffrey LaFleur, one anonymous donor.

Chief Justices, with a gift of at least $3,600: Jay and Simone Thomas, Kent S. Hall Sr., Kim Lovinski and Mark Clark, Roy Sexton, Lee and Donna Edmondson.

Justices, with a gift of at least $2,400: Rob and Jackie Berthold, Judge and Mrs. John T. Copenhaver Jr., Charles T. and Mary Ellen Jones, Sally and Don Richardson, Ted and Calvert Armbrecht, Gary and Eunice Beckett, John Eubanks, Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Goldsmith,Sr., Timothy M. and Anne W. Miller, Steve and Anne Roberts, *Amy and Steve Condaras, Kathy Beckett and David Flannery, LCM and DCM, *David and Lisa Sayre, *Ken and Cyndi Tawney, *Richard Lehman, William B. Maxwell, *Samuel Smith, Gray and Karen Cochran, Tim and Cheryl Quinlan, *Craig and Kim Stilwell, Horace and Sally Emery, Mrs. Nina Peyton, Robert L. Keenan, *Joe Tarantelli, Don R. and Sheryl Sensabaugh, three anonymous donors.

Senate Presidents, with a gift of at least $1,800: Mrs. Marion H. Baer, Susan Orders, *Billy and David Ramsey, Dr. and Mrs. Daniel Taylor, *Andy and Margo Teeter, Mr. and Mrs. Warren Woomer, Vann and Anne Carroll, *Callen McJunkin, David and Cindy Barnette, Christopher Callas and Elizabeth Amandus, Gretchen Callas, *Jeff Carpenter, *Elizabeth and Christopher Power, *Jeremy Nelson, Robert G. and Lenore R. Tweel, *Robert P. and Phyllis K. Howell, John and Anne Dever, Brett Morgan, John and Connie DeRito, Mr. and Mrs. Michael R. Graney, Arthur and Nancy Altman, Nancy and George Guthrie, *Jason and Emily Jeffrey, Bill and Judy Pugh, Chris Reger, *Judith Anne Watkins, Rebecca Betts, Thomas V. and Paula W. Flaherty.

Senators, with a gift of at least $1,300: Sharin Akhtar, Dell and Joan Binford, *Dr. and Mrs. Sami M. Ghareeb, *Joe and Cathy Rice, Dr. and Mrs. James T. Smith, Reed and Darlene Spangler, *Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Kleeman, *Drs. Chandrani and Ganpat Thakker, Charles and Shelley Moore Capito, *Mark Dempsey, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Payne, John Ziebold, *Bryan and Cindi Cokeley, Mr. and Mrs. Otto Drescher, *Justin Fisher, *Samme L. Gee, *Tim and Chris Gibbons, *Joseph U. Leonoro, *Chris and Karrie Mattox, *David and Rebecca Shuman, *Janice Amspoker, John and Pam Kuyk, Mark Dehlin, *Dana and Kathy Buckley, Harry and Rhonda Mitchell, *Cindy and Bob Crossan, *Mr. and Mrs. David L. Bumgarner, Jay and Becky Goldman, *John Rogers, *Blair M. Gardner, *Will and Linda Bobinger, David and Sandy Campbell, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Fenton, Michael and Donna Jarrell, *John M. Jeffries, John and Kathleen Merrill, J. Tyler and Mimi Dinsmore. three anonymous donors.

