Trinity Christian School STEM students continue to excel 273

Trinity Christian School STEM students continue to excel in research and presentation skills, as evidenced by their strong showing at the 2018 West Virginia Regional Science Fair, held at Fairmont State University in February.

STEM involves science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

Prior to the fair, Trinity students worked for three to five months doing background research and conducting project studies. At the completion of their projects, students presented their findings at the Trinity Science Fair in January to demonstrate their understanding of their scientific inquiry in meaningful ways to peers and the local community. Based on judging from local science professionals, students were selected to represent Trinity Christian School at the regional fair.

The following students received awards for their entries: Hannah Hughes, Biology (2nd place), Junior Division; Hannah Tager, Chemistry (1st place), Junior Division; Hope Kinder, Environmental Science (2nd place), Junior Division; Charles Nemecek, Physics (3rd place), Junior Division; Miller Palmer, Engineering (1st Place), Junior Division; Jaden Sheffstall, Engineering (3rd Place), Junior Division; Madison Stellato, Chemistry (2nd Place), Junior Division; Gabe Turak, Mathematics (2nd Place), Junior Division; Trevor Cooke, Physics (1st Place), Senior Division; Jaclyn Smith, Chemistry (1st Place), Senior Division.

Trinity Christian School is an interdenominational institution in Morgantown, committed to providing a life changing education for students in grades Pre-k through 12.

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Lunsford subject to life in prison without mercy 37

By Allan Taylor, For the Dominion Post

WESTON — Lewis County jurors declined giving mercy after convicting Lena Lunsford for the 2011 murder of her 3-year-old daughter Aliayah.

That means Lunsford, 35, is subject to life in prison without parole when she’s sentenced June 28.

“Lena didn’t show her own daughter, a toddler, a 3-year-old baby any mercy,” said Aliayah’s great-aunt Vickie Bowen, who spoke on behalf of prosecutors Tuesday.

“She made Aliayah stand in the corner when she was sick, hit her — she killed her. And then disposed of her body like a wild animal. I won’t even say like a dog, because I lost my dog and I gave him a proper burial. My niece don’t get that.”

“I put over 80,000 miles on my vehicle looking for her daughter, while Lena was out there getting pregnant, drinking, drugging and doing whatever she was doing. She showed Aliayah no mercy, none, in life or death. I just pray that we show her as much mercy as she showed her daughter,” Bowen said.

With mercy, Lunsford would have been parole-eligible after 15 years. Defense attorney Tom Dyer contends flexible sentencing would allow a window of forgiveness for Lunsford’s teenage daughters, both of whom testified against their mother last week.

The girls, 9 and 11 at the time of Aliayah’s disappearance, formed the crux of the state’s case, claiming their mother’s plea for a community-wide search was a hoax. For five years the girls say they kept secret the fact that Lunsford struck the toddler in the head with a wooden bed slat and subsequently dumped her body in a rural area.

“What type of mother swears her daughters to secrecy with the implied threat that they could be next?” FBI agent Fred Aldrich said Tuesday.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Department investigator Eli Carpenter said Lunsford preyed on a child who was “as defenseless a defenseless can be.” He was among the lawmen who sifted through hundreds of leads, including rumors that the child had been trafficked to the Pagan’s motorcycle gang in exchange for heroin.

Ultimately, the case pointed back to Lena Lunsford and the daughters she turned into unwitting accomplices.

“For the rest of their life, Sept. 24, 2011, is going to be burned in their head,” Carpenter said. “They’ll never forget it. Please don’t give Lena another chance to ever hurt anybody.”

Jurors also heard an emotional plea from Shannon Loudin of the West Virginia state police, who chided Lunsford for withholding details of the killing and the potential whereabouts of Aliayah’s remains.

“Instead of that happening, she’s coming in to beg you for mercy,” Loudin said. “She’s not here to do the right thing today. She’s just here for Lena. It’s always been about Lena.”

Dyer said he hasn’t identified the issues they’ll take up on appeal, “but certainly there is one planned.”

Lunsford also faces prison time for convictions on child abuse and concealing a deceased body, sentences Judge Jacob Reger can impose concurrently or consecutively.

Barbara Harmon-Schamberger, an attorney who represented Lunsford in previous child custody cases — and briefly on this same murder charge — testified that Lunsford was raped at age 6 by her father and left “damaged” by a string of abusive relationships. Issuing a parole-eligible sentence, Schamberger told jurors, “may give her the only genuine, meaningful kindness any one has ever shown her.”

“She’s not a monster,” Schamberger said. “She is a victim and a statistic, just like her children.”

