www.wvgazette.com http://www.wvgazette.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2015, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: March 06, 2015 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT01/303069981 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT01/303069981 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 00:03:04 -0500 Boggess, Boyd C. Noon, Dodd

Bracken, Naomi B. 11 a.m., Spring Fork Missionary Baptist Church, Campbells Creek.

Carpenter, John R. 2 p.m., New Life Center Church, Cedar Grove.

Edgell, Karen R. 11 a.m., Forrest

Harris, Linda S. 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Lovejoy, Denese L. Noon, Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.

Martin, Marion K. 2 p.m., Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home Chapel, Ansted.

McCutcheon, David 11 a.m., Pryor Funeral Home, East Bank.

Shamblin, Mark A. 1 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

Sparkman, Peggy A. 2 p.m., Fidler & Frame Funeral Home, Belle.

Spencer, Drema 1 p.m., New Covenant Baptist Church, Charleston.

Williams, Robert P. 2 p.m., Wilson

Wooten, Gary V. 1 p.m., Mud Fork Freewill Baptist Church, Verdunville.

Dolores G. Bradshaw http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069982 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069982 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 00:03:01 -0500 Dolores G. Bradshaw, 76, of Charleston, died Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at Hubbard Hospice House, Charleston. She was a member of Ivydale Baptist Church on David Creek and was a homemaker and enjoyed cooking, especially for her family. Dolores looked forward to her annual vacation and spending time with her family at the Meador campground in Hinton. She was preceded in death by her parents, Cecil Motter Sr. and Lucille Motter; several brothers and sisters; and a nephew, Mark Edward Motter.

Surviving are her loving husband of 56 years, Joseph Harold Bradshaw Sr.; sons, Joe Bradshaw Jr., Thomas Bradshaw, John Bradshaw and David Bradshaw; daughters, Debrah Smith and Rebecca Young; and many grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

Service will be 1 p.m. Saturday at Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston, with the Rev. Basil Hudson and the Rev. Tyler Long officiating. Burial will be in Graceland Memorial Park, South Charleston.

Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the mortuary.

Linda Kay Burford http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069995 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069995 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 00:02:32 -0500 Linda Kay Harper Burford, 66, of Elkview, passed away March 4, 2015 after a courageous battle with cancer.

She was born Nov. 20, 1948 in Walton.

Linda is survived by her loving husband of 43 years, Charles, and their two children: son, Christopher (Jessica) Burford of Elkview, and daughter, Heather (Simon) Goetze of North Huntingdon, Pa. She is also survived by two grandchildren, whom she cherished, Sadie Claire Goetze of North Huntingdon, Pa., and Brielle Juliette Burford of Elkview.

Linda was a faithful member of Elkview Baptist Church and a very loving wife, mother and grandmother. Linda was retired from Union Carbide.

Donations may be made to Elkview Baptist Church in her honor.

A service will be held at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview, with Pastor Bobby Sizemore officiating. Interment will be held at Melton Cemetery.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 6, at Hafer Funeral Home.

Robert F. Cantrell Jr. http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069987 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069987 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 00:02:51 -0500 Robert F. Cantrell Jr., 68, of Dunbar, passed away March 4, 2015 after a long illness.

He was born in Charleston on Oct. 3, 1946, the son of the late Robert Frederick Cantrell and Elizabeth Ann Cantrell. "Bob" grew up in Nitro and was a 1964 graduate of Nitro High School and a 1968 graduate of Morris Harvey College. He was retired from AC&S, Inc., where he served as president and CEO.

He is survived by his mother, Elizabeth Ann Cantrell; wife, Elissa Sharpe Cantrell; three children, Bryan Cantrell (Stephanie), Erin Cantrell and Kevin Cantrell (Stephanie); three grandchildren, Adalyn, Bryson and Sadie; brother, William Cantrell (Katherine); as well as extended family, many caregivers, colleagues and friends.

Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at Cooke Funeral Home, 2002 20th St., Nitro. A private graveside service will be held at Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens at a later date.

Cooke Funeral Home and Crematorium is assisting the Cantrell family and you may express online condolences at www.cookefuneralhome.com.

Judith Erwin Castle http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069989 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069989 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 00:02:47 -0500 Judith Erwin Castle, 72, of St. Albans, passed away Tuesday, March 4, 2015 at Hubbard Hospice House West, South Charleston.