Speakers of the House, with a gift of at least $1,000: Elizabeth Early Chilton, Allan and Debbie McVey, *Gregory Raynes, Uma and Palle Reddy, *Ujjal and Sukhbinder Sandhu, Ike and Stuart Smith, Gary and Kathi Swingle, Bob and Ruth Tinney, Michael and Brenda Williams,*Robert Dawson, Tom Lane, *James Ball, *Andrew Barham, Scott Chambers, Mr. and Mrs. Danny Matheney, Robby J. Aliff, Christina Brumley, Michael and Elizabeth Cimino, Jim and Betsy Crockett, Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Emch, *Paul and Susie Konstanty, Sally and Charlie Love, Michael B. and Janet H. Victorson, Zachary and Amanda Wines, Charles Wirts, David Yaussy, *Lisa Hudnall, Terry and Anne Stone, *Lisa and Chris Turley, *Dr. Madan and Anand Bhasin, Mrs. Frederica M. Davis, *Larry Joe Harmon, Ralph and Liz LaDow, *Jim Linsenmeyer, *Kevin D. Roy and Family, *Joshua and Jill Bach, *Guy S. Johnston, Jay and Julie Margolis, Larry Roller, Jerry and Amanda Ware, *Victor and Ellen Kay Bastron, *Timothy Byrd, *Phillip Fairchild, Shawn P. and Virginia G. George, *Becky and Andrew Jordan, Dr. and Mrs. Jamal Khan, *Britt and Judy McJunkin, *Dr. Francis Saldanha, Rodney Terry, Rebecca and Tom Tinder, *Michael Wolfe, *Michael A. and Linda Jo Wright, *Charles Boggs, John David Gocke, *William Walko, Michael and Linda Bonasso, Chris and Christina Brumley, *Fred and Teresa Dillon, *Will Hanna and Luci Wellborn, John D. and Ellen Maxwell-Hoffman, Edward C. and Julie S. Martin, Frances M. Rollins, Jeffrey and Janet I. Wakefield. six anonymous donors.

Delegates, with a gift of at least $700: Kathryn Burgess, Dr. and Mrs. Marshall Carper, Andrew Ceperley, *David Harless, Tom Heywood and Melody Simpson, *Pam and David McFarland, Art and Janice Standish, *Josh Summerfield, *Brian Tinsley, George and Sue Zaldivar, Dr. Tony Majestro, Ventrue Means, Richard Shaffer and Bridget Bailey, *Alan Bragg, *Steven Ferguson, Nancy Morris and Frank Hosimer, Alex and Julie Alston, Jon L. Anderson, *Dr. Kanoj Biswas, Ellen Cappellanti and Mark Carbone, Brad and Sally Crouser, William F. Dobbs Jr., Charles and Deborah Dunbar, *Elizabeth B. Elmore, Michael M. Fisher, Michael and Kimberly Foster, *Ronald and Danna Grant, M. Shane Harvey, Todd Hooker, Mr. and Mrs. Timothy E. Huffman, Thomas and Julia Hurney, Matt and Valicia Leary, Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Loeb Jr., Beth and Jim Lord, Erin Magee, Jill McIntyre, Bob McLusky and Debbie Sink, Charles Ramey Jr., Melissa M. Robinson, Mr. and Mrs. Albert F. Sebok, Amy and David Shapiro, Brian R. Swiger, Roger A. Wolfe, Rusty and Michelle Wooton, Marty and Kim Good, *Mendi Harkins, Mike and Nancy Chaney, *Steven Huffman, *Ralph McGilton, *Carolyn Mount, *Jim and Ann Nelson, *DJ Patrick, *Chris Wood, Tim and Beth Cowan, Christopher Martin, *Mr. and Mrs. Norman W. Shumate III, Stuart Thomas, Jean and Bill Crum, Chad M. DiCocco, *Jim Garvin and Anita Casey, *Thomas A. Keefer, Thomas Montgomery, *Todd Morgan, Bill and Beverly Morrelles, James A. Mosby, Joe Edward Sharp, Brett and Sue Webster, *James and Beth Wilkinson, Erica M. Baumgras and Howard M. Persinger III, Tom and Jennifer Clark, Andrew and Marjorie Cooke, *Dustin and Carrie Dillard, Sam and Christine H. Fox, Michele Grinberg and Jim K. Withrow, Richard D. and Sharon K. Jones, Mark Robinson, three anonymous donors.