To which prosecutor Christina Flanagan responded: “I think Aliayah would disagree. I think she would believe her mother is a monster.”

Cheat Lake Rotary honors helping brothers 130

MOGANTOWN — It’s ordinary people doing extraordinary things said Michael Yura, president of the Cheat Lake Rotary. Tuesday at Lakeview the organization took the time to honor the heroism of two brothers who helped a woman after she drove her car over a hill near Cheat Lake.

Eddie and Andrew Emery recounted the events of that cold morning, and remained humble as they received an award for their random act of selflessness.

Andrew said after his brother had alerted him to the situation the brothers pulled off and preceded over the hill, following the wreckage and the broken tree limbs. They went as far as they could to observe the situation. They saw the woman sticking out of the car calling for help.

They helped her out of her car to a rock – they had already called 911 and waited with her, offering her their jackets to keep her warm. They stayed with her until a boat came from the other side of the lake and transported her across. Andrew said they helped put her on the stretcher and into an ambulance.

When the Cheat Lake Rotary heard the story of what happened that fateful Monday morning, they felt it was right to give the brothers some recognition.

“We had never done anything like this before in terms of heroism, but we felt that it epitomized one of our major belief systems for rotary and that is service above self,” said Yura.

The Rotary meets Tuesdays at Lakeview and when they saw the headline the day after the accident it became a major topic of conversation. Yura drove by where the incident had occurred and someone else had mentioned that this was such a special thing that they did and they should find a way to honor the men who may have saved her life.

“It was a prime example of what we believe, and these are not Rotarians. These are just great guys who did a public service in saving someone,” said Yura.

Yura said the Rotary are strong believers in being a community person and putting yourself out for others. He said he would describe the brothers as unselfish – they saw a critical situation and did what they had to do.

“Thank God they saw what they saw, to have to ability to see something, not think about it. It was just that they put themselves in a potentially dangerous situation. They didn’t know what they were getting into,” said Yura.

Yura said he hopes people can look at what these brothers did and let it carry over into their everyday lives. Even small things can have a big impact on the world. He used the example of Rotary taking on Polio, and today with Rotary’s efforts Polio has nearly been eradicated from the world.

“It can act like a ripple in the water, where one act can lead to other people thinking about something and about little things that they can do to help someone else. When you have enough ripples you can change the world,” said Yura.

However, the brothers remain humble, and really don’t consider themselves heroes.

“No, I don’t believe we’re heroes. Concerned citizens maybe. People doing the right thing when they should, when the timing’s there for them. Heroes are firefighters, police officers, people that do it every single day and don’t get any recognition” said Andrew.

“Soldiers, teachers, medical professions – those are our heroes in our eyes.”

Mylan layoffs include some non-union employees 1211

MORGANTOWN — About 100 additional layoffs of non-union management employees at Mylan continued Monday as part of the company’s previous announcement Friday that they’d be “right sizing” their Morgantown work force.

Various sources told MetroNews that non-union employees were being taken out of the office one-by-one during the day Monday.

A Mylan rep would not confirm a difference between union and non-union employees in an e-mail exchange Monday, but did confirm that the 15 percent cuts to the 3,500 employees in Morgantown would be comprehensive — including both union and non-union workers.

15 percent of 3,500 is 525 total employees, but Mylan said the total number could still be smaller depending on how many employees accept compensation

About 400 union employees were informed of the cuts last week.

Monongalia County Commissioner Ed Hawkins fears what additional layoffs will do to the local economy.

“I probably anticipate more layoffs, but I do offer my sympathies for the families affected by this corporate decision,” he said.

Hawkins said he wanted to be optimistic, but said he needed to be realistic and accept the coming hit to the county’s economy.

“You take care of your people, they will take care of your business,” Hawkins said. “If you have any delusions that the eye of Mylan is on the well being of Morgantown or the state of West Virginia, I would tell you to dismiss such a fantasy.”

“As the business owner, you’re the one who is supposed to take the hit last,” he added.

Hawkins did say Monongalia County, as a whole, is much more economically diverse than it has been in previous years. That fact won’t help families unless it produces jobs for them, he said.

“Eventually, we will regroup,” he said. “We know it’s going to be a hit. It is certainly a hit to those families who are immediately affected.”

In the meantime, Hawkins said there are a lot of families in Monongalia County who have much more uncertain futures following the layoffs.

“Those are the ones to whom you have the greatest concern and hope that you can reach out and find other unemployment,” he said. “It is unlikely that this would be a call back.”

Mylan said some employees will have the right to recall, depending on the number of people who accept voluntary buy-outs.