Born Nov. 15, 1942 in St. Albans, Judith was a daughter of the late Frank Edward and Amy Lea Roberts Erwin. In addition to her parents, she was also preceded in death by her husband, Harold E. Castle; son, Billy Castle; and two sisters and one brother.

Judith was a homemaker and a member of Marlaing Gospel Tabernacle, St. Albans.

She is survived by her children, Elaine Castle and fiance, Ron Chastain, of Scott Depot, Charles Castle and wife, Nicolle, of St. Albans and Stacy Castle of St. Albans; three grandchildren, Malaki Castle, Ashley Castle and Brandi Bowyer; and three great-grandchildren. Judith is also survived by her siblings, Freda Miller, Connie Erwin, Bob Erwin and David Erwin, all of St. Albans.

Funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at Bartlett-Chapman Funeral Home, St. Albans, with the Rev. Mike Craigo officiating. A private burial will be at Scary Creek Cemetery, Scott Depot.

Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

You may share memories or condolences with the family at www.chapmanfuneralhomes.com.

Bartlett-Chapman Funeral Home, family-owned and located at 409 Sixth Ave., St. Albans, is honored to serve the Castle family.

Norma "Muffy" Cooper http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069999 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069999 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 00:02:19 -0500 Ms. Norma "Muffy" Cooper, 69, passed away Feb. 26, 2015 at Mandarin Chesapeake Hospice House, Harwood, Md. She will be laid to rest Saturday, March 7, at the family cemetery. Information submitted by Wallace & Wallace of Rainelle.

Andrew Elmore http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069996 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069996 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 00:02:29 -0500 Andrew Elmore, 66, of Sandyville, passed way peacefully at his home, surrounded by his loving family.

Born May 1, 1948 in Charleston, he was the son of the late John Arnold and Dollie Canter Elmore.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two sisters, Mary Burdette and Rebecca Pritt, and three brothers, George, John and James Elmore.

He is survived by his companion, Helen Harrison; three daughters, Julia Smith (Mikey), Patricia White (Jeremy) and Lisa Elmore (Lenny); two sons, Andrew and Johnny Elmore; a sister, JoAnn Barnes; a brother, Willard Elmore; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.

A celebration of his life will be from noon to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, at Long & Fisher Funeral Home, Sissonville. Interment will follow at Fisher Cemetery.

At his and his family's request, please do not send flowers. However, donations can be made to Helen Harrison, 42 Ruby Lake Road, Sandyville, WV 25275.

Arrangements entrusted to Long & Fisher Funeral Home.

Teri Jo Given http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069990 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069990 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 00:02:44 -0500 Teri Jo Given, 46, of Cowen, died Feb. 19, 2015. Celebration of life will be 2 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at Burton Hall, Camp Caesar, Cowen, with visitation beginning two hours prior. Arrangements by Morris Funeral Home, Cowen.

Robert G. Gorham http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069988 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069988 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 00:02:49 -0500 Robert G. Gorham, 88, of Ona, passed away Thursday, March 5, 2015 at Midland Meadows Senior Living Community. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. Heck Funeral Home, Milton, is in charge of the arrangements.

Phyllis C. Keeney http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069994 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/OBIT/303069994 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 00:02:34 -0500 Phyllis C. Keeney, 90, of Charleston, formerly of Scott Depot, left this earth for her eternal home on March 3, 2015.

Phyllis was born April 20, 1924 in Clay County, West Virginia and was the daughter of the late, William C. and Nina Samples Caldwell. She accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior as a young adult at the Oakwood Baptist Church and was formerly employed by Dr. Merle Scherr and Dr. Chandra Kumar

Preceding her in death were her two brothers, Bill Jr. and Ted; her first husband, Buster Keeney; and by "the love of her life," Denver Boggess.

Surviving her are her daughter and son-in-law, Becki and Amon Samples of Charleston; sons and daughter-in-law, Joe Bill and Debbie Keeney of Elkview and George "Mack" Keeney and his fiancee, Jeanne Harvey of Scott Depot; sisters-in-law, Athalee Caldwell of Katy, Texas and Rachel Caldwell of Virginia Beach, Virginia; grandchildren and their spouses, Greg and Becky Samples of Burlington, Ohio, Shannon and Andy Elliot of Charleston, Mark and Adrienne Samples of Charleston, Brian Keeney of Elkview and Jodi Keeney of Dunbar; her "special grandchildren," Michael and Katie Lowe; several great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, and multiple cousins, nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at noon, Saturday, March 7, at Fidler and Frame Funeral Home, Belle, with Pastor Mike Long officiating. Interment will follow in Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens, Cross Lanes. Visitation will be one hour prior to service time at the funeral home on Saturday.