Congressional Society, with a gift of at least $500: *Kevin Bailey, *Justin Brumfield, Randy and Judy Foxx, Louis A. Kapicak, Ronald S. Kirk, Mary Ellen and Harry Moore, Brenda Robertson, Bob and Janet Simpson, Doris and Jim Smith, Mary Ann Walker, *Jeannie Whitten, *Deborah B. Bias, Karen Dennison, *Misty L. Heldreth, Roger O'Dell, Larry and Sheree Robertson, Alice and Tim Ruhnke, Drs. Purushottam and Sarojni Verma, *Angie Wright, Harlan Barker, *Roger L. Blankenship, *Jeffrey L. Dotson, Dennis L. Green, Mary Jo Hendricks, Melissa A. Kessell, *Philip A. Moye, Edward Ward, *David Whitman, Armando Benincasa, Jim and Valerie Bone, Samuel and Marsha M. Brock III, Terry Broughton, Roger Carte, Walter and Sallye Clark, Staci Criswell, Mr. T.A. Davis, Jan L. Fox, *Rusty Harrison, *Andy and Jennifer Hill, Jamie and April Jackson, Russell Jessee, Ray Kinder, Eric Kinder, *Erica Mani, *Adam and Brienne Marco, Nick Mooney, John Musilli, *Reid Pugh, *Dale Steager, *Becca Stevenson, *Leigh Anne Strahler, Chad Taylor, *Gerald Titus, Ted and Barbara Toler, *Allyn G. Turner, David Vosler, *Chris Willits, *Mr. and Mrs. Tommy R. Cooper, *Reba Crossen, *Mike and Barb Mallory, Sam R. Uppala, *Angela Combs, *Dr. Ronald Eisinger, Kim and Jeff Goode, *Hiram Hall, Lisa Hall, *Bethany Harper, *Tim Hollander, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Holstein, *Roy Honaker Jr., *Hiroshi Kagimoto, *Jeffrey McIntyre, *Curtis Martin, * Jill Moore, *Hideo Moronuki, Rob and Vanessa Nunley, *Derrick Peaks, *James Pendry, Michael and Jean Preston, *David A. Raney, *Bill and Paula Roberts, *Wayne Sanders, *Warren Smith, *Michael Staley, *Jerald Thornton, *Dallas M. Tibbs, Jeff Crist, Joseph H. Deacon II, Victoria A. and Wylie M. Faw, Cynthia H. Garrett, *Beverly S. Goldfarb, David L. and Donna Houchins, *Bobby King, Tim and Lisa Krisher, Dewey E.S. Kuhns II, Brace Mullett, J.P. Owens, *Martha and Scott Phillips, Gegory Rader, *Jason Rogers, W. Warren Upton, Mike and Laura Lee Albert, *Philip M. Arbogast, *Derek Barker, John Burke, *Melinda Campbell, *Tim and Amanda Cole, *Chris Gautier, Ed and Brenda Grant, Nikki Gray, Bradley Hack, *James and Suzanne Hollingsworth, *Janet Jones, Hrudaya M. Kanth, John and Jerri Kee, *Brooks McCabe, *Melissa and Chad McCune, *Tim and Paula McLean, *Michael W. Milam, *Barbara P. Moss, Colleen O'Neill, Terry and Amy Ricketts, *Keith Coffindaffer, *R.L. Price, R.E. Schindler, *Michelle Wittekind and Danny Forinash, Robert L. and Suzanne Coffield, Amy and John Humphreys, *James W. and Jessica Lane, Timothy and Jennifer Mayo, *Bryan and Misty Price, *Rachel Schmidt, Salem and Kim Smith, Nate K. and Amy J. Tawney, Adrienne Worthy, *Andrew and Susan Young, 29 anonymous donors.

