(click for forecast)
MISSION School seventh
grader Ben Harris will
travel to Norfolk
later this month to
compete in the
Student To Participate in State Geographic
by JoBeth Wampler
you name the large city that lies between Lake Pontchartrain
and the Mississippi River? Or could you answer from which
major river Pakistan depends on water?
those keeping score, the answers are New Orleans and the
while these questions might seem a little advanced, even for
the college graduate, they are textbook for Mountain Mission
School seventh grader Ben Harris.
Ben first participated in his school's Geographic Bee, he
was in the fourth grade.
down the hall one day at school, he was approached by MMS
World History and Geography teacher Rachel Hood, who asked
if he wanted to participate during the school's assembly
evening, he and his then-eighth grade brother, Tom, told
their parents that they won, with Tom coming in first and
Ben earning second place.
first reaction was, 'Why didn't you tell us?'" Ben's
dad, Stewart, says. "You could've knocked us over with
a feather that first year."
the shock was soon overcome with pride. Stewart and
Priscilla Harris' two sons had beaten out every student and
Tom would take a written Geography test to see if he would
compete in the state competition.
schools hold their own Geographic Bees at the local level in
November each year.
year, around 14,000 U.S. schools held local competitions, in
which nearly 5 million fourth to eighth grade students
place winners from each school are provided a written test
and those earning the top 100 scores are offered a bid to
the semi-state competition. As the second level of the
competition, the state GeoBee is usually held in the spring
and includes several rounds of questioning leading from the
semi-state to state rounds. Students advance through the
rounds with each correct answer until the 100 are whittled
down to 10, who compete on stage.
national competition follows as the final stage of the
his first appearance in the MMS Geographic Bee, Ben, as a
fifth grader, took home second place again. But, he soon
proved he wasn't only able to compete with the older kids.
He was able to beat them.
a sixth grader last year, he won his school competition and
earned the opportunity to compete in the State Geographic
year, Ben ranked 26th overall going into the semi-state
into the final round, seven students missed no questions at
all that year, and 23 only missed one. Ben was one of the
year, he hopes to go all the way.
goal is to study one hour a day," he says. "Of
course, I'm not always going to do that. But, any study time
his experience as a GeoBee pro, Ben says there are a few
things he's noticed about the state competition.
instance, studying a timeline helps. Often questions provide
clues other than geographic locations, such as specifying
that the location being described was also home to a
specific battle or other important event in history.
Ben says, knowing the locations of most countries and their
a benefit of witnessing so many state competitions is that
Ben has noticed many questions refer to Europe and North
America, which helps him focus more of his studying in those
participating and watching so many state-level GeoBees isn't
the only benefit Ben says he's had.
credits his teacher Rachel Hood and the excellent education
he says he's received at Mountain Mission School for his
For more of the story,
see the print edition of the Mountaineer, on sale at
newsstands now. For more information on how to
subscribe to the Mountaineer, call 276-935-2123
PSA Seeks Attorney General
Opinion On Terms of Office
Cathy St. Clair
surrounding the term of office for the Hurricane District
representative on the Buchanan County Public Service Authority Board
will now go to the Attorney General’s office for an answer.
this month, the PSA board agreed, by consensus, to seek an Attorney
General’s opinion on whether Dexter Ray’s term of office on the
PSA board ends this month or in December.
Administrator W.J. Caudill said Tuesday that a letter has been sent
to Sen. Phillip Puckett asking that Puckett make a request to the
attorney general’s office for an opinion on the term of office
first surfaced in February when the PSA sent a letter to the
Buchanan County Board of Supervisors showing terms of office for
board members and seeking reappointments or new appointments for
several posts. It was mentioned in that letter that Ray, former
Hurricane district supervisor, would be up for reappointment later
in the year in December.
statement was questioned by current Hurricane District Supervisor
William P. Harris, who defeated Ray in the 2003 election. Ray’s
appointment to the PSA was made in the December after that November
election and it was stated then his term of office would end in
argued Ray’s term was supposed to have ended in March and as a
result, at that same February 2007 board meeting, Harris was named
the new PSA representative.
which was the correct expiration date and who the Hurricane District
representative should be as a result, the PSA board agreed to ask
for an attorney general opinion through the board of supervisors,
said PSA Director Darrell Cantrell.
board of supervisors issued a letter naming Harris as the appointee
effective March 1, Harris did not attend the March meeting held
earlier this month. Ray was present.
said at this month’s PSA board meeting, that PSA Attorney Jim
Wayne Childress had informed PSA board members he had been in
contact Caudill on the issue and he said the conversation had been
centered around whether a compromise on the term of office might be
reached which would see Ray stay on until July 1 at which time
Harris would then take office.