The family wishes to extend a special thanks to Tender Heart Home Care and to all of her caregivers, present and former, for their love and compassion. Also a thank you to Hospice Care, Mary and Joan, and to her dear friend, Josephine Hypes, for her love and freindship.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests that contributions be made to Hospice Care, 1606 Kanawha Bvld. W., Charleston, WV 25387.

Update: Nearly 70,000 W.Va. customers remain without electricity http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/GZ01/150309385 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/GZ01/150309385 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 08:55:23 -0500 Staff reports CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Close to 70,000 customers in West Virginia have no electricity this morning following a late winter storm that dumped up to a foot of snow over parts of the state.

Appalachian Power Company spokesman Phil Moye said about 33,000 customers remained without power this morning, with the largest number of outages in Cabell and Kanawha counties. Moye said the total number of outages fluctuates up and down as some areas are brought back online, but other areas are hit by new outages.

About 8,300 customers were without electricity in Cabell County, about 7,100 in Kanawha County, around 5,500 in Putnam, 5,300 in Mason and 3,100 in Jackson, Moye said. Appalachian Power serves much of the southern part of the state.

FirstEnergy, which provides electricity to much of the northern part of the state, reported about 36,400 customers without power this morning. Outages included about 3,000 customers in Marion County, 2,300 in Wetzel, 2,200 in Ritchie and 2,000 in Harrison.

Power company officials said restoring power to some areas could take some time because of heavy snow in some areas.

Moye said about 250 extra crew members were brought in to help restore electricity in Appalachian Power's service areas. He expects electricity to be restored to most customers by Saturday night.

Free workshop on fruit tree maintenance offered in Kenna http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/GZ01/150309386 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/GZ01/150309386 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 08:49:16 -0500 The Associated Press KENNA, W.Va. - West Virginians eager to get a start on the growing season can attend a free workshop next week on fruit tree maintenance.

The West Virginia State University Extension Service will conduct the workshop on Thursday in Kenna.

All aspects of fruit tree production will be discussed, including planting, harvesting, maintenance, pruning and grafting.

People interested in attending must register by calling extension agent Brad Cochran at 304-541-3301.

Many state schools remain closed following winter storm http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/GZ01/150309387 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/GZ01/150309387 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 08:45:05 -0500 The Associated Press CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Many students are getting another break from classes across West Virginia following the latest winter storm.

Public schools in most West Virginia counties remained closed today.

West Virginia University's main campus also canceled classes and operations again today for a second-consecutive day. All classes and operations are expected to resume on Monday.

WVU says some operations such as dining services, residence halls and the hospital continue to operate.

Several courts around the state also remain closed today.

Appeals court tosses gag order in ex-coal company CEO's case http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/ARTICLE/150309388 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/ARTICLE/150309388 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 08:41:36 -0500


Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court on Thursday invalidated a sweeping gag order in the case of a former coal company executive accused of violating safety standards at a West Virginia mine where an explosion killed 29 men.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger's order prohibited just about anyone, including victims' relatives, from speaking publicly about former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's case. The judge also kept most court filings secret.
Berger said the order was needed to protect Blankenship's right to a fair trial in an emotionally charged case that has received intensive news coverage. Five media organizations challenged the order, arguing that it violated the First Amendment by excessively restricting public access to judicial proceedings.
The three-judge panel, which heard arguments Tuesday in Richmond, said in its order that public access cannot be denied without proof of a "substantial probability" that pretrial publicity jeopardizes the defendant's right to a fair trial.
"Having carefully reviewed the record, although we commend the district court's sincere and forthright proactive effort to ensure to the maximum extent possible that Blankenship's right to a fair trial before an impartial jury will be protected, we are constrained to conclude that the order entered here cannot be sustained," the panel said in the seven-page order.
The gag order was challenged by The Associated Press, The Charleston Gazette, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio and the Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
"The court of appeals has recognized the importance of public access to the records in a criminal trial and the First Amendment right of witnesses and interested parties to comment on charges made in federal proceedings," the media organizations' attorney, David A. Schulz, said in a telephone interview. "They struck down the order completely because it was clearly and plainly overbroad and not supported by any showing of substantial need."
Dozens of previously sealed court documents became public Thursday.
Within them, Blankenship's attorneys say he's being vindictively prosecuted because he's an outspoken critic of Democrats.
They added that southern West Virginia judges couldn't fairly hear the case because U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin is the son of Judge Joseph Goodwin. He's in the same district, but isn't handling the case.
They also said Blankenship is being targeted for producing a documentary that shifts blame for the mine explosion.
William W. Taylor III, an attorney for Blankenship, declined to comment on the order. He told the appeals court at Tuesday's hearing that the gag order would be unnecessary if a defense motion to move the trial out of Southern West Virginia is granted, but that it should remain in place until then.
Federal prosecutors did not take a position on the gag order, saying Blankenship can receive a fair trial with or without the restrictions.
Blankenship, who was the head of Massey when the Upper Big Branch mine exploded in 2010, is scheduled for trial April 20.
Jonathan Mattise in Charleston, West Virginia, contributed to this report.