Note: * denotes increased pledge

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WVU closes in on $1 billion fundraising goal http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ01/160209667 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ01/160209667 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Samuel Speciale By Samuel Speciale A West Virginia University campaign to raise $1 billion by 2017 will likely be completed a year early, which President Gordon Gee says makes him open to extending the initiative and setting an even higher goal.

"We're very hopeful," Gee said. "I have every expectation we'll do it [meet the goal] this year."

To date, the campaign has received $938 million from more than 80,000 donors, including alumni and private corporations. Started in 2012, the campaign initially sought $750 million, but that goal was increased when the university surpassed it months after Gee joined the university in 2014.

When asked if he would extend the campaign a second time, Gee said he would like to, though he'd need to talk with university Foundation leaders first.

"We can't stretch ourselves, and we have to be realistic," Gee said.

While the campaign, called A State of Minds, was started in 2012 before Gee became president, he's been heavily involved with raising money.

Gee, who has raised billions for the colleges he's worked at over the course of his career, said fundraising is something he's comfortable with.

"I enjoy doing it," he said. "I've been doing it for 35 years."

Gee, who has been a popular, if not polarizing, university executive at Ohio State, Vanderbilt and Brown, is known to court donors, something that was highlighted in a Dayton Daily News investigation that found OSU spent millions for Gee to travel and host parties. Gee says he's a believer, rather than a salesperson.

"I believe in the university so passionately, I'm willing to go out and ask people to help," he said.

Since Gee came to WVU, the university foundation has raised about $200 million of its goal.

"Donors have been stepping up," Gee said.

Part of that may be owed to the campaign's focus on supporting students and faculty. Gee said he's tried making people the center of the campaign.

"It's not just about buildings," he said.

According to the university, 661 endowed scholarships have been established through the campaign. Donors have also set up endowed faculty chair positions, professorships and funds for research.

"In order to keep tuition low and our costs in line - private support is instrumental," Gee said.

But it always hasn't been that way.

Gee, who has been a college president since 1981 when he led WVU for the first time, said fundraising wasn't as critical 35 years ago.

"States would give 50 percent of our funding," he said. Student tuition and fees would mostly cover the rest.

Now, as WVU faces continued budget cuts, fundraising has become an integral duty for Gee.

And he's been successful.

At Vanderbilt, Gee oversaw a $1.25 billion fundraising campaign that finished two years ahead of schedule. At Ohio State, he started a $2.5 billion campaign that met its goal in December.

For Gee, selling the university is simple.

"People will have passion when you instill that in them," he said, adding that he makes sure alumni and donors he talks to know money they give will be used "wisely and for good deeds."

Gee said the university increased efforts last year to raise money for undergraduate scholarships. With a goal of $50 million, that initiative has brought in an additional $26.9 million.

"We set a goal, we meet it and almost immediately set another goal," Gee said. "We keep moving forward."

When asked if he intended to give to the campaign himself - he's donated to past universities he's helmed - Gee said it's something he planned on doing soon.

The State of Minds campaign is driven by goals outlined in the university's strategic plan, which calls for more student engagement, research, diversity, international activity and improving the quality of life in West Virginia.

Reach Samuel Speciale at sam.speciale@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-7939 or follow @samueljspeciale on Twitter.

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Rick Steelhammer: On Trumping for peace and toilet paper warfare http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ01/160209669 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ01/160209669 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Rick Steelhammer By Rick Steelhammer

Last week was a strange one for global politics.

First, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and then North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un launched a balloon-borne scatological warfare offensive against neighboring South Korea.

After the Nobel Committee's Feb. 1 deadline for nominations passed, Trump emerged as one of nearly 200 people nominated to receive this year's Peace Prize, joining the ranks of Pope Francis, Iran-U.S. nuclear agreement negotiators Ernest Moniz and Ali Akbar Salehi, and Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC guerrilla leader Timoleon Jimenez who brokered a peaceful end to 50 years of civil war in that South American Nation, according to a compilation of nominations that have been leaked to the press.