Cantrell said the PSA board did not readily agree to any compromise
and instead agreed by consensus that an attorney general’s opinion
should be sought to clear up the issue.
said the opinion has been requested, but added he did not know when
the opinion might be rendered.
further information was available at press time.
645 Funding Approved; Route to Be Closed for 6 Months
Move Forward for Road Project
Cathy St. Clair
estimates for improvements to Rt. 645, Rocklick Gap, came in
as too high, the project was taken off the bid schedule,
however, VDOT Resident Engineer Conrad Hill told members of
the board of supervisors earlier this month that the coal haul
road committee has agreed to commit $1.1 million in funding
toward the project.
result of that commitment, Hill said, the project may now go
forward and plans call for it to go to ad in April.
resolutions related to the project were approved by the board
and included not only a resolution concurring with funding
plans for the project, but another agreeing to a plan to close
the route for six months to expedite construction.
similar resolution was adopted previously as it relates to the
closure of Rt. 680, Bill Young Mountain, now under
construction in the Garden District. Road closures there began
noted both of the coal companies which have operations in the
Rocklick Gap area have agreed to work their schedules around
closure plans for Rt. 645.
call for the gap to be lowered and in order to lower it in the
most efficient manner in regard to time and cost, the road
will need to be closed, Hill noted. Plans call for the
Rocklick Gap closure to be for a period of about six months.
board agreed earlier this month to allow the closure plan,
noting it would be implemented when the contractor chosen for
the job receives the notice to proceed. The closure will
continue until such time as the gap is lowered, estimated to
take about six months.
funding plan adopted indicates the board's concurrence with
allocation of $1,106,312 from the Coal and Gas Road
Improvement Fund to the Rt. 645 project.
Supervisor David Ratliff made the motion to adopt both
resolutions and Garden Supervisor Buddy Fuller seconded the
vote on each was unanimous.
Supervisor Pat Justus said he wanted it made clear there had
been no money taken off the project and put on another project
and Hill agreed that was true. He said the board had been
accumulating money for the Rt. 645 project, identified as a
Revenue Sharing project. However, he said while developing
final estimates to allow the project to proceed to
advertisement, it had been determined $1.1 million would be
needed to fully fund the project.
added he still had not received word whether revenue sharing
funds for which the county has applied to receive will be
noted the Coal and Gas Road Improvement Committee had agreed
to the allocation in order to allow for the advertisement of
Pre-K Registration Set for April
and pre-kindergarten registration for the 2007-2008 school
term will begin in April.
hours at all school will be during the hours of 9 a.m. to 2
children entering school for the first time must enroll in
child who is five years of age by September 30, 2007, is
eligible to enroll in the kindergarten program.
child who is four years of age by September 30, 2007 is
eligible to enroll in the pre-kindergarten program.
children entering the pre-kindergarten program will be
required to have the chickenpox immunization. Parents must
submit doctor certification that your child has received this
immunization requirements have been amended (1991 Senate Bill
548) to read; "...all children shall also be required to
receive a second dose of measles (rubella) vaccine prior to
entering kindergarten or first grade.
enrolling for the first time in kindergarten must have
documented proof of having received two doses of measles
vaccine - usually administered in combination with mumps and
documented on the immunization record as MMR.
Hepititis B immunization requirement is for a minimum of three
doses for all children born on and after January 1, 1995 (with
at least four months spacing between the first and third
children registering for kindergarten or pre-kindergarten must
be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
must secure and bring with them the following items at the
time of registration: the child's State Birth Certificate,
(not a county birth certificate); the child's immunization
(shot) records; social security number; and a physical.
your child has a physical, it must be dated after August 21,
registering for pre-k will not need a physical until their
parents have been notified they have been accepted into the
students entering the sixth grade at the beginning of the
2007-2008 school term will be required to have a Tdap booster.
Submit a doctor's certification that your child has received
more information, call Susan Caudill, nurse coordinator, at
276-935-4551, ext. 251.
registration schedule is as follows:
Russell Prater Elementary, April 11, 2007;
Hurley Elementary Middle, April 12, 2007;
Riverview Elementary/Middle, April 16, 2007 and April 17,
Twin Valley Elementary/Middle, April 18, 2007;
Council Elementary/Middle, April 19, 2007; and
J.M. Bevins Elementary, April 23, 2007.