Renovated state camp eyed for use as educational facility http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/GZ01/150309389 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/GZ01/150309389 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 08:34:12 -0500 The Associated Press BROOKS, W.Va. - The National Park Service is hoping to turn a renovated Camp Brookside in Brooks in a future education institute.

The camp was originally built in the 1940s as a summer camp for children of Electro Metallurgical Company workers in Alloy. It was bought by the National Park Service in 1993.

Officials received funding in 2012 to restore the mess hall, seven cabins and the caretaker's residence. Those restorations are nearing completion.

The National Park Service hopes to turn the site into a facility to address community and higher education needs such as a base camp for field research.

The Beckley Register-Herald reports that the decision to use the renovated camp as an educational facility stemmed from a roundtable meeting last week in Hinton.

Winter stings pooches' paws http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/ARTICLE/150309390 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/ARTICLE/150309390 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 06:48:45 -0500


THE Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - People aren't the only ones suffering from a seemingly endless winter of bone-rattling cold, record-busting snow and ice-slick sidewalks. Pooches' paws feel the pain, too.

While millions of residents from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast shovel snow deep into the season and hunker down awaiting relief, their dogs are either missing out on walks or left vulnerable to injury with each salt-coated step.

Rock salt and shards of ice can cut feet or get wedged between toes, de-icing chemicals can burn paw pads and frostbite can happen. That's led to a late-season boost in sales of doggy boots, which can be an annoyance for canines but allow owners to protect pets that are like family.

Malia Ebel of Concord, New Hampshire, has four dogs - two that will wear boots and two that won't or can't. Either way, when the temperature dips below zero, Ebel cancels the crew's two daily walks.

"My two little dogs won't go out the front door without them when it's snowy," she said of the dog boots worn by her Cavalier King Charles spaniel mixes.

Ebel trained 13-year-old Seymour and 12-year-old Sanders when they were young to wear boots, which are a necessity instead of a fashion choice.

"My dogs don't have a problem with the snow; it's the salt that hurts their feet," she said. "So it's great that their feet are protected and they can walk on the street all winter. In a winter like this, there has been so much snow and they've had to salt the roads very consistently."

The persistent winter has pushed Boston close to its 20-year-old snowfall record with more than 100 inches and seemingly froze Niagara Falls in place. While people throw up their hands at each new storm, the weather is giving a boost to pet clothiers.

At the Barker & Meowsky Paw Firm in Chicago, the number of boots sold each day in the last six weeks was four times higher than a typical day this winter, company President Alice Lerman said.

"Some days all we sold were boots," she said of the pet boutique that sells clothing, furniture and carriers for cats and dogs.

Boots called "Muttluks," fleece-lined boots that resemble furry Mukluks for people, were good sellers, as were Pawz disposable booties that look like balloons and come in 10-packs.

But the boots that sold out every day were a new product called Saltsox. They slip on easily, stay dry and come shaped like a dog's foot so they won't fall off as often, Lerman said.

There are even less intrusive options: Musher's Secret wax was designed for sled dogs and forms a shield on paws to keep ice and salt out. Bag Balm moisturizer and Vaseline also can be used in a pinch.

