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In their Feb. 13 meeting, the Grant County Board of Education voted to sign a resolution in support of a fair teacher compensation in the ongoing issues with the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA).
“The West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency is implementing a premium increase of one-half percent and other changes in benefits that will increase health insurance costs for all covered employees,” the resolution said. “Although the governor has placed a one year freeze on the premium increase, a long-term PEIA solution needs to occur to protect employees.”
The resolution also states that West Virginia teachers are the third lowest paid in the nation, only higher than Mississippi and Oklahoma.
This places the state lower than all of the surrounding states, which can often make teachers choose to work out-of-state.
“The current state of teacher compensation in West Virginia undervalues teachers, causing many to leave Grant County Schools to pursue teaching opportunities in another state educating the children of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania,” the resolution explains.
“The current state of teacher compensation in West Virginia has made it extremely difficult for school boards to recruit and retain highly effective teachers and to offer employment packages that are competitive with these neighboring states.”
The resolution also acknowledged the recently proposed Senate Bill 453, which would amend PEIA premium sharing percentages between the employer and employees to a level of 85 percent for the employers and 15 percent for the employee. This would be an overall reduction of employee premium contributions by 5 percent.
“Now therefore be it resolved that the Grant County Board of Educations respectfully requests that the West Virginia Legislature improve teacher compensation to make West Virginia a more attractive state for the nation’s best teachers to live and work by providing sufficient salary increases during the 2018 regular session to raise teacher pay so that West Virginia no longer ranks 48th in the nation, to approve Senate Bill 453 and to take all other action necessary to remedy the longstanding, statewide problem of stagnant teacher pay, recruitment and retention,” the resolution said.
Also during the meeting, the board spoke with Larry Porter of Maysville about his concern over the containers being brought into schools by students, from home.

The Bowers Maple Farm in Petersburg is recognizing their 20th harvest this year.
The farm saw its beginning in 1998, when Carl Bowers first decided to start a new and unique tradition for his family.
Carl, who had made syrup with his family as a child, visited Highland County, Va. The area is well known for its multiple maple producers and attracts thousands of visitors each year. While there, Carl was inspired to purchase his own pipe system to run on his own land and start making syrup from his trees.
“I knew nothing about maple syrup,” said Mark Bowers, Carl’s son and current owner and operator of the farm.
“He came back with all this piping and it all just became a family event. We always had lots of uncles and aunts involved and we cooked everything in these big kettles.”
The Bowers have come a long way from those early family events and have become a functioning maple producing business.

Russ Hedrick Center to host upcoming Naloxone training event

The Grant County Health Department and the Potomac Highlands Guild have combined efforts to create the Grant County Harm Reduction Program. More widely known as needle exchange programs, these programs strive to reduce communicable diseases associated with the sharing of injectable devices and prevent the littering of used needles.
The program will be based out of the Russ Hedrick Resource and Recovery Center in Petersburg. “When people bring in needles I will be there, set up with cards and pamphlets to hand out,” explained Wade Rohrbaugh, a recovery coach with the center.

On Feb. 10, Deputy R.S. Rohrbaugh performed a traffic stop on a green Chevy Silverado that was traveling at a high rate of speed on Route 48.
The operator of the vehicle was identified as Roy Daniel Willis III of Bayard. During the stop, Rohrbaugh determined that Willis was operating the vehicle with a revoked license due to a previous driving under the influence conviction. It was also discovered that Willis was in possession of marijuana.

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