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Saturday, August 30, 2014

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for Monday, September 1st,

which is Labor Day.

  “Think back on the moment you heard about funnyman Robin Williams’ tragic and untimely death. Remember that shock and that sadness you felt? Multiply that by a ga-zillion” said Michelle Toman to the West Virginia Legislature Joint Committee on Children and Families this Tuesday. “Because that’s what it feels like when it’s your ‘someone’.”

  Toman, a Ritchie County native and resident, was presenting information and testimony to have a law in West Virginia for mandatory suicide prevention education annually for at least 45-60 minutes for grades six through freshman year in college. “Education is our best form of prevention” she told the committee. “By teaching them it’s okay to ask for help, and by having conversations about it. It begins by being able to say the word ‘suicide’ out loud.”

  This has become her life work since her brother, Jamie Campbell, committed suicide 20 years ago at age 18 as a freshman in college. He came home to Ritchie County to his parents’ house, who were out of town at the time. Michelle came to the house, found the suicide note Jamie had written and later found Jamie’s body.

   “I was alone when I found my brother,” Michelle told Ritchie Online, “I don’t want anyone else to feel that way.”

  A year following his death she was asked to speak to a church youth group about suicide prevention. She hesitated, then said she would do it. Now, 19 years later, she is an advocate all over the state, and the nation, for educating people on suicide prevention and to remove the stigma of talking about it, and saying the word out loud. Suicide.

Breaking The Silence Through

Jamie’s Law

By Debbie Frederick

WV School Bus

Safety An Issue

Of Concern

By Debbie Frederick

  The video posted above is from the West Virginia Department of Education to emphasize school bus and bus stop safety in the state. It is a chilling reminder that no matter how many warnings and promotions are released, there will be those who disregard the law for flashing red lights on a stopped bus.

  Two bus accidents in two days in West Virginia to begin the school year is an alarming realization.

   First, on August 26th, a chain reaction wreck of two tractor-trailer trucks into the rear of a stopped school bus sent nine school children to the hospital with cuts and bruises, as well as the drivers of the bus and the two trucks. There were 19 students on the bus. The truck driver was cited for speeding and failure to control the vehicle.

  Second, on August 28th, a school bus in Lewis County, outside of Weston was stopped trying to merge with traffic from U.S. Rt. 33 and the on-ramp of I-79 when a car rear-ended the bus. Three teenagers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries out of 40 students on the bus. That accident is still under investigation.   

Labor Day


  Several questions were raised at the Pennsboro Community Meeting Thursday evening about the Board of Education Excess Levy Renewal that will be on the November ballot. (The full story on that meeting will be in the Tuesday, September 2nd, edition).

  This is not a new levy, but a continuation of the one that has been in place for a number of years. It is used for day-to-day operation of the school system, including salaries, textbooks, transportation and utilities.

  A report submitted by Director of Finance, Regina Epperly, at the July 14th BOE meeting shows the levy renewal will not generate as much revenue as the one currently in place, because the tax base for property values has decreased. It will be for approximately $100,000 less than what is received now. The current levy generates $2,014,827.00 and the proposed levy renewal is expected to generate only $1,915,438.00.

What The BOE Levy Renewal Means For Ritchie County

By Debbie Frederick

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Pennsboro Country Roads Festival


Rails To Trails area downtown Pennsboro

Continued Continued