Boots are a begrudging necessity for Wendy Olcott's golden retriever, Sunny. Living in Contoocook, New Hampshire, her 12-year-old dog learned to wear boots as a puppy for their long walks. But that doesn't mean Sunny likes them.

"Sunny didn't like wearing the boots initially, and she still, all these years later, doesn't like wearing them," she said.

But walks go faster with the footwear because the dog doesn't have to stop to get the snow out from between her toes, Olcott said.

Shelters also are struggling this winter. At the Worcester Animal Rescue League in Massachusetts, keeping about 60 dogs and cats and two bunnies warm and clean has made laundry a never-ending chore, Executive Director Allie Tellier said.

Worcester received 92.1 inches of snow through mid-February. Some days, workers and volunteers can't get to the shelter, and whoever is closest has to trudge in to feed the animals.

When it's 20-below, even the housebroken dogs won't do their business outside, leading to messes, Tellier said. But when the hardier dogs go out, many come back holding up frozen paws.

"We are equipped to handle snow and winter, but this has been harsh," Tellier said.

Adidas predicts profit rebound http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/ARTICLE/150309391 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/ARTICLE/150309391 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 06:40:17 -0500


Bloomberg News

FRANKFURT - Adidas forecast a partial rebound in earnings this year as the struggling German sportswear maker pours money into catching larger rival Nike Inc. in America.

Net income will increase 7 percent to 10 percent, excluding some items, such as the planned sale of the Rockport walking- shoe division, Herzogenaurach, Germany-based Adidas said Thursday as it reported a 22 percent drop in 2014 profit on that basis. The shoemaker also unexpectedly maintained its dividend, sending the shares to a seven-month high.

Adidas, the No. 2 supplier of sports gear after Nike, is preparing to make a long-range strategy announcement March 26 to explain how it will reverse its declining market share in the United States and Europe. Despite being the official sponsor of last year's soccer World Cup, the shoemaker in July abandoned a longstanding growth target for this year.

"More and more people tend to believe that the worst is behind them," said Cedric Rossi, an analyst at Bryan Garnier & Co. in Paris. "We are more reassured regarding the margin performance for 2015."

Adidas said it expects a margin of 6.5 percent to 7 percent this year with revenue rising by a mid-single-digit percentage on a constant-currency basis. In July, the company dropped targets for an operating margin of 11 percent.

The midpoint of the 2015 profit forecast range matches analysts' estimates of $770 million.

"In 2015, we will see sales increases across all our brands despite a tough comparison with the 2014 World Cup year as well as the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine," Adidas said in the statement. "2014 was a year with ups and downs."

The downs included weakness in its Russia business, which caused Adidas to delay planned store openings there. The company took a 78 million-euro goodwill impairment charge related to Russia for last year.

Among other difficulties was a struggling golf business: sales at the TaylorMade unit declined 28 percent last year.

Adidas also has had to contend with stiffer competition from its main rival Nike, which has done a better job of capturing the growing number of U.S. consumers buying more athletic apparel and footwear for everyday use. The trend, dubbed "athleisure," has also benefited rival Under Armour Inc., which has broadened its appeal beyond American football and become the second-largest U.S. sporting-goods maker.

Adidas has turned its marketing organization "upside down" to let groups in charge of running shoes and its Originals casual brand run their own campaigns, Chief Executive Officer Herbert Hainer said on a conference call Thursday. "We need to be more impactful in the marketplace."

Adidas is searching for candidates to replace 60-year-old Hainer, whose retirement is planned for 2017. It hired search firm Egon Zehnder to find candidates.

Revenue at Adidas increased 2 percent to 14.5 billion euros last year, the company said Thursday. Analysts expect that will reach 17 billion euros by 2017.

The shoemaker maintained its annual dividend at 1.50 euros a share, appeasing shareholders battered by the 38 percent decline in the stock last year. The Bloomberg forecast was for 1.35 euros a share.

The company said it started a second tranche of stock buybacks under a 1.5 billion-euro program announced last year.

Adjusted net income, excluding the goodwill-impairment cost, was 642 million euros, less than the 650 million-euro preliminary number. It was also a wide miss of the 830 million to 930 million-euro profit goal that Adidas scrapped in July.

Editorial: One argument SB 347 opponents should drop http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/DM04/150309392 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/DM04/150309392 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 06:38:35 -0500 The debate over Senate Bill 347, which would do away with permit requirements for concealed carry of firearms in the state, has seen logical and passionate arguments on both sides.