Trump's nominator, who chose to remain anonymous, cited the real estate magnate for his "vigorous peace through strength philosophy, used as a threat/weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China," even though said philosophy has yet to be implemented or tested pending the outcome of the November election.

At least Barack Obama had been in office a couple of months back in 2009 when he was nominated for his undeserved Peace Prize, and, thankfully, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, nominated in Trump-like fashion in 2013, failed to make the Nobel finals.

Trump could get a run for the nearly $1 million in Nobel Prize money from another American entertainment figure. Actress Susan Sarandon was nominated by a group of Greek academicians and the Hellenic Olympic Committee for her work in aiding and documenting refugees struggling to reach the islands of Greece from Syria and other war-torn nations.

On the other side of the planet, Kim Jong-Un spent last week doing his best keep the Cold War alive in frat boy fashion by sending helium balloons carrying payloads of used toilet paper, cigarette butts and propaganda leaflets calling South Korean leader Park Guen-hye "political filth" across the Demilitarized Zone. The North Korean leader's experiment in scatological warfare was launched in response to South Korea sending propaganda-bearing balloons across the border back in January, shortly after North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb in an underground test.

In retaliation for North Korea trying to prove it's No. 1 by sending balloons full of No. 2 their way, the South Koreans are looking for payback by blasting pop music northward across the border via a series of high-volume loudspeakers.

Hopefully, the earsplitting K-pop dance tracks won't cause the North Korean leader to snap and retaliate in a preemptive manner. I'd rather have him squeezing the Charmin' than pushing the button. But for now, at least, both sides can agree on one thing:

War is smell.

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Allen Tackett: Does state-financed fiber network get their backs? http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ04/160209691 GZ04 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ04/160209691 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 Since retiring, I've worked to address the needs of our veterans. Today our country demands more of our brave men and women than when they were in uniform, but often fails to give these individuals the support they need after they return home.

I do not cite these efforts for self-promotion. It is to make it clear that I am intimately aware of the pressures members of our military and veterans face and the threats to their security.

I have tried to have the backs of all Mountain State sons and daughters who served in the military. I spearheaded efforts to bring home from Washington with the help of Senator Robert C. Byrd about $2 billion in additional federal resources for training facilities, equipment and family support programs. As a result, while our Guard used to be in the middle of the pack nationally, it is now first in the country in terms of readiness.

One persistent threat comes from state and federal budgets. There is never enough money to go around, even for those in uniform, which is why I am dismayed that our state lawmakers may soon consider a bill, SB 315, which would allocate funding for a state-financed-owned and operated fiber optic network.

It does not make sense that our lawmakers would add a state fiber network to their list of budget line items when it is already hard enough to find funding for basic services like education and for the National Guard and veterans programs.

I am especially concerned since government-run networks are very expensive. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, federal, state and local taxpayers combined to pay for a city-wide network that cost nearly half a billion dollars. The city council in Seattle recently dismissed a plan to build a city-owned network that would have cost between $400 million and $600 million.

West Virginia's population is about 10 times that of Chattanooga and three times that of Seattle - and our terrain is harder to build on - how will we afford our network without putting other programs at risk, or raising taxes?

I am also worried about the impact this bill will have on jobs. The state network will operate in direct competition with private Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Common sense tells me that if we are giving a government network millions of dollars to enter the private market, that decision will have an impact on whether private companies want to compete here.

A government subsidy is enough to make competitors think twice, but SB 315 also requires that government agencies purchase their broadband service from the state network. I spent my career in the military, but I have run into business owners of all types in my career - operators from the small to the large - and I know that they would be a lot less likely to invest in a state that guaranteed subsidies and customers to their competition. That lost investment translates into fewer jobs here (including for veterans and members of the Guard) and fewer tax revenues flowing into state coffers. That latter fact puts state funding for the Guard and veterans' programs in double jeopardy.