But there's one argument that opponents should stop making, because it's simply incorrect.

We're referring to the allegation that Senate Bill 347 would cause West Virginians to lose their rights to concealed carry in other parts of the country under reciprocal arrangements West Virginia has made with other states.

When a state has reciprocity with another state regarding concealed carry, it means that those two states have agreed to honor each other's concealed carry permits. Someone with a permit issued by West Virginia can use that permit in Kentucky, for example, and vice versa.

Reciprocity is important to many gun owners because it allows them to travel around the country while carrying their firearms as they do at home.

Reciprocal arrangements are strictly about permits, and Senate Bill 347 keeps the permit system in place. West Virginians who currently have concealed carry permits would still be able to use those permits when they travel.

And West Virginians without permits would still have the option to go through the permit process, just as they do now. The only thing Senate Bill 347 would add is the option to concealed carry without a permit in this state.

Reciprocity arrangements can of course be revoked by states at any time and for any reason. But if the experience of other states is instructive, Senate Bill 347 would not cause a stampede of states revoking their arrangements with us.

Arizona passed a similar bill in 2010, and Wyoming in 2011. Officials in both states report that they have not lost reciprocity with any state other than Nevada, which revoked its agreements with a number of states (including West Virginia) in 2014 for unrelated reasons.

If those states have not seen their arrangements affected even several years after enacting permit-less concealed carry, it would seem safe to predict that West Virginia's won't be either.

Opponents of Senate Bill 347 shouldn't tell gun owners that the measure will take away their reciprocity rights. There are fair arguments against the bill, as the Daily Mail opined on Feb. 25, but that's not one of them.

Editorial Cartoon for Friday, March 6, 2015 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/DM04/150309393 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/DM04/150309393 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 06:37:46 -0500

Amanda Pasdon: Action needed for better schools http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/DM04/150309394 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150306/DM04/150309394 Fri, 6 Mar 2015 06:37:18 -0500

In questioning the Common Core and West Virginia Next Generation education standards, West Virginia has become the 25th state to suggest slowing down, evaluating and, if necessary, repealing these education standards.

To be specific, 25 states, to date, either did not adopt these controversial standards or have revisited or revised their participation in the Common Core education standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment associated with the Common Core Education Standards.

As chair of the West Virginia House of Delegates Education Committee, I undertook a listening tour to hear from educators, administrators, parents, employers and students about education in West Virginia.

West Virginians care deeply about our state's well being and are heavily invested in providing for our childrens' future. A common theme coming from teachers, parents and administrators is that the standards must be revisited, teachers given more flexibility to meet students' needs and more local control is needed.

In particular, parents express enormous concern about the way we teach math skills to our children. Currently, West Virginia students score 46th in math when ranked according to NAEPS (National Assessment of Educational Progress) rankings.

School administrators, teachers and parents are pleading for change. I have held meetings with the leaders of the West Virginia Department of Education and gubernatorially appointed members of the West Virginia Board of Education in an attempt to understand their plan for improving education outcomes for our West Virginia students.

I have repeatedly asked why the standards should be upheld and for data showing that these standards improve student achievement. The response I am given is that our state has spent a great deal of money on the Common Core standards and we should stay the course to avoid more cost. To me, our childrens' futures are too important to accept that as an answer.

Members of the West Virginia Legislature have avoided personal attacks and have focused their efforts on fixing the problem. Seventy-five members of the West Virginia House of Delegates, both Democrats and Republicans, voted in support of a bill that would allow for an examination, and a repeal of the standards associated with Common Core.

This is not because West Virginia legislators oppose education standards. It simply reflects the views of teachers, administrators and parents that our standards need to be changed to meet the needs of West Virginia students.

In our state we spend $2.4 billion from the taxpayer-supported general revenue fund every year on our schools. We remain among the highest spending of the states but our test scores have fallen to be among the nation's lowest. This by itself is reason for self-examination and reflection. The education efficiency audit of West Virginia's primary and secondary education system, completed in 2012, reveals great centralization, top down control and the need for change.

Education is the foundation for our future. Our children are society's most cherished hope for a bright future. If we are failing in our responsibility to provide the best education possible for them, then action must be taken.

Pasdon is a Republican delegate representing Monongalia County and chairwoman of the House Education Committee.