Should lawmakers look for ways to improve broadband speeds and access rates? Of course they should, but not at the expense of basic services for our veterans and members of our military. I urge my friends in the statehouse to remember the term "got your six" - have the backs of our heroes and vote "NO" on SB 315.

Major General Allen Tackett is retired from the West Virginia National Guard.

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Glenn Jeffries: Lowering wages will damage state businesses http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ04/160209692 GZ04 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ04/160209692 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 When I was growing up in Red House, I admired my father who sometimes held down two jobs to support our family. He would take me to work with him in the evenings, so we could spend time together.

He often said, "Son, there are three important rules that will take you far in life - work hard, be respectful and listen to people."

Each day I try to apply his rules to my life, especially to listen. Unfortunately, at our State Capitol, legislators are choosing to ignore the unified voices of West Virginia business owners and workers.

Established shortly after the Civil War, federal prevailing wages provide an incentive for contractors to improve productivity. West Virginia, like 32 other states, adopted the federal model. It creates a level playing field where locally owned businesses may compete for work paid for by our tax dollars.

Over the past 20 years, we have built up a workforce at our business of local, tax-paying men and women. By paying prevailing wages, we have employees who are highly skilled, drug-free and ready to give an excellent day's work for a fair wage with benefits. If a business owner cannot pay a competitive wage, he or she will lose a valuable employee to another state. The repeal of prevailing wages makes for tremendous uncertainty for more than 600 West Virginia construction businesses and 20,000 skilled craftsmen and their families.

The argument made by the opposition is that market forces should be setting wage rates for these low-bid projects. What the opposition fails to mention is that prevailing wages are market rates for highly skilled craftsmen. These wages are based on surveys of what local contractors actually pay workers for public and private construction work in an area.

I have repeatedly heard uninformed politicians deride "guys who push a broom" being paid $40 an hour. That is simply not true. Wages range from around $20 to $40 per hour based on the training and skill needed. Construction work is dangerous, physical labor; there is no classification for "broom pusher."

In Kanawha and Putnam counties, health care is an important part of our economy. CAMC, St. Francis and Thomas hospitals provide good jobs in a growing sector.

There are 16 self-insuring health care funds jointly managed by the trades unions and business owners. These funds provide quality health care for 20,000 craftsmen and their families. That represents more than $40 million in annual expenditures at 17 state hospitals, including those in this valley.

Additionally, $38 million is spent by the funds on outpatient care and prescription services, right here in West Virginia.

Local elected officials should consider what will happen to our already struggling state if we lose more tax paying businesses and workers. Make no mistake; businesses will close if prevailing wages are repealed. Our citizens are struggling, our state economy is in crisis, yet the new legislative leaders seem willfully determined to damage one of the most critical sectors.

Our employees live here, pay their taxes and spend their paychecks here. They create revenue for local businesses and that creates more jobs. Prevailing wages allow families to have a decent life, pay a mortgage, buy a car and help their kids go to college. They can have a life that we all grew up believing is the American dream.

If we truly are supportive of workplace freedom, then there is no reason for state government to further insert itself into the labor agreements I make with my employees. We should support local businesses and their employees, not try to drive them out of West Virginia.

Glenn Jeffries is the president of Cornerstone Interiors, one of West Virginia's largest construction companies. He is a candidate for the West Virginia State Senate in the 8th District. He lives in Red House in Putnam County.

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Marty Chase: Stunning Parkersburg saga raises questions about wider chemical exposure http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ04/160209693 GZ04 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160207/GZ04/160209693 Sun, 7 Feb 2016 00:01:00 -0500 In my 50-plus years of journalism, I've read thousands of shocking stories. But it's hard to recall many that match Nathaniel Rich's blockbuster "Poisoned Ground" report on DuPont and the C-8 environmental disaster that has unfolded in Parkersburg over the past several decades.

The story in the Jan. 10 New York Times Magazine outlines the long-running environmental battle over a highly toxic chemical PFOA (also called C-8) involving multinational giant DuPont, a blue-chip Cincinnati-based law firm, a stubborn attorney, reluctant state and federal regulators and a community of 70,000 people around Parkersburg who drank poisoned water for many years without realizing it.

It's stunning on several levels:

First, the personal level: because of this mess, we expect to be buying a lot more bottled water in West Virginia and everywhere else, a habit we scorned and ridiculed for many years.

Second, the real difference committed individuals can make: This story, focusing primarily on environmental attorney Rob Bilott, is inspiring by driving home what one or two people can accomplish by "doing the right thing," as Billot puts it. In this case, Billot and a West Virginia farmer named Wilbur Tennant realized something awful was happening. They stubbornly stuck to their guns in an uphill battle to finally force action from co-opted and corrupt regulators, company officials and government bureaucrats.

Third, the sweeping impact the case has had on legal, scientific research and regulatory arenas, starting with one major incident in West Virginia and spreading globally over the past 15 years or so.

Finally, it shows the pervasive power a massive corporation can exert over all facets of life in a "company town."

Rich, who lives in New Orleans, elaborates on this aspect in a contributors' note at the front of the magazine, saying that when he traveled to Parkersburg to cover the story, he was warned not to drink the water.

"Parkersburg was the most paranoid place I've ever been." Rich said. "More paranoid than even New York City. The people I met were afraid of that water, afraid of speaking out against DuPont, afraid of driving too close to the former DuPont factory, afraid of being photographed, afraid of even being with me."

It's a tragic tale of people who ignored all the warning signs of an imminent environmental crisis, failed to do the right thing and worst of all were scared to even talk about it.

One of the more disturbing angles is the way company executives, state regulators and even many Environmental Protection Agency officials refused to honestly face facts and tried to push the whole matter under the rug.

Had it not been for farmer Tennant at first and then dogged attorney Bilott, it's likely next to nothing would have ever happened.

But the $16 million fine eventually levied on DuPont in 2005 represents little more than a mild slap on the wrist, Rich notes. It accounts for only 2 percent of the profits the company made off its noxious and notorious line of products in one year.

It certainly does not make up for thousands of deaths, deformities and other harm caused to families, businesses, animals, the land and the environment in a wide area around Parkersburg.

As long ago as 1976 - 40 years ago - DuPont knew that PFOA was causing serious health problems for women and birth defects in children.

The controversy and the local politics around DuPont and C-8 are fierce, Rich notes. As one example, he cites a woman named Darlene whose first husband - now deceased - had been a chemist in DuPont's PFOA research lab. (She asked that her last name not be used in the story.)

"When you worked for DuPont in this town, you could have everything you wanted," she told Rich. "DuPont paid for my husband's education, it secured him a mortgage and paid him a generous salary."

Her husband sometimes came home from work sick - fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting - after working in the PFOA storage tanks, she disclosed. At the plant, it was called the "Teflon flu."

In response to the latest letter by Bilott to the EPA urging regulation of PFOA in drinking water, the EPA stated it would announce "a lifetime health advisory for PFOA" early this year.

"But if you are sentient human reading this article in 2016, you already have PFOA in your blood," Rich writes. "It is in your parents' blood, your lover's blood. How did it get there? Through the air, through your diet, through your use of nonstick cookware, through your umbilical cord. Or you might have drunk it in your water."

The Environmental Working Group found manufactured fluorocarbons present in 94 water districts across 27 states.

It's a disaster that has spread from DuPont's Washington Works in Parkersburg "to statewide, to the United States, and now it's everywhere, Rich writes. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.

"We've taken the cap off," says Joe Kiser, a night school teacher in Parkersburg directly affected by the disaster. "But it's not just DuPont. Good God. There are 60,000 unregulated chemicals out there right now. We have no idea what we're taking."

He's right.

Marty Chase is a former Gazette business editor now retired at Elkins.

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